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  1. Last week
  2. SHOWPIECE In this essential model, the brand based in Le Brassus makes use of geometric shapes to provide a striking new visual design. Bowing out with panache: this was Audemars Piguet’s aim at its last SIHH – the brand has opted not to take part in the major watchmaking event from next year. So this year was marked by a new collection, the Code 11.59. Its strong points? An original case, first of all, although it is based on the iconic Royal Oak. The outline follows the famous octagonal case drawn by Gerald Genta’s inspired pencil in 1972. This geometric shape is sandwiched between a round extra-slim bezel and sapphire crystal caseback. The open-work horns set up rounded lines to harmonise with the wrist. The polished and satin finishes on the 41mm-wide case catch the light in an attractive way. Light also flourishes on the dial of the Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar. The time elements are set against a background decorated with aventurine in a midnight blue colour. Three small hands in the same number of sub-dials show the day, date and month. A realistic reproduction of the moon is housed at 6 o’clock and shows the moon phases. Lastly, the dial is encircled by a chapter ring with a white hand to indicate the week number. The model is powered by the calibre 5134, which has featured in Royal Oak watches with the same complications since 2015. With this self-winding movement you will only need to reset the astronomic information once every 122 years and 108 days. It also supplies the watch with 40 hours of power reserve. The Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar is an elegant model, worn with a blue alligator leather strap to perfectly match the rose gold case. Price: 69,500 CHF
  3. SIMPLICITY DRIVING AUDACITY Since 2015, we have never been disappointed by the watches in the Slim collection! We love their simplicity and their visual features, well in evidence in this model. With Hermès, time has entered another dimension. A dimension where style is not just a marketing pitch, but a real aesthetic aim. Each component has its own identity. Once brought together, the elements give the watch a unique character. For proof you just need to look at the brand-new Slim Titane. The chapter ring is made up of white figures in an original typeface. Designed by Philippe Apeloig, they are precisely cut out from the watch face. In the centre, an azure surface houses a grained counter at 6 o’clock in the same colour as the hours. While the Parisian firm likes to play with materials, it also shows unique skill in combining colours. So we find a touch of orange, Hermès’ trademark colour, on the figure 12 and on the small second hand, helping to bring the simple design to life. The watch is housed in a 39.5mm-wide titanium case with a swirling, satin-brushed bezel. The time elements are powered by an extra-flat calibre, the H1950, which is just 2.6mm thick. The self-winding movement provides the watch with 42 hours of power reserve, thanks to the rotor on display through the sapphire crystal. The delicate mechanism is decorated with a forest of H’s and features hand-filed angles on the bridges. The matt alligator leather strap worn with the Slim Titane recalls the colours on the dial. The front comes in a graphite tone, while the lining is a smooth orange. Price: 5,900 EUR hermes.com
  4. A TOUCH OF FANTASY This limited edition is a homage to erudition, with a constant-force module powering an unusual astronomic feature. A display of the moon cycles is an exercise mastered by many watchmakers. But the complication generally has more of an aesthetic than a practical function, since the moon phases are not accurate enough to be of use to astronomy fans. To improve the complication, the Ferdinand Berthoud team took a long look at some precision timekeeping studies carried out by the inventive master watchmaker of the same name. In the 18th century, Berthoud conducted several research projects with a surprising instrument used to measure angular distances, the repeating circle. Earlier, in 1752, the German astronomer Tobias Mayer had used the tool to compose his Lunar Tables, pinpointing the exact position of the Earth’s satellite. The Chronomètre FB 1L embodies the scientific progress of the Age of Enlightenment with an indicator of the moon age and phases together with a chronometer. In the dial’s southern hemisphere, the display of the age of the moon in days is shown with a hand moving along a scale numbered from 1 to 14. The number 1 is for the first day after a new moon, with the number 14 for a full moon. The mechanism is coupled with an original display of the moon phases. You can see if the moon is waxing or waning at a glance. This ingenious feature is made without a disc and will not need correcting for 577 years! A chain and fusee tourbillon calibre was used to obtain this result. The complex movement including 1,240 elements is housed in a grey-gold 44-mm-wide case. Two models with ten pieces each are available. The first, Near Side of the Moon, comes in light colours. The second, Far Side of the Moon, takes us to a much darker world. Price: 250,000 CHF (titanium) – 265,000 CHF (white gold)
  5. We'll have plenty of coverage of the upcoming May auctions for you over the next few weeks, but before the previews themselves start heating up, Phillips has announced a special exhibition that it will host in Geneva during the days leading up to their auction. Called "Independents' Day,"the exhibition is focused (as you would expect) on showing off the very best of 20th and 21st-century independent watchmaking. A few highlights are a worldtime wristwatch prototype by Louis Cottier, Kari Voutilainen's first tourbillon pocket watch, an oval-shaped tourbillon pocket watch with detent escapement by Derek Pratt for Urban Jürgensen (all seen below) as well as a full complement of watches from Philippe Dufour (Simplicity, Duality, and Grande Sonnerie) and more. If you're into serious watchmaking, this looks like it's a can't-miss affair. Independents' Day follows hot on the heels of another Phillips exhibition, the Well Suited show that was held in London last month. One key difference to note is that unlike Well Suited, which was a "selling exhibition," Independents' Day is purely about giving people an opportunity to see some incredible, rare-as-hens-teeth watches in one place. You won't be able to purchase what you're looking at, with two notable exceptions – both a George Daniels Anniversary wristwatch and a George Daniels Grand Complication pocket watch will be on display and they're both going to be available at next month's Geneva Watch Auction: Nine sale. Independents' Day will be hosted as part of the exhibition for Geneva Watch Auction: Nine and will run run May 9 through May 12 at the Hôtel La Réserve in Geneva (which means it's on through the end of the auction's second day).
  6. Last Veteran's Day (November 11th) Zenith announced a partnership with Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services for wounded veterans who were injured during their military service post-9/11. Wounded Warrior Project offers veterans help on many different levels, including family support, assistance in injury rehabilitation, and help coping with recovery from combat stress. Services are offered free of charge to veterans and Wounded Warrior Project is supported by charitable donations; in conjunction with the release of the watch, Zenith has already made a donation of $25,000, presented by Zenith's U.S. president, Thierry Collot. The watch is a variation on the Cronometro Tipo CP-2, which is in turn a re-interpretation of the famous 1960s "Cairelli" chronograph, named for the Rome-based retailer which carried the watch, and which was bought by the Italian armed forces (for more on the genesis of the Cronometro Tipo CP-2, check out our in-depth coverage from 2016). The stock is very faithful to the original, but for the Wounded Warrior limited edition, some changes have been made, including the incorporation of a red, white, and blue color scheme. The Wounded Warrior limited edition has a deep blue dial, rather than the black dial of the "stock" version, with a red chronograph seconds hand and a red triangle on the bezel, rather than the white triangle in the regular production model. Mechanically, this limited edition and the standard production model are identical – both are two register, flyback chronographs, with an El Primero movement. The limited edition also has a sapphire display back, while the stock model has a solid caseback. Aside from being a watch made in support of a great cause, the aesthetics of the Wounded Warrior limited edition are a very attractive variation on the austerity of the black-and-white production model. The deep blue dial's got a lot of pop in person and the use of red feels functionally appropriate as well. The Wounded Warrior Project Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP2 is $8,350
  7. A NEW RECORD! Sport helps you stay in shape even in the world of watchmaking. If you have your doubts, then take a look at the world’s slimmest automatic GMT chronograph, announced at Baselworld! Since the launch of the men’s watch collection Octo in 2012, Bvlgari has broken one record after another. Last year, at Baselworld, the Octo Finissimo automatic tourbillon was the centre of attention with a scarcely believable width of 3.95mm. This year, the brand from Rome is continuing its journey through the ultra-flat world with the impressive Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, built around a case that is just 5.15mm thick. This is a slim watch, but not at all bland. Its strong personality comes from the collection’s signature design and the facetted 42mm-wide watch case. The case design also helps to bring out the time elements, providing an ideal setting for the seconds counter at 9 o’clock and the 30-minute chronograph totaliser at 6 o’clock. What’s more, the geometric design means the monopushers are almost perfectly integrated into the case and form a natural prolongation of the watch body. The brand has also achieved the feat of including a GMT function. The second time zone is easy to read in the indicator at 3 o’clock. To make the watch so slim, all the functions and complications are powered by the calibre BVL 318, which is just 3.30mm thick. With the help of the peripheral rotor, it provides 55 hours of power reserve. The strap on this traveller’s sports watch features sanded titanium links. A folding clasp guarantees comfort and safety. Price: 16,500 CHF
  8. They say honesty is the best policy, and Ulysse Nardin seems to have had the maxim in mind when they named this watch: behold the Marine Mega Yacht, coming soon to the wrist of your favorite high roller, yacht-owning plutocrat. The Marine Mega Yacht is an unapologetic paean to the pleasures of the life aquatic, but from the bridge of one of the multimillion dollar floating palaces populating the world's oceans, from the Casino in Monte Carlo, or from a private island somewhere off the Côte d'Azur for that matter. It is a power watch – aside from the sheer cost, its unabashed celebration of superfluous complexity leaves no doubt as to its raison d'être. as However, it would be too much to dismiss this as simply an exercise in extremely conspicuous consumption; there is quite a lot going on technically, however much the watch overwhelms at first (and second, and third) glance with its over-the-top opulence – and as well, it represents a continuation of a decades-old philosophy with respect to the execution of complications at Ulysse Nardin. Technically speaking, this is a 44mm solid platinum watch, with a grand feu blue enamel dial that carries a semi-abstract representation of the bow of a yacht. There is a tourbillon, with the cage in the shape of a propeller (of course) and there is a spherical moonphase, along with a tide indicator that shows periods of high and low tide, as well as whether or not the tides in question are spring tides or neap tides (the most and least extreme range of high and low tides, which depend on where the Moon is in its orbit around the Earth, although likely owners of the Mega Yacht watch will probably be more concerned with how many cases of champagne there are in the hold than in what the tide's doing). The power reserve indicator is pretty clever – it's in the shape of a ship's anchor, which gradually drops as the mainspring unwinds – the crown-wheel mechanism that links the mainspring barrel's rotation to the anchor chain lives in the aperture at the 12:00 position. There is a function indicator set into the caseband, styled after the Chadburn telegraph used in the early days of steamship travel, to allow the bridge to communicate with the engine room; in the Marine Mega Yach, it shows the position of the crown ("TM" for Tide and Moon; "S" for setting the time; and "W" for winding). The spherical moonphase is a real treat – the surface is pocked with innumerable miniature craters and the illusion of seeing the lunar surface is very compelling. A spherical moonphase gives a better representation of what one sees in the sky than a conventional moonphase display, although it's still not 100% accurate in that regard, as the same side of the Moon is always facing the Earth. Still, it's a very charming and rather romantic way to implement a moonphase in combination with a tide indicator (another example of combining the two complications is the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia, although that watch and the Ulysse Nardin Mega Yacht are obviously going after diametrically opposed goals aesthetically). While the Mega Yacht is certainly an exercise in very over-the-top design, it is also part of a long history of creating astronomical complications at Ulysse Nardin. The company's best-known complicated watches, other than the many variations on the Freak, include the Trilogy Of Time collection. The Trilogy watches were first released between 1985 and 1992 and include a tellurium, astrolabe, and planetarium watch (which as far as I can recall were all firsts for watchmaking) and more recently, the Ulysse Nardin Moonstruck, which originally debuted in 2009, combined a tellurium with tide and orbiting moonphase indications in a unique fashion. In general astronomical complications seem to bring out the classicist impulse in watch designers, but this sort of aesthetic – relatively massive cases, with integrated straps and heavy lugs – has a long history at Ulysse Nardin; while the Trilogy pieces are relatively restrained, the Freak was in 2000 one of the very first of the maximalist, complicated watches that were to become the stock-in-trade of many high-end watch brands (or at least, those with the research and development capacity to play the game seriously) for the next decade. The movement, like the rest of the Mega Yacht, is intended as an homage to yachting; specifically, it's supposed to evoke the engine room of a yacht. At this level of watchmaking (and at this price) I feel a little ambivalent about the absence of the traditional language of fine movement finishing, but traditional curved bridges, polished flanks, and Geneva stripes would probably have felt rather out of place, and the deliberately industrial feel of the caliber UN-631 is a better fit in terms of the design aspirations of the Mega Yacht as a whole. Caliber UN-631 was developed in collaboration with Christophe Claret. I don't think anyone looking at this watch would have any question as to what it's after – this is not an attempt to add something to the historical vocabulary of haute horlogerie, but rather a solid platinum ode to luxury and to the pleasures of seeing the world, and the high seas as one of their masters. If life were a James Bond movie, it's not a timepiece you'd find on the hero (Bond would probably rather be caught dead than wearing anything that anyone would call a "timepiece") but it's definitely the sort of watch that you'd find on the wrist of Emil Largo, as he stands on the fantail of the Disco Volante in Thunderball, wondering whether it's time to restock the shark pool. If you've got a mega-yacht, and you need a Mega Yacht, it's a limited edition of 30 pieces world-wide; price is $310,000 (shark pool not included).
  9. Looking back on a post from more than four years, Ben goes hands-on with two very rare dive watches from Rolex. Both of which have been to the literal bottom of the ocean (and back). A deep diving pair if there ever was one, it's not often you have a chance to get both the Rolex Deep Sea Special and the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge in the same photo. Witnessed at a dinner with James Cameron after his expedition to the bottom of the ocean, these watches are the actual pieces that visited that depth from the outside of the submarine. First the Deep Sea Special with the Bathyscaphe Trieste on January 23rd, 1960, and again with Cameron and his Deepsea Challenger submarine on March 26, 2012. Both traveled, without additional protection, to an astonishing depth of over 35,000 ft.
  10. SUPREME DISTINCTION Chopard, the creators of aesthetic and mechanical emotions, has produced a limited edition showing off its high manufacturing standards and underlining environmental commitments. Elegance is a state of mind and can be embodied in different ways. At Chopard, we see it in the L.U.C. collection, with watches combining refined designs and exceptional mechanisms. The brand’s new model, unveiled at the 2019 Baselworld, nonetheless fills a gap with the first calibre featuring a flying tourbillon. For the occasion, the manufacture has designed a delicate setting built around a 40cm-wide and 7.2mm-thick, ultra-slim case made of Fairmined rose gold. The regulating organ driving the small seconds dial at 6 o’clock is enhanced by a solid-gold watch face featuring a hand-made guilloché pattern. At the centre of the L.U.C Flying T Twin is a honeycomb decoration encircled by an hour rim with an azure pattern. Rose gold hands move around the dial. They are powered by the calibre 96.24 L, a new version of the 96.01-L. The inclusion of two superimposed barrels and the self-winding mechanism, boosted by a gold micro-rotor, provides a comfortable power reserve of 65 hours. A stop-second feature can be used to precisely match a reference time. The COSC has certified the timepiece’s accuracy. And to fully satisfy contemporary gentlemen with a concern for the environment, CITES has given its seal of approval to the strap worn sold with this limited edition of 50 pieces. It is made of matt black alligator leather and dyed with plant pigments. The CITES certification means that the origin of the leather poses no threat to the survival of the species in question. Price: 109,000 EUR
  11. Earlier
  12. I know this is going to come as a big surprise, but we here at HODINKEE don't know everything about watches. Sure, we try to stay well informed and we've got more than a few inside sources that can help prepare us for what's coming ahead of a show like Baselworld, but there's still plenty that we can't anticipate. And we like it that way – it's way more exciting! We thought it would be fun, with the show in the rearview mirror, to ask each of our editors what surprised them the most at Baselworld 2019. Enjoy. Cara Barrett – Casio, Oris, And More! Leading up to Baselworld, we were all curious to see how things would be without the Swatch Group. People were pretty hellbent on it being the end of the fair and watch life as we know it (ok maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but things were looking less than great). But what I found most surprising was that on-the-ground, the Swatch Group wasn’t really missed at all. In fact, it allowed other brands such as Casio, Oris, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Zenith, and more, to shine without the colossus that is the Swatch Group looming over everything. I find it so easy to get swept up in the moment, and brands like Rolex, Patek, and Omega dominate the conversation, so sometimes it feels like there is little room for others to show me what they've got – and it turns out, they've got a lot. Jon Bues – The Leaks I wasn't at the show this year – the first time I've missed the show since my first Baselworld in 2006. I only mention this because I can't think of another time when so many leaked images and details could be found online ahead of press embargos lifting. Since I wasn't there talking to colleagues, meeting with brands, and seeing pieces in the metal, I can't really comment on the mood of the show or what those attending might have been surprised by or not, but seeing so many watches leaked before press day was a big surprise, especially when you consider it was from massive, important brands like Rolex, Tudor, Seiko, and Patek Philippe. Jack Forster – The Return Of Accutron In keeping with Citizen's habit of rolling out big news in a quiet fashion, the group announced, and showed, a most unusual wristwatch. The new watch is Accutron-branded, and details so far are a little on the thin side, but it looks as if there's not only going to be a return of Accutron, but that it's going to debut new technology as well. The watch we saw bears a close stylistic resemblance to the Accutron Spaceview, but with what Citizen and Bulova describe as an electrostatic generator and drive system, mated with a quartz timing package. The watch doesn't seem to presage a return of the classic tuning-fork Accutron movements; instead, it looks like the Accutron name will be used to brand the new movement technology. We'll be keeping a close eye out for more news on this front in the coming months. Also, to echo Jon's observation, this was the most leak-tastic Baselworld I've ever seen. James Stacey – That Solid Gold Doxa If you want to talk surprises, this is the puzzler that got me. The SUB 200 T.Graph LE in solid 18k yellow gold from Doxa to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original (steel) SUB 200 T.Graph. The original was made in 200 examples of each of the brand's core dial colors (orange, black, and silver), but this solid gold version is limited to just 13 units. The final surprise is the price, which is $70,000. While I get the interest in creating a buzz, and even in creating a gold Doxa, it would have been great to see a faithful steel SUB 200 T.Graph announced alongside this wild limited edition. Cole Pennington – Fake News This was my first time attending Baselworld after watching from afar for many years. The thing I found most surprising was the level of positivity and optimism from not only the folks who are involved with the show, but the people who attend it. Reading industry news will have you believing that Baselworld itself is a sinking ship and there’s nothing but stormy weather on the horizon. That’s not the vibe I got from everyone I talked to. I was surprised at the collective sense of optimism and love for the show. I mean, just ask Joe Thompson. Stephen Pulvirent – Two-Tone Continues Trends in the watch world move much slower and hang around much longer than those in the fashion world. We're talking years-long cycles, not months-long, and it can even take two or three years for a trend to even emerge as "a thing" once we start seeing the first few hints of it. If you had any doubts, this year's fair made it clear that two-tone is back, and in a big way. Rolex hit us with the two-tone Sea-Dweller (the TTSD for short, obviously), Tudor gave us a two-tone Black Bay Chronograph and some new two-tone Black Bay 41 models, Oris went for a more modest bronze-and-steel version of two-tone, and that's just scratching the surface. I didn't expect to be onboard with this trend, but I think I'm starting to be convinced...
  13. The Accutron watch didn't have a terribly long life, as things go in horology, but it had a pretty interesting one. The first year of production, 1960, was preceded by a nearly decades-long period of research and development, and when the Accutron debuted, it was the first really commercially and technically successful electronic watch. At the heart of the Accutron is a tuning-fork oscillator, made to vibrate thanks to current provided by a small battery. One tine of the tuning fork has a tiny pawl attached to it, and as the tuning fork vibrates, the pawl pushes the teeth of an index wheel (both the pawl and the 320 teeth of the index wheel are so small that they're almost impossible to see without the aid of a microscope). The movement of the index wheel drives the hands, and of course, the whole system is regulated by the frequency of the vibration of the tuning fork. Original tuning-fork Accutron Spaceview, 1974 Two of the signature features of the Accutron, other than its unprecedented accuracy (Accutrons were generally guaranteed to run to within a minute a month or less) were the smooth sweep of the seconds hand, and the high-pitched hum emitted by the tuning fork. Production ceased in 1977 but in their heyday, Accutrons were indisputably the most accurate wristwatches on Earth and were used in some of the most demanding environments imaginable. They were used in experimental aviation, as wristwatches, for both the A-12 spy plane pilots, and for the X-15 rocket plane program, and Accutron movements were used as cockpit instruments for the Apollo lunar missions. Even prior to that, Accutron movements were in space, often as timing instruments on communications satellites. At Baselworld this year, Citizen and Bulova debuted a new concept movement which has some of the features of the original Accutron, but which also uses a new-to-wristwatches technology to both generate power for the watch, and to move the hands. The Accutron concept movement will remind Accutron enthusiasts immediately of the Accutron Spaceview, an original-production Accutron which had an open dial, allowing the tuning fork mechanism and transistor to be seen. The concept movement likewise exposes the mechanism, however, there's no tuning fork. Instead, two small turbine-like structures are visible in the lower half of the dial, which rotate rapidly when the watch is in motion, while the upper part of the dial is dominated by a near-identical, but larger, turbine – this rotates continuously, as it drives the seconds hand in a smooth forward motion that recalls the original Accutron watches. The Accutron, And The Fastest Plane Ever Made The tuning fork Accutron movement was used in a number of aerospace applications, and the Accutron Astronaut model was the official watch of the top secret CIA Project OXCART, which flew the fastest planes ever made. Find out more about the A-12/SR-71 aircraft, and the Accutron Astronaut, right here. The two lower turbines are actually electrostatic generators, while the upper, larger, driving turbine is an electrostatic motor. An electrostatic motor is different from a conventional electric motor in several key aspects. A standard electric motor consists of a central rotor, wound with wire through which an electrical current travels; this rotor sits inside the stator, which is a ring-shaped permanent magnet. As current passes through the rotor coils, a magnetic field is produced and the attraction and repulsion of this field with respect to the permanent magnet surrounding it, causes the rotor to rotate, turning the driving shaft of the motor. An electrostatic motor, by contrast, uses the direct attraction and repulsion of positive and negative electrical charge. In its simplest version, an electrostatic motor's rotor sits between two electrodes, one of which carries a positive electrical charge, and one, a negative. As the edge of the rotor passes an electrode, it acquires a charge identical to the electrode, which pushes that part of the rotor away (like charges repel) causing the rotor to turn. The first simple electrostatic motors were made all the way back in the 18th century, by Ben Franklin and a Scottish monk named Andrew Gordon – Franklin's "electric wheel" as he called it, rotated at about 15 rpm and he mused in his notes that " ... if a large fowl were spitted on the upright shaft, it would be carried round before a fire with a motion fit for roasting." Electrostatic motors eventually gave way to more powerful electromagnetic motors, which are the type almost universally used today, in everything from power tools to toys to propulsion systems for planes, trains, automobiles and ships at sea. The Wimshurst machine, a type of electrostatic generator developed by inventor James Wimshurst, around 1880; image, Wikipedia. While the electromagnetic motor is more powerful, the electrostatic motor has an advantage over it. Electrostatic motors don't require a coil-wound rotor, and they can therefore be made much more compact than electromagnetic motors. Today, one niche application for electrostatic motors is in MEMS applications (Microelectromechanical systems) and in nanotechnology; the smallest known electrostatic motor consists of just 18 atoms. Electrostatic motors also, in general, use less energy than electromagnetic motors – an advantage that becomes more pronounced as size decreases. The concept Accutron electrostatic movement's electrostatic generators are powered by arm movements, just as in a conventional automatic watch. The current produced is stored in a capacitor, and delivered to the larger electrostatic motor. The blades of the motor's rotor are alternately attracted and repelled by the electrical charge of the stator – in this case, a static arrangement of blades which are superimposed on the rotor – causing the rotor to turn. This system drives the second hand in a smooth, sweeping motion reminiscent of the orginal Accutron; the hour and minute hands are driven by a conventional stepper motor. Both drive systems are controlled by a quartz timing package. The watch is very interesting to see in action, and the visuals aren't like any other watch. The electrostatic motor and generators move with a flickering, almost kaleidescope-like effect. The only other system out there with any similarities to the Accutron's electrostatic drive system is Seiko's Spring Drive, but while there is some conceptual crossover, there are major differences – Spring Drive's glide wheel is basically an electromagnetic generator with a quartz controlled braking system, while the Accutron uses an electrostatic motor; moreover Spring Drive is, as the name implies, driven by a mainspring, while the Accutron is driven by electrical energy produced by electrostatic generators, and stored in a capacitor. The technology certainly produces unique aesthetics and while the movement was presented as a concept movement, rather than a new line of watches, the technology looks mature and ready for market, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if at some point in the near future we saw it in commercially available watches. Citizen released its caliber 0100 as a concept movement a year before the commercially available limited editions came out, so there's a company precedent for the strategy. The resemblance, visually and kinetically, to the original Spaceview tuning fork Accutron watch is a powerful nostalgia play (though this is a concept movement, I'd honestly be just fine if these were the aesthetics of a finished watch) but with a drive system unique to the new electrostatic Accutron concept movement, and it'll be interesting to see what next steps are planned. If you want news on the Accutron concept movement direct from Citizen, there's a teaser site up, right here. The press release also says in part, "Accutron is committed to upholding an extraordinary legacy of excellence in design, style and technology as it reenters the watch industry," so it looks like Accutron is on the comeback trail.
  14. Late last week, I found myself sitting in the office of a notable dealer down south, being handed watch after watch, each one more unconventionally interesting than the last. There were pieces flown on the space shuttle, watches with dials bearing seldom-seen signatures of long-gone retailers, and pieces still largely overlooked by the masses, along with a hefty helping of heavy hitters too. You name it, he had it. This lead to a discussion regarding the market’s future, collecting for yourself, and the beauty of the decidedly weirder vintage pieces up for grabs today. Having said this, consider this week a bit of an ode to the oddballs, of sorts. A celebration of quirks, if you will. We’ve got a Tudor with Canadian Kodak provenance, an outstanding time-only Heuer, and one of the best buys in vintage watch collecting – a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox. At the sportier end of the spectrum, there’s what many regard as the earliest dive watch, plus a Breitling pilot’s chronograph cased in 18k gold. For good measure, there’s a history lesson or two thrown in, so you can flex on your fellow collectors at the next nerdy get together. Let's do this. Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Vintage watches are a finite collectible asset by nature, and with knowledge of the genius that characterized eras of watchmaking past becoming more mainstream, prices for desirable models are continually rising. Collector friends of mine will often complain that they slept on great references only to now find them beyond their reach. When it comes to finding value today though, I think early examples of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox are one of the best finds out there, as not only are they fitted with sophisticated, unique calibers, but they're also still relatively accessible for budding collectors. Though there is something undeniably cool about an oversized vintage watch, I’ve always personally preferred the Memovox within the confines of a 35mm case. Considering the multiple protruding crowns, it just seems to work better on my wrist at that size. With this in mind, I was pleased to find a stunning example dating back to the 1950s coming up for sale in flawless condition. It also includes what I believe to be the original box. Should you put condition above all else (hint: you should) then you’ll surely get a kick out of this one. Its case would appear to be unpolished, with sharply defined lines, and the dial looks to be essentially perfect too. The only flaw I can find is a bit of discoloration within the rose gold numeral at four o’clock, but that’s not really something to write home about. While no movement shots have been supplied by the auction house that will be offering this watch, my bet is that it’s either powered by the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 17 jewel Cal. 489, the shock protected Cal. P489, or something slightly later from the cal. 814 family, as I’ve seen other, identical-looking examples fitted with these movements. All in all, a top notch watch. Say that 10 times fast! Larchmont, New York’s Clark Auction Gallery will be offering this Memovox in a sale taking place on April 7, with a conservative estimate of $300 to $500. Should this happen to sell for anywhere within the estimate, you could have a seriously sweet deal on your hands. See the full listing here. 1959 Tudor Oyster Air Lion Ref. 7958 With Kodak Provenance To get things started this week, we’ve got a watch that further confirmed a bit of hunch of mine. As a photographer and collector of early Kodak marketing materials, I like to keep my eyes out for watches associated with the American manufacturer of film and imaging products. This constant hunt has resulted in a few noteworthy finds over the years, including a honeycomb dial Tudor I came across the other day. Flip the watch over, and you’ll find an engraved caseback suggesting it was awarded to a gentleman by the name of Arthur J. Sansom after he spent 40 years at the company. To date, I’ve come across roughly six other watches presented to Kodak employees either upon their retirement or after having completed however many decades of service with the company. Understandably, the more desirable of the bunch were the former, being modest Rolex Oysters executed in either solid gold or two-tone cases. The latter have always been Tudors, but attractive references at that, suggesting a logically hierarchical nature to the photographic firm’s watch allotment system. A bit of research indicates that Sansom worked for the company’s Canadian operation out of my hometown of Toronto, which specialized in the distribution of Kodak’s own cameras and consumer film products. I was lucky enough to even come across a newspaper clipping from Rochester’s Democrat And Chronicle, which commemorates Sansom’s completion of 40 years service at Kodak – along with the work of countless others – which would have been published at the same time he was presented with the watch. On its own, the watch admittedly isn’t all that interesting. At the end of the day, we’re talking about a gold-plated Tudor that measures just 32mm across, but if you take a step back and appreciate the bigger picture (aren’t I punny), there’s a lot to like. I’ve always enjoyed a watch with a story, and this one is no exception. Given its smaller size, I think it’d make an excellent women’s watch. This watch is currently being offered for sale on eBay for $1,450. Find the full listing here. 18k Breitling Chronomat Ref. 808 Purpose-built tool watches produced in solid gold have always fascinated me, as in all seriousness, they make just about zero sense. Precision and accuracy are the ultimate goals of this sort of watch, not head turning bling and opulent shininess, but in a weird way I’d argue that’s what makes such paradoxical timepieces so appealing. There’s a certain beauty in self-contradiction – a notion embodied properly by my next pick of the week. What you’re looking at is a ref. 808 Chronomat from Breitling, which is the second Chronomat reference to be introduced before the large cased ref. 818 went into production. This reference emerged towards the end of the 1950s after much success with the slide rule functionality that made the ref. 769 so sought after. Unlike its predecessor, this reference features a cleaner dial aesthetic, thanks to Breitling’s decision to relocate the Swiss cross and patent number to the caseback, allowing for increased legibility in the cockpit or on the tarmac. Like the previously featured Jaeger-LeCoultre, I don’t believe this Breitling has ever fallen victim to the wrath of the wretched polishing wheel, as the beveled edges found on the sides of its case remain clearly visible. The large hallmarks and engravings on the back of its caseback are also still well defined, suggesting that it perhaps wasn’t worn much over the years. Some dealers would be quick to tack the words “new old stock” to the listing title of a watch like such, but I’m not about to do that, because who really knows. If you’re still not impressed, take a look at that dial. Absolutely perfect – nuff said. This Breitling will be offered by Nadeau’s Auction Gallery out of Windsor, Connecticut, on April 27, with an estimate of $1,000 to $2,000. Check out all the details here. 1938 Omega Marine Ref. CK 679 There is something to be said for a first. First car, first kiss, first man on the – no matter what the event or milestone may be, it's usually a bit of a big deal when preceded by the word first. In watch collecting circles, horological firsts are often quite well known and celebrated, but rather curiously, there’s still one that flies right under the radar of many. This of course is the very first watch designed, tested, and approved for diving, and it was produced by none other than Omega. Rolex may have patented the screw down crown, but Omega found another way to the bottom of the sea by way of case design. Through the use of two cases – one to house the movement, and another hermetically sealed one which the first slides into – and a securing, spring-loaded clip, the Marine achieved an impressive depth rating certification of up to 135 meters at the time of its release. Just how waterproof this example originally delivered to Sweden in 1938 is in 2019 is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t advise taking it in the pool on vacation. What you’re looking at is an honest example of the ref. CK 679 Marine. The case isn’t exactly sharp, and the original diver’s extension clasp is no longer with the watch, though these pieces rarely come up for sale, so finding one at all is somewhat of a big deal. Luckily, the aforementioned factors are both reflected in its estimate. The romantic idealist in me would like to believe its present state would suggest a storied past of being used for its intended purpose, but I’m in no position to make guarantees. The Swedish auction house Bukowski’s will offer this rare dive watch in their sale taking place on April 9 in Stockholm. Its sale estimate has been set at 28,000 SEK, which equates to roughly $3,000. You can see more photos and the full listing here. 1950s 14k Gold Time-Only Heuer When someone says Heuer, chronographs are what immediately come to mind, and for very good reason. Thanks to a long history of iconic watches, including the legendary Carrera, Autavia, Monaco, and Camaro, chronographs have more or less come to define the brand and their contribution to the world of horology as a whole. With that said, it’s important to not gloss over their time only offerings, especially those introduced prior to the 1970s. They really are their own sort of special, and most certainly deserving of your attention. My personal interest in this chapter of Heuer’s time-only history has largely been defined by a never-ending quest to make meaning of the stars seen on dials like that of the watch in question. After years of scouring of forums and consulting those more knowledgable than myself to little success, I’ve more or less given up on the mission, and learned to accept them simply as an aesthetically pleasing addition to such dials. And while on the topic of pleasing aesthetics, just take a look a look at this thing! With its uniquely shaped hour and minute hands that trace its to-the-point dial, there’s a lot to love here. Pair that with the 34mm 14k gold case, and you’ve got a supremely classy piece. You might notice that the caseback of this watch would appear to be stainless steel, leading one to question whether the case itself is in fact solid or merely plated with gold. With a little bit of research, I can confidently say it is solid, after furthering my knowledge of Heuer’s case configurations offered throughout the 1950s. Take a look for yourself. This can be confirmed by examining early catalogs, in which you’ll find both watches advertised as having “20 Micron, and Goldauflage” cases, alongside solid gold cases, and solid gold cases “mit Stahlboden,” indicating the use of a stainless steel caseback. While I now know this to be correct, I’m admittedly not all that sure why such configurations were offered. Should you have more insight concerning this matter, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. An eBay seller based out of Omaha, Nebraska, is currently offering this Heuer with no reserve. At the time of publishing, the high bid stands at $202.50.
  15. Coming out of Baselworld, there's always one question on everyone's minds: What watch from the show would you most want to buy yourself? Some people gravitate towards their grail pieces, while others just want something new and novel. We'll have more on those kinds of choices soon, but we wanted to kick things off by looking at the best new watches that you could feasibly wear every day. If you could only have one watch from Baselworld 2019 and you were going to wear it day-in, day-out for decades, these are the timepieces we'd recommend you give a closer look. There are a few usual suspects and a few choices that might surprise you, so read on and enjoy. Cara Barrett – NOMOS Glashütte Orion Duo 33 For me, the runaway hit for everyday watch goes to a watch that isn’t necessarily “new” per se, but rather something reinvented in a new case size. The NOMOS Orion has always been a favorite of mine, with its Calatrava-style case and clean dial lines, and now it is available in a 33mm case and without the sub-seconds register. It's part of the new Duo collection of similarly-styled takes on NOMOS classics. This watch fills a gaping void in the market for accessible, well-made everyday ladies’ watches. The modest 33mm steel case and manual-winding caliber Alpha.2 are a stellar combo and the price is extremely reasonable at under $2,000 all-in. $1,600; nomos-glashuette.com Jon Bues – Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126170 BLNR This Baselworld I stayed back in New York to focus on producing the HODINKEE Magazine, Vol. 4 (coming soon!). In between proofing stories, I was on the site, checking in for updates on new products and tuning in to the daily podcasts that the team produced. Picking the GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLNR as a daily wearer feels like a pretty easy choice. It’s hard to argue with any brand new modern Rolex that’s been updated to include a Chronergy escapement and a movement regulated to +2/-2 seconds per day, and I’m of the view that a GMT is the most useful complication out there. The Jubilee bracelet has really grown on me over time too. There’s something about how those perfectly symmetrical little semicircular links connect to form one of the most comfortable bracelets out there. $9,250; rolex.com Jack Forster – Ebel Sport Classic Titanium One of the most interesting everyday watches I saw last month was actually not at Baselworld – it was in Davos, Switzerland. Davos is most famous as the home of the World Economic Forum, but for the last two years it's also played host to the Movado Group Davos Summit; this year is the first time press was able to attend. The Ebel Sport Classic Titanium will be a 200 piece limited edition, with either Roman or Arabic numerals and it's a very appealing watch on the wrist – it reminded me, in a good way, of the IWC Porsche Design Ocean 2000. The Ebel "Wave" case and bracelet is in its own way a modern watch design icon, and its suppleness in titanium makes it a very attractive candidate for a daily-wear watch. Look for it this November. $2,950; ebel.com James Stacey – Rolex Datejust 36 (2019 Update) Seen here in steel with a white gold bezel, this new Rolesor Datejust 36 is a subtle evolution of the DJ that applies a greater number of Rolex's modern refinements to one of their most classic designs. It might not be as flashy as the new two-tone Sea-Dweller or Yacht-Master 42, but it's worth paying attention to nonetheless. At 36mm wide, this Datejust sings on a Jubilee bracelet with an updated design that makes the endlinks look like they disappear right into the case. Within, we find Rolex's modern calibre 3235 with the Chronergy escapement and a 70-hour power reserve. It looks like nearly any other Datejust but packs the latest and greatest from The Crown and looks incredible on-wrist. What's not to like? $8,200; rolex.com Cole Pennington – Bulova Oceanographer When Bulova came out with an updated Devil Diver last year, I paid attention. But the heritage diver segment is just so crowded that I didn’t get the chance to really take it in. When I saw the Bulova Oceanogapher in this wicked shade of green, it certainly caught my eye; it was infatuation at first glance. You just don’t see too many unrestrained green dials offered by the big manufacturers. Watch dials are like car paint codes in this way: Most dials come in conservative colors because it’s what sells to the masses. It’s safe. Remember those weird ‘70s car colors, though? Viper green, Plum crazy, Ossi blue. That’s how you do a re-edition – you build a modern watch around a detail that unequivocally pegs it to a certain time in the past. I think Bulova properly drew from a color palette that could have certainly fit in back in the '70s. I think I’ll call it Gerald Ford Green. $795; bulova.com Stephen Pulvirent – Grönefeld 1941 Principia I know, I know, an "everyday" watch priced over $30,000? Hear me out. I can't argue at all with my colleagues that a Rolex Datejust or a NOMOS Orion would make a pretty perfect daily-wearer for most people, myself included. (I've said as much before.) But I wanted to pick the 1941 Principia from the Grönefeld brothers for a reason: This is true high-end independent watchmaking with a practical bent. Eschewing things like jumping seconds or a remontoire, the Dutch watchmakers created a simple three-hand, automatic watch available in a stainless steel case with understated style. I love the idea of a watch that has all the practical elements to make it easy to wear and a bit care-free, while still packing an incredible movement with superlative finishing inside. It's your little secret, and one you can enjoy with abandon. €29,950; gronefeld.com
  16. Anyone who spends a decent amount of time (or an indecent amount of time, for that matter) looking at watches will undoubtedly have developed a particular taste. We here at HODINKEE HQ certainly have. Cole loves himself a beat-up vintage diver. Jack can't help himself when it comes to an esoteric complication. Stephen will barely look at a watch if it has more than three hands. But sometimes we surprise ourselves. Sometimes you can't help but love something, no matter how much it might conflict with your usual preferences. Here are the watches that, upon seeing them at Baselworld, our editors couldn't help but love – even against their better judgement. Cara Barrett – Rolex Day-Date 36 Rainbow Ref. 128345RBR I would be remiss if I didn’t say that my guilty pleasure watch is the latest Rainbow Rolex – the Day-Date 36 Rainbow Ref. 128345RBR. This precious metal classic gets an upgrade with pavé diamond-set center links, bezel, and dial with rainbow sapphire indexes. The watch is available in white, rose, and yellow gold and retails for just a hair under $125,000. It has the brand spanking new movement – the caliber 3255 – and looks fantastic on the wrist, if I don’t say so myself. And what is a guilty pleasure without a little sparkle? Pretty dull I would say (no judgement on the rest of my teammate’s choices though). $124,250; rolex.com Jon Bues – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic This is a watch with genuine horological pedigree, it's the product of rigorous R&D, and it has a design that is really all its own in today's watch landscape. It's also an in-house automatic chronograph with GMT function that doesn't crack the $20k mark. All of this is to say that it's debatable whether or not a watch like the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic makes sense as a guilty pleasure pick. But I think it does for me. While I can appreciate avant-garde designs in watches, the timepieces that I wear most often would be fairly described as conservative. I've found myself thinking about this watch a lot since its first write up on our site, and if I were to go for it, it would be the guiltiest pleasure in my collection. $17,600; bulgari.com Jack Forster – Grand Seiko SBGZ001 20th Anniversary Of Spring Drive Platinum Limited Edition A Grand Seiko as a guilty pleasure? It says something about just how far Grand Seiko has come that this is even possible, but here we are in 2019 with a Grand Seiko that's set a new record for price for the firm, at $76,000. The thought of that kind of a price tag on a Grand Seiko comes as an initial shock, but the watch is just so good – the hand carved platinum case and "snowflake" dial are a delicious combination, and inside is a Spring Drive hand-wound movement so gorgeous it gives the Eichi II a run for its money. Yes, by all means, now and forever, yes. $76,000; grand-seiko.com James Stacey – Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT Yes, it's a gold Ferrari Hublot, I know. Despite it being as much of an outlier as you can get from my general taste, I'm rather about the new Classic Fusion Ferrari GT. It is 45mm wide but wears smaller due to its dished case shape, this is the premium version in King Gold (you could go for titanium or 3D Carbon, but this is a guilty pleasures round up). It doesn't wear or look like any other Hublot Classic Fusion and I like that it was designed by Ferrari and that the branding is limited to the prancing horse at 12 o'clock. It's also an ideal guilty pleasures pick as I don't think I'd have one without a Ferrari to call my own, perhaps a GTC4Lusso in Verde British. Really, anything with a V12. $38,800 (in King Gold); hublot.com Cole Pennington – MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT Max Büsser built the FlyingT for the ladies in his life. It’s sort of a tribute to his wife and daughter, but without the backstory, it’s just a crazy watch. And it’s a crazy watch that I think I’d love to wear. There aren’t really any definitive gender design cues present anyway. The whole thing is just bonkers. To be clear, I can’t really get into any watch with diamonds, but hell, if I’m going to wear this thing, might as well go for the iced-out version right? I really like the HM7 Aquapod, and I’m a huge sucker for domed crystals on vintage divers, and this is just like that except to the Nth power. A massive beautiful bubble encapsulates a flying tourbillon with a cantilevered double arch upper bridge. Gorgeous. Guilty as charged. Stephen Pulvirent – Rolex Yacht-Master 42 In White Gold At first glance, you might be thinking "guilty pleasure, really?" But think about it. At its core, the new Yacht-Master 42 is a Rolex sports watch, which is about the most no-nonsense sort of daily-wearer you could imagine. Only, this Rolex sports watch is larger than usual (42mm), made of precious metal (white gold), sports a slick-as-hell bezel (made of relief-engraved matte black ceramic), and is mounted on a rubber strap (more properly the beautifully over-engineered Oysterflex bracelet). So yeah, it's a "Rolex sports watch" but only in the loosest sense. In actuality, it's a totem to having fun, caring not-at-all about the sideways glances you'll get from purists, and embracing Rolex's slightly more whimsical side. I'm fully onboard. $27,800; rolex.com
  17. The first time I saw Apocalypse Now, it was on a double bill with Blade Runner (the original theatrical cut, complete with super-annoying voiceover) in a movie theater in New York, back when it was still possible to chain-smoke during a movie (and I was still smoking). It was what we used to call in the vernacular of the day, a mind-blowing experience and yet somehow, amid all the beautiful madness of Francis Ford Coppola's vision of the Vietnam War that was both imagined and somehow more real than real, I managed to find time to notice the watch worn by Martin Sheen's Captain Willard, as he snaked up a river, for miles and weeks, that was like a main circuit cable wired straight into Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Hey, I remember thinking, as coruscating pillars of fire pirouetted across the welcoming darkness of the deep and forever unknowable jungle, that was a pretty cool watch. I wonder if I could ever wear that watch. This was in the early 1980s, by which time the 6105 had been out of production for several years (they were made from 1968 to 1977) although I suspect that in New York, at that time, when you could still buy shuriken and collapsible cobra batons in the back of sketchy shops in Times Square (along with pretty much anything else) I could probably have found one if I looked hard enough. I didn't get my first Seiko dive watch for several more years and hilariously enough, it turned out to be a Feiko – I'd paid fifty bucks for it at a dark, dank-smelling electronics store on 14th Street – with a chrome-plated brass case. As soon as I noticed the plating wearing off, I bought another Seiko diver – the legendary and iconic SKX007 – and I still have that one. Come to think of it I still have the Feiko as well. The SKX007 is as legit a tool watch as you could want, and it's a classic for a reason – I wore mine, along with a Seiko 5, right through grad school and it was all the watch I needed or wanted for many years. I saw Apocalypse Now once or twice through those years (it holds up beautifully, although after the scene at the bridge at Do Lung, I feel it starts to get a little turgid – an old friend of mine liked to joke that Apocalypse Now was half of her favorite movie ever). I noticed Captain Willard's watch at each viewing and always wondered vaguely if I oughtn't to try and find one, but in the course of time the original 6105 had become a vintage watch instead of one just recently out of production, and there were newer things to gawk over. Still, I've never stopped thinking that the 6105 was a weirdly handsome watch, with its flared case and crown guard – a watch clearly made with functionality in mind first and foremost, and like the later SKX007, and many other classic Seiko diver's watches, a paean to no-frills utility. It was both fun and fascinating, therefore, to encounter the SLA033 at Baselworld. As we mentioned in our Introducing post for this watch, it is not a reissue of the Willard 6105 (which, by the way, is also sometimes referred to as the "Uemura Diver," after the Japanese polar explorer Naomi Uemura, who also wore one on his solo expedition to the North Pole) although it's enough like the original that if you saw it on someone's wrist on a dark night, or in the gloom of the jungle primeval, you could easily mistake the new for the old. Where the new model differs from the original, aside from being new, is in size, fit, finish, and in the use of better components and materials, especially the movement. he new guy uses Seiko's caliber 8L35, with a 50 hour power reserve; it's a 26 jewel, 28,800 vph motor and should give significantly better performance and longevity than the original's caliber 6105A, which has 17 jewels and runs at 21,600 vph. SLA033 is also a bit larger than the original, at 45mm in diameter, but it feels like an appropriate size for the design; the 6105 after all, in the version being reproduced by SLA033, was a 44mm watch. It felt very much like seeing a brand-new 6105 Back In The Day might have felt, except for the fact that SLA033 overall feels a lot tighter in fit and finish than any of the entry-level Seiko dive watches. This isn't a knock against those watches, but SLA033 gives an immediate impression of precision in construction that an entry level Seiko diver doesn't. The bezel rotates very smoothly and accurately, with no perceptible play and everything, from the case (which has a "super-hard" coating per Seiko) to the hands, to the Zaratsu-polished bezel, combine to make this feel like a premium take on what was originally a proletarian product. It's a blast from the past, but it's more than that. The entry-level Seiko diver's watches – the 6105 and its kin – are no-frills watches meant to take a beating, if necessary, and keep functioning under the most grueling conditions. Anything extraneous to that purpose is discarded (including, in many cases, the ability to hand-wind the watch). The reissues – this one, as well as the SLA017, and SLA025 – are certainly capable of tolerating an equal degree of abuse, and in fact are functionally superior to the originals – the movements are better, and in the last thirty or forty years everything from gaskets to lubricants to luminous material for dials and hands has improved as well. But the reissues are something more, as well. They're a conscious act of nostalgia on Seiko's part – a way of calling out both the company's past history of making some of the most iconic professional tool watches of the 20th century, and its evolution into a company that's capable of making high grade modern luxury instrument watches, at the same time. For all its greater refinement, this is still a watch, once you get it on, that calls for some time in the field and I hope at least some of these get out there and get wet and dirty; they're built for it, after all. As wonderful as SLA033 is as an exercise in nostalgia, and while it's impossible to see it and not think of its (comparatively) cheap and cheerful predecessor, it also stands on its own as an extremely well-made modern sports watch.
  18. TIME IN A RED COAT The collaboration between the Swiss watchmakers and the French artist, launched two years ago, has now given rise to a chronograph designed in a hypnotically bright colour! Even if you are not an art-lover, and unless you are a Martian, you must have come across the name of Richard Orlinski and, most of all, his easily identifiable works. The Parisian, born in 1966, has been the world’s best-selling contemporary artist for the past few years. His concept series, Born Wild, brings together a sculpted, angular, facetted and highly colourful menagerie, a means of expression transforming negative emotions into positive waves. The collaboration between Richard Orlinski and Hublot was launched in 2017, and has notably produced a limited edition of 200 Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski Red Magic watches. The Red Magic concept make use of the bright-red colour featured in the famous Crocodile Born Wild, the French artist’s first sculpture, dating from 2004. This dynamic colour is used on the ceramic case of the new watch, a real technical achievement by Hublot, given the challenge of colouring ceramic materials. The watch case is 45mm wide and 13.45mm thick, and decorated with the famous folds that are one of Orlinski’s artistic trademarks. The absence of a “full” dial unveils the calibre HUB1155, a self-winding mechanical movement running at the standard frequency of 4hz and providing a power reserve of 42 hours. The hours and minutes are shown with central, dauphine-style hands and facetted, triangular indices, while the second hand has the Hublot logo as a counterweight. Two counters at 3 and 9 o’clock give split-times, while the date is shown at 6. All the display elements are lacquered in red to echo the explosive colour of the case. The Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski Red Magic is worn with a red (of course!) rubber strap with a steel folding clasp, coloured black. Price: 22,900 CHF
  19. RESURFACING Summing up the history of a brand in a single watch – this is the challenge taken up by Tudor with a model combining a timeless look and a modern, efficient mechanism. Tudor is again inviting us to take a journey into the brand’s past. Yet, the story is not well known. The Black Bay P01 is not a reissue of a famous watch, but concludes a project that remained on the drawing board for 50 years. From the mid-1950s, the brand had been supplying the US Navy with diving watches. The authorities commissioned a new watch, and a prototype was developed in line with their specifications. But finally Navy chiefs opted for the standard model from the Swiss brand’s catalogue. Yet, the prototype had plenty of assets. And they have been incorporated in a new way on the P01. The angular “snowflake“ hands and lume-coated indices stand out clearly against the black dial. This contrasting composition is encircled by a wide, bidirectional revolving bezel. To prevent it from being moved by mistake, the bezel comes with an original stop system. The system is housed at 12 o’clock. You raise a “hood” to move the bezel, then lower it back into place to block the bezel. The calibre MT5612, on other hand, is highly contemporary. The automatic movement comes with a silicon spiral, so that the watch is unaffected by magnetic fields. The modern structure includes a bi-directional rotor, providing 70 hours of power reserve. An off-centred crown together with a stop-second feature are used to set the precise time. The P01 is certified as a chronometer by the COSC. It is protected by a 42mm-wide steel case and is water-resistant down to 200m. The leather and rubber strap makes for a comfortable wearing experience. Price: 3,750 CHF
  20. THE FLAGSHIP A watch inviting you to weigh anchor and set sail for a new timekeeping world, where imagination combines with a surprising mechanism. All aboard! When you are travelling, on sea or land, it’s not so much the destination that counts, as the route you take to get there. So it’s always a good idea to choose the right company! The Marine Mega Yacht by Ulysse Nardin has all the assets you could ever need. On the dial is a beautiful 3D grey-gold reproduction of a ship’s bow, sailing across the deep-blue sea of “Grand Feu” enamel. In this still setting, a range of elements come to life, including the hour and minute hands. At 6 o’clock, a flying tourbillon turns around on itself inside a cage containing blades resembling the powerful propellers on a cutting-edge yacht. The cruising speed? One revolution a minute. At 9 o’clock, you can admire the moon with a surface that is the exact copy of the original and produced by laser engraving. The moon has two hemispheres, one coated in blue PVD and the other rhodium-plated. It displays moon phases in real time. Below is an indicator of tidal coefficients and volumes, a feature that sailors will find comes in handy. The watch settings are adjusted using the crown. You select the function you want to change in an opening on the side of the case. You can choose between the S (Set) position, TM (Tide and Moon) and W (Winding). Down in the machine room, the calibre UN-631, the result of a collaboration with Christophe Claret, powers the 30 pieces in this limited edition for up to 80 hours. The power-reserve indicator is shown at 3 o’clock and is shaped like an anchor and winch, while a real miniature windlass is at work at 12 o’clock. The sapphire crystal back of the 44m-wide platinum case reveals the workings of this fascinating hand-wound mechanism. Price: 310,000 EUR
  21. THE CALL OF THE SEA Change in continuity. This is the Rolex watchword with the new models introduced at Baselworld 2019. The Yacht-Master, a professional sailing watch, takes us full steam ahead. The Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master was first launched by Rolex in 1992 with a new model released in 2015. This year, the brand has produced a version with a large case (42mm wide), watertight down to 100m and made from a solid block of grey gold. The new watch, reference number 226659, arrives in a collection that has hitherto featured models between 37 and 40mm wide. There is nothing revolutionary here from an aesthetic point of view. The watch has all the hallmarks of the brand with the iconic crown logo, with a guarantee of optimal readability. The instantly recognisable hands point towards round indices. All the elements on the elegant black lacquered dial are coated with Chromalight, a lume with a long-lasting blue glow. The dial is encircled by a revolving two-directional fluted bezel, which is topped by a disc made of Cerachrom ceramic. The date display is magnified by the trusty Cyclops lens. The watch is still powered by the calibre 3235, which has been part of the collection since 2016. The self-winding movement comes with a high-efficiency Chronergy escapement, providing a generous power reserve of 70 hours. The Yacht-Master 42 comes with an Oysterflex strap. Its distinguishing feature? It combines the toughness of steel with the suppleness of elastomer for total comfort. The strap also has a Glidelock clasp, so you can extend it for up to 15mm without using a tool. Like all Rolex watches, it is officially certified as a Superlative Chronometer. Price: 25,500 EUR
  22. A TOUCH OF ELEGANCE With this new chronograph, one of the stars of the recent SIHH, the brand has brought extra soul to a great watchmaking classic. We take a closer look. Making a fresh start. This is the aim of the Cartier Santos Chronograph. Although the watch has the same basic DNA as the original model, it still stands apart from the previous versions through technical innovations that influence the final design. So out go the two monopushers to be seen, for example, on the Santos 100. And in comes a simpler outline with the presence of a column wheel chronograph mechanism to measure split times, with a pusher at 9 o’clock that is perfectly incorporated into the watch case. A light press on the button launches the central second hand. Another press stops the clock. To reset to zero, you just need to press the crown at 3 o’clock. On the dial, the time information is displayed in the traditional way. The sword-shaped hands move around a minute track featuring Roman numerals, including a VII with the brand’s secret signature. A small second hand at 9 o’clock is used to check the calibre is working correctly. The two counters at 3 and 6 o’clock tot up the minutes and hours, respectively. Lastly, the date is shown in a counter at 6 o’clock. In a rounded case (43.3 x 51.3mm), available in rose gold, a combination of steel and yellow gold or a blend of steel and ADLC, an automatic movement, the calibre 1904-CH MC, drives the watch features and provides 48 hours of power reserve once fully wound. The Santos Chronograph comes with a new system of interchangeable straps known as QuickSwitch. Whether you prefer steel, alligator leather or rubber, you can dress your wrist quickly and easily and match the strap to your style. Price from €7,200 (steel)
  23. Last year, Citizen showed, with surprisingly little fanfare, a fanfare-worthy achievement. This was the Caliber 0100, which was presented in a pocket watch case, as a non-production prototype. Though it was clear at first glance that the movement could easily be used in a production wristwatch, at the time there was no specific commitment from Citizen that this would happen. However, this year at Baselworld, Citizen debuted the Caliber 0100 wristwatch, in white gold and titanium cases, making a new record-holder for world's most accurate wristwatch a reality. The new watch is housed in a 37.5mm x 9.1mm case and is being released as a limited edition – there will be 100 in white gold and a total of 700 in Super Titanium with Duratect. Of the 700 in titanium, 200 will have a mother of pearl dial. The accuracy of the watch derives from its very high frequency quartz oscillator, which runs at 8.4 MHz (8,388,608 Hz) as opposed to the 32,768 Hz frequency of a standard quartz watch. The cut of the quartz crystal is also different – the caliber 0100 uses what's called an AT-cut quartz crystal, which has a lozenge shape, rather than the tuning fork shape of a conventional quartz crystal. In addition, the oscillator is temperature-controlled, variations in temperature being the single most significant source of rate variation in quartz oscillators. According to Citizen, LIGA fabrication is used for elements of the gear train that drive the hands, in order to eliminate backlash, or play between gear teeth. Some degree of play between gear teeth, however minute, is necessary for a gear train to run but it can result in some imprecision in, for example the placement of a seconds hand with respect to dial markers. This approach to ensuring extreme precision in gear engagement is typically a feature of higher end mechanical watches (Patek Philippe uses a LIGA-fabricated wheel in the indirect center seconds train of the new 5212A Calatrava, and Rolex uses one in the Daytona, as Ben Clymer reported from his Rolex factory visit article in 2015). The specific approach to the problem of backlash in the Caliber 0100 is the use of a LIGA-fabricated anti-backlash spiral spring. Unlike everyday quartz movements, Caliber 0100 is also extensively jeweled, with a total count of 17. The single biggest problem with high-accuracy, high frequency quartz watches historically has been battery life; higher frequency quartz oscillators use a lot of power and when Citizen came out with its 4.1 MHz Crystron Megaquartz in 1975, expected battery life was only about six months (according to Citizen). That watch was rated to a still-amazing ±3 seconds per year, but the short battery life was a commercial liability. It was however, an incredible feat for its time, and like the Caliber 0100, it used an AT-cut quartz crystal. Forty-four years later, the energy problem's been solved thanks to the Caliber 0100's use of solar-power, Eco-Drive technology, which gives the watch a six month power reserve (eight months in power-save mode) and it's worth noting that this is despite the fact that Caliber 0100 runs at about double the frequency of the Crystron. (The watch will run indefinitely if exposed to light on a regular basis; the six month power reserve is the running time if the watch is kept in total darkness). Hands and applied indexes are faceted brass (an unusual choice for hands in a watch for which minimizing power consumption is an issue as they're on the heavy side) and the watches are hand-assembled in Japan. The relatively high level of hand-work, as well as the use of premium materials and very advanced mechanical and electronic timekeeping technology, are obvious signs that these are not going to be five hundred dollar watches but the price still came, to me, as an initial shock. Hold onto your knickers, Gertrude – the titanium models are $7,400, and the white gold model is $16,800. Initial Thoughts This is one of two record breaking watches released this year (the other being the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, which is the world's thinnest selfwinding chronograph) and as with all new records, it raises the question of when and if it's going to be broken. That Citizen now has bragging rights for indisputably the most accurate wristwatch ever made, doesn't necessarily mean no one else will attack that record. The Citizen Chronomaster High precision timekeeping is a major priority at Citizen; for more, check out our hands-on with the Citizen Chronomaster. AT cut quartz crystals were invented in 1938, and while Citizen's Eco-Drive tech is class-leading, other large watchmaking companies with semiconductor capacities also have the ability to deploy similar technology. But it's a major assertion of thought leadership on the part of Citizen to have produced this watch, and to have guaranteed the level of performance it provides, and though there are other firms that hypothetically could have done it, the fact remains that Citizen is the company that put in the work, and did the R&D, necessary to make this a reality. High frequency quartz watches are a fascinating sub-speciality of watch collecting – companies as varied as Omega, Bulova, Seiko, and Citizen itself have all produced such watches, both in the present and the past; as far as I can recall the record holder for quartz accuracy until today was actually the aforementioned Citizen Crystron. This is with the caveat that you can get better performance from wristwatches that calibrate themselves using radio frequency signals, either from terrestrial transmitters or from the GPS network, but these are not completely autonomous timekeepers, like the Caliber 0100. Now, depending on things like temperature, variation in quartz crystal performance, and other imponderables, you may very well get one second a year performance out of a watch not rated to that accuracy. I have a Citizen Eco-Drive Skyhawk that's probably nine or ten years old and when I first got it I measured its accuracy over the course of a year and it was slow by three seconds over 365 days. But there is a big difference between getting lucky in terms of performance, and being able to guarantee performance over that long a period. The industry standard practice for AT quartz crystals specifies the angle of deviation of the cut from the Z axis of the crystal (for instance) to within 0.0042 of a degree and the angle of the cut can be varied slightly in order to alter the rate stability of the crystal in a given temperature range to the desired spec. (Tighter tolerances will produce more consistent performance, but as is usually the case, it's more expensive.) This combined with some of the other technical features of the Caliber 0100 make it, at least for now, technically unique. From a practical perspective this is all a bit moot, of course – most wristwatch owners won't especially notice the difference between ±10 seconds a year, and ±1 second a year, but this watch is not for most wristwatch owners (both in terms of performance and price). Its appeal will be strongest to those who are emotionally moved by achievements in high precision timekeeping. A client for the very expensive gold model, for instance, might also have a 2.4 MHz Omega Marine Chronometer or two in their collection, but they also might have high precision pendulum clocks (including a master-slave setup or two) and mechanical observatory chronometer wrist and pocket watches (and yes, I'm describing what my own collection would look like in a post-Powerball win universe). As with much high end watchmaking, whether mechanical or high precision quartz, a lot of the pleasure of ownership has to do with the pride one takes in having something superlative on your wrist. Excellence can be expressed in design, fit and finish, handwork, or in precision performance, and if you're fascinated by the latter to any degree, the Caliber 0100 is a watch worth watching. The Basics Brand: Citizen Model: Caliber 0100 Reference Number: AQ6010-06A (gold), AQ6021-51E (titanium), AQ6020-53X (titanium with MOP dial) Diameter: 37.5mm Thickness: 9.1mm Case Material: White gold or Super Titanium with Duratect; display back on the white gold model only Dial Color: Cream (white gold model), metallic black or MOP (titanium models) Indexes: Applied, faceted Water Resistance: 50 meters Strap/Bracelet: Crocodile leather strap with white gold pin buckle (gold model); Super Titanium bracelet with Duratect (titanium models) The Movement Caliber: 0100, Eco-Drive Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds Power Reserve: 6 months; 8 months in standby mode Frequency: 8,388,608 Hz via an AT-cut quartz crystal which is thermocompensated Jewels: 17 Chronometer Certified: Caliber 0100 laughs at your feeble chronometer certification Additional Details: LIGA anti-backlash teeth in driving train for the hands; ruthenium coated with striped finish Pricing & Availability Price: $7,400 (titanium), $16,800 (white gold) Availability: TBD Limited Edition: 100 pieces in white gold, 200 pieces in titanium with MOP dial, and 500 pieces in titanium with black dial
  24. Bronze watches are big right now. Two-tone gold and steel watches are totally in right now, too. But can you have both? Oris thinks so, and the Divers Sixty-Five is the platform on which they’re testing out that theory. They call it the "Bico," a crafty contraction of “bi-color.” You still get the the 40mm case, the domed sapphire, and the vintage looks, but it comes in the novel combination of bronze and stainless steel. Last Baselworld, Oris introduced the Divers Sixty-Five Bronze Bezel, which mixed steel and bronze in a way that resulted in about a four out of 10 on the in-your-face bronze scale. The bezel was made from bronze, but the typical insert was still present, creating a subtle ring of color. Rose gold accents also jazzed up the dial a bit to match the bezel. But otherwise it was pretty understated. This year, they've turned it up to an eight or so. Instead of just a bronze bezel with a standard insert, they flipped the design and gave us a bronze insert positioned in a steel bezel. The center links of the bracelet are also done in bronze, and the same rose gold accents are present on the dial. Initial Thoughts To me, the two-tone motif is a symbol of luxury and the eighties. It’s very Wolf of Wall Street in my mind. The classic combination of metals already has an identity that’s been solidified over decades. That’s why I’m having such a hard time understanding this watch. It’s also why I think it’s so fascinating. The Divers Sixty-Five "Bico" twists the two-tone identity into something that I think people who have never been into two-tone before can appreciate. Look at this watch. It’s pretty wild, right? The reddish hues of the bronze throw off preconceived notions of what two-tone is all about. Now imagine in a few years when the bronze gets that nice patination and character it’s known for. Bronze develops a dark coating that hides the luster of the metal, and sometimes you get patches of green maritime-looking funk. This is a watch that has a strong case of multiple personality disorder in such a cool way. The look of steel will stay constant aside from picking up a few marks, since it tends to keep its sharpness and luster. But that isn’t the case with bronze. It gets a little messy. As time goes on the personality of these two metals will move further and further apart and you’ll end up with a look that’s both sharp and well-worn in the same watch. You can always inhibit the patination process, of course, but I think that’s the most interesting aspect of this watch. It’s neat now, but it will be even more interesting years down the road. The Basics Brand: Oris Model: Divers Sixty-Five "Bico" Reference Number: 01 733 7707 4355 Diameter: 40mm Case Material: Steel and bronze Dial Color: Blue Indexes: Rose gold PVD Lume: Super-LumiNova Water Resistance: 100 meters Strap/Bracelet: Steel and bronze bracelet or brown leather strap The Movement Caliber: Oris 733 (based on Sellita SW200-1) Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date Diameter: 25.6mm Power Reserve: 38 hours Winding: Automatic winding Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph) Jewels: 26 ` Pricing & Availability Price: CHF 2,200 on the two-tone bracelet Availability: April 2019
  25. This year is the 20th anniversary of Grand Seiko's unique Spring Drive technology (which you can learn all about right here, if you're not already familiar). As you'd expect, a celebration is in order and the Japanese watchmaker is doing so in a number of important ways. We already showed you the limited edition hand-wound anniversary dress watches and the new hand-wound Elegance collection, but now we've got something else entirely for you to enjoy: Meet the SBGA403, a new sports watch that brings together an automatic Spring Drive movement with a new style of case and an absolutely stunning dial. The entire package is inspired by the lion, a longtime symbol of Grand Seiko. Let's start with the new case. Made from high-intensity titanium and measuring in at 44.5mm across, it has a distinct shape with faceted lugs and dramatically curved sides that give it a ton of dynamism. The underside of the case angles inward, making it wear lower to the wrist and ensuring that the faceting doesn't make the watch uncomfortable (you don't want "sharp lugs" to go from being a compliment to being a warning, after all). The shape of the lugs is inspired by the claws of a lion. There is a black ceramic 60-minute bezel too, which frames the dial nicely and emphasizes the sportiness of the new case. There are two anniversary Spring Drive chronographs built on the same case architecture, but that's a story for another time. And then there's the dial. I mean...wow. The olive green color can read as slightly grey or slightly brown, depending on the light, and the pattern is the result of a hand-carved stamp that is inspired by a lion's mane. As you move the watch, the texture seems to jump right out at you. The applied markers and diamond-cut hands with luminous centers keep things super legible though, despite the intensity of the overall pattern. But don't forget, this watch is all about celebrating Spring Drive and the caliber 9R15 inside is an automatic movement that's been specially regulated to +/- 10 seconds per month (GS also quotes a crazy +/- 0.5 seconds per day). The rotor has a gold lion on it in a final nod to the watch's inspiration. The SBGA403 is limited to 500 pieces and will be available from May. It is priced at $10,600. Initial Thoughts When I first saw photos of this watch I was blown away. But when I saw that it measured 44.5mm across, I was a bit crestfallen. How the heck was I going to wear a watch that large? Luckily, after seeing it in the metal I can report that never in a million years would I have guessed the dimensions from wearing it on the wrist. The new case design, beyond being beautiful and showing off what Grand Seiko can do with Zaratsu polishing, is extremely comfortable and the way the short lugs integrate with the bracelet and the way the case sides taper make it wear much more like a 42mm watch than I'd expected. Lucky me. Though the case is obviously big news, I think the dial is the stand-out element here for me. Grand Seiko does great dials, we all know this. From the Snowflake to the Eichi II, they make some of the most incredible dials on planet Earth. I would put this dial in the same class as those without a moment's hesitation. The pattern has a ton of three-dimensionality to it, and it has an almost holographic effect as you roll your wrist back and forth. The olive color is extremely subtle, taking on different hues in different light, and I could see it being very easy to work into your wardrobe, no matter your style. It would be silly of me not to at least address the movement inside, which really shows off what Spring Drive can be. It's extremely precise and practical, while offering something that you just can't get anywhere else. Two decades in, it's clear that Spring Drive is something here to stay. While there are plenty of people who balk at the fact that it's not a traditional mechanical movement, those who truly understand what Spring Drive is know that it's a special part of 21st-century watchmaking and something worth paying close attention to – especially when it's used for a watch this awesome. The Basics Brand: Grand Seiko Model: SBGA403 Diameter: 44.5mm Thickness: 14.3mm Case Material: High-intensity titanium Dial Color: Olive Indexes: Applied Lume: Yes, on hands and hour markers Water Resistance: 200 meters Strap/Bracelet: High-intensity titanium bracelet with three-fold clasp, push button release, secure lock, and slide adjuster The Movement Caliber: Spring Drive 9R15 Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve indicator Power Reserve: 72 hours Winding: Automatic (with manual winding) Jewels: 30 Additional Details: Regulated to +/- 10 seconds per month (approximately =/- 0.5 seconds per day) Pricing & Availability Price: $10,600 Availability: From May 2019 Limited Edition: 500 pieces
  26. A DOCTOR’S WATCH FOR 2019 During the SIHH, the Hamburg brand introduced several new watches, including one inspired by 1950s styles with a salmon-pink dial encircled by a pulsograph scale. First developed in 1854, the sphygmograph was a mechanical instrument used to measure the heartbeat. It was bulky and somewhat impractical, and gradually lost ground to wrist watches including a pulsometer. These watches found favour with the medical profession in the mid-20th century. Known as “doctors’ watches”, they showed the pulse rate directly on the dial with no mental calculation required. Today, this type of timepiece is much in demand, most of all for its design. Making use of the experience provided by Minerva, Montblanc was inspired by these famous watches to create the Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100, a monopusher chronograph featuring a pulsation bezel to count 30 heart beats. One hundred pieces are available, as its name suggests. What immediately attracts the eye is the colour on the curved dial, a fine, bright salmon pink. In the centre, the grained central ring houses an hour rim made up of Arabic numerals and silver dots. The hours and minutes are shown with two dauphine-style hands, while the seconds tick away in a blue sub-dial at 9 o’clock. This timekeeping landscape is encircled by a black second scale, around which the blue second hand of the chronograph makes its way, while with the blue pulsograph is near the chapter ring. A totaliser at 3 o’clock counts up the chronograph minutes. This new watch by Montblanc is powered by the MB M13.21 calibre, a hand-wound movement providing 55 hours of power reserve and housed in a 40mm-wide steel case.
  27. LIFE IS SWEET The French brand caused a sensation at the SIHH in January by launching a collection of “watch sweets” in 10 limited-edition models. Delicious! For its latest participation at the SIHH, Richard Mille was the centre of attention with a series of watches that would be at home in a sweet box, but of a special kind, since the candy inside is not to eat but… to wear on the wrist! The Bonbon Collection is certainly a feast for the eyes, but above all an impressive recipe combining prestigious ingredients, luxury watchmaking and craftsmanship. The result is like a sweet shop counter, with 10 spectacular self-winding models in a limited edition of 30 pieces each. The Bonbon Collection consists of three watches in classic Richard Mille shapes: the RM 07-03 (curved barrel shaped), the RM 37-01 (round barrel shaped) and the RM 16-01 (square). The models are divided into two tasty ranges, Sweets and Fruits. The first borrows from the world of sugary treats, and includes twisted marshmallow shapes (RM 07-03 Marshmallow), America’s favourite cupcakes (RM 07-03 Cupcake), coiled liquorice (RM 16-01 Réglisse) and a lollipop made from brightly coloured spirals (RM 37-01 Sucette). The Sweets watch cases are made of lavender, white, light or dark blue, pink, yellow, green or grey ceramics, and each dial is decorated with sweets made of “Grand Feu” enamel or titanium coated with black chrome. The second range, Fruits, is a real fruit salad with all the most popular fruits (RM 07-03 Myrtille/Blueberry, RM 16-01 Citron/Lemon, RM 16-01 Fraise/Strawberry, RM 37-01 Cerise/Cherry) and exotic fruits (RM 07-03 Litchi/Lychee, RM 37-01 Kiwi), among other flavours. Each figurine on the dial is painted in acrylic, then lacquered and coated with ground enamel and very fine sand to produce a crunchy sugar effect. The cases of the six flavours combine coloured Quartz TPT® with Carbon TPT®.
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