Author

Gary Girdvainis

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iW recently spoke with Ferruccio Lamborghini, the son of Tonino Lamborghini, who founded  Lamborghini’s industrial design company in 1981. As the third generation leading a Lamborghini business, Ferruccio not only inherited his famous name from his father and grandfather, he also enjoys his family’s passion for motorcycles and high speed. His years of racing led to several championship titles in Italian motorcycle racing.

Tonino Lamborghini, president of his eponymous company, with his son Ferruccio Lamborghini, CEO and VP.

In our wide-ranging discussion, we learned more about brand’s latest lineup of Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches, especially the Spyder, Spyderleggero Chrono and Cuscinetto (Italian for ball bearing) collections. These collections are at the core of the brand’s timepiece offerings, and Ferruccio has redesigned them for 2021. The shield of the brand’s logo with its Miura raging bull, inspired the Spyder, which debuted in 2007. Lamborghini debuted its first Cuscinetto collections in 1983.

In our interview with Ferruccio Lamborghini, since 2018 the CEO of the Tonino Lamborghini luxury lifestyle and design powerhouse, he tells us more about how he views the company’s generational change, and details the importance of the watches within the future of the Lamborghini enterprise.

The Tonini Lamborghini Cuscinetto R automatic watch with orange accents.

iW: Can you describe what it is like to take over the family brand at such a young age? The challenges, the experience, and any surprises that you discovered along the way?

Ferruccio Lamborghini: I am proud of it and of the generational change process my father and I experience together every day. The challenges have been changing through the years and they are mostly linked to the different dynamics related to our wide products portfolio: each product and sector deserve a special attention and a dedicated strategy.

In the last five years I have worked hard to understand all the company’s processes to set the actual vision and define a strong re-organization of the business strategies.

As a lifestyle brand, Tonino Lamborghini offers a variety of products. How do you determine when it makes sense to apply the TL ethos and bring a new product on-board?

Our family’s DNA is characterized by great curiosity and resourcefulness, which has always stimulated our creativity and made Tonino Lamborghini a consistent lifestyle brand. Through the decades the company and customers’ needs have changed, therefore in the nowadays scenario we have a new approach towards the developments of new products: they have to perfectly fit in a coherent and consistent Tonino Lamborghini ecosystem.

We have branded accessories, furnishing and interior products, real estate and hospitality projects, food and beverages. It is a comprehensive Tonino Lamborghini lifestyle that you can wear, live, experience and drink.

The Tonino Lamborghini Spyderleggero Chrono Automatic.

How important are the wristwatches among the stable of Tonino Lamborghini products?

Watches are our core product. They represent the best combination of our family mechanical heritage with the lifestyle approach my father had since the foundation of his company. Today it is the same, considering that the recent strategy related to our new line of Swiss watches is the one for which I have recently invested most of my energy.

Ferruccio has redesigned the Cuscinetto case in titanium with Torx screws and four different color variations, mounted a new movement, and inserted a branded deployant buckle.

Do you intend to expand the watch lines in the near future?

Yes, of course I do. Next autumn I will announce new models, which will increase the Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches collection selection for both quartz and automatic movements. I also would like to highlight that, among the new models, a lady’s watch is coming.

 

What are the key elements and/or identifiers customers can expect in a Tonino Lamborghini timepiece?

Our customers choose our accessories to be out of the ordinary because they look for something new to experience and love and to feel part of the Tonino Lamborghini lifestyle, an approach that we always follow when we develop our ideas and new products.

The Spyderleggero Skeleton automatic watch with red accents.

 

When breaking into new markets around the world, what strategies do you employ to promote your brand to the industrial members as well as the end consumers aware of your watches?

In such a competitive business field where the major brands have a years-long established presence, the key is to share a clear vision and the core values of the brand/products.

From an industry point of view, we still believe in the importance of the exhibitions, physical or digital, and I personally love to meet the press and explain my watches or strategies. Besides, regarding the distributors, we directly support our partners, and we always are open to define jointly the strategy in accordance with each market demand/request and its related customers behaviors.

From a consumers’ point of view, we are still investing in the press both nationally and internationally, but we are every year more digitally oriented. In the digital world it is easier to target a specific prospect and make him feel part of an exclusive club of people that share the same attitude and lifestyle.

Do you co-brand with any other companies? 

It happened in the past and it is still happening nowadays for some niche accessories, like a co-branded line of massagers in collaboration with the Chinese company Breo Technology or the recent capsule with the Italian Venini for high-end art glasses and chandeliers. Soon something new will be announced.

 

What is your own opinion on the dynamic between traditional third-party retailers (brick and mortar and e shops) versus the direct-to-consumer sales from your own site or those of your distributors? Do you have any type of hybrid strategy to maximize the potential for both platforms?

It is common sense now to affirm that the post pandemic outcome in sales will force every brand to reinforce their direct-to-consumer strategies and presence.

Nevertheless, consumer habits are very different globally and brick and mortar business will probably maintain a central role in showcasing the products especially for those active in the luxury field where purchase is driven not only by clicks and discounts, but mainly by one-to-one sales pitch and consistent evaluation from the consumer.

The Spyderleggero Chrono is an automatic watch with day and date complications. It is the top model of the Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches collection.

Our strategy includes both aspects. While we are building up a direct-to-consumer presence with the direct activation of flagship stores in the major marketplaces, we are now also finalizing the opening of mono-brand and corner stores thanks to local distributors and retailers.

By maintaining a direct control over D2C we also avoid prices conflicts locally with such third parties like retailers and we can moreover control the brand marketing investments strategies. This way we maximize both channels and we directly and carefully develop the brand identity.

 

By Gary Girdvainis

Early diving watches were purpose-built instruments designed to tackle the rigors of our underwater environments. In the earliest examples the focus really was on function. The ability to withstand the static and dynamic pressures of submersion was joined by the need to register time under water at a glance as well as being able to tell that the watch was in-fact running.

These basic needs drove the form-follows-function groundwork for all diver types now homologated under the ISO 6425 standard.

During the early days of hard hat and SCUBA diving, these designs first came to life as underwater tools that have now (d)evolved to become themselves an iconic look that both SCUBA and desk divers alike have come to appreciate.

The new Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver.

In the case of the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver series you can be assured that the sensual interaction with the watch confirms it is in-fact a well-built timepiece comfortable in or out of the water. And while some brands take the basic type into stranger waters with extraneous bells, whistles, and shocking palettes of color, the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark watch is, like the Lemon Shark itself, a subtler example of evolution.

The Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark won’t jump off your wrist and demand to be seen like the “porthole” watches from the early days of our universe any more than a Lemon Shark will jump fifteen feet out of the water to grab a seal like its bigger cousin, the Great White.  

The details

Playing with a luxury watch like the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark is always a multi-faceted experience. The click of a unidirectional rotating bezel excites both aural and physical feedback and can quickly indicate the nature of the watch under it. Connoisseurs look for a smooth action paired with a subtle “snicking” of 120 (or 60) clicks with little to no backlash – as opposed to the sandy crunch of lesser watches that have rotating bezels that sound and feel like you’re working a peppermill over your Caesar salad.

Details like the easy-grip concave bezel (protecting the crystal), machined crown (easy to manipulate), and recycled netting strap (clean conscience) don’t necessarily leap out at you by themselves, but they combine to form a complete wristwatch that is well built, tough as nails, and easy on the eyes.

Even the touches of yellow are not overdone. Ulysse Nardin could have easily decided to place an all-yellow dial with black accents on the Lemon Shark – and few would argue that is not a great look, but that bold look has been done time and again. Credit to the brand for taking a more sober and refined approach to this 42mm black DLC beauty.

Under the recessed and slightly domed sapphire crystal is a matte-finish dial, wide stick-type hands, and applied markers with touches of “lemon” yellow and superior lume on the hands and markers.

Rated to 300 meters without using the superfluous helium release valve, the Lemon Shark is powered by the automatic winding mechanical caliber UN 816. The 816 will hum away at 28,800 bph for 42 hours when fully wound and benefits from Ulysse Nardin’s long history using silicium components in the escapement for both accuracy and longevity. Limited to 300 pieces, each Lemon Shark Diver features three sharks on the oil-pressed case back and retails for $7,300.

The back of the watch offers a Lemon Shark engraving.

Beyond the watches, Ulysse Nardin has partnered with Chris Fischer and the Ocearch research team as well as the Florida International University to sponsor research and conservation of lemon sharks as well as other marine species and also supports the Aquarius underwater research habitat for humans located 63 feet under water off of Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

Champion freediver and photographer Fred Buyle, with his Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver.

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver

(Reference: 8163-175LE/92-LEMONSHARK, 300-piece limited edition)

Movement: Automatic calibre UN-816, powering hours, minutes, seconds and date. Power reserve of 42 hours. 

Case: 
42mm steel, black DLC, inverted concave unidirectional rotating bezel, back with 
Lemon shark engraving, 300-meters water resistance..

Dial: Sand-blasted black with yellow accents.

Strap: Black R-STRAP, scratch closing, metal component in titanium is 100% recycled from the ocean from fishing nets
, collected in France.

Price: $7,300.

 

In 1944, a Swiss engineer and employee of the Federal Swiss Railways named Hans Hilfiker created a clock that became the Official Swiss Railways Clock.

If you have ever traveled by rail in Switzerland you’ve seen the clocks at every station. Each is exceptionally easy to read with its white-dial, large black hands and markers and red seconds hand. That famous red seconds hand completes a rotation in 58 seconds and then pauses at the 12 o’clock mark for two seconds while the black minute hand jumps forward, starting its next rotation.

In 1986, this clock inspired the Bernheim family, which owns the Mondaine watch company, to turn the design into a watch collection — with official license from the Federal Swiss Railways. In 2013 Mondaine launched its Stop-to-Go watch collection comprised of watches that mimic the two-second-stop clock feature.

In 2017, Mondaine launched Essence, a so-called ‘watch of the future,’ with timepieces made with the latest in watch technology, along with seventy percent of the parts built from reusable materials.

One model from the Mondaine Essence collection.

International Watch recently interviewed Mondaine CEO Andre Bernheim about his company’s far-reaching sustainability programs. He offered updates on this topic with particular attention to Mondaine’s expansion of its Essence collection.

Ronnie Bernheim (left) and Andre Bernheim, co-managers of Mondaine.

Below is our full interview.

 

International Watch: Mondaine is among the few brands with an easily identifiable and iconic design with the Swiss Railway watches. What strategies do you use to maintain and possibly increase the brand awareness and keep momentum in the business?

 

Andre Bernheim:  The Mondaine station clock design is a Swiss icon and has remained unchanged since 1944. It first launched as a wristwatch and wall clock in 1986, and thanks to the minimalistic design is as modern as it was then. Mondaine continues to expand the collection, without jeopardizing its design.

For example, the Backlight technology, offering at-a-glance visibility in any lighting, on our Stop2Go and Giant series, is a simple but very effective and useful patent. SuperLuminova is applied on the back of the hands, so that it does not affect the design but allows the viewer to read the time in darkness, like a ghost light.

The other strong pillar of Mondaine is sustainability. Mondaine has been active in sustainability for almost fifty years. Our Essence collection is made of a castor-compound material (case and strap), alternative straps are made of recycled PET bottles and the gift box is made entirely of rPET bottles and can be used as a handy pouch.

Mondaine uses castor bean oil in Essence cases and in many straps.

All Mondaine watches are being produced in our own Swiss factory, where we generate up to eighty percent of the electricity needed for production with our photovoltaic system on our roof.

Our second family, Mondaine’s Helvetica collection, is another icon with a clean, minimalistic design paying homage to Latin word for Swiss (Helvetica is the Latin word for Swiss – what can be more Swiss than Swiss? Beside that it is the most used font in the world, created in Switzerland, of course).

Since September 2019, Mondaine has utilized its own photovoltaic solar plant on the roof of its Swiss factory.

Another innovation is our pay chip, a contactless chip, which consumers can insert easily into the strap, or a patented loop that allows them to have a hands-free payment device on their wrist.

The technology has been implemented in Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Belgium since 2016, and we hope to introduce pay chip in the United States soon now that more and more consumers use contactless payment terminals in shops and department stores.

 

The new Essence collection integrates up-cycled and/or recycled materials. How and when was the decision made to use a more eco-friendly approach and assign this a unique line within the Railway series?

Mondaine has been focused on sustainability for over fifty years, so the Essence collection was simply an evolution of efforts. We saw the opportunity to expand on our sustainability efforts in 2015. We then produced the line and launched the Essence collection in 2016.

The cases are made of a castor oil compound, which is made up of seventy percent  natural materials. The straps come in different but sustainable materials, such as a castor-compound, recycled PET, cotton. Production of the watches is done using up to eighty percent solar energy. The gift box is made of recycled PET bottles as well and can be used as a mobile phone pouch afterwards.

 

With your new carbon neutral certification as well as the solar array producing eighty percent of Mondaine’s electricity, it’s clear that you’re addressing environmental concerns. With this in-mind, have you considered a rechargeable battery system (induction or port supplied) for your quartz watches to eliminate one-time use batteries?

Yes, indeed! The issue is that there has been no such movement available in Switzerland since  the mid 1990s.  However, back in the 90s we did produce a Mondaine railway design watch with solar cells. But we are working on something better and newer to continue our commitment to sustainability.

 

Are there other sustainability goals that Mondaine is working on?

We will always continue our path of becoming better, step by step. We are constantly reducing our CO2 footprint by improvements in the supply chain, using longer-lasting materials with lower footprint and more natural matter, reducing weight and volume of our gift boxes and using more sustainable packaging.

In 2020, we became entirely CO2 neutral, as one of the first watch companies worldwide, thanks to our reduction efforts and CO2 compensation by reforesting with Fairventures. One of our goals is to phase in the use of a leather alternative for straps, even though we are using leather from the meat production and not from so-called ‘leather cows’ which are bred for its leather only.

We do have many straps made of other materials already, such as rPET, cotton, rPET felt, and are currently testing alternative materials made of natural products which come extremely close to the touch and feel, and quality, of leather.

 

Is it more expensive to use up-cycled or recycled materials to make your cases?

It is, but cost increase is minimal. Our goal is to produce watches that are affordable, like our Essence collection, which is below $200, and prove sustainability doesn’t always need to be more expensive than materials that are not good for our planet.

Besides using better materials, we are also on our path from cradle to cradle – from raw material to the end of product lifecycle. Therefore, we introduced a watch-recycling program, probably again as one of the first watch brands to do so.

Consumers can return their old watches to our factory, and we will dismantle and dispose the components of the watch to recycling plants as good as possible. We not only take our watches back, but also other brands, except their plastic watches. We are planning to expand this service to the United States as well.

Mondaine’s Essence White collection features white cases and straps of three different pastel colors.

 

Other brands have developed straps made from various “trash” plastics using fishing nets or plastic bottles. Do you see this as an option for Mondaine?

We are looking at these developments, too. For the Mondaine brand, we are currently using recycled PET bottles for making nylon straps as well as felt. For Luminox, the other brand I own alongside my brother, we launched a watch last summer with a case and strap made of recycled ocean waste developed by the Swiss company TIDE.

Does Mondaine have any conservation or charitable partners that you’d like to highlight?

As mentioned above, we are supporting reforesting with Fairventures, which is doing really fantastic work, not only by reforesting in a bio-diverse way, but also involving the local people in a very economical way so that they can earn money now and in the future. For more information on who we support, please see our sustainability report.

I would like to add a word about green washing in the watch industry if I may, please. I am the head of sustainability at the Mondaine Group, beside the president of the board. I am deeply passionate and involved in this area. Unfortunately, the watch industry is far behind many others in this area but many realize that there is a need to be part of it.

 

With modern consumerism and pressure to be sustainable, consumers need to be wary of companies green washing. Green washing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound which happens often in our industry, unfortunately.

I am not saying we are the best or even good, but at least we are doing efforts to become better and better, step by step, along the supply chain, within our factory and headquarters for almost fifty years.

For this reason, I do strongly believe that we are one of or the most sustainable watch groups, and since 2020, we are CO2-neutral, again, probably as one of the first ones worldwide.

This is not only in some parts of our business. Our CO2 balance is calculated for all watch parts used, our factory operation, headquarters energy and our business travels.  

We are continuously improving our CO2 emissions, along with the 3 R’s of sustainability, and compensate any CO2 we still create. Our sustainability report explains more about our sustainability path.

 

De Bethune’s new diver, introduced late last year and affectionately called the Yellow Submarine, brings a whole new look to the dive genre. While the DB28GSVY embraces the warmer tones of gold, amber and orange, its case and components are not crafted in gold but are actually made from heat-treated titanium and steel.

Mounted on De Bethune’s articulated case/lug platform, the Yellow Submarine embodies the past and future of watchmaking in a single case. Space-age design and materials are married to traditional watchmaking solutions and then taken to the next level.

The De Bethune DB28 Grand Sport ‘Yellow Submarine.”

Powering the watch is the DeBethune manual-wind caliber DB2080, which is comprised of 400 individual components, including 51 jewels. Power reserve is stretched to five days thanks to a dual-barrel system as well as the fine-tuned escapement, with its titanium balance, white gold inserts and a profile designed to minimize fluid friction. The balance wheel cycles at 28,800 beats per hour.

Releasing power to the unique balance is an escape wheel crafted in silicon. The entire escapement assembly is protected by a triple Pare-Chute system developed in-house by De Bethune. Other unique aspects to this particular timepiece include that it eschews the normal practice of slathering luminous paint everywhere to read the time. Only the hands have slim strips of lume while an amazing electro-mechanical system creates light via a micro-dynamo and LED lighting system activated by the push of the actuator at 6 o’clock.

Push the button and watch the repeater-like regulator spin while four LED sources cast light across the dial. Since this is technically a dive watch it also incorporates a rotating bezel, but in this case the outer coin-edge grip actually rotates an inner rehaute with pierced cutouts showing beautiful blue numerals. The 44mm case mounts the crown at 12 o’clock. Each example of the twenty-five in this very limited edition is priced at $110,000.

Following his apprenticeship with the late George Daniels, Roger Smith has taken up the totem as the British master nonpareil. Devoting such exquisite attention to detail for every component of every watch, Smith’s timepieces are a rarity and among the most sought-after among wealthy collectors.

Roger Smith’s 100th watch is a triple calendar. It’s the first in his Series 4 collection.

His most recent watch, an instantaneous triple calendar, here represents only the one-hundredth individual watch made at his Isle of Man atelier over the course of twenty years. Smith’s watches embrace an ethos of subtle complexity and understated ingenuity and finesse. Supremely elegant and easy to read, Smith’s latest creation houses his own manual-wind movement with the updated monobloc co-axial escape wheel.

The entire movement is finished with exquisite fillagree and frosting in gold with components held securely with screws authentically heat-treated to a variegated blue and purple hue.

Smith’s date display is a bracket that circles the perimeter of the dial and frames the current day of the month.

On the dial-side more sophisticated aficionados will note the elegant solution to the day-of-the-month display. Rather than the typical date pointer with a hand that reaches out from the central post, Smith has deftly incorporated a system that uses a bracket that circles the perimeter of the dial and frames the current day of the month, leaving the view of the other displays uninterrupted by an additional hand emanating from the center.

This absolutely stunning timepiece, the first of Smith’s Series 4 collection, can be customized to some extent and is only available by individual consignment for patient collectors. Although the atelier does not advertise prices, you can figure on a starting point in the neighborhood of $300,000. 

Yvan Arpa may not be a horological household name, but he is one of the true charismatic characters in modern watches. Avant-garde only scratches the surface of his raging design demeanor as he fearlessly walks the watch road less travelled.

Yvan Arpa. His Swiss-based company, ArtyA, offers a wide range of avant-garde watches.

From his Son of a Gun collection that embraces the feel of a firearm, to the eclectic electric lightning-struck bezels, Arpa’s crazy creations seemingly know no limits. From tough to tender, Arpa’s most recent ArtyA release embraces the natural world by incorporating actual butterfly wings into a watch dial like none other.

One recent design features a 38mm 316L stainless steel case struck by lightning, with luminous inlays. The dial is made with real butterfly wings and natural pigments created by Dominique Arpa-Cirpka using techniques never before applied to watchmaking.

Inside is a Swiss quartz movement with a white hand-made crocodile strap. This is truly a unique piece.

The ArtyA Son of Earth Butterfly Parade

The Son of Earth Butterfly Parade will capture the heart of male lepidopterists. It’s cased in 47mm stainless steel (also struck by lightning) that houses a Swiss mechanical movement.

As with the smaller version, the colorful dial hosts real butterfly wings ensconced with natural pigments and gold leaf using the same techniques from Dominique Arpa-Cirpka. Also a piece-unique, the larger, mechanically motivated ArtyA Butterfly also features a high-quality hand-made crocodile strap. Prices start around $6,500.

The ArtyA Precious Butterfly Engraved

You can find more details as well as exploring a host of watches unlike anything you’ve seen before at www.artya.com 

In the U.S., ArtyA is distributed by BeauGeste Luxury brands, which offers a selection of Arpa’s singular designs on its website.  Or contact BeauGeste at 212-847-1371.

Another example from a series of ArtyA Precious Butterfly Engraved watches.

Originally launched as a quartz watch, Maurice Lacroix’s archetypal Aikon series’ latest edition features an option with 
an automatic Swiss movement inside. The Aikon Venturer truly allows its wearer to venture because it is built rock-solid and is anti-magnetic, shock resistant and rated water resistant to an impressive three hundred meters.

The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer

The watch’s sporty look and diver-style overtones instill the robust feeling of a tool watch, but with style enough to wear anytime. At 43mm in diameter, the sapphire-capped stainless-steel case is full-figured but not huge, and actually quite comfortable on the wrist with either the solid-link bracelet or natural rubber strap.

With the brand’s deep technical background as a case maker and private label supplier to other (famous) Swiss brands, you can be sure that the Aikon is built with all the fine details that define a high quality watch.

Close inspection under a loupe reveals the finite perfection of those details that the naked eye appreciates as a whole, but may not individually dissect at a glance. Markers and printing are precise, as is the fit and finish of the bezel, strap, and case back.

Maurice Lacroix smartly adds convenience to the Aikon’s stylish design with a strap fixed to the lugs by means of the brand’s own Easy Change system, which has two bars fitted with protruding prongs. These make it possible to remove the rubber strap in two steps and to replace it with the finely articulated five-link satin-finished steel bracelet we’ve seen in earlier Aikon models.

Priced at $1,890 on the rubber strap and $1,990 on the solid-link stainless steel bracelet, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer is pound for pound (or dollar for dollar) as good or better than certain Greek Alphabet watches costing more than triple the price.

 

If the design of this watch feels somehow familiar, you won’t be surprised to learn that Detroit Watch co-designers Patrick and Amy Ayoub have once again applied their classical blueprint to their American-based brand.

The Pontchartrain Louis XIV model from the Detroit Watch Pontchartrain collection. A version with a moonphase display is also available.

Two variations of the brand’s new stand-alone Pontchartrain collection are housed in an elegantly stepped 42mm stainless steel case. Both feature automatic ETA Swiss-made movements, one with a sub-second and the other with a choice of silver or gold moon-phase complication.

All the qualities you’d expect in a high-quality, high-value watch are here, including sapphire crystal, exhibition back, superior decoration on the Swiss movement and a calfskin strap, which all come together to make a fine watch. Under the loupe the hands are as superb as the dials, and even the crown looks, feels and functions beautifully.

Those outside the Detroit area might ask why “Pontchartrain” for a Detroit-based brand? The Ayoubs chose this name to recall the historic fort that was built in 1701 and actually ended up applying its name to the city. France’s King Louis XIV commissioned Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit as the first permanent French settlement in the area and as a center for the fur trade and French military power in 1701.

Built along the Detroit River in order to protect the French trade from the British, the fort was named in honor of Louis XIV’s minister of marine and colonies, Louis Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain. Le Detroit, French for ‘the strait’ eventually came to identify Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit and the surrounding area and after 1751, was known simply as Fort Detroit.

The Ponchartrain limited edition Louis XlV.

A nice watch – and a history lesson.

Price: $1,295, available at www.detroitwatchco.com.

Two brand-new releases from Seiko Prospex recall historic diver’s models from 1968 while a third new diver’s watch, offered on a silicone strap or a titanium bracelet, features a lighter titanium dial and a bracelet built with references to a Shogun’s helmet and armor.

The Seiko Prospex SPB189 ‘Shogun’ features a titanium bracelet with super-hard coating and tri-fold push button release clasp with secure lock and extender.

The movement

Seiko has updated both models with the solid 6R35 automatic mechanical movement, which is appreciated for both its robust nature as well as its 70-hour power reserve.

Bi-directional winding via the magic finger system adds power to the movement while wearing the watch, but you can also manually wind it as well. Also, for all the watch “hacks” out there fixated on stopping the second hand in order to coordinate their next mission, the 6R35 does in-fact offer this over-appreciated feature.

While critics may search for other depredations in the fact that the frequency of the caliber 6R35 at 21,600 vph is a bit slower than other Japanese options, accuracy is the same or similar to those slightly faster mechanical heartbeats. One wonders if the internet’s instant experts have considered that putting less stress on a system that will inevitably need service and/or repair down the road might actually be a benefit rather than a detriment.

The Seiko Prospex SPB191 ‘Shogun’ ($1,350 on silicone strap).

Shogun debuts

Seiko fits this movement into its Propex “Shogun” series (SPB189 and SPB191) are crafted in a 43.5 mm hardened titanium case rated to 200 meters of water resistance with the crown at the traditional 3 o’clock position. A super-huge date display is made even larger by a magnifying cyclops window, with a uni-directional diver’s bezel atop. The sapphire crystal over the dial will be difficult to mar or scratch unless you shatter it entirely.

Side view of the Seiko Prospex SPB191 ‘Shogun.’

Like its sister dive models, the Seiko Prospex ‘Shogun’ could not be any easier to read; Broad hands coated in a thick layer of LumiBrite glow brightly – just like the hour markers. Time is clearly of the essence with these masterful classics. Offered with a choice of a silicone strap at $1,350, or a titanium bracelet for an extra $200, the Shogun will be a fan favorite for both real and “desk” divers.

Side view of the SPB189 Seiko Prospex ‘Shogun.’

For Japanese warrior fans, Seiko says the triangular notches in the rotating bezel on this model resemble the ornaments of a traditional Shogun helmet. The yabane or “arrow feather” link shape of the bracelet version, according to the brand, calls to mind weapons and armor.

The Seiko Prospex SPB185 is a contemporary interpretation of Seiko’s famous Diver from 1968.

Steel Sixties

Bringing us back to 1968, the Seiko Prospex Diver SPB185 and SPB187 are slightly smaller at 42mm, slightly heavier as they are cast in steel, and slightly less expensive due to the aforementioned reasons.

The new Seiko Prospex SPD187 is a new interpretation of Seiko’s famous Diver from 1968.

Broader shoulders separate the sister-types, as does a crown migrated slightly south to the 4 o’clock position. Other nuances of design define each as the hands, markers, and bezel are endemic to each design. Otherwise these are very similar in the chassis build quality. Available only on a solid link steel bracelet, the 185 and 187 retail for $1,200. 

 

 

 

In the signature style of this U.S.-based aviation-themed brand, the new Torgoen T42 features a straightforward design inspired by the ergonomic layout of instruments in airplane cockpits.

The Torgoen T42

The automatic watch is built with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, genuine Italian leather strap and an ETA 2824 Swiss movement. Purists will appreciate the dial for its ease in reference in both light and dark conditions.

The Swiss-made movement offers the wearer a quick date change and bi-directional self-winding. It is cased inside a 41mm 316Lstainless steel case built to handle water pressure 100 meters below the ocean’s surface.

Torgoen makes the T42 in four variations, each featuring a different color combination including:  black, blue, cream and gray dials, all held together with a 21mm Italian leather strap, sewn with tone-on-tone stitching. Price: $790.