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The patterned white dial on the latest model within Grand Seiko’s Elegance Collection is meant to evoke the beauty of freshly fallen winter snow outside its watchmaking studios in the wooded Shinshu region of central Japan. That particular scene is known as Shizuri-yuki, which refers to the moment when snow spills down from the branches of trees to create a shimmering cascade of light.

The new Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008.

The new Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008 could be considered the next in a series of Spring Drive debuts with dials meant to evoke the beauty of winter just outside the Grand Seiko studio.

You might recall the Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY007 we showed you earlier this year, with its hammered ice-blue dial that beautifully mimics a nearby frozen lake, a phenomenon called Omiwatari.

Grand Seiko cases this latest Elegance watch in a 38.5mm rose gold frame dotted along its sides with fifty-three hand set diamonds. Artisans nicely arranged the gems so that they gradually decrease in size from the center of the case to the end of the lugs, which appears to flow along the side of the case. This quite effectively generates the namesake Shizuri-yuki sparkle.

Grand Seiko then continues to evoke the winter scene on the dial with a wind-blown snow pattern. The scene is broken only by the very smooth Spring Drive seconds hand, and much more slowly as hour and minutes pass as indicated by matching, perfectly faceted gold hands.

The see-through sapphire crystal case back reveals the Spring Drive movement.

This is a fairly thin watch, measuring 10.2mm in depth, thank to Grand Seiko’s own Spring Drive manual-wind caliber winding Caliber 9R31, which offers an impressive 72 hours. As a Spring Drive caliber, it also provides incredible precision with accuracy rated to ±1 second per day.

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008 is sold on a brown leather strap and comes with an additional satin gold-colored leather strap (above). The watch will be available as a limited edition of sixty at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in January 2022, just as winter peaks in the northern hemisphere. Price: $38,000.

Specifications: Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008

(Limited edition of 60)

Movement: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Caliber 9R31 Driving system, manual-winding, 72-hour power reserve, accuracy of ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month), dual spring barrel.

Dial: White ‘snow’ pattern.

Case: 38.5mm by 10.2mm rose-gold case and clasp with 53 diamonds (.38 carat), dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back, water resistance to 30 meters, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.

Strap: Crocodile with three-fold clasp with push-button release. Additional satin gold-colored leather strap.

Price: $38,000

 

Frederique Constant adds a tourbillon to its perpetual calendar to create the new Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, a handsome 41mm complication available in a steel case or a rose gold case. And to underscore the Geneva-based watchmaker’s long-held mission to offer affordably priced fine Swiss watches, the steel model is priced just under $23,000.

The new Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, in steel.

For years Frederique Constant’s complicated watches, such as its flyback chronograph, in-house perpetual calendar and its manufacture tourbillon, have attracted collectors in search of affordably priced, classically styled Swiss watchmaking. Few (if any) Swiss in-house manufacturing watchmakers can boast a collection with a comparable set of complicated watches at the same price levels.

The new Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, with gold case.

The new Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture combines the brand’s existing know-how as found in its own manufacture tourbillon and stand-alone perpetual calendar. The new watch displays the date, day and month in three subdials along the top of the dial, echoing the existing Highlife Perpetual Calendar.

Frederique Constant replaces that model’s moonphase indicator with its manufacture tourbillon at the subdial located at 6 o’clock. I especially like the subdial at 12 o’clock that displays the month with the large hand and the leap year indication with a smaller hand. To balance this somewhat top-heavy design, Frederique Constant deftly places its own tourbillon with silicon escapement (the escape wheel and the lever) to add symmetry to the dial. The tourbillon displays seconds with its central hand.

Frederique Constant offers two blue-accented versions of the new watch, one more luxurious in a rose gold case and the other framed in steel. Both allow the wearer to enjoy a view into the FC-975 Manufacture caliber and its blued screws, perlage and Côtes de Genève finishes. If you look closer at the dial on either watch, you’ll see another nicely executed design detail: anti-reflective recessed perpetual calendar displays that ensure a quicker, more enjoyable read.

Frederique Constant notes that it offers collectors options to customize the individually numbered steel and rose gold editions of the new watch. Each one comes with two interchangeable straps. The rose gold version comes with a topstitched alligator leather strap and a second rubber strap. The same rubber strap also comes with the steel watch, which arrives on a bracelet with a three-link design and a folding buckle.

Prices: $39,995 (rose gold case) and $22,995 (steel case and bracelet).

 

Specifications: Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture

(Steel-cased model, reference FC-975N4NH6B, limited to 88 pieces)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, month, leap year.

Movement: FC-975 caliber, automatic, tourbillon, perpetual calendar perlage, drafted marks and Côtes de Genève decorations, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph, silicon escapement wheel and anchor.

Case: 41mm by 12.65mm brushed and polished stainless steel 3-part. Front convex sapphire crystal, see-through case back, water-resistant to 30 meters.

Dial: Skeleton with
Navy blue outer ring with white printed second markers.
Hand-polished silvered color with white luminous treatment hour and minute hands.
Navy blue day counter at 9 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color hand. Navy blue month and year counter at 12 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color hands.
Navy blue date counter at 3 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color hand. Open tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color second hand.

Strap: Brushed and polished stainless steel 3-link bracelet including an additional navy blue rubber strap.

Price: $22,995

 

Specifications: Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture

(Rose gold edition, reference FC-975N4NH9, limited to 30 pieces)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, month, leap year.

Movement: FC-975 caliber, automatic, tourbillon, perpetual calendar perlage, drafted marks and Côtes de Genève decorations, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph, silicon escapement wheel and anchor.

Case: 41mm by 12.65mm brushed and polished rose gold three-part. Front convex sapphire crystal, see-through case back, water-resistant to 30 meters.

Dial: Skeleton with Navy blue outer ring with white printed second markers.
Hand-polished rose gold-plated with white luminous treatment hour and minute hands.
Navy blue day counter at 9 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated hand. Navy blue month and year counter at 12 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated hands. Navy blue date counter at 3 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated hand. Open tourbillon’s cage at 6 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated seconds hand.

Strap: Navy blue alligator leather strap with nubuck finishing including an additional navy blue rubber strap

Price: $39,995

 

Reservoir commemorates the long-running Blake & Mortimer graphic novel series, by Belgian comics artist Edgar P. Jacobs, with a jumping hour watch depicting the stars of the adventure series on the dial.

 

The inaugural title of Blake & Mortimer, titled “The Secret of the Swordfish,” debuted seventy-five years ago in the Belgian comic Tintin. Reservoir founder and CEO Francois Moreau enjoyed reading the adventures of the two detectives in his youth.

The Reservoir Blake and Mortimer “By Jove!!!” watch.

 

Reservoir honors the series with a commemorative watch that pictures Mortimer on the dial pointing to the minutes, replacing the watch’s retrograde minute hand. Next to him Blake joins Mortimer as the pair gazes upward, while Mortimer’s favorite expression, ‘By Jove!!!’ appears above both. Where standard Reservoir dials indicate the power reserve at the bottom of the dial, this edition displays only the jumping hour indication.

In relief on the dial Reservoir has nicely utilized the Blake & Mortimer color scheme as well as same font used in the graphic novel to indicate the digits for the minutes and the hour.

Mortimer’s hand is propelled by the same customized ETA-based jumping hour caliber found throughout the brand’s collections.

The 41.5mm brushed steel watch, finished with a black leather strap with quick-relief spring bars and a folding clasp, features a caseback engraved with a design of the Swordfish from the first Blake & Mortimer graphic novel and the words “So British since 1946”.

Reservoir will deliver the Blake and Mortimer “By Jove!!!” watch by November 19, which is the same date for the release of a new Blake & Mortimer adventure called “the Last Swordfish.” On this date, Reservoir will also open up orders for a limited series of drawings featuring the ‘mysterious flying machine’ found in the novels.

Price: $2,990

Franck Muller now offers metal bracelet options for the first time for its top-selling Vanguard collection.

The tonneau-shaped Vanguard collection, which includes a wide range of the Geneva watchmaker’s primarily sporty models on leather or textile straps, can now be attached to the wrist with a bracelet composed and finished with either brushed steel, polished steel, brushed titanium and black brushed titanium.

Franck Muller will make the polished and brushed link bracelets to fit into the two different Vanguard case sizes, 41 mm and 45mm.

The firm’s technicians have also developed a fine adjustment system that allow the bracelet to be sized to fit proportionally and ‘perfectly’ on the wrist, according to Franck Muller. Links can be quickly removed or added to lengthen or shorten the bracelet.

Zenith launches two jeweled versions of its blockbuster Chronomaster Original, the brand’s retro-inspired chronograph designed to commemorate the groundbreaking Zenith A386 steel El Primero from 1969.

The latest iteration offers the watch with either a multicolored mother-of-pearl dial or taupe tri-color dial, each set with fifty-six diamonds on the lugs. Both steel-cased watches remain 38mm in diameter, enhancing their unisex appeal.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Original, now available set with diamonds and a mother-of-pearl dial.

The model with the tri-color dial exhibits its grey and blue hues rendered in mother-of-pearl. Zenith uses four different colors of mother-of-pearl, including a white mother-of-pearl for the dial, two shades of blue for the chronograph counters and grey mother-of-pearl for the ongoing seconds.

The second version of this latest Chronomaster Original offers three tones of brown in the same signature layout against a satin-white dial. Both dials are set with diamonds for the hour markers.

Zenith pairs both models with soft calfskin leather straps in either light blue or taupe with tone-on-tone stitching to matching the respective dials.

Inside Zenith retains the the El Primero 3600, the latest version of Zenith’s famed high-beat chronograph caliber with column wheel. While the new movement beats at the same high frequency of 5Hz (36,000 vph) as its predecessors, the new generation displays 1/10th of a second chronograph on the dial with the central chronograph hand rotating once every ten seconds. The caliber also now offers a full sixty hours of power reserve.

Prices: $12,800 (brown dial with taupe calfskin leather strap) and $13,000 (blue dial with light blue calfskin leather strap).

 

American-based Waldan has added a trio of eye-catching pastel-dialed models to its Heritage Professional series of dressy, 40mm quartz-powered steel watches.

Offered as limited edition of 100 pieces in each of three colors, the new Waldan Bright Pastel series retains the high-value allure of the Heritage Professional line, but now adds a colorful twist with a choice of pink, yellow or light blue dials.

The three Waldan Heritage Professional Bright Pastel models.

The new series also underscores its fashionable mission with the advent of interchangeable contrast-stitched Elbamatt leather straps, now with quick release spring bars.

Each strap is equipped with a quick-release spring bar for easy mix and match options. Additional straps are $30.

Hand crafted in Italy, these straps add a matching finish to any watch in the series, and present the wearer with the option of purchasing additional straps to mix and match as desired. The straps are $30 and available from the Waldan website.

Waldan continues to power each watch in the series with an all-metal American- made Ameriquartz Caliber 70200 movement. Fine Timepiece Solutions, the Arizona-based manufacturer of the Ameriquartz movements, guarantees that its all-metal calibers are defect-free for a full five years. Price: $299.

 

Specifications: Waldan Heritage Professional Bright Pastel

(Three colors, each limited to 100 pieces)

Movement: American-made Ameriquartz caliber 70200 quartz movement, all metal, hand made, assembled and tested individually in the United States. Fully serviceable and warrantied for five years.

Dial: Canary Yellow, Sky Blue or Blush Pink with white applied Arabic numerals, steel hands, white outer dial rim with applied SuperLuminova plots. Sunken and diamond-cut subdial above 6pm for sub-seconds register with small red hand. Signed ‘Waldan, New York,’ ‘AMERIQUARTZ’ and ‘USA MOVT’.

Case: 316L stainless steel, two-piece, double stepped case with screw down back and Anti-Reflective treated flat sapphire crystal. 40mm diameter x 8.6mm thickness x 20mm lug width. Mixed finish with polished case and brushed lugs. Knurled crown signed “W” with multi gasket system for 5ATM water resistance. Case back signed.

Strap: Genuine Ambra Elbamatt leather with quick release spring bars, stainless steel buckle.

Price: $299

By Gary Girdvainis

When Eone watches first launched the Bradley edition, the design created by the recent MIT graduate Hyunsoo Kim was a modern quartz watch that made it easy for a sightless person to read the time. Kim developed a tactile system that allowed the wearer to relate the position of two mobile steel balls with fixed tactile points around the dial.

While this honorable cause may have birthed the design, the idea of a watch that could relay the time via touchpoints on the case is certainly not new. Notably, Breguet had created watches that could indicate the time via touch with his Tact watch, sold starting in 1799. In this pocket watch original the function was more for discretion while checking the time than servicing the blind.

An example of an early Breguet ‘montre à tact’ cylinder watch.

For Eone, success came quickly. A Kickstarter campaign in 2014 funded Eone to more than half a million dollars. With rave reviews by the watch and popular press, Eone firmly established itself in the watch world. Clearly the watch designed with a cause had found a much wider audience, and during the years after its launch the company developed variations on the theme that could be appreciated by both the sighted, and the sightless alike.

The new Eone Switch, with a replaceable ring on the top of the watch that allows you to change the look of the watch in seconds.

The Switch

Since 2014 Eone has refined the functionality of the original Bradley design with subtle changes like opening the groove on the perimeter for easier visual and tactile access to the hour ball.

Beyond the refinements, Eone has most recently developed its new Switch model that features a removeable/replaceable ring on the top of the watch that allows you to change the look of the watch in seconds. While the rings do need to retain the tactile hour markers for time reference, the potential for changing the look of the watch with a quick twist of your fingers has major appeal.

Eone sells the new Switch with two rings that you can easily interchange (without any tools). You can also buy them separately if you want to add new variations to your collection and transform your one cool watch into many.

Extra rings available for the Eone Switch.

Prices: $360 including two rings. Extra rings are available at $40 per and the entire Eone line ranges from $260 to $360.   Read more about Switch here.

 

 

Hublot extends its partnership with men’s fashion house Berluti with the new Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio, a 44mm limited edition flyback chronograph that elegantly melds leather and titanium.

The new Hublot Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio.

Once again Hublot utilizes its Unico collection for this latest Berluti collaboration. The series has deftly displayed fine leather from the French menswear maker within the dressy Unico dials in a variety of imaginative and stylish configurations since the series launched in 2016.

For this latest edition, Hublot again sets Berluti leather between two sapphire glass pieces. The dial’s indexes and “Swiss Made” declaration are heat pressed (gauffered) directly on the leather’s surface.

This model, per its name, features Berluti’s signature Aluminio patina, which will wear to reflect light in varying light grey tones. The result creates a more monochrome appearance than we’ve seen in previous Hublot/Berluti collaborations.

Leather bezel

Berluti leather also highlights the bezel. Using a sticky resin, artisans attach a 1mm-thick piece of the Berluti leather onto the grey titanium bezel, which is then screwed onto the case. This means that, in time, the bezel will wear to create an individualized patina that will match the Berluti leather strap.

Hublot plans to offer the strap in two versions: one in burnished Aluminio Venezia leather; another in patinated Aluminio Venezia leather with the Scritto motif, exclusively for Japan.

Hublot says its titanium case and choice of case and movement materials on the new Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio are also meant to match the leather’s eventual patina. These materials include titanium for the case and the strap’s deployant clasp, resin for the central lug, tungsten for the oscillating weight, and satin-finished rhodium for the hands.

Hublot exposes its Unico movement through the dial, framing gears and wheels with the hand-cut Aluminio leather. This movement, Hublot’s MHUB1280, features a flyback function with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve.

Hublot will the deliver the 100-piece limited-edition Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio in a special case with a travel pouch and a shoehorn key ring with the Berluti logo. Price: $25,200.

Specifications: Hublot Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio

(Reference 421.NX.0500.VR.BER21, limited to 100 pieces)

Dial: Genuine patinated Venezia leather by Berluti with indices in relief and words Swiss Made.

Case: 44mm by 15.45mm satin-finished and polished titanium. Water resistance is 100 meters. On sapphire back: satin-finished titanium etched with LIMITED EDITION 100NUM and BERLUTI. Satin-finished and polished titanium bezel with a genuine patinated Venezia leather insert by Berluti.

Movement: Hublot MHUB1280
Self-winding UNICO Manufacture chronograph flyback movement with column wheel. Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 A/h), power reserve is 72 hours.

Strap: Black rubber and genuine patinated Venezia leather by Berluti,, titanium deployant buckle.

Price: $25,200

 

Accutron has teamed with Vermont-based Stave Puzzles to create The Accutron Challenge, a hand-cut wood jigsaw puzzle inspired by the 2020 launch of new Accutron Spaceview.

The Accutron Challenge wood jigsaw puzzle, made by Vermont-based Stave Puzzles.

The puzzle offers seven separate challenges, including a “Beat the Clock” multiple design puzzle, with the final products creating seven different colored Accutron timepieces.

Accutron launched a new series of Spaceview watches last year to commemorate the original 1960 tuning-fork-powered Spaceview,  the first electrically powered wristwatch. The new Accutron Spaceview is powered in part using electrostatic generators.

The Accutron Spaceview 2020.

Accutron adds Stave Puzzles to its expanding list of U.S.-based collaborations, which also includes Hudson Whiskey, La Palina Cigars, and Esterbrook Pens.

The Accutron Challenge is priced at $745 and can be purchased from Accutron’s website.

 

Independent watchmakers Laurent Ferrier and Christian Ferrier will present “The Natural Escapement” as the October lecture of the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) on Monday, October 4. Scheduled for 1 pm EST, the virtual seminar (via Zoom) will include Laurent  Ferrier’s personal interpretation of horological theories on the escapement as proposed by his peers.

Laurent Ferrier is co-founder and creative director at Montres Laurent Ferrier in Geneva, where his son Christian Ferrier serves as movement creator.

Christian Ferrier and Laurent Ferrier

The October lecture will take place via Zoom and has been scheduled to accommodate local time in Switzerland. There will be no in-person gathering for this HSNY October lecture.

The Ferriers will discuss how their watchmaking company successfully updated Abraham-Louis Breguet’s natural escapement. As the HSNY explains, Breguet was unable to ensure the escapement’s reliability because of the manufacturing techniques and materials available at the time.

“Two hundred years later, Laurent Ferrier gave the natural escapement a new lease on life. At the October 2021 meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Laurent and Christian Ferrier will discuss the principles of the natural escapement and how they succeeded in manufacturing it,” according to the HSNY.

The Zoom Webinar will begin promptly at 1pm EST and registration is required. All lectures remain free and open to the public.

To accompany the lecture, Montres Laurent Ferrier will hold an exhibition of timepieces, including some with natural escapements, at the Horological Society of New York, during the afternoons of October 5 and October 6. HSNY members and the general public are welcome to attend. Timed tickets are required, as well as proof of vaccination. Masks are optional but strongly encouraged. Additional details for the lecture and the exhibition are available at the HSNY website. Click here to register for the exhibition, and here to register or the lecture.