Zenith again taps into its past as it today debuts a special Chronomaster Revival watch, which the Le Locle manufacturer is releasing as a special North American edition.
The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty, a red, white and blue limited edition of 150 pieces, echoes earlier Zenith Revival pieces with a design firmly rooted in the brand’s 1969 El Primero A384 automatic chronograph tonneau-cased debuts. As a reminder, it was in 1969 that Zenith debuted its El Primero caliber, the world’s first high-frequency automatic chronograph movement.
The latest edition, like recent Zenith Chronomaster Revival models, retains the 37mm case size of the original models and features Zenith’s modern El Primero 400 automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve. Also echoing the vintage look are the tachymeter scale and the original chronograph hand design called “Barley Sugar Cane.”
Zenith says it consulted original blueprints and production plans from five decades ago to recreate the case. In this new version Zenith caps the dial with a newly domed sapphire crystal and adds a modern clear sapphire caseback. Also new is the model’s blue rubberized cordura strap, complete with a single red stitch on each side.
Zenith creates the model’s Liberty theme with a matte blue gradient dial paired with white chronograph counters. In greater detail, Zenith has painted red and white stripes on the central chronograph second hand. Furthermore, Zenith colors the numerals on the white date wheel in red.
Zenith if offering the new Chronomaster Revival Liberty as a limited edition of 150 pieces exclusively in the United States and Canada and on Zenith’s American online boutique. Price: $8,700
(Reference: 03.US384.400/57.C823, Limited Edition for North America.)
Movement: Automatic El Primero 400 column-wheel chronograph, frequency of 36,000 VpH (5 Hz), 50-hour power reserve. Functions: Hours and minutes in the center. Small seconds at nine o’clock. Chronograph (central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three o’clock), tachymetric scale, date indication.
Case: 37mm stainless steel, water resistant to 50 meters.
Dial: Blue gradient with white counters and tachymeter scale , markers and hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Super Luminova.
Bracelet: Blue cordura-style strap and red stitching, stainless steel pin buckle.
G-Shock just made its already hyper-secure steel-cased MT-G series even more resistant to sudden shocks.
With its new G-SHOCK MTGB2000 Casio reinforces the collection’s metal core with a one-piece carbon fiber frame on two new MT-G watches. The new technical pairing takes full advantage of carbon fiber’s light weight as well as its rigid nature.
G-Shock calls this melding of materials a “Dual Core Guard.” Yet, despite the addition of the carbon fiber ring, these new MT-G debuts retain the metal-case appearance that drew G-Shock fans to the premium-priced, mid-sized collection if the first place.
G-shock is debuting the new design with two models initially. One, the G-Shock MTGB2000D-1A, features a black bezel and dial with a composite bracelet made of resin and metal (which is about 15% lighter than previous metal bracelets).
The second watch, the G-Shock MTGB2000B-1A2 features a black dial with blue accents and a blue bezel. This model arrives on a soft urethane strap.
G-Shock has also enhanced the new models’ electronic components. Both watches now utilize the same three dual-coil motors we’ve seen on other G-Shock models. When activated by radio-wave time-calibration signals via the G-Shock app, the hands will reset almost instantly.
Other features include G-Shock’s own Triple G Resist anti-shock platform (shock resistance, vibration resistance and centrifugal force resistance) and the watch will automatically adjust to the local time when crossing time zones. True to MT-G, the new watches retain complete calendar, world time, alarm and stopwatch functions.
For a full list of features, and to learn more about the new Dual Core Guard enhancements in these latest MT-G models, click here.
The G-Shock MTGB2000B-1A2 ($950) and the G-Shock MTGB2000D-1A ($1,000) will be available in November at G-SHOCK retailers, the G-SHOCK Soho Store and gshock.com.
Bulova is marking the tenth anniversary of its Precisionist collection of high-tech, 1/1,000-of-a-second quartz watches with the new Precisionist X Collection.
The new collection offers more luxurious examples of the large-cased, multi-level Precisionist. The collection features, for example, one model with karat gold accents and another utilizing the interesting patterns created by Damascus steel.
One model, the Precisionist X Limited Edition, is cased in stainless steel with an 18-karat yellow gold top ring insert. And befitting an anniversary celebration, the watch is limited to 100 pieces and is being offered by Bulova in a special gift box with a numbered serial card and a plaque ($3,950)
Alongside the limited edition, Bulova unveils two new Precisionist X Special Edition models that boast top ring inserts made of Damascus steel, which you can easily identify thanks to its wave pattern.
Those who also collect knives or swords are familiar with the process, which will actually harden the steel. Examples of the process date to the 4th century A.D. when the city of Damascus was then well known for its weapon-makers and metallurgical prowess.
Bulova will make the Precisionist X Special Edition ($1,295) with either a black IP case paired with a handsome new green leather strap or a rose gold IP case paired with a brown leather strap. Like the limited edition model, this unlimited anniversary watch will be sold with a special gift box.
Both watches retain the Precisionist’s distinctive octagonal 45mm x 47mm case shape with partially open dial design, primarily exposing the watch’s date ring and central quartz movement plate.
With its 1/1,000-of-a-second chronograph timing ability, you’ll find dial displays on the Precisionist that show tenths, hundredths and thousandths-of-a-second readings. Bulova caps the displays with a curved sapphire crystal.
Parmigiani Fleurier earlier this year underscored its technical mettle by adding the Tondagraph GT to its Tonda GT collection. That limited-edition chronograph features a large date display and, unusually, an annual calendar, all placed into a case inspired by the highly acclaimed Tonda Chronor Anniversaire watch, for which the Manufacture received the Chronograph Watch Prize from the GPHG in 2017.
For Fall 2020 Parmigiani Fleurier revisits that same fluted-bezel case, but makes it in rose gold and fits it with an impressive integrated chronograph built on the foundation of that award-winning Chronor Anniversaire.
The brand’s new Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue, houses Parmigiani Fleurier’s new PF071 movement, a COSC-certified, automatic chronograph with large date, that boasts all the specifications you’d expect from a high-end in-house integrated chronograph – the brand’s third – with such pedigree.
Thus, the new high-frequency (36,000 bph) caliber is built with a column wheel instead of a cam, utilizes a vertical clutch instead of the more common horizontal clutch, and secures its balance using a double-attached cross-through bridge rather than a single-point bridge.
Parmigiani Fleurier explains that this type of bridge attachment “minimizes the effect of impacts to the balance with gold inertia blocks and has been designed so that its height can be adjusted and adapted precisely to the rest of the movement.”
With its high frequency chronograph caliber, which is accurate to the nearest 10th of a second, Parmigiani Fleurier has added two additional markers and hands within the subdial at 6 o’clock for the tenths-of-a-second timing display.
Parmigiani Fleurier has also integrated the big date aperture directly into the movement rather than adding it as a module, which the brand says enhances its reliability.
On the dial the watchmaker blues its traditional hobnail-style “clou triangulaire” guilloche, while the back reveals the high-end finish it applies throughout the new caliber PF071. The clear sapphire on the back exposes the movement’s sunray satin pattern finish and the 22-karat gold oscillating weight with eye-catching “angel wing” bridges.
Parmigiani Fleurier is making the Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue as a limited edition of twenty-five pieces each on a blue rubber strap ($41,000) and also on a gold bracelet ($65,500).
MB&F wants you to wear its new Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO anywhere you go.
The new watch, which MB&F debuts today, is an exuberant, ultra-tough version of its innovative and GPHG-award-winning Legacy Machine Perpetual (from 2015) that MB&F has now dressed in a new case and outfitted with enhanced shock resistance and increased water resistance.
Cased in lightweight zirconium, an extremely durable silvery-grey metal frequently used by medical instrument makers, the new watch immediately differentiates itself from the earlier LM Perpetual by displaying no bezel. Instead, MB&F has fused the watch’s domed sapphire crystal directly to the 44mm case.
This re-configured case/crystal configuration opens up the wearer’s view of the watch’s eye-catching, hovering balance wheel, a signature MB&F design element. But more than that, the new design also decreases the watch’s overall height-to-diameter ratio, which can reduce the chances of accidental impact to the crystal.
Zirconium, while difficult to machine, makes for a particularly lightweight case; it also features enhanced hypoallergenic and anti-microbial properties.MB&F has only used zirconium to case two previous watches, the HM3 Frog and HM5.
Perhaps the most critical addition to the original perpetual calendar’s movement design is a one-piece stainless steel dampener called the FlexRing. MB&F fits this new round component between the watch’s case and movement to enhance shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes.
According to MB&F, the new component “makes for the most robust Machine ever to emerge from MB&F.”
In addition to these adjustments, MB&F has transformed the watch’s pushers, which are larger and oblong instead of small and round, and has enhanced the water resistance of the crown (which is now screw-down) on this updated perpetual calendar. The sleeker pushers in particular signal the EVO’s sportiness.
To increase the watch’s water resistance to 80-meters MB&F has connected the crown to a new type of winding stem that disengages the crown from the winding mechanism when it is pushed in and tightened. This also prevents the wearer from over winding the mainspring barrel.
As a reminder, Stephen McDonnell effectively redesigned the traditional perpetual calendar when he first devised the LM Perpetual for MB&F five years ago.
McDonnell built the LM Perpetual with a “mechanical processor” (a series of superimposed disks) that takes the default number of days in the month at 28 and then adds the extra days as required by each individual month. This removes the chance that the date will jump incorrectly. He also built in a safety feature that disconnects the pushers during the date changeover to eliminate any risk of damage to the movement when the date is changed.
In addition to bolstering the shock and water resistance of its perpetual calendar, MB&F is also emphasizing the LM Perpetual’s EVO’s sporty nature with new movement plate PVD or CVD colors and a rubber strap that fits snugly between two polished lugs.
One of three plate color options, dubbed Atomic Orange, is new for MB&F. The watchmaker says it has devised a new coating material and CVD coating technique that allowed it to add this sporty hue to its component color options.
MB&F is offering two other dial-plate colors, PVD black and CVD blue, for the LM Perpetual EVO and is producing each of the three shades in a limited series of fifteen pieces (in celebration of the brand’s 15th anniversary). Strap colors are white, grey and black. Price: $167,000.
Specifications: MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO
Movement: Fully integrated perpetual calendar developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell, featuring dial-side complication and mechanical processor system architecture with inbuilt safety mechanism. Manual winding with double mainspring barrels, bespoke 14mm balance wheel with traditional regulating screws visible on top of the movement. Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style; internal bevel angles, polished bevels, Geneva waves, hand-made engravings. A FlexRing, an annular dampener fitted between case and movement, provides shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes, screw-down crown, 72-hour power reserve, 18,000 bph balance frequency (2.5Hz).
Functions/indications: Galvanic black dials with both SLN numerals and hands (except for the leap year and power reserve). Hours, minutes, day, date, month, retrograde leap year and power reserve indicators.
Case: 44mm by 17.5 mm zirconium, water resistance to 80 meters, sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces
Ulysse Nardin this week refreshes its Executive Dual Time with a slightly smaller case, reduced lug size, thinner bezel and a decidedly cleaner dial. This new, dressier version, however, retains the watchmaker’s instant second-time-zone display adjustment, a feature Ulysse Nardin debuted in 1994 well ahead of just about any other manufacturer.
Ulysse Nardin’s system, still among the simplest available, allows the user to adjust the local time hour hand forward or backward (in one-hour increments) with the touch of the “+” and “-” pushers located opposite the crown. The ‘dual time’ window will continue to display the hour at the wearer’s home. The date adjusts automatically with the local time as indicated by the hands, though it can also be adjust manually using the crown.
Now in the same case as the newly prominent Skeleton X models, the new Dual Time presents a more subdued dial, with several alterations, when compared with the previous version. The new case also measures 42mm in diameter, a bit smaller when compared to the earlier collection’s 43mm measurement.
First, smaller Roman numerals at the twelve, three, six and nine o’clock locations no longer dominate the dial as they do on existing models. In addition, Ulysse Nardin has moved the watch’s seconds markers from the rectangular track in the dial’s center to the inner bezel. And finally, the ‘dual time’ text no longer circles the round home time display, but more simply abuts it on two lines.
Ulysse Nardin’s Caliber 24, which combines the brand’s superb dual-time module to an upgraded ETA base caliber, is visible through the exhibition case back. Look for a new oscillating weight with a prominent, encircled UN logo Ulysse Nardin through the sapphire back.
Ulysse Nardin is offering the new Dual Time in either a rose gold case with a blue dial or a stainless steel case with a blue or a black dial. All are water resistant to fifty meters and each piece is individually numbered. Prices: $22,800 (Rose gold), $8,300 (black or blue dial, steel case).
Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Dual Time
Movement: Caliber UN-24 (UN module on ETA base), patented quickset second time (home) display at 9 o’clock, patented Big Date display, small seconds-hand counter. Power reserve is 42 hours.
Dial: Black or blue with home time at 9 o’clock, large date
Case: 42mm stainless steel or rose gold, sapphire crystal, 50 meters water resistance
Bracelet: Alligator leather strap with pin buckle or rubber strap with pin buckle
Prices: $22,800 (Rose gold), $8,300 (black or blue dial, steel case)
Frederique Constant this week brings back its Highlife collection, one of the Geneva watchmaker’s earliest lines, updated with an integrated steel bracelet and a contemporary dial design. The watchmaker debuts the newly returned collection with three new models: The Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Highlife Heart Beat and Highlife Automatic COSC.
All three new Highlife models display the same 41mm case as the original collection from 1999, but the new dials feature a globe design that the Geneva brand says is “intended to unify the collection and symbolize the Earth, harmony, and perfection of the circle.”
While not Frederique Constant’s first integrated bracelet, these Highlife debuts mark a premiere of a newer, interchangeable bracelet that allows the wearer to swap the bracelet without additional tools by pressing on the two pushpins at the end of the bracelet or strap to disconnect it from the case and click a new one into place.
Versatility is a focus here. Each watch will come with an additional leather strap and a rubber strap, and Frederique Constant is also offering a set of three additional crocodile calf suede straps in brown, blue, and black (purchased separately).
When it made its first perpetual calendar four years ago, Frederique Constant stuck to its mission of offering a high value-to-price ratio across all its collections. That premier Slimline Perpetual Calendar model wowed collectors and critics alike with its thin Caliber FC-775 movement, attractive dial layout and a double-take price (less than $9,000 for the steel-cased model).
With this latest example, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Frederique Constant’s continues that mission. The watchmaker’s starts with that in-house FC-775 perpetual calendar caliber and places in the newly integrated steel case/bracelet, fronted by the globe design on the dial.
As with previous examples, the new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture features three counters: day at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock and moon phase at 6 o’clock. The watch’s polished hands and all the index hour markers are topped with a luminescent material.
Frederique Constant is making three different variations of the watch. One (pictured above) offers a very cool two-tone style that combines steel and rose gold plating on the bezel, bracelet, and crown. For added luxury you’ll also get a textured black rubber strap with a rose gold-plated buckle.
The second version features a blue dial with silver hands and index hour markers and comes with a blue rubber strap and a steel pin buckle. The third version comes with a white dial, silver index hour markers, a black leather strap and a black rubber strap. Prices start at $9,095.
The new Highlife Heart Beat collection revisits this brand’s initial ‘iconic’ design.
When it debuted in 1994, the Heart Beat was only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial, displaying the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position. Frederique Constant kicked off a design trend with that original Heartbeat collection, and today regrets the fact that it never protected the initial design, an error the brand says was “rooted in the brand’s youthful inexperience.”
The new versions retain that open window into the movement at the top of the dial, which here appears at the pole position on the globe dial design. Portions of the automatic Sellita-based FC-310 caliber are visible from both front and back through the sapphire crystal.
The new Highlife Heart Beat is now available in three different steel versions. The first offers a white dial and rose gold-plated case with only a brown leather strap and a brown rubber strap. The second features a blue dial with a steel bracelet, complemented by a blue rubber strap and the third features a black dial with a steel case and bracelet and arrives with a black rubber strap. Prices start at $1,995.
New and Certified
As the first COSC-certified watch from Frederique Constant, the new Highlife Automatic COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) echoes the original Highlife collection from 1999.
The simplest design of the new globe-dial Highlife collection, this time-only series combines the hands seen on the Heart Beat and the date from the Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, but powers them both with its automatic Sellita-based Caliber FC-310.
Look for four models: one with a two-tone steel bracelet and a white dial, one with a steel bracelet and a blue dial, and a model with a black leather strap and a white dial. The fourth design offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a black dial, all set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade. Prices start at $1,895.
H. Moser’s new Streamliner Centre Seconds, the second model from the independent Swiss brand’s integrated steel Streamliner collection, focuses on timekeeping basics by displaying simple hours, minutes and seconds. But echoing so many H. Moser debuts, the real eye-catcher is the stunning fumé dial, here in “Matrix Green.”
The dial appears to glow, framed within its brushed steel 40mm case that links ever so smoothly to the matching steel bracelet – with no sign of a lug.
To reach that integrated ergonomic end zone, H. Moser extends a carefully curved bracelet atop the wrist directly into the case. Not only does it feels smooth on the wrist with articulated, gently waving links, the bracelet looks resplendent with its vertically brushed and polished finishing.
H.Moser explains that its rounded curves required the Streamliner’s designers to hollow out the case middle, satin-finish the sides and then alternately brush and polish surfaces throughout.
Any watch named Streamliner needs to have a domed sapphire crystal, which H. Moser wisely uses to top the Centre Seconds. Under that subtly curved dome you’ll find unusual hands (including a curved minute hand) formed with inserts made from Globolight, a ceramic-based material that features SuperLuminova.
Inside this H. Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds model is the watchmaker’s own automatic HMC 200 caliber. The movement is equipped with a regulating organ manufactured by H. Moser & Cie.’s sister company, Precision Engineering AG. Nicely decorated by H. Moser with its brand-developed double stripe décor, the caliber also stands out from other with a gold oscillating weight. Price: $21,900.
Specifications: H. Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds, Reference 6200-1200
Movement: HMC 200 self-winding caliber, frequency of 21,600 Vph, automatic bi-directional pawl winding system, 18-karat gold oscillating weight engraved with the H. Moser hallmark, power reserve of 3 days, original StraumannHairspring, finish with Moser stripes.
Case: 40mm by 9.9mm steel topped by a gently domed sapphire crystal, see-through case back, screw-in crown adorned with an “M”, water-resistant to 120 meters.
Dial: Matrix Green fumé with sunburst pattern, applique indices, hour and minute hands with Globolightinserts.
Bracelet: Integrated steel bracelet, folding clasp with three steel blades, engraved with the Moser logo.
Zenith re-interprets its Defy 21 and Defy Classic contemporary skeletonized collections with stylish black and white simplicity on two new boutique editions. Each Defy model is paired with a white ceramic bezel, a matte black ceramic cases and a white rubberized strap.
The basic non-color motif defies (see what I did there) Zenith’s attention to vibrant hues seen on earlier Defy Classic and Defy 21 models, which the watchmaker has bathed previously in blue, orange and even violet dress.
Zenith has nicely utilized the Defy’s architecture to enhance its yin and yang, dark and light theme for these new editions. The red synthetic rubies and blue silicon escape wheel, seen within the skeletonized movement of each watch, are the only hints of color visible on either new model.
The Defy 21, for example, emphasizes the eye-catching 1/100-of-a-second scale and its 30-minute chronograph counter by making them white, contrasting strongly with the black, skeletonized movement. The white ceramic bezel carries the theme to completion.
On the Defy Classic, Zenith emphasizes the blackened star motif by framing it with a white flange ring and a white ceramic bezel. Zenith’s black and white cordura-effect rubber strap completes the achromatic scheme.
Both watches feature a matte micro-blasted black ceramic case (44mm for the Defy 21 and 41mm for the Defy Classic). Both editions of the Defy Black & White also come with a second strap in textured black rubber.
Zenith is offering the Defy 21 Black & White and Defy Classic Black & White at Zenith Boutiques and online at its own e-shop. Prices: $13,600 (Defy 21) and $8,200 (Defy Classic)
Zenith Defy 21 Black & White
Movement: El Primero 9004 automatic, 1/100th of a second chronograph movement. Dynamic signature of one rotation per second. One escapement for the watch time (36,000 VpH) and one escapement for the chronograph (360,000 VpH – 50 Hz). TIME LAB Chronometer certified. Power reserve 50 hours.
Functions: 1/100th-of-a-second chronograph functions, chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock. Hours and minutes in the center, small seconds at 9 o’clock, central chronograph hand, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 60-second counter at 6 o’clock
Case:44mm black matte ceramic with white ceramic bezel, water resistant to 100 meters
Dial: Openworked with two different-colored counters, hands and markers rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminovaSLN C1
Bracelet & Buckle: Black rubber with white “cordura effect” rubber. Titanium double folding clasp with Black DLC coating.
Zenith Defy Classic Black & White
Case: 41mm Black Ceramic with silicon, white ceramic bezel, 100 meters water resistance
Movement Elite 670 SK, Automatic with silicon escape wheel and lever, frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz), power-reserve of 48 hours, hours and minutes in the center with central seconds hand. Date indication at 6 o’clock
Dial: Black open-worked, rhodium-plated, faceted hour markers coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1
Bracelet & Buckle: Black rubber with white “cordura effect” rubber. Titanium double folding clasp with Black DLC coating.
We know Jeff Stein as a leading collector of vintage Heuer chronographs, who occasionally dabbles in the newer TAG Heuer models.It caught our eye when, twelve hours after he received his Fragment Design Heuer 02 chronograph in July, Jeff posted on Instagram that this watch was his “favorite TAG Heuer chronograph, ever . . . and even though you won’t see the name on the watch, the best looking Autavia-inspired chronograph, ever.”
Below, Jeff tells us more about his infatuation with this very interesting watch.
Can you give us the “elevator version” of the Fragment Design Heuer 02 chronograph?
The watch was designed by Hiroshi Fujiwara, a god in the world of streetwear and the creator of Fragment Design. Fujiwara has designed all sorts of interesting things such as guitars for Eric Clapton, sneakers for Nike and Converse, and headphones for Beats. In the watch world, he has designed watches for Rolex and Zenith, as well as a Carrera for TAG Heuer, in November 2018.
On the Heuer 02 chronograph, Fujiwara incorporated the design language of a 1970s Heuer Autavia into a TAG Heuer Formula 1 chronograph case, with the watch powered by the Heuer 02 movement.
Why has the Fragment Design Formula 1 chronograph been controversial among the vintage Heuer enthusiasts?
Much of the controversy probably arises from the fact that the watch was inspired by the 1970s Autavias, but resides in the modern case that TAG Heuer uses for its Formula 1 chronographs.There is no model name on the dial, neither “Autavia” nor “Formula 1,” so some traditionalists might see the watch as something of a Franken, which may be lacking the pure pedigree of either model.
So how do you come to terms with these issues?
For years, I have listened to the debates about what is and is not properly identified as an Autavia, a Carrera or a Formula 1.Some traditionalists say that an Autavia has to be a chronograph, rather than a three-handed watch, or that a Carrera cannot have an outer bezel, because these were the rules when the models were launched in the 1960s.
I have pretty well gotten over these hard-and-fast rules.If Jack Heuer had felt constrained by such rules in the 1960s, the Autavia would have never made it from a dashboard timer to a chronograph and we might never have seen Heuer’s automatic chronographs.Right now, I am more impressed with a brand making great looking, high quality watches and less concerned about the model name on the dial.
Perhaps there is no requirement for watch models to be binary, so that the brands can incorporate elements of one model into another one.We saw this recently when TAG Heuer incorporated the colors and style of the 1970s Montreal chronograph into a 1960s-based Carrera, and people liked the result.
As a physical object, what are your favorite elements of the Fragment Formula 1 chronograph?
I am a big fan of minimalist design, in general, and like the matte black and charcoal gray tones.This is a great look in cars and Fujiwara has followed a similar approach with the new Formula 1, using a matte black dial.
The hands and bezel are taken directly from the 1970s Autavias, but Fujiwara has deleted the elements that made those watches busier — the contrasting white registers, the concentric ridges in the registers and the frame around the date window.
This is like deleting the chrome on a blacked-out car, and it makes the expanses of black more dramatic.The red and white accents on the dial are the final touches that give the watch its pop. For several years, the Formula 1 chronographs have been housed in a case with geometry that is very close to the c-shape cases of the 1970s Autavias, so this Autavia color scheme from the 1970s looks right in the Formula 1 case.
And what are the intangibles that you enjoy with the new Fragment Design Formula 1 chronograph?
The Autavias of the 1960s and 1970s were the chronographs worn by the top drivers in motorsports.We see them on the wrists of Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert, Graham Hill, Derek Bell and many other racers.Beyond the top professionals, Autavias were popular among the amateurs and club racers, particularly with the Viceroy promotion, which offered a $200 Autavia for $88 with proof of purchase of ten packs of Viceroy cigarettes.
The tachymeter bezel is the symbol of a racing watch, whether on the Autavia, or the Rolex Daytona or the Omega Speedmaster.TAG Heuer is positioning the Formula 1 collection as the brand’s racing watches, and there is no better flagship for that collection than a watch that incorporates the design elements of the Autavia, the ultimate racing watch of the 1960s and 1970s.
People in the watch world may think of the Formula 1 as TAG Heuer’s “entry level” model. How do you reconcile that with the $6,150 price tag on this model?
Essentially, this watch, and a couple of other Formula 1 models recently released by TAG Heuer, serve as a clear statement that the TAG Heuer collections will no longer follow a price hierarchy.There is no entry-level collection or high-end collection.Instead, the collections are defined by their aesthetics and purposes.
The Formula 1 is TAG Heuer’s racing watch and the Autavia will be positioned as the watch for adventure.To me, this is a much more sensible way to position the collections than just based on their price ranges.TAG Heuer now offers its in-house Heuer 02 movement in four of its six collections, confirming that no model is relegated to “entry-level” status.
How do you compare the new Fragment Formula 1 with the other Autavias that have been re-issued by TAG Heuer?
With the arrival of this Fragment Design chronograph, there are basically three series of Autavia re-issues.
In 2003, TAG Heuer offered two versions of a cushion-cased Autavia, one with the black / orange colors and the other with the white / black / blue Siffert colors.
In 2017, TAG Heuer offered a new Autavia, modeled after the Rindt model from the late 1960s.After the initial model with the black dial and white registers, we have seen several limited editions, incorporating other color schemes into this same case.
I like these watches, but the case lacks the real connection to either the manual wind models of the 1960s or the automatic models of the 1970s.
Every collector will have their own favorite, but to my eye, the Fragment Formula 1 captures the spirit of the 1970s Autavias, with the color scheme, the hands and bezel, and the case geometry. There’s no “Autavia” on the dial, but there’s no doubt about the origins of this watch.
How is the watch on your wrist?
It’s a big watch at 44 millimeters, and I have a small wrist, but it’s a great fit.The more important measurement might be the thickness, and TAG Heuer has shaved the case to 14.4 millimeters.That’s not exactly thin, but it makes the 44 millimeter case very wearable.The bracelet is entirely new, and is relatively thin with a butterfly clasp, which also makes the watch wear smaller.
Why does this watch have the TAG Heuer logo on the dial rather than the Heuer shield?
I believe that TAG Heuer is reserving the “Heuer” shield for re-issues of the heritage models, like the Carrera 160 Years models that we saw earlier in the year.This Formula 1 is not a re-issue of a heritage model, but a new creation for TAG Heuer.So it gets the TAG Heuer shield rather than the Heuer shield.What are your personal preferences, as far as the re-issues that so many brands seem to be offering in the year 2020?
In recent years, there has probably been more hand-to-hand combat in the vintage community on the subject of re-issues, re-editions, homages, tributes and the like than on any other single topic.We see everything from one-to-one recreations of some of the classics, like Breitling and Omega have done with great success, to watches that carry the name, but bear no resemblance to the original models.
I really like the approach of the two Fragment Design models: take an iconic model, boil it down to find the essence of the design, then punch up the elements that provide the style and feel of the original period.
On the Fragment Carrera, we see the power of the oversized registers; on the Fragment Formula 1, we see the dramatic black paint and the red accents, with the distinctive hands and bezel.These elements defined the racers chronograph in 1970 and, fifty years later they continue to capture the excitement of racing.To me, capturing this timelessness is the ultimate success of a re-edition.
Other than the Fragment Design models, which are your favorite of TAG Heuer’s heritage-inspired models?
The Skipper captured the colors and spirit of one of the Heuer grails, the original Skipper from 1967, but took some liberties (for example, having a 30-minute register rather than the 15-minute count-down register).
The Carrera Montreal took even more liberties, incorporating the colors and vibe of a wild-looking 1972 Montreal chronograph into a Carrera case. Once again, the traditionalists may frown, but if you like the look of these watches and enjoy the connection with the Heuer heritage, these are fun watches.
If you could only have one of the Fragment models, the Carrera or the Formula 1, which would it be?
My first instinct is to dodge the question. The same way that the 1960s Carreras were different from the 1970s Autavias, the choice between the two Fragment models comes down to a matter of the mood and look that you want on a given day.
The quiet elegance of the Carrera is very different from the loud excitement of the 1970s Autavias.Looking at my collection of vintage Heuers, I probably have four times as many 1970s Autavias as 1960s Carreras, so the Fragment probably gets the nod.
If there will be a third Fragment Design chronograph for TAG Heuer, what are you hoping for?
Fujiwara has done a Carrera and an Autavia, so his third model will have to be a Monaco.It would be fantastic to see what he would do with the extra-large canvas of the Monaco.
(Click here to read Jeff Stein’s “On the Dash” post about the TAG Heuer Fragment Design Heuer 02 Limited Edition.)