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The Watches

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Story and Photos by Steve Lundin

Travelling through Berlin’s fractured, graffitied and tattooed streets, it’s understandable that Nomos founder Roland Schwertner would have been drawn to the balance, symmetry and inherent calm of the Bauhaus style. It represented an escape from the chaotic environment that was Berlin from before the war to the fall of the wall– and to this day.

The Berlin Wall

The net result of the confluence of Schwertner’s entrepreneurial spirit and a singular moment in history resulted in the formation of one of the most aesthetically pure and culturally reflective watch brands to emerge from Germany.

Uwe Ahrendt, Nomos Glashütte CEO

Schwertner, schooled in technology and photography, found himself, along with millions of other Germans, in a whirling vortex of opportunity with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, signaling the beginning of reunification of West and East Germany under the chant, “Tor auf!”

By the time reunification became official, on October 3, 1990, Schwertner had already made his move to establish a new German watch brand in GlashütteSaxony, where the German watchmaking industry began.

Schwertner wanted to build clean watches, something new and not gaudy, like many of the 1980s watches, with a reference to draftsmanship. He and designer Susanne Günther went through catalogues of watches from Glashütte and found one that was made in 1920s, that was not ornate like most watches of that time,” says Thomas Höhnel, product designer for Nomos Glashütte, and the creative driver behind , the Ahoi, the breakout water resistant sports model that received the Good Design, iF and Goldene Unruh awards. “This exception watch he found was simple and provided inspiration for the first watch.”

Thomas Höhnel, product designer for Nomos Glashütte

Höhnel works at Berlinerblau, the Nomos design studio, located in Berlin in what would be considered the urban part of any city in the world. The Hipster meets Goth meets Businessman meets Mad Max forms the interwoven Kevlar of the human experience that mesh together and drive the pulse of the busy streets surrounding the studio.

Through a courtyard that could have easily been a darkened spy drop during the Cold War, up an industrial steel grey elevator and through imposing doors lies the Nomos cognitive center, the head, populated by a crew of engineers, designers and marketers who feed their ideas to the production facilities in Glashütte, the thundering hands of the company.

“The creative part of the company comes from Berlin, there’s a reason why it’s there,” observes Uwe Ahrendt, CEO of Nomos Glashütte. “The spirit of the place is important. Glashütte is a town of watchmakers, it’s historical, but the design sensibility has to come from Berlin.”

“Berlin experienced chaos and then came together again,” adds Höhnel. “It’s evident everywhere and has helped it to becomes a creative hub.”  Höhnel conducted a thorough history of the company and its products from one of airy, white conference rooms at the Berlin studio.

Inside the Berlin Studio.

Berlinerblau itself is a reflection of the clean symmetry of the company’s design aesthetic, from the Eames furniture to the neat placement of nuts and chocolates thoughtfully positioned on the conference tables. It’s a highly ordered and logical environment, a far cry from the tumult in the streets below.

It started with Tangente

Among the mood boards and many company artifacts dotting Berlinerblau is a group of hand drawn numeric fonts on paper that were utilized in the design of the first family of products, the Orion, Ludwig, Tetra and Tangente, released in 1991. The elegant, elongated font is ascribed to “Suzi,” scrawled on the bottom of the art, however that actual name is lost in history. To everyone working at Nomos today, it’s simply called “the font.”

The original Nomos font, signed by ‘Suzi.”

The Tangente proved the star of the original lineup and is still the number one best-selling model, according to Florian M. Langenbucher, a multilingual watch industry professional and true gentleman who conducted our tour through Nomos’ many facilities.

The Nomos Tangente Update in dark platinum with Neomatik date caliber (DUW 6101).

The Tangente, held in mythic regard by the company, is the most emblematic watch of the entire 150-unit product line and has received multiple industry awards over the years, including the Chrono, iF and the highly coveted international Red Dot awards. Photos of the permutations of the model are everywhere, as are exploded diagrams of its guts, citations of its awards, advertising imagery and a library of articles detailing almost every aspect of its existence. Originally offered as a 39mm manual wound unisex watch with a Swiss movement, the line has expanded to twenty-one models, powered by in-house manual and automatic movements.

Höhnel gently caresses various models of the Tangente as he offers them, with gloved hands, for review.

“Notice how the slim Tangent is raised above the wrist on its lugs,” he observes, “this makes even the smaller models seem bigger.”

Three Nomos Tangente Club Sport neomatik 42 date models, with the first Nomos bracelet, handcrafted using 145 parts.

For Nomos, the Tangente is a challenging canvas for their creative output, as variation in the theme is restrained by  Schwertner’s mandate to not violate the original elemental aspects of the dial and case.

The addition of the crown guards, found on the new Sport Neomatik 42 ($4,980), or the external date ring on the Neomatik 41 update Ruthenium ($4,100), which won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) Challenge Prize, required months of design deliberations and hand wringing before they were green-lighted for production.

“The development process on movements and cases can take up to two years,” says Höhnel. “Every model is reflective of the sensibilities of our audience. We must know how the end user thinks, what they like in design, in architecture, in cars, how they will interact with and use the watch. Sometimes we bring in outside designers, like Mark Braun who worked on the Metro Date Power Reserve ($3,780) a fantastic model with a unique power reserve indicator, to bring a new feel to the line. We work with all kinds of materials and colors just to get to a 3D- printed version that enables our team to interact with the product. Sometimes you just have to put a project down and let it sit for awhile.”

      Outside parties involved in the process include the case makers, hand makers and strap makers, with a supply chain that stretches all the way to the United States.

And then there was Glashütte

Two hours south of Berlin, near the famous city of Dresden, lies the small town of Glashütte, population 7,000, located in a valley that is home to more than ten watchmakers and manufacturers. It is here that the Nomos production facilities turn the ideas of the Berlin studio into a tangible product.

Nomos headquarters at the former Glashütte train station.

The pioneering work of Ferdinand Adolph Lange (of A. Lange and Söhne) established the area as a source of German watches, an alternative to importing Swiss products, while leveraging the local workforce. His work served to germinate a generation of watchmakers and parts suppliers that would ultimately work with other famous brands from the region including Tutima and Muhle-Glashütte.

Wartime production of aviation watches and timing devices to support the Axis military earned the region a target designation in WWII, and Allied bombers destroyed many of the factories and railways. After the war Germany was divided and Glashütte was now located in Soviet East Germany: the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Soviets seized the machinery as part of war reparations and began converting production to timekeeping pieces for Soviet consumption. In 1951, pre-war era private enterprises were outlawed and all commercial assets and intellectual property were combined to form the state-controlled Glashütte Uhrenbetrieb (GUB). The fall of the wall passed control of the GUB to the newly forming German Republic, and created opportunities for the legacy companies– and entrepreneurs like Schwertner.

Forming Nomos

For a German watch company, association with the name Glashütte represents an elite status. To receive the designation “Made in Glashütte/Sa,” more than fifty percent of the watches’ value has to be created on location. Protection of this identifying mark is strictly enforced by the manufacturers in the region, who have sought legal channels in the past against transgressors who have falsely identified the origin in their products, in the same manner that champagne producers guard the use of their region’s output to products made specifically in the Champagne region of France.

By locating production in Glashütte and design in Berlin, Schwertner successfully capitalized on two of the country’s hallmark regions.

Schwertner acquired the rights to several now defunct German companies, one of which was Nomos-Uhr-Gesellschaft, Guido Müller & Co. This company was in operation between 1906-1910 and was put out of business by other Glashütte companies for misleading advertising that indicated that it was producing authentic, assembled-in-Glashütte products.

Ironically Schwertner’s Nomos would later sue watch manufacturer Mühle, in 2007, for the same violation, driving Mühle into Chapter 11 insolvency. Mühle Glashütte returned to regular production in 2008, after agreeing to ensure that their production process added at least fifty percent of the value of the watch in Glashütte.

The Glashütte Name

“America represents our most important growth area, followed by the U.K. and Asia. The strength of the Glashütte name, the power of our brand and the quality we deliver for the money will help us become top brands in those areas,” said Ahrendt, from his stunning glass- walled office located in the town’s converted train station with direct views of competitors A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original.

Uwe Ahrendt’s vintage Mercedes

Ahrendt arrived in a vintage pastel blue Mercedes and is himself a reflective embodiment of the brand. He carries the Berliner sense of style on the frame of a Saxon boxer, a hybridization of the intersection of the two regions.

“Our move to in-house movements represents two things: our liberation from suppliers and a demonstration of our innovation,” adds Ahrendt.

“We produce all our own calibers, including the Alpha, our original hand-wound movement, and six others, and our award-winning automatics. They are all sleek, highly crafted movements that represent the highest standards of engineering.”

The Nomos Alpha 01 movement

The Nomos production facilities are spread across several buildings in Glashütte and house technologies and capabilities equal to most tier-one manufacturers. Nomos worked with the Technical University of Dresden and invested 12 million Euros to develop its escapement and swing system, critical core elements of any watch movement, released in 2014. This move freed Nomos from relying on external suppliers, such as the monolithic Swatch Group, for this important element.

Nomos base plates.

The spotless facilities employ hundreds of skilled personnel who are involved with all aspects of the watchmaking processes. CNC machining equipment turns out base plates, which join over over 150 smaller parts made of brass, steel and other materials that are manufactured, ground, polished and finally assembled to pump out the region’s highest volume of products.

In 2015 Nomos released its 3.2 mm height DUW (Deutsche Uhrenwerke) 3001 Neomatik caliber automatic movement, an ultra-slim creation loyal to the brand’s style aesthetic.

The Nomos DUW 3001 movement, showing balance bridge.

This movement became the seed from which the entire automatic line grew, and the basis for the highly impressive DUW 5201, found in the Tangomat GMT ($4,920) and Zurich World Time ($6,100) models. Nomos’ current in-house produced calibers include the manual-wound Alpha, found in the original Tangente, and the DUW 1001, DUW 2002, DUW 4101, DUW 4301, and DUW 4401. Automatic movements include the DUW 3001, DUW 5001, DOW 5101, DUW 5201, DUW 6101 Epsilon and Zeta.  Collectively this impressive list of movements power thirteen families of watches and 150 models.

The Nomos Metro in a 33mm rose gold case.
The sapphire caseback of the Nomos Metro rose gold 33 shows the Nomos hand-wound Alpha caliber.

Price is one of the key differentiators of the Nomos brand, and something that’s repeatedly referred to by company representatives at every level. There is no one involved with the company that isn’t aware of the high level of quality and craftsmanship being delivered.

“Unlike most companies, when we produce a limited edition model we actually offer them at a lower price, like our ‘Century of Bauhaus’ Tangente commemorative model,” says Langenbucher.

“This market ethos also carries throughout the entire brand line. Look at the Metro Rose Gold 33, for $7,200 or the Tangente Neomatik 41 with a rare Ruthenium dial for $4,100. These are incredible products for the money,” he adds.

The Club Campus Neomatik 39 with midnight blue dial.

Speaking of money, when asked why Nomos continues to remain independent in spite of numerous offers from other companies, Ahrendt has a thoughtful response.

“We produce a watch called the Lambda Rose Gold, reference 930. It’s a fine, elegant men’s gold watch and if you look carefully at the balance cock you will see the words inscribed by hand, ‘lovingly produced in Glashütte.’ We put that there because it’s fun to do so. To answer the question, we won’t sell because we, and all the families that work with us, are just having too much fun.”

Four Nomos Duo models, all with white silver-plated dial, a brown dial font and a beige-colored velour leather strap.

And where will the company be in five years?

“Sharing our vision of quality and fun in many more markets internationally,” he adds. And if the meteoric rise of Nomos over the past twenty-nine years is any indication of future growth, this company may one day become a household name like other well-known and loved international brands.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of International Watch.

 

Even though the Monaco Grand Prix, originally scheduled for last weekend, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAG Heuer is still presenting a special-edition timepiece in tribute to the event and to the Monaco collection.

The new TAG Heuer Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition features the race’s red-and-white color, but now includes a small silver classic car logo at the 1 o’clock position in honor of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique race.

Additional race-imagery can be found on the caseback where TAG Heuer has printed the race’s logo on the inside of the transparent sapphire glass.

Inside, and visible through that caseback, TAG Heuer fits its in-house Caliber Heuer 02 chronograph movement, featuring a column wheel and a vertical clutch. The movement also offers an unusually long 80-hour power reserve. The new watch is to be made in a limited edition of 1,000, each of which is engraved with its unique number and the words “One of 1000”.

As is often the case with its limited editions, TAG Heuer is placing the new watch in its a themed package, which in this case is a red watch box decorated with a checkered racing flag. The new watch is available for pre-orders via www.tagheuer.com and in select TAG Heuer boutiques before its launch on July 27, 2020.

A scene from an earlier running of the Monaco Grand Prix Historiques, which was canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

TAG Heuer is the Official Sponsor and Timekeeper of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique as well as the Official Watch of the Monaco Grand Prix and the Official Watch Partner of the Monaco Top Cars Collection museum.

Price: CHF 6,700 (or approximately $6,885)

Specifications: TAG Heuer Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition

(Reference CBL2114.FC6486, limited to 1,000 watches)

MOVEMENT: TAG Heuer Automatic Caliber Heuer 02 Manufacture automatic chronograph, 33 jewels, balance oscillating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), 80-hour power reserve

FUNCTIONS: Chronograph with minutes and hours, permanent second indicator; date, hours, minutes; central chronograph seconds hand.

CASE: 39mm fine-brushed and polished steel, fixed bezel, sapphire crystal with Grand Prix de Monaco Historique logo printing on the back, polished stainless-steel crown at 3 o’clock and push buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock, water-resistant to 100 meters, stainless-steel case back with limited-edition number engraving.

DIAL: Rhodium-plated red sunray brushed dial, rhodium-plated indexes and hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova, red lacquered central hand, Grand Prix de Monaco Historique logo at 1 o’clock on the dial.

STRAP: Black calfskin leather strap, folding clasp in polished stainless steel

 

 

Grand Seiko and The Watches of Switzerland Group have together developed a new watch within Grand Seiko’s acclaimed GMT series. The new Grand Seiko Toge Special Edition combines influences from both entities in the partnership, notably classic British Racing Green that has been sensibly placed onto Grand Seiko’s beautifully textured Mount Iwate dial.

 

Grand Seiko derives the name of the GMT watch from Tōgè, or a mountain pass. Grand Seiko says the color and texture of the dark green dial, “subtly evoke the image of a drive over the many ridges of Mount Iwate in Northern Japan.”  

Inside Grand Seiko places its excellent Caliber 9S66 (tested to -3 to +5 seconds per day) with its MEMS escapement and a 72-hour power reserve.

Using a 39.5mm case designed Grand Seiko Chief Designer Nobuhiro Kosugi, the new watch displays a crescent moon-shaped profile with curved lugs that Grand Seiko polishes using the Zaratsu technique.

The watch’s green dial nicely complements the prominent gold GMT hand, both of which echo the brown leather strap with green stitching. Note that the textured dial pattern takes a break along the 24-hour track to ensure the track is clearly visible.    

The new Grand Seiko Toge Special Edition (SBGM241) will be offered in July exclusively at Watches of Switzerland boutiques and select Mayors locations in the United States, as well as Watches of Switzerland stores in the United Kingdom. It will also be sold online at www.watchesofswitzerland.com and www.mayors.com. Price: $5,200.

Those who prefer to see the watch on the wrist prior to making any purchase decision can take advantage of a new Augmented Reality (AR) experience that allows consumers to ‘try on’ the Grand Seiko Toge Special Edition at home through an Instagram and Facebook filter. To use the Instagram filter, click here.

Specifications: Grand Seiko / The Watches of Switzerland Group Toge Special Edition: (SBGM241)

Movement: Grand Seiko Caliber 9S66, mechanical GMT with 72-hour power reserve, accurate to +5/-3 seconds per day (when static)

Case: 39.5mm by 13.7mm steel with box shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through case back

Dial: Green textured ‘Mount Iwate’

Strap: Crocodile leather with three-fold clasp push button release

 

The green-tinted sapphire crystal display on the upper level of the new Bell & Ross BR03-92 HUD offers the illusion of a digital Head Up Display, or HUD. Bell & Ross echoes HUD, a technical navigation display that was born in the 1950s and is today found in civil and automotive displays, on the new limited edition 42mm matte-black ceramic watch.

This newest release in the Bell & Ross Flight Instrument family follows previous models that include the BR 01 Radar (from 2010) the BR 01 Turn Coordinator, the BR 01 Heading Indicator and last year’s BR03-92 Bi-Compass.  

For those not versed in navigation-speak, the HUD display’s primary function in a cockpit is to keep the pilot focused on the target ahead without having to move his or her eyes off the line of sight. Bell & Ross mimics the HUD display by assembling three layers: the hands, the dial surface and the reverse side of the crystal.

 

On the reverse side of the crystal, Bell & Ross prints four brackets that immediately recall the four corners of the HUD line of sight display. On the middle level, note that the black and green hands (minutes and seconds) are essentially hidden, with their visibility determined by their luminosity. And finally, the independent central hour disc is blackened with the hours indicated by a green triangle marker.

Bell & Ross adds that the overall graphic style and the green coloring of the BR03-92 HUD also closely echo the typical HUD display. The sapphire crystal is green thanks to a special tint applied to the under side of the crystal.

 

Bell & Ross is supplying the new BR03-92 HUD with a black rubber strap and a black synthetic fabric strap. Price: $3,990. Available in June.

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR0392-HUD-CE/SRB

A 999-piece limited edition

Movement: Automatic mechanical Caliber BR-CAL. 302

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date.

Case: 42mm matte black ceramic, water resistant to 100 meters.

Dial: Black with central hour disc, numerals, indices and hands painted with Super-LumiNova

Crystal: Green sapphire with anti-reflective coating. 
 Four right angles painted with green SuperLumiNova.

Straps: Black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric. With pin buckle of black PVD-coated steel.

 

 

The new Ball Watch Company Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps is actually a series of steel-cased 40mm or 43mm three-hand watches or GMT steel watches, also made in two sizes (40mm or 44mm). And while all the watches are designed to fit within Ball’s Engineer collection, this new iteration salutes the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. Marines with the Marine Corps emblem on the dial of each model.

The Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT.

Every watch of course features Ball’s well-known always-lit micro gas tubes on the markers and hands for high legibility in darkness. Within the tubes, molecules of H3 gas emit luminous energy for at least twenty-five years without ever needing any input from an external source of light or energy.

Ball 36 micro-gas tubes light up the dial of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT, available in 40mm or 44mm sizes.

The GMT Model, which also features a power reserve indictor on the dial, displays its dual time subdial at 12 o’clock and its 42-hour power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters thanks to its screw-down crown and is anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m. As an online exclusive, the Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT is limited to 1,000 pieces, each priced at $1,549.

The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, with steel TiC-coated black case.
The solid, engraved caseback of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps boasts about its strong anti-magnetic properties.
The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, showing steel case and bracelet.

With all- black titanium carbide-coated 43mm cases and black rubber straps ($1,699, or $1,499 for the 40mm model w/steel bracelets), the three-hand models are more contemporary in style. Ball’s own Mu-metal shielding protects the automatic movement from magnetic fields up to 80,000A/m. This Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps watch is also water resistant up to 100 meters, thanks to its screw-down crown.

 

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 40mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition of 1,000: Price: $1,499, or $1,279 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, Black case
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 43mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition: Price: $1,649 or $1,399 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT

Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1302
36 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Dual Time display
42 hours power reserve indicator
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and date
Dimensions: 40mm or 44 mm
Anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Sapphire crystal transparent case back
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet
Limited edition: Price: $1,549
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

 

 

Among the many watches for women we’ve seen released in the early weeks of 2020, here are a seven that would make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift. 

Zenith
Defy Midnight
As we’ve shown you in multiple posts since the event, the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai was a big one for women’s watch debuts, with both Zenith and Bulgari in particular focusing on feminine styles. Impressed as we are with Zenith’s reworked Elite Classic and Elite Moonphase models, those models will appeal to men and women. However, Zenith’s entirely new Defy Midnight is designed from scratch to be the Le Locle-based watchmaker’s collection for women. Its 36mm size and star-centric diamond dial convey Zenith’s ‘time to reach your star’ tag line with glittering aplomb while the trio of additional straps seals the deal. Prices start at $8,600 (without diamond bezel).  


   

Bulgari
Serpenti Seduttori (103361) Steel and Diamonds
While the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon highlights Bulgari’s 2020 offerings for ladies, the ongoing Serpenti Seduttori collection includes five new models, many of which mix diamonds and rose gold with steel. This 33mm steel and diamond watch features an opaline silver-toned dial and a very Valentine cabochon pink rubelite crown. These hexagonal bracelets lay particularly well on any wrist. Price: $6,850


 

 

 


Frederique Constant
Classics Art Déco Round
This Geneva-based watchmaker always offers an enviable collection of nicely priced watches for women, and its newest Classics Art Deco models nicely underscore that focus. Three of the five new 30mm models combine a guilloché sunray center with a mother-of-pearl outer dial within a first-ever (for this collection) round case. This steel-cased version pops with its guilloché center and blue mother-of-pearl dial, with a perfectly polished steel case and bracelet reflecting the light. Price: $850 euros, or about $930. 

 


Alpina
Alpinar Comtesse Sport Quartz 
Frederique Constant’s sister brand adds three new models to its Alpiner Comtesse Sport Quartz, a set of 36.5mm quartz-powered models we first saw in 2015. In black, blue and white, each watch offers matching bezel and a steel bracelet, with the black-dialed model set with a blackened steel case and bracelet.  As with previous models, the markings on the dials are studded with eight diamonds and include large luminescent hands and the date at 6 o’clock. Pricing starts at 695 euros, or about $760.

 

 

 


Blancpain
Valentine’s Day Marilyn Monroe 
Blancpain is debuting an evening watch based on a Blancpain watch once owned by Marilyn Monroe. The small rectangular white gold watch features an Art Deco style case set with 84 diamonds, sometimes in superposed rows, including two marquise-cut gems. The mother-of-pearl dial, inlaid with two hearts, is adorned with two brilliant-cut diamonds and two butterflies made of diamond and ruby hearts. Inside is an all-new rectangular caliber 510, a major new addition to the Blancpain collection. Issued in a 14-piece limited edition, the Blancpain Valentine’s Day 2020 watch is available with a calf leather strap secured by a pin buckle set with a brilliant-cut diamond.  Price: $37,400.

 

 


Breguet
Classique 9065

As we first showed you earlier this year, the newest Breguet Classique 9065 takes on a new, darker look with a stunning Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial. Also new is the rich red heart on the seconds hand, possibly employed by Breguet to remind the wearer of the passing time.  The new 33.5mm rose gold watch stands apart from earlier examples not only due to the new dial and rotating heart, but also for its red ruby crown, a garnet-colored date window (framed in rose gold) and an iridescent red satin strap. For enhanced glamour, Breguet also sets eighty-eight brilliant-cut diamonds along the bezel and on the lugs. Inside you will find Breguet’s automatic 591A caliber. Breguet is offering the watch as part of a series of twenty-eight numbered timepieces to be sold at certain Breguet boutiques.
Price: $28,600.


G-Shock
Transparent Rose Gold

An finally, take your pick from this all-new trio of G-SHOCK 1990s-inspired women’s watches, just in time for Valentine’s day. This clear-cased series includes a range of timepieces from G-SHOCK’s popular GMAS110, GMAS120 and GMDS6900 models that also add clear resin bands and rose-gold-colored metallic accents. Two models feature circular cases with large side buttons, while the third boasts the classic three-eye G-Shock digital LCD display.

The GMAS110SR-7A and GMAS120SR-7A sell for $140 each, while the GMDS6900SR-7 is priced at $110.


 

A steely galvanized blue emanates from the dial, hands and case and even the onion crown on a new 41mm steel watch.

The prominent minute hand and separate hour and seconds subdials on a regulator watch can resemble an automotive dashboard, particularly when placed on sporty watches, according to Chronoswiss. But while this modern marketing comparison does correctly reference the regulator’s historical role as a highly visible set of precision dials, not unlike a racecar dashboard, it suffers a bit in historical context. 

There were of course no cars when regulator dials were used as time-setting and adjustment references for the watchmakers in horological ateliers two centuries ago. But I understand the comparison, especially given this Lucerne-based watchmaker’s decades-long effort to pitch the regulator dial’s legibility. 

Last year’s Regulator Classic Carbon Racer is possibly the clearest example of how well Chronoswiss has been remaking regulator dials for the modern era. On that watch, the dial’s carbon mesh and its speedometer font successfully deliver a sporty regulator layout, complete with a racecar wheel rim seconds subdial. 

The newest Chronoswiss Regulator bathes the brand’s Classic design in blue, specifically a steely galvanized blue, which emanates from the dial, hands and case and even the onion crown of the 41mm steel watch. Even the luminosity is blue as the hour and minute hands and the index dots are painted with an ‘intense blue’ SuperLuminova hue. 

Dubbed the Regulator Classic Blue Steel, the watch retains all the regulator necessities, with a prominent central minutes hand and smaller hours and seconds subdials above and below the center. Dial finishing includes guilloché on the hour subdial and a brighter shade of lacquer for the hands.  

Also note the skeletonized small second display (at 6 o’clock) that offers the wearer a glimpse of the Chronoswiss caliber C. 295, automatic movement from the dial. Of course, the movement is also visible through the sapphire caseback, a wristwatch feature Chronoswiss pioneered in the 1980s. 

Beyond the case and dial, the Regulator Classic Blue Steel also demonstrates its blue demeanor with a hand-stitched alligator strap colored with layers of dark blue and black. 

Price: $4,950.


Specifications:
Chronoswiss
Regulator Classic Blue Steel 

Movement: Chronoswiss caliber C. 295 (ETA-based with Chronoswiss regulator mechanism), automatic, with stop seconds, engraved, rhodium-plated rotor, with Côtes de Genève and ball bearing; polished pallet lever, escape wheel and screws; bridges and plates with perlage 

Case: 41mm by 12.7 mm stainless steel with blue coating PVD, with satin finish and polished bezel with partial knurling and curved, double coated anti- reflective sapphire crystal, screw-down case back with satin finish and sapphire crystal, onion crown, water resistance up to 100 meters, strap holders screwed down with patented Autobloc system 

Dial: Galvanic blue, scales with circular-graining, interior of hour display with guilloché details, skeletonized small seconds display. Hands are Trigono shaped and lacquered; SuperLuminova inlays 

Strap: Louisiana alligator leather, hand-sewn and dyed by hand 

 

        Bell & Ross this week unveils three automatic watches within its vintage-military BR-V2 collection, all equipped with NATO fabric straps. Two of the 41mm debuts are steel-cased models (one is a GMT and the other is a three-hand model with date) while the third is bronze-cased bi-compax chronograph.

        Bell & Ross is offering each new model with its own blue or green color with matching dials, bezels and straps. Two of the new watches are also available with a steel bracelet, while the bronze-cased chronograph, a limited edition of 999, is only sold with its blue NATO strap. 

 

The new Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT.

BR V2-93 GMT Blue

With a nod to the BR V2-93 GMT 24H launched in 2018, this latest GMT edition offers a 41mm steel case with a metallic blue sunray pattern dial. And in case you’re not aware of the aviation-linked GMT functionality, Bell & Ross has placed an aircraft-styled counterweight on the seconds hand.

 

Around the dial you’ll see a bi-directional rotating bezel in two-tone anodized aluminum (grey for daytime and blue for night-time), which means the time in a second time zone (shown on a 24-hour scale) can be read using the arrow-tipped GMT hand. All four hands and all the indexes are coated with white SuperLuminova.

 

 

                                                              BR V2-92 Military Green

The BR V2-92 Military Green model is the most basic of these three debuts, with its three-hand timekeeping, date and anti-reflective matte khaki dial.

       Here, Bell & Ross has treated the dial to echo those in the existing Bell & Ross “LUM” collection, which means it is treated with green SuperLuminova. And as we’ve seen in the Bell & Ross Vintage collection, this BR V2-92 is also equipped with domed sapphire crystal and a black bi-directional rotating bezel in anodized aluminum. Note that the date, in a nice military detail, is at 4.30 and is colored the same khaki green color as the dial.

BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze

To maintain the vintage décor found on the entire Bell & Ross Vintage BR Aéronavale collection, here the brand extends the look with a bronze-cased edition, limited edition to 999 pieces. Bell & Ross’s bronze formula, comprised of 91% copper, 7% aluminum and 2% silicon, noticeably tilts on the yellow side of traditional bronze tints.

The new Bell & Ross BR V2-94-Aeronavale Bronze, on a blue canvas strap.

        

 Like other watches in the Bell & Ross Vintage series, this new BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze features a fixed bezel, here in navy blue anodized aluminum. The watch’s blue dial, nicely set with gilt metal indexes and numerals, is a luxurious example of historic bi-compax chronograph subdials. This chronograph also features screw-down pushers and skeletonized hands coated with white SuperLuminova.

 

 Prices: BR V2-93 GMT Blue // elastic canvas strap $3,200 // steel bracelet $3,500

 BR V2-92 Military Green // elastic canvas strap $2,990 // steel bracelet $3,300

 BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze // Limited to 999 PCS // $5,200

At LVMH Watch Week in mid-January, Zenith debuted a new Defy collection made specifically for women. 

Called Defy Midnight, the line of 36mm steel watches is wide-ranging, with a selection of star-flecked dials on gradient blue, grey and mother-of-pearl dials. Every watch includes a steel bracelet and three additional leather straps, a set that represents a level of customization previously not found with any Zenith collection.    

We spoke with Zenith CEO Julien Tornare about Zenith’s path to the Defy Midnight collection. Read his comments below, in which Tornare also teases us just a bit about upcoming Zenith debuts.  

 

iW: Why launch a new collection for women? 

Julien Tornare: From the moment I came on board at Zenith, I was asked about creating new watches for women. This took time because first we addressed changes needed in the Elite and Chronomaster collections. I couldn’t do it all at the same time for many reasons, but we did address those once we saw that the Defy collections were a success. 

For women, we had models in Elite and in the Pilot collection.  But for a long time we didn’t have a complete strategy on women’s watches. 

 

What were your primary considerations when approaching the Defy Midnight design? 

My first thought was to create watches for women of the 21st-century, for today. That meant we needed to do that within Defy, which is our modern-focused collection. We needed to combine emotion and something rational. By that I mean a good tool for 21st century women.  

We worked within the ‘Time to Reach Your Star’ Zenith marketing concept, which focuses on achievement, being someone very active. To represent that we wanted to have the sky on the dial, so we have the sky and the stars on the dial. And among these stars is your star, the one you are looking for – the one you want to grab, to reach. This could be in your private life or in your business, your sports or your arts. We all have stars we want to reach.  

This is the emotion of the collection, the story. So first I wanted to have this dimension to the new collection.

Then we realized that women of the 21st-century often have four lives in one. My wife reminds me of this quite often, that women are quite better at multitasking than men. So I wanted a watch that women could use in different circumstances.  

We did not invent interchangeability for straps.  But we may be the first to sell the watch with a bracelet and an additional three straps. 

A woman of the 21st-century has many lives, and her day moves quickly.  Perhaps going to the gym wearing the bracelet, then changing it to the strap for a cocktail in the evening. We are offering four watches in one.

 

What about the technical aspects of the watch? 

I have always been against using quartz movements only for women’s watches and mechanical movements for men’s models. I think that is totally old-fashioned and wrong.  We do have more and more women telling us they want a mechanical watch, something sophisticated, and not with a battery. 

For the Defy Midnight Dials, we first thought about the starry sky that you can see when you visit our manufacture. And, our logo is a star. So we placed a sky on the dial in several colors, but it’s always with the stars. The star symbol is very positive around the world in many different areas. Ratings are given in stars.  Hollywood has stars. Zenith is lucky to have a star as its logo. We want to capitalize much more on that. 

 

How will you support the collection in your marketing?

‘Dream Her’ is a concept we’ll be doing this year in which we invite women who have achieved great things in very different fields to discuss their lives.  We will host events where this takes place. We are going to accompany these events with huge exhibitions. We will do these around the world, and they will each last about a week. 

 

(Zenith’s Elite Classic )

How have you changed the Elite collection?

We needed to update the design of the Elite collection. As you know I used to work for a classic brand, so I know what I wanted for Elite. It was a good thing that we had a successful Defy collection, which gave us the time to work on Elite, as well as Chronomaster. 

If you want to do a classic watch, which by the way can be the most difficult to design, we have to go for elegance. If you buy a watch like that, it is because you want an elegant watch. 

We worked on the case, the lugs, and looked within our own history. We refined the lugs and made a thin case– and added more value to the dial.  I thought that some of the earlier models were a bit flat and without emotion.

This is why we settled on a sunburst dial that is actually quite costly to create. I am so happy to relaunch this, because I believe there are always clients for an elegant watch. 

(Zenith’s new Elite Moonphase)

Can you offer our readers a peek at upcoming Zenith debuts? 

This will be a very interesting year for Zenith. Remember that last year we had all the 50th anniversary celebrations where we launched all of the revival limited editions for Chronomaster. The massive interest in Chronomaster leads us to our April debuts this year. 

You will also see another version of Defy coming this spring. This is the collection where we can play with colors and with limited editions. But Chronomaster must be linked to our history, so it will remain as you know it.  

Oris Carysfort Reef Limited Edition

Oris has introduced an impressive series of limited edition dive watches over the years, many of which incorporate a philanthropic cause into their finely engineered designs. The just-introduced Lake Baikal Limited Edition, for example, was created in partnership with the Lake Baikal Foundation to help raise funds to conserve the world’s deepest freshwater lake. 

Oris last week carried on its environmental fund-raising by introducing the Carysfort Reef Limited Edition, a significant new watch on two fronts: in its composition—it is the company’s first Aquis model in solid gold—and in its mission to help support the Coral Restoration Foundation, with which Oris has been working since 2014.

Based on the Oris Aquis GMT, the Carysfort Reef Limited Edition comprises just fifty pieces, each with a blue dial and SuperLuminova-filled hour markers and hands. The self-winding Oris 798 (base SW 330-1) movement that powers the watch offers hours, minutes, seconds, 24 hours and date, with a power reserve of forty-two hours.

Oris Carysfort Reef Limited Edition

The watch’s 43.5mm yellow gold case provides water resistance to 300 meters and features an 18-karat security crown and a bi-color rotating bezel. The caseback has a sapphire crystal inlay decorated with a Carysfort Reef motif and the number of the watch within the edition. 

The watch’s namesake, Carysfort Reef, is in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary near Key Largo, and it is part of the Florida Reef Tract—the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only barrier reef in the U.S. Since 2014 the Coral Restoration Foundation has been working to restore the reef, which has severely degraded over recent decades. The foundation has made great strides, this year aiming to return 30,000 corals to the reef—up from 25,000 last year.

And this is where the Oris Carysfort Reef Limited edition steps in. Oris is donating three watches to the cause, slated for auction over the next few months, and the funds raised will go directly to supporting the foundation’s work.

The watch, available in April, is fitted on a blue rubber-coated leather strap with an 18-karat gold pin buckle. Price: $19,000.