Arnold & Son has dressed one of its most impressive watches, the Globetrotter, in red gold, to create the Globetrotter Gold, effectively underscoring the luxury of this model’s world-time functionality.
Previously available cased in steel, the 45mm Globetrotter takes on a new golden glow, especially with its massive openworked bridge now so richly polished in the same gold used to case the watch.
That arched bridge does more that catch the eye. It holds a functional ruby atop the domed Northern Hemisphere dial. Reading world times starts at the ruby, where the eye imagines the start of a longitude line that extends to the 24-hour sapphire ring that surrounds the dial. The wearer identifies local time simply by reading the red hands pointing to the gold indexes.
With this Globetrotter Gold, Arnold & Son enhanced the elegance of the Globetrotter with new accents of both gold and deep blue. The dial’s appliqué indexes are faceted in red gold (and also painted in SuperLuminova). Artisans have also painted the oceans with several coats of blue-pigmented lacquer enriched with pearlescent powder, which means their glow is richer than you might expect for such a small detail. Also, note that Arnold & Son has lightened the coastlines, adding more SuperLuminova to enhance their visiblity in the dark. In contrast, all the mountain ranges are matte finished.
Look for equally fine finishing on the in-house automatic caliber A&S6022, which is visible through the sapphire back. The movement’s 22-karat gold oscillating weight is skeletonized and features the Clou de Paris guilloché pattern. For an added touch of elegance, the brand’s finishers have matched the high-quality anthracite movement plating to the red gold case.
Arnold & Son will make twenty-eight editions of the Globetrotter Gold. Price: CHF 41,900, or about $45,800.
Corum’s newest Bubble, called Bubble X-Ray, pays tribute to the first Bubble watches from 2000. That’s the year the late Severin Wunderman, the former Corum owner, debuted the Bubble collection, which from the beginning included a skull-dialed model. The eccentric domed Bubble design quickly became an object of desire for a wave of collectors in search of unconventional watches.
Hidden as a child during the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII, Wunderman was “obsessed with life, death and the concept of Dia de Muertos, a celebration where friends and family gather to honor the dead in a festive manner,” according to Corum. He expressed his darker obsessions within many Corum Bubble designs over the years, including with themes like the Bubble Jolly Roger, to Bubble Lucifer, Bats, Nightflyer and others.
The new Corum Bubble X Ray recalls many of those designs with a stylized skull dial just beneath the large domed sapphire crystal, which slightly distorts the image. The skull is luminescent and glows green in the dark, adding to its otherworldly appeal. Corum even adds fluorescent green stitching to the Bubble X-Ray’s rubber-lined synthetic alligator-like strap.
Corum has blackened the steel case with a black PVD treatment and has placed a clear sapphire case back on it to allow a view of the automatic movement inside. The domed front crystal and the back crystal are coated with an anti-reflective treatment.
Corum will make eighty-eight of the limited edition 47mm Bubble X-Ray. Price: $4,000. And if the series is sold out before your purchase, take heart. Corum says the X Ray is just the first of several new Bubble watches.
Watchmakers have been multiplying their automotive and motorsports collaborations in recent years. In this four-part series, we review a few of the most prominent timekeeping/racing alliances.
By Y-Jean Mun-DelSalle
For many connoisseurs, the love for watches and cars often go hand in hand. The similarities are endless: Performance, precision, complex engines, material innovation, new technologies, stunning design and the pursuit of excellence. Horological brands are rarely without a carmaker or racing team by their side.
This is not a new phenomenon. The watch and automobile industries have a long history of collaboration.
Starting out of necessity, watchmakers began working with car manufacturers to supply dashboard clocks. Horological brands then started partnering with motor racing teams as official timekeepers, from recording lap times to race times, and automotive timepieces have become an accepted part of watch companies’ marketing strategies.
Today, watchmakers are creating timepieces to pay tribute to a specific car model, race, racing driver or event. In this special three-part series, we’ll take a closer look at the automotive alliances forged by Bell & Ross, B.R.M Chronographes, Casio, Ernst Benz, Girard-Perregaux, Richard Mille and TAG Heuer.
This week, we highlight Bell & Ross and B.R.M Chronographes.
Bell & Ross
Since 2016, Bell & Ross has partnered with the Renault F1 Team – rebranded the Alpine F1 Team after the famous racing cars. This year Bell & Ross has become its official timekeeper, releasing ultra-sporty watches every racing season.
Launching the Alpine F1 Team collection this year, Bell & Ross welcomes a sixth generation of Renault timepieces. The three A521 chronographs – referencing the current Alpine A521 single-seater – echo Alpine’s visual identity, especially the constructor’s blue, black and white color codes and the advanced materials tested on F1 cars.
Common features may be found on the vintage round BR V3-94 and the square BR 03-94 timekeepers, both in steel: two stopwatch counters reflect the racing car’s wheel rims, the counterweight of the central second hand adopts Alpine’s stylized “A” and a tiny red, white and blue flag at six o’clock recalls Alpine’s French origins.
In a limited edition of fifty pieces, the more sophisticated BR-X1 in titanium, ceramic and rubber showcases ergonomic toggle push-buttons reminiscent of the paddles on a F1 racing car steering wheel, while a rubber shell protects the case from impacts. The open-worked dial offers a glimpse inside the skeleton mechanism that features a symbolic X-shaped central bridge. Alpine F1 Team members will wear these watches throughout 2021.
Last November, Bell & Ross initiated a collaboration with Bollinger Motors, an American electric vehicle maker founded in 2014 by Robert Bollinger. Bell & Ross paired the BR 03-92 Black Matte timepiece with the off-road Bollinger B1 SUV, both taking the square shape, functionality and minimalism to the extreme.
“If the BR 03 were a car, it would be this one,” says Bruno Belamich, Bell & Ross creative director and co-founder. “The Bollinger B1 is to the automobile what the BR 03 is to watchmaking: a 100% utility object designed by engineers for extreme thrill-seekers.”
As a French watch brand with multiple motorsports collaborations, B.R.M keeps strengthening its competitive pedigree and producing timepieces fully embracing the racing spirit so dear to its founder and CEO Bernard Richards. He notes that even during the past year B.R.M hadn’t ceased developing new collaborations and exclusive models.
This year, B.R.M. is still signing partnerships while gradually finding its way back to racetracks and a full calendar of events worldwide. This is an encouraging signal for the future of the independent, family-run manufacture.
Perhaps the most significant news this year for B.R.M. is official timing partnership with DS Techeetah, the most successful Formula E team. For the deal, B.R.M has created a three-hand watch and a chronograph in the colors of the Chinese racing team, each limited to twenty-one pieces.
In North America, B.R.M’s involvement in racing started in 2009 as official timekeeper of the Atlantic Championship. Since then it has participated in pretty much every series in the United States. B.R.M is present at IndyCar with Colton Herta and Steinbrenner Racing, and in Nascar with Santino Ferrucci.
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe signed on with B.R.M. this year, as did Nascar driver Corey LaJoie. Both drivers co-designed and now wear a special B.R.M watch.
B.R.M also joined forces with Derek DeBoer of the TRG team in SRO GT racing and just released a new watch collection with the Skip Barber Racing School, America’s premier racing school. DeBoer is a brand ambassador for the school.
B.R.M has also collaborated with Corvette and Corvette Racing since 2015, launching multiple timepieces. For the Historic Sportscar Racing series, with which it has partnered since 2014, B.R.M sponsors the Endurance Challenge.
And finally, since 2017, B.R.M has produced numerous models with Martini Racing, whose dials are adorned with the Italian brand’s famous blue and red stripes, matched with B.R.M’s trademark drilled holes on the hands, crown, pushers and strap.
Next Week: Casio and Ernst Benz
Y-Jean Mun-DelSalleis a freelance journalist and editorial consultant who has lived on three different continents. She meets with inspirational individuals in pursuit of excellence: emerging and established artists, designers and craftsmen, engaging entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and the movers and shakers of the world today. She contributes regularly to regional and international titles such as Artsy, Asia Tatler, Design Anthology, Forbes, Portfolio, Robb Report, Shawati’ and Vogue, shining a spotlight in particular on art, architecture, design, horology and jewelry.
For seventeen summers Frederique Constant has released a new Vintage Rally limited edition series, which the Geneva-based watchmaker dedicates to collectors of classic Austin-Healey vintage automobiles. The annual debut rarely disappoints, and this year’s releases are no exception.
This year’s highlight is an all-grey Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds, with a range of the contemporary color on its dial, strap, steel case, index hour markers and hands.
The dressy 40mm watch sports the original Healey logo on the dial, just adjacent to the off-center small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. Around the decidedly matte dial is the flange displaying the sixty-minute scale. Frederique Constant has engraved each watch’s caseback with a Healey automobile in action. (See below for additional technical details).
Frederique Constant will make 888 examples of the grey-dialed Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds, with each arriving in a gift set alongside a miniature replica of a vintage Austin-Healy automobile.
For buyers outside the United States, or by special order in the United States, two additional Vintage Rally watches are also available.
For these ‘international models” Frederique Constant offers a green dial and a blue dial, both colors that allude to the Austin-Healey company. One model features British racing green while the other offers a dial in navy blue within a rose gold-plated case. This model’s hour markers, hands and crown are also navy blue, which is hinted on the leather strap as well.
Only the grey model ($1,595) is available in the United States. As noted, the two “international” models are available here only by special order. Prices: $2,175 (Blue dial/rose-gold plated case) and $1,957 (Green dial, steel case).
Specifications: Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds (Limited edition of 888.)
Movement: ETA-based FC-345 automatic caliber with 38-hour power reserve.
Case: 40mm by 11.15mm polished steel, two-part case, convex sapphire crystal, engraved case-back with Healey Noj 393 vintage car. Water resistant to 50 meters.
Dial: Grey with matte finishing, white inner ring with printed seconds graduation , silver color applied indexes with white luminous treatment, hand-polished silver color hour and minute hands with white luminous treatment, small seconds counter at 9 o’clock w/red hand , date window at 3 o’clock.
Strap: Grey calf leather with light grey stitching.
Zenith began celebrating El Primero’s fiftieth anniversary in 2019 with a series of Revival models. These have included the El Primero A386, A384 and A385 Revival models, among others, up to the most recent Chronomaster Revival Safari. With all these releases, the Le Locle-based watchmaker has kept the Revival series dial and case designs largely true to their historic proportions and, often, their original hues.
But as Zenith admits, none of these Revival models filled a void within its collections for a ongoing, steel-cased Chronomaster El Primero A386 model. Remember that the first A386 Revival from 2019 was cased in gold. And while the hot steel-cased Chronomaster Sport Zenith debuted early in 2021 has seemingly met the demand for a new, sportier Chronomaster El Primero chronograph, customers in search of a steel-cased, dressier El Primero A386 have been waiting since 2019.
Zenith this week launches the Chronomaster Original to fill that void. The five watches in the new collection (four are steel-cased, one is cased in gold) retain the most identifiable aspects of the much-loved El Primero A386 from 1969, including a 38mm round and bezel-free steel case with a domed crystal, pump-style chronograph pushers, faceted lugs, and brushed and polished surfaces.
Zenith however updates several key elements of the now familiar Chronomaster Revival profile. First, Zenith replaces the retro 1960s ladder bracelet found on the recent Revival models with a new, richly-finished solid-link bracelet.
More notably however Zenith updates the tachymeter scale, replacing the original 1/100th-of-an-hour calculation scale with a 1/10-of-a-second chronograph scale. This allows instantaneous reading of a 10th of a second using the chronograph seconds hand.
Within the case Zenith fits the primary reason for this change of tachymetric scale : the latest version of the El Primero caliber, dubbed the El Primero 3600. Also found powering the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport (and originally seen in an earlier, very limited Chronomaster 2), the caliber of course retains the El Primero’s signature high frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 VpH).
Thus, with a central chronograph seconds hand that rotates once around the dial in exactly ten seconds, the movement offers a true 1/10th-of-second indication in conjunction with the new scale. And now that the scale frames the dials of both the Chronomaster Sport and this new Chronomaster Original design, Zenith now offers two ongoing collections with this most practical utililization of its high-speed El Primero caliber.
In addition to its new application, the new El Primero 3600 features a newly blued column wheel and “new architecture” that Zenith says is more efficient than earlier El Primeros. The new efficiency also influences the caliber’s power reserve, which is now rated to sixty hours.
Zenith is offering the new Chronomaster Original in three models. One model, sold on a steel bracelet or a blue calfskin strap, features the well-known Chronomaster tri-color dial configuration. Another model features a so-called ‘reverse panda’ black dial with silver chronograph registers and is sold on a steel bracelet or a beige calfskin strap. Intrestingly, these two models use a rhodium-plated central seconds hand rather than the red central seconds hand found on the tri-color dial versions. The third model is cased in gold and features the tri-color dial design. The logo on each new model has been updated to the Zenith’s more contemporary script.
Both steel-bracelet models are priced at $9,000 while both strap models are priced at $8,400. The third model ($19,100), cased in rose gold with a silvered dial and tri-color subdials, is offered on a brown calfskin strap.
Ulysse Nardin updates its already extensive dive watch collection with three dive models that add rose gold to existing favorites. Two of the updates include a new rose gold bezel atop a steel or a titanium case.A third debut includes diamonds set in a rose gold bezel atop a 39mm rose gold case.
Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold
This latest 42mm steel-cased PVD-satin-finished ‘shark grey’ dive model boasts a 42mm case with nicely contrasting rose gold and gray rubberized, unidirectional rotating, concave bezel.
Beneath the clearly domed sapphire crystal Ulysse Nardin offers a dial with a contemporary sandblasted finish. Ulysse Nardin has engraved its logo on the solid grey PVD back.
Inside you’ll find a Sellita-based automatic UN-816 movement (outfitted with a silicon escapement wheel and anchor) protected down to 300 meters under water. Finally, Ulysse Nardin secures the watch’s gray alligator strap with a stainless steel grey PVD buckle. Price: $10,400.
Diver Chronometer 44mm
With a larger (44mm) case, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm, with a classic ocean blue dial and blue PVD-coated titanium case, offers a more feature-filled option for nautical adventurers.
Its rose gold unidirectional bezel is appropriately easy to read with gold markers and luminous 0 at the top to mark dive time. The dial, itself well lit with SuperLuminova ands and markers, displays a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock and a substantial small seconds hand in a subdial at 6 o’clock.
Inside, Ulysse Nardin fits its own Caliber UN-118, which boasts a Diamonsil (a diamond-silicon alloy) escapement wheel and anchor and a silicon balance spring, much of which is visible through a see-through sapphire caseback.
And despite the clear back, Ulysse Nardin assures us that the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm, like the full Diver Chronometer 44mm collection, is built to withstand up to 300 meters of water pressure. Price: $13,300.
Lady Diver Rose Gold
Set with forty diamonds, this glittering 39mm watch may be a fashion-forward mother-of-pearl dial watch, but inside it’s all business.
Within the full rose gold case Ulysse Nardin fits its automatic UN-816 movement, the same one powering the Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold described above. That sharp-looking dial glows with eleven diamonds; the white alligator strap is held in place by a rose gold buckle. If you’re sporty, opt for the model with the white rubber strap. Price: $25,800.
MB&F expands its award-winning Legacy Machine FlyingT collection with a new model boasting a vivid green malachite dial plate. You might recall that the independent watchmaker launched the LM FlyingT in 2019 in three white gold diamond-set editions.
The 38.5mm watch was MB&F’s first venture into feminine-focused design, and it was quite a success. Customers clamored for it, and much of the industry awarded it the prize for Best Ladies’ Complication at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Just last year MB&F added a limited edition guilloché-dialed series cased in red gold and platinum. More recently, the watchmaker launched an eye-catching Lapis Lazuli LM FlyingT model, accompanied by an explanation that the brand expected to announce at least one new gemstone-set edition annually.
As on the earlier LM Flying T editions, the new watch’s 18-karat white gold case, set with diamonds, frames the malachite dial plate and, at 7 o’clock, the angled (at 50 degrees) time display, also set with malachite. A dramatic 60-second flying tourbillon emerges from the center of the malachite plate anchored at the top by a cantilevered double-arch upper bridge. Turn the watch over to enjoy the three-dimensional red gold sun rotor with sculpted rays.
MB&F explains that malachite varies in color, veering from light green to dark green. Historically malachite has been associated with omens of good health, including protection from lightning. No word on whether MB&F is offering similar such protections, but we can safely assure anyone wearing the new MB&F LM FlyingT Malachite full protection from a dull wrist. Price: $145,000.
If diving with the eye-catching Reservoir Limited-Edition Hydrosphere Bronze on your wrist isn’t enough of an inducement to buying the technically unique dive watch, perhaps you’ll be enticed by an invitation to dive wearing it alongside renowned diver and photographer Greg Lecoeur.
The new inducement means each buyer of the Hydrosphere Greg Lecoeur Limited Edition will be offered a half-day of diving with Lecoeur in the Port-Cros national park in Hyères, France, during a session in September (not including insurance, accommodation and transportation).
Lecoeur is also a supporter of coral protection, and funds from the sale of each special edition Hydrosphere Bronze will be donated to the replanting of a coral through the Coral Gardeners Association.
Reservoir and Lecoeur have teamed to design and produce the fifty-piece limited edition of the bronze-cased watch. Lecoeur chose a blue sunray dial for the limited edition, and each watch will be delivered with a package of photographs from one of his exploration notebooks, all placed into in a handy waterproof carrying case.
The new fifty-piece limited edition series also features a Greg Lecoeur engraving on the back and his name on the dial.
Reservoir’s Hydrosphere stands alone as the only single-hand functional dive watch we’ve seen. And while we’ve seen bronze encase more than a few nautically themed watches in recent years, the Hydrosphere’s unusual retrograde minute display and jumping hour module set it apart from traditional dive models while still upholding a diver’s need for highly legible dive timing, unidirectional bezel, helium valve and strong water resistance (here rated to 250 meters). Price: $4,850.
Case: 45mm bronze with satin finish, unidirectional ceramic rotating bezel with double scale for reading the time at different diving depths before and after the retrograde minute hand’s return, helium valve, stainless steel screwed back, screw-down crown, water resistant to 250 meters.
Dial: Blue with sundial finish, white index, magnifier on the jumping-hour window. Movement: Automatic with patented proprietary 124-piece module on ETA 2824-2 caliber, with retrograde minutes, jumping hour, power reserve of 37 hours, power reserve indicator.
Strap: Black rubber screwed onto the body, additional blue NATO strap provided, mounted on bronze stirrups.
My first experience of Meccaniche Veloci occurred several years ago when I visited a high-end boutique at Singapore Airport. I vividly remember seeing many of the brand’s QuattroValvole models and being mesmerized by the bold aesthetic. These distinctive watches have four different time zones and are unlike anything else on the market.
At that stage, the company was owned by the Italian jewelry group Cielo Venezia, which had previously bought the brand from Marco Colombo. He was the visionary who originally designed the concept for the QuattroValvole, a particular four-time-zone model that was inspired by the four-phase engine pistons of Ferrari racing cars.
Even though Meccaniche Veloci showed enormous potential, it was never realized under the control of Cielo Venezia. For example, the brand was oblivious that high-profile celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo who actually purchased their watches. In a world dominated by brand ambassadors, this type of oversight seems inconceivable.
Fortunately, Swiss entrepreneur Cesare Cerrito could see huge potential in Mecchaniche Veloci and subsequently bought the brand in 2015. At this point, he also shifted the operation from Milan to Geneva to utilize the latest Swiss watchmaking technology. Now the headquarters (called MV House) is located in a trendy warehouse located in Plan-Les-Ouates.
I discovered Meccaniche Veloci’s boutique during the 2015 Baselworld and was intrigued to view their new releases. Previously, I had contacted the brand numerous times without much success. That is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover Cesare Cerrito had acquired the brand. He was very charming and was keen to show me some exclusive pieces. My favorite was the collaboration they had done with Italian helmet manufacturer Suomy.
When Cerrito first purchased Meccaniche Veloci, the most expensive models in the range were capped at around $5,000. The only real exception was the phenomenal QuattroValvole CCM (Carbon Ceramic), which was die cut from a Brembo brake disc. This is still one of my personal favorite watches.
Issues & In-House
Even though the concept of having a watch with four independent movements was very cool, it also came with issues. In my experience, some of the mechanisms lagged and then there was the inconvenience of servicing four Swiss ETA 2671 movements.
Fortunately, Cerrito had ambitious plans for the brand, and this involved creating a new proprietary single movement to replace the individual calibers.
After three fastidious years of extensive research and development, the company finally unveiled its first in-house caliber, an automatic model called the MV8802 that powers each separate display.
The Caliber MV8802 marked a new chapter for the brand. Even though Cerrito hasn’t got any formal design qualifications, he makes up for it with passion and enthusiasm. Under his guidance, Meccaniche Veloci has adopted a completely different marketing strategy.
The timepieces are now far more exclusive and crafted entirely in Switzerland in small batches. Now there are predominantly two collections: the Icon and QuattroValvole. The Icon models feature four separate dials with four separate anti-reflective sapphire crystals. The QuattroValvole models feature a single dial with one large anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
Highlights include models like the Damascus, NiteLite Japan Edition, MoneyMaker, Mud and Nardi Edition. There are also a couple of extravagant tourbillon models with solid 18-karat pink gold cases.
As summer ramps up, Tutima Glashütte launches two brightly colored versions of its appealing M2 Seven Seas titanium dive watch series. The 44mm series now includes a model with a bright orange dial and one with a yellow dial. Both colors are familiar to dive watch enthusiasts, though Tutima seems to utilize somewhat brighter examples of these two high-visibility hues to draw attention to the dials on the new pair.
Also new here is a special two-component strap made of dial-color-matching rubber inside and black Kevlar exterior lined with yellow or orange stitching. Tutima also offers both watches with its excellent titanium bracelet (priced with a very fair $400 premium).
These new models are the first additions to the German-based Tutima’s M2 Seven Seas collection since 2015, and as such they retain the collection’s full array of dive-ready specifications, including a screwed crown, a threaded caseback and, critically, an extra-thick (three-mm) pane of sapphire crystal protecting the dial.
As is required on a dive watch, the hands and markers here wide and exceptionally easy to read. Tutima enhances that visibility by placing a generous coat of SuperLuminova on the markers, hands and the dot at the 12 o’clock position on the unidirectional rotating bezel.
Tutima’s use of both a screw-in caseback and an extra-thick crystal contribute to the very strong 500-meter water resistance rating for the M2 Seven Seas series. Inside the M2 Seven Seas Tutima places its automatic ETA-based Caliber 330 that exhibits a standard 38-hour power reserve when fully wound. Prices: $1,900 (strap model) and $2,300 (titanium bracelet model).