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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.

One model from Frederique Constant’s new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture collection.

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).

Perpetual Calendar

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.

Open Heart

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.”

From the new Frederique Constant Highlife Heart Beat collection.

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.

This Highlife Heart Beat model offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a white dial, set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade.

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.

A two-tone model from Frederique Constant’s new Highlife Automatic COSC collection.

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 H. Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds

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 Straumann Hairspring, 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 Globolight inserts.

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.

Zenith Defy 21 Black & White

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 Defy Classic Black & White

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 only hints of color on either new model are the red synthetic rubies and blue silicon escape wheel.

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)

 

Specifications:

Zenith Defy 21 Black & White

Reference: 49.9007.9004/11.R923

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.

Price $13,600

 

Zenith Defy Classic Black & White

Reference: 49.9005.670/11.R943

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.

Price: $8,200

 

 

 

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.

The new TAG Heuer Fragment Design Heuer 02 chronograph.

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.

Hiroshi Fujiwara

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.

The Successor – The last version of the Autavia produced by Heuer in the mid-1980s (Reference 11063, at left) and the Fragment Design Heuer 02 Limited Edition, introduced by TAG Heuer in June 2020.

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.

The TAG Heuer Fragment Design Heuer 02 Limited Edition flanked by the first of the automatic Autavias, Reference 1163 (circa 1970), and the last one produced by Heuer, Reference 11063 (circa 1983).

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.

TAG Heuer has created a new style bracelet for the Fragment Formula 1 chronograph. It’s a five-row stainless steel bracelet, with a folding butterfly clasp.

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. 

Echoing the TAG Heuer Fragment Carrera, Fujiwara also places thunderbolts at the center of the case back and the word “Fragment” between 4 and 5 o’clock.

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?

I like the Limited Edition Skipper that was a collaboration with Hodinkee back in 2017, and the Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition from earlier this year. 

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.

Fragment Design has developed two limited edition chronographs for TAG Heuer, the new Heuer 02, which draws from the Formula 1 and Autavia models, and the Carrera Heuer 02, from November 2018.

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.) 

 

Nomos celebrates 175 years of watchmaking in its hometown of Glashütte, Germany, with three classically styled Nomos Ludwig watches, each offered as a limited edition.

The Nomos Ludwig, a 35mm model powered by the Alpha manual-wind caliber, in its new 175th anniversary celebratory dress.

The watches, each limited to 175 examples, include one 35mm Ludwig with a manual-wind Alpha caliber inside, one Ludwig neomatik 39 with an automatic Caliber DUW 3001 inside, and a Ludwig neomatik Date 41 powered by the automatic Caliber DUW 6101. All these calibers are designed and built by Nomos.

The Nomos Ludwig neomatik 39 175.

Nomos is dressing each celebratory watch in historical Glashütte watchmaking details, which means each features a white enamel dial with Roman numerals separated by slim markers, a small seconds display, and railroad minute markers.

The date model even sports a classical Roman numeral date indicator—a first for Nomos.

The Nomos Ludwig neomatik Date 175, showing thin profile.

These are thin watches (the manual-wind model measures a wispy 6.8mm thick) with classic leaf-shaped tempered blue hands, per Glashütte tradition. All watches announce their reason for being with a sapphire crystal glass back that shows ‘limited-edition’ and “175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte” engravings.

The back view of the 41mm Nomos Ludwig neomatik date 175, showing Caliber DUW 6101.
Detail on Nomos caliber DUW 3001.

Many of the typical Glashütte features Nomos builds into its movements can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback on each watch. These features include a three-quarter plate, tempered blue screws, ribbed polishing, and Nomos-designed ‘swing system’ escapement.

With only 175 examples of each watch being made, and with offerings at very competitive prices, we expect strong demand for these Nomos debuts.

Prices: $2,260 (Ludwig manual-wind), $3,800 (Ludwig neomatik 39); and $4,200 (Ludwig neomatik 41 Date)

 

Among the three watches Patek Philippe unveiled this week, this Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon is possibly the most distinctive, in part because the watch is the newest, most contemporary design among the debuts.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5303 is the first Patek Philippe Grand Complication with a minute repeater visible on the dial side. Note the clear view of the hammers and gongs.

While the other two debuts, Reference 5270J-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
 and Reference 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph, represent line extensions for classically designed watches available since, respectively, 2018 and 2015, the new Ref. 5303R-001 modifies a newer design debuted last year as a limited edition of twelve watches during Patek Philippe’s ‘grand exhibition’ in Singapore.

Where that Ref. 5303 appeared accented in red to commemorate the Singapore flag, this new version offers the same open, dial-free architecture but with a black minutes track and a gold seconds hand.

Open architecture

Here, Patek Philippe again reworks the manual-wind R TO 27 PS minute repeater caliber to emphasize its chiming operation. As a result, the repeater is fully visible on the watch’s dial side, where Patek Philippe has repositioned the caliber’s gong and hammers.

This allows the wearer to both hear and see the repeater mechanism’s hammers and gongs as they chime the time without taking the watch off the wrist – a first for any Patek Philippe grand complication.

Patek Philippe has skeletonized the caliber and then carefully hand-finished all its remaining bridges and surfaces. The Geneva brand’s finishers have decorated the movement’s plate with Genevan circular graining, applied a perlage to the recesses and decorated the hammers with a circular satin finish.The tourbillon

The tourbillon is even more transparent than the minute repeater as it’s visible from the front and the back of the watch.

The tourbillon at 6 o’clock is visible through the small seconds counter and can also be seen from the back.

From the back, the viewer can eye the back of the tourbillon case, exactly opposite the dial-side seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Patek Philippe finishers have filigreed the tourbillon’s steel components until they sparkle – a nice contrast to the rose gold back plate.

The case

The watch’s 42mm rose-gold case notably features a wide polished bezel framing a black-lacquered sapphire-crystal rim. Patek Philippe has also placed leaf-shaped white-gold inlays along the watch’s the sides (including the repeater slide) and the sides of the lugs.

This somewhat surprising naturalistic design element –also seen shaping the white gold, black-lacquered hands ­– nicely balances the watch’s contemporary skeleton caliber.

The watch’s white gold minute repeater slide is engraved with a leaf-shaped pattern.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon emphasizes both Patek Philippe’s mastery of the minute repeater and the depth of its artisanal arsenal.

Full view of the back of the watch.

Now available in limited production (though not as a limited edition) without the initial model’s red-tinted accents, this chiming watch will undoubtedly attract serious collectors who seek both Patek Philippe’s technical acumen as well as its contemporary aesthetic combined into one highly complicated watch.

Price: Upon request.

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon

Movement: Manual-wind 
Caliber R TO 27 PS minute repeater with classic gongs, tourbillon, small seconds, 365 parts, golden plate decorated with circular Geneva striping. Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations/hour 
(3 Hz) with a power reserve of 48 hours maximum.

Dial: Transparent sapphire, black hour circle with minute markers printed in white and golden powdered dots, pierced black lacquered leaf-shaped hands in white gold.

Case: 42mm by 12.13mm rose gold, white gold decorative inserts, humidity- and dust-protected only 
(not water-resistant), sapphire crystal case back, UV-protected sapphire crystal glass.

Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp

Price: Upon request.

 

In its annual ode to the Italian boat maker Riva, and its sporty wood Runabout, Frederique Constant this year re-introduces a chronograph to the collection. The new Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic celebrates the partnership between Riva and Frederique Constant and will be made as two limited series each composed of 2,888 pieces. The limited editions will feature a tri-compax chronograph dial layout (12 o’clock – 6 o’clock – 9 o’clock) powered by Geneva watchmaker’s ETA Valjoux-based automatic FC-392 chronograph caliber.

Two new 42mm steel-cased Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic models will share all their specifications internally, but will differ by dial hue, seconds hand coloring and a matching strap.

One model will offer a guilloché anthracite grey dial with grey strap while the second model will feature silvered guilloché dial and blue strap. Similarly, the grey-dialed model will sport a large central seconds hand in light blue steel while the silvered dial model will offer a seconds hand in dark blue.

 

Specials markings

Frederique Constant has always been careful to treat its limited editions with traditional   markings expected by collectors. That’s why it marks each case with its individual serial as well as the total production number (2,888).

But in addition to these markings, collectors will find original imprint representing the official Riva Historical Society flag on the sapphire crystal of the watch.

The Geneva-based watchmaker says that the choice to revisit the chronograph with this year’s special edition Riva collaboration is meant to echo that fact that starting in 1962 Riva produced certain boats with a powerful dual-motor (2 x 185 bhp) outfitted to enjoy water sports on Lake Iseo, birthplace of the Riva.

Frederique Constant will present each watch in a special case with a miniature replica of the legendary Riva moored alongside it.

Price: $2,895. 

Specifications: Frederique Constant Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic

Movement: ETA Valjoux–based FC-392 caliber, automatic with chronograph, 46-hour power reserve, 28,800 bph

Case: 42mm polished stainless steel two-part, convex sapphire crystal, see-through case-back exposing gold-colored oscillating weight, water-resistant to 50 meters

Dial: Grey dial with silver color applied indexes with luminous hand-polished silver color hours and minutes hands with luminous and light blue seconds hand OR:

Silver color dial with silver applied indexes with luminous hand-polished silver color hours and minutes hands with luminous and dark blue seconds hand

Strap: Dark grey calf leather strap OR Navy calf leather strap

Limited edition: 2,888 pieces in each version.

 

Tudor expands its flagship Black Bay Fifty-Eight this week with a new model sporting a navy blue dial and matte blue bezel.

The new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, also available with two different fabric straps.

The retro-styled 39mm Black Bay Fifty-Eight, which quickly became a Tudor best seller after it debuted in 2018, traces its lineage back to Tudor dive models from the early 1950s, with most of its features linked to the Tudor reference 7924 from 1958, known as the Big Crown edition.

Gone are the gilded touches to the markers, bezel and the hands we saw on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight from two years ago. Here Tudor replaces those accents with sportier steel on the dial and silver-colored markers and numerals on the bezel, perfectly matching the case and bracelet.  

Modern movement

As with the 2018 black-dialed edition, the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue inhabits its retro style while steeped in modern technology, most notably underneath its dial. There you’ll find an in-house Tudor Caliber MT5402, an automatic caliber with a non-magnetic silicon balance spring and an impressive seventy-hour power reserve.

Tudor’s own automatic manufacture Caliber MT5402 with bidirectional rotor system,  Swiss chronometer certified by COSC.

Tudor notes that its caliber, tailor-made by Tudor for the 2018 Black Bay Fifty-Eight, performs with greater precision than its official COSC chronometer certification requires. Where COSC allows for an average variation in the daily running rate of a watch movement of between -4 and +6 seconds in relation to absolute time, Tudor says it applies a tolerance of between -2 and +4 seconds’ variation in its daily rate on the assembled watch.

While the front and even the sides of the new watch recall their origins in the 1950s and 1960s (notably regarding the Snowflake hands, seen first in 1969), the closed caseback gives away the game with engraved references to the manufacture caliber within.

Unscrewing the back, a watchmaker (or intrepid owner) would see a distinctly modern finish on the MT5402 caliber, notably a one-piece tungsten rotor that Tudor has open-worked, satin-brushed and sand-blasted. Tudor also alternates sand-blasted surfaces, polished surfaces and laser decorations on the movement’s bridges and mainplate.

Straps & bracelet

Those familiar with Tudor will know that its modern identity, and its success, is in part due to its unerring facility with fabric NATO-style straps, which the brand has embraced wholeheartedly since at least 2010.

Tudor continues that tradition with the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, for which Tudor offers a handsome navy blue and silver-striped woven fabric strap (above) made in France by Julien Faure, a 150-year old family company. Tudor also offers a riveted steel bracelet (polished and satin finish) with folding clasp and safety catch and a blue “soft touch” strap with folding buckle and safety clasp.

Tudor offers this blue “soft touch” strap with folding clasp and safety catch as an option with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue.

The remaining Tudor-curious collectors who were not sold on the 2018 Black Bay Fifty-Eight’s slightly luxe black and gold accented dial and bezel back in 2018 have their watch with this new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue. It’s sportier, beautifully blue-hued and supplies the same Tudor high-value mechanicals teamed with expert retro dress.

With the same pricing as the earlier model ($3,700 for the bracelet model and $3,375 for fabric strap), the watch serves up no visible obstacles to any motivated fan.  

 

Specifications: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue

(Ref. 79030B)

Movement: Automatic manufacture Caliber MT5402 with bidirectional rotor system, Swiss chronometer officially certified by COSC, 70-hour power reserve, variable inertia balance, micro-adjustment by screw, non-magnetic silicon balance spring; 28,800 bph (4 Hz) frequency.

Case: 39mm steel with polished and satin finish, unidirectional rotatable bezel in 316L steel with 60-minute graduated disc in matte blue anodized aluminum and silver gilded markings and numerals, steel screw-down winding crown with the Tudor rose in relief, with circular satin-brushed 316L steel winding crown tube, domed sapphire crystal, water resistant to 200 meters

Dial: Navy Blue, domed

Bracelet: Riveted 316L steel with polished and satin-brushed finish, or blue “soft touch” with folding clasp and safety catch, or blue fabric strap with silver band and buckle.

Prices: $3,700 (bracelet model) and $3,375 (either fabric strap)

 

Just a few months after releasing its BR 03-92 Grey LUM, Bell & Ross adds an even brighter brother to the LUM family with a limited edition BR 03-92 Diver Full LUM.

Where the previously seen dive watch features brightly illuminated numerals, hands and five-minute markers, this newest family member features a full dial painted with green SuperLuminova.

In addition to a fully painted dial, the new watch also glows with a second hue because Bell & Ross has filled the watch’s metallic applique skeletonized indexes and the numerals on the bezel with a different shade of green SuperLuminova.  In order to maximize the period of luminescence for these markers, Bell & Ross opted to use a type of SuperLuminova (C3) that offers very long durability in the dark.

Bell & Ross notes that ever since it debuted its first square-cased BR 03-92 dive models in 2017 the watchmaker has been sure that its dive collection maintains all international ISO 6425 standards for dive watches. Those standards include water-resistance to a minimum depth of 100 meters, the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated minutes scale, an operation indicator and luminescent markers, legibility in the dark; anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection.

With this newest model, Bell & Ross exceeds those standards by wide margins, with a 300-meter water resistance rating, a black ceramic uni-directional bezel (for enhanced contrasts) and, in reference to its name, superior dial legibility with a more-than-gimmicky focus on luminescence.

Added bonus: Bell & Ross includes a rubber strap and a fabric strap with each watch.

Price: $4,500.

  

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 03 92 Diver Full LUM

(Ref: BR0392-D-C5-CE/SRB, a limited edition of 999 pieces.)

Movement: Sellita-based automatic Caliber BR-CAL.302

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date.

Case: 42mm matte black ceramic, unidirectional rotating ceramic bezel with 60-minute scale, sapphire crystal, 300-meters of water resistance. 

Dial: Luminescent green painted with SuperLuminova. Metal applique skeleton Super-LumiNova-filled numerals and indices.

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

Alpina Watches has partnered with the Netherlands-based Gyre Watch to create the new Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection featuring watchcases crafted from recycled materials. Sales of the watch, with its case forged from a mixture of fiberglass (30%) and plastic debris (70%) caught in fishing nets in the Indian Ocean, will support the National Park Foundation.

The new Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection is composed of five models and is being officially launched to support World Oceans Day (June 8th). Alpina will donate $100 for every watch purchased through us.AlpinaWatches.com in order to help maintain the U.S. parks, both inland and coastal.

The collection

The full Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic range includes three men’s models (44 mm, $1,395) and two models designed for women (36mm, $1,295).

All five watches share blue-shaded dials, including turquoise and dyed mother-of-pearl, and luminescent hands. Inside each watch Alpina places its Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement.

In addition, as a dive model, the watch features the requisite unidirectional bezel and water-resistance to 300 meters.

The Alpina Seastrong Gyre Diver Automatic, 36mm size. Each case is made using recycled materials.

Alpina will ship all the new watches with one of three two-tone NATO-style straps made from recycled plastic bottles. In addition, Alpina will include a black vegetable leather strap made of recycled apple waste with every 44mm watch.

Gyre origins

Alpina explains that the word Gyre is a reference to giant circular ocean currents. The Geneva-based watchmaker adds that the new collection represents the start of a long-term collaboration with Gyre Watch.

Gyre Watch, founded in The Netherlands in 2017, makes watches from recycled ocean plastic. Local fishermen along the Indian Ocean earn a fee collecting fishing nets from the sea for recycling, which means Gyre also contributes to local economies.

Alpina will make the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic as a limited series of 1,883 pieces of each model, in reference to the year of Alpina’s founding. Each watch will be sold in an eco-friendly gift set made of recycled plastic and recycled plastic bottles.

To further enhance the collection’s ecological profile, Alpina is printing each watch’s guarantee and certificate of authenticity on one page of recycled paper and will utilize a paperless user manual, accessible via a QR code. The code will direct buyers to a dedicated site for the Gyre collection as well as the instruction and maintenance manual.