As Abingdon celebrates fourteen years since it started offering adventure watches specifically targeted to women, the Las Vegas watch company this week adds three models to its Jane tactical watch collection and adds a new model to Nadia, its dive watch collection.
Both collections are the brand’s first watches fit with a bi-directional compass just inside the bezel and a ruler built into the back of the watch. The new models are 35mm steel-cased watches with 200 meters of water resistance, an impressive specification rarely seen watches this size.
The new Jane watch, built with an Ameriquartz quartz caliber by Arizona-based movement maker FTS, is the result of three years of testing, according to Abingdon, which explains that it wanted to create the “best tactical watch offered for women.”
Jane combines a brushed 316L stainless steel case and screw-down crowns with a hardened sapphire crystal, with military time conversion, standard and metric rulers, a bi-directional compass, glow-in-the-dark dial markings, day and date display, a diver’s bezel, and its Ameriquartz Caliber 7122 quartz movement.
Look for new Jane models called Covert (black dial), Mission (red dial) and Outlaw (black dial with bronze-colored case).
Abingdon originally launched its Nadia dive watch in 2019 and this year adds the Nadia Black Abyss, a black and pink version, which joins the original white and blue Whitewater model. Abingdon tests all its dive watches on the wrists of inductees of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.
The 35mm steel watch is powered by a Seiko TMI NH06 automatic movement, which delivers more than forty hours of power reserve. Two screw-down crowns, which control the time function and a bi-directional compass, ensure that the Black Abyss maintains its water resistance. Abingdon has added an elongated 16mm silicone strap built to fit over wet suits and certain thicker dry suits.
Chronograph Watch Prize: Zenith, Chronomaster Sport
Diver’s Watch Prize: Louis Vuitton, Tambour Street Diver Skyline Blue
Jewelry Watch Prize: Chopard, Flower Power
Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: MB&F, LM SE Eddy Jaquet ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’
“Petite Aiguille” Prize: Tudor, Black Bay Ceramic
Challenge Watch Prize: CIGA Design, Blue Planet
Innovation Prize: Bernhard Lederer, Central Impulse Chronometer
Audacity Prize: Louis Vuitton, Tambour Carpe Diem
Horological Revelation Prize: Furlan Marri, MR. Grey Ref. 1041-A
Special Jury Prize: Dubai Watch Week
You check out all the GPHG 2021 winning watches here.
The 2021 nominated watches, including the eighteen award-winners, are on display in Geneva until November 14. The winning watches will then be on display at Dubai Watch Week, from November 24 to 28, and then in Paris from December 2 to 5.
A. Lange & Söhne is not content to update an existing model by simply expanding the watch’s case metal options, a tactic frequent among even the world’s finest watchmakers. We often see an existing model from this famed German watchmaker updated with a new movement, an updated dial treatment or even an entirely new case size.
So yes, the new A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen, as its new name signifies, is newly draped in the watchmaker’s own warm-hued Honeygold alloy, the first time we’ve seen a Lumen watch cased in Honeygold.
But it should also surprise no one that the newest edition of one of A. Lange & Söhne’s most spectacular watches hosts several technical updates, in addition to its namesake new case metal.
Longer power reserve
The new watch also boasts Caliber L043.9, a new movement iteration. A. Lange & Söhne has updated the movement with a 72-hour power reserve, doubling the reserve of its predecessor model. This extends the operating time as it powers Zeitwerk’s three-disc jumping digital numerals mechanism.
A. Lange & Söhne has also heightened the caliber’s stability by adding a (patented) constant-force escapement to control the time display’s complex switching processes. As the watchmaker explains, the newest escapement generates the impulse for the jumping time display while also “drives the balance with nearly uniform power across the entire run time.”
The pusher at 4 o’clock is also new. This allows the hour indication to be separately switched, which makes setting the time quite a bit simpler.
And as the newest Lumen model in a series dating to the first Zeitwerk ‘Lumious’ from 2010, the Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen employs the watchmaker’s specially developed light-permeable dial coating. This means all the numerals on the digital time discs – even those not visible on the dial – will absorb enough light needed to make them glow in the dark.
As you might expect from any watch leaving Lange headquarters Glashütte, this 41.9mm watch is finished to perfection. You’ll find hand-engraved balance and escape-wheel cocks, sunray-pattern winding wheels and filigreed, straight-grained constant-force escapement bridge that accommodates two recessed, screwed gold chatons.
Limited to 200 watches, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen is attached to a handsome dark-brown leather strap. Price: $145,000.
Any visitor to Franck Muller’s vast headquarters in Genthod, adjacent to Geneva, will vouch for the technical depth this manufacture exhibits throughout the facility. Case after case of watches set with tourbillons and multiple complications testify to decades of watchmaking with a distinctive style, typically built into the brand’s trademark Cintrée Curvex-shaped case.
But there’s much more to Franck Muller than its range of Master Bankers, large tourbillons and jaw-dropping skeleton models. Few watchmakers can match the wide-ranging fluency the brand also demonstrates year after year with its gem-set collections.
Franck Muller has again paired its technical chops with its gem-setting expertise with the release of the new Double Mystery Peony, which combines gemstone setting and its enchanting Double Mystery time display system.
In the Double Mystery collection, Franck Muller replaces watch hands with two rotating discs, each with an arrow-shaped indicator. Patented in 1998, the technique allows Franck Muller to experiment by setting a colorful spectrum of gemstones across and atop of the two rotating discs.
In this latest Double Mystery Peony, Franck Muller sets 662 diamonds and colored gemstones (4.87 carats) on each dial, all shaped and patterned across the dial to recall the namesake bloom. The watches, powered by an automatic movement topped with the Double Mystery complication, are offered in white gold and yellow gold and in 42mm and 39mm cases. Price: $88,700
Now available in a karat gold case, the Junghans Meister Fein Automatic adds a luxurious aspect to this German brand’s dressy Meister collection.
With its long markers and hands framed within a slim bezel, the Meister Fein Automatic differs from the more directly retro Meister Automatic, which features 1950s-style dauphine-shaped hands and somewhat shorter markers.
The newer Meister Fein Automatic model is also somewhat larger at 39.5mm in diameter when compared to the 38mm of the Meister Automatic line, but both wear snug to the wrist with their small, curved lugs, curved crystal and slim cases.
By removing the word ‘Automatic’ from the dial and affixing its traditional logo just below the twelve o’clock position, Junghans underscores its minimalist tendencies, which arise from early 20th century German design philosophies.
Junghans attaches the watch to the wrist with an elegant, seam-free black alligator leather strap. The strap, like the case, is gently curved.
And finally, Junghans rebuilds a base ETA movement to create its J800.1 caliber, which features a spherical, two-arm rotor with a gilded Junghans star. These additions are clearly visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
Junghans will make 100 pieces of this limited edition.
Specifications: Junghans Meister Fein Automatic
Movement: Self-winding ETA-based J800.1 with two-arm rotor designed specifically for this model, and a power reserve of up to 38 hours. Rhodium-plated with blue screws, Junghans-designed rotor with sunray brush finish, gilded and polished plate as bearing cover over the rotor bearing.
Case: 39.5mm by 11.0mm gold, 4-screw back, convex and sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides. Water resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: Matte silver-plated, convex, diamond-effect strokes as hour markings, historical Junghans logo, hands with curved pointers.
Strap: Black alligator leather with 18-karat gold buckle.
Alexander Shorokhoff honors Austrian artist Gustav Klimt with Crazy Eyes, a chronograph dominated by a colorful dial and its two eye-like orbs. While these orbs replace the running seconds and chronograph minute subdials, additional ‘eyes’ seem to bounce around a dial further animated with colorful shapes and colors.
The German-based Alexander Shorokhoff is also celebrating its 30th anniversary with Crazy Eyes, which could also describe how the Russian-born independent watchmaker often approaches creating his company’s watch dials. You might recall his Kandy and Levels models, just two of the colorful and Pop Art influenced watches included within the brand’s Avant-Garde collection.
Shorokhoff says that the “eyes” on this new watch’s dial are meant to “transmit a sense of joy, enthusiasm and mobility, literally dancing on the scene of the shiny dial.” He combines multiple layers on the dial using different materials, including mother-of-pearl, brass and luminescence.
At the top of the dial, however, Shorokhoff retains a prominent 60, which appears on all his designs to symbolize both the 60-second/minute position as well as the arts movements of the 1960s, where the watchmaker draws much of his inspiration.
Inside Shorokhoff fits a Russian-made Poljot caliber 3133, which his company has partially skeletonized, hand-engraved and refined. He explains that the caliber, now discontinued, is based on the Valjoux 7734 movement and was produced at the First Moscow Watch Factory from 1976 to 2004.
To complement the Crazy Eyes dial, Shorokhoff attaches a matching stingray strap colored bright yellow. He offers two 39mm case options, steel and plated gold, for those who want to extend the yellow color theme to the case. Each case option, however, will only be made in a limited edition of thirty pieces, with the gold-plated model priced with a $100 premium.
As Nomos carefully expanded its sports watch offerings in recent years, the German watchmaker has deftly balanced its traditional minimalist tenets with enhanced water-resistance and anti-shock requirements.
Collectors welcomed those sports models with open wrists. Nomos had finally combined its clean dial design spirit with a tougher and larger case design that sported a serious 300 meters of water resistance – all with a sleek steel bracelet.
This week Nomos expands its sports offerings with a new Club Sport Neomatik 42 Date Blue. As the name hints, the watch features a new, galvanized blue sunburst dial, which adds a new option to the black-dialed original.
But perhaps more critically, the debut highlights a new integrated steel bracelet that is not only more traditional in style than the first steel bracelet, it also likely enhances its acceptance to sports enthusiasts possibly wary of the original’s open lug design.
Nomos customized the bracelet for this debut, creating a classic brushed and polished three-link design with a folding safety clasp that sits right up against the case. Unlike the earlier bracelet, this one doesn’t allow any wrist to show between the case and the links.
The handsome sunburst dial is set with white hands that glow blue and bold in the dark. As on the earlier models, Nomos equips the stem with a red ring that alerts the wearer if the crown is not tightened. Inside Nomos places its patented DUW 6101 date caliber from the Nomos Glashütte neomatik series. In part due to its thinness (at 3.6mm), it is well protected by the case, even with the clear sapphire caseback.
IWC adds two Ceratanium models to its Top Gun collection, and each debut also represents a specific technical breakthrough for the Schaffhausen-based watchmaker.
One of the pair, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium, includes a Timezoner complication, marking the first time IWC has placed its unique world time display system into a Top Gun watch. The second debut, The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Ceratanium, marks the debut of IWC’s first Ceratanium bracelet.
You may recall that IWC introduced its black Ceratanium titanium-ceramic alloy in 2017 on its Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer.” IWC then added the proprietary alloy to the Top Gun collection two years later in the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium.
IWC explains that Ceratanium combines titanium’s inherent lightweight and strength with a hardness and scratch-resistance similar to ceramic. The alloy is also skin-friendly and highly resistant to corrosion. Plus, the material is black, which makes for a perfect livery hue on any adventure or sports watch.
The Perpetual Calendar
IWC places its excellent 52615 caliber with Pellaton winding system (visible through the tinted sapphire caseback) into the new Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Ceratanium (Ref. IW503604). The watch’s two barrels, in combination with its Pellaton winding system, offer an impressive seven-day power reserve.
The perpetual calendar is a complication that IWC has pioneered over decades. This example features a mechanical program that automatically recognizes different month lengths and leap years and will require no correction until 2100. The watch’s moon phase display, which depicts the moon as it is seen from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, is also unusually precise. It will deviate by one day after 577.5 years, according to IWC.
Price: $48,000 (Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Ceratanium, ref. IW503604). A limited edition of 150.
As noted earlier, IWC’s new Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium (Ref. IW395505) is the first model in the collection with the Timezoner complication. The technology makes it particularly easy to set the watch to a different time zone. When pressing down and rotating the bezel, the watch’s hour hand, the 24-hour display and the date will move forwards or backwards in one-hour increments.
IWC has printed this dial in grey and generously coated the numbers 12, 3, 6 and 9 with a luminescent material. Here IWC uses its 82760 caliber, also with the Pellaton winding system, which boasts a healthy sixty hours of power reserve. The wearer can view the movement via the watch’s tinted sapphire glass caseback.
Price: $16,900 (Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium, ref. IW395505). A limited edition of 500.
Last year producer and talent scout Swizz Beatz challenged De Bethune to create a “totally different Dream Watch 5.” This week, De Bethune debuted its response to that challenge with a watch worthy of the futuristic Dream Series.
The new De Bethune Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon Season 1 is a spectacular deltoid-shaped, blued-titanium and sapphire wrist rocket regulated by a De Bethune high-velocity tourbillon.
The inventive Swiss company, lead by pioneering watchmaker Denis Flageollet, has built on its own Dream Watch legacy by refining its pointedly curved Dream Watch 5 case, first seen in 2014, into a skeletal sculpture that both showcases an open-set dial while also protecting it with two dramatic blued titanium bridges.
As De Bethune points out, there is nothing straight or flat about this latest Dream Watch 5 case, which is composed of seven different sapphire components ingeniously embedded into a polished blue titanium frame.
At the center, gripped by the watch’s titanium exoskeleton, is a three-dimensional orb that indicates the moon phases. Adjacent, and just below the blue bridges, the wearer eyes the hours and minutes directly through a hand-cut cabochon-shaped crystal.
The back of the watch (below) is almost as dramatic, especially since the ultra-clear sapphire back seems to magnifying the beauty of De Bethune’s mirror-polished DB2149 high-speed tourbillon caliber. The 30-second tourbillon oscillates at 36,000 vibrations/hour, set just beneath a slightly blued sapphire window. See specifications below for additional details about this expertly engineered, highly tuned movement.
De Bethune notes that to enhance the interior of the DW5 Episode 1, it collaborates with Swiss engraver Michèle Rothen, who has ‘retouched’ each surface with added micro-detail and greater dimension.
The De Bethune Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon Season 1 is a ten-piece limited edition.
Specifications: De Bethune Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1’
(Reference DW5TSB, a ten-piece limited edition)
Functions: Hours, minutes, central spherical moon-phase indication, 30-minute indication on the ultra-light silicon and titanium De Bethune tourbillon cage (appearing on the back).
Movement: DB2149 hand-wound, three positions (for winding, spherical moon phase and time setting), titanium balance-wheel with white gold inserts, De Bethune balance-spring with flat terminal curve, silicon escape-wheel, spherical moon-phase display accurate to within one lunar day every 1,112 years, De Bethune ultra-light silicon and titanium 30-second tourbillon, 36,000 vibrations/hour.
Dial: Blued grade-5 titanium aperture frame.
Case: 58mm by 47mm by 17mm tapered hand-polished and blued grade- 5 titanium, open-worked with sapphire blue inserts and hand-engraved motifs, cabochon-cut blue sapphire crown.
Bracelet: Blue canvas/leather with an additional rubber strap, titanium clasp with polished and blued titanium pin buckle.
Jonathan Ward may be best known for his automotive company, Icon4x4, which custom-builds classic cars furnished with modern tech and cutting-edge materials, but he is first and foremost an industrial designer and craftsman. In addition to his sublime car restoration projects, Ward also likes to channel his creativity into making handmade leather goods (think jackets, luggage, purses, and wallets) – and into designing watches.
The ICON4x4 founder comes from a line of car guys—his grandfather owned a repair shop in Virginia, where a young Jonathan would spend his school vacations studying auto parts and tools from the fifties. Ward’s early interest in cars was further fueled by his father’s enthusiasm for them. Father and son would attend car shows together.
Ward believes you are either born with or without an appreciation for details. At seven years old, he moved from a small town in Maryland to New York City. That move made a significant impression on the soon-to-be designer.
The sky-high architecture and ground-level store displays sparked his lifelong curiosity about how things are made, and more importantly, what does it take to make them even better. He remembers being fifteen years old in his dad’s garage taking apart a digital flip clock and putting it back together just to understand how it worked.
While not formally trained in design, Ward had an open mind to find inspiration everywhere. Whether transportation, architecture, or consumer goods, the challenge of being an industrial designer is to create a cohesive package that balances looks, engineering and utility. While he is certainly mechanically capable, Ward makes sure he surrounds himself with a team of expert engineers so he can focus on design.
Ward and his wife Jamie started the TLC Land Cruiser service center in the mid-1990s, which paved the way for Jonathan to become a consultant for Toyota. His work with Toyota and Mr. Toyoda resulted in the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Given his appreciation for design and mechanics, it comes as no surprise that Jonathan is a watch guy too. He is a passionate watch collector but quite different in his approach from other collectors I’ve met. Rather than caring about particular brands and ultra-popular models, he focuses on designs, styles, and aesthetics that speak to him.
For instance, until relatively recently, he resisted collecting Rolex watches as he believed those pieces are more about making a social statement.
One of his first watches was a Bulova with a red LCD. However, he found his passion for watches when he found his grandfather’s Hamilton in the attic and restored it to its full glory as a birthday gift to his grandfather. This exercise sent him down the rabbit hole of Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Streamline design language in the world of horology.
At the time, his collection was limited to six or seven timepieces. Once his business was established, he was able to indulge in his watch hobby.
Today, Ward owns more than 115 watches, ranging from $40 watches to vintage classics with great patina and tropical dials to high-end avant-garde pieces. He also makes his own watchstraps, which he believes augment the look of the timepiece—especially for smaller 32mm to 34mm cases.
When Ward buys a watch, the first thing he looks at is design language, identity, and consistency. He prefers time-only watches or GMT watches, and has a particular interest in the provenance of the watch.
When he bought a military watch at a car show in Germany, the set included photos of the owner wearing the watch, which he loves. Thanks to actual images, Ward can imagine that military pilot wearing his watch while flying a plane during combat so many decades ago.Ward also owns an unbranded early marine chronograph that was gifted to Jacques Cousteau who then gave it to one of his main divers. The watches Ward collects are not necessarily expensive—for example, he owns a Waltham that was produced in low numbers—because he’s all about the designs and stories behind the watches.
The Icon Duesey
Along with designing cars, Ward has also poured his passion for watches into designing them.
His first watch design is the Icon Duesey, which is inspired by the dashboards of the vintage Duesenberg SJ automobile. The jump hour display of the watch is modeled after the original trunk-style gauge of the car.
Using Fusion 360 CAD software, Ward designed the case, crown, clasps, dials, and other components of the watch until he was finally able to print a few prototypes with his 3D printer. He used Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machining to manufacture the case and a Dubois Dépraz-modified ETA base caliber for the movement.
During the process, Jonathan realized how complicated it is to develop and manufacture a watch—especially if you want to follow the Swiss Made parameters. He wanted to ensure that any advanced watchmaker could service the watch.
It took Ward a tremendous amount of time to get the deep black porcelain dial right. The straps all had to be made according to highly specific requirements. Just like the Icon cars, the Icon watch merges traditional aesthetics with modern materials; the case is crafted from T5 titanium while the bezel is formed from T2 titanium. Why? Because Jonathan’s friend is allergic to traditional titanium.
As a designer with an obsession for details, even the box that the Icon Duesey includes special storage underneath that can house five watches.
I think this is a very clever idea. Ward supervised the entire manufacturing process of the ICON Duesey because, after all, his ultimate goal was to make the perfect watch for himself.
Only fifty examples of the ICON Duesey were made. Only a few remain for sale. Amazingly, ICON watch buyers are not the same as ICON car buyers. Ward says he has successfully enticed an entirely new audience for his company. I can sense just how proud he is of the watch.
As Ward’s wife Jamie is the more financially conservative of the two, Jonathan has agreed that he’ll only start creating a new watch once every Icon Duesey piece is sold. He has a GMT model in mind since he’s a frequent traveler. And this time, the design inspiration will be a yacht; a classic teak-deck style for the dial and copper and brass for the case.
I look forward to seeing what Jonathan Ward will come up with because I know, whatever he makes is driven by his unwavering passion for great design.
Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com.