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By Steve Huyton

It seems incredible that when I visited Baselworld in 2015 the world was a completely different place. At the time there were no restrictions and it was easy to travel freely. On my trip to Switzerland, I took the opportunity to visit a couple of factories at La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel.

At this stage, I had just produced my first watch called ‘Polaris’ and was looking at unusual materials for future creations. One of the companies I visited specialized in carbon fiber and was experimenting with different colors and finishes. Probably one of the most unusual options was a luminous carbon that glowed in the dark.

Due to cost and availability, I decided to opt for different alternatives. However, I was interested to discover Romago Swiss has used this amazing composite in their distinctive LuminFusion Carbon Sand.

The Romago LuminFusion Carbon Sand.

Carbon in watches

A few years ago, only high-end watch brands like Audemars Piguet, Hublot and Richard Mille were experimenting with carbon composites. Even though these timepieces are exceptionally well designed, they are beyond the realms of most buyers due to price points. Fortunately, carbon composites are a lot more accessible and affordable today. There is also a lot more variety.

Previously, I reviewed the red Romago Super Carbon X, which is a really cool watch for the money. However, I feel the watchmaker’s LuminFusion Carbon Sand is a lot more sophisticated and illustrates how Romago Swiss has matured.

The LuminFusion Carbon Sand is very well proportioned and has a 46.5mm x 46.5mm x 15.9mm square case. It would be fair to say this watch has a similar appearance to some of the carbon fiber models Bell & Ross creates. For example, the watches are a similar size and are very striking in appearance.

The Romago LuminFusion Carbon Sand glows in the dark with green luminescence. Romago blends luminous material with the carbon fiber case.

However, the LuminFusion Carbon Sand has a more industrial façade. I also love the fact Romago has equipped this model with a revolving-rotor-style dial with an enchanting caricatured face. This feature allows the recipient a discreet view of the skeletonized movement.

Essentially the theme was to create a mysterious watch that changes appearance at the fall of night. Certainly, the luminous carbon case, bezel and dial are pretty mesmerizing.

At the heart of the watch is a customized Swiss self-winding Calibre SW200 mechanical movement from Sellita, which oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Functionally the LuminFusion Carbon Sand features hours, minutes and seconds.

The watch also is water-resistant to a depth of fifty meters and has a power reserve of thirty-six hours. As a perfect final touch, the timepiece has a high-quality black rubber injection-molded strap inscribed with the name ‘ROMAGO’.

Price: $4,780.

The Romago LuminFusion Carbon also come in white with blue luminescence.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

The seconds indicator on the new Franck Muller USA limited edition Vanguard Racing Skeleton Bill Auberlen starts with double zero at the bottom of the dial, not at the top. This layout, while rare on a watch dial, allows seconds to be read from both ends of the seconds hand and echoes the dashboard Auberlen would see while piloting his racecar.

Vanguard Racing Skeleton USA Limited Edition, here cased in the Technologie Bleu composite.

The dial layout is just one of many racer-friendly details that Franck Muller built into the sporty automatic watch, which was announced earlier this year and is reaching Franck Muller boutiques and its U.S. retailers now.

Another example can be found in Franck Muller’s choice of case materials for the tonneau-shaped 44mm by 53.7mm Vanguard watch.

The watch is the latest Franck Muller model built with Auberlen’s direct input. One of America’s most successful racecar drivers, the BMW racing driver Auberlen has won sixty-three races.

Three versions

One version of the watch is built with carbon, the same ultra-light, high-performance material racecar makers utilize. Another version features an unusual blue-tinged high-tech composite called Technologie Bleu, which the watchmaker says is created by mixing ‘high purity metals and other exotic elements.’

This non-conductive, non-metallic material is made using a process called the Micelle Phenomenon. Once the case is formed, Franck Muller cuts, carves, grinds and sands the material to a durable, gem-quality finish.

Additional sporty touches on the Vanguard Racing Skeleton Bill Auberlen include a generous use of racing red dial details across the skeletonized dial. The watchmakers at Franck Muller also attach a strap composed of Alcantara-like suede, reminiscent of a sports car interior, and lined with rubber. Instead of attaching the strap to the case using the usual spring bar technique, Franck Muller subtly integrates the strap into the case with two invisible screws.

In another unusual detail, Franck Muller has skeletonized the numerals visible on the date wheel to match the open-worked dial.

Franck Muller offers its Vanguard Racing Skeleton Bill Auberlen in three case materials: rose gold ($34,000), carbon ($27,400) and macro molecular Technologie Bleu ($26,200).

To commemorate Veterans Day, Citizen launches a new Promaster Navihawk pilot watch and partners with Jump for Valor, a charitable non-profit organization that assists veterans through skydiving and aerial sports.

The new 48mm steel watch is powered by light via Citizen’s robust Eco-Drive technology and synchronizes to hyper-accurate radio-control timekeeping technology, which allows for time adjustments in twenty-six time zones.

The Citizen Limited Edition Promaster Navihawk AT8225-51L.

The watch is packed with useful indicators, including a chronograph, perpetual calendar, power reserve, city time zone display, a sliding scale for measurement and a rotating navigational bezel with a compass.

The watch will be issued in three versions. One is a limited edition cased in a black ion plating ($850) and comes with a matching Citizen clock. This model, a limited edition of 1,500, features a cobalt blue gradient dial and bright orange accents.

The Limited Edition Promaster Navihawk is limited to 1,500 pieces worldwide and comes with a Citizen clock that matches the watch.

Two additional models offer a choice between a gradient blue dial ($650) and a green dial ($695). The former is cased in traditional steel and offers silver-tone hands and red accented luminous hands and markers.

The second frames its green dial with grey ion-plated stainless steel accented with yellow highlights.

As part of its Purposeful Power campaign, Citizen will donate watches to the Jump For Valor Veterans Day event, which starts today and runs through Sunday in Suffolk, Virginia. Citizen will fund tandem jumps and one veteran to become certified to skydive. In addition, Citizen will gift a Promaster Air watch to each of the participating veterans.

 

By Steve Huyton

Most people who purchase a Swiss-made watch imagine it was meticulously crafted in a small workshop. For clients of Aerowatch, this actually is the case because the company’s headquarters are located in Saignelégier, within the heart of the Jura mountain region.

The company has operated continuously since 1910 and is still family-owned and managed by the Bolzi siblings: Jean-Sébastien (director of sales & marketing) Fred-Eric (master watch constructor) and Adeline (administrative manager). Aerowatch offers a range of quartz and mechanical offerings, including the distinctive Skeleton Spider.

The Aerowatch Skeleton Spider.

The Spider

I’ve always been enticed by mechanical skeletonized watches, and the Skeleton Spider is a great example. With a stainless-steel case measuring 43mm it should appeal to a broad demographic of buyers, including the unisex market. With its classical proportions, it felt very comfortable on the wrist and would be suitable for daily use.

Ultimately this stylish watch would look equally good with casual or formal attire. Personally, I could imagine sporting this timepiece with a finely tailored dinner suit to a gala ball or private function. However, because it’s only water-resistant to a depth of fifty meters, it wouldn’t be suitable for swimming or diving.

Visually the Skeleton Spider has a strong identity that is designed to make a bold statement. What makes this watch so special is the anthracite spider web skeletonized dial with red spider small seconds indication.

Other features include a refined satin red chapter ring, luminous indexes and domed sapphire crystal. Powering the watch is a customized manual-winding Calibre 6497-1 movement from Unitas (ETA), which oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. This mechanism is visibly showcased via the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback. Functionally the Skeleton Spider features hours, minutes, and small seconds and has a power reserve of fifty-two hours.

Aerowatch also offers the watch with yellow and black coloring .

As a perfect final touch, Aerowatch presents the Skeleton Spider on a black leather strap with a complimentary folding steel clasp. For a watch of this quality, I feel it is competitively priced at $3,150.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

One of our favorite moon phase watches, the Meistersinger Stratoscope, is set to release its darkest model yet.

Announced a few weeks ago, and now ready for delivery, this younger and slightly larger cousin of the excellent Meistersinger Astroscope hits the ether (and stores) with a limited edition model bathed in a rugged diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating. The Meistersinger Stratoscope debuted earlier this year in a steel case with a more traditional sunburst blue and black dial.

The one-handed 43mm watch displays a large, luminescent moon phase using a photorealistic image of our sole natural satellite. Around the lunar image we see Meistersinger’s characteristic double-digit numerals 01 to 12, divided into fifteen-minute increments.

 

The Meisteringer Stratoscope is now available (in a limited edition) with an all-black dial and case.

For this new Black Line Edition, limited to twenty pieces, the moon rotates across a very dark night sky, which is framed by an equally dark black diamond-like carbon (DLC) case. The moon and time display glow in the dark.

Inside Meistersinger utilizes its Sellita-based automatic MS Luna movement to calculate the time and the moonphases. In theory, this moon phase indicator only requires a slight adjustment after 122 years.

Price: 3,990 euros, or about $4,600.

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.

The new Jane Outlaw.

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.

Jane

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.”

Two models within the Jane tactical watch collection. Jane is powered by an Arizona-made FTS quartz caliber.

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.

Abingdon builds a ruler into the back of the Jane and Nadia watches.

Look for new Jane models called Covert (black dial), Mission (red dial) and Outlaw (black dial with bronze-colored case).

Covert, one of the new Jane tactical watches.

Nadia

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 new Nadia Black Abyss.

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.

The original Nadia dive watch from Abingdon, attached with a white silicone strap. Inside is a Seiko automatic movement.

Prices: $629 (Jane) and $829 (Nadia).

All Abingdon Jane and Nadia watches are water resistant to 200 meters. All dive watches are tested by inductees of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.

 

Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar took the top prize, or “Aiguille d’Or,” at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) yesterday in Geneva.

Piaget, MB&F and Louis Vuitton took home two awards each, while a Special Jury prize was awarded to Dubai Watch Week.

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar was the top prize winner at the GPHG 2021.
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem won the GPHG Audacy Prize 2021.

 

Here is a full list of the 2021 winners:

Aiguille d’Or Grand Prize: Bulgari, Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Ladies’ Watch Prize: Piaget, Limelight Gala Precious Rainbow

Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Lady Féerie Watch

Men’s Watch Prize: Grand Seiko, Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Caliber 9SA5

Men’s Complication Watch Prize: MB&F, LMX Titanium

Iconic Watch Prize: Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin

Tourbillon Watch Prize: De Bethune, DB Kind of Two Tourbillon

Calendar and Astronomy Watch Prize: Christiaan Van Der Klaauw, CVDK Planetarium Eise Eisinga

Mechanical Exception Watch Prize: Piaget, Altiplano Ultimate Automatic

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.

The new A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen.

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.

Caliber L043.9, with an extended power reserve and a new constant force escapement.

 

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.

Two examples of the new Franck Muller Double Mystery Peony.

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.

The Junghans Meister Fein Automatic.

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.

Price: $8,000

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.

Price: $8,000.