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By Laurent Martinez

Over the years, I have noticed a recurring pattern with collectors that are new to the vintage watch market. There seems to be a tendency to compulsively buy too many watches at once without clear motivation as to why.

However, it appears that many new collectors who have taken this approach are ready to part with at least half of their new collection only a few months after building it. Perhaps they were attracted to a certain style. Maybe they enjoyed the mystery of discovering something special.

Or maybe they purchased a watch thinking they got a good bargain despite never having seen or heard of the watch before.

I remember meeting a young collector in Paris who wanted to sell his watches. He came to me with bags of timepieces, but he did not really know what he had.

I unfortunately had to let him know that most of his watches were worthless. Out of the one hundred or so timepieces, he only had a few interesting pieces from Croton and Lip.

Of course, this type of collecting can have a serious impact on your wallet. Buying a watch without knowing much about its value ends up being a waste of time and money. It may end up costing you more to fix the watch than it is actually worth. You may not be able to resell the watch for the price you paid for it or worse; you may be unable to sell it at all—even at a loss.

Do your homework

So, how do you start a vintage watch collection? The most important thing to do is to do your homework to build some guidelines. This does not necessarily mean having to spend hundreds of hours researching watches, but at the very least you should invest time into setting some parameters.

For example, define your preferred style. Dressy or sporty? Simple three-handed dial or a more complex chronograph? Stainless steel or gold? Civilian watches or military-issued timepieces? While you may like all of the above, it is always better to start with some restrictions in mind to avoid getting carried away. This approach will narrow your options and give you more focus.

After you have thoughtfully acquired some pieces that fit your initial criteria, then you can expand the parameters.

 

Estimate value

In terms of estimating the value of a watch, you can always visit websites like eBay and Chrono24 for well-known brands to see what people are asking for. Yet, keep in mind that there is a difference between asking price and market price. Listed prices on eBay are a reflection of what people want to sell the watch for and not necessarily what buyers are willing to pay.

You can choose the “Sold Items” filter to see how much a watch was purchased for. What’s more, you have to also consider commission fees, state taxes, and other dues.

If possible, I always recommend going to flea markets, local watch shows or auction events to have the watch in hand before buying. This approach allows you to inspect the details of the watch and speak to the dealer to ask any questions you may have.

Talking to the seller face-to-face will give you a better sense of how accurately priced the watch is. You learn a lot this way, and most importantly doing this can give you a better feeling of what watches you actually like “in the metal.”

Be wary

Buying online can be trickier since some websites are full of retouched images and incorrect information. However, if you have no choice but to buy online, then my advice is to only purchase from a domestic seller. Buying internationally is always riskier whether its complications with shipping and customs or sourcing from regions that are known to be flooded with counterfeit products.

I would also advise purchasing watches that are priced at the lower end of the market rather than the higher end. It is easier to come to terms with making a mistake that costs a few hundred dollars over one that costs a few thousand.

Quartz or automatic?

As always, it is all about the details. For instance, new or vintage quartz watches rarely hold their value as well as mechanical watches. There is hardly any interest in quartz watches in the secondary market. You would fare better with a hand-wound or automatic watch. If you purchase a lower-priced quartz watch, the financial loss would not be too great.

Yet, remember that high-end brands like Breitling and Omega sell quartz watches and these battery-operated timepieces lose tremendous value in the pre-owned market.

Even in the mid-range market, you would be better off buying an automatic Invicta watch instead of a quartz one. I have a friend who collects mid-range priced watches and he is very successful. There is a flourishing market for mid-priced watches and they sell quickly. He is well versed in these particular watches and understands their specifications and how they differ from high-end timepieces. As such, I always try to pick his brain and ask his advice when I am about to get one of them.

Online queries

Another great tool to gain watch knowledge is checking watch forums. There are some very knowledgeable people there that are especially focused on the technical aspects of watchmaking, which can be very helpful. The great thing is that forum members are usually very helpful and willing to share information. Always cross-reference your information with several sources to make sure it is accurate.

When looking at a watch, always start with the basics. I recently saw a watch with chronograph pushers, but the watch had a calendar dial! Obviously, it was a fake.

And sometimes people pretend to know more than they do. A lady contacted me to appraise a watch she bought at a tag sale. Five of her friends told her it was a real Audemars Piguet with a tourbillon.

I had to regretfully inform her that it was not a tourbillon at 6 o’clock, but in fact, a running seconds subdial.

Take your time

In short, educate yourself, ask questions, and take your time. Do not buy on impulse and set a budget for yourself. If you can, see the watch in real life instead of just photos, but if this is not possible, do not be shy to ask for more pictures.

Most importantly, listen to your gut. Keep these tips in mind when building a watch collection and things should go relatively smoothly. Good luck!

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

 

Watches of Switzerland and Grand Seiko invite collectors to check out, online or in-person, the largest collection of Grand Seiko timepieces in the world at an exhibition space on Spring Steet in New York’s Soho neighborhood, just a few blocks from the Watches of Switzerland Soho boutique.

The watchmaker and the watch retailer have teamed up to launch the Nature of Time Experience, a gallery style display of new and rarely seen Grand Seiko watches alongside eight immersive and educational areas where guests (online and in-person) can learn about Grand Seiko craftsmanship.

The gallery, at 119 Spring Street, displays all Grand Seiko boutique collections, including the recently released Watches of Switzerland exclusive Toge Special Edition GMT, the complete Grand Seiko Nature of Time Collection, limited edition sixtieth anniversary pieces, and – in a U.S. exclusive ­– rare Grand Seiko watches made exclusively for the Japan market. All watches showcased at The Nature of Time Experience are available for purchase.

The Grand Seiko Watches of Switzerland exclusive Toge Special Edition GMT.

With special high-tech exhibits, the Nature of Time Experience will offer visitors the chance to learn how Grand Seiko designs and manufactures its mechanical, quartz, and Spring Drive movements.

Four ‘seasons’ from of the Grand Seiko Heritage collection.

“We’re extremely proud to open The Nature of Time Experience for Grand Seiko clients and all watch enthusiasts in the heart of New York City,” says Brice Le Troadec, president of Grand Seiko Corporation of America. “We are passionate about ‘redefining retail’ by creating this immersive, personalized, and safe experience for the watch collecting community.”

Grand Seiko explains that it designed the Nature of Time Experience to recall “the fleeting beauty of the “sakura” cherry blossoms. Based on the ancient Japanese philosophy of mono no aware – appreciate the beauty of ephemeral things – sakura season inspires celebration as well as contemplation.“

The exhibit’s Takumi Lounge, open later this summer.

Later this summer visitors will also be able to visit a bar at the exhibit called the Takumi Lounge, which Grand Seiko designed in true Ginza-style.

The gallery is at 119 Spring Steet and now displays all Grand Seiko boutique collections,and much more.

The exhibit space is located at 119 Spring Street in SoHo and is open through the end of September. The Nature of Time Experience is open to walk-in visitors, but reservations are highly encouraged due to limited capacity. Masks and social distancing will be required.

 

Overview: Grand Seiko Nature of Time Experience

Dates: Now through September 30, 2020

Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 am – 7 pm; Sunday Noon – 6 pm

Address: 119 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012

Organizer: Grand Seiko Corporation of America

Partner: Watches of Switzerland

Website: https://grandseikonatureoftime.com

Phone Number: +1 646-693-0893

By Laurent Martinez

I would like to share a hopeful story with you about an American Master Watchmaker working to achieve his lifelong dream.

For the past forty-five years, Don Loke has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional master watchmaker and most recently has launched D Loke, his eponymous bespoke watch collection.

Loke’s deep watchmaking training and industry history has prepared him well for this most recent venture.

The watchmaker

Don Loke graduated in 1978 from the Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then worked with a master watchmaker in Meriden, Connecticut.

Master watchmaker Don Loke at his atelier in Connecticut .

After this experience, he went back to Bowman and took clock making courses to finally finish in 1984. After Lancaster, Loke attended WOSTEP, the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where he graduated first in his class.

Learning from Masters

While he was at school he met Michel Parmigiani and Philippe Dufour—two master watchmakers and renowned personalities in the Swiss luxury watch industry.

This was just the beginning. Post-graduation, he was invited by Breguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre for training in Switzerland and became the official after-sale person for Breguet in the U.S. when it was still owned by Chaumet. He also worked for two years with Master Watchmaker Dennis Harmon, in Waterbury, Connecticut, after which he became Technical Director of movement maker ETA for the American market. Loke soon joined UTAC Americas (which distributed Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Bertolucci, and Girard-Perregaux) as its technical director.

During this time, Loke also learned from Master Watchmaker Daniel Roth in Switzerland, who taught him the ins-and-outs of the highly complex tourbillon mechanism. By the mid-1990s, Loke worked with prominent companies such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Gerald Genta, and Daniel Roth.

Loke served as U.S. representative for Parmigiani Fleurier in the U.S. for more than six years.

When Loke found out that Michel Parmigiani was striking out on his own, Loke reached out to his old friend and eventually became the U.S. representative for Parmigiani Fleurier for more than six years. Don even interacted with legendary horologist George Daniels, discussing his new escapement and the double-wheel escapement Loke eventually developed. After seven years, he turned the escapement into a Solidworks program.

George Daniels and Don Loke

High-level services

When Don Loke is not working on his own bespoke projects, he services incredible watches, ranging from minute repeaters to chronographs. He also restores intricate timepieces that require special attention, recreating parts from scratch to make identical versions of the original components. At the same time, he currently is in charge of the North American Service Center for Louis Moinet—a brand that makes exceptional watches that range between $80,000 and $350,000.

Loke currently is in charge of the North American Service Center for Louis Moinet. Pictured is the Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse.

As you can see, Loke’s specialty is working on high-complication timepieces and his passion for watches and watchmaking has only augmented over the decades. 

Own brand: D Loke

After all these years of dedicating his time to other brands and watches, Don Loke recently began to make eponymous bespoke watches. He established two shops. One is the “clean room” to house machinery for fine turnings, cuttings, wheel making, and pinion producing. He has a microscope for measuring, a guilloché machine with forty-two discs for dial decorating, and an oven for enameling.

Loke at his workshop.

This room is also where Don Loke stores his sketches, drawing, layouts, and 3D modeling. The other is the “dirty room” for more heavy type work. Prototyping takes place at his shops and production models are executed with CNC technology.

Loke’s guilloche machine.

Dress chronographs

The first D Loke watch model is a chronograph dress watch—an idea Don Loke stored in the back of his mind for decades—where the chronograph pushers are hidden from sight.

Inside the 5 ATM water-resistant titanium case is a dial with asymmetric sub-dials and ornately cut center hands resembling blades. The rich blue details on the dial change color depending on the light, and there’s a crown at 9 o’clock to rotate the inner timing bezel.

Two D Loke dress chronographs.

The limited edition D Loke dress chronographs run on chronometer-rated Concepto calibers, a hybrid Swiss movement based on the ETA Valjoux 7750.

The Concepto Cal. 8100 (quality 1) decorated movement regulated by Loke to chronometer standards.

The watches took six months from design to manufacturing, and while the watch is made in Switzerland, the quality control and finishing are done in the U.S. There are twenty-five examples of the white-dial version, twenty-five examples of the white dial (with a blue bezel) version, and 300 examples of the blue dial version.

Although the watches are currently only available for purchase directly from Don Loke, his goal is to be in stores like Manfredi Jewels or Betteridge.

D Loke dress chronograph on the wrist.

Second model

Loke is already working on his second watch model and is currently completing the prototype of a new lever escapement. At the heart of the watch will be a 100% proprietary movement, based on Don Loke’s design and technical drawings – his very own invention.

Loke says he will source handmade gold dials from J.N. Shapiro in California. As a result, this will be a handmade watch made entirely in the United States. Don expects to manufacture five prototypes in the first year and he will become the first American watchmaker to make his own high-end watch powered by his own movement. The aim is to present this timepiece to the U.S. market by the end of 2020 with a price tag of $65,000 to $75,000.

Daniels connection

The third D Loke watch model will be a model with a double pivoted and spring detente escapement—invented by Don Loke based on conversations he had with George Daniels.

Yet again, this is his invention, with designs and technical drawings built from scratch. With already twenty-five orders in the books for this upcoming watch model, the American market should see it by the second quarter of 2021 with a price tag of $175,000.

Ultimately, it is Don’s dream to have his own watch on his wrist. Another goal of his is to bring his three children into the business. All are highly skilled engineers.

With all of these ideas and designs, including a future tourbillon piece, Loke is going to need plenty of talent and skill.

I love this spirit of entrepreneurship, and I wish Don Loke the very best and abundant success with his new company. Stay tuned for the end of the year when he unveils his new watches.

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com (where this article first appeared) or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com

 

Ulysse Nardin has partnered with Ocearch, a scientific organization that works with researchers and educational institutions to better understand the movement and habits of sharks.

The Le Locle watchmaker has historically manufactured marine chronometers and has even more recently released dive watches symbolized by the shark. The new partnership means Ulysse Nardin will financially back Ocearch’s mission and assist researchers in their work and provide resources to better understand the shark’s role in the ocean’s fragile ecosystem.

Ulysse Nardin U.S. brand president François-Xavier Hotier says he has wanted to align the brand with a nonprofit marine life conservation organization since he started with the watch company in 2018.

Ulysse Nardin U.S. President Francois-Xavier Hotier

“Ocearch’s passion and their commitment to the shark species equaled that of our company’s and I knew Ulysse Nardin could make a positive impact toward their, and truly our, collective mission to save the shark species and therein help balance the ocean’s delicate ecosystem,” he said in a press release.  

“In speaking with François-Xavier Hotier we came to realize, not only our shared passion for the impact of shark-based research but of the importance of doing good work for good,” says Chris Fischer, founder of Ocearch. “We rely on companies like Ulysse Nardin to help raise awareness for our mission and look forward to working with the team behind the scenes and on future research expeditions.”

Ulysse Nardin will support Ocearch on its upcoming expeditions and work together to raise awareness around marine research. The organization is currently planning two expeditions for the end of 2020. The first will take place August 5-20 in Massachusetts and the second from September 3-28 in Nova Scotia.

Recent Ulysse Nardin dive models that pay homage to different shark species include two limited editions, the Diver Chronograph Hammerhead Shark and the Lady Diver Great White. Both are pictured below.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition. Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition. The watch is offered with a titanium or rose gold case and with rubber or fabric strap.

 

 

The Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Great White. The watch has a domed crystal and a concave unidirectional bezel and its dial is designed to look like the granular skin of a great white shark.

 

 

Caseback view of the Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Great White Limited Edition.

Each year we take a moment to note the anniversary of the first tourbillon, the whirling regulation device Abraham-Louis Breguet patented on June 26, 1801. Breguet’s invention helped make pocket watches more precise by counteracting many of the negative effects of gravity on timekeeping precision.

Abraham-Louis Breguet

As is the case each year, Montres Breguet has provided us with a few visual reminders of how Breguet’s invention eventually started more than two centuries of tourbillon development by watchmakers.

A Breguet tourbillon

That development, however, was surprisingly slow. Found primarily in pocket watches and the occasional clock, the tourbillon wasn’t adopted for serially produced wristwatches until the 1980s, though a few prototype wristwatches with tourbillons were developed by Omega in 1947 and even earlier by special order at other Swiss manufacturers and by the French maker LIP.

Breguet Tourbillon N°1188

Breguet also reminds us that Abraham-Louis Breguet created only thirty-five tourbillon watches, with fewer than ten known to survive (including the No. 1188, pictured above).

The Breguet N°2567

The House of Breguet possesses several additional historical tourbillon pocket watches, including No. 1176 sold by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1809, and No. 2567 sold in 1812, along with original records that list every single Breguet historical creation.

Many original Breguet tourbillons can be found in the Breguet Boutique & Museum in Place Vendome, Paris.

Here are just a few recent Breguet tourbillon watches that bear witness to the legacy of the man who devised the device, and whose name is on the building.

For 2020, Breguet adorns the dial of its Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon with a touch of deep blue, by using the traditional grand feu enamel technique.
Engraved caseback of the newest Breguet Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon.
Breguet this year offers its Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 with a rose gold case with a gold dial.
The eye-catching engraved caseback of the Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887.

In time to be considered as a Father’s Day gift (or self-purchase), Bell & Ross introduces two handsome additions to its BR 05 collection of rounded-square watches with integrated bracelet, which the watchmaker introduced last year. One new model features a newly blue sapphire crystal while a second new BR 05 recalls the two-tone gold and steel case watch designs of decades past.

The new Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue.
The new Bell & Ross Black, Steel and Gold, here on a rubber strap.

You might recall that the BR 05 collection debuted as Bell & Ross’s ode to the groundbreaking integrated steel watches of the 1970s.

Essentially an evolution of its cockpit-inspired BR 03, the BR 05 has Bell & Ross placing its very identifiable 12-6-9 dial numerals (though not on the skeleton models) and four bezel screws exactly where you’d expect them on a Bell & Ross aviation watch. Bell & Ross then frames all these well-known elements with a new curved, polished round bezel and a soft-cornered 40mm square case. Bell & Ross then nicely integrates the new, rounded square case directly into a new steel bracelet.

Blue window

One new BR 05 model blues the sapphire crystal of the existing BR05 Automatic Skeleton, offering a full view of the openwork caliber. With satin-finishes and polished beveling, the skeletonized caliber both reflects and catches light, which on this new model is filtered blue.

While reading the time can be a challenge with some skeleton watches, Bell & Ross avoids this by removing the large numerals and adding hard-to-miss metal appliqué indices and SuperLuminova-filled hands onto the new watch’s blue dial.

As with the first BR 05 automatic skeleton, Bell & Ross also utilizes an open-worked, Sellita-based Caliber BR-321 to create the Caliber BR-322 inside the new watch, which is then finished with satin and polished surfaces.

From the back of the watch, you’ll find a clear view of the caliber and its unusual 360° blue-coated, open-worked oscillating weight. Bell & Ross is offering the watch as a limited edition of 500 on either a flexible steel bracelet or a ribbed blue rubber strap.

Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet

Two-tone case

The second new model, the BR 05 Black Steel and Gold, introduces a slightly ritzier look to the collection with its 1980s-style two-tone dress. Bell & Ross combines satin finishing, polished steel and 18-karat rose gold to create the somewhat retro style, further enhanced with a black dial.

Bell & Ross accents the watch’s black dial with a lovely satin-finished rose gold bezel and rose gold applique numerals, rose-gold-outlined indices and SuperLuminova-set skeletonized hour and minute hands. All the satin-finished rose gold here nicely offsets the polished case and bracelet accents.

The look of this new collection, particularly with its gold-framed numerals and indices, is somewhat more luxurious than its ‘two-tone’ description would indicate.

The new model reaches perhaps the halfway mark to the luxuriousness of the $32,500 all-gold BR 05 that Bell & Ross included within the collection’s launch last year. And while I haven’t had the opportunity to feel the new watches, I’d guess the rose gold here would also add a bit of heft when compared to the all-steel BR 05 models.   

Echoing all the BR 05 models, this Black Steel and Gold model features a clear caseback exposing a 360° rotor, which on this new model is coated with ruthenium.

Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet

 

iW Interview:

When Bell & Ross debuted the BR 05 collection last summer, we spoke to Carlos Rosillo, CEO and co-founder of Bell & Ross about the collection. In light of the newest additions to the BR 05 collection during the past month, we’ve reprised his responses to our questions below. 

Bell & Ross co-founders Carlos Rosillo (left) and Bruno Belamich.

Why create the entirely new collection BR 05? What was your goal?

The goal was to develop an intermediate model between the square – our utilitarian icon – and the round – which is universal and generic. With this new line in mind, we did not want to create a city watch, but a Bell & Ross watch made for the city. The BR05 is the subtly square watch for the city.

 

In what ways does the BR 05 design fit in with the Bell & Ross approach to watchmaking?

The inspiration comes from our iconic model, the BR03, which takes essence from the aeronautical cockpits. As a complementary collection and thus still very Bell & Ross, we are keeping our core codes that are the iconic case with a circle in a square, the iconic graphics on the dial with its 12-6-9 figures and the four screws. It is what I consider an evolution of this icon. In the BR05 DNA, there is a piece of dashboard.

 

Who are you appealing to with the new design?

It is a modern watch. So we can easily imagine a young urban man who works in a suit and rides a bike appreciating items with a singular design. It is the ideal timepiece for the man-about-town eager to face the challenges of modern life and in control of time and his destiny.

 

What were the primary challenges you discovered when creating the collection?

The main challenge is to maintain the brand’s fundamentals while innovating constantly. We are evolving in a market where novelty is necessary. The difficulty lay in respecting the proportions and volumes: to design a 40mm case with a mechanical movement and open the dial to emphasize readability.

Why such a distinctive bracelet?

The new BR05 is a perfect blend between our iconic square model and a type of watch in which the case merges with the bracelet to create a compact and harmonious whole. The arc of the curve allow the components to be perfectly aligned and ensures the bracelet can adapt seamlessly to any wrist. All of this makes the BR 05 a jewel.

 

Will BR 05 replace any existing collection?

No, it is indeed the missing link between our two existing collections and case shapes. The round shape is inspired by the history of aviation and the past, and the square for its radical form and for professional use.

We wanted to create a watch with the iconic Bell & Ross case and to merge it with a steel bracelet. The idea was to move from the professional world of the extreme to the urban landscape, a transition from the off-road to the on-road.

 

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue  

Movement: Automatic Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL. 322.

Case: 40mm satin-polished steel, sapphire crystal and caseback, 100-meters water resistance.

Dial: Skeletonized with blue crystal, applique indices filled with SuperLuminova, metal skeletonized SuperLuminova-filled hour and minute hands.

Strap: Blue rubber or satin-polished steel with folding satin-polished steel buckle.

Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 05 Black Steel & Gold

Movement: Automatic Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL. 321.

Case: 40mm rose gold and satin-polished steel with sapphire crystal and caseback. Water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Black sunray with rose-gold-gilded applique numerals and indices filled with SuperLuminova; rose-gold-gilded skeletonized hour and minute hands filled with SuperLuminova.

Strap: Black rubber or bi-material rose gold and satin-finished and polished steel. Satin-finished and polished folding steel buckle. 

Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet 

 

Torgoen has partnered with Miracle Flights to raise funds for the charity, which transports critically ill children to specialized medical care far from home.

With every purchase made through Torgoen’s ecommerce site, a portion of proceeds will go to support Miracle Flights and help more children reach the life-changing medical treatment they need.

“Now more than ever, we’ve felt compelled to give back through our online platform,” says Torgoen brand manager Ziv Emmet.

 

“As a brand devoted to pilots and aviation enthusiasts, we immediately connected to the Miracle Flights mission. Together with our customers, we know we can make a positive impact on this organization and the thousands of families it serves.”

Founded in June 1985, Miracle Flights is the nation’s leading medical flight charity, providing thousands of free commercial flights each year to families across the country.

“We’re grateful to Torgoen – not only for their generous financial support but also for giving us such an elegant and memorable way to commemorate our 35 years,” says Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown.

To learn more about Miracle Flights and its partnership with Torgoen, visit miracleflights.org.

The Torgoen T-16

Among its early 2020 debuts, Frederique Constant this week adds karat gold to its Classic Worldtimer Manufacture and adds sportier dials to its Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, both among the Geneva-based brand’s best-known collections that also happen to be made with in-house-designed movements.

Additional 2020 debuts (to be detailed in future posts) include new Art Deco-style watches for women and an updated smartwatch called Vitality. 

Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

This watch has earned accolades as possibly the best-value flyback chronograph watch on the market with a manufacture movement (FC-760). The 42mm watch debuted in 2017 priced less than $4,000, and still might one of the few such flyback chronographs available at such an attractive price  ($4,295 and $4,595 for the current offering).

With the flyback, the chronograph’s hand can be stopped, reset to zero, and restarted with one push of a button. The function allows for timing an elapsed interval of events during races. Frederique Constant spent six years developing the caliber prior to its debut, when the brand touted the modular design as one of the most efficient available as it requires only 96 of its 233 components to be dedicated to the flyback function. 

The Flyback Chronograph Manufacture is powered by the in-house FC-760 flyback chronograph movement.

   

But it’s not simply the watch’s ultra-efficient star-shaped column-wheel flyback chronograph caliber that draws enthusiasts. The Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture’s retro-inspired dial and case design also plays a role in advancing the watch’s popularity.

New dials

Initially offered with a more classical Roman numeral dial, the watch is now being offered with its first two-tone dial variations, though still retaining the applied, beveled hour markers we’ve seen on this watch in recent years.

Frederique Constant is unveiling the two new options with silvered counters and darker (blue or brown) surrounding dials, echoing the contrasts seen on many chronographs of the 1960s and 1970s.

The sportier treatment sets the dial’s three-counters (date, 30-minute counter and small seconds) in stronger contrast to the dial, which also features baton indices and luminous hands.  

On the gold-plated version, the three counters are set against a chocolate-colored dial with a 42mm rose-gold-plated case. The second model features a blue dial with a stainless-steel case. All are fitted with an alligator strap with a deployant clasp. Price: $4,295 (steel case) and $4,595 (rose-gold-plated steel case).

Gold Worldtimer 

Available for the first time with a rose gold case, Frederique Constant’s Classic Worldtimer Manufacture is also now offered with a new blue, grey and red dial. This newest edition (limited to eighty-eight watches) still reveals a familiar world map on its dial with world city times indicated via two separate discs.

In its steel-cased edition, the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture remains among the most affordable (at $3,995) full-featured Swiss-made world-time watches available. 

The watch’s functions are just as useful now as they were ten years ago when Frederique Constant released the very first Classic Worldtimer. On the dial, twenty-four world time zones, indicated by cities, rotate around nicely detailed continents and oceans seen in the center of the dial.

For this special limited-edition karat gold version, the watchmaker has colored the twelve daytime hours in red while the nighttime hours appear in grey. Frederique Constant continues to nicely decorate the date counter at 6 o’clock with a particularly fetching sunray guilloché pattern.

Frederique Constant has designed its FC-718 movement to be quickly and easily adjusted via the crown, thus requiring no additional pushbuttons on the case. Price: $14,995.

 

Specifications: 

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, rose-gold-plated steel (FC-760CHC4H4)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph, date adjustable by hand, tachymeter

Movement: FC-760 Manufacture caliber, automatic, flyback chronograph with date adjustable by the crown, perlage & circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 32 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 42mm rose-gold-plated, polished and satined stainless steel three-part case, glass box sapphire crystal, see-through case-back. Water-resistant to 50 meters

Dial: Brown with applied rose-gold-plated indexes, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hands

Strap: Dark brown alligator leather strap

 

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, steel case  (FC-760NS4H6)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph, date adjustable by hand, tachymeter

Movement: FC-760 Manufacture caliber, automatic, flyback chronograph with date adjustable by the crown. Perlage and circular Côtes de Genève decoration, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 42mm polished and satined stainless steel three-part, glass box sapphire crystal, see-through case-back. Water-resistant to 50 meters

Dial: Navy with applied silver indexes, hand-polished silver hands

Strap: Blue alligator leather

 

Specifications: Frederique Constant Rose Gold Classic Worldtimer Manufacture, (FC-718NRWM4H9)

Movement: FC-718 Manufacture caliber, automatic with all functions (time and world timer) adjustable by the crown, perlage & circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 42mm polished 18-karat rose gold with convex sapphire crystal, see-through caseback, water-resistant to 30 meters

Dial: Navy blue color dial with grey world map in the center and luminous indexes, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hands with white luminous treatment; date counter at 6 o’clock, 24 hour disc with day (red) & night (grey) indication, city disc with 24 cities

Strap: Navy blue alligator leather strap with off-white stitches

 

Frank Sinatra is once again announcing “it’s Bulova time.” 

The famed late singer is the star of a new series of ten Bulova watches named after well-known Frank Sinatra songs. The brand’s new Frank Sinatra Collection is dedicated to Sinatra – who was known for wearing Bulova watches – and features watches with cases and dials inspired by designs from the 1950s and 1960s.

A Fly Me to the Moon model from the new Bulova Frank Sinatra Collection.

Sinatra connection

Bulova’s connection to Frank Sinatra began in the 1950s during The Frank Sinatra Show television program for which the brand was the sponsor.

A pioneering advertiser known for extensive early radio and television campaigns, Bulova has in recent years renewed its connection to the music industry with partnerships with the Recording Academy, the Latin Recording Academy as well as through initiatives like Tune of Time or with non-profit partner, Windows of Hip Hop. Bulova has also teamed with the GRAMMY Awards to create a series of watches. Frank Sinatra took home nine GRAMMY awards during his long career.

“Our commitment to music includes many talents, many genres, many voices. Who better than ‘The Voice’ himself, Frank Sinatra, to continue to showcase our dedication and appreciation for the art of music and its ability to transcend time,” says Jeffrey Cohen, President of Citizen Watch America, which includes Bulova within its corporate umbrella.

Frank Sinatra and Tina Sinatra

“No one respected time more than my father, he never liked to keep an audience waiting, adds Frank Sinatra’s daughter Tina Sinatra. “He often said, ‘If you’re not early, you’re late.’ Dad’s association with Bulova spans over six decades and we are proud to continue the relationship into the 21st Century.”

The watches

The new Bulova Frank Sinatra Collection includes manual-wind, automatic or quartz timepieces made in a square, rectangular, round and tonneau case shapes and named for some of the best-known Sinatra songs, including “My Way,” “The Best is Yet to Come” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

My Way

The watches are cased in either stainless steel or gold-toned steel and are powered by a Sellita or Miyota automatic or manual-wind caliber, or by a Miyota quartz caliber. Many feature gold-toned hands and indexes and are offered in steel or leather straps. Prices range from $495 to $1,350.

In addition, Bulova pays tribute to Sinatra by placing an image of the singer’s Fedora hat on the crown and by imprinting song titles on the inside of the straps and on the caseback of each watch. Frank Sinatra’s signature is also seen on each dial.

My Way, showing engraved caseback.

The first series in Bulova’s Frank Sinatra Collection includes:

My Way is a tank-style stainless steel or gold-tone steel watch with a silvery white or black dial and a Miyota quartz movement. Prices: $495 and $525.

My Way, with black dial.

The Best is Yet To Come is an assortment of 40mm round case watches in either stainless steel or gold-toned steel with an exhibition caseback showcasing a manual-wind Sellita SW215 movement. Prices: $1,150 to $1,350.

The Best is Yet to Come is a 40mm manual-wind watch offered with various dials.
The Best is Yet to Come, with a steel bracelet.

Three pieces under the name Fly Me To The Moon feature 39mm round steel or gold-tone steel cases and powered by a Miyota Caliber 8215 automatic movement seen through an exhibition caseback. Prices: $750 to $825.

Fly Me to the Moon

The Young At Heart includes a selection of timepieces in a gold-tone stainless steel tonneau-shaped case. One of the novelties is presented with a brown sunray brush dial inspired by Sinatra’s Whiskey partnership complete with a brown calf strap.

The Young At Heart, brown sunray dial.

The other is seen with a silver white sunray dial with a black calf strap. A Miyota Caliber 8215 automatic movement powers both pieces. Price: $695.

The Young At Heart includes a selection of timepieces in a gold-tone stainless steel tonneau-shaped case.

Bulova will sell each watch with a package that mimics a vinyl album box set. It will also include lyrics from Sinatra songs and incorporate various vintage images.

The Frank Sinatra collection will be available later this year on Bulova.com and at other Bulova official retailers.

 

By Gary Girdvainis

The story of Waldan Watches is an inspiring one.  I’ve followed the progress of the company since the early days of International Watch, and with the re-birth of Waldan Watches underway, led by its new-generation leader Andrew Waldan, it’s time to review the Waldan story and introduce its latest collection. 

Founding Era

The groundwork that laid the foundation for the Waldan International watch brand goes back to the late 1970s during a period when founder Oscar Waldan supplied retailers in the United States with in-house-branded timepieces.

Andrew Waldan and his father Oscar Waldan, the founder of Waldan International. Andrew took over as CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.

A polish immigrant, Waldan arrived in the U.S. in 1946 as a rare survivor of not one, but two separate German concentration camps – thanks in large part to his ability to service and repair wristwatches. The decades between Oscar’s arrival in the U.S. in 1946 and the launch of his own brand in 1979 saw Oscar working in various positions in the U.S. offices of Tissot, Universal Genève, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., and others.

Three decades after his arrival in the U.S., Oscar took the leap to start his own brand in 1979. He designed his own series of mechanical watches featuring exquisite dials, including chronographs, chronometers, world timers, alarms, and more.

A original Waldan Chrono 38, made in an 18-karat rose gold case.

These were all mechanical watches and all would carry the Waldan trademark on the dial.

Bear in-mind that this was in an era long before the cookie-cutter options that make it simpler for anyone to buy an off-the-shelf “made in China” watch. Back then, you really had to know what you were doing to have any chance to bring a watch brand together – especially when you were one of the few members of the industry that still believed the mechanical watch had a future in the newly minted quartz era. These early Waldan watches remain collector’s favorites and embody what a fine luxury wristwatch should be; mechanical complications with top-quality components inside and out, and a design that will never go out of style.

That said, these were, and are, out of the reach of most consumers. They were crafted exclusively in precious gold and platinum with mechanical Swiss Made chronographs and other complicated movements within, and their prices reflected those components.

But while Oscar’s early Waldans were worth more than he charged, they still called for a substantial investment in the thousands of dollars to acquire.

Next Generation

It’s no surprise that the founding father of Waldan Watches would bring his son Andrew into the family business.

At a very young age, Andrew was often found at the New York headquarters of Waldan International. There, with his father and the staff of assistants and watchmakers, Andrew grew into a young man surrounded by all things watches. All the while Andrew was developing an insider’s perspective on an industry about to experience a renaissance that his father had never actually abandoned.  

Guided by his father’s indelible principles, Andrew combined an understanding of current market trends with his own experiences when he was called on to take over the company due to his father’s failing health in 2017. Having actively worked with his father at Waldan International since 2013, Andrew was well prepared to take the lead as the CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.

Andrew had decided it was time to evolve the brand. During this rebirth process he came to the conclusion that making the classic Waldan design available to a much wider audience might make sense.

So in a daring departure from the established path, he decided to build a watch in the United States, not in Switzerland, using the newly minted Ameriquartz movement inside.

Watches from the all-new Waldan Heritage collection are cased in 40mm steel and feature Ameriquartz movements.

Crafted in steel, the watches are targeting a retail price of under $500 each with a goal of expanding the potential reach for his father’s design(s) by an order of magnitude.

Working with his team, Andrew has now brought to life a watch collection that embraces the design cues of a Waldan watch, including the Waldan font, hands, color palette, fine leather straps, and, most critically, the iconic curves of the stepped case and lugs, all at a retail price will appeal to anyone at a modest $299.99.

More than skin deep

In making watches, the devil really is in the details. It’s easy to make a cheap handsome (or pretty) watch that won’t last until the first battery dies. Making one that will last a lifetime and beyond calls for a different approach.

Applied numerals and markers on the entire new Waldan Heritage collection are mechanically attached for durability.

Here’s where Andrew and his team – including his chief technical advisor – came together over the course of more than a year to examine and approve every component and every detail to finally put together a watch that passed muster for both esthetics and durability.

Andrew also chose to source American suppliers where possible to continue his father’s own goal in building a legitimate watch brand in the U.S.  Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.

Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.

Ameriquartz

Those unfamiliar with Ameriquartz movements should note that they are jeweled all-metal movements built in at a state-of-the-art facility in Fountain Hills, Arizona, to the highest standards.

As both a founding advisor to the company and as its sales manager, I can tell you that each movement is built using a combination of modern and traditional engineering to bring the quartz movement to its zenith with regards to accuracy and reliability, and each one is individually tested and certified when manufactured.

The Ameriquartz movement, used inside all the new Waldan watches.

Each movement also carries a manufacturer’s five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

The Collection

Waldan’s new collection is presented in an easy-to-wear 40mm diameter case with a slim 8.6mm profile.  Crafted in 316L stainless steel, they are water resistant to 50 meters with a flat sapphire crystal protecting each of six variations on the theme. 

Waldan is introducing Heritage Professional series with dials in four colors, including black, white, off-white and green.

These join two Waldan Heritage Sportline versions with oil-pressed linear-patterned dials in black and silver, which rounds out the initial launch of the Waldan Heritage collection.

An oil-pressed dial imparts a more rugged look to the Waldan Heritage Sportline Collection.

Although not limited to a specific numbered series, each Waldan Heritage is hand built in the U.S. using a proprietary ATAC (assess, test, assemble, certify) Zero-Defect protocol and will be limited by production capacity and likely to be a hot commodity when it releases in mid July.

Custom leaf (feuille) hands, seen on the new Heritage Professional Series, are a Waldan trademark.

To stay up to speed with new releases and details check in at the Waldan web-site (www.waldanwatches.com) which is currently being updated and modernized to better meet the preferences of today’s consumers.