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For many years Precision Engineering AG, a sister company of H. Moser & Cie., has been making balance springs for MB&F. These two high-profile independent watchmakers today expand their ties well beyond sharing component-makers by each launching a watch with functions and designs originally found on watches from both companies.

Thus, on the new Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F the wearer sees a cylindrical tourbillon and tilted dial that immediately recalls the MB&F LM Thunderdome or its Flying-T.

Likewise, on the new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser we see the highly recognizable MB&F suspended balance flying above a trademark H. Moser fumé dial with minimalized H. Moser hands indicating both time and power reserve.

Both companies have jointly created these two new watches and will make them available in several versions with each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Fifteen signifies the 15th anniversary of MB&F and the fifteenth anniversary of H. Moser & Cie.’s re-launch.

Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F

For this 42mm model, H. Moser & Cie. takes the MB&F concept of three-dimensional movements to another technical level with a one-minute flying tourbillon (with the aforementioned cylindrical balance) popping out of an aperture at 12 o’clock.

Down at 6 o’clock we see a 40-degree tilted dial, lifted directly from MB&F’s LM Thunderdome or Flying –T.  Rather than the white lacquer dial used by MB&F, here we find clear sapphire marked only by the H. Moser name, two hands and the twelve hour markers.

H. Moser CEO Edouard Meylan explains that his company has “Moserized the MB&F universe by developing a sapphire subdial, which melts into the background so as to highlight the beauty of our fumé dials.”

H. Moser will make the watch available in five different versions cased in steel and with a selection of favorite H. Moser fumé dials: Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White or Ice Blue.

LM101 MB&F × H. Moser

For its part in the cooperative venture, MB&F has outfitted its Legacy Machine 101 with distinctive H. Moser elements.

MB&F has retained the watch’s suspended flying balance, but has removed its own logo as well as the LM101’s white domed subdials, replacing them with an H. Moser fumé dial and three H. Moser hands showing hours, minutes power reserve.

MB&F chose four fumé dials to illustrate the watch’s cooperative nature: Red, Cosmic Green, Aqua Blue and Funky Blue. MB&F also retained the 40mm by 16mm steel case and domed sapphire crystal.

MB&F has also redesigned the LM101’s large suspended balance wheel by adding a Straumann double balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG, the component maker that shares ownership with H. Moser. MB&F says the new spring actually improves the movement’s precision and isochronism while also reducing friction.

And there’s more ‘Mosering’ visible on this new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser. Rather than using a Kari Voutilainen finish, MB&F has supplied a contemporary NAC treatment to the movement, which is visible from the clear sapphire caseback.

Moser CEO Edouard Meylan and MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser compare their new creations to a “duet recital in the form of an exceptional concerto for devotees of fine watchmaking.”

Clearly, the two independent watchmakers are making beautiful music together. 

The two models are available in several versions, each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Prices: $79,000  (Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F) and $52,000 (LM101 MB&F × H. Moser).

 

 

 

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.

 

Story and Photos by Steve Lundin

Travelling through Berlin’s fractured, graffitied and tattooed streets, it’s understandable that Nomos founder Roland Schwertner would have been drawn to the balance, symmetry and inherent calm of the Bauhaus style. It represented an escape from the chaotic environment that was Berlin from before the war to the fall of the wall– and to this day.

The Berlin Wall

The net result of the confluence of Schwertner’s entrepreneurial spirit and a singular moment in history resulted in the formation of one of the most aesthetically pure and culturally reflective watch brands to emerge from Germany.

Uwe Ahrendt, Nomos Glashütte CEO

Schwertner, schooled in technology and photography, found himself, along with millions of other Germans, in a whirling vortex of opportunity with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, signaling the beginning of reunification of West and East Germany under the chant, “Tor auf!”

By the time reunification became official, on October 3, 1990, Schwertner had already made his move to establish a new German watch brand in GlashütteSaxony, where the German watchmaking industry began.

Schwertner wanted to build clean watches, something new and not gaudy, like many of the 1980s watches, with a reference to draftsmanship. He and designer Susanne Günther went through catalogues of watches from Glashütte and found one that was made in 1920s, that was not ornate like most watches of that time,” says Thomas Höhnel, product designer for Nomos Glashütte, and the creative driver behind , the Ahoi, the breakout water resistant sports model that received the Good Design, iF and Goldene Unruh awards. “This exception watch he found was simple and provided inspiration for the first watch.”

Thomas Höhnel, product designer for Nomos Glashütte

Höhnel works at Berlinerblau, the Nomos design studio, located in Berlin in what would be considered the urban part of any city in the world. The Hipster meets Goth meets Businessman meets Mad Max forms the interwoven Kevlar of the human experience that mesh together and drive the pulse of the busy streets surrounding the studio.

Through a courtyard that could have easily been a darkened spy drop during the Cold War, up an industrial steel grey elevator and through imposing doors lies the Nomos cognitive center, the head, populated by a crew of engineers, designers and marketers who feed their ideas to the production facilities in Glashütte, the thundering hands of the company.

“The creative part of the company comes from Berlin, there’s a reason why it’s there,” observes Uwe Ahrendt, CEO of Nomos Glashütte. “The spirit of the place is important. Glashütte is a town of watchmakers, it’s historical, but the design sensibility has to come from Berlin.”

“Berlin experienced chaos and then came together again,” adds Höhnel. “It’s evident everywhere and has helped it to becomes a creative hub.”  Höhnel conducted a thorough history of the company and its products from one of airy, white conference rooms at the Berlin studio.

Inside the Berlin Studio.

Berlinerblau itself is a reflection of the clean symmetry of the company’s design aesthetic, from the Eames furniture to the neat placement of nuts and chocolates thoughtfully positioned on the conference tables. It’s a highly ordered and logical environment, a far cry from the tumult in the streets below.

It started with Tangente

Among the mood boards and many company artifacts dotting Berlinerblau is a group of hand drawn numeric fonts on paper that were utilized in the design of the first family of products, the Orion, Ludwig, Tetra and Tangente, released in 1991. The elegant, elongated font is ascribed to “Suzi,” scrawled on the bottom of the art, however that actual name is lost in history. To everyone working at Nomos today, it’s simply called “the font.”

The original Nomos font, signed by ‘Suzi.”

The Tangente proved the star of the original lineup and is still the number one best-selling model, according to Florian M. Langenbucher, a multilingual watch industry professional and true gentleman who conducted our tour through Nomos’ many facilities.

The Nomos Tangente Update in dark platinum with Neomatik date caliber (DUW 6101).

The Tangente, held in mythic regard by the company, is the most emblematic watch of the entire 150-unit product line and has received multiple industry awards over the years, including the Chrono, iF and the highly coveted international Red Dot awards. Photos of the permutations of the model are everywhere, as are exploded diagrams of its guts, citations of its awards, advertising imagery and a library of articles detailing almost every aspect of its existence. Originally offered as a 39mm manual wound unisex watch with a Swiss movement, the line has expanded to twenty-one models, powered by in-house manual and automatic movements.

Höhnel gently caresses various models of the Tangente as he offers them, with gloved hands, for review.

“Notice how the slim Tangent is raised above the wrist on its lugs,” he observes, “this makes even the smaller models seem bigger.”

Three Nomos Tangente Club Sport neomatik 42 date models, with the first Nomos bracelet, handcrafted using 145 parts.

For Nomos, the Tangente is a challenging canvas for their creative output, as variation in the theme is restrained by  Schwertner’s mandate to not violate the original elemental aspects of the dial and case.

The addition of the crown guards, found on the new Sport Neomatik 42 ($4,980), or the external date ring on the Neomatik 41 update Ruthenium ($4,100), which won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) Challenge Prize, required months of design deliberations and hand wringing before they were green-lighted for production.

“The development process on movements and cases can take up to two years,” says Höhnel. “Every model is reflective of the sensibilities of our audience. We must know how the end user thinks, what they like in design, in architecture, in cars, how they will interact with and use the watch. Sometimes we bring in outside designers, like Mark Braun who worked on the Metro Date Power Reserve ($3,780) a fantastic model with a unique power reserve indicator, to bring a new feel to the line. We work with all kinds of materials and colors just to get to a 3D- printed version that enables our team to interact with the product. Sometimes you just have to put a project down and let it sit for awhile.”

      Outside parties involved in the process include the case makers, hand makers and strap makers, with a supply chain that stretches all the way to the United States.

And then there was Glashütte

Two hours south of Berlin, near the famous city of Dresden, lies the small town of Glashütte, population 7,000, located in a valley that is home to more than ten watchmakers and manufacturers. It is here that the Nomos production facilities turn the ideas of the Berlin studio into a tangible product.

Nomos headquarters at the former Glashütte train station.

The pioneering work of Ferdinand Adolph Lange (of A. Lange and Söhne) established the area as a source of German watches, an alternative to importing Swiss products, while leveraging the local workforce. His work served to germinate a generation of watchmakers and parts suppliers that would ultimately work with other famous brands from the region including Tutima and Muhle-Glashütte.

Wartime production of aviation watches and timing devices to support the Axis military earned the region a target designation in WWII, and Allied bombers destroyed many of the factories and railways. After the war Germany was divided and Glashütte was now located in Soviet East Germany: the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Soviets seized the machinery as part of war reparations and began converting production to timekeeping pieces for Soviet consumption. In 1951, pre-war era private enterprises were outlawed and all commercial assets and intellectual property were combined to form the state-controlled Glashütte Uhrenbetrieb (GUB). The fall of the wall passed control of the GUB to the newly forming German Republic, and created opportunities for the legacy companies– and entrepreneurs like Schwertner.

Forming Nomos

For a German watch company, association with the name Glashütte represents an elite status. To receive the designation “Made in Glashütte/Sa,” more than fifty percent of the watches’ value has to be created on location. Protection of this identifying mark is strictly enforced by the manufacturers in the region, who have sought legal channels in the past against transgressors who have falsely identified the origin in their products, in the same manner that champagne producers guard the use of their region’s output to products made specifically in the Champagne region of France.

By locating production in Glashütte and design in Berlin, Schwertner successfully capitalized on two of the country’s hallmark regions.

Schwertner acquired the rights to several now defunct German companies, one of which was Nomos-Uhr-Gesellschaft, Guido Müller & Co. This company was in operation between 1906-1910 and was put out of business by other Glashütte companies for misleading advertising that indicated that it was producing authentic, assembled-in-Glashütte products.

Ironically Schwertner’s Nomos would later sue watch manufacturer Mühle, in 2007, for the same violation, driving Mühle into Chapter 11 insolvency. Mühle Glashütte returned to regular production in 2008, after agreeing to ensure that their production process added at least fifty percent of the value of the watch in Glashütte.

The Glashütte Name

“America represents our most important growth area, followed by the U.K. and Asia. The strength of the Glashütte name, the power of our brand and the quality we deliver for the money will help us become top brands in those areas,” said Ahrendt, from his stunning glass- walled office located in the town’s converted train station with direct views of competitors A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original.

Uwe Ahrendt’s vintage Mercedes

Ahrendt arrived in a vintage pastel blue Mercedes and is himself a reflective embodiment of the brand. He carries the Berliner sense of style on the frame of a Saxon boxer, a hybridization of the intersection of the two regions.

“Our move to in-house movements represents two things: our liberation from suppliers and a demonstration of our innovation,” adds Ahrendt.

“We produce all our own calibers, including the Alpha, our original hand-wound movement, and six others, and our award-winning automatics. They are all sleek, highly crafted movements that represent the highest standards of engineering.”

The Nomos Alpha 01 movement

The Nomos production facilities are spread across several buildings in Glashütte and house technologies and capabilities equal to most tier-one manufacturers. Nomos worked with the Technical University of Dresden and invested 12 million Euros to develop its escapement and swing system, critical core elements of any watch movement, released in 2014. This move freed Nomos from relying on external suppliers, such as the monolithic Swatch Group, for this important element.

Nomos base plates.

The spotless facilities employ hundreds of skilled personnel who are involved with all aspects of the watchmaking processes. CNC machining equipment turns out base plates, which join over over 150 smaller parts made of brass, steel and other materials that are manufactured, ground, polished and finally assembled to pump out the region’s highest volume of products.

In 2015 Nomos released its 3.2 mm height DUW (Deutsche Uhrenwerke) 3001 Neomatik caliber automatic movement, an ultra-slim creation loyal to the brand’s style aesthetic.

The Nomos DUW 3001 movement, showing balance bridge.

This movement became the seed from which the entire automatic line grew, and the basis for the highly impressive DUW 5201, found in the Tangomat GMT ($4,920) and Zurich World Time ($6,100) models. Nomos’ current in-house produced calibers include the manual-wound Alpha, found in the original Tangente, and the DUW 1001, DUW 2002, DUW 4101, DUW 4301, and DUW 4401. Automatic movements include the DUW 3001, DUW 5001, DOW 5101, DUW 5201, DUW 6101 Epsilon and Zeta.  Collectively this impressive list of movements power thirteen families of watches and 150 models.

The Nomos Metro in a 33mm rose gold case.
The sapphire caseback of the Nomos Metro rose gold 33 shows the Nomos hand-wound Alpha caliber.

Price is one of the key differentiators of the Nomos brand, and something that’s repeatedly referred to by company representatives at every level. There is no one involved with the company that isn’t aware of the high level of quality and craftsmanship being delivered.

“Unlike most companies, when we produce a limited edition model we actually offer them at a lower price, like our ‘Century of Bauhaus’ Tangente commemorative model,” says Langenbucher.

“This market ethos also carries throughout the entire brand line. Look at the Metro Rose Gold 33, for $7,200 or the Tangente Neomatik 41 with a rare Ruthenium dial for $4,100. These are incredible products for the money,” he adds.

The Club Campus Neomatik 39 with midnight blue dial.

Speaking of money, when asked why Nomos continues to remain independent in spite of numerous offers from other companies, Ahrendt has a thoughtful response.

“We produce a watch called the Lambda Rose Gold, reference 930. It’s a fine, elegant men’s gold watch and if you look carefully at the balance cock you will see the words inscribed by hand, ‘lovingly produced in Glashütte.’ We put that there because it’s fun to do so. To answer the question, we won’t sell because we, and all the families that work with us, are just having too much fun.”

Four Nomos Duo models, all with white silver-plated dial, a brown dial font and a beige-colored velour leather strap.

And where will the company be in five years?

“Sharing our vision of quality and fun in many more markets internationally,” he adds. And if the meteoric rise of Nomos over the past twenty-nine years is any indication of future growth, this company may one day become a household name like other well-known and loved international brands.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of International Watch.

 

As Zenith prepared for last year’s fiftieth anniversary celebration of El Primero, its premier automatic chronograph, the Le Locle watchmaker sifted again through the cache of tools and prototypes slated for destruction in 1975, but preserved at the time by the forward-thinking Charles Vermot.

There, amid piles of boxes, Zenith found another version of its now well-known Chronomaster tri-color dial. But instead of the grey, black and blue subdials, the discovered prototype featured three different shades of blue.

And while Zenith says it has no records of these blue tri-color dials, the watchmaker has determined that they were part of the original prototype dials for the El Primero A386 in 1969 featuring a 38mm steel case.

New and Blue

This past week Zenith debuted the Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition, a production model Chronomaster cased in the El Primero A386 steel case and using the all-blue-subdial design on its dial. Of course, inside Zenith is placing its El Primero high-frequency automatic chronograph with column wheel.

Echoing earlier Revival models, Zenith is reproducing the recently discovered dial within the 38mm case (with pump-style pushers) paying close attention to the blueprints of the original. These Revival models will be cased in steel rather than in gold however, making them more affordable than the A386 Revival editions from 2019. 

Zenith adds that this release will be the final Revival model to feature the A386 case style and size.

The watchmaker will make the new Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition available for six months only on its pending e-commerce site (slated to open June 30) and then only at its Le Locle manufacturing facility after it reopens to the public for visits.

Zenith is producing special packaging for the watch. It will look like a book, and on its cover you’ll see a blueprint of the Zenith manufacture. Inside, Zenith adds a comic book about Charles Vermot. Price: $8,700

Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition

(Reference: 03.Z386.400/60.C843)

Movement: Zenith El Primero 400 Automatic, 36,000 vph frequency, 50-hour power reserve.

Dial: White-lacquered dial with three shades of blue counters. Hours and minutes in the center, small seconds at nine o’clock. Chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three o’clock. Tachymetric scale. Date indication at 4:30. Rhodium-plated hour markers, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova. Hands are white, faceted and coated with Super Luminova.

Case: 38mm steel

Bracelet & buckle: Blue alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining. Stainless steel pin buckle.

 

At Watches & Wonders 2020 Baume & Mercier added four Clifton watches with the impressive Baumatic automatic movement, which boasts a five-day power reserve, high efficiency escapement and silicon hairspring. These new models include watches that boast a perpetual calendar, a day-date model with moonphase, a date model with moonphase and a beautiful 39mm COSC-certified date and time-only watch.

And while all deliver the Baumatic movement within a nicely polished and satin-finished steel or rose gold case, we were particularly taken with the high value offered by the Clifton Baumatic Day/Date Moonphase, a 42mm watch that effortlessly combines all the indicators I need in any non-chronograph watch onto a particularly eye-catching gradient lacquered grey dial.

The Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day/Date Moonphase, in pink gold case.

The days at the top of the dial are clearly marked with minimal fuss while the accompanying date makes perfect sense just across the dial. With an easy symmetry, the day and the date are each indicated by a hand of the same shape and color.

The new Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moonphase, steel case.
On the dial Baume & Mercier fits a grey sapphire wave-shaped aperture that allows the moon to shine.

Likewise the trapezoid-shaped hour markers perfectly echo the long, alpha-type hands, and both of these indicators are colored to match your choice of pink gold or steel case.

A secondary dial highlight, after the perfectly gradient dial work, is the dual-moonphase display that Baume & Mercier touches up with a somewhat hidden persuader: a grey sapphire wave-shaped aperture that allows the moon to shine according to schedule as the disc rotates.

This grey-tinted sapphire is a defining feature on both the pink gold and steel models, blending seamlessly with the gradation of the dial.

These dial details speak volumes about how Baume & Mercier continues to design thoughtfully considered classic dress watches at a level higher than their selling price might indicate. 

Long Power Reserve

Since Baume & Mercier knows that keeping all these indicators on time means keeping the mainspring wound and ticking, the Geneva manufacture supplies the watch (and the entire series of watches) with the aforementioned Baumatic movement built with a helpful five-day power reserve.

And to add another layer of luxury to this affordably priced watch (in steel, it is priced at $4,400), Baume & Mercier nicely decorates the in-house movement with a gilded, open-worked oscillating weight finished with Côtes 
de Genève and snailing. (Baume & Mercier indicates that the back can also be engraved by special order.)

The entire package, particularly in its steel case, emphasizes Baume & Mercier’s long-time strength as a legacy brand that maintains a high-value collection of Swiss- manufactured watches. Prices: $12,200 (pink gold case) and $4,400 (steel case). Both watches are slated to be delivered in October.       

    

Specifications:

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moonphase (pink gold)

REFERENCE: M0A10547

Movement: In-house self-winding Baumatic BM14 1975 AC2. Bridge with circular-grained décor, sandblasted plate with snailed décor, gilt open-worked oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes 
de Genève” and snailed decors, Baume & Mercier engravings, power reserve of 5 days (120 hours), Frequency of 28,800 vph.

Case: 42mm by 12.95 polished and satin-finished pink gold 
with antiglare and scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal, polished 18-karat pink gold crown, open caseback secured with 4 screws

Dial: H/M/S, date-day and moonphase indication. Gradient grey lacquered, gilt riveted trapezoid-shaped indexes, slightly elongated gilt ‘alpha’ hands, grey transparent sapphire aperture at 6 o’clock, polished gilt moon-phase disc with blue lacquered finish

Strap: Interchangeable blue alligator with tone-on-tone stitching on the top and burgundy color on the bottom and bridle points at the buckle; system of curved bars with lug that allows strap change without tools. Polished and satin-finished 18-karat pink gold pin buckle.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moonphase (steel)

REFERENCE :M0A10548

Movement: In-house self-winding Baumatic BM14 1975 AC2. Bridge with circular- grained décor, sandblasted plate with snailed décor, gilt open-worked oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes 
de Genève” and snailed decors, Baume & Mercier engravings, power reserve of 5 days (120 hours), Frequency of 28,800 vph.

Case: 42mm by 13.2mm polished and satin-finished stainless steel, antiglare scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal, open caseback secured with 4 screws

Dial: H/M/S, day-date, moon-phase indications. Dial is gradient grey lacquered, rhodium-plated riveted trapezoid-shaped slightly elongated indexes, rhodium-plated ‘alpha’ hands, grey transparent sapphire aperture at 6 o’clock, polished rhodium-plated moon-phase disc with blue lacquered finish

Strap: Interchangeable blue alligator with tone-on-tone stitching on the top and burgundy color on the bottom and bridle points at the buckle; system of curved bars with lug that allows strap change without tools; triple folding buckle with security push-pieces

 

By Steve Lundin, Watch Culture Editor

There is a crucial moment that every watch collector faces in those fast seconds before a multi-day excursion: picking the watches to wear. My personal go-to for changing time zones includes a GMT for tracking home time and a rugged dive watch for everyday wear. Fate, in the form of a press release from Rado, showed up two days before I was scheduled to leave for Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with an offer to review the new Captain Cook dive watch.

I told their very responsive rep if he could get me the watch before I left, it would become my travelling companion on the trip for a hard-core review. Literally hours before departure I was unboxing their bronze beauty and tossing it in the carry-on bag. Welcome to the manifest, Captain.

The Rado with my usual traveling companions.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and its counterpart the Rolex Submariner have collectively set the standards by which all other dive watches should be measured. Like the Eames chair, they sport all the elements, on functional and aesthetic levels, that serve to define the breed. Virtually every other dive watch developed in the past seventy years has drawn from the feature sets of these two watches.         

                                  Rado side-by-side with the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.

Rado’s reissue of its original 1960’s Captain Cook diver teases elements of these classics, with updates that tastefully reflect popular contemporary treatments and materials.

Let’s get into it…

The Rado delivers a rich wrist statement, utilizing the green and gold of the old Marshall Field’s logo (not John Deere, thank you), and is a striking take on the traditional dive treatment.

The Captain’s green dial is surrounded by a matching ceramic bezel and lives in a bronze case with a titanium back. While I would have preferred a matching color scheme on the bezel indices, the silver is subtle enough to work with the theme.

Its dial is called “green sunray” in the press materials and is slightly domed, giving the high gloss face a three-dimensional glean reminiscent of a highly polished fender on a British racing green Jaguar XK-120. Par for the vintage theme, the hands and markers are a cream-colored Super LumiNova.

The dial also sports a swiveling gold anchor at 12 o’clock, a neat, very, very subtle touch that gives users and excuse to twirl the watch around and wonder “why is my anchor spinning? What does it mean?” Tres 60’s!

The Movement

The Captain is waterproof to 1,000 feet and powered by an automatic ETA C07, 25-jewel, three- hand movement with a date at 3 o’clock and up to eighty hours power reserve. This is the ‘Powermatic 80’ movement with silicon balance spring, found in many models of Tissot, Certina and Mido watches.

The movement is a no-nonsense performer, offering an impressive power reserve and anti-magnetic properties through the use of a silicon escapement. For those interested in a deep dive into this movement, check out this article in Monochrome and complete technical specifications, including use in other watches, here on Watchbase.

The Bronze Case

The payoff for owners of the Good Captain is found in the bronze case, with a material that has been showing up in increased usage over the years. Unlike stainless steel or gold, that simply scratch and get dirty, bronze develops a unique patina as it’s worn.

The result of the oxidation of the copper component of the bronze can appear as brown, black, red, blue or green. Costa Rica provided the perfect environment to see if the Captain could live up to its name as a sea going adventurer and emerge as a newly colored denizen of the not so deep seas.

Wearing experience

The Captain looks and feels solid. The bezel has a nice loud ratchet sound that indicates things are properly aligned. It’s a medium-weight timepiece with a nicely unobtrusive 12.5mm x 42mm case.

While I prefer a horned watch crown and more aggressive ridges on the bezel, the coin-edged style has a more subdued look and feel than, say, the Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook 2017, with its Fifty Fathoms-esque treatment.

The watch is incredibly easy to read and maintains a night’s worth of luminescence. I’m a personal fan the Captain’s titanium case back because of weight savings and hypoallergenic properties. 

The sample I received had a single-piece leather band, and would be better served with a lined Horween, but that’s strictly a personal preference. If anyone was actually going to use this as a dive watch (probably one tenth of one percent of the buyers), the strap and shallow ridges of the bezel would prove a problem underwater. However, for the moisture-averse who will more than likely purchase this product, that won’t be an issue.

Getting it wet                                                                     Rado in the pool.   

Given the Rado’s pedigree as a dive watch, ala the original 60s iteration, I intended to get the Captain wet and dirty, covered with sunscreen and oil, and then hang it out in the sun to dry. To this end the watch accompanied me in the surf, by the pool, up and down daily ten-mile walks through dusty hills and was worn while sweating and spilling margaritas and tequila shots.

Any dive watch that remains neat and clean and dry should be forcibly taken from its owner and that misguided individual barred from ever owning another watch with a water-resistant rating over one meter. But I digress.

The watch swum through the week of abuse with no undue scratching, scarring or unwanted mutating. The bronze case picked up a dull finish with some blackish highlights, answering the question of how it would tarnish. While the user’s manual states that the watch can be returned to Rado for cleaning (really), I found using metal polish worked just fine – see the before and after photos with minimal elbow grease.

Rado case before polishing.
And after polishing.

Would I buy this watch?

Absolutely – and for many several reasons. It’s great looking, in a non-blingy way, and punches well above its class for the price. Unlike stainless or gold watches, it feels organic.

The bronze changes and reflects the activity level of the user. It features a whopping four anchor logos between the case and strap, and three starfish on the case back (It would have been nice to see a mermaid as well), but who knows what the future may hold! It has a domed crystal and a groovy domed dial – a double dose of domage – awesome! And, finally, it holds its value: check out the used prices on eBay against the street price on this watch (as a comparison look at Romain Jerome as well – a cringe-worthy value dropper!).  

As a daily wear in dry conditions, the watch as configured with a leather strap will serve most users well. For those who actually wear dive watches for diving I’d suggest investing in a metal bracelet model. The Captain was a great travelling companion, and kudos to Rado for delivering exceptional quality at a realistic price point. Price: $2,600

   

The new Ball Watch Company Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps is actually a series of steel-cased 40mm or 43mm three-hand watches or GMT steel watches, also made in two sizes (40mm or 44mm). And while all the watches are designed to fit within Ball’s Engineer collection, this new iteration salutes the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. Marines with the Marine Corps emblem on the dial of each model.

The Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT.

Every watch of course features Ball’s well-known always-lit micro gas tubes on the markers and hands for high legibility in darkness. Within the tubes, molecules of H3 gas emit luminous energy for at least twenty-five years without ever needing any input from an external source of light or energy.

Ball 36 micro-gas tubes light up the dial of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT, available in 40mm or 44mm sizes.

The GMT Model, which also features a power reserve indictor on the dial, displays its dual time subdial at 12 o’clock and its 42-hour power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters thanks to its screw-down crown and is anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m. As an online exclusive, the Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT is limited to 1,000 pieces, each priced at $1,549.

The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, with steel TiC-coated black case.
The solid, engraved caseback of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps boasts about its strong anti-magnetic properties.
The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, showing steel case and bracelet.

With all- black titanium carbide-coated 43mm cases and black rubber straps ($1,699, or $1,499 for the 40mm model w/steel bracelets), the three-hand models are more contemporary in style. Ball’s own Mu-metal shielding protects the automatic movement from magnetic fields up to 80,000A/m. This Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps watch is also water resistant up to 100 meters, thanks to its screw-down crown.

 

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 40mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition of 1,000: Price: $1,499, or $1,279 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, Black case
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 43mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition: Price: $1,649 or $1,399 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT

Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1302
36 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Dual Time display
42 hours power reserve indicator
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and date
Dimensions: 40mm or 44 mm
Anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Sapphire crystal transparent case back
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet
Limited edition: Price: $1,549
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available