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Alpina’s Startimer pilot collection and its Seastrong diver series boast an impressive (and nicely priced) selection of contemporary and vintage-styled adventure watches. This week, the Geneva-based watchmaker adds one more watch to the vintage column of each collection, which Alpina dubs its Heritage series.

The new Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic.

First up, the new Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic is the fifth watch in this best-selling series combining 1960s-style dials with modern calibers and cases.

Appropriately water-resistant to 300 meters, the 42mm watch features a rotating inner flange (adjusted using the crown at 2 o’clock) to time dives and brightly luminescent hands to allow full visibility in the dark.

Unlike previous examples in this collection with two-color dials, this latest model offers a uniform black lacquered sunray-brushed dial. In addition, the new model offers no date display, which technically is not required for a successful dive.

Inside Alpina places a Sellita-based AL-520 movement, protected on top with a sapphire crystal. Both crowns are screwed-in to ensure water resistance, and the caseback is engraved with Alpina’s historical logo.

Already a strong value, the watch is even more interesting with Alpina’s package, which includes two attractive straps, one in brown calfskin leather and the other in beige topstitched rubber. Price: $1,695.

New Startimer Dial

Alpina’s second Heritage addition, the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic, is inspired by Alpina designs from the 1920s and 1930s. This new variation adds a new dial color to the existing black model we showed you last year.

The Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic, showing new blue dial.

The new watch maintains the Pilot Heritage Automatic specs: a 44 mm steel case framing a matte dial (now blue) that displays luminescent beige hour, minute and 24-hour markers that nicely replicate a typical shade used on early pilot watches.

As we noted on the 2020 model, Alpina adds to the watch’s vintage styling by placing the original triangular Alpina logo on the dial. This logo, which differs from the logo Alpina places on its contemporary pilot models, serves a practical purpose by separating the 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock markers.

And finally, Alpina underscores the watch’s vintage vibe by outfitting the Pilot Heritage Automatic with a hunter-style caseback that flips open with the flick of a finger. Through the clear caseback the wearer can view the watch’s Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement.

Alpina is limiting the Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic with blue calfskin leather strap to 288 pieces. The watchmaker will continue its support of the National Park Foundation by donating $100 for every watch purchased through its U.S. website.

Specifications: Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic

(Limited edition of 288 pieces.)

Movement: Sellita-based automatic AL-525 with 38-hour power reserve.

Case: 44mm by 11.55mm brushed and polished 3-part case, sapphire crystal, hunter caseback (at left). 
Water-resistant to 30 meters.

Dial: Blue with beige minutes and seconds graduation outward, beige 24 hours graduation inward, applied silver color Arabic numbers with beige luminous treatment. Date window at 3 o’clock,
silver color hour and minute hands with beige luminous treatment, silver color second hand with red triangle.

Bracelet: Blue calf leather.

Price: $1,295.

 

Specifications: Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic

Movement: Sellita-based automatic AL-520 with 38-hour power reserve.

Case: 42mm by 12.3mm polished 2-part, sapphire crystal, engraved back, water-resistant to 300m, screw-in crown.

Dial: Black with sunray finishing, yellow gold color minutes and seconds graduation, applied yellow gold-plated indexes, black outer ring with yellow gold color, minutes and seconds graduation yellow gold-plated, hour, minute and second hands with white luminous treatment.

Bracelet: Brown calf leather, additional black rubber strap.

Price: $1,695

 

 

 

MB&F this week adds a vibrant blue-green color dial and a new case metal to the lineup of its Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO, which the pioneering independent watchmaker first launched in 2020. Seen initially cased in zirconium with an orange, blue or a black dial plate, the newest edition frames its new dial hue in titanium.

The new MB&F LM Perpetual EVO Titanium.

The Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO built its sporty chassis and new livery around the original GPHG-award-winning Legacy Machine Perpetual from 2015, devised for MB&F by watchmaker Stephen McDonnell.

McDonnell effectively redesigned the traditional perpetual calendar when he built the LM Perpetual in 2015 with a “mechanical processor” (a series of superimposed disks) that takes the default number of days in the month at 28 and then adds the extra days as required by each individual month. He also built in a safety feature that disconnects the pushers during the date changeover to eliminate any risk of damage to the movement when the date is changed.

For the 2020 EVO edition, MB&F added a series of technical upgrades to the watch that effectively toughened its resistance to shock and water. The EVO offers a redesigned, sleeker case, ergonomic double-sprung pushers, an integrated rubber strap, Super-LumiNova, a specially developed ‘FlexRing’ shock-absorbing system, a screw-down crown and 80 meters of water resistance.

MB&F will ship the new LM Perpetual EVO Titanium, with its all new green-blue dial, to its retailers around the world, though expect a few available at the MB&F eShop. Price: $176,000.

One of Chopard’s most impressive debuts from its wide-ranging late 2021 roster is the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8 HF, a limited-edition titanium watch tricked out with Chopard’s own ultra-high frequency escapement.

The Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8 HF.

Operating twice as fast as a conventional escapement, Chopard’s L.U.C 8HF in 2012 was among the very first such calibers with an ultra-high speed escapements to be serialized into production. The escapement, which Chopard builds with lubrication-free silicon components, vibrates at 57,600 (8 Hz), and keeps the Caliber 01.12-C in this new model operating at a higher rate of precision over a longer period of time than traditional calibers.

Because the movement’s escapement is faster than usual, each vibration has statistically less impact on the timekeeping rate. In addition, the high frequency allows for a steadier beat and quicker rate recovery from any shocks.

The Automatic Chopard 01.12-C boasts a frequency of 57,600 vph (8 Hz).

And with a smaller balance wheel, which requires less energy, the new caliber maintains the same sixty-hour power reserve found in the standard-frequency calibers throughout Chopard’s sporty Alpine Eagle collection. Not surprisingly the watch holds chronometer certification as issued by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

The watch’s caliber features a lubrication-free silicon silicon impulse-pin, pallet-lever and escape-wheel.

Titanium case, bracelet

At first glance, Chopard’s Alpine Eagle Cadence 8 HF looks outwardly similar to its Alpine Eagle brethren, all of which share the same fully integrated metal bracelet design. Its 41mm diameter echoes watches already in the collection.

But Chopard cases the new watch in titanium, a first for the Alpine Eagle collection. Chopard until this model has cased all its Alpine Eagle models from the custom Lucent Steel A223, in ethical gold, or in a combination of both metals.

The dial here also differs from those found in the existing collection.

While the new watch dial also features the Alpine Eagle’s “eagle iris” sunburst pattern, here it displays a hand-colored dial in a slightly darker hue than we’ve seen in the collection. Chopard reports that grey quartzite roof tiles found in the Swiss village of Vals inspired its artisans to create the dial finish.

In addition, Chopard has simplified the dial iconography, which has been very sensibly minimized to simple baton-type hour markers at 3, 6 and 9. The dial maintains the same Roman numeral 12 seen throughout the collection, but here joined by the logo atop ‘8 HZ Chronometer’ and the cool retro-style arrow logo found on all Chopard high frequency watches.

Chopard will make 250 numbered examples of the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF. Price: $19,000.

 

Specifications: Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF

(250-piece limited edition, Ref. 298600-3005)

Case: 41mm by 9.75mm grade 5 titanium, water resistance to 100 meters, steel screw-down crown with compass rose, vertical satin-brushed bezel with eight indexed screws, sapphire crystal, sapphire crystal exhibition case-back with the words “Cadence 8HF.”

Movement: Automatic Chopard 01.12-C with a frequency of 57,600 vph (8 Hz), power reserve of 60 hours, annual balance-spring with flat terminal curve, patented high-frequency regulating organ, silicon impulse-pin, pallet-lever and escape-wheel, chronometer-certified (COSC).

Dial: Brass stamped with a sunburst pattern in a patinated Vals grey. Rhodium-plated applied hour-markers and numerals, painted with Grade X1 SuperLumiNova, rhodium-plated baton-type hours and minutes hands painted with Grade X1 SuperLumiNova. Rhodium-plated arrow-type seconds hand with eagle feather counterweight.

Bracelet: Tapering in grade 5 titanium, wide links with satin-brushed sides and polished central cap, triple folding clasp in grade 5 titanium with steel blades.

Price: $19,000.

 

By Steve Huyton

A few years ago I featured a very special watch called the Crazy Wheel by Franck Dubarry in my “Independent Watchmakers” book. This watch was really a last-minute inclusion because at the time I wasn’t that familiar with the brand.

The original 43mm Franck Dubarry Crazy Wheel, made using titanium, forged carbon and Kevlar.

However, my editor absolutely loved the aesthetic and felt it was a worthy addition. What makes this piece so special is the 360° in-house gravitational flying-hour module, which takes center place on the dial. This amazing mechanism was conceived by specialist watchmaker Dominique Renaud, renowned for his work with high-end brands like Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille.

The Crazy Wheel is available in many versions including a Maori Tattoo version, which is my personal favorite. If you like brands like Audemars Piguet, Hublot and Linde Werdelin, this watch will really hit the spot.

The newest Crazy Wheel Gemma models sport bright colors and gemstones.

Feminine models

Originally, Crazy Wheel was targeted at the masculine and potentially unisex market. However, recently, I received a press release from the brand unveiling a new feminine model called the Crazy Wheel Gemma.

The ‘Crazy Wheel Gemma’ adopts the same 43mm x 50mm geometric case as the original version. A few years ago it would have been inconceivable that a watch this size would appeal to the feminine market. However, times are changing and now certain ladies prefer bolder designs.

To create a softer façade, Franck Dubarry has added precious gems into the composition. There are three new Maori engraved versions (two with bronze cases) with pink sapphire, blue sapphire and green emerald encrusted bezels. These stone perfectly compliment the meticulously finished lacquered colors on the flying-hour module. Prices start at $19,800.

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

 

 

 

 

Patek Philippe this week introduces new versions of three existing chronographs, including one (Reference 5905) with an olive-green dial set into a steel case with an Aquanaut-inspired steel bracelet.

The other two debuts, new versions of Reference 5204 (a split-second chronograph with perpetual calendar) and Reference 5930 (a world time flyback chronograph) each feature new case metal and/or a new dial color.

The new Patek Philippe 5905/1A-001 is a flyback chronograph and annual calendar in a 42mm polished stainless steel case.

Reference 5905/1A-001
A

Patek Philippe first launched this self-winding flyback chronograph with annual calendar in platinum in 2015 and then in rose gold in 2019. Now, the watch enters the market as a sporty 42mm steel watch, complete with an integrated steel bracelet inspired by the brand’s all-sporty Aquanaut (Reference 5167/1A).

And combined with a trendy sunburst olive green dial, this debut will likely become the latest Patek Philippe watch with demand far exceeding production. Patek Philippe rarely cases its watches in steel, and the metal’s use here will only amplify the already strong demand for the brand’s pioneering and highly legible annual calendar, especially as combined with a flyback chronograph.

Specifically, the dial offers a central chronograph hand, a large 60-minute subdial at 6 o’clock and three day/date/month apertures helpfully arranged along the top of the dial. For setting purposes, Patek Philippe includes a day/night indicator at 6 o’clock.

As seen through the clear sapphire caseback, Caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H shows Patek Philippe’s technical and artisanal mettle, with a vertical disk clutch column wheel. This means the central chronograph seconds hand can also be used as a permanent (running) seconds display.

The new watch will join existing references in platinum with a blue dial and in rose gold with a brown dial. Price: $59,140.

 

Reference 5204R-011
A

Patek Philippe dresses up its classically styled split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar with a more contemporary sunburst slate grey dial and matching strap.

The new Patek Philippe 5204R-011 is a split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar in a 40mm rose gold case.

The 40mm watch’s highly desirable technical pairing, first offered in rose gold in 2016, is, like the annual calendar, notable for its legibility. It displays day and month in two apertures at 12 o’clock. Small seconds and the instantaneous 30-minute counter appear on two subdials at 9 and 3 o’clock, while two round apertures display the leap-year cycle between 4 and 5 o’clock. And helpfully, the date hand (at 6 o’clock) includes a moonphase display.

Through its clear sapphire caseback the Reference 5204R allows a view of the manual-wind Caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q, first introduced in 2012. This caliber, with two column wheels, a horizontal clutch and a split-seconds mechanism, is a recipient of seven patents.

The watch is available on a shiny slate gray calf leather strap with an embossed alligator pattern and a rose gold fold-over clasp. Available with interchangeable sapphire crystal and solid caseback, it is joining the two existing versions in rose gold. Price: $309,893.

 

Reference 5930P-001

This automatic World Time Flyback Chronograph is resplendent with its all-new 39.5mm platinum case, especially as it complements a sexy green dial and matching strap.

The new Patek Philippe 5930P-001 World Time Flyback Chronograph is set into a 39.5mm platinum case.

Not only are the green city names right on trend, they do so in a retro style particular to Patek Philippe: In 1940 the Geneva watchmaker actually placed a similar green dial on a one-off model of its famed world timer. Furthermore, the case features the wing-type lugs often seen on Patek Philippe world timers in the 1940s-1950s.

If the design here looks familiar from more a recent era, it’s because Patek Philippe debuted the 5930 in 2016 in a white gold version with a blue dial and matching strap. Here, the green dial center has been guillochéd by hand in a circular pattern while the hands and applied hour markers are coated with a generous application of luminescent coating.

Inside, Patek Philippe’s caliber CH 28-520 HU is equipped with a column wheel and a disk-type vertical clutch. This allows the central chronograph hand to be used as a permanent (running) seconds display without affecting accuracy or power reserve.

Patek Philippe offers the new Reference 5930P-001 on a shiny green alligator strap with a platinum fold-over clasp. It joins the collection alongside a white gold 5930G-010 version with blue dial and strap. Price: $100,538.

As football season continues, Accutron reminds collectors that the inspiration watches for two of its new Legacy models drew catchy gridiron nicknames in the 1960s.

The two models, the Accutron 565 and 203, were both initially launched in 1966 and were notable for their distinctive asymmetrical case designs, which accounted in part for their football-related nicknames.

The new Accutron Legacy 565. The original model 565 was known as the ‘Football Cross Hatch’ watch.

One watch, model 565, was known as the ‘Football Cross Hatch’ watch thanks the spiral pattern on its bezel. Likewise, fans called the 203 model the ‘Football Gold Relief’ watch primarily because of its case shape, which somewhat echoes that of the pigskin.

The new Accutron Legacy 203.

Accutron’s Legacy collection, first seen in late 2020, includes newly re-imagined versions of those original watches plus many others from the 1960s and 1970s. For these models (and the full Legacy collection) Accutron wisely resists the modern tendency by watchmakers to upscale retro editions by housing them in larger cases.

New versions

Accutron today adds the distinctive bezel cross hatch pattern to the crown (at 4 o’clock) on the new Legacy 565 ($1,390). This model is 34mm in diameter and features a silver-tone stainless steel case with a three-hand silver white dial, large hour markers and an outer minutes ring.

The new Accutron Legacy 203 ($1,450) offers the same 34mm size case, but with two-tone finish, a three-hand champagne-colored dial, Arabic numerals and thin markers on the outer ring. It’s sold with a brown croco-embossed leather strap with a double-press clasp.

The full Accutron Legacy collection is available online and in select stores with each design limited to 600 watches. All models feature sapphire crystals, a Sellita-based automatic movement and are water resistant to 30 meters.

All Accutron Legacy watches are priced at less than $1,500. Most retain what are now called unisex sizes, from 34mm to 38.5mm in diameter, and almost all are sold in both silver-tone steel and gold-tone steel cases. While several offer steel or gold-tone bracelets, most echo the era and come with croco-embossed or retro-style leather straps.

 

Reservoir commemorates the long-running Blake & Mortimer graphic novel series, by Belgian comics artist Edgar P. Jacobs, with a jumping hour watch depicting the stars of the adventure series on the dial.

 

The inaugural title of Blake & Mortimer, titled “The Secret of the Swordfish,” debuted seventy-five years ago in the Belgian comic Tintin. Reservoir founder and CEO Francois Moreau enjoyed reading the adventures of the two detectives in his youth.

The Reservoir Blake and Mortimer “By Jove!!!” watch.

 

Reservoir honors the series with a commemorative watch that pictures Mortimer on the dial pointing to the minutes, replacing the watch’s retrograde minute hand. Next to him Blake joins Mortimer as the pair gazes upward, while Mortimer’s favorite expression, ‘By Jove!!!’ appears above both. Where standard Reservoir dials indicate the power reserve at the bottom of the dial, this edition displays only the jumping hour indication.

In relief on the dial Reservoir has nicely utilized the Blake & Mortimer color scheme as well as same font used in the graphic novel to indicate the digits for the minutes and the hour.

Mortimer’s hand is propelled by the same customized ETA-based jumping hour caliber found throughout the brand’s collections.

The 41.5mm brushed steel watch, finished with a black leather strap with quick-relief spring bars and a folding clasp, features a caseback engraved with a design of the Swordfish from the first Blake & Mortimer graphic novel and the words “So British since 1946”.

Reservoir will deliver the Blake and Mortimer “By Jove!!!” watch by November 19, which is the same date for the release of a new Blake & Mortimer adventure called “the Last Swordfish.” On this date, Reservoir will also open up orders for a limited series of drawings featuring the ‘mysterious flying machine’ found in the novels.

Price: $2,990

Zenith launches two jeweled versions of its blockbuster Chronomaster Original, the brand’s retro-inspired chronograph designed to commemorate the groundbreaking Zenith A386 steel El Primero from 1969.

The latest iteration offers the watch with either a multicolored mother-of-pearl dial or taupe tri-color dial, each set with fifty-six diamonds on the lugs. Both steel-cased watches remain 38mm in diameter, enhancing their unisex appeal.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Original, now available set with diamonds and a mother-of-pearl dial.

The model with the tri-color dial exhibits its grey and blue hues rendered in mother-of-pearl. Zenith uses four different colors of mother-of-pearl, including a white mother-of-pearl for the dial, two shades of blue for the chronograph counters and grey mother-of-pearl for the ongoing seconds.

The second version of this latest Chronomaster Original offers three tones of brown in the same signature layout against a satin-white dial. Both dials are set with diamonds for the hour markers.

Zenith pairs both models with soft calfskin leather straps in either light blue or taupe with tone-on-tone stitching to matching the respective dials.

Inside Zenith retains the the El Primero 3600, the latest version of Zenith’s famed high-beat chronograph caliber with column wheel. While the new movement beats at the same high frequency of 5Hz (36,000 vph) as its predecessors, the new generation displays 1/10th of a second chronograph on the dial with the central chronograph hand rotating once every ten seconds. The caliber also now offers a full sixty hours of power reserve.

Prices: $12,800 (brown dial with taupe calfskin leather strap) and $13,000 (blue dial with light blue calfskin leather strap).

 

Hublot extends its partnership with men’s fashion house Berluti with the new Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio, a 44mm limited edition flyback chronograph that elegantly melds leather and titanium.

The new Hublot Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio.

Once again Hublot utilizes its Unico collection for this latest Berluti collaboration. The series has deftly displayed fine leather from the French menswear maker within the dressy Unico dials in a variety of imaginative and stylish configurations since the series launched in 2016.

For this latest edition, Hublot again sets Berluti leather between two sapphire glass pieces. The dial’s indexes and “Swiss Made” declaration are heat pressed (gauffered) directly on the leather’s surface.

This model, per its name, features Berluti’s signature Aluminio patina, which will wear to reflect light in varying light grey tones. The result creates a more monochrome appearance than we’ve seen in previous Hublot/Berluti collaborations.

Leather bezel

Berluti leather also highlights the bezel. Using a sticky resin, artisans attach a 1mm-thick piece of the Berluti leather onto the grey titanium bezel, which is then screwed onto the case. This means that, in time, the bezel will wear to create an individualized patina that will match the Berluti leather strap.

Hublot plans to offer the strap in two versions: one in burnished Aluminio Venezia leather; another in patinated Aluminio Venezia leather with the Scritto motif, exclusively for Japan.

Hublot says its titanium case and choice of case and movement materials on the new Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio are also meant to match the leather’s eventual patina. These materials include titanium for the case and the strap’s deployant clasp, resin for the central lug, tungsten for the oscillating weight, and satin-finished rhodium for the hands.

Hublot exposes its Unico movement through the dial, framing gears and wheels with the hand-cut Aluminio leather. This movement, Hublot’s MHUB1280, features a flyback function with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve.

Hublot will the deliver the 100-piece limited-edition Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio in a special case with a travel pouch and a shoehorn key ring with the Berluti logo. Price: $25,200.

Specifications: Hublot Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio

(Reference 421.NX.0500.VR.BER21, limited to 100 pieces)

Dial: Genuine patinated Venezia leather by Berluti with indices in relief and words Swiss Made.

Case: 44mm by 15.45mm satin-finished and polished titanium. Water resistance is 100 meters. On sapphire back: satin-finished titanium etched with LIMITED EDITION 100NUM and BERLUTI. Satin-finished and polished titanium bezel with a genuine patinated Venezia leather insert by Berluti.

Movement: Hublot MHUB1280
Self-winding UNICO Manufacture chronograph flyback movement with column wheel. Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 A/h), power reserve is 72 hours.

Strap: Black rubber and genuine patinated Venezia leather by Berluti,, titanium deployant buckle.

Price: $25,200

 

We continue to highlight a few of our favorite watches from among the more than fifty watchmakers that have created timepieces for the Only Watch charity auction, which commences Saturday, November 6, in Geneva. Christie’s will auction these incredible watches to raise funds that benefit research in the battle against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

While you may have seen a few of the watches set for auction earlier this year when Only Watch announced them, we thought you’d enjoy seeing many of these inspired designed again just ahead of the event.

The watches will tour the globe starting September 22 in Monaco, and can then be seen in exhibitions in Dubai (September 30 to October 3), Tokyo (October 8 to 10), Singapore (October 15 to 20), Hong Kong (October 25 to 27), Macau (October 28) and finally back in Geneva on November 4-6. Click here for details about the Only Watch world tour.

Today, we highlight the offering from Blancpain, which created an Only Watch version of its highly collectible Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad watch. The mid-1960s series is characterized with a stamp on the dial with a “no radiations” logo indicating that Blancpain did not use luminescent radium.

Here, the logo remains the dial’s highlight, but the logo’s original yellow and red colors have been replaced by Only Watch orange and yellow. Blancpain fits the watch’s unidirectional rotating bezel with a sapphire insert, direct from the current collection.

And while it may not always come across in images, the domed glassbox-type sapphire crystal Blancpain attaches here is outstanding. It quite effectively contributes to the multi-level effect of the dial. From the back, you’ll see a black rotor in solid gold bearing a special “Only Watch” inscription.

Only Watch auction estimate: CHF 12,000 to CHF 18,000.