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Independent Swiss watchmaker Vulcain, best known for its Cricket mechanical alarm watches, revives its Nautique dive watch collection from 1960 with the new Skindiver Blue and Skindiver Black, a 38mm steel model offered in a blue or black dial option.

The new Vulcain Skindiver Black.

Both retro-styled dive models feature a modern ceramic fluted bezel insert, khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and indexes, domed sapphire crystal and easy-to-read white markers.

The new Vulcain Skindiver Blue.

The retro update also includes a modern ETA 2824 automatic movement protected within a case made water resistant to 200 meters.

Based in Le Locle, Vulcain has made a name for itself for decades with its Cricket mechanical alarm watch. But under the relatively new product guidance of Guillaume Laidet, who oversaw the revival of Nivada Grenchen and Excelsior Park after starting and then selling his own brand William L. 1985, Vulcain has extensive plans to re-introduce itself to modern collectors and enthusiasts. Vulcain’s most recent Cricket reboot was met with a strong positive consumer reaction.

Vulcain offers the new watch on a leather strap with a black carbon pattern and matching stitching. The strap case be easily swapped with Vulcain’s own ‘quick-change’ system.

Price: $1,616.

Specifications: Vulcain Skindiver

References: Black version – VUL-DI-001 / Blue version – VUL-DI-002 

Movement: Automatic ETA 2824 with 38-hour power reserve.

Case: 38mm by 12.2mm 316L vertical-brushed stainless steel, domed sapphire crystal, unidirectional rotating bezel with black ceramic insert, polished stainless steel caseback. Water resistance to 200 meters.

Dial options: Matte black with white transfer print and khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and indexes (VUL-DI-001) Vertical-brushed blue with white transfer print and khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and indexes (VUL-DI-002) 

Strap: Black leather with carbon pattern and matching stitching, stainless steel buckle. 

Price: $1,616.

Vacheron Constantin commemorates the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year (January 22) with a Métiers d’Art limited edition duo, each with a Grand Feu enamel Year of the Rabbit dial. Both watches are powered by the watchmaker’s excellent Calibre 2460 G4 that allows for a hand-free dial that highlights the artisanal decoupage dial.

Each 40mm watch features the symbolic rabbit directly etched into the gold dial. The pattern is semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base, surrounded by flowers and vegetation that appears to be floating over the dial.

One model is cased in platinum and features a blue tone dial. The other, cased in pink gold, offers a bronze tone dial.

 

Both rich hues are the result of Grand Feu enameling whereby artisans apply enamel in successive layers, each fired at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius.

The Calibre 2460 G4 opens up the space on the dial thanks to a four-aperture display showing the hours, minutes, days and dates. Vacheron Constantin has used this display for numerous watches over the years in part to highlight a particularly rich artisanal dial.

The automatic caliber 2460 G4 has a 40-hour power reserve. This movement is certified with the Hallmark of Geneva.

The movement in the platinum model is on display from the back of the case, where the viewer can see a 22-karat gold oscillating weight with the Vacheron Constantin Maltese cross logo.

The automatic caliber 2460 G4, visible through the sapphire back of the platinum model. 

And of course the caliber on both models is beautifully finished in accordance with the criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva.

Prices: $131,000 (in platinum with sapphire caseback) and $108,000 (pink gold). Each is a limited edition of nine watches.

Ulysse Nardin celebrates the Year of the Rabbit in the traditional Chinese Zodiac with the Classico Rabbit, a 40mm rose-gold-cased limited edition watch with a stunning champlevé and cloisonné dial depicting the symbol of good fortune for 2023.

The new Ulysse Nardin Classico Rabbit, a 40mm rose-gold-cased limited edition watch.

Starting with a sketch, artisans at Ulysse Nardin’s dial workshop Donzé Cadrans carve directly into the rabbit motif dial, creating individual “cells” that they then fill with enamel. The artisans then fire the enamel, smooth and polish it. They then carefully enrich the scene by chiseling metal elements onto the surface.

Ulysse Nardin also applies textured cloisonné elements to the dial for added three-dimensional effect.

For the Classico Rabbit, champleve gold-wire folding represents up to fifteen working hours per dial.

To do this artisans create compartments using a very thin gold wire to deposit enamel with hyper precision. For the Classico Rabbit, this gold-wire folding represents up to fifteen working hours per dial, according to Ulysse Nardin.

At the Donzé Cadrans workshop, this high-level of craftsmanship is applied to a wide range of Ulysse Nardin watches. Collections benefits from the application of an array of enameling techniques, including Grand Feu, Cloisonné, Champlevé and Flinqué.

The Le Locle-based watchmaker will produce the Classico Rabbit in a limited-edition series of 88 timepieces, each powered by the UN-815 automatic movement. The watch arrives with a black alligator strap with a rose-gold buckle and a clear sapphire caseback.

Price: $45,900. 

Reservoir darkens its Sonomaster to create the Sonomaster Chronograph Black Thunder, a rock-n-roll-inspired black PVD edition of the Paris-based watchmaker’s unusual bi-retrograde design.

 

The new Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph Black Thunder.

Like the existing Sonomaster models, the new Chronograph Black Thunder takes its dial design cues from the retro look of VU meters on analog stereo amplifiers. Rather than showing volume levels, Reservoir displays seconds (left side) and the date (right side) on the dial.

With its all-black dress, the new watch is meant to echo the prevailing color of rock concerts, where the needle on a VU meter might just reach 11. Reservoir extends the high-volume inspiration with the design of the watch’s pushers and crown, which are made to look like the treble and bass buttons on rock amplifiers.

The bi-retrograde dial retains the Sonomaster’s existing 120° date and seconds displays, which also shows chronograph timing via central second, the 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock position and the hour counter at 6 o’clock.

Reservoir teams with Swiss custom movement maker La Joux-Perret to create the 43mm steel watch’s movement, automatic caliber RSV-Bi120, a manufacture bi-retrograde chronograph with column wheel.

Well-known for its dashboard-inspired jump-hour watches, Reservoir earlier this year introduced the Sonomaster Chronograph. In addition to the debuting the unusual bi-retrograde display, the watch was the brand’s first with a traditional two-hand hour and minutes display. 

Price: $6,350.

Specifications: Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph Black Thunder

(Ref. RSV04.SN/136.BT)

Case: 43mm PVD black stainless steel with brushed finish, tachymeter bezel. Water-resistant to 50-meters, open back with domed sapphire crystal. 

Dial: Hands with Superluminova, chronograph (central second, 30-minute counter at 12, hour counter at 6), bi-retrograde date and seconds, at 120°, hour, minute.

Movement: Caliber RSV-Bi120, a manufacture bi-retrograde chronograph movement, automatic mechanical winding and column wheel (LJP-LC01 base), 60-hour power reserve, 28,800 alt./h.

Strap: Black leather with black stitching, steel butterfly folding clasp.

Price: $6,350. 

Bell & Ross honors Patrouille de France pilots with a new analog-digital watch that delivers optimal readability and a range of cockpit-friendly functions.

The new Bell & Ross BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France.

In addition to the time, the new BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France displays a 1/100th-of-a-second chronograph with intermediate and additional time, a countdown timer, an alarm, the date and a second time zone. 

The new watch is the third BR-03 model Bell & Ross has designed for the elite French aerobatic pilots, who fly in close formation at speeds of between 300 and 800 km/h, thrilling crowds across France.

Bell & Ross started its partnership with the team in 2008 when the Air Force requested that Bell & Ross design a BR 03 Type A instrument for fighter pilots. Last year, Bell & Ross formalized the partnership and debuted the BR-03 94 Patrouille de France. 

The latest model also utilizes the Bell & Ross 42mm square BR 03 case in steel and sports a matte blue dial and the Patrouille de France logo.

The watch’s quartz-powered caliber allows for a full thirty months of battery life. Hours and minutes are displayed with conventional hands, while the seconds and chronograph times are displayed on a digital screen. The window at the top of the dial shows the chosen function and the window at the bottom of the dial digitally displays the measurement. The pilot chooses the function by pressing the crown.

Bell & Ross will make 100 BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France watches and will give one watch to each pilot in the unit.

Price: $4,400. 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France

Movement: BR-CAL.103, a multi-function quartz instrument watch with analogue-digital display.

Functions: Permanent analog display: Hours Minutes. Digital display activation/deactivation: 1/100 chronograph and lap times, countdown, second time zone, alarm, perpetual calendar. Choice of languages FR, EN, ES, DE. 

Case: 42mm by 11.25mm satin-polished steel. Bi-directional rotating steel bezel with 60 graduations. Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, 100-meters of water resistance.

Dial: Matte blue paint, Patrouille de France logo at 9 o’clock. White transfer numerals and indexes with white SuperLuminova coating. 

Strap: Blue rubber with Patrouille de France engraved logo at 12 o’clock and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric. Satin-polished steel pin buckle. 

Price: $4,400.