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Bell & Ross just gave one of its most popular Vintage models a full-dial luminescent treatment. The brand’s new Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM glows with a full base dial of pale green SuperLuminova, assuring full visibility in low light or total darkness.

But Bell & Ross didn’t stop with the green base-dial lume. In addition, the watchmaker has placed a second SuperLuminova color, a metallized pale yellow, on the dial’s skeletonized numerals, indices and primary hands. At the same time, and with clear definition, the 30-minute counter and chronograph seconds hand turn fluorescent blue.

The new Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM.

This three-hue lume effectively creates an unusually high level of clarity in low light environments for the retro-styled aviation automatic chronograph. The watch’s luminous trifecta very effectively enhances visibility, in large part due to the strong contrast between the luminescent colors and the black contours of the numerals, indices, hands, and counters.

The watch is the latest in an expanding collection of Bell & Ross LUM models, all of which feature fully luminous dials.

Domed glass

Befitting the retro tag, the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM’s 41mm steel case is topped with a domed glass-box sapphire crystal. And the bezel, composed of black anodized aluminum, offers a fixed 60-minute scale. Finally, the watch’s nicely proportioned chronograph pushers are screwed down.

Bell & Ross will make 250 examples of the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM, which will be supplied with a strap made from woven black rubber that provides the final vintage touch to the watch. Price: $5,100 (rubber strap model). A steel bracelet to fit the watch (see below) can be ordered separately for $520.

Specifications: Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM

Movement: Automatic chronograph Caliber BR-CAL.301 (ETA-based).

Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.

Case: 41 mm in diameter. Satin-finished and polished steel. Fixed bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale. Screw-down crown and pushers. Steel and sapphire case-back. Crystal is domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating. Water-resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Bi-compax-style chronograph layout with luminescent green painted in SuperLuminova. Numerals and indices coated in SuperLuminova. Metal skeletonized yellow SuperLuminova-filled hour, minute and seconds hands.

Strap: Black rubber with pin buckle in satin-finished and polished steel. Also supplied with a steel bracelet.  

Price: $5,100. A steel bracelet to fit the watch can be ordered separately for $520.

Bulgari launches the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, extending its string of record-breaking ultra-thin watch debuts to seven since 2014. With a micro-rotor powering the watchmaker’s 2.75mm thin Caliber BVL 305, the new watch displays the time of day plus most the traditional perpetual calendar functions in a decidedly un-traditional ultra-thin 5.80mm-thick case.

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, in titanium.

The new perpetual calendar debuted last week during Watches and Wonders 2021 alongside other Bulgari collection updates. These include a new Serpenti high-jewelry model, four new gem-encrusted Divissima and Astrale cocktail watches and a special Octo Finissimo limited edition timer-only model designed by Japanese artist Tadao Ando.

Also new in 2021, Bulgari unveils this Octo Finissimo limited edition designed by Japanese artist Tadao Ando.

We’ll detail these watches in upcoming posts. Below, let’s take a closer look at the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar.

Retrograde displays 

It’s not just the size of the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar case that underscores Bulgari’s technical acumen. The watchmaker’s own history with retrograde displays, fueled in part by years of experience with this long-time Gerald Genta specialty (Bulgari purchased Gerald Genta in 2000), is front and center on the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar.

The dial’s headliner is a retrograde date display, commanding the top and center of the dial, while a retrograde-display leap years indicator sits patiently at 6 o’clock. Radial, hand-indicated day and month displays fill the remainder of the octagon-framed dial.

And if this dial seems a bit spare for a perpetual calendar, that’s because there’s no moonphase display. Bulgari deems the lunar subdial, frequently found on traditional perpetual calendars, as too classical to contribute to the contemporary style of the Octo Finissimo collection.

The watch’s displays are adjusted by means of three correctors: one for the date at 2 pm, another for the month at 4 pm and a third for the day between 8 and 9 o’clock.

The displays are adjusted via three correctors. One for the date is at 2 pm, another for the month at 4 pm and a third for the day between 8 and 9 o’clock.

Bulgari notes that it met the challenge of devising a perpetual calendar within a slender case by effectively reassessing how a movement is configured spatially.

Previous Octo Finissimo models, such as the Chronograph GMT Automatic (2019) and the Tourbillon Automatic (2018), employ a peripheral rotor to free space within the movement. However, here Bulgari opted to re-format most of the perpetual calendar’s 408 components on one level around an efficient new micro-rotor. This freed enough space to allow Bulgari to retain many components at full size – and optimal efficiency – despite the caliber’s 2.75mm limiting thinness.

Two cases

Bulgari will debut the new perpetual calendar with the same architecturally stepped 40mm sandblasted titanium case we’ve seen on previous record-breaking ultra-thin Octo Finissimo models, consistent with the collection’s modern style.

Bulgari is also simultaneously creating a platinum-cased, blue-dialed example. However, this models’ platinum case (a first for this collection) is not fully polished, as is often the case with the luxurious metal. Bulgari will finish this premiere piece with a clearly contemporary satin brushing mixed with polished accents.  

Prices: $59,000 (titanium case, titanium bracelet) and $89,000 (platinum case, alligator strap). 

Seven world records for thinness since 2014. All but one (for automatic watch, now held by Piaget) still stand.

 

Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Titanium model (Ref. 103200)

Movement: Automatic Manufacture movement, Caliber BVL 305, measuring 2.75mm thick, with indication of hours, minutes, retrograde date, day, month and retrograde leap year; 60-hour power reserve.

Case and dial: Sandblasted 40mm titanium, 5.80mm thick, sandblasted titanium crown with ceramic insert, transparent caseback; water-resistant to 30 meters. Dial is sandblasted titanium dial, 0.3 mm thick.

Bracelet: Sandblasted titanium with folding clasp.

 

Platinum model (Ref. 103463)

Movement: Automatic Manufacture movement, Caliber BVL 305, measuring 2.75mm thick, with indication of hours, minutes, retrograde date, day, month and retrograde leap year; 60-hour power reserve.

Case and dial: Satin-brushed/polished platinum case, 40mm diameter, 5.80mm thick, white gold crown, transparent caseback; water-resistant to 30 meters. Dial is lacquered blue.

Bracelet: Alligator leather strap with platinum pin clasp.

Zenith reinforces its Defy to create Defy Extreme, a new three-model collection that boasts an arsenal of components aimed at protecting the watch’s unusual dual-escapement El Primero 9004 movement from shock and moisture.

The new Defy Extreme extends the ongoing theme of the Defy El Primero 21 collection, a series of skeletonized, often colorful, high-speed (36,000 vph) timekeepers paired with an extra-fast (360,000 vph) chronographs, cased together in highly technical ceramic, titanium, carbon or steel dress.

Three Zenith Defy Extreme models are available. All are cased in sandblasted titanium with blue, black or rose-gold colored plates and matching accents.

With the new collection, Zenith has a true high-impact sport option for Defy fans wary that the existing Defy 21’s two escapements and its contemporary open work design leaves it vulnerable to physical stress and extreme elements.

Essentially, Zenith has toughened Defy’s specifications, starting with the case.

Defy Extreme’s 46mm case size is larger than the 44mm case Zenith uses within the existing Defy El Primero 21 collection. Zenith has reinforced the new case by adding extended pusher protection and a screw-down crown that, when combined with a thicker clear sapphire caseback, doubles the water resistance from the existing Defy rating of 100 meters to 200 meters for the new collection.

The new case is also rife with new angles, edges and lines. Even between the two crystals you’ll find elements that, as Zenith puts it, exude “robustness.”

Most notably, Zenith has a placed a twelve-sided ring just underneath the bezel and on the twelve-sided caseback.  The architectural ring nicely frames the dial while also adding another layer of shock protection to the movement. It serves to remind the wearer that Zenith has built an extra level of security into the Defy Extreme.

Three models

Zenith is making three Defy Extreme models, all cased in micro-blasted titanium. Two matte-finished titanium models (both $18,000) differ with a blue or black-colored mainplate and pusher protectors with matching rotor finishes, while the third model ($22,000) glows with rose gold bezel ring and pusher protectors on the titanium case and rose-gold-hued main plate and accents.

Zenith is supplying each watch with three different straps with quick strap-change mechanisms: A micro-blasted or polished and satin-brushed titanium bracelet, a rubber strap with a folding buckle matching the case and, in a first for Zenith, a Velcro strap that can be easily adjusted.

The El Primero 9004 movement inside the Defy Extreme is equipped with two regulating organs and escapements, one beating at 5Hz for timekeeping, and the other at 50Hz for the chronograph .

 

TAG Heuer has updated its Aquaracer with the Aquaracer Professional 300, a collection that reshapes the brand’s dive watch with thinner cases, wider hour hands, shorter lugs and newly fluted ceramic bezels.

 

And look for seven full-line references in two sizes (43mm and 36mm) in the new collection. All but one of the new Aquaracer 300 Professional models will be cased in steel (with blue, black or silver dials) while one collection (with a green-dial) will be made using a titanium case.

All told, four of the new references will have a 43mm case diameter, and three will feature a case measuring 36mm, with one of the smaller size models sporting diamond hour markers.  An eight model is a titanium-cased limited edition celebrating the 1978 watch that led to the Aquaracer collection.

Fluted bezel

TAG Heuer has updated nearly all the characteristics that TAG Heuer has deemed essential for every Aquaracer since 1983. Since that year watches in the collection have included a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 meters, luminous markings, a sapphire glass and a double safety clasp.

For the new models, TAG Heuer started its update by adjusting Aquaracer’s twelve-sided bezel.

In addition to adding scratch-resistant ceramic inserts in the bezel, as noted above, TAG Heuer has fluted the bezel’s trademark twelve facets for a quicker grip when the bezel needs to be turned. When turning the bezel, the user might note smoother action because TAG Heuer has also re-engineered the bezel’s internal teeth so they mesh with less resistance. Also note the new engraved minutes scale just inside the bezel.

All eight hour markers are now actually lume-filled octagons on the dials of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300.

Also new is an integrated magnifier, now positioned into the underside of the glass, over the date at 6 o’clock. Not only does the new position maintain an uninterrupted, flat sapphire crystal, but it also makes the date easier to read from wider angles.

Distinctive dials

TAG Heuer has also taken the shape of the bezel directly onto the dial. All eight hour markers are now actually lume-filled octagons. Similarly, a new twelve-sided crown has been added, matching the twelve-sided bezel. This helps maintain a design consistency, and confers a pleasing symmetry to the new Aquaracer.

But TAG Heuer didn’t stop at the markers. Note that the hour hand is wider with a more distinctive sword shape. Longtime fans might recognize it from the last of the TAG Heuer 2000 Series from 2004. However, TAG Heuer has narrowed, very slightly, the width of the minute hand to create a clearer distinction between the two hands.

Note the green and blue lume on the dial of the Aquaracer Professional 300.

 

The hands are further differentiated by luminosity hue, with green SuperLumiNova on the hour hand (and hour markers) and blue SuperLumiNova for the minute and seconds hands. The crown protection has been re-made as well. It’s now more rounded, echoing that first Ref. 844 from 1978.

If the central section of the dial looks familiar, it is. But it’s also different. TAG Heuer has kept Aquaracer’s familiar engraved dials with horizontal lines, but on the 43mm models those lines are set a bit further apart. The blue 36 mm model also has eight diamond hour markers and polished central bracelet links

Case study

Finally, as noted earlier, TAG Heuer has slimmed the case, bezel and metal bracelet, and shortened the lugs, without affecting the watch’s essential utility and performance. All models will maintain their full 300 meters of water resistance.

On the back of the new Aquaracer Professional 300 TAG Heuer again portrays an image of the same diving suit that first appeared on the Aquaracer caseback in 2004, but with a slight update. The helmet is more angular on the new collection, and the faceplate is twelve-sided, echoing the watch’s bezel shape.

The helmet on the new Aquaracer Professional 300 caseback is more angular, and the faceplate is twelve-sided, echoing the watch’s bezel shape.

Finally, each new reference features a new integrated metal bracelet equipped with a newer fine adjustment system that can extend or reduce the bracelet length by up to 1.5 centimeters.

Prices for the new Aquaracer Professional 300 start at $2,800 (36mm with black or white dial) and rise to $4,200 (43mm titanium model with green dial).

Limited Edition

In addition to launching seven new ongoing models within the Aquaracer Professional 300 collection, TAG Heuer is adding a limited edition titanium-cased watch in tribute to the Heuer Ref. 844, a diver’s watch released in 1978 that presaged the Aquaracer collection.

The Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 is a tribute to original model from 1978.

That watch featured a dial design with a red 24-hour scale, prominent lume-filled hour markers and a rotating divers’ bezel with a minutes scale. The new tribute, called the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844, is cased in Grade 5 titanium with visual elements from the archive piece. These include a flat black dial and a red 24-hour scale, originally intended as a quick conversion chart for divers.

The tribute watch also features vintage-hued luminescent material on its dial and arrives with a black perforated rubber strap that echoes the strap sold on the original. But here, TAG Heuer has made the perforations octagonal to maintain the new Aquaracer design code.

Only 844 examples of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 will be made. TAG Heuer’s ETA-based (or Sellita-based) Caliber 5 automatic movement powers all eight references in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection. Price of the tribute model: $4,350.

 

Citizen has updated and expanded its Series 8 collection, a popularly priced set of sporty steel watches previously sold only in Japan, and will offer them in the U.S. market.

With two models soon to be available in North America, Series 8 watches boast 40mm steel cases, strong anti-magnetic properties, three-hands with date and updated automatic movements. Alongside The Citizen, a 40mm steel watch set with Citizen’s impressive new automatic Caliber 0200, the Series 8 marks Citizen’s strongest entry into the U.S. mechanical sport watch market in many years.

From the new Citizen Series 8, this is the 40mm 870 Mechanical.

While Citizen has a long history as a manufacturer of mechanical movements, the company in recent years has focused much of its marketing and distribution efforts on its light-powered Eco-Drive technology. For U.S. buyers, Citizen’s Miyota mechanical movements are more likely found powering watches made elsewhere than within Citizen’s current U.S. lineup. For instance, Bulova, owned by Citizen, and many independent bands utilize Citizen-manufactured automatic movements. 

Look for Citizen to draw new attention to its own extensive history as a manufacturer of mechanical watches as it launches Series 8 and The Citizen within the United States.

The watches

Citizen will offer two models within Series 8 this fall. One, the 870 Mechanical, is a sporty round watch with a two-part bezel, which sets it apart from the second model, the 831 Mechanical, which features an octagonal case and one-piece bezel.

Citizen’s new 870 Mechanical is a sporty round watch with a two-part bezel.

The 870’s case is finished using both hairline and mirror finishes, and its dial is set with larger hands and markers than the 831 models. As a result, it’s the cleanest of the new Series 8 designs, with a focus on high visibility and casual sportiness, especially with its steel bracelet integrated directly into the steel case.

The automatic Citizen Caliber 0950 that powers this model offers the stronger specifications of the two Series 8 movements. It is rated to -5 /+10 seconds per day, and will operate for fifty hours on a full wind. Look for the 870 with either a black or a white dial.

Citizen’s automatic Cal. 0950 is found in model 870.

The 831 Mechanical offers a somewhat thinner octagonal case with crown protector, and a blue-dialed option.

The 831 Mechanical, with gold-tone case.

The latter, in a gold-tone steel case, arrives on a more leisurely blue calf leather strap. The automatic Citizen Caliber 9051 that powers this model is rated to -10 /+20 seconds per day, and will operate for forty-two hours on a full wind. Both watches are rated water resistant to 100 meters.

The new Citizen 831 Mechanical.

The 830 Mechanical

A third Series 8 model, the 830 Mechanical, is not scheduled to be offered by Citizen in the United States. This model adds a more complex dial to the same octagonal case used by the 831. It features a new sandwich-style dial with mother-of-pearl, mesh and metal layers.

The new 830 Mechanical, sold only in Japan, features a three-layered dial with mother-of-pearl and metal layers.

If the 830 appeals to your sense of style, you’ll have to search your overseas sources to purchase one. Thus far, the Citizen’s U.S. division has announced that it will only bring the Model 831 and 870 to the domestic U.S. market.

The movements   

Citizen notes that both the movements in the Series 8 offerings have been upgraded recently to provide enhanced magnetic resistance, and both are significantly thinner than earlier versions, even with the anti-magnetic upgrade.

Citizen explains “the watches also have enhanced magnetic resistance essential for our modern digital lives by providing protection against magnetic fields generated by smartphones, tablets, and other devices that can affect the accuracy of the watch.”

The new 831 Mechanical.

Prices: $1,500 (870 Mechanical), $1,000 (831 Mechanical) and $950 (831 Mechanical, with gold-tone case and blue leather strap). Citizen will make the Series 8 models available this fall.   

Frederique Constant this week unveiled a groundbreaking one-piece silicon oscillator that effectively replaces the traditional mechanical movement’s twenty-six-piece escapement assortment, and has developed a new movement around the high-tech component. The new movement, automatic Caliber FC-810, will power the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture Collection of 40mm watches, available this September.

The gold-cased model of the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection.The silicon oscillator appears at 6 o’clock.

Debuted after three years of research and development, Geneva-based Frederique Constant’s new oscillator beats at the ultra-high rate of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz, about ten times faster than traditional mechanical movement oscillators. And since it is created as a single friction-free, anti-magnetic, lightweight component, both the oscillator and the movement demonstrate ultra high efficiency.

The oscillator beats at the ultra-high rate of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz, about ten times faster than traditional mechanical movement oscillators.

As a result, when teamed with a standard winding spring in the new movement, watches in the new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection realize a full eighty-hours of power reserve.

High-tech team

Frederique Constant teamed with Nima Tolou, CEO of the Netherlands-based micro-engineering firm Flexous, to develop the silicon oscillator. Frederique Constant’s watchmaking department asked Flexous to develop a unique, flexible oscillating system in a size comparable to a traditional balance. Furthermore Frederique Constant set specifications, including: the highest possible frequency; an 80-hour power reserve; and a cost-effective formula allowing the manufacture of significant quantities at a reasonable price.

Flexous met the requests, devising a component that measures 9.8mm in diameter and 0.3mm thick, approximately the size of a conventional regulator. As noted above, the new oscillator incorporates all twenty-six components that make up the typical assortment, including the traditional balance, spring, anchor and rubies. And, echoing the traditional escapement, the new oscillator’s frequency can be fine-tuned by adjusting two tiny weights.

The watch

 The first collection Frederique Constant is fitting with the new movement is the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, a three-hand watch with a pointer date. The 40mm round watch offers a classic Swiss dress dial with a central guilloché hobnail pattern, printed Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands.

The design of the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture echoes the brand’s pioneering use of open dials that expose portions of the movement. When it debuted in 1994, the Frederique Constant Heart Beat was the only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial.

Where that collection displayed the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position, the new collection displays the new pulsating silicon oscillator through an aperture at 6 o’clock.

On the reverse side, a clear sapphire caseback offers an unimpeded view of the automatic FC-810 caliber, which is Frederique Constant’s thirtieth in-house movement. The brand decorates the movement with traditional Geneva stripes with perlage; the oscillating weight is open worked.

 

Frederique Constant will make the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture in three limited editions, projected to be shipped starting in September. The editions include 810 pieces in stainless steel with a blue dial ($4,795) and 810 pieces in a steel case with a silver color dial ($4,795). Also, an 18-karat gold model with a silver-colored dial will be made as a limited edition of 81 pieces ($15,995).

A year after Doxa launched a small-production series of SUB 300 Aqua Lung watches with a forged carbon case, the famed independent Swiss dive watchmaker revisits that high-tech case for the new SUB 300 Carbon collection, a non-limited, eye-catching array of ten models with six colorful dial and matching strap options.

One of ten new Doxa SUB 300 Carbon models. Here the carbon case frames a Caribbean (navy blue) dial. The rubber strap can be black or to match the dial.

At the same time, Doxa launches these bright new SUB 300 models at Watches of Switzerland locations in the United States, marking the brand’s first official U.S. brick-and-mortar distribution in years. Previously, Doxa sold its watches only online through its e-commerce web site. With the new Watches of Switzerland partnership, shoppers can try on the full Doxa collection at all Watches of Switzerland retail stores, as well as online.

The Doxa SUB 300 in yellow, or ‘divingstar.’

The new collection expands Doxa’s use of color within its SUB 300 collection, which already includes a range of colorful steel-cased options. Now with the forged carbon case, the newest collection sets six dial colors, including navy blue, turquoise, orange, yellow, silver and black, framed within the patterned matte black forged carbon case and unidirectional bezel and blackened crown.

The swirled, high-tech carbon pattern and dark hue offers a starker contrast to Doxa’s colorful dial and strap options than we’ve seen with the collection’s existing steel models. And all are currently offered only on black or color-matched rubber straps, unlike the steel-bracelet option available for the steel-cased SUB 300.

Historic link

Doxa touts its current SUB 300 collection as the heir to its groundbreaking original 1967 debut of the same name. Rated as water resistant to a depth of 300 meters feet, the original Doxa SUB 300 was the first consumer watch to feature a unidirectional bezel with a dual indication of dive time and depth, according to Doxa. But the model itself gained fans for another reason as well: its full-on bright orange dial.

Even as the SUB 300 Carbon’s 42.5mm case is lighter than the steel models, Doxa has been careful to maintain the full dive specs of the all-steel SUB 300. To that end, the watchmakers have fit the newest watch with a pressure-resistant titanium chamber and screw-down crown.

The new series also features a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment that retains the same dome shape of the curved Plexiglas found on the original series in 1967. The COSC-certified ETA-based automatic movement provides a power reserve of approximately 38 hours.

Doxa ensures an easy-to-read dial on the new series with a white dive time scale punctuated with a dot at 12 o’clock. The inserts of the bezel (graduated in meters) for depths are colored – either in orange, yellow or turquoise – for visual differentiation, with a light dot at 12. Generously set with SuperLumiNova, the dial’s hour indices are also very clear.

Price: $3,890

Specifications: Doxa SUB 300 Carbon

Case:  42.50mm x 45.00mm x 13.40mm forged carbon, glass box sapphire crystal, unidirectional rotating forged carbon bezel, titanium chamber and screw-in case back, screw-down crown, water resistance to 300 meters.

Dial: Painted indices and hands with SuperLumiNova luminescent inserts, painted minute track.

Movement: Automatic ETA-based, COSC-certified with power reserve of 38 hours, Doxa decorations.

Bracelet: Black or matching to dial color, folding clasp, PVD-coated, featuring the brand’s fish symbol, diver’s wetsuit extension.

Price: $3,890.

Among Seiko’s wide-ranging 2021 debuts, two new Prospex models stand out for near-perfect fidelity to the original Seiko watches that inspired their re-interpretation. One, the Seiko Prospex Alpinist, revisits a Seiko sport model from 1959, while a second, the new Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition, revisits a historic dive watch Seiko made in 1970.

What makes both these debuts even more vital for Seiko collectors, and sports watch enthusiasts in general, are the updated collections based on these historic designs.

First, let’s take a look at the diver’s watch.

The Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition watch, showing blue silicone strap.

Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition

As worn by Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura in the mid-1970s when he completed a 12,500-kilometer solo dog-sled run from Greenland to Alaska, a 1970 Seiko dive watch offered both reliability and protection. The watch was also notable for its unusual asymmetrical extension that protected the crown at the four o’clock position.

The curved extension of the case fully protects the screw-down crown.

Revisiting that 1970 design, Seiko in 2021 offers two new 44mm steel models. One (Reference SLA049) is a limited edition of 1,200 watches that echo the case’s original shape, high-visibility and three-hand dial, but now offer a special ‘mountain-pattern’ blue dial and blue bezel, said to recall the “blue tones of the earth’s upper atmospheric layers.” 

The original Seiko 1970 divers watch.

Seiko of course has modernized the tribute watch in several ways, primarily with the updated movement. Inside you’ll find Seiko’s dive-centric Caliber 8L35, made at the Seiko Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan.

The dial is also extra luminous, with all hands and all hour markers coated generously with Lumibrite. Seiko has also coated the case with a protective, anti-scratch layer, and has placed an anti-reflective coating on the dual-curved sapphire crystal.

The caseback is engraved with Uemura’s name and the watch’s number.

Finally, Seiko has increased the watch’s water resistance, now rated to 200 meters. For this limited model, Seiko includes a blue silicone strap that has the same train-track pattern as the original model.

Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation.

In addition to the blue-dialed limited edition that commemorates the 80th anniversary of Naomi Uemura’s birth, Seiko adds a gray dialed version to the Prospex collection. The watch shares the same textured pattern dial as the limited edition but is in a charcoal gray color that is similar to the 1970 original. It shares the same case design, features and specifications as the commemorative watch and will also be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in July 2021.

Prices: $3,100 (Ref. SLA049–limited to 1,200 pieces), $2,900 (With gray dial, Ref. SLA051)
 

The Alpinist

Seiko introduced its first watch made for mountain climbers in 1959. Called the Seiko Laurel Alpinist, it marked the start of Seiko’s march into the much broader sports watch market. Seiko followed that debut model with a series of watches specifically tailored for sports, including stopwatches and diver’s watches.

The original Seiko Laurel Alpinist, circa 1959.

For 2021 Seiko revives that debut 1959 design with two odes to the original. One, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation, is a 36.6mm limited edition that retains the original’s dial markings and its sporty leather cuff. A second model, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation, is slightly larger, at 38mm, is fitted with a different movement and is offered on steel bracelet (and two dial options) and on a leather strap.

The new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation (Reference SJE085), a limited edition of 1,200.

Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation

The re-creation brings back the black dial and large markers found on the original, but now adds a date window and stronger water resistant (to 100 meters). In addition, its box-shaped sapphire crystal is now treated with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. Finally, the movement is updated with Seiko’s thin automatic Caliber 6L35, which has a power reserve of 45 hours. Despite the addition of a date and the new automatic caliber, the case is just 1.0mm thicker (11.1mm) than the original model. And of course, Seiko has faithfully reproduced the leather strap and cuff, using the same jagged stitch design as its predecessor.

Seiko’s slimline Caliber 6L35 has a power reserve of 45 hours.

The re-creation will be available as a limited edition of 1,959 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August. Price: $2,900.

Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation (below)

One of two steel-bracelet models in the new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation collection (Reference SPB243).

The three other new watches that pay homage to the 1959 Alpinist sport a more contemporary dial treatment and offer a choice among two steel bracelet models and one attached to a leather strap. This collection of three models is one of Seiko’s best values among all its 2021 debuts.

The green-dialed Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation collection comes on a leather strap.

Their slightly larger (38mm) polished cases are notably more modern than the Re-creation, and the Caliber 6R35 offers a stronger power reserve, at 70 hours. In addition, the water resistance is to 200 meters, twice the rating of the Re-creation. Two watches (cream-colored dial and black dial) are offered on stainless steel bracelets while the green dial version comes with a leather strap.

The new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation, Reference SPB241.

All three of these Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation watches will be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August. Prices: $750 and $725 (leather strap).

After updating its world timer and its Highlife collections in recent months, Geneva-based Frederique Constant now refreshes three models with the most basic time displays within its Classics collection.

Specifically, Frederique Constant has updated its Classics Index Automatic, Classics Quartz GMT and Classics Quartz, expanding these collections with eleven newly detailed models.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic.

Classics Index Automatic

This collection now includes five new models. Frederique Constant has replaced two-part guilloché dials with cleaner, matte-finished blue, white or black dials. Instead of Roman numerals you’ll see applied hour markers, all of which have been bevelled and tinted with luminescent material. Formerly thin hands are now sword-shaped in an attempt to portray a geometric purity on the dial.  

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic, here with rose-gold plated steel case.

Four of the 40mm Classic Index Automatic models are cased in steel while one is made with rose-gold-plated steel (and a blued steel seconds hand). Frederique Constant powers all these new models with an automatic Sellita-based FC-303 caliber offering a power reserve of 38 hours. While one full-steel model features a blue dial and steel bracelet, the remaining watches are fit with a nubuck-finish leather strap in brown, black or blue. Prices start at 850 euros, or about $1,100.

Classics Quartz GMT

These travel-ready GMT models retain their easy-to-read dual-time dials. Three new 40mm steel-cased models now include a sunray-brushed dial and the required three hands for the hours, minutes and centrally set GMT hand. That second time zone indicator is tipped with a red arrow and points to the second time zone at a glance, calibrated to a 24-hour marker track encircling the dial.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Quartz GMT, here on a steel bracelet.

These watches also make it easy to adjust both the local time and the second timezone. The wearer simply turns the activated crown in one direction to adjust the time zone and in the other direction to adjust the date.

Frederique Constant offers three new Classic Quartz GMT models: one with a gray dial and a brown nubuck-finish calfskin strap, another with a blue dial and a blue strap and a third, sportier variation with a black dial on a steel bracelet. Prices start at 695 euros, or about $830.

Classics Quartz

Finally, Frederique Constant now offers its most basic 40mm two-hand watch, with date, in a new blue or black dial model. Except for the lack of a seconds hands, these watches echo the look and finish of firm’s mechanical models with a sunray-brushed dial, polished case, applied hour markers doubled at 12 o’clock and nubuck-finish leather strap or three-link steel bracelet. Prices start at 595 euros, or about $700.

The Frederique Constant Classics quartz, on a steel bracelet.
Frederique Constant Classics quartz.

Citizen this week launches The Citizen, a new automatic watch powered by Caliber 0200, the manufacturer’s first new mechanical movement since 2010.

The new movement was developed at Citizen headquarters in Japan with technical and finishing input from Manufacture La Joux-Perret, a Citizen-owned Swiss movement company.

The Citizen is a 40mm steel watch characterized by a new, integrated (lug-free) steel bracelet and a subtly sparkling, electroformed black dial.

Caliber 0200, which features a free-sprung balance, chronometer-level accuracy and sixty hours of power reserve, will make its debut inside The Citizen, a 40mm steel watch characterized by a new, integrated (lug-free) steel bracelet and a subtly sparkling, electroformed black dial depicting a ‘rippled sand’ effect.

Citizen says the new watch’s design was inspired by a 1924 pocket watch made by Citizen’s predecessor, the Shokosha Watch Research Institute. That 1924 design, which was named ‘Citizen,’ also displays a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock.

The Shokosha Watch Research Institute changed its name to Citizen after the name of its 1924 pocket watch.

The movement

Caliber 0200 is designed to exceed the Chronometer standard (ISO 3159) benchmark for accuracy. Citizen says the movement achieves an average daily accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds. By utilizing a free-sprung balance wheel, Citizen has also created a highly shock resistant caliber since watches with free-sprung balance wheels are known for their ability to maintain stability of rate over time. Citizen utilized the LIGA fabrication process (photolithography) to enhance the precision of escape wheel and the pallet fork.

Caliber 0200 is Citizen’s first new mechanical movement since 2010.

For Citizen, the look of the movement was as important as the technical aspects.

“We made countless layouts of the gears – the barrel, the balance wheel, the escapement – to create a beautiful movement,” according to Taro Nakagawa, who works in Citizen’s mechanical watch element development department. “Eventually we arrived at a layout that shows off the balance wheel, with its beautifully finished overlapping gears, to maximum advantage.”

The results of this aesthetic focus are clearly visible through the clear sapphire caseback. From the back the viewer can see polished gears and decorative finishing of all gear train
 components, including the rotor, the main plate 
and the bridges, which are satin-finished and feature diamond-cut edges.

Citizen applies different finishes to every detail—satinage for the upper surfaces of bridges and diamond-cut for the outer edges.

Rigorous testing

Citizen explains that its manufacturing facility tested the cased movement for a full seventeen days, under various conditions, and in six positions at three different temperature levels, before its watchmakers manually attach each The Citizen bracelet.

As noted, that bracelet is decidedly contemporary and fully integrated into the steel case of The Citizen. Technicians complete the bracelet and case by applying hairline and mirror-finishes, meant to capture the light at varying degrees as the watch sits on the wrist. Similarly, the sand-ripple-pattern electroformed black dial is also designed to reflect light in novel patterns.

At first look, finishing on the dial, movement and bracelet are exciting, and likely superior to Citizen’s previous mechanical models. As sample models become available, we’ll offer an ‘on the wrist’ assessment of The Citizen’s finish and fit.

Finally, Citizen adds a stylized eagle icon, with wings spread, to the top of The Citizen’s dial. The symbol marks The Citizen collection for the brand and is meant to depict “foresight and action based on a clear vision of the future.”

With the enhanced mechanical focus represented by the new Caliber 0200, and this eye-catching debut watch, Citizen seems well prepared for that future.

Price: $6,000, available in September.

 

Specifications: Citizen “The Citizen” (Model NC0200-90E)

Case: 40mm by 10.9mm steel, sapphire caseback and crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistance to 50 meters.

Movement: Automatic Caliber 0200, accuracy of average -3 to +5 seconds per day, running time of approx. 60 hours when fully wound, 28,800 vph, Certificate of Compliance included.

Dial: Electroformed black to create sand-ripple pattern, hour, minute and small seconds indications. 

Bracelet: Steel, integrated into case.

Price: $6,000, available in September.