Just ahead of the Mille Miglia classic car competition, now underway in Italy, Chopard unveiled its latest Mille Miglia watch, an annual debut for the watchmaker/jeweler ever since it partnered with the race’s organizers in 1988.
This year Chopard commemorates the race with the Mille Miglia 2020 Race Edition, a watch offered in two versions. For one version, the 42mm chronograph is cased in bead-blasted, DLC-treated stainless steel similar to the satin black and gunmetal finishes of vintage cars. This handsome, sporty all-black model is a 1,000-piece limited series. Price: $6,700.
The second edition is a 250-piece limited edition made with bezels created using bead-blasted ethically sourced rose gold ($8,400).
An ETA-based, chronometer-certified automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve powers both new Chopard Mille Miglia Race Edition 2020 watches. And both models boast a sapphire crystal case-back bordered by the 1000 Miglia logo and the edition number of each piece. Chopard pairs each model with a black, perforated leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching and a rubber lining designed to mimic a pattern based on a 1960s Dunlop racing tire.
In addition, Chopard will make a futuristic cushion-shaped concept watch, a 20-piece limited edition called Mille Miglia Lab One, featuring Chopard’s first non-round self-winding tourbillon movement (Chopard 04.03-M.)
The contemporary styled Lab One is made with a blackened titanium cushion-shaped 48.6mm by 46mm case framing an openwork dial that looks like a racecar grille. Additional racing references include a movement that echoes a racing cylinder head and a gas-gauge-like power reserve display.
Another function, the tourbillon stop, is inspired by a disc-brake system. The tourbillon carriage is brought to a halt by axially mounted levers that are activated as soon as the crown is pulled out. Racecar material like carbon fiber and rubber continue the references. The Mille Miglia Lab One will be sold only at Chopard boutiques. Price: Upon request.
Armin Strom this week introduces Lady Beat, the independent Swiss watchmaker’s first watch designed with feminine customers in mind. And while the new collection aesthetically echoes Armin Strom’s existing Gravity Equal Force collection, with its open-dial three-bridge design, Armin Strom has built an all-new, less-complicated caliber and has placed it within a fairly thin new 38mm case, a first for the brand.
Armin Strom explains that the Lady Beat was designed in concert with female design consultants, who sought to answer the question: “What does a woman desire on her wrist?”
Thus, the new Lady Beat features an off-center dial that displays only a minute and hour hand with no markers except the company logo at 12 o’clock. This contrasts with the classic three-hand display with small seconds found on the Gravity Equal Force.
And, instead of powering the watch with a visible micro rotor (as on the Gravity Equal Force) Armin Strom has developed a full-sized central rotor and placed it on the back of the new Caliber ALA20.
And while the wearer can still eye the movement’s vibrating balance directly on the front of the Lady Beat, Armin Strom has removed the stop-works declutch system and novel ‘equal force’ motor barrel from the new caliber. This allowed Armin Strom to create a caliber for Lady Beat that is thinner than the movement inside the existing Gravity Equal Force.
Also contributing to the Lady Beat’s “soft shapes” design brief, Armin Strom replaced classic lugs in favor of an integrated strap. Circles and semi-circles replaced the earlier design’s angular shapes throughout.
“These soft, moon-like shapes fill the optics of this watch,” explains Armin Strom co-founder Claude Greisler. “Look closely and you will see a half-moon-shaped plate sharing the watch’s lower level with the mechanical elements, while a full moon-shaped subdial sits atop it.”
Conclusion: Armin Strom succeeds on its own terms with its first feminine watch as it avoids the all-too common watch design trap of simply adding gemstones to a smaller version of an existing model.
Armin Strom offers two Lady Beat models. One with a white dial and the other with a black dial.
Price: 16,900 CHF (about $18,600)
Specifications: Armin Strom Lady Beat
Movement: Automatic caliber ALA20, high-quality décor, 25,200 vph, seventy-hours of power reserve.
Case: 38mm by 11.65mm steel, sapphire crystal and case back with anti-reflective treatment. Water-resistance to 30 meters.
Dial: Offset in white or black with hand-finished steel hands.
Strap: Delivered with a bi-material rubber and Alcantara in satin white or black, and double-fold clasp in stainless steel.
Parmigiani Fleurier earlier this year underscored its technical mettle by adding the Tondagraph GT to its Tonda GT collection. That limited-edition chronograph features a large date display and, unusually, an annual calendar, all placed into a case inspired by the highly acclaimed Tonda Chronor Anniversaire watch, for which the Manufacture received the Chronograph Watch Prize from the GPHG in 2017.
For Fall 2020 Parmigiani Fleurier revisits that same fluted-bezel case, but makes it in rose gold and fits it with an impressive integrated chronograph built on the foundation of that award-winning Chronor Anniversaire.
The brand’s new Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue, houses Parmigiani Fleurier’s new PF071 movement, a COSC-certified, automatic chronograph with large date, that boasts all the specifications you’d expect from a high-end in-house integrated chronograph – the brand’s third – with such pedigree.
Thus, the new high-frequency (36,000 bph) caliber is built with a column wheel instead of a cam, utilizes a vertical clutch instead of the more common horizontal clutch, and secures its balance using a double-attached cross-through bridge rather than a single-point bridge.
Parmigiani Fleurier explains that this type of bridge attachment “minimizes the effect of impacts to the balance with gold inertia blocks and has been designed so that its height can be adjusted and adapted precisely to the rest of the movement.”
With its high frequency chronograph caliber, which is accurate to the nearest 10th of a second, Parmigiani Fleurier has added two additional markers and hands within the subdial at 6 o’clock for the tenths-of-a-second timing display.
Parmigiani Fleurier has also integrated the big date aperture directly into the movement rather than adding it as a module, which the brand says enhances its reliability.
On the dial the watchmaker blues its traditional hobnail-style “clou triangulaire” guilloche, while the back reveals the high-end finish it applies throughout the new caliber PF071. The clear sapphire on the back exposes the movement’s sunray satin pattern finish and the 22-karat gold oscillating weight with eye-catching “angel wing” bridges.
Parmigiani Fleurier is making the Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue as a limited edition of twenty-five pieces each on a blue rubber strap ($41,000) and also on a gold bracelet ($65,500).
TAG Heuer answered collector requests for a new black-dialed Monaco last week when it debuted the Monaco Chronograph 39 Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic, the first new black-dialed Monaco in a decade. And to enhance the offering, which also includes a new blue-dialed model, the watchmaker builds the newest Monaco with its in-house Caliber Heuer 02 automatic movement and pairs both with an all-new steel bracelet.
These two new Monacos, with the same black-dialed model also matched to a new black alligator leather strap, are meant to continue the brand’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Monaco, which began in 2019.
The new blue and black watches feature dials that have been sunray brushed and configured with a familiar three-register layout with square, silvered hour and minute chronograph subdials. On both models, the running seconds indicator is marked by a simple crosshair pattern.
For many, the new bracelet will likely be as welcomed as the new black dial. Monaco hasn’t seen a fully new steel bracelet update in two decades. The new bracelet, which echoes the design of the H-shaped bracelet Heuer used on the Monaco in the early 1970s, features wider lugs than the earlier models and tapers a bit more around the wrist. It’s held with a new butterfly clasp.
“The bracelet is particularly important for any wristwatch – without a good bracelet, the timepiece lacks desirability,” says TAG Heuer’s Heritage Director, Catherine Eberlé-Devaux. “For the new Monaco timepieces, we have alluded to its brilliant past with a familiar design and color while reinforcing that the collection is moving forward with innovative new technology.”
TAG Heuer fits all three new editions with the excellent in-house manufacture Caliber Heuer 02, an automatic movement with a vertical clutch, column wheel and an impressive eighty-hour power reserve.
With a few exceptions, regular collection Monaco chronographs in recent years had been set with ETA-based Caliber 12 or Sellita-based Caliber 11.
Prices: $6,750 (on steel bracelet) and $6,350 (on leather strap).
(Reference CBL2113.BA0644 and reference CBL2111.BA0644, blue dial available January 2021)
Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic with vertical clutch, column wheel, 80-hour power reserve.
Case: 39 mm polished and fine-brushed stainless-steel, bevelled, domed sapphire crystal
Sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Blue or Black sunray brushed, rhodium-plated indexes, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova, red lacquered central hand, white TAG HEUER printed logo, angled date display at 6 o’clock
– 3 o’clock: silver minute chronograph counter
– 6 o’clock: black or blue permanent second indicator
– 9 o’clock: silver hour chronograph counter. Bracelet: Alternating, three-row stainless steel with stainless-steel butterfly folding clasp with double safety push button.
TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph 39 mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic (alligator leather strap)(Reference CBL2113.FC6177)
Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic with vertical clutch, column wheel, 80-hour power reserve.
Case: 39 mm polished and fine-brushed stainless-steel, bevelled, domed sapphire crystal
Sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Black Sunray-brushed, rhodium-plated indexes, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova, red lacquered central hand, white TAG HEUER printed logo, angled date display at 6 o’clock
– 3 o’clock: silver minute chronograph counter
– 6 o’clock: black permanent second indicator
– 9 o’clock: silver hour chronograph counter Strap: Black alligator leather, stainless-steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons
Alpina revives the hunter-style flip-open caseback with its new limited edition Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic. The new model, which features a vintage-style dial and a new case, includes the hunter design, in part to reference an earlier Startimer Pilot watch from 2015 that also featured the retro style.
This latest addition to the pilot series is built with a 44 mm steel case that frames a matte black dial displaying luminescent beige hour, minute and 24-hour markers that nicely replicate a typical shade used on pilot watches starting in the 1930s and 1940s.
Additional vintage details include the triangular Alpina logo on the dial, which utilizes the original font used by Alpina during the peak of the manufacturer’s mid-century pilot watch production. The logo, which differs from the logo Alpina places on its contemporary pilot models, also serves a practical purpose by separating the 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock markers. A colorful red counterbalance on the seconds hand accents the all-business dial, which includes a date indicator.
Alpina decorates the outside of the revived hunter caseback with a fine perlage pattern. When clicked open by pressing the button at 4 o’clock, the back exposes a Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement sporting a darkened rotor, and otherwise basic finishing.
The crown and the strap also echo the vintage pilot design. The former is large and grooved while the latter is brown and calfskin, accented with beige topstitching.
With this launch, Alpina continues its support of the National Park Foundation as an official partner. For every Startimer Pilot Automatic 40mm purchased through the brand’s U.S. website, Alpina will donate $100 to the parks.
Limited to 1,883 pieces, the new Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic is priced at $1,295.
Seiko’s rich legacy of products that represent absolute real estate in the rich tapestry of wristwatch history lend themselves to recreations and homages, with 2020 delivering a singular treat in the release of a three-watch edition that charts the story of Seiko’s indelible mark on adventure, diving and outdoor sports.
Released this September, Seiko’s Prospex “Built for the Ice Diver” collection represents a material homage to Seiko’s 55-year history of producing sports diving watches, beginning in 1965 with the release of Japan’s first dive watch, the 62MAS.
The new collection is comprised of recreations of highly desirable classics that represent modern technology brought to bear on a vintage subject.
“Built for the Ice Diver” is a reference to Seiko’s position as Japan’s watch for the adventurer, tested in extreme conditions both underwater and as a companion to high mountaineers. The 62MAS set the standard for many subsequent Seiko dive watches, with an automatic movement, quickset date and 37mm stainless steel case capped with a plexiglass crystal and rectangular tritium minute markers, ratcheted bezel and broad hands. Vintage examples sell for more than $4,000.
This particular watch, of the many, many variations of Seiko’s developed across multiple markets, grew to prominence because of two men, one real and one fictional. The first, acclaimed Japanese Adventurer Naomi Uemura, chose the original Seiko 62MAS because it was a robust, waterproof watch, and made in Japan to boot.
Sure, he could have picked a Rolex Explorer or Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, like any other run-of-the-mill international adventurer, but Uemura was a standard bearer for his country and selected that most Japanese of all brands, Seiko. He (probably) wore the watch throughout many of his treks, which included a one-man dog sled run from Greenland to Alaska, the first solo walk to the North Pole and ascension of the North American Denali Mountain, which marked his last adventure. He disappeared on the Denali hike, presumably with a Seiko on his wrist.
The second man in the Seiko storybook is the legendary “Captain Willard” from Francis Coppola’s film, “Apocalypse Now.” Willard, played by Martin Sheen, wore a Seiko in the same dive watch family, which gave rise to the watch’s status among collectors, (we love our little tribute names, don’t we), and its value on the secondary vintage watch market.
Seiko has re-issued this watch in several variants over the years, and at varying price points, creating secondary and tertiary collectors’ markets for the multiple iterations of this product.
The new collection
For the uninitiated collector, deciphering the complicated soup of Seiko designations, per market, is itself a treasure hunt and the stuff many lengthy Seiko forum discussions. Suffice to say, the current Prospex Ice collection is alluring enough to satisfy anyone interested in wearing a tough watch that looks like a classic from the analogue era. So, let’s get on with now.
The Ice Diver collection is comprised of three watches, each with its own twist on our theme. Shop for SKUs SPB175 (grey dial/bezel), SPB177 (green dial/bezel) and SPB179 (blue dial/bezel), packaged in the Seiko Sumo case, released exclusively in the North American market and priced at a very competitive $900.
The Sumo variant is a wide (44mm), thin (12mm) all stainless watch case and signed bracelet, powered by a Seiko automatic caliber 6R35 movement, beating at a frequency of 21,600 BPH, pivoting on 24 jewels, with a 70-hour power reserve. It’s water resistant to 600 feet and has a dual curved sapphire crystal. It has a date indicator, rotating bezel, Lumibrite hands and markers and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
And if that’s not enough, it’s supplied to the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE), which means that the homage on an homage on an homage is now itself a bona fide collectible with its own nascent back story. Face it folks, for $900 this is one hell of a watch – and by the time you read this it will probably be sold out anyway, and headed to become a $1,500 watch on the collector’s market. And so it goes with Seiko.
Prospex is Seiko’s mid-range sports watch brand, with its own higher end LX series. It’s fascinating to watch Seiko grow and prune their brands into unique shapes, like an artistic gardener tending to a Bonsai tree.
With the chain-sawing of brands across many U.S. distribution points in 2019, Seiko drew a line in the sand: cut broad distribution, cut SKU’s, focus heavily on retailers and educate the consumer on the products to create new demand.
This release reflects that tactic in action. The Ice Diver collection plays off the perception of heritage, coupled with limited availability, backed by a lot of watch for the money. Instant collectible equals increased market desire for subsequent releases. Hats off to the company for delivering sales during a time period when we’re seeing other companies disappear into the vanity fueled, limited edition, lofty priced abyss.
Seiko Extra: The Spring Drive Prospex LX SNR029
For those seeking a classic-looking Seiko homage with all the attributes of current issue Seiko technology, take a look at the GPHG-award-winning Seiko Prospex LX SNR029.
This watch literally straddles both of our planet’s unknown universes: space and water. At a list price of $6,000, this watch gives its Grand Seiko cousin a run for the money. This Prospex LX is titanium, with a case developed by Porsche designer Ken Okuyama and powered by Seiko’s 5R65 Spring Drive movement that is less susceptible to atmospheric deviations than a standard automatic watch.
The movement is found in Grand Seiko models and was actually worn in space by video game designer Richard Garriott, a citizen who paid the Russians to make him the sixth non-astronaut to travel to space. Needless to say, he wore a Seiko Spring Drive watch (whaddya think about that, Omega, Breitling, Casio, Rolex and Fortis). If you can get your hands on this classic – grab it!
TAG Heuer added four dressy chronographs to its bedrock Carrera collection a few weeks ago, in part to balance the sporty line with sleek, tachymeter-free options.
Along with the new aesthetic choice, however, TAG Heuer powers all these new Carrera Elegant Chronographs with its in-house Caliber Heuer 02, the brand’s highly efficient column-wheel chronograph with vertical clutch that delivers an impressive eighty-hour power reserve.
TAG Heuer emphasizes its use of the top-line caliber with “Heuer 02 80 Hours” capitalized on the dial just below the date.
Thin bezel, slim bracelet
The dressier profile here doesn’t simply rely on the generally unencumbered chronograph dial. The steel bezel itself, while reminiscent of the original Carrera from 1963, frames a simple one-fifth seconds track and connects the ends of a thin steel bracelet with rounded inner and outer links, or to a classic brown alligator strap. The result creates a subdued case and bracelet (or strap) that slides nicely under any shirt cuff.
The four dial hues extend TAG Heuer’s message of elegance-focused sport. The Le Locle manufacturer is making the Carrera Elegant Chronograph with dials of opaline black or sunray brushed blue, anthracite and silver (with rose-gold-plated hands). The recognizable TAG Heuer “azurage” subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock and the polished hands echo many other TAG Heuer offerings.
TAG Heuer is offering the watches with black and blue dials initially on the steel bracelet while pairing the bicolored version with a silver-colored dial and rose- gold-plated hands and the model with the anthracite dial are paired with the brown alligator leather strap.
From the back, you’ll view the Caliber Heuer 02, which features an also-dressy rose-gold-colored oscillating mass.
Prices: $5,350 and $5,550 (for model with silver-colored dial and rose-gold-plated hands).
Mention watches and traditional watchmaking, and you’d be forgiven for thinking of Switzerland, Germany or even Japan. But France, and more specifically Besançon, has perhaps one of the strongest histories of traditional watchmaking in the world. And when you think of French watches, the one brand that stands out above all others is Lip.
Lip is indelibly linked to the French psyche much like Timex has been to those of us who grew up in the United States.
Lip has become something of a cult brand, even in the U.S. And for good reason. The Lip Mach 2000 is something of an anomaly among watch fans. If we are honest about it, in its current format it is essentially a quartz chronograph, and Lip has made few cosmetic changes to it.
More than a watch
But this is a watch that demonstrates that a watch is far more than the sum of its parts. Think I’m kidding?
While in France I received a Facebook message from a fellow watch journalist stateside asking me to pick one up while I was there and bring it back for him. There are certain watches out there that hit visceral nerves, and for me Lip has a few models that speak to me on levels I can’t really quantify. They are emotional as much as pragmatic. Lip, at its very heart, is as much a feeling as it is a brand.
Lip is well known throughout the Francophone world, and famous with hard-core watch and design fans ache for the Mach 2000, as well as the now iconic Nautic Ski.
And the Nautic Ski is enjoying a best “second life” ever, with the return of smaller watches on the radar of most watch fans. When I visited Lip four years ago, the brand had been living sort of a diluted life, really treated by the (then) owners as only a brand label for watches and not the watch brand that Lip truly is.
Enter the Berards
At the time of my visit, the Berard family was producing Lip under a license, but had not yet fully taken formal control.
The Berards, Philippe and his son Pierre-Alain, have now taken full ownership of Lip – and have reinvigorated it. I am not here to criticize the previous owners. I am, however, here to applaud the Berards, and the entire team at Lip.
How do you manage a legend? Curious to relate, Lip stirs a lot of emotions in not only watch fans, but in the French consciousness. But prior to the Berard’s, that emotional connection was more of a sense of nostalgia. But have no doubts as to how serious they are taking their stewardship of Lip.
The latest Lip release, for example, underscores their commitment with a reissue of the Rallye Chronograph.Recently only available as a quartz piece, this new limited edition is much closer to the original with an automatic movement.
The watch was announced recently as a pre-order item, and by all accounts it has been a pretty hot item.
In the years before the Berards, Lip was really not what it once was, or even what it could be.Since the Berards? I hate hyperbole, but walking around the streets of Besançon, Paris, and the offices and workshop at Lip, I really felt a new sense of energy and the passion. I really felt why Lipconnects on the level that it does with fans and the public at large.
It would be easy to do a Blancpain and “start from year zero,” but the team at Lip live in the real world, one where you don’t manufacture history. To that end, they have a rather unusual (in today’s watch world) department that handles vintage Lip questions, assessments, and if I understood correctly, possible restoration.
And while it would be easy for the Berards to simply have bought the name and turn to a white label company for everything, it was very clear to me that Lip clearly represents something special to them, and I got that same feeling touring around the new facilities that they have installed for the watchmakers working on more complicated and vintage pieces.
It is not enormous, but it is not insignificant either. And I think what is encouraging about it to me is that it represents the first step forward.
While it would be easy for Lip recreate itself as a reborn pricey brand, which is something it is not and never was, Lip has held the line on pricing. In a world where brands both big and small jack-up their prices only to jettison their unwanted stock to the grey market where it is discounted down to the bare bones, Lip offers something novel – a great watch at a fair price.
Now I realize that everyone wants to go to Switzerland to visit the historic Maisons, and that’s fair enough. But if you are really a fan of watches, history and culture I urge you to get yourself to Besançon and soak up all of the history and charm that this wonderful city has to offer.
James Henderson pens the Tempus Fugit website, where this article first appeared.
In the signature style of this U.S.-based aviation-themed brand, the new Torgoen T42 features a straightforward design inspired by the ergonomic layout of instruments in airplane cockpits.
The automatic watch is built with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, genuine Italian leather strap and an ETA 2824 Swiss movement. Purists will appreciate the dial for its ease in reference in both light and dark conditions.
The Swiss-made movement offers the wearer a quick date change and bi-directional self-winding. It is cased inside a 41mm 316Lstainless steel case built to handle water pressure 100 meters below the ocean’s surface.
Torgoen makes the T42 in four variations, each featuring a different color combination including: black, blue, cream and gray dials, all held together with a 21mm Italian leather strap, sewn with tone-on-tone stitching. Price: $790.
Panerai earlier this month underscored its role as Official Sponsor of the Luna Rossa Team to compete for the America’s Cup by launching a new watch: the Luminor Luna Rossa GMT – 42 mm (PAM01096).
Already known for its use of a new carbon composite called Carbotech for its bezel, the watch now also highlights a new material called Scafotech, made of residue collected from the hull and hydrofoils of the Italian team’s AC75 yacht. Panerai has recycled and forged the carbon residue, and each watch within this limited edition (of 250) will utilize the new material within its dial.
To highlight the upcoming Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series, scheduled between January and February 2021 in waters off Auckland, New Zealand, Panerai has added the red color of the Prada logo to the new watch’s small seconds and triangular GMT hands.
In addition, Panerai adds a Luna Rossa inscription to the dial and to the titanium caseback.
Inside, Panerai fits its rugged in-house Caliber P.9010/GMT, an automatic movement with a three-day power reserve and a rapid time adjustment system automatically connected to the date indicator.
The Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa GMT – 42 mm is water-resistant to 100 meters and features a black alligator leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching and a titanium trapezoidal pin buckle. A second black rubber strap is also included, along with a tool to change the straps, a screwdriver for removing the buckle and a box wrapped in personalized Panerai and Luna Rossa sailcloth. Price: $10,800.
Specifications: Luminor Luna Rossa GMT – 42 mm (PAM01096)
(A limited edition of 250 pieces)
Movement: Automatic Caliber P.9010/GMT, 28,800 vibrations/hour, Glucydur balance wheel, Incabloc shockproof device, two barrels and 3-day power reserve.
Dial: Scafotech sandwich structure with Arabic numerals and indices in white Super-LumiNova with green luminescence. Personalized with “Luna Rossa Challenger 36th America’s Cup,” hours, minutes, small seconds, date, GMT displays.
Case: 42mm by 14.4mm sandblasted titanium, Carbotech bezel, safety Lock crown protection device in sandblasted titanium. Screwed dodecagonal case back in sandblasted titanium with Luna Rossa logo, Luna Rossa AC75 monohull and engraved image of the America’s Cup trophy.
Strap: Black alligator leather with tone-on-tone stitching and trapezoidal ardillon buckle in titanium. Additional black rubber strap.