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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.

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 this week expands its offerings within the Carrera Heuer 02T collection with a new limited edition cased in polished titanium and sporting a blue sunray dial.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber Heuer 02T COSC.

Where previous Carrera Heuer 02T models feature darkened, skeletonized dials, sometimes with gold accents, this latest design is lighter-toned and with a sportier solid dial and – for the first time – a titanium bracelet.

You may recall that five years ago TAG Heuer launched the flying tourbillon chronograph movement inside this watch as the brand’s serialized ‘affordable’ tourbillon chronograph watch, priced around $16,000.

Now powering this newest watch, the Caliber Heuer 02T is still TAG Heuer’s primary tourbillon caliber and retains all its high-end technical features, notably an ultra-light carbon and titanium tourbillon cage and integration with a column-wheel chronograph. TAG Heuer is likely the sole Swiss watchmaker to offer this combination of chronograph, flying tourbillon and COSC-chronometer precision within the full collection’s price range, now starting at around $17,000.    

 

Here TAG Heuer has blued not only the full dial, but also the bridges of the tourbillon cage, the rubber that protects the crown and the pushers. Even the ceramic tachymeter bezel and the rotor (visible from the back of the case) are finished in blue.

 

With this watch TAG Heuer for the first time connects one of its Caliber 02T models to a bracelet. Where earlier models sported rubber straps or alligator sewn on black rubber, the new Carrera Heuer 02T features the watchmaker’s own titanium H-shape bracelet with a steel/titanium safety clasp.

The TAG Heuer Caliber Heuer 02T features an ultra-light carbon and titanium tourbillon cage.

Price: $21,500 and limited to 250 examples.

 

Specifications: TAG Heuer 
Carrera Caliber Heuer 02T COSC

(Reference CAR5A8C.BF0707)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02T COSC with carbon and titanium tourbillon cage, column-wheel chronograph.

Case: 45mm polished and brushed titanium, ceramic blue polished tachymeter fixed bezel, 
domed, beveled sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, water resistant to 100 meters. Crown with blue rubber and titanium, titanium pushers, titanium screwed sapphire case back with special engraving, limited numbered xxx/250.

Dial: Blue sunray brushed with three rhodium-plated and polished counters, white SuperLuminova Rhodium-plated polished hour and minute hands.

Strap: Titanium grade 2 H-shape bracelet, titanium and steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons; TAG Heuer shield.

Price: $21,500.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02T features a titanium H-shape bracelet with a steel/titanium safety clasp.

Chronoswiss refreshes the skeletonized Opus Chronograph, one of the Lucerne-based watchmaker’s best-known watches, with new colors and finishes. The new version, dubbed Opus Chronograph Flag due to its red, white and blue colors, spotlights recent technical upgrades that include stronger water resistance, shorter lugs and superior anti-glare treatment.

The new Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag.

First seen in 1995, the Opus Chronograph quickly became a favorite of skeleton watch fans. Chronoswiss notes that it was among the first watchmakers to utilize the then-new pantograph technique for cutting skeleton components when it created the watch’s signature mix of finely cut, filigreed bridges topped with clearly marked subdial perimeters.

The pantograph technique requires the manufacturer to create an oversized depiction of the movement. Then, computer–assisted machinery follows a steel finger along the pattern while a mechanical arm guides the tool that mills the movement’s components, essentially skeletonizing them.

Underneath the newest Opus Chronograph’s blue and white subdial perimeters you’ll see the eye-catching blackened, galvanic-finished bridges of the Chronoswiss Caliber C.741S movement, which Chronoswiss creates using an ETA Valjoux 7750 base. The chronograph hands (center seconds, 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter) are red.

As noted, this newest Opus, which initially debuted last year, allows the wearer to view the skeletonizing clearer than before now that the watch’s curved sapphire crystal is treated with anti-reflection treatment on both sides.

Chronoswiss finishes with watch with a satin-brushed case band, polished lugs and the knurled bezel and large onion crown well known to the brand’s fans. Water resistance has also been improved, and now protects to 100 meters. Price: $11,400.

 

Specifications: Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag

Movement: Automatic Chronoswiss Caliber C.741S from ETA Valjoux 7750 base, skeletonized and CVD-plated blue rotor with Côtes de Genève, ball bearings; polished pallet lever, escape wheel and screws, 28,800 vph, 46-hour power reserve, skeletonized bridges and base plate with perlage, galvanic black color.

Dial: Skeletonized, galvanic blue and silver, sweep hours and minutes, seconds, analogue date, red sweep chronograph seconds, 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter. Hands are lacquered and curved with minute hand bent by hand.

Case: 41mm by 14.8mm 23-piece solid-stainless steel with satin finish and polished, bezel with partial knurling and curved, double coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal, screw-down case back with satin finish and sapphire crystal, onion crown, water resistance to 100 meters, screw-in lugs with patented Autobloc system.

Bracelet:  Louisiana alligator leather, hand-sewn with folding clasp.  

Price: $11,400

 

As Omega prepares for its role as official timekeeper for the upcoming 36th America’s Cup, the watchmaker launches the Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph, a 44mm steel watch with a boat-race (regatta) countdown indicator.

The new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph.

The new 44mm chronograph, based on a 2019 Omega Seamaster Diver, has a blue ceramic dial with the collection’s familiar laser-engraved wave-pattern and white enamel diving scale on the bezel. Less familiar is the regatta countdown indicator ring in red anodized aluminum.

The indicator’s red anodized aluminum minute hand, with a shape inspired by a boat hull, provides the countdown indication, supplemented by a rhodium-plated small seconds hand at the 9 o’clock position. Chronograph hours are visible in a window within the countdown subdial.

Cup tributes

Omega maintains the watch’s America’s Cup distinction with a central seconds chronograph hand, also in red anodized aluminum, that features an America’s Cup icon in red on the counterweight. More Cup tributes are visible on the back of the watch, including “36th America’s Cup” and “Auckland 2021,” both spelled in blue lacquer.

Also seaworthy, even beyond the already strong Seamaster Diver specs, is a helium escape valve and soft-touch red and blue rubber pushers, designed to work efficiently when wet. That efficiency is backed with a new chronograph lock-system that secures the chronograph functions when needed, presumably during a race at sea.

The new watch continues Omega’s longstanding relationship with the America’s Cup, which the brand also officially timed in 2000 and 2003. This newest watch is the second Omega has launched in support of the 36th America’s Cup, which takes place in New Zealand starting March 6. Last year Omega released the Seamaster Planet Ocean America’s Cup Edition.

The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean America’s Cup Edition, released in 2020.

New Quick Change 

Omega offers the new Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph with a metal bracelet and an additional rubber strap, both equipped with Omega’s brand new Quick Change system. The watchmaker says with the system, the owner can quickly “switch easily between the bracelet and the strap without having to use tools.”

Omega says its new Quick Change feature makes switching bracelets simpler.

Inside Omega fits its excellent Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9900, an automatic chronograph movement with column wheel and Co-Axial escapement. The movement is approved by METAS, resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss and features a silicon balance-spring and sixty hours of power reserve.

Visible through the caseback, the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 9900 is is resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss and features a silicon balance-spring.

Price: $10,700.

iW spoke with Zenith CEO Julien Tornare during LVMH Watch Week 2021 in January. He detailed how Zenith developed the hot new Chronomaster Sport and why the watch is an especially important launch as Zenith continues expanding its appeal globally in 2021 and beyond.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Sport.

IW: How important is the Chronomaster collection to the Zenith identity?

Julien Tornare: It is clear that Chronomaster is a key product collection for us. You may remember that in 2017 we launched the new Defy, and not everybody was pleased that we were emphasizing that Defy collection. At the time I had issues with the Chronomaster collection because it was going in too many directions at once. This made some people confused. It had a variety of size, shape, colors, and it was too much of a patchwork.

But Defy was selling well; we have been fortunate. Defy was giving the brand fresh air, exactly what we – with Mr. Biver – wanted at that time. And it gave me time to sit back with my friend Romain Marietta (products development, heritage director at Zenith) and think about the key design elements for Zenith, specifically for Chronomaster. We started to show some new designs in 2019 with the 50th anniversary celebration of the El Primero.

Of course we were scheduled to launch the new Chronomaster Sport this past June. Plus, we were to launch a new classic version later during 2020. So now we are on a slightly delayed schedule.

Are you pleased with the reaction to the new Chronomaster Sport?

We knew that we would bring back an iconic watch with the Chronomaster, which many people were waiting for.  We expected a good reaction, but put the reaction since it was launched has been incredible. We did not expect the enthusiasm to such a great extent.  I am very happy and proud and I congratulate our entire team.

The morning after we launched the new Chronomaster Sport I had messages from all over the world. I had so many retailers I have known call and say they needed this new Chronomaster.

Does the Chronomaster Sport complete the collection?

Now it is very clear what Chronomaster is.  We have the Revival, we have the Chronomaster Sport, and coming up next we’ll have the Classic side. This repositions Chronomaster very clearly for us. Chronomaster for me is the past and present.  And Defy is the present and the future. So they are connected and complementary.

How did you approach development of the Chronomaster Sport?

We looked at three pieces in 2018 to help us design the new Chrono master sport.

The Zenith A277 was made in 1965, four years before El Primero. But you can already see this sporty influence on the new watch, especially with the sporty bezel and a bracelet. Then, a few years after that, we launched the Luka. This was also a big deal for us. Here you see it again the black bezel, the sporty chronograph look, and the same basic bracelet.

And finally, we looked at the Rainbow, which was also very important for us in the 1980s in the 1990s. That case, and again with the sporty bezel, were influential.

Three historic Zenith watches informed the new design.

All three of these watches help us create the new Chronomaster Sport.

Of course we added the Zenith three-color chronograph counters.  We worked on those colors to have them elegant and more beautiful­ – not too flashy.  The blue and the grays are quite light and very slightly shiny.  The watch is 41mm in diameter and 13.6mm thick, so still elegant and not too thick. Easy to wear.

The new El Primero 3600 caliber offers a 1/10th of second display from the 5 Hz (36’000 VpH) escapement, as well as an extended power reserve of 60 hours.

And you used a new movement inside?

Of course, we worked on the movement, which is the El Primero 3600.  The upgrades from the earlier El Primero include the column wheel in blue, which makes it clearly visible.  We added ten hours to the power reserve to reach a total of sixty hours of power reserve.

And for me a real chronograph should be one-tenth of a second, like the El Primero. When you get 36,000 vph, which is 5 Hz, you can measure one-tenth of a second exactly.  With 3 Hz and 4 Hz you measure the one-sixth or the one-eighth of a second, which is not really how we measure any event. And here we really wanted to show off our ability to measure one-tenth of a second.

Zenith can now showcase three different watches with chronograph hands rotating around their dials at three different rotation speeds.

What were the biggest challenges to making the new Chronomaster Sport?

We wanted to keep the identity of our caliber very clear.  I also told Romain that I want it to be most comfortable watch available in the industry.

I still believe that is very important to put any watch on your wrist to see how it feels. I am too often disappointed by the way certain watches feel on your wrist. This new watch is smooth as silk.  It is super easy to wear.

I wanted a very simple way to measure the one-tenth of a second. And with one of the very first samples, like took it home and gave it to my ten-year-old son.  And he looked at it and he could explain how it worked. I wanted this watch to be that easy to read.  On many watches it is easy to get lost, especially if you’re not familiar with watches.

Of course, here we have a counter for the seconds, a counter for the minutes, and the one at 9 o’clock for the small seconds.

Can you tell us more about other 2021 Zenith debuts?

The Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385.

Our new brown-dialed A 385 Revival watch is also quite interesting. We have done some research, and it seems that this original watch in 1969 is the first gradient type dial. When we launched the A384 Revival in August 2019 it became immediately a bestseller, in part because of its original 37mm size. 

You might remember that ten or twelve years earlier we had lunched this in a larger size (42mm) which I thought lost the proportions of that original. At 37mm you get perfect proportions.

The new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Silver Chronograph.

Will we see additional sports watches from Zenith?

Yes of course. Overall, we have a Revival, the soon-to-be released Classic, and then the Sport. This is a very clear organization within the Chronomaster collection. There’ll be additional sport variations.

How did you choose the newest Zenith ambassador Aaron Rodgers?

In 2019 I went to the United States several times to meet various possible ambassadors. I was in search of someone who could represent the philosophy of ‘time to reach your stars’ for the Zenith. And I didn’t want a celebrity who would just show up on the red carpet with the watch.  I wanted someone who could talk about his or her story and who could explain what kind of a star he or she has been following over the years to reach an objective. We have done this in China and Japan, and in Europe.

It’s more about the personality. I met actors and singers and other sports celebrities, but when I met Aaron Rodgers I thought he was just a great guy. He’s a good spirit. Nothing to prove anymore.

NFL great Aaron Rodgers is the new Zenith brand ambassador for the U.S.

Can you preview any additional watches for 2021 from Zenith?

We will have the third category of the Chronomaster collection.  This will be about elegance, thinness and an A386 spirit, because Chronomaster would not be complete without that particular offering as well. Also look for a new Defy. That will be an amazing watch also. For the United States that will be a big one. 

And of course we do not forget high complications within the Defy collection. This year we will present some of our iconic high complications – and in a crazy material. This will be in a very small edition and it will include an experience that I can almost guarantee none of the future owners have done in their lives.  It will allow him to really feel what a high complication is in real life.

The new Zenith Defy Urban Jungle.

Will we see new watches for women?

I don’t like to talk about women’s watches particularly at Zenith because we focus on making beautiful, authentic watches with our own movements with our own philosophy, and then make them beautiful. 

We don’t really separate them as men’s watches or women’s watches.  I think we make beautiful watches that can be worn by men and by women. Diamonds are used sometimes yes, and in some parts of the world diamonds are very popular among men, and in some others less. If you look at the Chronomaster Sport, it is a typical 41mm watch that can be worn buy a man or woman.

At Zenith we like to live in a balanced way between the past, present and the future.  Between tradition and innovation. And it is clear that we are gaining market share in terms of vintage.  You just need to follow the recent auctions.  We have launched the Zenith Icons program to great success. Chronomaster Sport is bringing a contemporary dynamic into the collection. This will live perfectly alongside the vintage, or Revival, collection, as well as the more classic directions that you will soon discover.

 

TAG Heuer and Porsche, which share deep ties to the world of auto racing, expand their collaboration this week with the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph, the first TAG Heuer watch that pairs imagery from the two brands.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
 Special Edition 44 mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic.

The new watch adds a host of Porsche automotive references to TAG Heuer’s recent, well-received Carrera Sport Chronograph design. Most noticeable is TAG Heuer’s widespread use of the Porsche dashboard font on both the bezel of the new watch and to denote the watch’s primary indexes, which are numbered to echo a speedometer. TAG Heuer also places the Porsche name prominently, in red, at the top of the bezel.

Furthermore, TAG Heuer utilizes red, black, and grey colors prominently on the new watch, echoing Porsche’s frequent use of the same hues. On the watch’s Caliber Heuer 02 automatic movement, TAG Heuer also places the names ‘Porsche’ and ‘TAG Heuer’ on the rotor, which is visible through the sapphire caseback.

Furthermore, TAG Heuer colors the dial to mimic asphalt in order to emphasize a ‘passion for the road,” according to the brand.  

TAG Heuer has collaborated with Porsche on a variety of ventures for decades, most recently since 2014 with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team and on the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This year we’ll see series partnerships in ten editions of the worldwide one-make cup series Porsche Carrera Cup. TAG Heuer also engages in virtual racing by supporting the Porsche TAG Heuer E-sports Supercup.

Both companies are set to expand their collaborations. Porsche, for example, is running its own golf activities like the Porsche Golf Cup, and since 2015 has sponsored the Porsche European Open golf tournament. TAG Heuer has announced that it will join both these events. 

The watch will be sold on a calf leather strap with Porsche-style stitching, or on an interlocking race-style steel bracelet. TAG Heuer will deliver the Carrera Porsche Chronograph in packaging with a black watch box that features the logos of TAG Heuer and Porsche in white. Inside the box is a black travel pouch that boasts a Porsche red interior.

Price: $5,850 (leather strap) and $6,050 (steel bracelet).

Specifications:  TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
 Special Edition 44 mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic

References: CBN2A1F.FC6492 (leather strap) and CBN2A1F.BA0643 (steel bracelet)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 automatic chronograph with 80-hour power reserve, vertical clutch and column wheel.

Case: 44 mm steel polished, fine brushed; ceramic black tachymeter fixed bezel, Porsche inscription. 
Domed and beveled sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment. Steel crown at 3 o’clock with red accent. 
Steel screw-down sapphire case back with special engraving
. Water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Grey asphalt color with three black chronograph counters. Black gold plated applied indexes with white SuperLuminova rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova rhodium-plated central hand w/red tip. 
TAG Heuer applied logo, 
date at 6 o’clock.

Strap/Bracelet: 
Embossed black calf leather strap with hand stitching; calf skin black lining and steel folding clasp with double safety push-buttons (on reference CBN2A1F.FC6492), or steel H-shape bracelet with steel folding clasp with double safety push-buttons (on reference 
CBN2A1F.BA0643)

Price: $5,850 (leather strap) and $6,050 (steel bracelet).

 

One year after debuting the Big Bang Integral, Hublot this week announced three colorful ceramic additions to the multi-material collection.

The debut is just one of a broad set of Hublot debuts announced this week as part of LVMH Watch Week 2021. Other Hublot debuts include a first-ever orange-hued Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Sapphire, new Classic Fusion offerings in the Orlinski collection, a new size within the Big Bang One Click collection and two additions in the tonneau-shaped Spirit of Big Bang collection.

We’ll show you many of these Hublot debuts in upcoming posts, but first let’s take a look at Hublot’s additions to its Big Bang Integral collection.

One of three new ceramic Hublot Big Bange Integral offerings.

Premiere bracelets   

As the first Hublot Big Bang model with an integrated bracelet, Integral in 2020 earned accolades for broadening Big Bang’s appeal to include collectors who prefer bracelet watches.

Hublot anticipated the demand and wisely launched with a wide-ranging 42mm debut to include titanium and King Gold cases, plus a single, limited-edition example with a black ceramic case. The Integral collection is also notable for reviving the rectangular pushers originally found on the Big Bang in 2005. More recent Big Bang models utilize round pushers.

The initial Hublot Big Bang Integral debut in 2020 included models in King Gold and in titanium.

With the 2021 debuts, Hublot adds white, dark blue and grey case options to the ceramic Big Bang Integral family tree. The newest ceramic models retain the 42mm case size of the initial black ceramic debut from 2020, but more clearly state their source material thanks to the new color options.

These watches are made entirely from ceramic except for the bezel lugs, which are in black, dark blue or grey composite, and the rubber elements on the crown and the pushers, which Hublot says its includes for “added user comfort.”

Lightweight, colorful

Because the Integral is defined by the inclusion (the integration) of a bracelet, these new ceramic models are particularly distinctively on the wrist. And their unique qualities are more than visual. High-tech ceramic is thirty percent lighter by weight than a comparable amount of steel, a factor instantly felt when the watch is worn. Similarly, ceramic feels somewhat smoother on the skin, which also differentiates the ceramic Big Bang Integral from its gold or steel brethren.

The Hublot Unico HUB1280 automatic flyback chronograph movement with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve.

Inside, Hublot fits its Unico HUB1280 automatic flyback chronograph movement with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve. Hublot reminds us that this caliber is a modified version of the earlier Unico HUB1242, with upgrades that include a thinner automatic winding system and four new and patented innovations: oscillating seconds clutch, chronograph friction system with ball-bearing adjustment, ratchet retaining system with unidirectional gears and index-assembly fine adjustment system.

Price: $23,100.

Among its wide-ranging 2021 debuts, Bulgari adds three new models to its Octo Finissimo collection of record-breaking ultra-thin watches. New to the collection: an Octo Finissimo S in a new monochrome style, an Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, and the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium with a new dial and rubber strap.

Also new for Bulgari in 2021 are additions to its feminine Lvcea, Serpenti and Divas’ Dream collections, plus an impressive and highly complex Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon. We’ll show you these new models in upcoming posts.

But first, below we introduce the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo watches.    

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo S, now available in a monochromatic style.

Octo Finissimo S

One of last year’s highlight debuts, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo S, introduced collectors to the brand’s first all-steel entry within the Octo Finissimo’s ultra-thin automatic range.

Until that launch, Bulgari had limited the Octo Finissimo collection of record-setting ultra-thin watches to designs with ceramic, precious metal or titanium cases and bracelets.

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S is 6.4mm thin.

The premiere Octo Finissimo S with its all-steel case and bracelet, water resistance of 100 meters and case measuring 6.4mm thin, drew positive notices almost immediately, in part due to its entry level (for Octo Finissimo) $12,000 price point and broader appeal.

A year later, Bulgari adds an encore to the steel collection with a new monochrome Octo Finissimo S featuring a 40mm steel satin-polished case and a new silver vertical-brushed monochromatic dial. The watch, now the third in the steel collection (following the blue-dialed debut in mid-2020) retains the collection’s contemporary design, especially with its radially brushed bezel.

Back view of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo S, showing Caliber BVL 138 with micro-rotor.

The new watch is powered by automatic in-house ultra-thin caliber BVL 138 with micro-rotor. Echoing the entire steel collection, the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters, ensured by a polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic.

Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT.

With the success of the time-only steel Octo Finissimo S line, Bulgari in 2021 adds a chronograph GMT model in steel. Creating a steel model means Bulgari can offer its record-breaking ultra-thin chronograph in a more conventional steel case (and bracelet), which both reduces the price while also attracting consumers who might prefer steel watches. The chronograph GMT offerings within the Octo Finissimo collection had, until now, been limited to titanium-cased models. 

Side view of the new The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT.

Called Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, it features the existing Bulgari automatic in-house chronograph and GMT ultra-thin calibre BVL 318 with peripheral rotor.

The BVL 318 caliber., with peripheral rotor, is a mere 3.30mm thick.

Now offered with a satin-polished steel case and new blue dial, the watch also features silver (rather than black) counters, which Bulgari considers a “sport chic look.”

The new Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT joins the blue-dialed time-only Octo Finissimo S in Bulgari’s expanding ultra-thin steel collection.

On the dial you’ll find chronograph counters plus a GMT (second time zone) indicator. The watch’s 43mm diameter steel case measures 8.75mm thick, which is nicely integrated into the vertically brushed steel bracelet, accented with polished parts. And like the time-only steel model, the Octo Finissimo S Chronograph features a larger screw-down crown than the former sandblasted models. This ensures water resistance to 100 meters.

Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium, with new rubber strap and black dial, remains the thinnest automatic chronograph.

As the third new watch in the Octo Finissimo collection this year, this 42mm titanium model essentially echoes the 2019 titanium-cased edition that captured the 2019 GPHG award for best chronograph watch. This year, Bulgari adds a new, sportier black dial and an appropriate sporty rubber strap to what remains the thinnest automatic chronograph watch available.

Caseback view of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium, showing Caliber BVL318.

 

Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo S

Movement: Mechanical Manufacture with automatic winding via a platinum micro-rotor, hours, minutes and small seconds indications. BVL138 Finissimo caliber (2.23mm thick) adorned with Côtes de Genève stripes, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate, 60-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph.

Case: 40mm extra-thin satin-polished steel case (6.40mm thick) with transparent caseback; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay.

Dial: Silvered vertical-brushed, water-resistant to 100 meters.

Bracelet: 
Integrated vertical brushed steel with polished parts and folding clasp.

Price: $12,000.  

 

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Steel

Movement: Mechanical manufacture chronograph and GMT with automatic winding (peripheral rotor) and small seconds – BVL 318 caliber (3.30mm thick). 55-hour power reserve; local timezone adjusted through the push button at 9 o’clock.


Case: 43mm extra-thin satin-polished steel (8.75mm thick) with transparent caseback; radial brushed bezel; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay.

Dial: Blue sunray with silver GMT, chronograph and seconds counters; water-resistant to 100 meters.

Bracelet: Integrated vertical brushed steel with folding clasp.

Price: $16,500.

The Bulgari BVL 318 caliber.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium

Movement: Mechanical manufacture chronograph and GMT with automatic winding (peripheral rotor) and small seconds – BVL 318 caliber (3.30mm thick). 55-hour power reserve; local timezone adjusted through the push button at 9 o’clock.

Case: 42 mm extra-thin sandblasted titanium (6.90 mm thick) with transparent case back; sandblasted titanium crown set with ceramic; black opaline dial; water-resistant to 30 meters.

Bracelet: 
Black rubber with sandblasted titanium pin buckle.

Price: $17,200.

As its first 2021 debut, Zenith launches Chronomaster Sport, an evolution of the bedrock Chronomaster, the Le Locle watchmaker’s most direct link to its historic El Primero automatic chronograph, which debuted in 1969.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Sport.

Already sporty in its historical guise, the new 41mm steel Zenith Chronomaster Sport more directly –and boldly – displays its split-second timing abilities with the added utility of a wide black ceramic bezel etched with 1/10-of-a-second measurement marks.

The new bezel enhances the visibility of the timing function, linked to the El Primero’s 36,000 vph frequency, beyond even the clean black ceramic bezels found on the existing Zenith Chronomaster 2 limited edition references. As far as we’re aware, the new Chronomaster Sport is the only production sport watch that offers a 1/10-of-a-second timing scale linked to its central chronograph hand. When activated, the hand rotates once around the dial in ten seconds.

 

To underscore the robust nature of the new Chronomaster Sport, Zenith here uses the El Primero 3600, the movement Zenith debuted in that earlier Chronomaster 2. The caliber, with a newly blued column wheel and “new architecture,” is more efficient than earlier El Primeros, according to Zenith, and offers a higher power reserve, now rated to sixty hours. Zenith has affixed a new skeletonized rotor to the movement, visible through a clear sapphire caseback.

The new El Primero 3600 caliber offers a 1/10th of second display from the 5 Hz (36,000 VpH) escapement, as well as an extended power reserve of 60 hours.

The new dial

In addition to adding a wide ceramic bezel with 1/10-of-a-second scale to the front side of the new Chronomaster Sport, Zenith has also enhanced the collection’s dial and bracelet to differentiate it from previous Chronomaster offerings.

Both dial options, matte white and black, appear to contrast more starkly with the three subdials. The steel case, with familiar pump-style pushers, now links to an integrated steel bracelet similar to those conceived by Gay Frères, which has historically supplied many of Zenith’s metal bracelets. Zenith also offers a sharp-looking blue or black rubber strap option with a steel deployant buckle.

As noted, Zenith is offering the Chronomaster Sport with either a white dial or black dial in two references.  Whether the black or matte white dial, both with signature El Primero tri-color chronograph registers are blue, anthracite and light grey, each graduated to sixty.

Price: $10,000 (steel bracelet) and $9,500 (strap)

Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Sport

Movement: Zenith El Primero 3600 automatic, frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz), power-reserve of 60 hours.  Functions: Hours and minutes in the center. Small seconds at 9 o’clock, 1/10th of a second Chronograph. Central chronograph hand that makes one turn in 10 seconds, 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, 60-second counter at 3 o’clock.

Case: 41 mm stainless steel with black ceramic bezel, water-resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: White or black matte dial with three different applied colored counters, hour-markers and hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLumiNova

Bracelet: Steel, blue or black rubber bracelet. Double folding clasp with security mechanism. 

Price: $10,000 (steel bracelet) and $9,500 (strap)