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Omega kicks off the New Year with a gift to legions of Speedmaster fans. The watchmaker this week releases a Speedmaster Moonwatch with a new caliber, new bracelet and clasp, a newly detailed minute track and a choice of Hesalite glass or sapphire crystal material (for new steel-cased models). 

The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, now powered by co-axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861.

Still very much the Speedmaster Moonwatch fans have come to revere since its qualification by NASA for manned space missions in 1965 and its trip to the moon in 1969, the new generation Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is now equipped with co-axial, manual-wind caliber 3861. Omega has used the caliber previously only in a few limited edition Speedmasters.

First seen in 2019, the co-axial caliber 3861, with its silicon balance spring, will now protect the Moonwatch from extreme magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. This is a much higher level of protection than that offered by the caliber 1861 Omega utilized for decades to power its Speedmaster Moonwatches.

In addition, Omega now ensures that the entire watch is certified as a Master Chronometer, the brand’s own high-level specification that promises accuracy to five seconds per day.

Dial details

On this update, Speedmaster fans will recognize the historical Speedmaster’s asymmetrical case, stepped dial and double bevel caseback. Closer inspection reveals the dot over 90 and a dot diagonal to 70 on the anodized aluminum bezel ring, both details expected by Speedmaster purists. Fans will however note a difference within the minute track around the dial, which is now split by three divisions, as opposed to the five divisions used on previous models.

Around the wrist, Omega has added a new five-link brushed steel bracelet and a new Omega clasp (with new oval pusher) set with a polished brand logo on a satin-finished cover. You might have seen this bracelet previously on the recent Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition watch.

The 42mm watch is also available with a Sedna gold case and a Canopus white gold case with silver dial. Each is also sold with a leather strap.

In a 42mm steel case, Omega offers the new watch with either a Hesalite crystal ($5,950 for a strap and $6,300 on a bracelet) or with a sapphire crystal and clear caseback ($7,150 on a bracelet and $6,800 on a strap). A 42mm Sedna gold model ($34,800 on a gold bracelet and $24,600 on a strap) and a Canopus white gold model with silver dial ($45,300 on a bracelet and $30,400 on a strap) are also available.

 

Porsche Design applies the principles behind the Porsche car configurator to its wristwatches.

Few topics rev up collectors as much as watches and automobiles. Porsche Design has known this ever since Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designed the first Porsche Chronograph 1 in 1972. It was the first-ever all-matte-black watch, and it set the stage for five decades of cutting-edge wristwatch creativity from his then-new studio, Porsche Design.

This year, Porsche Design has launched a program meant to inspire budding F. A. Porsches who, like Professor Porsche, want to design and wear a wristwatch inspired by –and infused with – Porsche’s automotive legacy.

Watch collectors and Porsche owners can now create a customized Porsche Design chronograph that perfectly matches the Porsche 992 or Porsche 911 of their dreams – or the one in their garage.

Porsche Design offers twenty-one different dial ring colors deriving from Porsche 911 lacquering.

With the new Porsche Design Custom Built Timepieces program, fans can combine an almost endless array of colors, materials, fonts and displays using the new Porsche Design online watch configurator. The configurator, found directly on the Porsche Design website, offers options and operations far exceeding any other online watch customization program, effectively placing the Porsche enthusiast directly behind the leather-covered wheel, with a clear roadmap toward designing a truly individualized watch.

The Process

Porsche Design released the streamlined online configurator this September after six years of development. The process itself echoes the customization process that Porsche has offered buyers of its famed 911 for years, but expands the type and breadth of options from which a buyer can choose when creating a dream chronograph.

For more than thirty years, Porsche customers have been able to enhance their personal dream car with many individual details through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, even to the point of designing a one-off vehicle.

This experience has now been expanded with the ability to design a Porsche Design chronograph based on an individual’s personal taste or Porsche 992 vehicle configurations. It’s an experience that ultimately ends with the customer taking ownership of a Porsche they designed themselves.

A total of six rotors are available, including the Porsche Design Icon rotor in black or five sporty alloy wheel designs of the current 911. Choose from up to 21 different colors for the rim.

“As with the online car-design process, the watch is digitally visualized down to the smallest details and customizations are shown to the customer in real time. The customer begins by selecting the case of the watch and then continues choosing from more than 1.5 million configuration possibilities,” explains Gerhard J. Novak, General Manager Timepieces, Porsche Design Group.

“Once the customer has finished designing the chronograph, an individualized configuration code is created, and from there it is sent, or brought in, to any authorized U.S. Porsche dealer where the order is placed. Delivery takes between eight to twelve weeks.”

The rendering of the watch is based on CAD data from the designers at Studio F. A. Porsche in Zell am See, Austria, and the Porsche Design engineers in Solothurn, Switzerland.

“It quickly became clear that these custom components had to be interchangeable without the need to develop a new watch each time,” explains Rolf Bergmann, Managing Director, Porsche Design Timepieces AG. “Offering a wide range of options while manufacturing small quantities of custom-built timepieces is possible thanks to the sequential production process transferred from Porsche sports car production. The principle of zero-defect tolerance was a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of a watch concept like this.”

Inside Porsche Design places an all-new Porsche Design WERK 01.100 – a COSC-certified chronograph caliber.

A New Engine 


Key among the components of the customer-designed watch is an entirely new engine.

Porsche Design developed a new movement to serve as the engine for the online-designed timepiece. The new Caliber WERK 01.100 is a COSC- certified chronograph movement that now enters serial production for the program.

But the WERK 01.100 offers Porsche Design customers more than simply its novelty.

“For the first time customers can individualize a part of a Porsche Design COSC-certified movement by choosing the winding rotor that features the various wheel designs of the latest-generation Porsche 911,” Bergmann says. “The color on the rotor edge can also be customized to match the color on the outer edge of the wheels of the 992,” he adds.

Porsche Design tests its new COSC-certified movement in accordance with the Chronofiable standards.

Customers select their choice of rotor design after choosing which case to place it into. Porsche Design offers a 42mm case based on the one it used in Chronotimer Series 1. The user can opt for a glass-bead blasted natural titanium or a black titanium case coated in titanium carbide via a PVD-process.

Porsche Design offers fourteen different color options for the strap. It can also be accentuated with decorative stitching made with genuine Porsche car yarn available in nineteen colors.

The Straps

Next, the customer chooses his or her strap.

Bands can be titanium or leather and are offered in three sizes with up to 300 different configurations. All leather straps (with butterfly clasp) are crafted from the same hides Porsche uses for its car interiors and come
in the fourteen official interior colors of the current Porsche 911 series. Leather wristband stitching is offered in the nineteen different colors of genuine Porsche yarn.

Porsche Design has created dial options for the program that start with the matte black look of the current Chronotimer Series 1, with its minutes counter at the top of the dial, hour counter at the 6 o’clock position and running seconds at 9 o’clock.

But the user can add color using one of many colorful inlaid ring options, with colors based on those used on the current Porsche 911, to frame
 the black dial to either complement or contrast the choice of strap.

More dramatically, the watch collector then opts for either a brushed bezel or a black tachymeter bezel set with minute markers in the style of the design-defining classic speedometer developed by F. A. Porsche.

The rotor design echoes the Porsche 911 wheel. The wearer can add a personal note with laser engraving.

Each custom-built timepiece can be further individualized with a laser engraving on the back of the case as well as on the exclusive watch box, according to Bergmann.

“If desired, the corresponding car visuals, a graphic logo or the fonts and lettering featured on the rear of the customer’s car can also be applied to the watch box,” he adds.

Porsche and Porsche Design

While watch collectors have long heard about buying “a racecar for
the wrist,” from makers of auto-influenced watches, Porsche Design is confident that its new online configurator comes closest to the truth of that metaphor.

“Customers who order their own custom-built Porsche Design chronograph will take a piece of the Porsche sports car lifestyle with them when not behind the wheel,” notes Novak.

The direct relationship between the watch and the car is undeniable, he adds.

“The experience of designing a Porsche Design masterpiece based on the current 992 generation is one-of-a-kind – from the rotor and bezel to the genuine Porsche leather straps,” he adds. The program will be expanded to include additional Porsche models in the near future.

The six-year project required a deep restructuring of Porsche Design watchmaking and development, he explains.

“The greatest challenges certainly were in regards to the order and production processes; after all, this had never been done before. The idea of a “sports car on the wrist” was different for every customer, and
it required us to rethink our entire process. Everything from engineering, sourcing and production had to be adjusted. To do so we tapped into the brand’s heritage and pulled key learnings from Porsche’s unique automotive production expertise.”

North American Launch

Thus far, with only a few months of processing orders, Porsche Design says reactions to the program have been very positive.

“The very first order we received after the program launched in the United States was actually from a Canadian customer,” Novak reports. “He had heard about the custom-built timepieces program and reached out to see if he could design a watch to match his 992 and place an order in the U.S. He will actually be picking up his “sports car for the wrist” at an East Coast dealership in the coming days.”

“We are looking forward to continuing to introduce the program to new Porsche Design and Porsche customers alike,” says Novak.

Indeed, customization has been a buzzword among high-end watchmaking for the past few years, and several watchmakers have embraced the possibilities of made-to-order watches, mostly with very limited color or material options.

Novak points out that as Porsche itself has enjoyed a positive customer experience with personalized automobiles, Porsche Design’s careful development of the process with timepieces makes perfect sense. “Introducing this unprecedented level of personalization in the luxury watch segment was a natural next step for us,” he says.

“The timepieces business unit is extremely important for Porsche Design globally and in the United States, and we believe we are keeping pace with the general desire for more individualization in watches.”

Porsche Design manufactures its watches in its Swiss factory.

For Porsche, that customization perfectly unites its automotive realm with the burgeoning watch division of Porsche Design, as supported by its German engineering and Swiss manufacturing facilities.

“Not only does the program highlight the connection between Porsche sports cars and Porsche Design timepieces,” says Novak, “it embodies the premium aesthetic, attention to detail and optimal performance expected of all things associated with the name Porsche.”

Porsche Design Custom-built timepieces are priced starting at $5,150 and, depending on the selections made, can range up to $11,600.

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 new Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue.

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.

Parmigiani Fleurier has integrated the big date aperture directly into the movement.
The clear sapphire on the back exposes a sunray satin pattern, a 22-karat gold oscillating weight.

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).

 

Frederique Constant this week brings back its Highlife collection, one of the Geneva watchmaker’s earliest lines,  updated with an integrated steel bracelet and a contemporary dial design. The watchmaker debuts the newly returned collection with three new models: The Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Highlife Heart Beat and Highlife Automatic COSC.

One model from Frederique Constant’s new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture collection.

All three new Highlife models display the same 41mm case as the original collection from 1999, but the new dials feature a globe design that the Geneva brand says is “intended to unify the collection and symbolize the Earth, harmony, and perfection of the circle.”

While not Frederique Constant’s first integrated bracelet, these Highlife debuts mark a premiere of a newer, interchangeable bracelet that allows the wearer to swap the bracelet without additional tools by pressing on the two pushpins at the end of the bracelet or strap to disconnect it from the case and click a new one into place.

Versatility is a focus here. Each watch will come with an additional leather strap and a rubber strap, and Frederique Constant is also offering a set of three additional crocodile calf suede straps in brown, blue, and black (purchased separately).

Perpetual Calendar

When it made its first perpetual calendar four years ago, Frederique Constant stuck to its mission of offering a high value-to-price ratio across all its collections. That premier Slimline Perpetual Calendar model wowed collectors and critics alike with its thin Caliber FC-775 movement, attractive dial layout and a double-take price (less than $9,000 for the steel-cased model).

With this latest example, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Frederique Constant’s continues that mission. The watchmaker’s starts with that in-house FC-775 perpetual calendar caliber and places in the newly integrated steel case/bracelet, fronted by the globe design on the dial.

As with previous examples, the new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture features three counters: day at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock and moon phase at 6 o’clock. The watch’s polished hands and all the index hour markers are topped with a luminescent material.

Frederique Constant is making three different variations of the watch. One (pictured above) offers a very cool two-tone style that combines steel and rose gold plating on the bezel, bracelet, and crown. For added luxury you’ll also get a textured black rubber strap with a rose gold-plated buckle.

The second version features a blue dial with silver hands and index hour markers and comes with a blue rubber strap and a steel pin buckle. The third version comes with a white dial, silver index hour markers, a black leather strap and a black rubber strap. Prices start at $9,095.

Open Heart

The new Highlife Heart Beat collection revisits this brand’s initial ‘iconic’ design.

When it debuted in 1994, the Heart Beat was only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial, displaying the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position. Frederique Constant kicked off a design trend with that original Heartbeat collection, and today regrets the fact that it never protected the initial design, an error the brand says was “rooted in the brand’s youthful inexperience.”

From the new Frederique Constant Highlife Heart Beat collection.

The new versions retain that open window into the movement at the top of the dial, which here appears at the pole position on the globe dial design. Portions of the automatic Sellita-based FC-310 caliber are visible from both front and back through the sapphire crystal.

This Highlife Heart Beat model offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a white dial, set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade.

The new Highlife Heart Beat is now available in three different steel versions. The first offers a white dial and rose gold-plated case with only a brown leather strap and a brown rubber strap. The second features a blue dial with a steel bracelet, complemented by a blue rubber strap and the third features a black dial with a steel case and bracelet and arrives with a black rubber strap. Prices start at $1,995.

New and Certified

As the first COSC-certified watch from Frederique Constant, the new Highlife Automatic COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) echoes the original Highlife collection from 1999.

A two-tone model from Frederique Constant’s new Highlife Automatic COSC collection.

The simplest design of the new globe-dial Highlife collection, this time-only series combines the hands seen on the Heart Beat and the date from the Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, but powers them both with its automatic Sellita-based Caliber FC-310.

Look for four models: one with a two-tone steel bracelet and a white dial, one with a steel bracelet and a blue dial, and a model with a black leather strap and a white dial. The fourth design offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a black dial, all set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade. Prices start at $1,895.

 

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU design enhances the dive watch’s existing, rugged construction with a revamped bezel and the addition of a new feature that underscores the NEDU’s solid dive-watch credentials.

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU.

On this new NEDU, a collection Ball Watch introduced in 2012, Ball has cut two chamfers into the case flange that supports the bezel. These cuts act as a drain for any water retained between these components during a dive.  As a result, the NEDU will offer virtually no opportunity for corrosion to take root under the bezel.

This feature expands the NEDU’s nautical readiness, which also includes a full –and impressive ­– 600-meters of water resistance, alongside Ball Watch extras like shock resistance to 7,500Gs and resistance to magnetic fields to an intensity of 4,800A/m. 

Dive survival

Dive readiness is the original argument for this particular Ball collection, which is named after the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), the unit of the United States Navy responsible for rolling out operational diving and decompression rules for the United States Armed Forces. It assesses the systems and procedures involved in surviving hyperbaric and diving environments.

This origin story is partly why Ball has built the collection with an unusually thick case, which at 17.3mm is among the thickest we’ve seen for a watch that measures 42mm in diameter.

To assist the watch’s impressive water resistance rating Ball directly incorporated a (patented) automatic helium release valve directly into the crown. This is the same design Ball incorporates into all its Engineer Hydrocarbon models.

And of course the dial of the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU lights up like few others in the dark with the famed Ball Watch luminous microtubes of H₃ gas fitted into the dial’s indexes and hands.

Chronometer-certified

Inside the watch Ball places a COSC-certified ETA Valjoux-based caliber RR1402-C automatic movement to measure and indicate elapsed time for up to twelve hours.

On the caseback Ball has stamped a diver motif to honor the NEDU’s official emblem.

The new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU comes with a black dial, a blue dial or the brand-new gradient blue dial. On the caseback Ball has stamped a diver motif to honor the NEDU’s official emblem. In addition to a rubber strap, Ball offers a stainless steel and titanium bracelet alongside a patented triple folding buckle. This extension system allows the wearer top place the watch easily over a diving suit.

 

Price: The Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU on a stainless steel and titanium bracelet is $4,499 or $4,399 on a rubber strap. The new watch is available now on the Ball Watch online store and through the Ball Watch retailer network.

 

Specifications: The Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU

Movement: Automatic caliber BALL RR1402-C (ETA Valjoux-based), chronometer certified COSC

Case: 42mm x 17.3mm titanium with top ceramic luminous unidirectional rotating bezel, 3.7mm anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system, helium release system, shock resistance to 7,500 Gs, anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m, water resistant to 600 meters.

Dial: Gradient blue, black or blue, 21 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands, markers. Indicators for hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, day and date.

Bracelet: Tapered titanium and stainless steel with patented folding buckle & extension system or rubber strap with standard buckle.

Prices: $4,499 (stainless steel and titanium bracelet) or $4,399 (rubber strap.)

Well known for dials illuminated by H3 gas-filled microtubes within markers and hands, Ball Watch has begun to expand its use of the microtubes by placing them underneath the dials of select new watches.  

This placement results in a more intensely luminous dial and also gives Ball Watch a bit more design flexibility. With more open space on the dial, Ball Watch can create a more traditional sporty layout. Ball Watch demonstrated this first with its Engineer Hydrocarbon Original Fifteenth Anniversary model, which debuted earlier this year.

The Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer, available in two case sizes and three dial colors.

Now Ball Watch expands this treatment on the new Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer, which features the Ball Watch H3 gas tubes not only on the hands and primary markers, but also underneath all the dot-shaped seconds/minute markers. With H3 tubes on each hand, the time is always visible down to the second – and in the dark.

And for this debut, the lights are not only extra-brilliant, but on one model are unusually colorful. The ‘Caring Edition’ of the Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer will be sold with a rainbow-inspired dial, and sales of the watch will benefit the Salvation Army.

The Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Caring Edition
The dial on the Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Caring Edition.

Extra protection

Ball is offering the steel-cased Engineer III Marvelight in two sizes: 40mm and 43mm, both with a steel bracelet. Inside is the automatic COSC-certified chronometer, the ETA-based caliber BALL RR1103-C, protected by a screw-down crown to 100 meters of water resistance.

 

The watchmaker utilizes a surprising number of proprietary technologies to protect and enhance the precision of its calibers, including its Amortiser anti-shock system and a mu-metal anti-magnetic shield, both of which are in-force within the new watch.

While enhanced anti-shock systems are found in other Swiss-made sports watches, superior anti-magnetic protection is relatively rare, particularly among watches that, like Ball Watch, sell models with ‘affordable’ price tags. Indeed, Ball’s mu-metal protects the mechanical watch against magnetic fields that measure to the high intensity of 80,000A/m.

The Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer, also sold with a silver or black dial.

Ball’s new Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer is a limited edition of 1,000 in each dial color (black, blue or silver) and in each size. The Caring Edition offers a black dial with the multi-colored markers.

 

Ball Watch notes that the watch is available at a special pre-order price (before July 31) of $1,849 on shop.ballwatch.ch. Delivery is scheduled between November and December 2020. Regular price will be $2,199.

During the campaign, customers can select their limited edition number and can add a free-of-charge engraving on the caseback. Ball’s Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer – Caring Edition is priced at $2,199. Ball will donate $300 to The Salvation Army for every piece sold during the pre-order period.

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer

Movement: Automatic ETA-based caliber BALL RR1103-C, Amortiser patented anti-shock system, COSC chronometer-certified.

Dial: Blue, silver or black with 27 micro gas tubes on hour, minute and second hands and underneath dial for night reading capability, hours, minutes, seconds and magnified date. Special Caring Edition with black dial and colorful hour and minutes markers.

Case: 40mm or 43mm by 13.6mm stainless steel, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, screwed-in crown, water resistant to 100 meters, anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m.

Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with folding buckle

Limited Edition: 1,000 pieces of each color and size.

 

Tudor expands its flagship Black Bay Fifty-Eight this week with a new model sporting a navy blue dial and matte blue bezel.

The new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, also available with two different fabric straps.

The retro-styled 39mm Black Bay Fifty-Eight, which quickly became a Tudor best seller after it debuted in 2018, traces its lineage back to Tudor dive models from the early 1950s, with most of its features linked to the Tudor reference 7924 from 1958, known as the Big Crown edition.

Gone are the gilded touches to the markers, bezel and the hands we saw on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight from two years ago. Here Tudor replaces those accents with sportier steel on the dial and silver-colored markers and numerals on the bezel, perfectly matching the case and bracelet.  

Modern movement

As with the 2018 black-dialed edition, the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue inhabits its retro style while steeped in modern technology, most notably underneath its dial. There you’ll find an in-house Tudor Caliber MT5402, an automatic caliber with a non-magnetic silicon balance spring and an impressive seventy-hour power reserve.

Tudor’s own automatic manufacture Caliber MT5402 with bidirectional rotor system,  Swiss chronometer certified by COSC.

Tudor notes that its caliber, tailor-made by Tudor for the 2018 Black Bay Fifty-Eight, performs with greater precision than its official COSC chronometer certification requires. Where COSC allows for an average variation in the daily running rate of a watch movement of between -4 and +6 seconds in relation to absolute time, Tudor says it applies a tolerance of between -2 and +4 seconds’ variation in its daily rate on the assembled watch.

While the front and even the sides of the new watch recall their origins in the 1950s and 1960s (notably regarding the Snowflake hands, seen first in 1969), the closed caseback gives away the game with engraved references to the manufacture caliber within.

Unscrewing the back, a watchmaker (or intrepid owner) would see a distinctly modern finish on the MT5402 caliber, notably a one-piece tungsten rotor that Tudor has open-worked, satin-brushed and sand-blasted. Tudor also alternates sand-blasted surfaces, polished surfaces and laser decorations on the movement’s bridges and mainplate.

Straps & bracelet

Those familiar with Tudor will know that its modern identity, and its success, is in part due to its unerring facility with fabric NATO-style straps, which the brand has embraced wholeheartedly since at least 2010.

Tudor continues that tradition with the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, for which Tudor offers a handsome navy blue and silver-striped woven fabric strap (above) made in France by Julien Faure, a 150-year old family company. Tudor also offers a riveted steel bracelet (polished and satin finish) with folding clasp and safety catch and a blue “soft touch” strap with folding buckle and safety clasp.

Tudor offers this blue “soft touch” strap with folding clasp and safety catch as an option with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue.

The remaining Tudor-curious collectors who were not sold on the 2018 Black Bay Fifty-Eight’s slightly luxe black and gold accented dial and bezel back in 2018 have their watch with this new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue. It’s sportier, beautifully blue-hued and supplies the same Tudor high-value mechanicals teamed with expert retro dress.

With the same pricing as the earlier model ($3,700 for the bracelet model and $3,375 for fabric strap), the watch serves up no visible obstacles to any motivated fan.  

 

Specifications: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue

(Ref. 79030B)

Movement: Automatic manufacture Caliber MT5402 with bidirectional rotor system, Swiss chronometer officially certified by COSC, 70-hour power reserve, variable inertia balance, micro-adjustment by screw, non-magnetic silicon balance spring; 28,800 bph (4 Hz) frequency.

Case: 39mm steel with polished and satin finish, unidirectional rotatable bezel in 316L steel with 60-minute graduated disc in matte blue anodized aluminum and silver gilded markings and numerals, steel screw-down winding crown with the Tudor rose in relief, with circular satin-brushed 316L steel winding crown tube, domed sapphire crystal, water resistant to 200 meters

Dial: Navy Blue, domed

Bracelet: Riveted 316L steel with polished and satin-brushed finish, or blue “soft touch” with folding clasp and safety catch, or blue fabric strap with silver band and buckle.

Prices: $3,700 (bracelet model) and $3,375 (either fabric strap)

 

Ulysse Nardin has partnered with Ocearch, a scientific organization that works with researchers and educational institutions to better understand the movement and habits of sharks.

The Le Locle watchmaker has historically manufactured marine chronometers and has even more recently released dive watches symbolized by the shark. The new partnership means Ulysse Nardin will financially back Ocearch’s mission and assist researchers in their work and provide resources to better understand the shark’s role in the ocean’s fragile ecosystem.

Ulysse Nardin U.S. brand president François-Xavier Hotier says he has wanted to align the brand with a nonprofit marine life conservation organization since he started with the watch company in 2018.

Ulysse Nardin U.S. President Francois-Xavier Hotier

“Ocearch’s passion and their commitment to the shark species equaled that of our company’s and I knew Ulysse Nardin could make a positive impact toward their, and truly our, collective mission to save the shark species and therein help balance the ocean’s delicate ecosystem,” he said in a press release.  

“In speaking with François-Xavier Hotier we came to realize, not only our shared passion for the impact of shark-based research but of the importance of doing good work for good,” says Chris Fischer, founder of Ocearch. “We rely on companies like Ulysse Nardin to help raise awareness for our mission and look forward to working with the team behind the scenes and on future research expeditions.”

Ulysse Nardin will support Ocearch on its upcoming expeditions and work together to raise awareness around marine research. The organization is currently planning two expeditions for the end of 2020. The first will take place August 5-20 in Massachusetts and the second from September 3-28 in Nova Scotia.

Recent Ulysse Nardin dive models that pay homage to different shark species include two limited editions, the Diver Chronograph Hammerhead Shark and the Lady Diver Great White. Both are pictured below.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition. Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition. The watch is offered with a titanium or rose gold case and with rubber or fabric strap.

 

 

The Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Great White. The watch has a domed crystal and a concave unidirectional bezel and its dial is designed to look like the granular skin of a great white shark.

 

 

Caseback view of the Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Great White Limited Edition.

Each year we take a moment to note the anniversary of the first tourbillon, the whirling regulation device Abraham-Louis Breguet patented on June 26, 1801. Breguet’s invention helped make pocket watches more precise by counteracting many of the negative effects of gravity on timekeeping precision.

Abraham-Louis Breguet

As is the case each year, Montres Breguet has provided us with a few visual reminders of how Breguet’s invention eventually started more than two centuries of tourbillon development by watchmakers.

A Breguet tourbillon

That development, however, was surprisingly slow. Found primarily in pocket watches and the occasional clock, the tourbillon wasn’t adopted for serially produced wristwatches until the 1980s, though a few prototype wristwatches with tourbillons were developed by Omega in 1947 and even earlier by special order at other Swiss manufacturers and by the French maker LIP.

Breguet Tourbillon N°1188

Breguet also reminds us that Abraham-Louis Breguet created only thirty-five tourbillon watches, with fewer than ten known to survive (including the No. 1188, pictured above).

The Breguet N°2567

The House of Breguet possesses several additional historical tourbillon pocket watches, including No. 1176 sold by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1809, and No. 2567 sold in 1812, along with original records that list every single Breguet historical creation.

Many original Breguet tourbillons can be found in the Breguet Boutique & Museum in Place Vendome, Paris.

Here are just a few recent Breguet tourbillon watches that bear witness to the legacy of the man who devised the device, and whose name is on the building.

For 2020, Breguet adorns the dial of its Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon with a touch of deep blue, by using the traditional grand feu enamel technique.
Engraved caseback of the newest Breguet Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon.
Breguet this year offers its Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 with a rose gold case with a gold dial.
The eye-catching engraved caseback of the Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887.

Ball Watch this week combines its well-known dial illumination and solid crown protector with a racing tachymeter to create the Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph, the brand’s first automotive racing watch in years.

The new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph

While Ball has long focused on designing watches with functions requested by explorers, divers, travelers and adventurers, the historical U.S. brand (now based in Switzerland) now seeks to reach automobile racing enthusiasts with this new chronograph collection. Ball Watch has offered other watches with tachymeters in years past, including the Engineer Master II Slide Chronograph and two Fireman Storm Chaser models, but this debut is the first in recent years specifically designed with such a bezel.  

For Ball, adding a speed-monitoring tachymeter scale (here, in black ceramic) to the bezel of a chronograph is just a start. The remaining features Ball adds to the three-watch collection echo the brand’s attention to the needs of collectors who plan to wear their watch amid adverse conditions.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph, showing illumination.

Shock resistance

These features include a COSC-certified, chronometer-rated automatic movement (Ball’s Caliber RR1401, an upgraded and customized ETA Valjoux 7750), resistance to shocks of up to 7,500 g and anti-magnetic protection rated to 4,800 A/m.

That Ball crown protector (left), standard on the watches throughout the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon collection, screws into the case once the owner sets the time on the watch. After the wearer clasps the patented steel protector over the crown, it won’t budge or allow dust or dirt to contamination the case interior.  

And as noted, Ball’s proprietary H3 gas tube illumination (colored green on the dial and hands and yellow at 12 o’clock) means that the time – and the timing – remains visible day or night. 

Three dials

Ball makes the new Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph with a 42mm diameter stainless steel case with a black ceramic bezel and a choice of a black, blue or white dial.

Ball then finishes the watch with a stainless-steel brushed and polished bracelet with a folding clasp. Price: $3,599.

 

SPECIFICATIONS: Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph

Movement: Automatic caliber BALL RR1401-C (ETA-7750-based), chronometer-certified COSC,

7,500Gs shock resistance, 100-meters of water resistance, anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m

Functions: Chronograph with accumulated measurement up to 45 minutes, tachymeter, hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds and date

Dial: Blue, silver or black with 15 micro gas tubes on hour and minute hands and dial for night reading capability

Case: 42mm by 15.2mm stainless steel with black ceramic bezel, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system

Bracelet: Tapered stainless steel with patented folding buckle and extension system

Price: $3,599