TAG Heuer has updated its sea-focused Aquaracer collection with two colorful automatic models sporting a so-called tortoise-shell-pattern bezel. In addition, look for new Khaki-colored quartz Aquaracer model with an olive-green aluminum bezel and a matching fabric strap.
The new Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition and the new Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition watches enhance Aquaracer, TAG Heuer’s dive watch collection known for its 300-meter water resistance rating, unidirectional rotating bezel, luminous markers and hands and easy-to-read dials, as befits an ocean-centric sports watch.
All three of these debuts also feature a 43mm stainless-steel screw-down caseback engraved with the image of a vintage divers’ helmet.
To set these new models apart from earlier Aquaracers, TAG Heuer has subtly decorated the bezels with blue or brown resin that has been modified to create an interesting pattern that, according to TAG Heuer, mimic the sun’s reflection on the ocean.
Often seen on sunglasses, the tortoise-shell effect is rarely used to decorate watches, and represents TAG Heuer’s first attempt beyond variations in dial patterns to inject a bit of style into the generally sober Aquaracer line.
TAG Heuer even enhances the blue or brown bezels on these two debuts with blue or black sunray-pattern brushed dials with horizontal lines. Like the bezels, the dials can catch and reflect light, effectively doubling the ‘summertime’ focus of the new design.
TAG Heuer adds another novelty here with a rubber strap that features the exterior pattern of another reptile: the alligator.
The unidirectional bezels on both Aquaracer 43 mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition models retain the Aqua-racer’s sixty-minute scale as well as the familiar angled magnifying lens over the date window at 3 o’clock.
The strap is held tight with a folding steel clasp with double safety push buttons. Inside is TAG Heuer’s Caliber 5, the brand’s reliable ETA-based or Sellita-based automatic movement. Price: $2,600 (Available in August).
New quartz Khaki
TAG Heuer’s new quartz-powered Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition combines a sturdy olive-hued fabric strap and sharp-looking anthracite sunray brushed dial. And rather than a sun-dappled steel bezel, the watch’s aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel is tinted with a down-to-earth olive hue.
Like the new models above, this quartz debut features a polished and fine-brushed steel case, rhodium-plated and luminous hour, minute and seconds hands and the same angled date window.
Likewise, the back of the watch echoes the Aquaracer standard with a solid caseback engraved with an image of a vintage divers’ helmet. Price: $1,600.
The Carysfort Reef collection is named for the eponymous coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is part of the Florida Reef Tract, the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only barrier reef in the United States. Sadly, a changing climate has caused it to degrade over the past several decades and the coral populations to concurrently dwindle. This, in turn, affects the health of our oceans, which produce seventy percent of the world’s oxygen.
The new watch features a 43.5mm steel case with a bi-directional ceramic bezel and GMT scale. The watch’s blue gradient dial forms the backdrop for SuperLuminova-treated hands and indexes and a date window at three o’clock, while the solid screwed caseback features special engravings alluding to the brand’s support of Carysfort Reef. Oris has worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation since 2014.
As you might expect, Oris has made the watch fully prepared for use outdoor and even underwater. The watch is water resistant to 300 meters, thanks in part of its screw-in stainless steel security crown.
The automatic movement (the Sellita-based Oris 798) includes multiple functions: hours, minutes, seconds and 24 hour indication via central hands, as well as an instantaneous date and 24-hour corrector, fine timing device and stop seconds. Its power reserve is 42 hours.
In its new steel case, the Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition can be strapped to the wrist with a solid Oris stainless steel bracelet or an orange rubber strap, both of which are complemented by a stainless steel security folding clasp with an extension. The presentation box is both attractive and satisfying: it is constructed using sustainable algae. Prices: $3,000 (metal bracelet) and $2,800 (orange rubber strap).
Tudor expands its flagship Black Bay Fifty-Eight this week with a new model sporting a navy blue dial and matte blue bezel.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
“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.
Just a few months after releasing its BR 03-92 Grey LUM, Bell & Ross adds an even brighter brother to the LUM family with a limited edition BR 03-92 Diver Full LUM.
Where the previously seen dive watch features brightly illuminated numerals, hands and five-minute markers, this newest family member features a full dial painted with green SuperLuminova.
In addition to a fully painted dial, the new watch also glows with a second hue because Bell & Ross has filled the watch’s metallic applique skeletonized indexes and the numerals on the bezel with a different shade of green SuperLuminova.In order to maximize the period of luminescence for these markers, Bell & Ross opted to use a type of SuperLuminova (C3) that offers very long durability in the dark.
Bell & Ross notes that ever since it debuted its first square-cased BR 03-92 dive models in 2017 the watchmaker has been sure that its dive collection maintains all international ISO 6425 standards for dive watches. Those standards include water-resistance to a minimum depth of 100 meters, the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated minutes scale, an operation indicator and luminescent markers, legibility in the dark; anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection.
With this newest model, Bell & Ross exceeds those standards by wide margins, with a 300-meter water resistance rating, a black ceramic uni-directional bezel (for enhanced contrasts) and, in reference to its name, superior dial legibility with a more-than-gimmicky focus on luminescence.
Added bonus: Bell & Ross includes a rubber strap and a fabric strap with each watch.
Luminox underscores its direct links with the Pacific Ocean with the Pacific Diver 3120 Series, a new dive watch collection named for the body of water central to the Luminox story.
The watch brand, founded in California in 1989, initially designed its watches to align with requirements of the Navy SEALS, whose members train in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.
This new Pacific Diver 3120 Series of four 44mm by 12mm quartz-powered steel diver watches all boast a carbon uni-directional bezel and a healthy water resistance rating to 200 meters.
Luminox also ensures that each watch features a screw-in crown and caseback, sapphire crystal and Luminox’s own tritium-gas-based Always Visible dial illumination, which Luminox says will keep the dial readable in the dark for up to twenty-five years.
Luminox engraves its motto, “Every Second Counts,” on the stainless-steel caseback, which protects a Ronda 515 quartz movement.
The four versions of the Pacific Diver 3120 Series include: An all-black model with dark dial, black bezel and black DLC case ($595) sold on a rubber strap, a black dial and black bezel model sold on a steel bracelet ($640), a model with blue dial and a black bezel sold on a steel bracelet ($640), and a black dial and black bezel model on rubber ($545).
The new Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection is composed of five models and is being officially launched to support World Oceans Day (June 8th). Alpina will donate $100 for every watch purchased through us.AlpinaWatches.com in order to help maintain the U.S. parks, both inland and coastal.
The full Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic range includes three men’s models (44 mm, $1,395) and two models designed for women (36mm, $1,295).
All five watches share blue-shaded dials, including turquoise and dyed mother-of-pearl, and luminescent hands. Inside each watch Alpina places its Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement.
In addition, as a dive model, the watch features the requisite unidirectional bezel and water-resistance to 300 meters.
Alpina will ship all the new watches with one of three two-tone NATO-style straps made from recycled plastic bottles. In addition, Alpina will include a black vegetable leather strap made of recycled apple waste with every 44mm watch.
Alpina explains that the word Gyre is a reference to giant circular ocean currents. The Geneva-based watchmaker adds that the new collection represents the start of a long-term collaboration with Gyre Watch.
Gyre Watch, founded in The Netherlands in 2017, makes watches from recycled ocean plastic. Local fishermen along the Indian Ocean earn a fee collecting fishing nets from the sea for recycling, which means Gyre also contributes to local economies.
Alpina will make the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic as a limited series of 1,883 pieces of each model, in reference to the year of Alpina’s founding. Each watch will be sold in an eco-friendly gift set made of recycled plastic and recycled plastic bottles.
To further enhance the collection’s ecological profile, Alpina is printing each watch’s guarantee and certificate of authenticity on one page of recycled paper and will utilize a paperless user manual, accessible via a QR code. The code will direct buyers to a dedicated site for the Gyre collection as well as the instruction and maintenance manual.
There is a crucial moment that every watch collector faces in those fast seconds before a multi-day excursion: picking the watches to wear. My personal go-to for changing time zones includes a GMT for tracking home time and a rugged dive watch for everyday wear. Fate, in the form of a press release from Rado, showed up two days before I was scheduled to leave for Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with an offer to review the new Captain Cook dive watch.
I told their very responsive rep if he could get me the watch before I left, it would become my travelling companion on the trip for a hard-core review. Literally hours before departure I was unboxing their bronze beauty and tossing it in the carry-on bag. Welcome to the manifest, Captain.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and its counterpart the Rolex Submariner have collectively set the standards by which all other dive watches should be measured. Like the Eames chair, they sport all the elements, on functional and aesthetic levels, that serve to define the breed. Virtually every other dive watch developed in the past seventy years has drawn from the feature sets of these two watches.
Rado side-by-side with the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.
Rado’s reissue of its original 1960’s Captain Cook diver teases elements of these classics, with updates that tastefully reflect popular contemporary treatments and materials.
Let’s get into it…
The Rado delivers a rich wrist statement, utilizing the green and gold of the old Marshall Field’s logo (not John Deere, thank you), and is a striking take on the traditional dive treatment.
The Captain’s green dial is surrounded by a matching ceramic bezel and lives in a bronze case with a titanium back. While I would have preferred a matching color scheme on the bezel indices, the silver is subtle enough to work with the theme.
Its dial is called “green sunray” in the press materials and is slightly domed, giving the high gloss face a three-dimensional glean reminiscent of a highly polished fender on a British racing green Jaguar XK-120. Par for the vintage theme, the hands and markers are a cream-colored Super LumiNova.
The dial also sports a swiveling gold anchor at 12 o’clock, a neat, very, very subtle touch that gives users and excuse to twirl the watch around and wonder “why is my anchor spinning? What does it mean?” Tres 60’s!
The Captain is waterproof to 1,000 feet and powered by an automatic ETA C07, 25-jewel, three- hand movement with a date at 3 o’clock and up to eighty hours power reserve. This is the ‘Powermatic 80’ movement with silicon balance spring, found in many models of Tissot, Certina and Mido watches.
The movement is a no-nonsense performer, offering an impressive power reserve and anti-magnetic properties through the use of a silicon escapement. For those interested in a deep dive into this movement, check out this article in Monochrome and complete technical specifications, including use in other watches, here on Watchbase.
The Bronze Case
The payoff for owners of the Good Captain is found in the bronze case, with a material that has been showing up in increased usage over the years. Unlike stainless steel or gold, that simply scratch and get dirty, bronze develops a unique patina as it’s worn.
The result of the oxidation of the copper component of the bronze can appear as brown, black, red, blue or green. Costa Rica provided the perfect environment to see if the Captain could live up to its name as a sea going adventurer and emerge as a newly colored denizen of the not so deep seas.
The Captain looks and feels solid. The bezel has a nice loud ratchet sound that indicates things are properly aligned. It’s a medium-weight timepiece with a nicely unobtrusive 12.5mm x 42mm case.
While I prefer a horned watch crown and more aggressive ridges on the bezel, the coin-edged style has a more subdued look and feel than, say, the Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook 2017, with its Fifty Fathoms-esque treatment.
The watch is incredibly easy to read and maintains a night’s worth of luminescence. I’m a personal fan the Captain’s titanium case back because of weight savings and hypoallergenic properties.
The sample I received had a single-piece leather band, and would be better served with a lined Horween, but that’s strictly a personal preference. If anyone was actually going to use this as a dive watch (probably one tenth of one percent of the buyers), the strap and shallow ridges of the bezel would prove a problem underwater. However, for the moisture-averse who will more than likely purchase this product, that won’t be an issue.
Getting it wet Rado in the pool.
Given the Rado’s pedigree as a dive watch, ala the original 60s iteration, I intended to get the Captain wet and dirty, covered with sunscreen and oil, and then hang it out in the sun to dry. To this end the watch accompanied me in the surf, by the pool, up and down daily ten-mile walks through dusty hills and was worn while sweating and spilling margaritas and tequila shots.
Any dive watch that remains neat and clean and dry should be forcibly taken from its owner and that misguided individual barred from ever owning another watch with a water-resistant rating over one meter. But I digress.
The watch swum through the week of abuse with no undue scratching, scarring or unwanted mutating. The bronze case picked up a dull finish with some blackish highlights, answering the question of how it would tarnish. While the user’s manual states that the watch can be returned to Rado for cleaning (really), I found using metal polish worked just fine – see the before and after photos with minimal elbow grease.
Would I buy this watch?
Absolutely – and for many several reasons. It’s great looking, in a non-blingy way, and punches well above its class for the price. Unlike stainless or gold watches, it feels organic.
The bronze changes and reflects the activity level of the user. It features a whopping four anchor logos between the case and strap, and three starfish on the case back (It would have been nice to see a mermaid as well), but who knows what the future may hold! It has a domed crystal and a groovy domed dial – a double dose of domage – awesome! And, finally, it holds its value: check out the used prices on eBay against the street price on this watch (as a comparison look at Romain Jerome as well – a cringe-worthy value dropper!).
As a daily wear in dry conditions, the watch as configured with a leather strap will serve most users well. For those who actually wear dive watches for diving I’d suggest investing in a metal bracelet model. The Captain was a great travelling companion, and kudos to Rado for delivering exceptional quality at a realistic price point. Price: $2,600
Seiko has re-created three early Seiko dive models as the watchmaker this year celebrates the 55th anniversary of its first dive watches. Now in the Prospex collection, the new models, which Seiko announced in March, are faithful to the original designs, though now with modern specifications and execution.
Two of the re-creations, echoing models from 1965 and 1968, are powered by the high-beat 8L55 movement; the 1975 re-creation carries Caliber 8L35. All three have sapphire crystals, and the 1975 re-creation has an increased anti-magnetic resistance of 40,000 a/m thanks to the dial made of pure iron. All three new models also share the same blue-gray dial.
All the straps also pay homage to the originals while being modern in both the material and color. All three watches will be made available as limited editions of 1,100. The 1965, 1968, and 1975 re-creations will be introduced in June, July, and August 2020 respectively. A special commemorative box with all three watches plus additional black straps will be available in May 2020. Just 100 sets will be released.
In addition to this limited-edition trilogy, Seiko is also launching the 1965 Diver’s Watch Modern Re-Creation, an updated steel version of its first diver’s watch, as a limited edition of 5,500.
This 200-meter watch features the same 55th anniversary blue-gray dial as seen on the trilogy and comes with both a stainless steel bracelet and a silicone strap. It is powered by Caliber 6R35 (not the Hi-Beat caliber used in the other 1965 model being released) that delivers a power reserve of 70 hours. It will be available starting in June 2020. Prices: $6,300 (1965 Diver’s Re-creation), $6,800 (1968 Diver’s Re-creation) and $4,500 (1975 Diver’s Re-creation). The 1965 Diver’s Watch Modern Re-Creation, 1,350 euros.