The new Shinola Monster GMT, this Detroit-based watchmaker’s first automatic GMT model, makes tracking time in multiple time zones simple and pleasing thanks to a particularly handsome blue dial and blue bezel.
Starting with its ‘diver down’ flag at 12 o’clock, and over to the large calendar aperture at 3 o’clock, this nicely proportioned navy blue dial is a pleasure to eye. Shinola then enhances that visual pleasure by offering the option to swap the steel quick-release bracelet with a patterned blue strap made from recycled ocean bound plastic.
The watch is especially attractive to those with smaller wrists or collectors who prefer sporty watches with moderate case diameters. This new model at 40mm is smaller than other models in Shinola’s impressive Monster series, which measure 43mm and 45mm.
You’ll find the requisite 24-hour markers needed to track time in another timezone plainly positioned along a navy-blue ceramic bezel insert.
The independently set blue and orange-tipped GMT hand, which rotates once a day, allows you to check that second timezone quickly.
Inside Shinola fits a Sellita automatic movement with a solid 56-hour power reserve. The movement, protected with 100 meters of water resistance, is visible through the watch’s fully open caseback.
We all know that the exciting world of watch collecting has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years, with plenty of hype watches and big watchmaking brands fueling more interest. However, I’ve also noticed more collectors (especially newer ones) buying watch-branded accessories and memorabilia. Items with Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet logos are especially popular, and ones with Vacheron Constantin are rapidly rising in demand too.
A generation or two ago, it wasn’t that common for watch buyers to keep the accompanying boxes and papers. Yet, these days, some people like to collect tags, boxes, catalogs, brochures, displays, posters, sketches, ashtrays, vintage books, and any other merchandise associated with watches and watch brands.
One of my clients recently told me that when he buys a vintage watch, he is passionate about recreating the complete set — as it would have been originally sold at the store.
I once met a person whose father was the maintenance director of a famous watch brand in the 1950s. As a result of his dad’s job, this person had a large inventory of boxes, tools, calendars, commercial displays, and catalogs. The design and aesthetics of this era were fantastic and I felt like a kid in a candy store rummaging through all these horology ephemera.
I couldn’t help but imagine this gentleman, dressed in a sharp suit and working in New York City, working at his desk buying parts, fixing watches on his bench, leaving his cigarette in the ashtray, glancing at his calendar.
Conditions and provenance
As with any collector’s items, you must be careful when buying vintage watch merchandise, packaging, and accessories—even though you hardly ever come across fake items.
What you do have to watch out for is the condition of the items, which is the first parameter that will affect the value. Like other kinds of ephemera and accessories, they were not necessarily made to last over long periods or to be preserved throughout the years. Other considerations to keep in mind are the rarity, style, colors, and if any, the provenance of the items at hand.
I recently purchased a vintage rubber dust blower (below) with provenance to remove the dust on watches. It was old, used, and dirty but I was so excited.
I had in my hands a tool that has been around for over seventy years, passed on through several generations of watchmakers. Using it gives me great joy; there’s something to be said about using something today that has been used over 100,000 times to do the same job – removing dust from watches.
Where to look
To find these treasures, you can scour tag sales, local flea markets, and of course, eBay. More and more famous auction houses are offering watch memorabilia too, typically towards the end of an auction.
For example, these two Rolex retailer’s window displays (below) sold for over $3,000 each.
If you can’t afford expensive watch brands, collecting memorabilia instead is a great way to be part of the community. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn, meet like-minded people, and own a little piece of horological history. For me, these types of collectors are purists because they buy for the love of the item, and not for the potential to flip it and make money.
I get immense pleasure from looking at vintage watch merchandise and accessories. Not only are they beautiful but they also give me pause and make me reflect on what it must have been like to design, make, fix, sell, and buy watches a long time ago.
Ulysse Nardin this week debuts the Ocean Race Diver, a commercial version of its environmentally friendly Diver Net concept watch launched in 2020.
With a strap created entirely from recycled fishing nets and a case and caseback made using recycled steel, a carbon composite called Carbonium and more recycled fishing nets, the new Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver might be the greenest luxury watch available. Ulysse Nardin teamed with French recycling experts Fil&Fab to source and develop the recycled material for the new collection.
Ulysse Nardin wants to raise awareness to protect the oceans by creating “new from old and regenerating materials, especially plastic.” The watchmaker co-branded the watch with its partner, the around-the-globe Ocean Race, for which Ulysse Nardin is official timer.
As a 44mm dive watch, the Ocean Race Diver is water-resistant to 300 meters and features a high-visibility, green-accented unidirectional bezel made using Carbonium, the same fibers that are used for the fuselage and wings of the latest-generation aircrafts. The manufacture of Carbonium has a 40% lower environmental impact than other carbon composites, since it makes use of the offcuts of aircraft parts, according to Ulysse Nardin.
Ulysse Nardin taps an automotive industry steel recycling channel for the 44mm case, which is 80% to 85% recycled.
The watch’s dial echoes the watchmaker’s Diver X series with a double X signature on the dial, a power reserve indicator at the top and a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. The dial, toned down when compared to the concept version, is composed of neutral textured anthracite (ruthenium) surface treatment.
Like the brand’s X-Skeleton series, you’ll also find the Ulysse Nardin logo etched into the crown and a visible crown protector.
Even the movement, Ulysse Nardin’s own UN-118, is made with materials 95% sourced within a 30 km radius of the Manufacture, half of them coming from recycling channels (recycled steel and brass). All Ulysse Nardin movements utilize recycled brass.
The watch will be sold in a water-resistant pouch slipped into a dry bag recycled from the sea by Helly Hansen, a brand that is also a partner of the round-the-world Ocean Race.
Ulysse Nardin will offer the watch as a limited edition of 200 pieces starting in June. Price: $11,500.
Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver
Reference: (1183-170LE-1A-TOR/0A UN-118)
Movement: Caliber UN 118 manufacture, Silicium & DiamonSil escapement technology. Power reserve is 60 hours.
Case: 44mm steel with unidirectional concave rotating bezel, bezel decoration 100% Carbonium, sapphire crystal, 300 meters of water resistance.
Side-case and case-back 40% Carbonium and 60% recycled fishing nets.
Stainless steel case at least 80% recycled from automotive industry.
Dial: Green Super-LumiNova markers, anthracite (ruthenium) surface treatment Double X , The Ocean Race logo (white transfer), power reserve indicator.
Strap: Recycled from fishing nets, gray with green and white stitches, scratch closing.
Nomos launches four square-cased Tetra watches with automatic calibers and shiny, enamel-like dials.
The new watches, called Tetra Neomatik – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte, retain Tetra’s well-known shape and the Tetra Neomatik’s existing 39mm diameter and automatic DUW 3001 caliber, but reveal four crisp dial colors.
Nomos explains that the red, blue, black and off-white dial colors here are lacquer-coated using a technique similar to that used when making enamel dials. Incoming light is not absorbed by the opaque surfaces but instead reflected, creating depth, according to the watchmaker.
Recognizing the decidedly unsubtle dial hues, Nomos says the new watches “are not for everyone.” The few Existing Tetra Neomatik watches are available in more subdued silver, blue or white dials.
The Tetra is a signature Nomos collection primarily offered only with a manual-wind caliber.
“The watches are bolder than sneakers with a jacket,” according to Nomos product manager Heike Ahrendt.
The chronometer-adjusted Nomos DUW 3001 automatic caliber is visible through a sapphire caseback on each watch, framed by an engraving noting the limited nature of the Tetra Neomatik – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte collection. The new series is limited to 175 units of each color.
Nomos attaches each case to a remborde strap made of Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan, oiled by hand and struck with glass balls to create a shiny finish. Price: $3,860.
Maurice Lacroix has worked with movement specialist Sellita to create a new skeletonized version of the watchmaker’s best-selling Aikon. And unlike most of the watchmaker’s existing skeletonized watches, this new model, the Aikon Automatic Skeleton 39mm, with its namesake 39mm diameter case size, is the smallest –and first unisex – open-worked watch within the full Maurice Lacroix collection.
Collectors familiar with Maurice Lacroix know that it has a long history of making skeleton watches. Especially within its Masterpiece collection, this contemporary manufacture has long offered alluring open-worked dials alongside a host of interesting models with multi-hand retrograde functions.
Noting that it wanted to create an affordable skeleton watch with the brand’s existing high quality-price ratio, Maurice Lacroix aimed to work with Sellita to “apply its expertise to the creation of a new, contemporary model with smaller case dimensions.”
With this new Aikon Automatic Skeleton 39mm, the company adds to existing work with the movement specialist to create Automatic ML115 (base SW200). With considerable transparency, circular grained finishing and combined sun-brushed and sandblasted décor, the new watch successfully says ‘contemporary’ within an often very classic mechanical watch category.
Thus, instead of delicate filigree we see curved, matte-finished bridges that nicely expose the movement’s gearing and escapement while maintaining the torsional strength needed in a casually sporty watch.
Maurice Lacroix also fits the Aikon Automatic Skeleton 39mm with the brand’s Easy Strap Exchange system which allows the wearer to swap the bracelet for one of the leather or rubber strap options without using any tools.