Omega starts its new year by introducing a new Speedmaster 321 Canopus Gold. The namesake white gold alloy, which Omega debuted in 2015, includes platinum, rhodium and palladium and is brighter and harder than traditional watch case white gold alloys.
The Omega Speedmaster 321 Canopus Gold release, meant to mark the Speedmaster’s 65th anniversary, is a particularly high-end version of the famed watch and not only is cased in 38.6mm gold, but also features a black onyx dial, white gold hands and a bezel filled with black Grand Feu enamel.
Omega designed the watch to closely echo the first Speedmaster (known as the CK2915-1). Thus collectors will note details such as the NAIAD symbol on the watch’s crown, which was specifically used to reference water-resistance in some of the first CK2915 models, as well as an applied vintage Omega logo and typography featuring an oval O as was found on the first CK2915 models. Collectors will also see the ‘dot over ninety’ (DON) and a dot diagonal to seventy.
Inside Omega places the revamped Caliber 321, a handcrafted remake of the original movement used inside the 1957 Speedmaster.
You might recall that Omega brought the manual-winding Caliber 321 back into production in 2019 with all the required technical specifications. However, today’s edition of the famed chronograph movement with column wheel is finished with a brilliant 18-karat Sedna gold PVD coating.
On the back Omega adds another tribute to the Speedmaster anniversary with an engraving of the Omega Seahorse icon. Omega added a new sparkle to the Seahorse’s eye, crafting it from a blue sapphire, a jewel that traditionally marks a 65-year celebration.
Omega offers the new Speedmaster 321 Canopus Gold watch on an 18-karat Canopus Gold bracelet. The watch arrives inside a special wooden box inspired by the original 1957 Speedmaster boxes.
The new watch might look a bit familiar as Bell & Ross earlier this year created a Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch 21 for the Only Watch charity auction.
That model also boasted an impressive sapphire crystal, but did so as it framed an orange-tinted skull. That watch sold at Only Watch for CHF 220,000 (about $240,000), all of which is donated to battle Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Bell & Ross calls the new BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire the “general public” version of that unique piece. Instead of the orange-tinted skull within its 43.5mm by 45mm full sapphire case, the faceted skull is almost as clear as the case.
The well-defined edges of the sapphire case create both reflections and refractions play with any nearby light, which will undoubtedly animate the watch on any wrist. The metallic skull and crossbones appear to float between the case’s two sapphire crystals.
Bell & Ross explains that its designers drew on several sources of inspiration when designing the new case. The include avant-garde design (note the somewhat pixelated skull), origami and, of course, the brand’s historic eye on military shapes. Bell & Ross says the “case is shaped like the fuselage of an American F117 stealth bomber.”
While that latter jet design inspiration is meant to make the Stealth bomber disappear from radar, the shape and makeup of the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire create a watch that, even when worn with its clear rubber strap, is quite unlikely to avoid attention.
Inside Bell & Ross fits its BR-CAL.209 manual-wind automaton movement specifically developed for the watch. The plate and bridges are built to create skull shape, which are held by metallic and sapphire crossbones. And while many watchmakers refer to the spring balance as the ‘heart’ of their mechanical calibers, Bell & Ross calls the exposed balance on the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire the ‘brains’ of its unusual caliber.
Zenith transforms two of its most complex watches into cosmic messengers with a new galactic theme, eye-catching blue PVD components and clear sapphire cases. The Le Locle watchmaker has re-finished and re-configured components within the existing Defy Zero G and the Defy 21 Double Tourbillon, to create a stunning contemporary limited edition version of each watch.
Defy Zero G Sapphire
For this update, Zenith brings space travel to the wrist with a miniature mosaic depicting Mars on the dial. Made by hand using meteorite, aventurine glass and miniature painting, the red planet is seen on the small seconds, partially eclipsed by the hour and minute dial.
Zenith finishes the mainplate and the bridges in a blue tone with contrasting metallic-grey chamfers, dotted with white stars. The wearer can also see this space-inspired finish on the movement’s cylindrical container, visible through the sides of the case. Zenith has also rebuilt the movement with a more contemporary architectural profile that occupies thirty percent less space than the original movement.
You might recall that the Defy Zero G features Zenith’s El Primero 8812 S manual movement with a gimbal that maintains the balance and spring in a flat position, overcoming gravity’s effects on the watch’s chronometric precision (See complete specifications list below).
Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire
Zenith engraves stars on the dial of the new Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire and exposes a newly blued mainplate (a first for Zenith) through its skeleton dial. This watch still turns heads with two independent tourbillons. One rotates in sixty seconds at 36,000 vph (for time-keeping) while the second rotates once in five seconds at 360,000 vph to regulate the chronograph timer.
The twenty owners of these two new watches can enhance their galactic experience by taking advantage of a special offer from Zenith. The watchmaker has teamed with Novespace, a subsidiary of the French National Space Center, to offer each owner a parabolic zero-gravity flight, slated for next February at the Novespace facility in Bordeaux.
Prices: $159,700 (Defy Zero G Sapphire) and $180,300 (Defy 21 Tourbillon Sapphire ) Each model will be issued as a limited edition of ten.
Specifications: Zenith Defy Zero G Sapphire
(Reference: 04.9000.8812/00.R920, limited edition of ten pieces)
Movement: Entirely skeletonized El Primero 8812 S. “Gravity Control” gyroscopic module that ensures horizontal positioning of the regulating organ. Now occupies only 30% of its initial volume. Frequency is 36,000 VpH (5 Hz) with a 50-hour power reserve. Platinum counterweight of the gyroscopic system.
Functions : Hours and minutes in the center. Double Tourbillon: 1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 vph / 5 Hz – cage makes a turn in 60 second) 1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 vph / 50 Hz – cage makes a turn in 5 seconds). 1/100th of a second Chronograph: Central chronograph hand that makes one turn each second, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 60-second counter at 6 o’clock, chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock. New bicolor signature on plates and bridges + milled Starry Sky.
Case: 46mm clear sapphire with 30 meters of water resistance.
Dial: Openworked with meteorite & aventurine hour & minute dial, hour markers are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova, hands are rhodium-plated and faceted gold, coated with SuperLuminova.
Bracelet: Black rubber with blue patterned rubber, grey stitching. Titanium double folding clasp.
(Reference: 04.9000.9020/00.R920, limited edition of ten pieces)
Movement: El Primero 9020 automatic, 1/100th-of-a-second double tourbillon chronograph, 1 tourbillon escapement for the watch (36,000 vph – 5 Hz) ; 1 tourbillon escapement for the chronograph (360,000 vph – 50 Hz). One rotation per second for the chrono hand. Certified Chronometer. Power reserve of 50 hours.
Case: 46mm clear sapphire with sapphire crystal. Water resistance to 30 meters.
Dial: Openworked with rhodium-plated hour markers and hands, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1.
Bracelet: Black rubber with blue patterned rubber & grey stitching. Titanium double folding clasp.
Greubel Forsey has updated its Balancier S with a new case, new finishing and a newly brushed titanium bezel. While retaining the movement of the original Balancier S, the new watch, the Balancier S², is designed by Greubel Forsey with far fewer traditional dial and bezel motifs as the watchmaker positions the new design to become an ‘everyday wear’ model.
The new dial is darker, providing greater contrast with an intense black or grey backdrop that cuts through the balance bridge between 5 and 9 o’clock. And with sharper edges and a new matte finish on the bridge and indexes, each element is easier to read. Those primary indexes are notably larger than those found on the initial Balancier S.
In another bid for contemporary style, Greubel Forsey has smartly skeletonized the Balancier’s central double-arched titanium bridge. This syncs nicely with the new titanium bracelet and extends the effect of the all-new brushed bezel.
Along with its slightly larger case (at 46.5mm, a bit more than the 45mm original), and aforementioned openworked bridge and font-free bezel, a third prominent finishing change characterizes the more contemporary look of the Balancier S². You’ll not find the large Greubel Forsey signature on the barrel cover. Instead, you’ll see a very modern circular pattern. Greubel Forsey places its signature under the internal bezel between 12 o’clock and 2 o’clock.
The movement operates with two coaxial barrels mounted in series offering a 72-hour power reserve (shown at 2 o’clock via a new fan-shaped aperture). The small seconds hand at 8 o’clock is, like the balance wheel, placed at a 30-degree angle.
Greubel Forsey will make eighty-eighty pieces of this new Balancier S² with a charcoal grey backdrop, producing twenty-two pieces per year from 2022 to 2025. For the version with a light grey background, the manufacture will produce sixteen pieces per year over four years, totaling sixty-four pieces. Both versions will come in a titanium case.
Price: CHF 205,000 (rubber strap) and CHF 245,000 (titanium bracelet).
Specifications: Greubel Forsey Balancier S2
Movement: Balancier S² manual-wind with 72-hour power reserve, escapement inclined 30 degrees, two coaxial series-coupled fast-rotating barrels.
Case: 46.5mm by 13.75mm titanium with curved synthetic sapphire crystal, three-dimensional, variable geometry-shaped bezel, profiled lugs, screwed fixing, transparent back with high domed sapphire crystal, titanium security screws and raised engraving “Balancier Incliné” and “Greubel Forsey.” Water resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Three-dimensional, variable geometry minute-circle, polished, with engraved and lacquered minutes indexes, power-reserve indicator engraved and lacquered, multi-level, openworked suspended-arch bridge, black treatment, straight-grained and polished, polished beveling and countersinks.
Strap Non-animal material, rubber with texture in relief, titanium folding clasp, engraved GF logo, or three-row metal bracelet in titanium, folding clasp with integrated fine adjustment, engraved GF logo.
Price: CHF 205,000 (rubber strap) and CHF 245,000 (titanium bracelet).
This F. P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Ruthenium is just one of the three rare watches made by pioneering independent watchmaker F.P. Journe set to be auctioned this weekend, November 20-21, by Ineichen Auctioneers in Zurich.
The platinum watch, with an estimate between CHF 200,000 and CHF 250,000, was purchased in 2002 and features a solid gold dial with dark grey ruthenium coating and Journe’s famed hand-wound Résonance caliber 1499.3.
The auction, titled 17 Shades of Grey, will feature timepieces produced in tantalum, platinum and steel. Other watchmakers with watches in the auction include Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Breguet, F.P. Journe, Vianney Halter, Konstantin Chaykin, and Urwerk.
After its primary auction of vintage watches and pocket watches, Ineichen will also host a second specialized auction called Alchemy of Gold that features wristwatches in yellow metals.
One highlight in this specialized auction is a set of twin Vianney Halter pieces. These are the Antiqua Yellow Gold and the Antiqua White Gold (each estimated at $53,800 to $107,600) which drew much collector attention when Halter revealed them in 1998.
These interpretations of the perpetual calendar allow the wearer to read the hour and minutes, month/ leap year, day of the week and the date via four riveted portholes in order of decreasing diameter.
Other highlights of Alchemy of Gold include watches from Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne, Patek Philippe, Girard-Perregaux, Tissot, Daniel Roth, and Vacheron Constantin.
Here is a look at a few highlights from the Ineichen Auctioneers auction this weekend.
The F. P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Ruthenium Collection (estimate $107,600 to $215,150) is numbered and limited to 99 pieces. This one features the caliber 1498, the movement that helped the brand make its mark in watchmaking in 1999. No more than 520 Tourbillon Souverain watches were ever produced, and that includes those in the Ruthenium Collection.
This F. P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain de Boulle (estimate $53,800 to $107,600) is among the rarest versions of this model. At that time, only eight watches were supplied to the authorized Dallas retailer, de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry, in the US in 2007, with two more delivered for owner Denis de Boulle and a director. This piece belonged to the owner.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 25820TP (estimate $107,600 to $215,150) in platinum and tantalum is the rarest version of this model, which forms part of a limited edition of fifteen pieces. A characteristic feature is its design with a matte non-Tapisserie dial.
Also from Audemars Piguet is the Ref. 25720 from a collection that featured dials mostly decorated with a guilloché plate. Hand- engraved dials were less common, especially like this one in platinum, ranking this Audemars Piguet Star Wheel Automatic Ref. 25720PT (estimate $10,800 to $21,550) among the most rare of this kind. It was released in a limited edition of only nine pieces, which is indicated at the bottom of the dial (9/9).