MB&F this week adds a vibrant blue-green color dial and a new case metal to the lineup of its Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO, which the pioneering independent watchmaker first launched in 2020. Seen initially cased in zirconium with an orange, blue or a black dial plate, the newest edition frames its new dial hue in titanium.
The Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO built its sporty chassis and new livery around the original GPHG-award-winning Legacy Machine Perpetual from 2015, devised for MB&F by watchmaker Stephen McDonnell.
McDonnell effectively redesigned the traditional perpetual calendar when he built the LM Perpetual in 2015 with a “mechanical processor” (a series of superimposed disks) that takes the default number of days in the month at 28 and then adds the extra days as required by each individual month. He also built in a safety feature that disconnects the pushers during the date changeover to eliminate any risk of damage to the movement when the date is changed.
For the 2020 EVO edition, MB&F added a series of technical upgrades to the watch that effectively toughened its resistance to shock and water. The EVO offers a redesigned, sleeker case, ergonomic double-sprung pushers, an integrated rubber strap, Super-LumiNova, a specially developed ‘FlexRing’ shock-absorbing system, a screw-down crown and 80 meters of water resistance.
MB&F will ship the new LM Perpetual EVO Titanium, with its all new green-blue dial, to its retailers around the world, though expect a few available at the MB&F eShop. Price: $176,000.
Frederique Constant adds a tourbillon to its perpetual calendar to create the new Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, a handsome 41mm complication available in a steel case or a rose gold case. And to underscore the Geneva-based watchmaker’s long-held mission to offer affordably priced fine Swiss watches, the steel model is priced just under $23,000.
For years Frederique Constant’s complicated watches, such as its flyback chronograph, in-house perpetual calendar and its manufacture tourbillon, have attracted collectors in search of affordably priced, classically styled Swiss watchmaking. Few (if any) Swiss in-house manufacturing watchmakers can boast a collection with a comparable set of complicated watches at the same price levels.
The new Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture combines the brand’s existing know-how as found in its own manufacture tourbillon and stand-alone perpetual calendar. The new watch displays the date, day and month in three subdials along the top of the dial, echoing the existing Highlife Perpetual Calendar.
Frederique Constant replaces that model’s moonphase indicator with its manufacture tourbillon at the subdial located at 6 o’clock. I especially like the subdial at 12 o’clock that displays the month with the large hand and the leap year indication with a smaller hand. To balance this somewhat top-heavy design, Frederique Constant deftly places its own tourbillon with silicon escapement (the escape wheel and the lever) to add symmetry to the dial. The tourbillon displays seconds with its central hand.
Frederique Constant offers two blue-accented versions of the new watch, one more luxurious in a rose gold case and the other framed in steel. Both allow the wearer to enjoy a view into the FC-975 Manufacture caliber and its blued screws, perlage and Côtes de Genève finishes. If you look closer at the dial on either watch, you’ll see another nicely executed design detail: anti-reflective recessed perpetual calendar displays that ensure a quicker, more enjoyable read.
Frederique Constant notes that it offers collectors options to customize the individually numbered steel and rose gold editions of the new watch. Each one comes with two interchangeable straps. The rose gold version comes with a topstitched alligator leather strap and a second rubber strap. The same rubber strap also comes with the steel watch, which arrives on a bracelet with a three-link design and a folding buckle.
Prices: $39,995 (rose gold case) and $22,995 (steel case and bracelet).
Movement: FC-975 caliber, automatic, tourbillon, perpetual calendar perlage, drafted marks and Côtes de Genève decorations, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph, silicon escapement wheel and anchor.
Case: 41mm by 12.65mm brushed and polished stainless steel 3-part. Front convex sapphire crystal, see-through case back, water-resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: Skeleton with Navy blue outer ring with white printed second markers. Hand-polished silvered color with white luminous treatment hour and minute hands. Navy blue day counter at 9 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color hand. Navy blue month and year counter at 12 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color hands. Navy blue date counter at 3 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color hand. Open tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock with hand-polished silvered color second hand.
Strap: Brushed and polished stainless steel 3-link bracelet including an additional navy blue rubber strap.
Movement: FC-975 caliber, automatic, tourbillon, perpetual calendar perlage, drafted marks and Côtes de Genève decorations, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph, silicon escapement wheel and anchor.
Case: 41mm by 12.65mm brushed and polished rose gold three-part. Front convex sapphire crystal, see-through case back, water-resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: Skeleton with Navy blue outer ring with white printed second markers. Hand-polished rose gold-plated with white luminous treatment hour and minute hands. Navy blue day counter at 9 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated hand. Navy blue month and year counter at 12 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated hands. Navy blue date counter at 3 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated hand. Open tourbillon’s cage at 6 o’clock with hand-polished rose gold-plated seconds hand.
Strap: Navy blue alligator leather strap with nubuck finishing including an additional navy blue rubber strap
While all the previous six deeply artisanal Handwerkskunst models are horological works of both art and technique, this latest example may be the first to also revive (if only for this debut) a retired collection, the rectangular-cased Cabaret.
The limited-edition (of thirty pieces) watch is a special, possibly one-off version of a Cabaret that, in 2008, was the first mechanical wristwatch with tourbillon stop seconds.
The new Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst re-introduces (with updates) the still unusual rectangular-shaped movement A. Lange & Söhne used in earlier Cabaret Tourbillon models. But in addition to that already intriguing launch, the debut heightens the watch’s eye-appeal with an impressive applied enamel lozenge-patterned dial.
Each section of the dial has been separated with a decorated thin line, which also creates a dramatic three-dimensional aspect. Then A. Lange & Söhne coats the dial with a semi-transparent enamel layer that adds even more depth and showcases the dial’s metallic shades of grey. Price: 315,000 euros.
Here are the other debuts from A. Lange & Söhne for Summer 2021.
A.Lange & Söhne celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its famed Langematik Perpetual with two models, both with a blue dial. Look for it in both pink gold and white gold.
This is the watchmaker’s first self-winding watch with a perpetual calendar and the Lange outsize date. It features a zero reset mechanism and a primary corrector that simultaneously advances all calendar displays. Both models are made as limited editions of fifty pieces. Price: $91,800.
The fourth debut is a newly gold-cased Saxonia Thin with an arresting gold-flux-coated blue dial. The glittering manual-wind watch, a favorite (at least at iW) since its debut several years ago in white gold, measures 40mm by 6.2mm and really sparkles in any light to emulate a starry night sky. The secret: Thousands of copper oxide crystals embedded in the deep blue dial. In its all-new pink gold case, the watch comes in a limited edition of fifty watches. Technically, the watch offers the Cal. L093.1 movement with a superior 72 hours of power reserve. Price: $27,100.
Dial: 18-karat white gold, grey with hand-engraved lozenge pattern, semi-transparent enameling.
Functions: Time indicated in hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds; one-minute tourbillon with stop seconds; Up/Down power-reserve indicator; large date.
Movement:Lange manufacture Caliber L042.1, manually wound, decorated and assembled twice by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; tourbillon and intermediate wheel cocks engraved by hand.
Strap: Hand-stitched black leather with grey seam, deployant buckle in 950 platinum.
Alongside the many new dome clocks and pocket watches Patek Philippe is debuting during its wide-ranging Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021 exhibition in Geneva this month, the manufacture is also presenting six ongoing-collection wristwatches re-interpreted with new artisanal craftsmanship.
These debuts include a Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon, a diamond-set minute repeater with retrograde perpetual calendar (Ref. 5304/301R-001), a minute repeater with perpetual calendar (Ref. 5374-001), the Ref. 7040/250G-001 Minute Repeater for Ladies, a richly decorated Golden Ellipse (Ref. 5738/51G-001), and a white gold Nautilus set with diamonds. Prices for all these models are on request.
The Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat
Patek Philippe has given this ultra-complex watch (with twelve complications) a stunning hand-engraved rose-gold case with a brown dial in grand feu champlevé and cloisonné enamel.
Patek Philippe’s engravers spent more than 100 hours creating the ‘volutes and arabesques’ case, crown and repeater slide. As Patek Philippe’s second most complicated model, the Sky Moon Tourbillon combines a tourbillon and a minute repeater that strikes on cathedral gongs, a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date, a moon-phase display and the leap year cycle.
From the back, you’ll see a celestial chart showing the apparent motion of the moon and the stars. Patek Philippe will deliver the new Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon with hand-engraved cufflinks in rose gold. It replaces the Ref. 6002G-010 in white gold with a black grand feu enamel dial.
The Ref. 5374G-001 Minute Repeaterwith a perpetual calendar
Initially available in platinum, this chiming watch with cathedral gongs now boasts a white-gold case with a glossy blue grand feu enamel dial. Also new are the slightly larger perpetual calendar (day, date, month, leap year cycle) displays, placed on slightly enlarged subsidiary dials. In addition, the white gold hands are now highly luminous, while themoonphase aperture is made using the champlevé enamel technique and then framed in white gold (see below).
Ref. 7040/250G-001 Rare Handcrafts Minute Repeater for ladies
This groundbreaking minute repeater is now extra luxurious with a blue grand feu flinqué enamel dial and a bezel with a Flamme diamond setting. The new model is slightly larger (36m) than the earlier models, and also boasts a diamond-set bezel.
If you recall the dial on the Patek Philippe “Siamese Fighting Fish” pocket watch from 2019, you’ll see a similarity with this new model. Artisans fully guilloche the dial’s gold plate and then coat it with transparent blue enamel that allows the underlying decor to shine through. This method is an old technique called flinqué enameling. Patek Philippe insures that this watch remains thin (5.05mm) by using its self-winding caliber R 27 PS, powered by a 22-karat gold eccentric mini-rotor.
Ref. 5738/51G-001 Golden Ellipse Haut Artisanat
This new design takes full advantage of one of Patek Philippe’s most classic case shapes. Here in white gold, the Ellipse boasts a stunning champlevé enamel dial that has been manually engraved. The watch’s curly-cue decor, known technically as ‘volutes and arabesques,’ nicely complements the oval case shape of the Golden Ellipse.
Inside Patek Philippe places its famed automatic Caliber 240 powered by an off-center recessed mini-rotor in 22-karat gold. The thin (6.58mm) watch joins the current Golden Ellipse collection, which also includes Ref. 5738P-001 in platinum with a blue sunburst dial and the Ref. 5738R-001 in rose gold with an ebony black sunburst dial.
Ref. 7118/1450G Nautilus Haute Joaillerie
Released in rose gold just a few months ago, this newest highly reflective diamond-set Nautilus can now be had in a white gold case. Set with a random pavé setting (also called snow setting), the watch’s case, dial, bezel, and the bracelet are decorated with nearly 13 carats of diamonds. Still, despite the glitter, the blackened white gold hands remain visible thanks in part to a generous coating of luminous material.
This 32.5mm white-gold case is fitted with the automatic Caliber 324 S movement that has been elaborately finished and visible through the sapphire-crystal case back. Sunglasses please.
Ref. 5304/301R-001 Minute Repeater with a retrograde perpetual calendar
Now in a 43mm rose-gold case set with eighty baguette diamonds, this grand complication was first launched in 2006 in a platinum case. Its new diamond frame boasts 6.22 carats of diamonds on its bezel, lugs and clasp, dramatizing Patek Philippe’s seriously complicated system for clearly displaying the day, month, and leap year cycle with transparent sapphire-crystal disks. To add subplots to the drama, Patek Philippe has also added white-gold inlays with engraved leaf motifs in the case flanks and the repeater slide.
The back offers its own window into the architecture of the self-winding caliber R 27 PS QR LU movement, most notably the minute repeater mechanism with two gongs. The viewer can also watch the whirring of the centrifugal governor during chiming. Finally, Patek Philippe artisans re-imagined the finished here with a leaf motif now visible on the rose gold mini-rotor. Patek Philippe has built so many stunning technical and artisanal highlights into this watch, we highly recommend you view the brands’ own visual tour, available here.
Among its many notable 2021 debuts, Patek Philippe earlier this month unveiled two particularly interesting calendar watches. Each introduces a new approach to full-spectrum timekeeping, and, notably, neither debut is cased in gold.
One, the much-discussed in-line Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001), is a new perpetual calendar that shows the day, date, and month in a single panoramic aperture at the top of the dial –the first such display in a Patek Philippe wristwatch.
The second calendar model, the Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar, places an annual calendar in a steel case and on a steel bracelet. Recall that Patek Philippe pioneered the annual calendar for the wrist in 1996, and this new model is the brand’s first annual-calendar-only watch not cased in a precious metal.
The Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe has previously created in-line calendar displays, but strictly for pocket watches. Interestingly, these were made first for the American market. One example from 1972 (No. P- 1450) features a calendar format in the American style (“à l’américaine”), showing month, date, and then day.
Taking a cue from this historic model and a few others, Patek Philippe several years ago challenged itself to devise such a display in miniature for a wristwatch.
Patek Philippe’s watchmakers decided to design a system with two date disks – one for the tens and one for the units. This meant that the entire calendar display would require four disks, one for the day, two for the date, and one for the month, and all needed to be embedded in the same plane.
To accomplish this, and to maintain a thin caliber, Patek Philippe’s watchmakers built the new movement based on the caliber found in the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator from 2011. The caliber in the Ref. 5235 features an off-center micro-rotor, which opens up space for the additional 118 components required to construct the in-line display.
Patek Philippe then had to re-engineer the caliber to more efficiently drive the extra energy required by a perpetual calendar. The firm’s watchmakers increased the torque of the spring barrel 20 percent and boosted the winding power by utilizing a platinum rotor rather than the more typical gold rotor.
And finally, Patek Philippe improved the caliber’s overall rate stability by increasing the frequency from 3.2 to 4 Hz (28,800 semi-oscillations per hour).
The resulting new automatic, ultra-thin caliber 31-260 PS QL boasts a recessed mini-rotor and a customized module for which Patek Philippe has filed three patents. In addition to powering the date display, the movement also powers two round displays that show the leap-year cycle as well as the day/night indications. A further window displays the moon phases.
Patek Philippe is launching the Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P-001 in a hand-polished 41.3mm x 11.07mm platinum case. Its handsome blue dial offers nicely gradated black at the edges. It arrives on a matching navy blue alligator leather strap secured with a fold-over clasp. Price: $130,108.
The new Patek PhilippeRef. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar finds the manufacturer re-designing the ultra-practical complication to fit within a steel Calatrava case for the first time. Equally interesting, the Calatrava is attached to an all-new steel bracelet.
You might recall that Patek Philippe invented the wrist-borne Annual Calendar in 1996, effectively creating an entirely new calendar watch category for itself (and many other high-end watchmakers.)
Requiring only one manual correction per year (at the end of February), the annual calendar brings with it a convenient, and moderately priced, calendar function to those who would like the all-encompassing coverage of a perpetual calendar, but balk at the high cost of nearly all examples of the mechanical complication.
Until this new model, Patek Philippe has offered its annual calendar in various ladies’ and men’s models, all in either gold or platinum cases.
The new 38mm steel-cased Patek Philippe Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar offers a polished steel bezel that matches the new, totally integrated steel bracelet. Patek Philippe has created a luxurious five-row bracelet made of fully polished links and a fold-over clasp.
The blue dial on the new watch is patterned with vertical and horizontal satin finishes that appear textured, as on a matte linen fabric. This assures that the dial contrasts nicely with polish of the case and bracelet, creating a surprisingly contemporary overall appearance.
The watch’s calendar displays are easy to read: Two subsidiary dials between 9 and 10 o’clock indicate the day and, between 2 and 3 o’clock, the month; the date appears in an aperture at 6 o’clock just below a moon-phase display rounds out the calendar functions.
From the back, the wearer can enjoy a clear view of the beautifully finished automatic Patek Philippe caliber 324 S QA LU movement. The watch is nicely sized at 38mm and not too fussy, particularly given its array of calendar functions. It also holds a unique position within the Patek Philippe lineup, especially with its steel case and bracelet. If you’ve been waiting for a steel-cased Patek that is not a Nautilus and not a chronograph, this might be your new watch.
Specifications:Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001)
Movement: Self-winding mechanical Caliber 31‑260 PS QL. In-line perpetual calendar. Day, date, month, leap year and day/night indication in apertures. Small seconds.
Bulgari launches the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, extending its string of record-breaking ultra-thin watch debuts to seven since 2014. With a micro-rotor powering the watchmaker’s 2.75mm thin Caliber BVL 305, the new watch displays the time of day plus most the traditional perpetual calendar functions in a decidedly un-traditional ultra-thin 5.80mm-thick case.
The new perpetual calendar debuted last week during Watches and Wonders 2021 alongside other Bulgari collection updates. These include a new Serpenti high-jewelry model, four new gem-encrusted Divissima and Astrale cocktail watches and a special Octo Finissimo limited edition timer-only model designed by Japanese artist Tadao Ando.
We’ll detail these watches in upcoming posts. Below, let’s take a closer look at the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar.
It’s not just the size of the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar case that underscores Bulgari’s technical acumen. The watchmaker’s own history with retrograde displays, fueled in part by years of experience with this long-time Gerald Genta specialty (Bulgari purchased Gerald Genta in 2000), is front and center on the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar.
The dial’s headliner is a retrograde date display, commanding the top and center of the dial, while a retrograde-display leap years indicator sits patiently at 6 o’clock. Radial, hand-indicated day and month displays fill the remainder of the octagon-framed dial.
And if this dial seems a bit spare for a perpetual calendar, that’s because there’s no moonphase display. Bulgari deems the lunar subdial, frequently found on traditional perpetual calendars, as too classical to contribute to the contemporary style of the Octo Finissimo collection.
The watch’s displays are adjusted by means of three correctors: one for the date at 2 pm, another for the month at 4 pm and a third for the day between 8 and 9 o’clock.
Bulgari notes that it met the challenge of devising a perpetual calendar within a slender case by effectively reassessing how a movement is configured spatially.
Previous Octo Finissimo models, such as the Chronograph GMT Automatic (2019) and the Tourbillon Automatic (2018), employ a peripheral rotor to free space within the movement. However, here Bulgari opted to re-format most of the perpetual calendar’s 408 components on one level around an efficient new micro-rotor. This freed enough space to allow Bulgari to retain many components at full size – and optimal efficiency – despite the caliber’s 2.75mm limiting thinness.
Bulgari will debut the new perpetual calendar with the same architecturally stepped 40mm sandblasted titanium case we’ve seen on previous record-breaking ultra-thin Octo Finissimo models, consistent with the collection’s modern style.
Bulgari is also simultaneously creating a platinum-cased, blue-dialed example. However, this models’ platinum case (a first for this collection) is not fully polished, as is often the case with the luxurious metal. Bulgari will finish this premiere piece with a clearly contemporary satin brushing mixed with polished accents.
Movement: Automatic Manufacture movement, Caliber BVL 305, measuring 2.75mm thick, with indication of hours, minutes, retrograde date, day, month and retrograde leap year; 60-hour power reserve.
Case and dial: Sandblasted 40mm titanium, 5.80mm thick, sandblasted titanium crown with ceramic insert, transparent caseback; water-resistant to 30 meters. Dial is sandblasted titanium dial, 0.3 mm thick.
Bracelet: Sandblasted titanium with folding clasp.
Platinum model (Ref. 103463)
Movement: Automatic Manufacture movement, Caliber BVL 305, measuring 2.75mm thick, with indication of hours, minutes, retrograde date, day, month and retrograde leap year; 60-hour power reserve.
Case and dial: Satin-brushed/polished platinum case, 40mm diameter, 5.80mm thick, white gold crown, transparent caseback; water-resistant to 30 meters. Dial is lacquered blue.
Bracelet: Alligator leather strap with platinum pin clasp.
MB&F wants you to wear its new Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO anywhere you go.
The new watch, which MB&F debuts today, is an exuberant, ultra-tough version of its innovative and GPHG-award-winning Legacy Machine Perpetual (from 2015) that MB&F has now dressed in a new case and outfitted with enhanced shock resistance and increased water resistance.
Cased in lightweight zirconium, an extremely durable silvery-grey metal frequently used by medical instrument makers, the new watch immediately differentiates itself from the earlier LM Perpetual by displaying no bezel. Instead, MB&F has fused the watch’s domed sapphire crystal directly to the 44mm case.
This re-configured case/crystal configuration opens up the wearer’s view of the watch’s eye-catching, hovering balance wheel, a signature MB&F design element. But more than that, the new design also decreases the watch’s overall height-to-diameter ratio, which can reduce the chances of accidental impact to the crystal.
Zirconium, while difficult to machine, makes for a particularly lightweight case; it also features enhanced hypoallergenic and anti-microbial properties.MB&F has only used zirconium to case two previous watches, the HM3 Frog and HM5.
Perhaps the most critical addition to the original perpetual calendar’s movement design is a one-piece stainless steel dampener called the FlexRing. MB&F fits this new round component between the watch’s case and movement to enhance shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes.
According to MB&F, the new component “makes for the most robust Machine ever to emerge from MB&F.”
In addition to these adjustments, MB&F has transformed the watch’s pushers, which are larger and oblong instead of small and round, and has enhanced the water resistance of the crown (which is now screw-down) on this updated perpetual calendar. The sleeker pushers in particular signal the EVO’s sportiness.
To increase the watch’s water resistance to 80-meters MB&F has connected the crown to a new type of winding stem that disengages the crown from the winding mechanism when it is pushed in and tightened. This also prevents the wearer from over winding the mainspring barrel.
As a reminder, Stephen McDonnell effectively redesigned the traditional perpetual calendar when he first devised the LM Perpetual for MB&F five years ago.
McDonnell built the LM Perpetual with a “mechanical processor” (a series of superimposed disks) that takes the default number of days in the month at 28 and then adds the extra days as required by each individual month. This removes the chance that the date will jump incorrectly. He also built in a safety feature that disconnects the pushers during the date changeover to eliminate any risk of damage to the movement when the date is changed.
In addition to bolstering the shock and water resistance of its perpetual calendar, MB&F is also emphasizing the LM Perpetual’s EVO’s sporty nature with new movement plate PVD or CVD colors and a rubber strap that fits snugly between two polished lugs.
One of three plate color options, dubbed Atomic Orange, is new for MB&F. The watchmaker says it has devised a new coating material and CVD coating technique that allowed it to add this sporty hue to its component color options.
MB&F is offering two other dial-plate colors, PVD black and CVD blue, for the LM Perpetual EVO and is producing each of the three shades in a limited series of fifteen pieces (in celebration of the brand’s 15th anniversary). Strap colors are white, grey and black. Price: $167,000.
Specifications: MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO
Movement: Fully integrated perpetual calendar developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell, featuring dial-side complication and mechanical processor system architecture with inbuilt safety mechanism. Manual winding with double mainspring barrels, bespoke 14mm balance wheel with traditional regulating screws visible on top of the movement. Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style; internal bevel angles, polished bevels, Geneva waves, hand-made engravings. A FlexRing, an annular dampener fitted between case and movement, provides shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes, screw-down crown, 72-hour power reserve, 18,000 bph balance frequency (2.5Hz).
Functions/indications: Galvanic black dials with both SLN numerals and hands (except for the leap year and power reserve). Hours, minutes, day, date, month, retrograde leap year and power reserve indicators.
Case: 44mm by 17.5 mm zirconium, water resistance to 80 meters, sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces
Eight years after Seiko debuted its GPS-connected, light-powered Astron, the Tokyo-based watchmaker launches a new Astron dedicated to Seiko’s founder Kintaro Hattori. The new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary watch commemorates Hattori with a special sixteen-facet zirconia ceramic bezel, representing one facet for each decade since Hattori’s birth.
This latest Astron, powered by the GPS-controlled Caliber 5X53, is a dual timer with automatic high-speed timezone adjustment (including Daylight Savings Time) while traveling in any time zone, with accuracy to 15 seconds per month even without receiving the GPS signal. The watch’s 42.8mm case and bracelet are made of titanium with a scratch-resistant coating. The watch’s dark hue, accented in gold, is meant to honor Seiko’s heritage.
Seiko has placed Hattori’s name and three reminders of his legacy on the case back, including the trademark “S” that he registered in 1900. His motto “One step ahead of the rest” appears above it near the name Seiko, which the company first used in 1924.
Seiko is offering the watch, a limited edition of 2,500, in a presentation box with a commemorative “S” mark badge and includes a card carrying a message from Kintaro’s great-grandson and the company’s current Chairman & CEO, Shinji Hattori.
The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition will be available in October, the month of Kintaro’s birth, at Seiko Boutiques and at selected retail partners worldwide. Price: $3,900.
Specifications: Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition (Limited edition of 2,500)
Movement: Caliber 5X53 GPS controlled time and time zone adjustment, dual-time with AM/PM indication, perpetual calendar correct to Feb 2100 , automatic DST adjustment, high speed time zone adjustment , time transfer function , signal reception result indication, world time function (39 time zones), power save function. Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (without receiving a GPS signal and at temperatures between 5°C and 35°C)
Case: 42.8mm x 15.6 mm titanium case with super-hard black coating zirconia ceramic bezel, dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistance to 200 meters, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m,
Bracelet: Titanium with three-fold clasp with push button release. A crocodile strap is also included.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Casio’s Edifice collection has long been the more conventional, metal-cased choice for those who enjoy the laundry list of high-tech features found on Casio’s wildly popular G-Shock watches, but prefer a thinner, polished case under their sleeve. Earlier this year Casio further endeared itself to all who even sometimes want a more traditional steel watch by releasing new full-featured Edifice bracelet models inside even slimmer cases.
The Casio Edifice EQB1000D-1A is a recently released example of that Edifice focus. I’ve been wearing this watch for a few weeks, and it feels more luxurious than I expected for a brand known more for fit and function rather than eye-candy. Perhaps it’s the watch’s shiny aqua day/mode scale and matching second-time-zone hour hand.
Most likely, that tinge of luxury is the result of its thinness. The watch is slim (just 8.9 mm thick compared to the 13.1mm of the previous models), an update Casio made despite incorporating the same multi-hand display, Bluetooth and Tough Solar functions.
And of course, when using the Casio Edifice app in conjunction with the watch, myriad additional features are available to wearer. Connecting via Bluetooth, the watch gets much smarter, accessing the correct time for up to 300 cities worldwide, even updating with the latest time zone and daylight saving time information.
Also when connected, the watch resets regularly four times a day by the smartphone to show both home time and world time correctly. You can also reset the watch manually with just a push of a button when crossing between time zones.
For the forgetful, however, there’s one feature that might prove to be the most useful: the Phone finder. Pressing a button on the watch causes your phone to sound a tone, even if it is in silent mode. This means you can quickly locate your phone if it’s reasonably close. I found that if I left my phone even fifteen feet away, the alarm would continue to sound.
But even without the connectivity, the watch offers more than you’d expect for what is essentially an analog model. Its dual timer enables users to view the current time plus the time in another time zone simultaneously –with a clear indication (at 12 o’clock) of daytime or nighttime at that zone. Additional features include water resistance up to 100 meters, a 1/1000th second stopwatch, 200-lap memory, a daily alarm and a full calendar.
All these features would tend to tax the battery life on a standard smartwatch, but here, despite the Bluetooth and additional connected features, the Edifice EQB-1000D is actually smarter. It doesn’t need to be charged every day, or even every month. Casio’s superior Tough Solar feature allows a fully charged internal battery to last for five months, even if you or your watch hasn’t seen any sunlight for weeks. That’s because the Edifice’s battery charges from not only sunlight, but also from any artificial source, including florescent or LED light.
The Casio Edifice EQB1000D-1A also boasts a sapphire crystal (not always found at this price point) with non-reflective coating. Priced at $330, it will be also be available with a sportier versions (with added tachymeter bezel) that opt for a black dial with red accents and a silver stainless steel band (EQB1000XD-1A; $330) and with a black dial with blue accents and a black IP coated stainless-steel band (EQB1000XDC-1A; $380).
Specifications: Casio Edifice EQB1000DC-1A
Tough Solar (Solar powered)
Mobile link (Wireless linking using Bluetooth
Dual time (Home city time swapping)
One-second stopwatch (measuring capacity: 23:59’59). Others: Flyback, direct timing start from the timekeeping mode
Power Saving (hands stop to save power when the watch is left in the dark)
Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
Analog: 3 hands (hour, minute (hand moves every 10 seconds)
Four dials (24-hour, day, dual time hour and minute, dual time 24-hour)
Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (with no mobile link function)
Approx. battery operating time:Five months on rechargeable battery (operation period with normal use without exposure to light after charge) or nineteen months on rechargeable battery (operation period when stored in total darkness with the power save function on after full charge)
Size of case /total weight: EQB-1000D………49.9 x 45.6 x 8.9 mm / 130 g