Oris continues to expand its industry leading Change for the Better campaign for humanitarian and environmental causes as it launches two limited-edition pilot watches powered by its much-heralded Calibre 401.
The new Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition watches are based on the independent Swiss watchmaker’s Big Crown pilot’s watch. Sales of the watches will benefit Wings of Hope, a U.S.-based aeronautical humanitarian organization founded sixty years ago.
Twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Wings of Hope flies medical support to remote and vulnerable communities around the globe. Wings of Hope also provides education to the next generation of pilots, engineers and humanitarians.
One of the new models is a 40mm steel edition limited to 1,000 pieces while the other is a 38mm yellow gold-cased edition limited to 100 pieces. Luminous hands and markers (light green on the steel model and golden on the gold-cased edition) and a red-handed seconds subdial mark the handsome off-white retro-style pilot watch dial.
As noted, Oris is placing its Calibre 401 in both watches. As with its full Caliber 400 series, Caliber 401 has elevated levels of anti-magnetism, a five-day power reserve and a ten-year warranty. It’s also accurate to -3/+5 seconds a day – which would pass chronometer testing – and has ten-year recommended service intervals.
Both watches arrive on Cervo Volante sustainable deer leather straps and arrive in a special presentation box with numbered certificate.
After introducing its 43mm Big Pilot’s Watch earlier in April, IWC now adds two Spitfire models to the collection. That initial debut introduced the new 43mm size to the Big Pilot’s collection, offering a smaller diameter option to those who want this collection’s military profile (and distinctive conical crown) to fit more snugly on moderate-sized wrists.
These two new models, one in a matte grey titanium case with a black dial and one with a very nice bronze case framing a military green dial, offer the Big Pilot’s design but do so with stricter military specs that require closed casebacks.
Both these new watches offer a titanium case back that IWC has engraved with an image of a Spitfire fighter plane, and both include a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields.
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (Ref. IW329702) with the bronze case, gold-plated hands and bronze crown presents collectors with a real visual treat beyond its inherent military demeanor.
The watch’s stylish color combination sacrifices none of its technical chops. IWC says its bronze alloy is considerably harder than traditional bronze because it includes copper, aluminum and iron. And as any owner of a bronze watch will testify, bronze will develop a unique patina over time to create a distinctive look.
IWC has coated the watch’s hands and hour markers with a generous helping of luminescent material and has attached a green buffalo stitched leather strap. Price: $9,350.
IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (Ref. IW329701) offers its own aesthetic attractions, primarily its historically inspired black ‘observation’ watch dial. This means the hour hands are not the focus for pilots who need to know minutes and seconds quickly. Thus, the minutes and seconds appear larger, printed in white on the outer ring, which make it easier for pilots to read the minutes and seconds.
IWC fits this model with brown calfskin leather strap with contrast stitching. Price: $8,950.
IWC powers both watches with its own 82100 Caliber movement that boasts the famed, hyper-efficient IWC Pellaton winding system and zirconium oxide wheels and pawls. Power reserve is sixty hours. Both watches also feature IWC’s own EasXchange system for quick, tool-free strap changes.
Alpina has updated a bygone mechanical caliber design to launch its Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture with a ‘bumper’ rotor that pings back and forth, rotating 330 degrees instead of the 360-degree modern standard for automatic movements.
A version of this type of to-and-fro oscillating ‘bumper’ weight was used in many early automatic Swiss watches starting from the late 1920s into the 1960s and could be found installed into watches from Omega, Universal Genève, Jaeger-LeCoultre–and Alpina.
The new Caliber AL-709 on this new Alpina watch, which is visible through the clear sapphire caseback, mimics the watchmaker’s own vintage ‘bumper’ movement from the 1950s.
According to Alpina, the two calibers share “the same geometry and the same inspiration.” However, while the vintage version rotates 120°, the new one rotates 330°. In addition, Alpina has replaced the springs used in the vintage designs with more efficient blades.
Alpina has placed its retro-bumper caliber into an existing 42mm steel cushion-shaped case from its Startimer Pilot Heritage collection.
The case nicely combines a circle in a square with rounded edges. A smartly satin-brushed and polished case middle further emphasizes the case’s dual geometry, which to my eye feels more inspired by watches from the 1970s than from those made in the 1950s.
Alpina has built its AL-709 caliber with an extended diameter that reaches to the edge of the round inner caseback, in part to underscore the watch’s Heritage message.
The dial also adds to the vintage look with its 1950s style cues, notably the three matching hands. Alpina also wisely places the watch’s crown at 4 o’clock, which enhances the case’s cushion profile. The 42mm case size and the sporty red accents add a contemporary edge.
Alpina is limiting the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture to 188 pieces, each with a brown calfskin strap with off-white topstitching. Price: $2,850.
Specifications: Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture
(Ref. AL-709SR4SH6, Limited edition of 188)
Movement: Automatic AL-709 Manufacture caliber, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 alt/h.
Case: 42mm by 13.25mm brushed and polished stainless steel, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, see-through case back, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Silver color with vertical brushed finishing, black minutes and seconds graduation, silver color indexes and hands with red luminous treatment.
Bracelet: Brown calf leather strap with off-white stitching.
Breitling’s Ref. 765 AVI pilot’s watch, introduced in 1953 and known as the “Co-Pilot,” is the inspiration for the just-introduced Super AVI watch collection, which reinterprets four vintage aircraft celebrating aviation history.
The honored legendary planes are the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito.
And each new watch is unique in its own way.
The Breitling Super AVI P-51 Mustang—named for the eponymous fighter/bomber that was a relative latecomer to the Pacific Theater—comes in two variations: with a stainless steel case with a black dial and brown leather strap, and a red-gold version with an anthracite dial and a black leather strap. The latter is exclusive to Breitling boutiques or online at Breitling.com.
The Breitling Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair has a blue dial, tone-on-tone counters and a black leather strap, and it is designed in honor of the naval aircraft, which was the first single-engine fighter to crack the 400 mph mark.
The Breitling Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk is set with a military-green dial, white contrasting chronograph counters, and red accents. Its coloration is a nod to its namesake’s famous shark-mouth nose art.
Finally, the Breitling Super AVI Mosquito has a black ceramic bezel—the only one among the new collection with this distinction—and a black dial with white counters. Its red and orange details allude to the markings on the plane, nicknamed the “Wooden Wonder.”
These new Breitling pilot’s watches, introduced just a few weeks ago in Dallas, feature 46mm cases with bi-directional ratcheted bezels and oversized crowns. The red-tipped GMT hands, in collusion with the 24-hour markings on the inner bezels, track a second time zone. The large Arabic numerals on the dials and bezels and Super Luminova-accented numerals, indexes, and hands provide optimal legibility.
Inside, the self-winding COSC-certified Caliber B04 drives the hours, minutes, seconds, date, and second time zone. This column-wheel chronograph movement with vertical clutch offers an impressive seventy hours of power reserve.
The leather watchstraps are lined in Breitling yellow and the case backs of the watches are decorated with renderings of the respective planes.
Alpina’s Startimer pilot collection and its Seastrong diver series boast an impressive (and nicely priced) selection of contemporary and vintage-styled adventure watches. This week, the Geneva-based watchmaker adds one more watch to the vintage column of each collection, which Alpina dubs its Heritage series.
First up, the new Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic is the fifth watch in this best-selling series combining 1960s-style dials with modern calibers and cases.
Appropriately water-resistant to 300 meters, the 42mm watch features a rotating inner flange (adjusted using the crown at 2 o’clock) to time dives and brightly luminescent hands to allow full visibility in the dark.
Unlike previous examples in this collection with two-color dials, this latest model offers a uniform black lacquered sunray-brushed dial. In addition, the new model offers no date display, which technically is not required for a successful dive.
Inside Alpina places a Sellita-based AL-520 movement, protected on top with a sapphire crystal. Both crowns are screwed-in to ensure water resistance, and the caseback is engraved with Alpina’s historical logo.
Already a strong value, the watch is even more interesting with Alpina’s package, which includes two attractive straps, one in brown calfskin leather and the other in beige topstitched rubber. Price: $1,695.
New Startimer Dial
Alpina’s second Heritage addition, the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic, is inspired by Alpina designs from the 1920s and 1930s. This new variation adds a new dial color to the existing black model we showed you last year.
The new watch maintains the Pilot Heritage Automatic specs: a 44 mm steel case framing a matte dial (now blue) that displays luminescent beige hour, minute and 24-hour markers that nicely replicate a typical shade used on early pilot watches.
As we noted on the 2020 model, Alpina adds to the watch’s vintage styling by placing the original triangular Alpina logo on the dial. This logo, which differs from the logo Alpina places on its contemporary pilot models, serves a practical purpose by separating the 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock markers.
And finally, Alpina underscores the watch’s vintage vibe by outfitting the Pilot Heritage Automatic with a hunter-style caseback that flips open with the flick of a finger. Through the clear caseback the wearer can view the watch’s Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement.
Alpina is limiting the Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic with blue calfskin leather strap to 288 pieces. The watchmaker will continue its support of the National Park Foundation by donating $100 for every watch purchased through its U.S. website.
Specifications: Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic
(Limited edition of 288 pieces.)
Movement: Sellita-based automatic AL-525 with 38-hour power reserve.
Case: 44mm by 11.55mm brushed and polished 3-part case, sapphire crystal, hunter caseback (at left). Water-resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: Blue with beige minutes and seconds graduation outward, beige 24 hours graduation inward, applied silver color Arabic numbers with beige luminous treatment. Date window at 3 o’clock, silver color hour and minute hands with beige luminous treatment, silver color second hand with red triangle.
Movement: Sellita-based automatic AL-520 with 38-hour power reserve.
Case: 42mm by 12.3mm polished 2-part, sapphire crystal, engraved back, water-resistant to 300m, screw-in crown.
Dial: Black with sunray finishing, yellow gold color minutes and seconds graduation, applied yellow gold-plated indexes, black outer ring with yellow gold color, minutes and seconds graduation yellow gold-plated, hour, minute and second hands with white luminous treatment.
Bracelet: Brown calf leather, additional black rubber strap.