Citizen takes its light-powered, GPS-connected wristwatch technology underwater this week as the Japanese watchmaker debuts two Promaster dive watches set for the first time with the Citizen Cal. F158 Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS movement.
The new watches are being billed by Citizen as the first light-powered dive watch with GPS satellite capabilities. The newest Promasters are also fully compliant the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard for dive watches and feature water resistance to 200 meters.
To use the new models beneath the waves, a diver first presses the push buttons at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock simultaneously, which sends the watch into Dive mode. All functions, except time display, will then stop in order to prevent erroneous user operations. It will not enter into Dive mode if the charged battery amount is insufficient.
Both watches are cased with Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium, which Citizen then enhances with a surface-treatment hardening technology called Duratect MRK. While both models measure 47mm in diameter, the blue dialed option (model CC5006-06L) is finished in a glossy black hue using a DLC layering technique, which enhances scratch resistance.
Sea of features
These are professional-level dive watches, echoing much of the Promaster collection, which features a range of high-spec dive, aviation and racing watches. Citizen has ensured that each model boasts a unidirectional bezel with knurled notches, a screw lock crown, sapphire crystal, charge capacity display function and light-level indicator.
And, as is required for ISO compliance, the Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS Diver 200m dials are easy to read with large, luminous indexes and hands.
Citizen’s proprietary light-powered Eco-Drive Cal.F158 will operate for about seven years on a full charge – even without a light source. This insures that the various high-tech functions will operate uninterrupted.
Thus, the watches will continue to receive location and time information anywhere in the world using GPS satellite signals. This data will automatically correct the time and world calendar. Even without GPS satellite function, the watch is rated to an accuracy of ± five seconds per month. The wearer can also manually adjust the crown to change city and calendar, if desired.
For experienced or aspiring divers, Citizen has emblazoned the dial ring on both watches with the abbreviated names of eight famous diving locations, including Sharm El Sheikh, Maldives, Phuket, Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Hawaii, Galapagos and Fernando de Noronha.
Citizen supplies each watch with a urethane band and an extension band for wet suit use.
Prices: $1,395 (Super Titanium case with black DLC coating and blue dial) and $1,350 (Super Titanium case and green dial).
Bulova is marking the tenth anniversary of its Precisionist collection of high-tech, 1/1,000-of-a-second quartz watches with the new Precisionist X Collection.
The new collection offers more luxurious examples of the large-cased, multi-level Precisionist. The collection features, for example, one model with karat gold accents and another utilizing the interesting patterns created by Damascus steel.
One model, the Precisionist X Limited Edition, is cased in stainless steel with an 18-karat yellow gold top ring insert. And befitting an anniversary celebration, the watch is limited to 100 pieces and is being offered by Bulova in a special gift box with a numbered serial card and a plaque ($3,950)
Alongside the limited edition, Bulova unveils two new Precisionist X Special Edition models that boast top ring inserts made of Damascus steel, which you can easily identify thanks to its wave pattern.
Those who also collect knives or swords are familiar with the process, which will actually harden the steel. Examples of the process date to the 4th century A.D. when the city of Damascus was then well known for its weapon-makers and metallurgical prowess.
Bulova will make the Precisionist X Special Edition ($1,295) with either a black IP case paired with a handsome new green leather strap or a rose gold IP case paired with a brown leather strap. Like the limited edition model, this unlimited anniversary watch will be sold with a special gift box.
Both watches retain the Precisionist’s distinctive octagonal 45mm x 47mm case shape with partially open dial design, primarily exposing the watch’s date ring and central quartz movement plate.
With its 1/1,000-of-a-second chronograph timing ability, you’ll find dial displays on the Precisionist that show tenths, hundredths and thousandths-of-a-second readings. Bulova caps the displays with a curved sapphire crystal.
Casio this week expands its Edifice collection with a new Honda Racing Collaboration Model (EFS560HR-1A).
Like previous Edifice Honda models, this latest solar-powered sporty chronograph watch is dressed with the colors of the Honda Racing team. The watch’s black Cordura band and red accents match the signature colors of the team.
In the same lane, the Edifice’s carbon fiber dial is meant to recall the look of an asphalt racetrack. The dial, resplendent with the Honda Racing logo, is also clearly marked with a gold reminder of the Edifice collection’s 20th anniversary.
In keeping with the Honda theme, the watch’s metal strap keeper and caseback are engraved with the Honda logo, where it joins the Edifice 20th anniversary logo.
The strap itself is covered with Cordura fabric with Kevlar fiber inserts.
As with all recent Edifice light-powered watches, this model’s solar charging system generates power using the light that enters through the inset dial openings. The watch will operate for up to six months of operation without exposure to light on a full charge.
Look for the Honda Racing Collaboration Model (EFS560HR-1A) in October at select retailers nationwide, as well as Casio.com. Price: $400.
Specifications: Casio Edifice Honda Racing Limited Edition
Case: 50.2mm x 45.4m x 10.3m mm steel with black ion plated bezel, sapphire crystal with non-reflective coating,
100-meter water resistance
Movement: Light powered Edifice quartz chronograph with elapsed time and 1st and 2nd place time displays, accurate to 20-seconds per month.Operating time from full charge until hands stop is approximately six months.
Dial: Carbon fiber, two hands (hour, minute), three chrono subdials (seconds, stopwatch minutes, stopwatch seconds), battery-level indicator.
Mention watches and traditional watchmaking, and you’d be forgiven for thinking of Switzerland, Germany or even Japan. But France, and more specifically Besançon, has perhaps one of the strongest histories of traditional watchmaking in the world. And when you think of French watches, the one brand that stands out above all others is Lip.
Lip is indelibly linked to the French psyche much like Timex has been to those of us who grew up in the United States.
Lip has become something of a cult brand, even in the U.S. And for good reason. The Lip Mach 2000 is something of an anomaly among watch fans. If we are honest about it, in its current format it is essentially a quartz chronograph, and Lip has made few cosmetic changes to it.
More than a watch
But this is a watch that demonstrates that a watch is far more than the sum of its parts. Think I’m kidding?
While in France I received a Facebook message from a fellow watch journalist stateside asking me to pick one up while I was there and bring it back for him. There are certain watches out there that hit visceral nerves, and for me Lip has a few models that speak to me on levels I can’t really quantify. They are emotional as much as pragmatic. Lip, at its very heart, is as much a feeling as it is a brand.
Lip is well known throughout the Francophone world, and famous with hard-core watch and design fans ache for the Mach 2000, as well as the now iconic Nautic Ski.
And the Nautic Ski is enjoying a best “second life” ever, with the return of smaller watches on the radar of most watch fans. When I visited Lip four years ago, the brand had been living sort of a diluted life, really treated by the (then) owners as only a brand label for watches and not the watch brand that Lip truly is.
Enter the Berards
At the time of my visit, the Berard family was producing Lip under a license, but had not yet fully taken formal control.
The Berards, Philippe and his son Pierre-Alain, have now taken full ownership of Lip – and have reinvigorated it. I am not here to criticize the previous owners. I am, however, here to applaud the Berards, and the entire team at Lip.
How do you manage a legend? Curious to relate, Lip stirs a lot of emotions in not only watch fans, but in the French consciousness. But prior to the Berard’s, that emotional connection was more of a sense of nostalgia. But have no doubts as to how serious they are taking their stewardship of Lip.
The latest Lip release, for example, underscores their commitment with a reissue of the Rallye Chronograph.Recently only available as a quartz piece, this new limited edition is much closer to the original with an automatic movement.
The watch was announced recently as a pre-order item, and by all accounts it has been a pretty hot item.
In the years before the Berards, Lip was really not what it once was, or even what it could be.Since the Berards? I hate hyperbole, but walking around the streets of Besançon, Paris, and the offices and workshop at Lip, I really felt a new sense of energy and the passion. I really felt why Lipconnects on the level that it does with fans and the public at large.
It would be easy to do a Blancpain and “start from year zero,” but the team at Lip live in the real world, one where you don’t manufacture history. To that end, they have a rather unusual (in today’s watch world) department that handles vintage Lip questions, assessments, and if I understood correctly, possible restoration.
And while it would be easy for the Berards to simply have bought the name and turn to a white label company for everything, it was very clear to me that Lip clearly represents something special to them, and I got that same feeling touring around the new facilities that they have installed for the watchmakers working on more complicated and vintage pieces.
It is not enormous, but it is not insignificant either. And I think what is encouraging about it to me is that it represents the first step forward.
While it would be easy for Lip recreate itself as a reborn pricey brand, which is something it is not and never was, Lip has held the line on pricing. In a world where brands both big and small jack-up their prices only to jettison their unwanted stock to the grey market where it is discounted down to the bare bones, Lip offers something novel – a great watch at a fair price.
Now I realize that everyone wants to go to Switzerland to visit the historic Maisons, and that’s fair enough. But if you are really a fan of watches, history and culture I urge you to get yourself to Besançon and soak up all of the history and charm that this wonderful city has to offer.
James Henderson pens the Tempus Fugit website, where this article first appeared.
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.
Just ahead of the re-opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on August 29, the museum and Bulova team up to celebrate the museum’s 150th anniversary in 2020 with the Bulova MET150 Edition, a special edition Bulova watch.
The Bulova Met150 edition utilizes the historic Aerojet design silhouette from the 1960s, in 39mm stainless steel case with silver-tone crown and accents on a black dial. The quartz-powered watch features a three-hand calendar function, box mineral glass, and smooth grain black leather strap with red contrast stitching. Bulova places the Met logo is on the dial in the museum’s signature red hue.
The timepiece has launched digitally as part of The Met150 Edit on The Met Store website for Met members and will also be available at The Met Fifth Avenue once it reopens this Saturday, August 29. All proceeds from the sale of each watch ($295) will support the Museum’s collection, study, conservation and presentation of more than 5,000 years of art. Bulova, which since 2008 has operated as a separate brand within the Citizen Watch Corporation, was founded in New York City in 1875 and maintains its headquarters in the city.
In 2020, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is recognizing the 150th anniversary of its founding with a dynamic range of exhibitions and programs. Highlights of the year include “Making The Met, 1870–2020” and displaying new gifts throughout the Museum. More information is available at metmuseum.org/150.
After ten years of research, Bulova’s Accutron brand this week unveils a new type of watch movement that relies on electrostatic energy to help power its hands, and places the movement into two new Accutron watches.
The new watches, the Accutron Spaceview 2020 and the Accutron DNA, are the premiere models within the newly separated Accutron brand, and each feature designs that echo the dress of the historical Bulova Accutron Spaceview of the 1960s, the world’s first electronic watch (powered by tuning fork technology).
The new Miyota-built movement, which Bulova previewed in 2019, relies on both a power cell and on spinning turbines that react to the action of the wearer’s wrist to re-charge the cell.
The larger of the three electrostatic dial-side rotors, which is actually a motor, spins furiously while the watch is worn to directly power the seconds hand. The smaller two electrostatic generators, propelled by a more conventional rotor inside the movement, electrostatically charge the power cell, the integrated circuit and the quartz-based timing components that control the hour and minutes hands.
The watch’s energy is stored in an accumulator cell that powers two motors. Integrated circuits synchronize the motors to provide accuracy to +/- 5 seconds a month. Depending on how often the watch is worn, Accutron says it expects the electrostatic power feature will allow the watch to replenish its power for up to a decade without requiring a cell replacement.
In addition, Accutron has built a power-saving function into the new movement. After a certain period of inactivity, this function will stop the seconds hand to alert the wearer that power is being conserved. An even more comprehensive power-save feature, called the ‘energy conserving function,’ stops all of the hands, which prevents power from being depleted.
Both new Accutron watches display the same shade of green on bridges and/or case rings to clearly reference historical Bulova Accutron watches, notably the Accutron Spaceview.
The Spaceview 2020 most directly recalls the open, avant-garde design of the original Spaceview, which offered a clear view of its tuning fork electronics.
The new watch offers a 43.5mm stainless steel case and clear case ring with dot-shaped primary hour markers, fit to a black leather strap. A limited edition Spaceview 2020, with a green case ring, will also be available packaged in a deluxe box set with an illustrated book “From the Space Age to the Digital Age.”
Bulova took a few more liberties when designing the Accutron DNA, which offers a more contemporary adaptation. The Accutron DNA case ring is a sportier with its squared primary markers and its sapphire crystal is domed. Case ring color choices of green, blue, black or gold-tone offer more variety.
In addition, the Accutron DNA is attached to the wrist with what appears to be a nicely integrated black rubber strap, and the watch’s case is also larger, measuring 45.1 mm in diameter.
Casio’s Edifice collection gets an update in August when Casio America adds this EFR571DB-1A1 to its online and in-store offerings. The new model carries on the overall look of the existing EQB-500 and ECB-900 families, but adds a few new, dressier stylistic edges.
The collection’s sporty, racing-focused functionality is still here, but compared to its predecessors specifically within the 570 EFR series, this model offers far fewer seconds and split-seconds markers, resulting in a significantly cleaner dial and clearer tachymeter bezel.
With the new dial and bezel treatment Casio retains all the features you’d expect within this Edifice series: chronograph, second timezone and protected steel crown.
With the collection’s 44mm steel case size, the new Edifice EFR571DB-1A1 also offers a silver stainless-steel band, black dial with red accents and an ion-plated bezel.
For the new model, Edifice moves the subdials, with the 24-hour indicator now at the 12 o’clock position and the two chronograph timing subdials at the 9 o’clock (minutes) and 6 o’clock position (seconds).
Additional features include water resistance to 100 meters, low-battery alert and a three-year battery life.
Look for the Edifice EFR571DB-1A1 in August at select retailers nationwide, as well as on Casio.com. Price: $140.
The story of Waldan Watches is an inspiring one.I’ve followed the progress of the company since the early days of International Watch, and with the re-birth of Waldan Watches underway, led by its new-generation leader Andrew Waldan, it’s time to review the Waldan story and introduce its latest collection.
The groundwork that laid the foundation for the Waldan International watch brand goes back to the late 1970s during a period when founder Oscar Waldan supplied retailers in the United States with in-house-branded timepieces.
A polish immigrant, Waldan arrived in the U.S. in 1946 as a rare survivor of not one, but two separate German concentration camps – thanks in large part to his ability to service and repair wristwatches. The decades between Oscar’s arrival in the U.S. in 1946 and the launch of his own brand in 1979 saw Oscar working in various positions in the U.S. offices of Tissot, Universal Genève, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., and others.
Three decades after his arrival in the U.S., Oscar took the leap to start his own brand in 1979. He designed his own series of mechanical watches featuring exquisite dials, including chronographs, chronometers, world timers, alarms, and more.
These were all mechanical watches and all would carry the Waldan trademark on the dial.
Bear in-mind that this was in an era long before the cookie-cutter options that make it simpler for anyone to buy an off-the-shelf “made in China” watch. Back then, you really had to know what you were doing to have any chance to bring a watch brand together – especially when you were one of the few members of the industry that still believed the mechanical watch had a future in the newly minted quartz era. These early Waldan watches remain collector’s favorites and embody what a fine luxury wristwatch should be; mechanical complications with top-quality components inside and out, and a design that will never go out of style.
That said, these were, and are, out of the reach of most consumers. They were crafted exclusively in precious gold and platinum with mechanical Swiss Made chronographs and other complicated movements within, and their prices reflected those components.
But while Oscar’s early Waldans were worth more than he charged, they still called for a substantial investment in the thousands of dollars to acquire.
It’s no surprise that the founding father of Waldan Watches would bring his son Andrew into the family business.
At a very young age, Andrew was often found at the New York headquarters of Waldan International. There, with his father and the staff of assistants and watchmakers, Andrew grew into a young man surrounded by all things watches. All the while Andrew was developing an insider’s perspective on an industry about to experience a renaissance that his father had never actually abandoned.
Guided by his father’s indelible principles, Andrew combined an understanding of current market trends with his own experiences when he was called on to take over the company due to his father’s failing health in 2017. Having actively worked with his father at Waldan International since 2013, Andrew was well prepared to take the lead as the CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.
Andrew had decided it was time to evolve the brand. During this rebirth process he came to the conclusion that making the classic Waldan design available to a much wider audience might make sense.
So in a daring departure from the established path, he decided to build a watch in the United States, not in Switzerland, using the newly minted Ameriquartz movement inside.
Crafted in steel, the watches are targeting a retail price of under $500 each with a goal of expanding the potential reach for his father’s design(s) by an order of magnitude.
Working with his team, Andrew has now brought to life a watch collection that embraces the design cues of a Waldan watch, including the Waldan font, hands, color palette, fine leather straps, and, most critically, the iconic curves of the stepped case and lugs, all at a retail price will appeal to anyone at a modest $299.99.
More than skin deep
In making watches, the devil really is in the details. It’s easy to make a cheap handsome (or pretty) watch that won’t last until the first battery dies. Making one that will last a lifetime and beyond calls for a different approach.
Here’s where Andrew and his team – including his chief technical advisor – came together over the course of more than a year to examine and approve every component and every detail to finally put together a watch that passed muster for both esthetics and durability.
Andrew also chose to source American suppliers where possible to continue his father’s own goal in building a legitimate watch brand in the U.S. Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.
Those unfamiliar with Ameriquartz movements should note that they are jeweled all-metal movements built in at a state-of-the-art facility in Fountain Hills, Arizona, to the highest standards.
As both a founding advisor to the company and as its sales manager, I can tell you that each movement is built using a combination of modern and traditional engineering to bring the quartz movement to its zenith with regards to accuracy and reliability, and each one is individually tested and certified when manufactured.
Each movement also carries a manufacturer’s five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Waldan’s new collection is presented in an easy-to-wear 40mm diameter case with a slim 8.6mm profile.Crafted in 316L stainless steel, they are water resistant to 50 meters with a flat sapphire crystal protecting each of six variations on the theme.
Waldan is introducing Heritage Professional series with dials in four colors, including black, white, off-white and green.
These join two Waldan Heritage Sportline versions with oil-pressed linear-patterned dials in black and silver, which rounds out the initial launch of the Waldan Heritage collection.
Although not limited to a specific numbered series, each Waldan Heritage is hand built in the U.S. using a proprietary ATAC (assess, test, assemble, certify) Zero-Defect protocol and will be limited by production capacity and likely to be a hot commodity when it releases in mid July.
To stay up to speed with new releases and details check in at the Waldan web-site (www.waldanwatches.com) which is currently being updated and modernized to better meet the preferences of today’s consumers.