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Ulysse Nardin this week launches Blast, the latest of the Le Locle-based watchmaker’s Executive Skeleton X series of open-worked watches that feature distinctive rectangular and X-shaped bridges within a broad, round bezel. The four new 45mm Blast watches accentuate the collection’s see-through X design with a new silicon tourbillon placed within its own X-shaped cage.

The White Blast features white ceramic, metallic grey and dark blue accents.

With these shape-within-a-shape bridges, the new Blast retains the geometrical focus we’ve seen in recent Ulysse Nardin X models, including the three-horned strap link, a smooth, often colored bezel and the barrel at 12 o’clock.

The new Ulysse Nardin Blue Blast has a titanium middle case, blue titanium bezel, blue brass rectangular bridge, blue tourbillon cage, blue and grey double “X” pattern, metallic grey sculpted hands and indexes.

Micro-rotor

But the new Blast offers much that differs from previous Skeleton X offerings, especially with its new case architecture and a new tourbillon movement employing Ulysse Nardin’s first-ever micro-rotor. 

The new skeletonized UN-172 movement (an evolution of the UN-171), with its silicon escape wheel, anchor and balance spring, powers each of the four Ulysse Nardin Blast watches.

The new skeletonized UN-172 movement in the Blast features a tourbillon with silicon escape wheel, anchor and balance spring.

As the first automatic tourbillon within Ulysse Nardin’s Skeleton collection, you’ll find a platinum micro-rotor (visible only from the front of the watch) winding the mainspring, supplying a three-day reserve when fully wound.

The Rose Gold Blast features a black DLC middle case and solid gold horns, black ceramic bezel, a bicolor tourbillon cage (rose gold colored and black PVD), sculpted rose gold indexes and hands.

New Lugs

Ulysse Nardin has also restyled the lugs, making them more angular and finishing each triangular surface differently. The lug surfaces, polished by laser using a new technique devised by Ulysse Nardin, alternate between polished, satin-finish and sand blasted. The idea, according to Ulysse Nardin, is to mimic “sharp rocks that jut out of a volcano.”

The Blast’s lug surfaces are polished by laser using a new technique devised by Ulysse Nardin.

Also new here is a self-deploying, three-blade buckle that releases with a single click. When closing, the system simultaneously pulls both ends of the strap toward the clasp. 

Blast features a new self-deploying buckle that releases with a single click.

Ulysse Nardin is making four distinct Blast models: White, Blue, Black and Rose Gold. Each offers its own set of color or design accents ­– even within the tourbillon itself. The Black Blast, for example, comes with a ceramic upper middle case and bezel, black rectangular bridge, red and black double “X” pattern and a stunning new red balance wheel – the first time Ulysse Nardin has ever colorized its balance wheel.

The Black Blast comes with a ceramic upper middle case and bezel, black rectangular bridge, red and black double “X” pattern and a stunning new red balance wheel – the first time that Ulysse Nardin has ever developed a colored balance wheel.

Several strap options are available for each model, including structured rubber, leather and velvet.

 

The back view of the Ulysse Nardin Black Blast.

 

Prices:

Blue (T-1723-400/03) $44,000

Black (T-1723-400/BLACK) $46,000

White (T-1723-400/00)  $46,000  

Rose Gold (T-1725-400/02) $54,000  

 

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Blast

Movement: Caliber UN-172, skeletonized automatic tourbillon with micro-rotor. Functions: Tourbillon, hours, minutes, raised rectangular bridge, escapement wheel, anchor, and balance spring in silicon, platinum micro-rotor at 12 o’clock, 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz). Power reserve is 72 hours.

Case: 45mm x 13mm titanium or titanium/ceramic multi-part with PVD/DLC coating; rose gold and ceramic for rose gold model, sapphire case back, sapphire crystal, water resistance to 50 meters.

Strap:  Structured or plain rubber, alligator or calfskin, velvet or denim.

 

Armin Strom this week releases a rose gold version of its Gravity Equal Force, an innovative time-only design with an unusual constant-force mechanism.

The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force, now with a black dial and a rose gold case, bridges and hands.

The watch, which Armin Strom debuted in steel last year, features an in-house movement that takes a cue from high-precision pocket watches of yore. The watch’s ASB19 automatic movement features a motor barrel (where the mainspring resides) that stays locked after the watch is wound, creating a more precise arbor to rotate and drive the gears that move the watch’s hands.

Effectively, the watchmakers at this independent Swiss atelier added a stop-work de-clutch mechanism to the automatic watch, driving consistent power to the balance.

As Armin Strom explains “it is clear that it is a demonstrably better system as it is more precise and stable during operation of the movement. Armin Strom’s watchmakers built on this idea to create an entirely new watch.”

Retro-futuristic

The Gravity Force debuted with a steel case last year as an update to the Armin Strom Resonance Clutch Spring that first demonstrated the brand’s retro-futuristic approach to delivering constant force within its automatic movement.

This newest rose gold-cased version brings along a bit of luxury to what remains a technically focused watch.

The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force in a steel case debuted in 2019.

When it debuted, the watch’s 41mm case was a new size for the brand. That size remains on this new model, as do the dominant three bridges that echo the vintage pocket watch inspiration behind the movement’s design. Here the bridges are gold, creating a luxurious contrast with the black dial.

The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force in rose gold is priced at $26,600.

Specifications: Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force, rose gold
 

Movement: Armin Strom manufacture Caliber ASB19, automatic winding with micro rotor, Geneva-drive equal force barrel, offset display with subdial seconds, balance wheel with 4 regulating screws. Power reserve limited to 72 hours. Frequency: 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph)

Case: 41mm by 12.65mm rose gold, sapphire crystal and caseback with anti-reflective treatment. Water-resistance to 30 meters

Dial: Offset with hours, minutes plus a seconds inner subdial, power reserve indicator subdial, rose gold hands.

Strap: Black alligator leather and 18-karat rose gold ardillon buckle. An 18-karat rose gold double-folding clasp is an option.

Price: $26,600.

 

The new Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi is a beautiful reminder that this Swiss watchmaker with English roots can create stunning artistic dials on demand. This bespoke watchmaking service supplements Arnold & Son’s ongoing offerings, which include iW favorites like the Perpetual Moon, the Globetrotter and Nebula collections, all of which offer technically edgy watchmaking with distinctive designs.

The Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi

Arnold & Son says customers can work with its watchmakers and artisans to make a bespoke watchcase, within which the customer can then request any movement or dial using engraving, gem setting, miniature painting or sculpted elements.

This latest one-off, the Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi, highlights Arnold & Son’s already interesting Ultrathin Tourbillon. The watch is particularly suited for personalized activity in part because of its off-center dial at 12 o’clock, which provides an empty canvas of sorts for Arnold & Son’s artisans.

The Koi

In this example, Arnold & Son artists started with a mother-of-pearl dial and created a hand-painted carp, adding sculpted lotuses around the thin flying tourbillon. Two carp can be seen swimming between lotus blossoms. One type, the Tancho carp (with its red mark on its head) swims on the right while the other swims along the left side.

Arnold & son explains that the three lotus blossoms feature petals cut from silver that has been shaped, engraved, polished and painted in white lacquer. The artist makes the each flower’s pistil in the same manner.

Then the artisan paints the carp and lotus leaves by hand, using thin brushes, depicting scales and striped fins.

Ultra-thin

Technically, the Arnold & Son Caliber A&S8200 is exceedingly thin (a mere 2.97 mm), creating a workspace not too much thicker than a traditional canvas. The caliber’s flying tourbillon (with only a lower carriage bridge) allows unfettered views of the mechanism. Additionally, the balance bridge is domed and extends slightly from the dial, which makes the tourbillon’s rotation even more interesting to watch.

Finally, note the skeletonized tourbillon main plate. With this nearly transparent component, Arnold & Son retains the piece’s overall fine attributes, or its lightness.

But don’t let that thin, airy appearance fool you to think that the caliber itself is also a lightweight. If the flying tourbillon doesn’t convince you of the high technical level at which Arnold & Son operates here, consider that this ultra-thin manual-wind movement boasts an extremely impressive ninety-hour power reserve.

None of this high-end artistic and technical work comes at a bargain however, but given the bespoke nature of the final product, its $96,700 price tag is comparable to other high-end Swiss works ­– and many of those are far from unique.

 

Specifications: Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi (Unique piece Ref. 1UTAR.M99A.)

Movement: Caliber A&S8200, one-minute flying tourbillon, manual winding, 2.97mm thick, 90-hour power reserve, frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vph). Finishes are as follows:

Mainplate: Côtes de Genève stripes radiating from the center and hand-engraved tourbillon bridge,

Bridges: polished and chamfered by hand,

Wheels: circular satin-finished,

Screws: blued and chamfered, mirror-polished heads,

Tourbillon carriage: satin-finished, polished and chamfered.

Dial: Miniature painting on black mother-of-pearl, silver lotus flowers, engraved and painted by hand.

Case: 42mm x 12.23 5N gold, domed sapphire crystal, water resistant to 100 feet.

Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather with gold pin buckle.

Price: $96,700

  

Among the three watches Patek Philippe unveiled this week, this Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon is possibly the most distinctive, in part because the watch is the newest, most contemporary design among the debuts.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5303 is the first Patek Philippe Grand Complication with a minute repeater visible on the dial side. Note the clear view of the hammers and gongs.

While the other two debuts, Reference 5270J-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
 and Reference 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph, represent line extensions for classically designed watches available since, respectively, 2018 and 2015, the new Ref. 5303R-001 modifies a newer design debuted last year as a limited edition of twelve watches during Patek Philippe’s ‘grand exhibition’ in Singapore.

Where that Ref. 5303 appeared accented in red to commemorate the Singapore flag, this new version offers the same open, dial-free architecture but with a black minutes track and a gold seconds hand.

Open architecture

Here, Patek Philippe again reworks the manual-wind R TO 27 PS minute repeater caliber to emphasize its chiming operation. As a result, the repeater is fully visible on the watch’s dial side, where Patek Philippe has repositioned the caliber’s gong and hammers.

This allows the wearer to both hear and see the repeater mechanism’s hammers and gongs as they chime the time without taking the watch off the wrist – a first for any Patek Philippe grand complication.

Patek Philippe has skeletonized the caliber and then carefully hand-finished all its remaining bridges and surfaces. The Geneva brand’s finishers have decorated the movement’s plate with Genevan circular graining, applied a perlage to the recesses and decorated the hammers with a circular satin finish.The tourbillon

The tourbillon is even more transparent than the minute repeater as it’s visible from the front and the back of the watch.

The tourbillon at 6 o’clock is visible through the small seconds counter and can also be seen from the back.

From the back, the viewer can eye the back of the tourbillon case, exactly opposite the dial-side seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Patek Philippe finishers have filigreed the tourbillon’s steel components until they sparkle – a nice contrast to the rose gold back plate.

The case

The watch’s 42mm rose-gold case notably features a wide polished bezel framing a black-lacquered sapphire-crystal rim. Patek Philippe has also placed leaf-shaped white-gold inlays along the watch’s the sides (including the repeater slide) and the sides of the lugs.

This somewhat surprising naturalistic design element –also seen shaping the white gold, black-lacquered hands ­– nicely balances the watch’s contemporary skeleton caliber.

The watch’s white gold minute repeater slide is engraved with a leaf-shaped pattern.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon emphasizes both Patek Philippe’s mastery of the minute repeater and the depth of its artisanal arsenal.

Full view of the back of the watch.

Now available in limited production (though not as a limited edition) without the initial model’s red-tinted accents, this chiming watch will undoubtedly attract serious collectors who seek both Patek Philippe’s technical acumen as well as its contemporary aesthetic combined into one highly complicated watch.

Price: Upon request.

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon

Movement: Manual-wind 
Caliber R TO 27 PS minute repeater with classic gongs, tourbillon, small seconds, 365 parts, golden plate decorated with circular Geneva striping. Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations/hour 
(3 Hz) with a power reserve of 48 hours maximum.

Dial: Transparent sapphire, black hour circle with minute markers printed in white and golden powdered dots, pierced black lacquered leaf-shaped hands in white gold.

Case: 42mm by 12.13mm rose gold, white gold decorative inserts, humidity- and dust-protected only 
(not water-resistant), sapphire crystal case back, UV-protected sapphire crystal glass.

Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp

Price: Upon request.

 

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm collection, each fit with a Caliber Heuer 02 movement.

TAG Heuer continues to celebrate its 160th anniversary with the launch of four Carrera Sport chronographs, all now updated with the watchmaker’s own Caliber Heuer 02 movement, which boasts an eighty-hour power reserve and a chronograph with a column wheel and a vertical clutch.

In addition to the technical upgrade, the new models also offer a newly beveled inner flange around the dial, shorter lugs than earlier Carrera designs and a 44mm case with alternating polished and fine-brushed finishes.Also new is the dial finish. The new watch dials glow with circular brushing in a choice of deep blue with a matching ceramic bezel, olive green with a stainless-steel bezel or one of two black-dialed models, each with a black ceramic bezel.

New dials

With the new models, TAG Heuer offers four more solid-dial options within the Carrera chronograph collection outfitted with the Caliber Heuer 02 movement, most of which currently power Carrera chronographs with open dials.

Within these newly finished dials TAG Heuer alters the layout of the three sub-dials, which here differ from those seen on existing Carrera chronographs that are fit with the Caliber 16 movement.

The hour counter for the chronograph (here at 9 o’clock) also differs from those existing Carrera chronographs with inclusion of the numerals 12, 4 and 8 to better balance the minute counter, which is now at 3 o’clock.

TAG Heuer also moves the date to 6 o’clock, which differs from existing Carrera chronographs that use the Caliber Heuer 02 movement, where the date is in the 4:30 position. Finally, wearers can expect a somewhat lighter Carrera chronograph thanks to the new, thinner H-shaped bracelet.

Rose gold accents

While all four new Carrera Sport chronographs are cased in steel, one black-dialed model offers rose gold accents. For this watch, TAG Heuer filled its black ceramic bezel with a fetching rose-gold-colored lacquer, and then matched it with an 18-karat gold crown and push buttons.

Also for this model, TAG Heuer fits a black PVD-coated brass rotor (visible through the sapphire crystal caseback) and then prints watch specifications on it using a rose gold printing process.

TAG Heuer launches this new Carrera Sport lineup this month following the launch of the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver and the 160 Years Montreal Edition limited editions earlier this year.

The La-Chaux-de-Fonds based watchmaker is not done celebrating its 160th anniversary yet. TAG Heuer says it will unveil four more “core novelties” as well as two special editions before the end of the 2020 anniversary year.

Prices: $5,350 to $20,400 (with rose-gold accents).

 

Parmigiani Fleurier introduces a sportier Tonda with the release of its new Tondagraph GT, a steel-cased chronograph inspired by the excellent Tonda Chronor, which won the Chronograph Watch Prize from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2017.

The new Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT, a 42mm steel-cased chronograph with annual calendar.

The watchmaker also adds the Tonda GT, a three-hand version of the new model, a more leisurely design to be made as a limited edition in both a steel and a rose gold case.

The new Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT Steel, on a rubber strap.

Both the chronograph and three-hand model (with date) measure 42mm in diameter and feature a distinctive Parmigiani Fleurier “clou triangulaire” guilloché dial, a three-dimensional hobnail-type pattern that serves to nicely separate each dial display.

The chronograph

Parmigiani Fleurier powers its new sporty chronograph with the in-house PF043 automatic caliber that features a chronograph with, unusually, an annual calendar. As a reminder, an annual calendar shows the correct date and day all year, with only one correction required (on February 29). Combining these features places the watch among only a few high-end Swiss Made watches available with both these features.

 

Two subdials are dedicated to the chronograph display; the display at 3 o’clock is shared by the month aperture and the running seconds.

Parmigiani Fleurier has accented the large date and month displays with an orange color to both highlight and separate that function visually from the time and the chronograph timing. In fact, ‘annual calendar’ appears ­– in orange –  within the subdial to visually tie the function together.

The case itself, designed by Dino Modolo, reprises the fluted bezel seen on the brand’s Toric models and on at least one model of the limited edition Tonda Chronor, but with smoother curved lugs that perfectly integrate the case with the new steel bracelet.     

The dial features delta-shaped hands with a black luminescent coating. Water resistant to 100 meters, the Tondagraph GT also offers a screw-down crown and a 45-hour power reserve.

Parmigiani Fleurier’s PF043 automatic movement, with a power reserve of forty-five hours, powers the watch and is finished with Côtes de Genève stripes visible through the open caseback.  Price: $18,500 (on an integrated rubber strap) and $19,500 (bracelet). The Tondagraph GT is limited to 200 pieces.

The three-hander

The Tonda GT offers a cleaner guilloche dial finished with the same pattern as the chronograph, but here the dial underscores a simple hour and minute hands display with a large date at 12 o’clock and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Parmigiani Fleurier’s PF044 automatic movement, with a power reserve of forty-five hours, powers the watch.

Unlike the chronograph, the Tonda GT will be made in both steel and rose gold. The latter precious metal model further differentiates itself with a stunning blue dial and can be had with either a gold bracelet or a sporty blue rubber strap matching the dial. The Tonda GT Steel, likewise, is available with a steel bracelet or a black rubber strap.

The Tonda GT Rose Gold Blue is limited to 150 pieces, while the steel model is limited to 250 pieces. Prices: $13,500 (Tonda GT Steel on rubber strap), $14,500 (Tonda GT Steel on bracelet), $49,500 (Tonda GT, blue dial on a rose gold bracelet, and $24,900 (Tonda GT, blue dial in gold case on rubber). Availability: Pre-order now with delivery in August (Tonda GT with bracelet only in September).

Each year we take a moment to note the anniversary of the first tourbillon, the whirling regulation device Abraham-Louis Breguet patented on June 26, 1801. Breguet’s invention helped make pocket watches more precise by counteracting many of the negative effects of gravity on timekeeping precision.

Abraham-Louis Breguet

As is the case each year, Montres Breguet has provided us with a few visual reminders of how Breguet’s invention eventually started more than two centuries of tourbillon development by watchmakers.

A Breguet tourbillon

That development, however, was surprisingly slow. Found primarily in pocket watches and the occasional clock, the tourbillon wasn’t adopted for serially produced wristwatches until the 1980s, though a few prototype wristwatches with tourbillons were developed by Omega in 1947 and even earlier by special order at other Swiss manufacturers and by the French maker LIP.

Breguet Tourbillon N°1188

Breguet also reminds us that Abraham-Louis Breguet created only thirty-five tourbillon watches, with fewer than ten known to survive (including the No. 1188, pictured above).

The Breguet N°2567

The House of Breguet possesses several additional historical tourbillon pocket watches, including No. 1176 sold by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1809, and No. 2567 sold in 1812, along with original records that list every single Breguet historical creation.

Many original Breguet tourbillons can be found in the Breguet Boutique & Museum in Place Vendome, Paris.

Here are just a few recent Breguet tourbillon watches that bear witness to the legacy of the man who devised the device, and whose name is on the building.

For 2020, Breguet adorns the dial of its Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon with a touch of deep blue, by using the traditional grand feu enamel technique.
Engraved caseback of the newest Breguet Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon.
Breguet this year offers its Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 with a rose gold case with a gold dial.
The eye-catching engraved caseback of the Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887.

Among its early 2020 debuts, Frederique Constant this week adds karat gold to its Classic Worldtimer Manufacture and adds sportier dials to its Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, both among the Geneva-based brand’s best-known collections that also happen to be made with in-house-designed movements.

Additional 2020 debuts (to be detailed in future posts) include new Art Deco-style watches for women and an updated smartwatch called Vitality. 

Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

This watch has earned accolades as possibly the best-value flyback chronograph watch on the market with a manufacture movement (FC-760). The 42mm watch debuted in 2017 priced less than $4,000, and still might one of the few such flyback chronographs available at such an attractive price  ($4,295 and $4,595 for the current offering).

With the flyback, the chronograph’s hand can be stopped, reset to zero, and restarted with one push of a button. The function allows for timing an elapsed interval of events during races. Frederique Constant spent six years developing the caliber prior to its debut, when the brand touted the modular design as one of the most efficient available as it requires only 96 of its 233 components to be dedicated to the flyback function. 

The Flyback Chronograph Manufacture is powered by the in-house FC-760 flyback chronograph movement.

   

But it’s not simply the watch’s ultra-efficient star-shaped column-wheel flyback chronograph caliber that draws enthusiasts. The Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture’s retro-inspired dial and case design also plays a role in advancing the watch’s popularity.

New dials

Initially offered with a more classical Roman numeral dial, the watch is now being offered with its first two-tone dial variations, though still retaining the applied, beveled hour markers we’ve seen on this watch in recent years.

Frederique Constant is unveiling the two new options with silvered counters and darker (blue or brown) surrounding dials, echoing the contrasts seen on many chronographs of the 1960s and 1970s.

The sportier treatment sets the dial’s three-counters (date, 30-minute counter and small seconds) in stronger contrast to the dial, which also features baton indices and luminous hands.  

On the gold-plated version, the three counters are set against a chocolate-colored dial with a 42mm rose-gold-plated case. The second model features a blue dial with a stainless-steel case. All are fitted with an alligator strap with a deployant clasp. Price: $4,295 (steel case) and $4,595 (rose-gold-plated steel case).

Gold Worldtimer 

Available for the first time with a rose gold case, Frederique Constant’s Classic Worldtimer Manufacture is also now offered with a new blue, grey and red dial. This newest edition (limited to eighty-eight watches) still reveals a familiar world map on its dial with world city times indicated via two separate discs.

In its steel-cased edition, the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture remains among the most affordable (at $3,995) full-featured Swiss-made world-time watches available. 

The watch’s functions are just as useful now as they were ten years ago when Frederique Constant released the very first Classic Worldtimer. On the dial, twenty-four world time zones, indicated by cities, rotate around nicely detailed continents and oceans seen in the center of the dial.

For this special limited-edition karat gold version, the watchmaker has colored the twelve daytime hours in red while the nighttime hours appear in grey. Frederique Constant continues to nicely decorate the date counter at 6 o’clock with a particularly fetching sunray guilloché pattern.

Frederique Constant has designed its FC-718 movement to be quickly and easily adjusted via the crown, thus requiring no additional pushbuttons on the case. Price: $14,995.

 

Specifications: 

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, rose-gold-plated steel (FC-760CHC4H4)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph, date adjustable by hand, tachymeter

Movement: FC-760 Manufacture caliber, automatic, flyback chronograph with date adjustable by the crown, perlage & circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 32 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 42mm rose-gold-plated, polished and satined stainless steel three-part case, glass box sapphire crystal, see-through case-back. Water-resistant to 50 meters

Dial: Brown with applied rose-gold-plated indexes, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hands

Strap: Dark brown alligator leather strap

 

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, steel case  (FC-760NS4H6)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph, date adjustable by hand, tachymeter

Movement: FC-760 Manufacture caliber, automatic, flyback chronograph with date adjustable by the crown. Perlage and circular Côtes de Genève decoration, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 42mm polished and satined stainless steel three-part, glass box sapphire crystal, see-through case-back. Water-resistant to 50 meters

Dial: Navy with applied silver indexes, hand-polished silver hands

Strap: Blue alligator leather

 

Specifications: Frederique Constant Rose Gold Classic Worldtimer Manufacture, (FC-718NRWM4H9)

Movement: FC-718 Manufacture caliber, automatic with all functions (time and world timer) adjustable by the crown, perlage & circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 42mm polished 18-karat rose gold with convex sapphire crystal, see-through caseback, water-resistant to 30 meters

Dial: Navy blue color dial with grey world map in the center and luminous indexes, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hands with white luminous treatment; date counter at 6 o’clock, 24 hour disc with day (red) & night (grey) indication, city disc with 24 cities

Strap: Navy blue alligator leather strap with off-white stitches

 

Frederique Constant’s most recent Vintage Rally Healey limited edition was seen two years ago, so this week’s announcement of two new editions of the ode to classic Healey car races has been warmly welcomed among the racing fans.

Begun in 2004 after a partnership between the Frederique Constant Manufacture and the Austin-Healey car brand, the once-annual watch debuts were a source of kinship among not only rally fans but for enthusiasts of all manner of retro-themed industrial designs. 

No chrono

While this year Frederique Constant returns with new Vintage Rally Healey watches, the Geneva-based watchmaker diverts from tradition with two models sporting time and date only. Previous models included at least one chronograph.

Declaring a focus on “urban design,” whatever that is, Frederique Constant in 2020 debuts two automatic Vintage Rally Healey models. Each 40mm watch is issued as a limited edition of 2,888; one is cased in rose-gold plated steel and the second is all steel.

The primary differences between the two models lie in dial colors and case and strap finish.

The rose gold model features a silver-colored dial with a brown seconds flange and applied rose-gold-plated indexes.

The steel-cased edition is a bit sportier, with a true British Racing Green dial framed in a silvery seconds flange and set with applied silver-colored indexes. Both watches are deftly set with luminous material on hands and markers.

British Racing Green has long been associated with the vintage Austin Healey and was last used by Frederique Constant on a chronograph Vintage Rally Healey offering in 2018.

Both watches are fit with a calfskin strap that has been perforated to enhance air circulation, a feature of many racing watch straps during the early decades of the last century. The strap on the rose-gold-plated model is a bit darker than the strap on the steel edition. 

Each watch is powered by a Sellita-based automatic FC-303 caliber with a date window at 3 o’clock and a power reserve of 38 hours.

On each caseback you’ll find an engraving of a Healey 100S NOJ393, the same car Frederique Constant includes in miniature replica form with each watch. Price: $1,895 (both models).

Specifications: Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic

Reference: FC-303HVBR5B4 (rose-gold-plated, limited to 2,888 pieces)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date

Movement: FC-303 caliber (Sellita-based), automatic, 26 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28’800 alt/h

Case: 40mm rose-gold-plated polished stainless steel, 2-part, convex sapphire crystal, water-resistant to 50 meters

Dial: Silver color with brown ring, applied rose-gold-plated indexes with white luminous material, date window at 3 o’clock, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hours and minutes hands with luminous and pearl black seconds hand

Strap: Dark brown calf leather

 

Reference: FC-303HGRS5B6 (steel, limited to 2,888 pieces)

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date

Movement: Automatic FC-303 caliber (Sellita-based), 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph

Case: 40mm polished stainless steel, 2-part, convex sapphire crystal, water-resistant up 50 meters

Dial: British Racing Green with silver color ring, applied silver color indexes with white luminous material, date window at 3 o’clock, hand-polished silver color hours and minutes hands with luminous and silver color seconds hand.

Strap: Light brown calf leather

Parmigiani Fleurier launches two slate-dialed complicated watches as part of its Watches & Wonders 2020 debut lineup. Each model includes a thin tourbillon and each is also being made as part of a very limited edition.

The new Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Tourbillon Slate.

On the new Toric Tourbillon Slate, Parmigiani Fleurier integrates its extra-thin flying tourbillon into the movement’s main plate, which helps to maintain the watch’s thinness. Parmigiani Fleurier places the tourbillon here at the 7 o’clock position as a nod to the brand’s founder, Michel Parmigiani, who was born at 7:08 am on December 2, 1950.

That tourbillon, the focus of the brand’s ultra-thin PF517 movement, is powered by a platinum micro-rotor. Its bridges have been decorated with côtes de Genève.  

The Parmigiani Fleurier ultra-thin PF517 inside the Toric Tourbillon Slate features a platinum micro-rotor.

And while the tourbillon itself is a focus, so is the handcrafted barley grain guilloché pattern on the slate-colored dial.

The Toric collection is possibly Parmigiani Fleurier’s most classically styled collection, and this model underscores that history with its rose gold case inspired by Greek Doric columns. You might recall that the Toric was Michel Parmigiani’s first case, which debuted in 1996 when the master watchmaker launched his watch brand following many years restoring watches and clocks.

Parmigiani Fleurier will make the watch, which comes with a Hermès Havane leather strap, as a limited edition of twenty-five pieces. Price: $130,000.

Tondagraph Tourbillon

Parmigiani Fleurier also debuted this Tondagraph Rose Gold Slate as part of its Watches & Wonders 2020 collection.

The Tondagraph Rose Gold Slate

The Tondagraph represents a more contemporary styling within the brand’s multi-complication collections, though this model is a bit more classical (with its rich guilloché dial) than earlier examples within the collection. The Tondagraph’s teardrop lugs, round case and prominent displays are slightly muted when compared to earlier examples thanks to the addition this year of the rich guilloché dial, which here echoes the watchmaker’s now-characteristic slate hue.

The 43mm watch shows its thin tourbillon and prominent bridge at the bottom of the dial while the counter at 3 o’clock shows chronograph minutes. Nicely balancing those displays you’ll see the small seconds at 9 o’clock and the power reserve at the top of the dial.

This display also differs from previous incarnations with its fully skeletonized delta-shaped hour and minute hands and its switch from large Arabic hour markers to more subtle minutes track with two gold appliques at 3 and 9.

Parmigiani Fleurier’s handsome PF354 manually wound mechanical caliber is a treat to view through the clear sapphire caseback.

Inside Parmigiani Fleurier’s beautifully designed PF354 manually wound mechanical caliber is a treat to view through the clear sapphire caseback. It offers a power reserve of 65 hours. Price: $199,000, with limited production.

 

Specifications: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Tourbillon Slate

Movement: Automatic PF517, extra-thin flying tourbillon displaying hours, minutes, seconds, tourbillon (60 seconds), 48-hour power reserve, 
21,600 vph frequency, Côtes de Genève décor, beveled bridges, platinum micro-rotor with “Grain d’Orge” guilloché

Dial: Slate finishing with guilloché Grain de Riz Indexes in 18-karat rose gold

Hands: Javelin-shaped with luminescent coating

Case: 42.8mm by 9.45mm polished red gold. Caseback: Engraving w/individual number and EDITION LIMITEE XX/25

Strap: Hermès Havana alligator strap with 18-karat gold pin buckle.

 

Specifications: Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph Rose Gold Slate

Movement: PF354 
manual winding, 21,600 vph frequency, 65-hour power reserve

Functions: Hours, minutes, small second, tourbillon, chronograph, power reserve

Case: 43mm
 by 13.4mm
 rose gold with 
30 meters water resistance, sapphire crystal  

Dial: Slate
 with rose-gold-plated appliques, “Guilloché Grain de riz” Skeleton Delta-shaped hands

Strap: Hermès Alligator Havana with pin buckle 18-karat rose gold