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By Steve Huyton

Over the years I have written about many brands that sadly haven’t stayed the course. The watch industry is a very competitive environment and only the fittest survive. By that, I mean having a good marketing strategy and supply chain is a prerequisite.

So many watchmakers I’ve featured have exceptionally high manufacturing costs and pedestrian designs. Certainly, in these extraordinary times, buyers want something extra special at a very competitive price.

One of my recommendations would be to take a closer look at Swiss brand Bomberg.

I first became familiar with Bomberg in 2012 when the company was first established. Originally, the company marketed itself as a unique, ultra-creative lifestyle brand with flair. At that stage, they released three exciting quartz models called the Maven, Semper and 1968. Over the years I have followed the progress of the company and I’m delighted they are still buoyant. In fact, they are now producing some pretty decent Swiss mechanical timepieces, including the BB-01 Automatic Mariachi Red Limited Edition.

The Bomberg BB-01 Automatic Mariachi Red Skull Limited Edition.

Mexico-inspired

Interestingly, a brand based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, has drawn inspiration from Mexico for their latest watch. However, Mexico is one of the company’s largest markets, and the brand offers several models with historical Mexican designs.    

I spoke with Bomberg Marketing Director Frédéric Layani about the conception of the BB-01 Automatic Mariachi Red Skull Limited Edition. He informed me that Bomberg wanted to create the essence of Mariachi, which is far more than just a genre of Mexican regional music. The brand’s interpretation embodies the notion of celebration.

Certainly, wearing this flamboyant timepiece would give you a sense of exaltation.

Aesthetically the BB-01 Automatic Mariachi Red Skull Limited Edition has a really strong visual identity. I love the vibrant red multi-layered skull shape dial that makes this timepiece really distinctive. Other refined features include flower-shaped eyes, a cross on the forehead and a central hoop.

There is also engraved detailing on the 43mm stainless steel case and “glass-box” anti-reflective sapphire crystal, which is a really classy touch. Overall the composition has been well executed and the finishing is superlative.

At the heart of the watch is a high-quality movement from Swiss manufacturer Sellita. Functionally, the BB-01 Automatic Mariachi Red Skull Limited Edition features hours, minutes, seconds and a date indication at 6 o’clock. The watch also has a power reserve of thirty-eight hours and is water-resistant to a depth of fifty meters. To complete the picture the timepiece is presented on a black silicone strap with a deployant buckle.

With a suggested retail of CHF 1,775 (approximately $1,900), the BB-01 Automatic Mariachi Red Skull Limited Edition is very competitively priced. (Note that Bomberg also offers a brown-dialed version of this model at the same price.)

Bomberg also offers a brown-dialed version of this model.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews.

 

Ulysse Nardin updates its already extensive dive watch collection with three dive models that add rose gold to existing favorites. Two of the updates include a new rose gold bezel atop a steel or a titanium case.  A third debut includes diamonds set in a rose gold bezel atop a 39mm rose gold case.

Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold

The new Ulysse Nardin Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold.

This latest 42mm steel-cased PVD-satin-finished ‘shark grey’ dive model boasts a 42mm case with nicely contrasting rose gold and gray rubberized, unidirectional rotating, concave bezel.  

Beneath the clearly domed sapphire crystal Ulysse Nardin offers a dial with a contemporary sandblasted finish. Ulysse Nardin has engraved its logo on the solid grey PVD back.

Inside you’ll find a Sellita-based automatic UN-816 movement (outfitted with a silicon escapement wheel and anchor) protected down to 300 meters under water. Finally, Ulysse Nardin secures the watch’s gray alligator strap with a stainless steel grey PVD buckle. Price: $10,400.

The new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm.

Diver Chronometer 44mm

With a larger (44mm) case, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm, with a classic ocean blue dial and blue PVD-coated titanium case, offers a more feature-filled option for nautical adventurers.

Its rose gold unidirectional bezel is appropriately easy to read with gold markers and luminous 0 at the top to mark dive time. The dial, itself well lit with SuperLuminova ands and markers, displays a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock and a substantial small seconds hand in a subdial at 6 o’clock.

Inside, Ulysse Nardin fits its own Caliber UN-118, which boasts a Diamonsil (a diamond-silicon alloy) escapement wheel and anchor and a silicon balance spring, much of which is visible through a see-through sapphire caseback.

And despite the clear back, Ulysse Nardin assures us that the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm, like the full Diver Chronometer 44mm collection, is built to withstand up to 300 meters of water pressure. Price: $13,300.

The Ulysse Nardin Caliber UN-118 Manufacture movement.

Lady Diver Rose Gold

Set with forty diamonds, this glittering 39mm watch may be a fashion-forward mother-of-pearl dial watch, but inside it’s all business.

The Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Rose Gold, on an alligator strap.

Within the full rose gold case Ulysse Nardin fits its automatic UN-816 movement, the same one powering the Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold described above. That sharp-looking dial glows with eleven diamonds; the white alligator strap is held in place by a rose gold buckle. If you’re sporty, opt for the model with the white rubber strap.  Price: $25,800.

The Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Rose Gold, here on a rubber strap.

 

A small watchmaking venture started as an experiment continues to design watches that offer simple solutions and unorthodox displays for complex timekeeping functions.   

By James Henderson

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of one of the longest running experiments in the watch business. Back in 2006, Ludwig Oechslin (of Ulysse Nardin fame and until 2014 curator of the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds) and his fellow Ochs und Junior co-founders asked the watch world a contrary question – if you could buy a watch with complications that were distilled down to their most basic level, would you?

Dr. Ludwig Oechslin

Then they took it a few steps further. What if the case was not polished, but somewhat, well, basic?

In other words, what if you could buy a watch conceived by one of the most famous watch creators of recent times, one that possessed marvelous complications that apart from the dial of the watch, remained hidden away beneath a solid caseback?

In a world where watches are meant to be highly polished and eerily similar in look and feel, what if you went a different way?

The famed 39mm Ochs und Junior Annual-Calendar. Check out this video of Ludwig Oechslin explaining the date spiral for his perpetual calendar, which is also relevant for his moon phase watch.

Fast-forward to 2021. While the experiment continues, it appears to be a resounding success with Ludwig Oechslin and Ochs und Junior continuing to swim against the mainstream. Here’s a short, three-part history of the idiosyncratic watchmaker.

The Foundation

 This period involves Ludwig Oechslin, Beat Weinmann and Kurt König (the owner of Embassy, the Lucerne-based jewelry store that Beat Weinmann was working for at the time). Ochs und Junior produced a very small number of esoteric watches. These were known to a small group of collectors.

The Ochs und Junior Two-Timezones Date with rose gold PVD.

The Growth Period

This was when Ulysse Nardin was brought in as a partner and Ochs und Junior set up shop in a studio space, a little bit off the beaten path in Lucerne.

The Ochs Period

In 2019, after a lot of thought and consultation within the family, Kornelia Imesch and Ludwig Oechslin bought all the shares of Ochs und Junior. But it is important to note that this was only done once it was clear that some of the “Junior Ochs” would join the company.  And to that end, it has been agreed that two of the younger Oechslins will be joining the team, which is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Inside the Ochs und Junior Annual Calendar.

Ochs und Junior today is a family company, led by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin. The rest of the band includes Christian Gafner, who is head of brand and design, Violaine Baudouin, the marketing chief, and Louise Krank (a junior), communication designer. The company’s watchmakers are Jost Schlatter and Masaki Kanazawa, who is a Master Watchmaker for Ludwig Oechslin’s special projects.

Ludwig Oechslin’s ideas will continue to set the tone moving forward, which is really what has made Ochs und Junior what it is today. As the company evolves, it continues to grow through experimentation. Below are some of Ochs und Junior’s most recent designs.

All three Ochs und Junior Calendario Cent’anni models.

The Calendario Cent’anni

This 100-year calendar, designed by Ludwig Oechslin, features a dial with indication of hours, minutes and seconds in addition to correct date, month, leap or non-leap year. The 40mm watch is titanium and is powered by a Ulysse Nardin UN-320 automatic movement. The Arabic character or indices with hour/minute hands are coated with SuperLuminova.

The Calendario Cent’anni (CCAII), a 100-year calendar.

Here’s how it shows the time and date:

  • The dates (28, 29, 30 or 31 days of any month) are visible for 100 years, without needing correction for the length of any month (including February in leap years), and are displayed via a traveling, rectangular dot on the date spiral.
  • The month and leap years are on a central rotating disk. The leap year and the three following years are displayed on a decentralized disc, rotating together with the position of the month-display. Finally, the central hour and minutes with the seconds rotating are seen on a small disk at 6 o’clock.

    The Calendario Cent’anni (CCAI), or 100-year calendar.

Prices begin at CHF 15,230 (approximately $16,600).

The Settimana Limited

This watch is designed to help savor a favorite day of the week, allowing the wearer to set six “standard” days and one “extra special” one. It colorfully indicates hours, minutes and seconds, and all seven weekdays by clockwise rotating dot between 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

The trio of Settimana models. They colorfully indicate hours, minutes and seconds, and all seven weekdays by clockwise rotating dot between 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

The titanium-cased Settimama measures 36mm in diameter and is powered by a Sellita SW 200-1 automatic movement. The watch is available in three limited color versions of 11 pieces each. Prices start at CHF 3,046, or approximately $3,300.

The new Moonphase Trilogy. All are 39mm and cased in titanium

Ochs und Junior moonphase

This special edition of the Ochs und Junior Moon Phase is available for pre-order in three 39mm variations, and can be purchased as a trio or individually.

The 39mm moonphase Emerald Green model features a lacquered dial with black galvanized moon disk and golden markers and hands. It also features a jade-stone as the sun at the 12 o’clock position.

Option one features a black galvanized dial and red lacquer-coated moon disk with red markers and hands with a case of black PVD-coated titanium. Another option has a red lacquer-coated dial with black galvanized moon disk, black markers and hands in a titanium case. Option number three has an emerald-green lacquer-coated dial with black galvanized moon disk, and gold colored markers and hands. This emerald green watch will feature a jade sun at the 12 o’clock position. The straps are made from red or black textile with a titanium buckle. Prices: CHF 7,400, or approximately $8,100.

The Ochs und Junio Moonphase with black galvanic dial.

And there are more interesting developments to come, but suffice it to say after fifteen years Ochs und Junior is here to stay.

Bulova adds a new chronograph to its Joseph Bulova Collection, a set of automatic watches with designs inspired by Bulova watches made in the decades between 1920 and 1950.

This latest addition to the retro-themed collection is a three-subdial, 42mm steel-cased chronograph offered with either a black dial with rose-gold tone accents or a silver white dial with blue-tone accents.

The new 42mm Joseph Bulova Chronograph, powered by a Sellita automatic chonograph caliber.

While the new watch is larger than the original, and it now shows chronograph timing using three sub-dials instead of two, the new model retains several features that contributed to the character of the original watch.

The original features retained by Bulova include the telemeter scale around the perimeter of the dial, a domed crystal, railroad-track scales around the subdials and distinctive, squared chronograph pushers. In addition, Bulova has transferred the dial font and hand style from the original onto the new Joseph Bulova chronograph.

The new Joseph Bulova chronograph echoes the style of this vintage 1941 Bulova automatic chronograph, with a few key differences.

 

Of course, updates for both aesthetic and technical reasons are inevitable. For this piece, these include using anti-reflective sapphire to create the domed crystal, a day/date window and an exhibition caseback, exposing the rotor. Inside you’ll find a Swiss-made Sellita SW-500 chronograph caliber with a 48-hour power reserve.

Bulova is offering either style on a black leather strap engraved with Joseph Bulova’s signature on the inside. Finally, Bulova offers each watch in the Joseph Bulova collection as a limited edition of 350. Price: $2,495.

 

TAG Heuer has updated its Aquaracer with the Aquaracer Professional 300, a collection that reshapes the brand’s dive watch with thinner cases, wider hour hands, shorter lugs and newly fluted ceramic bezels.

 

And look for seven full-line references in two sizes (43mm and 36mm) in the new collection. All but one of the new Aquaracer 300 Professional models will be cased in steel (with blue, black or silver dials) while one collection (with a green-dial) will be made using a titanium case.

All told, four of the new references will have a 43mm case diameter, and three will feature a case measuring 36mm, with one of the smaller size models sporting diamond hour markers.  An eight model is a titanium-cased limited edition celebrating the 1978 watch that led to the Aquaracer collection.

Fluted bezel

TAG Heuer has updated nearly all the characteristics that TAG Heuer has deemed essential for every Aquaracer since 1983. Since that year watches in the collection have included a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 meters, luminous markings, a sapphire glass and a double safety clasp.

For the new models, TAG Heuer started its update by adjusting Aquaracer’s twelve-sided bezel.

In addition to adding scratch-resistant ceramic inserts in the bezel, as noted above, TAG Heuer has fluted the bezel’s trademark twelve facets for a quicker grip when the bezel needs to be turned. When turning the bezel, the user might note smoother action because TAG Heuer has also re-engineered the bezel’s internal teeth so they mesh with less resistance. Also note the new engraved minutes scale just inside the bezel.

All eight hour markers are now actually lume-filled octagons on the dials of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300.

Also new is an integrated magnifier, now positioned into the underside of the glass, over the date at 6 o’clock. Not only does the new position maintain an uninterrupted, flat sapphire crystal, but it also makes the date easier to read from wider angles.

Distinctive dials

TAG Heuer has also taken the shape of the bezel directly onto the dial. All eight hour markers are now actually lume-filled octagons. Similarly, a new twelve-sided crown has been added, matching the twelve-sided bezel. This helps maintain a design consistency, and confers a pleasing symmetry to the new Aquaracer.

But TAG Heuer didn’t stop at the markers. Note that the hour hand is wider with a more distinctive sword shape. Longtime fans might recognize it from the last of the TAG Heuer 2000 Series from 2004. However, TAG Heuer has narrowed, very slightly, the width of the minute hand to create a clearer distinction between the two hands.

Note the green and blue lume on the dial of the Aquaracer Professional 300.

 

The hands are further differentiated by luminosity hue, with green SuperLumiNova on the hour hand (and hour markers) and blue SuperLumiNova for the minute and seconds hands. The crown protection has been re-made as well. It’s now more rounded, echoing that first Ref. 844 from 1978.

If the central section of the dial looks familiar, it is. But it’s also different. TAG Heuer has kept Aquaracer’s familiar engraved dials with horizontal lines, but on the 43mm models those lines are set a bit further apart. The blue 36 mm model also has eight diamond hour markers and polished central bracelet links

Case study

Finally, as noted earlier, TAG Heuer has slimmed the case, bezel and metal bracelet, and shortened the lugs, without affecting the watch’s essential utility and performance. All models will maintain their full 300 meters of water resistance.

On the back of the new Aquaracer Professional 300 TAG Heuer again portrays an image of the same diving suit that first appeared on the Aquaracer caseback in 2004, but with a slight update. The helmet is more angular on the new collection, and the faceplate is twelve-sided, echoing the watch’s bezel shape.

The helmet on the new Aquaracer Professional 300 caseback is more angular, and the faceplate is twelve-sided, echoing the watch’s bezel shape.

Finally, each new reference features a new integrated metal bracelet equipped with a newer fine adjustment system that can extend or reduce the bracelet length by up to 1.5 centimeters.

Prices for the new Aquaracer Professional 300 start at $2,800 (36mm with black or white dial) and rise to $4,200 (43mm titanium model with green dial).

Limited Edition

In addition to launching seven new ongoing models within the Aquaracer Professional 300 collection, TAG Heuer is adding a limited edition titanium-cased watch in tribute to the Heuer Ref. 844, a diver’s watch released in 1978 that presaged the Aquaracer collection.

The Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 is a tribute to original model from 1978.

That watch featured a dial design with a red 24-hour scale, prominent lume-filled hour markers and a rotating divers’ bezel with a minutes scale. The new tribute, called the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844, is cased in Grade 5 titanium with visual elements from the archive piece. These include a flat black dial and a red 24-hour scale, originally intended as a quick conversion chart for divers.

The tribute watch also features vintage-hued luminescent material on its dial and arrives with a black perforated rubber strap that echoes the strap sold on the original. But here, TAG Heuer has made the perforations octagonal to maintain the new Aquaracer design code.

Only 844 examples of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 will be made. TAG Heuer’s ETA-based (or Sellita-based) Caliber 5 automatic movement powers all eight references in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection. Price of the tribute model: $4,350.

 

The ultra-clear dial on this Accutron Legacy R.R.-0 echoes one of the watchmaker’s most popular railroad watches. This new model, one of the handful of designs Accutron included in its retro-themed Legacy collection, is inspired by a particular Canadian Railroad watch from 1970.

The new Accutron Legacy R.R.-0

The dial design was one of the era’s most popular railroad watch designs. Its unusual name, shortened to ”zero railroad” or just “zero” because of the 0 numeral at the top of the dial, was a specification required at the time by the Canadian
 Railroad.

The original model was one of the first wristwatches to be approved by the North American Railroad. Prior to the advent of this designation, pocket watches were considered the only timepieces accurate enough to be “railroad-grade.”

The original Accutron Railroad watch from 1970.

The designation required that wristwatches included large Arabic numerals for legibility. It also required that setting the watch required the front crystal to be unscrewed first, and that regulation and adjustment was recorded in five positions.

The new Accutron R.R.-0 echoes the original with a 34mm 
faceted steel railroad case and 
a crown at 4 o’clock. With its bright white 
dial with easy-to-see Arabic numerals, the watch also recalls the original with its railroad-style 
hands and a red seconds hand. And instead of a tuning-fork movement, the new watch is powered by a Sellita automatic
movement with a date indicator. Bulova attaches the new model to a black leather strap.

Instead of a tuning-fork movement, the new watch is powered by a Sellita automatic
 movement, visible in part through the caseback.

The entire Accutron Legacy collection is available now online and in select stores with each design limited to 600 watches. The Legacy R.R.-0 is priced at $1,290.

 

After updating its world timer and its Highlife collections in recent months, Geneva-based Frederique Constant now refreshes three models with the most basic time displays within its Classics collection.

Specifically, Frederique Constant has updated its Classics Index Automatic, Classics Quartz GMT and Classics Quartz, expanding these collections with eleven newly detailed models.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic.

Classics Index Automatic

This collection now includes five new models. Frederique Constant has replaced two-part guilloché dials with cleaner, matte-finished blue, white or black dials. Instead of Roman numerals you’ll see applied hour markers, all of which have been bevelled and tinted with luminescent material. Formerly thin hands are now sword-shaped in an attempt to portray a geometric purity on the dial.  

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic, here with rose-gold plated steel case.

Four of the 40mm Classic Index Automatic models are cased in steel while one is made with rose-gold-plated steel (and a blued steel seconds hand). Frederique Constant powers all these new models with an automatic Sellita-based FC-303 caliber offering a power reserve of 38 hours. While one full-steel model features a blue dial and steel bracelet, the remaining watches are fit with a nubuck-finish leather strap in brown, black or blue. Prices start at 850 euros, or about $1,100.

Classics Quartz GMT

These travel-ready GMT models retain their easy-to-read dual-time dials. Three new 40mm steel-cased models now include a sunray-brushed dial and the required three hands for the hours, minutes and centrally set GMT hand. That second time zone indicator is tipped with a red arrow and points to the second time zone at a glance, calibrated to a 24-hour marker track encircling the dial.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Quartz GMT, here on a steel bracelet.

These watches also make it easy to adjust both the local time and the second timezone. The wearer simply turns the activated crown in one direction to adjust the time zone and in the other direction to adjust the date.

Frederique Constant offers three new Classic Quartz GMT models: one with a gray dial and a brown nubuck-finish calfskin strap, another with a blue dial and a blue strap and a third, sportier variation with a black dial on a steel bracelet. Prices start at 695 euros, or about $830.

Classics Quartz

Finally, Frederique Constant now offers its most basic 40mm two-hand watch, with date, in a new blue or black dial model. Except for the lack of a seconds hands, these watches echo the look and finish of firm’s mechanical models with a sunray-brushed dial, polished case, applied hour markers doubled at 12 o’clock and nubuck-finish leather strap or three-link steel bracelet. Prices start at 595 euros, or about $700.

The Frederique Constant Classics quartz, on a steel bracelet.
Frederique Constant Classics quartz.

By Nancy Olson

Curtis Australia is perhaps best known for its bespoke jewelry and finely crafted writing instruments. But the Melbourne-based company has also been producing watches for more than a decade as yet another expression of its artisanal expertise and as an homage to founder Glenn Curtis’s generations-long lineage in watchmaking.

The new Motima from Curtis Australia.

“My grandfather passed on his watchmaking and jewelry tools to me, and some of these tools were in turn his father’s, as were some of the [jewelry] production methods he taught me,” says Curtis. His company’s new Motima automatic models (the name is a loose portmanteau of “motor” and “time”) benefits from the same jeweler’s approach to watchmaking as the company’s earlier collections for men and women.

New watch

The new Motima Perpetual offers some notable diversity from Curtis Australia, which has previously focused primarily on jewelry-oriented models powered by quartz movements. The company makes its own gold cases and bracelets as well as the crowns and even the gold screws that affix the caseback to the custom-engraved rotor.

“We design everything here in Australia,” adds Curtis. “We then make prototypes of all these parts in house. By creating all the prototypes ourselves we ensure that the look, the balance and comfort are as we envisaged. We can also make adjustments and improvements as we go, resulting in a more efficient and seamless timeline from concept to finished watch.”

Curtis Australia forms, hand finishes, polishes and assembles each Motima case at its own workshops.

Made in Australia

Motima’s 9-karat rose, yellow or white gold 43mm octagonal cases are forged at over 1,080 degrees Celsius, and each is formed, hand finished, polished and assembled at the Curtis Australia atelier. The Motima’s three-step screw-down crown is 9-karat gold, as are the case screws, and the watch’s bezel is stainless steel set with a diamond set in gold above 12 o’clock.

“We concentrate our focus on the areas we are experts in—the metal parts, like bezels, casebacks, case screws, catches and screw-down crowns,” says Curtis, adding that other parts, like the dials, are outsourced.

The customized self-winding Sellita movement, visible via the sapphire crystal on the caseback, features 42 hours of power reserve and 25 jewels, and it operates at 28,000vph. The rotor is engraved with the Curtis logo.

The Motima’s Sellita automatic movement features a rotor engraved with the Curtis logo.

The 43mm Motima collection includes models with blue, red or black sunray-finish dials, all of which display Roman numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock. A red seconds hand traverses the blue and black textured dials, while a gold-finished seconds hand offers contrast on the red-dial model. The baton-style hour and minute hands have unobtrusive luminous accents running their lengths.

Curtis Australia fits its Motima is fitted on a leather strap or on a two-tone or solid gold bracelet. As noted, the manufacturer crafts the 18-karat or 9-karat gold bracelets in-house.

Price: $11,400 on leather strap or two-tone bracelet; $29,800 on 9-karat gold bracelet; bespoke 18-karat gold versions, price upon request.

 

Specifications: Curtis Australia Motima

Movement: Automatic Sellita with 42-hours power reserve and engraved rotor, visible through sapphire back.

Case: In-house octagonal-shaped 43mm solid 9-karat white, yellow or rose gold with steel caseback, sapphire crystal front and back, with engraved rotor. Screw-down gold crown.

Dial: Black, red or blue with gold-finished hands topped with luminous material. Diamond at top of dial.

Bracelet: In-house karat gold, steel or leather strap.

Prices: $11,400 (strap or two-tone bracelet). $29,800 (9-karat gold case and bracelet). Upon request for 18-karat gold case/bracelet.

 

Collectors already know the German-based Meistersinger for its unusual focus on one-handed time displays. But quite frequently the company underscores its rebellious nature with displays and dials that delight the eye with edgy contemporary designs, bold indicators and bright colors.

One such design, the Meistersinger Astroscope, indicates the weekdays quite unlike any other watch. Rather than highlighting each day within a traditional aperture or around the dial in their expected calendar order, the Astroscope denotes the days with a series of bright white dots next to both the abbreviation and celestial symbol. Even more unusually, the days are arranged in an apparently random pattern across the dial, from the 9 o’clock position to the 3 o’clock position.

This week, Meistersinger launches a new limited edition Astroscope, now offered with a bright orange strap that matches newly orange, luminous markers.

Meistersinger launches a new limited-edition Astroscope.

Myths and planets

Meistersinger explains that the Astroscope’s weekday celestial symbols are derived from ancient mythology, which don’t follow the current calendar.

The method most likely dates back to the Babylonians, who connected the days to seven celestial bodies: The Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.

Meistersinger spreads the days across the dial as if along the horizon, with Monday at the top of the sky. Meistersinger then displays the appropriate celestial bodies and classical symbols next to the day, all of which seem to wander to and fro. The daily dots, imprinted on a rotating disc below the dial,  ‘jump’ across the dial rather than appear in traditional calendar order.

Unusual display

Thus, the week’s displays begin on Monday with a white dot at 12 o’clock (next to the moon symbol), followed the next day just to the left at the Mars symbol. On Wednesday the day dot appears next to Mercury near 9 o’clock. And so on.

Apparently there is a pattern here, according to the brand. It has placed the seven day apertures in a layout that mimics a constellation only seen every ten to twelve years in the southern night sky of the northern hemisphere. Meistersinger doesn’t name the constellation.

The unusual day display, as well as the single-hand time indicator and the date display, are powered by an automatic Sellita movement, which Meistersinger displays through a sapphire caseback.

Meistersinger debuted the 40mm steel-cased Astroscope last year with a black or blue dial and white luminous markers. As noted, this newest edition, limited to 100 units, glows with orange markers and symbols atop a dégradé black dial. Even the calfskin strap is orange, nicely matching the dial accents.

Price: $2,295

A re-made Accutron 521 was among the many eye-catching designs Accutron included in its premiere Legacy collection debuts last September. For Elvis Presley fans however, the retro design was a particularly notable revival since the original asymmetric-cased gold model 521, from 1960, was known to be one of Presley’s favorite watches.

The new Accutron Legacy 521, with gold-plated steel case and mesh-style bracelet.

For others, the debut also resonated because of its attention to the original’s perfectly designed proportions. For its Legacy collection, Accutron wisely resisted the modern tendency by watchmakers to upscale retro editions by housing them in larger cases.  

Thus, the new Accutron Legacy 521 retains the same ‘TV-shaped’ design framed by the same incredible Space Age lugs as the original, complete with the modest 32.8mm x 32.5mm case dimension, silver-white dial and stylized double-stick hour markers. And while Bulova’s Accutron division in 1960 cased the original in fourteen-karat gold, Accutron has created its new Legacy 521 with a gold-plated steel case.

The original Accutron 521 was unique among the era’s debuts in that it was the only model in the series topped by a mineral glass crystal and a snap-on case back. Accutron today replaces the mineral glass with sapphire and clears a partial view of its movement via a clear sapphire caseback.

And while the original Accutron 521 was among the first designs to house the groundbreaking Accutron electronic tuning fork movement, this new edition will be powered by a modern Sellita automatic caliber.

The original Accutron 521 from 1960.

Accutron also fully embraces the new watch’s 1960s vibe by attaching the 521 case to a gold-hued steel bracelet patterned to echo the mesh-style bracelet popular during the era, with double-press deployant clasp. Alternatively, Accutron offers a version with a brown lizard-embossed leather strap. The new 521 is limited to 600 pieces in each bracelet option.

Prices: $1,550 (mesh-style bracelet) or $1,450 (leather strap).