As football season continues, Accutron reminds collectors that the inspiration watches for two of its new Legacy models drew catchy gridiron nicknames in the 1960s.
The two models, the Accutron 565 and 203, were both initially launched in 1966 and were notable for their distinctive asymmetrical case designs, which accounted in part for their football-related nicknames.
One watch, model 565, was known as the ‘Football Cross Hatch’ watch thanks the spiral pattern on its bezel. Likewise, fans called the 203 model the ‘Football Gold Relief’ watch primarily because of its case shape, which somewhat echoes that of the pigskin.
Accutron’s Legacy collection, first seen in late 2020, includes newly re-imagined versions of those original watches plus many others from the 1960s and 1970s. For these models (and the full Legacy collection) Accutron wisely resists the modern tendency by watchmakers to upscale retro editions by housing them in larger cases.
Accutron today adds the distinctive bezel cross hatch pattern to the crown (at 4 o’clock) on the new Legacy 565 ($1,390). This model is 34mm in diameter and features a silver-tone stainless steel case with a three-hand silver white dial, large hour markers and an outer minutes ring.
The new Accutron Legacy 203 ($1,450) offers the same 34mm size case, but with two-tone finish, a three-hand champagne-colored dial, Arabic numerals and thin markers on the outer ring. It’s sold with a brown croco-embossed leather strap with a double-press clasp.
The full Accutron Legacy collection is availableonlineand inselect storeswith each design limited to 600 watches. All models feature sapphire crystals, a Sellita-based automatic movement and are water resistant to 30 meters.
All Accutron Legacy watches are priced at less than $1,500. Most retain what are now called unisex sizes, from 34mm to 38.5mm in diameter, and almost all are sold in both silver-tone steel and gold-tone steel cases. While several offer steel or gold-tone bracelets, most echo the era and come with croco-embossed or retro-style leather straps.
Bell & Boss expands its BR 05 collection with two models that offer luxurious options within the BR 05 design, which features a round-edged square case, wide bezel and round dial notably held together with a fully integrated bracelet.
One model, the BR 05 Skeleton, is now available with a full gold 40mm case and gold bracelet. While we’ve seen gold models within the BR 05 collection, this debut finds the skeletonized version with the precious dress for the first time.
This new gold case underscores the BR 05’s mono-case design. Fully 155 grams of gold encase the openwork dial, which gleams with its own gilded attributes.
All the dial’s appliqué indexes and skeletonized hour and minutes hands are coated with gold, as is the movement itself. Bell & Ross then smartly inlays a strip of white SuperLuminova on the hands and indexes with to enhance nighttime visibility.
The movement, a Sellita-based Bell & Ross BR-CAL.322, is wound by a 360° rose gold-plated oscillating weight that has been open-worked. And finally Bell & Ross and imprinted a metallized logo on the watch’s sapphire case-back.
Bell & Ross will make ninety-nine BR 05 Skeleton Gold models with the new gold case. The watch will be offered on the integrated gold bracelet ($34,700) and also with a black rubber strap ($23,700).
BR 05 Diamond
Those who prefer diamonds to gold for their luxury statement can now choose from among three steel-cased Bell & Ross BR 05 Diamond models, which sport the gem set into the bezel around a sunray black BR 05 three-hand dial with date.
Bell& Ross offers three options, all with a fully diamond-set bezel. One model sports a black rubber strap ($10,700) while another attaches a steel bracelet ($11,200). The third new Bell & Ross BR 05 Diamond adds includes the steel bracelet but also adds diamonds to the bracelet’s central links ($21,500).
Inside Bell & Ross places its automatic Sellita-based BR-CAL.321 wound with a 360° oscillating weight visible through a sapphire back.
One of our favorite American-based dive watch specialists has released another water watch you’re sure to appreciate. Deep Blue’s Daynight Alpha Marine 500 Tritium T-100 Swiss Automatic may be a mouthful to pronounce, but you’ll like what you see at a glance.
Deep Blue is known for its intense lume and superior water resistance, and this new model certainly fills the bill. The watch is cased in a 45mm 316L stainless steel case and is 15mm thick. Inside beats a Sellita SW-200-1 Automatic oscillating at 28,800 vph.
Visible through the 33mm dial aperture are the numerous flat and round self-illuminating tritium tubes, in this case complemented by a fully illuminated dial. Clearly its all about the glow on this watch. Even the 120-click ceramic bezel combines Superluminova numerals and markers with a tritium pip.
As expected, Deep Blues utilizes an extra thick sapphire crystal with AR coating underneath, and another crystal offers a view of the movement from the reverse side.
Water resistant to an impressive 500 meters, the watch head is held in place by a stainless steel bracelet with a multi-function safety and micro-adjustment deployant clasp. Price: $999.
TAG Heuer today expands its Aquaracer Professional 300 collection with three new watches. Two models with blue and black dials, first seen in April as steel bracelet models when TAG Heuer upgraded the deep-diving collection, are now offered with matching rubber strap options.
A third debut echoes a favorite bright-dialed TAG Heuer dive watch from the past.
Return of the Night Diver
TAG Heuer’s highlight fall 2021 Aquaracer Professional 300 debut is the all-black, lume-dialed Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver. The watch recalls the TAG Heuer “Night Diver” first seen in the mid-1980s and re-introduced in numerous guises in the years since, most recently in 2018.
The Night Diver’s standout feature, then and today, is its fully luminescent dial, which TAG Heuer coats in green SuperLuminova. This is truly non-subtle lume, which may be too bright for some desk divers, but for others hits home.
TAG Heuer seemingly overfills the watch’s minute and central seconds with blue lume to clearly contrast with the green dial. That bright green color also appears on the hour hand and four primary hour markers. And critically, TAG Heuer fills the triangle at the top of the unidirectional rotating bezel with blue lume to match the blue of the minute and central seconds hands.
To emphasize the ‘night’ in the watch’s nickname, TAG Heuer coats the watch’s 43mm stainless steel case, bezel, crown, caseback and clasp with matte black diamond-like carbon. The bezel insert is black ceramic.
TAG Heuer’s ETA-based (or Sellita-based) Caliber 5 automatic movement powers all references in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection.
TAG Heuer fits the Night Diver with a black rubber strap with a black DLC steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons with fine adjustment system.
You might recall that earlier this year TAG Heuer revamped its Aquaracer collection, displaying models with a more refined twelve-sided bezel, shorter lugs, slightly wider hour hands and more prominent horizontal engraved dial lines. The three new models debuting today expand the new Aquaracer collection to eleven references.
All three new Aquaracer models feature a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, are water resistance to 300 meters, feature a sapphire crystal and a double safety clasp. And they all have solid casebacks stamped with a diving suit sporting a twelve-sided faceplate.
Prices: $3,350 (Night Diver) and $2,700 (Aquaracer with blue or black dial with new rubber strap).
Traveling through Switzerland by train means frequently sighting the source of Mondaine’s minimalist watch dial named for the Federal Swiss Railways (SBB).
At every train station you’ll see an easy-to-read black-and-white-dial clock originally designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1944 when he was working for the SBB. The design was enhanced in 1947 with the addition of a paddle-shaped seconds hand based on the stationmaster’s hand-held train signal.
While today Mondaine features primarily quartz-powered models built using sustainable materials, the Swiss watchmaker recently gave its EVO2 Automatic collection (originally created in 1986) a design update, adding rounder curves that reach around the case to seamlessly fold into a clear caseback, exposing a nicely SBB-branded Sellita automatic movement.
Mondaine has also refined the case lugs and has carefully updated EVO2’s crown to balance the watch’s design.
The newest Mondaine EVO2 models, with their genuine and classic Swiss-design dial, are available in 35mm and 40mm case sizes, are offered with a choice of a black or red straps ($665) or on a steel mesh bracelet ($720).
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Prices begin at CHF 15,230 (approximately $16,600).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.