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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

 

For many years Precision Engineering AG, a sister company of H. Moser & Cie., has been making balance springs for MB&F. These two high-profile independent watchmakers today expand their ties well beyond sharing component-makers by each launching a watch with functions and designs originally found on watches from both companies.

Thus, on the new Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F the wearer sees a cylindrical tourbillon and tilted dial that immediately recalls the MB&F LM Thunderdome or its Flying-T.

Likewise, on the new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser we see the highly recognizable MB&F suspended balance flying above a trademark H. Moser fumé dial with minimalized H. Moser hands indicating both time and power reserve.

Both companies have jointly created these two new watches and will make them available in several versions with each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Fifteen signifies the 15th anniversary of MB&F and the fifteenth anniversary of H. Moser & Cie.’s re-launch.

Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F

For this 42mm model, H. Moser & Cie. takes the MB&F concept of three-dimensional movements to another technical level with a one-minute flying tourbillon (with the aforementioned cylindrical balance) popping out of an aperture at 12 o’clock.

Down at 6 o’clock we see a 40-degree tilted dial, lifted directly from MB&F’s LM Thunderdome or Flying –T.  Rather than the white lacquer dial used by MB&F, here we find clear sapphire marked only by the H. Moser name, two hands and the twelve hour markers.

H. Moser CEO Edouard Meylan explains that his company has “Moserized the MB&F universe by developing a sapphire subdial, which melts into the background so as to highlight the beauty of our fumé dials.”

H. Moser will make the watch available in five different versions cased in steel and with a selection of favorite H. Moser fumé dials: Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White or Ice Blue.

LM101 MB&F × H. Moser

For its part in the cooperative venture, MB&F has outfitted its Legacy Machine 101 with distinctive H. Moser elements.

MB&F has retained the watch’s suspended flying balance, but has removed its own logo as well as the LM101’s white domed subdials, replacing them with an H. Moser fumé dial and three H. Moser hands showing hours, minutes power reserve.

MB&F chose four fumé dials to illustrate the watch’s cooperative nature: Red, Cosmic Green, Aqua Blue and Funky Blue. MB&F also retained the 40mm by 16mm steel case and domed sapphire crystal.

MB&F has also redesigned the LM101’s large suspended balance wheel by adding a Straumann double balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG, the component maker that shares ownership with H. Moser. MB&F says the new spring actually improves the movement’s precision and isochronism while also reducing friction.

And there’s more ‘Mosering’ visible on this new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser. Rather than using a Kari Voutilainen finish, MB&F has supplied a contemporary NAC treatment to the movement, which is visible from the clear sapphire caseback.

Moser CEO Edouard Meylan and MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser compare their new creations to a “duet recital in the form of an exceptional concerto for devotees of fine watchmaking.”

Clearly, the two independent watchmakers are making beautiful music together. 

The two models are available in several versions, each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Prices: $79,000  (Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F) and $52,000 (LM101 MB&F × H. Moser).

 

 

 

Fresh from releasing two Chronomaster Revival pieces in recent months, Zenith this week returns to its forward-focused Defy collection with the Defy 21 Ultraviolet, a 44mm dual-escapement chronograph with eye-catching purple bridges, rotor and strap.

For this model, the color will now vie for attention with the Defy 21’s mesmerizing one-rotation-per-second central chronograph hand.

When activated, sending the seconds hand spinning around the dial, the regally hued watch times events using Zenith’s 1/100th-of-a-second El Primero 21 chronograph caliber, beating at an ultra-high 50Hz (360,000 vph).

The watch of course continues to retain the time of day, thanks to its three-hand indicators, powered by the more traditional El Primero caliber, with the watch’s second escapement vibrating at 36,000 vph.

Zenith has colored the bridges violet on watch’s El Primero 9004 automatic movement.

Mostly open dial

As with most of the earlier Defy El Primero 21 models, the dial here is mostly open, clearing a direct view to many of the violet-colored, angular-cut bridges within. But unlike most of the earlier, heavily skeletonized designs, the new Defy 21 Ultraviolet’s solid chronograph subdials most directly recall the Defy 21 El Primero 21 Carl Cox released earlier this year.

Echoing that model’s specialized subdial designs, this new example features three grey chronograph registers and a grey flange ring. Other than the Carl Cox edition, the only similar example with solid chronograph registers was seen last year within the Defy 21 El Primero 50th Anniversary edition and was only available as part of a box set of three watches.

Sandblasted case

All the purple-treated bridges inside this Defy 21 Ultraviolet stand out particularly well against the matte sandblasted grey titanium case.

Equally compelling – at least to consumers who appreciate the novelty of a violet-tinted watch – is the woven textile-like purple insert of the watch’s accompanying black rubber strap.

I’ve always appreciated how difficult it can be for historically rich Swiss watch companies to embrace more modern  design, and with this newest watch Zenith presents an eye-catching, contemporary variation for its already impressive Defy 21 technology.  While the new Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet is primarily an exercise in color and finishing, the choice of color here is not for the meek, and it makes the result particularly successful. Price: $13,100.

Specifications: Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet (Reference: 97.9001.9004/80.R922)

Key points: Unique violet 1/100th of a second chronograph movement with seconds hand rotation once per second. One escapement for the watch (36,000 Vph – 5 Hz) and one escapement for the chronograph (360,000 Vph – 50 Hz). Linear power reserve indicator. TIME LAB Chronometer certified.

Movement: El Primero 9004 automatic with ultraviolet finishings, with 50-hours of power reserve.

Functions: 1/100th of a second chronograph functions. Chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock. Hours and minutes in the center. Small seconds at 9 o’clock, Central chronograph hand, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 60-second counter at 6 o’clock

Case: 44mm micro-blasted titanium with 100 meters water resistance,

Dial: Special open dial with grey closed chronograph registers, rhodium-plated, faceted markers coated with SuperLumiNova. Hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova

Bracelet: Violet fabric-effect strap with micro-blasted titanium double folding clasp

Price: $13,100.

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

Frank Sinatra is once again announcing “it’s Bulova time.” 

The famed late singer is the star of a new series of ten Bulova watches named after well-known Frank Sinatra songs. The brand’s new Frank Sinatra Collection is dedicated to Sinatra – who was known for wearing Bulova watches – and features watches with cases and dials inspired by designs from the 1950s and 1960s.

A Fly Me to the Moon model from the new Bulova Frank Sinatra Collection.

Sinatra connection

Bulova’s connection to Frank Sinatra began in the 1950s during The Frank Sinatra Show television program for which the brand was the sponsor.

A pioneering advertiser known for extensive early radio and television campaigns, Bulova has in recent years renewed its connection to the music industry with partnerships with the Recording Academy, the Latin Recording Academy as well as through initiatives like Tune of Time or with non-profit partner, Windows of Hip Hop. Bulova has also teamed with the GRAMMY Awards to create a series of watches. Frank Sinatra took home nine GRAMMY awards during his long career.

“Our commitment to music includes many talents, many genres, many voices. Who better than ‘The Voice’ himself, Frank Sinatra, to continue to showcase our dedication and appreciation for the art of music and its ability to transcend time,” says Jeffrey Cohen, President of Citizen Watch America, which includes Bulova within its corporate umbrella.

Frank Sinatra and Tina Sinatra

“No one respected time more than my father, he never liked to keep an audience waiting, adds Frank Sinatra’s daughter Tina Sinatra. “He often said, ‘If you’re not early, you’re late.’ Dad’s association with Bulova spans over six decades and we are proud to continue the relationship into the 21st Century.”

The watches

The new Bulova Frank Sinatra Collection includes manual-wind, automatic or quartz timepieces made in a square, rectangular, round and tonneau case shapes and named for some of the best-known Sinatra songs, including “My Way,” “The Best is Yet to Come” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

My Way

The watches are cased in either stainless steel or gold-toned steel and are powered by a Sellita or Miyota automatic or manual-wind caliber, or by a Miyota quartz caliber. Many feature gold-toned hands and indexes and are offered in steel or leather straps. Prices range from $495 to $1,350.

In addition, Bulova pays tribute to Sinatra by placing an image of the singer’s Fedora hat on the crown and by imprinting song titles on the inside of the straps and on the caseback of each watch. Frank Sinatra’s signature is also seen on each dial.

My Way, showing engraved caseback.

The first series in Bulova’s Frank Sinatra Collection includes:

My Way is a tank-style stainless steel or gold-tone steel watch with a silvery white or black dial and a Miyota quartz movement. Prices: $495 and $525.

My Way, with black dial.

The Best is Yet To Come is an assortment of 40mm round case watches in either stainless steel or gold-toned steel with an exhibition caseback showcasing a manual-wind Sellita SW215 movement. Prices: $1,150 to $1,350.

The Best is Yet to Come is a 40mm manual-wind watch offered with various dials.
The Best is Yet to Come, with a steel bracelet.

Three pieces under the name Fly Me To The Moon feature 39mm round steel or gold-tone steel cases and powered by a Miyota Caliber 8215 automatic movement seen through an exhibition caseback. Prices: $750 to $825.

Fly Me to the Moon

The Young At Heart includes a selection of timepieces in a gold-tone stainless steel tonneau-shaped case. One of the novelties is presented with a brown sunray brush dial inspired by Sinatra’s Whiskey partnership complete with a brown calf strap.

The Young At Heart, brown sunray dial.

The other is seen with a silver white sunray dial with a black calf strap. A Miyota Caliber 8215 automatic movement powers both pieces. Price: $695.

The Young At Heart includes a selection of timepieces in a gold-tone stainless steel tonneau-shaped case.

Bulova will sell each watch with a package that mimics a vinyl album box set. It will also include lyrics from Sinatra songs and incorporate various vintage images.

The Frank Sinatra collection will be available later this year on Bulova.com and at other Bulova official retailers.

 

Wempe Glashütte I/SA, the watchmaking division of German-based watch and jewelry retailer Wempe, this week adds a third watch collection to its roster with Iron Walker, a set of four steel sport-leisure watches for men and women.    

The new Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph

Named in reference to steel girders used to build skyscrapers, the new Wempe Iron Walker is the latest of many high-profile collections industry-wide featuring integrated stainless-steel cases and bracelets. Of the recent integrated steel-cased watch debuts we’ve seen, Wempe’s Iron Walker is among the most comprehensive (and affordable) with a chronograph, a diver’s watch and two dressy unisex models. All together, Wempe is launching sixteen models (including a few with quartz movements).

Wempe’s new Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph

Automatic Chronograph

At the top of the line is an ETA 7753 (Valjoux)- powered automatic chronograph offered with two dial treatments: steel blue or black-silver in a ‘reverse panda’ layout. The 42mm watch features a date, tachymeter and three totalizers in a tri-compax arrangement; all hands and markers are coated with SuperLuminova. Two protected rectangular pushbuttons control the chronograph.

As is the case with all Wempe chronographs, the caliber here is adjusted in the company’s own workshops in Glashütte so that it passes the more stringent German chronometric testing standards. These require the movement’s maximum average rate variation at only two seconds per day when mounted in the case. Price: $4,250.

Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver’s Watch

Automatic Diver’s Watch

Water resistant to 300 meters, the dive model in the new collection is also a certified chronometer that adds a folding safety clasp with an extension element to the Iron Walker’s signature integrated three-row stainless-steel bracelet. With the extension element, the watch’s length can be increased by as much as 17mm.

This dive model utilizes an internal bezel dive-time ring, mounted behind the sapphire crystal, to meet all DIN and ISO standards for dive watches. To satisfy all underwater visibility requirements, Wempe has marked the watch’s triangular zero mark and its hands and markers with SuperLuminova. Both crowns are screw-in for added water resistance.

The Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver’s Watch on the wrist.

Despite its dive-ready technical design, the Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver’s Watch is sleeker than most dive watches. The watch is only 11.7mm thick – a moderate size that means it will fit nicely under any sleeve.

Inside Wempe places an ETA 2892 automatic movement that it watchmakers have adjusted to meet German chronometer and ISO 3159 dive watch standards. Price: $3,450.

Automatic and Quartz Unisex 


Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch (36mm).

As a moderately sized (40mm) or smaller sized (36mm) three-hand dress watch, Wempe’s remaining Iron Walker option is a simpler model offered with a choice of automatic or quartz movement.

Wempe’s 40mm Iron Walker Automatic Men’s Watch, also offered with a quartz movement.

All four models are certified chronometers with central hour, minute, and seconds hands and a date, and each features raised, luminous markers.

Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch (36mm).
Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch (blue dial).

Available with a black, blue or white dial, the automatic models are powered by an ETA 2892-A2 (power reserve of 50 hours) while and ETA E64.111 powers the quartz models (constant running time 41 months).

To impress as a dress watch, Wempe has made the both the larger ‘Men’s’ size and the smaller ‘Women’s’ size with a sleek 9.75mm-thick case. Nonetheless, any of these four dress models offers the same solid three-link tapered steel bracelet that marks the entire Iron Walker collection.

Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch
Iron Walker Quartz Men’s Watch

Prices: $1,950 (36mm quartz), $2,650 (36mm automatic), $2,050 (40mm quartz) and $2,750 (40mm automatic).

I’ve long been impressed with high value Wempe has built into its Chronometerwerke and Zeitmeister collections. With Iron Walker, Wempe appears to again combine well-considered styling with top-level specs.

Iron Walker’s elegant look, backed by the collection-wide chronometer rating, new angular case and three-link solid steel bracelet, is a winning combination. For details see the Wempe website.  Wempe’s U.S. store is located at 700 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

As Zenith prepared for last year’s fiftieth anniversary celebration of El Primero, its premier automatic chronograph, the Le Locle watchmaker sifted again through the cache of tools and prototypes slated for destruction in 1975, but preserved at the time by the forward-thinking Charles Vermot.

There, amid piles of boxes, Zenith found another version of its now well-known Chronomaster tri-color dial. But instead of the grey, black and blue subdials, the discovered prototype featured three different shades of blue.

And while Zenith says it has no records of these blue tri-color dials, the watchmaker has determined that they were part of the original prototype dials for the El Primero A386 in 1969 featuring a 38mm steel case.

New and Blue

This past week Zenith debuted the Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition, a production model Chronomaster cased in the El Primero A386 steel case and using the all-blue-subdial design on its dial. Of course, inside Zenith is placing its El Primero high-frequency automatic chronograph with column wheel.

Echoing earlier Revival models, Zenith is reproducing the recently discovered dial within the 38mm case (with pump-style pushers) paying close attention to the blueprints of the original. These Revival models will be cased in steel rather than in gold however, making them more affordable than the A386 Revival editions from 2019. 

Zenith adds that this release will be the final Revival model to feature the A386 case style and size.

The watchmaker will make the new Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition available for six months only on its pending e-commerce site (slated to open June 30) and then only at its Le Locle manufacturing facility after it reopens to the public for visits.

Zenith is producing special packaging for the watch. It will look like a book, and on its cover you’ll see a blueprint of the Zenith manufacture. Inside, Zenith adds a comic book about Charles Vermot. Price: $8,700

Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition

(Reference: 03.Z386.400/60.C843)

Movement: Zenith El Primero 400 Automatic, 36,000 vph frequency, 50-hour power reserve.

Dial: White-lacquered dial with three shades of blue counters. Hours and minutes in the center, small seconds at nine o’clock. Chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three o’clock. Tachymetric scale. Date indication at 4:30. Rhodium-plated hour markers, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova. Hands are white, faceted and coated with Super Luminova.

Case: 38mm steel

Bracelet & buckle: Blue alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining. Stainless steel pin buckle.

 

At Watches & Wonders 2020 Baume & Mercier added four Clifton watches with the impressive Baumatic automatic movement, which boasts a five-day power reserve, high efficiency escapement and silicon hairspring. These new models include watches that boast a perpetual calendar, a day-date model with moonphase, a date model with moonphase and a beautiful 39mm COSC-certified date and time-only watch.

And while all deliver the Baumatic movement within a nicely polished and satin-finished steel or rose gold case, we were particularly taken with the high value offered by the Clifton Baumatic Day/Date Moonphase, a 42mm watch that effortlessly combines all the indicators I need in any non-chronograph watch onto a particularly eye-catching gradient lacquered grey dial.

The Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day/Date Moonphase, in pink gold case.

The days at the top of the dial are clearly marked with minimal fuss while the accompanying date makes perfect sense just across the dial. With an easy symmetry, the day and the date are each indicated by a hand of the same shape and color.

The new Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moonphase, steel case.
On the dial Baume & Mercier fits a grey sapphire wave-shaped aperture that allows the moon to shine.

Likewise the trapezoid-shaped hour markers perfectly echo the long, alpha-type hands, and both of these indicators are colored to match your choice of pink gold or steel case.

A secondary dial highlight, after the perfectly gradient dial work, is the dual-moonphase display that Baume & Mercier touches up with a somewhat hidden persuader: a grey sapphire wave-shaped aperture that allows the moon to shine according to schedule as the disc rotates.

This grey-tinted sapphire is a defining feature on both the pink gold and steel models, blending seamlessly with the gradation of the dial.

These dial details speak volumes about how Baume & Mercier continues to design thoughtfully considered classic dress watches at a level higher than their selling price might indicate. 

Long Power Reserve

Since Baume & Mercier knows that keeping all these indicators on time means keeping the mainspring wound and ticking, the Geneva manufacture supplies the watch (and the entire series of watches) with the aforementioned Baumatic movement built with a helpful five-day power reserve.

And to add another layer of luxury to this affordably priced watch (in steel, it is priced at $4,400), Baume & Mercier nicely decorates the in-house movement with a gilded, open-worked oscillating weight finished with Côtes 
de Genève and snailing. (Baume & Mercier indicates that the back can also be engraved by special order.)

The entire package, particularly in its steel case, emphasizes Baume & Mercier’s long-time strength as a legacy brand that maintains a high-value collection of Swiss- manufactured watches. Prices: $12,200 (pink gold case) and $4,400 (steel case). Both watches are slated to be delivered in October.       

    

Specifications:

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moonphase (pink gold)

REFERENCE: M0A10547

Movement: In-house self-winding Baumatic BM14 1975 AC2. Bridge with circular-grained décor, sandblasted plate with snailed décor, gilt open-worked oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes 
de Genève” and snailed decors, Baume & Mercier engravings, power reserve of 5 days (120 hours), Frequency of 28,800 vph.

Case: 42mm by 12.95 polished and satin-finished pink gold 
with antiglare and scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal, polished 18-karat pink gold crown, open caseback secured with 4 screws

Dial: H/M/S, date-day and moonphase indication. Gradient grey lacquered, gilt riveted trapezoid-shaped indexes, slightly elongated gilt ‘alpha’ hands, grey transparent sapphire aperture at 6 o’clock, polished gilt moon-phase disc with blue lacquered finish

Strap: Interchangeable blue alligator with tone-on-tone stitching on the top and burgundy color on the bottom and bridle points at the buckle; system of curved bars with lug that allows strap change without tools. Polished and satin-finished 18-karat pink gold pin buckle.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moonphase (steel)

REFERENCE :M0A10548

Movement: In-house self-winding Baumatic BM14 1975 AC2. Bridge with circular- grained décor, sandblasted plate with snailed décor, gilt open-worked oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes 
de Genève” and snailed decors, Baume & Mercier engravings, power reserve of 5 days (120 hours), Frequency of 28,800 vph.

Case: 42mm by 13.2mm polished and satin-finished stainless steel, antiglare scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal, open caseback secured with 4 screws

Dial: H/M/S, day-date, moon-phase indications. Dial is gradient grey lacquered, rhodium-plated riveted trapezoid-shaped slightly elongated indexes, rhodium-plated ‘alpha’ hands, grey transparent sapphire aperture at 6 o’clock, polished rhodium-plated moon-phase disc with blue lacquered finish

Strap: Interchangeable blue alligator with tone-on-tone stitching on the top and burgundy color on the bottom and bridle points at the buckle; system of curved bars with lug that allows strap change without tools; triple folding buckle with security push-pieces

 

By Steve Lundin, Watch Culture Editor

There is a crucial moment that every watch collector faces in those fast seconds before a multi-day excursion: picking the watches to wear. My personal go-to for changing time zones includes a GMT for tracking home time and a rugged dive watch for everyday wear. Fate, in the form of a press release from Rado, showed up two days before I was scheduled to leave for Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with an offer to review the new Captain Cook dive watch.

I told their very responsive rep if he could get me the watch before I left, it would become my travelling companion on the trip for a hard-core review. Literally hours before departure I was unboxing their bronze beauty and tossing it in the carry-on bag. Welcome to the manifest, Captain.

The Rado with my usual traveling companions.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and its counterpart the Rolex Submariner have collectively set the standards by which all other dive watches should be measured. Like the Eames chair, they sport all the elements, on functional and aesthetic levels, that serve to define the breed. Virtually every other dive watch developed in the past seventy years has drawn from the feature sets of these two watches.         

                                  Rado side-by-side with the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.

Rado’s reissue of its original 1960’s Captain Cook diver teases elements of these classics, with updates that tastefully reflect popular contemporary treatments and materials.

Let’s get into it…

The Rado delivers a rich wrist statement, utilizing the green and gold of the old Marshall Field’s logo (not John Deere, thank you), and is a striking take on the traditional dive treatment.

The Captain’s green dial is surrounded by a matching ceramic bezel and lives in a bronze case with a titanium back. While I would have preferred a matching color scheme on the bezel indices, the silver is subtle enough to work with the theme.

Its dial is called “green sunray” in the press materials and is slightly domed, giving the high gloss face a three-dimensional glean reminiscent of a highly polished fender on a British racing green Jaguar XK-120. Par for the vintage theme, the hands and markers are a cream-colored Super LumiNova.

The dial also sports a swiveling gold anchor at 12 o’clock, a neat, very, very subtle touch that gives users and excuse to twirl the watch around and wonder “why is my anchor spinning? What does it mean?” Tres 60’s!

The Movement

The Captain is waterproof to 1,000 feet and powered by an automatic ETA C07, 25-jewel, three- hand movement with a date at 3 o’clock and up to eighty hours power reserve. This is the ‘Powermatic 80’ movement with silicon balance spring, found in many models of Tissot, Certina and Mido watches.

The movement is a no-nonsense performer, offering an impressive power reserve and anti-magnetic properties through the use of a silicon escapement. For those interested in a deep dive into this movement, check out this article in Monochrome and complete technical specifications, including use in other watches, here on Watchbase.

The Bronze Case

The payoff for owners of the Good Captain is found in the bronze case, with a material that has been showing up in increased usage over the years. Unlike stainless steel or gold, that simply scratch and get dirty, bronze develops a unique patina as it’s worn.

The result of the oxidation of the copper component of the bronze can appear as brown, black, red, blue or green. Costa Rica provided the perfect environment to see if the Captain could live up to its name as a sea going adventurer and emerge as a newly colored denizen of the not so deep seas.

Wearing experience

The Captain looks and feels solid. The bezel has a nice loud ratchet sound that indicates things are properly aligned. It’s a medium-weight timepiece with a nicely unobtrusive 12.5mm x 42mm case.

While I prefer a horned watch crown and more aggressive ridges on the bezel, the coin-edged style has a more subdued look and feel than, say, the Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook 2017, with its Fifty Fathoms-esque treatment.

The watch is incredibly easy to read and maintains a night’s worth of luminescence. I’m a personal fan the Captain’s titanium case back because of weight savings and hypoallergenic properties. 

The sample I received had a single-piece leather band, and would be better served with a lined Horween, but that’s strictly a personal preference. If anyone was actually going to use this as a dive watch (probably one tenth of one percent of the buyers), the strap and shallow ridges of the bezel would prove a problem underwater. However, for the moisture-averse who will more than likely purchase this product, that won’t be an issue.

Getting it wet                                                                     Rado in the pool.   

Given the Rado’s pedigree as a dive watch, ala the original 60s iteration, I intended to get the Captain wet and dirty, covered with sunscreen and oil, and then hang it out in the sun to dry. To this end the watch accompanied me in the surf, by the pool, up and down daily ten-mile walks through dusty hills and was worn while sweating and spilling margaritas and tequila shots.

Any dive watch that remains neat and clean and dry should be forcibly taken from its owner and that misguided individual barred from ever owning another watch with a water-resistant rating over one meter. But I digress.

The watch swum through the week of abuse with no undue scratching, scarring or unwanted mutating. The bronze case picked up a dull finish with some blackish highlights, answering the question of how it would tarnish. While the user’s manual states that the watch can be returned to Rado for cleaning (really), I found using metal polish worked just fine – see the before and after photos with minimal elbow grease.

Rado case before polishing.
And after polishing.

Would I buy this watch?

Absolutely – and for many several reasons. It’s great looking, in a non-blingy way, and punches well above its class for the price. Unlike stainless or gold watches, it feels organic.

The bronze changes and reflects the activity level of the user. It features a whopping four anchor logos between the case and strap, and three starfish on the case back (It would have been nice to see a mermaid as well), but who knows what the future may hold! It has a domed crystal and a groovy domed dial – a double dose of domage – awesome! And, finally, it holds its value: check out the used prices on eBay against the street price on this watch (as a comparison look at Romain Jerome as well – a cringe-worthy value dropper!).  

As a daily wear in dry conditions, the watch as configured with a leather strap will serve most users well. For those who actually wear dive watches for diving I’d suggest investing in a metal bracelet model. The Captain was a great travelling companion, and kudos to Rado for delivering exceptional quality at a realistic price point. Price: $2,600

   

By Gary Girdvainis

The story of Waldan Watches is an inspiring one.  I’ve followed the progress of the company since the early days of International Watch, and with the re-birth of Waldan Watches underway, led by its new-generation leader Andrew Waldan, it’s time to review the Waldan story and introduce its latest collection. 

Founding Era

The groundwork that laid the foundation for the Waldan International watch brand goes back to the late 1970s during a period when founder Oscar Waldan supplied retailers in the United States with in-house-branded timepieces.

Andrew Waldan and his father Oscar Waldan, the founder of Waldan International. Andrew took over as CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.

A polish immigrant, Waldan arrived in the U.S. in 1946 as a rare survivor of not one, but two separate German concentration camps – thanks in large part to his ability to service and repair wristwatches. The decades between Oscar’s arrival in the U.S. in 1946 and the launch of his own brand in 1979 saw Oscar working in various positions in the U.S. offices of Tissot, Universal Genève, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., and others.

Three decades after his arrival in the U.S., Oscar took the leap to start his own brand in 1979. He designed his own series of mechanical watches featuring exquisite dials, including chronographs, chronometers, world timers, alarms, and more.

A original Waldan Chrono 38, made in an 18-karat rose gold case.

These were all mechanical watches and all would carry the Waldan trademark on the dial.

Bear in-mind that this was in an era long before the cookie-cutter options that make it simpler for anyone to buy an off-the-shelf “made in China” watch. Back then, you really had to know what you were doing to have any chance to bring a watch brand together – especially when you were one of the few members of the industry that still believed the mechanical watch had a future in the newly minted quartz era. These early Waldan watches remain collector’s favorites and embody what a fine luxury wristwatch should be; mechanical complications with top-quality components inside and out, and a design that will never go out of style.

That said, these were, and are, out of the reach of most consumers. They were crafted exclusively in precious gold and platinum with mechanical Swiss Made chronographs and other complicated movements within, and their prices reflected those components.

But while Oscar’s early Waldans were worth more than he charged, they still called for a substantial investment in the thousands of dollars to acquire.

Next Generation

It’s no surprise that the founding father of Waldan Watches would bring his son Andrew into the family business.

At a very young age, Andrew was often found at the New York headquarters of Waldan International. There, with his father and the staff of assistants and watchmakers, Andrew grew into a young man surrounded by all things watches. All the while Andrew was developing an insider’s perspective on an industry about to experience a renaissance that his father had never actually abandoned.  

Guided by his father’s indelible principles, Andrew combined an understanding of current market trends with his own experiences when he was called on to take over the company due to his father’s failing health in 2017. Having actively worked with his father at Waldan International since 2013, Andrew was well prepared to take the lead as the CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.

Andrew had decided it was time to evolve the brand. During this rebirth process he came to the conclusion that making the classic Waldan design available to a much wider audience might make sense.

So in a daring departure from the established path, he decided to build a watch in the United States, not in Switzerland, using the newly minted Ameriquartz movement inside.

Watches from the all-new Waldan Heritage collection are cased in 40mm steel and feature Ameriquartz movements.

Crafted in steel, the watches are targeting a retail price of under $500 each with a goal of expanding the potential reach for his father’s design(s) by an order of magnitude.

Working with his team, Andrew has now brought to life a watch collection that embraces the design cues of a Waldan watch, including the Waldan font, hands, color palette, fine leather straps, and, most critically, the iconic curves of the stepped case and lugs, all at a retail price will appeal to anyone at a modest $299.99.

More than skin deep

In making watches, the devil really is in the details. It’s easy to make a cheap handsome (or pretty) watch that won’t last until the first battery dies. Making one that will last a lifetime and beyond calls for a different approach.

Applied numerals and markers on the entire new Waldan Heritage collection are mechanically attached for durability.

Here’s where Andrew and his team – including his chief technical advisor – came together over the course of more than a year to examine and approve every component and every detail to finally put together a watch that passed muster for both esthetics and durability.

Andrew also chose to source American suppliers where possible to continue his father’s own goal in building a legitimate watch brand in the U.S.  Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.

Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.

Ameriquartz

Those unfamiliar with Ameriquartz movements should note that they are jeweled all-metal movements built in at a state-of-the-art facility in Fountain Hills, Arizona, to the highest standards.

As both a founding advisor to the company and as its sales manager, I can tell you that each movement is built using a combination of modern and traditional engineering to bring the quartz movement to its zenith with regards to accuracy and reliability, and each one is individually tested and certified when manufactured.

The Ameriquartz movement, used inside all the new Waldan watches.

Each movement also carries a manufacturer’s five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

The Collection

Waldan’s new collection is presented in an easy-to-wear 40mm diameter case with a slim 8.6mm profile.  Crafted in 316L stainless steel, they are water resistant to 50 meters with a flat sapphire crystal protecting each of six variations on the theme. 

Waldan is introducing Heritage Professional series with dials in four colors, including black, white, off-white and green.

These join two Waldan Heritage Sportline versions with oil-pressed linear-patterned dials in black and silver, which rounds out the initial launch of the Waldan Heritage collection.

An oil-pressed dial imparts a more rugged look to the Waldan Heritage Sportline Collection.

Although not limited to a specific numbered series, each Waldan Heritage is hand built in the U.S. using a proprietary ATAC (assess, test, assemble, certify) Zero-Defect protocol and will be limited by production capacity and likely to be a hot commodity when it releases in mid July.

Custom leaf (feuille) hands, seen on the new Heritage Professional Series, are a Waldan trademark.

To stay up to speed with new releases and details check in at the Waldan web-site (www.waldanwatches.com) which is currently being updated and modernized to better meet the preferences of today’s consumers.