Porsche Design echoes its dashboard clock with a set of chronometers.
To complement the Sport Chrono Porsche Design clock designed for Porsche Panarama and the Porsche Taycan car interior, Porsche Design in the past year introduced a matching the Sport Chrono wristwatch collection.
The line, while not brand new, is impressive. It includes three models that closely match the automotive clock, complete with a small seconds subdial (above), plus one additional model boasting a flyback chronograph.
As with the clock, the operative word is chrono – for chronometer. While only one of the two models is a chronograph, both are officially certified COSC chronometers, with all the enhanced precision that certificate confers.
With its small seconds subdial at six o’clock as on the dashboard timer, the three-hand Sport Chrono Subsecond is 42mm titanium watch offered with either a black, blue or brown dial. Each dial comes with a color-matched rubber strap.
Inside these watches Porsche Design fits its estimable in-house developed Porsche Design caliber WERK 03.200.
While the Sub Second chronometer models feature closed case backs, the chronograph model boasts a clear sapphire case back. This wise choice offers a clear view of Porsche Design’s eye-catching caliber WERK 01.100, with its Porsche-centric P-Icon design.
Other classic Porsche Design features include an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, a leather strap made from Porsche interior leather and a titanium folding clasp with safety push buttons.
Prices: $4,750 (Sport Chrono Subsecond) and $6,150 (automatic chronograph).
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.)
The pioneering independent watchmaker has re-designed its existing UR-100 to incorporate color-coded indicators designed to give the viewer the ability to track the Space Shuttle program’s typical launch and landing sequences. These are visible through apertures that also show the approximate location of the Shuttle at each phase of launch and landing.
Thus, on the new titanium and steel-cased Urwerk 100V P.02, green represents the shuttle on Earth. Blue indicates the shuttle traveling through the Earth’s sky or lower atmosphere. Red represents the upper atmosphere and black indicates time in low earth orbit.
Where the standard Urwerk UR-100V tracks the kilometers traveled on the equator in twenty minutes, and the kilometers the earth covered around the sun in the same period, the new edition takes a different approach. It re-configures the dial’s two lateral apertures to track the process and timing of the Space Shuttle’s launch and landing.
The partnership is Urwerk’s first collaboration with an organization or individual other than a watchmaker (and one whiskey maker). The joint effort was spurred by life-long admiration for the Space Shuttle and space travel by Urwerk co-founders Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner, and by Asher Rapkin and Gabe Reilly, founders of Collective Horology, a California-based collector group.
“We loved URWERK’s use of orbiting satellite hours and minute hands for the UR-100 SpaceTime launched in 2019, but we saw an opportunity to tell a different story,” says Reilly. He adds that he imagined how Urwerk might create a watch that was a tribute to the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise.
Collective Horology and Florida-based Goldsmith & Complications, the watch’s official authorized dealer, will donate $50,000 dollars from the proceeds of this project to the Intrepid Museum in New York City.
The new Urwerk UR-100V P.02 is available to existing and new Collective Horology members. This will be a limited edition of twenty pieces. Price: $62,500.
Specifications: Urwerk UR-100V P.02
Movement: Self-winding UR 12.02 movement with the winding rotor governed by a Windfänger airscrew. Materials include satellite hours on beryllium-bronze Geneva crosses; aluminum carousel; carousel and triple baseplates in ARCAP alloy. Forty-eight hour power reserve. Finishing: Circular graining and sanding, shot peening; chamfered screw heads; hours and minutes painted in SuperLumiNova.
Displays: Satellite hours and minutes; space shuttle sequence of events indications.
Case: 41mm by 49.7mm by 14mm titanium and stainless steel with a gun metal PVD finish. Sapphire crystal and thirty meters of water resistance.
Watchmakers have been multiplying their automotive and motorsports collaborations in recent years. Here, we review a few prominent timekeeping/racing alliances.
By Y-Jean Mun-DelSalle
In this Part III of our recently expanded four-part series outlining automotive-wristwatch partnerships, we highlight TAG Heuer.
Historically rooted in motorsports, TAG Heuer has worked with many car companies, starting with Scuderia Ferrari, but also McLaren, Mercedes, Audi and, more recently, Aston Martin.
As one of the most highly-anticipated watch/car partnerships with authentic motor racing heritage and on-track success, the friendship between TAG Heuer and Porsche has existed for decades and is now transformed into a strategic partnership ranging from sports competition to product development.
Racing fans and watch fans will know that the Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico gave its name to creations from both brands. Porsche named its most powerful engine the Carrera after its class win in the 1954 Carrera Panamericana, and Edouard Heuer’s great-grandson, Jack Heuer, conceived the first Heuer Carrera chronograph in 1963.
Thereafter, Jack Heuer struck a sponsorship arrangement with Jo Siffert at the wheel of various Porsches with the Heuer logo on his car and suit. Siffert was the Swiss racing driver on which Steve McQueen had based his character during the filming of Le Mans in 1970 in which he drove a Porsche 917.
In the 1980s, TAG Heuer and Porsche developed the TAG-Turbo engine that led the McLaren team to three consecutive F1 world titles. Porsche also created its own Formula E team with TAG Heuer as title and timing partner in 2019, the Swiss watchmaker being a founding partner of the electric racing championship.
And there is more. The two brands will be collaborating in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Porsche Carrera Cup worldwide one-make cup series. For their first joint timepiece, they produced the 44-mm TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph, powered by the in-house Caliber Heuer 02 with 80-hour power reserve.
In the Porsche colors of red, black and gray recalling historic Heuer models, the watch features a rotor in the shape of Porsche’s trademark steering wheel. Arabic numerals suggesting the numbers on Porsche dashboards are set against an asphalt-effect dial.
“Time is at the very core of racing. Without its mastery, there is no competition, no progress,” says Frédéric Arnault, TAG Heuer CEO.
“From its early years, Heuer made it its specialty to develop tools like chronographs, stopwatches and dashboard timers, which helped drivers, teams and race organizers keep time in increasingly accurate ways,” Arnault continues. “The company served a very tangible purpose in motor racing from the start; it was in its DNA. Later, it was Jack Heuer who saw the natural connection from a branding perspective, and we became the first non-automotive brand to sponsor a F1 team. We started with Carrera as it’s an iconic name we share, but that was just the first step.”
Y-Jean Mun-DelSalle is a freelance journalist and editorial consultant who has lived on three different continents. She meets with inspirational individuals in pursuit of excellence: emerging and established artists, designers and craftsmen, engaging entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and the movers and shakers of the world today. She contributes regularly to regional and international titles such as Artsy, Asia Tatler, Design Anthology, Forbes, Portfolio, Robb Report, Shawati’ and Vogue, shining a spotlight in particular on art, architecture, design, horology and jewelry.
Mechanical alarm watches combine a truly useful timekeeping function with the collector’s love of automatic or manual-wind movements. This week the recently revived watchmaker Benrus, founded in New York in 1921, debuts a superb retro-inspired alarm watch that offers these enticements, but also adds another compelling component: a vintage movement.
Thus, inside the new Benrus Wrist Alarm you’ll find a fully rebuilt A. Schild 1931 manual-wind movement from the 1970s. Benrus is utilizing movements that were never used and have been carefully disassembled and fully serviced in Switzerland to assure they are operating as if they were new. More than 330,000 original AS 1931 movements were sold between 1970 and 1974, according to Benrus, which offers more details about the history of the original movement on its website.
The new 38mm steel Benrus Wrist Alarm allows the wearer to set the alarm hand as desired using the crown at the 2 o’clock position. After winding the alarm with the same crown, the user can expect a fairly loud buzz for about ten seconds at the chosen time.
The watch itself echoes the look of a Benrus alarm watch circa 1956. Within its steel case you’ll see an off-white linen patterned dial, applied polished stainless steel numerals and markers and domed sapphire crystal.
Benrus sets the Wrist Alarm with a dark blue genuine leather strap with deployant buckle. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters and has an enhanced 50-hour power reserve. Benrus will make 500 Wrist Alarms. Price: $1,295.
The new Franck Muller Skafander integrates a diving theme with a tonneau-shaped case – a combination rarely seen among marine-focused watch designs. Because divers require a unidirectional rotating bezel to assess correct dive time, watches for divers typically utilize a round case built with a round bezel.
Here, Franck Muller has devised a functional round diver’s bezel, but has placed it inside the Skafander’s large tonneau case, a shape deeply familiar to aficionados of this iconoclastic independent watchmaker. Once set and locked, the Skafander’s dive time is secured with a clearly labeled lock, which insures that the bezel won’t be accidently altered.
While not an officially certified dive watch, the Skafander will retain its water resistance to 100 meters, which allows wearers full, worry-free use while at the beach, boating – or in the pool.
Franck Muller offers the Skafander in a range of case metals, including titanium, steel and rose gold, all with a semi-skeletonized dial that allows a view into the automatic movement below.
Skippers might prefer the highly visible titanium-cased models with blue or yellow accents, or even the blue-accented watch cased in steel. We suspect the boat’s owner, however, might opt to the ritzier rose gold model.
Price: CHF 14,800 (about $16,100, for titanium models only).
Specifications: Franck Muller Skafander (titanium case edition)
Case: 46mm x 57mm x 15.60mm titanium with black PVD treatment. Water resistant to 100 meters.
Movement: Automatic, offering 42 hours power reserve.
Dial: Unidirectional internal rotating bezel indicating the diving time. Half-openwork movement in the center.
Strap: Blue rubber. More colors available with steel and gold models.
Arnold & Son has dressed one of its most impressive watches, the Globetrotter, in red gold, to create the Globetrotter Gold, effectively underscoring the luxury of this model’s world-time functionality.
Previously available cased in steel, the 45mm Globetrotter takes on a new golden glow, especially with its massive openworked bridge now so richly polished in the same gold used to case the watch.
That arched bridge does more that catch the eye. It holds a functional ruby atop the domed Northern Hemisphere dial. Reading world times starts at the ruby, where the eye imagines the start of a longitude line that extends to the 24-hour sapphire ring that surrounds the dial. The wearer identifies local time simply by reading the red hands pointing to the gold indexes.
With this Globetrotter Gold, Arnold & Son enhanced the elegance of the Globetrotter with new accents of both gold and deep blue. The dial’s appliqué indexes are faceted in red gold (and also painted in SuperLuminova). Artisans have also painted the oceans with several coats of blue-pigmented lacquer enriched with pearlescent powder, which means their glow is richer than you might expect for such a small detail. Also, note that Arnold & Son has lightened the coastlines, adding more SuperLuminova to enhance their visiblity in the dark. In contrast, all the mountain ranges are matte finished.
Look for equally fine finishing on the in-house automatic caliber A&S6022, which is visible through the sapphire back. The movement’s 22-karat gold oscillating weight is skeletonized and features the Clou de Paris guilloché pattern. For an added touch of elegance, the brand’s finishers have matched the high-quality anthracite movement plating to the red gold case.
Arnold & Son will make twenty-eight editions of the Globetrotter Gold. Price: CHF 41,900, or about $45,800.
Corum’s newest Bubble, called Bubble X-Ray, pays tribute to the first Bubble watches from 2000. That’s the year the late Severin Wunderman, the former Corum owner, debuted the Bubble collection, which from the beginning included a skull-dialed model. The eccentric domed Bubble design quickly became an object of desire for a wave of collectors in search of unconventional watches.
Hidden as a child during the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII, Wunderman was “obsessed with life, death and the concept of Dia de Muertos, a celebration where friends and family gather to honor the dead in a festive manner,” according to Corum. He expressed his darker obsessions within many Corum Bubble designs over the years, including with themes like the Bubble Jolly Roger, to Bubble Lucifer, Bats, Nightflyer and others.
The new Corum Bubble X Ray recalls many of those designs with a stylized skull dial just beneath the large domed sapphire crystal, which slightly distorts the image. The skull is luminescent and glows green in the dark, adding to its otherworldly appeal. Corum even adds fluorescent green stitching to the Bubble X-Ray’s rubber-lined synthetic alligator-like strap.
Corum has blackened the steel case with a black PVD treatment and has placed a clear sapphire case back on it to allow a view of the automatic movement inside. The domed front crystal and the back crystal are coated with an anti-reflective treatment.
Corum will make eighty-eight of the limited edition 47mm Bubble X-Ray. Price: $4,000. And if the series is sold out before your purchase, take heart. Corum says the X Ray is just the first of several new Bubble watches.
For seventeen summers Frederique Constant has released a new Vintage Rally limited edition series, which the Geneva-based watchmaker dedicates to collectors of classic Austin-Healey vintage automobiles. The annual debut rarely disappoints, and this year’s releases are no exception.
This year’s highlight is an all-grey Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds, with a range of the contemporary color on its dial, strap, steel case, index hour markers and hands.
The dressy 40mm watch sports the original Healey logo on the dial, just adjacent to the off-center small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. Around the decidedly matte dial is the flange displaying the sixty-minute scale. Frederique Constant has engraved each watch’s caseback with a Healey automobile in action. (See below for additional technical details).
Frederique Constant will make 888 examples of the grey-dialed Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds, with each arriving in a gift set alongside a miniature replica of a vintage Austin-Healy automobile.
For buyers outside the United States, or by special order in the United States, two additional Vintage Rally watches are also available.
For these ‘international models” Frederique Constant offers a green dial and a blue dial, both colors that allude to the Austin-Healey company. One model features British racing green while the other offers a dial in navy blue within a rose gold-plated case. This model’s hour markers, hands and crown are also navy blue, which is hinted on the leather strap as well.
Only the grey model ($1,595) is available in the United States. As noted, the two “international” models are available here only by special order. Prices: $2,175 (Blue dial/rose-gold plated case) and $1,957 (Green dial, steel case).
Specifications: Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds (Limited edition of 888.)
Movement: ETA-based FC-345 automatic caliber with 38-hour power reserve.
Case: 40mm by 11.15mm polished steel, two-part case, convex sapphire crystal, engraved case-back with Healey Noj 393 vintage car. Water resistant to 50 meters.
Dial: Grey with matte finishing, white inner ring with printed seconds graduation , silver color applied indexes with white luminous treatment, hand-polished silver color hour and minute hands with white luminous treatment, small seconds counter at 9 o’clock w/red hand , date window at 3 o’clock.
Strap: Grey calf leather with light grey stitching.
Zenith began celebrating El Primero’s fiftieth anniversary in 2019 with a series of Revival models. These have included the El Primero A386, A384 and A385 Revival models, among others, up to the most recent Chronomaster Revival Safari. With all these releases, the Le Locle-based watchmaker has kept the Revival series dial and case designs largely true to their historic proportions and, often, their original hues.
But as Zenith admits, none of these Revival models filled a void within its collections for a ongoing, steel-cased Chronomaster El Primero A386 model. Remember that the first A386 Revival from 2019 was cased in gold. And while the hot steel-cased Chronomaster Sport Zenith debuted early in 2021 has seemingly met the demand for a new, sportier Chronomaster El Primero chronograph, customers in search of a steel-cased, dressier El Primero A386 have been waiting since 2019.
Zenith this week launches the Chronomaster Original to fill that void. The five watches in the new collection (four are steel-cased, one is cased in gold) retain the most identifiable aspects of the much-loved El Primero A386 from 1969, including a 38mm round and bezel-free steel case with a domed crystal, pump-style chronograph pushers, faceted lugs, and brushed and polished surfaces.
Zenith however updates several key elements of the now familiar Chronomaster Revival profile. First, Zenith replaces the retro 1960s ladder bracelet found on the recent Revival models with a new, richly-finished solid-link bracelet.
More notably however Zenith updates the tachymeter scale, replacing the original 1/100th-of-an-hour calculation scale with a 1/10-of-a-second chronograph scale. This allows instantaneous reading of a 10th of a second using the chronograph seconds hand.
Within the case Zenith fits the primary reason for this change of tachymetric scale : the latest version of the El Primero caliber, dubbed the El Primero 3600. Also found powering the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport (and originally seen in an earlier, very limited Chronomaster 2), the caliber of course retains the El Primero’s signature high frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 VpH).
Thus, with a central chronograph seconds hand that rotates once around the dial in exactly ten seconds, the movement offers a true 1/10th-of-second indication in conjunction with the new scale. And now that the scale frames the dials of both the Chronomaster Sport and this new Chronomaster Original design, Zenith now offers two ongoing collections with this most practical utililization of its high-speed El Primero caliber.
In addition to its new application, the new El Primero 3600 features a newly blued column wheel and “new architecture” that Zenith says is more efficient than earlier El Primeros. The new efficiency also influences the caliber’s power reserve, which is now rated to sixty hours.
Zenith is offering the new Chronomaster Original in three models. One model, sold on a steel bracelet or a blue calfskin strap, features the well-known Chronomaster tri-color dial configuration. Another model features a so-called ‘reverse panda’ black dial with silver chronograph registers and is sold on a steel bracelet or a beige calfskin strap. Intrestingly, these two models use a rhodium-plated central seconds hand rather than the red central seconds hand found on the tri-color dial versions. The third model is cased in gold and features the tri-color dial design. The logo on each new model has been updated to the Zenith’s more contemporary script.
Both steel-bracelet models are priced at $9,000 while both strap models are priced at $8,400. The third model ($19,100), cased in rose gold with a silvered dial and tri-color subdials, is offered on a brown calfskin strap.