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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. 

The new 38mm Zenith Chronomaster Original, here with a steel case and bracelet.

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.

Practical scale

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.

The new El Primero 3600 caliber offers a 1/10th-of-second-display from the 36,000-VpH escapement as well as an extended power reserve of 60 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.

  

MB&F expands its award-winning Legacy Machine FlyingT collection with a new model boasting a vivid green malachite dial plate. You might recall that the independent watchmaker launched the LM FlyingT in 2019 in three white gold diamond-set editions.

The new MB&F LM FlyingT Malachite.

The 38.5mm watch was MB&F’s first venture into feminine-focused design, and it was quite a success. Customers clamored for it, and much of the industry awarded it the prize for Best Ladies’ Complication at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

Just last year MB&F added a limited edition guilloché-dialed series cased in red gold and platinum. More recently, the watchmaker launched an eye-catching Lapis Lazuli LM FlyingT model, accompanied by an explanation that the brand expected to announce at least one new gemstone-set edition annually.

As on the earlier LM Flying T editions, the new watch’s 18-karat white gold case, set with diamonds, frames the malachite dial plate and, at 7 o’clock, the angled (at 50 degrees) time display, also set with malachite. A dramatic 60-second flying tourbillon emerges from the center of the malachite plate anchored at the top by a cantilevered double-arch upper bridge. Turn the watch over to enjoy the three-dimensional red gold sun rotor with sculpted rays.

MB&F explains that malachite varies in color, veering from light green to dark green. Historically malachite has been associated with omens of good health, including protection from lightning. No word on whether MB&F is offering similar such protections, but we can safely assure anyone wearing the new MB&F LM FlyingT Malachite full protection from a dull wrist. Price: $145,000.

The full collection of MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT models.

Just ahead of the annual Mille Miglia, the 1,000-mile classic car race in Italy slated for June 16 to 19, long-time race sponsor and participant Chopard has released its ode to the race, the new Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition.

The new Chopard Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition, with a 44mm steel case A second model offers a rose gold and steel case.

While this year’s race will run in the reverse direction (counter-clockwise) starting in Brescia, on to Rome and returning to Brescia to pay homage to the race’s original 1927 route, Chopard moves forward, offering two models of the new watch.

The steel and rose gold version of the Chopard Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition.

Chopard is making one of the new Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition chronographs with a steel case, limited to 1,000 units, and will also make a second model cased in both steel and rose gold, limited to 250 units.  

Each is a sporty 44mm chronograph with either a stainless steel or polished ethical rose gold bezel with a black ceramic insert with white ceramic markings. Chopard has designed the bezel to mimic dials and gauges of the types found in classic automobiles that annually participate in the Mille Miglia.

The watch also sports a grey dial with a circular satin-brushed finish, all highlighted by red accents on the chronograph hands and for the race’s historic ‘Red Arrow’ pennant.

Chopard secures the back with screws and engraves a checkered flag, the ’1000 Miglia’ logo and the inscription ‘Brescia > Roma > Brescia.’ Though it’s not visible, the ETA-based COSC-chronometer-certified automatic movement offers a 48-hour power reserve, stop-seconds function, water-resistance to 100 meters and a glare-resistant sapphire crystal.

And finally, the watch’s calfskin leather bracelet features perforations and red or black stitching reminiscent of 1960s Dunlop racing tires, echoing examples from previous years.

Prices: $7,610 (steel model) and $11,000 (steel and ethical rose gold).

 

Zenith’s newest Revival, the Chronomaster Revival Safari, reinterprets the historical Zenith A384 chronograph from 1969, but instead of the original’s 37mm steel case we now have a micro-blasted 37mm titanium case.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival Safari

The watch’s deep matte green dial with contrasting black registers and tachymeter scale is new, while the beige SuperLumiNova on the applied baton markers and hands is distinctly vintage.

The rubber strap takes on the same khaki-green tone as the dial, and is fixed to a matte micro-blasted titanium pin buckle. Price: $9,000.

Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Safari”

(Reference: 97.T384.400.57.C856, a boutiques & e-commerce edition.)

Movement: El Primero 400 automatic chronograph with column-wheel, frequency of 36,000 Vph (5 Hz), a power reserve of 50 hours. Functions: 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. Date indication at 4:30.

Case: 37mm micro-blasted titanium, 50 meters of water resistance

Dial: Khaki green with black counters, tachometer scale, hour-markers and hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with beige SuperLumiNova.

Bracelet: Khaki green “cordura effect” strap and white stitching. Micro blasted titanium pin buckle.

Price: $9,000.

 

 

If you’re in Geneva between June 16 and June 26, we suggest you visit the historic headquarters of Patek Philippe on Rue du Rhône. There, the watchmaker is exhibiting more than seventy-five Rare Handcrafts items from its collection.

In its largest such collection of rare handcrafts masterpieces, Patek Philippe mixes in several of its 2021 Rare Handcrafts with a curated selection of seventy 2020 artisanal items, including one-of-a-kind limited editions. These include pocket watches, wristwatches, dome table clocks and bracket clocks made using a broad range of artisanal skills.

This genuine ‘panda’ dial from Patek Philippe will be on display at the exhibit.

These skills include manual engraving, precious miniature painting on enamel (a Genevan specialty), flinqué enamel on hand guilloching, paillonné enamel, enamel with Limoges painting, fauré enamel (relief enamel), Longwy enamel on faience, and gem-setting.

Patek Philippe has even included several rarely seen examples of wood micro-marquetry as well as mixed-technique pieces that combine marquetry, manual engraving, and flinqué enamel.

While exploring the exhibits, visitors can also observe the artisans at work as they demonstrate their expertise in enameling, miniature painting on enamel, engraving, marquetry and guilloching.

The “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition at the Patek Philippe salons in Geneva on Rue du Rhône 41 is open to the public from June 16 to 26, 2021, every day (except Sundays) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors should register at http://www.patek.com/rhc2021/ in advance.

 

By Steve Huyton

I first became aware of Richard Paige approximately nine years ago via various watch forums. We instantly hit it off because we appreciate Art Deco and independent watchmaking. Before establishing his own brand called RPaige Watches, Richard owned a successful high-profile watch boutique in California. The flagship store called, Paris 1925, was located in San Francisco.

However, after several years in the business, Paige became very frustrated dealing with corporate groups. At this stage, he started TimeZone.com, which is considered a template for many new watch blogs.

The RPaige Speakeasy, with an Art Deco dial, case and font. Inside is a vintage Waltham movement.

For several years Paige has resided in Honolulu, where he spends his days creating beautiful timepieces for discerning customers around the globe. The unique selling point of RPaige Watches is the striking Art Deco-inspired aesthetic and the choice of historic movements. Early on, Richard decided to use vintage pocket watch calibers from Elgin (Illinois) and Waltham (Massachusetts) and originally manufactured between 1897 and 1929.

Enamel JukeBox

Over the years Richard has created several popular collections like the Aviator, DuoFace, Skyscraper and Speakeasy. A few months ago Paige mentioned to me that he would be unveiling a dress style watch called the JukeBox, inspired by the 1940’s Moderne style of vintage watches.

The RPaige JukeBox features a beautiful white enamel dial.

JukeBox is a departure from the Art Deco style, and is the smallest timepiece RPaige has created, with a brushed steel case measuring 41mm x 12mm. Certainly, the finished result is impressive, and I am sure devotees of the brand will be enticed.

Even though the JukeBox is a limited series (100 pieces) every watch will have a different dial. This means that customers essentially will get the opportunity to own a unique 1/1 piece that is assembled in Paige’s own workshop.

For this review, I’ll focus on the latest JukeBox model (numbered 71/100) with a beautiful white vintage antique fire-enameled dial. It is also priced very competitively at $1,400.  Other features include bold black (12-hour) and red (24-hour) Arabic numerals. This model also has a steel crown with inset blue crystal and blue enameled Cathedral style hour/minute hands with luminous coating.

The manual-wind Unitas 6498-1, with higher-end finish, is visible from the clear caseback.

Powering the watch is a Swiss-made Elabore-grade (higher-end-version) 17-jewel Unitas 6498-1. The manual-wind mechanism oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour and is visible via the sapphire crystal exhibition case back.

This use of the Unitas caliber represents a different direction for RPaige, which has previously only used vintage U.S. calibers. I suspect it’s an availability issue, but feel this is a great alternative.

As a final touch, the JukeBox is presented on a brown genuine alligator strap, with brown stitching and steel buckle. Price: $1,400.

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

 

TAG Heuer this week adds a teal-green-dialed beauty to its Carrera collection with the Carrera Green Special Edition, an eye-catching ode to the brand’s famed 1963 original.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition.

While the shimmering, sunray-finished blue-green color is new for Carrera, the watch’s signature lugs, polished steel case and pushers recall the original with purist accuracy, though the case now measures 39mm in diameter rather than 36mm for the original.

The enviable dial retains the same Heuer tri-compax layout (minute chronograph at 3 o’clock, hour chronograph at 9 o’clock and permanent second indicator at 6 o’clock) found on the original.

The watch’s nicely faceted hands, domed glass box crystal and Heuer logo thoughtfully extend the commemoration. In fact, the vintage-hued SuperLuminova seems to amplify the apparent depth of the dial, a visual effect already strengthened by the crystal’s curves.

TAG Heuer extends the dial’s teal color to the movement, where thanks to the transparent caseback you’ll see the color on the movement’s column wheel and in the Calibre Heuer 02 and Swiss Made inscriptions on the rotor.

Inside the Carrera Green Special Edition TAG Heuer fits its superior Caliber Heuer 02 manufacture movement that utilizes a column wheel and vertical clutch and boasts an impressive 80-hour power reserve. Finally, TAG Heuer attaches the watch to your wrist with a black alligator leather strap with a folding clasp and two safety push buttons.

TAG Heuer now offers the 500-piece limited edition chronograph on its e-commerce websites and at TAG Heuer boutiques. Price: $6,650.

 

Specifications: TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition

Reference: CBK221F.FC6479 (Limited Edition of 500)

Movement: TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic manufacture movement. Chronograph with minute and hour hands, permanent second, hour and minute indicators, center seconds hand.

Case: 39mm polished stainless-steel case and fixed bezel, domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment, polished stainless-steel crown with push buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock. Water-resistant to 100 meters, SPECIAL EDITION engraved on the caseback

Dial: Teal sunray brushed dial and flange with three snailed subdials. Permanent seconds indicator, polished and rhodium-plated hour and minute hands coated with SuperlumiNova.

Strap: Black alligator leather strap featuring a polished stainless-steel folding clasp with two safety push buttons.

Price: $6,650.

 

A previously unknown Patek Philippe world timer (Reference 2523) with cloisonné enamel dial tops the lots at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XIII, scheduled for May 8 and 9 in Geneva. But alongside that ultra-desirable watch, estimated at CHF 3.5 million, collectors can also bid on rare watches from Cartier, Audemars Piguet, F.P Journe and Rolex, among many others.

This Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 is one of three with a Silk Road cloisonné enamel dial. It’s a top lot at the upcoming Geneva Watch Auction by Phillips on May 8 and 9.

That top lot, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523, was first launched in 1953 and features a 36mm case, which at the time was considered large. The watch’s city ring is an integral part of the dial rather than being engraved on the bezel. Two versions were available, with reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs that do not sit above the bezel. This example is known as the “Silk Road” 2523 and is the earliest ever made.

Lot 33, showing the superb Patek Philippe Cloisonné dial.

To help you activate your collector gene, we’ve gathered five additional particularly enticing lots from the upcoming auction.

Lot 23, Cartier, circa 1965.

Lot 23: This Cartier Grande Tank Cintrée, circa 1965 (above), was Cartier’s largest Tank model and has been produced in extremely limited quantities since 1921. This example is all original, dating to 1965 with all hallmarks and serial number engravings intact. The movement is a manual-wind Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.

Lot 31, Richard Mille circa 2018.

Lot 31: The Richard Mille RM022 Tourbillon Aerodyne from 2018 is a tonneau-shaped dual-time wristwatch with tourbillon, function selector, power reserve, torque indication, original warranty and presentation box.

It’s a complicated Richard Mille limited edition watch made for the American market and features a red quartz TPT case. Numbered eight of ten examples, the watch has not been auctioned previously. Estimate: $267,000-$533,000.

Lot 73, a Tissot World Time from 1950.

Lot 73: This Tissot World Time from 1950 is a very early 14-karat gold World Time wristwatch produced at the start of the Jet Age. Considering that very few watch brands were making any type of world timer or even dual timer in the 1950s, this is a surprising watch to surface from Tissot. At 36mm it will fit any wrist size. Estimated at $4,300-$6,400.

Lot 140., an F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain “The Number 001”.
Lot 140, likely the very first F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain watch ever made.

Lot 140: This platinum-cased F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain features a serial number of 001, meaning it’s the very first example of the desirable model, produced in 2005. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.

Lot 147, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978.
The back of Lot 147.

Lot 147: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978, is an original Royal Oak Jumbo – produced six years after the launch of the model. The total production of B-series was just 1,000 examples. The dial is preserved in excellent condition with the AP logo at 6 o’clock, which can be found on any A and B Series as well as some C Series. This example is in superb, all-original condition with hardly any signs of wear. It also comes complete its original box and guarantee certificate. Estimate: $43,000-$86,100.

Click here to download the entire auction catalog, or check out the Phillips website to view the 236 auction lots online.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Bell & Ross just gave one of its most popular Vintage models a full-dial luminescent treatment. The brand’s new Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM glows with a full base dial of pale green SuperLuminova, assuring full visibility in low light or total darkness.

But Bell & Ross didn’t stop with the green base-dial lume. In addition, the watchmaker has placed a second SuperLuminova color, a metallized pale yellow, on the dial’s skeletonized numerals, indices and primary hands. At the same time, and with clear definition, the 30-minute counter and chronograph seconds hand turn fluorescent blue.

The new Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM.

This three-hue lume effectively creates an unusually high level of clarity in low light environments for the retro-styled aviation automatic chronograph. The watch’s luminous trifecta very effectively enhances visibility, in large part due to the strong contrast between the luminescent colors and the black contours of the numerals, indices, hands, and counters.

The watch is the latest in an expanding collection of Bell & Ross LUM models, all of which feature fully luminous dials.

Domed glass

Befitting the retro tag, the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM’s 41mm steel case is topped with a domed glass-box sapphire crystal. And the bezel, composed of black anodized aluminum, offers a fixed 60-minute scale. Finally, the watch’s nicely proportioned chronograph pushers are screwed down.

Bell & Ross will make 250 examples of the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM, which will be supplied with a strap made from woven black rubber that provides the final vintage touch to the watch. Price: $5,100 (rubber strap model). A steel bracelet to fit the watch (see below) can be ordered separately for $520.

Specifications: Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM

Movement: Automatic chronograph Caliber BR-CAL.301 (ETA-based).

Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.

Case: 41 mm in diameter. Satin-finished and polished steel. Fixed bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale. Screw-down crown and pushers. Steel and sapphire case-back. Crystal is domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating. Water-resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Bi-compax-style chronograph layout with luminescent green painted in SuperLuminova. Numerals and indices coated in SuperLuminova. Metal skeletonized yellow SuperLuminova-filled hour, minute and seconds hands.

Strap: Black rubber with pin buckle in satin-finished and polished steel. Also supplied with a steel bracelet.  

Price: $5,100. A steel bracelet to fit the watch can be ordered separately for $520.