Another Friday, another horological harvest. If keeping up with the New Watch Alert series is a bit like drinking from a firehose now, imagine what it’s going to be like when I report from Watches & Wonders (the new, user-friendly Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie). The SWATCH group and Seiko won’t be there, but I will. Meanwhile, I’m here to spill the temporal beans, beginning with a very strange watch . . .
When industry cheerleader monochrome-watches.com says a timepiece’s unique selling point is “perhaps not the most useful complication on the market,” you know you’re in the twilight zone (Roddenbury not vampires). To wit: the titanium Equation of Time tells you how many minutes you have to add or deduct from mean time to ascertain solar time.
Wait. I’ve got to do math to figure out something I don’t want to know, that people used to calculate with a sundial? Well, the 48mm Panerai is as big as a sundial. At least it’s LÜM-TEC bright and expensive ($23,447.97). Monochrome reckons the Equation of Time is “rather desirable.” I reckon they’ve been sitting in the sun too long.
Rossling & Co. is a German-owned microbrand that believes Bauhaus is a very, very fine haus. Born in 2015, R&C’s line of minimalist watches has expanded to no less than ten collections. All but one of their watches are priced under $500, with quartz pieces under $150. Those are assembled in the PRC.
R&C’s busy screwing together their new ETA-driven HYDROMATIC C.01 dive watch in the Fatherland. The company promises the C.01 will be a proper dive watch: ISO 6425 / DIN 8306 compliant, good to 20ATM/200m. “You can take it for a serious swim,” the Rosslings promise, in a serious German sort of way. If you want to take the plunge, the C.01’s available for pre-order for $499.
Rats weren’t responsible for Europe’s Black Death. But they will be responsible for selling a lot of high-priced watches in 2020, the Chinese Year of the Rat. Never one to miss a chance to cater to superstitious Asian gazillionaires, Harry Winston’s artisans have cooked-up eight (lucky number!) new Premier Chinese New Year Automatics.
The dainty 36mm PCNYA accommodates no less than 109 diamonds, with an emerald-cut stone – Harry’s favorite! – enjoying pride of place at 12 o’clock. A single piece of 18-karat rose gold forms the carat-sniffing rat and the bower that’s piqued his interest, set against a red (lucky color!) mother-of-pearl backdrop. I don’t know how much it costs but I know I can’t afford it.Vacheron Constantin Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac Year Of The Rat Watch
Including a watch announced in October on our New Watch Alert is cheating, but I reckon the enamel and gold wristwear puts the Harry Winston watch in perspective and, most importantly, the VC vermin-themed timepiece could herald a new direction for the storied Swiss watchmaker.
The Rat Watch follows on from VC’s Pig and Dog “declinations” (some still unsold), all powered by their Caliber 2460 G4 movement. Look ma, no hands! Imagine that movement underneath a watch with a traditional Vacheron Constantin dial of some sort. What would that look like?
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze is both a tongue twister and the Rolex sub-brand’s dip into the current Bronze Age. Tudor’s BBB debuted with a brown dial. New watch alert! You can now buy the model in any dial color as long as it’s slate gray – making the brown dial triple-B a collectible (unless Tudor brings it back).
To be fair, it’s a perfect faux vintage color combo and you get your choice of a fabric strap with or without a racing stripe. The 43mm gray dial Black Bay Bronze costs $4150 – complete with Tudor’s new in-house movement – and boasts the brand’s first-time use of Arabic numerals. Shirley Ellis would approve.
New old watch alert! Eza is another one of those obscure Swiss brands killed by the quartz crisis, reanimated by entrepreneurs cashing in on the nostalgia kick. Unlike most updated neo-vintage pieces, the Eza is faithful to the 38.5mm, 30m water resistant original, save the ETA caliber 2824-2 beating beneath a plexiglass crystal.
The 1972 LE runs $659 plus tax on pre-order. I gotta say I prefer the $769 plus VAT Sealander Blue (above), a watch that doesn’t harken back to the year Henry Kissinger declared that peace was at hand (not sure what hand and which watch it wore).
Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph 1946
Disney made a big mistake with Tomorrowland – the future is always changing. The past? Not so much. As mentioned above, it’s easier to sell nostalgia than anything avant garde. So it makes perfect sense that Longines – a watchmaker that actually made watches in the 40’s – is raiding their archives to move the metal.
Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph 1946 ups the case size (40mm), puts in a modern movement (as yet unspecified) and keeps everything else period correct (italicised Arabic numerals, blue steel hands and big ass pushers). The price is distinctly modern: $3,267.46, or $45K in 1946 money. In case you were wondering.
Microbrand Anicorn is offering two version of its Tesla truck-inspired timepiece. The One to Have™ riffs on the electric pick-up’s launch misfire, when Elon shattered the vehicle’s supposedly shatter-proof window. Anicorn promises to produce and ship the Cybertime by August – if they can convince 50 Teslarati to commit to $250. As of this writing, they’ve got nine plugged in.
That’s not a lot of cash for a touch-screen watch with an oddly-shaped 316L stainless steel case and a shattered crystal. I doubt Anicorn can produce a quality Cybertime for that kind of money – even if they use a sticker for the shatter-effect and make it in China. Given The Cult of Elon’s dedication we may find out. Besides, everyone needs one weird watch.
“Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have invented a totally new case form, perfectly round from above, while revealing the accentuated arched and ovoid shape from other angles.” That’s what they choose to highlight on their website? Not the insane world time globe? OK, then I’ll do the honors.
The globe spins anti-clockwise, making a full rotation every day, just like my favorite planet. (You’re looking down at the sphere, as if hovering above the North Pole.) After doing a little math – using the cheat sheet on the caseback and setting aside any concerns about solar time – you can ascertain the time anywhere in the world. If only telling local time using the hands was so easy. Price on request, ‘natch.