Curating the weekly New Watch Alert is a Sisyphean task. No, I don’t have a social disease. It refers to Zeus’ punishment to King Sisyphus (not shown) for his lack of hospitality. For killing his guests. Zeus sentenced the King to push a boulder to the top of a hill – only to have it roll back down when it almost reached the summit. For all eternity. Sisyphus didn’t need a watch, then. But you do, constantly. Here are a dozen recent releases . . .
Doctor of Astrophysics and legendary rock guitarist Brian May bought a Seiko dive watch when he was on tour in Japan in 1970. Fifty years later, both Seiko and Dr. May have decided to cash in on that horological choice with an LE that pays tribute to his Red Special guitar, complete with a nylon strap modeled after Dr. May’s RS guitar strap.
The guitar-shaped dial pattern and cursive model declaration are laudably subtle tweaks to the basic 5. The sticker slapped over the watch’s transparent caseback – a cheap trick also afflicting the Breitling Norton and Raymond Weil Hendrix – not so much. The BMLE “guitar-like” case comes with a faux sixpenny plectrum just like Bri’s. When it comes to this watch, nothing really matters to me.
Welcome to the bronze age 2.0. Tudor, Oris, Reservoir and others are selling patina-in-the-making watches for your dancing and dining pleasure. Edox joins the copper-based brigade with the SkyDiver Bronze, going one better than the competition by slipping their new timepiece into a bronze case with anti-fingerprint nano-coating. OK then . . .
Otherwise, it’s the same 42mm dive watch as before, save the bezel’s black polished ceramic insert, the deletion of the date window, a dial that fades from dark grey to pitch black, and the words Skydiver Military proclaiming stolen valor. Limited to the 555 pieces (they should be so lucky), the Skydiver parachutes in at $1600.
Some might say that Zenith’s new 40.5mm dress watch is the New Watch Alert Aesthetically-Challenged Watch of the Week, but I couldn’t possibly comment. I will say this: the in-house Elite 692 caliber powering the Elite Moonphase is Keira Knightly thin (3.97mm) – with a rotor that’s as subtle as a train wreck (image below courtesy monochrone-watches.com).
THE XXL moonphase window and the frameless small seconds hand at the 9 ‘o clock look a bit odd. The 36mm rose gold (with diamond-set bezel) makes more sense – for twice as much money. Although it’s not Zenith’s first moonphase watch, I bet some EM fanboys are over the moon – and not at all phased by the $7k sticker.
That’s more like it! In fact, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue is extra special. Says so right on the dial. It’s also extra large, clocking-in at a Panerai-esque 45mm. The PT20’s none too thin, either, sheltering Zenith’s caliber Elite 679 movement. Part of Bonze Age 2.0, the PT20 revs-up its retro-vibe with Jazz Age lumed numbers (save the hat tip to G-SHOCK at the bottom of the dial).
The P20’s not just another patina-ready face. It’s water resistant to 338.99 feet. Wrist-ready with a brown oily Nubuck leather strap – complete with a protective rubber lining – you can wear this mondo Zenith with both a suit or bathing suit. Oh, and Jiffy Pop called. They want that crown back.
“Building upon the classic stop-works mechanism, Armin Strom developed an ingenious stop-works declutch system that operates inside the mainspring barrel to limit the torque delivered to the balance [and] a barrel operating in the reverse of a traditional mainspring barrel by driving the going train via the barrel arbor and winding the barrel housing” Got that?
Horophiles without an Astrophysics degree are more likely to be beguiled by the GEF’s new off-center dial, slimmer and smaller diameter case (41mm) and the triplet of bridges shoving the dial aside. Seeing the Bergdorf-born (Switzerland not 5th Ave.) watch at work would probably seal the deal, assuming you had a spare $17,500 gathering dust in your wallet.
I would have called Hublot’s latest The Spirit of the Big Bang Rainbow Unicorn Fairy Glitter Dream Wishes. Which is why I don’t get to name watches. No matter what you call it, Hublot’s bejewelled Big Bang bauble is, no doubt, a gem-cutter’s tour-de-force, “prolonging a rainbow’s hitherto ephemeral appearance.” Wait. Shouldn’t that be heretofore?
Both the skeletonized and jewel-faced SOBBRs rely on modified Zenith movements with 50 hour power reserves. Ladies who lunch – with no time for upsetting watch setting – eagerly await the quartz-powered version. Meanwhile, who knew that an LGBTQ+ logo would manifest itself as a $93k watch?
“Luminox’s motto, Every Second Counts, dovetails flawlessly with Grylls’ Never Give Up,” their website asserts. Never Every Give Second Up Counts? The moose heart eater-endorsed collection consists of six models in three categories: Sea, Land and Air. Like its brethren, the 45mm range-topping $890 constant-glow-in-the-dark rotating bezel chrono compass date Master sees G-SHOCK’s carbon core guard, and raises it one CARBONOX™+.
All six models are powered by Ronda’s caliber 5030.D quartz movement. It’s a hardy enough engine for a watch headed for the back end of beyond. The 42mm (good for city slicking) $640 Land series is the pick of the litter. A wilderness trekker without paracord is like a survivalist without a cell phone to consult Bear Grylls videos. Or something like that.
Transparent S-Series G-SHOCKS
Left to right, you’re looking at the forthcoming GMA-S120SR-7A ($162), GMD-S6900SR-7 ($100), and GMA-S110SR-7A ($150). As with all S-Series G-SHOCKS, they’re small (50.7 X 45.2 X 15.5?) pieces targeted at the women’s market. Before you get too excited, the see-through G’s debut in Singapore next week, unchained for wider release sometime in the foreseeable future.
No New Watch Alert would be complete without a reskinned Swiss movement. The Bangalore Watch Company’s 42mm MACH 1 “pays tribute” to the MiG 21 Type 77. Here’s hoping the Sellita SW220-1-powered MACH I is more reliable than India’s first supersonic fighter, nicknamed “the flying coffin.”
The easily-pleased Ariel Adams writes that the watch is best for “Indian nationals or those with an emotional interest in the IAF or other elements of India’s military or air force history.” So not a huge demographic, then.
The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar China Limited Edition is Audemars Piguet’s first ever full titanium Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. That alone makes it worth $78,300. Don’t get your checkbook out just yet. Just like the transparent G-SHOCKs, the TAPC is only available in the Far East. Specifically, mainland China.
Hang on. Isn’t China a communist country, where everyone works for the greater good for a bowl of rice and the occasional piece of pork? How many thousands of years would the average Chinese laborer have to toil to afford this watch? AP’s looking for just 88 lucky Chinese buyers to generate $6,890,400. All the associated tax revenue will go to the proletariat. Or not.
Methinks Jacob & Co and Watches of Switzerland want some of those sweet, sweet Richard Mille millions. While the titanium, gold and rubber Epic x Chrono is no tonneau-cased celebrity money magnet, its ginormous size (47mm), baby blanket blue strap and pushers and the complete lack of J&C’s death-by-diamonds aesthetic all say rapnip to me.
Available especially but not exlusively at Watches of Switzerland’s Wynn Las Vegas boutique, the Epic x Chrono in Sky Blue’s limited to “just” 180 pieces worldwide, at $48k a pop. Hell’s bells boys, that’s not even the tax on a Mille masterpiece! Go tonneau, charge $480k and see how you get on.
Even as Vacheron unfurls the quartz ladies Overseas, crosstown rival Patek Philippe has completed its mechanically-powered Twenty~4 series. While Patek’s happy to sell the Calibre 324 S C-endowed watches to chonologically-challenged, sedentary and old-fashioned women, they’re “dedicated to young, active and modern women.” Both groups will appreciate the watches’ flawless Top Wesselton grade diamonds.
In addition to using fancy words for G-color diamonds, the Patek salesperson will point out that the sparklers are arranged in a “Dentelle” or lacework style (two rows of offset gems). When it comes time to discuss filthy lucre, the number 30 is destined to come up. No jealousy please! You don’t get to the point of affording high-priced horology without someone somewhere pushing a rock up a hill. Repeatedly.