Welcome to the mid-January New Watch Update. Once again, we present a carefully curated assortment of new-to-the-market timepieces, chosen for their ability to inspire snarky comments and pithy pronouncements. As Jackie Gleason would say and awaaaay we go! Starting with the horological content vomit above . . .
Citzen Perpetual Calendar Atomic Keeping
Citizen’s radio-controlled watches are accurate to one second every twenty million years. How do you improve on that? Well apparently you do – with a 43mm watch whose name sounds like a bad episode of Friends or a college admissions test.
The PCAT (Perpetual Calendar Atomic Keeping) series is powered by Citizen’s new E660 movement (#notamercedes). The new engine is better because . . . Citizen ain’t sayin’. The PCAT costs $650 or $675. If the dial’s not busy enough for you, the world’s largest watch seller sells less expensive ani-digi watches that will do the trick. Any trick.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel
Luxury steel sports watche are breaking out all over: Bell & Ross, Chopard, H. Moser & Cie. and A. Lange & Söhne, just to name them all. Add Genta-faithful Bvlgari to the list. O.K., they’re already there, but they’re diving even deeper into the luxury sports space with the new steel Finissimo satin-polished auto. Literally, upping water resistance to 100m.
The steel’s still the one (the black dial comes with a black alligator strap). The new thin AF Finissimo combines brushed and polished surfaces to create a more complex design in a minimalist meisterwerk. It’s more macho, yet just as elegant. Go figure. Bring $12k with you.
Hublot Big Bang Integral Collection
Not surprisingly, Hublot also wants in on this whole luxury sports watch thing. So they’ve redesigned the Big Bang for big bucks, rejigging the case to accommodate an integrated bracelet. Only Hublot couldn’t bring themselves to offer the watch in anything as common as stainless steel.
The new models are available in gold ($52k), gold with diamonds ($100k), ceramic ($23k), titanium ($21k) and titanium with diamonds ($68k). As a longstanding fan of titanium timepieces – especially ones that look like stainless steel – I reckon that’s the one the universe wants me to have.
Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Defender
Defender? I just met her! Other than the tire-tread rubber strap, the only connection between the Indian vehicle and the new Zenith Defy 21 is the watch’s five-spoke, wheel-shaped rotor. And while the Land Rover is a relatively small and narrow off-roader (as it should be), the co-branded Zenith Defy 21 is a 44mm beast.
That said, it’s only right that a watch hitching its wagon to a British-made 4X4 known for extreme durability is made of micro-blasted titanium. That said, I’d opt for a quartz watch in the outback. An automatic timepiece with 293 components wearing the Land Rover name? What could possibly go wrong?
Oris Aquis Lake Baikal Limited Edition
Oris made the Aquis Lake Baikal Limited Edition “in partnership with the Lake Baikal Foundation, a research centre working to conserve Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest freshwater lake.” Oris somehow forgot to mention how much of the watch’s $2400 sticker – $4.8m if they sells all 1999 examples – will reach Russian researchers.
If you like the look of this bold, beautiful, big ass (43.5mm) dive watch – complete with Oris’ Selita-based 733 movement – I’d be rushin’ down to an authorized dealer to pick one up. You might want to lift some weights first. And if you do, don’t hydrate using a plastic bottle, m’kay?
TACS AVL II Dark Metal Watch
For a second, I thought TACS joined our New Watch Update selling a Death Metal Watch. Ever since Greta Thunberg sang Swedish death metal I’ve been hankering for a timepiece that captures the devil-make-care spirit of SDM. TACS Dark Metal Watch looks like it could capture the souls of African tribesman internet-deprived enough to believe cameras do that soul-sucking thing. Heads-up. It can’t. It’s a watch.
A 47mm quartz watch, Japanese-made in the great SLR camera tradition. Fortunately for camera-minded horologists, the DMW costs less than one decent lens ($599). The company’s tag-line: DARK METAL – STRONGER, DARKER, & RIGHT ON THE EDGE. So maybe it is a death metal watch after all. Hang on, let me take a selfie.
Soldat Promessa Chronograph
Totor est un soldat du bois. Totor is a wooden soldier – the first words I learned in French. Worn & Wound’s penned an English-language love letter to the Soldat Promessa – named after an ecologically sound way turn dead people into fertile soil. Billy Squire would approve of Ms. Ryvin’s pro-Promessa prose poem.
While no New Watch Update could complete without a microbrand, I’d like to point out that the Indonesian-owned Swiss-designed, Japanese-powered, 42mm x 50mm x 14mm automatic chronograph is not for the feint of wrist. Or wallet, at $1350. But, as the official website assures us, “In modern day, wearing an automatic chronograph is as exacting as it was back in racer’s pit.” Well exactly.
SWATCH WHITE LAYERED
SWATCH has committed itself to producing 16 new watches a month as “Essentials.” Your humble horologist may have to be committed after scouring the collection for the best model your sub-$100 can buy, but I’ve found it: the WHITE LAYERED. Because of what you can’t see.
The 41mm WHITE LAYERED’s multi-layered blue-and yellow strap is a bit of a buzz, but you’ll have to carry a loupe to see the date window. That seems a small price to pay for a stylish watch at a small price ($80). As for future models, SWATCH this space.
Spinnaker Piccard LE
No, it’s not a watch commemorating Commander Jean-Luc Piccard‘s voyages on the Starship Enterprise. The Spinnaker celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Bathyscaphe Trieste‘s world record dive into the Mariana Trench – with a 47mm watch patterned after the Rolex that accompanied the crew.
Curiously, the text underneath the Piccard’s bubblicious dome reads 550 fathoms and 3300 feet. That’s over a thousand meters – the titanium Spinnaker is water resistant to 100m. So off by a factor of ten, then. Anyway, an automatic Selita SW-200 powers the $950 Fauxlex. The money also buys you a helium release valve, in case the watch decides to huff party balloons.
Blancpain’s Traditional Chinese Calendar
As we reported in our last New Watch Update, high-end watchmakers are all over the Chinese New Year. Harry Winston and Vacheron Constantin approached the job literally. While Blancpain put a small vermin at the 12 o’clock and a bigger rat on the rotor of their $87k rat watch, they’ve also created a complicated timepiece synched to the Chinese calendar.
Just so you know, the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle – it’s 11 days shorter than our Gregorian timetable, with a leap year every two to three years. The watch keeps track of all that, and displays the ten celestial pillars and five elements at 3 o’clock, showing the month and date with two hands at 9 o’clock. I couldn’t set it on a dare.
Mickey Mouse Gucci Grip
Walt Disney is spinning in his grave (not cryogenic chamber) at his eponymous company’s tie-up with Gucci. As Fantasia fans will tell you, Mickey Mouse was a working class schlub. Timex Mickey, yes. Gucci Ratón Miguelito, non. But you can’t blame the fashion house for trying to add some fun to their unrelentingly dull Grip watches. My question . . .
Why is Mickey lying down on the job (staring at Walt’s name)? It’s the same mystery bedeviling the supine Snoopy adorning the Omega Apollo 13 Moonwatch. The Mickey Mouse Gucci Grip is available in a 35mm yellow-gold PVD or 38mm stainless steel. Ronda-powered for . . . wait for it . . . $1650 (for the gold watch). As Goofy would say, gawrsh!
That’s it for this week’s New Watch Update. Check back every Friday for info on the latest models.
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