This is the first New Watch Alert where I haven’t been ‘whelmed. That’s the new word women use when they get too many responses to their online dating profile. Because saying “overwhelmed” takes too much effort. I prefer the Toffler term “overchoice.” No matter what you call it, that’s the challenge I face when trying to stay abreast of new watches for you, gentle reader. It’s a tough job, but we can’t leave Hodinkee to do it . . .
What better way to start a Valentine’s Day New Watch Alert than highlighting a watch that would massacre my budget? The $13k Absolute Passion is both well red and easy to read. Made from lightweight PVD-treated titanium, affixed by a beautifully integrated woven cloth effect rubber strap, the chrono doubles as a dive watch, good to 100m.
The Laureato is the sportiest of the model line. But not too sporty to present its highly decorated 419-part GP03300-1058 self-winding movement under an exhibition caseback. An engine so drop dead gorgeous that Girard-Perrageaux didn’t feel the need to provide a proper photo. Go figure, save up and act soon. This one’s a babe.
Our man Ibis has an aversion to Paneristi – horophiles so brand faithful they rival Tesla owners for self-righteous self-righteousness. This watch might change his mind. Sure, it’s a 44mm beast. But the carbon-cased Italian’s built G-SHOCK tough and weighs just 96g. That’s 43 grams more than a G-9100-1ER and sure, it doesn’t have a yacht timer. But it IS a Panerai.
And that means its Lite-Bright hands are motivated by Panerai’s in-house, double-barreled P.9010 calibre. The engine boasts hacking seconds, independent hour hand adjustment and a three-day power reserve. It’s hidden under a titanium screw-down caseback, but just knowing it’s there is a feeling that no other $12,800 watch can provide. Right Luke?
“Because we’re inspired by your relentless spirit, we’ve built this watch with an attitude to match.” So here it is: the world’s first snarky watch. Nah, that’s just me being snarky. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot on their website to work with. A little digging reveals it’s a 44mm 316L stainless steel piece with a unique selling point: a patent-pending “suspended” dial.
How great is that? I have no idea. It’s not like I woke from a restless sleep and thought new watch alert! I need a watch powered by a race-fueled custom Seiko movement with a HUGE number 9 and a crown with its own carry handle! That said, I like the architectural lugs and plexiglass is my friend. The company promises delivery this summer. 2020 vision.
I’m still in love with my 39mm $749 Yema Heritage Navygraf with its in-house mechanical movement. The French watchmaker is going downmarket with its new Superman Heritage Quartz models, combining the same vintage look, dive capability (660 feet) and case quality with a more reliable and less expensive quartz movement. Yours for just $490.
The engine in question is the hacking seconds Ronda 515 FE. Its power saving mechanism is 70 percent more, um, power saving, yielding a 45-month (3.75 years) battery life. The Superman Heritage is no Longines Conquest V.H.P. but it’s accurate enough at -10/+20 seconds per month. Yema’s period-faithful locking bezel mechanism puts a lock on its value.
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this watch! New watch alert! If you do, you’ll find a certified copy of the word Berlin from the Berlin Wall etched on blue marble inside. (God knows who’s in charge of certifying copies of Berlin Wall graffiti, but we are talking about Germany.) The Wall was an ugly thing, on many levels. The Pramzius watch is equally, uh, rough.
You have to give the Connecticut watchmaker credit for using the 8 and 9 indices to commemorate the date of German reunification (’89), and stealing metal bracelets from The Road Warrior. The watch is powered by a Seiko NH35 Automatic, so it’s a thousand times more reliable than a Trabant. The BWSE runs $649 or $699, depending if you go for huge or Lord Humongous.
The Schwarz Etienne Fiji is a beautiful, literally mesmerizing timepiece. The Roswell Irreversible looks like it was designed by one of Roswell’s famous visitors – and it’s not just me saying it. The watch comes packaged in a non-operational flying saucer. And that tiny little dial in the upper left? It’s an Arquillian spaceship. I mean seconds subdial.
Thanks to the dial’s star-shaped rotor, the RI’s in-house calibre ISE 100.00 keeps on spinning for 86 hours. Schwartz Etienne’s Swiss craftsmen needed a 45mm watch to fit all that spacey stuff and an XL applied logo. They claim the strap is alligator, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something extra-terrestrial that needed killing. The RI lands stateside at $11,848.15.
What up with Breitling? The Swiss watchmaker famous for timepieces festooned with more text than a Steven King novel and ani-digi dog’s breakfasts now makes a wide range of elegant watches. OK, they still make Navitimers and Professionals, but they also make this perfectly judged tribute to Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.
“Thanks to its rugged bezel and its special grip-pattern on the crown, the Red Arrows Limited Edition can be easily operated wearing gloves.” While pulling G’s? Thanks to its Breitling 32 movement (ETA 2893-2 base), you can adjust the GMT hand in one-hour increments without stopping the movement. Again, it’s not recommended in-flight procedure, especially after a few drinks. First class watch at $5143.76 per ticket.
I’m still trying to understand how a watch based on an airplane cockpit instrument works as a dive watch. It’s a far cry from Bell & Ross’ cockpit classics. I’m coming ’round to the idea, via this bronze and blue B&R. It’s got kind of a diving bell vibe and the colors work together as well as The Blues Brothers, with a similar sort of retro feel.
Bell & Ross undermine their own case (so to speak) for underwater exploration with a blue calfskin leather and “ultra-resilient” black synthetic fabric strap. But the 42mm bad boy is good to 300m below decks and the watchmaker sells an OEM rubber strap for $125. That bring the $3990 Diver over the two grand mark, but tax does that too. By the time patina develops the money will be forgotten. In theory.
Sinn makes brick shit houses masquerading as watches. The Bicompax Chrono is a 500-piece limited edition bruiser that’s bound to piss off a collector somewhere – it’s a 43mm remake of the Bundeswehr watch Sinn founder Helmut Sinn reconditioned and sold back in the 80’s and 90’s.
Sinn upgraded die alte movement to a Sellita SW 510 caliber (a clone of the highly esteemed Valjoux 7750). The Swiss engine enables the Sinn stopwatch’s historically accurate central horizontal bicompax layout (the seconds subdial on the left and the minutes on the right). The $2,660 timepiece is a bit big and brutal for my tastes, but legibility is its own reward. Or something like that.
You didn’t think we’d leave that “someone you love looking for a Hamilton” without a Hamilton to look at, did you? Well here it is: a vintage field watch in a not-so-vintage metal. “Titanium is the metal of choice for wearing comfort. In addition to its light weight and easy-care finish, titanium feels pleasant to touch, never uncomfortably hot or cold.” New watch alert! My old watch is too hot!
If a titanium case seems a bit inauthentic for a retro watch you won’t be pleased to learn it’s a 42mm timepiece. The dials’ 15/date window/3 pile-up is also a bit awkward, but there’s no faulting the movement. The Hamilton H-10 engine (base ETA caliber C07.111) is tough, time tested and accurate to +/-15 seconds-per-day or better. I’m not sure of the $950ish price, but light metal exacts a heavy toll.