The New Watch Alert The Swatch Group couldn’t stop! As our man Jack reported on Wednesday, the Swiss watchmaking behemoth is busy suing Vortic for using the Hamilton name. Besides, this is just a pleasant little curated round-up of the week’s new watches with a soupçon of snark. OK, it’s a twelve-course meal of sarcasm and horological truth telling. Napkins in place? Here’s the first course . . .
The Dual Time Rose answers the age old question “what would you get if Audemars Piguet’s Code 11.59 and IWC’s Aquatimer had a baby?” The Magrett DTR is a babe. Its elegant sandwich-dial combines with a rotating outer bezel for outstanding legibility. The case is gold PVD-coated 316L stainless steel, rather than oh-so-fashionable (and expensive) bronze.
The DTR’s powered by a Miyota 9015, the ubiquitous micro-brand engine that’s accurate to -10 to +30 seconds a day. The movement’s not exactly a stunner. So it’s just as well it shelters behind a closed caseback, embellished by the birdman of Benneydale. We’ll take its advice and keep going.
You gotta hand it to MeisterSinger for sticking to its one-handed guns, exploring strange new worlds of timekeeping. Their new Astroscope boldly goes and “displays the weekdays like they’ve never been shown before: related to the heavenly bodies that have been attributed to the various days since ancient times.”
Maybe there’s a reason for that. The whole not doing it thing I mean. Anyway, an entirely sensible modified Sellita SW220 lingers beneath the Astroscope’s exhibition caseback. I reckon Herr MeisterSinger should have put Prince’s symbol on a closed caseback. Then again, Maurice Day and the Time might have been a more appropriate choice.
In 1972, the Accusplit digital stopwatch sounded the death knell for the mechanical chronograph as a professional device. No matter. The trad watch market loves them some chono, regardless of its utility. Which brings us here, to Maurice Lacroix’s less-than-entirely legible skeletonized timekeeper – a 44mm stopwatch decorated with DLC black gold.
Unlike World War I, not all the action is on the front. The Aikon’s exhibition caseback reveals its steadfast (but not fast) ML 206 movement, based on the Valjoux 7753. The ML ACS is water resistant to 200m, but not so resistant to comments like “what’s the hell’s that?” New watch alert! Wallflowers needs not apply.
Frederic Constant may never forgive us for dissing their Yacht Timer. Well we forgive you Fred. New watch alert! Your nouveau retro chrono? C’est magnifique! Balanced, legible and stately – yet relaxed enough to take a break and lean on a book. Or is it posing?
The 42mm FC FC isn’t just a pretty face. Mssr. Constant’s watchmakers redesigned the FC-760’s flyback mechanism to create a thinner watch. With less parts! For less money! Monochrome got all sniffy about the in-house engine’s looks – “not the most visually appealing solution” – but I disrespectfully disagree. Besides, l’habit ne fait pas le moine.
“The watch is based on a 1993 clock design by Ji Li in which the designer introduced a layer of friction to the otherwise simple act of telling time,” MOMA’s online store informs. “It forces you to stop and appreciate the moment.” How about we stop and appreciate Ji Lee’s disastrous Kickstarter campaign? Defective design, no-to-slow refunds. “This clock project is not my full time job,” Mr. Lee snapped. “I have another full time job and a family to take care of.”
And so Hong Kong’s Anicorn is producing the Miyota GL20-powered Redundant Watch. New watch alert! You may recall Anicorn “launched” the Tesla truck-inspired Cybertime watch to considerable fanfare – and failed to garner enough fans to bring the watch into production. You have been warned.
Now that’s what I call brilliant design: a watch that can be worn on both your wrist and around your neck with minimal modification, complete with minimalist zing. Credit designer Albert Rakhimzhanov (#a77_design) working with/for the Stieglitz Academy of Saint Petersburg.
Al tells TTAW that the Artika Horizon 2 – not to be confused with the equally stylish Artika Ampere Horizon lamp – is a school project. “One thing is for sure – the watch is designed with real dimensions in mind, the case is steel, the movement is quartz.” That’s three things, but in Russia things count you. If the AH2 makes into production, I’ll post a heads-up on our Instagram (#TheTruthAboutWatchs).
At age 21, Matthew Humphries designed the Morgan Aero 8, a seriously stylish British sports car with front fenders that double as a sledding slope. It’s a bit odd, then, that Mr. Humphries created such a dull-looking watch. Sure, the SA2’s “exoskeleton” case removes the need for spring bars and accentuates the round dial, but the face is a snoozefest – especially when compared to the Morgan’s balls-to-the-wall insanity.
The SA2 Heritage runs on
unleaded a Miyota 9039 self-winding movement, displayed behind a transparent caseback. It features a bland AF rotor just begging for an application of Mr. Humphries’s design talent. In vain. I’d say the MHD Heritage SA’s going fast, but I’d be wrong on at least one count.
I’ve taken Oris to task for not revealing how much of their Oceans Project watches’ purchase price goes to protecting marine environments. It’s IWC’s turn. While the Swiss watchmaker gets props for supporting Special Needs Olympics, they need to disclose what percentage of the $16k Laureus LE goes to charity. Meanwhile, OMG. Best Portugieser ever.
Sure it’s a Paneristi-pleasing 46mm timepiece whose crown sticks out across two time zones. But the monopusher’s perfectly balanced dial is a design masterpiece, arranging three hands, three complications (stopwatch, date and power reserve) and perfectly-sized branding for maximum legibility and style. The caseback design is a bit creepy, but I don’t have the heart to tell them. Obviously.
Bremont U-251-JET – ?
New watch alert! Bremont’s U-2/51-JET just hit Instagram. “It takes its design cues from a military project commissioned by the RAF’s 100 Squadron members to celebrate their centenary and complement their Hawk T1 Jet aircraft.” That would be the British-built training jet, wildly popular worldwide (including ill-fated sales to India and inadvisable sales to Zimbabwe).
The new pilot’s watch looks to be a simplification of Bremont’s $5895 MWII Flying Tiger. That model has a patented inner bidirectional Roto-Click bezel. The Tiger has a self-winding calibre BE-36AE (a modified ETA 2836-2) in its tank. The Bremont U-2:51-JET should hit V3 any day now.
Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light LE – $294,000
My former employers at The Robb Report got the drop on GP’s new see-through Quasar Light. “The sapphire crystal is created by merging particles of oxygen and dihydrogen at nearly 3,000 degrees Kelvin. A sapphire crystal disc is created that is then cut, machined, drilled, domed, and polished using tools made from diamonds (another cost factor), that requires over 200 hours of work.”
I guess it’s cool. Would it be gauche of me to suggest that the $300k new watch alert watch looks like it’s made of plastic? (Hence former employer). Then again, who doesn’t like ruthenium? Or diamond cut sapphire? Props to TRR for sliding this in: “The material is one of watchmaking’s ultimate aesthetic statements, allowing for a level of horological voyeurism that can prove irresistible to some collectors.” Can. Some. Heh.
Chanel J12 X-Ray LE – $626,000
If the GP seems like a bit much, Chanel has a more elegant and less affordable alternative, also equipped with a sapphire case, plates and bridges. You get a sapphire bracelet rather than a fancy leather strap, and the dial’s diamond indices are circumnavigated by 60 baguette-cut diamonds. The J12 X-Ray is also about 100 times more legible than GP’s effort.
The X-Ray’s motivated by a modified version of Chanel’s Calibre 3 hand-wound movement. You can purchase the same basic engine in their diamond-tastic skeleton boy.friend for less than the sales tax on a J12 X-Ray. It’s the better play – unless you need something suitably FOAD for a private supper with Meghan and Harry on your mega-yacht.
Timex Easy Reader – $79
Timex named the original Easy Reader as a tribute to Easy Rider. Quite why they named such a simple watch after the ultimate counterculture road trip movie is a mystery. Pot smoking marketing mavens? Anyway, the ER is an Indiglo throwback to the simple designs that made Timex the Average Joe’s timepiece.
The Chinese-made Easy Reader is quartz powered (it may take a licking but it won’t keep on ticking). It’s a 40mm watch, so maybe this show isn’t for the ladies. But I reckon the Easy Reader’s the one watch out of hundreds of modern Timex that best embodies the spirit that made the company famous, back when they were American watches built by Americans in America for Americans. Bless their heart. Sorry, my iPhone’s ringing . . .