New watch alert! The pace of new watch debuts is slowing. No doubt Baselworld’s cancellation messed with watchmakers’ product release schedules. There’s still enough fresh product to compile our roundup – and then some. As stated in previous posts, it may soon be The Mother of All Buyer’s Markets. Can you wait? Should you? One word: addiction. Here’s your weekly fix . . .
Grand Seiko continues their grand tradition of selling really expensive watches with forgettable names. The SBGW264’s 39mm 18k rose gold case accounts for some of the 20th Anniversary model’s price tag. The manual wind Caliber 9S64 movement a bit more. The hand-engraved green dial the rest. But it’s not just any green . . .
“As the viewing angle changes, the dial shimmers in green and white, just as do the trees when summer sunlight catches the leaves and the white bark of their trunks and dapples the forest floor.” The caseback reveals not-a-lot, partially obscured by a Grand Seiko lion logo sticker (downplayed in the photo above). The Grand Seiko SBGWhatever’s limited to 120 pieces, on sale in July.
Classy piece. But if you don’t fancy paying $8k for a vintage-y Breitling, head down to your local Bentley dealership and buy a Mulliner Tourbillon. The Anglo-German luxury car comes complete with a dash-mounted Breitling clock – for $160k on top of the standard $299k Bentayga. Oh wait. Bentley Mulliner owners will probably want a watch as well.
The 42mm Mulliner timepiece is powered by Breitling’s Caliber 01. It’s an awesome movement and, at the same time, nothing special, found in dozens of models. But at least Breitling forged the word “Bentley” into the side of the case, in case the watch’s owner forgets they own a Bentley.
The Electricianz Steel Z – $420
The Electricianz head in a new direction with their four-watch Steel Z collection. The formerly plastic fantastic cases are steel, obvs. The multi-colored wires that made ELZ’s watches look like miniature explosive devices are now grey and tidied away, creating more a refrigerator compressor gestalt.
The Steel Z casebacks lose their “touch this and die” humor (you no longer need to be on full new watch alert). For some reason, the Electricianz’ promo material doesn’t provide a low-light pic – I’d love to see how the Steel Z’s five LEDs provide “ultimate night-vision.” Until then, I’m sticking with my somewhat less-portable Armasight Vulcan. Just sayin’.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève – ?
Whether they’re buying a Gucci, Michael Kors or Louis Vuitton watch, most customers do so to let people know they’ve bought a Gucci, Michael Kors or Louis Vuitton watch. In other words, it’s all about the brand baby! New watch alert! With its open-worked LV watch face, Louis Vuitton’s TCFTPDG cranks-up the flex factor to 11.
The case was inspired by the Möbius strip, apparently. Carbon overlays sitting atop grade 5 titanium form the case, attached to micro-machined titanium lugs. The flying tourbillon will remain airborne 80 hours. Et la pièce de résistance: the micro Poinçon de Genève seal at the 6, certifying top-flight finishing and decoration.
How green was my valley? If it was inhabited by people wearing today’s most fashionable watch dial color, it’s green AF. Capitalizing on the verdant trend, OMEGA’s added a green dial Aqua Terra. According to an observer who’s not red/green colorblind, it’s more khaki than green. Hue knew?
Back in 2017, OMEGA updated the TTAW five-star timepiece, fitting it with their latest 8900 caliber engine. I prefer the previous gen’s vertical dial lines – horizontal stripes make me look fat. But the current Aqua Terra remains the perfect non-Rolexian timepiece for a one-watch collection – if such a thing could even exist.
Our man Luke recently highlighted Bulova’s comeback under Citizen’s stewardship. The hits keep happening with their upscale recreation of Bulova’s “surfboard” diver chronos of the 1970s – complete with the surfboard oval, orange-tipped hour and minute hands and orange chronograph second hand.
As much as I approve of the 38.5mm watch’s faithfulness to the original design, you can buy a virtually identical 40.5mm Chronograph A for $695. The LE runs on a Sellita caliber SW-510BHb movement and sits on a steel bracelet; the lower-priced piece is powered by a Miyota Caliber 6S21-00A quartz movement and sits on a funky orange rubber strap. Even a low information surfer dude could make that call.
Sinn 856 I Tegimented – $1,880
New watch alert! This bad boy dropped yesterday: a slightly larger version of the five-star Sinn 556i with a fully Tegimented case. The new old model’s jump from 38.5mm to 40mm adds to the watch’s appeal by at least 2.5mm, increasing the negative space that makes the 556i such a compelling design.
Tegimentation isn’t a birth defect. New watch alert! It’s Glashutte’s case-hardening process, yielding steel that ranks 1200 on the Vickers scale. That’s five times harder than standard steel, faster than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Less scratch, more cash.
Knut Gadd Cult Diver sounds like something you’d find on Adult Swim. A better place to look: 100 feet below the surface of lake Rissajaure – the Swedish watchmaker’s proving ground. The new watch is a typical microbrand production – save each watch’s 72-hour dunking above the Arctic Circle. Fully funded, it should stay afloat. The brand, I mean.
The Knut Gadd Cult Diver’s powered by ye olde Japanese Miyota quartz movement. As for durability, Mr. Gadd claims he used his diver’s watch to prop up his Mercedes SL a crucial inch to change the tire when he was stranded on the French Riviera. As I said, Cult Diver would make a great cartoon.
Zenith A384 Revival Lupin The Third Edition LE – $7,900 (JDM only)
From a watchmaker that should be a cartoon, to a cartoon character’s timepiece that became a watch. True story. This watch debuted in 1969 in the Japanese manga Lupin the Third. as a stylized version of the new-to-the-market Zenith A384. In a case of life imitating art imitating life, Zenith created a real-life version of the fictional timepiece.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Zenith did it again. Just for fun, they reverse-engineered an early El Primero movement and slotted it into the Revival. The new old El Primero 400 movement sits behind an exhibition caseback with a printed image of the manga’s lead character, wondering what Daisuke Jigen is up to these days.
The EQB 1000XD-1A isn’t a smart watch. It’s more of a clever chronograph, solving the legibility challenge by sending stopwatch data to your phone. The Bluetooth behemoth clocks in at 45.6mm. But it’s only 8.9mm thick, as opposed to its 12.5mm non-SS stablemates. It’s also lighter: 141g vs. 170g.
The function set hasn’t changed. The SS still checks in with your phone four times day to adjust the time, sounds an alarm when requested, and keeps track of a second time zone. I’m not sure if that’s too much functionality or not enough. The super-duper thin Casio certainly isn’t as tough as cousin G-SHOCK. So remember: EDIFICE wrecks.
Watchmakers are busy raiding their back catalogues for inspiration, recreating iconic timepieces, annoying the hell out of collectors who paid big bucks for the originals. Case in point: the Seiko Prospex SLA037. It revives the Japanese watchmaker’s first ever dive watch – only not really. New watch alert!
Seiko makes the new watch out of Ever-Brilliant marine material. They fit it with their Hi-Beat 8L55 automatic movement. The gray dial is now inky blue. And it’s on a rubber strap. The SLA037 uses the same retro case Seiko released in 2017 for half the price. Will Seiko find 1100 buyers for a $7k watch based on a mass market item? Sure!
Citizen Kuroshio 64 – ? (Asian market release)
Not to be outdone in the nostalgia game, Citizen’s releasing the Kuroshio 64. It’s a recreation of the revised version of the first ever Japanese-made waterproof watch, the 1959 Parawater. (Flow chart to follow. Literally.) The Kuroshio 64’s named for the current that flows past the southeast coast of Japan, into which researchers dropped 47 buoys with Parawater watches.
The new watch gets modern upgrades: a 41mm case, an exceedingly grippable crown and lumed indices. It’s motivated by Citizen’s automatic Caliber 8310, hackably good for 60 hours. The original watch was only waterproof to 5 bar. I assume the new piece goes deeper, costs more and doesn’t float. Then again, hope floats and this ain’t no dog.