Coronageddon has been compared to the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day. Every day is the same. Day after day after day. I prefer to think of lockdown as a trek through a desert. Which makes our New Watch Alert a horological oasis. Drink heavily. We still have a ways to go . . .
Tissot’s new Seastar 1000 collection consists of seven watches in six variations, all with an 80-hour power reserve. The Silicium is the most interesting of the bunch – it enhances Tissot/ETA’s movement with a silicon balance spring.
prestigetime.com tells us silicium is “lighter yet harder than steel and improves stability, performance, accuracy, and resistance to magnetic interferences and thermal fluctuations.” Tissot says it makes the watch “more appropriate for water sports activities.” The kind involving actual water.
G-SHOCK G-STEEL GST-B300 – $400 – $587
Straight from a watch powered by gears and springs worried about magnetic fields to a digital brick shit house that laughs at anything short of an EMP. Casio’s blessed the forthcoming G-STEEL GST series with their ever-popular Carbon Core Guard structure. It’s also the first G-STEEL model with a front-activated LED light button. How great is that? List time!
Bluetooth connectivity, world time, 1/1000-second stopwatch, 1/10-second countdown timer (24 hrs. max), five multi-function alarms (daily, one-time, schedule), full auto Super Illuminator double LED lights with adjustable afterglow, and Tough Solar with power-saving mode. Best watch for Life During Wartime?
Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica LE – $1450
I’ve been to Antarctica. It was cold and whale breath stinks. Not once did I wish I was wearing a watch with a tactical planner, points of sail indicators and a sturdy nautical bezel. (My tactical plan: stick with the tour guide.) Delma’s Oceanmaster Antarctica is a beast of a dive watch (44mm X 13.8mm) with a textured dial designed to evoke the outer edges of the Antarctic ice shelf.
The DOA is powered by an off-the-shelf ETA 2824-2. Delma fits the engine with a custom rotor, hidden behind a steel caseback that almost manages to align all four screws. The watchmaker promises to donate an unspecified portion of the watch’s purchase price to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. So the new Delma is silver, blue, white and greenwashed.
Bremont Argonaut – $3,695
Bremont made its bones with its nostalgic marketing of automotive and aeronautical-themed watches running on ETA movements. The Brits lost the plot once or twice (e.g., the $50k limp dick Ronnie Wood moonphase watch). Not this time. Whether or not Bremont named the 42mm Argonaut after Jason’s pals or the WWII HMS, the Argonaut is a minimalist masterpiece projecting Churchillian indefatigability.
Or toned-down Seiko Sports 5 style. Anway, let’s celebrate the English eccentricity of a dive watch with an internal bezel adjusted via a gigantic screw-down crown. Huzzah! [Note: while the Argonaut may be “Approved by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces,” Bremont doesn’t have a Royal Warrant. And I don’t mean what the FBI should be serving Prince Andrew.]
How can a brand that defined the dive watch (with a little help from the Nazis) sell a Luminor without a rubber strap? Especially a not-stupidly-huge Mediterranean blue Panerai that begs to be seen ducking and diving just beneath the surface of a sun-kissed sea. Questo è folle! The Luminor’s got waves on its caseback. How much more aquatic can you get?
The PAM 01144’s caseback decal partially obscures its entirely estimable P.1000 hand-wound movement. Not displayed above. That’s the micro-rotor-equipped auto fitted under the hood of the Mediterranean blue 47mm titanium Luminor. Buy the smaller piece, pick up an aftermarket rubber strap, save $3k and avoid jokes about ego compensation. Done!
Archetype Dorian – $159
No New Watch Alert would be complete without a Kickstarter campaign. This one’s a fundraiser for a new brand launched by none other than watches.com, purveyor of bargain basement micro-brand madness, sold under the motto “time to be different.” The problem with their 42mm clear caseback Dorian: it isn’t so much different as utterly, obviously derivative. Of high horology, no less.
Yes, it’s an automatic. No, it’s not a tourbillon. Yes, it’s 100 percent Chinese made. No, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. And yes, I wish they had a portrait of a Dorian gray.
AVENTI A-10 Pure Sapphire – $2799
Crowdfunding isn’t just for obvious horological tat. AVENTI’s Hong Kong entrepreneurs hit-up indiegogo.com to raise money for an illuminated billboard of watch, complete with a brightly colored cerakoted titanium-case and a skeletonized, tourbillon-powered movement. A supercar-like superwatch, according to its Chinese promoters.
After arguing with their own disclaimer – we are so production-ready – Aventi raised $440,970 from people who like hearing the word “supercar” repeated endlessly in an Israeli accent. The sapphire-cased A-10 (watch not Warthog) is paperback-thick and almost as silly as a Richard Mille. But not as nearly as well-made. Or expensive. Which is, after all, the point.
Jacob & Co x Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon – $280,000
Clocking a $280k watch sheltering a working model of the Bugatti Chiron’s 16-cylinder engine puts Aventi’s aspirations into their proper perspective. New watch alert! Like the A-10, Jacob & Co’s latest horological creation is a toy. And proof – if proof be needed – that the Big Apple-based jeweler is the undisputed heavyweight King of Kitsch.
The xBCT boasts a 60-hour power reserve BUT Jacob & Co. aren’t saying how much power the watch’s “engine” drains when you set it in motion. I suspect it’s like J&Co’s Oil Pump watch – you only activate it to make hookers laugh. Which is brand faithful; a thrashed Chyron’s gets single-digit mileage and attracts entirely the wrong kind of woman/man/they.
JD’s Grand Seconde Skelet-One never made sense to me – until now. The monochromatic plasma ceramic-cased model made me new watch alert, and solved the “where the Hell do I look?” conundrum created by the Grande Seconds’ red and white gold horological collisions.
Although I haven’t seen the 41.5mm watch in the flesh, the black plasma ceramic JD GSS-O doesn’t strike me as the most legible of timepieces. Even so, it’s miles better than its more expensive sibs – and how else would you incorporate Jaquet Droz’s signature figure-eight/Frosty the Snowman dial design into a skeletonized watch? Bueller?
Winwatch MuchBetter Watch – $300
SWATCHPay! remains a damp squib. Switzerland’s Winwatch takes another run at contactless pay horology with their 41mm MuchBetter chronograph. The watch transfers funds via an antenna running around the bezel that’s connected to a STISS (Swiss Technology Inside Smart Sapphire) chip that links to a MuchBetter phone app that links to your Mastercard that links to your bank. In theory . . .
Above certain amounts – which vary by country – you have to hold your watch to the payment device AND sign a receipt or enter a PIN number. Which is NOT the same PIN as your credit card, and you can’t change it. New watch alert! Despite the review ratings, MuchBetter is a rightfully reviled payment app known to withhold/steal funds, created to enable online gambling. You have been warned.
Spinnaker DUMAS SP-5081-44 – $400
It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, it’s luminous AF and it’s freaking huge. Spinnaker’s tasting the rainbow with their retro-styled automatic DUMAS’ new color palette. I reckon the 44m yellow version is the one to have – if you’re going big and you’re not going home you might as well let the world know.
“The watch offers 300m of Water Resistance in a relatively compact body made of marine-grade stainless steel.” I don’t think the word “compact” means what they want it to mean, and all watches are made of “marine-grade” steel. Anyway, the Seiko caliber NH35 isn’t particularly accurate or attractive but it is inexpensive and the rotor covers half. So there is that.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Twofold – $276,000
Roger Dubuis may be bringing up the rear of our New Watch Alert, but it’s the brand’s third appearance on the list. Following on from watches influenced by Pirelli tires and the Lamborghini Huracán, here’s a timepiece inspired by the legendary sword of King Arthur. Actually I’m seeing echoes of the fake 1928 Mercedes-Benz SSK. Anyway, what rapper doesn’t need an all-white watch?
I’m sure owners will care more about the crazy ass lume than the double flying tourbillons compensating for gravity’s effect on accuracy. They’ll also focus on the fact that the watch’s white Mineral Composite Fiber case and bezel is a high horology first, and that it’s easy to get a zero percent loan these days. A white-colored silver lining under a Coronageddon cloud.