New watch alert! Breitling unleashed its new models yesterday – unlike Patek Philippe and Rolex, who’ve decided to hang fire until 2021. The watch market is in deep freeze, as buyers spend their time watching The Tiger King instead of spending their hard-earned cash on horological acquisitions. Even so, Breitling is hardly alone in letting loose the dogs of war. Here’s our pick of this week’s newbies . . .
If you’re new watch alert, you’ll know that skeleton watches are all the rage at the top end of the market. So it makes sense that Hamilton’s released a see-through Jazzmaster at their usual $1k price point. Making sense of the time, however, is another matter, even at 40mm. Especially with those black bridge supports at the five and seven o’clock positions connecting to the black rehaut.
The white dial version with blue hands and a grey bridge is the more legible option. But it still begs the question: why? The Hamilton Calibre H-10-S (based on ETA C07.111) is a workhorse with an 80-hour power reserve, but it’s no looker. If you want to admire a watch movement doing its thing without spending a fortune, buy a “salesman’s sample” American pocket watch.
If you read my review of the Seiko Diver Automatic Orange, you’ll know I love me some orange dive watch. If you didn’t, I do. But before I sing the praises of the Certina DS – no relation to the Citroen DS – I’d like to point out that the Swiss watch has the same God awful rubber strap as the Japanese timepiece. Ug.
The Certina’s powered by a SWATCH Powermatic with a Nivachron hairspring – in case you come across a magnet underwater. Assuming you want to break the world record for SCUBA diving, you can search for that magnet down to 500m (1,640.42 feet) without worrying about your watch exploding. How great is that?
Perrelet Weekend GMT – $1,220
A year after America was born, Swiss watchmaker Perrelet became new watch alert, releasing their first timepiece. Two-hundred-and-forty-three years later the company’s waiting on a new website. Meanwhile the Weekend GMT’s now available with a striking blue dial. It remains the ideal size for a dress watch (39mm diameter X 9.56mm thick) and water resistant to a hand-washing compatible 50m.
Like all of Perrelet’s temporal engines, the GMT’s 99-piece P-401 caliber auto is “entirely crafted, decorated, adjusted and assembled inside its own workshops.” The company makes no accuracy claims, but Perrellet’s philosophy page asserts that “the brand is driven by a passion for precision.” So there is that.
YEMA Superman French Air Force Black Limited Edition – $ 1,199.00
Speaking of reasonably-priced watches with an in-house movement . . . New watch alert! Pre-order starts tomorrow for YEMA’s French Air Force-affiliated black-on-black LE Superman. The French watchmaker’s selling 1948 pieces. Early birdmen get 10 percent off list and a canvas strap – unless le Air Force staff scoops them up, ’cause they get priority. Tant pis pour toi!
The French Air Force insignia at the 6 o’clock and on the crown are très génial. The YEMA Navygraf Heritage was a five-star watch. No doubt the 39mm Superman – water resistant to 500 ft. – will be equally desirable. If you’re cash-strapped or missed the auto LE, there’s a black $549 quartz version up for grabs. And if you miss that, the silver-black Superman will be flying around for years to come. Alternatively . . .
Hanhart SK 60 GMT LE – $1400
Germany’s Hanhart has created three watches celebrating the Saab 105 jet fighter. Thanks to the yellow coating on the date pointer, GMT and second hands, the SK 60 (the Swedish Air Force’s designation for the 105) is the most interesting and elegant of the temporal troika.
The cockpit-themed timepiece is powered by either the Sellita SW 330 or an ETA 2893 (the website isn’t clear on that point). A 20mm maskinkanon M.40 S cannon – sorry, a 2omm black calfskin strap with a PVD-coated steel pin buckle comes standard. Although that sure looks like a rubber strap to me.
Pedrozo & Piriz PP01 – $155k
You want double-flying tourbillons in a sensibly-sized watch? Who doesn’t want double flying tourbillons in a sensibly-sized watch? I know: it’s a question of money – 155 G’s is a LOT of money for a watch by an unknown watchmaker. But the PP01 is totes adorbs and CDH built the bits (they know a thing or two about watch movements). Still . . .
At that price you expect perfection. Look at those screws, willya? Not only are they meh, but they’re not all aligned in the same direction. Oy. Still, give Adrian Pedrozo credit for launching a high horology brand in the midst of a pandemic, using his Mom’s maiden name for his business. Hi Mom!
Seiko SPB151 “Captain Willard” – $1,100
This new Seiko SPB151 is a smaller, thinner, lower-priced version of the previous Seiko modeled after the Seiko worn by Martin Sheen as Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. Our man Luke loves it. I’ve a question for the original, the expensive copy and the cheap knock-off. Can someone please napalm these things in the morning?
Our friends at HoDinkee are on Mr. Ibis’ team. “If you’re thinking ‘take my money’ without having seen anything more than Seiko-issued press pictures of this new watch, then we’re in the same boat.” That’s a titanic metaphor ya got there Mr. Pennington. Anyway, it’s a Seiko Prospex dive watch with a kid’s bracelet attached, m’kay?
It’s the revenge of the cushion case dive watches! With fat hands and one too many subdials, Bell & Ross’ not square-shaped chronograph violates the two rules of chronograph legibility. I guess they felt had to replace the old Black Steel with a new 100m water resistant stopwatch – and resisted the urge to do anything particularly unique or interesting with it.
In fact, B&R took everything distinctive, classy and French about the Black Steel and embiggened it for no good reason. Or a really stupid reason some marketing maven threw up on a Powerpoint (so to speak). The new watch motivates its hands via Bell & Ross’s go-to chrono Calibre BR-CAL.301 (base ETA 2894-2) – a hardy, accurate movement that deserves better.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere – $5800
Speaking of HoDinkee, the “journalists” recently added Montblanc to their retail operation, guaranteeing it a free pass on even the mildest criticism. Prompting them to pimp MB at any opportunity (blue dial!). Leaving it to me to point out that this is a damn silly way to make a GMT watch.
There’s a lot going on here: 42mm X 12.8mm titanium case, a pair of globes rotating in opposite directions (lit up like a Christmas tree with SuperLuminova), an MB 29.25 movement (40 hours power reserve), small seconds, date wheel, rotating bezel and a caseback celebrating the Seven Summit mountaineering challenge, completed in 1985. Go figure.
J. Hathaway Janus Dial – $279
And so we come to the Kickstarter portion of our New Watch Alert. I was kinda hoping J. Hathaway referred to Jane Hathaway of The Beverly Hillbillies. Why Mr. Drysdale’s secretary had a crush on Jethro is almost as big a mystery as why a black businessman hired a white AF English narrator to pimp his timepiece.
At least the Janus doesn’t use a Chinese movement (no matter where it’s assembled). Props to Mr. Ravin for not putting a mouth at the bottom of the dial to complete the robot face that so clearly wants to evolve from this design. And kudos for the textured dial, which brings to mind the TUDOR 1926. Or not. Current tally: 66 out of 5,500 watch sold.
Over to indiegogo we go go for a micro-brand aspirant’s take on the TAG Heuer Monaco in Gulf LeMans racing livery. Ferro & Co. chose a particularly bizarre design for their round riff on a square icon: a one-handed watch. In a genre where precise timekeeping isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Um, great video of the car in action over at their site! Meanwhile . . .
F&C “investors” have a choice of four movements: a Swiss ETA 2824 Automatic, Swiss STP1-11 Automatic, Miyota 9015 Japan Automatic or a Swiss Ronda 715 Quartz. We went with quartz because the closed caseback is way better looking than the boring movements behind glass. As is usually the case. So to speak.
Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph – $3,300
Over at aBlogtoWatch, Ariel Adams finally gets his hands on the Tutima M2, released at the last (and I do mean last) Baselworld – and damns it with faint praise. “The final product is a watch with a smaller 43mm-wide titanium case and new Tutima Caliber 310 movement that, while less robust than the Caliber 521 used in the M2 Pioneer, goes a long way in keeping the price down.”
ABTW’s readers aren’t quite so kind about Mr. Adams’ [not exactly] new watch alert. “It looks like a cheap Swatch.” “The graduation of the 12h subdial is a bit odd. Would’ve preferred 15 min. (rather than 12 min.) increments.” Anyway, the Tutima’s integrated pushers – first seen in the Porsche Design IWC chrono – are ideal for lefties. What’s old is new again. Again.