Unless the Swiss watch industry can create a compelling alternative to the smart watch, it will have reached its zenith. Cheerleaders can point out that the industry has survived two World Wars, the Great Depression and the quartz crisis. But this is different – a sea change as momentous as the shift from pocket to wrist watch. Still there will always be new watch alert buyers contemplating the latest traditional timepieces. Like these . . .
Like Audemars Piguet, TAG Heuer has raided its archives for “inspiration.” HoDinkee reckons the result is “not a vintage reissue, but rather a contemporary evocation and tribute to a modern event that celebrates the history of racing itself.” See that teeny little race car at the 1:30? Now that’s what I call a celebration!
The sticker obscuring the Calibre Heuer 02 movement is a party in itself. The engine beneath goes 80 hours between fill-ups, and the column wheel, vertical clutch chronograph provides plenty of tactile satisfaction. The Monaco is divisive design, generally. I’m on that no-thanks side of the fence. At least this one isn’t quartz.
Now there’s something you don’t see everyday: a $10k blue jay blue 44mm regulator (separate sub-
You can’t fault Chronoswiss for the timepiece’s build quality – the company has form when it comes to screwing things together. The 42-piece Caliber C.301 movement is easier to grok than the dial, although it does make for a 13.5mm thick watch (this is not the dress watch you’re looking for). Let’s just say it’s an enigmatic choice.
I’m sure there’s a worse time to re-launch a vintage watch brand, but I can’t imagine it. (Note: this watch is “coming soon.”) But if you’re flying in the face or Coronageddon, the rise of the smartwatch and the worldwide recession, you might as do it with this 38mm cutie. The highly legible white dial manual wind version is the one.
As you’d expect, the CASD’s powered by an off-the-shelf movement. Born in 2018, the Sellita SW510 M BH B (base Valjoux 7750) is a durable engine that comes from a good family. While it offers hacking second for the temporally OCD, the resulting dive watch is even thicker (14.25mm) than the Chronoswiss. The CASD is priced to go. Good luck guys!
Seiko Presage SRPE43 “Old Clock” – $425
Seiko introduced three new 38.5mm “Cocktail Time” watches last month. new watch alert! You’ll find hide nor hair of them on the Presage webpage. Available by special order in July? First rule of sales: make it easy to buy. Not to mention the fact that there’s no drink called “old clock.” Did they mean “cocktail o’clock?” Anyway, the cocktail stirrer second hand adds just the right touch of whimsy.
This the first Presage model with Arabic numerals. I’m down with the symmetry enabled by the even-numbered indices – they make the date window a feature not a bug. Seiko’s dependable 4R35 automatic (image courtesy strapcode.com) runs under a clear caseback. Stylish, affordable and hard to find. As Meatloaf reminded us, two outta three ain’t bad.
LUM-TECH V13 Limited Edition – $475
LUM-TECH makes some minimalist tool watches. This isn’t one of them. OMG that case! Inspired by the Casioak? Never mind the case’s Titanium Nitride 18K gold color, the V13 has more angles than a city councilman. And while we all admire and appreciate the big date Lange 1, the LUM-TECH’s rendition fights with the sandcastle indices for attention. And loses.
There ain’t nothing wrong with the Swiss Ronda 6004.B quartz movement keeping time. And what new watch alert reader doesn’t like the LUM-TEC MDV Technology® Multi-layered X1 grade luminous application (save Saad Chaudhry)? But are there really 50 people who don’t see this timepiece as Medusa-class ugly? LUM-TECH’s gonna find out.
Bamford Commando GMT – $1121.01
Green dial. Big ass cushion case. Bezel rotation device at 10 o’clock. 100m water resistance. Sellita SW330 automatic movement. What else do you need to know? I’ve got a question . . .
How could the company that modifies upmarket watches create something as unremittingly dull as the Commando GMT? I’ve eaten pieces of white toast with more character. This is not the commando I’d send into battle for bucks. New watch alert! Even at that price, I predict this one won’t survive Coronageddon.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Tourbillon Double Rainbow – $182,826.65
This watch “represents a fine example of Parmigiani Fleurier’s skill in marrying the arts of watchmaking and jewellery.” That’s not how I spell jewelry but it’s hard to argue with Michel P’s PR department. I love the dial’s asymmetry and the river of diamonds flowing around the world’s most useless horological complication.
The 60-second tourbillon is the PF51 movement’s party trick. But the Fleurier Tonda 1950 Tourbillon Double Rainbow’s majesty is found in its astounding 3.4mm thickness, achieved by integrating the engine into the watch’s main plate. Bling minimalism. It’s a thing – at a price.
Citizen Promaster Tsuno Chronograph Racer – $920
Tsuno means “horn” in Japanese (the kind found on cattle not Toyota steering wheels). The Citizen Chronograph takes its name from the “horns” or pushers at the 11 and 2 o’clock (flanking the crown). The 43mm beast’s fashioned from silver-tone super titanium – five times harder and 40% lighter than stainless steel, able to leap small price tags in a single bound!
It’s kinda funny-looking, but you’ve got to love a power reserve indicator that tells you whether your watch has seven to eight, five to seven, or one to five months of solar-derived mechanical motivation. Even better, the horny Citizen eschews the brand’s usual ani-digi content vomit. Just the time, 1/5 of a second chrono, alarm and “where the hell do we put it?” date. Go bears!
Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze – $676.80
For a while, bronze watches were all the rage. I reckon the trend reached its apogee with the 43mm Tudor Black Bay Bronze. Cash-strapped patina lovers can save themselves $3,473.20 by opting for the versatility-sized 39mm Baltic Aquascaphe, fashioned from CuA18 (92 percent copper and eight percent aluminum). Boring or elegantly minimalist? Your call.
The French-assembled AB’s powered by an MIYOTA 9039 automatic movement, hidden behind a screw-down aluminum caseback. It’s from Miyota’s Premium Automatic line, delivering accuracy between -10 and +30 seconds per day. MIYOTA’s reduced the rotor noise, creating a quieter engine for a quiet design.
We ripped the two-tone version of FC’s Yacht Timer a new one when it first appeared. “The number of people clamoring for a five-dot yacht racing watch complication has got to be a lot smaller – and lets’s face it a lot whiter and wealthier – than the market for, say, a horseshoe throwing-specific watch complication.” Wrong! FC says it’s sold out.
Those of you who are new watch alert will notice that the new watch is a lot less obvious, even at 42mm. It has the same estimable FC-380 caliber movement (obviously), water resistance (10ATM). “This time, the 5 dots gradually turn orange. When the 5th and final dot has turned orange and the seconds hand is at 12 o’clock, the regatta is officially underway.” Finally!
MAD Paris Datejust 41 – $26,730.36
I love a good mystery! Notice the lack of the word “Rolex” under the crown. Have Rolex’s lawyers finally read MAD Paris le riot act? Also, other than fans or members of Blue Oyster Cult, who’d pay a $10k premium to make a Rolex Datejust 41 look like a shiny suit at a really bad wedding?
I dunno, maybe it’s a trend, what with the $10k blue blue my love is blue Chronoswiss above. MAD Paris’ work is renowned for its quality and it’s, uh, distinctiveness. But why oh why would they keep the date wart on this otherwise simple design? It’s bad enough on the standard Rolex. A mystery as deep as which brands will survive Coronageddon to find a place in a future New Watch Alert . . .