Double-breasted suits, phones with cords and mechanical watches – those were the days! These are the days, too. At least for mechanical watches. Despite Coronageddon and the smart watch crisis, there’s little danger of a New Watch Alert drought. Our carefully curated collection of traditional timepieces continues . . .
Reservoir GT Skeleton – $6,703.30
The single-handed Reservoir watch is not the most legible of timepieces. The bright spark who decided the market would respond to a skeletonized version put all such concerns aside to highlight his colleague’s engineering prowess. Unfortunately, the movement’s neither particularly visible nor terribly attractive – on either side of the watch.
The GT’s powered by a 124-part modified ETA 2824, an inexpensive [to the watchmaker] workhorse that owes its existence to once-cutting edged Eterna. Reservoir slots the engine into a 43mm brushed titanium case, affixed to the wrist via a perforated calfskin “racing style” leather strap. The Reservoir GT Tour 371 SE is the better and significantly cheaper choice.
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control – $7400
A power reserve indicator on a self-winding watch is about as useful as a crucifix at a bar mitzvah. And, for me, less welcome. New watch alert! I like it here. For once, the indicator is properly sized and positioned to balance the dial. And anyway, the Mille Miglia is a car watch, celebrating the legendary race of the same name.
The galvanic-treated blue Mille Miglia’s matching strap has a less obvious road tire motif than the black version. They’re powered by the magnificent in-house Chopard 01.08-C COSC-certified movement with a 60-hour power reserve (had to be said). It’s a big old thing at 43mm, with plenty o’ lume and water resistance. A horological GT then.
Waldan Heritage – $299
The good news: this American-designed and assembled 40mm timepiece is powered by an Ameriquartz American-made movement. iwmagazine.com has the full 411 on the Heritage’s heritage – the fruit of a multi-generational family firm formerly dedicated to high horology. Suffice it to say, it’s an excellent story, a patriotic purchase and a great-looking watch.
The bad news: the website is down and has been for days. iwmag writer Gary Girdvainis – also Ameriquartz’s sales manager – swears the downmarket Waldan is for real. He recommends checking in on the website from time-to-time over the next two weeks, looking for July delivery. Here’s hoping Waldan becomes the new old American-made Timex. Watch this space.
Firle Watches Sennen Automatic – $466
It’s been a while since the TTAW New Watch Alert highlighted a Kickstarter campaign. Remember: it’s a crap shoot. There’s no guarantee you’ll ever get what you pay for. In this case, if you do, you’ll get an enamel dialled self-winder by a brand named for the Anglo-Saxon word Fierol or “oak covered land.” Designed by a British surfer, of course.
The Sennen’s hands are motivated by an STP1-11 – which has nothing to do with Andy Granatelli and everything to do with robot manufacture (thank you Fossil Group). It’s accurate to -0/+15 seconds per day and looks lovely jubbly under the transparent caseback. Depending on the enameling, the Sennen is either a babe or a snoozefest. Time will tell.
OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 36th America’s Cup LE – $7,000
You’d think that Esquire would mention the fact that Coronageddon short-circuited the 36th America’s Cup sailboat race when pimping the rubber-strapped OMEGA dive watch created in its honor (the race’s not Esquire’s). Oh wait. You wouldn’t. And they don’t. The real question: how many of the 2021 examples will hit the gray market by the new year? A lot.
The 43.5mm beast uses its bezel – rather than Frederique Constantin Yacht Timer-esque dots – to do the countdown to the sailboat race thing. The AC36 is also blessed with a teeny tiny America’s Cup cup on the end of the second hand, motivated by the superb Master Chronometer Calibre 8900. And odd duck but worth a flutter as and when its price craters.
Great British Watch Company The Spitfire Watch – $?
IWC has a Spitfire pilot’s watch. New watch alert! This ain’t nothin’ like that. This rough-looking GBW timepiece is based on the Omega CK2129 worn by Spitfire pilots during the Battle of Britain – only larger with a modern OMEGA automatic movement, anti-reflective sapphire glass, an anti-magnetic shield and water resistance.
Just in case that isn’t authentic enough – and for collectors it so isn’t – the Spitfire’s dial, hands and crown will be fashioned from Spitfire parts. Colin No Last Name Given – the fierce patriot behind the chart above and the horological ode to the most beautiful fighter plane ever made – promises a “100% British-made example will be available.” Good on you mate!
Eberhard & Co. Aquadate Chrono – $4200
Oops! I read that as the Adequate Chrono. Which seems to apply. The bi-color, bi-compax chrono boasts a balanced dial and hour and minute hands that don’t obscure the subdials. Eberhard reckons their 41mm timepiece is “perfect for anybody looking for a charming accessory that can be worn any time, from formal occasions to leisure activities.”
That depends on the look and feel of that steel bracelet. Which depends on the price. Which Eberhard ain’t sayin’. Nor is there any info on the (Breitling?) Caliber 13 powering their latest timepiece. One thing’s for sure: Eberhard is a quality watchmaker – famous for its bizarre five-dial Chrono 4 – whose products sink like a stone in the aftermarket. Just so you know.
Breguet 5349 Double Tourbillon – $850,000
Breguet’s diamond-encrusted double tourbillon 5349 gets a new blue look. Every twelve hours, the tourbillons rotate around the guillochéd and enamelled dial. I’m sure it’s quite a show – worth the price of admission for pandemic people pissed that they can’t fly their helicopter to their private jet to spend some quality time on their mega-yacht.
Subtle it ain’t. We’re talking about a watch that’s 53mm in diameter that stands 18.65mm tall. But how else could Breguet accommodate 163 diamonds – 42 in the bezel, 33 in the case, 20 in the crown and 36 in the belt buckle? To be fair, it’s water-resistant to 30m, so Coronageddon hand washing isn’t an issue. Cat burglars definitely are.
Timex Allied® Coastline – $99
What the hell’s happened to Timex? Their formerly ditchwater dull and derivative Chinese-made watches have been infused with style and panache. I have no idea what alliance inspired the name for this bad boy, or how or why Timex registered the word “Allied,” but this 43mm orange fantasy is big, bold and badass.
Made of low-lead brass, the AC’s water resistant to a swim-compatible 100 meters, attached to a black fabric strap the company describes as “surprisingly resilient.” Better yet, the face is smothered in INDIGLO® Night-Light. The date window is ridiculously small, considering, but I’m picking nits. And picking this Timex quartz as a sell-out success.
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic LE – $3k?
Can someone explain why a watchmaker releases a new model without putting it on their website or specifying the price? Apologies to the noble bard – I come not to bury FC’s PR flacks (and the yacht timer) but to praise their Healy three-hander. The new watch is a perfectly judged minimalist masterstroke – especially when compared to the discontinued, discombobulated chrono.
The press release tells us nothing of the Healey’s movement, but I’m sure the watch’s engine and gearbox are more reliable than the car’s. A low bar, but both car and watch are classically gorgeous. New watch alert! The FC comes with a miniature replica of the NOJ393 Healey bought for £155 in 1969, sold for nearly €1 million in 2011. So there is that.
Piaget Polo Green – $13,336
Nautilus much? While Patek Philippe’s grail watch gets all the attention – and money – Piaget’s Polo has (virtually) all of the style and most of the quality at a fraction of the price. To keep the Polo in the public eye, Piaget’s released it with a green dial decorated with horizontal guilloche. (FYI Green is the new blue is the new black, etc. And luxury Swiss steel sports watches with integrated bracelets were, are and will be all the rage.)
The 42mm PG’s powered by Piaget’s estimable 1110P automatic mechanical movement. The 180-piece engine’s based on Cartier’s 1904-PS architecture, seen through a sapphire crystal caseback. It boasts Circular Côtes de Genève, a circular-grained mainplate, bevelled bridges, an oscillating weight engraved with the Piaget coat of arms and blued screws on the bridges. Class.
BW X Blackbadger Coffee Dial TAG Heuer Carerra – $6,726
During the Cold War, Russia invented decaffeinated coffee to undermine our our way of life. (Don’t get me started on Swiss water process decaf.) A watch dial made of coffee grinds is a middle finger to the enemies of democracy, capitalism and productivity. Best TAG ever? Yes! How modder George Bamford could create this genius piece and the ditchwater dull Commando GMT is a mystery for the ages.
Bamford’s crew finished the 41mm stainless steel case with light grey military grade titanium, stuffing TAG’s ubiquitous Calibre 5 engine inside. This one’s based on the Sellita SW-220-1 movement, boasting a 38-hour (15 cup) power reserve. If you want to be REALLY new watch alert, this is the way to go. And go. And go.
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As a troglodyte, the variations on perforations and sipings of the bands are the most interesting part.
It is odd that Waldan, which seems to have once been Waldan International, is now branded as Waldan New York. The Brand/City arrangement is usually a ploy to hide that the manufacture is in some unmentionable country.