For The People of the Watch, staying new watch alert distracts us from the chaos hitting us from all sides. We forget our day-to-day cares in the silent contemplation of horological design, utility and engineering – pretending that financial constraints are not a factor. For several of this week’s picks, they aren’t. But for others, oh boy, are they ever. Never mind. Enjoy them all . . .
Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo – $1850
We start this week’s new watch alert with a simple piece of advice: if you’re going to go retro, go small or go home. The 38.5mm Longines Tuxedo is designed to be “a glimpse into the wild parties of the later 1940s” – when Europe lay in ruins, England was rationing and America was waiting for rock-and-roll. And civil rights. Anyway, the Tuxedo is clearly an Art Deco design. Longines missed the mark by a good ten years.
The anachronistic Tuxedo’s powered by Longines’ automatic Calibre L893.5 (also motivating their two Sector models). ETA produces the movement exclusively for Longines, complete with a silicon balance spring and a 64 hour power reserve. The Tuxedo’s also offered as a chronograph, which is as silly as wearing black tie to a mud wrestling match. And looks it too.
Franck Muller Crazy Numbers Black Badge – Price on Application
“Imagine a watch where the dial adheres to no laws,” the caption to the Franck Muller Crazy Hours demo video asks, channeling their inner CHOP zone. Imagine a Rolls Royce Wraith with a clock whose hour hand jumps around the dial like a cocaine crazed comedian. I reckon there’s a reason the Geneva RR dealer installed the 10X automotive clock version between the two rear seats, where passengers can’t see it.
Mr. Muller’s website doesn’t bother with specifications for his Crazy Hours timepieces. But it does say the collection “truly embodies the core values of Franck Muller, offering emotions to the owner of the watch through its clever and complex mechanism.” The emotions in question are as mysterious as why anyone would want a black-and-purple Roller.
Linde Wordelin 3 Timer Nord LE – $5738
The Nord 3 might not be as flat as Kansas, but it sure looks like it. At 44mm wide and by 46mm long, this is not a new watch alert for the faint of wrist. But I gotta say, it’s got something going on. The watchmaker draws attention to the “modern, highly technical and edgy sandblasted case.” I’m more entranced by the blue fume’s dial’s tendency to draw the eye to the bullseye.
ETA’s automatic A 2893-2 GMT movement – also found in the similarly stout Sinn 857 S UTC – spins the hands. It has a party trick. “Turning the crown backwards/counter-clockwise will adjust the date,” calibercorner.com informs. “You can adjust the GMT hand without hacking (stopping) the movement.” Buyers get a “free” Wordelin-branded screwdriver to swap out the straps. So there is that.
New old watch alert! If you want a brand new retro watch with a vintage movement – assuming you consider 70’s “vintage” – your options are . . . this one. The Circula Heritage series are powered by new old stock caliber 1661 automatic movements, produced by the now-defunct Pforzheimer-Rohwerke GmbH. Rebuilt, oiled and adjusted.
The engine’s encased in a 39mm case that stands just 11.8 mm tall. So a dress watch then, protected by a scratch-resistant, double-curved, double anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. The three-handed watch uses a quick exchange strap system, just aching for a Hirsch DUKE Alligator Embossed Leather Watch Strap (no commission on link). Minimalist German authenticity on a budget. On the other side of that spectrum . . .
A. Lange & Söhne Lange Lange 1 Time Zone – $52,900
The Time Zone 1 is a technical tour de force and yet another example of A. Lange & Söhne’s unassailable quality. Yes but – it’s a bit of a dog’s dinner, aesthetically speaking. (Roman and Arabic numerals go together like chalk and cheese.) Especially when compared to the sublime Lange 1. I reckon Lange’s world timer is best suited for people who value complications for complications’ sake.
The summer time indicator, for example, is a stroke of genius. “If the segment is red, the selected city has a summertime arrangement. One hour has to be added to the zone time from the spring to the autumn in the northern hemisphere and from late summer to the spring in the southern hemisphere. If standard time applies in the city year-round, the display shows a white background.” Right?
Ball Roadmaster GMT LE – $2,699 (Pre-Order)
Speaking of complications, the Ball Roadmaster GMT is the world’s only GMT (second time zone) watch with a day/date window. How great is that? The chocolate and brown version is new to the game. Ball’s balls-to-the-wall watch isn’t big (40mm), but it‘s big on on indestructibility. Titanium case, ceramic bezel, 5,000Gs shock resistance, 4,800A/m magnetic resistance, 200m/660ft water resistance – what’s not to love?
If you love lume, smitten away. Thanks to the 28 micro gas tubes deployed on the dial, bezel and hour, minute and GMT hands, you’ll know it’s better to wear a Roadmaster GMT than curse the darkness. Powered by their Chronometer certified automatic caliber RR1203-C movement (base ETA 2893-2), the watch embodies the accuracy attached to the Ball name. If you want a do-it-all tool watch, get on the ball.
Color me impressed. Sure, TAG’s 160th is yet another retro design. But it’s blissfully bereft of its inspiration’s ungainly cushion case, 42mm size, date display and pulsation and tachymeter scale. In fact, the 39mm riff on the TAG Heuer Montreal is a minimalist’s delight, complete with yellow Super-LumiNova slathered onto the hour and minute hands and the hour chronograph counter.
The ubiquitous Heuer Calibre Heuer 02 movement motivates the machine with a vertical clutch and column wheel. Wind it, set it down, come back in after your weekend’s activities and you’re good to go (80 hour power reserve). The oscillating weight beneath the exhibition caseback is a bit Corvette logo for me, but why quibble? This watch is proof that they still make ’em like they used to, only better.
Corum Lab 02 – $180k
Corum has an “uneven” history. To avoid going down, the Chinese-owned Swiss watch brand’s going upmarket. Hence the LAB 2: a laughably expensive flying tourbillon in a skeletonized gold and crystal case. As a legibility guy, I’m not a huge fan of see-through watches. But the Lab 02 seems reasonably readable – considering that it’s completely bonkers.
The fun part here: the flying gear train (“of sorts”) with a flying tourbillon attached directly to the mainplate (we don’t need no stinkin’ bridges!). The LAB 02 can be
defiled ordered in various shades of gold and/or festooned with gems. Now that would be a shame. If you like the Lab 02, stay new watch alert. It should depreciate like its forebears. At some point, it’d be worth it.
Citizen Luke Skywalker – $300
And what, pray tell, does this garden variety Citizen Eco-Drive chronograph have to do with Luke Skywalker or Star Wars? “A brown leather strap with blue and green safety stitches represents the colors of Skywalker’s lightsaber. The light beige dial features an embossed stamp of the iconic Imperial Window [and the] Rebel alliance symbol printed in the sub-dial.” In case that’s enough (so to speak), the caseback has a [non-holographic] hidden message.
This Force-loving watch is perfect for fans suffering from white knight syndrome. At 44mm, the Skywalker edition will make quite a statement – especially when Comic-Con resumes the gathering of
the nerds Star Wars enthusiasts. Then again, LS edition boasts one of Citizen’s more sutble and restrained dials. So it’s entirely possible to wear it flying under the Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer’s radar. Or whatever it is they use to detect an incoming Naboo N-1.
Gucci Grip – $1800
Back in the day, we pointed out that the quartz-powered Gucci Grip was an overpriced hideous watch reminiscent of a bathroom scale. And those are only its good points. The new model is marginally less offensive, by virtue of its grey PVD finish. New watch alert! According to the website, the Grip isn’t anti-magnetic, impact or water resistant (“We recommend having your watch’s water resistance tested by a Gucci service center once a year.”)
Gucci also warns owners to “change the battery as soon as it is drained or spent as it may leak, which would damage the movement and the internal components of your watch.” Fair enough. A cautionary note to which I’ll add: this dark watch is 38mm isn’t the right size or color to make a proper fashion statement. Which is the whole/only point to the thing.