New watch alert! In the middle of all this pandemilooting, there’s been a sudden shift towards smartwatches by traditional watchmakers. Hubot’s Big Bang e smartwatch is hitting the streets. Citizen is set to launch a smartwatch. Timex has a new one for $179. (Hello Seiko?) They’re all behind the curve, but needs must. I guess. Anyway, our new watch alert contains both traditional timepieces and ginormous smartwatches. It’s that kind of world . . .
OMEGA De Ville Prestige Co-Axial (New Dials) – $3400/$7k
Whatever you say about Cruella De Ville‘s animal husbandry skills, the woman had style. The OMEGA Prestige C0-Axial model line? Not so much. You could say the waffle-dialed 39.5mm Swiss timepieces’ lack of style is a kind of style. I’m more inclined to say meh (although donkey and I share a love of waffles). Don’t get me wrong . . .
OMEGA makes a fine watch. The Co-Axial Calibre 2500 powering the 38.5mm dress watches is accurate, durable and reliable – and hidden behind a closed caseback. The Prestige’s seven-link bracelets are Rolex-level silky ($7k customers get a choice of yellow or red gold accents). And if that none of that flicks your Bic, there are fifty Prestige Co-Axial models from which to choose. Which is the alpha OMEGA? The Aqua Terra.
The Worldtimer is a timepiece from another time. A time when asking your watch “what time is it in Paris?” risked a trip to the looney bin. It was ten years ago today, Frederique Constant told his engineers to play, with time zones, dates and maps. And now, finally, the Worldtimer gets an 18ct. rose gold case. Well, 88 of them do, should they all be built.
When it comes to powering the 42mm watch, the world is not enough. So the Worldtimer’s motivated by in-house caliber FC-718. Cool selling point: you can adjust all four functions – hours, minutes, seconds, date and world time – via the crown. For those of you keeping track, 88 pieces at $16k is $1.4m. The idea that FC will make that kind of cash on this watch is still crazy after all these years.
Bulova Fly Me to the Moon/Young At Heart – $750/$695
Oris made Sinatra watches. They were expensive. Now, not so much. When Oris bailed Bulova took the franchise downmarket with the ironically named My Way – a $500 JLC Reverso wannabe. The latest members of the Bulova rat pack are less demure. The designers moved Frank’s fedora from the caseback to the dial and dropped Old Blue Eyes’ signature to the six.
Bulova offers three round-faced Fly Me To The Moon models with a choice of black, white or silver fluted dials; and two gold-plated, tonneau-cased Young at Heart watches with brown or white sunray dials. The pieces all run on Miyota 8215 autos, displayed behind a transparent caseback. Too tacky? Frank says “Dare to wear the foolish clown face.”
TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition – $2500
A smartwatch targeted at a single activity. Right answer! The “base” Connected is too expensive, too not Apple. The Golf Edition is a surefire hit, laser-targeted at a demographic that’ll pay $2500 for a TaylorMade P790 Ti iron. Stay new watch alert! A GPS-enabled Connected Golf runs just six hours on a charge. A horological golf cart, then.
Actually, more of a caddy. The Connected connects to the new TAG Heuer Golf Professional Timing App – helping golfers ID the best shot target based on past rounds and their blood alcohol level. The app holsters covers 99 percent of the world’s golf courses and looks great on the Connected. TAG also sells the app to Apple Watch owners. What does that tell you?
Longines has serious pilot watch cred. Amelia Earhart wore a Longines one-button, two-register chronograph during two transatlantic flights. The famous aviatrix’s watch was a hell of a lot more interesting than anything in the new Longines Spirit collection. I’m no chrono guy, but I’m highlighting the blue Chronometer over the three handers because I had a hard time staying new watch alert, to stop from slipping into a coma.
Spirited Chronometer buyers get their choice of a steel bracelet or leather strap (blue, light or dark brown). Longines’ ubiquitous caliber L688.4 – COSC certified accurate to -4 sec to +6 per day – spins the hands. So, a well built, moderately priced (when discounted) but ditchwater dull chronometer. Longines has fallen below the 1m watch per year sales threshold. Must try harder.
Citizen is set to launch a smartwatch in the coming days. Meanwhile, the watchmaker’s plumbing the past with another retro-collaboration with Japanese retailer BEAMS. Why the dynamic duo skeletonized the dial is anybody’s guess, but rest assured see-through digital watches weren’t a thing back then. Big hair, yes. Naked digitals, no.
The Ana-Digi Temp is designed to transport buyers back to 1982 – although not literally (Citizen’s working on that). The modern recreation provides all the period correct calendar, dual time zone, alarm, temperature and stopwatch functions of the original. New watch alert! It’s a JDM piece, so read the disclaimers before ordering.
The 42mm Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon – a technical tour de force by two of the world’s best watchmakers – raises an important question: why? Aside from marketing, what was the point of this collaboration? The watch puts both brands’ signature moves on the same dial, so I guess it saves a well-heeled buyer the trouble of buying two watches. Other than that, I’m stumped.
The side-on view shows the complete lack of harmony between these two elements. But hey, if the flying tourbillon (a.k.a., the world’s most useless complication) gives monochrome.com’s Xavier Markl a “watch-geekgasm” who am I to second guess its appeal? Just do it in private, please.
Zelos Mirage – $11,900
If you absolutely must have a tourbillon (a.k.a., the world’s most useless complication), Zelos is happy to save you seventy grand. Switzerland’s La Joux-Perret makes the actual contraption – the same company that supplies FP Journe, A. Lange and Söhne and Jaeger-LeCoultre. The skeletonized Mirage isn’t the world’s most legible timepiece, but it has a tourbillon!
Also fun: the 41mm Zelos made the Mirage’s case out of Timascus: titanium + Damascus. You get all the strength, durability and lightness of titanium with Damascus steel’s “wood grain” patterning. And two straps (black Horween leather and crocodile), a Zingana wood box and an Italian leather briefcase. I’ve not seen this good a bargain since my divorces. You know: expensive but worth it.
Ball Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer – $1899 (pre-order)
“CHF 300 will be donated to The Salvation Army for every piece of this special edition sold during the pre-order period.” YES! This is the first time a watchmaker said exactly how much money they’re donating to a cause per watch (or in total). That alone makes the Engineer III worthy of consideration. It’s a superb 40mm piece on its own merits.
Gas micro-tube illumination, COSC certified automatic BALL caliber RR1103-C, 330 foot water resistance, 80,000A/m magnetic resistance and a steel bracelet that does NOT feel cheap – the Engineer III is a brick shit house on your wrist. Glow-in-the-dark Rolex Explorer for cheap? Pretty much. Free engraving and it’s a piece of Ball’s colorful history. Win – win.