New watch alert! The new blue dial Tudor Black Bay 58 is a sensation! It’s got more Instagram likes than Rachel Cooke. Not really, but it is a watch. We’ve got the lowdown on eleven more new timepieces clamoring for your attention. Let’s not keep them waiting . . .
Click here to read our five-star review of the Tudor Black Bay 58. Click here to read our man Ibis’ takedown of what I called “the perfect dive watch.” Regardless of Luke’s kvetching, the 58 was and is an enormous hit for the Rolex sub-brand; it’s now subject to extended wait lists. The navy blue dial variant is even better (six stars?) with a choice of a steel bracelet or three straps.
The Black [and blue] Bay 58’s brighter, bolder dial makes the standard version look like a dour schoolmarm. Of course, the new model retains all the characteristics that made the 58 great in the first place: size (39mm), dial (minimalist perfection), case height (11.9mm) and capability (COSC certified MT5402 movement and 200m water resistance). Expensive? Not for what you get. If you can.
Two days ago, TTAW broke news of Audemars Piguet’s new “smoked” dial Code 11.59’s. The lacquering technique has spread across AP’s model line, including this “boutique only” Royal Oak chrono. A watch that is as, uh, “complex” as the three-handed Code 11.59 is elegant. In other words, RO designer Gerald Genta is spinning in his grave. Note: the eight ball in the date window is not supposed to be ironic.
The black ceramic cased RO’s powered by AP calibre 3126/3840. It’s a modular movement with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph mechanism (a bitch to repair). You can almost see it at work behind the transparent caseback, which looks a bit like a manhole cover. Bottom line: this is not your father’s Royal Oak.
I’ve not seen Master-G do his thing in Ibiza, but I’m told the DJ’s extra. A little off-center perhaps, but that’s been part of his charm since ’93. The new G-SHOCK named in his honor is the first analog model for the FROGMAN Series of MASTER OF G 200m water resistant watches. Casio solved the Dee-Dee problem by making the watch configurable via a Bluetooth-enabled app.
The app provides tide info on approximately 3k locations around the globe and keeps a dive log. (I’m assuming you don’t have to dive with your phone.) The GWFA1000-1A2 does a sh*t ton of other stuff™ and it’s solar powered and it keeps precise time and location data via GPS. The FROGMAN’s a bit on the large side (56.7×53.3×19.7mm) but buyers only wear them when they’re diving. Right?
Speaking of asymmetry, Jacob Droz has been selling their “figure eight” dial design since JD’s 1785 pocket watch. New watch alert! Droz’s new asymmetrically arranged, black onyx monopusher chrono pays homage to the house style, but loses legibility by ditching the rehauts circling the previous models’ subdials. In other words, it’s elegant AF but a bitch to read.
Jaquet Droz’s caliber 26M5R self-winding movement motivates the hands. The engine’s equipped with a silicon balance spring (for shock resilience and magnetic protection) and an 18-karat red gold oscillating weight to keep it powered for boiled egg timing. I reckon the monopusher’s position is best suited to right-handed owners, but somehow I don’t think utility is the point here.
In my article on collectible watches, I recommended buying gimmicky timepieces. Which is why the latest Snoopy watch will sell out the instant heads-up emails go out. Am I the only one thinking it’s weird for Charlie Brown’s beagle to portray Betsy Ross, the quasi-apocryphal originator of the first American flag? In this case, not the first – Woodstock seems to be at least one step ahead of his four-legged friend.
From a watch perspective, the Snoopy Timex’s stark white hands make legibility an issue, but at least it’s a 41mm timepiece. Made in China. There is that. Showing your patriotism by wearing a watch made in The People’s Republic of Slave Labor and Human Rights Abuse is an excellent example of cognitive dissonance. I’d have preferred to see a Snoopy WWI-style watch, but I appreciate the underlying sentiment on display.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 White Camo LE – $3,800
This one’s so dumb even aBlogtoWatch’s Cheerleader-in-Chief had to say something. “The watch is actually a bit of an aesthetic compromise as a tool timepiece because the dial simply isn’t as legible as most BR 03-92 watches are.” Hey Ariel! The word you’re looking for is “illegible.” $3800 for a watch you can’t read? That’s either postmodern irony or B&R laughing at their customers. Then again . . .
The watch above is the not-so-new BR 03-92 Black Camo Bell & Ross three-hander. According to B&R’s website, it’s part of a “successful series of Bell & Ross camouflage watches.” So I guess B&R’s foray into desert camo gives them the last laugh. To be fair, both watches are hardy 42mm divers (100m water resistance) powered by the watchmaker’s go-to BR-CAL.302 movement. If you buy one, whatever you do, don’t drop it in the Sahara.
TAG Heuer Connected (New Straps, Watchface) – Around $2k
Playing to its strength – as the “stylish” alternative to the generic Apple Watch – TAG Heuer has blessed its hugely expensive WearOS-powered Connected smartwatch with straps in bright summer colors and a watch face that looks like a watch face. Without seeing the Helios dial in the real world, it’s hard to tell if it passes for a “real” dial. But still, right answer!
Priced at $150 a pop, the Connected’s new, interchangeable straps come in lime green, orange, red, bright yellow and Khaki. TAG’s also released two new steel case versions with blue ceramic bezels, and a titanium-cased smartwatch with a “sandy” finish. Mix and match and the result is . . . completely bonkers. There’s no mistaking the Connected now. Anyone seeing one is definitely on new watch alert.
I’m a little curious: why would a refined watchmaker go ALL CAPS for their branding, especially as their namesake made his bones wandering around the hushed halls of Patek Philippe? To celebrate FERRIER’s tenth anniversary, the watchmaker’s served-up a titanium-clad minimalist masterpiece as perfectly constructed as anything his former employer makes.
“Assegai-shaped hour and minute hands [18k gold] float above a silvery-white opaline dial. The slate grey dial’s hour track is marked with burgundy-coloured numerals which prove highly legible, add a soupçon of sportiness, but remain tastefully understated.” Stirring the new watch alert soup: LF’s Calibre 116.01, complete with their “beloved” long-blade ratchet system. Gorgeous.
From the sublime to the ridiculous: “Beyond cascading sapphire rivers and dense flora appears a clearing. Wild forest trunks are tamed, rough ground is pathed, fierce waters are calm pools: the heart of this jungle is a haven. A structure of meticulous skill stands, like a lasting monument to audacity and dedication. Smooth panels and clean lines mirror the balance of nature as earth, stone, and water unify in perfect harmony. Surrounded by the murmurs of jungle wilderness, here is a place of refuge.”
Or, if you prefer, a watch. Or maybe it’s a farrago of jewels with a watch trapped in the middle. Specifically, a watch with a dial made of a marquetry of maple, tulip tree, sycamore, straw and leather, surrounded by green and blue Australian opals with sapphires and diamonds. Did I mention there’s a tourbillon in there somewhere? I feel like I should. But the price? That’s between you/someone and Piaget.
Back in November, Bell & Ross made 250 luminescent watches with a luminescent band for $5700. They sold out in days. New watch alert! B&R’s updated iteration lacks the glow-in-the-dark band, but it’s a better watch on every level (excluding collectibility but including price). It’s a proper dive watch – water resistant to 300m – with a swanky deep dish dial, sticky-outy applied indices, a date wheel that doesn’t aggravate purists and a ratchy AF dive bezel.
It’s a green-on-green lume machine. The metal basis dial is coated with green Superluminova® C5 pigments while the metal applique skeletonized indices and the bezel’s numerals are filled with green Superluminova® C3. I think we can agree it’s a sight for sore eyes. Or a sight to make them sore. B&R’s cranking out 999 of these bad boys, so talk to your dealer if you’re on board. Overboard? Over-bored? Something.
Old new watch alert! Sorry, new old watch alert! Arkansas’ favorite son and pocket watch maven Dr. Brendan Frett subjected the above 1922 railroad pocket watch to his home-grown resto-mod procedure. First he cleaned, oiled and adjusted its movement. Then he blued its screws, regulator, minute hand, hour hand, crown wheel and ratchet wheel. Finally the good Doctor eased the finished watch into an authentic salesman’s case. Et voila!
This trippy Illinois pocket watch is a limited edition of one, but Dr. Frett does this kind of thing all the time. Which annoys the F out of purists, and delights owners who like hearing non-horophiles go woah! For this particular watch, keep in mind that the Doobie Brothers immortalized its railroad. Because trivia.
Gucci Fnatic LE – $1600
“The Gucci Dive brings the brand’s eclectic aesthetic into the world of gaming.” Why? Gamers rarely get out of the basement, never mind underwater. Or into the shower on a regular basis, for that matter. And when was the last time a gamer spent $1600 on something other than computer gear? OK, that’s stereotyping. I apologize (lest a pissed-off gamer hack my Signal app).
In case you’re not a gamer, that’s Team Fnatic’s logo lingering at the 6. If you’re not into over-priced designer fashion, that’s Gucci’s logo loitering at the 12. The fn’ing Gucci website is lousy with the words “limited edition” – with no mention of the production run. Whatever you say about this watch, it’s a billion times better than the Gucci Grip. That one ain’t got game.