Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II King Gold LE – $47,300
The new watch alert amongst you may wonder if Hublot’s pentagram-heavy Big Bang Sang Blue II King Gold is aimed at Wiccans. Ask Maxime Plescia-Büchi. That’s the Swiss tattooist who designed it – and no less than seven variations on the theme. The 45mm King Gold may not be the most legible watch, but neither are any of the others. How about that . . .
satin-finish case? Fashioned from a platinum-rich gold alloy, it’s got a higher bling factor than OMEGA’s copper palladium Sedna gold. But then the Hublot’s case screws aren’t as aligned as any OMEGA you can name (or, indeed, aligned). Hublot’s gorgeous, unadorned 330-piece Unico HUB1240 movement motivates the angular bits that move. The Horned God is pleased.
Sitting just above the smartwatch price point, Formex knows it’s got to offer a lot of [non-Hublot] bang for the buck. And so it does. The Leggera lives up to its name with a 1.76 ounce carbon fiber composite case. It also boasts a polished, scratch-proof zirconium oxide ceramic bezel and crown, and a wafer-thin forged carbon fiber dial. Not to mention its shock-absorbing Case Suspension System and quick-change fine adjustment band.
The Leggera’s powered by the Fossil Group’s Swiss STP1-11 COSC-certified automatic movement, wound by a custom skeleton rotor with thermally blued screws. Formex is a no non-nonsense brand; no hidden costs, no-questions-asked happiness guarantee. You can save a couple of hundred bucks by opting for an electric blue dial, but it’s Darth Vader FTW.
Citizen Promaster Nighthawk – $495
Finally! An inexpensive watch to rival the slide-rule-on-your-wrist Breitling Navitimer. Inspired by “military stealth helicopters,” channeling Batman villain Two-Face, the Nighthawk is useful for answering SAT math questions. “What is the flying distance traveled in 40 minutes at a speed of 210 knots?” and “what is the square root of 225?” (click here for more).
Mega-props for the Nighthawk’s clever second time zone indicator: different-length airplane-tipped hands keep track of AM and PM. If you ditch your UH-60M Black Hawk in the drink, the Nighthawk is water resistant down to a devilish 666 feet. If you swim to a desert island without a battery vending machine, Eco-Drive will keep the Nighthawk topped up until help arrives. Just so you know.
“The orange body and watch bands are covered in Dragon Ball illustrations and graphic elements, including scenes of training and growth of Son Goku,” G-SHOCK explains. I’m seeing a dragon ball at the 9, a Z at the 3, a bunch of squiggles and . . . that’s about it. I think there’s an hour and minute hand in there somewhere.
G-SHOCK collectors have been waiting for this watch since Dragon Ball Z debuted in 1989, eight years after Casio’s “Team Tough” released G-SHOCK on the world. The Z-watch does everything a G-SHOCK does, obviously. I wouldn’t wear one on a bet, but if they made a Dexter’s Lab version . . .
Seiko Credor Linealx Imari Nabeshimayake LE – $42,631.80
Seiko’s master craftsmen used a range of ancient Japanese techniques to create a 38mm watch that looks like a cupcake. For example, the dial’s striped pattern is the product of the Nabeshima ware method. It’s surface was fired in a kiln ten times to creates stripes that represent the water smoke of the waterfall. Not sure what water smoke is or how the sprinkles were applied.
The Shizukuishi Luxury Watch Studio assembled the Credor’s caliber 6890. The movement is thinner than Keira Knightly and accurate to +25 to -15 seconds per day. The Kyoto Leather tannery strap is a big deal: graphite gray Mississippi alligator leather with a powdered silver finish. The result is “waterproof for everyday life.” So there is that.
Swatch X BAPE – $150
How many SKU’s does Swatch have? More than Mars. To keep the hip horological hits happening, the plastic fantastic watchmaker’s teamed-up with Japanese clothier Bathing Ape (BAPE). They’ve created three timepieces that look like world timers, but aren’t. How post-modern is that?
The Planet of the Apes head on the end of the matchstick minutes hand is a nice touch. Why Swatch left off the 6 of the bottom of the dial is a bit of a mystery. So buyers could feel the Bern? “The design of these three new watches is about expressing oneself and putting forward one’s individualism,” albeit in a mass market kinda way.
Once upon a time, the British and U.S. Air Force flew Rolls-Royce-powered AV-8A Harrier Jump Jets. The Harrier was famous for its decibels (“if the missiles don’t kill you, the noise will”) and its “unforgiving” nature. It’s only natural that AVI-8 watches would make an Harrier-themed timepiece. The DRC looks nothing like a Harrier’s cockpit instruments, but the sword-stye hands and day indicator are fun.
(Note: it’s always best to stay new watch alert, color-wise.) “The strap attaches [the] wearer to [the] watch with a combination [of a] leather and canvas strap with stitching designed to echo the harnesses and belts holding the pilot to the sheer potential power of the Harrier.” The 44mm DRC’s actual power comes from an unnamed Japanese quartz movement, and it’s only splash proof (don’t ditch!). Quirky, cheap, Chinese.
This watch may not be ugly enough to remove the Royal Oak off your grail watch alert list, but I reckon a certain Gerald Genta is spinning in his grave. The magic eight ball in the date porthole is particularly jarring, but the mix of metals and crowded dial are what make a mockery of the original’s minimalist moxie.
Swiss retailer Bucherer works with some 30 brands to create special editions for their international clientele. I’m not sure if their customers are new watch alert enough to notice that the $44k Royal Oak’s caseback screws are misaligned. That said, it’s the RO’s dial and heft that make it a “statement piece.” This one doesn’t speak my language.
Fromanteel Pendulum Prestige – $1068 (Pre-Order)
From the ridiculous to the sublime. New watch alert! The Pendulum Prestige has all the classical dress watch ingredients. It’s a slim (9.95mm) automatic three-hander with zero lume, a reserved dial, right-sized applied indices, elegant hands and subtle script. The date window stands out like a sore thumb and 42mm is big for a dress watch but it’s still a good look for a gold [plated] watch.
The Pendulum Prestige is powered by an unspecified grade Selita W200-1 movement with a pendulum mod (whatever that is) behind a transparent caseback. It offers a 38-hour power reserve, 25-jeweled bearings and “developed lubricants” (whatever those are). This model comes with a 20mm calfskin leather strap attached via a quick-release system. Simple watch, priced to sell.
Ball Roadmaster Archangel Bronze LE – $2199 (Pre-Order)
If dress watches are a bit too mamby-pamby for you, if you want a tough-as-nails tool watch, be the Ball. The 42mm Roadmaster Archangel Bronze dives to 200m, resists 5000 G shocks and 80,000A/m magnetic interference and leaps tall buildings in a single bound. The always-on micro-tubes illuminating the dial are wicked pissa (as we Rhode Islanders are wont to say).
The Archangel’s powered by the BALL RR1102-C automatic caliber (base ETA 2836-2), its hacking seconds movement COSC-certified to +/-6 seconds accuracy per day. The watch is named after Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman, father of the U.S. Navy Demolition Teams (now the Navy SEALS), commemorated in fine style on the screw-down caseback. Super génial.
Mr. Jones Step Right Up LE – $245
Mr. Jones’ watches kooky LE timepieces sell out in minutes. If you like the cut of their multi-colored jib, sign-up for watches.com‘s newsletter and pull the trigger upon receipt. We’ve secured one of the 25 quartz-powered stainless steel Step Right Ups heading stateside for our next comment contest. Meanwhile, credit American comic artist Ryan Claytor for the idea. I don’t think this is his most profound work . . .
“[My work] uproots the comics medium from its entrenched sub-genres of capes and fluffy animals and transplants it into the rich soil of our subtle and nuanced reality.” Not a whole lot of nuance here, but props for designing a watch with a gun on it for a UK-based brand. Unlike MJ’s cheap-ass steel bracelets, this one comes on a 18mm brown Hirsch Boston leather band, quick release and all. Budget-minded watch collectors need apply.
Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure – $300k
I have a problem with the price. OK, sure the QA’s “an epic masterpiece with gleaming aerial views of the Manufacture’s most iconic movement encased in Swiss-made Sapphire, exclusively available in just 8 pieces.” But Aventi offers an Asian-made A-11 blue sapphire tourbillon for $9800. And while I prefer a round watch, the GP’s design strikes me as a bridge too far. Actually, make that two. Don’t get me wrong . . .
Hats off for positioning the micro-rotor’s white gold oscillating weight beneath the barrel to keep the focus on the GP09400-1035 movement’s astounding intricacy. And this version is a lot less queasy-making than the fully transparent Quaser Light. But for $300k I could buy a Patek, AP, Vacheron, Breguet and Lange and have enough money left over to corner the market on Mr. Jones Watches. Still, one percenters gotta one percent. Right?