TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph – $6750
New watch alert! TAG Heuer Finally Equips Its Iconic Monaco Chronograph With a Bracelet After 20 Years hypebeast.com pronounces. Uh guys? There’s a reason for that. Steve McQueen’s dopey-looking time machine looks even dopier on a steel bracelet. That said, buyers will glom onto the Monaco’s re-entry into the luxury steel sports watch category, elegance be damned. The really good news . . .
TAG’s finally blessed the Monaco with their most excellent caliber Heuer 02 column wheel and vertical clutch chronograph. Complete with a quick-set date, hacking seconds, bidirectional winding, an 80-hour power reserve and a steering wheel-style rotor, the in-house engine drags the Monaco into the modern era. TAG makes no accuracy claims for the 02, but a quartz Monaco this ain’t, priced accordingly.
Readers who’ve been staying new watch alert via TTAW know I wasn’t kind to the Chopard Alpine Eagle upon its debut. The new Eagle’s still has a date window bellowing for attention and still looks like a poor man’s Royal Oak. Chopard’s upped the case size from 41 to 44mm and slotted in . . .
a 45-jewel COSC-certified “luxury” flyback chronograph. Chopard’s caliber 03.05-C ‘s column-wheel movement’s unidirectional gearing system prevents energy loss, yielding a 60 hour power reserve. There are 310 components in all, including a Variner (variable inertia) balance spring to ensure accuracy. So an accomplished movement in an watch with a feather-shaped second hand. How great is that?
Good thing IWC didn’t put “STFI” on their latest flieger. Wearing a timepiece proclaiming its owner a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor would be a tad presumptuous (not to mention the whole stolen valor thing). Also worth noting: this isn’t the watch gifted grads of the [real] Top Gun jet fighter school; it’s a standard IWC Pilot watch with a few enhancements. Like a caseback and pushers made of Ceratanium – a titanium alloy prized for its lightness, ruggedness, corrosion-resistance and hardness.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for IWC that Coronageddon delayed the released of Top Gun 2. But I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll sell all 1500 TG watches, given the excellence of the Swiss brand’s chronograph and the subtle affiliation – revealed only by the caseback and red, jet-shaped tip on the bottom of the chronograph second hand. It’s a beast at 45mm X 15mm, but it gets smaller the faster you go. Or something like that.
Formex won me over with their five-star Leggera. While the new Reef lacks the Leggera’s unique selling point (insane lightness), it’s a meticulously assembled, high quality dive watch with everything you need at an affordable price. COSC-certified accuracy, 300m water resistance, unidirectional ceramic bezel, luminosity, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, quick release and adjustable strap – it’s all there.
OK, it’s not a chronograph. And? Divers use dive computers. Today’s dive watches are really do-it-all tool watches. The three-handed Reef is built and styled as an everyday timepiece – suitable for both work and play. It runs off a Sellita SW-300, chosen for its thinness (accounting for the watches 11.4mm case height), reliability and accuracy. Oh, and price. If value for money’s your thing, no question: the Reef rocks.
How new watch alert are you? More specifically, how much of a watch nerd are you? Because this Grand Seiko, the last of their 60th Anniversary series, looks a whole lot like the $5200 SBGR321. Sure the newbie’s got some more writing at the bottom of the dial, but another $4500? Flip over the SLGH003 and behold what you’re really paying for: Seiko caliber 9SA5, a radical new mechanical movement.
Nine years in the making, the engine features Grand Seiko’s new Dual Impulse Escapement. The new layout provides energy in both directions of the balance’s oscillation, reducing sliding friction. Got it? I’m not sure why that’s such a big thing – its +5 to -3 seconds per day accuracy per day don’t impress me much – but no other brand has it. And it’s even prettier standing up (sexist joke resisted). Expect to see this movement in other, dare I say it? More interesting watches.
Swatch ²Q – $120
I gave the 007 Edition OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M stick for its ugliness and lack of spy gestalt. The Swatch ²Q takes this lack of thematic integrity to a new level. A low level. There is nothing – I repeat sweet FA – tying this Swatch to Mr. Bond or his employer, save its name. How cynical, how boring to you have to be to release a plastic timepiece celebrating the world’s most clever (not to mention deadly) gadgeteer with a watch bereft of a single gadget?
“Q has been busy fine-tuning his favourite watch, updating the SKIN Irony design and adding a dazzling red reverse on the strap, complimented with stylish blue hands and reel.” This is Q’s favorite watch? Sure, and I work for SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). Swatch calls the ²Q a “timeless mix of timeless tradition and futuristic innovation.” I call it a major fail.