BALL Roadmaster TMT Ceramic – $2,149 (pre-order)
I’ve consistently argued that the tourbillon is watchmaking’s most useless – if awesome – complication. A watch mounted thermometer runs a close second – unless you’re a hypothermia-averse polar explorer or ice fisher. Props to BALL for being new watch alert enough to know that making a better watch isn’t the key to competing against Rolex, OMEGA, et al. It’s making something different. And here it is. “Distinctive enough” to forgive the BALL Roadmaster TNT Ceramic’s “unique” date window position? . . .
Not for symmetry-seeking minimalist me. But the BALL’s rugged reliability is the bomb. The Roadmaster TMT Ceramic bezel can take a beating (impervious to ultra-violet rays!) and how can you not love a watchmaker that boasts “Our specially blended Swiss oils ensure that our mechanical calibers can safely and precisely operate in temperatures from -45°C to 80°C (-49 to 176°F).” It’s available in both behemoth (43mm) and large (40mm) sizes, Fahrenheit or Celsius. For temp freaks, the heat is on.
Longines Avigation BigEye Titanium – $3500
Bereft of new watch alert ideas, Longines has been going back for the future to flog their mid-market marvels. Their latest command performance: a refreshed re-release of an original watch they never released, this time with a 41mm grade 5 titanium case and a gradient blue dial. In case you missed it, back in the day, some bright spark at Longines decided the combination of “aviation” and “navigation” would catch on. Back before anyone thought a blue dial was the bomb. What’s not immediately clear . . .
What indices-eating subdial does what. The oversized 30 minutes counter lives at 3 o’clock, the 12 hour counter runs at the 6 o’clock and the stopwatch second hand spins at the 9 o’clock. Why it’s arranged thus is anyone’s guess, but the layout may account for the fact that Longines never put this design into production (until it did). The glove-friendly pushers are connected to Longines Calibre L688, a column wheel-modified Valjoux movement with a 54-hour power reserve. Another “unique” piece for your dining and dancing pleasure.
Bulova Devil Diver – $750
The new watch alert know that Bulova is Having a Moment. The Devil Diver – named for its 666 feet (203 meters) water resistance – is sure to move the ball forwards. For one thing it’s orange – not the color of the year but definitely the color of Doxa’s most coveted timepiece. For another, it’s got a cushion case box crystal vintage vibe like, well, you know (even though the 41mm Devil Diver’s a retread of the significantly smaller 60’s Bulova design). And unlike the $1800 previous metal braceleted version it’s priced to go.
On the downside, it’s powered by a Miyota Caliber 821D (reinforced version of the 821A), a reliable enough engine that delivers a less-than-stellar -20 /+40 seconds accuracy per day. The rubber strap looks almost as comfortable as the Seiko Orange Diver’s horological hair shirt (jury’s out). Still, the Devil Diver’s a sensible watch at a sensible price, unlike their $3450 Spaceview actual Accutron redo. “Proper” retro for the win! Proof the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.