All posts by jamesnorthernwatch

anOrdain Launch Model 1: Precious Metal Edition

The news from Scotland’s  very own,  anOrdain watch company;

Presenting a brand new iteration of our seminal watch – the Model 1 Precious Metal Series. In collaboration with Windup Watch Shop, an online watch boutique founded by Worn & Wound, the dials of the Model 1 Precious Metal Series offer the more subtle design features of our first watch space to breathe upon the dial.

When the first lockdown of 2020 hit, enamel production at anOrdain halted for the first time in two years.

Making a watch without enamel wasn’t something we’d done before but, unwilling to stop creating, we began racking our brains about how best to proceed.

With a team comprising of typographers, silversmiths, jewellers, watchmakers and people from an array of design principles, we knew we would be able to explore other creative avenues.

Very understated, maybe that’s a good thing when you are wearing a gold watch.

Working with one of Europe’s leading dial makers in Germany, we experimented with various precious metals and techniques such as milling, polishing and galvanic dipping to develop a miniature series of our first watch, the Model 1.

We were careful to ensure any new iteration of the Model 1 maintained a distinctly anOrdain aesthetic, transferring the numeral and hand design from the enamel version onto the metallic dials.

TOUCH OF GOLD

The stripped-back dials of the Model 1 Precious Metal Series – galvanically plated in red gold, white gold and black rhodium – allow room for these elements to breathe.

Unusual in their construction, the dials are bowl-shaped. The chapter ring around the edge of the dial curls upwards towards the edge of the gently domed crystal, with a brushed finish contrasting with the sand-blasted flat surface to create a tantalising play of light. The numerals, pad-printed onto the dial, are compellingly accentuated by the mixed textures below.

The Hands

Just as intertwining the design and making processes is an integral part of what we do here at anOrdain, these separate elements can sometimes also weave their own webs to create a tapestry of narrative continuity throughout each part of the watch.

The various design elements of the Model 1 – and now the Model 1 Precious Metal Series – borrow from one another. The cartographic influence permeates everything from the numerals to the indexes and hands.

Polished and finished in a white lacquer, the hands of the Black Rhodium perfectly match the bold white of the numerals and indices and pop spectacularly against the black dial.

The Result

The Model 1 Precious Metal Series is a new direction for us, but each watch still feels and looks thoroughly anOrdain.

We’ve kept the inner workings of the Model 1 Precious Metal Series as they were in the original model, with an ETA 2824-2, regulated and modified in-house by our team of four watchmakers, still working to power our latest iteration.

To commemorate the project, the brushed case backs are laser engraved with the Windup Watch Shop logo and individually numbered.

The price is $1250, from the Windup Watch Shop website.

Brew Watch Metric Has a Unique Edge

Brew Watches are doing things differently and we like that approach. The latest model, the Metric has plenty of colour on the dial, with yellow, orange and turquoise all blending together somehow on a black dial – which features cut-out sections.

It’s a striking look and inside there is the trusty Seiko VK Meca-Quartz movement, so you get reliable timekeeping as standard.

Steel case, bracelet and pushers, all add a retro feel. The bracelet links remind us of a vintage Trafalgar watch model, a minor league Swiss brand that seemed to vanish in the 80s.

There is a white dial version but it lacks the visual punch of the multi-colour option for our money. That version is a sell-out on the Brew website, so all we can suggest is that you get your email address down for the re-issue.

 

Tudor Black Bay Bronze: No Excuses Necessary

The Tudor Black Bay 58 has been the watch that’s really put Tudor in the Premier League for many collectors. For decades the Tudor was seen as a poor man’s Rolex and a few years ago when the brand was still basically slotting ETA 2824 movements inside nice cases you could easily pass by and maybe go for an Omega or Breitling instead.

But the recent Black Bay 58 watches are a class apart, the brand has raised its game. The MT5400 movement has 70 hours reserve, it’s COSC certified and features some sandblasted parts, blue screws and a tungsten monobloc rotor, with a unique look. I’m going out on a limb now and saying a Tudor isn’t a watch you have to apologise for wearing, like it’s not the Rolex you wanted, but it’s all you can afford.

It has a 39mm case diameter which some might say is a few mm too small. It is a general watch, not a dive model, despite the 200m rating, so we think it’s big enough – it has symmetry, balance and the brown bezel and dial really give this a coherent look that many Swiss watches lack. Sometimes less is more.

One detail that jars on this however, the NATO style strap made from a recycled parachute just looks cheap compared to the fully bronze link bracelet option. Just saying.

Here’s the blurb from Tudor;

The characteristic elements of the new Black Bay FiftyEight model are a 39 mm bronze case, an aesthetic nod to the bronzes on old ships and other deep-sea diving equipment, but also the characteristic proportions of the first TUDOR divers’ watches dating from the second half of the 1950s, particularly the famous 7924 reference or “ Big Crown”, the first TUDOR watch to be waterproof to 200 metres (660 ft), presented in 1958.

The choice of a “living” metal – in this case a high performance aluminium bronze alloy used particularly in naval engineering for submerged parts required to demonstrate a high level of resistance to corrosion such as propellers, for example – ensures the development of a subtle and unique patina on the case
of every watch to match its user’s habits.

In addition to a highly functional appearance, in line with the naval world to which it pays tribute, the Black Bay Bronze presents entirely satin-brushed finishes that guarantee the homogeneous development of this patina.

The combination of a domed dial in matt “brown bronze”, shaded concentrically from the exterior towards the centre, and a bezel presenting the same gold accents found on the hands and hour markers, completes the face of this model. The overall visual
effect is of a rich, patinated object that might have battled the waves of the seven seas for years on its owner’s wrist, and which is “made” for them and their lifestyle.

At £3390 it isn’t cheap and it isn’t Rolex level expensive either. What it definitely offers is a great spec for the price, because it’s a last-a-lifetime watch, that won’t really date, go out of fashion, and someone will always want to buy it.

Coke Themed Timex Editions On The Way

Timex have some Coca-Cola themed watches in the pipeline. The pics on the Timex site suggest that there’sa  classic 80s retro digital model, an automatic featuring a 70s Peace graphic, plus a basic quartz with an onion crown and pocket watch style case, in the range.

All have Coke branding on the dials. Soon as we get more info we shall let you know. As you were.

Seiko Has Embraced The Cult of Watch Modding

And yeah, that’s a good thing we say at Northern Watch Co magazine, because for all the perfection and art of Grand Seiko, and the unbeatable value of a cooking Seiko 5 model, you need more to survive in the modern world where every jackass with money wants an AP Royal Oak or a Rolex Daytona.

You can never be that Swiss Tony fashionista brand, so what do you do? Embrace the fanboi base you have; innovate, learn, adapt and bend like the tree.

Hats off then to Seiko for recognising that MOD means remixing the elements of a brand, or a model line, to make your fave watch. By asking its fanbase for inspiration, Seiko shows that it has a keen interest in what its buyers want to see. That is a refreshing change from the Swiss brand ethos of `take it or leave it.’

Here’s the word from Seiko;

Seiko is proud to announce the winning Seiko 5 Sports watch from the CUSTOM WATCH BEATMAKER campaign.

Participants created their original Seiko 5 Sports watch by selecting and combining five watch parts on the website and voted on their favourite models. Each watch was paired with one of 32 original pieces of music created by eight up-and-coming artists who share the same value as the brand’s concept ‘‘Show Your Style.’’

The campaign ran from October 2020 to January 2021, and the winning watch with the most ‘‘likes’’ was selected from over 48,000 original designs and won about 8,500,000 votes out of the 16,000,000 total votes worldwide.

This watch incorporates a gold colour dial combined with a bezel with red and blue accents, adding a fresh timepiece to the Seiko 5 Sports collection. It will be available as a limited edition of 2,021 on selected Seiko Boutique Online websites in August 2021.

The great thing is that this will inspire more Modders out there to create gold dial Seiko watches, and tribute watches using the NH35/36 movement.

Torgoen Revives the T21 Flight GMT Model

Torgoen has revived its T21 Flight GMT watch, which has a slide rule function. Not our thing, but if you love GMT watches then it’s worth a look.

RRP is £217 and there are cream, blue and black dial options.

The TorgoenT21 Flight GMT is a one-of-a-kind timepiece that incorporates a functional E6B analog flight computer. Developed by US naval pilots in the late 1930’s, the E6B is a circular slide rule used during flight planning to calculate fuel burn, wind correction, time en route and other stats.

Although modern aircrafts now use electronic systems to make these calculations, the E6B is still used in flight training to teach pilots how to manually compute these important factors.

Complete with GMT function, the T21 Flight GMT is the ultimate watch for pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike.

Zelos Mako Titanium On The Way

The latest from Zelos watches, makers of famously chunky dive watches at reasonable prices;

The Mako Titanium is here, featuring a full Ti case and bracelet that’s been hardened to 1200 Vickers. This surface hardening gives it extra toughness against the surface scuffs that titanium is known for.

The weight reduction makes the Mako Ti a joy to wear daily, and a quick adjust clasp gives you a precise fit throughout the day. The 40mm case of the Mako along with its 11.5mm thickness fits a wide range of wrist sizes.

There is a groovy hand-torched dial option as well.

The Ti model is officially on sale on 29.07.21 by the way, more here.

 

JLC Polaris Gets a Movement Makeover

The devilishly handsome JLC Polaris dive watch has a reworked Cal 956 movement. The Swiss brand says the alarm movement, which is visible via a see-thru caseback, has been slimmed down – in fact, it’s 15% slimmer than previous iterations.

That gives the JLC a rare look amongst dive watches, in truth you could argue it’s more of a dress watch, especially with the unique bell-like alarm and 42mm case – which is fairly modest compare to big-ass 45mm-50mm dive watches.

At 15K retail you could also say it’s kinda pricey for a dive watch that can manage 300m. Many an Indie brand watch can match that spec for £500. Many Swiss watches can offer 300m diving for under £1500.

Yes, there is that JLC cachet, the aura of a truly ancient house of horology behind the brand name. We aren’t knocking that heritage, or in-house expertise when it comes to servicing and the longevity of a 28,800vph auto movement can be measured in decades. Yep, you can pass this onto your grandchildren, or the cats’ home, whatever. The Polaris Mariner has alot going for it as a grail watch.

Your NWC mag scribe would love a JLC – Reverso maybe, or a classic bumper automatic. As slick as this reworking of the Polaris Mariner is, it is simply too expensive for what it does. The fascination for me with JLC is that vintage, 30s mix of art deco retro and complication for its own sake.

 

 

Boldr Odyssey Regatta Ltd Edition

The latest from Boldr, who have a variant on their flagship Valjoux 7750 model;

Built to accompany its wearer on the toughest regatta races, this is our first ever yachting chronograph watch, and like all Odysseys, it’s a beast on your wrist. Combining modern & classic elements meticulously designed for performance and durability, this stainless steel sailor features a 10-minute count back disk-dial.

At its heart lies an ETA Valjoux 7750 Chronograph Movement for seamless timekeeping while skimming the waves or exploring 500m under the surface. The dial is classic black & white with stylised boat-shaped skeleton hands to maintain the highest possible legibility. It also boasts a unique 2-in-1 bi-directional bezel function that pairs a 15-minute marker option with a specialized nautical miles tachymeter.

It’s on a pre-orde deal at $1299, plus import duty and VAT, so it isn’t a cheap model. You can find the Valjoux 7750 inside other chrono watches for less.

This is a statement watch, at 45mm across and sits 18mm high – for those with big chunky arms and wrists, it will be an option.

More here.

 

Black `n’ White Baltic is A 60s Mod Classic

French brand Baltic has launched a white dial/black bezel variant of its Aquascaphe, which has that punchy look many people love. Kinda 60s Mod, with a real dive ability too.

200m depth rating, sapphire crystal, 39mm width,  screwdown crown, Superluminova details – it has a lot going for it. Price is reasonable too, especially when you consider how expensive it is to employ anyone and rent premises in the EU, at £579.17. You may have some import duty and VAT on top of course.

More here.