All posts by jamesnorthernwatch

Seiko One Piece: Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces is one of Jack Nicholson’s lesser known movies, but it’s worth a watch if you’re in the mood.

Anyway, I digress, Seiko has done the same Naruto and Baruto thing with their 5 Sports model, only this time the tie-up is with One Piece comics. Nope, we haven’t heard of it, but then we gave up on comics when Dr Strange was still saying `Gadzooks.’

One thing we noticed immediately is the level of collector comic-con obsessiveness about these editions. Only 5000 pieces, unique dials, embossed crowns and caseback slogans. Custom boxes too.

Our fave is the Zoro model in green, which has a cool dial design and a relatively subtle crossed swords logo on it. The slogan on the back about being the `world’s greatest swordsman’ is pure Austin Powers as well.

Check out the bezel detailing, which has that authentic Japanese Anime/warrior vibe going on.

This comic tie-in is a clever way to repackage the Seiko 5 Sports watch, and as it has the 4R36 movement inside the 42mm case, technically, there’s little difference from a stock 5 Sports.

But in terms of future value? Oh yes, it definitely ticks the completists box and by that we mean the guys who must have every toy merchandised off the back of Star Wars, Trek or Game of Thrones etc. Buy the set, store them in a cool dry area, unopened of course…and then sit back and wait for fellow collectors to admit they missed out on this set of five Seiko 5s.

Brilliant thinking from Seiko we reckon. No word on price that we could find on their website but let’s guess about £600 each?

more info here.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive, With Diamond Edged Case

Diamond encrusted Grand Seiko? Yes, the famous Japan based house of horology can help you there, with a special winter themed Spring Drive model.

Here’s the word;

With its 18k rose gold case graced by lines of diamonds and with the glide motion seconds hand that moves silently and continuously across the white textured dial, this new timepiece brings to life the gentle winter landscape of Shinshu and the transient beauty of Shizuri-yuki.

The 18k rose gold case carries a total of 53 diamonds delicately set by hand by the highly skilled craftsmen and women in the Shinshu Watch Studio. The diamonds are arranged so that they gradually decrease in size from the center of the case to the lug ends, creating a beautiful, flowing effect. Furthermore, the surfaces of the diamonds are perfectly aligned so as to create a quiet sparkle that exemplifies the high level of craftsmanship for which Grand Seiko is renowned.

The patterned dial evokes the bright and fresh snow of winter in Shinshu, and combined with the smooth sweeping movement of the seconds hand unique to Spring Drive, the dial captures the tranquil and seamless passage of time.

The see-through sapphire crystal case back reveals the beauty of the Spring Drive movement.

The timepiece offers a remarkable blend of slimness, power and precision. The watch is only 10.2mm in depth, the power reserve is 72 hours and its accuracy is ±1 second per day, thanks to the manual-winding Spring Drive Caliber 9R31 which powers the watch.

The watch is presented on a brown leather strap with carefully crafted stitches on the sides made by a skilled craftsman and comes with an additional satin gold colored leather strap. The new Spring Drive creation will be available as a limited edition of 60 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in January 2022.

Price is 38,000 euro in the EU by the way.

SINN Are on The Road To Damascus

SINN has sent us some info on a limited edition watch and so yeah, we couldn’t resist that headline.

We’re presenting the 100-piece limited-edition, individually numbered 1800 S GG DAMASZENER. Made from genuine forge-welded Damascus steel, this watch seamlessly reflects the high quality of the predecessor models.

At the same time, it sets its own highlights without relinquishing the charm of the special material, which are skilfully set off by the hands and appliqués made of 18-carat gold.

Where functionality defines design and every little detail serves to highlight the innovative technology at play, this is where Sinn Spezialuhren is at work.

Has a kind of wood effect dial, don’t you think?

For example, in 1995 we presented the first watch made from 22-carat yellow gold with a material hardness equal to that of stainless steel (220 HV). In 2005, German Submarine Steel was used for the first time in diving watches.

The launch of our 100-piece limited-edition 1800 S DAMASZENER marks the first time we rendered the highly traditional material, Damascus steel, into a form suitable for watch cases, a sophisticated concept flawlessly upheld in our 100-piece limited-edition 1800 DAMASZENER.

More info here.

Will The 38mm Watch Trend Catch On?

NWC mag isn’t so sure, for despite the best efforts of Swiss and other watch manufacturers, the collector/investor market has been fed a steady diet of 40mm-45mm sized watches as prestige, statement items, over the last 20 years.

Men – and it primarily men – who fuel the global watch market above two grand, like big watches. They say to the wider world, `I’ve made it, check this baby out.’

Now 38mm, or even 36mm case diameter watches, were the benchmark standard size back in the 70s and 80s. Even in the 90s you would find plenty of takers for a Rolex Oyster 38mm, or a vintage Sub in 38mm. In fact I would be surprised if Rolex does NOT announce a 38mm Sub before Christmas, such is the momentum behind the smaller watch case trend right now.

Even though I don’t think a 38mm Submariner will be a success, Rolex will do it because that’s how the Swiss industry moves, en masse, like a marketing tsunami.

But if you look at the new Omega Seamaster 38mm, with its sandy beach dial and old school sub-second dial at 6 o’clock, you can see that some buyers will see that as a backward step. It’s too wishy-washy, too old fashioned and physically too small.

Might be proved wrong, but time will tell.

If you look at Hamilton’s 38mm Intra-Matic homage to its 60s predecessor, or the Tudor M12500 retro self winding gents dress watch, what you see that manufacturers trying to recapture and repackage the past. Personally, I think you can be inspired, but you have to offer the new, the modern, the novelty – those who want vintage watches in 38mm can find plenty on the pre-owned market.

There’s nothing wrong with the understated Tudor, but I am willing to bet that dealers are selling 100 Black Bays for every M12500. It lacks the visual punch of a modern 21st century wristwatch and it looks…well, basic. Like an old Rotary or Accurist. That ain’t a good thing, trust me.

Thing is, buyers wanted to move on from champagne dials, tiny date windows, small winding crowns that can be difficult for some men to get hold of easily and the slim, lightweight design of 1960s-1980s watches. We moved on, the market advanced.

Buying a watch over £3000 has become an investment decision, and many people buying at £500 or more also have an eye on future values. What that means is that buyers want complications, luxury, design details and branding elements that set their watch apart.

Once you offer a 38mm replica of their Grandad’s watch, you’ve lost the attention of about 80% of your potential market.

 

Zodiac Is On Target With Refreshed Sea Wolf

Zodiac has updated their Sea Wolf models for the Christmas season.

Yeah, it’s that wonderful time of the year when you receive gifts you don’t like, whilst those goodies you DO want are tantalisingly sold out by 2pm on Christmas Day as the Sales get underway.

Anyway, the changes are subtle; new typescript saying `Super Sea Wolf’ is embossed on the dial of the Compression edition. There are new dial colours too, plus bigger, triangular shaped markers at the 3,6 and 9 positions.

The Skin Diver has a date at 3pm, so the markers are different. Both the Skin and the Compression get bolder, kinda arrowhead shaped hands on the dial, which look very modern, very tool watch and it sort of fits in with that Zodiac-Target-Sight theme, if you get what we mean.

The lume isn’t green. It’s burnt orange and you know what, that’s a nice touch. Different.

Basically a special limited edition Navy Seals Sea Wolf, complete with a free infra-red night scope, would see Zodiac clean up this festive season. Just a free marketing idea for y’all there. You are welcome.

Prices are in the $1295-$1395 range. More info here. 

New Stuff: Two Ceratanium Top Gun Models From IWC

Here’s the latest from IWC and yep, we love that matt black, stealth fighter look.

IWC Schaffhausen is adding two Ceratanium® models to its TOP GUN Pilot’s Watch range. Engineered in Schaffhausen, this innovative new material combines the structural integrity of titanium with a scratch resistance similar to that of ceramic and features a striking matte black color.

The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium is the first watch from IWC with a Ceratanium® bracelet, which is lighter than steel and very comfortable to wear. Just 150 pieces of this model will be produced each year, says IWC.

Timezoner edition.

The Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN (pictured above) will be produced in 500 pieces per year. (Dear watch brands, you don’t have to keep using CAPITALS for every model name, it just looks like you’re SHOUTING. )

WHO NEEDS A GMT HOUR HAND?

Ceratanium is the first TOP GUN model with a Timezoner® complication, allowing the wearer to change between different time zones effortlessly. Both novelties are powered by IWC-manufactured movements from the 52000 and 82000 calibre families.

The watch can be set to a different time zone by simply pressing down and rotating the bezel. The hour hand, the 24-hour display and the date will move forwards or backwards in one-hour steps. This also works across the dateline and without losing a single second.

Ceratanium bracelet on the Big Pilot.

CERAMICS & TITANIUM

Advanced performance materials such as ceramics, titanium and Ceratanium® are a signature feature of IWC’s TOP GUN pilot’s watches. They take their name from the legendary Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, a rigorous course used by the US Navy to train its elite pilots in flying and tactical skills.

After pioneering the use of ceramics and titanium for wristwatches during the 1980s, IWC’s material engineers have now succeeded in combining the unique strengths of these two in a single, ground-breaking material. Developed over five years, Ceratanium® combines the lightness and structural integrity of titanium with a hardness and scratch-resistance similar to ceramic. In addition, Ceratanium® is also skin-friendly and highly resistant to corrosion.

WHAT IS THIS MITHRAL OF WHICH YOU SPEAK?

Yes, a Lord of The Rings watch made from mithral would be something, but in the meantime, we have Ceratanium from IWC. What is this magic metal then?

Ceratanium® is based on a special titanium alloy that is forged to IWC’s specifications.

The case components are machined from bars to minimal tolerances using computer-controlled turning and milling centers and are then elaborately finished by hand. Afterwards, the components are fired in a kiln at high temperatures. During this firing process, a phase transformation occurs. As a result, the surface of the material not only obtains properties similar to ceramics, such as hardness and scratchresistance, but also its striking matte black finish.

So now you know.

More at the IWC website here.

Citizen Navihawk Offers Atomic Timekeeping

Atomic clock timekeeping at this price level is impressive we think, latest new watch from Citizen which retails at £599. Also loving the green dial colour. Here’s the word from Citizen;

The newly re-launched Promaster Navihawk A-T men’s watch from Citizen is inspired by the elements a pilot experiences while in flight. The grey ion plated stainless steel watch case and bracelet have the look of stormy clouds, while the dial is accented with bold highlights.

It synchronises to the atomic clock for superior accuracy and allows for time adjustments in 26 cities. Other features include 12/24-hour time, power reserve indicator, chronograph, sapphire crystal glass and water resistance to 200 metres. This is the ultimate watch for anyone who isn’t content to keep their feet on the ground and always wants to see what’s over the next horizon.

Additionally, the watch is sustainably powered by light with Citizen Eco-Drive technology. Whether you keep your feet on the ground or you yearn to soar in the clouds, this multifunctional watch is ready to take off whenever you are.

Timex Falcon Eye Makes UK Debut

Timex UK are adding to their Q range in the UK with the Falcon Eye model, which has been around in the US market for a year or so.

Two dial colours; blue and green, vintage 70s style battery compartment ready for a 20p piece to slot in, plus steel case, and an adjustable sliding clasp on the bracelet.

These can be fiddly to set up, but you only have to do it once and then the clasp folds down in the perfect spot.

We like that sleek, multi-link bracelet too.

Quartz movement, 70s styling, and that classic day/date layout at 3pm too. Pricey at £159 though. Alternatives in the retro quartz field include the Accurist Retro at £78, or about £90 for the bracelet version. How about a Ben Sherman Ronnie Original, which we also spotted online for £78.

Yema Wristmaster – Teaser Drawings Released

Yema has a new watch arriving soon on Kickstarter. The Wristmaster will combine that classic Genta octagonal case design, with some retro touches like big, old radium style hands – don’t worry the in-fill will be Superluminova.

They’re going for a tool watch look, with a beautifully engraved caseback, and taking inspiration from an 80s Yema Sous-Marine quartz model for the bezel.

When we spot this one on Kick we will bring the details.