Category Archives: Best Swiss watches

Tudor Pelagos FXD Edition: Solid, Crafted & Class

If you’re going to issue variations on a theme then the Tudor Pelgos is a good place to start. Featuring the in-House Tudor movement which is COSC standard, a decent depth resistance of 200m and that brand affinity with Rolex, the Pelagos has a great deal going for it.

Some might say this is a poor man’s Submariner, but we like to think of it as a fair value alternative. This latest iteration is priced at just under three grand, which is below pre-owned Air King values, never mind Sub prices, and that’s why we love Tudor.

The big tweak with this model is the fixed lugs, hence the FXD name. So you loop your fancy fabric strap around the loops and there y’go. No bracelet option on this if you change your mind later, as the lugs are part of the solid titanium billet case.

Fantastic bright blue dial and that French Navy caseback too. Great looking tool watch.

More here.

Oris Celebrates The Monkey King

The word from Oris who have just launched a movie tie-in watch, based on their Aquis model;

We’re delighted to introduce our latest co-creation, the Sun Wukong Limited Edition, a 2,000-piece limited-edition version of our high-performance Aquis Date diver’s watch that’s been designed and produced in partnership with the Shanghai Animation Film Studio Co. (SAFS).

The watch celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Chinese animated feature film, The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven, which was produced by the Wan brothers and originally released by SAFS in 1961 during the Second Golden Era of the Chinese film industry.

The Monkey King, or Sun Wukong in Mandarin Chinese, is a legendary mythical figure from the 16th century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West. The story tells of how Sun Wukong, a monkey born from stone, acquires supernatural powers before rebelling against heaven. In the story, the Monkey King acquires a red pillar with golden tips that he shrinks to become a staff to fight his enemies and their unjust ways with, creating the “uproar” described in the title.

Oris’s designers saw an opportunity in the Monkey King’s staff, a magical red and golden pillar he uses to defeat his enemies. The seconds hand became that weapon, red with golden tips. To express how fast the Monkey King spins it in battle, the designers abstracted the form, adding repeating flashes of blue that diminish and return in size and colour to suggest constant motion.

The effect is intoxicating, creating a tangible and yet otherworldly impression of a fast-spinning staff, which becomes almost audible as you look at it. Beyond its unique, playful aesthetic, the Sun Wukong Limited Edition carries the same quality signifiers and refined silhouette the Aquis Date has become known for. It has a 41.5 mm stainless steel case and a uni-directional rotating bezel that’s equipped with an ocean blue ceramic bezel that plays an appreciable role in delivering the watch’s singular character.

Crown protectors, a screw-down crown and a stainless steel bracelet with an extendable folding clasp serve as a reminder of the watch’s impeccable underwater credentials – as the dial indicates, the watch is water-resistant to 30 bar (300 metres). Inside it is an automatic mechanical movement that provides the watch with its sweeping, “spinning” central seconds hand. Completing the story, the case back is engraved with the head of Sun Wukong and his staff, while the same dial abstraction repeats on the special presentation case. Only 2,000 pieces will be made.

More here. 

TAG Heuer F1: Senna Edition

We aren’t always big fans of quartz watches but this Senna edition of the TAG F1 is on our wish list. Why? Senna. The greatest GP driver of all time? Probably.

Here’s the word from TAG

With its new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Senna Special Edition timepiece, TAG Heuer evokes the memory of one of the most mythical racers in the history of F1 and celebrates once again the partnership with the Senna brand. 30 years ago, Ayrton Senna became the youngest Formula 1 driver to win three world championships. To celebrate Ayrton Senna’s achievements, TAG Heuer and Senna brand launch a new SENNA Special Edition from the TAG Heuer Formula 1 collection.

One of the features of the timepiece is the embossed black leather bracelet, a reference to the S/EL that Senna used to wear on his TAG Heuer. The iconic bracelet was the first to be made by TAG Heuer.
Its distinctive unique S-shaped design is highly recognizable. The bracelet’s leather is dynamized with yellow stitching and also features a black steel clasp with double safety system push buttons.

Watch some Senna vs Prost rivalry here by the way;

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Senna Special Edition colour scheme features yellow and black, paying tribute to Senna’s iconic colours. The yellow tone is present throughout this 2021 edition, starting with the famous double S (the Brazilian driver’s iconic brand), which crowns the bezel at 12 o’clock, alongside the Senna name.

The double S signature can be found on the dial too, where they are incorporated in the 6 o‘clock subdial. The grey anthracite dial houses classic hour, minute, and second indicators at 6, 9, and 3 o’clock, and is decorated with a discrete “TAG Heuer Formula 1” reminder.

The TAG Heuer Senna Special Edition 2021 also features an ultra-resistant black ceramic bezel, again accentuated by a delicate yellow border that underlines the elegance of the timepiece. The number 400 is engraved on the bezel, in a subtle reference to the 400 km/h speed that has never been reached in Formula 1. The hour hand and indexes are treated with Super-LumiNova® to ensure optimum legibility in all situations. This special edition features a quartz movement and is water-resistant to 200 meters (20 bar).

Last but not least, an image of the Brazilian driver’s iconic helmet is engraved on the caseback.

Prices; Switzerland 2 250 CHF
Europe 2 200 EUR
Great Britain 1 900 GBP
North America 2 300 USD
Japan 250 000 JPY
Hong Kong 18 550 HKD

Ball 130th Anniversary Engineer Moon Calendar Edition

Ball watches have a 130th anniversary special on sale right now. Here’s the word from Ball;

Rooted in purposeful watchmaking, the Engineer II Moon Calendar is a dress watch with distinction. From its artful moon phase display to its robust stainless steel, it is a timepiece designed to go everywhere your imagination leads.
Check out the promo video here;

 

Anniversary price: the Engineer II Moon Calendar is part of our 130th celebration, limited to 1000 pieces and is now available for pre-order until 24 November 2021 at an exclusive price of £1810.
Crafted from stainless steel, the 40mm case of the Engineer II Moon Calendar is tough enough to handle all the unexpected bumps of daily wear with smooth elegance. At a case thickness of just 13.4mm, this everyday watch ensures a comfortable wearing experience.
The clean white dial presents the perfect backdrop to highlight the blue moon phase indicator as well as the dates of the month marked on the outer edge of the dial. With 4 recessed pushers on the flanks of the case to control the adjustment of the complications, the design of the Engineer II Moon Calendar is unadulterated minimalism at its best.
Day, date, month, and moon phase.
The true calendar timepiece showcases sophisticated functionality with high legibility. The spacious day and month windows are perfectly complemented by the whimsical fourth hand and its crescent moon tip that indicate the date.
Not to be overshadowed, the moon phase display showcases our watchmaking prowess with elegance and precision, accompanied by markings that indicate the time it takes for the moon to complete one phases cycle: 29½ days. A timepiece full of complications, presented with simplicity.
More at the Ball website.

Oris Big Crown, With Bigger Date Too

Here’s a retro style Oris model we missed last month. It’s got a bigger date window than usual and we like the bronze case. Here’s the word from Oris;

Oris has been experimenting with bronze in its diver’s watches for years – now, for the first time, the independent Swiss watch company has given its highly competent Big Crown ProPilot Big Date fresh flair by casing it in bronze, too. The warm tones of the new model come from its bronze case, fluted bezel and signature oversized crown, which are complemented by a deep black dial with printed golden indices.

This is a true pilot’s watch, so the hands are filled with white Super-LumiNova® and the applied hour markers made from solid Super-LumiNova®, creating high contrast and first-class readability. Finishing off the stylish look is a hard-wearing green Ventile® strap with Oris’s playful ‘Lift’ clasp, also in bronze, a device inspired by passenger aircraft seat-belt buckles. As with every Oris, inside the watch is a highly reliable Swiss Made mechanical movement.

In this case, that movement is a precision automatic with an oversized ‘big’ date.

RRP is £1550 by the way.

Hublot Big Bang DJ Snake: Purple Reign

If Prince were still around then this would be the logical choice for His Royal Purpleness. The Hublot DJ Snake may well be 45mm across, which is kinda large for a pocket sized superstar, but still, what a match made in I Wish You Heaven. See what we did there?

OK, let’s talk specs. The case is satin polished titanium and has that iridescent glow, so the colour shifts as you move the watch in the light. Sapphire AR coated crystal and a camo style strap.

You only have 100m water resistance, but that should be OK for most poolside parties over at your local TikTok influencers rented mansion.

Inside you have a HUB chronograph movement, with the usual flyback button feature and 72 hours of power. That’s an impressive amount of longevity.

It’s a skeleton dial so you can see some of that handiwork and we like the hollowed out hands too, nice ghostly sort of face on this one.

It’s priced at £21,500, so yeah, crank up that crypto celeb scam idea, because you need to get rich quick. Just 100 pieces are being made.

Bell+Ross BR-05 White Hawk Edition

Bell+Ross has launched a limited edition of the BR-05 model, called the White Hawk. Naturally, you get a white dial, with some contrasting red chrono hands on there. The dial has a brushed satin sheen says B&R.

It also has a hawk graphic on the caseback. Just 250 pieces world wide and a price of £5100.

Yep, we would probably buy a Gulf edition TAG Monaco instead.

More info here.

 

Armin Strom: California Dreamin’

The latest from Armin Strom;

The Armin Strom Tribute 1 California, which continues the brand’s eye-catching fusion of tradition and transparent mechanics, features a California-style dial created in a choice of five fumé colours that offer a striking contrast to the black guilloché plate. Each colour option has been produced in a limited edition of five pieces.

The California dial: reviving a design icon

The newest interpretation of the Armin Strom Tribute 1, the brand’s popular modern dress watch, takes its name from the so-called California dial, which is distinguished by its alternating Roman and Arabic numerals.

The dial, which is offered in five different colours, also features bar markers and a railway track minute ring. The California dial design, which is a favourite among watch aficionados, dates back to the 1930s and with its distinct presentation on the coloured dials, it offers each proud owner a timepiece of distinction and a touch of exclusivity.

The visibility of the barrel on the dial makes the Tribute 1 California resolutely modern while the California dial gives it a pleasing vintage flair.

What we like about this; true handcrafted watchmaking. Got a real Fritz Lang Metropolis feel to it.

Price: $19,000 or so. Who’s counting?

Which Swiss Watches Will Go Up In Value?

OK, it’s easy to answer, any Rolex except the really old 1930s gents models that now look like ladies watches. But watch collecting from an investment point of view isn’t that simple and there are options beyond the usual suspects, such as Subs, Daytonas, GMTs etc.

Let’s start with the affordable Rolex, Tudor, which is of course part of the Rolex empire and shares many common features technically.

From the Black Bay range sold over the last few years, you have to say the Bucherer bronze case editions from 2016-18 look like a safe bet for future price rises. That blue-on-blue dial and bezel combo is satisfying to look at and the bronze case gives it character over time. Definitely one to stash in the safe and wait until it appears in a retro movie or Netflix show in the 2030s.

Five ring second hand is a lovely detail.

OLYMPIC SPIRIT

Limited editions are always good, so if you can pick up one of the 2,010 Vancouver Winter Games Omega Seamasters, then I reckon you are onto a winner. It has a striking, bright red bezel, unusual for any Omega and the unique caseback sesign too.

Hard to find, which is always a good indicator of a watch keeping pace with inflation, even if it doesn’t quite race ahead.

THE F1 EFFECT

The TAG Formula 1 quartz is a budget choice, but bear with me. Yes, you won’t ever make a fortune collecting the 1980s/90s TAG F1 watches, even if you get them with box and papers. TAG made millions of them, in a variety of colours and bezel designs.

But they are durable for a quartz watch, battery changes are very easy to accomplish, and you can sometimes find straps or spare bracelet links at reasonable prices. For an investment of say 2K, a trio of TAG F1s makes an appealing mini collection – even better if you can pick `em off online from the same year.

TRIPLE TREAT

Almost any triple day/date watch from the 40s-60s is going to appreciate in value, but the superstar brand for rising values is surely the Movado Triple Date. Consider this; in 2012 you could buy one from Bonhams for £350, now they fetching £2000 and above, depending on condition of course.

You need to make sure that the month, day and date indicator hand are all worrking of course. It’s debatable whether some fading of the dial is a good thing, as super clean dials tend to make collectors wary – has it been re-dialled or refurbished? Original is best and if you can buy a working example under £1000 we think it’s a safe bet. Not a watch to wear and use though, like anything 60-70 years old, it’s for looking at, not winding.

Blancpain Air Command Aims High

In the 1950s, the United States Air Force was looking for a high-precision chronograph capable of meeting demanding specifications.

Blancpain, which had already won over the American Navy with its Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, drew inspiration from it to develop a chronograph for the US Air Force. This timepiece was offered to American military pilots through the distributor Allen V. Tornek, for whom Blancpain is thought to have created a dozen watches as prototypes.

The total production of Air Command chronographs was probably very limited, says Blancpain, which makes them real collectors items. NWC thinks this one will also be collectable, although the entry price is steep for mere mortals.

Rear view is very functional, pure tool watch.

Now Blancpain are reviving the Air Command model and we have to say, it looks the business.

It has a 42.5mm wide case, which comes in red gold or steel finishes, with blue dial and bezel, plus there’s a limited edition in steel, with a tan leather strap and black dial.

The flyback chrono function can also be used a countdown actuator, in tandem with the bezel numbers. Ideal for Elon Musk or other space rocket owners who need to count things down on a regular basis. Price is £15,900 for the blue dial, steel case model.

The gold edition costs £26,500 by the way.