Category Archives: Best Swiss watches

Girard-Perregaux: Three Bridges, Three Graces

Luxury cars and watches kinda go together like trophy wives and lip fillers. We tried to like this tech tour-de-force by Girard-Perregaux, which carries the famous Aston Martin name.

Yes, three bridges are beautiful, in a spartan Forth rail bridge kind of way. Those big jewels and empty spaces in the case are like a 3D drawing of a movement on show for everyone to appreciate. The bridges themselves are carbon fibre black, which somehow detracts from the symmetry for us. These movement vertabrae should be made from some rare exoticia metal surely, maybe recycled DB6 pistons?

But we hate to say this; overall,  it looks unfinished. Maybe you love it? It costs $146,000 by the way and there just 18 pieces being manufactured.

Here’s the press info;

The first timepiece borne of the recently announced partnership between Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin has been revealed today. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition unites the watchmaking expertise of Girard-Perregaux with Aston Martin’s unique knowledge of luxury and performance.

Both brands demonstrate a passion for refined craftsmanship and have been working together, sharing their understanding of design, materials and technology. This latest model celebrates the iconic Three Bridges pocket watch from the 19th century in a decidedly contemporary way, down to the smallest details, including the strap. The latter is a world premiere, presented in black calf leather and featuring Rubber Alloy, an innovative rubber insert injected with white gold. The design of the strap is intended to evoke thoughts of Aston Martin racing cars of the past.

Upholding Girard-Perregaux tradition, this model skilfully plays with proportions and shapes much to the delight of aesthetes.

The 44 millimetre case of the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition is formed of Grade 5 titanium, a strong, hypoallergenic alloy selected by Aston Martin for its lightweight properties. It is suffused with black DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon), bestowing the watch with a stealthy appearance. Interestingly, titanium ore was discovered in Great Britain, the home of Aston Martin, back in 1791 by an English clergyman, William Gregor, in the same year Girard-Perregaux was founded.

A sapphire crystal ‘box’ is positioned front of house, as well as to the rear, coaxing light to illuminate the case interior, thereby augmenting readability. The movement eschews a mainplate, sitting between both panes of sapphire crystal and seemingly floating in mid-air.

Three bridges, an iconic signature of Girard-Perregaux, span the dial and are formed of titanium with black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) treatment and polished angles. The design endows the timepiece with an airy appearance, affording breathtaking views of movement components ordinarily hidden from view. While Girard-Perregaux has a long history of making the invisible visible, in this instance it has ventured off-piste, creating a watch whose movement appears to levitate within the case.

This is achieved by paring back the movement, causing the mainplate to seemingly disappear, thereby creating the illusion of the movement flying within the case. It was this particular characteristic that led to the term ‘Flying Bridges’.

The cage of the tourbillon, positioned in the lower portion of the dial, is ‘lyre-shaped’, a characteristic found on all the company’s tourbillons dating back to the 19th century. A blued hand affixed to the cage imparts the running seconds. The tourbillon cage, measuring a mere 10mm in diameter, is composed of 79 components which collectively weigh only 0.25 grams. This remarkably low figure helps mitigate energy consumption.

The barrel, positioned at 12 o’clock, is openworked, affording partial views of the mainspring. A white gold micro-rotor, positioned beneath the barrel, energises the mainspring and, unlike most automatic watches, it grants unobstructed views of the movement. The car company’s name is engraved on the vertical flank of the micro-rotor and is filled with white luminescent treatment which appears blue in restricted light. Likewise, the indexes and hands are also treated with white luminescent treatment and, once again, emit a blue glow in dim light.

Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, said, “We are delighted to partner with Aston Martin, entrusting their team with arguably our most iconic timepiece, delivering a fresh perspective on Haute Horlogerie. Rarely do we work with others to reinterpret the Three Bridges, however, on this occasion, we have made an exception, mindful of Aston Martin’s prowess for design.

“When viewing the design of an Aston Martin, you will note the firm’s distinctive front grille, first seen on the DB Mark III of the late 50s. Likewise, the scoops and side strakes found on the company’s modern-day models are functional elements, intended to improve airflow while enriching the overall appearance of each car.”

“At Girard-Perregaux we share a similar philosophy. For example, when the Maison released the now-legendary Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges in 1867, it transformed three functional elements into attractive aesthetic features and demonstrated an approach that we continue to employ today. Finally, this latest partnership provides a fascinating chapter in Girard-Perregaux’s 230-year history.”

Marek Reichman, Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer adds: ‘The greatest of the challenges we faced with the design of this new timepiece were those of scale, as you can imagine. We had to consider lines and proportion on a far smaller scale than we are used to in the realm of automotive design. That said, good design is good design, whether it is a watch or a car, the principles remain the same. I’m delighted with the finished watch and congratulate everyone who worked on this project as this collaboration has produced a timepiece of great beauty.

The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition, a limited edition of 18 pieces, is immediately available worldwide in all authorised Girard-Perregaux retailers.

Bell+Ross Red Radar. It’s Very Red.

There is a place in watch collecting for timepieces that look like jet fighter dials. Suzuki did it over 40 years ago with their famous GS750/1000 clocks display and it’s been a popular styling detail ever since. Love that night mode red glow!

Now Bell + Ross has the revived Red Radar model for 2021, with some aviation goodness. Maybe it’s just too much like a radar screen to actaully let you know the time in a hurry? Anyway here’s the press info;

This year, Bell & Ross is back with a new Red Radar, the spectacular BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic. This avant-garde timepiece is also
inspired by a radar screen and brings its own innovative reinterpretation to the watch display.

It forms part of Bell & Ross’ iconic Flight Instruments collection which brings together exclusive timepieces, inspired by instruments
on board jet planes. It is available in a limited edition of 999 pieces.  Its design – very similar to an aircraft radar – was surprising and spectacular in equal measure.

Its graphics reproduced the scanning motion of the light beam on a radar screen with stunning realism. The bright red crystal topping the dial is reminiscent of the flight control instrument. The time can be read via a system of rotating discs, combined with an analogue hand. The dial is topped with a red sapphire crystal.

The system comprises two concentric discs which fuse with the dial. Its playful design is reminiscent of a stylised toy. These elements replace the hour and minute hands. In a major new feature, the discs move two tiny screenprinted planes, giving the impression that these are flying over the dial.

The hour scale is screen-printed on the inside (back) of the sapphire crystal, and so is well protected from impacts and abrasions.
For this innovative display, two ultra-light discs had to be designed to preserve the power reserve. These very robust discs will not deform and they maintain a constant parallelism.

Our watchmakers worked hard to ensure that the precision of the watch movement was not altered by friction. The assembly of each of these components was fine-tuned to the nearest micron. Guaranteeing such precision required all our in-house engineers to pool their expertise.

The newcomer adopts the BR 03 case, which is 42 mm in diameter. In constant pursuit of innovation and performance, on this occasion Bell & Ross has chosen to use ceramic. This high-tech material is scratch-resistant, yet soft to the touch.

UK price is £3600.

Bamford London Go Psychedelic On The El Primero

Bamford London keep coming up with custom variants on Rolex and other Swiss watch brands. This reworking of a Zenith is pretty out there. No price on the website, you have to email an equiry.

In collaboration with Black Badger, this Zenith Pilot Chrono TIPO CP-2 features a unique Fordite dial.

Fordite is the commonly used term to describe the collected overspray that builds up in the industrial paint bays of car factories over many, many years. The Fordite material used in this collaboration has come from the Ford factories in Michigan, USA, from the 1970-1990s era. This material forms entirely unique patterns which has been made into a special dial.

Inside the case you have the famous El Prmero chrono movement. Those yellow tipped hands are an extra jazzy touch as well.

More here if you want to get some Austin Powers vibe on your wrist.

Zenith Give The El Primero The Camo Green Treatment

Come on, this is getting boring now Swiss brands. Yep, Zenith has joined the green watch trend with a an olive green El Primero, called the Safari. It doesn’t ding our bell,  it feels a bit washed out, too understated with that matt grey case finish.

Fact is, we love the original El Primero design way too much, this just looks flat – dare we say, a bit cheap?

Anyway here’s the word from Zenith;

When the designers at Zenith asked themselves what an El Primero from 1969 inspired by the great outdoors would look like, they imagined something entirely different from what the Manufacture had produced in over 50 years since the famed calibre’s introduction; something that evoked the vivid colours and textures found on wild terrains with the same utility and ergonomics as its most prized chronographs. The result is the Chronomaster Revival Safari, a lush reinterpretation of a signature vintage chronograph icon.

The geometry and overall proportions of this fresh and modern chronograph are identical to those of the historical A384, but the look and feel of the case couldn’t be more different. Instead of the traditionally finished stainless steel in a mix of satin-brushed and polished surfaces, the Safari is crafted in titanium that’s lighter yet harder than steel. The entire case including the star-emblazoned crown and pump-style pushers are fashioned in an intriguingly muted finish that’s entirely microblasted to bring out the dark nuances of titanium by absorbing light rather than reflecting it.

Exhibiting tones ranging from deep olive-green to cooler spruce tones, the dial of the Chronomaster Revival Safari is a deep matte green with contrasting black registers and tachymeter scale, with a touch of vintage inspiration with its warm beige-coloured SuperLumiNova on the applied baton markers and hands. The white on green date wheel is perfectly camouflaged with the rest of the dial; legible when you need it but never distracting. The rubber and cordura-effect strap takes on the same khaki-green tone as the dial, and is fixed to a matte microblasted titanium pin buckle.

Powering this retro-inspired but resolutely modern and edgy chronograph is the El Primero automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre, visible through the display back. In production since 1969 and gradually evolved throughout the years, this is the closest iteration to the original version of the seminal chronograph movement.

The Chronomaster Revival Safari is ready to go where no El Primero has gone before, and is available from Zenith boutiques & e-commerce from June 2021.

Green Dial Longines Spirit Variant

Longines has launched a matt green dial variant of its Spirit model. The 42mm case auto has raised numbers, which seem to float above the dial from some angles. It’s aslo COSC certified.

Retail is £2050 in the UK, our advice is save another 600 quid up and invest in a Tudor instead. The Longines will lose you a grand in one year of ownership, plus this is a very plain jane looker for two grand, which resembles an Orient three star from a distance.

Just saying.

More here.

 

Latest Trends In Rolex Watch Thefts

Now and then NWC mag likes to read the latest court cases relating to Rolex watch thefts. Not only is Rolex the best selling brand (over 3K) in the UK by a long way, but it is the most targeted by thieves. Why? Simple really, they can offload stolen Rolex watches quicker than any other make. Even without paperwork.

Here are some recent cases;

A woman approached a pensioner guy in Poole, a wealthy town in Dorset. She chatted for a bit, probably clocked the watch was a Sub with a green bezel and grabbed his arm. She escaped in a grey car, probably driven by her crime partner. It’s possible they saw the watch in a  shop, or have seen the guy locally before.

Verdict; be careful not to wear your Rolex while out for a casual walk, especially in summer when you might have a short sleeve shirt on.  Save it for special occasions.

EAST GRINSTEAD HEIST

Another female thief, this time in East Grinstead. Again a fairly affluent area, so always be wary of people watching you, or asking about your watch in such areas. Notice the thief chose Waitrose, targeting wealthier customers.

She approached the woman as she was distracted by packing shopping. Young woman, plder victim, so helpless as regards defending herself. She chatted, went for the charity hug, and stole her Rolex. Note the thief using the charity worker disguise with clipboard and hooded anorak, which helps them hide their faces on CCTV.

Verdict; never speak to or engage with so-called charity workers in public. Don’t wear your Rolex to go supermarket shopping, there are too many chancers walking the aisles looking for older, vulnerable people.

MANC GANGSTERS

Probably the most scary type of thief is the semi-pro Rolex or luxury watch gang. They are usually violent drug dealers, and like to scope out people’s houses, drive around wealthy areas and love to follow older victims home.

This Manchester gang broke into a house in Hale, which is the wealthiest part of Greater Manchester. Yep, richer than Wilmslow. They separated the wife from her husband, hit the man, located a rare Rolex and left rapidly. They ambushed another guy as he arrived home by car from the supermarket. Stole a valuable Rolex.

In both cases, the victims believed they were targeted and followed, possibly for some time. That is highly likely.

What’s also likely is that inside info has been passed onto the gang by someone working in a Manchester watch dealership, which is very difficult to prove, but the most likely explanation of how the gang were able to plan a breakfast time raid on someone. Not only did they know the address, who lived at the address etc. but they knew the Rolex was upstairs – how do you acquire information like that? Not at Waitrose most likely.

Verdict: Think carefully about who you are buying a watch from and how much data you trade to make the purchase. You can’t avoid giving your address, but avoid younger staff members, or flash git shop workers who seem to live a luxury lifestyle on car wash wages. They might well trade your data for a cash bribe, it doesn’t happen often, but it happens.

Baume & Mercier Riviera is a Quick Change Artist

We have seen lots of green dial watches from TAG, Rolex, IWC, Breitling, Oris and more over the last year. Baume and Mercier has joined the party, with their green dial Riviera model, for men and ladies. Very trick strap change tech on the lugs too.

Yes, it does look a bit like an AP Royal Oak from a distance too – quite handy. Love the 42mm case size too. Here’s the press info;

Originally created in 1973, the Riviera watch has been given a new lease on life this year. It is going green this summer to express the energy, joie de vivre, and natural environment of its homeland: the elegant coasts of the Mediterranean.

The watch is strongly symbolic of Baume & Mercier, and retains the distinctive dodecagonal bezel and streamlined steel case that have brought it such renown. Following on from the new pieces presented during Watches & Wonders 2021, the Riviera is now adorned with a very summery and radiant green: irresistible.

This Brand icon is also wonderfully versatile with a new interchangeability system and an assortment of colored bracelets.

It was first created in Saint-Tropez in the 1970s and still conveys that wild decade’s values of happiness and carefree living. (many of us were on a three day week, using outside toilets, suffering regular power cuts, plus hyper inflation of 26% – Ed)

Summer in green

After the new collection was presented at Watches & Wonders 2021, Baume & Mercier expressed an ever more impactful style in connection with its rich history. A clever combination of “seventies-style” avant-garde design and the sporty classicism of contemporary watchmaking, the Riviera is going green for an exciting comeback. The color of these two incredibly characterful watches is synonymous with hope and a love of nature.

The first green creation is the 36 mm diameter model, aimed at women from all walks of life as well as men looking for a sporty and understated watch.

In steel, this Riviera – water-resistant to 50 meters as for all models of this size – features a light green dial with a refined sun-satin finish and is decorated with delicate stylized waves. This watch is unrivaled in its elegance, and powered by a new generation “Swiss made” quartz movement that provides 10 years of autonomy.

MENS MODEL

More masculine in size, the second Riviera has a dark green dial and is decorated with an exclusive nautical motif. It comes in an automatic “Swiss made” version in satin-finished and polished steel and measures 42 mm in diameter. It goes without saying that it also features the celebrated dodecagonal bezel. The radiant satin sunray dial is decorated in green, which accentuates its cool and contemporary design and offers water-resistance to 100 meters.

STRAP CHANGEOVER SYSTEM IS COOL

Asserting its design expertise once more, Baume & Mercier has paid special attention to how the bracelet (steel or rubber) fits onto the case for all the pieces in the Riviera collection that was unveiled this year.

The system has been thoughtfully designed by Baume & Mercier watchmakers to provide the Riviera with beautifully balanced proportions as well as increased comfort for its wearer. With their summery style, the two new pieces are decorated in interchangeable green grained and satin rubber straps, and are fitted with a triple folding security clasp.

See the video here;

They also feature the ingenious Fast Strap interchangeability system developed by Baume & Mercier, so the flexible or steel bracelet can be changed in just a few seconds. With this brand-new Fast Strap system, the bracelets can simply be clipped into the center of the lug. There is no requirement for specific tools or force.

Simple and straightforward. The rubber strap is available in various colors (black, blue, green, azure blue, white and mauve) so you can match the Riviera to your mood. Changing the bracelet on a watch transforms its appearance. The Riviera is naturally versatile, and knows how to do this to its best advantage.

We can’t see this one on the company website so we will take a guess and say it retails at £2250. Ish.

TAG Titanium: Fade To Grey 500 Pieces Ltd Edition

Yes we missed the press info on the TAG Monaco Ltd Edition with a titanium case. It is kinda cool, so here is the catch up;

TAG Heuer delights its racing fans and lovers of fine watchmaking with a new and limited-edition collectable, the TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition – an instant classic inspired by the collection’s origins in motorsports, this time in an unexpected and striking material, titanium. Expressing the timeless elegance of the TAG Heuer Monaco, this exclusive chronograph limited to 500 pieces is also infused with bold modernity.

This new TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition features a vivid and gleaming silver-coloured dial which perfectly complements the titanium case. A rare edition in the TAG Heuer Monaco collection, the light dial offers the benefit of very good visibility and an attractive contrast to the sub-dials, indexes and hands of the watch.

This special-edition TAG Heuer Monaco Titan is equipped with a modern version of the famous Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement which celebrated its debut in the original 1969 Monaco.

Verdict: Nope, the Gulf model is still the Boss. Closely foloowed by tyhe blue dial variants.

Football Fan Hub? That’s The Latest Hublot Big Bang

Hublot is celebrating its association with the UEFA EURO 2020™ tournament by presenting the official timepiece of the UEFA EURO 2020™ European Championship – the Big Bang e connected watch – as well as a brand-new podcast.

Hublot is offering this one as a limited-edition of 1,000 pieces.

After a year-long postponement during the pandemic, for the first time in its history the UEFA EURO 2020™ European Championship will be held in 11 cities in 11 different countries. The bezel on the Big Bang e watch sports the colours of the flags of the 12 nations initially planned to host.

Aesthetically, it features the attributes of the brand’s iconic Big Bang model. For greater ergonomics, it is available in a 42 mm case in Black Magic, the spectacular polished black ceramic developed by Hublot technicians, which is water-resistant to a depth of 30 metres.

The sapphire crystal means the AMOLED high definition touchscreen is easy to use while, just like a mechanical watch, the push-button on the rotary crown is used to activate its functions.

It is fitted with a complex electronic module developed in partnership with other brands within the LVMH group. It operates on WearOS by Google software, which has been adapted and perfected to meet Hublot’s requirements, notably via an app specially dedicated to football which enables users to follow the competition in real time.

Amongst the features of this watch, in addition, of course, to following the timing of the matches with timekeeping, half-time, extra time and the end of the match, the Big Bang e also notifies the wearer of cards awarded, player substitutions, penalties and goals. There is also the option to view information on the team line-ups, the players’ rankings and their position on the field.

The watch is priced at £4800 in the UK. Kinda cheeky for a smartwatch we reckon, but Hublot has a devoted fanbase in the world of football, namely the overpaid Premier level players and their entourage, so shifting 1000 of these shouldn’t be too hard.

FLAG DOWNLOADS

Moreover, users will also be able to download, free of charge, dials in the colour of their country exclusively developed for the Big Bang e from the Google Play Store, an offer not compatible with other connected watches already available on the market.

In addition, as well as the magnificent rubber strap with titanium deployant buckle clasp supplied as standard, fans will have the opportunity to purchase other straps in the colours of their favourite teams. These will be easily interchangeable thanks to the famous one-click system developed by Hublot.

FREEBIES FOR REFEREES

For the UEFA EURO 2020™ European Championship, Hublot will be equipping all the referees officiating during the tournament with special Big Bang e Referee watches. This special version will help the refereeing body to manage the timekeeping of the matches and any extra time, and will be connected to Goal-line technology and the famous VAR video control system. The board used by the fourth official to show player substitutions will also be sporting Hublot colours.

In its drive to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation, Hublot has pursued its exploration in every dimension of technology and so, from 12th May, is launching a podcast series called “Hublot Fusion Podcast”. Hosted by French sports broadcast journalist Anne-Laure Bonnet, these 12 episodes will feature interviews with footballing legends, as well as with friends and ambassadors of Hublot. The podcasts will focus on the 12 universal values of victory: solidarity, union, passion, commitment, inclusion, equality, friendship, justice, respect, fair play, tolerance and sharing.

In another major new initiative, 200 customers of the Big Bang e joining the Hublotista community will be given a non-fungible token (NFT) containing an excerpt from one of the episodes of the “Hublot Fusion Podcast”! These tokens were developed with the leading ETHEREUM software company : ConsenSys. The tokens strictly comply with the ERC-1155 standard, and their owners can exchange these tokens on platforms which are benchmarks in the world of NFTs, including OpenSea.

The 1,000 Hublot Big Bang e UEFA EURO 2020™ connected watches are available exclusively on the brand’s e-commerce platform www.hublot.com from May 12th until May 26th, and then in Hublot boutiques.