Category Archives: Best Swiss watches

Ball Engineer 1917: GMT For Modern Explorers

The latest from Ball Watches in Switzerland, celebrating that polar explorer chap Shackleton. Here’s the word;

The 41mm Engineer III Endurance 1917 GMT features our Manufacture GMT Caliber RRM7337-C – a true GMT chronometer – wrapped in a 904L stainless steel case and shining with micro gas tube luminosity.
Three complementary models are also available, each designed with unique features yet united by incomparable brightness and high-quality build.
Limited to 1000 pieces each, the series is now available for pre-order until 01 June 2022 at an exclusive price. The entry level is £1260 and the range topper in green is £2190 on a steel bracelet.
Our fave is the ice blue dial model, which fits that polar theme of course. Nice cyclops on the date and dare we say it, that blue is er..Tiffanyesque? So yeah, you get that latest Rolex vibe without the waiting list.
Verdict; worth a look on pre-order at £1990, as this is a COSC grade GMT, Swiss made too. Rivals include the TAG Aquaracer GMT at about 2K, the Oris Aquis GMT, maybe the Breitling Avenger GMT has more investment potential long term, although it retails at about £3500 new?
More from Ball here.

Armin Strom: Why Does The Bear Follow The Salmon?

The latest funky engineering from Armin Strom features a salmon coloured dial, limited edition of just five pieces. Yep five. Like a bear stalking the salmon leap, wealthy watch collectors are loving this intricate workmanship.

Here’s the word;

After the“Sky Blue” and “Sea Green” editions of its innovative Pure Resonance model, Armin Strom celebrates the golden age of precision chronometry with a more traditional but equally striking “Salmon” guillochédial, handcrafted by Kari Voutilainen in a limited edition of only five pieces.

The physical phenomenon of resonance has long been a source of intrigue and fascination for watchmakers. It allows for a more regular timekeeping rate by synchronizing two balance wheels that oscillate in opposite directions at the same time. Even in modern watchmaking, watches incorporating the physical phenomenon are few and far between.

In fact, only ahandful of watchmakers in the entire history of watchmaking have attempted to harness the potential of this physical phenomenon, with varying levels of success and reproducible reliability.

IT’S ANTI-SHOCK, BUT NEXT LEVEL

With its ground-breakingand patented Resonance Clutch Spring, Armin Strom has succeeded where other watchmakers could not. The result of years of intensive research by ClaudeGreisler and the Armin Strom manufacture, it ingeniously incorporates the physical phenomenon of resonance by directly connecting two hairsprings for the fastest and most regular resonant state ever witnessed in a wristwatch, resulting in exceptional chronometric stability that is much more impervious to shocks and positional rate variances than traditionally built movements.

Lavishly hand-finished throughout with bevelled and polished edges and wide côtes-de-Genève stripes, this special edition is further embellished with a coppery-rose “salmon”coloured guilloché engraved dial, handcrafted by the celebrated independent and artisanal watchmaker Kari Voutilainen’s atelier using a traditional manual rose-engine lathe for a truly lavish touch.

The salmon colour and radiant guilloché pattern add a touch of old-worldchronometry to an otherwise cutting-edge piece of creative and highly technical independentwatchmaking.

On pre-order now, price is £53,000. More info from Armin Strom. 

We Need To Talk About The Rolex Yachtmaster 40

There is a place in the world of watches for statement pieces, crazy-ass blingy timepieces that scream to the populace, `Hey dudes, I’m so rich I have no idea what to spend all this cash on, so check this out.’

MB&F HM10 Bulldog. HG Wells would have bought two.

It could be a Roger Dubois Excalibur complete with Knights of Ye Rounde Table. Maybe a Richard Mille, or perhaps an MB&F HM10 Bulldog, which looks like a machine from War of The Worlds from some angles. It costs a cool 100K or so, but for less you could buy a Rolex Yacht-Master 40, replete with different coloured diamonds and utterly useless as an ocean-going timekeeper.

Well not useless, but y’know, not ideal when the mainsail is flapping against your cheeks in a Force 8 off Bermuda.

FUNCTION HAS BEEN FORGOTTEN

Just listen to this from Rolex on its website;

“Launched in 1992, the Yacht-Master was designed specifically for navigators and skippers.”

OK, now look at the delicate bezel of diamonds and stone-set lugs that resemble Joseph’s Technicolour Dreamcoat re-imagined by Liz Taylor.  Yeah, you get the picture. Reality has colllided with marketing BS and the results are kinda laughable.

Wait, there’s more.

“The 40 mm Oyster case of the new Yacht-Master 40 is a paragon of robustness and reliability. Its middle case is crafted from a solid block of 18 ct white gold. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement.”

Right, so you now own a watch that even a trained watchmaker cannot get inside to service, ever.

Hmm, that’s going to be a problem when your Ukrainian trophy mistress in Monaco drops a tray of cocktails onto your arm and some Sex On The Beach residue sneaks inside the winding crown. Painful.

YES, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MOVEMENT?

As if you care. OK, it has the 3235 movement inside, which is COSC level and features a 70 hour reserve. Parachrom hairspring. Let’s be blunt, it isn’t anything special, you can get a similar spec from a Tudor Black Bay.

Just for laughs, you can order this one with a white gold bracelet, or a silicone strap, in case you actuually want to venture underwater, whilst wearing a watch that looks like a Pride parade on your wrist.

Rolex have really divorced themselves from the real world of watch collecting with this model and ventured boldly into a world of the super-woke, super-rich, who spend their days tweeting from private jets about how we should all eat insects and give up our Peugeot diesels.

Unlike MB&F, Urwerk, Roger Dubois, Arnold & Son or a host of other horological enthusiasts driven by a passion to create mind-blowing watches, that channel the spirit of Breguet and Harrison, Rolex are simply selling a label.

The gaudiest crowns tend to sit uneasily upon a fool’s brow.

Rolex make some great Subs, Explorers and Daytonas, but fripperies like this are an indicator of marketing people running a company, not engineers. Just like BSA-Triumph in the late 60s, this Swiss giant is heading for a fall.

 

 

Rebellion Re-Volt Dakar is Super Rare

We love the Dakar here at NWC magazine, even though it has decamped to Saudi Arabia. It remains the toughest off-road race out there and Rebellion watches have done a great job in capturing the right look for a tie-in watch.

Complete with Dakar logo, desert sand strap, plus the gas/brake markings on the chrono button, this Re-Volt model is available in just 20 pieces, so yeah, pretty limited edition. Price is 26,500 CHF, or about £21,500.

Here’s the word from Rebellion;

The Re-Volt Chrono Dakar is a concentrate of the racing spirit. Unique, demanding and uncompromising, this limited edition features a striking open architecture built around a titanium case with aerodynamic lines. Its ergonomics are designed like the cockpit of a GT in order to facilitate its use.

The hands move on a honeycomb dial like the grille of a supercar. The timing is carried out using the two push-buttons designed as accelerator and brake pedals.

The totalizer housed at 3 o’clock takes the features of a stylish tachometer. These and the indexes have golden tones. And to reinforce its “desert fox” personality, the Re-Volt Chrono Dakar is worn on a fabric strap in the colour of the landscapes of the rally tracks. Once again, every detail embodies Rebellion’s passion for the Dakar!

Which Is The Best Speedmaster 38 Model? Orbis Blue

Is the blue Orbis edition of the 2022 Omega Speedmaster 38 range the pick of the crop?

We only ask the question after window shopping their website and something just draws us to the Orbis at £4550. First of all, it’s a two shades of blue dial, and blue remains the most popular dial colour amongst watch fans.

So it isn’t a quirky, left-field choice like beige or gold, you just know someone will always PX a blue Omega in the future if needed.

Great contrast with the sub-dials too.

Next, you have the Co-axial Cal 3300 movement inside, with a healthy 52 hours of power. No, not as impressive as the Powermatic 80 in terms of reserve, but the longevity of the co-axial is one of its most appealing traits. George Daniels designed the co-ax escapement to make use of lower running speeds, which in turn means long life – and longer service intervals. It’s all good.

OK, so let’s look at the advantages of the Sedna gold variations; yes, the gold content adds some value to the watch. But even a solid 18K gold watch case probably scraps at between £600-£800 in the near future, depending on the price of gold bullion 2030-2040. So an 18K case doesn’t really add 10K of value to the watch. If it did, the watch would weigh about 6 ounces extra over the steel version.

The downside of owning a gold watch is that stupid drug-addled thieves think ITIS worth £14000, so they want to steal it using violence and then sell it to their dealer mates for 5K in cash plus a load of sniff.

So for us, the steel Speedmaster 38 Orbis, in stunning blue, is enough of a risk as regards wearing it openly at the races, weddings and business meetings.

Future classic. More here. 

Rado Captain Cook Ceramic Diver Is Interesting

Making a dive watch from a ceramic material is interesting, because most dive watches with 300m of resistance are steel. In reality there is some metal within the High Tech Ceramic material that Rado use, which obviously reduces the natural brittleness that pure ceramics often have.

You can learn more here btw;

OK, more abou the new dive models then;

It features a 43mm case width, sapphire crystal of course, stands over 14mm high on the wrist and has the R763 auto movement (ETA base) with 80 hours of reserve inside.

We love the deep dish dial, with its punchy graphics and bold touches of lume. It has the sort of simplicity that a dive watch demands, plus there are six different colour options if you want something to wear everyday, rather than use underwater.

There’s a nice blue dial variant, and the camo greeny-beige one with amtching bracelet is definitely different. It also costs a bit more than the base £2750 price for the plain black model.

More here.

Omega’s Aventurine Adventure For Ladies

Omega has been mixing jewelley with watches for decades and the new ladies Constellation models feature avenrutine semi-precious dials. Quite trick, not easy to slice stone ultra thin and polish it 100% flush to make a watch dial.

Here’s the word;

Aventurine is the name given to an authentic quartz mineral created by natural forces under the Earth. The shimmering appearance of the gemstone is due to light reflections coming from the multiple shaped inclusions known as mica and hematite, which create a glittering effect that has been loved and revered since ancient times.

You can choose diamond or no gemstone bezels by the way.

Case width is 29mm, full18K gold case models available and some 8700 pieces in all. Prices start at £9190 for the non-diamond models.

More here.

 

 

Bell+Ross Multimeter, For Those Sporting Calculations

The latest from Bell+Ross; do you rock the multimeter approach for tracking lap times, steps, pulse etc, or find the dial too busy?

The new BR 03-94 Multimeter takes up the iconic “circle within a square” shape of the emblematic cockpit clock. Created in 2005, this watch features a very graphic case, which has become a reference in terms of design. The 42 mm diameter of the BR 03-94 Multimeter makes it perfectly suitable for everyday use. The multicoloured dial of this sophisticated chronograph captivates the eye.

With this unique model, Bell & Ross wanted to show the high potential of the chronograph complication and its involvement in sport. Its name Multimeter evokes a time measuring instrument used for various sports competitions. The BR 03-94 Multimeter is aimed at all athletes involved in racing.

Like all stopwatches, the BR 03-94 Multimeter is intended for measuring short times. This novelty turns out to be multi-functional, as it combines all the information indicated by a chronograph. The BR 03-94 Multimeter represents a kind of ultimate instrument. It can be suitable for running, cycling, as well as for driving.

Its coloured dial uses the principle of colour differentiation of the various indications displayed on the dashboards of aircraft. Its matt black ceramic case contrasts with its eye-catching dial overflowing with information. To maintain readability and functionality, Bell & Ross has chosen a specific shade for each category of information.

ONE COLOUR, ONE FUNCTION

·    The Pulsometer scale is dressed in orange. It counts the heartbeats.

·    The Asthmometer scale is coated in bottle green. It monitors breaths and is expressed in expirations per minute.

·    The three Tachymeter scales opt for pale green, light grey and white. They measure speed, in km/h, is based on three different units of measurement: 100 m, 250 m or 1 km for the jogger, the cyclist and the third to the pilot.

It’s a limited edition of 500 pieces and price is £4900. More here.

 

Tissot PRX Line: Great Alternative to Moonswatch Mania

Yeah, we know the feeling, no Moonswatch in the collection, and who wants to pay those eBay scalper prices? But Tissot has added some new models to its suave, Seventies style PRX line, including a chronograph which is on the way in July.

Could that be an alternative to a couple of Moonswatch models? Yeah, we think so and here’s why.

Firstly, if you want quartz reliability and Swiss build quality for under £300 then Tissot can help. Not many Swiss brands can say the same. The Genta designed PRX comes in 40mm or a smaller 35mm case for 2022, which taps into that genuine old school 70s watch vibe. That was pretty much the standard case size back then as most collectors of vintage Rotary, Tissot, Montine, Lanco and other brands know.

Price for the entry level quartz is £295 in both sizes by the way. There are new dial colours like a sunray green, champagne and a pale blue as well, plus a gold coloured model, with gold tone on the dial and bracelet – that’s £375.

AUTOMATICS FOR THE PEOPLE

When it comes to Swiss made automatics the Powermatic 80 is a versatile, low maintenance movement that features in Certina and Hamilton watches too. Based on the old ETA 2824, the Powermatic 80 is reliable and relatively cheap to produce which helps keep the prices of Tissot automatics affordable, around £590.

Actually we found a few offers online at £535 or so, which looked genuine UK retailers.

For this year you can choose a waffle dial blue or black PRX auto, which adds a little AP Royal Oak feeling to the watch. That’s a nice Genta crossover reference, which really appeals to watch fans.

There are also a couple of 18K gold plated, fluted bezel PRX autos, which retails at around £1600, should you feel the need to go large on the bling, but stay classic 40mm case size. Very nice dress watch, has that classic Oyster feel to it, interesting rival to a Hamilton Jazzmaster, any Rado pottery watch or perhaps a pre-owned Omega De Ville.

THAT VALJOUX VIBE

The Valjoux 7750 automatic chrono movement remains a popular choice for many watch brands. Easy to see why; reliable, parts supply and repair is a cinch, plus people always want to buy a pre-owned Valjoux 7750 watch.

So the arrival later this year of the PRX chrono will be a sell-out, even at £1500 or so. It just looks spot-on, rather similar to the old Gucci Pantheon gents auto, with those slightly chamfered edge, oblong pushers on the case. That was a great watch by the way, Gucci should revive it.

The PRX Valjoux will come in blue/white or black/white dial options, with the black subs on white dial option having rose gold hands and baton markers. Blue will be the investment choice, it always is the most popular dial colour long term.

100m of depth resistance is handy to have and a 42mm case diameter is great for all seasons. Big enough to get noticed, but not football commentator 45mm plus. See-thru caseback and a bit of alloy petrolhead car wheel look about the rotor.

When you consider some cheeseheads are paying £1500 to own a Monnswatch right now, it makes sense to hold your cash until the summer and choose a PRX chrono instead. Just saying, we aren’t on commission or anything.

More here. 

 

Can Montblanc Break Free of The Pen?

Yeah, we know what you are thinking; Montblanc, that’s the pen brand isn’t it?

Well it is, but they are getting a reputation for creating some superb watches too and the latest 1858 Geosphere  Oxygen chrono shows that they can produce something that looks stunning, and delivers on tech features too. It made its debut at Watches & Wonders this week and is on pre-order.

Here’s the word on this limited edition;

Extreme adventure calls for extreme technology, like a movement that is both sealed and devoid of oxygen. The zero-oxygen feature on this Geosphere was created to improve the watch’s mountaineering performance by eliminating fogging, which can occur during drastic temperature changes at altitude.

Another new feature of the Geosphere line is the inclusion of a chronograph, thanks to the Manufacture MB 29.27 movement. It is housed in a lightweight 44mm satin-brushed and polished titanium case, and on the case back you’ll find a 3D engraving of Mount Everest.

Limited to just 290 pieces, the 0 Oxygen will be put to the test by alpinist Nimsdai Purja during an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, without supplemental oxygen.

Case width is 44m, the dial features two 3D globes, which show day vs night. Movement is in-house and a new MB29 calibre.

Could be based on a sister movement from the Richemont family and they have lots to choose from, with JLC, Vacheron, A Lange & Sohne, Roger Dubois, IWC and more in the stable. Makes sense to share base watch engines across the brands and let each house tweak a chrono their way. Just saying.

Cost is £7000. More here.