Category Archives: Classic Swiss

Zodiac Embraces Bold Vintage Colours

Zodiac are lovin’ bold colours this summer, with new additions to the Super Sea Wolf range.  There’s a grass green/orange bezel option, an all blue dial/bezel combo and a brilliant white in the line-up.

Otherwise the SSW is unchanged, with 200m of water resistance, a steel case and bracelet, automatic movement and a 40mm case width. It’s an attractive all-rounder as well as a dive watch, although at £1495 it’s expensive for the spec.

Rivals? Lots of indie brand divers at 200m of resistance and if you like bright colours the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine has plenty of blue or green dial options, some with bronze cases too, at about £1100 or less, depending on spec.

Then there are Certina, Baltic, Magrette, Enoksen, Squale, Invicta and yeah…that Japanese brand Seiko makes a few nice divers under £1000 too.

More Zodiac info here.

 

Bell+Ross BR-05 Skeleton Ltd Edition

The word from Bell+Ross, who have a new skeleton addition to their range. It has a 40mm steel case, comes with a green strap option, or steel bracelet, and is limited to 500 pieces.

Here’s the word;

Traditionally used in fine watchmaking, the technique of skeleton work magnifies the mechanism by cutting out the maximum material to reveal the essential. 

This watch exposes its mechanical heart:the BR-CAL-322 calibre, Swiss Made, with automatic winding. The geartrain that drives it, engages in a fascinating ballet. 

The movement and dial assembly are based on a complex construction: it consists of the watch mechanism covered with a green tinted crystal, then a flange housing the indexes, all magnified by sapphire crystal.

It’s a limited edition of 500 pieces and we like the way the caseback looks a bit like an alloy wheel on a sports coupe. Prices start at £5400, which is at the CW Sellors website in the UK.

Verdict: You have to love that whole aviation cockpit dials thing to worship Bell+Ross. Other Swiss rivals offer a sounder investment long term, and some might say a less utilitarian vibe, for around £3000-£3500.

A Waiting List For a Hamilton? Yep, Seriously

The latest from Hamilton is a surprising one; a vintage aviation style chronograph, with a grey dial, modest 40mm case width and vintage details like the military style numbers and lume.

At £1800 this isn’t cheap and even with a 60 hour reserve and sapphire crystal, there are cheaper alternatives around from many Indie brands. You can pre-order on the website by the way, so yeah, they are trying that waiting list tactic beloved of Rolex and other brands.

Here’s the word from Hamilton;

With a distinct vintage military aviation design, the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph brings back the form and function of the chronographs issued to British Royal Air Force pilots in the 1970s. Rugged and reliable, the 40mm watch is powered by our exclusive hand-wound H-51-Si movement.

Verdict: Beautiful old school styling but should be around £1300 RRP.  Alternatives include a Forza Drive King quartz at £400, a Certina DS-2 quartz at £700 or a Baltic Bicompax 002, which admittedly only has a Seagull movement. Only £540 though.

There is always the classic choice of picking up a Breitling Top Time secondhand for about the same £1800 asking price for this Hamilton. I guarantee the Breitling will have a higher resale value after 1 year, or 100 years.

Love Recycling? Luminox Bear Grylls Survival is The Watch You Need

Luminox are celebrating Earth Day with three additions to their Survival ECO Master range, which are endorsed by celeb outdoors presenter Bear Grylls.

Featuring bright blue, yellow and green dials, recycled cases, bezels and straps, these are chunky 45mm wide watches with bright superlume on the markers and hands. Expensive for a plastic watch you might say at £849, but then Casio are selling plastic watches for two grand.

Verdict; tool watch that should last for decades, interesting alternative to a Casio G-Shock, Timex Expedition or a Victorinox. Plus you get that greener-than-thou halo of virtue, which is nice.

More here.

Panerai Sub Is One Sharp Tool

Panerai expanded its Submersible range this year at Watches and Wonders, and we love the deep Blu Profondo model the best. Blue seems natural for any dive watch, but the proportions of this watch are spot-on too.

 

What we love about this model is the simplicity of its design; it is functional with bold markers, big hands, lots of lume and 300m depth resistance. But the blue woven strap, the dash of blue on the winding crown, these are the little details that set it apart.

Is it worth nine grand? We say not quite. There are better dive watches, with helium valves and 500-600m resistance for half the cash. There are square case watches that have the same boxy visual appeal, the TAG Monaco being the most famous example, Bell+Ross offering some alternatives too.

But it has got that Panerai name and let’s be honest, that adds a little something more than a TAG. Here’s the word from Panerai, who have a woke lecture to deliver;

Panerai is committed to developing strategies for a sustainable future, including reducing waste and promoting reuse of materials.

Its 44mm case, caseback, Safety Lock crown protection device and the ceramic anti-clockwise rotating bezel with graduated scale are made of eSteel™, recognizing the critical importance of sustainability goals: 72g of the watch is made of recycled materials, corresponding to 52% of the total weight of the watch (that is 137g).

The dial and bezel of the 44mm Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel™ match in color with a blu polished gradient. The watch features the P.900, an automatic caliber that is only 4.2mm thick and supports a date indication and three-day power reserve.

Its functions include hours, minutes, small seconds, date and calculation of immersion time. The Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel™ is water-resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 meters).

Two straps are included with the watch, both in the same color as their companion dial: the first strap is composed of fabric made of recycled PET, while the second strap is made from recycled rubber.

Baume & Mercier Classima Just Lacks Pizazz

Baume and Mercier are a slightly offbeat brand for most watch collectors in the UK. Yes, they are Swiss, part  of the giant Richemont Group. But Baume lacks the luxury cachet of IWC, JLC, Panerai or Cartier. It’s seen as a starter brand, one for the poorer watch fans.

OK, the Classima model is relatively inexpensive, with models starting at £1650. Using a Sellita SW200 movement helps reduce costs. The new for 2022 Classima is a 42mm all-rounder, in black, pastel green, or a wine dark red dial colour.

Three hander, date window, steel case. Roman numerals for that old school look. It’s a decent watch, but yeah, for that money you can buy a striking Indie brand watch with the Sellita SW200 inside it, that has more features, more depth resistance…more style frankly.

When you look at what Tissot are doing this year, or Rado’s latest Captain Cook models, you can see that £1650 is better spent elsewhere.

Here’s the blurb from B&M;

The Classima is the round watch with perfect proportions that is so delightful to wear that it becomes a second skin. It is a classic that has been perennially fashionable since 2004, and Baume & Mercier is delighted to reveal trendy new looks for it each year. Innovative materials are combined to create contrast, while various fresh colors offer a creative touch.

The Baume & Mercier Design Studio plays with the composition, experimenting and making special variations on the Classima collection each year. The Classima is back in 2022 with four new self-winding watches for men and women, to mix or match. Round without being focused on shape, modern yet original, elegant yet casual: with the Classima, it’s all about enjoying yourself. The Classima, the ideal first Swiss timepiece for watch newcomers.

A STREET STYLE LOOK INSPIRED BY THE NATURE

Baume & Mercier revisits the street style codes in a play of materials and timeless shades. Khaki is in the spotlight, with a versatile palette ranging from sand beige to olive green, offering a natural effect that adapts to every style.  With two large-sized models for a casual yet refined look, Classima explores this trend with elegance and understatement: khaki and sand hues, and a mixture of canvas, slate and steel… The Brand unveils two looks that will become essential for the summer season, evoking adventure and nature.

Each watch features a 42 mm polished steel case with a screwed back and a self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve.

Ball Engineer Endurance: Spirit of 1917

The latest from Ball is the Engineer Endurance III, with the usual gas tube lume. There are four variations of this watch, so you can buy the base model for £1260, or go large at £2190 for the TMT 42mm 1917 edition, which has a temp gauge on the dial.

Handy for those polar expeditions, or as people in Scotland call it, going oot daeing the January sales.

Here’s the word from Ball.

Trapped by the frozen sea, but not by fear, Sir Ernest Shackleton led his stranded crew for almost two antarctic years. As his leadership, courage and optimism continue to captivate explorers around the world, we’re proud to introduce our second series inspired by his legacy.
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.

 

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium: Basic Tool, Touch of Cool

The military watch should always be basic; stripped down to the essentials, clear dial numbers, lume, decent winding crown so you can operate using gloves outdoors – those kinda touches, do we agree?

Yeah, Seiko have been doing this right for decades and ther’s a range of mil-spec Indie models too. But if you want a Swiss brand name, then Hamilton has this titanium case Khaki for 2022 on the blocks.

You get that lightweight case, 42mm wide, with the H10, 80 hour movement inside. Big bold numbers on the chapter ring – that we definitely like. Blue, green or black dial colours, plus it retails at £950 which is not too bad for an entry level Swiss watch.

It’s a classic, understated military tool watch. And that has its place in watch collecting we think.

More here. 

ID Watches Go Full Circle

Swiss brand ID has released details on the Circular S model, which as the name suggests takes the circular economy as inspiration. Basically we refurbish, and re-use materials, rather than send them to landfill.

So this luxury watch uses a recycled steel case, rather than all the mining, smelting, rolling and forging that goes on with making steel products from scratch. But that’s just the start..

The straps are made from recycled waste products too.

The furnace used for the steel recycling is also solar powered, so there’s that carbon saving bonus too. Although solar panels have to be made somewhere, transported, then have a 10 year lifespan before they cannot produce electricity efficiently.

Here’s the press blurb;

The carbon impact from recycled steel is 165 times lower than the industry average 4441 steel with 0.041 kg CO2 equivalent, compared to 6.8 kg CO2 equivalent for the conventional steel, in other words almost carbon neutral.

This very exciting solar steel solution is a true revolution in the raw material market, the planet’s number one polluter.

RECYCLED ETA MOVEMENT

The Circular S also uses the famous ETA 2824 series movement, expertly stripped and refurbished – again saving on new movement production.

In this, NWC mag agrees there are plenty of existing Swiss movements available to power new watches for decades to come – it also creates work for watchmakers, which is a social good. If only brands like Rolex would offer in-house refurbishment via their AD network, rather than a 10% discount on a new model. Not everyone wants to bin off their old Explorer or Datejust.

The Circular S retails at CHF 3940, which is about £3,250.

More info here.

Luminox Navy Seals Are Super Value

Let’s be honest, you don’t get a great dive spec from many prestige Swiss watch brands. 200m resistance for two grand? Not that tempting really.

But Luminox take that more utilitarian, military spec approach. The new Navy Seal dive models aren’t going to impress your mates at Goodwood races, but they will do the job – and cost under £500. Handy.

Beefy 45mm steel cases, uni-directional bezel. Big crown with protector lug. Big lugs too as it goes. Yeah functional.

Swiss quartz movement, decent lume on the hadns and markers, plus 200m of resistance. Blue or black dial options, steel or rubber strap. They guarantee the lume for 25 years too, which is kinda reassuring for any preppers kitting out their bunkers right now.

More here.