Category Archives: Classic Swiss

Can Recycled Watches Help Save The Planet?

As activists around the developed world furiously try to impose their Marxist utopian visions on the rest of us, one target in their sights in consumerism itself. XR and many others want us to consume less – of everything; from meat to fast fashion, plastic to Swiss watches.

Those who disobey this edict can often find their companies being boycotted on Twitter, or other Woke spokespersons flaming them on mainstream media. Just look at the recent Amazon Black Friday protests in the UK and the coverage they get.

But one company in Switzerland is ahead of the curve when it comes to cancel culture, and they’re insuring their future – and the planet’s – to an extent, by using 100% recycled materials in their watches.

That is a great 12 o’clock indicator by the way.

ID Geneve are using refurbished existing movements, rather than building brand new ones. They also make their cases from recycled steel. The straps are made from reclaimed grape press residue, which is a new one on us at NWC mag.

They even have a modular design, so some parts are inter-changeable, which makes service and repair easier and thus extends the lifespan of the product.

There is a lesson here for mass production quartz watch producers too; make it easier for people to repair your fashion watches, and cheaper, so they don’t all end up in landfill.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY NEEDS TO BE FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST THE POOR

You have to hand it to ID, they are doing the circular economy thing to the next level. Maybe this is the future for many watch collectors? Recycle what you have, upgrade the watch with new recycled parts every few years, rather than acquire new watches?

Or perhaps new flagship luxury timepieces will be reserved for the tech/celeb/political elite, just like petrol supercars, jetset travel and the best healthcare already is?

At 3500 Swiss Francs (£2800 APPROX)  this is not a cheap watch. There has to be a way of recycling Swiss watches that are inclusive to all, truly affordable, otherwise the consumer will do the maths and realise a new Tissot, Frederique Constant, Hamilton or Oris is a better choice than the ID Geneve, despite its obvious greener, 100% recycled, credentials.

If you look at what VinMov are doing in terms of recasing quality Swiss movements, then you can see there is a way of doing this. True, not every part is recycled, but with prices at under £300 mere mortals can afford to preserve some Swiss watchmaking heritage.

Orologium Harrogate Black Friday Sale

One of our fave watch shops in the UK, Orologium, is enthusiast driven and all about showcasing the best of vintage Swiss watches for colectors who know their stuff.

Right now, they have up to 30% off selected watches and this Rolex Sea-Dweller caught our eye at £8950, which is a hefty discount on the previous price. Has a box n paperwork and looks well cared for.

A 1960s Omega Constellation with the ever reliable 551 movement inside is also reduced to £1450.

If you like vintage watches then it’s worth checking out their site and nope, we aren’t on commission.

 

Rado Coupole: Classic Auto, With Reserve Indicator

You know what? There’s something reassuringly old school, about a power reserve indicator on a watch dial. It goes all the way back to the 1940s bumper automatics from Omega and JLC we reckon, just knowing that your watch had some charge..or needed a shakedown.

So this Rado Coupole, despite its slightly pretentious name, wins an upvote from us at NWC mag. It has that classic car dashboard feel and the fume brown dial is arguably the best of the four different dial colourways.

Plus, it isn’t ceramic pottery, which is a bonus. Price of replacing those broken links, eh Rado fans?

At 41mm across it’s a nice compromise size, you get a sapphire crystal naturally and a big crown too. Inside you’ll find the same ETA derived automatic movement that powers other watches across the Swatch empire, so you have a reliable unit.

The only downside is the RRP of £1550 which is steep for something that shares a movement, give or take a few tweaks, with a Hamilton that retails for 1100 quid less.

More here.

Yema Wristmaster: Smoother Than Simon Templar

The new Yema Wristmaster has arrived. Teased on Kickstarter, this watch has attracted plenty of interest with the launch target of £42,600 or so easily surpassed with £388,000 pledged. Yeah that’s more faith than season ticket holders at Man Utd.

First off, let’s start with that name. Who really wants to be known as a Wristmaster? It’s a bit American Pie for us at NWC mag, but then we buy Chinese watches called Benyar or Guanqin, so let’s move on.

We love that hesalite high dome crystal, which is not only an authentic 60s watch feature, but has the charm of magnifying the edges of the dial. Always a nice touch when the dial is such a stunning shade of blue we reckon.

There’s a stunning Y logo engraved onto the caseback, which again adds that truly vintage touch. Plus we like the spacing on the caseback removal pin slots.  Very er..equidistant, that’s the word.  The vintage leather strap is a finishing touch that fits the overall mood perfectly too.

Finally, we go back to the dial and those big markers with a spot of lume set inside each one. A tiny detail, but it just looks so right. It’s an old school watch in every way and the whole package reminds us of the classic Timex and Tissot/Lanco models from the era. Clean, symmetrical, simplicity writ large. Or in this case, quite small, as the case  width is just 37mm.

There is a beige dial variant, but you know what, it’s too Milky Bar Kid compared to the blue version. Which rocks.

We think the original Wristmaster would have been worn by arch crimefighter n rescuer of damsels Simon Templar, aka The Saint. Although in reality, he sported a Bulova in the classic 60s TV show.

The Saint. The only TV hero who went around with a superlume watch bezel over his head. Fact.

The Yema Wristmaster 2021 is small for a modern watch, but you know what, we can see the appeal of choosing a modest gents watch. You get a timekeeper that is a true homage to the 60s Yema original, but with the Yema 2000 calibre inside, so modern day reliability.

Price starts at £399. More here at Yema’s site. 

 

Is Baselworld Consigned to The History Books?

Baselworld has been cancelled for 2022.

No, not because they invited John Cleese to present an award there for the Clockwise Clock of The Year, but just because…well the industry has moved on and globalists don’t really want lots of people travelling. Not even wealthy watch fans.

So here’s the statement from the Baselworld website.

“This decision is based on the one hand on the experience gained from the Pop Up Event at the Geneva Watch Days and on intensive discussions with manufacturers and retailers. On the other hand, it takes into account the fact that it is particularly difficult to launch a new concept for a new target segment due to the renewed aggravation of the COVID situation and the associated uncertainty among customers.

An interdisciplinary team from the MCH Group will analyze the target segments and, in close exchange with manufacturers and retailers, make a deep dive into their marketing and transaction needs.

We hope to come back to you soon with new and positive news about the future of Baselworld.”

VERDICT;

For what it’s worth, NWC mag doesn’t see any future in the old Baselworld, or anything like it where thousands of people converged on a small town and paid £700 a night for a bed, shower and breakfast of warm cheese toasties. It also became an almost abusive relationship between the town itself and the worldwide watch industry – you shall tolerate this **it or not get an invite next year.

For logistical reasons it makes sense to organise a genuine TRADE ONLY fair in Switzerland. Quick road trip with new watches, meet ADs, distributors, general schmoozing, gift bags all round and then a short hop back with the stock to secure underground vaults in the factory.

But please, send the superyacht celebs, wannabe Bitcoin millionaires, watch vloggers and other assorted `influencers’ to somewhere like Shanghai, where a consumer show actually makes sense. That’s where the market is for luxury watches, in the brighest Blade Runner-esque city, within the borders of the biggest superpower on the planet.

Ball Roadmaster Pilot GMT, With Quick-Set Feature

The latest from Ball Watches – this is another handsome GMT model, with that traditional Ball lume all over the show. The GMT hand quick-set feature is a nifty gadget if you are a regular traveller. Here’s the word;

The Roadmaster Pilot GMT series is equipped with two remarkable timekeeping functions that soar to new levels of convenience. When travelling, simply push the quick-set buttons to jump the local 12-hour hand to its desired position without stopping the seconds hand.
Then easily turn the crown to jump the date correctly into position, eliminating the need to circle the dial with the hour hand. Complete with a virtually-scratchproof ceramic bezel, amazingly bright micro gas lights and chronometer-grade precision, the Pilot GMT is an ingenious traveler’s watch for the modern explorer.
Watch the You Tube promo here;

The Roadmaster Pilot GMT series comes in 3 different variations and we are proud to introduce the latest addition with the black-green two-tone bezel that makes a striking statement with its vivid color.

Limited to 1,000 pieces each. Now available for pre-order until 15 December 2021 at an exclusive price, which is £1851.

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. 

Formex Updates Reef Dive Model, New White Dial Option

Formex has sent us info on their latest incarnation of the Reef dive model. It gets a white dial option which is handy but more important for us at NWC mag is the techie gadget stuff.

You can change the bezel and the straps, all without tools. That’s a neat trick, because usually you need a case knife to carefully prise a bezel free and even then, it can be a tricky business on some watches.

Then there’s the old sping bar pins – another load of hassle for many owners, who find inserting a v-shaped tool isn’t that easy on some watches with flush fitting bracelets and leather straps. The result can be a scratched PVD/chrome/gold tone coating on the lugs – not good.

So hats off to Formex for solving those problems, plus the 120 click bezel now has a smoother nylon ring fitting, for a better action, says Formex. It’s a COSC level, Sellita powered 300m dive watch by the way, retails at £1450.

More here. 

Alpina Heritage Diver & Startimer Pilot Models

Alpina has launched two new heritage models, capturing the looks of the past, but featuring modern technology. Here’s the word from Alpina;

Nothing could better describe the Heritage designs by Alpina, the Swiss manufacture founded in 1883 that has built its reputation on creating watches that are water-resistant, shock-resistant, anti-magnetic and rust-proof. It is this pioneering vision put forward some 138 years ago that still enables Alpina to be the benchmark for the “tool watch”, designed for explorers of the deep sea and the skies.

Going back in time

For divers, Alpina can now unveil a reinterpretation of its famous Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic. The fifth timepiece from this successful line rightly recalls that being passionate about the sea requires efficient, accurate, legible and robust instruments.

Water-resistant to 300 metres, this new 42 mm design with steel case has no room for novelty or unnecessary complications, but the moving inner flange lets you measure your immersion time in hours, minutes and seconds. Practical and timeless, its black lacquered sunray-brushed dial features gold plated luminescent hands, creating the contrast required to make it easy to read, even in the low light of the deep sea.

As with any authentic diver’s watch, and in order to ensure it is waster-resistant to 300 metres, the two push-buttons (movement winding and time setting at 4 o’clock, adjustment of the movable flange at 2 o’clock) are screwed in. The Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic’s engraved case back also reaffirms its nautical vocation.

As an update this vintage look, Alpina has equipped its creation with the AL-520 movement, a modern automatic calibre with 38 hours power reserve. Similarly, the traditional hesalite glass has been replaced with an anti-scratch sapphire glass, meaning that the Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic is now as at home in the sea as it is in the urban jungle. To this end, the Alpina timepiece also comes with two straps, one in brown calfskin leather and the other in beige topstitched rubber.

Queen of the skies

As far as flying is concerned, Alpina has also expanded its Heritage designs with the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic. The piece was modelled on original creations from the 20s. This new variation adds to the existing collection with blue and beige tones that evoke the sky and the historical counters used by aviation pioneers. Inside the 44 mm diameter case beats an automatic movement with 38 hours power reserve, driving three hands and the date at 3 o’clock.

Vintage foldover caseback cover is a neat touch.

Alpina has kept the original look of its Twenties timepieces by sticking with the same Arabic numerals and luminescent beige hands as the dials from the era. Their generous proportions help make them easy to read, even when flying.

For long-haul pilots, Alpina has also given the watch a 24 hour dial. At 12 o’clock, as well as at the tip of the seconds hand, you can find the manufacture’s symbolic triangle, representing the Alpine peaks. The final finishing touch is provided by an “onion” crown, the standard in the last century, designed for optimum grip, even with flying gloves on.

Discerning collectors will also have spotted the push-button at 4 o’clock. The latter opens the Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic’s steel back. Known as the “officer’s case back”, the system allows the AL-525 automatic movement to be admired through the transparent case back for the exclusive enjoyment of the owners – a personal pleasure typical of the 20s and 30s, but not available to all; this Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic with blue calfskin leather strap will be limited to 288 pieces.

More here at the Alpina website.

Ball Engineer Moonphase: Luxury Dress Watch

Ball has something different on the blocks; a moon phase dress watch. Rather than another variant on the dive/tool watch theme, this one has a classic style dial, plenty of gas tube lume, plus a day/month feature near the top of the dial that gives it that old school Swiss watch look.

It is still quite tall at over 13mm, so you won’t get that slimline feel and it has recessed pushers for the complications, bit like an early 80s digital watch, so you might find that a bit fiddly to operate.

At over £1800, it’s an expensive deal, even on pre-order. Limited to 1000 pieces but we can’t see this becoming a collectors item in the future.

Lovely see-thru caseback by the way, beautifully decorated movement.

Verdict; a Frederique Constant Moonphase Slimline does much the same basic moonphase job for £695, although it lacks the day/month features. An Oris Artelier Complication has an elegant appearance, does the month, day, date stuff and retails at £1240 – has that Swiss made kudos too.

Or you could buy a beautiful 1950s Hermes triple date from Japan that we spotted on eBay for under 800 quid – import tax on top. Yes, it’s an old vintage watch, but arguably will hold its value better than a new Ball. Just saying.