Category Archives: Watch market news

Ali Express Sub-a-Like for £31 – DECENT Replica or Timewaster?

We love testing watches here at Northern Watch Co magazine and this week we have been checking out the latest automatic to arrive from China, or possibly Singapore – hard to tell – in the shape of this sterile dial Rolex Sub look-a-likey.

First impressions;

Very well packaged in bubble wrap and then surrounded by a padded bubble bag, about the size of a large US style Coke can. The watch links and clasp were covered in sticky clear tape to prevent scratches and the blue tab on the crown needed some watch cleaner to remove the last bits.

Nothing protecting the crystal though.

There were two adjustable links on one side of the steel bracelet and three on the other. I neeed three links out to find the perfect fit on my wrist. The link pins are screwdown by the way, which is a quality touch I did not expect at this price.

Yes, the price. Just £31.56 including VAT and shipping – amazing.

Inside the movement sounds like the super-spinning DG variety, which you would expect for this money.

The DG is a copy of the Miyota automatic found in many Citizens, Accurists and countless microbrands over the last decade or so.

I haven’t bothered using my Rolex opening tool on the caseback to check it out, as the watch has been keeping good time for the last two days. Frankly, a DG movement photo isn’t going to be that exciting to look at.

Yep, you can wind it, or just shake it to get some reserve power in there.  Fully wound it ran for about 18 hours, which is not as good as a typical Seiko NH35/36 auto – but they cost the manufacturer a little bit more, so you pay £45-£65 or so for some of the Aliexpress watches that feature the Seiko engine.

Setting the date is easy, unscrew and pull the crown to the first position, and away you go. The second position sets the hands of course.

The clasp is nicely finished and closes with a healthy snap, plus it has a little foldover tab for security. The bezel is unidirectional and has orange numbers set into its ceramic surface. Lume is bright on the hands, not quite so bright on the hour markers.

DOWNSIDES?

There are a few sharp edges on the bracelet clasp. The crown needs a fair bit of pressure on the tube, so you really have to push in hard before trying to screw the crown down. You get used to it.

It would be great to have the option of paying a few pounds extra to have a brand name on the dial, even if it is a made up word, or perhaps just a logo graphic? Sharks, Rays n Turtles are kinda already spoken for, but maybe a marlin, or something ocean/dive related?

Just an idea, although personally I wouldn’t go diving wearing a £30 watch. It’s like the Bell helmet advert; if you have a ten dollar head, buy a ten dollar helmet.

VERDICT; Superb value for very little money. You won’t impress fellow watch nerds but you will get regular citizens doing a double take at your wrist, until you tell them, `yeah it’s a copy mate.’

Best plan these days, as you can get stabbed for a real Rolex.

Yema Summer Sale – Up To 30% Off Some Models

French brand Yema has some summer sale offers on right now, which end in about 12 days’ time.

We like the idea of 30% off the Superman Steel Grey Bronze, which is 990 euros RRP. Plus a 30% discount on the Superman Heritage, which has 300m dive resistance, classic black dial/steel case design and a Swiss quartz movement. At 39mm it’s an everyday watch you can wear easily. 490 euros RRP, so that comes to 343 euros on our calculator.

Even with UK import duty and VAT on top, that’s still a decent deal we think.

More at www.yema.com

Summer Watch Sales Are On Now

Just a heads up as they say on Instagram, so you can bag some swag online.  Both Casio G-Shock and H Samuel have watch sales on right now.

The G-Shock Sale has discounts on the official RRP of up to 50%. A G-Steel model with Bluetooth, 3 band options and a battery health indicator at £199, rather than £399 is tempting. More here.

Meanwhile H Samuel has watches from fashion brands like Armani, Hugo Boss, Hilfiger, Kors and all the usual suspects.

Plus how about a Citizen Red Arrows for £179, or a Seiko Prospex Special, with Pepsi bezel colours for £344? If you want a Swiss brand then a Tissot Classics automatic at £235 is basically Indie watch brand money. To be fair, the entry level Tissots have quite a basic movement inside, but you expect that at this price level.

Two Victorinox models in the Sale are sold out already, so we say move fast on this one.

More here.

Yema Superman Skin Diver; 1000 Piece Ltd Edition

Yema has launched a Superman Skin Diver, capturing the 60s scuba spirit with this well equipped dive watch. It has a Sellita SW200 movement, sapphire crystal, plus unidirectional click-stop bezel. The depth rating is 300m and it features a crown lock at the 3pm position.

This really looks business-like, a tool watch to withstand soem serious diving.

The crystal is 2.6mm thick – bit more resistant to scratches and water than usual. We loves the fish scales bracelet link design.

The edition is 1000 pieces, each numbered, and Price is just under $1250. More here. 

Storm Styro Offers Shifting Dial Colours

Storm London has a range of new models in for summer, including the Styro quartz models. These feature photochromic crystals, so the dial coliur shifts and changes, depending on the light.

Inside the big 45mm watches you get a Miyota movement and there’s a Milanese mesh bracelet, plus a gold coloured version if silver mesh isn’t your thing.

We have tried Storm watches in the past and they are very well built for fashion watches, although they can be a pain when it comes to battery swap time – difficult to remove the casebacks.

The range starts at 90 quid. More here.

New Timex Summer `21 Collection

Timex are going more inclusive. No, we never thought they were excluding anyone on the basis of income, race, sexual preference or gender either, but there y’go, wokeness is the main thing to brag about online these days.

Basically there is a new collection from Timex and yep, that’s always worth a look because the NWC mag loves the retro revival work Timex has been doing recently. Here’s the PR blurb;

Timex®, a world leader in watchmaking, introduces its Spring/Summer seasonal collections, which were designed at the Giorgio Galli Design Lab in Milan, Italy.

The Spring/Summer 2021 collection includes  expanded product lines and several bold new designs that embody the spirit of the brand’s We Don’t Stop™ campaign, paying tribute to the brand’s 167-year legacy of grit and perseverance while also speaking to its strides toward a brighter, stronger and more inclusive future.

The Spring/Summer 2021 season is about strength and perseverance.  This collection was designed with optimism and passion, building on our foundation, reimagining past eras and eliciting thoughtful interpretations of brighter days ahead,” said Giorgio Galli, Chief Executive Creative Director of Timex Group.

Arguably the season’s biggest addition is a total refresh of the iconicWaterbury Traditional collection where past meets future. The range features all-new case designs, new dials and a stylized Waterbury Watch Company motif throughout all the new watches in the range including automatic, quartz, three-hand, GMT and chronograph watches.

Adding to the  women’s portfolio is the new  Timex Malibu Collection with a splash of surf-to-street styling. Inspired by the colors of the ocean and the beaches of Malibu, this collection stands out with a playful color palette of coral and turquoise, perfect for that transition from spring to summer and available in select styles across the Q Timex, Waterbury Boyfriend Legacy and Transcend collections.

RETRO Q RANGE EXPANDS IN THE USA

Expanding on the often-sold-out Q Timex franchise are new diver-inspired seasonal colors to meet  consumer demand and compliment the original 1979 reissue.

Also making its debut is the forthcoming Q Timex 1978 Reissue, delivering understated retro refinement and complimenting the December US release of the Q Timex 1975 Reissue, now available globally.

Timex will also expand its most popular offerings with a new red and black take on the popular M79 Automatic, and will expand the Navi XL Automatics with the timeless and archival trend of double-layer fabric slip-thru straps. fresh colors and styles are coming across Essex Avenue with its oversized 44mm case, Harborside Coast with its rotating  bezel and date magnifier and the Standard with  classic looks and a traditional oversized crown — a nod to our original wristwatch.

Also, new this season is Timex Pay, powered by Tappy, a new evolution of secure contactless pay, simply tap and go! With all of the technology in the strap, no batteries or charging are required to use Timex Pay. Pair a Timex Pay strap with your favorite watch and your Chase Visa® Credit or Debit card for an easy way to pay without sacrificing your favorite looks. Timex Pay can be used anywhere contactless payments are accepted.

On the more progressive and future-focused front, Timex is still pushing into new territory with long-time partners and compelling new collaborations will continue to flow throughout 2021, including streetwear brands and avant-garde designers as well as all-American mainstays and nostalgia icons.

Origyn Build Image Database to Verify Swiss Watches

Is your 10K-100K pre-owned Swiss watch an authentic, real deal? Origyn are building up a database to make sure collectors and retailers know which are the real vs fake watches. Here’s the press info;

Since the beginning, ORIGYN Luxury set its sights on growing one of the largest collections of watch data worldwide. Last week, we took another step forward on this journey by acquiring the sole rights to over 60,000 watch images from Baselworld and Watches and Wonders (previously referred to as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie/SIHH). We thank our partners WORLDTEMPUS and JSH for their contributions.

The images date back to 1963 and will further refine the ensemble of intelligent technologies we use to identify, authenticate and prove ownership for luxury timepieces. To keep track of all that’s happening for the ultimate solution against luxury counterfeits, visit us at https://www.origyn.ch/luxury/.

BLOCKCHAIN ID IS COMING

Watch collectors may well be buying watches using crypto currencies soon. Well, let’s be clear, goverments are rapidly phasing out cash, so digital code may well be the new money from 2030 onwards. More here;

In other important ORIGYN news, DFINITY (apologies for the silly capital letters – Ed) launched its groundbreaking public network earlier this month. This brings years of behind-the-scenes work from our ORIGYN engineers to the main stage.

The DFINITY Genesis launch event also marked one of the most influential blockchain and crypto events in history, as the ICP token debuted with a market cap of over $40 billion (U.S.). ICP is one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies in circulation today, and ORIGYN is the first pan-industry platform to build on DFINITY’s Internet Computer.

What does this mean for ORIGYN? After years of R&D, DFINITY is live. It’s happening. It’s changing everything the world has come to expect from blockchain technology, and ORIGYN is built to leverage all of its unprecedented capabilities from day one.

This also means we’ve been growing fast. To learn more about our new verticals, ORIGYN Art and ORIGYN Digital Media, take a look at www.origyn.ch, and keep watching @ORIGYNTech on Twitter for some big updates in the coming weeks.

Skagen Pride Model Celebrates Activist Lifestyle

Skagen has released a Pride variant within its modernist Aaren range, featuring multicoloured dial and hands details, plus a strap that celebrates the Pride/LGBTQ/Trans political activism and lifestyle.

The Pride theme continues with the packaging too.

One detail on this watch that boosts long term ownership is the screwdown caseback.

Skagen watches are notoriously difficult to prise open with case-knives, so using a 2/3 prong tool will make battery changes much easier. That should extend the lifespan of this fashion watch hopefully and therefore help conserve the earth’s resources.

The Pride model costs £119. More details here. 

Historic 1968 Rolex GMT Is a Bankable Investment

We love watches where you can trace the history since new, especially when that story has a military connection. So this 1968 Pepsi bezel Rolex GMT owned by Commander John Carr is a winner in terms of investment potential we think.

It is being auctioned later in May by Gardiner Houlgate and here is the spec from their website;

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT-Master ‘Pepsi’ stainless steel gentleman’s bracelet watch, ref. 1675, circa 1968, serial no. 1870xxx, ‘Pepsi’ bezel insert.

‘Swiss -T<25’ black dial with twenty-four hour hand, dot markers, Mercedes style hands, sweep centre seconds and date aperture, cal. 1570 26 jewel movement, no. D167xxx

Expanding bracelet, the inside case back stamped ‘1675’ and dated ‘I.68’, bezel 40mm diameter.

Comes with the original box, guarantee booklet and chronometer certificate, Rolex service receipt for 1989, and tag.

Commander John R Carr was born in 1912 in Patagonia. Following the death of his father John returned to Britain and served at the Dartmouth Naval College. He served the navy during the war, rising to the rank of Commander, and retired in 1962.

He then went to work for Shell in Europe as Superintendent of Diving, and was the project director of an international group investigating the effect of mixed gas diving on the ability of men to work at great depths, called Capshell.

It was a collaboration of the Italian, US and British Navies, Shell and Italian diving firm Micoperi. This project was at the forefront of modern oceanography and paved the way for the oil industry to work in the deep sea.

The medical side of the research took place in Zurich and after the project was finished John was gifted this Rolex from the team. He passed away in 2001.

ORIGINAL CONDITION, NOT RESTORED

What we like about this watch is that it has NOT been restored or refurbished with modern hands, bezel or other bits by well-meaning technicians at Rolex. Yes the crystal has scratches, the case has marks and there is some dust inside the watch, but that makes it undeniably authentic, a true piece of watch history.

Clean it now and then, have it serviced but not restored – and then store it away safely. This is better than  money in the bank, we guarantee it will almost double in value in a decade – try getting that return from NatWest.

Tissot Visodate Powermatic 80 – Best Deals in UK

We are big fans of the Tissot Powermatic 80 range at NWC for one simple reason; This is a bargain priced Swiss watch. 80 hours of power reserve, sapphire crystal, beautiful blue dial and a steel case, all for around £550.

Or can you get it cheaper? Yes, we spotted this baby on sale at Fraser Hart’s wesbite at £450, with a Milanese mesh bracelet. There’s free delivery on that too.

Francis Gaye jewellers had the same model on offer at £459, while Owen and Robinson emerged the winner at just £448. OK it’s just two quid cheaper, but that buys a Bench watch from a car boot sale in St Helens…

More here at Owen and Robinson by the way, who have a Sale on the Rue du Rhone range right now.