Tag Archives: 2020

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.

Here’s Two 2020 Citizen Watches Well Worth Collecting

We missed out on these great Citizen launches earlier in 2020, so just in case you also missed out, here are two future collectable watches from the famous Japanese brand.

Promaster Titanium Diver GMT: Great looking dive watches under £500 are thin on the ground when it comes to Swiss brands. But if you can live without the prestige label on the dial, the n a Citizen Promaster GMT makes a decent alternative. This is a physically big case watch at 43mm, which is actually quite a good idea if you do venture underwater sometimes. Sapphire crystal, titanium case, big bezel numbers, plus long life power cell that should transmit light into second hand power for a decade or so – it ticks a great many boxes, and we have to say looks stunning in blue too.

Here’s the spec from Citizen;

The Super Titanium™ Promaster Diver GMT is fully equipped with all the features you’d expect from an ISO compliant Citizen diving watch. This watch is packed with great features to accompany you on your next diving adventure, including dual time, shock resistance, anti-magnetic, one-way rotating elapsed-time bezel, GMT display, screw-back case and screw-down crown, divers expansion clasp, anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass and water resistant to 200 metres. Featuring Eco-Drive technology – powered by light, any light. Never needs a battery.

Bullhead Racing Chronograph, Limited Edition: Yes, each watch comes in a numbered case and the design captures the essence of the 70s Bullhead case as well. Having those chrono pushers digging into your hand might not suit everyone, but this model is retro heaven for us. It has a modern day depth rating, the green colour scheme, funky power indicator feature, and that fab Paddy Hopkirk style Rally strap. You get that genuine hand-assembled kudos, all for £695.

That’s a stack of features that should make this Bullhead – with just 1,973 pieces being made – a future collectors item, unlike the many variations on the Red Arrows theme which you will find in Cash Convertors windows, often gathering dust. Just saying, fashion is a fickle thing…

The spec from Citizen;

A hand-assembled movement, the Bullhead Racing Chronograph features a 1/5 second flyback chronograph, alarm, instantaneous fly back, power reserve indicator, anti-reflective spherical sapphire crystal, date and water resistance to 200 metres. Featuring Citizen Eco-Drive technology too.

The Best Watches of 2020

It’s been a tough year of course, one to forget some might say, but there have been some fantastic examples of watchmaking launched on the market. To give you some Christmas cheer, here’s a round up of the best wristwatches of 2020. We divided them into categories including Under £500, Dive, Automatic, Dress, Technical Achievement, Retro, British Built and Best Investment. Add your own top picks below.

UNDER £500

Hamtum Kraken H3

How can you beat a Sellita powered automatic, titanium case, steel bracelet, plus a GMT hand, for just £350 on the Kickstarter early bird offer price. No wonder the H2 was a sell-out, Hamtum are a classic example of how indie watchmaking can take on entry level Swiss branded watches and offer a true alternative that any collector would be proud to own.

DIVE

Enosken Deep Dive

Hard to choose from the hundreds of dive watches launched in 2020. Some, like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape offer decades of Swiss heritage behind them, others have bronze cases, in fact the bronze cased dive watch has been perhaps the biggest trend in 2020. But our top pick is the German made, Belfast designed Enosken Deep Dive for the simple reason that it is pure function; a watch designed to survive depths of up to 1000 metres. The best part is that it costs just £390, and that price makes so many Swiss prestige dive watches look like a bit of a scam to be blunt, unless you want to buy a dive watch for posing, not diving.

AUTOMATIC

Tudor Black Bay 58, Navy Blue

You want a Rolex Sub? Naturally. But let’s say you don’t have £8000 plus to spend nor two years of your life to wait in limbo. The Black Bay 58 offers an in-house movement that delivers a 70 hour reserve, wearable 39mm case size, a smooth bezel action, beautiful understated detailing and all for just over £2500. The 58 Blue is a watch that you don’t have to apologise for, like some Tudor models of old that featured the humble ETA 2824 Cal movement. It stands out as part of a new generation for Tudor and we predict some stunning models in 2021.

DRESS

Omega Constellation 41mm

The Constellation is always a great dress watch choice of course, but for 2020 Omega really added some extra pizazz, with a Manhattan art-deco kind of edge to the style. The Constellation `claws’ on the bezel are blended in, and look all the better for it. The two-tone colour choices also make the Omega stand out on the wrist. The test of any dress watch is this; does it add a finishing touch to a tailored suit at the races? Yep, Omega does that with the 41mm Constellation, big enough to impress, but not crazy-ass big like a 45mm footballer’s showboat watch.

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT

Richard Mille RM 72-01 Chronograph

Not just an in-house movement, but the RM 72 Flyback chrono separates the chrono functions from the rest of the watch gear train. Then there’s the little gear indicator on the right side of the skeleton dial and the six column wheel. It’s a tech tour-de-force and for those of you who have cash to lavish the RM Chrono is a watch that fascinates. Yes, this watch costs house purchase level sums of money to buy, but it’s all about the movement and we say that still matters.

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RETRO

Longines Marine Nationale

A truly stunning re-creation of a historic Longines, the 2020 Marine Nationale gets all the details correct and offers modern technology inside the case. You have to love those French blue hands too. That military themed plain dial and bold, functional numbers capture the essence of service watchmaking of the past, where the design was all about getting the job done, not impressing shoppers or collectors. But this is a collectable watch and a 2020 model will eventually outpace most other retro Swiss watches in terms of resale value in the long run. It just looks right.

BRITISH BUILT

Bremont Factory

OK, the pandemic has thrown everything off track this year, but Bremont are still cracking on with their new factory in Oxfordshire and this is arguably the greatest achievement in UK watchmaking since Accurist closed its factory back in the 70s. It was scheduled to open in September this year, but the Covid-19 panic and the economic disruption caused has led to a delay. Yet this factory is a turning point. Most UK brands are small scale, and outsource much of the production, not just of movements but of crystals, bezels, cases and more. A few make steel cases here in the UK, a few like an Ordain make their own dials. But Bremont are trying to make mass-production a reality in the UK, and for that they deserve a tip of the hat.

BEST INVESTMENT

Rolex Submariner

How can it be anything else, with long waiting lists for the latest 2020 models and the comforting knowledge that the new Subs are actually great pieces of engineering. Beautifully finished, bright superlume, ever improving bracelet tech, interesting dial colours for a change and increased reserve power. The Sub is already changing hands for as much as 5K above list price, so yep, this is the mother of all watch inverstments and likely to remain so for a few years yet.

 

 

 

2020 Rolex Oyster: Are Offbeat Dial Colours The Smart Choice?

The Rolex watch market has its own rules, mainly unwritten and often propelled by rumours as much as real demand from collectors. It’s kinda like the stock market; lots of companies and rich guys are constantly hedging their bets to try and beat the next spike in demand, and that drives the price of the stock higher. Or lower if a new Rolex model appears and nobody wants the 2019 range.

Then you have people who essentially trade in Rolex futures. They have a client list, they know which client will pay roughy XXXX amount for their grail Rolex, and so they try to locate one. Generally dealers, from international authorised shops, to eBay traders, these guys have a vested interest in talking up the long term cash profit that MIGHT be achieved on historic Rolex models, as well as the modern stuff. So you’ll see You Tube videos, blogs, magazine features and so on bigging up Daytonas, Submariners, various GMTs, even the odd Explorer. If a Rolex has some kind of authentic celebrity or movie connection then that adds to its future value…generally. That may not apply if Bill Cosby or Jimmy Savile owned it.

We had a look around at the latest Rolex Oyster Perpetual prices, after the recent release of the new 36mm and 41mm models. The first thing to note is that demand is wayyyy stronger for the 41mm case sizes. No surprise. Next though, it was interesting to see that the yellow dial Oyster was being touted at just over £8000 by one dealer, which is about 4K up on the RRP. Maybe it’s time to think out of the box if you don’t want to wait for a Submariner or GMT model from the 2020 range?

Certainly the offbeat dial colours won’t atrract the same attention as green, black or champagne. People tend to be risk averse when it comes to investing in Rolex watches, because the safe play suits most collectors. But rare models eventually tend to go for big money, because there are low numbers available in say a decade, and some wealthy collectors would like a full set, kind of like cigarette cards  but with a 100K buy in price.

MAYBE A 34mm ROLEX IS WORTH BUYING?

OK, I hear you, a 34mm case size is too girly nowadays, but consider the rarity factor here. The latest 34mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual has a brand new movement for 2020, in the shape of the Cal 2232. So this is a debut year, always worth bearing in mnd for future collector/auction value. It has a 55 hour power reserve and a Syloxi hairpsring inside, which looks very much like a traditional metal balance wheel assembly. I like that rather than the Parachrom balance spring Rolex movements, because although silicon is more efficient in terms of conserving energy from mainspring to second hand, for me, it lacks romance, craft, engineering kudos.

Just worth looking at this one, especially in Sunray Blue, which is arguably the most handsome of the Oyster 34 range imho. It has an understated elegance, lacking a day/date window, or any extra bling in the bezel. Bit boring perhaps, but for me a design classic that will never go out of fashion, which a vivid green Hulk might do.

There y’go, place your bets Rolex futures traders.

Prim Orlik Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Czech Flag

This Czech brand has been around since 1949 but many watch fans may not have heard of them. Prim make their own movements and offer a range of mechanical and automatic models. This recent one celebrates 100 years of the Czech flag, since the state of Czechoslovakia was created after the Treaty of Versailles, which came after the end of WW1.

The Orlik features a Prim Cal98 automatic, with see-thru caseback and a 1920-2020 inscription on the rotor. There’s a lovely hand-stitched leather strap and a dash of blue superlume on the hands and hour markers. This model is only available until the end of 2020, so what better way to celebrate the end of a completely horrible year than investing in a unique wristwatch that will stand the test of time?

It’s a great looker and we love the details, here’s the word from Prim;

The characteristic design is enhanced with deep symbolism and carefully planted details. The first quarter of the stainless-steel bezel has a ceramic coating (HyCeram®) in tricolour tones and it is subtly referring to the main inspiration for the edition – the Czech flag. The numeral 20 on the date wheel is red to signify the year; the other numerals are standard white.

The watch crown features the tricolour, also made using HyCeram®.

The colours of our flag mean various things to people. The white can represent freedom or purity; the red, blood shed in fights for freedom and defence of the republic. Historically, the colours come from the original royal banner (bicolour) where red is the colour of the shield (royal coat of arms) and white of the silver Czech lion. The blue wedge is most often interpreted as a symbol of Slovak mountains or even blue sky.

Price? We saw one brand new on Chrono24 for just under £2900. It isn’t a cheap watch, but then things made by hand in Europe are never going to be as low cost as a mass produced, largely robot assembled watch from a Swiss, Japanese or Chinese brand.

More at Prim watches website.

Geneva Watches: New Streamliner With Fume Green Dial

The latest Streamliner model from H Moser was launched today in Geneva, featuring a fume green dial. Here’s the press info;

A staple classic, the 3-hand watch requires expertise of the very highest level, as it is the details that elevate a piece. Balanced, precise proportions are the key to harmony, and the Streamliner Centre Seconds perfectly illustrates this philosophy. Featuring a 40.0-mm steel cushion case, which is water-resistant to 12 ATM, it offers extraordinary ergonomics thanks to the design which includes a fully integrated steel bracelet with no lugs on the case.

h moser streamliner green 3

The case middle has hollowed and satin-finished forms on the sides, and alternating brushed and polished surfaces, in a nod to the traditional unusual shapes typical of Moser cases. It is topped by a subtly domed sapphire crystal, echoed by the see-through case back. Extending these curves, the integrated steel bracelet is elegantly arced to follow the line of the wrist. Highly complex in construction, this bracelet has extremely fluid lines, based on organic forms. All the links are articulated and feature a gentle wave combining a vertical brushed finish with polished surfaces. A true technical feat, this bracelet is a masterpiece of subtlety and sophistication, with flexibility to match.

Watch the promo vide here;

Every part of the Streamliner Centre Seconds is in harmony; to further elevate the steel of the case and bracelet, H. Moser & Cie. has created a brand-new fumé dial: almost electric, the vibrant Matrix Green colourway offers a complex palette of shades from olive green to red gold. This brand-new colour dial adds the finishing touch to the timeless elegance of this model. Displaying the hours and minutes, the 3D hands are formed of two sections and feature inserts made from Globolight®, an innovative ceramic-based material which contains Super-LumiNova®. The minute hand is curved.

Beating at the heart of the Streamliner Centre Seconds model is a 100% Swiss mechanical movement: the HMC 200 self-winding calibre. Entirely designed, developed and produced in-house, this movement is equipped with a regulating organ manufactured by H. Moser & Cie.’s sister company, Precision Engineering AG. Decorated with the famous Moser double stripes, the HMC 200 calibre houses a solid gold oscillating weight and offers a minimum power reserve of 3 days.

New Watches: TAG Indycar 500 Chronograph Features Brickyard Dial

The latest from the TAG press office, as an Indycar themed chrongraph model is launched. SPOILER ALERT – It’s a quartz.

To celebrate 16 years as the Official Timekeeper of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the 104th Indianapolis 500 race, TAG Heuer has unveiled a special-edition timepiece that honors its long-standing partnership with the premier league of open-wheel racing in North America. Known as one of the oldest automobile races and part of the famous “Triple Crown”, the Indy 500 is a 500-mile race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana and is one of the most-attended single-day sporting events in the world.

Designed in collaboration with the INDYCAR team, the 43 mm Formula 1 Indy 500 2020 Special Edition chronograph represents the luxury watchmaker’s passion for the intensity and spirit of motor racing, with rich, eye-catching red accents including a brick motif on the dial to honor the Indy racetrack’s “The Brickyard” nickname and history.

TAG indycar 2

The Indy 500 logo is displayed on the 6 o’clock subdial with “Indy 500” engraved in red on the ceramic bezel. The detailed black dial enhances the daring and sporty aesthetic of this model, and is complete with three azurage-patterned subdials: 3 o’clock permanent second indicator, 6 o’clock hour chronograph counter and 1/10th second chronograph counter embellished with the Indy 500 logo, and a 9 o’clock minute chronograph counter, with a date window at 4 o’clock.

The quartz-powered chronograph is presented on a durable black rubber strap to easily size and fit the watch over a racing suit. A road-tested endurance machine, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 2020 Special Edition is water resistant to 200 meters and highly shock resistant.

Latest Omega Seamaster Bond Edition Reboots The Gun Spiral Logo

The word from Omega on their latest Bond themed watch. That most recognisable Bond theme logo, the spiral leaves from a camera shutter, with Bond firing a gun, has been captured on the dial face.

For the true Alan Partridge level of Bond fandom, this one is an essential collectors model. It’s actually a very striking change from some of the previous Bond Omega watches, which had veered towards the classic dive design, almost late 60s big lume markers on black dials kinda vibe.

Nothing wrong with that but this is a nice update on the 2006 Casino Royale Seamaster, with that cool 007 second hand.

omega-seamaster-casino-royale edition 2006

Here’s the press info;

Cutting-edge style and innovation have always been essential parts of the James Bond story. In keeping with that legacy, OMEGA has now delivered a brand new Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond Numbered Edition, offering plenty of high-tech details for 007 fans to enjoy.

OMEGA has been equipping James Bond with its Seamaster timepieces since GoldenEye in 1995. This special new release is a proud celebration of that partnership, and provides a new addition to the 007 collection.

For an exceptional look, the 42 mm case is crafted in platinum-gold, with a platinum-gold plate on its side, engraved with each Numbered Edition number. The same beautiful material is also used for the polished-brushed buckle of the watch’s black leather strap.

More unique details can be uncovered throughout the design, including a black ceramic bezel ring with a platinum diving scale in positive relief, as well as a black enamel dial, which has been given a spiralling gun barrel design in 18K white gold.

omega bond watch detail 2020

As part of the OMEGA James Bond collection that was launched last year, this watch also includes a hidden number 50 within the Super-LumiNova of the 10 o’clock index – a reference to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Elsewhere on the dial, you can find a 007 logo at 7 o’clock on the white enamel minute track, as well as 18K white gold features, including the hands, indexes and Bond family coat-of-arms at 12 o’clock.

Turning the watch over reveals a second Bond family coat-of-arms, which has been laser-engraved and filled with platinum on the sapphire crystal caseback. Its captivating final effect is completed with hand-engraved finishing in the finest detail. Through the glass, you can spy the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8807 – certified at the highest standards of precision, chronometric performance and magnetic resistance.

Finally, for fans who are able to obtain this Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond Numbered Edition, it comes presented in its own Globe-Trotter™ suitcase, bound by NATO-inspired straps. Inside, an additional black rubber strap is included.

Events: London Watch Show 2020 Should Be a Collectors Delight

There is a well established event in London which showcases luxury watches, that one being Salon QP, which is a kind of Rich Kids of Mayfair type of show, a kind of Tutankamen homage to horology, with timepieces largely entombed in thick glass, to be adored and worshipped. Beautiful, but remote.

There is an alternative show however, which takes place in London at the Intercontinental Hotel, 02 Arena, on April 3rd-4th this year. Again, it is going to concentrate on the Swiss luxury end of the market, since this is where the big money is within watch retailing and collecting, but the organisers say there will be entry level watches to buy as well.

As a bonus, you get a few supercars to look at, plus the confirmed exhibitors page lists plenty of independent watch dealers, repair specialists, and a few non-watch companies like bespoke furniture, wealth management consultants etc. Watch security? Our advice is always buy a heavy safe and bolt it down when it comes to watch storage, plus don’t brag on social media with wrist photos etc.

The USP of this show is the public access it offers, compared to Salon QP, and that is to be admired. Watch collecting is elitist enough without separating wealthy people from the common herd, as if we are all lesser beings. This show also offers the chance for relative novices in the world of watch collecting to increase their knowledge – always ask technical questions, people in the trade can always politely say they don’t know either!

adult box case collection
Photo by Mister Mister on Pexels.com

GET SERVICING ADVICE BEFORE YOU BUY

Swiss watch repairs are getting harder to do, as the manufacturers slowly but surely put the independent repair shops out of business by restricting spares supply, demanding 60K upfront to buy tools and training etc. There are still lots of skilled people who can service and repair a 25 year old Rolex Daytona, but what they cannot do is obtain a genuine winder and crown for it – Rolex will not sell those spare parts to the trade.

So it makes sense to find out whether your next Swiss watch purchase will have to be sent away to an authorised marque service centre, where they will effectively refurbish that watch – with many parts replaced, even if you didn’t ask for them to be swapped. Some collectors value original patina, faded hands and hour markers etc – it tells a story of genuine wear, whereas a mint 1970s chronograph can look too clean sometimes, almost like a replica.

The show has on-site insurance valuations, plus trade stands selling accessories like straps and bracelets. You’ll find plenty of advice on the latest collecting trends, what’s hot and what’s not. It isn’t a cheap day out at £45 per ticket, but if you consider how much a decent vintage watch in fully serviced condition can cost, then it is a good investment before you spend say 5K on an original Zenith El Primero, or Heuer Autavia.

If you’re feeling lucky then there’s a raffle to win a brand new Daytona worth 20K, with tickets costing £50 each. Ticket bookings and more info here.