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LIV Watches Price Hike Due Soon

We are fans of the LIV watch brand here at NWC mag. They offer great value, build quality and vibrant styling too. Especially if you prefer bigger 43mm sized watches. Bad news though, prices are going up on June 1st, so here’s the word from LIV.

Since 2017, we have not had a price increase on any of our watches. Today I am announcing a modest increase in both the GX-AC and the P-51 collections. This increase is due to material and production costs going up.

The GX-AC will go up by $100:

  • $990 to $1090
  • $1050 To $1150 (for the TJ)
  • $1070 to $1170 (Rose Gold)

The P-51 will go up by $100:

  • $1370 to $1470
  • $1490 to $1590 (Fifth Anniversary Special)
If you have been eying one of these watches, now is the time to take advantage and pull the trigger.

Vintage Quartz Watches, Yea or No Way?

There are some early quartz watches that fetch incredible prices. If you have an original Bulova Accurton, a Seiko Astron from the late 60s or a Casio calculator watch from the early 80s, then you’ll be happy to know that values are rising.

Of course these are ground-breaking watches of their time, and deserve respect from collectors. Seiko, more than any brand, revolutionised watch sales with their cheaper quartz watches. They were still expensive mond you, I recall buying a basic black Casio digital for £20 back in the early 80s – which was almost half a week’s wages – because the Seiko digital was too fancy at £29.99.

Naturally, that Casio went to the bin decades ago, just like all the digital watches I bought in the 1980s and the quartz watches I bought in the 1990s too. But recently I have bought a few old quartz models, generally the Lanco, Timex and Seiko SQ models, plus a brand new, big 43mm Pulsar I liked just because it had a groovy teal coloured chronograph.

Apart from Seiko SQ50/100 models, I always suggest people avoid the older quartz watches because they aren’t so reliable, or so easy to revive from their comatose state when people leave them in drawers and the batteries split open, then leak that green oxide shit all over the place.

I did buy a running Lanco from the early 70s, which has the Tissot 7067 movement in it, last year. This actually went OK after a little clean of the contacts and a new Renata 301 battery inside. But the time-setting malarkey on this watch is franly a bit silly.

You pull the crown out and it moves the hour hand, like many older Omega quartz watches by the way. But there is no second pull-out position to move the minute hand.

I googled the problem and found that you have to hold the crown down for 5 seconds, then release, then tap it again to make the minute hand twirl around.

Nope. No joy. The most likely cause is that the stepper  motor isn’t engaging with the gear wheel to make that magic happen, but considering the Lanco is probably worth under £75 at auction, I cannot be bothered taking it apart.

SPARES PROBLEMS

Another annoyance with this Lance is the usual Tissot/Omega/Lanco tension ring holding the crytal in, and it is a front-loader diassembly routine. So crystal off, hands off, crown n stem out etc and then release the movement. I will be blunt, I hate that obtuse thinking by the Tissot/Lanco group. Timex did the same thing for decades.

Basically it was a ploy to create work for their authorised repair network by making life difficult for the amateur watch fettler. The more you mess with old crystals held in by thin rings of metal, the more likely you are to scratch dials or break the tension rings or hands.

So yep, messing with old quartz watches is a good way to end up hunting for rare spare crystals, hands and tension rings too. All these delicate parts often rust into position after 50 years, or simply get brittle and begin to crumble away.

My solution to the hand-setting problem was to disconnect the battery and wait until exactly 2.41pm to re-fit and slide the connector tab across it, since that was where the minute hand had stopped at.

So I have a running Lanco quartz, kinda nice looking, new battery in place and a neat sort of Tiger’s Eye effect on the dial as well. Like many old watches, it isn’t perfect and it will probably never be worth more than £100 even if I live to be 90. By that time everyone will have a chip inserted in their arm that tells the time, reads your bad thoughts and automatically emails the Solyent Green factory when your fridge is out of vegan ping meals.

Enjoy your watches I say, it’s later than you think.

Kickstarter: Pacific Explorer Has That Indie Edge

The Coast Watch company has a Kickstarter project happening now, which has already passed its target and it is easy to see why. The Pacific Explorer is a classic tool watch, with three different bezel options, the proven Sellita SW200 movement inside, steel case, sapphire crystal and a 39mm case diameter, which is spot-on for most wrists. It’s also good for 200m of depth underwater.

The best combo is perhaps the bronze bezel variant, with a fume tobacco brown dial, just because well…bronze.

Based in Denmark, you do have some import duty to pay if you’re in the UK, but the prices are very reasonable considering the high quality spec of this watch. Definitely worth a look and there are a few early bird deals still on the site. Prices start at about £410, that includes a leather travel pouch. Delivery expected in July.

More here. 

Is Green The New Blue? No, And It Never Will Be

There are lots of green watches this year. For example JLC has launched a green Reverso, which retails at £7200 and has a green strap option too. Then there’s that weird Rolex palm tree thing. Hmmm, let’s move on.

Thing is, the green Reverso works well because this is a physically small watch, designed back in the days when gents wore little 32mm case things because you stood a good chance of being hit by a fascist/communist goon, industrial machinery etc so it made sense to keep an expensive Swiss watch up your sleeve. That is how wristwatches became popular, because getting a pocket watch out in the trenches of WW1 was a bad move.

So yes, we love the Reverso in its green colours. But it looks handsome in blue as well – and blue is THE most popular dial colour in gents watches.

Other green dial watches lauched recently include the 18ct gold Tudor Black Bay 58, the Patek Nautilus in olive green, plus three AP Royal Oak variants all featuring green. The tourbillon Royal Oak is actually very 1960S Time Tunnel, with its strange, almost psydelic swirling green pattern. Crazy ass watch as about $180,000 so we expect to see Floyd Maywether sporting this one very soon.

It’s no Submariner Hulk, is it?

But when you look at the Tudor 58 in green, it’s kinda in-your-face and although the Rolex Sub Hulk is a very collectable watch, we cannot think of another all-green wristwatch that carries the same cred when it comes to watch collecting, pre-owned shops and pawnbrokers. Seriously, when was the last time you stuck your nose onto a jewellers shop window and lusted after a green watch?

Yes, we can sympathise with fans of the IWC Big Pilot 43, because the 2021 model with green dial looks the part, no question. It’s probably fair to say that the blue version looks equally stunning but we bet you £50 that when it is time to sell you will get about £500 less for the green dial version, maybe £1000 less. They just don’t sell and as I worked in a pawnbrokers for two years and a jewellers for five years, I know what sells.

It’s this in a nutshell; blue dial gents watches, followed by black dials, and then maybe a white dial if the lume/hands/numbers combo is sharp and clean. Cheap Accurist or expensive Omega. Blue dials win, all day long.

 

New Rolex Explorer: 36mm Case, Two-Tone Bracelet

OK, we are in two minds about the latest Rolex Explorer with two-tone bracelet. Yes, it adds a kinda executive touch to a watch that has looked a little bit dated for a few decades. But 18ct gold centre links? Hmm, yeah it’s a bit Swiss Tony. Plus a 36mm case size is too small for much of the 50-60-something, male dominated market that Rolex enjoys. The watch collector market has got used to 40mm being the default size for a statement watch on the wrist. That’s all we are saying Rolex, so get that 39/41mm case option prototype tested and in production for September.

Here’s the press blurb from Rolex;

Rolex is presenting its new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer. At 36 mm, it returns to the size of the original model launched in 1953 following the first ascent to the summit of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on 29 May that year.

The new-generation Explorer is notably released in a yellow Rolesor version (combining Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold). The black dial, now lacquered, bears the index hour markers and emblematic 3, 6 and 9 numerals that are the cornerstones of the model’s personality, evoking the determination and spirit of adventure that give rise to great achievements.

The new-generation Explorer’s Chromalight display is particularly impressive. In dark conditions, the intensity of the blue glow emitted by the hour markers and hands now lasts longer thanks to the innovative and exclusive luminescent material with which they are filled or coated. In daylight, these display elements also have a brighter white hue.

The new-generation Explorer is equipped with calibre 3230, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.

AN EXPLORATION TOOL 

Presented in 1953, the Explorer is emblematic of the close ties between Rolex and exploration. In the 1930s, the brand began to equip numerous Himalayan expeditions with Oyster watches. Among these was the group that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were part of when they became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres (29,028 feet).

This pioneering move illustrated the company’s ambition to use the world as a laboratory, testing its watches in real conditions in order to continually improve them. The feedback that Rolex received from the members of these different expeditions therefore had a direct influence on the evolution of its watches, making them more precise and robust.

GOLD CENTRE LINKS

Rolesor, the combination of 18 ct gold and Oystersteel on a Rolex watch, has been a signature feature of the brand since 1933, when the name was registered. It is a meeting of two metals: one, noble and precious, attractive for its lustre and stability; the other, highly resistant to corrosion, assuring strength and reliability. All of these qualities mirror the elegance and performance that come together in a Rolex watch.

On the yellow Rolesor version of the new-generation Explorer, the bezel, winding crown and centre links of the bracelet are in 18 ct yellow gold, while the case and outer links of the bracelet are in Oystersteel.

100m WATER RESISTANCE

The new-generation Explorer’s 36 mm Oyster case is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). Its middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the watch’s movement.

MODERN MOVEMENT, PLENTY OF RESERVE

The new-generation Explorer is equipped with calibre 3230, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex that was released in 2020. At the forefront of watchmaking technology, this self-winding mechanical movement led to the filing of several patents, and offers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.

Calibre 3230 incorporates the Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic fields. The movement is fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed and -patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance.

Calibre 3230 is equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3230 extends to approximately 70 hours.

 

Ltd Edition Nomos Automatics Offer Understated Elegance

There is something to be said for the classic, minimalist timekeeper. A watch that just has bold hands and markers, maybe a sub-second dial, and does the job. No fancy bezels, no chrono pushers. Just a 1960s gents watch, utilitarian and elegant at the same time. Versatile even. At the same time, enthusiasts want a watch that can last a lifetime, made to high standards with accuracy as the foundation stone. Nomos Glashutte are on the case, here’s the word from their press office;

Distinctively fine watches have been produced in Glashütte for 175 years—an anniversary the watchmaking company NOMOS Glashütte celebrated with the release of two special limited-edition models.

And now the third is here: Club by NOMOS Glashütte comes in three new colorways, each limited to 175 pieces. The three names: Club automatic onyx, Club automatic navy, Club automatic olive. This popular model with domed sapphire crystal glass is available in beautiful shades of green, blue, and black (galvanized).

Club Navy Automatic

Within these timepieces, the NOMOS movement DUW 5001 is at work—the first self-winding caliber from the watchmaking company, introduced in 2005. The diameter measures 40 millimeters. All three watches are also easily legible at night. NOMOS Glashütte has crafted these long-lasting timepieces with the next generation of watch owners in mind. People, in other words, who will need a good watch on the wrist for decades to come.

First, there was Ludwig – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte, which celebrated the town’s heritage as the center of German watchmaking. Then came Lambda – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte, which represented the very best of Glashütte handcraft. And now there is an entirely different watch: An automatic model with an in-house built caliber and the proprietary NOMOS swing system adjusted according to chronometer standards. Available for an entry-level price which many people will find attractive: “A group of customers that has always been of great importance to us,” says NOMOS CEO Uwe Ahrendt.

Each of these watches comes with its own beautiful accessory: The elegant and complementary strap—a light gray and blue-black textile strap for the olive green and navy models respectively, and the NOMOS Sport bracelet for the onyx version. These watches are available from March in select retailers and online in the NOMOS Store, starting from 1960 GBP.

Ball Engineer III, Legend Dress Watch: Specs, Price & Dial Options

Ball have another twist on their Engineer III model, and this one is a slimline dress watch that you can wear every day. On a special pre-order pricing deal at just £1420 – though you need to add on UK import duty/VAT of course.. Here’s the word from Ball;

The Engineer III Legend II is built for conquering adversity with bright, multi-coloured micro gas tube luminosity and extreme resistance technology. The 40mm chronometer is a slim 11.5mm in height – providing ultimate versatility and strength in the most challenging conditions. Its robust engineering and expert craftsmanship are perfectly suited for your pursuit of greatness. Limited to 1,000 pieces each. Pre-order now at a limited-time price until 7 April 2021.

TWO LUME OPTIONS

Completely self-powered, the tubes are available in either a multi-colored lightshow or solid motif. But no matter the choice, the incomparable luminosity shines automatically from the first sign of darkness to the last, ensuring easy time-reading in all low-light conditions. Unlike any other form of luminescence used in watchmaking, the tritium tubes adorn each hour marker and all three hands. In total, 19 tritium tubes adorn the dial and hands with double tubes used at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 hour markers.

Measuring 40mm in diameter and only 11.5mm in height, the Engineer III Legend II delivers versatility and comfort for every occasion. The remarkably thin size fits exceptionally well under various gear as well as dress attire, while the stainless steel material excels in harsh environments. Under the anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the solid dial is available in black or blue in unapologetically utilitarian design. Only a practical date window has been added at 3 o’clock, magnified by a cyclops lens for easier reading.

Black or blue dials, cyclops date window, 40mm case size. Classic looks.

The Engineer III Legend II runs on the automatic BALL RR1101-C movement – based on the renowned ETA 2892-A2 caliber – and features high-quality components, superior engineering and exceptional finishing. Its precision has been tested and certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) over the course of 15 days in different positions and temperatures. To achieve chronometer certification is no easy feat. The average daily rate on the first 10 days of testing must be from -4 sec to +6 sec., or up to 10 seconds per day – an extraordinary requirement achieved by the Engineer III Legend II.

 

Ball Railroad Trainmaster 130th Anniversary Edition

Ball have a special 130th anniversary Trainmaster model. With a 40mm case, this vintage style Ball pays tribute to the railroad pocket watches of the 19th century, with its retro dial design. Here’s the word from Ball;

The Trainmaster Railroad Standard 130 Years – a classic and elegant timepiece inspired by a BALL vintage pocket watch from the early 20th century to represent our rich heritage and watchmaking ethos. Limited to 999 pieces, the commemorative timepiece features a 40mm case, micro gas tube luminosity and subsidiary seconds design. In all dark and low-light environments, the 14 micro gas tubes on the dial and hands shine automatically without any form of charging.

You can choose a bit of engraving on the caseback, plus choose the serial number from the 999 pieces. So if your birthday is on the 24th then get busy ordering, as those low numbers will probably be snapped up first. This is a COSC certified timekeeper, with a period style white enamel dial, plus Swiss Made, so it isn’t cheap at just over £2000. But if you want Swiss build quality, and that unique pocket watch look, then you have to consider this one.

Verdict; a pre-order special price of £1830 on the Vanguard II, in stunning blue, is probably going to be a better long term investment than the pocket watch revival. It just has a wider re-sale appeal, and it’s cheaper.

More here. 

 

ICYMI: Rado Captain Cook Burgundy

Here’s one we missed from December, the new Rado Captain Cook Burgundy model. Here’s the word from Rado;

One look at the new Captain Cook bronze burgundy dial is all it takes to understand the grandeur of this timepiece. Rado is proud to present its new version of the Captain Cook bronze with the much awaited burgundy high-tech ceramic bezel.

It is not unusual for Rado to make such striking material combinations, and the ‘The Master of Materials’ once again plays with a modern material like high-tech ceramic and the oldest material created by men – bronze. The result is a timepiece that enamours with its brushed bronze case, bronze turning bezel with burgundy high-tech ceramic insert and laser engraved numbers and markers. The burgundy sunray brushed dial clearly contrasts against the yellow gold coloured applied indexes, but blends easily with the classic red-date display from Rado.

Its indexes, numbers, hands and markers are all powered with Super-LumiNova® that allows clear visibility in the dark, and whose looks remain almost untouched from the 1962 original Captain Cook, giving it a natural vintage look. However, diverging from the original, this timepiece is powered with the 11½ Rado calibre 763 movement prodiving 80 hours power reserve.

Red tones are known to be the hardest to be replicated in ceramics, and even more a challenge to be used in watches, that now the watchmaker from Lengnau can add to its many materials’ achievements.

Verdict: Handsome design and the NATO strap adds a certain adventure sport look. Ceramic bezels add an extra level of durability too. It’s a pricy watch at about £2400 mainly because Rado don’t generally hold their resale value too well. We like the DC Leake jewellers green Captain Cook better at two grand in the Sale.