We begin the farewell to our popular 17-series with the 17.09: an evolved daily wearer, with new, extra functionality and overall design updates. We also aim to address the increase in demand with a new ordering system which should allow more collectors to experience a MingVersion 2.0
This one has a Sellita movement inside, a two-piece dial with a Clous-de-Paris pattern and a brushed outer track. There’s also a bit of lume in the sapphire crystal, which is something different and really catches the eye. It has a feel of the 1950s US neon shop and bar signage that spread from Miami across the East Coast. They are very striking watches.
You have a 38mm case size, in stainless steel, which is an ideal dress watch size for many collectors. You can pull the crown out and move the hour hand independently of the minute, which is handy if you are lucky enough to blag some travel this year. Price is 1950 Swiss Francs and stocks are limited, you can buy on the 15th April and get it delivered in July 2021.
The latest Ball Roadmaster Vanguard II now has a ceramic bezel for extra durability, taking this Swiss made watch up a notch. Ball are already producing handsome GMT models that feature striking gas-tube type lume on the hands and markers, bold dial designs and superb in-house, COSC level, movements. If you look at the polished steel cases and overall finish Ball are right up there with some of the best known Swiss brands, they just don’t get the High Street retailer exposure they deserve.
The latest Vanguard also has a day/night indicator at the 6pm position, so you can see if it’s night time back in GMT London when you’re travelling the world. Assuming you’re allowed to travel like a Towie celeb of course.
With quickset button features, steel bracelet and four variations on the familiar Blue/Black colour combinatuion that Rolex Batman lovers know so well, this watch is very good value at £1,525 on a pre-order deal (or £1,830 with a steel bracelet) until the 17th Feb 2021. It’s also a 1000 pieces limited edition.
It has a 200m depth rating as well, so it’s a GMT you can keep on your wrist when swimming.
Verdict; This is a serious, Swiss amde alternative to the 3 year waiting game for a Rolex Sub Batman, plus you get to save around 6 grand on the entry price. OK, you’ll never have that Rolex cachet or re-sale value, but you will own a beautifully made GMT for the same price as a military/retro piece from Longines, Rado, Tissot et al.
You have to hand it to LIV watches. They have launched another Kickstarter project and just about closed on the early bird offers within days, as well as passing the project funding target within hours. As popular as Tesla ? Maybe. As inspired as Space X? Definitely hit the spot with this tribute to the mighty Saturn V rocket of old, when astronauts were made from the The Right Stuff and they wore Omega Speedmasters.
The Moonphase Saturn has a quartz movement inside, but it is an ETA one, so you are getting a bit of Swiss quality for your money. Dial colours include a wonderful deep blue and a flame orange. Cases can be brushed steel, rose gold, bronze coloured or black. They are very punchy bold designs, with plenty of lume on the dials, plus that moonphase feature. It’s a physically big watch at 44mm case diameter, with a large winding crown too. The crown has an orange lined effect on it, so it pays tribute to the exhaust shields on the original Saturn V rocket. There are a few early bird models available at just under $400.
I’ve stood next to that rocket at the Space Centre musuem and it’s an incredible feeling seeing the char-grilled metal, in all its blackened glory.
The Saturn V automatic is called Moondust and has a Sellita SW200 workhorse Swiss auto engine in there, plus a sprinkling of moon dust on the dial. Colours include fume grey, green, brown and blue, with a variety of case colours as well. It features a see-thru caseback to show off the movement and the auto rotor has limited edition engraved on it. Both models are limited to 1969 pieces by the way. Yeah the moon landing year, LIV have really thought about this watch. price on the early bird is $470, about $300 less than the full retail – decent saving.
It has a 100m depth rating by the way, so you should be OK swimming whilst wearing this one. The winding crown has a gasket and it’s a screwdown crown naturally.
Flat rate $15 international shipping and a five year – yes FIVE – guarantee show that LIV are serious about offering good watches at fair prices.
I’m going out on a limb here but if a lesser Swiss brand like Hamilton or TAG started making entry level watches like this people would be falling over themselves in the watch press to say how bold, how innovative their designs were. Fact is, they should be, but instead they target older, middle aged buyers and collectors. That’s great, but you need younger consumers buying into the watch habit too, otherwise they will never buy Swiss because they see it as something their dad – or grandfather – might wear.
Comic book themed watches have been around since the days of Batman, Superman, Hopalong Cassidy and Dan Dare. Some are highly collectable and can fetch thousands. So here’s some kapow type news from Seiko;
Introduced in 1968 and re-born in 2019, the Seiko 5 Sports watch offers durable and reliable mechanical watches for watch lovers. We are big fans of the modern Seiko 5 models, because they are amazing value. Seiko has launched seven new Seiko 5 Sports creations, inspired by two leading Japanese animations, NARUTO and BORUTO.
NARUTO was first broadcasted in Japan in 2002 and then marketed abroad. BORUTO is the sequel to the series and centres on Naruto’s son, Boruto Uzumaki, whose adventure continues today. Each of the seven creations capture both animation’s central characters: Naruto, Sasuke, Shikamaru, Lee, Gaara from NARUTO, and Boruto and Sarada from BORUTO.
The series will be available worldwide at Seiko Boutiques and selected retailing partners in December, as limited editions of 6,500 yen each. That’s about £50 on our currency converter, but we aren’t expecting these bargain Seiko models to make it to the UK at that RRP.
We aren’t big on anime stuff here at the Northern Watch Co but the Rock Lee is our fave. Just looks the part. Nice leg warmers too.
Swiss brand Oris are ticking the green/climate change boxes, like many watch brands these days. The latest model called Hangang River, includes a donation to a clean-up of a much used industrial river in South Korea. Some might say that is the responsibility of the Korean government, but never mind.
It’s a partnership with the Korea Federation of Environmental Movements, and local litter picks, some work to old dams that were placed on the Hangang in the 80s to speed up mass industrialisation of the region and dealing with algae build-up are all goals for the programme. Worthy stuff.
Of course you may just love this vivid, very striking bright green watch, and all its beautifully made details. Will it become a colectors item in future? Unlikely we think, so investors should buy an Oris Carl Brashear limited edition bronze case diver instead.
Why? Just look at it. Cool, timeless, bronze case will age like fine wine, plus it has global appeal – the Hangang does not. Just saying.
The green Hangang River model retails at about £2100. Quite expensive for an Oris we think, but you are saving the world, so as Harry and Meghan would say from a video in their private jet, `It’s all good bro.’
Here are the tech specs on the Hangang River limited edition model;
Case; Multi-piece stainless steel case, unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert
Size 43.50 mm (1.713 inches)
Dial Gradient green
Luminous material Hands and indices with
Top glass Sapphire, domed on both
sides, anti-reflective coating inside
Case back Stainless steel, screwed, special
engravings of the Hangang River map
Stainless steel screw-in
security crown with crown protection
Bracelet Stainless steel metal bracelet,
security folding clasp with extension
Water resistance 30 bar (300 m)
Number Oris 743
Functions Centre hands for hours and
minutes, continuous seconds hand at
9 o’clock, circular date window with
white indicator, date corrector, fine
timing device and stop-second
Power reserve 38 hours
Limited edition 2,000 pieces, each
delivered in a special presentation box
Swiss retail price CHF 2,500
Available August 2020
Today we take a look at Baltic Watches, a new company based in France, who are creating some handsome looking models.
If you want a retro style chronograph, automatic movement, with an almost Railway clock cream dial simplicity, then the Bicompax 001 makes a tempting proposition. At 649 euros (£566 approx) it isn’t too pricey, although it does have the Seagull ST19 movement inside the case, which might not suit you if you feel less disposed to buy Chinese products after Corona.
In terms of quality, the Seagull is pretty much a modern version of the Venus 175 from decades ago, so in that regard you’re getting genuine Swiss engineering principles. Modern manufacturing means that the Seagull will probably be more relaible as a timekeeper than its 1940s predecessor, but it’s worth noting that a genuine Swiss Venus movement watch is always going to fetch more money at an auction.
OK, it lacks the collector factor, but what a great job Baltic have done is creating this 40s style chrono model. It has a 38mm case, so it should sit nicely on the wrist and we love those old fashioned flat-topped pushers, which really capture the vintage feel perfectly.
The Bicompax is also available with a deep, indigo blue dial variant too, choice of straps.
This one ticks all the right boxes too. The 39mm stainless steel case houses a Miyota auto movement, with a sapphire crystal in place to add a quality touch. The B logo on the winding crown is another nice detail, as is the quick release pin bar inside the grains-of-rice steel bracelet. That should make it a cinch to swap over to a rubber strap when you’re on holiday and going in the water.
That’s what we love about Baltic – they’ve thought the whole watchmaking process through and even if they’re importing movements, they are assembling the watches at their factory in France, whereas some other start-up companies are really styling studios who commission runs of wristwatches at an outsourced partner factory. Vive le difference we say.
This is a true minimalist watch. No frills, choice of blue, cream, black or slate grey dials, with matching bezel inlay colour too. Again, you get a Miyota automatic movement inside the case, which is 39mm wide. There’s an acrylic crystal on the HMS model, and we reckon it makes an interesting alternative to a Seiko Presage dress watch, or perhaps an entry level Tissot, which is about the same money at 399 euros, or £348.