Tag Archives: automatic

Orient Star His `n’ Hers Set

Seiko owned Orient has launched a His & Hers matched pair of watches, which some people like. Makes a nice wedding anniversary gift and all that jazz. Branded as STAR models, they feature a little skeleton – or open heart – type window in the dial.

Here’s the press info;

ORIENT STAR is launching three men’s and three ladies’ Classic Semi Skeleton models from the Classic Collection, with new designs that create a fresh, modern look.

The dials of the Classic Semi Skeleton models from the Classic Collection feature a window affording a partial view of the movement, and their designs evoke a level of sophistication unique to mechanical watches. While the colouring and details of previous models focused on traditional styling, these latest additions provide something different, with fresh designs creating a modern look.

The concept for the new model designs is “gentle sunlight”, and the dial colours are inspired by the gentle light of the sun shining upon water, plants, and forests. Beautiful shades of champagne gold, forest green, pale aqua, and pearl grey reflect feelings of gentleness
and happiness found in everyday life and natural scenery. (Yeah, crazy talk isn’t it? They just mean pastel shades – ed)

Although there is a difference between the men’s and ladies’ models in featuring ORIENT STAR’s (yep, we hate the capitals SHOUTY THING too – Ed) signature power reserve indicator or not, there are other common features besides the gentle colours. Both models share the same classically curved dial featuring stylish embossed
index markers, delicate roman numerals, and spade shaped hands.

The men’s and ladies’ models are designed to complement each other, sharing the same attractive classic-modern case shape with an elegant profile viewed from its side by gently domed mineral glass crystals, accented by rhinestone set in the crown. A sophisticated leather strap with a French turned edge finish completes the attractive design of these everyday fashion pieces.

The fresh new matching design, high-quality mechanical movements and accessible price point make them particularly appealing additions to the ORIENT STAR collection.

Orient isn’t officially imported into the UK so we are guessing that this set will retail at about £400, or £250 just for the gents model. But you may need to add on VAT na dimport duty to that.

VERDICT; Stick to Seiko or Citizen open heart classic watches, much better value.

Indie Brands: Spinnaker Line-Up is Refreshed

Spinnaker are one of the more popular Indie watch brands, with the Hull mdoel being a strong seller online. The new additions include a refreshed Hull range, plus the Croft, Wreck and Dumas models.

Let’s get into it.

The Dumas range has dial colours in Tangerine, cream, blue and burgundy – although they give them cool names like Sahara instead of cream. Inside you’ll find the trusty Seiko NH35 auto engine, with a steel 44mm case, sapphire crystal and screwdown crown filling out the spec sheet nicely.

There’s a nice hexagonal link detail on the bracelet which gives it a classic 70s feel too.

Price is £315 which is competitive, considering you get 300m depth resistance. Plenty of Swiss dive watches with a 300m depth rating cost over 2K, just FYI…

CROFT

The Croft model is a mid-size watch at 40mm, which makes it ideal for everyday wear. There’s a nice Pepsi bezel option (pictured), plenty of lume as you can see, plus the NH35 movement inside.

Just 150m of depth resistance is probably plenty for most people, there’s a date window magnifying glass, and we love the textured finish on the dials, which are graduated blue, or a kind of slate grey.

At £220 this is another winner for us.

HULL

The old Hull has been around for a few years so Spinnaker are right to refresh it without changing a winning formula. So new dial colours are the big news for this VK Meca-Quartz chronograph, with fume blue or red/black options, plus two more variations on the black dial theme. Hate to mention it, but a pearl white with reversed out sub-dials would probably look awesome.

At £235 it’s a bit pricey for a quartz chronograph, because there is some very strong competition on Ali Express  at under £70 on chronographs, plus lots of Kickstarter projects using the VK movement that are a little bit more unique in terms of design and slightly cheaper.

Check out more Spinnaker goodness on their website.

TAG Aquaracer 300: New Night Diver Variants

Is a TAG watch cool or not? That’s a tough one, because a Monaco in Gulf colours, or even the blue dial, is a winner. Some of the Carrera models also look the business, as do the fume dial Autavias, with their vintage 70s racing driver vibe remixed for the modern era perfectly. But then, there’s the quartz stuff..and that smartwatch thing. Hmm.

But the Aquaracer has its fans, and for good reason; this is a dive watch you can wear with a suit and it looks distinctive, quality and reasonably fresh. Here’s the word from TAG;

INTRODUCING THE NIGHT DIVER

Following the launch of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer
Professional 300 series during Watches and Wonders Geneva in April, TAG Heuer announces three additions to the go-anywhere family of watches, including a new iteration of a TAG Heuer icon, the all-black, lume-dialled TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver.

TAG Heuer enthusiasts will recognise the name “Night Diver”, which was first introduced in the mid-1980s. Loved by active, style-conscious watch buyers who push their limits, exploring nature and
going beyond the edge, it became one of the most celebrated sports watches of its era.

Today’s TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 collection picks up this story. TAG Heuer’s design, engineering and heritage teams worked together to deliver a faithful update to a much-loved watch,
retaining and improving signature details such as the famous 12-sided bezel and the dial’s horizontal engraved lines to produce a refined, highly versatile modern classic.

So there are now 11 references in the new Aquaracer line-up. All three new models are non-limited and go into the core collection, each with a 43 mm stainless steel case and rubber strap equipped with TAG Heuer’s innovative adjustable folding clasp.

The new black and blue versions pick up on the bracelet models introduced at Watches and Wonders: both are colour-themed with matching black or blue dials, ceramic bezel inserts and rubber straps.
The standout model of the release is the black DLC-coated Night Diver, joining the TAG Heuer AquaracerProfessional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 as the collection’s hero pieces.

Its stainless-steel case, bezel, crown, caseback and clasp are all coated in matt black diamond-like carbon, known as DLC, a high- performance, hard-wearing finish designed for use in extreme conditions. The bezel insert is highly resistant black ceramic.

EXTRA LUME

The Night Diver’s other signature feature is its fully luminescent dial, which is coated in green SuperLumiNova® to deliver exceptional glow-in-the-dark performance. To ensure ultimate legibility in extreme low-light conditions, the watch’s minute and central seconds hands are filled with blue lume to contrast with the green of the dial.

The hour hand and octagonal hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are filled with green lume, and the remaining octagonal hour markers are all edged with black lacquer. The triangle on the unidirectional rotating bezel at 12, which is crucial to accurately and safely measure dive times, is also filled with striking blue lume to match the blue of the minute and central seconds hands.

FUNCTIONALITY

There’s a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 metres, luminous markings, a scratch-resistant crystal and a double safety clasp.

The 12 sides of the bezel are all faceted for grip, the crown is protected to prevent accidental damage and there’s a magnifying glass over the date, which is integrated into the underside of the sapphire crystal, making it smooth to the touch.

UK Prices start at £2250.

VERDICT; What we like about the Aquaracer 300m dive models is that you are getting much the same spec as the Omega Seamaster, but without the £3500-£4500 price tag. Forgive the pun. It’s a versatile watch, and at 43mm suits most wrists. You will always find someone wants to buy it from you pre-owned as well, and often for a decent percentage of the original RRP.

The many-sided bezel also adds a little difference, a bit of visual appeal, because so many dive watches – and all their homages – essentially look the same; round case 40-44mm, uni bezel with big lume numbers, cyclops and a screwdown protected crown. Sometimes a detail like the 12-sided feature makes you, the owner, stand out from the crowd. That’s a good thing we reckon.

Viqueria Prometeo on Pre-Order

Viqueria has a new model available for pre-order. The Prometeo comes with Seagull or Unitas power unit and delivery is expected in late September. Here’s the word from the factory;

With the Viqueria Prometeo, revisit the notion of simple elegance with 43mm (11mm thickness) case and fumé dials boiled down to the absolute essential for quick reading: Arabic numerals at 12, 3 and 9 and clear railroad graduations around the dial. Seconds sit at 6 in a circular finishing subdial.

Encased in 316L Stainless Steel case with a perfectly mixed polished and brushed finishing, this unique timepiece features a fumé red or blue dial with a great Ecru Super-LumiNova® C5 accents. This combination of case material and variant dial sets it apart from all other Viqueria’s existing models.

The Viqueria Prometeo is proposed with a double choice of manual-winding calibers: a Swiss Unitas 6498 and a Seagull ST36. Both calibers are checked and regulated in Italy by our factory during the watch assembly.

The watch is delivered on a gorgeous italian leather strap by 2DStraps, a famous Italian leather-goods manufacturer.

Prices start at 197 euros, plus UK import duties and VAT on top. More here.

Ali Express Watch Reviews: Paulareis Automatic

Seiko and Citizen know it to be true; a turquoise dial watch is actually very cool, the choice of those who dare to be different. You can still buy a Seiko 5 or Presage today with a mix of blue and green on the dial and we are big fans at NWC magazine.

But can you get the same joy from an Ali Express budget automatic from Paulareis, at just £19.15? Well, yes and no.

GOOD STUFF

Let’s start with the positives on this one, which was bought from Timerunner store. There were some random polystyrene protectors in there, but the watch was packed inside a basic plastic sleeve – no box.

To be fair, this is bargain basement level watch buying, so no fancy box is fine.

The steel case and bracelet feels good, nicely polished, no sharp edges. The clasp has a foldover strap and presses down with a satisfying click. Feels secure. I took out one link and moved the clasp in along for a perfect fit. This watch is 40mm across which most enthusiasts agree is the ideal size.

The dial colour is stunning, it really stands out. There is a touch of lume on the quarter hour markers as well. Solid caseback, with a Rolex style splined backing plate. pretty certain our old friend the Chinese DG movement is inside there.#

Pull out the crown to position one and you can wind the watch. It ran for 27 hours left alone on the workbench. Wearing it all day, even mainly deskbound, put enough extra in the balance spring to power it through the night a day later.

Feels like a mineral crystal, which sits a little bit high by the way. Not sure if that’s a good thing or whether it might be vulnerable to little nicks and scratches.

The bezel is almost the same as a Seiko SNK series watch, it has that chamfered smoothness that’s just good to touch. Plain n simple, classic design.

BAD BITS

The crown is difficult to align on the tube when pressing in, before screwing it down. It doesn’t realy want to screw all the way on the thread. On the upside, it’s a fairly small crown so it doesn’t dig into the back of your hand like some watches do.

Most irritating was the condition of the watch. It was dirty underneath the protective stickers, especially inside the clasp. I took it apart to clean up properly as I adjusted the clasp, but still, not a good indicator as regards quality control at the Timerunner outlet.

It sits a bit high on the wrist at around 14mm, but I don’t really mind – it isn’t a huge lump of a thing like the 43mm Pulsar quartz chronograph I bought last year.

VERDICT;

You cannot complain too much for the money. Yes, a turquiose Seiko 5 is a far superior timepiece in terms of build quality, resale value and you get all that lovely box, paperwork n guarantee. But it’s also £250. This thing is under twenty quid – you know, a chippy tea price for the family on Friday.

I’m amazed that the factory in China is making any money and even more impressed that overall, this Paulareis offers everyday automatic timekeeping for a car boot sale price.

Audric Strider: Swiss Quality, Indie Price

Audric has sent us info on their Strider watch. No, not a homage to the character from Lord of The Rings, but a very reasonably priced ETA powered watch, that has a slight similarity to the famous AP Royal Oak, from some angles.

An anti-scratch coating on the case, 200m water resistance, plus a sapphire crystal see-thru caseback all add up to excellent value for the money we reckon.

Here’s the word from Audric;

The idea of STRIDER was conceptualized in 2019 with first prototype developed in 2020. In the last few months, we have been tirelessly working to improve our STRIDER in every possible way and we believe that we have created a master piece.
What makes the STRIDER different is the angular and sharp contours with its minimalist and legible dial design.

The STRIDER will be a Kickstarter launch and the launch price is 499 USD. The retail price will be 799 USD.

More info here.

Brew Watches Retromatic is Back

The Brew watches Retromatic is back and why not? This 70s style, TV dial inspired watch combines Seiko automatic engine power with a modern US led design theme. Featuring a 36mm case diameter it also has a more modest 70s era width too.

Brew say the dial’s many perforations are inspired by espresso machines, although it is channeling Tetley tea bags for us Brits. Maybe even a hint of industrial soundproofing too? Very different and it has that tiny window showing the balance assembly, which is another industrial `inspection hatch’ feature we love.

It retails at $425, but you have to add on import duty and VAT of course.

Here’s the tech spec;

SPECIFICATIONS

CASE DIAMETER:  36MM x 39.5MM
CASE THICKNESS:  10.5MM
LUG WIDTH: 20MM
CRYSTAL: SAPPHIRE GLASS (FRONT & BACK)
CASE MATERIAL:  STAINLESS STEEL 316L
CASEBACK:  STAINLESS STEEL 316L
BRACELET: 20MM, BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL 316L, QUICK RELEASE
DIAL: SUNRAY DEEP GREEN, 3-TIER PERFORATED DESIGN
WATER RESISTANCE:  5ATM (50 METERS)
MOVEMENT:  SEIKO NH35A, AUTOMATIC

Green Dial Longines Spirit Variant

Longines has launched a matt green dial variant of its Spirit model. The 42mm case auto has raised numbers, which seem to float above the dial from some angles. It’s aslo COSC certified.

Retail is £2050 in the UK, our advice is save another 600 quid up and invest in a Tudor instead. The Longines will lose you a grand in one year of ownership, plus this is a very plain jane looker for two grand, which resembles an Orient three star from a distance.

Just saying.

More here.

 

Best Mens Automatic Deals On Amazon

We thought it would be a good time to have a look on Amazon for the best deals on gents automatic watches. Not that we aren’t fans of old school watch shops, especially those that sell pre-loved watches. But there is no denying that for new watches, it is hard to beat the low overhead, store-your-stock-in-a-warehouse approach, then ship it from Bratislava when the sale goes through online.

SEIKO 5

OK this is an old Seiko 5 model, nothing special in terms of movement and you have to shake it, it does not wind up like the later Seiko 5 or Presage models. But for £99 if you sign up for a Mastercard deal, or £119 without the credit card, you cannot grumble. It’s got a guarantee, the box, paperwork and you can always sell it for about £70-£80 on eBay a few years down the line if you liek to churn your collection. Yep, we did say churn it like butter.

ROTARY SUPER 7

Not as cool as a Party Seven giant can of ale from the 1970s of course, but the Rotary Super 7 has that Rolex Submariner Pepsi look nailed down, and it claims to be waterproof down to 1000 feet, yes 300 metres. That a 300m dive watch for under £230. Great daubings of superlume on the dial too. Hard to fault on tech specs, this steel case, sapphire crystal watch is NOT made in Switzerland, but arguably has a few Swiss level quality features for the money. On Amazon, supplied by Watchnation based in Chester, Cheshire.

ORIENT MAKO II

Yes, like the Seiko 5 this is another end of line watch, but the blue dial Orient has an elegant look, an ideal case diameter at 42mm and a 200m depth rating. So yes, swim or dive in it – it’s made by Seiko so it’ll cope. Steel case, steel bracelet, although you can get a NATO strip for an extra tenner on the Amazon deal we spotted. The Orient brand is NOT officially imported into the UK so many examples you see are from overseas sellers in Germany, USA, Singapore, HK etc. That means import duty and VAT on top, so paying £119.50 on Amazon solves that paperwork problem.

BENYAR MILGAUSS

Yes, you could buy a convincing Rolex fake from somewhere in China for £400-£500, but frankly this Milgauss homage, or shall we say blatant copy, is just £55 and yours from Amazon delivered in a day or two. It has an automatic movement inside, plus see-thru caseback, so you can appreciate the rough casting finish on the rotor and the appalling bridgework. We say buy this as a gift for the bloke in the family that you don’t like, Uncle Nobhead basically. He’ll have it round to Cash Converters quicker than you can say `I’m too sexy for my TJ Hughes Shirt.’

That’s an automatic watch for £55 though, you cannot even buy a fashion quartz from Michael Coarse, sorry, Kors, for that money.

BULOVA MARINE STAR

Orange is nice to have in your collection, just for those sporty days, or a trip to the beach in summer when you want a watch that handles some seawater. The Bulova brand is owned by Citizen, so you are getting a reliable Miyota auto movement inside, plus a mineral crystal, 200m of depth rating and a big 45mm case width too. The white dial is quite rare on Bulova models, so it’s a left field choice. Good value for someone with a bigger wrist, especially at £269.

 

Rolex Explorer II: Classic Tool Watch Makes a Great Investment

The latest Explorer II made its debut yesterday and we have to say the white dial and vivid orange GMT hand are classic touches that didn’t need to be changed. The new movement is a welcome upgrade, so you now have a 70 hour power reserve, plus the dial features new super-bright lume on the markers and hands. The case size is 42mm too, which will suit many buyers as it looks like a proper watch, not a 36mm vintage model.

It’s arguably a better investment than the Explorer with two tone case because it won’t date so quickly and the lack of gold links in the bracelet makes it slightly less attractive to thieves. Wearing a dress Rolex openly in public is becoming pretty dangerous in many UK cities, even in daytime, so owning something that looks more akin to a Seiko 5 or a Maurice Lacroix Aikon is a wise precaution.

Here’s the press info from Rolex;

Rolex is introducing its new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer II. This technical watch, in Oystersteel, was created for the boldest explorers and now features a redesigned case and bracelet. This update brings enhanced visual balance and harmony to the timepiece while remaining true to its aesthetic heritage.

On the white lacquer dial, the hour markers – whose black coating is applied using PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) – and the black lacquer hour, minute and seconds hands stand out for their matt finish. The 24-hour hand retains its characteristic orange hue, which is the same colour as the Explorer II inscription that has featured on the dial since 2011.

The new-generation Explorer II also benefits from an optimized Chromalight display. 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 II is equipped with calibre 3285, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.

The Explorer II is heir to the privileged relationship that has long united Rolex and exploration. Presented in 1971, this robust and reliable watch quickly became an essential tool for explorers travelling to the far corners of the globe, often in extreme conditions. Thanks to its 24-hour display comprising an additional, orange hour hand and an engraved bezel, the Explorer II allows the wearer to clearly distinguish daytime from night-time hours. This is particularly useful in areas where it is difficult or even impossible to distinguish between day and night, such as underground or in polar regions, which experience six months of daylight and six months of darkness a year. In certain conditions, this display enables the watch to serve as compass. The 24-hour display can also be used to show a second time zone.

UPGRADED MOVEMENT

The new-generation Explorer II is equipped with calibre 3285, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex that was released in 2018 and is fitted on this model from 2021. 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 3285 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 3285 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 3285 extends to approximately 70 hours.

The new-generation Explorer II is fitted with an Oyster bracelet. Developed at the end of the 1930s, this three-piece link bracelet is known for its robustness.

The Oyster bracelet on this new watch features the Rolex-designed and -patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening. It is also equipped with the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily adjust the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm. In addition, a concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.