Tag Archives: black

Skagen Ancher: German Minimalism, Without The Price Tag

Skagen has released a new slimline chronograph, called the Ancher.

The case has 50% recycled content, there’s a new movement inside, plus the lugs are kinda chamfered, so you should get a smoother wrist fit. We like the black coating too. Understated and not too big at 40mm, this makes a nice everyday quartz watch.

Full chrono flyback functionality too, plus some lume on the numbers. Price is £149 and there’s optional engraving for that birthday gift experience.

There is a blue model but it’s already sold out.

What we like about this watch is that it has that super clean, minimalist Junghans/Glashutte sort of flavour without the 1K plus price tag.

There’s also an Ancher automatic model at £249, witha  skeleton dial. Kinda nice.

 

Tudor Black Bay Bronze: No Excuses Necessary

The Tudor Black Bay 58 has been the watch that’s really put Tudor in the Premier League for many collectors. For decades the Tudor was seen as a poor man’s Rolex and a few years ago when the brand was still basically slotting ETA 2824 movements inside nice cases you could easily pass by and maybe go for an Omega or Breitling instead.

But the recent Black Bay 58 watches are a class apart, the brand has raised its game. The MT5400 movement has 70 hours reserve, it’s COSC certified and features some sandblasted parts, blue screws and a tungsten monobloc rotor, with a unique look. I’m going out on a limb now and saying a Tudor isn’t a watch you have to apologise for wearing, like it’s not the Rolex you wanted, but it’s all you can afford.

It has a 39mm case diameter which some might say is a few mm too small. It is a general watch, not a dive model, despite the 200m rating, so we think it’s big enough – it has symmetry, balance and the brown bezel and dial really give this a coherent look that many Swiss watches lack. Sometimes less is more.

One detail that jars on this however, the NATO style strap made from a recycled parachute just looks cheap compared to the fully bronze link bracelet option. Just saying.

Here’s the blurb from Tudor;

The characteristic elements of the new Black Bay FiftyEight model are a 39 mm bronze case, an aesthetic nod to the bronzes on old ships and other deep-sea diving equipment, but also the characteristic proportions of the first TUDOR divers’ watches dating from the second half of the 1950s, particularly the famous 7924 reference or “ Big Crown”, the first TUDOR watch to be waterproof to 200 metres (660 ft), presented in 1958.

The choice of a “living” metal – in this case a high performance aluminium bronze alloy used particularly in naval engineering for submerged parts required to demonstrate a high level of resistance to corrosion such as propellers, for example – ensures the development of a subtle and unique patina on the case
of every watch to match its user’s habits.

In addition to a highly functional appearance, in line with the naval world to which it pays tribute, the Black Bay Bronze presents entirely satin-brushed finishes that guarantee the homogeneous development of this patina.

The combination of a domed dial in matt “brown bronze”, shaded concentrically from the exterior towards the centre, and a bezel presenting the same gold accents found on the hands and hour markers, completes the face of this model. The overall visual
effect is of a rich, patinated object that might have battled the waves of the seven seas for years on its owner’s wrist, and which is “made” for them and their lifestyle.

At £3390 it isn’t cheap and it isn’t Rolex level expensive either. What it definitely offers is a great spec for the price, because it’s a last-a-lifetime watch, that won’t really date, go out of fashion, and someone will always want to buy it.

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.

Bamford London Go Psychedelic On The El Primero

Bamford London keep coming up with custom variants on Rolex and other Swiss watch brands. This reworking of a Zenith is pretty out there. No price on the website, you have to email an equiry.

In collaboration with Black Badger, this Zenith Pilot Chrono TIPO CP-2 features a unique Fordite dial.

Fordite is the commonly used term to describe the collected overspray that builds up in the industrial paint bays of car factories over many, many years. The Fordite material used in this collaboration has come from the Ford factories in Michigan, USA, from the 1970-1990s era. This material forms entirely unique patterns which has been made into a special dial.

Inside the case you have the famous El Prmero chrono movement. Those yellow tipped hands are an extra jazzy touch as well.

More here if you want to get some Austin Powers vibe on your wrist.

Ball Roadmaster Rescue; Blue, Black or White

Ball Watch are always creating variations on their chronograph theme, so here is the latest Roadmaster Rescue.

Whether by air, land or sea, every rescue mission is unique. But there’s one common truth: timing is everything. A purpose-built tool for critical search and rescue situations, the new Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph delivers extreme accuracy, easy readability and high functionality. Engineered with a patented pusher locking system, the chronograph function works in unison with the pulsometer scale to measure heart rate, while two illuminated sub-dial counters track elapsed time. And for countdowns at all hours, the ceramic diving bezel features a bold micro gas tube inset. Vital functionality and versatile form that’s ready to venture wherever necessary.

The new Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph with blue ceramic bezel insert is limited to 1,000 pieces each. Now available for pre-order until 2 June 2021 at an exclusive price. Constructed from a titanium-steel combination, the 41mm case affords high impact strength, lightweight wearing comfort and trusted durability – even at extreme temperatures. And with a case thickness of just 14.8mm, the tool watch fits securely with diverse types of gear. Atop the robust case, the steel bezel features a virtually scratchproof ceramic ring with countdown markings. And in the center of the triangular marking, a micro gas tube inset ensures an instantly bright glow in darkness, allowing the uni-directional rotating bezel to be used for countdowns at all hours.

Colour options include all blue, white dial and a black dial/bezel combo. Price is £1590 on the pre-order deal.

More here. 

 

Tudor Reboots The Black Bay For 2021

There are some interesitng new variations from Tudor at Watches & Wonders this month. We are big fans of the Black Bay 58 as you’re getting Rolex level quality for less money. Let’s not debate the idea that Tudor is a poor man’s Rolex, because the latest watches prove that notion is plain wrong. Like Rolex, Tudor is a brand that holds a decent percentage of its initial purchase price as well, which makes them generally better investments than say Baume & Mercier, Rado, Oris, Bell + Ross, Maurice Lacroix or a Hamilton. They’re all excellent watch brands, but fashion is a fickle thing, just saying.

OK let’s feast on those new Black Bay models;

CHRONO

The motorsport themed Black Bay Chronograph is our pick of the bunch with a new 41mm case, beautiful white or black dial options, plus a COSC grade calibre inside. 200m depth rating is respectable, likewise a 70 hour power reserve is Rolex standard and then there’s the 5 year guarantee. The cheapest way into the new Black Bay Chrono family is the fabric strap variant at £3360, but we say splash the cash for the steel bracelet model at £3900, in white with black sub-dials. It just looks right, a classic right out of the box.

58 GREEN

Yes, we like a Rolex Sub Hulk, as geniuses choose green and all that jive. But the Black Bay 58 in 18ct matte effect gold really hits the spot. Again 200m depth, a nice 39mm case size that suits many a wrist and that chuncky solid gold winding crown too. This is luxury that doesn’t shout Kardashian bling in your face, and we think it’s all the better for that restraint. Just over £12,600 for this one.

58 SILVER

Now you don’t see many sterling silver wristwatches for men, except vintage pocket watches of course. Vive le difference we say and good to see taupe make a comeback as a colour after that 1980s wallpaper craze, remember dado rails anyone? It’s a laidback looker this one, with the same 200m, 39mm case and 5 year guarantee spec you know and love. COSC movement naturally. Choice of straps in leather or fabric. £3230 for the fabric option model.

There are new Black Bay 32 and 36 models too, which offer a relatively low cost price point at just under two grand for the fabric strap 36. There is also a retro 1926 model with a 41mm case size, and brown leather strap that we reckon offers a restrained take on those classic 1950s waffle dial gents watches of old. Calibre T601 inside the case and just £1780 RRP. Hard to fault even though that is a jazzed up ETA 2824 engine in there.

More info at Tudor’s website. 

Ball Roadmaster GMT: Classic Black, Pre-Order Discounts

Ball watches has released a classic black dial, black bezel Roadmaster GMT, making it ideal for post-pandemic jet-setters, influencers and international business travellers. The Marine GMT is already available with blue, white and green dial/bezel options, plus a Pepsi bezel by the way. The day/date option also adds a certain businesslike function to this model – this is a watch for someone who wants to know the exact time, and demands Swiss build quality without a prestige brand price tage. It’s COSC certified, just like class-leading Omega, Rolex or AP models, but you pay less to get the same job done. Just saying.

Here’s the word from Ball;

Innovation for fearless exploration, a belief that’s not only held dearly in the BALL Watch family, but also fostered the creation of the Roadmaster Marine GMT series. Engineered to the specifications of a 35-year Navy Mariner veteran, it’s the world’s first GMT timepiece with day and date functions, delivering utmost functionality. The pioneering quick-set GMT push buttons revolutionize the way GMT hand is adjusted with its ease-of-use. The tough titanium material and COSC certified mechanical movement guarantee perfect performance in the most imperfect situations. Topping off with the darkness-conquering luminosity of the micro gas tube. The watch that once ran America’s railroads now empowers world explorers to live freely and fearlessly.

Our specially-made GMT movement module allows for three time zones to be tracked simultaneously. Simply by turning and pressing either one of the patented quick-set buttons, the GMT hand can be easily set instead of turning the main crown. The button at 8 o’clock moves the GMT hand backward, while the 10 o’clock button moves it forward. When travelling, the GMT hand reveals the local time in conjunction with the bi-directional bezel whereas the main hour hand shows the home time.

The classic black bezel version marks the latest addition to the signature Roadmaster Marine GMT ceramic series, a statement piece that fits for all occasions. Limited to 1,000 pieces each. The Roadmaster Marine GMT Black bezel is now available for pre-order until 12 May 2021 at an exclusive price, which is £2110. More info at the Ball website.

Finally, They Nailed It- Bremont Supermarine Is a Winner

Bremont have just opened a new factory in the UK and you have to say hats off to them, because most brands would have simply designed their watches here in Britain, and had production outsourced to Singapore, possibly Switzerland on the more expensive models. But no, British-made watches (yeah Swiss movements we know, but give them a chance) and what’s more, the new Supermarine chronograph is probably going to be a hot seller, even at £5400 or so.

Let’s start with the dial which is a classic three sub-dial, reversed white on black affair. It’s punchy, tool watch functional, a classic mix of GMT and lumed hands. Set inside the 43mm case is a Bremont BE54 movement, with a stunning rotor that’s embossed with the Bremont name and a series of paddle shaped cut-outs. Little SBS/Commando detail that we love. The BE54 is based on the reliable Valjoux 7750 so you won’t have much trouble getting this serviced by an independent watchmaker when you need to – handy.

The bezel is ceramic, bi-directional and its rated at 200m so you can scuba dive on holiday – if you’re allowed abroad of course. I love the pushers and crown details on this model, they remind me of Thunderbird 3 and yeah, I think that’s a good thing.

The blue dial version looks pretty spectacular as well, and you can choose silicone strap or steel bracelet. The see-thru caseback is sapphire of course, and shows off that modified 7750 movement plus the Bremont rotor perfectly. This watch will delight the eye for decades and you have to admit, the same could not be said about some previous Bremont efforts.

This brand is turning things around now and if they can add a calculator on import duties in key markets to their online checkout then they have got it made. That’s a tall order I know, but you have to admit that the EU is making life hard for the UK and will continue to do so because…well mafia innit?

So if customers in China, Aus, USA, EU and Japan can all see exactly what the total cost of the watch is, then I think they may be tempted. This is a worthy rival to a TAG Autavia Heritage, an Omega Planet Ocean or Breitling Chronomat and although it is uinlikely to hold its resale value quite so well as those three watches, it’s definitely a watch you could pass down the family 30 years on – it has all the right elements, tough spec and plenty of visual appeal. Good work Bremont.

 

New Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire Black Edition

Christopher Ward has launched the C60 Sapphire Black. Like the original C60 Sapphire, the dial is made from ultra-thin, scratch-resistant sapphire. However, here, the sapphire has been ‘smoked’ – something that’s achieved through a complex process called physical vapour deposition (PVD). This involves placing the sapphire in a vacuum chamber filled with a vapour of silver and carbon graphite – heated to 400°C – for three hours. It’s then put in another chamber, this time filled with silicon oxide vapour, which adds protection.

The result is a subtly tinted transparent dial, says CW, that allows you to see deep into the Sellita SW200-1 movement. And with a compressive strength of 2,000 megapascals, it’s not just beautiful but incredibly tough, too. The dial is only part of the story. Turn the watch over and you can see the movement from behind thanks to the sapphire caseback, while the Light-catcher™ case is not only graceful but thin enough to slip under a shirt cuff. And at 40mm in diameter, pretty much suits every wrist.

Engineered to the requirements of a professional diving instrument, the watch is water-resistant to 600m, while the unidirectional bezel allows you to time your ascents – a vital safety tool for divers. Finally, power comes from the highly regarded Sellita SW200-1 movement, which delivers accuracy under the most testing of conditions. It’s on pre-order right now priced at £795.

There’s a blue version too, which is the same price.

Verdict: Great value automatics at this price are rare, you’re getting Swiss movement quality for about £500 less than entry level prestige brands that also use Sellita engines. Hard to fault CW as a value choice and this model has that Meccano fascination with the movement gears and jewels on show.