Price-walking is that thing insurers do at renewal time. You get an email, forget it ane they auto renew; same product but £55 more this year.
So adding an olive green dial version to the Intra-Matic and raising the RRP to over two grand seems kinda the same deal. The old blue or white dial models looked great. In fact I prefer the blue dial Intra’s vibrant punch, it really lifts off the wrist.
But why is the same watch now another £300 to buy? We found a blue dial model on CW Sellors at £1930 with a 10% off pop-up window on the website. That makes it about £1740 retail.
It won’t work Hamilton. Even if you did see off Lewis and his trademark case, don’t get cheeky.
Aries Gold over in Singapore has got a bit of a Sale on right now, with the Monza motorsport chrono models catching our eye.
OK they have Japanese quartz movements inside, but a sapphire crystal watch, with a steel bracelet, variety of dial colours and a wooden presentation box, all for £143 including shipping. Come on, stop thinking a Timex Q retro at £155 is good value when you see stuff like this online for so little money.
I’m going out on a limb and saying the white dial one hasa little Rolex Daytona vibe too. Just putting it out there, pile on and shame me. I don’t care.
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;
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.
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.
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.
Some vintage style recreation watches look perfect, some less so, but the Hamilton Intra-Matic is one that we put in the first category. It has a 1960s vibe that pleases the eye, especially for petrolheads as this chrono looks pure motorsports. No date window, no gadgets, just a pure stopwatch lap-timer for the wrist. We like that purity, not gonna lie.
Ideal for a weekend at Goodwood’s Revival we think, or maybe a dream trip to Bonneville for Speed Week – if Covid rules and the Climate Agenda zealots ever let us mere mortals travel again of course.
With a 40mm case size this is arguably a watch that will suit most blokey wrists, not too big but big enough to catch the eye. Another detail we love are the vintage chrono pushers. Big n meaty, like a pitlane stopwatch from Le Mans. The cream dial option, with reversed out black sub-dials also looks the business, although the black dial is our top choice, even though it’s a little bit extra. Ah yeah, price. At £1870 or so this is a not-too-expensive Swiss watch, especially when you conside it has the H51 movement inside the case. It is based on the old Valjoux 7753 engine, with the auto function removed so the Hamilton needs to be wound up.
It has a sort of yellowed, or faded lume on the markers and hands, which is a nice vintage touch. Best UK price deal on the new Mechanical variant of the Intra-Matic was £1870 at CW Sellors, here by the way. Many other big name jewellers were asking just under 2K sterling, which is unfair given that the Swiss price is CHF1995. No wonder Swatch sales were down by about 30% last year.
You can find a 7753 movement inside a Tissot Heritage 1973, a Sinn, or a Longines Master series chrono or even more left field chpices like the Dutch Van Der Gang Chronograf, which is a hefty 8600 euros. You do get some bespoke features on the Van Der Gang, so think of it as the AMG Merc variant of the ETA 7753 if you like.
So the Hamilton is actually decent value if you compare it to other ETA/Valjoux equipped 7753 watches. Now that we like. The downside with any Hamilton is that they seen very much as a starter brand in the Swatch family, along with Tissot and Longines. That has an effect on future values for sure, but if you love motorsport chronographs then we think your alternatives are the Sinn 144, Tissot 1973, or maybe a Yema Andretti Chronograph, which is currently on some end-of-line deals at the French brand’s website.
We do love a good war story here at the Northern Watch Co magazine and what finer way to remember the sheer courage and bravery of the men – and women – who fought in the Special Operations Executive, than by wearing a chrono watch, that comes with a booklet telling the true story of each racing driver, turned anti-Nazi spy and saboteur.
Hats off to Trafford Watches in the USA for putting together an SOE Roadster watch collection that celebrates old school heroism and wants to remember history, rather than re-write it for the forever offended. Nazis and their enablers deserved some payback and SOE did exactly that, long before the beaches of Normandy were invaded. That took guts.
I was familiar with Robert Benoist from various books on special forces and the French Resistance, but Jean-Pierre Wimille and William Grover-Williams are two new names for me, and it’s amazing to read of their WWII exploits. Each of the three road racers has a themed colour dial; french blue, black and BRG for Grover-Williams. Inside the 41mm steel case, there is the Seiko V series meca-quartz movement, with a sapphire crystal on the top, Uni-directional bezel and super Luminova on the markers and hands. The de luxe box and booklet is a nice extra bonus too.
Unsurprisingly this one has been funded rapidly on Kickstarter and deliveries should start later in 2021. Early bird price is £215, but the watch ships from the USA so there could be import duty on top for UK customers.
There is a fourth watch in this collection on its way too, with a blazing red dial. Plus if you buy three, you get a wooden display box.
More here at the Trafford Watch Kick page.
Citizen are entering the smartwatch fray in 2021 with their CZ model. Now for older readers, the name CZ means smoky two-stroke motorbikes made in the Czech Republic, but those days are long gone and a new generation will like the snappy name – and the great looking, multi-function watches. We are old school mechanical/auto here at the Northern Watch Co mag, but you gotta keep an open mind on the future.
The new CZ Smart smartwatch is designed for every moment, says Citizen. Inspired by iconic sport technical timepieces, CZ Smart marries modern technologies with the style and quality you expect from Citizen. The sport edition features a colour touchscreen dial and black anodized aluminum top ring, framed and finished with a silver tone stainless steel case and comfortable blue silicone strap. CZ Smart also features a 46mm three-piece case construction and a rugged blue bezel design. So yeah, it’s kinda big.
We like the dive watch style bezel they have painted on the CZ and the chunky winding crown and pushers too. This model is definitely one for someone who loves a mechanical watch look but wants all the tech gizmos that make modern life such a 24/7, always on-call, tsunami of updates. We’re really selling you the dream here ain’t we?
Powered with Wear OS by Google™, CZ Smart is compatible with both iPhone® and Android™ phones to fit your lifestyle. Plus, the customisable menu of dials and technology that provides the information you need at your fingertips.You can make calls and there’s a little speaker in there too, so you can keep up with things like Ring doorbell or Alexa alerts too. The watch connects via Bluetooth to an earpiece or headset, so you can take calls without slowing too much on your 10-speed racer hill climb. Naturally, the CZ features all that heart rate/steps per day data that fitness enthusiasts know and love.
You can change functions and menus by pushing the winding crown in, plus get further choices by rotating it so it scrolls through menu options like a Nest heating dial. Chrono pushers? The top one lets you delve into your initial app choice on screen, so say you want to scroll through music tracks then push the top button in. The bottom pusher, usually the flyback on a conventional watch, controls your Google Pay info/settings. Yes, you can also pay for stuff at modern POS terminals in shops with the CZ watch.
In daily use, you simply swipe up or down, left-to-right, to access the various function menus. You can also press and hold the dial to choose a different colour every day, plus there’s a steel bracelet and blue leather strap option, as well as the sporty silicone one you would expect on a sports watch.
It retails at £349 and although your watch blogger would rather have a Citizen automatic, I can see how this watch and it’s multiple data functions offers all kinds of uses beyond old fashioned timekeeping. More here at Citizen’s website.
This is one we missed from TAG’s press office back in November, a very handsome Carrera in 18 carat gold, offered in just 188 pieces celebrating the birthday of Jack Heuer;
Jack Heuer, great-grandson of the brand’s founder, former TAG Heuer CEO and current Honorary Chairman, celebrates his birthday today. In honour of his symbolic eighty eighth year, which embodies luck with its double infinity loop, the Swiss luxury watchmaker is releasing an 18K rose gold limited edition of the recently relaunched TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph.
Inspired by Jack’s favourite Heuer watch (the iconic vintage Heuer Carrera 1158CHN), the details of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition, which is limited to 188 watches, recall the story of Jack and TAG Heuer. With its sleek design and highly legible dial, the elegant chronograph pays tribute to the Heuer style, as well as Jack Heuer’s love of detail and precision. It is made from 18K rose gold, his favourite material, and one that he specially chose for the watches he gifted to racing drivers to confer the highest value upon their precious good luck tokens. This new watch features Jack’s motto “Time never stops, why should we?” on the oscillating mass of its in-house manufacture Heuer 02 movement, and bears the double symbol of infinity on the dial and his signature on the strap.
Among the TAG Heuer Carrera models, there is one that stands apart in Jack Heuer’s heart: the all-gold Heuer Carrera 1158CHN dating back to the 1970s – an iconic vintage watch that inspired the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition. Made of 18K rose gold, this anniversary piece marks the comeback of this precious metal to the TAG Heuer collections. Above and beyond its enduring value, gold embodies the enduring link between Jack, TAG Heuer, motorsports and the greatest drivers of all time. In the 1970s, Jack Heuer started a tradition of presenting an 18K gold Heuer Carrera for good luck to Ferrari Formula 1 drivers – legends such as Ronnie Peterson, Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni – during the partnership between Heuer and Ferrari. Engraved with the driver’s name and blood type on the case back, these Heuer Carrera 1158CHN models have become highly sought-after collector’s items and symbols of the golden age of racing.
Jack Heuer says: “I’m very touched that TAG Heuer reimagined my favourite watch for my birthday. It reminds me of many dear friends and thrilling years on the race track. I will wear it with pride and look forward to seeing it on the wrist of new generations of daring characters as well.”
Not many dive watches have the authentic heritage of Aquastar. If the name Cousteau means anything, then you’ll understand that Aquastar watches were there back in the 60s. This was when depth records, wreck exploration, shark documentaries and the first North Sea Oil rigs all captured the public imagination.
Aquastar didn’t just make excellent dive watches, they invented stuff and put a patent on it. Like the bezel that worked out decompression times for repeated dives that day. That sort of life-saving and boundary-pushing tech made the Aquastar watch a pro diver choice. You can’t buy history like that; you either have underwater cred, or you don’t.
After a fallow period during the quartz watch boom opf the 80s, Aquastar kinda went under – forgive the pun. But now they’re back in business and the 40mm Aquastar Deepstar watch is a sublime beauty; it combines technology, classic styling and Swiss made cachet.
Here’s the word from their PR office;
But the return of the Deepstar represents more than just the re-telling of the watch world’s best-kept secret. The Aquastar brand, and its enigmatic, innovative founder Frederic Robert shaped a pivotal moment in mechanical watch history throughout the sixties and seventies. One that represented a conscious shift from wrist watches as timekeeping devices, to purpose-built tools designed for diving and exploration.
In 2020, Robert’s original vision dives again with the new Deepstar Re-Edition, a modern, yet strikingly faithful adaptation of Aquastar’s most emblematic dive watch from 1962. it’s available pre-order at$2750 which isn’t bad considering it features a LaJoux Perret column wheel chronograph movement inside that stylish, almost chiselled case.
There’s a 55 hour reserve, the watch is limited to 300 examples in each of the three dial colours too. Sun-Ray blue is our fave, but there’s black and steel grey as well. It is a very understated watch and although you’ll never impress Rolex Submariner fans at the golf club, choosing an Deepstar kinda shows you know wristwatches inside out.
The history of technological advances, of human endurance and discovery is all writ large in a watch like this. History matters.
Recreating the past is rarely a great idea, and by that I mean an entirely faithful replica of the ancient technology that put together a Ford Anglia or Timex wristwatch back in the 60s. The tools and processes used weren’t that great when it came to mass production frankly. But bespoke Swiss watchmaking is – and was – a little bit different.
In the 60s factories like Longines, Tissot, Omega, Rolex and many more had a sort of Model T production line of highly trained people – often women – who painstaking assembled one or two components on the two main plates of a watch movement. Go back further to the 1930s whehn the US Army wanted a handy watch for their pilots and you really are in the hand-crafted, almost pre-machine tool era in Swiss watchmaking.
The US Army wanted a pilot watch that had big numbers, and sat at a jaunty angle over a glove as most cockpits were open then. Piaggio of Italy had invented the pressurised cockpit in 1919 for one of their long range bombers, but many fighter and reconnaisance aircraft were still open to the elements. Pretty hard to fly in rough weather too, which is why a quick glance at the wrist was all the time a pilot had to remove their eyes from the horizon, or the instruments of course.
So this recreation of a 30s classic is bound to be better made, as it uses the highly precise computerised tools of the 21st century to cut and finish the component parts. A column wheel chrono movement powers this 41mm watch, case is steel, strap is leather – naturally.
The fluted crown controls all the stopwatch functions too, which is a clever bit of tech.
A classic black dial, with super luminova hands and numbers adds a superb vintage face to this watch. They’ve faded the numerals a bit haven’t they, unless it’s my imagination? It looks the part and the quicky touch of off-setting the dial is a real talking point. It may well prompt a history debate too, which is always welcome in this neck of the woods.
Not for us at £2500 – too expensive for something that lacks practical everyday wearability on the ground.