Tag Archives: classic

Is Hamilton Price-Walking The Intra-Matic?

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.

Omologato Sponsors Classic Ferrari Race Series

Motorsports watch brand Omologato is moving into race sponsorship to reach new customers. Here’s the press info;

We are delighted to announce Omologato as an Official Race Series Partner of the Pirelli Ferrari formula classic series and Official Watch Partner of the Ferrari Owners’ Club of Great Britain.

This new agreement will burst into life on the 15th and 16th of May 2021 when the PFfc series commences at Brands Hatch, as the Official Support series to the Ferrari Challenge UK and will see the debut of the Omologato logo on the front wings of all Ferraris in the Club’s classic series. Our competitors will also be vying for the newly-created end of season Omologato Trophy and presentation watch.

The PFfc covers Ferrari tipos from the 1970s to the 1990s including 308 GT4s, 328s, 355 Challenge, even a spectacular 550 Maranello and perfectly encapsulates the spirit of close, committed racing. The calendar covers the key UK circuits and an overseas round at Spa-Francorchamps as well as the Club’s own Ferrari Club Competizione event at Croft Circuit on the 26th and 27th of June.

Announcing the new partnership, Ferrari Owners’ Club of Great Britain Chairman Christian Mineeff commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Omologato to the Ferrari Owners’ Club and specifically our Pirelli Ferrari formula classic series where the shared passion for racing between our drivers and Omologato will be brought to life on track. As Official Watch Partner to the Ferrari Owners Club, Omologato will be represented at our flagship events, in our publication, Ferrari magazine and with unique experiences for our members.”

“I’m delighted to be working with the Ferrari Owners’ Club of Great Britain,” added Omologato Founder Shami Kalra. “I’m a motorsport fan to the core and to be involved with such a prestigious partnership is an absolute pleasure. Our announcement coincides with the launch of our Maranello California ’57 watch, which celebrates the year the legendary 250 California GT was launched.”

2021 Pirelli Ferrari formula classic calendar:

  • 15/16 May – Brands Hatch Indy & GP
  • 12/13 June – Donington Park
  • 26/27 June – Croft Competizione Weekend
  • 10/11 July – Snetterton
  • 15 August – Brands Hatch ‘Festival Italia’
  • 17-19 September – Silverstone
  • 1/2 October – Oulton Park
  • 15-17 October – Spa-Francorchamps

Tissot’s PRX Shows That Imitation Can Be Cool

Consider Tissot for a minute; once a prestige watch brand, that commanded a high price, it’s now an entry level name in the Swatch empire, with the great value Powermatic 80 and models like this PRX quartz re-issue. Well, not strictly a replica of the old 1970s PR100 or Seastar quartz models of course, although the bracelet on the modern one has the same graduated links, which smoothly shrink to a narrow point at the clasp.

It’s a very elegant watch and bears a passing resemblance to the AP Royal Oak, although it hasn’t got the angular case design of the Oak. But for £295 this classic everyday gents watch has a perfect balance between case size at 40mm, functional quartz movement (Ronda) and that slimline, 70s style that is arguably one of the best things about the entire decade. While Casio, Seiko and others were making digital watches that looked like baby computers, Tissot made quartz watches that looked exactly like an automatic model, but had the new tech inside.

Original 80s Tissot, with a definite AP vibe.

The original Tissot quartz  watches had a sort of hybrid movement in them, with mechanical gear wheels driven by a quartz engine. Lanco shared the movements, and I seem to recall fitting huge 301 size batteries inside them to get them going again. This modern PRX has a durable ETA 115 series quartz, which features three jewels and takes the 371 battery, very slim and easy to fit yourself. Assuming you have the right case knife and a steady hand of course. One thing worth noting with Tissot watches is that they often have a very slim, red plastic seal ring inside the caseback. This sits in a groove and if damaged, the caseback will not go on properly, no matter how many times you screw down the case press.

There are lots of quartz watches around the 300 quid mark but the Tissot name still has a little bit of kudos compared to some micro brands, or fashionista watches like Armani, Boss or Kors. Also better built than stuff like Boss or Armani which often have mediocre Miyota movements inside. Currently, the Tissot PRX is sold out, which just goes to prove that if you make something that looks like a Royal Oak for under £500 you cannot go wrong in 2021. Just saying.

Kickstarter Watches: Ten Eleven Nine Is Minimalist Perfection

There are a ton of watch projects on Kickstarter, but some just stand out and this no-nonsense, old school automatic watch is one of them. It’s made in Germany, has a decent depth rating if you want to go underwater on holiday, and a classic dial that simply tells the time. No messing, no sub-dials. Not even a date window.

There’s a Sellita SW200 movement inside the 38mm case, sapphire crystal and some handy lume on the markers and hands. Three different steel strap options.

Here’s a little bit of the philosophy behind the project from its creator;

“The aim was to create a timeless, very robust case, a quintesence of the very balanced watch cases I really liked from the heyday of mechanical Swiss watchmaking in the 50s and 60s. A case, on the one hand is elegant and self-contained, but on the other hand also exudes a certain robustness and serenity. Water resistance of 200m / 660ft was also very important to me, because I wanted to design a watch that can master all activities and that you don’t even have to take off for diving (important, always screw on the screwed crown….:-)). And if you asked yourself why “TRUTH BEAUTY LOVE” on the caseback? That’s what we  stand for, “TRUTH, BEAUTY, LOVE“. I will explain further down. But if you like it more clean and minimal – easy – it’s only an option.”

HOW CAN YOU CALCULATE IMPORT DUTY ON EU WATCHES NOW?

Good question.

The Ten Eleven Nine watch is priced at 923 euros, with no VAT levied on UK sales of course, but you will get stung by HMRC on import taxes however. How much? Nobody seems to know. There is no information on products over £630 on the UK gov website, no handy calculator to let buyers work it out. Worse still, once you pay the duty, there’s VAT on the total cost, including postage and the import duty, so it’s impossible to know in advance what a watch from Switzerland, or the EU will actually cost. Your parcel courier company or Royal Mail will just email a bill and you either accept it, pay up, or reject the parcel. Crazy.

Verdict; It’s a handsome, clean design that will attract anyone who likes 50s/60s dress watches like the Omega De Ville/ Geneve, or the Seiko Sportsmatic. It’s an added bonus that it has 200m dive resistance as well. The potential retail price in the UK with all import duties and VAT on top could be about £1250-£1350 and at that level there are some tempting alternatives on Kickstarter, and from brands like Yema, Baltic, Tissot or Hamilton, although the Jazzmaster Thin only has a depth rating of 100m.

Edox 1978 Pays Homage to The North Sea Divers Who Struck Gold

Edox have a new dive watch which salutes the North Sea exploration of the late 1970s and makes a little payback to the oceans too. This 43mm dive watch has a real vintage feel about it, with a plain black dial, superluminova and a 320mm depth rating. At 1490 euros it isn’t too expensive either.

1978 was a big year for North Sea oil, although the first test wells were drilled back in the 60s. It took the oil price shock of 1973 to spur on the UK and Norwegian governments to drill faster and deeper, plus build the pipelines to get it ashore. All that required brave divers to work at serious depth to help with construction, testing and make sure rigs kept on pumping. Divers in those days could make over £300 a week, which was an astonishing wage compared to a typical farm worker on about £25 per week, although the conditions in the North Sea were a bit bleaker than a turnip field in Lincolnshire. Much of the work on the UK side was undertaken by US oil specialist companies, plus the big oil companies and huge investment from the UK governments of the mid-70s.

Crude oil began to come ashore to Scotland in 1975, and although the Tartan Army, a sort of SNP-inspired IRA faction, threatened to blow up the pipeline, it has continued to flow ever since.

Here’s the word from the press office;

The North Sea 1978 timepiece from boutique Swiss watchmaker Edox marks this amazing achievement and pays homage to the classic, vintage Edox dive watches of the 1960s and 70s such as the legendary Delfin. These divers helped unlock undersea riches for Norway that paved the way for the country to invest in socially and environmentally friendly projects in a Sovereign wealth fund.

Edox is proud to be the official watch partner of these heroic North Sea Divers and the 43mm North Sea 1978 is a rugged, feature-packed sports timepiece that can be worn anytime, anywhere.

Naturally, it is exceptionally water-resistant; to 320m in fact, matching that epic 1978 dive to the metre. A stainless-steel case, coated in black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) for extra toughness, houses the Calibre 80 automatic movement. The hands and indices are coated with Superluminova for enhanced visibility at night or in the water and the case back features the North Sea Divers’ official logo – a stylised dive helmet – and the words ‘The Inverse Moon Landing’.

Nomos Glashutte Offers Ltd Edition Ludwigs For Christmas

Christmas is almost here again, and this year there are two special gifts from the watchmaking company NOMOS Glashütte. These two new versions of the classic Ludwig: one larger and highly elegant (Ludwig 38 enamel white at 38 millimeters in diameter), the other in a smaller size (Ludwig 33 duo enamel white at 33 millimeter in diameter).

Both watches feature Roman numerals, fine indexes, and railroad minute markers—also known in French as chemin de fer. A slender pocket watch-style case is the perfect finishing touch, since Ludwig by NOMOS is a timepiece for traditionalists. Just like the Glashütte watchmakers who began honing their craft in the small town in Saxony, eastern Germany 175 years ago.

These may be atypical design elements for NOMOS Glashütte, yet they serve to make these models all the more classic. To mark the anniversary, both timepieces come with glossy enamel-white dials reminiscent of early pocket watches. Thanks to modern technology they are robust and made to last, and as such they are especially beautiful. The hands are tempered blue.

Both models are powered by Alpha—the caliber that ticks in more watches from NOMOS Glashütte than any other. Three-quarter plate, tempered blue screws, and Glashütte ribbing are all beautifully on show through the sapphire crystal glass. The smaller, women’s version is a two-hand model and therefore belongs to the “duo” series, since it tells time in minutes and hours only.

To make these watches an even more attractive gift for someone special, NOMOS Glashütte has considered their prices carefully: The exquisite enamel-white dial, itself a tribute to the 175th anniversary of Glashütte watchmaking, can be thought of as a Christmas gift from the company—and so the smaller version, Ludwig duo, is available from 1,060 GBP; the larger version from 1,580 GBP.

About Vintage Re-Imagine Frederique Constant Vintage Chrono

Here’s the word from Frederique Constant, as they launch a new vintage style chronograph in partnership with About Vintage and we have to say, we love this understated design, nice beefy pushers too.

The 1988 Flyback Chronograph is a redesigned version of Frederique Constant’s famous Flyback Chronograph Manufacture. As they began the redesigning, About Vintage particularly had one thing in mind:

“About Vintage is an ode to the classics, a humble celebration of remarkable achievements in horology. As we redesigned the classic Flyback Chronograph, we were constantly reminded of why we began this whole journey of watchmaking. That is how we came up with the new design; the original timepiece with a touch of Scandinavian simplicity and vintage-inspired elements.”, says Thomas Andersen, co-founder at About Vintage.

Exclusivity on a new level

When Frederique Constant and About Vintage decided to join forces on this new timepiece, it was in fact not the first time for the two watch makers to share visions.
Back in 2018 they designed the 1988 Moonphase which became the most exclusive timepiece in About Vintage’s collection. However, this has changed as they welcomed the new 1988 Flyback Chronograph, since this is more exclusive both in limitation, quality and price.

More details at; www.aboutvintage.com

Why Cousins Battle With Swatch Group Matters

Spare parts and servicing may sound a tad dull, but it gets exciting if your £10,000 Breguet, Vacheron or Patek cannot be serviced by an independent watchmaker – instead you have to send it away and pay whatever the manufacturer demands. That can easily cost £800-£1500, depending on which parts the manufacturer decides need upgrading. It’s a kick in the wallet that many Rolex owners are familiar with nowadays, as it’s been difficult for indie watchmakers to get factory parts since 2016.

Some might say that watch manufacturers want their products serviced by authorised dealers only – but that argument fell to pieces when car makers tried to lock out independent garages from their parts supply chains a few years ago. However UK trade supplier Cousins took on Swatch Group (owners of Omega, Breguet, Longines, Glashutte, Mido, Harry Winston, ETA, Hamilton and others) in a legal battle in 2016, here’s the latest update;

“Our fight with Swatch over the supply of parts has only been slightly delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak. Because the Swiss judicial system relies on written submissions rather than Court appearances, the impact on our case has been less than expected. The deadlines for submission of documents were extended for an extra four weeks by the Swiss Federal authorities. Then an extra two weeks extension was granted by the Judge in Bern.

All the formal submissions by both sides have now been completed. The remainder of the process consists of informal comments by both sides (Swatch are due to submit theirs in the next two weeks and we will reply after that), and then a hearing in the Bern Court. We would expect the written verdict from the Judge around two to four months after that.

The date for the hearing has not yet been set. The summer recess for the Courts runs from mid-July to mid-August and we expect it will be some time after that. A lot will depend on travel restrictions and quarantine issues, but hopefully by the Autumn this will not be a factor.

As we said in our last News update, we were happy that our first submission was a very robust defence. As before, we can’t go into detail, but we can say that we think our second submission is even stronger than the first, and are very confident that the judge will reach the right verdict.”

Our view is that every serious watch collector deserves the right to make their own choice on service and repair. Some watches may well benefit from keeping their old hands and patina-pickled dials. It might actually increase their resale value long term. Others want their Rolex, Omega, TAG, AP or Hublot pristine, and why not?

The key issue is that customers willing to spend up to £100,000 on a watch should not be restricted as regards choosing their watchmaker. If they want Roger Smith to personally strip and inspect it, then so be it – and Roger should be able to order a new winding stem, or chrono pusher if required. As the EU constantly bangs on about free trade, and Switzerland is obliged to toe the line regarding EU regulations on all kinds of matters, the sensible thing would be to allow customer choice. Servicing locally also saves on air miles, therefore saving emissions – another point that the court should consider.

OK, It’s Not a Watch, But The Moke is Cooler Than an 007 Omega

Remember the Mini Moke? Maybe not, as you’d have to be aged 50 plus most likely to recall the days when the Moke could be seen buzzing about British holiday resorts, or in re-runs of cult TV show The Prisoner. But if you love the Moke’s 60s vibe, then good news – MOKE International Limited announces the return of one of Britain’s great automotive icons. Here’s the press info and we look forward to the official Bremont, Tribus, Newmark or Christopher Ward watch!

From today, UK customers will be able to order one of 56 limited edition MOKEs, an allocation selected to signify the number of years since the Mini MOKE first appeared in Britain in 1964. Order books also open for MOKEs in standard configuration, conforiming the permanent return of the brand.

MOKE International revives a quintessentially British design that has charmed for more than half a century. Brigitte Bardot epitomised Riviera chic in her MOKE. The brand has since been enjoyed and championed by fun-seekers including Kate Moss and DJ Khalid. To date the car has also appeared in four James Bond films.

The original MOKE  was designed in the 1960s by Sir Alec Issigonis, the architect of the Austin Mini. It was first specified as a military vehicle engineered to be robust enough for deployment behind enemy lines by aeroplane. The original shared components including suspension and chassis with the Mini. The MOKE soon became one of the best-loved symbols of the 1960s. Becoming the mode of travel for the inhabitants of the most exclusive coastal resorts in Europe, the Caribbean, US and Asia. To this day it remains the beachhouse-to-waterfront shuttle of choice.

56 CARS FOR 56 YEARS

MOKE will mark its homecoming with a strictly limited run of 56 cars, built for sale exclusively in the United Kingdom. Each is available in 14 colour options and the Limited Edition ‘MOKE 56’ comes with chrome front grille and windscreen rails, a discrete union jack badge and a numbered plaque on the bonnet.

Waiting lists are filling fast with resorts and private buyers in English coastal hotspots taking particular interest.

REDESIGNED AND REBORN 

The original MOKE trademark was acquired in 2015 and is now owned by MOKE International Limited. The initial focus has been on meeting demand in the Caribbean market where MOKE is popular with both private buyers and luxury resorts and hotels. Following UK regulatory approval, MOKEs are now available to purchase across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Additional models will be launched across Europe, the USA and beyond in 2021.

In reviving the brand, MOKE International has gathered a team from some of the most celebrated names in the industry. Isobel Dando, leads the board of management with an automotive career that spans two decades. This includes senior commercial and product leadership roles at Jaguar Land Rover and the BMW Group.

ENGINEERING AND PERFORMANCE

MOKE International will stay true to its British and Continental roots through its strategic approach to manufacturing and engineering. All MOKE bodies will be engineered and sub-assembled in the centre of Britain’s globally renowned specialist automotive manufacturing industry in the Midlands before being shipped to Cerizay, France for final assembly.

Mark Truman leads MOKE’s engineering and production functions having held senior technical roles at Aston Martin, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.

“My role at MOKE is to preserve the integrity and spirit of the original MOKE whilst incorporating the very best of today’s technologies that match the requirements of a new generation.” 

Mark Truman, Engineering Lead comments;

Today’s MOKEs remain true to the look and feel of the original, with a particular focus on maintaining the sense of fun and freedom that has endeared the car to so many. Updates include a new 4 cylinder, fuel injection engine, uprated suspension, braking and the option for either automatic transmission or manual.

The vehicle is also slightly larger to provide more cabin space. Features previously viewed as a luxury like power steering and heated windscreen now, of course, come as standard.

From today, UK buyers will be invited to order either the limited edition ’MOKE 56’ or the standard MOKE Classic, full production of MOKEs in standard configuration also start today.  Indicative pricing starts at £20,000 excluding local taxes and delivery.

Interested buyers should register interest at https://mokeinternational.com/customise

New Bulova Accutron Combines Retro With Electrostatic Turbines

Can Accutron stand alone as a brand like say Lexus from Toyota, or Infiniti from Nissan, or even AMG from Mercedes come to that? It’s a brave move by Citizen/Bulova to give the Accutron its own website and range of models, all with the unique electrical dynamo type power movement inside.

The original Accutron watches are going up in value now, as fewer of them are still functioning, which is no surprise given that they were never meant to last 50 years or more. So a new variant, or two, is welcome. These see-thru watches will spark up conversations with fellow watch fans, with their spinning turbine blades looking like mini power stations – which they are of course.

The wheels spin and statically charge electrodes, and like your hair standing on end, the small charge of electrical power then makes the second hand turn.

accutron DNA green

There are two models, with the historic DNA model being closer to the original in terms of styling. It’s bigger though, at some 45mm wide, which won’t suit every wrist.

Interestingly if you read the instruction manual it says the timepiece is designed to run from the factory for two years, but it has a five year warranty. Like an automatic, you do need to move your wrist to make the turbine wheels rotate and thus charge the motor. The manual says under no circumtances must the back be opened to fit a new capacitor by the way.

accutron spaceview 1

The Accutron Spaceview 2020 (above) is a limited edition, with 300 units being sold, complete with box and special booklet. It’s a very striking luminous green colour, with those turbine blades fully on show for your delight. You get some superluminova paint on the hands, plus a copper coloured second hand too. Great stuff, but it costs $4000, some $700 extra over the DNA model.

accutron legacy 600 ltd edition

Then there’s the Accutron Legacy range, which are automatics using Swiss 26 jewel movements. A 34mm case size and a 4pm winder position, just like many 1970s gents mechanical watches from Montine, Oriosa, Seiko and others, gives the legacy models a real old school feel. But is that enough for $1290 and above? Hmmm, not sure.

It is interesting that Citizen, who own Bulova have decided to tap into the US heritage that Bulova enjoyed back in the 60s with their Swiss made marketing. Hence a Swiss auto movement instead of a Citizen/Miyota. It is hard to see how the Accutron revivals will sell well in Europe, where the originals remain something of a cult and $3300 for a non-Swiss watch is seen as a real gamble when it comes to resale values for many collectors.

More info at the new Accutron watches website here.