Tag Archives: collectors

Bell+Ross BR-05 White Hawk Edition

Bell+Ross has launched a limited edition of the BR-05 model, called the White Hawk. Naturally, you get a white dial, with some contrasting red chrono hands on there. The dial has a brushed satin sheen says B&R.

It also has a hawk graphic on the caseback. Just 250 pieces world wide and a price of £5100.

Yep, we would probably buy a Gulf edition TAG Monaco instead.

More info here.


Armin Strom: California Dreamin’

The latest from Armin Strom;

The Armin Strom Tribute 1 California, which continues the brand’s eye-catching fusion of tradition and transparent mechanics, features a California-style dial created in a choice of five fumé colours that offer a striking contrast to the black guilloché plate. Each colour option has been produced in a limited edition of five pieces.

The California dial: reviving a design icon

The newest interpretation of the Armin Strom Tribute 1, the brand’s popular modern dress watch, takes its name from the so-called California dial, which is distinguished by its alternating Roman and Arabic numerals.

The dial, which is offered in five different colours, also features bar markers and a railway track minute ring. The California dial design, which is a favourite among watch aficionados, dates back to the 1930s and with its distinct presentation on the coloured dials, it offers each proud owner a timepiece of distinction and a touch of exclusivity.

The visibility of the barrel on the dial makes the Tribute 1 California resolutely modern while the California dial gives it a pleasing vintage flair.

What we like about this; true handcrafted watchmaking. Got a real Fritz Lang Metropolis feel to it.

Price: $19,000 or so. Who’s counting?

Ball Roadmaster Pilot GMT, With Quick-Set Feature

The latest from Ball Watches – this is another handsome GMT model, with that traditional Ball lume all over the show. The GMT hand quick-set feature is a nifty gadget if you are a regular traveller. Here’s the word;

The Roadmaster Pilot GMT series is equipped with two remarkable timekeeping functions that soar to new levels of convenience. When travelling, simply push the quick-set buttons to jump the local 12-hour hand to its desired position without stopping the seconds hand.
Then easily turn the crown to jump the date correctly into position, eliminating the need to circle the dial with the hour hand. Complete with a virtually-scratchproof ceramic bezel, amazingly bright micro gas lights and chronometer-grade precision, the Pilot GMT is an ingenious traveler’s watch for the modern explorer.
Watch the You Tube promo here;

The Roadmaster Pilot GMT series comes in 3 different variations and we are proud to introduce the latest addition with the black-green two-tone bezel that makes a striking statement with its vivid color.

Limited to 1,000 pieces each. Now available for pre-order until 15 December 2021 at an exclusive price, which is £1851.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Titanium Grey Ghost

Blancpain has a new variant on their legendary Fifty Fathoms dive watch, and this time it gets the titanium treatment. We aren’t sure about that grey dial and bezel combo – restrained elegance or a little bit ghostly night in November, what do you reckon?

Here’s the word;

Titanium is a reliable ally of diver’s watches, offering numerous advantages including high resistance to shock, pressure and corrosion. In addition, this metal boasts a low density making it particularly light and comfortable to wear.

Measuring 43 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 metres), the sharply contoured case of the new Bathyscaphe is made of satin-finished grade 23 titanium. This high-end titanium rarely used in the watch industry requires substantial machining work that is extremely challenging.

The anthracite-coloured dial features a hand-crafted vertical satin finish creating a resolutely modern matt effect, enhanced by the Bathyscaphe’s traditional luminescent baton-type hands and geometric hour-markers, as well as a satin-finished titanium bezel with a satin-finished ceramic insert and a Liquidmetal™ time scale.

Technical and precision timekeeping feats are the order of the day for this new Bathyscaphe equipped with in-house Calibre 1315, a benchmark in the field of sports watches.

Born of a long quest for accuracy and performance, this self-winding movement with a five-day power reserve notably features a silicon balance-spring rendering it totally insensitive to magnetic fields. It is also distinguished by the high level of finishing visible through the transparent sapphire caseback, where snailed and chamfered bridges rub shoulders with a sandblasted, satin-finished and snailed gold oscillating weight.

This new model comes fitted with a NATO or anthracite sailcloth strap, or a grade 23 satin-finished titanium bracelet. The design of the latter is identical to those fitted on Fifty Fathoms models – a first for a Bathyscaphe timepiece.

Verdict; 300m depth for £11,800 is a bit cheeky frankly and the styling lacks visual punch and drama, which you might expect with this price tag.  Rolex Sub plus a Doxa for everyday wear is better value.

More info here.

Seiko One Piece: Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces is one of Jack Nicholson’s lesser known movies, but it’s worth a watch if you’re in the mood.

Anyway, I digress, Seiko has done the same Naruto and Baruto thing with their 5 Sports model, only this time the tie-up is with One Piece comics. Nope, we haven’t heard of it, but then we gave up on comics when Dr Strange was still saying `Gadzooks.’

One thing we noticed immediately is the level of collector comic-con obsessiveness about these editions. Only 5000 pieces, unique dials, embossed crowns and caseback slogans. Custom boxes too.

Our fave is the Zoro model in green, which has a cool dial design and a relatively subtle crossed swords logo on it. The slogan on the back about being the `world’s greatest swordsman’ is pure Austin Powers as well.

Check out the bezel detailing, which has that authentic Japanese Anime/warrior vibe going on.

This comic tie-in is a clever way to repackage the Seiko 5 Sports watch, and as it has the 4R36 movement inside the 42mm case, technically, there’s little difference from a stock 5 Sports.

But in terms of future value? Oh yes, it definitely ticks the completists box and by that we mean the guys who must have every toy merchandised off the back of Star Wars, Trek or Game of Thrones etc. Buy the set, store them in a cool dry area, unopened of course…and then sit back and wait for fellow collectors to admit they missed out on this set of five Seiko 5s.

Brilliant thinking from Seiko we reckon. No word on price that we could find on their website but let’s guess about £600 each?

more info here.

Mido Ocean Star Captures The 60s Spirit

Mido has sent us info on an upcoming new retro style dive watch, due to go on sale on November 1st 2021.

Following the resounding success of its first reissue of the 1961 Ocean Star Skin Diver Watch in 2020, Mido is presenting a new, eagerly awaited version of its Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961.

With a polished 40.5 mm case, a multicoloured scale of decompression stops, a ‘glassbox’-style sapphire crystal and a rotating bezel, the striking codes of the era – among the most sought-after by collectors of Mido timepieces – are brought back to life.

The dial of the new Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is even closer to the original, revealing silvered white tones with a turquoise bezel for an irresistible and refreshing vintage look. The excellent Caliber 80 gives this retro yet modern model a formidable power reserve of up to 80 hours. For keen aesthetes, there are three easily interchangeable straps – in braided polished steel, turquoise fabric and patinated leather – allowing them to switch up how they wear this extraordinary Ocean Star, limited to 1,961 pieces.

Architecture that withstands winds and tides

At Europe’s southernmost tip stands an architectural construction built to withstand any storm, that has unfailingly watched over the Gibraltar Strait since 1841: the Europa Point Lighthouse. Its powerful beam of light helps sailors to find their bearings on the often rough waters between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Created by Mido in 1944, the Ocean Star collection is characterised by its reliability, just like this monument, which was built to safely guide men embarking on new maritime conquests.

1961 – 2021: revival of the first recreational dives

Particularly popular with collectors, the 1961 Ocean Star Skin Diver Watch symbolises an entire era defined by the rise of diving for sport – an activity that was hitherto mainly practised by professionals.

To facilitate calculations before and during a dive, the original model indicated the decompression times 6 metres below the surface. These times could be read off very easily as they were displayed on contrasting coloured circles: yellow for a diving depth of 25 to 29 metres, green for 30 to 34 metres, pink for 35 to 39 metres and blue for 40 to 44 metres.

By simply placing the minute hand at 12 o’clock before a dive, the wearer could read off the information on the table during immersion. The rotating bezel allowed diving time or decompression stops to be calculated.

In tribute to the original model, Mido reproduces the bright colours of the original table on the silvered white dial of the new Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 – an aesthetic nod that is by no means intended to replace modern diving rules and instruments. The depths are indicated at 12 o’clock in metres and feet.

For visibility underwater, Super-LumiNova® adorns the diamond-cut hour and minute hands, as well as the polished indexes. The original Mido logo also features as a polished applied adornment on the silvered white dial, and as an engraving on the case back, crown and strap clasps.

A retro-modern model for connoisseurs

A modern sapphire version of the ‘glassbox’-style crystal – more luxurious and less prone to scratches – reinforces the vintage feel of the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961.

For added radiance, the round 40.5 mm case is crafted from polished durable stainless steel. At 12 o’clock, a large, neutral Super-LumiNova® dot provides a point of reference on the fluted turquoise unidirectional rotating bezel.

Symbolising the Swiss watchmaker’s expertise in water-resistance, the Mido starfish is engraved on the stainless steel case back next to the serial number of each piece. The screwed crown and case back further enhance the durability of the watch, which is water-resistant up to 200 metres (20 bar/660 ft), while the Caliber 80 gives it an exceptional autonomy of up to 80 hours.

Available in November and presented in a special box with a limited edition certificate, each of the 1,961 timepieces comes with three elegant straps: a versatile braided steel bracelet, a more classic patinated leather strap, and a sporty turquoise fabric strap adorned with stitching in the colours of the table. A spur system allows for quick and easy strap changes.

Verdict: This 60s tribute is a stand-out dive watch, because it combines the bright colours of the past with modern tech. It’s not too big, not too `Sub/Seamaster homage’ either, plus you have the back up of Swatch Group parts and servicing. 

More at the Mido website.

Zenith Needs to Stop Remixing The El Primero

Zenith has reworked their El Primero watch yet again. Smaller case, original dial colours and greater accuracy.

But it’s getting boring frankly, much as we love the classic 1969 design and many of the various El Primero revival models that Zenith has been offering since the 2019 anniversary year.

What you need to know;

There is an exact replica, 38mm steel case variant.

The rose gold case one looks ace. Expensive though.

We love the star detail on the crown.

Here’s the word on the latest iteration;

Original by name, original by substance. Few watches have been as influential and truly iconic as the Zenith A386, which made its debut in 1969 as one of the first steel watches to be equipped with the revolutionary El Primero calibre – the world’s first automatic high-frequency integrated chronograph movement.

Over 50 years later, the El Primero remains the benchmark of precision among automatic chronograph movements, giving way to new versions and iterations in a constant evolution of technicity (is that a made-up word?? – Ed) and performance.

While Zenith has paid tribute to many of its emblematic historical references, including gold versions of the A386 in its Chronomaster Revival collection that debuted during the El Primero’s 50th anniversary, a steel re-edition as part of the permanent Zenith collection has long been something that Zenith collectors and chronograph aficionados have been eagerly awaiting.

But beyond a modern reinterpretation of this enduring staple among chronographs, Zenith has gone a step further with the Chronomaster Original, which masterfully retains the singular and enduringly relevant design of the A386 while packing the performance of the 21st century version of the El Primero boasting 1/10th of a second precision and time measurement.

So the top spec gold case model is £16,000, and the steel case/leather strap version starts at £7,100.

Verdict; A classic El Primero is a better addition to your collection than a new model. Hardly any depreciation and you’re buying the watch that kinda changed everything, not a factory reproduction. It’s like buying an electric powered E-Type Jaguar, looks perfect but underneath it’s a different 21st century toy.

Zenith suffers huge depreciation in the UK market as collectors feel they are over-priced for what they are. They have a point. A Tudor Black Bay, Omega Speedmaster or Breitling Top Time do much the same job and for about half the price. The El Primero is in Rolex Sub territory in terms of price and the fact is, it simply cannot command that kind of RRP.

What Zenith needs is a watch that sells for about three grand, looks ultra fresh and modern and wins over new customers. Maybe work with design houses like Bamford London or produce some crossover branded watches using the Dior and Louis Vuitton names from within the group?

Fact is, Zenith has painted itself into a corener with the El Primero in exactly the same way Hublot has with the Big Bang, or AP has done with the Royal Oak. There is a real danger that many Swiss brands are essentially one hit wonders. And that spells long term decline.

Bowie didn’t stay Ziggy until he got his bus pass did he?



Forzo Launches a Foggy Watch Collection

Carl Fogarty’s exclusive and limited-edition watch collection, in collaboration with Forzo, has launched on Kickstarter. The brand-new partnership with the freshly-established British watch brand was announced in January.

Former World Superbike Champion and star of the popular ITV Jungle celeb series, is hopeful that the new Forzo watches will take off, acting as brand ambassador. To date about £9000 of the £123,000 goal has been raised. Why it should take 123 grand to produce a batch of  Seiko quartz and Miyota movement automatics remains a mystery.

To secure your watch please click here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geckota/a-limited-edition-watch-created-with-a-champion

His all-new watch range takes inspiration from the great moments in his illustrious motorbike racing career, including a record-breaking 1992 TT lap at an unforgettable average speed of 123mph. Appropriately enough, the first watch he has created together with Forzo is called the “123mph” range – and it comes in a variety of colours and specifications.

Verdict: You need to be a megafan to buy into this plan. Average spec watch for £630-£1000.

Bell+Ross Launch Three Time Zone GMT Model

The latest from Bell + Ross, who have a new GMT model in their range and yeah, for Family Guy fans, this one is a three-way;

True to its iconic square flagship model, the new BR 03-93 GMT replaces the existing version. Redesigned, more modern, more functional, more readable. This “tool watch” goes back to basics in terms of design and shape which were influenced by two keywords: functionality and legibility. Adding a new functionality from its predecessor, this new GMT provides the time in three different locations around the world thanks to the new bidirectional bezel.

This new updated version differs in many ways from its predecessor. The new BR 03-93 GMT timepiece provides the time in three different locations around the world. How does it work?

The GMT hand now stands out with its large red triangle which is perfectly visible both day and night. Spinning around the dial in 24 hours, this fourth hand displays a second time zone (or the local time on a 24-hour scale). For the first time, the iconic square shape is completed with a bi-directional bezel. The BR 03
case was specifically modified to welcome this new functional bezel. It enables the reading of the second time zone, but it can also show a third time zone. Rotating it clockwise subtracts hours and anti-clockwise adds hours.

The bezel – which borrows the same color combination as the dial – is equipped with a 24-hour scale graduation. Bell & Ross has opted for Black & Red-hot hues. Red is known for its frank, clear and dynamic properties. While the red section indicates daytime, the black backgrounds nighttime. Thus, the two-tone bezel provides a visual contrast / effect for discerning time reading and is made of anodized aluminum.

No Liquid Assets For HYT?

Niche watch brand HYT in Switzerland has filed for bankruptcy – and yes, we missed this news earlier in the month. Interesting to note that even the wealthy are not persuaded by the liquid powered movement tech that was the USP for HYT.

Clever stuff is great, but many watch buyers are actually seeking two things when they spend 50K plus on a watch; one is validation from their peer group who rate them as powerful, wealthy types. Secondly, the watch is a long term investment which might appreciate in value over a decade or so. Sadly HYT didn’t really tick those boxes on either count.

HYT may continue in some limited form, for example a Kickstarter one-off project. But the high entry price and lack of old school gears n cogs might just act as stumbling blocks. That is a shame because ultimately watchmaking needs tech advances beyond George Daniels’ co-axial escapement, or a heart rate monitor in a smartwatch.