Here’s a retro style Oris model we missed last month. It’s got a bigger date window than usual and we like the bronze case. Here’s the word from Oris;
Oris has been experimenting with bronze in its diver’s watches for years – now, for the first time, the independent Swiss watch company has given its highly competent Big Crown ProPilot Big Date fresh flair by casing it in bronze, too. The warm tones of the new model come from its bronze case, fluted bezel and signature oversized crown, which are complemented by a deep black dial with printed golden indices.
This is a true pilot’s watch, so the hands are filled with white Super-LumiNova® and the applied hour markers made from solid Super-LumiNova®, creating high contrast and first-class readability. Finishing off the stylish look is a hard-wearing green Ventile® strap with Oris’s playful ‘Lift’ clasp, also in bronze, a device inspired by passenger aircraft seat-belt buckles. As with every Oris, inside the watch is a highly reliable Swiss Made mechanical movement.
In this case, that movement is a precision automatic with an oversized ‘big’ date.
OK, it’s easy to answer, any Rolex except the really old 1930s gents models that now look like ladies watches. But watch collecting from an investment point of view isn’t that simple and there are options beyond the usual suspects, such as Subs, Daytonas, GMTs etc.
Let’s start with the affordable Rolex, Tudor, which is of course part of the Rolex empire and shares many common features technically.
From the Black Bay range sold over the last few years, you have to say the Bucherer bronze case editions from 2016-18 look like a safe bet for future price rises. That blue-on-blue dial and bezel combo is satisfying to look at and the bronze case gives it character over time. Definitely one to stash in the safe and wait until it appears in a retro movie or Netflix show in the 2030s.
Limited editions are always good, so if you can pick up one of the 2,010 Vancouver Winter Games Omega Seamasters, then I reckon you are onto a winner. It has a striking, bright red bezel, unusual for any Omega and the unique caseback sesign too.
Hard to find, which is always a good indicator of a watch keeping pace with inflation, even if it doesn’t quite race ahead.
THE F1 EFFECT
The TAG Formula 1 quartz is a budget choice, but bear with me. Yes, you won’t ever make a fortune collecting the 1980s/90s TAG F1 watches, even if you get them with box and papers. TAG made millions of them, in a variety of colours and bezel designs.
But they are durable for a quartz watch, battery changes are very easy to accomplish, and you can sometimes find straps or spare bracelet links at reasonable prices. For an investment of say 2K, a trio of TAG F1s makes an appealing mini collection – even better if you can pick `em off online from the same year.
Almost any triple day/date watch from the 40s-60s is going to appreciate in value, but the superstar brand for rising values is surely the Movado Triple Date. Consider this; in 2012 you could buy one from Bonhams for £350, now they fetching £2000 and above, depending on condition of course.
You need to make sure that the month, day and date indicator hand are all worrking of course. It’s debatable whether some fading of the dial is a good thing, as super clean dials tend to make collectors wary – has it been re-dialled or refurbished? Original is best and if you can buy a working example under £1000 we think it’s a safe bet. Not a watch to wear and use though, like anything 60-70 years old, it’s for looking at, not winding.
Ball has something different on the blocks; a moon phase dress watch. Rather than another variant on the dive/tool watch theme, this one has a classic style dial, plenty of gas tube lume, plus a day/month feature near the top of the dial that gives it that old school Swiss watch look.
It is still quite tall at over 13mm, so you won’t get that slimline feel and it has recessed pushers for the complications, bit like an early 80s digital watch, so you might find that a bit fiddly to operate.
At over £1800, it’s an expensive deal, even on pre-order. Limited to 1000 pieces but we can’t see this becoming a collectors item in the future.
Lovely see-thru caseback by the way, beautifully decorated movement.
Verdict; a Frederique Constant Moonphase Slimline does much the same basic moonphase job for £695, although it lacks the day/month features. An Oris Artelier Complication has an elegant appearance, does the month, day, date stuff and retails at £1240 – has that Swiss made kudos too.
Or you could buy a beautiful 1950s Hermes triple date from Japan that we spotted on eBay for under 800 quid – import tax on top. Yes, it’s an old vintage watch, but arguably will hold its value better than a new Ball. Just saying.
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.
The latest deal from Ball Watch – yes, it’s Kermit!
The vivid green bezel version makes the fifth 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 green bezel is now available for pre-order until 18 November 2020 at an exclusive price. Underneath the green halo, the titanium case crafts an all-around tool for exploration with its high-grade strength, durability, superb corrosion-resistance and a lightweight wearing experience. Combining sharp sporty line and robust construction, the 40mm case enables unencumbered movement.
At the heat of the timepiece is a chronometer certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), which has undergone strict testing to validate its precision. Safeguarded by our patented Amortiser® anti-shock system and with water resistance to 200 meters, the Roadmaster Marine GMT is ready for adventure without hesitation.
The watch features three time zones and a ceramic bezel. Not a fan of ceramics myself, but you do get the luxurious, smooth finish. This is a seriously good looking watch and you’re getting Swiss quality too. The pre-order price is £2110.
Jaeger le Coultre launched two new models this week, the Polaris Mariner and Polaris Memovox. Both feature stunning blue dials and old school diving ability at 300 metres.
The Memovox is the more expensive of the pair, at just under 16K UK RRP. You get a beautiful build quality, unique movement, Super Luminova markings, plus that dazzling see-thru caseback. The movement rotor is a skeleton type, with two cut-out sections, so you can see more detail on the in-house Cal 956AA movement, housed inside a 42mm case. That is arguably the perfect sized case for many watch fans, not too big, not too small.
The lume is a bright, light blue by the way, so Rolex have really started a trend with their pastel shade lume hands and hour markers.
The Polaris Mariner is cheaper at a fraction under ten grand sterling, again with a 42mm case, see-thru caseback and chrono functions. Inside there is the Cal899, 32 jewel movement, running at 28,800vph. The date window sets this one apart and we love the orange arrow at the 12 noon position, plus the orange warning strip of colour on the Rehaut bezel button at 2pm. So if you do go diving, you use this bezel ring to click stop a given number of minutes underwater, including the time taken to decompress as you rise up slowly.
Most buyers won’t go diving with this JLC watch, or the Polaris Memovox on their wrist and who can blame them? Both are too perfect in all their details, showpiece watches – like a Rolex Submariner – that says to the world, `Hey, I’ve made it.’
Go diving in a Baltic, Zelos, Seiko Prospex, Draken, Enosken or Oris Sixty-Five instead. Save your JLC for a day at the races or a wedding reception
We have a soft spot for Jaeger le Coultre watches here at the Northern Watch Co. It started with a 1940s bumper automatic that was discovered lurking in an antique shop in Ireland a few years back. A thorough clean-up and that watch was a runner again – the mark of quality engineering we say. Innovations like the Reverso and Powermatic, with its handy reserve display once made JLC a premiership level watch brand.
Those days are gone to be blunt, but the Jaeger name still means build quality, in-house expertise and beautiful finishing. As an investment JLC might not have the appeal of a Rolex GMT or Royal Oak, but if you simply love watchmaking, then the range is always worth a look.
The Master Control Chronograph, which features a triple date calendar and moonphase dial display is one of those rare technical feats that not every watch collector will appreciate – unless they try to take one apart and re-assemble it again. Certainly beyond the skill of most of us. However, the resale value of a JLC like this – which costs a hefty £12,900 RRP – compared to say a Rolex Submariner Batman, is pretty appalling. You’re going to lose TAG F1 percentages basically – about 40% in year one, maybe another 15% over the next three years of ownership. That’s a big hit financially.
The other thing to consider from JLC’s marketing point of view is that again, we have a very simple, clean dial design. It is slightly underwhelming for the money and the fact is, some people who DO have 13K or more to spend on a wristwatch actually need poor people to gasp in awe at the huge chunk of bling on their wrists. I’m not one of those impressed by enormous cases and multi-featured bezels and buttons as found on some Breitlings. But you can’t argue with the sales stats – big flashy watches do sell.
Here’s the press info from Richemont below;
Since it was introduced in 1992, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control collection has been defined by technical rigour and stylistic restraint. In 2020, La Grande Maison relaunches the collection, drawing inspiration from the classic round watches of the 1950s, such as the Futurematic, PowerMatic and Memovox models, and adding a dash of 21st-century flair. Rather than paying homage to a single historic reference, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents a range of timepieces featuring some of its most emblematic complications.
When launched in 1992, the Master Control line was the first of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collections to benefit from its pioneering ‘1000 Hours Control’ certification – which inspired the collection’s name.
A demanding process that tests the entire cased-up watch (not just its movement), it set a new benchmark when introduced and has continually evolved in response to technological advances, to remain one of the watch industry’s most stringent testing protocols. Naturally, with this background, the Manufacture’s engineers have comprehensively revised and updated all of the movements, increasing power reserves to as much as 70 hours and enhancing overall performance and reliability. Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, the Master Control watches carry an 8-year warranty in addition to the 1,000 Hours Control certification.
In the 1940s and ’50s Jaeger-LeCoultre was renowned for its triple calendar moon-phase movements, and the new Master Control Calendar brings that tradition into the 21st century. With a case measuring 40mm x 10.95mm, it is offered in either steel or Le Grand Rose gold®.
The finely balanced classical layout of the dial is retained, with the dates marked around the periphery, indicated by a red-tipped hand, the days and months displayed in the upper part of the dial, and the moon-phase set within the small seconds subdial in the lower part.
But there is a fresh new twist to the date display: as well as updating Calibre 866 with the same performance-enhancing improvements made to cal.899, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers have added a delightful new jumping complication. Every month, the date hand makes a 90-degree leap from the 15th to the 16th, in order not to obscure the moon-phase display.
Alternative triple date chronographs? If you’re on a budget then a nice example of the Omega Moonwatch from the 1990s could be a wise investment at about £1800-£2200. How about something truly rare? An Angelus triple date chronograph from the 1950s might cost you about 3K for a really nice example. It’s more delicate than an Omega Speedmaster perhaps, but arguably forms part of the inspiration for the modern JLC Master Control Chronograph.