Tag Archives: dial

Bell+Ross BR-5 GMT: Tool Watch Simplicity

The GMT is a watch tradition that never goes out of fashion. Yes, most of us don’t travel that much now that Covid19 has provided climate zealots with the ammunition to shutdown overseas jaunts for the 80%, but still, a GMT looks good. Plus it helps you stay in sync with an overseas office if you work in say global IT, insurance, media production etc.

Now Bell+Ross have that aircraft heritage and that cockpit dial gauge style thing going on. All good. The screwdown bezel gives it a too, watch focus, a utilitarian feel. Ditto the integrated bracelet links, which add a sort of `hewn from metal’ vibe.

Then there’s the stark white-on-black numbers and markers. Functional for sure, but also punchy, eye-catching and sort of timeless. This won’t go out of fashion like some Swiss watches do – anyone still collecting Ebel chronographs with their huge pushers and rounded off cases? Nope, thought not.

At 41mm across, it’s the right size, it also looks pure tool-watch slick, stripped down and ready to travel. No fancy additions, not even a day to sit alongside the date window.

This is a pricey watch at £4100 on a textured strap, £4500 on a bracelet. For all its super-clean, brushed steel brilliance the Bell+Ross BR-5 range is Sellita powered, albeit decorated and upgarded by the B&R concern.

That is a heck of a price to pay for a Sellita powered watch, so our verdict is spend the £4500 on a different GMT, like a pre-owned Explorer maybe, or even a new Tudor Black Bay. You will hold the watch value better in the long run because B&R simply does not have the fanbase in the UK that big brands like Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling et al has, or ever will have.

Like so many watches that dare to be genuinely different, B&R pay the price in the fickle collector market.

Two New Models From Skagen

The Skagen design ethos of minimalist looks, thin cases and qiartz movements has served them well – they have their fans. So two new models, the Freja and Melbye are worth a look.

The Freja has crystals set as hour markers, plus a partially recycled steel case and mesh, Milanese type bracelet strap. It definitely looks like jewellery and that is what ladies watches are usually all about -the tech stuff on movements and chrono functions doesn’t really grab many female buyers.

For gents the Melbye has a segmented dial, with that cool `sunken’ centre look that it’s vogue now. Possibly. We aren’t hip at the NWC mag, still wearing Regatta hoodies.

A mesh strap, titanium case, plus a dab of orange or blue on the inner chapter ring help this one stand out. It needs to for £159 which is expensive for a fashion watch in our humble opinion.

More here.

Can A $25 Automatic Watch Do The Job?

We only ask the question because we bought a Tevise look-alikey Rolex Datejust for that sum of dollars on AliExpress recently.

UNBOXING

You have to be impressed at the overall package for the money. An outer carboard box, inner VIP owners card, little guarantee/user booklet, with some english words in there, plus a Tevise tag. There are various protector strips on the links, the crystal, caseback and clasp too.

Maybe it’s just my eyesight but the dial and the date window cyclops lens didn’t seem to be 100% aligned. The little shield at 12 o’clock just looked like it was set at 11.59?

FIT N FINISH

Removing X4 pins was easy and then the watch fitted my slim wrist. Pulling out the crown it became obvious that you have to manually advance the hands to advance the date, which is fair enough at this price level. The crown action was a little bit stiff and the same could be said for the winding action, but yes, you can wind it up as well as do the famous Seiko shake.

It does sit quite high on the wrist as the case measures approx 14mm high.

The foldover clasp is pretty basic to, with a firm press needed to get the clasp to fix upon the pin. Push button release worked fine.

The gold painted case and bracelet looks kinda average. This hasn’t got the luxury sheen of the Tudor look-a-like I bought for £31 last month from AliExpress. It probably won’t be long before dings and scratches show on this watch, or the paintwork rubs off.

TIMEKEEPING

I fully wound the watch, set it against my phone and checked back the day after. Given I was mainly deskbound, there wasn’t much wrist movement to charge the movement, so it was a relief to see it was still spot-on the day after.

Looking at the movment under a loupe you can see this is a fairly basic engine and interestingly the rotor barely moves from side-to-side. It doesn’t spin freely like some of the DG Chinese movements do.

The decorated Tevise rotor is a nice touch, as is the see-thru caseback. You would not expect that on a watch that retails for under £20, including postage to be fair.

VERDICT

Does it look like a Rolex from a distance? Nah, too goldie lookin’ chain mate.

Yes, this does the job of telling the time and as it is an auto, you never need a battery, so you’re helping planet earth in that respect. But this feels like a watch from the communist era. There are lots of brands on AliExpress selling automatics for under £60 that offer a look and feel that go way beyond this Tevise. Splash out if you love an automatic we say.

After two days one of the bracelet pins fell out and on inspection it lacked two spring-loaded ends on the pin. I often find one deeper spring end and one shallow end, where there is very little `give’ allows the pin to pop loose – which it did, repeatedly. Luckily I have hundreds of spare pins and a crimping tool to make a replacement pin fit more securely, but if you don’t, then that’s something to bear in mind.

Just want a basic timekeeper? Well the Tevise is incredible value for the £18 price tag.  The auto movement might need some winding help but once running, it’s accurate enough.

Given that you can buy a Casio quartz from Argos for under £20, or a Sekonda/Lorus for about £25-£35 in the H Samuel Sale, there are better ways to spend your tight budget.

New Abalone Dials From Deep Blue

Deep Blue has released two abalone dial variants of their Diver model and they definitely stand out. One is a purple number, the other a trad teal blue.

Featuring a Seiko NH35 movement, plus a see-thru caseback, these are available with silicone rubber straps or steel bracelets, starting at $249 – plus import taxes/duty of course.

It’s a 40mm case, with a helium escape valve and 100ft depth resistance, so yep this is a serious dive watch. Just consider this one fact; a typical Swiss dive watch with 1000ft depth ability would be about £2800-£3500.

More here.

 

 

Torgoen T25 GMT: Rock of Ages

Do you rock meteorite dial watches? Yeah, sorry about that dreadful pun, but it is a question worth asking when they look as good as the Torgoen T25 GMT Meteorite edition, which retails at £579. Here’s the blurb from Torgoen.

There are three versions; Stadius, Clavius and Metius, all priced the same, slightly different straps.

For the incredible meteorite dial of the T25, Torgoen has sourced slices of the Muonionalusta meteorite that fell in Sweden one million years ago. It’s special pattern, unique to each one of the models creates an impressive effect to a classic aviation timepiece.

T25 GMT Meteorite

Loyal to Torgoen’s signature, the special Meteorite T25 ergonomically designed for ease of read. Digits and markers can be viewed clearly even in the dark. The GMT swiss movement is made by Ronda, a highly regarded Swiss movement manufacturer. It allows to set the GMT hand to a different time zone, which in the case of a professional pilot would be the Greenwich Mean Time or GMT.

The T25 offers a high grade (316L) solid stainless steel case with a screw-down back, a sapphire, scratch proved crystal, a genuine italian leather strap, a double “O” ring crown that gives the T25 its water resistance protection up to 100 meters. This is a unique opportunity to own a rare piece of space matter.

The meteorite

Shortly after the formation of our solar system, about 4.5 billion years ago, an object was formed in space composed of iron and nickel alloy. Since then, the object roamed about our solar system, until approximately one million years ago when it hit the earth near the Arctic Circle in the northern part of what is now Sweden, near the border with Finland.

The impact broke up this iron meteorite and the debris dispersed over an area of 15 x 20 kilometers. The first fragment was found in 1906 and since then, about 40 pieces are known to be retrieved. The meteorite was named Muonionalusta after a nearby place in the Muonio River.

The unique and wonderful pattern that can be seen once a slice is cut, was formed by the crystallization process during the cooling phase of the iron-nickel alloy of this rare outer-space object.

Brew Watch Metric Has a Unique Edge

Brew Watches are doing things differently and we like that approach. The latest model, the Metric has plenty of colour on the dial, with yellow, orange and turquoise all blending together somehow on a black dial – which features cut-out sections.

It’s a striking look and inside there is the trusty Seiko VK Meca-Quartz movement, so you get reliable timekeeping as standard.

Steel case, bracelet and pushers, all add a retro feel. The bracelet links remind us of a vintage Trafalgar watch model, a minor league Swiss brand that seemed to vanish in the 80s.

There is a white dial version but it lacks the visual punch of the multi-colour option for our money. That version is a sell-out on the Brew website, so all we can suggest is that you get your email address down for the re-issue.

 

Seiko Has Embraced The Cult of Watch Modding

And yeah, that’s a good thing we say at Northern Watch Co magazine, because for all the perfection and art of Grand Seiko, and the unbeatable value of a cooking Seiko 5 model, you need more to survive in the modern world where every jackass with money wants an AP Royal Oak or a Rolex Daytona.

You can never be that Swiss Tony fashionista brand, so what do you do? Embrace the fanboi base you have; innovate, learn, adapt and bend like the tree.

Hats off then to Seiko for recognising that MOD means remixing the elements of a brand, or a model line, to make your fave watch. By asking its fanbase for inspiration, Seiko shows that it has a keen interest in what its buyers want to see. That is a refreshing change from the Swiss brand ethos of `take it or leave it.’

Here’s the word from Seiko;

Seiko is proud to announce the winning Seiko 5 Sports watch from the CUSTOM WATCH BEATMAKER campaign.

Participants created their original Seiko 5 Sports watch by selecting and combining five watch parts on the website and voted on their favourite models. Each watch was paired with one of 32 original pieces of music created by eight up-and-coming artists who share the same value as the brand’s concept ‘‘Show Your Style.’’

The campaign ran from October 2020 to January 2021, and the winning watch with the most ‘‘likes’’ was selected from over 48,000 original designs and won about 8,500,000 votes out of the 16,000,000 total votes worldwide.

This watch incorporates a gold colour dial combined with a bezel with red and blue accents, adding a fresh timepiece to the Seiko 5 Sports collection. It will be available as a limited edition of 2,021 on selected Seiko Boutique Online websites in August 2021.

The great thing is that this will inspire more Modders out there to create gold dial Seiko watches, and tribute watches using the NH35/36 movement.

Black `n’ White Baltic is A 60s Mod Classic

French brand Baltic has launched a white dial/black bezel variant of its Aquascaphe, which has that punchy look many people love. Kinda 60s Mod, with a real dive ability too.

200m depth rating, sapphire crystal, 39mm width,  screwdown crown, Superluminova details – it has a lot going for it. Price is reasonable too, especially when you consider how expensive it is to employ anyone and rent premises in the EU, at £579.17. You may have some import duty and VAT on top of course.

More here.

 

 

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.

Namoki MODS: Sale On, Plus Capt Willard On The Way

Namoki MODS has a sale on right now, with some handsome SKX dive models on offer for around £270, plus UK import duty n VAT etc.

What we love about these watches is that you can customise the watch with Batman blue/black bezels, different dials etc – whatever you like from teh extensive Namoki range. Or just buy the watch complete, good to go.

The Captain Willard SKX is due later this month. 46mm case width, gold, steel or black case finishes.

More here at Namoki MODS.