Audric has sent us info on their Strider watch. No, not a homage to the character from Lord of The Rings, but a very reasonably priced ETA powered watch, that has a slight similarity to the famous AP Royal Oak, from some angles.
An anti-scratch coating on the case, 200m water resistance, plus a sapphire crystal see-thru caseback all add up to excellent value for the money we reckon.
Here’s the word from Audric;
The idea of STRIDER was conceptualized in 2019 with first prototype developed in 2020. In the last few months, we have been tirelessly working to improve our STRIDER in every possible way and we believe that we have created a master piece.
What makes the STRIDER different is the angular and sharp contours with its minimalist and legible dial design.
The STRIDER will be a Kickstarter launch and the launch price is 499 USD. The retail price will be 799 USD.
Raven watches has a new bronze case model on their website right now, which has an impressive spec; ETA 2824 movement, sapphire crystal and 300m of water resistance. It’s a great looker with the green dial option and sdistressed leather strap too – just saying.
At $1100 it isn’t cheap and it has to be said there are similar 300m spec bronze case watches for a little bit less on the Indie market. But this is a classic timepiece, which will definitely age well. Is that dial green remarkably similar to Bentley racing car green? Could well be and there is nothing wrong with that.
Here’s the tech spec;
39mm bronze case
300 meters WR
316L stainless case back
ETA 2824 decorated movement
Gloss deep green dial
Box sapphire crystal
Blue Superluminova (BGW9)
Swiss rubber strap choices
one year warranty
Limited to 30 watches Price: $1100
Heimdallr isn’t a watch brand that’s been on our radar. But after a late night Google search for watches with the ETA 2824 Swiss movement, we found this dive model.
The spec is impressive for the price. Stainless steel case and bracelet (the cheaper option has a silicone strap), sapphire crystal with AR coating, superlume all over the indices and hands, screwdown crown, screw type caseback, date window and ceramic bezel.
It is nice that the dial has a shark logo rather than the brand name as well. So many China based watch brands have not very appealing names. We don’t blame them, all the good names are kinda snapped up already, but stuff like Cadisen, Benyar and more don’t add any value. In fact, you just end up explaining what the brand name means, so yeah, go with a shark logo.
Physically, this is a big watch at 44mm across and it’s 13mm high, so you need a big wrist to pull off the James Bond Thunderball look quite honestly.
OK, yes, it’s a Chinese brand and we know that puts a bit of doubt in people’s minds over the actual dive ability and manufacturing quality. There are import duties plus 20% VAT on top of the Sale price too.
But this spec for fashion quartz money? Hard to fault. The steel bracelet version costs around £250 by the way. Judge for yourself with a little visit to the Heimdallr site.
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.
Autodromo are a dedicated motorsport watch brand, who produce well specced and highly detailed watches. The latest limited edition is the Copperstate 1000 and just 95 pieces are being made. Here’s the word;
We produced 95 pieces of this stunning “copper sunburst dial” limited watch expressly for the 30th running of the Copperstate 1000 rally in 2020. Copperstate is an event we have been proud to sponsor for 6 years now, and to have driven in 4 of those 6 years. We are pleased to announce that the organizers have made a small number of these pieces available to us for sale to our collectors.
There’s an ETA 7001 movement inside this one, which can trace its roots to the Pesaux mechanicals of the 1950s. Very basic movement in some ways, but reliable – and low speed at just over 21,000vph. That makes it capable of ticking away without a service for a decade or so, not that we recommend such casual behaviour of course.
This one is also blessed with a very eye-catching 3D style chapter ring, that sort of lifts the numbers off the dial a bit. Nice touch, plus you get a high quality handmade Italian leather strap.
If you want to add a rare and very special Autodromo watch to your collection, click here to order yours, as we have very few pieces available. Priced at $1500.
Ball have another twist on their Engineer III model, and this one is a slimline dress watch that you can wear every day. On a special pre-order pricing deal at just £1420 – though you need to add on UK import duty/VAT of course.. Here’s the word from Ball;
The Engineer III Legend II is built for conquering adversity with bright, multi-coloured micro gas tube luminosity and extreme resistance technology. The 40mm chronometer is a slim 11.5mm in height – providing ultimate versatility and strength in the most challenging conditions. Its robust engineering and expert craftsmanship are perfectly suited for your pursuit of greatness. Limited to 1,000 pieces each. Pre-order now at a limited-time price until 7 April 2021.
TWO LUME OPTIONS
Completely self-powered, the tubes are available in either a multi-colored lightshow or solid motif. But no matter the choice, the incomparable luminosity shines automatically from the first sign of darkness to the last, ensuring easy time-reading in all low-light conditions. Unlike any other form of luminescence used in watchmaking, the tritium tubes adorn each hour marker and all three hands. In total, 19 tritium tubes adorn the dial and hands with double tubes used at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 hour markers.
Measuring 40mm in diameter and only 11.5mm in height, the Engineer III Legend II delivers versatility and comfort for every occasion. The remarkably thin size fits exceptionally well under various gear as well as dress attire, while the stainless steel material excels in harsh environments. Under the anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the solid dial is available in black or blue in unapologetically utilitarian design. Only a practical date window has been added at 3 o’clock, magnified by a cyclops lens for easier reading.
The Engineer III Legend II runs on the automatic BALL RR1101-C movement – based on the renowned ETA 2892-A2 caliber – and features high-quality components, superior engineering and exceptional finishing. Its precision has been tested and certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) over the course of 15 days in different positions and temperatures. To achieve chronometer certification is no easy feat. The average daily rate on the first 10 days of testing must be from -4 sec to +6 sec., or up to 10 seconds per day – an extraordinary requirement achieved by the Engineer III Legend II.
Objest has sent us a heads up on their new Swiss ETA 2824 powered auto watch, which features a vegan strap and very minimalist dial design;
The latest offering is PETA approved vegan and will be available for pre-sales via crowdfunding site Kickstarter, from Tuesday 2nd February for an £325. Objest say that they have very limited numbers available.
The company adds that; ` we’re striving to be more ethical, better at caring for the environment and protecting animals and their welfare. This is helping to form our mandate and vision for the future of the brand. As a start we are donating 10% of all profits of this watch collection to The World Land Trust, FRIEND and The Farm Animal Sanctuary.’
Going green, promoting the circular economy and cancelling meat culture is especially popular with younger consumers, so watch brands who want to build long term loyalty with the under 30s should consider some sort of climate change marketing strategy. A Swiss powered automatic watch at £325 is great value, plus you have the feelgood factor on your wrist. More info on Kickstarter on Feb 2nd.
Yes we love Kickstarter watches here, and who can argue when you can buy a Swiss made, STP movement mechanical watch for £550 or so? That’s the deal if you sign up early with Alexander Venacci, who have a nice range of sunburst dial models in blue and green available to order. There’s also a genuine meterorite dial for another 100 euros if you love the space rock vibe. The project has just gone live, but has already attracted quite a bit of cash towards its funding target.
The steel case has a brushed effect finish, and is octagonal in its design. Did anyone thing AP Royal Oak when they glanced at the header image? OK, that’s cool, everyone in watchmaking is getting inspiration from the classics. Inside the STP 4-13 movement has a decorated rotor and see-thru caseback. The movement is derived from the ETA 2824, one of the VW 2.0 diesel engines of watch manufacturing of the last twenty years. The STP version has an upgraded mainspring, so there’s 44 hours of power reserve on a full wind.
We love the steel bracelets, with their unique diamond shaped joining links, definitely an extra touch. The Venacci auto has a 40mm case, sapphire crystal, plus superlume on the hands and markers. Definitely great value, witha two year warranty and delivery is expected next June. More details here.
Zelos has sent us details on the new Skyraider, due to launch online on the 20th November. It’s powered by the ETA 6498 movement, with some models also featuring a skeletonized mainspring barrel. Plus skeleton dial variation for those who love that under-the-bonnet look. Personally, I like that teal coloured dial moel in the range, it just looks the business. The Skyraider 2 is a trad handwinder, with sub-second dial – that’s the only detail I’m not keen on. Too vintage for me, prefer the classic three hand look of a 60s Tissot, Rotary or Omega.
The case is 42mm, so perfect compromise, with a sapphire crystal and details like blued screws visible through the caseback. There is some superb engraving on the main plates and the mainspring barrel too, it’s a beautifully detailed job. The top of the range $1499 model has a fully skeletonized dial, and there’s a watch nerd’s eye view of all the crucial components to keep your watch addiction fed and watered every time you glance at the time. The carbon/slate dial and blue dial options are very attractive too and about 500 bucks cheaper.
Zelos has plenty of fans, with their dive models usually selling out rapidly online. Buyers of the brand will already know the quality is there, and with an ETA-derived moveement inside, an asking price of about 900-1000 dollars is very fair value. More info here.
There are some who love UK brand Christopher Ward and others who regard their Sellita powered watches as essentially entry level and therefore not quite prestige. Maybe a Tissot has more heritage, and even a Hamilton Ventura has cool vibes? Well, you can argue those points down the pub – actually you probably can’t as the pubs are closing down like 20th century blacksmiths, but that’s another story.
The C60 Sapphire is a starter watch, no question. But what good value it offers. Beautiful blue tinted caseback lets you see the 26 jewel movement and the crystal has a blue tinge as well. Inside, the SW200 engine is based on an ETA 2824 which is arguably one of the great workhorse Swiss movements of modern times. Reliable and accurate? Of course.
True, you’re buying a £900 watch, not a 9K Swiss watch from a House of Horology. For that bargain price you would not expect a depth rating of 600m but you do get that with the C60. Impressive. It’s a 40mm, 316 grade stainless steel case, with a uni-directional click bezel too. This is a watch that can handle an afternoon lolling about in the pool on holiday, or a scuba dive off the coast of Portugal into deep water – no worries.
Add in features like a quick change strap/bracelet release and you’re being snobby if you don’t consider this as a genuinely decent watch for the money. OK, you may lose say 50% of the value if you choose to sell after 3 years or so, but there are some brands and watches where you could easily lose a bigger percentage.
If watch collecting isn’t about investment, but rather enjoyment, then we reckon the C60 Sapphire is one model that you’ll keep wearing just because you love the deep blue looks. That’s no bad thing, life is for living.