Tag Archives: france

Yema Wristmaster: Smoother Than Simon Templar

The new Yema Wristmaster has arrived. Teased on Kickstarter, this watch has attracted plenty of interest with the launch target of £42,600 or so easily surpassed with £388,000 pledged. Yeah that’s more faith than season ticket holders at Man Utd.

First off, let’s start with that name. Who really wants to be known as a Wristmaster? It’s a bit American Pie for us at NWC mag, but then we buy Chinese watches called Benyar or Guanqin, so let’s move on.

We love that hesalite high dome crystal, which is not only an authentic 60s watch feature, but has the charm of magnifying the edges of the dial. Always a nice touch when the dial is such a stunning shade of blue we reckon.

There’s a stunning Y logo engraved onto the caseback, which again adds that truly vintage touch. Plus we like the spacing on the caseback removal pin slots.  Very er..equidistant, that’s the word.  The vintage leather strap is a finishing touch that fits the overall mood perfectly too.

Finally, we go back to the dial and those big markers with a spot of lume set inside each one. A tiny detail, but it just looks so right. It’s an old school watch in every way and the whole package reminds us of the classic Timex and Tissot/Lanco models from the era. Clean, symmetrical, simplicity writ large. Or in this case, quite small, as the case  width is just 37mm.

There is a beige dial variant, but you know what, it’s too Milky Bar Kid compared to the blue version. Which rocks.

We think the original Wristmaster would have been worn by arch crimefighter n rescuer of damsels Simon Templar, aka The Saint. Although in reality, he sported a Bulova in the classic 60s TV show.

The Saint. The only TV hero who went around with a superlume watch bezel over his head. Fact.

The Yema Wristmaster 2021 is small for a modern watch, but you know what, we can see the appeal of choosing a modest gents watch. You get a timekeeper that is a true homage to the 60s Yema original, but with the Yema 2000 calibre inside, so modern day reliability.

Price starts at £399. More here at Yema’s site. 


Say Bonjour to Bohen Watches: Go Deep Mes Amis

Here is a new watch brand we discovered today online; Bohen Watches, based in France.

They are making high quality dive watches, with Swiss movements, steel cases, plenty of lume and a unique date magnification feature. Instead of glueing a magnifying piece of glass onto the crystal of their Mille Mer model, they have inserted a tiny glass inside the case, just above the dial.

We like this lateral thinking; if you are building a deep dive watch, then there is going to be room for a date magnifying tool to be mounted inside. So why not invent one and file a patent on it? Cool non?

The promo video shows stunning detailing on the bracelet, case dial – everything looks beautifully designed and manufactured. This doesn’t come cheap at just under 2000 euros, although if you consider what a 300m dive watch from the big name Swiss brands retails at then you might think it is a bargain.

But there’s more – the first 500 buyers get a special discount so the RRP goes down to 1650 euros. Tempting, although UK buers have to pay Import Duty/VAT on top.

NWC mag will be following Bohen watches with interest.

More here.

Charlie Concordia: A Very Cool Customer

We had an email in France recently, telling us about Charlie, a Paris based watch company. This is a new brand for us, but worth looking at, especially the new automatic model, the Concordia.

This tool watch has a 300m depth rating, comes with a blue, white or black dial, and a range of straps or steel bracelets. It has been thoroughly road-tested by a polar explorer Matt Tordeur who trekked solo across the Antarctic ice shelf wearing a Concordia. He was the fastst, youngest Frenchman to make the trip too, so fair play! Featuring an automatic STP movement this 40mm watch has a 3mm thick sapphire crystal and is actually made in France. So many Indie watch brands are designed in Europe but assembled in Singapore, China or Hong Kong, so this makes a refreshing change we think.

For 595 euros on pre-order, you get a very tough watch for the money; 316 grade stainless steel case, screwdown crown naturally, with plenty of Superlume on the dial and traditional dive watch hour markers and unidirectional bezel. All round, everyday durability and no problems over swimming or diving on holiday with 300 metres to play with.

The only variation we would love to see is a Red/White/Bleu dial edition, just to celebrate that Made In France feeling. It’s great to see watch manufacturing come back to countries like France, UK, Netherlands, Poland and other European nations. As much as any enthusiast admires the Swiss brands, it should always be possible to add a watch from your home country to the display box.

Delivery is expected in May, pre-order here. 

Baltic Gets Set to Launch Aquascaphe GMT

If you’re a fan of Baltic watches then the Aquascaphe GMT launch on Nov 27th is a date to remember. The new watch features a very high spec, with domed sapphire crystal, 316 steel case, superlume numbers and hands, the famous GMT hand of course, plus a beads of rice, polished steel bracelet which lends it a kind of Omega feel. It has a date window at 6pm, plus a glossy balck dial – classic lines we reckon.

Green and blue bezel combo is our fave from the trio.

Inside there’s a Swiss Soprod movement, with 42 hours of reserve on full wind. Bi-directional bezel is made from sapphire too, which may well prove to be more durable long term than some ceramic bezels, or those with PVD coatings, on rival watches. Time will tell. The first 600 Baltic GMT models will be numbered 1-600 too, so that adds to the collector appeal. Made in France, the Baltic is a beautiful GMT, and priced at just over £1100 on pre-order.

This is an undeniably handsome watch and the GMT feature is always good for those lucky enough to be allowed international travel in these climate emergency times. The only downside is the 100m depth rating, which isn’t that impressive at this price level, you would expect 300m, maybe more. For example the LPW Luna offers 200m depth for just £549, then there’s the Marloe Morar which has 310 metres for under 400 quid. Made in Scotland too.

More details at the Baltic website.

New Baltic Aquascaphe SB01 Launches on 30th June

Baltic are one of the most interesting French watch brands aorund and their new dive model, the Aquascaphe SB01 is launching on 30th June.

Featuring a steel case, one direction bezel with 120 clicks, a depth rating of 200m and a screw down crown, this entry level dive watch offers a rugged spec, plus Miyota automatic movement for just over £560. Our fave Aquascaphe at the moment is the Bronze Blue Gilt, at 750 euros – just saying.

The SB01 comes on a Tropic blue rubber strap, bright night time lume, and has a double domed sapphire crystal. Baltic are one of many indie brands making viable alternatives to those who fancy a Swiss dive watch, but are reluctant to pay the £1200-£1600 entry price for many prestige brands.

Sure, you get long term collectability by going Omega, Rado, Oris, Tudor, Longines etc. But Baltic watches offer pretty much the same tech spec – albeit with a Japanese movement – for a great deal less. And you know what that price saving means right? Yep, buy another watch!

More at the Baltic website here.



`50s Fun From France; Leaunoir Remixes Retro Pocket Watch Flair

Leaunoir are a French based watch manufacturer looking to combine Italian leather straps, Swiss movements and a certain traditional Gallic flair. Their latest project on Kickstarter is the Neptune Calendar model, which reminds us of vintage pocket watches of the 50s and 60s.

With a large winding crown and bold white numbers set on plain, almost utilitarian coloured dial plates, these have that Elgin or Ingersoll look about them. Sapphire crystal, elegant, long thin second hand, and rustic leather straps finish off the trad look.

Leaunoir watches france 1

Here’s the word from Leaunoir;

The Leaunoir range is based on the “Neptune Calendar” model, a tribute to modern and daring explorers. Our watch will be available in seven different colors (you will be asked to choose the configuration at the end of the Kickstarter campaign):

The “Deep Blue” version has a matt blue dial marked with 4 luminescent points referenced C1 Swiss SuperLuminova®. The figures and the railway are painted off-white. A domed anti-scratch sapphire crystal covers the three steel hands.

The movement? This offers excellent accuracy and reliability specific to Swiss Made. The STP 1-11 operates at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour and benefits from a 44-hour power reserve. Our watchmaking experts review, test and adjust each movement during the assembly phase to optimize their accuracy, thus approaching COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) standards.

The design of the case provides a reinterpretation of the pocket watch from the 20s reworked in a raw version with its puck shape.

leaunoir dial and crystal

The back of the case is screwed with six screws and completed with a sapphire crystal leaving our Swiss movement apparent. In profile, you can admire the domed sapphire glass rise in height and soften the whole in a subtle way. The dimensions are designed to promote elegance: 38mm in diameter for a thickness of 10.92mm (including glass). The weight of the Neptune Calendar testifies to its quality: 60g.

The dials evoke the 1950s watch. They give the Neptune Calendar this unique character, its anchoring in memory. Each dial is matt with a double thickness painted encryption, to give relief. It is made up of two dauphine hands tapered by a central edge, a second hand and a date window at 3 o’clock. It is marked by 4 luminescent points C1 Swiss SuperLuminova® at 12h, 3h, 6h and 9h.

The price is £442, based on an early bird pledge via Kickstarter, or £469 for a luxury leather strap edition – more info here. 


Baltic Drops Its Aquascaphe 300 Bronze & Blue Gilt Model

Baltic watches just emailed some interesting news; the bronze blue gilt Aquascaphe diver model is now available. There’s a numbered run of on the first 300 sold too. Price is £663.63 on the Baltic website.

So many divers watches now have 44mm case sizes or more, but this one is a more modest 39mm, which may well suit many wrists. Naturally, the spec includes double-domed sapphire crystal, depth resistance down to 200m, plus screwdown crown protector lugs on the case.

baltic divers watch crown

The case is made from bronze, rather than the usual 316 grade stainless steel that many indie watch brands favour. Bronze buckle on the strap by the way – nice touch.

You get a patina over time with bronze, which should add an extra level of interest for many true collectors, especially those who like to wear their watches in rotation. Love the sunray effect on the dial as well.

Inside the case there’s a Miyota automatic movement, which is a little bit disappointing at this price. Sellita SW200 would be more like it or STP-11? On the upside all Baltic watches are assembled in France, so this does offer a more hand-made, bespoke quality to the watch than something that is simply designed in Europe, but then outsourced to the Far East when it comes to assembly. Big difference.



Baltic Watches Offer French Flair, Auto Movements, Plus a Retro Edge

Today we take a look at Baltic Watches, a new company based in France, who are creating some handsome looking models.

If you want a retro style chronograph, automatic movement, with an almost Railway clock cream dial simplicity, then the Bicompax 001 makes a tempting proposition. At 649 euros (£566 approx) it isn’t too pricey, although it does have the Seagull ST19 movement inside the case, which might not suit you if you feel less disposed to buy Chinese products after Corona.

bicompax baltic

In terms of quality, the Seagull is pretty much a modern version of the Venus 175 from decades ago, so in that regard you’re getting genuine Swiss engineering principles. Modern manufacturing means that the Seagull will probably be more relaible as a timekeeper than its 1940s predecessor, but it’s worth noting that a genuine Swiss Venus movement watch is always going to fetch more money at an auction.

OK, it lacks the collector factor, but what a great job Baltic have done is creating this 40s style chrono model. It has a 38mm case, so it should sit nicely on the wrist and we love those old fashioned flat-topped pushers, which really capture the vintage feel perfectly.

The Bicompax is also available with a deep, indigo blue dial variant too, choice of straps.

baltic watch lume


This one ticks all the right boxes too. The 39mm stainless steel case houses a Miyota auto movement, with a sapphire crystal in place to add a quality touch. The B logo on the winding crown is another nice detail, as is the quick release pin bar inside the grains-of-rice steel bracelet. That should make it a cinch to swap over to a rubber strap when you’re on holiday and going in the water.

That’s what we love about Baltic – they’ve thought the whole watchmaking process through and even if they’re importing movements, they are assembling the watches at their factory in France, whereas some other start-up companies are really styling studios who commission runs of wristwatches at an outsourced partner factory. Vive le difference we say.

HMS 001

This is a true minimalist watch. No frills, choice of blue, cream, black or slate grey dials, with matching bezel inlay colour too. Again, you get a Miyota automatic movement inside the case, which is 39mm wide. There’s an acrylic crystal on the HMS model, and we reckon it makes an interesting alternative to a Seiko Presage dress watch, or perhaps an entry level Tissot, which is about the same money at 399 euros, or £348.

Check out more Baltic watches here.