Yes we missed the press info on the TAG Monaco Ltd Edition with a titanium case. It is kinda cool, so here is the catch up;
TAG Heuer delights its racing fans and lovers of fine watchmaking with a new and limited-edition collectable, the TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition – an instant classic inspired by the collection’s origins in motorsports, this time in an unexpected and striking material, titanium. Expressing the timeless elegance of the TAG Heuer Monaco, this exclusive chronograph limited to 500 pieces is also infused with bold modernity.
This new TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition features a vivid and gleaming silver-coloured dial which perfectly complements the titanium case. A rare edition in the TAG Heuer Monaco collection, the light dial offers the benefit of very good visibility and an attractive contrast to the sub-dials, indexes and hands of the watch.
This special-edition TAG Heuer Monaco Titan is equipped with a modern version of the famous Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement which celebrated its debut in the original 1969 Monaco.
Verdict: Nope, the Gulf model is still the Boss. Closely foloowed by tyhe blue dial variants.
Documents have been filed in Chicago USA which could – in theory – see a full scale jury trial of senior Rolex dealership directors accused of racketeering. Yep, that old Capone era felony is still on the books! The case revolves around three former employees of CDP, an authorised Rolex dealership, who tried to blow the whistle on grey market Rolex sales, waiting lists and all the other stuff that is well known to Rolex buyers aorund the world. In short, it is a huge can of worms which could damage the Rolex reputation if aired in detail.
This is an extract from the court documents; “The heart of the Scheme was a conspiracy by the Defendants to illegally sell Rolex watches to foreign grey market resellers in order to enrich themselves. In order to further the Scheme, the Defendants conspired to violate numerous federal and state laws including but not limited to racketeering, money laundering, mail, wire, immigration, and credit card fraud, and Illinois sales tax evasion.”
To summarise the document, the employees complained about the grey sales situation, then refused to join in with the schemes, and were then fired. The plaintiffs then allege that a Chinese national was subsequently employed to organise grey market watch sales, and worked in the US without the correct immigration paperwork.
The problem for Rolex here, and to a lesser extent AP and Patek, who also enjoy the luxury of having demand for certain watches outstrip supply, is that it inevitably encourages dealers to consider the grey market. Everyone in the watch and jewellery business has favourite customers, usually high spending self-made men nad women, who appreciate personal service and a lack of waiting around when they want something new. It’s human nature; money talks.
But how much reputational damage could this case cause to Rolex by exposing the situation that EVERYONE in the watch industry knows about, but is not widely known amongst the general public. Mistakenly, many ordinary people believe thay can walk into a Rolex shop and buy a new Submariner or GMT 2 – just like that. Cash, card or finance and have it in their hand that day. To learn that dealers are involved in shipping watches around the world, via dubious middlemen and online brokers, who are selling on new watches that are briefly owned by flippers, is going to do lasting damage.
In short, once lost, trust is hard to recover.
CDP has been in the watch and jewellery business since 1837, so it will be hard for Rolex to pull the franchise. But if this nasty case goes to court, then they will have no other choice. How can any manufacturer back dealers who are doing business like this? You cannot, it is morally indefensible and that is why this case will never go to trial in our opinion. The best resolution will be an out of court settlement to the three ex-employees, plus the firing of the Chinese sales guy.
The sooner the better, for all concerned, not just CDP.
The word from Hublot, who have another variation on their successful Big Bang theme; This model has capitals in the press blurb, like many other watch brands insist on using, and we are going on strike today regarding using grammatically incorrect capitals. Stop shouting everyone, we love your watches OK?
Following on from its black ceramic, Hublot has launched its BIG BANG INTEGRAL in three new ceramic colours: white, navy blue and grey, all with built-in scratch-resistance, durability and hypoallergenic properties. Its monobloc architecture – an integrated bracelet on which the first link is fused with the case – affirms Hublot’s integral single-colour, single-material style.
A signature material at Hublot, ceramic represents the perfect fusion of hardness and lightness (two to three times harder than steel and 30% lighter). A high-tech material that is difficult to machine, used here to create a case, bezel, case-back and bracelet. An unparalleled material in perfect harmony with the skin – soft to the touch and a delight to wear thanks to its low thermal conductivity. A watch made entirely from ceramic except for the bezel lugs, which are in black, dark blue or grey composite, and the rubber elements on the crown and the pushers, for added user comfort.
The Big Bang Integral can be distinguished from the other Big Bang models by its fully integrated bracelet, which is fused with the 42-mm case. Launched in 2020, this represents a historic first for the 15-year-old Big Bang. Its aesthetic signature is powerful enough for it to be instantly associated with that of the Big Bang. Three links: one central and two lateral, the polished and satin-finished surfaces, and the bevelling and chamfering of the links create the same effect of depth and contrast as between the case and the bezel lug. Other stylistic retouches include the pushers, which mirror those found on the 2005 original, and whose bevels and chamfers lead into the bracelet with alternating polished and satin finishes.
The model is powered by the Unico proprietary manufacture movement in its V2 incarnation, the HUB1280, a modified version of its predecessor, the Unico HUB1242. Changes include the loss of the escapement platform, a thinner automatic winding system with a slimmer 1.3-mm movement, four new patented technical innovations (oscillating seconds clutch, chronograph friction system with ball-bearing adjustment, ratchet retaining system with unidirectional gears and index-assembly fine adjustment system). This updated version of the Unico features a redesigned architecture for easier assembly and more legible functions.
So, immaculate white, classic navy blue or a grey as deep as titanium itself? The choice is yours.
Verdict? This 42mm case sized model is quite restrained for a Hublot, which is some ways is a good thing. You can always tell thieves that you are wearing a Casio Edifice and if they’re really gone on crack, they may believe you. On the downside, it’s made from pottery, and we are no fans of ceramic bracelets, because they always break, sooner or later. On a £1200 Rado, that’s perhaps no big deal, but with a Big Bang you are looking at £400-£650 to get the broken link replaced and this ain’t no Timpsons job. It’s a fragile part, and a delicate operation replacing ceramic links.
No word on UK prices, but expect about £17,000-£20,000.
Early bird buyers of the new Yema Superman GMT 3000, which features the new in-house Calibre, won’t regret spending $749 on this watch. Why? Look at the specs; sapphire crystal of course, protected winding crown, superbly finished bronze case, and available in 39mm or 41mm sizes. This is a tool watch – you can dive to 990 feet. Not that many buyers will do, but it is a selling point in the world of watch collecting, let’s be honest.
OK, now drink in that beautiful graduated tint dial, the gilt hour markers and hands. There’s a steel caseback, with a very cool logo embossed on it, plus the limited edition number. 1948 pieces in all. Unidirectional bezel and two strap choices, one being a tropic strap.
Now if you buy from Europe you have to pay 20% VAT on top of the 749 dollars early bird price. But you know what? We think this watch looks absolutely spot on, from its pointed red GMT hour hand, to the natty secturity clasp at the 3pm position. That’s £580, plus tax, for a watch that competes with some serious Swiss models that boast 1000ft/300m depth ratings.
Examples? OK, Luminox Deep Dive at £1758, Omega Seamaster pre-owned at £1990 or an Oris Sixty-Five at £1650. All beautiful watches and the Oris and Omega will always find a buyer when you wish to sell, but even so, you can buy a new Yema for about £900 less – very tempting.
The green dial Yema 2000 Calibre model is $545 plus tax. Again, great value, but we would splash out on the latest GMT3000 for the sake of an extra 200 bucks. Hey, you only live once.
Viqueria from Italy is one of our fave brands on Kickstarter right now and its down to the all new Levante project – launched today – with a range of beautiful dials. Two tone, racing green or traditional motorsport white – take your pick.
The Levante now runs using Seiko VK64 Meca-Q Chrono, a hybrid of a quartz and mechanical movement. The end result is a chronograph that functions exactly as a mechanical would, including snapping back to zero upon the reset and sweeping smoothly rather than ticking, but without the immense hassle of winding and dealing with power reserve.
Previous 2019 versions of the Levante used the Seagull auto movement by the way.
More tech info from Viqueria;
– Different subdial complications: Chronograph and Hour of the Day;
– 4 completely new color variations, including a real Meteorite dial + Panda Silver/Black, Two Tones “Braveheart” Silver/Cobalt and Racing Green;
– BGW9 SuperLume (the first Levante was supplied with C3 SuperLume);
– A thinner case (-0,3mm) and a different engraved crown;
– An astonishing scratchproof DLC (diamond-like carbon) Black Case;
– A completely new solid caseback with an engraved alloy wheel;
– Aluminium DLC Coated bezel for the Meteorite style.
– Optional steel bracelet is extra – standard watch comes with Italian leather strap.
The Levante features a 42mm steel case, is also available in a limited edition of 300 pieces with a special Meteorite dial design – which does a little bit exra. All moels feature an and an acrylic crystal. There’s an early bird discount price on the standard model at $178 which is you can get via Kickstarter of course. It’s $292 early bird price on the Meteorite model.
You want Kardashian level luxury and have about 65K burning a hole in your tax haven bank account right now? Yeah me too, Hellish isn’t it? OK then Vacheron Constantin have your prestige wristwatch needs covered. Here’s the news on the Patrimony Moon Phase, limited edition model, just launched;
The Patrimony moon phase retrograde date model is joining the Collection Excellence Platine concept. Launched in 2006, it offers collectors exceptional watches in 950 platinum limited editions. Case, crown, dial, buckle are crafted from this metal, plus the alligator leather strap is hand-stitched with platinum and silk threads.
Entirely faithful to the spirit of the Patrimony collection, drawing inspiration from the watches created by the Maison in the 1950s, this timepiece bears has a minimalist aesthetic, with a 42.5 mm round case housing the self-winding Manufacture 2460 R31L calibre.
The moon-phase disc, which can be admired through an aperture at 6 o’clock, is also in platinum with a polished surface on the stars and a grained texture for the moon circles imitating the visible irregularities of the lunar surface. The dial is slightly convex around its circumference and punctuated by applied 18-carat white gold hour-markers, appearing at intervals around a likewise white gold “pearl” minute-track. The baton-type hands are made of the same metal, blued for the date pointer for enhanced readability.
Precision moon phase and retrograde date
The self-winding 2460 R31L calibre movement features a 40-hour power reserve. The transparent sapphire caseback provides a chance to admire this 275-part intricate movement, including the circular-grained surface of its mainplate and its openworks 22-carat gold oscillating weight, inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s Maltese cross emblem.
The moon phases are displayed through an aperture at 6 o’clock, graduated from 0 to 29½, serving to count off the number of days elapsed since the last new moon. This horological complication, known as the age of the moon, corresponds to the actual cycle of this heavenly body, which rotates around the Earth in exactly 29 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes. The precision moon phases mechanism requires a one-day correction only once every 122 years.
The second complication – a retrograde date indication by means of the central hand – occupies the upper part of the dial. To ensure user friendliness, all operations are performed via the crown: winding, date correction, moon-phase adjustment and time-setting.
It is an unusual dial design, with the calendar dates stacked in an arc at the top of the dial. The platinum case and light grey dial colour isn’t everyone’s cup of tea either. For something so fabulously expensive, (about US$67,000) and produced as a limited edition of just 50 pieces, it is perhaps a tad too laid back to make a bold statement. But then your humble scribe isn’t in the Premiership watch buyer class and many wealthy people now avoid flashy Rolex, Patek, Mille, Audemars, Hublot, Cartier and other brands as they attract professional and amateur thieves and vagabonds alike.