Bamford of London specialise in custom modded prestige watches and if you like something different the TAG Aquaracer with orange details on the dial and bezel stands out from the TAG crowd.
You get the Bamford logo on the black dial, plus orange-edged hands, a little orange arrow on the bezel and a little orange track of flecks running around the outside of the chapter ring. There’s also a titanium case plus strap combo, which justifies the price premium. The Bamford is a partnership arrangement with TAG so it comes in a branded orange box too.
All in it’s £3250 which is a big ticket price for an Aquaracer, although the TAG RRP is about 2500 for the steel case, silicon strap cooking model. I’m not a fan of the Aquaracer because it doesn’t offer anything special for the price imho. There are better spec indie brand watches that offer 300m depth rating, chrono features and a date window for about £1000-£1500.
OK, I know what you’re thinking, the Aquaracer will hold its value better than an indie watch like a Baltic, Zelos, or many more, which is true up to a point. But try selling an Aquaracer at an independent watch dealership for cash; you will be shocked at how little you are offered. That’s because the TAG Aqua is a slow seller, it isn’t seen as being as collectable/desirable as a Carrera, Autavia or Monaco, more of an entry level Swiss watch. That isn’t fair because a Hamilton Khaki or Tissot Powermatic 80 is an entry level Swiss watch at about 500-700 quid.
The good news for anyone buying this Bamford edition is that the Aquaracer IS far, far cheaper than the build-a-bear Zenith and TAG Monaco editions that Bamford currently offer. By about 5-7K in some cases. As far as customised watches go, the Bamford Aquaracer is something of a bargain, and you get plenty of extra details for your 750 quid premium.
Buy the Bamford Aquaracer because you love the orange and black dial design and titanium lightness, not because you feel it’s a prestige investment. There are no brand new investment watches below 5 grand, there is no way you can turn a 3K watch into a £1200 quick profit by flipping it.
The new Broadsword models from Bremont capture the military feel perfectly. With a bronze case and dial designs inspired by the famous `Dirty Dozen’ movie, and the watches featured in the film, these are high-spec, hand-assembled watches built for a tough life. The 40mm bronze case has a dash of tin in there, which Bremont says helps durability. Naturally, there’s a sapphire crystal and three dial colour choices; slate, green/teal and tobacco brown. The BE movement has 31 jewels, and is something of a make or break project for Bremont.
Why? Well, Bremont have just invested a huge amount of cash in building a factory in the UK, and they are making their own in-house movements, after some critcism a few years back. Like many independent watch brands, Bremont started out buying in Swiss movements. But long term, if you want to compete at the luxury/collector end of the market, where buyers are forking out £3000-£6000 per watch, then you really have to go bespoke. Fact is, anyone can buy a really good auto/mechanical watch, bronze case, 300m dive rating, with an ETA/Sellita movement for £500. So you need to justify the price tag with technology and unique, `made in Britain’ appeal.
The sub-second dial is a nice touch, a nod to the old Dirty Dozen and `Arrow’ watches from WWII of course. But in some ways, it limits the appeal as it paints the Broadsword into an old fashioned corner. There’s no denying it’s a functional tool watch, but it won’t impress anyone with a keen eye for design. It lacks the visual punch of a Breitling Endurance for example, or the jet-age instrument cluster vibe of a Bell & Ross.
The new range feature each of the three main UK armed forces, Army, Navy and RAF on the caseback and are priced at £2995. Verdict? Wait for a limited edition VE Day/SAS edition to be released, then buy one of say 500 numbered watches. That’s far more likely to be a genuine collectors item one day.
This will be a rare beast in the future. Any AP Royal Oak is pretty hot stuff right now in the UK and many other countries, but a Bucherer Blue edition? You won’t see many of these coming up for re-sale in the next decade we reckon.
Why would you sell it on? Look at it, it is stunning, with its tapisserie dial, which has a kind of quilted tile look, there’s no way better way to describe it really. It stands out a mile away, which is a good thing.
Equally impressive are the 18K gold bezel and end links, which add just the right amount of contrasting colour. The pushers are black because, well, you can sometimes agree that less is more, right?
42mm case size is arguably a perfect compromise for many a wrist. Inside there is an automatic, in-house AP movement with a 50 hour reserve. Functional, nothing fancy, just your basic lifelong tool watch that will almost certainly never, repeat never, go out of style. You can view that movement through the caseback as well.
Get in line we say because the demand will be strong, even at CHF 34,900, which is about £29,200 or so.
Swiss brand Oris are ticking the green/climate change boxes, like many watch brands these days. The latest model called Hangang River, includes a donation to a clean-up of a much used industrial river in South Korea. Some might say that is the responsibility of the Korean government, but never mind.
It’s a partnership with the Korea Federation of Environmental Movements, and local litter picks, some work to old dams that were placed on the Hangang in the 80s to speed up mass industrialisation of the region and dealing with algae build-up are all goals for the programme. Worthy stuff.
Of course you may just love this vivid, very striking bright green watch, and all its beautifully made details. Will it become a colectors item in future? Unlikely we think, so investors should buy an Oris Carl Brashear limited edition bronze case diver instead.
Why? Just look at it. Cool, timeless, bronze case will age like fine wine, plus it has global appeal – the Hangang does not. Just saying.
The green Hangang River model retails at about £2100. Quite expensive for an Oris we think, but you are saving the world, so as Harry and Meghan would say from a video in their private jet, `It’s all good bro.’
Here are the tech specs on the Hangang River limited edition model;
Case; Multi-piece stainless steel case, unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert
Size 43.50 mm (1.713 inches)
Dial Gradient green
Luminous material Hands and indices with
Top glass Sapphire, domed on both
sides, anti-reflective coating inside
Case back Stainless steel, screwed, special
engravings of the Hangang River map
Stainless steel screw-in
security crown with crown protection
Bracelet Stainless steel metal bracelet,
security folding clasp with extension
Water resistance 30 bar (300 m)
Number Oris 743
Functions Centre hands for hours and
minutes, continuous seconds hand at
9 o’clock, circular date window with
white indicator, date corrector, fine
timing device and stop-second
Power reserve 38 hours
Limited edition 2,000 pieces, each
delivered in a special presentation box
Swiss retail price CHF 2,500
Available August 2020
Times are tough and getting tougher. Millions of jobs are being lost globally in tourism, aviation, restaurants, media, face-to-face retailing and many more sectors. Even the watch industry may yet see a big downturn in demand as people put off luxury item purchases in 2020.
But let’s assume you have some cash – say 10K – earning a feeble 1% interest in a UK bank or cash ISA now. What do you do, risk it buying gold bullion, a classic car, guitar, or maybe a couple of watches? After all a Swiss watch doesn’t need a heated garage, servicing, tyres, oil, spare parts and insurance at £250 a year. So that’s a plus. On the downside, you may find some roaming Orcs in London might want to part you from your Rolex at the tip of a machete, so you will mostly keep your fancy watches inside a safe. Or even an underground vault.
ROLEX GMT II BATMAN
Now you could splash that entire £10,000 on a Rolex GMT II, and have change to buy a heavy safe and have it bolted to your floor. Just.
At £7,750 on the David Robinson website, a GMT II Batman in blue and black is a handsome watch; 70 hour reserve, reliable, not too big in terms of case size and a classic design that isn’t likely to go out of fashion either. The advantage that the Batman model has over the red/blue Pepsi GMT is that the Batman does NOT look like a Seiko from 10 paces. A definite plus point.
You will always find a queue of buyers when you decide to sell – that’s a given with almost any Rolex beyond the Air-King range and blingy Oyster Perpetual models that have limited appeal to mainly middle-aged male watch collector market. The only downside is the dang Rolex GMT II Batman waiting list malarkey. But that long list may get shorter once the recession bites a bit harder later this year.
TUDOR BLACK BAY 58
We love this watch. For just under £2,800 you get a 39mm case, black dial wristwatch that is beautifully finished, has a 70 hour reserve, COSC certified movement with some Tudor in-house tweaks and a very Rolex-esque bracelet link design. A slimmer case for the 58 model launched in 2019 means this watch sits better on the wrist than the altogether chunkier pre-2019 Black Bay models.
No, it isn’t a poor man’s Rolex. It is a fantastic value Swiss watch that has far greater resale value and long term investment potential than say an Omega Seamaster, TAG Heuer Carrera (nearly four grand new, worth about 2K after 2 years of ownership as a PX) or a Breitling Superocean 44 in blue, which retails at about £2800. Again, try getting more than £1500 back in PX value when you sell that hipster Breitling with its silicone rubber strap.
CHOPARD MILLE MIGLIA 2019 RACE EDITION
There’s a big range of Chopard Mille Miglia watches, too many some might say. But this one ticks all the right boxes. Classic tan strap, which actually features a tyre tread design on the inside – in fact it looks like a Dunlop K70 tread pattern from my BSA days. Classic chrono layout, with big pushers that are easy to operate, even beside a windswept racetrack on a cold day.
Inside you find an in-house Chopard 25 jewel movement, automatic of course and based on the trusty Valjoux 7750, although like many 7750 movement derived watches today, it’s had the benefit of new manufacturing techniques to make it a better performer in terms of accuracy, and power reserve, at 48 hours on this one.
For £6300 or so, you get a watch which is stunningly finished, with a grey dial, polished steel details, that 1000Km Mille Miglia logo on the back and an overall look that’s similar to classic race clocks inside a 1960s sports car. The grey, sort of lined dial, makes a change from the usual black/white combo seen on road racing themed chronographs. For that alone, we salute this watch – dare to be different, as Tudor might say.
It’s limited to 1000 pieces, so whilst that’s no guarantee of future collectibility- it helps. In short, the Mille Miglia Race Edition stands out a little bit, and at 44mm case diameter this one will always impress a great many people too.
As UK TV viewers will have noticed, Watchfinder is busy advertising right now, as more people with money look for safer investments that stocks – or even property. As the government effectively gives all tenants three months rent free accommodation, many buy-to-let landlords will seek to exit this business later this year. As yet, there is little real financial support for the 5 million self-employed in the UK and this is storing up rent and utility arrears for the remainder of 2020.
Of course investing in Swiss watches is a higher risk than property. There are still overheads; insurance and servicing on high value watches from Rolex, Audemars, Patek, Vacheron, Omega, Cartier etc. There is no monthly income, you gamble that a Royal Oak or Submariner will double in value in say five years. Fact is, some models HAVE done that, without a global pandemic.
You absolutely need a strong safe, anchored to the ground. If you own over 50K worth of watches we suggest a strong/panic room. You need to escape from pro thieves quickly, as they may well use brutal methods to extract the safe code from you. Same approach if you buy physical gold – people will want to steal it from you, and insurers dislike covering gold and diamonds worth over 30K, except within commercial premises.
NO GOLDIE LOOKING CHAINS, BUY VIRTUAL GOLD INSTEAD?
Alternative investment options are many of course, food distribution or food delivery being a hot one right now. But gold and watches might also offer some growth. Here’s the latest press info from Glint Pay Services Limited, the fintech company that makes gold an alternative global currency.
How? Well by enabling clients to buy, sell, save and spend their physical gold instantly through Glint’s prepaid debit card (Mastercard) and multi-currency app. Glint announced today that it has experienced a several hundred percent increase in its clients buying gold during the recent turmoil effecting global equity markets.
Glint’s clients have been the big winners as they flocked to gold, the traditional safe haven currency of last resort, as the markets swung violently over the last few weeks on fears of a global economic downturn.
HOW DOES GLINT WORK?
Glint offer an innovative multi-currency payments solution that provides instantaneous ownership of physically allocated gold and the ability to use it as money digitally through an app and prepaid debit Mastercard (gold is converted into e-money for transactions).
Physically allocated gold belongs outright to its owner, as opposed to unallocated gold, “exposure to gold” such as when the gold is owned by a FinTech company (e.g. Revolut) or a capital markets instrument such as an exchanged traded fund (“ETF”). By offering access to gold Glint helps shield clients them from the destructive effects of inflation and protects them from the systemic risk of future global financial crises
Glint enables you to save, spend, and exchange between USD, EUR, GBP and gold wallets. Glint’s clients know their gold is securely held in a Brinks Vault in Switzerland. Brinks is insured with Lloyds of London.
In the next few months, Glint will launch Person to Person (P2P) payments, giving clients the ability to send gold and currencies to fellow Glint clients as easily and instantly as you might send a text message.
Fees are transparent and simple with Glint when buying or selling gold or spending in foreign currencies. There are no hidden fees and Glint uses the best available market rates with no Glint margin added, when transacting in 150 currencies around the word.
You should be aware that Glint’s gold offering is not subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). Always speak to an independent financial adviser if you have any questions or concerns. Northern Watch Co certainly advises anyone to think carefully before investing in gold, as the price can fluctuate rapidly within the space of one week.
The latest auction held by Gardiner Houlgate was definitely of interest to Omega collectors, with the majority of watches sold being from the famous Swiss brand. Omega remains a popular choice and it’s interesting to see how some models are rapidly appreciating in value, whilst more basic models like the Geneve watches from the 60s and 70s are basically treading water.
Fact is, you can still pick up a nice Geneve, working order, for about £250-£300, plus buyers premium on top and those prices haven’t really changed in the last five years. A De Ville only made £160, which shows how collectors and dealers are shunning the 70s Omegas to an extent. The older Omega models with sub-second dials are also stuck in the doldrums, with the black dial models fetching a bit extra, but nothing special.
Even a price of £400 for a 1969 Constellation in working order, which looked like it had been serviced recently, is nothing to write home about, assuming you paid £200-£300 to buy it a decade ago when prices were relatively cheap. After auction costs you’re perhaps looking at a profit of £50, depending on how much the service cost of course – you might have lost £200. This all goes to show that watch collecting isn’t a guranteed investment.
The stand out watches included a Speedmaster Ultraman which made £18,000, and another Speedmaster presented to the Shah of Iran in the early 70s, complete with moon landing paperwork, box, cert etc. Genuine piece of horological history and I bet the story of how that watch escaped the Shah’s family and found its way to an auction in the UK is a fascinating one.
An entry level Rolex Oyster, Cal 1570 with Jubilee bracelet (early 80s model?) made £2300, no box or paperwork on that one which has held the price down a bit – few dealers want to sell them on now without some extras – people expect it.
A very handsome GMT II Batman Rolex, complete with papers and box, made dead on £9000, which is pretty close to new UK retail. Just shows how a waiting list for a current model can drive up demand for decent quality used examples, with some jewellers now asking 15K for a nice used Batman. How long will the waiting list bubble last?
Who knows? But Rolex are annoying a great many of their loyal customers with this childish game of `wait in line please, but hand over your cash now.’ It’s a bit like BMW or Audi dealerships – you get to a point where people feel like cash machines for the dealerships’ ever expanding empires and that’s when you lose some of them.