Spring tides are the highest tides, occurring every two weeks during a new or full moon when the earth, sun and moon are aligned. Lower tides, called neap tides, happen during a quarter or three-quarter moon when the earth, sun and moon create a right angle, which causes the sun and moon to pull water in two directions.
A new Grand Seiko Spring Drive for the new year? Sounds like a plan for many watch collectors. The Birch dial and contrasting blue second hand really does add that handmade, minimalist touch. This watch incorporates the Evolution 9 philosophy by the way, which is built on symmetry, precision and the balance between light and shade. Here’s the word from GS;
In 2021, Grand Seiko introduced a high-beat watch inspired by the slender and beautiful white birch trees of the Hiraniwa Plateau in northern Japan. This timepiece was warmly praised by watch fans worldwide for its intricately textured dial and for the revolutionary Caliber 9SA5 that powered it.
Its wide acclaim culminated in its selection as the winner of the Men’s Watch prize at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Today, a new creation powered by the latest and finest Spring Drive Caliber 9RA2 captures the atmosphere of a white birch forest but in a subtly new way that echoes the feeling of the forests of Shinshu, home to the studio where all Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches are made.
The watch will be available at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retail stores worldwide in February 2022.
The craftsmanship is evident in every detail. The delicately textured dial and the tempered blue seconds hand reveal an artistry that is matched by the ‘frost’ finishing of the movement, whose beauty is clearly visible through the sapphire case back. To watch the completely smooth glide motion of the seconds hand as it moves serenely across the subtly patterned dial is to be brought closer than ever to the tranquil, seamless and natural flow of time.
The delicate texture of the movement’s finish reflects the frost that winter brings to the trees in Shinshu. The bridge lines and hole edges are diamond-cut to reflect light from all angles and the jewels and the tempered blue power reserve indicator add a quiet sparkle that is a delight to behold. Caliber 9RA2 delivers a power reserve of up to 120 hours and is accurate to ±10 seconds per month.
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Collection
Spring Drive 5 Days Caliber 9RA2
Driving system: Automatic
Accuracy: ±0.5 seconds per day (±10 seconds per month)
Power reserve: 5 days (120 hours)
Number of jewels: 38
Stainless steel case and bracelet
Dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
See-through screw case back
Water resistance: 10 bar
Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
Diameter: 40.0mm, Thickness: 11.8mm
Three-fold clasp with push button release
New brands are great to see in the world of watch manufacturing, especially in Ireland, which has never really been a major player in watchmaking. But the great thing about today’s market is that lots of Indie brands can find a factory partner, design house and get something into production quickly.
The Magon brand has a watch enthusiast at the helm and its debut model sets the tone; bespoke, Swiss engineering, luxury detailing.
The Forsa is available in two variations. One has a polished titanium case while the other has a PVD carbon black coating on the case. We love the vivid emerald green strap by the way, which is another Magon bespoke touch.
Inside there is a Swiss sourced chronograph auto, made by La Joux Perret and modified by Magon. It has a 43mm wide case, which is tonneau style capturing the fashion of the 70s. The dial, with bold markers and plenty of lume is modern though. No date feature, just three sub-second dials.
There are just 50 pieces being made of the Forsa Dubh, which is the carbon case model, price is 11,800 plus VAT.
Marloe watch company in Scotland has reduced the price of its Haskell model to £599. The watch was originally launched at just under a grand, and was recently offered at £745, so it’s a useful discount.
The H. Samuel/Ernest Jones parts of the Signet empire are offering great deals on Seiko watches. We like a Presage in light blue at £280 and you can pick up some Seiko 5 Sports models from under £175. That’s a great price on the chunky case Seiko 5 models, with a green dial model, on a NATO strap retailing at just £160.
Meanwhile, Chester based Watch Nation also have some Seiko deals, including Prospex dive models, plus they have some nice deals on Hamilton Khaki Aviation models. We like the Red Bull Air Race edition at £660.
A handy fifty quid off the Mondaine Elegance, with a mesh bracelet is a nice buy; classic style for £249.
CW Sellors is well known for deals on luxury Swiss watches, so savings of over 2K on Chronswiss models is handy indeed.
There’s a beautiful Bell+Ross Vintage BR V2 chronograph model, (see below) with a blue dial that’s down to £3150, which is £1350 off the full retail price. Just nice to see a Bell+ROss model that isn’t square.
I’m not a fan of the Bremont Martin Baker MBII at four grand, but it might be more tempting at £2796 perhaps? This is one of those tool watches that could last a lifetime, so worth a look. Reductions on Seiko, Mont Blanc, Graham, Ball, Rado, Longines and many more brands at CW Sellors.
Pierre Gaston watches are a boutique Swiss brand, producing automatics featuring deep dish dials, unusual calendar details and now a tourbillon collaboration with Tokki on straps, which means the tourbillon has a Capsule Collection for late 2021.
They are great looking Italian leather straps, but the extra twist with the new tourbillon is that customers can order all kinds of variations via the Atelier section of the PG website, to create a luxury jewelled piece.
The PG case design is clever as it hides the winding crown in a little niche within the bezel track. That bezel track also comes with the Atelier option of being filled with sapphire, ruby or emerald stones if you really want to go to town.
How much? No idea.
Put it this way, there are no prices on the website for the custom models. The base Date watch from PG retails at 3999 Swiss francs, so expect the tourbillons with jewels to cost a refreshingly high price.
Those quirky geniuses at Armin Strom have been busy again, with this latest watch just hitting the website. Zeitgeist Resonance is a great name by the way, just saying. Here’s the word from AS;
This extraordinary piece from the independent Swiss manufacture Armin Strom celebrates the fifth anniversary of the brand’s resonance technology.
Zeitgeist shines the spotlight on Armin Strom’s patented Resonance Clutch Spring and its ability to create the most consistent timekeeping. The extraordinary component is a testimony to the brand’s ideals and its focus on cutting-edge research and evolution in watchmaking. Zeitgeist marks the next chapter for resonance watches.
Armin Strom’s ingenious technology is dramatically showcased in the Zeitgeist by exposing the entire mechanism. The 43mm case has been crafted from platinum. The movement is clearly at the center of this distinctive timepiece, which offers minimalist dial components and subtle decoration.
This one has a patented clutch sprong, which looks like a neat way of balancing power between two balance wheels. Clever stuff. This is how AS describe the gadget;
Thanks to the Resonance Clutch Spring, a flexible suspension connecting the two hairsprings with its balance wheels, all of Armin Strom’s Resonance watches are more resistant to shocks or vibrations.
So it’s a kind of dual Incabloc mechanism.
It retails for 160,000 Swiss francs, which is a reassuringly outrageous £130,000 or so. More here.
We like Frederique Constant here at NWC, they do their own thing and they generally do it wonderfully well, but if you look at the plain jane dial on this moonphase, you ask the question; does this look expensive and Swiss, a true statement watch?
Yes, it’s gold plated and sparkly, but that dial looks..a bit flat maybe? On the upside, sometimes less is more and at just under 39mm wide, this one is easy to read at a glance. OK, there’s no retail price on the website but we guess this one will sell at just under £1500.
Not madly expensive for a Swiss automatic, compared to a Chanel or Cartier, but a Tissot T-Classic is about £350 and has plenty of sparkle.
Here’s the tech spec;
FC-702 MANUFACTURE CALIBER, AUTOMATIC, DATE AND MOONPHASE ADJUSTABLE BY THE CROWN
PERLAGE AND CIRCULAR CÔTES DE GENÈVE DECORATIONS
26 JEWELS, 38-HOUR POWER RESERVE, 28’800 ALT/H
POLISHED ROSE GOLD-PLATED 3-PART CASE SET WITH 60 DIAMONDS (0.46CT)
DIAMETER OF 38,8 MM
FRONT CONVEX SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL
WATER-RESISTANT UP TO 3 ATM
SILVER COLOR DIAL WITH APPLIED ROSE GOLD-PLATED INDEXES SET WITH 8 DIAMONDS (0.04CT)
HAND-POLISHED ROSE GOLD-PLATED HOUR, MINUTE AND DATE HANDS
DATE AT 9 O’CLOCK
MOONPHASE AT 3 O’CLOCK
Bell+Ross has sent us info on two Boutique Limited Editions.
The BR 01 CYBER SKULL SAPPHIRE, is limited to 10 pieces and BR 05 HOROLUM, limited to 250 pieces.
BR 01 CYBER SKULL SAPPHIRE
In 2009, Bell & Ross became one of the first to create a skull watch. Since then, the BR 01 Skull family has grown to include ten members which are greatly sought after by collectors. Last year, the avant-garde Cyber Skull revisited this iconic series with its faceted design representing a leap into the future.
In 2021, the latest Cyber Skull Sapphire is a completely translucent, full sapphire version. The base is a Cyber Skull, which has nevertheless been developed entirely in colourless sapphire crystal playing the transparency card to the full, including in the translucent rubber strap.
The skull and crossbones are captured between two sapphire crystals, so that they appear to be floating in the air.
Zenith just reworked the whole idea of an automatic watch movement and y’know what, it’s baffling and fascinating in equal measure. The Zero G watch kind of suspends the balance function in mid-air, bit like the gimbal encased, ships chronometers of the Georgian era. Then the intricate works are set inside a sapphire case, with a great view from both sides.
Some power reserve indicator and sub-seconds functions means there are a couple of bridges on the dial, but really this 10-pieces, uber-luxury watch is a tech tour-de-force.
It has touches of meteorite and moondust on the dial too, which adds that planetarium feel to the watch. Early watches were often made by people who developed the first orreries, which were essentially mechanical models of the known solar system at the time, so the earth, sun, moon and a few close planets all move in sync – this was a great learning tool in its day for the wealthy.
With this amazing Zero G watch Zenith is saying, hey look, we can re-create that 18th century enlightment, pay homage to science, the drive for discovery that led mankind to the sea and the stars. It also proves that Zenith can rival anything other Swiss brands can do. If you have £133,000 to spare…or £149,000 for the twin tourbillon.
Yeah, that’s the price of bespoke gyroscopic genius.
Here’s the word from Zenith;
The Manufacture has reimagined two of its most extraordinary movements through contemporary architecture and finishing techniques that can be admired through luminous and transparent sapphire cases. Just like Georges-Favre Jacot who named his Manufacture after the highest point in the sky reached by a heavenly body in the sky, Zenith’s watchmakers and designers sought inspiration from the endless universe beyond our horizon for its grandest and most ingenious haute horlogerie creations.
Zenith has reinterpreted two of its most cutting-edge haute horlogerie calibres in a way that could only be admired through the transparency of a sapphire case. These two creations place Zenith’s uniquely futuristic and evocative aesthetic centre-stage, using novel and previously unheard-of decoration methods for a stellar result.
First, all the movement’s components are treated with blue PVD. The inscriptions as well as decorative elements like miniature stars are then carefully engraved onto the bridges, after which the chamfered edges of the bridges are precisely finished with a rhodium-coloured PVD; a specially developed technique that provides a striking contrast and adds even more visual depth to an already intricately layered movement with its futuristic form. Framed by totally transparent sapphire cases, the movements shine in a light of their own – and from all angles.
Overcoming the effects of gravity on chronometric precision has long been watchmakers’ ultimate goal. Zenith accomplished precisely this with its Gravity Control mechanism, where the regulating organ is fixed to a gimbal that always remains in a flat position regardless of how the watch is rotated. Today, the Manufacture has completely redesigned the entire movement with a new architecture to enable a more open and exhibitive display, encapsulated in a transparent sapphire case that allows the singular mechanism to be admired from all angles: a first for the Manufacture.
Like an object suspended in space and free from the effects of gravity, the off-centred dial of the DEFY Zero-G Sapphire combines several traditional crafts in a contemporary execution, handcrafted in a mosaic of meteorite, aventurine glass and grand feu enamel on a gold base. It depicts our neighbouring red planet Mars on the small seconds, partially eclipsed by the hour and minute dial. A special touch that can only be seen when the watch is overhead is the back of the gyroscopic module, fashioned with a cratered texture mimicking the moon. The entire main plate and bridges of the movement are finished in a blue tone with contrasting grey rhodium chamfers, speckled with white stars of varying sizes. This astronomically inspired finish extends to the movement’s cylindrical container, which can also be viewed through the sides of the case.
Watch the promo video for a better understanding of how the gyro balance concept works in 3D;
DEFY 21 DOUBLE TOURBILLON
For the latest execution of the fastest tourbillon chronograph around – equipped with two independent tourbillons completing rotations in 60 seconds for the time-keeping tourbillon and 5 seconds for the chronograph’s tourbillon – Zenith took its evocative “starry sky” aesthetic to new cosmic heights in the DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire, with a nod to the universe and space exploration.
Visible for all to admire through the crystalline case, the DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon’s exceptional chronograph movement is rendered in a stellar and futuristic aesthetic. The main plate of the movement is finished in a striking blue PVD tone, and in a first for Zenith, some of the dial-side bridges are engraved with stars, like a distant galaxy of micro-mechanics in perpetual motion. Truly at the summit of precision, the 1/00th of a second chronograph moves at incredible speed, juxtaposed against a still, starry backdrop.
The DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire and DEFY Zero-G Sapphire will be produced as a limited edition of 10 pieces each.
Blancpain has sent us info on a new Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon model, here’s the press info;
The Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours diver’s watch epitomises the encounter between horological complexity and high performance. Its flying tourbillon whirls inside a dedicated opening in the
refined blue dial. This new model comes in a surprisingly light titanium version, as well as a red gold version ensuring a striking presence on the wrist.
Introduced in 2007 with the launch of the contemporary Fifty Fathoms collection, the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours is a symbiosis of Blancpain’s savoir faire in the realm of diver’s watches and its expertise in horological complications. Tried and tested for more than a decade, it has established itself as a superlative timepiece, enabling the beauty of the tourbillon mechanism to be admired even at great depths.
The two new versions of this prestigious diver’s watch showcase this sophisticated complication through a refined blue dial graced with a sunburst finish. The tourbillon, referred to as “flying” because it has
no upper bridge to drive its cage, appears to be floating in a large round opening at 12 o’clock. The technical complexity of this watch construction contrasts with the sporty style of the hour-markers,
hands and bezel.
The latter remains a key element of the watch, with its notched edge giving added grip, its unidirectional rotation system and its slightly domed scratch-resistant sapphire insert.
The 45 mm-diameter case of this new Fifty Fathoms is available in two materials: grade 23 titanium and red gold, both satin-finished. A bold choice for a highly complicated watch, titanium is notable for
its lightness – ensuring excellent wearer comfort – as well as its resistance to shocks, pressure and corrosion. Red gold offers a more conventional setting for the tourbillon and radiates an aura of timeless nobility.
Water-resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 metres), the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours houses selfwinding Calibre 25C, a movement finished with a Côtes de Genève motif and circular graining in the noblest watchmaking tradition. Its gold oscillating weight is satin-brushed and openworked to provide
the most open possible view of the movement.
The titanium timepiece is available with a blue NATO or sailcloth strap, as well as a titanium bracelet; the red gold watch comes with a blue NATO or sailcloth strap. For both models, the sailcloth strap can
be combined with a pin buckle or folding clasp, as desired.
This new model is a welcome addition to the Fifty Fathoms collection, embodying Blancpain’s passion for the underwater world which was initially expressed in 1953 with the launch of the first modern diver’s watch. Created by Jean-Jacques Fiechter, Blancpain’s co-CEO at the time and a pioneer of scuba diving, the Fifty Fathoms represented a turning point in the watch industry by setting the standard for diver’s watches.
Price? Yeah, there is the catch it retails at just over £97,000. Yep almost 100K for a watch. If you need to spend that dodgy Bounceback loan cash before HMRC catch up with you, then there is a black and gold variant which is just over £110,000.