Tag Archives: mechanical

Monsieur Ranoma Mechanical – Get 20% Off

Monsieur watches has a very handy 20% discount code available right now on its Ranomo mechanical. This features a Seagull movement, which is Chinese but generally considered one of the better made wind up movements.

It has an Italian leather strap plus sapphire crystals on the front and the see-thru caseback, which is nice for a budget watch.

Usual price is $389 so use the take20 code at Checkout if you like this panda dial chronograph.

More here.

Ming 17.09 Has a Unique Art Deco Glow

The latest from Ming watches;

We begin the farewell to our popular 17-series with the 17.09: an evolved daily wearer, with new, extra functionality and overall design updates. We also aim to address the increase in demand with a new ordering system which should allow more collectors to experience a MingVersion 2.0

This one has a Sellita movement inside, a two-piece dial with a Clous-de-Paris pattern and a brushed outer track. There’s also a bit of lume in the sapphire crystal, which is something different and really catches the eye. It has a feel of the 1950s US neon shop and bar signage that spread from Miami across the East Coast. They are very striking watches.

You have a 38mm case size, in stainless steel, which is an ideal dress watch size for many collectors. You can pull the crown out and move the hour hand independently of the minute, which is handy if you are lucky enough to blag some travel this year. Price is 1950 Swiss Francs and stocks are limited, you can buy on the 15th April and get it delivered in July 2021.

More info at Ming watches. 

Hamilton’s Intra-Matic Has a Petrolhead Edge

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.


Hamilton Intra-Matic Mechanical Chrono

Old school hand-winding? Hamilton can help you out there buddy, with their new Intra-Matic chronograph, which features no automatic rotor. The new H series edition retails at just under CHF2000, which is about £1500, making this an expensive retro styled watch. Not as expensive as the automatic version though, so that’s a bonus. You get much the same American Classic styling; we love the vintage pushers and the big winding crown, and the dial choices of black or white really offer a homage to the 60s/70s.

But there are plenty of other Valjoux 7750 or ETA powered retro chrono models out there below a grand. Fact is, the Hamilton name does not add a great deal in terms of resale value – just wander into any UK pawnbroker with a Khaki and see what you get offered for it. Shocking. So you could buy this watch and lose half the retail value the moment you walk out of the door – the same cannot be said about a Rolex Oyster, Breitling Superocean or Tudor Black Bay in all fairness. But they all cost serious cash…

This latest Hamilton has an impressive 60 hour power reserve, a nice Milanese bracelet option rather than a leather strap and it’s Swiss made, which counts for something in terms of prestige. But the H31 movement inside is based on the Valjoux 7753, which is an old design. Nothing wrong with that of course, but for two grand maybe a pre-owned Tudor, Omega or Breitling is a better bet in the long run when it comes to retained value? Just saying.


On Kickstarter: Neucarl Sept Mai is Urbane, Modern & Bespoke

Modernism is highly overrated in our book. Think Le Corbusier’s blockhouses with flat roofs for rainy Europe, or Jackson Pollocks load of old bollocks masquerading as art. But watches like the Movado Museum, with its beautiful simplicity, or the utilitarian Junghans Max Bill of the mid-50s demonstrate that sometimes the modernist approach can really stand out. It’s where function meets timeless style.

So a tip of the hat to Neucarl who are trying to capture that Bauhaus elegance with the Sept-Mai model. Featuring a Sellita movement, this mechanical watch has a steel case, with a uniquely appealing dished dial, it looks countersunk, like a 1930s Lido in London town. The dial has a circle of cut-outs, as if light is being recessed into the watch, which is kinda like an old juke-box. They have spent a great deal of time thinking about the design.

It’s a super slim case too, just 8.3mm high and at 41mm wide it’s just right for the modern market. Each model is one of 99 numbered pieces by the way. There’s a choice of eight leather straps, plus dial colours including red, turquoise, blue and white, with each colour and design twist being named after a city, Rome, Paris, Reykjavik, NYC etc. It’s a project that has taken about four years to materialise and available for summer 2021 delivery right now, prices start at around £375 plus VAT and import duty from France.

Vario Empire is An Old School Mechanical

Vario watches in Singapore have been making watch straps for some years but recently began selling their own designs. The Art Deco and Trench watch have been successful and there just a few variations left of the Empire mechanical launched last year. Seiko powered, with a see-thru caseback and choice of straps, it retails for £270, with free worldwide shipping. We love that little pocket watch style winding crown detail by the way.

Here’s the spec from Vario;

This is a watch that gets you that first impression and second glance. Each thoughtfully-designed case, made entirely of custom parts, shelters your choice of a sapphire glass-covered Miyota 6T33 Hand-Wound Movement or Seiko NH38A Automatic Movement. The VARIO Empire conforms to your wrist with soft and supple Italian Leather straight out of the box.

Limited Edition of 60 pieces 

Diameter: 38mm
Lug to Lug: 46mm
Thickness: 11mm
Strap Width: 20mm
Movement: Miyota 6T33 Handwound
Crystal: Sapphire on front and exhibition caseback with inner AR coating
Water Resistance: 5 ATM
Strap: Vintage style Italian leather with quick release (20mm taper to 16mm)



New Zelos Skyraider 2 Offers ETA Power, Unique Looks

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.

Prim Orlik Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Czech Flag

This Czech brand has been around since 1949 but many watch fans may not have heard of them. Prim make their own movements and offer a range of mechanical and automatic models. This recent one celebrates 100 years of the Czech flag, since the state of Czechoslovakia was created after the Treaty of Versailles, which came after the end of WW1.

The Orlik features a Prim Cal98 automatic, with see-thru caseback and a 1920-2020 inscription on the rotor. There’s a lovely hand-stitched leather strap and a dash of blue superlume on the hands and hour markers. This model is only available until the end of 2020, so what better way to celebrate the end of a completely horrible year than investing in a unique wristwatch that will stand the test of time?

It’s a great looker and we love the details, here’s the word from Prim;

The characteristic design is enhanced with deep symbolism and carefully planted details. The first quarter of the stainless-steel bezel has a ceramic coating (HyCeram®) in tricolour tones and it is subtly referring to the main inspiration for the edition – the Czech flag. The numeral 20 on the date wheel is red to signify the year; the other numerals are standard white.

The watch crown features the tricolour, also made using HyCeram®.

The colours of our flag mean various things to people. The white can represent freedom or purity; the red, blood shed in fights for freedom and defence of the republic. Historically, the colours come from the original royal banner (bicolour) where red is the colour of the shield (royal coat of arms) and white of the silver Czech lion. The blue wedge is most often interpreted as a symbol of Slovak mountains or even blue sky.

Price? We saw one brand new on Chrono24 for just under £2900. It isn’t a cheap watch, but then things made by hand in Europe are never going to be as low cost as a mass produced, largely robot assembled watch from a Swiss, Japanese or Chinese brand.

More at Prim watches website.

Oris Roberto Clemante Edition Celebrates True Sporting Hero

If you’re a baseball fan then the latest Oris automatic is a collectors item. Buying one also makes a real difference as some of the profits will go to the Clemente Foundation.  The watch is a stainless steel, 40mm wide model, with an Oris 754 Calibre inside. It retails for 1850CHF, or about £1570 sterling. Limited to 3000 pieces, it also has a date hand indicator, rather than a date window.

Here’s some background on Roberto Clemente;

From humble beginnings, Roberto’s life changed quickly. At 17, he began his career in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League and a year later moved to the U.S. to join the Brooklyn Dodgers organisation. In the years that followed, he would overcome discrimination because of the colour of his skin, and become a baseball legend. In 1955, he made his Major League debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he would stay for 18 seasons. He was an exceptional athlete, with a mighty throwing arm.

He won two World Series with the Pirates and became a 12-time winner of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, before reaching 3,000 hits with the last hit of his career in September 1972, making him the first Latin American player to reach the mark.

During the following winter, Nicaragua was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, leaving as many as 11,000 people dead and 300,000 without a home. Roberto, who had been involved in community work throughout his career, sent aid, but discovered his shipments had gone missing in the chaos, almostcertainly diverted by corrupt local officials.

He insisted on accompanying the next shipment to make sure it reached the people who needed it most, and on December 31, he boarded a plane. It would never reach its destination. Roberto Clemente died, serving others, aged just 38. The plane crashed into the sea and his body was never found. But his name lived on. In 1973, Roberto was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The same year, the Commissioner’s Award, awarded annually to a Major League player for their work in the community, was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award. And Roberto’s number 21 was retired by the Pirates. In 1993, the Roberto Clemente Foundation was established with a mission to ‘Build Nations of Good’. Headed by his widow Vera and now his son Luis Clemente, it continues his proud legacy of bringing real change.

How To Fit A New Crystal to a Vintage Swiss Watch

There is one tweak that almost any watch enthusiast can do which adds value, and enjoyment, to their vintage Swiss watch; get rid of scratched or damaged crystals and fit a new one. It improves the appearance instantly and you’re learning stuff that saves a long wait at most UK jewellers or independent watch repair workshops.

It is relatively easy to do this job – even a novice can do it in 30 mins – although you will need the correct tools, as well as some expertise. I suggest you start with a bit of practice on some old scrap watches that don’t work before graduating to more precious family heirlooms.

If you want to learn watch repairs then I strongly suggest you invest in at least £300 worth of tools and equipment. You can’t do this work with a £5 mini-screwdriver set from a car boot, a case knife from Guandong and some WD40.

audax crystal replacement vintage swiss watch
You can see the clear cement glue in the top left of this pic – this one was a 310, but the correct fitment was a 314 size crystal. That’s why the old one was glued in.

So here is what you need;

Workbench or table, good lighting, dust-free white paper or board to place things on.

Bergeon or similar crystal lift, plus base. These cost about £80-£90 on ebay.

Fine tweezers and cocktail sticks for teasing dirt out of the bezel.

Air blower or soft artists type brush

Head loupe or magnifying glass.

Replacement crystals – preferably high-dome acrylic, as these are easy to fit and you can buy job lots on ebay.

Polywatch or similar cleaning product, plus soft jewellers cloth

audax before 1
Red thread near the cannon pinion, plus glue at 6pm – not exactly George Daniels standard repair in the past on this Audax.

Here’s how I did this Audax earlier, which had an incorrect crystal glued into position by some heathen, who also managed to trap dust, glue residue and a red cotton thread fragment in there.

  1. Check the lift has gripped the edge of the crystal evenly, so it won’t slip off – then gently lift it away.
  2. Use the blower and brush to clean the dial – DO NOT use solvents to clean the dial, the paint will come off.
  3. Place the new crystal on the old one, do the rims match exactly? Use a micrometer to check your measurements ideally, but if not gently place the new one on the watch and feel how well it sits there. Is it a near perfect, but slightly too large fit? Good.
  4. Place your new crystal onto the sliding metal base plate and lock it securely, then ease the claws of the crystal lift onto the end of the dome, where it meets the rim. Screw in a little bit to compress the crystal – not too much. Check it sits evenly all the way around.
  5. Use the blower to clean the inside of the new crystal and the watch dial face again – you don’t want to lock in hairs or dust.
  6. Press the new one down firmly onto the bezel. It should pop in, overcoming resistance – you should feel this. Unscrew the lift claws.
  7. Check the new crystal doesn’t rotate or fall out if the watch is turned upside down.
  8. Clean it with Polywatch and a soft jewellers cloth.

audax after 1

That’s it, job done. Looks a whole lot better – now I can read the Swiss Made text at 6 o’clock, where previously a big dollop of glue obscured the view.

Happy watch fettling 😉