Tag Archives: micro

Raven Airfield on Pre-Order Now

Raven watches sent us a heads-up on their Airfield Pilot/Field model. This 40mm wide watch is easy-to-read, comes with a white, green or black dial and has a sapphire crystal too. Inside you will find the workhorse Seiko NH35 automatic movement, so you have no worries there.

Beautiful polished steel bracelet on this one, retails at $590 and it has the day wheel in English and German, just to be different. Makes a change from French, why not?

More here. 

Baltic Drops a Micro-Rotor Masterpiece

There is something fascinating about the micro-rotor movement. Watch fans seek them out today, even though the heyday of the micro-rotor was the 1960s.

You can still pick up a Dugena, Hamilton or Universal vintage micro-rotor watch, which all share the same movement by the way, although you will pay three times as much for the Universal. The reason it’s collectable is simple; it makes the watch slimmer, by doing away with the conventional rotor and the bearings set on top of the movement, squeezing them into a handy little pocket of space instead.

it is a triumph of engineering and convenience in miniature – which when you think about it, is how the wristwatch came about in the first place. Otherwise we would still  be checking pocket watches like railway station masters of the 1880s.

So the new Baltic MR-01 is something we love, especially at £541, which is a bargain for something this compact and understated.

It has a vintage brushed, sort of sanded parchment finish to the dial, with that offset sub-seconds dial. There’s a little extra numbers track around the dial edge, which is very 19th century pocket watch touch. Three dial colours; salmon, silver and blue.

The see-thru caseback lets you see the movement, which is adorned with blue screws, decent sized jewels and a gold-coloured rotor, stamped with the Baltic name.

The bridgework is finished like a Waltham Riverside model, just beautiful patterns and swirls.

It surprised us to learn that it’s made by Hangzhou of China, but we don’t have a problem with that because as everyone who buys watches on Ali Express knows, most Chinese made mechanical and automatics are now just as good as entry level Swiss movements.

It’s 36mm across and just 9.9mm high, so yes, you get that authentic 1950s gents watch vibe.

Verdict; People may mock the Chinese engine inside this watch, but if you love watchmaking then this is an affordable micro-rotor wristwatch that costs less than a classic 50 year old Hamilton Intra-Matic.

 

Hoffman Octane Racing 40 – Pre-Order Discounts Available

Just $184 buys you a Hoffman Racing 40, Octane edition, with its striking yellow panda dial. Pure motorsport joy for the petrolhead watch collector, it features a 40mm stainless steel case, housing a Seiko V64 Meca-quartz movement. Tried and trusted engine, no worries over durability and excellent timekeeping there. You get a sapphire crystal as well, which is a detail that is often lacking on watches like Hugo Boss, Armani, Kors etc. You can splash out an extra £120 or so an get a Tissot Chrono XL quartz, which gives you that Swiss kudos and a sapphire glass, but there isn’t a yellow dial model.

But tbh, we still like the Hoffmann Octane better. Why? Well it’s an Indie brand trying to define its own style, we love motorsport chronographs and this one has a bold edge that is lacking in many mainstream £150 quartz chronographs. You can find out more here. 

Nope, we ain’t commission either.

MHD Type 2 Automatic is On The Grid

MHD have got their Type 2 automatic on the blocks and ready for March delivery. The Indie brand’s Miyota powered model is a great value design that’s been partly crowdsourced in terms of looks, components and dial colours, case diameter, winding crown etc. The MHD approach of getting potential customers involved in the design stage is a good one, as it makes you feel that you’ve helped pick out your ideal watch in some respects.

Each watch is a limited edition 1-100, and numbered. The case is based on classic art deco car designs of the 20s and 30s, there’s a see-thru casback, sapphire crystal and a natty fuel gauge style power reserve indicator. There are white, black and blue dial choices, plus a date window is there as well. At 40mm the case is spot-on for modern collectors and this makes qa great everyday wristwatch. It is kinda pricey at £745 and we say that because there are lots of indie automatics around with Sellita or STP Swiss auto movements inside at £500 or less.

If you love the looks, then pre-order here. 

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 

Specifications
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)

 

 

Zelos Blacktip Skin Diver

Here is the word from Zelos on their Blacktip model, which is available to buy next week.
A modern take on the classic ‘Skin Diver’ style, the new Zelos Blacktip offers elegant aesthetics and reliable performance in a small but mighty package. The slim 11.5mm case makes it a compact and highly versatile timepiece which can nevertheless survive 200m beneath the waves.
Quick Specifications:
Case : 41mm Diameter, 20mm Lug width, 47.5mm Lug to Lug Length, 11.5mm thickness without crystal
Water Resistance : 200m
Crystal : Sapphire
Bezel Insert : Ceramic/Sapphire depending on model
Movement : Miyota 9015 28800bph
Dial :Textured with dual C3/BGW9 indices
Crown : Signed crown with lume
Bracelet Included : 316L SS with quick adjust clasp and quick release springbars
The Blacktip launches on December 15th and will be available at a special launch price. Limited quantities are available and will not be restocked.

Ming Micro Rotor 19.05 is a Tech Tour de Force

There is something impresive about a microrotor automatic watch. Perhaps it’s the Airfix model maker in me, but I love engineering in miniature. Think about how watches evolved, from a sort of pocket clock, complete with a pendulum in the 17th century, to the quartz, or even liquid powered watches of today. Getting power from a rotor to wind the mainspring is no easy task, and so I say big respect to Ming who have a wonderful, superbly detailed movement inside the 19.05 model – just released.

Look at the engraving on the rotor. That matte rose gold colour of the bridgework is pure Omega homage circa 1960 – which was a very good year for Omegas as it goes – and the dial is made from a slice of sapphire. Skeleton parts and beautiful, big synthetic jewels help make this Etienne-Schwarz movement a work of art that is worth viewing through the case back. Titanium case, and the bezel has slots cut into it, so that the superlume shines through.

This 39mm case sized watch is a high quality project made by people who love the obsessive details that underpin watchmaking. The dial is a super clean design, reminding me of the classic Movado Museum with its black face and minimal markings. One dial option on the Ming has little separate sections, rather like the outer Eco driving lights on a Mercedes dashboard, set around the chapter ring. It’s another understated touch on a watch that is all abot the craft, the tech, the excellence for its own sake.

You get a beautiful Jean Rousseau leather strap, or titanium bracelet option – 20mm lugs.

At about £8500 this isn’t an entry level watch. That is proper Rolex money and some may feel a twinge of panic if they spend that sum on a watch called Ming. It isn’t a cool name, sorry but there it is – has to be said. On the upside Ming are only creating 15 examples of this watch so it is going to be rare, but this is one you have to buy with your heart, simply because you admire the intricate beauty of the piece. Some watches are born to be investments, some are born to dare. This is one of the latter and hats off to anyone with the cojones to put a watch like this out there. Amazing.

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.

Meia Lua Mars is a Bargain Miyota Automatic

What can you get for £369 in the Swiss automatic wristwatch market? Not a great choice, with entry level Tissot models being just above the £400 mark. But you know what, a Miyota auto is reliable and there some unique designs out there from Indie brands like Meia Lua’s Moonmetal Mars models.

Just launched, these autos feature a see-thru caseback, bronze-gold finish on the 42mm steel case and a sapphire crystal. It’s respectable value from the brand, which is based in Portugal. There are 50 pieces of the Mars watch available and it’s water resistant to 10ATM. Interesting dial designs and some will love the Inception name on the dial, others might want to live without it.

There are worse names to have on your dial, ARSA springs to mind. Or Michael Kors.

More info at the Meia Lua website. 

Kickstarter: Vertigo Issues a Heads Up on Stunning Auto Range

We love Kickstarter independents because they are listening to what customers want. Fact is, if they get it wrong, then too few pledges roll in and the project falls on its ass at the first hurdle. We reckon this beautiful Vertigo Medusa dive watch, with a steel case and bracelet, 300m depth rating, and a trio of fume style dials, will hit the spot.

You can check out Vertigo’s previous watches, like the classic motorsport themed Tornante chronographs, on their Kickstarter page. Get an early bird email, so you’re in pole position on this Italian beauty.