Tag Archives: new

Alpina Heritage Diver & Startimer Pilot Models

Alpina has launched two new heritage models, capturing the looks of the past, but featuring modern technology. Here’s the word from Alpina;

Nothing could better describe the Heritage designs by Alpina, the Swiss manufacture founded in 1883 that has built its reputation on creating watches that are water-resistant, shock-resistant, anti-magnetic and rust-proof. It is this pioneering vision put forward some 138 years ago that still enables Alpina to be the benchmark for the “tool watch”, designed for explorers of the deep sea and the skies.

Going back in time

For divers, Alpina can now unveil a reinterpretation of its famous Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic. The fifth timepiece from this successful line rightly recalls that being passionate about the sea requires efficient, accurate, legible and robust instruments.

Water-resistant to 300 metres, this new 42 mm design with steel case has no room for novelty or unnecessary complications, but the moving inner flange lets you measure your immersion time in hours, minutes and seconds. Practical and timeless, its black lacquered sunray-brushed dial features gold plated luminescent hands, creating the contrast required to make it easy to read, even in the low light of the deep sea.

As with any authentic diver’s watch, and in order to ensure it is waster-resistant to 300 metres, the two push-buttons (movement winding and time setting at 4 o’clock, adjustment of the movable flange at 2 o’clock) are screwed in. The Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic’s engraved case back also reaffirms its nautical vocation.

As an update this vintage look, Alpina has equipped its creation with the AL-520 movement, a modern automatic calibre with 38 hours power reserve. Similarly, the traditional hesalite glass has been replaced with an anti-scratch sapphire glass, meaning that the Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic is now as at home in the sea as it is in the urban jungle. To this end, the Alpina timepiece also comes with two straps, one in brown calfskin leather and the other in beige topstitched rubber.

Queen of the skies

As far as flying is concerned, Alpina has also expanded its Heritage designs with the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic. The piece was modelled on original creations from the 20s. This new variation adds to the existing collection with blue and beige tones that evoke the sky and the historical counters used by aviation pioneers. Inside the 44 mm diameter case beats an automatic movement with 38 hours power reserve, driving three hands and the date at 3 o’clock.

Vintage foldover caseback cover is a neat touch.

Alpina has kept the original look of its Twenties timepieces by sticking with the same Arabic numerals and luminescent beige hands as the dials from the era. Their generous proportions help make them easy to read, even when flying.

For long-haul pilots, Alpina has also given the watch a 24 hour dial. At 12 o’clock, as well as at the tip of the seconds hand, you can find the manufacture’s symbolic triangle, representing the Alpine peaks. The final finishing touch is provided by an “onion” crown, the standard in the last century, designed for optimum grip, even with flying gloves on.

Discerning collectors will also have spotted the push-button at 4 o’clock. The latter opens the Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic’s steel back. Known as the “officer’s case back”, the system allows the AL-525 automatic movement to be admired through the transparent case back for the exclusive enjoyment of the owners – a personal pleasure typical of the 20s and 30s, but not available to all; this Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic with blue calfskin leather strap will be limited to 288 pieces.

More here at the Alpina website.

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.

 

Would You Like a Thinner G-Shock?

If so, Casio have the thing for you, in the shape of their G-Steel, GST-B400 model.

Here’s the word from Casio;

Innovative thin modules, carbon core guard structures, and miniaturization of many working parts help to make it the thinnest of the G-STEEL Series while maintaining a high level of impact resistance and without sacrificing any Bluetooth or solar functions.

Power consumption has also been significantly reduced. In terms of design, the number of button guards has been reduced as much as possible, enabling the use of large stainless steel buttons that are slim yet easy to operate.

The top bezel has been given five different finishes, while the middle bezel has been given four different finishes, which creates an elegant effect and changes the appearance of the texture of the metal depending on the viewing angle. Functions include 5 alarms, a stop watch, timer and double LED light.

We like the green bezel too. By the way Casio has a new Mudmaster G-Shock just out, which is a hefty £700. Serious money, but on the upside if you register for emails as a first time customer you can get 10% off.

It has a 60 minute countdown feature, alarm-setting, an LED night light and solar charging. Mineral crystal too, which is pretty durable. Retails at £399.

More here.

Sinn 6060B Worldtimer: Sharp Dressed Man

Sinn has sent us info on their Worldtimer dress watch, which will be available from Feb 2022. It’s a Sellita SW330 powered auto, see-thru caseback and 38.5mm across, so quite compact by modern standards. Here’s the press info;

The first Frankfurt Financial District Watch was unveiled in 1999 and marked a landmark decision for our company. Up until then, the name Sinn Spezialuhren had been synonymous with innovative timepieces specially designed for pilot and diving missions. The expansion towards classic, elegant series proved to be hugely popular with our customers. After all, a Frankfurt Financial District Watch is the perfect accessory for festive occasions or day-to-day business – exhibiting both elegance and the durability typical of Sinn Spezialuhren.

The appeal of this series is now being further enhanced by the new model 6060 B. This watch gains its allure from the blue dial, which is exquisitely finished with a sunburst decoration.

The model also features characteristics that connoisseurs of this series have come to appreciate. For example, the Frankfurt World Time Watch 6060 B is characterised by three time zones that can be read simultaneously. The movement is exquisitely decorated. Particularly eye-catching are the Geneva stripes and blued screws. Sapphire crystal is used for both the watch crystal and the transparent case back, offering an impressive view of the bull and bear rotor engraving.

While the case is made of polished stainless steel, the appliqués attached to the blue dial are luminous, along with the hour and minute hands. The watch is also waterproof and pressure-resistant up to 10 bar and resistant to low pressure.

Model 6060 B comes in a fine wooden case with a stainless-steel fine link bracelet, cowhide strap, a band replacement tool, spare spring bars, an Eschenbach watchmaker’s loupe, a care cloth and a brochure.

Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope

The Chronoscope range is something different and that news from Omega has to be good for watch fans. There are arguably too many variations on the Seamaster/Moonwatch theme on sale as it is, so yeah, let’s have some technical tour-de-force stuff. Even if it costs seven grand or 12K for the bronzey-gold cased model.

The 9908 movement inside is beautifully finished and on view, via a see-thru caseback. 60 hours of reserve is plenty, although it’s nothing remarkable these days, you can buy a 400 quid Tissot that manages 80 hours.

But look at it, I mean, it’s quality. The thing looks like the vanes inside a Pratt & Whitney jet engine. You’re not going to be disappointed.

PLOT TWIST, IT’S A TOOL WATCH

The dial is where the action is with the Chronoscope model. Imagine you want to calculate various lap times at an air race, or some such Talented Mr Ripley soiree. You have tachymeter markings like concentric tree rings on the inside of the dial, not the outside a la Breitling Navitimer. So it’s a time X distance calculator, but there’s more.

You get a Pulsometer ring, so you can measure someone’s pulse, when the effects of the midday sun, plus 6 pack of Coors Light at the Reno Air Races kicks in. Handy.

Then, you have a track that helps you measure the sound of approaching thunderstorms. Or any loud noise really; volcanic eruption, trigger-happy Aussie quarantine cops, or a backfiring custom VW Golf GTi on a Friday night Cruise.

So instead of just counting one-elephant etc. you can calculate how many seconds, or tenths of a second, pass by between banging noises.

I’m not saying any of this stuff is useful everyday, unless you’re a storm-chaser, Council noise inspector, or other specialist trade. But it looks cool. Plus, there are white, blue and even a red/white dial option in the range to choose from.

The bronze-gold range-topper has a fab brown dial by the way. That’s got a special patina finish, with gold hands and it really has that Edwardian clock appeal about it. At over 12 grand it’s always gonna be a rarity as regards collectibility in the future too.

There’s a waiting list thing going on, availability in November.

 

Orient Star 70th Anniversary Editions

News from Orient, who continue to mark their 70th annivarsary with some new models.

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, ORIENT STAR (I know, the constant use of capitals by brands is deeply annoying – Ed) is releasing four limited-edition models: a Mechanical Moon Phase, a Modern Skeleton and a Classic Semi Skeleton. The Classic Semi Skeleton is available in both his and her models.

Throughout its history, ORIENT STAR has dedicated itself to producing high-quality made-inJapan mechanical watches, that are “shining stars” fusing traditional craftsmanship and the latest watchmaking technologies.

This year, ORIENT STAR celebrates its anniversary with a dedicated colour concept inspired by nebulae floating in the vastness of outer space. These nebula-themed anniversary models provide a fresh interpretation of the glittering cosmos of ORIENT STAR.

Limited in numbers, these one-off models make appealing timepieces for watch afficionados everywhere.

The popular flagship Mechanical Moon Phase model features a power reserve indicator, a semi-skeleton dial design revealing a glimpse of the mechanical movement, and a distinctive moon phase display with a date hand. The latest limited-edition 70th anniversary model of this Classic Collection has a MOP dial with distinctive colour gradation that transitions from green in the centre to navy blue on the outer edges, evoking nebulae glittering in the infinite depth of outer space.

The gold coloured accents suggest a universe of twinkling stars. This Mechanical Moon Phase model is limited to 100 pieces and comes with a black cordovan leather strap. It is powered by in-house automatic mechanical caliber F7M62, known for its stable precision and reliability, and featuring a 50-hour power reserve. The see-through case back provides a view of the movement and an engraved serial number certifying the limited-edition timepiece.

VERDICT: We love the modern take on the Skeleton watch, which sets the Star range apart, and having a 70th anniversary box is a nice touch. The teal dial is our fave, sums up the Japanese watchmaking philosophy we reckon.

Frustrating that Seiko’s internal politics mean the UK doesn’t get Orient supplies via the Seiko/Lorus dealer network.

More info at Orient’s website. 

 

New Grand Seikos: Beauty, Simplicity & Yeah, Expensive

Is a Grand Seiko worth £54,000? We only ask the question because as great as a Grand Seiko is, we are at Patek money and the watch market is Swiss dominated. Maybe it’s a great investment, maybe not.

Anyway that expensive GS model is the star in a range of new models from the famed Japansese watch house of horology, with some more affordable models on offer for us mere mortals on average wages and ever rising taxes.

That GS at £54,000 is the Hi Beat, Annual Rings, (above) made from platinum and limited to just 140 pieces by the way. In case the Sultan of Brunei is a regualr reader of NWC magazine.

Other GS models are available on pre-order right now, including a very nice Mechanical Seasons: Summertime edition, with a kind of light blue, folded linen effect on the dial. Seiko says;

“The dial of this watch is inspired by early Summertime in Japan just after the rainy season when the refreshing southern wind breezily ripples on the sea and the lakes to mark the start of high summer.”

This one is relatively affordable at £6860 by the way.

Finally, this is our fave from teh new GS model line-up, the Spring Drive Suwa Lake . This blue dial watch is a classic, and very much an investment piece or grail watch for the average collector with 3-5K per year to devote to their watch obsession.

A 40mm case, updated power reserve of 120 hours, yes 120 hours, plus a see-thru caseback so you can admire that exquisite workmanship every month or so.

There is a great deal to be said for owning a Spring Drive rather than a Rolex Sub. Why? Well in some ways it is a purists choice because you are investing in the watch technology of today, not a refinement of 1950s dive watch tech. That marriage of electronic power and mainspring drive is a clever tour de force in miniature, rather like the gear-driven V4 motor powering the first 1980s VFR750 from Honda.

OK we digress, what’s the pice of the Suwa? £8200, which is bang on Rolex Sub territory.

Find out more at Seiko’s UK site here. 

 

It’s an Off-Centre World Sometimes

Armin Strom has sent us some news on their latest luxury timepiece. There is something kinda Fritz Lang Metropolis about this design that we like. If we win the lottery then we will happily provide a review on our purchase. Until then, here’s the press info;

Armin Strom, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer known for its edgy, eye-catching transparent mechanics, has just launched a rare and stunning new version of its milestone Gravity Equal Force timepiece.

With its off-center grey-toned sapphire dial, the strikingly cool monochrome watch offers an extraordinary view of the exquisitely-finished manufacture movement and further enhances the brand’s reputation for its irrepressible, exuberant independence.

The timepiece stands out not only with its groundbreaking technology but by a design and craftsmanship that set it apart from every other watch.

The movement’s black plate guilloche pattern was created by hand by the celebrated Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, a close friend of Armin Strom’s founders.

·       The off-center grey-toned sapphire dial offers an unobstructed view of the fascinating mechanics inside the case and emphasizes the brand’s passion for transparent mechanics, which are at the core of its design philosophy.

·       The bridges are coated with dark grey ruthenium; the barrel and the micro rotor are coated with rhodium.

·       The Gravity Equal Force’s ASB19 movement includes a “stop work” mechanism that prevents the mainspring from fully unwinding, thus leveraging only the part of the mainspring’s unwinding process that can deliver power most consistently.

·       The steel hands with Super-LumiNova® filling are manufactured by Armin Strom and like all of the visible parts of the movement, are meticulously hand-finished in-house

Ball Rescue Chronograph on Pre-Order Now

Ball just keep remixing that Roadmaster formula, with the latest variant being the Rescue Chronograph. Here’s the blurb;

Whether by air, land or sea, every rescue mission is unique. But there’s one common truth: timing is everything. A purpose-built tool for critical search and rescue situations, the new Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph delivers extreme accuracy, easy readability and high functionality.

Engineered with a patented pusher locking system, the chronograph function works in unison with the pulsometer scale to measure heart rate, while two illuminated sub-dial counters track elapsed time.

And for countdowns at all hours, the ceramic diving bezel features a bold micro gas tube inset. Vital functionality and versatile form that’s ready to venture wherever necessary.

Constructed from a titanium-steel combination, the 41mm case affords high impact strength, lightweight wearing comfort and trusted durability – even at extreme temperatures.

And with a case thickness of just 14.8mm, the tool watch fits securely with diverse types of gear. Atop the robust case, the steel bezel features a virtually scratchproof ceramic ring with countdown markings.

In the centre of the triangular marking, a micro gas tube inset ensures an instantly bright glow in darkness, allowing the uni-directional rotating bezel to be used for countdowns at all hours.

The latest addition to the Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph with black ceramic bezel inset put the focus on the dial design with the popular “panda” and “reverse panda” colorways. Limited to 1,000 pieces each, it is now available for pre-order until 17 September 2021 at an exclusive price of £1590.