Tag Archives: news

Orient Star 70th Anniversary Edition

Orient is a sub-brand of mighty Seiko and sadly, they don’t seem to get the investment that the brand deserves, given its heritage. The latest Skeleton Star model, a tribute to the Star from 70s years ago is a case in point.

It actually looks like a Chinese clone, nothing like the original Star. Here’s the press info from Orient;

The new Skelton ( yep, they couldn’t even spell check skeleton) is featuring a new hand-wound movement with 70 hours of power reserve. The latest in-house 46-F8 series movements, feature longer power reserves of 70 hours, making them more practical than ever before.

The longer running time is achieved thanks to the new silicon escape wheel which is lighter and processed with higher accuracy. Beside, it has longer running time as well as a high accuracy of +15 to –5 seconds per day even with the ultimate skeletonisation.

The escape wheel visible through the watch’s skeleton structure uses Epson’s MEMS technology to control the film thickness at the nanometer level to adjust its light reflection, resulting in an eye-catching blue.

DUDE, DID YOU JUST SAY CROC LEATHER?

The vivid blue and a unique spiral shape evokes the Milky Way Galaxy, and the movement part at the nine o’clock position in the shape of a comet with two tails, symbolising the universe-inspired design theme. The model uses high-quality SUS316L stainless steel for the case, and comes with a hand-stitched, genuine crocodile leather strap.

Yes, they did say crocodile. In a woke era it is astonishing that Seiko-Orient think this won’t attract activists on social media keen to cancel their brand.

Classic Orient Star, with dial that changes from black to deep blue.

MISH MASH APPROACH

On the upside this 38mm watch has a sapphire crystal, front and back, but bafflingly it’s only got 50 metres of water resistance. So why not fit a Hardlex then?

70 hours of power is great but it’s hand-wound, mechanical, not auto. Again pointless. This mix of prestige features with some really dull aspects of the Star means it’s unlikely to attract many buyers. To be fair there are some better looking Star models in the range, including some with sub-sec dials that capture the early 50s spirit of the original. But this thing looks like a Thomas Earnshaw.

Sad times.

 

Zenith Give The El Primero The Camo Green Treatment

Come on, this is getting boring now Swiss brands. Yep, Zenith has joined the green watch trend with a an olive green El Primero, called the Safari. It doesn’t ding our bell,  it feels a bit washed out, too understated with that matt grey case finish.

Fact is, we love the original El Primero design way too much, this just looks flat – dare we say, a bit cheap?

Anyway here’s the word from Zenith;

When the designers at Zenith asked themselves what an El Primero from 1969 inspired by the great outdoors would look like, they imagined something entirely different from what the Manufacture had produced in over 50 years since the famed calibre’s introduction; something that evoked the vivid colours and textures found on wild terrains with the same utility and ergonomics as its most prized chronographs. The result is the Chronomaster Revival Safari, a lush reinterpretation of a signature vintage chronograph icon.

The geometry and overall proportions of this fresh and modern chronograph are identical to those of the historical A384, but the look and feel of the case couldn’t be more different. Instead of the traditionally finished stainless steel in a mix of satin-brushed and polished surfaces, the Safari is crafted in titanium that’s lighter yet harder than steel. The entire case including the star-emblazoned crown and pump-style pushers are fashioned in an intriguingly muted finish that’s entirely microblasted to bring out the dark nuances of titanium by absorbing light rather than reflecting it.

Exhibiting tones ranging from deep olive-green to cooler spruce tones, the dial of the Chronomaster Revival Safari is a deep matte green with contrasting black registers and tachymeter scale, with a touch of vintage inspiration with its warm beige-coloured SuperLumiNova on the applied baton markers and hands. The white on green date wheel is perfectly camouflaged with the rest of the dial; legible when you need it but never distracting. The rubber and cordura-effect strap takes on the same khaki-green tone as the dial, and is fixed to a matte microblasted titanium pin buckle.

Powering this retro-inspired but resolutely modern and edgy chronograph is the El Primero automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre, visible through the display back. In production since 1969 and gradually evolved throughout the years, this is the closest iteration to the original version of the seminal chronograph movement.

The Chronomaster Revival Safari is ready to go where no El Primero has gone before, and is available from Zenith boutiques & e-commerce from June 2021.

Strapcode Launches End Link Kit for Prospex Models

Strapcode has spotted the gap on the Seiko Prospex dive watch, where the watch pins can be on view. A flush fit is a nice thing to have, especially with NATO straps, so Strapcode has launched a replacment end link  kit.  Here’s the word;

To rectify the problem with the huge gap space for the Sumo, we would like to introduce an end link add on for the Sumo when pairing with the Canvas & Chaffle FKM watch bands.

Compatible model list:

  • SBDC031
  • SBDC033
  • SPB103
  • SZSC004
  • PADI SBDC049
  • Zimbe ’15’ SPB194

Tested NOT fitted Sumo models:

  • SBDC027
  • SPB029
  • Pepsi SBDC057
  • SBDC069Rootbeer SPB192

More info here.

 

Heimdallr Launches Capt Willard Homage

One of the most popular budget watch brands is Heimdallr, also known as `Sharkey’ to watch collectors. The reason for their success is simple; MOD watch quality on a tight budget, you can’t argue with a Seiko powered auto replica at under $150.

The latest Captain Willard homage has the NH35A movement inside the chunky 44mm case, plenty of lume, screwdown crown and a 200m depth rating. There are a few different bezel combos but the Pepsi is our fave. Here’s the tech spec;

Brand: Heimdallr
Movement: Japan NH35A Automatic Movement,24 Jewels.
Case material: 316L stainless steel
Case back: 316L stainless steel(shark engraved)
Bezel: Unidirect rotatable bezel (360 degrees)
Bezel Insert: Ceramic Bezel Insert (black), Aluminum bezel insert (other colors than black)
Watch mirror: Sapphire glass with AR-Coating
Strap: Diver Silicone Strap, Stainless Steel buckle (PVD GOLD)
Water resistance: 200 m /20 ATM
Luminous: Japan Super Luminova C3 (Green)
Crown: Screw-Down
Case: Screw-Down Case

Watch Dimension:
Case diameter:44mm (without crown)
Case length: 47mm( lug to lug)
Case thickness: 12mm
Lug width 20mm

Our Service
Warranty: 2 years

More details at the Heimdallr website.

Go Deeper With The Deep Blue Alpha Marine 500

Deep Blue has launched its Alpha Marine 500 T100 model which has a Sellita SW200 movement, tritium lume and a steel bracelet. This is a big watch, with a 45mm case and the dial has a full luminous display at night too. Definitely a statement watch, this one retails at $839.

The hands are trium lumed orange by the way, which is a great contrast to blue dials we reckon.

Expensive compared to other Sellita SW200 powered watches, although the T100 has a depth resistance of 500m. Yep five hundred metres – that really is deep.

More info here. 

Breitling Chronmat: Three Colours, One Supersized Watch

Breitling has a new Super Chronomat model in its line-up and it’s the usual big n bold affair, with a beefy 44mm case diameter and a handy – some might say overdue – ceramic bezel upgrade. Yeah, we kinda like the brown dial version with the gold case. Just watching us like a 1970s Rover 3500 V8, with velour interior.

The brown/gold Super Chronomat has a classic feel which the blue and black models don’t have for us, bit too Statement Watch Here Guys vibe from those two. Maybe you disagree? Post an angry comment below, start a Twitter pile up or whatever..

Here’s the press info from Breitling;

The Super Chronomat, Breitling’s boldest Chronomat to date, is the ultimate choice for those who want a timepiece mastering the balance between sturdy and stylish.

Inspired by the Frecce Tricolori watch that Breitling created for the hotshots of the Italian Air Force’s aerobatic fleet in 1983, the Super Chronomat is a supercharged, all-purpose sports watch that’s elegant enough for the evening as well.

“This is a watch you’ll get noticed in without having to worry about it,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern. “This watch is tough enough for every pursuit, but it won’t get in the way of your sense of style.”

True to the original Chronomat, the rider tabs protect the sapphire crystal. The ones at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock are interchangeable, so the wearer can use them for countdowns as well as countups. With a case measuring 44 millimeters, the Super Chronomat collection is the boldest of its kind.

Key new features include a stainless-steel bezel with a ceramic insert – a first on a Chronomat – plus the choice of a Rouleaux-inspired rubber strap or our iconic metal one with a butterfly clasp. The new rubber strap is created with state-of-the-art injection molding techniques. Its three distinct textures – matte, slick, and woven-looking – give it remarkable depth.

THREE COLOUR SCHEMES

The Super Chronomat B01 44 comes in three versions. Two are encased in stainless steel with blue or black dial-and-bezel combinations. The third is a rich brown dial-and-bezel combination with a case in 18 k red gold.

All feature contrasting silver chronograph counters powered by the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, which provides about 70 hours of power reserve. This Super Chronomat is water-resistant up to 200 meters.

For those wanting something extra special, there’s a black dial version with a UTC-module embedded in a Rouleaux bracelet. Referring to Universal Time Coordinated, this provides a way to keep track of a second time zone and is a quirky Breitling feature dating back to the 1980s.

Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 with UTC-module. Is it too much having another dial on the bracelet? Hmmm maybe.

ONCE EVERY LEAP YEAR

As its name implies, the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar has a semi-perpetual calendar mechanism that needs adjusting just once every leap year – or every 1461 days. It comes in two versions: black dial with tone-on-tone chronograph counters, a stainless-steel bezel with a black ceramic bezel insert, and 18 k red gold elements, or blue dial featuring tone-on-tone chronograph counters and a bezel in 18 k red gold with a blue ceramic insert. Water-resistant up to 100 meters, this timepiece is powered by the Breitling Caliber 19, a COSC-certified chronograph movement with a semi-perpetual calendar with day, date, month, and moon phase indicators.

Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 in 18 k red gold

AN ICON OF ITS ERA

When Breitling introduced its Chronomat in 1984, it signified the comeback of mechanical Swiss timepieces after quartz watches had dominated the market throughout the 1970s.
The impressive new mechanical watch proved to be a winner – challenging its skinny quartz rivals with its bold proportions and becoming an icon of its era.

The Chronomat also helped Breitling celebrate its centenary in style, marking the return of the mechanical chronograph on which the brand had built its global reputation. This technical legacy, combined with particularly stylish design codes, made the Chronomat the ultimate sport-chic watch of its time. Today, it’s doing it again for everyday superheroes in pursuit of the next great adventure.

More here; at Breitling’s website. The gold case model retails in the UK for £19,200.

Raven Trekker Bronze; Dive Ability & Vintage Looks

Raven watches has a new bronze case model on their website right now, which has an impressive spec; ETA 2824 movement, sapphire crystal and 300m of water resistance. It’s a great looker with the green dial option and sdistressed leather strap too – just saying.

At $1100 it isn’t cheap and it has to be said there are similar 300m spec bronze case watches for a little bit less on the Indie market. But this is a classic timepiece, which will definitely age well. Is that dial green remarkably similar to Bentley racing car green? Could well be and there is nothing wrong with that.

Here’s the tech spec;

39mm bronze case
300 meters WR
CuSn8 bronze
316L stainless case back
ETA 2824 decorated movement
Gloss deep green dial
Box sapphire crystal
AR coating
Blue Superluminova (BGW9)
Swiss rubber strap choices
bronze buckle
leather case
one year warranty
Limited to 30 watches
Price: $1100

Zenith Cohiba 55: If You Got `em, Light `em

Zenith has released a fresh take on its El Primero Chronograph to celebrate 55 years of Cohiba cigars.  They did a brown edition five years ago, but this one has a wild Ducati 748 eyllowness about it which we kinda like.

You get a five pack of cigars included in the deal, which costs £7600 approx (limited to selected retailers by the way). It won’t actually be available until October this year however. Here’s the press release;

From Havana to Le Locle and all over the world, cigar aficionados are celebrating 2021 as the 55th anniversary of one of the most distinguished and revered Cuban cigar makers, Cohiba. Now marking its fifth year of collaboration with Habanos and the sixth special edition with Cohiba, Zenith is joining the celebration with a delectable and highly exclusive commemorative edition of the Chronomaster Open.

Zenith has reimagined its emblematic Chronomaster Open in a manner that immediately evokes Cohiba’s unique aesthetic. Taking on the striking design codes of the packaging and paper bands that wrap each of its entirely hand-rolled and exquisitely blended cigars, the dial of the Chronomaster Open Cohiba 55th anniversary edition is done in the distinct saffron-yellow tone and white on black checkered motif. A yellow chronograph seconds hand with a star-shaped counterweight completes the look, while the black alligator leather strap harmoniously accentuates the checkered pattern of the dial.

Limited to just 55 pieces, the Chronomaster Open Cohiba 55th anniversary edition is completed with a special display back with the special Cohiba 55 logo printed on the interior side of the sapphire crystal. To enjoy the full epicurean experience, each watch will come with a set of 5 special Cohiba cigars presented in an exclusive
cobranded porcelain jar.

The Chronomaster Cohiba 55th anniversary edition will be available exclusively at Zenith boutiques and select retailers around the world from October 2021.

First MOD Build Fear? Namoki Has a Solution

Namoki Mods have solved one of the big problems for a great many novice watch customisers and Modders. Namely, the fear of the cracking crystal in the press!

You see it isn’t easy fitting a crystal, and when you have paid decent money for a sapphire crystal, that can really spoil your day.

Often it’s a lack of experience combined with cheap crystal presses that leads to cracking. Cheaper plastic dies and poorly engineered press arm actuators tend to move slightly under pressure, or can be a micron or three out of alignment – and that causes the crystal to crack.

Always buy expensive – the best you can afford – tools if you are going to attempt to fix, or customise watches. It just makes the job harder using cheap stuff, and confession time, I’ve been there and seen the damaged casebacks when £10 case openers slipped from their tabs or the clamp holding the watch didn’t have four nicely chamfered tabs gripping the movement.

So Namoki now has a 38mm case, 3pm crown position, that comes complete with a crystal fitted. Blue or clear AR coating options too.

We think that’s the right way to go for your first few MOD watch projects, as it lets you tackle jobs like say fitting the hands and dial properly in your time. And you will need time to fit hands correctly, it’s difficult even with the right tools. Don’t forget the dial protector.

Prices start at $128 which includes a sterile crown and a chapter ring pre-fitted too. Great way to rehouse a reliable Seiko or Swiss movement that’s languishing inside a damaged case, where the plating has long since flaked off.

More here.

In Profile: Winton Watches Capture The Pioneer Spirit

Two guys from the NE of England had an idea about ten years ago and this year, Winton watches has launched.

The brand name was inspired by Alexander Winton, who emigrated from Britain to the USA in the 1890s and built a car called the Bullet. He was recorded covering the mile at an average speed of 68mph – that was Bugatti Veyron stuff back then. Flat cap n goggles, no tarmac roads.

The Swan automatic (above) is a classic dress watch, with a sapphire crystal, 39mm case diameter, 100m water resistance and a steel bracelet. You also get a see-thru caseback so you can check out the ETA 2824 movement inside. That is a classy engine at this price point, which is just £495. Great value we reckon. And no, we aren’t on commission.

The Anning (pic above)  is a more sporty number, with a 42mm case that features a pair of bumper lugs near the crown, offering some chamfered steel protection when you’re out exploring with this watch.

It’s a neat little touch on this sapphire crystal, steel watch, which again is Swiss powered, this time with a Ronda R150 movement. The rotor is decorated with the Winton logo and script by the way, which is viewable via the see-thru caseback.

The Anning has a choice of straps, which cost an extra £15, very reasonable when many Indie brands are asking £30 or more for extra straps.

Two dial colors, Jet Black or Sunburst Blue on the Anning. Price is £475, which is Tissot entry level, Seiko Presage or Citizen Red Arrows territory.

Verdict; An interesting alternative to mainstream watches and if you like the idea of buying British then you are getting some genuine Swiss quality without the VAT and import duty on top – that’s handy.

More here at the Winton watch website.