Tag Archives: news

TAG Aquaracer 300: New Night Diver Variants

Is a TAG watch cool or not? That’s a tough one, because a Monaco in Gulf colours, or even the blue dial, is a winner. Some of the Carrera models also look the business, as do the fume dial Autavias, with their vintage 70s racing driver vibe remixed for the modern era perfectly. But then, there’s the quartz stuff..and that smartwatch thing. Hmm.

But the Aquaracer has its fans, and for good reason; this is a dive watch you can wear with a suit and it looks distinctive, quality and reasonably fresh. Here’s the word from TAG;

INTRODUCING THE NIGHT DIVER

Following the launch of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer
Professional 300 series during Watches and Wonders Geneva in April, TAG Heuer announces three additions to the go-anywhere family of watches, including a new iteration of a TAG Heuer icon, the all-black, lume-dialled TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver.

TAG Heuer enthusiasts will recognise the name “Night Diver”, which was first introduced in the mid-1980s. Loved by active, style-conscious watch buyers who push their limits, exploring nature and
going beyond the edge, it became one of the most celebrated sports watches of its era.

Today’s TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 collection picks up this story. TAG Heuer’s design, engineering and heritage teams worked together to deliver a faithful update to a much-loved watch,
retaining and improving signature details such as the famous 12-sided bezel and the dial’s horizontal engraved lines to produce a refined, highly versatile modern classic.

So there are now 11 references in the new Aquaracer line-up. All three new models are non-limited and go into the core collection, each with a 43 mm stainless steel case and rubber strap equipped with TAG Heuer’s innovative adjustable folding clasp.

The new black and blue versions pick up on the bracelet models introduced at Watches and Wonders: both are colour-themed with matching black or blue dials, ceramic bezel inserts and rubber straps.
The standout model of the release is the black DLC-coated Night Diver, joining the TAG Heuer AquaracerProfessional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 as the collection’s hero pieces.

Its stainless-steel case, bezel, crown, caseback and clasp are all coated in matt black diamond-like carbon, known as DLC, a high- performance, hard-wearing finish designed for use in extreme conditions. The bezel insert is highly resistant black ceramic.

EXTRA LUME

The Night Diver’s other signature feature is its fully luminescent dial, which is coated in green SuperLumiNova® to deliver exceptional glow-in-the-dark performance. To ensure ultimate legibility in extreme low-light conditions, the watch’s minute and central seconds hands are filled with blue lume to contrast with the green of the dial.

The hour hand and octagonal hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are filled with green lume, and the remaining octagonal hour markers are all edged with black lacquer. The triangle on the unidirectional rotating bezel at 12, which is crucial to accurately and safely measure dive times, is also filled with striking blue lume to match the blue of the minute and central seconds hands.

FUNCTIONALITY

There’s a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 metres, luminous markings, a scratch-resistant crystal and a double safety clasp.

The 12 sides of the bezel are all faceted for grip, the crown is protected to prevent accidental damage and there’s a magnifying glass over the date, which is integrated into the underside of the sapphire crystal, making it smooth to the touch.

UK Prices start at £2250.

VERDICT; What we like about the Aquaracer 300m dive models is that you are getting much the same spec as the Omega Seamaster, but without the £3500-£4500 price tag. Forgive the pun. It’s a versatile watch, and at 43mm suits most wrists. You will always find someone wants to buy it from you pre-owned as well, and often for a decent percentage of the original RRP.

The many-sided bezel also adds a little difference, a bit of visual appeal, because so many dive watches – and all their homages – essentially look the same; round case 40-44mm, uni bezel with big lume numbers, cyclops and a screwdown protected crown. Sometimes a detail like the 12-sided feature makes you, the owner, stand out from the crowd. That’s a good thing we reckon.

Dear Watch Brands: China Is Watching You

Recently Audemars Piguet lost a brand ambassador because of the long-running spat between China and Taiwan, which could lead to war of course. Short-lived war, as nobody would dare try to assist Taiwan, let’s face it.

But the bitter argument raises questions about the views of watch brand amabassadors. How do their values sit with European based, occasionally Woke, watch companies? On this occasiona AP decided that free speech trumped the CCP party line from its ambassador, but how much longer can capitalist companies hold onto such liberal values?

Here’s the AP newswire summary;

Chinese singer and actor Lu Han, a former member of popular K-pop boy band EXO, said Sunday he would cut ties with Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet after its CEO referred to Taiwan as a country in an interview.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, objects to any reference to the self-governing island as a country. Under the one-country policy, other countries have diplomatic relations with either China or Taiwan, but not both.

In a video circulating online, the watch brand’s CEO François-Henry Bennahmias referred to Taiwan as an “ultra-modern, high-tech country” in an interview.

Lu has been an ambassador for Audemars Piguet since 2018. A statement posted by Lu’s studio said he and his team urged the watch brand to apologize in both Chinese and English but failed to reach an agreement with the company, leading Lu to cut ties.

“National interests are above all else, Lu Han and Lu Han’s studio will defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement read.

CHINA RULES THE WORLD NOW

Big brands are always keen to jump onto any virtue signalling opportunity of course, but the issue of accepting that a country actually exists is something that many Swiss watchmakers are going to have to think about.

China remains a huge market for Swiss brands, as the high value products are often used to bribe officials to get things done. Cash has been more or less abolished, and that means every transaction online can be tracesd, so barter is the only solution.

There is another problem for the Swiss; the supply of China assembled parts. Some brands follow the `Swiss Made’ rule closely, which states that 51% of the watch must be made in Switzerland. That leaves 49% from elesewhere. Obviously using Taiwanese manufacturers would be very, very risky in today’s climate of fear.

Now that senile hair-sniffer Joe Biden is in the White House and China has authorised the Taliban to take over Afghanistan, (in order to obtain lithium there,) the matter of hiring brand ambassadors, letting them speak on Instagram and TikTok etc. could seriously damage the finances of any Swiss watch brand who stepped on a social media mine laid by China.

Just saying.

 

Bamford Launches New Sellita Powered Watch

Bamford London, famous for their customised variants of Rolex, TAG and Zenith models, have launched the B347, which features a Sellita SW510 chrono movement.

There are two version in blue and black, both with monopusher chrono functions. Quick change date, 41.5mm case width, sapphire crystal and carbon case, featuring steel back. The case has that meteorite look about it.

Various strap options and we love the Panda black/white model best, the sub-dials really kick out. Price is £2500.

More here. 

Ball Engineer Skindiver: Perfect All-Rounder?

The latest from Ball watches is a classic design in our humble opinion. Not too big at 41.5mm across, two beautiful blue dial options, plus a great tech spec for the watch fan who wants soemthing versatile enough to handle watersports, but compact for everyday use too. Here’s the word from Ball;

The Engineer M Skindiver III series pulls together our signature features and next-generation capability, all while showcasing a few vintage touches.

Our one-of-a-kind micro gas tubes have been integrated below the ultra-durable domed sapphire bezel, ensuring extreme readability in all darkness. On the wrist, the 41.5mm diameter and 14mm height pair with 5mm domed sapphire crystal and drilled lugs to deliver the perfect mix of toughness and comfort.

And amid harsh knocks, our patented resistance technology shields the COSC certified precision of our in-house caliber. The newest in our long line of trusted divers, the Engineer M Skindiver III series is a game-changer for dark depths and watchmaking.

The Engineer M Skindiver III is available only at the BALL Watch official online store. Limited to 1,000 pieces, the latest addition – the Beyond in blue domed sapphire bezel is available for pre-order until 29 September 2021 at an exclusive price of £2200 ofr the entry level model, and £2950 for the top of the raneg which has some extra gas tube lume.

More here.

Boldr Odyssey Regatta Ltd Edition

The latest from Boldr, who have a variant on their flagship Valjoux 7750 model;

Built to accompany its wearer on the toughest regatta races, this is our first ever yachting chronograph watch, and like all Odysseys, it’s a beast on your wrist. Combining modern & classic elements meticulously designed for performance and durability, this stainless steel sailor features a 10-minute count back disk-dial.

At its heart lies an ETA Valjoux 7750 Chronograph Movement for seamless timekeeping while skimming the waves or exploring 500m under the surface. The dial is classic black & white with stylised boat-shaped skeleton hands to maintain the highest possible legibility. It also boasts a unique 2-in-1 bi-directional bezel function that pairs a 15-minute marker option with a specialized nautical miles tachymeter.

It’s on a pre-orde deal at $1299, plus import duty and VAT, so it isn’t a cheap model. You can find the Valjoux 7750 inside other chrono watches for less.

This is a statement watch, at 45mm across and sits 18mm high – for those with big chunky arms and wrists, it will be an option.

More here.

 

Black `n’ White Baltic is A 60s Mod Classic

French brand Baltic has launched a white dial/black bezel variant of its Aquascaphe, which has that punchy look many people love. Kinda 60s Mod, with a real dive ability too.

200m depth rating, sapphire crystal, 39mm width,  screwdown crown, Superluminova details – it has a lot going for it. Price is reasonable too, especially when you consider how expensive it is to employ anyone and rent premises in the EU, at £579.17. You may have some import duty and VAT on top of course.

More here.

 

 

Hamilton Khaki X-Wind Camo Edition

Hamilton has added a Camo variant to its Khaki range. The 45mm watch gets a NATO strap, plus beige and green colours on the dial and inner bezel. Here’s the word from Hamilton;

Designed with pilots in mind and built for a life of adventure, the Khaki Aviation X-Wind Automatic Chronograph flies through the crosswinds in a bold new guise, with camouflage patterns and new color variants extending across the dial, strap and case. Featuring an inner rotating bezel and an anti-magnetic Silicon hairspring, this high-performance piece has combat-chic looks and assertive style.

Verdict: You could lose a grand on this one in 3 months of ownership.

This is no entry level watch, it’s a hefty CHF2095 (£1930) and although it has rugged adventure watch looks, you could probably invest in a Breitling Navitimer if you like big watches, and expect to get 60-80% of the value back one day.

The same isn’t generally true of Hamilton watches, which are still not seen as true prestige or luxury watches by many collectors and posers alike. Don’t believe me? Just take a Hamilton Khaki with box n papers etc. to a pawnbroker or jeweller and see what they offer in cash, not as a PX value.

You’ll be shocked.

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.