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TAG Heuer F1: Senna Edition

We aren’t always big fans of quartz watches but this Senna edition of the TAG F1 is on our wish list. Why? Senna. The greatest GP driver of all time? Probably.

Here’s the word from TAG

With its new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Senna Special Edition timepiece, TAG Heuer evokes the memory of one of the most mythical racers in the history of F1 and celebrates once again the partnership with the Senna brand. 30 years ago, Ayrton Senna became the youngest Formula 1 driver to win three world championships. To celebrate Ayrton Senna’s achievements, TAG Heuer and Senna brand launch a new SENNA Special Edition from the TAG Heuer Formula 1 collection.

One of the features of the timepiece is the embossed black leather bracelet, a reference to the S/EL that Senna used to wear on his TAG Heuer. The iconic bracelet was the first to be made by TAG Heuer.
Its distinctive unique S-shaped design is highly recognizable. The bracelet’s leather is dynamized with yellow stitching and also features a black steel clasp with double safety system push buttons.

Watch some Senna vs Prost rivalry here by the way;

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Senna Special Edition colour scheme features yellow and black, paying tribute to Senna’s iconic colours. The yellow tone is present throughout this 2021 edition, starting with the famous double S (the Brazilian driver’s iconic brand), which crowns the bezel at 12 o’clock, alongside the Senna name.

The double S signature can be found on the dial too, where they are incorporated in the 6 o‘clock subdial. The grey anthracite dial houses classic hour, minute, and second indicators at 6, 9, and 3 o’clock, and is decorated with a discrete “TAG Heuer Formula 1” reminder.

The TAG Heuer Senna Special Edition 2021 also features an ultra-resistant black ceramic bezel, again accentuated by a delicate yellow border that underlines the elegance of the timepiece. The number 400 is engraved on the bezel, in a subtle reference to the 400 km/h speed that has never been reached in Formula 1. The hour hand and indexes are treated with Super-LumiNova® to ensure optimum legibility in all situations. This special edition features a quartz movement and is water-resistant to 200 meters (20 bar).

Last but not least, an image of the Brazilian driver’s iconic helmet is engraved on the caseback.

Prices; Switzerland 2 250 CHF
Europe 2 200 EUR
Great Britain 1 900 GBP
North America 2 300 USD
Japan 250 000 JPY
Hong Kong 18 550 HKD

Zenith Defy Pantone Is Designer Heaven

No not designer label stuff. This is art. Zenith have added a bit of Apple Mac designer cred to their Defy model, with the Pantone special edition. Here’s the word from Zenith;

A global sensation in the world of contemporary art, Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone has reached his star in becoming one of the brightest talents in the world of contemporary art. Instantly recognizable, polarizing and never leaving observers indifferent, Felipe Pantone’s work is coveted by art-lovers and those with an eye for radical design. Zenith and Felipe Pantone began their collaboration in 2020, when the Manufacture offered the façade of its main building as a canvas to the contemporary artist. Now, Felipe Pantone has reimagined Zenith’s most advanced chronograph to date, created an object that is at once a feat exceptional watchmaking prowess and a piece of wearable kinetic art.

Too jazzy? Not for us, we are old school CMYK press barons.

The result from this unexpected yet coherent collaboration is the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone, a strikingly colourful creation that is all about playing with frequencies – visually and mechanically. With its 1/100th of a second El Primero 21 chronograph movement beating at an extremely high frequency of 360’000 vibrations per hour for unrivalled precision, the DEFY 21 is a logical choice of canvas onto which Felipe Pantone could express his “visible spectrum concept”, where all the detectable frequencies of light and its refracted colours come into play with the highest-frequency chronograph in production. Limited to 100 pieces, the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is a new kind of collaboration for Zenith and watchmaking at large.

On his first watch collaboration, Felipe Pantone shared “I’m thrilled and humbled to be able to give my personal touch to a watch for the first time, and especially with a manufacture that I deeply admire for its innovation and daringness. From the start, the concept was to transform this spectacular piece of watchmaking into a wearable work of kinetic art, where time and light converge into a single object. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.”

The moiré optical effect produced by thin alternating white and black bands is a recurring theme in Felipe Pantone’s paintings and sculptures, which has been miniaturized and reproduced on the top bridges and portions of the dial of the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone, using fine laser-engraving and lacquering techniques so precise that they provide an optical illusion of fluidic movement in the contrast of the stripes. The open dial is no less dynamic, with a mix of gradient and block colours on the markers and counters.

Even the inanimate, external parts of the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone case have been revisited by Felipe Pantone for a dynamic overhaul. The black ceramic DEFY 21 features a grid pattern engraved on the bezel, and “FP#1” engraved on the four corners of the case, denoting “Felipe Pantone El Primero”.  Allowing the various details of the chromatic dial and movement to stand out, the artist opted for a black textured rubber strap with a warped grid motif.

TAG Partners With Porsche on Ltd Edition Carrera Model

Well it’s taken about 50 years or so, but Porsche and TAG Heuer – or Heuer as it was – are finally official partners on limited edition watches, and of course it is the Carrera model. What else could it be?

See the TAG Heuer Porsche Carrera launch video here;

 

In the press video today, TAG explained that this is just the start of a partnership arrangement, so expect more models. How about an Autavia Le Mans, or perhaps a Gulf Porsche Monaco? We’re just bandying ideas around, we have no inside track at TAG!

Standard blue dial Carrera is one of our fave models in the TAG range. Just saying.

The launch Carrera in black features a striking Tarmac style dial plate, with that rippled blackness motorsport fans know only too well from watching at Silverstone, Assen or many other circuits. It also a red Porsche script etched into the bezel to set it apart from the sister Carerra Chronograph range. On the dial you will immediately notice the bold Porsche dashboard style minute numbers, which seem to lift slightly from the asphalt style dial plate.

Yep, no hour markers, just minutes. We like that.

Inside the 44mm case you’ll find a TAG Cal.02 movement, with no upgrades or tweaks from the sister Carrera model. But an 80 hour power reserve is class-leading at this price point. Sapphire crystal of course, plus a choice of leather strap model at £4865, or steel bracelet at bang on 5K.

Verdict; A future classic without doubt even if five grand for a TAG does seem a bit tasty. More here. 

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape is Where Diver Meets Dress Watch

Latest from Blancpain, a new Fifty Fathoms edition;

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe model, renowned for its dual function as a diving
instrument and civilian timepiece, now comes in a version combining a blue dial and
bezel with a Sedna® gold case. The history of the Fifty Fathoms goes back to 1953, when Blancpain unveiled a timepiece that was to become the first professional diver’s watch. A few years later, Blancpain complemented this time measuring instrument with the Bathyscaphe model, thereby aiming to offer a diver’s watch in a size suited to everyday wear.

Reissued in 2013 in a contemporary version to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Fifty
Fathoms, the Bathyscaphe has since been enriched with a wide choice of models, both in
terms of complications and materials. For the first time combining a blue dial and bezel with a Sedna® gold case, the new Bathyscaphe by Blancpain is an elegant addition designed to delight lovers of water sports and beautiful watches as well as experienced divers.

blancpain 50 fathoms dial

Blue symbolizes Blancpain’s passion and commitment to the underwater world. This deep colour exalts its shimmering reflections and plays with light thanks to the sunburst finish of the dial. Rectangular hour-markers and the chapter ring composed of gold and Super-LumiNova® dots further make their contribution to endowing the dial with an elegant and perfectly legible appearance in any situation. Complemented by a slim seconds hand and a date window, the hour and minute hands are also rectangular and coated with Super-LumiNova®, evoking the Bathyscaphe watches of the 1950s.
Crafted from Sedna® gold – a gold, copper and palladium alloy guaranteeing the exceptional durability of red gold –, the 43 mm case features a sharp outline and satin finish that gives the Bathyscaphe a sporty yet refined look. The Sedna® gold unidirectional rotating bezel is fitted with a ceramic insert including a Ceragold® time scale and hour-markers.

Water-resistant to 300 meters, the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe beats to the rhythm of the 1315 caliber. Stemming from a longstanding quest for precision and performance, this selfwinding movement was specially developed and produced by Blancpain to equip its sports watches. Its three series-coupled barrels provide it with a five-day power reserve while maintaining constant energy. Its balance features a silicon balance-spring that ensures remarkable regularity of the oscillation frequency as well as impermeability to magnetic fields.

blancpain fifty fathoms movement

One feature we love about the 1315 Calibre movemetn is that the auto rotor is mounted on a steel arbor with ceramic lining, so the weight of that rotor doesn’t wear too quickly. Less friction also means the rotor falls one way or the other with a fluid ease – all good tech in any modern watch.

It is a high quality 35 jewel in-house movement, that has had a few years development now as well. That bodes well for a lifestime of service, which is what you expect at this price level.

A sapphire case-back provides visual access to the movement, revealing all the beauty
of a sandblasted, satin-finished and snailed Sedna® gold oscillating weight engraved with the Blancpain logo, along with snailed and bevelled bridges.

We aren’t sure on UK RRP for this model, but we will take a guess at about £13,500.

Omega Look Sharp With Their Moody Black Allinghi Speedmaster

Omega make great watches, but let’s be blunt some of the styling is looking slightly dated. The blue Seamasters, the black Moonwatch that looks identical to the original from decades ago – yes, these are design classics. But you have to move on to attract a younger watch enthusiast.

So say hello to the hacked up, skeleton crew, Allinghi Speedmaster. Beautiful movement remix on this one, with cut-out sections so you can see the gears etc from the dial side, not just the caseback. There’s a carbon fibre pattern, familiar to 90s sportbike fans and boaters alike, that’s applied using some deep tech magic. Here’s word from Omega;

Using laser ablation, the mainplate and barrel bridge have been given a honeycomb effect, similar to the interior of the ALINGHI TF35 catamaran hull. Laser ablation also decorates all other bridges with a black carbon pattern, inspired by the material used for the boat’s hull.

speedmaster allinghi skeleton watch

The Allinghi pattern on the start/stop pusher is a sharp detail as well – they have thought this one through, it really looks fresh, different – dare we say it, not an old bloke’s Omega.

Black leather strap, red stitching gives it a motorsport look, and matches the flashes of red on the dial too. It all looks the business, except…they made the case from ceramic. Yep, pottery.

Just a personal thing I guess, but I loathe ceramic watches due to their fragility. They aren’t repairable in most cases either, so the case is a write-off if it gets knocked/cracked. No polishing out some scratches five years down the line.

 

New Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue Model is a Collectors Delight

Many UK watch enthusists are now discovering that Tudor offers many of the features that you get from Rolex, but without the initial entry price tag. Strong resale value? Check. Great Submariner styling? Check. Near perfect case sizes for everyday wear? Check.

The Black Bay has been the model that has revived Tudor in the UK, with help from that Beckham bloke, so it’s understandable that the Black Bay 58 range continues to be expanded. So, Tudor now offers a “Navy Blue” version of its flagship model, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. It makes a great budget alternative to a Submariner, Omega Seamaster, or a Bremont Supermarine, which is a beauty but would probably attract an offer of about £900 from a pawnbroker if you were desperate to sell one. Fact is, Bremont are incredibly slow to sell pre-owned.

Here’s press info from Tudor watches;

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue” gets its name from its colour, of course, but also from the year 1958, in which the first TUDOR divers’ watch waterproof to 200 metres (660 ft), reference 7924 or “Big Crown”, was presented. Among other aesthetic nods to this historic watch, this model offers a 39 mm diameter case in in keeping with the characteristic proportions of the 1950s. Ideal for slim wrists, people who like more compact watches and vintage enthusiasts, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue” also carries on with the long TUDOR tradition of blue sports watches.

KEY POINTS

  1. 39 millimetre case in 316L stainless steel

  2. Navy Blue matt domed dial, grained with applied hour-markers

  3. “Snowflake” hands, a hallmark of TUDOR divers’ watches, since 1969, with grade A, Swiss Super-LumiNova® luminescent material

  4. Manufacture Calibre MT5402, COSC-certified with silicon balance spring and 70-hour power reserve

  5. Three straps/bracelet options: blue Jacquard fabric with silver band, blue “soft touch”, and “riveted” steel

  6. Five-year transferable guarantee, with no registration or periodic maintenance checks required

TUDOR BLUE

In 1969, TUDOR introduced a divers’ watch with a blue dial and bezel. The other sports watches in the collection were soon attired in blue, immediately creating a lasting aesthetic hallmark known as “TUDOR Blue”. Adopted by the French navy for its TUDOR divers’ watches during the 1970s, this livery became part of the collective imagination. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue” follows in this tradition with its navy blue dial and bezel insert. This is a colour that also appears on the “soft touch” strap offered with this model and made from a synthetic, tactile material resembling flannel.

10 YEARS OF THE TUDOR FABRIC STRAP

Navy blue is also the dominant colour of the fabric strap offered with this model. The fabric strap is one of the hallmarks of TUDOR, which, in 2010, became one of the very first watchmaking brands to offer it with its products. Woven in France on 19th century Jacquard looms by the Julien Faure company in the St-Etienne region, its manufacturing quality and comfort on the wrist are unique. In 2020, TUDOR and Julien Faure, a 150-year old family company, celebrate 10 years of a partnership that started just before the launch of the Heritage Chrono in 2010, the first model of the brand to be fitted with a fabric strap created by the artisan. A fine anniversary for an enduring collaboration built on outstanding expertise.

THE CALIBRE MT5402

Just a few years ago Tudor used adapted ETA movements and that was a bit of problem for many people paying aorund £2600 for a watch. Basically you could find the identical ETA Cal. 2824 inside an Indie dive watch online for about £600. Now however, Tudor are punching far higher, with a movement that shares some design principles with Rolex and we say that it’s all the better for that quantum leap forwards.

The Manufacture Calibre MT5402, which equips the Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue”, displays hour, minute and second functions. It has the finish typical of TUDOR Manufacture calibres. Its rotor in tungsten monobloc is openwork and satin-brushed with sand-blasted details, and its bridges and mainplate have alternate sand-blasted, polished surfaces and laser decorations.

Its build has been designed to ensure robustness, longevity, reliability and precision, as has its variable inertia balance, which is maintained by a sturdy traversing bridge with a two-point fixation.

Together with its non-magnetic silicon hairspring, the Manufacture Calibre MT5402 is chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), with its performance going beyond the standards set by this independent institute. In fact, where COSC allows for an average variation in the daily running rate of a watch movement of between -4 and +6 seconds in relation to absolute time, TUDOR applies a tolerance of between -2 and +4 seconds’ variation in its daily rate on the watch fully assembled.

Another notable feature is that the power reserve of the Manufacture MT5402 Calibre is “weekend-proof”; that is to say about 70 hours, which enables the wearer to take the watch off on a Friday evening and put it back on again on Monday morning without having to wind and reset it.

THE ESSENCE OF BLACK BAY

Like other models in the Black Bay range, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue” adopts TUDOR’s characteristic angular hands known as “Snowflake” that appeared in the brand’s 1969 catalogue. The result of a subtle blend of traditional aesthetics and contemporary watchmaking, the Black Bay line is far from offering identical rereleases of classics. Resolutely anchored in the present, it brings together close to seven decades of TUDOR divers’ watches. Whilst it is neo-vintage in style, its manufacturing techniques and its robustness, reliability, durability and precision as well as the quality of its finishing are above current industry standards.

THE TUDOR GUARANTEE

Since its creation by Hans Wilsdorf in 1926, and in line with his vision of the ideal product, TUDOR has always strived to make the most robust, durable, reliable and precise watch possible. Bolstered by this experience, and confident in the superior quality of its watches, TUDOR is now offering a five-year guarantee on all its products sold after January 1st 2020.

This guarantee does not require the watch to be registered, or any maintenance checks, and is transferable. In addition, all TUDOR products bought between July 1st 2018 and December 31st 2019 will benefit from an 18-month extension to their guarantee, that is to say, a total of three and a half years. TUDOR also recommends that its watches be serviced approximately every 10 years depending on the model and real-life usage.

The RRP on the new Black Bay 58 Navy Blue should be around £2,750 (£3000 for the steel bracelet model) when it arrives later in 2020.

Battle of Britain Duo From Bremont -Exclusive Ltd Edition Watches

As a tribute to the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Bremont has created a rather special limited run of 80 box sets containing two timepieces in its honour, the Hurricane and Spitfire models.

The limited run of box sets each comprises a pair of watches inspired by the two iconic aircraft that defended the nation, the Spitfire and the Hurricane – with the overlooked Hurricane pilots doing much of the hard work in the summer of 1940 when the Luftwaffe flew over, attempting to dominate Britain’s skies and try to force a truce, or surrender. Some guy called Churchill stepped up, spoke out for freedom and democracy, and inspired the entire country, but we mustn’t mention him anymore apparently.

Included with each box set is an incredible opportunity for the customer to fly in a Spitfire which fought in the crucial air campaign in 1940. Having being at the controls of a Tiger Moth for just a few seconds many years ago, your Northern Watch Co author highly recommends any historic flight experience!

bremont hurricane watch

The two watches together cost just under £15,000, which is a hefty amount. What do you get for that cash? The BOB Spitfire model features a modified BE54 Cal movement, 25 jewels, 42 hour reserve, Bremont decorated winding rotor. The 43mm case has a DLC coating, which is diamond-like carbon, so it helps scratch resistance.

The BOB Hurricane has a 21 jewel BE92 Cal movement, 38 hour reserve and a smaller 40mm case diameter. The Hurricane has a more conventional steel case, plus we think the Spitfire looks more dramatic in black – just saying. Both watches feature a metal dial plates and vintage style leather straps.

Limited Edition Porsche Design 911 Targa 4S is An Expensive Option

The Porsche 911 remains one of the most important classic sports cars of all time, with the streamlined body shape being instantly recognisable to any car enthusiast, even in silhouette. Now Porsche Porsche Design open a new chapter in the shape of the new 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition chronograph.

This watch is the first of four limited models to accompany the launch of selected 911 Heritage Design vehicles spanning four decades. 

Based on the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the limited collector’s models transport iconic looks from the respective epoch to the present. With the highest focus on authenticity, style-defining details, special colors, patterns and materials are interpreted in the context and with the means of the present. They have a modern look and are state-of-the-art in terms of production and technology.

With the boom in motorsport themed chronographs right now, the timing is perfect for watches that can capture the essence of Porsche competition in the 60s and 70s in particular. The dial design is very car clocks/dashboard and we love the semi-recessed pushers and the alloy wheel spoked design on the see-thru caseback as well. All great design touches that set this watch apart.

The automatic chronograph is driven by the Porsche Design WERK 01.100. The new in-house developed chronograph calibre, with COSC certification, guarantees maximum precision. Like the vehicle, the chronograph in the titanium case typical of Porsche Design is limited to 992 pieces.

The Porsche movement is based on the Sellita SW200 workhorse and at this price watch buyers should expect a bit more technology inside the case. Maybe a joint venture partnership with someone like Tudor, whereby Tudor MT5612 movements can be shared with Porsche, would help to justify a 10K price tag? Just an idea.

porsche design watches chrono 911 targa

The strap is made of Porsche interior leather, supplied in two lengths in Bordeaux red and in black. The seams are tone on tone for an expressive look. The embossed “911” is another tribute to the sports car icon. One thing that strikes us about the flush-fitting strap is that such a unique design looks impossible to replace from an owner point of view, so when the strap wears out – or you want a change of colour – your only choice will be a dealer/factory fitted item – expensive.

Like every Porsche Design timepiece, the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition chronograph is made entirely of titanium. Due to the extreme lightness, durability and corrosion resistance, the high-tech material used in the construction of racing cars guarantees maximum performance with maximum comfort. 

The individual vehicle limitation number is affixed to the housing base using laser engraving. that adorns the central lock of the elevator rotor. The individual vehicle limitation number is affixed to the housing base.

Porsche design chrono 911 watch limited pano

For future owners of the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, the strictly limited chronograph can be ordered exclusively from the Porsche Centres and online at www.porsche-design.com/911TargaHeritage from June at a RRP of EUR 10,950.00.

 

Vostok Expedition Mixes Tough Looks with Reliable Tech

Your humble editor loves Vostok watches, owning an Amphibian with the famous wobbly winding crown. It’s a clever, durable watch, with that old school Soviet era styling. But that From Russia With Love look doesn’t suit everyone, so the Expedition range, made by Vostok-Europe is a moder modern take on an adventure automatic.

There’s a Seiko movement inside the 48mm – yep it’s a biggie – steel case, which has a unidirectional bezel and hardlex type domed crystal. Depth rating is 200m. You get 40 hours power reserve from the Seiko engine and there’s a power reserve indicator on the dial as well. Nice touch.

There’s also a quartz movement variant if you’re on a tighter budget, available in four different dial colours, featuring a worldtimer inner dial chapter ring, with all those cities you’re gonna visit once lockdown ends!

vostok expedition 2 blue

There are seven different colour options for the dial and we love the graduated green, reminds us of a 1980s camera magazine free filter – remember those? Lume? Tritium tube on the markers and hands, so there’s light all the time say Vostok – this model is inspired by the exploration of a very deep cave, so it should glow every nicely indeed.

We checked online and the quartz models of the Vostok Expedition Everest start at around £300, with the auto versions at £689. Rivals to the Vostok auto version include the LIV 7750 Valjoux powered GX models, at 800 quid or therabouts, the trusty Seiko Prospex 1968 Recreation, which we spotted at Watch Nation for £679, or the Enosken Deep Dive at £390 – it lacks a chrono function but at 1000m depth aces the Vostok. Or the Seiko.

 

 

 

Enosken Build-Your-Own-Watch Concept Offers Collectors Total Control

Here’s a micro brand doing it different. Based in Belfast NI, with watches assembled in Germany, Enosken was founded three years ago and their philosophy is simple; affordable, well made watches for collectors who want tough, high quality timekeepers.

Enosken are creating top notch dive watches, like the Deep Dive E01 model, which has a 1000 metre depth rating – impressive. Rivals like the Marloe Morar for example can offer 310 metres for £449 retail, while a Ulysse Nardin Diver offers just 300 metres for £5300.

So the Enosken Deep Dive models are undeniably fantastic value at £390. That gets you a Seiko NH auto movement, screwdown crown, 44mm case, superlume markers and hands, sapphire crystal. You don’t get the cachet of showing off your Swiss watch brand at the golf club, but you do get a damn good tech spec for Armani fashion watch money. There’s also a 24mm lug width, so you can order all kinds of straps online if you don’t like the factory options. The Deep Dive looks like an almost military grade tool watch – really chunky and well finished.

enosken dive watch bezel
Enosken Deep Dive model – ready for any terrain

If you choose the Build Your Own section, then starting at £195 you can custom build your quartz daily watch; bezel colour, dial, strap etc. Some strap and bracelet options cost another £25 -£30 on top, but still good value. We gave this a go and matched a blue/grey weave strap to a blue bezel, white dial combo.

Great fun and as people have been doing this type of online customisation with cars for a decade or more, we think it definitely adds some value to any watch brand. Just imagine if Rolex let you choose the bezel, strap and dial colour on your GMT instead of telling you what to buy via their dealership waiting list racket!

You can add a tool roll/pouch to keep your Enosken watch clean and safe too. These start at £25.

enosken drive chronograph white dial made in belfast
Enosken Drive chrono model

The Drive chronographs have a nice vintage 70s feel about them, with twin sub-dials, date window at 6pm position, and the usual start-stop and flyback buttons on the right of the steel case. Slightly narrower at 43mm case width, and £275. We would love to see an Enosken logo on the dial on all the watches, just adds a touch of brand loyalty we feel.

Check out Enosken here.