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Tudor Black Bay Bronze: No Excuses Necessary

The Tudor Black Bay 58 has been the watch that’s really put Tudor in the Premier League for many collectors. For decades the Tudor was seen as a poor man’s Rolex and a few years ago when the brand was still basically slotting ETA 2824 movements inside nice cases you could easily pass by and maybe go for an Omega or Breitling instead.

But the recent Black Bay 58 watches are a class apart, the brand has raised its game. The MT5400 movement has 70 hours reserve, it’s COSC certified and features some sandblasted parts, blue screws and a tungsten monobloc rotor, with a unique look. I’m going out on a limb now and saying a Tudor isn’t a watch you have to apologise for wearing, like it’s not the Rolex you wanted, but it’s all you can afford.

It has a 39mm case diameter which some might say is a few mm too small. It is a general watch, not a dive model, despite the 200m rating, so we think it’s big enough – it has symmetry, balance and the brown bezel and dial really give this a coherent look that many Swiss watches lack. Sometimes less is more.

One detail that jars on this however, the NATO style strap made from a recycled parachute just looks cheap compared to the fully bronze link bracelet option. Just saying.

Here’s the blurb from Tudor;

The characteristic elements of the new Black Bay FiftyEight model are a 39 mm bronze case, an aesthetic nod to the bronzes on old ships and other deep-sea diving equipment, but also the characteristic proportions of the first TUDOR divers’ watches dating from the second half of the 1950s, particularly the famous 7924 reference or “ Big Crown”, the first TUDOR watch to be waterproof to 200 metres (660 ft), presented in 1958.

The choice of a “living” metal – in this case a high performance aluminium bronze alloy used particularly in naval engineering for submerged parts required to demonstrate a high level of resistance to corrosion such as propellers, for example – ensures the development of a subtle and unique patina on the case
of every watch to match its user’s habits.

In addition to a highly functional appearance, in line with the naval world to which it pays tribute, the Black Bay Bronze presents entirely satin-brushed finishes that guarantee the homogeneous development of this patina.

The combination of a domed dial in matt “brown bronze”, shaded concentrically from the exterior towards the centre, and a bezel presenting the same gold accents found on the hands and hour markers, completes the face of this model. The overall visual
effect is of a rich, patinated object that might have battled the waves of the seven seas for years on its owner’s wrist, and which is “made” for them and their lifestyle.

At £3390 it isn’t cheap and it isn’t Rolex level expensive either. What it definitely offers is a great spec for the price, because it’s a last-a-lifetime watch, that won’t really date, go out of fashion, and someone will always want to buy it.

Latest Ball Engineer GMT III: Superlume & COSC Spec

If you want a Ball Engineer GMT at a special pre-order price, then you need to move fast. This new model is available exclusively online. Pre-order now at a limited-time price until 30 June 2021, says Ball Watches and who are we to argue?

As you would expect, it’s got the famous lume via gas tubes tech in there, plus the usual Ball Swiss quality details; the new variation on the Ball Watch GMT formula retails at £1620 by the way.

Here is the press info.

In the Engineer III Jet-Set GMT, we’ve united the uniqueness of a true GMT with revolutionary micro gas tubes. The result is accurate timekeeping that shines in the darkest environments. And because our luminosity shines automatically, you never have to charge it.

The extraordinary tubes are integrated into each applied hour marker on the dial, as well as all four hands, including the tip of the GMT hand. Glowing in harmony with the Super-LumiNova coating on the ceramic bezel and the 24-hour home time indication, three time zones can be easily read in complete darkness.

White dial version really stands out.

Inside the 40mm stainless steel case, the COSC certified precision is protected by advanced technology. Our special mu-metal shield delivers anti-magnetic protection to an intensity of 80,000 A/m (1,000 Gauss). Comprised of nickel, iron, copper and molybdenum, mu-metal ensures that every component, especially the delicate hairspring, withstands the harmful effects of magnetism. This level of protection is vital when flying at high altitudes and when venturing into unknown terrain.

 

 

60s Style Seiko Presage Models Are Retro Heaven

There are retro/recreation style watches all over the internet right now, from brands like Timex, Zenith, Casio, Tissot, Longines and many more. You can’t blame watch brands for making the most of their heritage and remixing it DJ style for the 21st century.

So as a fan of the Seiko Presage models, I approve of everything to do with the Style 60’s range – except the incorrect use of the apostrophe. Nothing belongs to the number 60. It should be 60s plural, denoting the decade of style, OK?

Moving on, let’s look at these models which are arriving in June at Seiko dealers. The SRPGO models have blue, black, champagne or green dials and a 41mm case, featuring the 4R35 movement. Yep, you can wind it – no shaking required.

It has a more sporty feel than some existing Presage models, mainly due to the dive style bezel and more utilitarian crown. The cocktail time watches have the onion shaped crown. It looks like a scuba ready watch, but it really isn’t a dive piece though at 5atm rated.

Got some nice lume on there, plus a retro hardlex box crystal for that 60s vibe. Nice touch, but many buyers will still be slightly miffed that they are paying decent money for an acrylic crystal watch. That’s Seiko for you – they don’t have to change their philosophy for you, me or anyone else.

Some variants have a vintage, faded type lume on the indices for that extra retro flavour.

Prices start at £440 for the black model with a NATO strap and rise to £530 for the open heart dial option. Seiko are deifinitely `price-walking’ their fanbase up to entry level Swiss stuff, but then you could argue that a Seiko Presage is on par with a basic Hamilton, Tissot or Longines.

Except for the plastic crystal. Oh and the poor packaging with that kinda cheap ol’ 90s white box. OK yeah, they are getting cheeky on prices.

The range is inspired by the Crown Chrono model from 1964, but the modern days Style 60’s models lack the stopwatch button at the 2pm position.  Maybe that tribute watch is in the pipeline for the Christmas selling season?

More info here at Seiko’s site.

Ball Engineer M Pioneer: Retro Precision

Ball Watch has a new Engineer model, here’s the press info;

The originator, pacesetter, visionary. In 1891, Webb C. Ball created the official railroad standard of accuracy using stricter criteria than the modern COSC. On our 130th anniversary, our legacy of precision becomes even more exacting with our new in-house movement: Chronometer Manufacture Caliber RRM7309-S.

Powering the new Engineer M Pioneer, this watchmaking achievement takes BALL’s standards even further with an accuracy range of -2/+5 seconds per day. New technological advancements, highlighted by an ingenious silicon balance spring, withstand magnetic fields up to 2,500 Gauss and deliver superior shock resistance. Even in the dark, its precision is on full display thanks to our revolutionary micro gas lights. Once again, we are forging ahead with belief that excellence always moves forward. Limited to 1,000 pieces each, the Engineer M Pioneer is available for pre-order at a special price until 26th May 2021.

In Engineer M Pioneer, our designer has taken a bold step with the design of the dial, featuring large Arabic numerals formed by micro gas tubes at every hour. When it comes to the colors of the micro gas tubes, the Engineer M Pioneer offers 2 choices that are vastly different in styles: the standard classic version with the green and yellow gas tubes creating a harmony of light or the special version with 6 different gas tube colors mimicking the rainbow, a hidden gem that is only revealed in darkness.

All three hands are also outfitted with the micro gas tubes, with the added luminosity from the Super LumiNova coating.

SILICON BALANCE SPRING

The balance spring, the delicate part within a caliber that regulates its accuracy, is particularly susceptible to the effect of magnetism. A magnetized movement will run abnormally fast or worse, will stop running at all.

In the creation of the RRM7309-S, our watchmakers combined new material with traditional watchmaking and created something truly marvelous. As a material choice, silicon offers high anti-magnetism and corrosion resistance, it also offers enhanced stability to temperature fluctuations. Extremely lightweight and yet harder than steel, turning silicon into a delicate balance spring that is finer than a human hair requires a next-level expertise. However, as accurate oscillations – and therefore a precise movement – depend on the balance spring, silicon is an ideal material selection with these increased levels of efficiency.

We believe longevity is one of the core attributes that make mechanical timepieces more than a mere object. Thus, while we use silicon balance spring that works in combination with a new escape wheel and lever that are made in nickel-based material to deliver enhanced performance, our watchmakers have decided to retain the classic structure of the components to ensure that the fine-tuning of the remarkable precision and the serviceability in the long run is never a concern.

Rolex Explorer II: Classic Tool Watch Makes a Great Investment

The latest Explorer II made its debut yesterday and we have to say the white dial and vivid orange GMT hand are classic touches that didn’t need to be changed. The new movement is a welcome upgrade, so you now have a 70 hour power reserve, plus the dial features new super-bright lume on the markers and hands. The case size is 42mm too, which will suit many buyers as it looks like a proper watch, not a 36mm vintage model.

It’s arguably a better investment than the Explorer with two tone case because it won’t date so quickly and the lack of gold links in the bracelet makes it slightly less attractive to thieves. Wearing a dress Rolex openly in public is becoming pretty dangerous in many UK cities, even in daytime, so owning something that looks more akin to a Seiko 5 or a Maurice Lacroix Aikon is a wise precaution.

Here’s the press info from Rolex;

Rolex is introducing its new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer II. This technical watch, in Oystersteel, was created for the boldest explorers and now features a redesigned case and bracelet. This update brings enhanced visual balance and harmony to the timepiece while remaining true to its aesthetic heritage.

On the white lacquer dial, the hour markers – whose black coating is applied using PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) – and the black lacquer hour, minute and seconds hands stand out for their matt finish. The 24-hour hand retains its characteristic orange hue, which is the same colour as the Explorer II inscription that has featured on the dial since 2011.

The new-generation Explorer II also benefits from an optimized Chromalight display. In dark conditions, the intensity of the blue glow emitted by the hour markers and hands now lasts longer thanks to the innovative and exclusive luminescent material with which they are filled or coated. In daylight, these display elements also have a brighter white hue.

The new-generation Explorer II is equipped with calibre 3285, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.

The Explorer II is heir to the privileged relationship that has long united Rolex and exploration. Presented in 1971, this robust and reliable watch quickly became an essential tool for explorers travelling to the far corners of the globe, often in extreme conditions. Thanks to its 24-hour display comprising an additional, orange hour hand and an engraved bezel, the Explorer II allows the wearer to clearly distinguish daytime from night-time hours. This is particularly useful in areas where it is difficult or even impossible to distinguish between day and night, such as underground or in polar regions, which experience six months of daylight and six months of darkness a year. In certain conditions, this display enables the watch to serve as compass. The 24-hour display can also be used to show a second time zone.

UPGRADED MOVEMENT

The new-generation Explorer II is equipped with calibre 3285, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex that was released in 2018 and is fitted on this model from 2021. At the forefront of watchmaking technology, this self-winding mechanical movement led to the filing of several patents, and offers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.

Calibre 3285 incorporates the Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic fields. The movement is fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed and -patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance.

Calibre 3285 is equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3285 extends to approximately 70 hours.

The new-generation Explorer II is fitted with an Oyster bracelet. Developed at the end of the 1930s, this three-piece link bracelet is known for its robustness.

The Oyster bracelet on this new watch features the Rolex-designed and -patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening. It is also equipped with the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily adjust the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm. In addition, a concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.

Ball Engineer III Marvelight Chrono

Ball Watches has a new twist on their Engineer III, the Marvelight Chronometer. Now we love the bright lights of Vegas here, but the rainbow tubes dial just isn’t dinging our bell, and we are big fans of Saturday Night Fever. The power reserve feature is very cool though, we love it and you can choose a conventional gas tube lighting variant. Here’s the word from Ball;

Superior corrosion resistance, virtually indestructible strength and brilliant polish. The new Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer is forged from 904L stainless steel – a material unlike any other in watchmaking, resulting in the ultimate explorer’s watch built to withstand extreme conditions. Design ingenuity is the name of the game.

Not only have we employed a unique technique to set the micro gas tubes, the incomparable luminosity also comes in 2 different colorways: a classic glow or a rainbow motif. Inside, the C.O.S.C. certified movement with 42-hour power reserve has been expertly modified by our watchmakers, the power reserve hand is seamlessly integrated into the central pivot, while the indication scale is located at the six o’clock position. With patented protection guarantees flawless performance, the watch that once ran America’s railroads now empowers world explorers to live freely and fearlessly.

Encased in toughness, the movement and its precision ensure that exploration never stops. And thanks to testing by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (C.O.S.C.), the timepiece is a certified mechanical chronometer built to deliver perfect time keeping in the most imperfect conditions.

Featuring a 42-hour power reserve when the watch is unworn, the in-house modification of the movement allows all 4 watch hands originating from the center, creating a wider angle perspective and ensuring easy readability of the power reserve hours.

Available exclusively online, the latest addition to the Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer series is limited to 1,000 pieces each.

It’s on pre-order until 21 April 2021 at an exclusive price.

Yema Superman Bronze GMT Is a Great Spec Dive Watch

Early bird buyers of the new Yema Superman GMT 3000, which features the new in-house Calibre, won’t regret spending $749 on this watch. Why? Look at the specs; sapphire crystal of course, protected winding crown, superbly finished bronze case, and available in 39mm or 41mm sizes. This is a tool watch – you can dive to 990 feet. Not that many buyers will do, but it is a selling point in the world of watch collecting, let’s be honest.

OK, now drink in that beautiful graduated tint dial, the gilt hour markers and hands. There’s a steel caseback, with a very cool logo embossed on it, plus the limited edition number. 1948 pieces in all. Unidirectional bezel and two strap choices, one being a tropic strap.

Now if you buy from Europe you have to pay 20% VAT on top of the 749 dollars early bird price. But you know what? We think this watch looks absolutely spot on, from its pointed red GMT hour hand, to the natty secturity clasp at the 3pm position. That’s £580, plus tax, for a watch that competes with some serious Swiss models that boast 1000ft/300m depth ratings.

Examples? OK, Luminox Deep Dive at £1758, Omega Seamaster pre-owned at £1990 or an Oris Sixty-Five at £1650. All beautiful watches and the Oris and Omega will always find a buyer when you wish to sell, but even so, you can buy a new Yema for about £900 less – very tempting.

The green dial Yema 2000 Calibre model is $545 plus tax. Again, great value, but we would splash out on the latest GMT3000 for the sake of an extra 200 bucks. Hey, you only live once.

More details on the Kickstarter offer from Yema here.

 

Seiko Astron GPS: Hattori Edition is Understated Brilliance

It was a watch that shook the world. The Seiko Astron was the first mass-produced quartz watch that really won over huge sections of the public. Price matters – it does now, and it did back in the latet 60s too, which is why the average person decided that buying an Astron, at a price well below a Swiss watch, was a smart move.

So today, Seiko celebrates the life, career and achievements of Kintaro Hattori, with a limited edition Astron GPS Solar watch.

In 2012, Seiko demonstrated its leadership in high technology watchmaking with the world’s first GPS Solar watch. By connecting to the GPS network, Astron adjusts at the touch of a button to every time zone on earth and, by taking all the energy it needs from light alone, never needs a battery change. It offers local time with atomic clock precision on your wrist, wherever you are on earth.

Today, eight years on, the latest generation of Astron GPS Solar technology powers the new Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary. It’s a different piece of tech compared to the world’s first quartz watch from 1969, but the aim is the same; total accuracy when it comes to timekeeping.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch Hattori edition

The watch case and bracelet are in titanium with a scratch-resistant hard-coating. The bezel is made from Zirconia ceramic and has sixteen facets, one for each decade since Kintaro’s birth. With its deep black tones, gold tone accents and high gloss bezel, the watch has a commanding presence on the wrist that befits its heritage. You also get a croc leather strap as part of the package.

Limited Edition Details

The case back carries Kintaro’s name and three reminders of his legacy. The trademark “S” that he registered in 1900 occupies the center of the case back. His motto “One step ahead of the rest” appears above it and the name Seiko which was first used in 1924 is on the rim.

We absolutely love the gold pushers, crown and hands – they really stand out from the black dial and bracelet. It’s a classic combo and we reckon it’s a tool watch that will suit many enthusiasts. Great everyday timepiece.

The watch is offered in a special presentation box with a commemorative “S” badge and includes a card carrying a message from Kintaro’s great-grandson Shinji Hattori. It will be available in October, at Seiko Boutiques and at selected retail partners worldwide.

 

OK, It’s Not a Watch, But The Moke is Cooler Than an 007 Omega

Remember the Mini Moke? Maybe not, as you’d have to be aged 50 plus most likely to recall the days when the Moke could be seen buzzing about British holiday resorts, or in re-runs of cult TV show The Prisoner. But if you love the Moke’s 60s vibe, then good news – MOKE International Limited announces the return of one of Britain’s great automotive icons. Here’s the press info and we look forward to the official Bremont, Tribus, Newmark or Christopher Ward watch!

From today, UK customers will be able to order one of 56 limited edition MOKEs, an allocation selected to signify the number of years since the Mini MOKE first appeared in Britain in 1964. Order books also open for MOKEs in standard configuration, conforiming the permanent return of the brand.

MOKE International revives a quintessentially British design that has charmed for more than half a century. Brigitte Bardot epitomised Riviera chic in her MOKE. The brand has since been enjoyed and championed by fun-seekers including Kate Moss and DJ Khalid. To date the car has also appeared in four James Bond films.

The original MOKE  was designed in the 1960s by Sir Alec Issigonis, the architect of the Austin Mini. It was first specified as a military vehicle engineered to be robust enough for deployment behind enemy lines by aeroplane. The original shared components including suspension and chassis with the Mini. The MOKE soon became one of the best-loved symbols of the 1960s. Becoming the mode of travel for the inhabitants of the most exclusive coastal resorts in Europe, the Caribbean, US and Asia. To this day it remains the beachhouse-to-waterfront shuttle of choice.

56 CARS FOR 56 YEARS

MOKE will mark its homecoming with a strictly limited run of 56 cars, built for sale exclusively in the United Kingdom. Each is available in 14 colour options and the Limited Edition ‘MOKE 56’ comes with chrome front grille and windscreen rails, a discrete union jack badge and a numbered plaque on the bonnet.

Waiting lists are filling fast with resorts and private buyers in English coastal hotspots taking particular interest.

REDESIGNED AND REBORN 

The original MOKE trademark was acquired in 2015 and is now owned by MOKE International Limited. The initial focus has been on meeting demand in the Caribbean market where MOKE is popular with both private buyers and luxury resorts and hotels. Following UK regulatory approval, MOKEs are now available to purchase across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Additional models will be launched across Europe, the USA and beyond in 2021.

In reviving the brand, MOKE International has gathered a team from some of the most celebrated names in the industry. Isobel Dando, leads the board of management with an automotive career that spans two decades. This includes senior commercial and product leadership roles at Jaguar Land Rover and the BMW Group.

ENGINEERING AND PERFORMANCE

MOKE International will stay true to its British and Continental roots through its strategic approach to manufacturing and engineering. All MOKE bodies will be engineered and sub-assembled in the centre of Britain’s globally renowned specialist automotive manufacturing industry in the Midlands before being shipped to Cerizay, France for final assembly.

Mark Truman leads MOKE’s engineering and production functions having held senior technical roles at Aston Martin, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.

“My role at MOKE is to preserve the integrity and spirit of the original MOKE whilst incorporating the very best of today’s technologies that match the requirements of a new generation.” 

Mark Truman, Engineering Lead comments;

Today’s MOKEs remain true to the look and feel of the original, with a particular focus on maintaining the sense of fun and freedom that has endeared the car to so many. Updates include a new 4 cylinder, fuel injection engine, uprated suspension, braking and the option for either automatic transmission or manual.

The vehicle is also slightly larger to provide more cabin space. Features previously viewed as a luxury like power steering and heated windscreen now, of course, come as standard.

From today, UK buyers will be invited to order either the limited edition ’MOKE 56’ or the standard MOKE Classic, full production of MOKEs in standard configuration also start today.  Indicative pricing starts at £20,000 excluding local taxes and delivery.

Interested buyers should register interest at https://mokeinternational.com/customise

Latest Omega Bond 007 Watch Has a Military Feel

Omega has released info on the latest 007 James Bond Seamaster model and the balck dial beauty has an old school military feel to it. A milanese mesh bracelet, Tropical yellowy-brown lume on the hands and markers, plus the old WWII services arrow logo at 6pm, all combine to make this a functional tool watch.

But it is a modern Omega as well. Featuring a Grade 2 Titanium, 42 mm case and titanium mesh bracelet, it’s particularly strong and light.  It is also available on a striped NATO strap, which may well give the watch an everyday look that puts off would-be thieves and muggers. It’s a thought in these dangerous times.

Inside there is a Cal 8806 movement, still featuring the late, great George Daniels Co-Axial power saving feature. If you imagine the usual pallet lever being kind of cantilevered, like the DOHC system on a car or motorcycle engine, then you’ve got the essence of this gadgetry. Why does it mater? Well it lets the watch run slower, thus increasing service intervals, and it is arguably more precise in its action linking escape wheel to the rest of the gear train.

It has a 55 hour power reserve and runs at 25,200vph, which is slower than rivals like a Rolex Submariner for example, which runs at about 28,000vph. Recently, Rolex have made some technical changes to their escapement however, using a pallet fork that’s kind of offset slightly, therefore needs less energy to interact with the escape wheel. You get 70 hours reserve with the latest 2020 Submariner too and arguably, a more popular watch should you decide to sell one day.

Cost is £7880 for the mesh bracelet edition, or £6950 for a NATO edition.