Tag Archives: prestige

Bell+Ross BR-5 GMT: Tool Watch Simplicity

The GMT is a watch tradition that never goes out of fashion. Yes, most of us don’t travel that much now that Covid19 has provided climate zealots with the ammunition to shutdown overseas jaunts for the 80%, but still, a GMT looks good. Plus it helps you stay in sync with an overseas office if you work in say global IT, insurance, media production etc.

Now Bell+Ross have that aircraft heritage and that cockpit dial gauge style thing going on. All good. The screwdown bezel gives it a too, watch focus, a utilitarian feel. Ditto the integrated bracelet links, which add a sort of `hewn from metal’ vibe.

Then there’s the stark white-on-black numbers and markers. Functional for sure, but also punchy, eye-catching and sort of timeless. This won’t go out of fashion like some Swiss watches do – anyone still collecting Ebel chronographs with their huge pushers and rounded off cases? Nope, thought not.

At 41mm across, it’s the right size, it also looks pure tool-watch slick, stripped down and ready to travel. No fancy additions, not even a day to sit alongside the date window.

This is a pricey watch at £4100 on a textured strap, £4500 on a bracelet. For all its super-clean, brushed steel brilliance the Bell+Ross BR-5 range is Sellita powered, albeit decorated and upgarded by the B&R concern.

That is a heck of a price to pay for a Sellita powered watch, so our verdict is spend the £4500 on a different GMT, like a pre-owned Explorer maybe, or even a new Tudor Black Bay. You will hold the watch value better in the long run because B&R simply does not have the fanbase in the UK that big brands like Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling et al has, or ever will have.

Like so many watches that dare to be genuinely different, B&R pay the price in the fickle collector market.

Braun Chronograph: Get 50% Off

The Braun watch brand has a Sale on right now and you can get the all-black chronograph for £275, which is half price. This is a high spec quartz watch, with a one-piece case construction and sapphire crystal. Here’s the press blurb;

The case of this Braun analogue watch is carved of one single block of steel. This one-piece’ construction eliminates the need for a case-back and in turn removes the element of potential leakage.

The Swiss movement is mounted into the case from the top before being covered and sealed by the sapphire crystal. This allowed the Braun designers to taper the bottom part of the watch more elegantly and attach the band lugs in such a way that would not be possible with conventional watch construction.

The simple screwdown battery cover means that replacing the battery is easy-peasy too – a definite bonus.

We also spotted a classic three hand ladies Braun for just £24. Considering the build quality that is a bargain.

More here.

JLC Refreshes Its Master Control Range

Jaeger LeCoultre has refreshed its Master Control range for this year. Here’s the details from the press office.

With its 40-millimetre diameter, outwardly sloping bezel and dynamically curved lugs, the Master Control case exudes a relaxed and understated elegance. On the dials, Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s designers have reinterpreted the Maison’s classical codes in a streamlined and modern style, in order to highlight each model’s complications. The applied indexes add refinement, their elongated triangular shape echoed by the Dauphine hands. Uniting the collection, sunray brushing animates the silvery-white background colour.

The Master Control collection features emblematic functions such as the classic date, the triple calendar complication, the legendary Geographic and for the first time a chronograph associated with a triple calendar display and a moon-phase.

With the goal of improving reliability, power reserve and long-term performance, Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s engineers have comprehensively revised and re-engineered its calibres. The improvements, include a silicon escapement, a redesigned barrel and various energy-saving enhancements. The result is an increased power reserve to as much as 70 hours and an enhanced overall performance and reliability. Like all Jaeger‑LeCoultre timepieces, the Master Control watches carry an 8-year warranty in addition to the 1,000 Hours Control certification.

There is a new French made leather strap option, which is designed to gain a patina over time. The Master Control range starts at £6000, with the rose gold – called Pink Gold by JLC – starts at £23,000.

H. Moser’s Swiss Alp Is a Mechanical Smartwatch, Seriously

The H Moser homage to Apple’s iWatch is a technical delight, if you have the money. For a mere £22,000 you can convince passers-by that you are glancing at a run-of-the-mill iWatch, whereas it is in fact a classic Swiss watch, handcrafted in Switzerland. Here’s the press release;

Marking the end of an inspiring concept, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade will be the climax to the Swiss Alp Watch saga that has left enthusiasts spellbound since 2016. Launched in response to the emergence of connected watches and to express the need for a nearly two-hundred-year-old brand like H. Moser & Cie. to remain faithful to its values of tradition, the Swiss Alp Watch will take its final bow. A one-of-a-kind conceptual piece, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade pays tribute to the codes of connected watches. It incorporates refined Vantablack® technology with traditional, fine mechanical watchmaking.

See the video;

Now, more than ever, is the time to reconnect. To ourselves, to those close to us, to what matters. Current events serve as a daily reminder that the virtual world will never outshine reality, that electronic devices will never replace people, and that technology must remain a means and not an end. On the strength of its convictions, H. Moser & Cie. wanted to mark the end of the Swiss Alp Watch collection with an extra special model: Similar to previous models from this line, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade is inspired by the modern design of smartwatches, yet it is completely mechanical. With its 100% Swiss Manufacture movement and a minimum power reserve of 96 hours, it is developed to last. Instead of downloading information, the Schaffhausen manufacture thinks it’s time we recharged ourselves.

For this model, H. Moser & Cie. wanted to combine different elements that have contributed to its success over the past few years. An aesthetic inspired by smartwatches, it features a Vantablack® dial in its Concept version, with no logo or indices. Known to be the blackest material produced artificially, Vantablack® and the blackened hour and minute hands perfectly evoke the standby appearance of the watch. This notion is further reinforced by the offset small second at 6 o’clock, redesigned for the occasion as a shaded disc made up of openings. Evoking the constant passing of time, this symbol serves as a reminder that the here and now is all that matters.

“This idea was conceived by a customer and friend of the brand, a true enthusiast and fan of the Swiss Alp Watch collection. He came to visit us with an extremely precise design and we immediately wanted to create this model, perfectly in line with our philosophy, with a touch of humour and a hint of provocation”, explains Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie.

Acting as an ode to minimalism and understatement, in an ultra-contemporary, pared down and timeless manner, H. Moser & Cie. creates a striking contrast between aesthetic simplicity and the complexity of the materials chosen. Through its steel case with black DLC coating, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade radiates all the power of its perfectly black appearance. The Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade is a concept watch, a symbol of the end of the Swiss Alp Watch collection, production of which will cease.

Verdict: computer fans will look all day long at that spinning wheel of death at the 6pm position. Stroke of genius.

 

Latest Ball Engineer II Model; Waco Glider Edition

The latest from Ball Watch Co;

On the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, BALL Watch proudly presents the all new Engineer Master II Waco Glider, an officer’s watch that combines vintage style with modern technology. Limited to 1,943 pieces each to commemorate the year that the Waco CG-4A gliders went into active service, the Engineer Master II Waco Glider features a manual winding movement, plus micro gas tube luminosity and 1,000 gauss (80,000 A/m) anti-magnetic protection.

From now on until 13 January 2021, pre-order your Engineer Master II Waco Glider at an exclusive price of £1450. Your order will include a complimentary green NATO strap for a change of look.

Legibility is of upmost importance in any military timepiece, thus we have opted for a minimalistic approach for the Waco Glider. The 3, 6 and 12 o’clock numerals, as well as hour batons and hands are equipped with micro gas tubes; the design is clean yet eye-catching. In dark and low-light conditions, our industry-leading technology delivers incomparable brightness.

The centre of the case back is left entirely blank and serves as your canvas for customization. Engrave your name, commemorate a special moment, or add a short personal message – it’s your opportunity to re-enact the practice that was often seen on vintage timepieces.

More info at Ball watches here.

BOLDR Odyssey Freediver Launches – With $100 Off RRP

Boldr has launched the Odyssey Freediver model, and there’s an extra $100 off the list price if you use the code; FREEDIVE100 at the checkout. Here’s the word from Boldr;

The Odyssey Freediver breathes new life into our tough diver-series with a svelte 40mm case to fit a wider range of wrists. Dive easy with a super legible dial clearly marked with luminescent hands & indexes, shielded by a flat sapphire crystal lens.

Built for freedivers and underwater adventurers, we were inspired to create this series by the sheer will and bravery of freedivers who push their bodies to the limit for the love of the sport. Perfecting the scrupulous technique of breathholding takes an ample amount of patience and perseverence – qualities that feed the BOLDR state of mind. Strap one on and channel the freediving spirit as you dive into everyday challenges.

A watch of many ‘firsts’, this is the first BOLDR timepiece to possess a full 316L metal bracelet with a quick release spring bar, along with a refined case detailed with a polished strip to accentuate its angular lugs. The dive-friendly unidirectional bezel is made from high quality ceramic, known for its ability to withstand scratches and long-lasting nature.

The Odyssey Freediver has a custom caseback depicting the Kraken, a symbol of the mysterious deep and facing the fear of the unknown. If you’re going to take the leap, might as well bring the right tools along with you.

New JLC Reverso One Is an Art Deco Masterpiece

The Reverso is a true classic watch design. The novelty of flipping the watch had a practical aspect back in the 30s of course, when it was wise to protect a beautiful watch from the smog, dirt and general hard knocks of an analogue era. Here’s the latest from the Jaeger le Coultre press office;

The new Reverso One ladies’ watch. Inspired by the first elongated models that were so popular in the 1930s, this new feminine expression of the Reverso One reveals itself. With its rectangular case, iconic gadroons, (nope, we don’t know what gadroons are either – Ed) elegant Arabic numerals, Dauphine hands, and two rows of brilliant-cut diamonds surrounding its lacquered dial, it offers signature Jaeger-LeCoultre Art Deco style.

Inside there is a battery powered, quartz movement, which also features 43 jewels. You don’t need them in a battery movement, but JLC are giving you them anyway. It’s a beautifully made piece of jewellery as much as it is a watch of course. The perfect gift for some ladies costs just under £4800 and frankly, we advise that you check that your beloved has actually heard of JLC before buying one. She may well prefer a Rolex.

Why? Because she can show off a Rolex, or a Cartier, to her friends. But a JLC sadly means very little to most dedicated followers of fashion, it is instead, a watch brand for watch movement aficianados. Different thing altogether.

More here.

 

Why Cousins Battle With Swatch Group Matters

Spare parts and servicing may sound a tad dull, but it gets exciting if your £10,000 Breguet, Vacheron or Patek cannot be serviced by an independent watchmaker – instead you have to send it away and pay whatever the manufacturer demands. That can easily cost £800-£1500, depending on which parts the manufacturer decides need upgrading. It’s a kick in the wallet that many Rolex owners are familiar with nowadays, as it’s been difficult for indie watchmakers to get factory parts since 2016.

Some might say that watch manufacturers want their products serviced by authorised dealers only – but that argument fell to pieces when car makers tried to lock out independent garages from their parts supply chains a few years ago. However UK trade supplier Cousins took on Swatch Group (owners of Omega, Breguet, Longines, Glashutte, Mido, Harry Winston, ETA, Hamilton and others) in a legal battle in 2016, here’s the latest update;

“Our fight with Swatch over the supply of parts has only been slightly delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak. Because the Swiss judicial system relies on written submissions rather than Court appearances, the impact on our case has been less than expected. The deadlines for submission of documents were extended for an extra four weeks by the Swiss Federal authorities. Then an extra two weeks extension was granted by the Judge in Bern.

All the formal submissions by both sides have now been completed. The remainder of the process consists of informal comments by both sides (Swatch are due to submit theirs in the next two weeks and we will reply after that), and then a hearing in the Bern Court. We would expect the written verdict from the Judge around two to four months after that.

The date for the hearing has not yet been set. The summer recess for the Courts runs from mid-July to mid-August and we expect it will be some time after that. A lot will depend on travel restrictions and quarantine issues, but hopefully by the Autumn this will not be a factor.

As we said in our last News update, we were happy that our first submission was a very robust defence. As before, we can’t go into detail, but we can say that we think our second submission is even stronger than the first, and are very confident that the judge will reach the right verdict.”

Our view is that every serious watch collector deserves the right to make their own choice on service and repair. Some watches may well benefit from keeping their old hands and patina-pickled dials. It might actually increase their resale value long term. Others want their Rolex, Omega, TAG, AP or Hublot pristine, and why not?

The key issue is that customers willing to spend up to £100,000 on a watch should not be restricted as regards choosing their watchmaker. If they want Roger Smith to personally strip and inspect it, then so be it – and Roger should be able to order a new winding stem, or chrono pusher if required. As the EU constantly bangs on about free trade, and Switzerland is obliged to toe the line regarding EU regulations on all kinds of matters, the sensible thing would be to allow customer choice. Servicing locally also saves on air miles, therefore saving emissions – another point that the court should consider.

New Watches: JLC Master Control is One For The Watchmakers

We have a soft spot for Jaeger le Coultre watches here at the Northern Watch Co. It started with a 1940s bumper automatic that was discovered lurking in an antique shop in Ireland a few years back. A thorough clean-up and that watch was a runner again – the mark of quality engineering we say. Innovations like the Reverso and Powermatic, with its handy reserve display once made JLC a premiership level watch brand.

Those days are gone to be blunt, but the Jaeger name still means build quality, in-house expertise and beautiful finishing. As an investment JLC might not have the appeal of a Rolex GMT or Royal Oak, but if you simply love watchmaking, then the range is always worth a look.

The Master Control Chronograph, which features a triple date calendar and moonphase dial display is one of those rare technical feats that not every watch collector will appreciate – unless they try to take one apart and re-assemble it again. Certainly beyond the skill of most of us. However, the resale value of a JLC like this – which costs a hefty £12,900 RRP – compared to say a Rolex Submariner Batman, is pretty appalling. You’re going to lose TAG F1 percentages basically – about 40% in year one, maybe another 15% over the next three years of ownership. That’s a big hit financially.

The other thing to consider from JLC’s marketing point of view is that again, we have a very simple, clean dial design. It is slightly underwhelming for the money and the fact is, some people who DO have 13K or more to spend on a wristwatch actually need poor people to gasp in awe at the huge chunk of bling on their wrists. I’m not one of those impressed by enormous cases and multi-featured bezels and buttons as found on some Breitlings. But you can’t argue with the sales stats – big flashy watches do sell.

Here’s the press info from Richemont below;

JLC master control chrono 12900
Chrono version retails at £12,900 and that is a big problem for many watch enthusiasts. You have to be dedicated to love the JLC brand.

Since it was introduced in 1992, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control collection has been defined by technical rigour and stylistic restraint. In 2020, La Grande Maison relaunches the collection, drawing inspiration from the classic round watches of the 1950s, such as the Futurematic, PowerMatic and Memovox models, and adding a dash of 21st-century flair. Rather than paying homage to a single historic reference, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents a range of timepieces featuring some of its most emblematic complications.

jaeger le coultre master control side view

When launched in 1992, the Master Control line was the first of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collections to benefit from its pioneering ‘1000 Hours Control’ certification – which inspired the collection’s name.

A demanding process that tests the entire cased-up watch (not just its movement), it set a new benchmark when introduced and has continually evolved in response to technological advances, to remain one of the watch industry’s most stringent testing protocols. Naturally, with this background, the Manufacture’s engineers have comprehensively revised and updated all of the movements, increasing power reserves to as much as 70 hours and enhancing overall performance and reliability. Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, the Master Control watches carry an 8-year warranty in addition to the 1,000 Hours Control certification.

 

jaeger reverso blue
The Reverso is arguably just as influential design as the Cartier Tank, but few mainstream watch consumers seem aware of it.

 

In the 1940s and ’50s Jaeger-LeCoultre was renowned for its triple calendar moon-phase movements, and the new Master Control Calendar brings that tradition into the 21st century. With a case measuring 40mm x 10.95mm, it is offered in either steel or Le Grand Rose gold®.

 

The finely balanced classical layout of the dial is retained, with the dates marked around the periphery, indicated by a red-tipped hand, the days and months displayed in the upper part of the dial, and the moon-phase set within the small seconds subdial in the lower part.

But there is a fresh new twist to the date display: as well as updating Calibre 866 with the same performance-enhancing improvements made to cal.899, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers have added a delightful new jumping complication. Every month, the date hand makes a 90-degree leap from the 15th to the 16th, in order not to obscure the moon-phase display.

Alternative triple date chronographs? If you’re on a budget then a nice example of the Omega Moonwatch from the 1990s could be a wise investment at about £1800-£2200. How about something truly rare? An Angelus triple date chronograph from the 1950s might cost you about 3K for a really nice example. It’s more delicate than an Omega Speedmaster perhaps, but arguably forms part of the inspiration for the modern JLC Master Control Chronograph.

A Lange & Sohne Supports Classic Concours Event in September

We love cars as well as watches here at The Northern Watch Co, so it’s always good to see watch brands supporting classic car events. It will be fantastic at attend a classic event at some point later this year! Or visit a watch shop. Stay safe everyone 😉

The Concours of Elegance, presented by German luxury watch manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne, has revealed two very special members of its 2020 Main Concours display: a pair of unique Alfa Romeo 6Cs, showcasing the best in contemporary engineering and hand-crafted design

The Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B and 2500 were among the most expensive cars in the world during the ’30s and ‘40s, featuring engines designed by one of the great automotive designers of all time; Vittorio Jano. The 6C’s mixture of dual overhead cam power, independent suspension and hydraulic brakes helped the 6C 2300 and 2500 to amass a number of impressive race victories. They finished 1st and 2nd in their class at the 1937 Mille Miglia, 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the 1937 Targa Abruzzo in Pescara, took victory again at Pescara in 1938 and won the Targa Florio in 1950.

Aside from their racing successes, both the 2300 and 2500 are responsible for some of the most beautiful and intricate coachbuilding of all time. An Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B appearing at Concours of Elegance this September features a body designed by Swiss coachbuilder, Graber.

The lightweight but sturdy tubular chassis, likely built in 1950, was a technological masterpiece compared with the steel ladderframe chassis that most 6C 2500s were equipped with. The running gear, suspension, and brakes are all period Alfa Romeo 6C components which appear to date primarily from 1948.

Watch some engineering beauty at the A Lange & Sohne YT channel;


Originally ordered by SIRCA, the dealer in Milan that served as Carrozzeria Ghia’s representative for the region of Lombardy, this car eventually found its way to the UK in 1959. By 1961 is was up for sale again at just £895 (just under £25,000 today), remained in the UK for a few more years and then found its way to America in 2016 via Austria and the Netherlands, with a full nut and bolt restoration along the way. Its current owners, underwent another full restoration with the car in 2016 to take it back to its original specification, which took over 2.5 years.

Andrew Evans, Concours of Elegance Director, said: “Although our event has grown enormously since its award-winning debut in 2012, we always retain a central collection of around 70 painstakingly curated vehicles for our main concours d’elegance display. Our Steering Committee of motoring experts scours the globe for the finest examples of automotive design, innovation or rarity, and these unique Alfa Romeos are arguably the perfect blend of all three. We can’t wait for our guests to see them in the Fountain Gardens of Hampton Court Palace this September”.

Outside of the main concours d’elegance competition around 1,000 other rare and significant vehicles are curated into special features and displays over the course of the event. This year’s flagship Centrepiece Display is dedicated to McLaren’s victory at Le Mans in 1995. A collection of the McLaren F1 GTRs that finished 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th at Le Mans 24 Hours 25 years ago will take pride of place over the course of the event, from 4th-6th September.

The 2020 event will cement Concours of Elegance’s global reputation for gathering the finest cars in the world in one of the UK’s most stunning settings; the Fountain Gardens of Hampton Court Palace. With the gracious support of Concours of Elegance patron, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, no other UK motoring event offers the same prestige.

Tickets to the Concours of Elegance are available to buy now from www.concoursofelegance.co.uk/tickets