Tag Archives: prices

Indie Brands: Spinnaker Line-Up is Refreshed

Spinnaker are one of the more popular Indie watch brands, with the Hull mdoel being a strong seller online. The new additions include a refreshed Hull range, plus the Croft, Wreck and Dumas models.

Let’s get into it.

The Dumas range has dial colours in Tangerine, cream, blue and burgundy – although they give them cool names like Sahara instead of cream. Inside you’ll find the trusty Seiko NH35 auto engine, with a steel 44mm case, sapphire crystal and screwdown crown filling out the spec sheet nicely.

There’s a nice hexagonal link detail on the bracelet which gives it a classic 70s feel too.

Price is £315 which is competitive, considering you get 300m depth resistance. Plenty of Swiss dive watches with a 300m depth rating cost over 2K, just FYI…

CROFT

The Croft model is a mid-size watch at 40mm, which makes it ideal for everyday wear. There’s a nice Pepsi bezel option (pictured), plenty of lume as you can see, plus the NH35 movement inside.

Just 150m of depth resistance is probably plenty for most people, there’s a date window magnifying glass, and we love the textured finish on the dials, which are graduated blue, or a kind of slate grey.

At £220 this is another winner for us.

HULL

The old Hull has been around for a few years so Spinnaker are right to refresh it without changing a winning formula. So new dial colours are the big news for this VK Meca-Quartz chronograph, with fume blue or red/black options, plus two more variations on the black dial theme. Hate to mention it, but a pearl white with reversed out sub-dials would probably look awesome.

At £235 it’s a bit pricey for a quartz chronograph, because there is some very strong competition on Ali Express  at under £70 on chronographs, plus lots of Kickstarter projects using the VK movement that are a little bit more unique in terms of design and slightly cheaper.

Check out more Spinnaker goodness on their website.

Skagen Ryle Solar Watch – Go Square, It’s Hip

Skagen have a new solar powered watch and this has the old school rectangular case style, for that vintage look.

There is a 32mm diameter ladies model and a 36mm gents case width in the range, with grey and blue dial options. The mesh strap is also available in grey or black. Skagen say that just a few hours sunlight can power the watch up and it will then keep going for up to 6 months, which is remarkable – if true.

I mean it defies the laws of physics, but yeah, could happen.

The watch also a case made from 50% recycled steel, in tune with the Skagen leaf ethos.

Price is £169 and engraving is free.

VERDICT; A Seiko, Lorus or Citizen solar is cheaper and does the same job, probably more reliable in the long run as the Japanese have been making solar watches for a long time. But if you want that european, basic Ikea furnishings look, then Skagen have it covered.

Seiko Prospex & Presage Ginza Editions

Seiko has released two new models that pay homage to the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo.

The Ginza district in central Tokyo has a special importance for Seiko. It was where the company’s founder, Kintaro Hattori, opened a shop selling and repairing clocks and watches in1881, when he was just 21 years old and, today, Ginza is still where the company is located.

In celebration of Seiko’s 140th anniversary and its long association with Ginza, two limited editions are introduced into the Prospex and Presage collections which capture both the classic and modern faces of Ginza.

Both creations have dial patterns that echo the district’s traditional cobblestone streets but are in a blue-gray tone that also evokes the contemporary feel of the many modern and architecturally interesting buildings which define Ginza today. Heritage and modernity. History and progress. These two creations capture the essential characteristics of today’s Seiko.

PROSPEX GINZA

The Prospex limited edition is based on the modern re-interpretation of the 1959 Alpinist watch introduced earlier this year.

The intricate pattern of the dial incorporates two different sunray patterns which, as the viewing angle changes, create ever-changing impressions that capture the texture and feel of Ginza’s cobblestones. The seconds hand pays homage to the district’s history with Komparu, a traditional Japanese color named after Komparu Street, where Ginza’s nightlife was once centered. This blue color with a soft green tone was first used in the middle Meiji era (1868 – 1912), instantly found favor among the many geishas who lived there and then gradually became a popular color among the public.

The watch is powered by Caliber 6R35, which delivers a power reserve of 70 hours. The glass is a curved sapphire crystal that is resistant to scratches and the watch is water resistant to20 bar. It is offered as limited edition of 3,500 and will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in October 2021.

RRP is 750 euros.

PRESAGE

The Presage creation features the same cobblestone-inspired dial pattern and Komparu color seconds hand, but the watch has the distinguished aspect of the recently released “Style60’s” design series inspired by the 1964 Seiko Crown Chronograph.

The box-shaped glass, sharp hands and faceted indexes are inherited directly from the Crown Chronograph and create a retro feel that matches perfectly with the classic dial pattern. The opening at the 9 o’clock position allows the wearer to see and enjoy the beating of the escapement and the 24 hour sub-dial above it offers a different and useful way to tell the time.

This Presage watch is offered as a limited edition of 4,000 and will also be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in October 2021.

The RRP is 590 euros and it shows how Seiko is gradually `price walking’ its customer base up to a higher level. Is the Presage on par with a Hamilton Khaki? Yes, it is, but when you come to sell either model you struggle to get £200 back online, or at a watch shop.

VERDICT:

Buy a classic green dial Seiko Alpinist instead, or a trad Prospex dive watch. Both will hold their value better in the long run.

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.

Cheap Watches: What’s Your Price Limit?

By that we mean how little will you spend for an everyday quartz watch that tells the time and looks half decent?

We say about £20. There are some basic Casio models that retail for around £15 and of course Amazon and Ali Express are packed with 15 quid watches with oddball names and basic packaging.

But Time Products in the UK, who sell Accurist and Sekonda, have an even cheaper brand called Limit in their portfolio. It’s an old Swiss brand, famously the maker of good automatics and mechanical models back in the 50s and 60s, but then like many Swiss brands, the quartz attack from Japan in the 80s finished them off.

We love this Limit digital with its Wire Guard logo and chunky design. Yep, it’s £30 but watch out for regular Limit deals and offers online.  Nice digital display plus a backlight button for checking the time if you wake up in the night.

Let’s be honest a water resistance of 100m at this price level is pretty fair. Most fashion watches have just 50m, some less. The orange digital model at the top of ther page has a reasonable spec and we think it looks kinda sporty too.

You can’t really fault this red digital, with an alarm, stop watch and a plastic strap. So yeah you can swim in it. £25 is alright we think and although we aren’t saying disposable watches are a good thing, you ain’t gonna shed a tear when the strap splits and that’s the end of the watch.

It’s easy to get snobby about watches, but if you work in a rough job and your watch gets damaged, or you want to buy a teenager a watch and you just know they will hammer it to destruction, then brands like Limit offer the working person a chance to buy something with a guarantee that looks modern, and tells the time, for the sort of money that MPs spend on coffee n a vegan snack bar.

Limit watches start at about £20 RRP. More here.

Go Deep Or Go Home, Says Seiko

How deep? Well, 1000m to be exact which is venturing into `Let’s raise a shipwreck this weekend’ territory but this is still a technical tour de force worth showing off in your Seiko collection.

What do you mean, you only collect Swiss watches? Come on, Seiko are true watchmakers, and clockmakers too. It’s all they do and they do it with typical Japanese shokunin elan, always aiming for perfection in terms of craft and excellence.

That’s especially true of the Prospex line we think, so here’s the word from Seiko;

In 1986, Seiko launched a diver’s watch that set a new standard. It combined Seiko’s legendary 1975 design with the 1,000 meter water resistance required for saturation diving with a quartz movement that delivered an accuracy that no mechanical diver’s watch could match. At the time, and still today, it was recognized as one of Seiko’s most important diver’s watches. Today, 35 years on, this classic Seiko Diver’s watch is re-born with new design features and upgraded professional diver’s watch specifications. This is a watch that truly lives up to the promise of the Prospex name. It will be available in July 2021 as a limited edition of 1,200 at selected Seiko Boutiques and retail partners worldwide.

This new watch inherits all the important design features and innovations which made both the 1975 mechanical and the 1986 quartz original so greatly trusted by the professional diving community. It has the 1,000m water resistance and helium resistance that saturation diving requires and incorporates the unique one-piece titanium case with its outer protector structure that makes its shock resistance so exceptional. It also has the accordion-style strap that ensures that the watch remains tight on the wrist at every depth. The outer protector is made of zirconia ceramic, which is seven times harder than steel, further enhancing its resistance to shock. The strap is now of high grade, strong yet flexible silicone.

As a new safety and design feature, the crown is marked with a vivid yellow “Lock” sign and an arrow to indicate the rotating direction. The winding stem is also in yellow so that the wearer can immediately notice if the crown is unlocked. The white hour markers stand out against the dark dial so that they are easy to read at depth.

The watch is equipped with Seiko’s tried and trusted quartz Caliber 7C46 which delivers a high level of torque so that it can move the powerful hands that are wide, robust and Lumibrite-coated for maximum legibility. It also delivers a reassuringly long battery life of 5 years.

The watch is a limited edition of 1200 pieces and it retails for around 2700 euros, or £2400.

Verdict: Invest in a used Grand Seiko instead, better chance of making money in the long run and arguably a more wearable watch.

Casio Add New Colours to G-Steel Range

Casio has added red and blue dial options to its G-Steel range. The watches, which feature a steel case, mineral glass crystal and resin straps have a wide variety of dial colours.

The red dial model is priced at £399 and the blue dial costs £479. Not really sure why, as it appears to have the same spec on the Casio website. 

The G-Steel watches are powered via solar cell, so you should get about ten years or so before a new cell needs to be fitted. That saves you the costs of about 3/4 battery swaps.

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.

Historic 1968 Rolex GMT Is a Bankable Investment

We love watches where you can trace the history since new, especially when that story has a military connection. So this 1968 Pepsi bezel Rolex GMT owned by Commander John Carr is a winner in terms of investment potential we think.

It is being auctioned later in May by Gardiner Houlgate and here is the spec from their website;

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT-Master ‘Pepsi’ stainless steel gentleman’s bracelet watch, ref. 1675, circa 1968, serial no. 1870xxx, ‘Pepsi’ bezel insert.

‘Swiss -T<25’ black dial with twenty-four hour hand, dot markers, Mercedes style hands, sweep centre seconds and date aperture, cal. 1570 26 jewel movement, no. D167xxx

Expanding bracelet, the inside case back stamped ‘1675’ and dated ‘I.68’, bezel 40mm diameter.

Comes with the original box, guarantee booklet and chronometer certificate, Rolex service receipt for 1989, and tag.

Commander John R Carr was born in 1912 in Patagonia. Following the death of his father John returned to Britain and served at the Dartmouth Naval College. He served the navy during the war, rising to the rank of Commander, and retired in 1962.

He then went to work for Shell in Europe as Superintendent of Diving, and was the project director of an international group investigating the effect of mixed gas diving on the ability of men to work at great depths, called Capshell.

It was a collaboration of the Italian, US and British Navies, Shell and Italian diving firm Micoperi. This project was at the forefront of modern oceanography and paved the way for the oil industry to work in the deep sea.

The medical side of the research took place in Zurich and after the project was finished John was gifted this Rolex from the team. He passed away in 2001.

ORIGINAL CONDITION, NOT RESTORED

What we like about this watch is that it has NOT been restored or refurbished with modern hands, bezel or other bits by well-meaning technicians at Rolex. Yes the crystal has scratches, the case has marks and there is some dust inside the watch, but that makes it undeniably authentic, a true piece of watch history.

Clean it now and then, have it serviced but not restored – and then store it away safely. This is better than  money in the bank, we guarantee it will almost double in value in a decade – try getting that return from NatWest.

New Quartz GS GMT Is a Bridge Too Far – See What We Did There?

Grand Seiko has a new 9F86 quartz GMT creation that adds a new dimension, so the Japanese watchmaker says, with three variants available in June. Prices start at 4450 euros – ouch.

Maybe invest in a pre-owned Grand Seiko automatic instead? Prices are rising rapidly on the pre-owned market and we think they will go higher as more collectors fall out of love with Rolex waiting lists.

Anyway, here is the word from GS on their new model;

The case is simple in design but, with its muscular shape and sharp, Zaratsu polished surfaces, it presents a powerful sports aspect. The dial has gold color details and it is offered as a limited edition of 2,021 to mark the 140th anniversary of Seiko’s foundation. Two other versions with red and blue accents join the main Grand Seiko collection.

A design perfect for both sport and daily use.

All three new creations are all quintessentially Grand Seiko in every way, combining the highest level of precision and durability with supreme legibility and the quiet yet instantly recognizable brilliance that is the Grand Seiko hallmark.

The case ridges are sharp and crisp. The bezels are ceramic and so are almost impervious to scratches. Every detail is fashioned to enhance the legibility of the time and the precision that Caliber 9F86 delivers.

The two-tone dial ring allows the night and day hours indicated by the GMT hand of matching color to be read instantly. Legibility at night is ensured by the use of two colors of LumiBrite: green for the hour hand, minute hand and indexes, and blue for the GMT hand. The ceramic bezel allows the time to be read instantly and accurately in the GMT 24 hour format.

The hour hand is independently adjustable so that the precision is maintained even when adjusting the time to a second time zone. A date with an instant change mechanism, a sapphire crystal, 20 bar water resistance and magnetic resistance of 16,000 A/m complete the specifications. Even with this high functionality, the case diameter is a modest 40mm, making the watch perfect for sport and daily use.

The blue creation features a deep blue dial and bezel to match the bright blue color accents of the dial. All three watches will be available in June 2021 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retail stores worldwide.