Tag Archives: specs

Aragon’s Divemaster II Says Go Big, or Go Home

Indie watch brand Aragon has launched its Divemaster II model just a few days ago. This model features some very tasty superlume on the dial, plus a wide range of dial colours; blue, orange, white, asa well as abalone and meteorite designs.

With a 200m depth rating, steel case, heat-treated K1 crystal and a supersize 45mm or humungous 50mm case diameter for those really big wrists, this watch makes quite a statement. Especially as we spotted it online for just $129, plus shipping. I mean, how is that possible?

Yep, it’s that Black Friday discount thing, so don’t fight it.

More here. 

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

New Grand Seikos: Beauty, Simplicity & Yeah, Expensive

Is a Grand Seiko worth £54,000? We only ask the question because as great as a Grand Seiko is, we are at Patek money and the watch market is Swiss dominated. Maybe it’s a great investment, maybe not.

Anyway that expensive GS model is the star in a range of new models from the famed Japansese watch house of horology, with some more affordable models on offer for us mere mortals on average wages and ever rising taxes.

That GS at £54,000 is the Hi Beat, Annual Rings, (above) made from platinum and limited to just 140 pieces by the way. In case the Sultan of Brunei is a regualr reader of NWC magazine.

Other GS models are available on pre-order right now, including a very nice Mechanical Seasons: Summertime edition, with a kind of light blue, folded linen effect on the dial. Seiko says;

“The dial of this watch is inspired by early Summertime in Japan just after the rainy season when the refreshing southern wind breezily ripples on the sea and the lakes to mark the start of high summer.”

This one is relatively affordable at £6860 by the way.

Finally, this is our fave from teh new GS model line-up, the Spring Drive Suwa Lake . This blue dial watch is a classic, and very much an investment piece or grail watch for the average collector with 3-5K per year to devote to their watch obsession.

A 40mm case, updated power reserve of 120 hours, yes 120 hours, plus a see-thru caseback so you can admire that exquisite workmanship every month or so.

There is a great deal to be said for owning a Spring Drive rather than a Rolex Sub. Why? Well in some ways it is a purists choice because you are investing in the watch technology of today, not a refinement of 1950s dive watch tech. That marriage of electronic power and mainspring drive is a clever tour de force in miniature, rather like the gear-driven V4 motor powering the first 1980s VFR750 from Honda.

OK we digress, what’s the pice of the Suwa? £8200, which is bang on Rolex Sub territory.

Find out more at Seiko’s UK site here. 

 

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.

Octon Watches: 300m Dive Spec For Under £200? That’ll Do.

We had an email in yesterday alerting the Northern Watch Co magazine to Octon watches in Sweden.

So glad they did. Amazing value watches, many are auto models, with the trusty Sellita SW200 or Seiko NH35 movement inside, sapphire crystal and a 300m rating. Prices start at just £181 – yep under £200.

That really compares well with Indie brands who are charging nearly £700 for the same spec dive watches. Let’s not get started on Swiss brands at £1400 and above, which you could argue are more about the perceived value of the brand name than the actual dive spec of the watch.

OK, let’s be honest, you won’t get many people wanting to bid on your Octon watch if you decide to sell it on eBay to fund another purchase two years down the line. But if you just love watches that have reliable features and a range of bright dial options for swimming n diving, then Octon delivers.

Better yet, you can build you own watch, choosing dial, bracelet, strap, movement and bezel. Here is one we did earlier;

We love that Build-A-Bear online shop feature – it’s just like Bamford London but without the premium price tag.

More here.

Doxa WhitePearl Is a Cool, Understated Number

We love the super clean, pure white looks of this Doxa dive watch. Some dive watches have bells n whistles, big chunky cases, or feature more lume on the dial, hands and bezel than a Las Vegas showbar. But this is just…snow leopard cool.

Swiss automatic movement, 38 hour reserve, quirky 19mm lug width.

You can personalise the strap with a coloured rubber option in orange, blue, red, yellow etc, or go for the steel, beads of rice links. Retail is $990 on this one.

Here’s the spec from Doxa;

Unveiled at Baselworld 2019, this 3-hand diver’s watch has a case made of highest-quality 316L stainless steel. At a diameter of 42 mm, the SUB 200 is topped by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and the distinctive curvature of the domed plexiglass used back in the day.

Waterproof to a depth of 200 meters (20 ATM), the model features a unidirectional rotating bezel. All the elements providing dive-relevant information, except the bezel, have a Super‑LumiNova® luminescent coating. The bracelet is 316L stainless steel and features a folding clasp with the DOXA fish symbol.

Grand Seiko, With a Sky Full Of Stars

The word from Grand Seiko who have built a watch that kinda looks hewn from solid platinum by hand;

In celebration of the 140th anniversary of the foundation of the company, Grand Seiko presents a new Spring Drive masterpiece made by the elite team of watchmakers at the Micro Artist Studio in Grand Seiko’s manufacturing facility in Shiojiri, located in the same Shinshu region as Achi.

The watch will be available as a limited edition of 50 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques in August 2021.

The blue of the dial has a remarkable depth that is accentuated by the quiet and delicate sparkle of what appear to be distant stars. A unique manufacturing and finishing technique combining stamping, plating and painting gives the dial a different aspect at each and every viewing angle, just as does the sky above Achi.

The Platinum 950 case is carefully engraved with a pattern which is replicated in different directions on the Zaratsu polished case, again capturing the exquisite order and ever changing aspect of Achi’s starry skies.

The watch presents a refined and slim profile with a diameter of 38.5mm and depth of 9.8mm.The hour and minute hands and hour markers are made of 14k white gold to ensure that their brilliance endures for decades. The Grand Seiko name, the minute markers and all the other markings are etched into the dial.

Every aspect of the movement is designed without compromise. The power reserve indicator is on the back side of the movement next to the barrel whose shape echoes that of the bellflower that is the symbol of Shiojiri.

Those blue screws look like a constellation of stars on the movement. Nice touch.

The rims of the bridges, the holes for the rubies and the screws are all expertly hand polished to a perfect mirror finish and the tempered blue screws stand out in contrast to the hairline finish of the bridges to heighten the perception of the perfection of the engineering. The caliber also incorporates an 18k yellow gold plaque on the lower bridge, which carries the engraved words “Micro Artist” but which can, if the owner so wishes, be replaced with a word of his or her choice.

The outstanding 84 hour power reserve of Caliber 9R02 is realized thanks to the Dual Spring Barrel, in which two mainsprings are set in parallel within a single barrel, and the Torque Return System.

When the mainspring has been fully wound and the torque output is at its highest, approximately 30% of the available power is not needed to maintain the precision of the watch and is in effect wasted in a normal movement.

The Torque Return System uses this energy to rewind the mainspring, resulting in an increase in the power reserve. In Caliber 9R02, this system is activated for 48 hours after the mainspring has been fully wound.

The price for perfection? A mere 80,000 euros.

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.

Monsieur Watches Helm One Dive is on Kick

We love Kickstarter watches and this Monsieur Helm One dive model has got some cool features.

Let’s start with the lume which is kinda different in that it isn’t just applied to the hour markers and hands. The distinctive logo diver’s helmet pattern is also lit up at night. Looks great we think and made possible via a sandwich dial so the lume shines through the top plate y’see. Clever detail.

Inside the 41mm steel case there is a Seiko NH38 cal movement, which spells reliability. Sapphire crystal, 300m depth rating, see-thru caseback and signed crown add neat touches.

Also, the bracelet has a clever little ratchet lever, so you can adjust the foldover clasp without using a watchmaker’s pin pusher tool. Handy.

Price is £178 on the early bird deal, which is great value, even with 20% VAT and import duty on top.

Moere here.