Indie brand Raven has brought back the Trekker Vintage model, to celebate ten years in biz. Not a bad achievement for any microbrand and the anniversary Vintage watch looks like a quality job too.
The two-tone bracelet, black dial variant is our fave, but there are blue and yellow dial options too, plus a gold tone bracelet version with black dial. Miyota auto movement inside, 39mm steel case, 300m depth rated, ceramic bezel, sapphire box crystal etc.
Contrasting second hand, date window, plus red triangle on the bezel helps mark the air time on those underwater excursions. It’s a well thought out watch – nice big crown too.
You know the drill and for $350 deposit, with total prices starting at $700 for the Trekker Vintage it is worth a look given the high level of spec.
The 1967 44GS was the watch that first embodied the design code known as the “Grand Seiko Style”, the set of nine principles which gave Grand Seiko its distinctive look and which still inspires every new creation.
Now, 55 years on from its first appearance, the 44GS design is commemorated with a limited edition manual-winding watch whose slender case profile pays full respect to the “Grand Seiko Style” and whose dial is inspired by the beauty of spring in northern Japan, where all Grand Seiko mechanical watches are made.
Blessed with four distinctive seasons, Japan’s natural world offers a rich variety of sights that are both ephemeral and lastingly memorable. One such is Sakura-kakushi, the brief moment in spring when, in northern Japan, snow and cherry blossom co-exist. The dial of this new creation is a delicate pink with a slight silver hue that, together, perfectly capture the moment when the cherry blossom peeks through the snow as it shimmers and begins to melt in the spring sunshine.
The unique quality of this watch is that it combines a slim 36.5mm profile with all the characteristics that made the 44GS such a memorable and lasting design. To make this possible, every aspect of the watch’s construction was considered afresh. The case was designed to take full advantage of the slimness of Grand Seiko’s manual-winding Caliber 9S64, while retaining the flat surfaces and sharp angles of the original 44GS. The bezel, indexes and hands are slender to match the case design, creating a fresh yet classical Grand Seiko look.
The movement is assembled by hand by the craftsmen and women in the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, and the case is Zaratsu polished, also by hand, to give the distortion-free surfaces that have always been a defining characteristic of the “Grand Seiko Style.”
This new addition to the Heritage Collection will be available in June as a limited edition of 1,200 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide.
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition
Driving system: manual-winding
Vibrations: 28,880 vibrations per hour (8 beats per second)
Accuracy: +5 to -3 seconds per day (mean daily rate)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Number of jewels: 24
Stainless steel case and bracelet
Box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Three-fold clasp with push button release
Water resistance: 10 bar
Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
Diameter: 36.5mm, Thickness: 11.6mm
Limited edition of 1,200
You have to admire Omega for taking the plunge in 2022 by revamping and re-imagining, some long-in-the-tooth designs, plus adding some bold – and gold – colour options too.
Take the Speedmaster for example, which some might say needs to move on beyond its trad black & white dial design.
Few people alive now can recall where they were when man first landed on the moon in 1969. That’s a fact, it’s history. So we say, keep the monochrome variant as a Speedmaster Heritage, but let’s see some real innovative takes on this classic chrono design instead.
The new 18K moonshine gold material is a neat piece of marketing, but at heart, this is about taking the Speedmaster to the AP Royal Oak price level. At £22,000 for the green dial and £32,000 for the gold dial model, these are expensive watches for those who have the confidence to wear them openly in today’s crime-ridden UK.
It looks fabulous of course, with a co-axial movement inside and wonderful detailing onthe case too. But one minor quibble; should a watch retailing at £32,700 have the same 50M depth resistance as a £50 Sekonda?
Let’s move on.
TALKING OF ROLEX, CHECK OUT THE AQUA OYSTER
No, it isn’t called an Aqua Oyster, but the 38mm Seamaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer (quite a title there) Aqua Terra does have the same clean, minimalist lines of that famous Rolex.
Also interesting that the 2022 Omega Aqua T Chronometers mostly have kind of pastel, almost faded dial colours too.
But there is a strong, bold red, which Omega describe as terracotta, which is our fave of the sunray dial selection. Inside this watch is the Cal 8800 movement, which is anti-magnetic, with co-axial escapement and a silicon balance spring. Built to last we reckon, and there are 34mm versions for ladies, or just those who want an old school 70s diameter watch.
The 38mm Aqua T Chronometer range retails from £5420.
ULTRA DEEP & OTHER DELIGHTS
We covered the Ultra Deep earlier in the year and again, this watch looks striking different from other conventional dive watches in the Omega range. Had to really, or the case would have fractured at 1000m…
But before we move on let’s have a shout out for the Constellation in its new burgundy colours, which we shall dub the `Root Beer.’ Yeah, not original but it works for us.
This has a real Odeon cinema, 1940s elegance about it, like the plush deep seats you once got in the Circle part of the huge UK picture houses of old. Splash of Sedna gold here n there, 41mm case size, ceramic bezel and a see-thru caseback. Classic we reckon, retails at £7840.
There is a sharp blue/white Constellation which is about two grand less by the way, well worth thinking about if you’re a fan of the sub-brand. For us, a vintage 60s Constellation in 9ct gold, pie-pan dial, remains a true collectors piece that will never date.
Be interesting to see if Omega could remix that pie-pan vibe with a Constellation heritage model, that takes the existing Globemaster model, drops the month script and has a sharp mix of gold and champagne dial retro appeal. Just an idea.
You can register your inetrest in the latest Omega models at their website.
Yes the mighty Honda DAX is back, just in time for fuel price hikes, queues at pumps and general commuter misery. Relive those 70s moments with the economical DAX 125; it’s funky, frugal and will become a modern classic. In fact Honda should make a retro styled watch to match the DAX.
No, it isn’t watch news, but we like it, so the DAX’s return to Europe gets a mention.
Here’s the word from Honda;
After an absence of 41yrs, the Honda Dax is set to finally return to Europe, joining the Monkey and the MSX125 Grom in Honda’s unique mini-bike line-up.
With its iconic pressed steel T-shaped frame, no other motorcycle, big or small, cuts the same shape as the Dax. The frame, which extends from under the seat to the chrome handlebars, is reminiscent of a Dachshund with its short legs and long body, which led to the naming of the original ST50 Dax in 1969.
The 23YM Dax keeps the unmistakeable, iconic look of the original, with the frame (which also houses the fuel tank) providing plenty of strength for two up riding. Suspension is taken care of by 31mm USD forks matched to twin rear shocks.
Completing the classic look, these are paired to blacked out 12in mini-bike wheels, complete with fat, balloon-like tyres which allow effortless around-town agility. Lighting is full LED and the Dax features a striking, compact negative LCD display, chrome handlebars and pillion grab rail.
Delivering smooth power and torque from the EURO5 compliant 124cc SOHC two valve, air- cooled engine, the Dax features a centrifugal clutch and four speed gearbox for relaxed, enjoyable riding, solo or two up.
The 23YM Dax will be available in two dynamic colour options: Pearl Nebula Red and Pearl Cadet Grey, complete with both a classic Honda Wing logo and a model logo featuring the eponymous canine.
Swiss brand IWC celebrate the mighty Spitfire fighter plane, which many historians argue was crucial in the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940.
There’s a lot to be said for the Messerschmidt bf109 of course and the Me262 jet could well have turned the tide for the Nazi regime, had they been able to marshal enough resources to produce the high speed fighter in vast numbers. Probably too controversial to celebrate those brilliant aircraft nowadays by making a themed watch but NWC mag embraces all history. Otherwise how can you learn from it?
Anyway, what about the latest IWC watch? Here’s the word;
The Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (Ref. IW329701) features a case, case back and crown made from lightweight and robust grade 5 titanium.
The dark grey matte colour results from an elaborate surface treatment in which the components are first polished and then sandblasted. The design of the black dial was inspired by historical observation watches. Only the minutes and seconds are printed in white on the outer ring, while the hours appear smaller and in a more discreet grey print on the inner ring.
Traditionally, this layout made it easier for pilots and navigators to read the minutes and seconds at just a glance. They needed this information to perform tasks like celestial navigation during visual flights. The distinctive field watch design is complemented with a brown calfskin leather strap with contrast stitching.
The Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (Ref. IW329702) features a bronze case and crown as well as a titanium case back. Alongside copper, the bronze used by IWC also contains aluminium and iron.
This specific composition makes the alloy around 50 per cent harder than standard bronze. Additional characteristics include the material’s exceptional biocompatibility and its ability to develop a unique patina over time, which will give each timepiece a distinct character and look of its own.
The warm colour of the bronze harmonises with the military green dial and the gold-plated hands. Both the hands and hour markers have been coated with a luminescent material to facilitate readability at night. The timepiece is fitted with a green buffalo leather strap with a unique texture. The two new Spitfire models feature IWC’s EasXCHANGE system which allows the wearer to quickly and easily change the strap at the touch of a button without any additional tools.
Several alternative strap options made from calfskin and rubber are also available as accessories.
The model has the 82100 cal automatic movement and there’s an extended 6-year warranty available if you register the watch. We couldn’t spot a price on the IWC website but let’s take a guess at around £7600.
The latest from Grand Seiko is a winner; typically, clean, understated yet brilliant design. An impressive 55 hours of power reserve too.
Here’s the word;
The 1967 44GS was the watch that first embodied the design code known as the “Grand Seiko Style”, the set of nine principles which gave Grand Seiko its distinctive look and which still inspires every new creation. Now, 55 years on from its first appearance, the 44GS is commemorated in a new Hi-Beat 36000 GMT watch with a titanium case.
A hi-beat GMT caliber and a high-intensity titanium case
The case and bracelet are in high-intensity titanium, a material that is about 30% lighter than stainless steel and highly resistant to both scratches and corrosion. The titanium has a bright aspect and the case is Zaratsu polished to give the distortion-free surfaces that are a defining characteristic of the Grand Seiko Style.
The caliber is the hi-beat 9S86. It offers 55 hours of power reserve and an accuracy rate of + 5 to –3 seconds a day. The GMT hand and the 24-hour inner bezel ring allow the time in a second time zone to be read with ease and the hour hand can be adjusted independently without compromising the precision of the watch. The white dial has a soft sheen against which the GS and GMT letters stand out in blue as clearly as the tempered blue GMT hand. The hour, minute and GMT hands carry Lumibrite and the dual-curved sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating on its inner surface.
In 2014, a watch with this same caliber won the “Petite Aiguille” prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, bringing it and the Grand Seiko Style to a wider than ever audience.
The oscillating weight features the Grand Seiko lion emblem and is in a gold tone that is achieved through an anodic oxidation process in which the titanium is subjected to electrolysis so as to generate an oxide film. The color is determined according to the light refraction index by adjusting the thickness of the oxide film.
The watch will be available as a limited edition of 1,200 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in January 2022.
The Grand Seiko Style. An expression of the traditional Japanese sense of beauty.
The Grand Seiko Style reflects a subtle and restrained sense of beauty that is essentially Japanese. It is, however, also highly distinctive and instantly recognizable, just as the creator of the 1967 44GS intended when he established the principles that define every Grand Seiko watch.
The Grand Seiko Style is a design language of simplicity, purity and practicality and reflects exactly the essential characteristics of Grand Seiko: precision, legibility, beauty and ease of use so that form follows function with a special harmony.
Another central characteristic of the Grand Seiko Style is the subtle use of light, reflection and shadow, which is such a cherished feature of many traditional Japanese art forms. The case facets are Zaratsu-polished by hand to create distortion-free surfaces, enabling the case ridges to be crisp and sharp.
The hands and indexes are diamond-cut so that they offer high legibility even in low ambient light. The dials are clear and easy to read. Because of these characteristics, each and every Grand Seiko has a special “sparkle of quality” and, together, these design principles create a clear, unique and visually attractive aesthetic that says: “This is Grand Seiko.”
Retail price is about $8500, which is roughly £6,425, depending on the exchange rate when it arrives in GS stores.
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.
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
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.
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.