Tag Archives: Swiss

Looking For a Luxury Alarm Clock?

If you are then this new one from Mondaine should be just the ticket. In grey, green or blue dial colours, it has that Swiss railway vibe that Mondaine fans know and love. Plus it retails at $230. Yep. Not cheap. Just like a rail ticket in Switzerland in fact.

For that sum you get an aluminium case, a stand, or you can wall mount it. Plus a quartz movement.

Yes, it looks very nice. But it’s one for the fanbois. Or fangoirls.

More here.

 

 

Ball Engineer 1917: GMT For Modern Explorers

The latest from Ball Watches in Switzerland, celebrating that polar explorer chap Shackleton. Here’s the word;

The 41mm Engineer III Endurance 1917 GMT features our Manufacture GMT Caliber RRM7337-C – a true GMT chronometer – wrapped in a 904L stainless steel case and shining with micro gas tube luminosity.
Three complementary models are also available, each designed with unique features yet united by incomparable brightness and high-quality build.
Limited to 1000 pieces each, the series is now available for pre-order until 01 June 2022 at an exclusive price. The entry level is £1260 and the range topper in green is £2190 on a steel bracelet.
Our fave is the ice blue dial model, which fits that polar theme of course. Nice cyclops on the date and dare we say it, that blue is er..Tiffanyesque? So yeah, you get that latest Rolex vibe without the waiting list.
Verdict; worth a look on pre-order at £1990, as this is a COSC grade GMT, Swiss made too. Rivals include the TAG Aquaracer GMT at about 2K, the Oris Aquis GMT, maybe the Breitling Avenger GMT has more investment potential long term, although it retails at about £3500 new?
More from Ball here.

OK, Your Watch Won’t Work With a New Battery, Now What?

This can be a common problem and there are plenty of reasons why the watch doesn’t want to start ticking again.

Let’s start with the basics and assume you had a go yourself and don’t really know what you’re doing.

One.

You fitted wrong battery. Easily done, for example a 364 or a 377 will both fit into a typical quartz movement battery slot, but the 364 is slimmer so it might not make as good a contact. Unlikely in most cases, but more typical errors include trying a little 346 or a tiny 379 into a watch that needs a beefier battery.

The serial number of the battery is on the old one, but don’t assume the last fitter placed the correct battery in there. Some Casio watches have two batteries, plus they need to have tweezers placed onto the contact points after fitting to reset the movement – usually the contact points are marked but you might need a loupe or magnifying glass to see them.

So, always Google the watch make n model and track down the CORRECT battery serial number. Some have SR numbers, but others are just called 377, 373, 341 etc. Fit a Sony, Renata or decent quality brand – cheap pound shop batteries will not last long.

Two.

Dead battery oxidised. You can see this oxide residue sometimes, a fluffy greenish dust will be lurking inside the battery slot. Occasionally, an old battery might split. Once that happens the movement is usually dead, game over.

If you have some petroleum ether then use tweezers to drop a little onto the movement, and carefully clean the battery contact with ether. Use a blower to try and get dust specks out. About one time in ten this might get the movement alive again, depends how long the dead battery has been rotting away for…

Three.

You touched the capacitor or battery contact arm and broke it. Again easily done, especialy if you like changing batteries with kitchen knives and £1.99 screwdrivers from the local 8-til late shop.

You see the copper wire coil in the photo below? DO NOT TOUCH IT. It really is that simple.

In general, modern quartz movements fail to start again after a battery change because moisture has got inside. Sometimes, as with the vintage Omega above, it can be 30 years of dirt from an old guy’s wrist, that sneaks in under the snap-on caseback – sweat too. The silicone caseback seal can sometimes rot away and fragments get inside the movement. Nasty.

Another point worth noting on older quartz watches is that they are partly mechanical, they have gears and jewels.

These jewels have a single drop of oil fitted when new, but the oil dries out. If not serviced by a watchmaker, the staff bores a little hole in the jewel, or at least encounters resistance. Game over, watch doesn’t go – dirt and dry jewels can be a fatal combo.

PROCEED CAREFULLY IF YOU SEE A STRAP

OK study the photo below; this is a typical Swiss watch with a retaining contact strap across the battery. See the little slot at one end? That has to be screwed down in EXACTLY the right position, just after you ease the stepped end under the end of the battery slot.

It’s immensely fiddly work, so easy to lose the tiny screw, or damage the retaining strap. As a bodge – not in an Omega – I have cut n shaped a sliver of base metal to do the same job in an old Swiss quartz and incredibly, it worked.

LIMITED LIFESPAN & SHOCKS

One last point; any quartz watch has a limited lifespan, even a prestige Swiss movement. The electrical power from a battery is evened out via the capacitor and it vibrates a quartz crystal at a regular rate – that’s how the second hand ticks. After 20-25 years, most of the crystals stop vibrating, yes, even in an Omega.

So that’s something to think about when investing in a collectable old Swiss or Japanese quartz watch. It could just die and there isn’t a damn thing you can do, because the factory will not be making any spare quartz movements for vintage watches from the 70s-90s.

If you drop a watch it can damage the movement beyond repair too. This can be a typical problem for cheaply made Chinese fashion watches, some of which haven’t even survived being bounced about in a padded bag in the post in my experience.

Hope that helps and if you are keen on watch repair, then invest in good tools, powerful lights, plus a X10 head loupe.

Moon Swatch Regret? Try a Saturn Moon Dust Instead

if you were bidding on a Moonswatch on eBay and didn’t want to pay £500 or more, don’t worry, there are other space themed watches out there.

Some of them have Swiss auto movements too, like this one.

LIV watches are known for bold colours and chunky cases and the Saturn V Moondust ticks those boxes. It has a sort of textured finish on the dial, and we love the blue one best. There are steel case variants, plus green, bronze, black, grey and another blue dial option called Comet Blue as well.

The steel and grey is kinda dark side of the moon too.

Here’s the word from LIV;

The SATURN V MOON DUST BRONZE NEPTUNE BLUE features a unique granulated texture blue dial, an Elaboré grade, 26-jewel Swiss automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve, date window, a High-grade bronze case with skeleton case-back, a scratch-resistant & anti-reflective sapphire crystal, a push-down crown, and water resistance of 100 meters.

Let’s be honest, in these time of globalist organised hyper inflation, getting a Swiss powered auto watch for £638 is a bit of a bargain, so we think this is great value for money.

A bronze case is a welcome bonus spec-wise at this price point too, many bronze watches with Swiss movements start at about £850-£900.

If you opt for a steel case Saturn V it just gets better with an RRP of £477. That’s less than Christopher Ward money and for some people the more modern, sharper edged LIV design might win out too.

More here.

 

Milus Snow Star Boreal Green

Milus watches has sent us info on their Snow Star model, which is available in a striking Boreal green dial version. It’s just launched, priced at 1690 CHF. Here’s the word;

The robust 904L steel casing gleams with its mirror polished finishing. The sunray brushed green dial traces the path of “Dauphine” hour hands over hand-laid indexes.

The elongated case blends seamlessly into harmonious contours. The choice of a leather beige strap leaves the spotlight for the Snow Star itself. A brilliant stroke of red to the 3 o’clock date counter sharpens its character.

The ETA 2892 movement, a watchmaker’s jewel, gives the watch an ultimate sense of nobility.

INSPIRED BY THE AURORA BOREALIS
The color green refers to the Boreal forests that can be only found in the northern hemisphere of Earth, mainly between latitudes 50° and 60° N. The bright and bold “Boreal Green” dial encapsulates the uniqueness of the green polar lights and makes you feel as the traveler exploring the beauty of Nordic nature. 
Thanks to its sunray-finish, the Boreal Green dial captures the light, creating a characteristic subtle glow that changes with each movement of the wrist.
More info here.

Armin Strom: Why Does The Bear Follow The Salmon?

The latest funky engineering from Armin Strom features a salmon coloured dial, limited edition of just five pieces. Yep five. Like a bear stalking the salmon leap, wealthy watch collectors are loving this intricate workmanship.

Here’s the word;

After the“Sky Blue” and “Sea Green” editions of its innovative Pure Resonance model, Armin Strom celebrates the golden age of precision chronometry with a more traditional but equally striking “Salmon” guillochédial, handcrafted by Kari Voutilainen in a limited edition of only five pieces.

The physical phenomenon of resonance has long been a source of intrigue and fascination for watchmakers. It allows for a more regular timekeeping rate by synchronizing two balance wheels that oscillate in opposite directions at the same time. Even in modern watchmaking, watches incorporating the physical phenomenon are few and far between.

In fact, only ahandful of watchmakers in the entire history of watchmaking have attempted to harness the potential of this physical phenomenon, with varying levels of success and reproducible reliability.

IT’S ANTI-SHOCK, BUT NEXT LEVEL

With its ground-breakingand patented Resonance Clutch Spring, Armin Strom has succeeded where other watchmakers could not. The result of years of intensive research by ClaudeGreisler and the Armin Strom manufacture, it ingeniously incorporates the physical phenomenon of resonance by directly connecting two hairsprings for the fastest and most regular resonant state ever witnessed in a wristwatch, resulting in exceptional chronometric stability that is much more impervious to shocks and positional rate variances than traditionally built movements.

Lavishly hand-finished throughout with bevelled and polished edges and wide côtes-de-Genève stripes, this special edition is further embellished with a coppery-rose “salmon”coloured guilloché engraved dial, handcrafted by the celebrated independent and artisanal watchmaker Kari Voutilainen’s atelier using a traditional manual rose-engine lathe for a truly lavish touch.

The salmon colour and radiant guilloché pattern add a touch of old-worldchronometry to an otherwise cutting-edge piece of creative and highly technical independentwatchmaking.

On pre-order now, price is £53,000. More info from Armin Strom. 

Is This The Smoothest Christopher Ward Yet?

Say hello to the new Christopher Ward Aquitaine. We reckon this is one of the smoothest looking watches the UK brand has produced. Very sleek, balanced lines, a beautiful finish on the bezel, plus a bronze case variant too.

And all for that traditional value price. You can’t argue with a bronze dive watch with COSC Swiss movement for around £1100 these days, it will soon cost that much to service your Audi A3 diesel.

The entry level green Aquitaine is £905 and is an all-rounder, here’s the word from Christopher Ward;

“Aquitaine is a significant step up from the original C65 range. It dives deeper: water resistance is up significantly, from 150m to 200m. It suits more people: the reduced lug-to-lug length of this latest 41mm iteration of the Light Catcher case makes it comfortable on nearly every wrist.”

See-thru caseback and Sellita SW200 movement inside by the way.

BLUE AND BRONZE

Our fave of the new Aquitaine trio is the blue dial bronze model. Retails at £1105 and features a COSC version of the SW200 automatic movement. Sapphire crystal, 200m, see-thru caseback, leather strap, NATO or silicone options.

The factory claim that the new bezel on the Aquitaine is the most scratch resistant they have ever produced. The lume  on the hands and markers looks amazing too.

Watch the promo video here;

GMT VERSION

The white dial GMT Aquitaine is another versatile 41mm watch that has a little bit of luxury about it. Like the other Aquitaine models, it has a domed crystal for extra visual punch.

Here’s the word from Christopher Ward;

“The new Sellita SW330-2 is an alternative to the ETA 2893, and a movement that provides both superb accuracy and GMT timing.

Just 4.1mm thick, the SW330-2 has 25 jewels and beats at a rate of 28,800 per hour with a power reserve of up to 56 hours. The central GMT hand can be set independently from the hour and seconds hands.”

That one retails at £1265. All three are on pre order for May delivery, more info here.

 

Baume & Mercier Classima Just Lacks Pizazz

Baume and Mercier are a slightly offbeat brand for most watch collectors in the UK. Yes, they are Swiss, part  of the giant Richemont Group. But Baume lacks the luxury cachet of IWC, JLC, Panerai or Cartier. It’s seen as a starter brand, one for the poorer watch fans.

OK, the Classima model is relatively inexpensive, with models starting at £1650. Using a Sellita SW200 movement helps reduce costs. The new for 2022 Classima is a 42mm all-rounder, in black, pastel green, or a wine dark red dial colour.

Three hander, date window, steel case. Roman numerals for that old school look. It’s a decent watch, but yeah, for that money you can buy a striking Indie brand watch with the Sellita SW200 inside it, that has more features, more depth resistance…more style frankly.

When you look at what Tissot are doing this year, or Rado’s latest Captain Cook models, you can see that £1650 is better spent elsewhere.

Here’s the blurb from B&M;

The Classima is the round watch with perfect proportions that is so delightful to wear that it becomes a second skin. It is a classic that has been perennially fashionable since 2004, and Baume & Mercier is delighted to reveal trendy new looks for it each year. Innovative materials are combined to create contrast, while various fresh colors offer a creative touch.

The Baume & Mercier Design Studio plays with the composition, experimenting and making special variations on the Classima collection each year. The Classima is back in 2022 with four new self-winding watches for men and women, to mix or match. Round without being focused on shape, modern yet original, elegant yet casual: with the Classima, it’s all about enjoying yourself. The Classima, the ideal first Swiss timepiece for watch newcomers.

A STREET STYLE LOOK INSPIRED BY THE NATURE

Baume & Mercier revisits the street style codes in a play of materials and timeless shades. Khaki is in the spotlight, with a versatile palette ranging from sand beige to olive green, offering a natural effect that adapts to every style.  With two large-sized models for a casual yet refined look, Classima explores this trend with elegance and understatement: khaki and sand hues, and a mixture of canvas, slate and steel… The Brand unveils two looks that will become essential for the summer season, evoking adventure and nature.

Each watch features a 42 mm polished steel case with a screwed back and a self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve.

Ball Engineer Endurance: Spirit of 1917

The latest from Ball is the Engineer Endurance III, with the usual gas tube lume. There are four variations of this watch, so you can buy the base model for £1260, or go large at £2190 for the TMT 42mm 1917 edition, which has a temp gauge on the dial.

Handy for those polar expeditions, or as people in Scotland call it, going oot daeing the January sales.

Here’s the word from Ball.

Trapped by the frozen sea, but not by fear, Sir Ernest Shackleton led his stranded crew for almost two antarctic years. As his leadership, courage and optimism continue to captivate explorers around the world, we’re proud to introduce our second series inspired by his legacy.
The 41mm Engineer III Endurance 1917 GMT features our Manufacture GMT Caliber RRM7337-C – a true GMT chronometer – wrapped in a 904L stainless steel case and shining with micro gas tube luminosity.
Three complementary models are also available, each designed with unique features yet united by incomparable brightness and high-quality build.
Limited to 1000 pieces each, the series is now available for pre-order until 01 June 2022 at an exclusive price.

 

Which Is The Best Speedmaster 38 Model? Orbis Blue

Is the blue Orbis edition of the 2022 Omega Speedmaster 38 range the pick of the crop?

We only ask the question after window shopping their website and something just draws us to the Orbis at £4550. First of all, it’s a two shades of blue dial, and blue remains the most popular dial colour amongst watch fans.

So it isn’t a quirky, left-field choice like beige or gold, you just know someone will always PX a blue Omega in the future if needed.

Great contrast with the sub-dials too.

Next, you have the Co-axial Cal 3300 movement inside, with a healthy 52 hours of power. No, not as impressive as the Powermatic 80 in terms of reserve, but the longevity of the co-axial is one of its most appealing traits. George Daniels designed the co-ax escapement to make use of lower running speeds, which in turn means long life – and longer service intervals. It’s all good.

OK, so let’s look at the advantages of the Sedna gold variations; yes, the gold content adds some value to the watch. But even a solid 18K gold watch case probably scraps at between £600-£800 in the near future, depending on the price of gold bullion 2030-2040. So an 18K case doesn’t really add 10K of value to the watch. If it did, the watch would weigh about 6 ounces extra over the steel version.

The downside of owning a gold watch is that stupid drug-addled thieves think ITIS worth £14000, so they want to steal it using violence and then sell it to their dealer mates for 5K in cash plus a load of sniff.

So for us, the steel Speedmaster 38 Orbis, in stunning blue, is enough of a risk as regards wearing it openly at the races, weddings and business meetings.

Future classic. More here.