Tag Archives: Swiss

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.

Boldr Odyssey Regatta Ltd Edition

The latest from Boldr, who have a variant on their flagship Valjoux 7750 model;

Built to accompany its wearer on the toughest regatta races, this is our first ever yachting chronograph watch, and like all Odysseys, it’s a beast on your wrist. Combining modern & classic elements meticulously designed for performance and durability, this stainless steel sailor features a 10-minute count back disk-dial.

At its heart lies an ETA Valjoux 7750 Chronograph Movement for seamless timekeeping while skimming the waves or exploring 500m under the surface. The dial is classic black & white with stylised boat-shaped skeleton hands to maintain the highest possible legibility. It also boasts a unique 2-in-1 bi-directional bezel function that pairs a 15-minute marker option with a specialized nautical miles tachymeter.

It’s on a pre-orde deal at $1299, plus import duty and VAT, so it isn’t a cheap model. You can find the Valjoux 7750 inside other chrono watches for less.

This is a statement watch, at 45mm across and sits 18mm high – for those with big chunky arms and wrists, it will be an option.

More here.


New Ocean Explorer From Ball Watches

The latest from Ball Watches;
Our newest tool watch is made for the dreamers, the fighters, the outsiders. Those born to voyage beyond the horizon, ready to brave any storm.
The Roadmaster Ocean Explorer equips you with a rotating external bezel that indicates high and low tides for a two-week period, while our in-house movement module reveals spring and neap tides alongside an illuminated moon phase indicator.
Designed to move against the current, it delivers toughness presented in a 41mm stainless steel case with robust water resistance. Its unique character and performance combine to create the ultimate watch for the open seas.
Limited to 1,000 pieces each. Pre-order now at a limited-time price until 1 september 2021 of £1980.

Yema Summer Sale – Up To 30% Off Some Models

French brand Yema has some summer sale offers on right now, which end in about 12 days’ time.

We like the idea of 30% off the Superman Steel Grey Bronze, which is 990 euros RRP. Plus a 30% discount on the Superman Heritage, which has 300m dive resistance, classic black dial/steel case design and a Swiss quartz movement. At 39mm it’s an everyday watch you can wear easily. 490 euros RRP, so that comes to 343 euros on our calculator.

Even with UK import duty and VAT on top, that’s still a decent deal we think.

More at www.yema.com

Ball Engineer Master II: Understated & Underwater

The Ball Engineer Master II has a clean simplicity about it that we love at NWC mag.

In blue or black dial options, it looks like a perfect tool watch. Kinda understated yes, but still ticking all the right boxes. It’s on pre-order right now, with an October delivery date. Pre-order price is £1950.

Here’s some info from Ball Watches;

Designed for the ultimate feeling of freedom that comes with exploring Earth’s last frontier, we introduce the Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer.
The remarkable internal diving bezel can easily be manipulated under water when timing the safety stop. In darkness, it shines with micro gas tubes and ensures elapsed time is always visible. The automatic chronometer delivers outstanding precision as deep as 300 meters – packed inside a 42mm case that is just 13.5mm thick.
And no matter the terrain, explore with 1,000 Gauss (80,000 A/m) anti-magnetic protection and patented shock resistance.
Limited to 1,000 pieces each, pre-order yours today for a selection of limited edition number and complimentary engraving.
As a watch’s underwater performance is defined by its material and construction, the new Diver Chronometer features a robust stainless steel build. Its engineering allows you to operate the internal diving bezel while completely submerged under water to time the safety stop.
Simply use the crown at 2 o’clock to set the bezel at any time. Its 42mm case diameter measures only 13.5mm thick, offering stunning diving capabilities and everyday wearability.
More here at the Ball website.

Torgoen Kingfisher is Back; Big, Blue & Swiss Powered

Torgoen are bringing back one of their popular models, the striking Kingfisher. Vivid blue, with a Swiss quartz movement inside the 44mm case. Big imposing watch for a not unreasonable £217.

Here’s the PR word from Torgoen;

Like many of the Torgoen watches, the T10 is inspired by the clean look of altimeters and other cockpit instruments, which are ergonomically designed to facilitate reading both in daylight or in the dark, with large digits and bold hands, this sturdy yet elegant watch leaves quite an impression. It is guaranteed to draw compliments.

The movement is manufactured by Ronda, a renowned movement manufacturer, in Switzerland. With a 44mm diameter, solid high grade stainless steel case and and a Silicon strap with heavy duty solid stainless steel buckle, this elegant watch has a notable presence.

Movement: Ronda 515S.2
The movement of the watch was designed and made by Ronda, a prominent Swiss movement manufacturer. Ronda’s movements can be found in many of the world’s most famous brands and are considered to be highly reliable and robust.

The 515S.2 incorporates torques which are meant to withstand the heavy hands of the T10 Series watches. Specifications: 29.4mm in size, battery life of 24 months, 3 hands and a calendar, powerful stepping motor, repairable metal parts, power saving mechanism with pulled out stem (which reduces power consumption of approximately 70%) and one jewel.

Zenith Needs to Stop Remixing The El Primero

Zenith has reworked their El Primero watch yet again. Smaller case, original dial colours and greater accuracy.

But it’s getting boring frankly, much as we love the classic 1969 design and many of the various El Primero revival models that Zenith has been offering since the 2019 anniversary year.

What you need to know;

There is an exact replica, 38mm steel case variant.

The rose gold case one looks ace. Expensive though.

We love the star detail on the crown.

Here’s the word on the latest iteration;

Original by name, original by substance. Few watches have been as influential and truly iconic as the Zenith A386, which made its debut in 1969 as one of the first steel watches to be equipped with the revolutionary El Primero calibre – the world’s first automatic high-frequency integrated chronograph movement.

Over 50 years later, the El Primero remains the benchmark of precision among automatic chronograph movements, giving way to new versions and iterations in a constant evolution of technicity (is that a made-up word?? – Ed) and performance.

While Zenith has paid tribute to many of its emblematic historical references, including gold versions of the A386 in its Chronomaster Revival collection that debuted during the El Primero’s 50th anniversary, a steel re-edition as part of the permanent Zenith collection has long been something that Zenith collectors and chronograph aficionados have been eagerly awaiting.

But beyond a modern reinterpretation of this enduring staple among chronographs, Zenith has gone a step further with the Chronomaster Original, which masterfully retains the singular and enduringly relevant design of the A386 while packing the performance of the 21st century version of the El Primero boasting 1/10th of a second precision and time measurement.

So the top spec gold case model is £16,000, and the steel case/leather strap version starts at £7,100.

Verdict; A classic El Primero is a better addition to your collection than a new model. Hardly any depreciation and you’re buying the watch that kinda changed everything, not a factory reproduction. It’s like buying an electric powered E-Type Jaguar, looks perfect but underneath it’s a different 21st century toy.

Zenith suffers huge depreciation in the UK market as collectors feel they are over-priced for what they are. They have a point. A Tudor Black Bay, Omega Speedmaster or Breitling Top Time do much the same job and for about half the price. The El Primero is in Rolex Sub territory in terms of price and the fact is, it simply cannot command that kind of RRP.

What Zenith needs is a watch that sells for about three grand, looks ultra fresh and modern and wins over new customers. Maybe work with design houses like Bamford London or produce some crossover branded watches using the Dior and Louis Vuitton names from within the group?

Fact is, Zenith has painted itself into a corener with the El Primero in exactly the same way Hublot has with the Big Bang, or AP has done with the Royal Oak. There is a real danger that many Swiss brands are essentially one hit wonders. And that spells long term decline.

Bowie didn’t stay Ziggy until he got his bus pass did he?



Swiss Watch Brand Videos: From Woke to Wonderous

We thought it was time to check out some promo videos on You Tube, producted by various watch brands.  Along with various woke messages about diversity and saving the planet, some of them are quite entertaining.

As Swiss watch brands now showcase their models at Watches n Wonders online, rather than at Baselworld, maybe we shall see more money being put into video channels, with specific regional market content?

It’s interesting to see how Oris have used a 1970s sitcom vibe to promote its recent retro Holstein model for example;

Hamilton have gone full classic car vibe for their Intra-Matic and who can blame their agency for gathering a classic Mustang, a cine camera and a twisty mountain road together for the shoot? It looks like a Father’s Day ad and you know what, that probably works perfectly for any Hamilton watch in the USA.

Tudor have that Born To Dare slogan of course, so a partnership with a wave pool in Switzerland, built by Alaia, is ideal. Beautiful woke people, surfing in a sterile environment, where no ocean life or eco-system can be harmed. Perfect.

Some might agree with Bodhi from Point Break that `big wave surfing’ and fifty year storms is where it’s at as regards being born to dare, but yeah, health n safety, track n trace, please login using your EU Vax Pass.

Here’s a thing, I never realised that the mysterious banker from Casino Royale was based on this dude from Vacheron Constantin. Check it out. Nice gloves too.

Finally, let us tip our hats to Longines for this wonderful resto video, which captures the skill and attention to historic accuracy that should always be part of a factory refurb. Beautifully shot, it channels the spirit of The Repair Shop TV show and we love that too.


Be Your Own Banksy With The Bamford Customiser

There is something addictive about designing your own one-off watch. That’s exactly how Bamford London feel as well, so you can buy their Sellita SW330 powered GMT watch with a variety of dial, bezel, hands options, plus a bit of engraving and lettering on the dial.

Sapphire crystal, 40mm steel case, so this will fit most wrists quite nicely.

We gave it a try and created two designs the 01 and 02 and we have to say, either model would be a welcome addition to the NWC watch drawer. Who doesn’t like the classic Pepsi Red/Blue bezel, or an orange or red GMT hand?

The cost is £1400, which is just slightly above the standard model £1250 retail. You don’t have any import duty of VAT to pay as Bamford is a UK based company, so that’s a bonus.

Find out more here.

Did You Know Mido is Still Going?

Yep, this old school Swiss watch brands is still going. Mido, often overlooked, is still making watches as part of the mighty Swatch Group and the Ocean Star GMT is quite a decent looker, at a not too scary price.

For 1130 CHF, or about £890 you get a steel cased dive watch that can handle 200m depth and has the useful GMT hand for international travel. There’s a neat worldtimer graphic etched onto the caseback as well, featuring all those cities you are free to visit as part of your UEFA duties.

Fabric, bracelet or leather strap options by the way.

Inside there’s an ETA derived automatic movement, with some 80 hours of power reserve, just like the Tissot Powermatic models.  Sapphire crystal and a 44mm case width, so it has some presence on the wrist.

Nope, you won’t impress anyone at the golf club with a Mido. Or a Tissot for that matter. But the fact that Swatch still produces these entry level brands is to be admired, because it would be easy for Swatch to just bin them off and concentrate on Breguet, Omega, Harry Winston and Longines, maybe some Blancpain divers on the side.

So check out Mido, they make some decent looking alternatives to a budget TAG, Raymond Weil, Lacroix and others.