Two guys from the NE of England had an idea about ten years ago and this year, Winton watches has launched.
The brand name was inspired by Alexander Winton, who emigrated from Britain to the USA in the 1890s and built a car called the Bullet. He was recorded covering the mile at an average speed of 68mph – that was Bugatti Veyron stuff back then. Flat cap n goggles, no tarmac roads.
The Swan automatic (above) is a classic dress watch, with a sapphire crystal, 39mm case diameter, 100m water resistance and a steel bracelet. You also get a see-thru caseback so you can check out the ETA 2824 movement inside. That is a classy engine at this price point, which is just £495. Great value we reckon. And no, we aren’t on commission.
The Anning (pic above) is a more sporty number, with a 42mm case that features a pair of bumper lugs near the crown, offering some chamfered steel protection when you’re out exploring with this watch.
It’s a neat little touch on this sapphire crystal, steel watch, which again is Swiss powered, this time with a Ronda R150 movement. The rotor is decorated with the Winton logo and script by the way, which is viewable via the see-thru caseback.
The Anning has a choice of straps, which cost an extra £15, very reasonable when many Indie brands are asking £30 or more for extra straps.
Two dial colors, Jet Black or Sunburst Blue on the Anning. Price is £475, which is Tissot entry level, Seiko Presage or Citizen Red Arrows territory.
Verdict; An interesting alternative to mainstream watches and if you like the idea of buying British then you are getting some genuine Swiss quality without the VAT and import duty on top – that’s handy.
Green is everywhere this year, from Boris Johnson’s latest attempts to micro-manage our entire lives by banning gas boilers, bacon sandwiches and petrol cars, to the myriad – yes we used myriad – green dial watches showcased by Rolex, IWC, Patek, Tudor and others at Watches & Wonders.
Now TAG has joined th party with a green dial variant on their classic Monaco model. I refuse to say `iconic’ because some herberts on local news websites are now describing their local bus depot as iconinc. It’s laughable. OK then, classic TAG Monaco features like the 39mm case, black sub-dials, plus it a luminous green glow at night on the hands and markers. The see-thru caseback has some green text, plus there’s a dash of green on the movement too.
Yours for £5500 and there are just 500 pieces available. Verdict; we still the Gulf Porsche racing colours is the best TAG Monaco of modern times. There, we said it.
We thought that it was about time we rounded up some of the UK thefts, scams and wrsitwatch frauds that are going on in this crazy world, just so you can be on your guard.
CANVEY ISLAND FAKE ROLEX SELLER
Ellis Cross sold a fake Rolex and pocketed six grand from the fraud. He was rumbled but went off to NYC for a holiday on the proceeds after giving the buyer just £500 back from the 7K purchase price on eBay. But when a witness thought she would co-operate with the Police Cross started to use a bit of intimidation. The Canvey Echo reports that Cross will be sentenced in May. Never assume a Rolex on eBay is real, always assume it’s a replica until you see enough proof to convince you otherwise, especially if the seller is a bit reem from Essex.
FOOTBALLERS ARE TARGETS
The football lifestyle may look fabulous from the outside, but pro thieves are always trying to find out where highly paid professionals reside, so they can steal their watches or cars. Roma player Chris Smalling was recently targeted and had Rolex watches stolen at gunpoint, says the ESPN website. A gang of three men broke in a stole jewels and watches from Smalling and his wife. Not the sort of experience anyone would want to go through.
THEY WILL FOLLOW YOU FOR MILES
A gang of three blokes from London have been jailed after going after Rolex watches in a series of violent robberies.
Freddie Aguis, 29, and Shane Johnson, 30, were each given 16-year extended sentences and John Weaver, 35, was jailed for five-and-a-half years, reports the Eastern Daily Press. The trio admitted following a woman and robbing her in the street in a small town in Norfolk. They carried out a similar mission as they followed a man to Worcester to steal his Rolex. In that incident they forced their way into his home and attacked him with a baseball bat, talking a Rolex valued at 20 grand. The gang are pictured below.
There is a trend now for criminal gangs to have a portfolio of activities, so this could mean that your stolen Rolex is being traded for people, drugs, or even pets. A recent bust in South Wales discovered over 50 missing animals, Rolex watches, a horse box and some cannabis plants growing at one property, says the BBC.
This highlight that your Rolex is something that as an asset value amongst crimnal gangs, it isn’t something that will be pawned for cash, or sold on Gumtree. That’s because the cash price realised would be fairly low, so your serious gangsters will keep the stolen watches and sell – or ransom – kidnapped dogs online, which is a far better way of getting untraceable cash into their little Sopranos corporate machine.
Our top tips for a safer watch collecting life are;
Never post photos online with location services ON your smartphone.
Never meet would-be watch buyers in person unless you already know them
Invest in a small steel safe and have it bolted down to the floor.
If you – or a relative – requires carers or cleaners in your home, then lock the watches away securely and set up a small clock sized camera. Carers and house cleaners are notorious for stealing watches, cash or jewellery.
Never, ever, wear a nice watch or jewellery during a stay in hospital – NHS staff and managers will not investigate properly.
The latest variant on the Omega Seamaster is the 300 Bronze, which combines classic styling with the gradual patina of bronze alloy and the weathered look that emerges over time. Here’s the press info;
Omega first introduced the Seamaster 300 in 1957 – designed especially for divers and professionals who worked underwater. More than 60 years later, the collection has been completely upgraded, and includes this special model created in Omega’s own bronze alloy.
The 41 mm case and bezel are crafted from 9K Bronze Gold, while the brown ceramic bezel ring includes a diving scale in vintage Super-LumiNova. On the bronze dial, you’ll find recessed hour markers and open numerals with Super-LumiNova, as well as PVD Bronze Gold coloured hands. Presented on a brown leather strap with a 9K Bronze Gold buckle, this timepiece includes a transparent sapphire crystal caseback, enabling a clear view of the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912.
Calibre: Omega 8912
Self-winding movement with Co-Axial escapement.
Certified Master Chronometer, approved by METAS,
resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. Freesprung balance with silicon balance spring, two barrels
mounted in series, automatic winding in both directions.
Time zone function. Special luxury finish with Geneva
waves in arabesque.
Power reserve: 60 hours
Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with antireflective treatment inside.
We have a lot of time for Ball watches here at the Northern Watch Co magazine because firstly, they’re Swiss made to exceptionally high standards, and secondly, they look the business. Yes, it’s great owning a Swiss watch but some models have less visual appeal and we aren’t going to name names…well OK then, let’s say the Nomos range with the sub-second dials have a slightly dated feel, or you could argue that the Breitling Navitimer kinda looks too busy, almost confusing, on the dial – if you don’t need a slide rule on the wrist.
It’s all a matter of taste, but there’s no denying the Roadmaster TMT with its temp gauge has a very bold, crisp dial design, with that famous Ball gas-tube lume for night viewing, plus a beautifully clear – and ceramic – bezel adding the finishing touch. It’s available for £1491 in black or blue, with the temp in old school Fahrenheit or Celcius – your choice. Limited to 1000 pieces.
I only ask the question because according to trade magazine WatchPro, one quarter of the entire Swiss watch industry is Rolex sales. The UK is arguably one of the most Rolex obsessed markets in the world, as the 2020 launch of the new Oyster, GMT and Subs showed. Flippers who managed to bri-sorry, get allocated a much prized Submariner were able to sell it on for around 50-80% above the RRP, depending on the dial colour, bezel etc.
Recently UK retailer Goldsmiths announced that it was rolling out a new store concept, based on Mayors of Miami, where watch brands would have dedicated zones. This offers consumers the chance to look at particular brands in detail. The danger with this idea is that it mirrors the disaster that is the Premiership in English football – all the money, marketing and top talent is concentrated on a handful of brands. Goldsmiths will have Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Cartier, TAG and Tudor – which is of course part of Rolex. You could say it’s Rolex-Lite, but that does minimise how good a Tudor Black Bay is in terms of value when compared to a Rolex Sub; same build quality for half the price, some might say.
But this focus on a handful of brands, with Rolex as the `One Watch To Rule Them All’ is going to damage the market in the end. Because history teaches us that every bubble, whether it’s a UK housing market, Tesla, South Sea, tulip bulbs or spices, will go pop eventually. When it does, then confidence is buying luxury watches as an investment will largely evaporate. It will have a catastrophic effect on watch retailing, as chains like Goldsmiths, Beaverbrooks and Watches of Switzerland depend on luxury Rolex and other watch sales to help keep them afloat, now that the government has decided that house arrest is a good idea long term. Footfall is NEVER coming back to pre-lockdown levels, and many older people – who make up a high percentage of luxury Rolex buyers – don’t trust the inetrnet. They also don’t want their Rolex purchase data to be held online either, as they rightly assume that various thieves and accomplices will hack that info at some point, leaving them vulnerable to house burglary or card fraud.
The final reason why Rolex domination is a bad thing is that it stifles innovation, to the extent where many of their watches are often quite boring. The Oyster range really needs a kick up the rear, as it’s becoming the Honda Jazz of the watch world; safe, steady, reliable but entirely uninteresting to any serious watch collector. There is nothing to talk about if you own an Oyster, exept its value.
Rolex don’t really do anything left field, quirky or challenging in their range, except perhaps the Milgauss, which is a 1950s idea still in production for some bizaarre reason. Personally, I like the Milgauss because I love the blue dial, but you have to admit that it’s a one-trick pony as a modern watch. Rolex could be creating some 21st century ground-breaking watchmaking tech instead, not just anti-magnetic as regards digital devices, but with tourbillions, liquid-powered chrono functions, or maybe a MODshop where well-heeled customers could order truly one-off Rolex models, created in the same way that Bamford London are doing. But better, with all the resources that a global brand can bring to bear.
When you are number one there’s only way you can go, and that is down. Change and development is necessary, despite the risks associated with it. Rolex is in a sweet spot right now – apart from the ongoing customer anger concerning waiting lists. Demand could not really be any higher and it is consistently voted the number one brand in any marketing survey you read. It is amazing that so many people believe that Rolex is the best watch in the world, despite the obvious truth to anyone who has taken their watches apart. They are not the very best, but they are brilliant at mass production to a very high level. But resting on those laurels is not a strategy for long term progress and it will also damage the entire watch industry when consumers decide that buying a Rolex is no longer as safe an investment as buying a Premium Bond.
Maybe that’s the future, the Rolex Fantasy Share Index? You basically mine your Rolex data like Bitcoin and when you get to GMT III level you cash in. Stranger things have happened…
The vintage Seiko Alpinist has risen in value over the last few years. Collectors are loving its quiet brilliance and so it’s no surprise that Seiko are reviving this model with some modern watch tech built-in. It is a classic tool watch and you can depend on this one keeping most of its RRP value, plus keeping great time. Here’s the word from Seiko;
Born in 1959 as the Seiko Laurel Alpinist, this watch was a new departure for Seiko and marked its entry into the sports watch arena. It had a screw-back case to prevent dust or sand particles from entering the case. It had a sturdy leather cuff band to protect the watch from perspiration. The indexes and the hour and minute hands all had luminous inserts ensuring high legibility in the dark, and the name Alpinist was evoked in the mountain-shaped markers at the three, six, nine, and twelve o’clock positions. These four clearly differentiated markers represented the four main points on a compass and, with the specially designed marker at twelve o’clock, allowed the time to be read safely and correctly at any angle. This was a feature that became central to the design of many subsequent Seiko sports watches and remains so still today.
The re-creation brings the 1959 Alpinist back to life in every detail. The generously sized markers are, as before, set against a black gloss dial. White minute markers form an inner ring on the dial base, just as on the original. Of course, the indexes and the hour and minute hands are coated with Lumibrite for legibility in the dark. The glass is a box-shaped sapphire crystal that re-creates the gentle feel of the original watch’s characteristic domed glass. The watch is presented on a leather strap that has the same jagged stitch design as its predecessor.
A slimmer profile and upgraded specifications
While the re-creation is faithful to the original design, it has been brought right up to date in technology and has the high specifications and functionality for which Prospex is renowned. It now incorporates a date window between four and five o’clock and is water resistant to 10 bar. The box-shaped sapphire crystal is treated with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface, delivering high legibility. The watch is powered by the slimline Caliber 6L35 which has a power reserve of 45 hours. Despite the addition of a date and the enhanced performance, the case is just 1.0mm thicker.
The re-creation will be available as a limited edition of 1,959 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August 2021.
The limited edition retails at just under $3000, which is pretty steep. However, there is a cooking version with more water resistance, details below;
PROSPEX PLOT TWIST
Then Seiko thought, let’s merge the Alpinist looks with the Prospex dive vibe. Smart move.
In addition to the limited edition, three other new watches pay homage to the 1959 Alpinist. They are inspired by the original watch’s distinctive design but are modern in their execution and, of course, up to date in technology, form and function. Lumibrite is applied to all three hands and the indexes that rest on silver bases to create a multi-dimensional effect. The cases are polished to creating a modern look, especially when combined with the gently rounded contour of the dial and case.
All three watches are 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 watches are all water resistant to 20 bar. Two watches are offered on stainless steel bracelets while the green dial version comes with a leather strap.
All three watches take their place in the mainstream Prospex collection and will be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August 2021. These retail at a more affordable £730-ish.
This one is a limited edition of 2,016 pieces, has a 42 hour power reserve and striking, almost skin-like dial finish. The Whale Shark edition from Oris is a novel twist on their Aquis dive model, with a GMT function to boot. It’s just over 43mm wide, with plenty of lume on the dial and at 300m depth resistance it’s a genuine dive watch.
Not cheap at £2250 or so, but a percentage of the cost is supporting Oris in its work to highlight the need to conserve the whale shark, which plays a vital part in the ocean eco-system.
We absolutely love that teal coloured dial, very reminiscent of a Seiko or Zelos dive watch. Therein lies the problem, because a beautiful Zelos Swordfish, with 300m depth rating is just $500. OK it has a Seiko auto movement inside, but as an alternative, it offers you dive ability plus a chunk of change left over to put in your grail watch fund.
You could buy a teal dial Oris Aquis without the GMT function and fancy dial finish for £1600. Always that option.
But then, maybe the Aquis Whale Shark is that grail watch for you? More here at the Jura watches site. Nope, we aren’t commission.
We took a look at the Cadmore online auction, which is fast approaching and has some interesting watches on offer.
A 2010 Panerai Luminor with box and papers is worth a look, especially if you can get it for about £2600-£3200, as it is in mint condition. A new one is about five grand, so with the auction fees on top a final cost of £3600 isn’t too bad. If you like pocket watches there are several on offer and the silver Kendal and Dent, with a hefty 48mm case size is a good buy if you can get it for under £60 – assuming it works. There is no description on the auction website, so we don’t know.
An 18ct gold Rolex Datejust is another one that could be worth a look, although the gold Rolex is a bit of a Del Boy vibe these days. Good condition judging by the photos. No box or paperwork though. Say £2700 all in? Yep that’s where we would be too.
There is also a very blingy diamond bezel Rolex Datejust, no box or papers, but very nice condition.
More at the Cadmore website here. Auction is taking place next Monday.
If you want to sell a luxury Swiss watch then an auction can be a good way to do it, especially as the Covid restrictions make visiting watch dealers shops a non-starter. But what about the fees? Some auctions can take a hefty 15-30% from the sale price, in commission, buyers premiums, catalogue photos, secure packaging and consignment charges etc. so your Rolex Sub only realised say £7500, instead of the £10000 you thought it sold for on the day. Well, have a look at Watch Collecting, who aim to do a better job for sellers.
Welcome to Watch Collecting. A new 24/7 online auction platform devoted to collectible watches. We are preparing to shake up the auction industry with our first auctions in March 2021. Following the success of Collecting Cars, the team have been hard at work optimising the experience for watches.
Our fees are straight forward. Sellers receive 100% of the winning bid whilst buyers are charged a 6% fee on their winning bid (£600 minimum). Below are some examples of watches already consigned to our first auctions, will yours be next?
Verdict: If you own a seriously expensive watch then this is worth considering, as the savings are huge if you have a Daytona, Patek Nautilus or AP Royal Oak in your safe.