Tag Archives: value

Watch Reviews: A Dive Style Watch For a Tenner?

Northern Watch Co magazine misses the old days when you could sit in a pub debating all kinds of things, such as why do  most Lib Dem candidates all have dreadful hair?

Another Alan Partridge topic is that only rubbish watches like Bench, Henleys and similar car boot dross can be had £10 or so. You have to pay about £25 to get a simple timekeeper that will last you a couple of years.

So in spite of pubs now pretending to be field hospitals that serve alcohol and chicken wraps as a sideline, we took up that challenge last week.

The winner of our ebay search was a near-mint Casio dive style quartz, which cost £10 exactly, plus £2.99 postage. This MRW 200 model is available online from as little as £14.99 at Argos, although other outlets are trying to get over 30 quid for it.

You can’t blame them because it’s a decent watch for the money, with 100m water resistance, a moveable bezel, some OK lume on the hands and markers, plus a resin strap and day/date feature.

Unpacking the watch I was surprised at how clean this used watch was – hardly a mark on it and set to the right time, date and ticking away. It even had the original docs in the groovy 1990s style see-thru box.

On the wrist it feels super light and not too big, with a 42mm case diameter. The caseback screws down and the only way water can sneak in is via the crown, which has little protector lugs next to it. The white dial lets the markers stand out and after holding the watch under a kitchen light for a few minutes, the lume was bright for around 20 mins. Not bad at this price.

No, you would not scuba dive in this watch, and the docs state that quite clearly. But a little dip in a hotel pool should be fine.

Like every Casio, this one feels well made and durable. The black paint on the case will probably withstand a few knocks better than most budget watches and the painted on white numerals on the bezel looks nice and thick under a loupe.

The clasp even has  a Casio logo indented into it, which is a neat touch on a low cost watch. Most are unsigned.

This is a sharp looking everyday watch that you can wear when giving your vintage stuff a rest inside its case, or winder. You could lose it and not worry too much because at this price it’s cheaper than a gastro pub meal with a couple of drinks.

There is a difference between cheap, and great value. Any Casio offers that value, plus a little bit of respect from watch collectors and the general public alike. People see it and say `It’s a Casio so they last for years.’

When you buy that kind of brand rep for a tenner, you’re winning.


LIV Watches Price Hike Due Soon

We are fans of the LIV watch brand here at NWC mag. They offer great value, build quality and vibrant styling too. Especially if you prefer bigger 43mm sized watches. Bad news though, prices are going up on June 1st, so here’s the word from LIV.

Since 2017, we have not had a price increase on any of our watches. Today I am announcing a modest increase in both the GX-AC and the P-51 collections. This increase is due to material and production costs going up.

The GX-AC will go up by $100:

  • $990 to $1090
  • $1050 To $1150 (for the TJ)
  • $1070 to $1170 (Rose Gold)

The P-51 will go up by $100:

  • $1370 to $1470
  • $1490 to $1590 (Fifth Anniversary Special)
If you have been eying one of these watches, now is the time to take advantage and pull the trigger.

New Watches: Vertigo Medusa is 300m Dive Watch Winner

Vertigo watches have a very clean, classic styled, minimalist dive watch on the blocks for 2021.

The Medusa features an engraving of the legendary figure on the caseback, a trusty Seiko NH35 auto movement inside, plus sapphire crystal, superlume and three stunning colours on the dial. Unidirectional bezel, and a 300m depth rating. We love the fume green best, but the damask red is a winner too, then there’s traditional black with bright yellow hour markings. Case size is 41mm which is probably just right for many gents wrists, material is 316 grade stainless.

The good news is that the price on pre-order is just 230 euros. Yep, that is a bargain price for a 300m dive watch. Try adding another 1500 euros on top for anything with Swiss made on the dial. OK, you get the cachet of Swiss, but for the money a Seiko powered automatic with genuine underwater ability has to be a Christmas gift winner for any watch lover.

Just saying, we aren’t on commission or anything. More at the Vertigo site. 

Kingsbury’s Varsity Motorsport Auto is a Quirky Alternative

Some people like a 4pm position winding crown, some don’t. But if you don’t like it on an automatic watch, then it’s no biggie, as you won’t be winding it very often.

So the Varsity budget auto from Canada based Kingsbury Watches, is a refreshing change from the mainstream, for several reasons not just the 4pm crown. Although it’s motorsport themed dials lack some of the visual punch of say Omogolato or Viquiera, the Varsity is more old school, a bit plainer, more 1950s/60s. But for some collectors less is more, there is a simplicity, a functionality at play here.

kingsbury watch varsity 3

Looks vintage, but the Varsity is in fact very modern; there’s a sapphire crystal, plus Superlume on the hands and markers and a stainless steel case. That classic sub-second dial with red hand gives this a dashboard clocks kinda vibe.

We like the engraved caseback too. You don’t often get details like this on a budget watch priced under £150.

kingsbury watch varsity 2

Fact is, a Seiko YN77 movement powered watch, with a spare NATO or leather strap, for about £120 is amazing value. You can buy a boxed set of all four yellow, blue, grey and black dialed Varsity watches for $840 Canadian dollars, which works out at just £480.

Given that each yellow/blue/black or grey watch is one of just 50 being made,  so 200 Varsity models in total, that is sweet deal we say.

There’s more here at the Kinsgbury Kickstarter page.

There’s Gonna Be A Waiting List: Bucherer Drops Blue AP Royal Oak

This will be a rare beast in the future. Any AP Royal Oak is pretty hot stuff right now in the UK and many other countries, but a Bucherer Blue edition? You won’t see many of these coming up for re-sale in the next decade we reckon.

Why would you sell it on? Look at it, it is stunning, with its tapisserie dial, which has a kind of quilted tile look, there’s no way better way to describe it really. It stands out a mile away, which is a good thing.

Equally impressive are the 18K gold bezel and end links, which add just the right amount of contrasting colour. The pushers are black because, well, you can sometimes agree that less is more, right?

bucherer blue AP edition movt

42mm case size is arguably a perfect compromise for many a wrist. Inside there is an automatic, in-house AP movement with a 50 hour reserve. Functional, nothing fancy, just your basic lifelong tool watch that will almost certainly never, repeat never, go out of style. You can view that movement through the caseback as well.

Get in line we say because the demand will be strong, even at CHF 34,900, which is about £29,200 or so.

Timex Q Watches Capture The Spirit of 1979 Perfectly

First released in the 1970s, the original Q Timex watches were quartz powered and replaced an ageing mechanical and auto line-up.

Now the modern Timex company has launched Q Timex 1979 Reissue, with bright pops of colour added to the iconic features of the original — a rotating bezel, woven stainless-steel bracelet, functional battery hatch and domed acrylic crystal.

In orange, green, and a Pepsi blue/red combo the Q range offer old school looks with a chunky bracelet and that vintage battery cover on the back. Yep, you can use a 20p coin to unlock and fit a new battery yourself. Easy peasy.

At £159 these Timex Reissues aren’t cheap, but they do have a retro style that sets them apart – plus a steel bracelet, which many people prefer to leather. Simple reason; straps wear and split, bracelets can last a decade with care.

timex auot 40mm m79

There’s also a new Timex M79 retro style auto on the way, which is 40mm case size and features a handsome Batman bezel, plus see-thru caseback. That is priced at £249.

There is a summer sale on now, with 30% off the Marlin and Waterbury gents models by the way. More here. 


Longines Heritage Tuxedo – Bit Too Retro?

OK, not sure about this Longines Tuxedo model. First, it has an uncanny resemblance to the Triumph/Ingersoll pocket watches of the 1950s/60s, with its bold black and white dial design, and striking chapter ring numerals.

That’s no bad thing, but the sub-second dial and plain jane looks of the three-hand model are going to be a problem for some buyers we reckon, mainly because it looks so much like a vintage watch from 60 years ago – in fact, let’s be blunt, at first glance this Tuxedo could look like a low cost vintage watch. It isn’t that impressive for the money. Just an opinion, please don’t cancel us on Twitter.

The chrono version of the Heritage Tuxedo is a sharper looking customer for sure, although we would still take a vintage Valjoux 7733 chronograph for £500-£1000 over this new Longines at £2200 any day.

The best price we saw for the Tuxedo 3-hand auto online was £1480 at Jura watches, which makes this an expensive alternative to owning a genuine, vintage Longines Conquest automatic for example, which might be around £1000-£1200 for a mint example.

Here’s the press info fromLongines;

Longines celebrates the carefree spirit of the late 1940s. After the harsh war came a time of prosperity and celebration. Elegance was back in fashion; men wore suits and women wore recently-introduced nylon stockings. People got dressed up to go out and dance to the rhythm of jazz bands. The new Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo creations – one with 3 hands and the other featuring a chronograph – are inspired by two historic pieces designed in the spirit of their time, modernised.

Longines offers two new models inspired by historical pieces with the typical aesthetics of the regained freedom of the late 1940s. You can easily imagine it on the wrist of partygoers at jazz clubs. They have been nicknamed “Tuxedo” by collectors, the contrast of black and white on their dial reminds us of the suits worn during the elegant and festive evenings of the time.

longines tuxedo 2

To respect the spirit of the original models, Longines has chosen here not to add the word “Automatic” on the dials. In keeping with the aim to create timepieces that are as faithful as possible to historical timepieces, there is also no date window on contemporary models, which are presented on semi-matt black leather straps, perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the era.

The Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo is available in two versions: a 3-hand model and a chronograph model.

The former stands out for the aesthetics of its dial, a typical and very popular design from the 1940s. An opaline silver disc surrounded by a sublime matt black circle of thin baton hands covered with Super-LumiNova®. The small seconds counter, located at 6 o’clock, is off-centre: this detail contributes to the charm of this 38.50 mm-diameter timepiece housing the exclusive L893.5 movement with its silicon balance spring, a guarantee of quality and precision.

The chronograph version displays matt black, opaline and midnight blue, colours as elegant as they are refined. Several zones feature on its dial, and a tachymetric scale – quite rare for a Longines watch – also enriches its circumference, just like on the original model. The Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph – Tuxedo houses in its 40.00 mm-diameter case a movement (calibre L895.5) developed exclusively for Longines Heritage timepieces. It is also equipped with a silicon balance spring.

With its two new models in contrasting black and white, The Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo brings us back to a colourful era that brought back parties!

New Longines 1832 Black Dial – Is It Enough For £1700?

Longines is a well established brand in the UK, with a long distinguished history. Owned by the Swatch Group it obviously shares some expertise with other Swatch companies, plus Longines watches generally use ETA sourced movements – ETA is also owned by Swatch Group. That was the case for many years, but things are changing on the calibre front.

Since the EU told the Swiss to end their reliance on ETA sourced base movements about five years ago, things are changing fast and many brands are now building their own calibres in Switzerland. Or at least heavily modifying something that they used in the past.

The situation is now getting more complex after the temporary closure of factories during Covid-19 and the actions of the Swiss anti-trust regulator, again seeking to restrict over-dependence on ETA movements. It is an ongoing problem within the industry and it means that Longines, and others, will really have to work hard to stand out as truly separate watchmaking brands at some point. They might need their own movement assembly facility to please the EU, it’s hard to say how the politics will play out.

Why does any of this political wrangling over where a movement is made, or who supplies different brands, actually matter? Well here are the rules on what counts as a Swiss movement; 50 percent of the parts must be made in Switzerland. That means you could outsource 50 percent to say China, and still stamp Swiss Movt on your calibre. That get-out clause could be the salvation for many sub £1800 Swiss watches, because costs are going to have to be cut after Covid19 and the rise of many indie watch brands.

You can buy a 300m dive watch on Kickstarter, ETA/Sellita movement, sapphire crystal from about £400 upwards. Watch manufacturing has been democratised and that is arguably the biggest challenge to the Swiss industry since the Seiko Astrolon quartz.

Longines 1832 black dial 2

So What’s The Scoop on The Black Dial Longines 1832?

This 1832 Longines has a 64 hour reserve, automatic movement. Good selling point we say. It’s also an in-house L897 calibre movement, which is great from a collector point of view, although according to Watch Calibre.com that movement still has its roots in an existing ETA engine.

There’s a ladies version, with a champagne dial option, as well as black, and both using a smaller movement and 30mm case. The gents 40mm case models include a moonphase model, as well as a more traditional black dial, three hand format – either with date, or day-date windows at three o’clock. They look superb, but at £1700 or so, are undeniably expensive for what they are; beautiful dress watches that lose a stack of value the moment you walk out of the door, or the website Checkout Cart.

Selling a pre-owned Longines on is no easy task, as many Swiss watch enthusiasts know that in the past Longines shared ETA movements with many relatively cheap non-Swiss brands. That is a fact that sort of taints the 1832 unfairly, given this movement is kinda the AMG version of the ETA movement. Is it woth more than a standard Longines Heritage model at £875 or so? Heck yeah, but is it worth almost two grand? Hmmm, not really.

As a  budget dress watch alternative we suggest a Seiko Presage Zen Garden with a black dial at £394, found on Watch Nation. Or how about a Hamilton Intra-Matic Classic at £725? Again, ETA sourced movement, Swatch Group watch, but less than half the cost of the 1832 Longines – spotted on Beaverbrooks website today.

Those options show how big a mountain Longines must climb if it is to survive as a genuine prestige brand name long term, within the Swatch empire. People often ask where the bespoke, unique craft is within the watch build and design these days – you have to justify a price point near two grand with some impressive technology. Otherwise we would all buy a Hamilton or a Tissot, right?


Spinnaker Bradner Offers Nice Divers Style & Spec for The Money

Spinnaker are one of the most interesting micro brands out there right now, with a new range of watches due to commence shipping at the end of June. The Bradner models have Seiko auto movements, featuring a 41 hour power reserve, 180m depth resistance, 42mm case size, plus see-thru caseback.

You can wind these up too, like the more modern Seiko autos – no shake required!

Spinnaker say the Bradner also features a liberal application of Swiss Super-LumiNova while the dial also holds an applied minute marker ring and a square-shaped index that matches the baton-shaped hands. The blue dial model, which has a graduated effect so it seems to change shade slightly depending on the viewing angle, is our fave – other colours are available.

Two crowns sit at the 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions, operating time adjustment and bezel setting respectively. Sapphire crystal, 20mm lugs offers wide choice on straps, 2 year guarantee. 

Good value for $285 we think, makes a nice wearable watch that you can use and enjoy, perfect budget alternative to a Seiko Prospex, Baltic Aquascaphe – both of which cost a fair bit more than the Spinnaker. Even the top value Orient Mako 2, which we have spotted for £220 on ebay, is facing strong competition from Spinnaker when it comes to sports diver watch value for money.

More info here.

Auctions: Will The Daytona & Royal Oak Bubble Burst?

The latest virtual auction results from Antiquorum in Geneve show that there is still as serious Daytona and Royal Oak addiction amongst watch collectors and dealers. A very nice 1967 Rolex Daytona Paul Newman, with black dial, white sub-dial combo, original bracelet and – crucially – the original hands, made 181,00 Swiss Francs, which is about £150,000. That is crazy money, but we think the bubble on Daytona models (non celeb owned that is) could peak at over 250K sterling next year before the recession really bites.

Interestingly, the auction house noted that a service was recommended, and you may think “well why didn’t the owner service it with Rolex before the auction?”

The short answer is that would have devalued the watch. Rolex often insists on replacing hands so that the timekeeping can be as accurate as possible, and they may choose to replace worn out parts inside the movement too.

So you lose originality – this is why Rolex need to completely rethink their attitude to classic watch models. They need to appoint experienced classic Rolex expert watchmakers around the world, so that vintage models can be serviced with original, or hand-machined, replica parts authorised by Rolex. It obviously suits the factory to sell new watches, rather than faithfully restore old ones, but the way they’re restricting parts supply by simply discontinuing spares support for older models really is a poor show when people have paid over 10K to buy something new.

royal oak offshore value header

OK rant over. What about Audemars Royal Oaks, still going gangbusters?

A 1990s Royal Oak made 16,250 Francs, or £13,400. No box or papers, slight scratches on the case and bracelet by the way. Meanwhile a very sharp 42mm case Offshore model, with box and papers, looking near mint frankly, failed to make the 20,000 Franc reserve, or about £16,500.

A very nicely preserved 1996 Royal Oak Steel made 60,000 Francs, or £50,000, which is exceptional money and driven by the rarity of the blue dial, gold hands and 39mm case size.

So yes, collectors are still keen on watches with established rarity value, from the top brands, such as AP Royal Oak, Rolex Daytona, Rolex Sea Dweller, Patek Worldtimer, (150,000 CHF), the Patek Nautilus and an Omega Speedmaster Golden Panda edition made 52,000 CHF.