Tag Archives: watch

Brew Watch Metric Has a Unique Edge

Brew Watches are doing things differently and we like that approach. The latest model, the Metric has plenty of colour on the dial, with yellow, orange and turquoise all blending together somehow on a black dial – which features cut-out sections.

It’s a striking look and inside there is the trusty Seiko VK Meca-Quartz movement, so you get reliable timekeeping as standard.

Steel case, bracelet and pushers, all add a retro feel. The bracelet links remind us of a vintage Trafalgar watch model, a minor league Swiss brand that seemed to vanish in the 80s.

There is a white dial version but it lacks the visual punch of the multi-colour option for our money. That version is a sell-out on the Brew website, so all we can suggest is that you get your email address down for the re-issue.

 

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.

 

Ali Express Sub-a-Like for £31 – DECENT Replica or Timewaster?

We love testing watches here at Northern Watch Co magazine and this week we have been checking out the latest automatic to arrive from China, or possibly Singapore – hard to tell – in the shape of this sterile dial Rolex Sub look-a-likey.

First impressions;

Very well packaged in bubble wrap and then surrounded by a padded bubble bag, about the size of a large US style Coke can. The watch links and clasp were covered in sticky clear tape to prevent scratches and the blue tab on the crown needed some watch cleaner to remove the last bits.

Nothing protecting the crystal though.

There were two adjustable links on one side of the steel bracelet and three on the other. I neeed three links out to find the perfect fit on my wrist. The link pins are screwdown by the way, which is a quality touch I did not expect at this price.

Yes, the price. Just £31.56 including VAT and shipping – amazing.

Inside the movement sounds like the super-spinning DG variety, which you would expect for this money.

The DG is a copy of the Miyota automatic found in many Citizens, Accurists and countless microbrands over the last decade or so.

I haven’t bothered using my Rolex opening tool on the caseback to check it out, as the watch has been keeping good time for the last two days. Frankly, a DG movement photo isn’t going to be that exciting to look at.

Yep, you can wind it, or just shake it to get some reserve power in there.  Fully wound it ran for about 18 hours, which is not as good as a typical Seiko NH35/36 auto – but they cost the manufacturer a little bit more, so you pay £45-£65 or so for some of the Aliexpress watches that feature the Seiko engine.

Setting the date is easy, unscrew and pull the crown to the first position, and away you go. The second position sets the hands of course.

The clasp is nicely finished and closes with a healthy snap, plus it has a little foldover tab for security. The bezel is unidirectional and has orange numbers set into its ceramic surface. Lume is bright on the hands, not quite so bright on the hour markers.

DOWNSIDES?

There are a few sharp edges on the bracelet clasp. The crown needs a fair bit of pressure on the tube, so you really have to push in hard before trying to screw the crown down. You get used to it.

It would be great to have the option of paying a few pounds extra to have a brand name on the dial, even if it is a made up word, or perhaps just a logo graphic? Sharks, Rays n Turtles are kinda already spoken for, but maybe a marlin, or something ocean/dive related?

Just an idea, although personally I wouldn’t go diving wearing a £30 watch. It’s like the Bell helmet advert; if you have a ten dollar head, buy a ten dollar helmet.

VERDICT; Superb value for very little money. You won’t impress fellow watch nerds but you will get regular citizens doing a double take at your wrist, until you tell them, `yeah it’s a copy mate.’

Best plan these days, as you can get stabbed for a real Rolex.

TAG’s Dark Lord is an Auction Superstar

This Only Watch charity event is really showcasing a great deal of Swiss watchmaking expertise and branding isn’t it?

Here’s the word from TAG Heuer, who have pushed the boat out when it comes to hand-crafting something really unique;

TAG Heuer is delighted to announce its return to Only Watch with the TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco, a one-off, high-end, hand-finished version of the Swiss watch company’s iconic square-cased automatic chronograph that will never be recreated.

The unique watch will be auctioned at Only Watch 2021, the biennial charity watch auction, which is scheduled to take place this year in Geneva on 6 November. “Only Watch has become one of the highlights of the watchmaking calendar, and we are so glad to be taking part again and to help raise vital funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Frédéric Arnault, TAG Heuer Chief Executive Officer. “It’s also our great pleasure to put forward for auction the TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco, one of the most spectacular, imaginative wristwatches we have ever created.”

The carbon-cased piece is a true watchmaking tour de force, playing on more than half a century of TAG Heuer heritage, while also embracing the best of the company’s 21st century savoir faire and innovation.

THE CASE: CARBON LOADING

For TAG Heuer aficionados, the Only Watch Carbon Monaco will have clear echoes of the mythical black-PVD-cased Monaco Reference 74033N known by collectors as the “Dark Lord”. It was produced in limited quantities in the mid-1970s and never appeared in a Heuer (as the company was called until 1985) catalogue or any of the company’s advertising. Today, it is extremely rare and highly prized.

The TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco’s case tells the story of this special watch using state-ofthe-art manufacturing techniques. It’s forged in black carbon fibre, giving it a wonderfully mysterious
look. TAG Heuer has used carbon fibre for the Monaco case before with the 2018 Monaco Bamford, but this is a unique case that was designed explicitly to carry the largest sapphire crystal caseback
ever applied to a Monaco. TAG Heuer’s engineers wanted to give the watch’s future owner an unimpeded view into its bespoke movement, while ensuring the watch remained water-resistant.

THE DIAL: OPEN ALL HOURS

The striking skeletonised dial that gives the watch so much of its character is also carbon. It was created in collaboration with TAG Heuer’s long-time partner, the highly regarded dial specialists ArteCad, and is worked from a single piece of carbon fibre.

The dial’s architectural look was created by milling and drilling the basic form to reveal striking structural shapes that stretch across the face of the watch like the struts on a racing car, a design that makes subtle reference to TAG Heuer’s integral role in the evolution of modern motor sport over more than six decades.

It’s here that we see the first example of the handcraftsmanship involved in creating this watch. Each of the dial’s intricate skeletonised facets has been finished by hand using the fine-watchmaking technique of anglage, which gives the dial its depth and multidimensional look. Underneath these, a date wheel peeks through, as does the top side of the movement. Typically, the top side of a calibre is left raw as it’s unseen, hidden by a solid dial. But in this case, TAG Heuer elected to hand-finish it to ensure every element was as exceptional as it could be, even when partially
obscured, a decision that’s symbolic of the relentless attention to detail applied to the watch.

Sitting on top of the carbon dial are three black galvanised brass plates that form the watch’s chronograph and small-seconds subdials. Orange detailing sampled from Only Watch’s 2021 sunkissed colour palette makes the hands stand out against the black dial, while the hour markers are individually machined blocks of highly luminescent beige Super-LumiNova®.

THE MOVEMENT: FINISHING IN STYLE

The TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco is powered by TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph, a Swiss-made movement with an 80-hour power reserve.

This, however, is a unique expression of the Heuer 02, created exclusively for the occasion. Not only has the movement been beautifully decorated by hand, it also carries TAG Heuer’s groundbreaking in-house carbon hairspring, developed by the company’s celebrated TAG Heuer Institute. Appearing in the
Heuer 02, and therefore a a Monaco for the very first time, the carbon hairspring delivers exceptional levels of anti-magnetism, shock resistance, stability across temperature ranges and refined geometry for excellent chronometric performance.

The movement also features a unique oscillating weight in the form of the TAG Heuer shield, which is not only hand finished throughout, but is also decorated with a fine line in the gradient orange to yellow
colour of Only Watch 2021. Astonishingly, the seamless transition from orange to yellow was achieved by hand, painted by the master dial artist and micro-painter André Martinez. André is based in Le Locle, only a few kilometres from TAG Heuer’s headquarters in the Swiss watchmaking town of La Chaux-deFonds.

But the movement’s story doesn’t end there. To match the spirit of Only Watch, TAG Heuer decided to give the movement an exceptional level of finishing and to work with Artime SA, one of the watch industry’s leaders in decorative techniques. This continued the watch’s bespoke story and demonstrated the company’s ongoing commitment to traditional watchmaking savoir faire.

There are no fewer than 10 types of hand finishing. The most visible is the rare graté decoration. Applied by hand, this creates the chequered-flag motif seen on the movement’s bridges and its surround, which carries further special engravings. To create an additional sense of depth, the movement also features further hand finished techniques including anglage, black polishing, circular graining, straight graining, perlage, snailing, sandblasting, chevron engraving and sunburst finishing.

It took 25 hours of additional hand-finishing to create this spectacular effect, producing a fine-watchmaking story worthy of Only Watch.

THE STRAP: (NOT) IN THE METAL

To finish off this spellbinding watch, TAG Heuer has created a novel strap that looks like a metal bracelet, but which is in fact made of leather. The link effect is produced using a highly skilled process
that took months to perfect. First, silicon is injected into the sole of the leather. This is then heat-stamped with a mould in the shape of a metal link bracelet, creating the three- dimensional effect.

TAG Heuer has never used this technique on a watch strap before.

UNDER THE HAMMER:

The TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco arrives after months of development. TAG Heuer’s designers, engineers and partners have poured their hearts and souls into it, creating a truly outstanding
wristwatch that brings together more than five decades of watchmaking heritage, fine-watchmaking traditions passed down through the generations and the most advanced contemporary watchmaking techniques available today.

“My profound congratulations to the team for producing a watch that pushes TAG Heuer watchmaking beyond the edge,” said Mr Arnault. “And my very best wishes to H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Luc Pettavino, Christie’s and the Only Watch team ahead of this year’s auction. We’ll see you in Geneva.”

Yeah, They Made the Hamilton Khaki Bigger

The Hamilton Khaki is arguably one of the most authentic modern takes on the famous Dirty Dozen watches from the WW2 movie.

For starters, it’s a Hamilton and yes, they were actually used in combat back then. Secondly, it’s  just got that military look off to a tee. Green NATO strap, aged lume that carries a bit of old school radium patina – not real radium of course. Plus a Swiss movement inside and a 24 hr dial diplay that’s just punchy, sharp and readable in any light.

Best of all, they made it a bit bigger this year, with a 42mm case size. Yep, a 38mm is more in keeping with wartime watches, which had to be small and hidden under your sleeve, because well…snipers n stuff. But we think the 42mm case will prove more popular today where dudes like to show off their watches a bit more.

All this for £470. Not too pricey considering it’s a Swiss watch. OK, Hamilton are entry level but this is a cheaper option than a Tudor Field Ranger, by about 1700 quid.

Cheaper rivals from Timex, Seiko and Luminox are more serious for Hamilton, especially the Seiko Field watch which can be found online for about £100.

Milus Orange Coral Is a Watch That Makes a Difference

Milus are inviting their customers to help preserve ocean coral by buying one of their limited edition Orange Coral models. Here’s the word;

The striking Orange Coral dial attracts attention thanks to its retro 70s style but remains above all a reliable automatic diver watch, equipped with a discreet helium valve and a bi-directional inner diver bezel.

The three hour digits at the cardinal points, 3 o’clock date window, and famous “Broad Arrow” hands coated in SuperLuminova combine seamlessly to bolster readability.

Its ETA 2892 movement is protected in a 41mm steel case, resistant up to 30 ATM or 300 meters.

The Milus Archimèdes Orange Coral is offered with two easily interchangeable strap options, a smooth 316L brushed stainless steel mesh bracelet and a genuine black Tropic diver rubber strap.

A CORAL IN YOUR NAME

In line with our beliefs in environmental protection, Milus is partnering with the French NGO Coral Guardian. For every Archimèdes Orange Coral bought, Milus will adopt a coral in your own name.

The Coral Guardian team will transplant your coral onto a solid structure in an area where reefs were damaged. This action contributes to the coral reefs restoration. You will receive a personalized adoption certificate with a symbolic photograph, the name of your coral, and its GPS location.

NWC mag has to admit, this is much more personal than many climate change marketing ploys tried by Swiss brands. Ambassadors who take nice photos or gather scientific data are wonderful n everything, but this makes you feel like you are putting something back in the ocean that is vanishing. Real action, not just greenwashing words.

Price is £1660, which is pricey for an ETA powered auto, but you get 300m dive ability, with helium valve. It’s a left field choice, but it’s a good choice for anyone who cares about the beauty of coral beneath the waves.

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.

Enjoy.

Summer Watch Sales Are On Now

Just a heads up as they say on Instagram, so you can bag some swag online.  Both Casio G-Shock and H Samuel have watch sales on right now.

The G-Shock Sale has discounts on the official RRP of up to 50%. A G-Steel model with Bluetooth, 3 band options and a battery health indicator at £199, rather than £399 is tempting. More here.

Meanwhile H Samuel has watches from fashion brands like Armani, Hugo Boss, Hilfiger, Kors and all the usual suspects.

Plus how about a Citizen Red Arrows for £179, or a Seiko Prospex Special, with Pepsi bezel colours for £344? If you want a Swiss brand then a Tissot Classics automatic at £235 is basically Indie watch brand money. To be fair, the entry level Tissots have quite a basic movement inside, but you expect that at this price level.

Two Victorinox models in the Sale are sold out already, so we say move fast on this one.

More here.

Hamilton Khaki Bronze Offers Military Look

Hamilton has introduced a bronze case variant in their Khaki model range. The watch retails at £795 and has that classic WW2 military look, with a touch of dive watch bronze patina going on.

Paired with a rugged black color dial, ultra-legible luminescent 24-hour markings, bronze-tone hands and a high-grade leather strap, the case metal’s deep, sunset tones give our practical field watch a dash of serendipitous charm – says Hamilton.

Slim and lightweight thanks to the lack of a winding rotor, our exclusive, hand-wound H-50 movement powers the 38mm field watch with military precision behind a titanium case back.

Like all bronze watches this one will age nicely over time.

Are Factory Restorations The Next Big Thing?

We only ask the question because not every watch brand enjoys the market dominance of Rolex, or even Breitling, Cartier or AP. They can afford to ignore the pre-owned vintage market, disregarding it as being too much trouble servicing and restoring antique timepieces. Better to sell customers a new one instead.

Those lesser Swiss brands, like Zenith could well be onto something when they hunt down rare models from their back catalogue and restore, factory fresh once again. There is a loyalty to be won over here, a devoted collector market that will invest in genuine factory resto watches, bit like a Jaguar E-Type recreation.

Here’s the word from Zenith;

After making its debut at Zenith Boutiques in Ginza, Shanghai, the ZENITH ICONS thematic capsule collections of historically significant vintage watches sourced, restored and certified by the Manufacture in Le Locle are finally coming to Zenith’s online boutiques in Europe, Japan and USA. And for its digital introduction, Zenith is offering an exceptionally pristine example of its most coveted early El Primero models in gold, the G381.

First unveiled earlier this week at VIVATECH 2021 in Paris, where Zenith joined LVMH and other group Maisons at what is considered Europe’s biggest startup and tech event at showcasing their latest innovations, the G381 symbolizes the Zenith Manufacture’s approach towards achieving a circular economy.

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS A GOOD THING

Among speakers from the best tech brands and innovative startups, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare talked about how the Manufacture has the unique capacity to restore older products and keep them operating in perpetuity, in line with the core theme of this year’s VIVATECH expo, sustainability. Using past and present resources, components and know-how, watches from the past are given a second, certified life through ZENITH ICONS. Its latest addition, available for the first time exclusively on the Zenith online boutique, is perhaps its most exceptional yet.

An important reference in El Primero lore, the G381 was among the very first gold models designed to house the El Primero in 1969 and is considered the gold counterpart of the iconic A386. It had the same round case, decimal and tachymeter scales, and of course the earliest iteration of the seminal El Primero automatic high-frequency chronograph movement. A highly successful model for Zenith at the same time, it was reproduced in multiple small batches from 1969 to 1972. In total, only 1’000 pieces were ever made.

A GRAIL WATCH FOR A LIFETIME IS A GREEN WATCH

NWC mag can see that using the circular economy tactic goes soem way to head off the climate change zealots at the pass. There are elements in society now who seek to destroy capitalism itself and one of th ways they aim to accomplish this Marxist utopia is to use the `product miles’ argument against luxury goods manufacturers and brand names.

So by restoring watches from the past, brands can argue that new materials are being saved, throwaway `fast fashion’ culture is being rejected, and high quality jobs are being preserved for skilled artisans. It’s a win-win when it comes to combatting the ludicrous foot-stamping of Greta and her chums, so we say, good work Zenith.