Tag Archives: watches

Storm Styro Offers Shifting Dial Colours

Storm London has a range of new models in for summer, including the Styro quartz models. These feature photochromic crystals, so the dial coliur shifts and changes, depending on the light.

Inside the big 45mm watches you get a Miyota movement and there’s a Milanese mesh bracelet, plus a gold coloured version if silver mesh isn’t your thing.

We have tried Storm watches in the past and they are very well built for fashion watches, although they can be a pain when it comes to battery swap time – difficult to remove the casebacks.

The range starts at 90 quid. More here.

Union Averin Chrono: TAG Monaco Alternative?

This square case Averin chronograph from Union Glashutte – one of the many Swtch Group brands – channels the spirit of the TAG Monaco, but minus the 5K price ticket for the much admired Gulf Racing edition.

The Averin features a 41 x 41 mm pillow-shaped stainless steel case, which is arguably the perfect size for many wrists.

You get a domed sapphire crystal with rounded corners and anti-reflective coating inside and out. Then there’s that unique day/date display; To the left, surrounded by black relief embossing, are the month and week day displays, the small second, a 24-hour display with day-night indicator and moon phase, as well as chronograph counters with bright red hands.

Then there’s the moonphase window too, an extra detail that draws the eye into the dial. Maybe it’s slightly too busy? Maybe not. You have those satisfying chamfered pushers on the case, which are…shall we say a TAG homage detail? Yep, let’s leave it at that.

But it’s quirky and different for sure, plus the bold black n white dial theme really sets the watch apart in a sea of green and blue dial offerings this year from the big Swiss names.

Inside there’s an automatic UNG 25 calibre movement, which looks like a reworking of the famous Valjoux 7753. The UNG25 has an identical runing speed of 28,800vph and looks very similar in movement photos. Beautifully finished with a Union rotor and a smattering of blue anodised crews, plsu see-thru caseback.

Love the retro 70s Rally driver strap too, nice motorsport touch.

Taken all round, this is a refreshing change from a TAG Monaco and its myriad coloured dial editions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic lines of the TAG M, espcially the Gulf and blue dial models. But a price of over £5300 for something with a frankly ageing movement inside, is getting a bit silly.

The Union Averin retails at £2980 in the UK. A special edition for Scotland will be called the Haverin. That was a joke btw.

So we say, give this Union a look – could be a winner. More here. 

Girard-Perregaux: Three Bridges, Three Graces

Luxury cars and watches kinda go together like trophy wives and lip fillers. We tried to like this tech tour-de-force by Girard-Perregaux, which carries the famous Aston Martin name.

Yes, three bridges are beautiful, in a spartan Forth rail bridge kind of way. Those big jewels and empty spaces in the case are like a 3D drawing of a movement on show for everyone to appreciate. The bridges themselves are carbon fibre black, which somehow detracts from the symmetry for us. These movement vertabrae should be made from some rare exoticia metal surely, maybe recycled DB6 pistons?

But we hate to say this; overall,  it looks unfinished. Maybe you love it? It costs $146,000 by the way and there just 18 pieces being manufactured.

Here’s the press info;

The first timepiece borne of the recently announced partnership between Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin has been revealed today. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition unites the watchmaking expertise of Girard-Perregaux with Aston Martin’s unique knowledge of luxury and performance.

Both brands demonstrate a passion for refined craftsmanship and have been working together, sharing their understanding of design, materials and technology. This latest model celebrates the iconic Three Bridges pocket watch from the 19th century in a decidedly contemporary way, down to the smallest details, including the strap. The latter is a world premiere, presented in black calf leather and featuring Rubber Alloy, an innovative rubber insert injected with white gold. The design of the strap is intended to evoke thoughts of Aston Martin racing cars of the past.

Upholding Girard-Perregaux tradition, this model skilfully plays with proportions and shapes much to the delight of aesthetes.

The 44 millimetre case of the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition is formed of Grade 5 titanium, a strong, hypoallergenic alloy selected by Aston Martin for its lightweight properties. It is suffused with black DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon), bestowing the watch with a stealthy appearance. Interestingly, titanium ore was discovered in Great Britain, the home of Aston Martin, back in 1791 by an English clergyman, William Gregor, in the same year Girard-Perregaux was founded.

A sapphire crystal ‘box’ is positioned front of house, as well as to the rear, coaxing light to illuminate the case interior, thereby augmenting readability. The movement eschews a mainplate, sitting between both panes of sapphire crystal and seemingly floating in mid-air.

Three bridges, an iconic signature of Girard-Perregaux, span the dial and are formed of titanium with black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) treatment and polished angles. The design endows the timepiece with an airy appearance, affording breathtaking views of movement components ordinarily hidden from view. While Girard-Perregaux has a long history of making the invisible visible, in this instance it has ventured off-piste, creating a watch whose movement appears to levitate within the case.

This is achieved by paring back the movement, causing the mainplate to seemingly disappear, thereby creating the illusion of the movement flying within the case. It was this particular characteristic that led to the term ‘Flying Bridges’.

The cage of the tourbillon, positioned in the lower portion of the dial, is ‘lyre-shaped’, a characteristic found on all the company’s tourbillons dating back to the 19th century. A blued hand affixed to the cage imparts the running seconds. The tourbillon cage, measuring a mere 10mm in diameter, is composed of 79 components which collectively weigh only 0.25 grams. This remarkably low figure helps mitigate energy consumption.

The barrel, positioned at 12 o’clock, is openworked, affording partial views of the mainspring. A white gold micro-rotor, positioned beneath the barrel, energises the mainspring and, unlike most automatic watches, it grants unobstructed views of the movement. The car company’s name is engraved on the vertical flank of the micro-rotor and is filled with white luminescent treatment which appears blue in restricted light. Likewise, the indexes and hands are also treated with white luminescent treatment and, once again, emit a blue glow in dim light.

Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, said, “We are delighted to partner with Aston Martin, entrusting their team with arguably our most iconic timepiece, delivering a fresh perspective on Haute Horlogerie. Rarely do we work with others to reinterpret the Three Bridges, however, on this occasion, we have made an exception, mindful of Aston Martin’s prowess for design.

“When viewing the design of an Aston Martin, you will note the firm’s distinctive front grille, first seen on the DB Mark III of the late 50s. Likewise, the scoops and side strakes found on the company’s modern-day models are functional elements, intended to improve airflow while enriching the overall appearance of each car.”

“At Girard-Perregaux we share a similar philosophy. For example, when the Maison released the now-legendary Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges in 1867, it transformed three functional elements into attractive aesthetic features and demonstrated an approach that we continue to employ today. Finally, this latest partnership provides a fascinating chapter in Girard-Perregaux’s 230-year history.”

Marek Reichman, Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer adds: ‘The greatest of the challenges we faced with the design of this new timepiece were those of scale, as you can imagine. We had to consider lines and proportion on a far smaller scale than we are used to in the realm of automotive design. That said, good design is good design, whether it is a watch or a car, the principles remain the same. I’m delighted with the finished watch and congratulate everyone who worked on this project as this collaboration has produced a timepiece of great beauty.

The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition, a limited edition of 18 pieces, is immediately available worldwide in all authorised Girard-Perregaux retailers.

Is Hamilton Price-Walking The Intra-Matic?

Price-walking is that thing insurers do at renewal time. You get an email, forget it ane they auto renew; same product but £55 more this year.

So adding an olive green dial version to the Intra-Matic and raising the RRP to over two grand seems kinda the same deal. The old blue or white dial models looked great. In fact I prefer the blue dial Intra’s vibrant punch, it really lifts off the wrist.

But why is the same watch now another £300 to buy? We found a blue dial model on CW Sellors at £1930 with a 10% off pop-up window on the website. That makes it about £1740 retail.

It won’t work Hamilton. Even if you did see off Lewis and his trademark case, don’t get cheeky.

Swatch NASA Collection Has a Bioceramic Edge

With Space X sending rockets into the skies, and then landing the boosters back on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship – yep, the videos are so cool – the time is right for some 60s/70s Spaceman type watches.

So, Swatch Group has launched a new NASA inspired collection, plus it ticks the recycling box as they are using reclaimed plastic waste materials making these watches. Hopefully Elon Musk will sign a deal with a big watch brand to create some amazing Spaxce X watches, or manufacture them in-house. Now that would be interesting.

Here’s the word;

Time is what you make of it, and at Swatch, the sky’s not the limit; dreams are. While the perceptions of NASA differ across generations, one thing remains the same – the space agency’s ability to capture the public’s imagination and desire to explore the stars and new horizons. The brand’s latest collection taps into this feeling, inspiring people to dream big, create their own universe and make the most of their time on earth.

Fueled by a passion for innovation, the Space Collection celebrates NASA and reveals the next chapter of the BIOCERAMIC Swatch story. Two-thirds ceramic and one-third bio-sourced plastic, BIOCERAMIC boasts a silk-like touch and is extremely resilient—the best of both worlds. Three of the five watches feature elements of bio-sourced material and are directly inspired by the spacesuits worn by NASA astronauts.

BIG BOLD CHRONO EXTRAVEHICULAR looks to the iconic white spacesuit for inspiration. First worn in 1983 by NASA astronauts Story Musgrave and Donald Peterson, the white suits shield astronauts from the sun’s radiation.

The white chrono features a 47mm BIOCERAMIC case and a bio-sourced plastic glass. The chrono timer is not set to the usual full hour marker but ten seconds prior and highlighted in red as a nod to the final countdown to liftoff. The crown is positioned at 3 o’clock alongside two pushers, while the red and blue strap loops, hands with Swatch glow and NASA logo complete the design.

The orange Advanced Crew Escape Suit, also known as the Pumpkin Suit, inspires the BIG BOLD CHRONO LAUNCH. The bright orange color of the watch mirrors the highly visible suits worn by astronauts for the ascent into space.

The orange chrono features a 47mm BIOCERAMIC case and a bio-sourced plastic glass. The chrono timer is not set to the usual full hour marker but ten seconds prior and highlighted in red as a nod to the final countdown to liftoff. The crown is positioned at 3 o’clock alongside two pushers, while the blue and white strap loops, silver-colored dial, hands with Swatch glow and NASA logo complete the design.

The BIG BOLD JUMPSUIT echoes the everyday go-to blue jumpsuits astronauts wear for press conferences or working in the NASA facility. The blue watch features a 47mm BIOCERAMIC case and a bio-sourced plastic glass. The crown is positioned at 2 o’clock, while the white strap loops, hands with Swatch glow and NASA logo complete the design.

Rounding up the Swatch Space Collection is TAKE ME TO THE MOON ‘NEW GENT’ with a transparent case, and SPACE RACE ‘GENT’ with a mirror-effect ilver-colored dial.

Watch out for the Swatch Space Collection exclusive set that includes the youngest member of the Swatch family. Available in selected Swatch stores from June 3, 2021.

Bell+Ross Red Radar. It’s Very Red.

There is a place in watch collecting for timepieces that look like jet fighter dials. Suzuki did it over 40 years ago with their famous GS750/1000 clocks display and it’s been a popular styling detail ever since. Love that night mode red glow!

Now Bell + Ross has the revived Red Radar model for 2021, with some aviation goodness. Maybe it’s just too much like a radar screen to actaully let you know the time in a hurry? Anyway here’s the press info;

This year, Bell & Ross is back with a new Red Radar, the spectacular BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic. This avant-garde timepiece is also
inspired by a radar screen and brings its own innovative reinterpretation to the watch display.

It forms part of Bell & Ross’ iconic Flight Instruments collection which brings together exclusive timepieces, inspired by instruments
on board jet planes. It is available in a limited edition of 999 pieces.  Its design – very similar to an aircraft radar – was surprising and spectacular in equal measure.

Its graphics reproduced the scanning motion of the light beam on a radar screen with stunning realism. The bright red crystal topping the dial is reminiscent of the flight control instrument. The time can be read via a system of rotating discs, combined with an analogue hand. The dial is topped with a red sapphire crystal.

The system comprises two concentric discs which fuse with the dial. Its playful design is reminiscent of a stylised toy. These elements replace the hour and minute hands. In a major new feature, the discs move two tiny screenprinted planes, giving the impression that these are flying over the dial.

The hour scale is screen-printed on the inside (back) of the sapphire crystal, and so is well protected from impacts and abrasions.
For this innovative display, two ultra-light discs had to be designed to preserve the power reserve. These very robust discs will not deform and they maintain a constant parallelism.

Our watchmakers worked hard to ensure that the precision of the watch movement was not altered by friction. The assembly of each of these components was fine-tuned to the nearest micron. Guaranteeing such precision required all our in-house engineers to pool their expertise.

The newcomer adopts the BR 03 case, which is 42 mm in diameter. In constant pursuit of innovation and performance, on this occasion Bell & Ross has chosen to use ceramic. This high-tech material is scratch-resistant, yet soft to the touch.

UK price is £3600.

Bamford London Go Psychedelic On The El Primero

Bamford London keep coming up with custom variants on Rolex and other Swiss watch brands. This reworking of a Zenith is pretty out there. No price on the website, you have to email an equiry.

In collaboration with Black Badger, this Zenith Pilot Chrono TIPO CP-2 features a unique Fordite dial.

Fordite is the commonly used term to describe the collected overspray that builds up in the industrial paint bays of car factories over many, many years. The Fordite material used in this collaboration has come from the Ford factories in Michigan, USA, from the 1970-1990s era. This material forms entirely unique patterns which has been made into a special dial.

Inside the case you have the famous El Prmero chrono movement. Those yellow tipped hands are an extra jazzy touch as well.

More here if you want to get some Austin Powers vibe on your wrist.

Christopher Ward C63 Sealander

Christopher Ward have produced some very sharp designs over the last few years. Although critics moan about Swiss movements being used, rather than UK built movements, you have to admire the combo of UK design with Swiss level build touches. These are not unreasonably priced watches, considering they’re assembled in Britain where labour costs are high.

Here’s the word from Christopher Ward;

Crafted in Grade 2 titanium, the C63 watch head weighs a featherlight 45g, and is also the first CW timepiece with a retractable crown – something that stops it digging into your hand when cycling or rock climbing, and which prevents unexpected knocks to the movement, too.

WE LOVE THE CROWN – NOT THE TV SHOW, OBVIOUSLY

Yes, the crown is the erm..crowning glory on this model, as it has that Thunderbirds vibe when it’s hidden away beneathe the case edge. Add water-resistance to 150m, and you’ve got a pro timing instrument that’s elite in every way.

Those little cut-outs on the edge of the dial are a nice extra feature too, kinda like air vents.  That trident second hand catches the eye.

Inside it has a Sellita movement, with a decorated rotor. You can view it occasionally through the caseback glass too, nice work all round. At 40mm this is the ideal sized all-rounder watch, bit sporty, but not in-your-face like a Breitling Navi or an IWC Pilot.

It’s on pre-order right now, at £1150, which is a special price – rises to £1380 later in the year. More here. 

 

Green Dial Longines Spirit Variant

Longines has launched a matt green dial variant of its Spirit model. The 42mm case auto has raised numbers, which seem to float above the dial from some angles. It’s aslo COSC certified.

Retail is £2050 in the UK, our advice is save another 600 quid up and invest in a Tudor instead. The Longines will lose you a grand in one year of ownership, plus this is a very plain jane looker for two grand, which resembles an Orient three star from a distance.

Just saying.

More here.

 

Zelos Tourbillon Mirage Skeleton: Rare Earth Tech

Zelos have a strong fanbase online and it’s easy to see why; tough, beefy watches with quality components, fantastic dive ability too.

But not every watch has to be a dive model right? Dress watches, everyday chronographs, old school three hand mechanicals, they all have their place. Then there are tourbillons, arguably Breguet’s greatest leap of imagination and skill. Perhaps the greatest technical advance in watchmaking from the 1780s to the mass production line techniques and toolmaking strategy at Waltham in the 1860s.

Here’s the latest from Zelos and it’s kinda different. Expensive too, but when you check the spec you’ll understand that Zelos are raising their game to the Swiss level here.

The sequel to last year’s Mirage Tourbillon, the 8 days skeleton is a showcase of engineering and design. A custom skeletonised, twin barrel movement powers the Mirage 8 day. This movement is supplied by La Joux-Perret, a prestigious movement manufacturer located in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

OK so they merged titanium with another metal called zirconium which creates a unique case design. Sapphire crystal of course, both sides, with the movement from La Joux Perret skeletonised on the dial plate. It’s a twin barrel 8-day tourbillon and you have to say there are very few watches using the LJP movements, so it has a real exclusivity, as this type of watch engine is usually seen on an Arnold & Son, Angelus, Hublot or Armin Strom perhaps.

The turbine effect on both barrels adds a jet age era feel and the dial has that carbon-fibre racing car dashboard feel too. It isn’t a throwback tourbillon which has elements of mantel clocks and fancy poker style hands. There are a range of colours and each option is limited to 25 pieces.

Yes, you would hesitate before spending $4000 on a Zelos. You could lose $2000 of that value in a  few years, or it might just hold about 70% of its retail price. It would be safer to buy a Tudor Black Bay for £3300 or so and watch the value creep upwards. Yeah, it is a safer choice, also you’re running with the herd to an extent.

Bottom line; you love technology and rarity? Buy one because you can dare to be different. And afford it.

More here at the Zelos website.