Tag Archives: wristwatches

Indie Brands: Spinnaker Line-Up is Refreshed

Spinnaker are one of the more popular Indie watch brands, with the Hull mdoel being a strong seller online. The new additions include a refreshed Hull range, plus the Croft, Wreck and Dumas models.

Let’s get into it.

The Dumas range has dial colours in Tangerine, cream, blue and burgundy – although they give them cool names like Sahara instead of cream. Inside you’ll find the trusty Seiko NH35 auto engine, with a steel 44mm case, sapphire crystal and screwdown crown filling out the spec sheet nicely.

There’s a nice hexagonal link detail on the bracelet which gives it a classic 70s feel too.

Price is £315 which is competitive, considering you get 300m depth resistance. Plenty of Swiss dive watches with a 300m depth rating cost over 2K, just FYI…

CROFT

The Croft model is a mid-size watch at 40mm, which makes it ideal for everyday wear. There’s a nice Pepsi bezel option (pictured), plenty of lume as you can see, plus the NH35 movement inside.

Just 150m of depth resistance is probably plenty for most people, there’s a date window magnifying glass, and we love the textured finish on the dials, which are graduated blue, or a kind of slate grey.

At £220 this is another winner for us.

HULL

The old Hull has been around for a few years so Spinnaker are right to refresh it without changing a winning formula. So new dial colours are the big news for this VK Meca-Quartz chronograph, with fume blue or red/black options, plus two more variations on the black dial theme. Hate to mention it, but a pearl white with reversed out sub-dials would probably look awesome.

At £235 it’s a bit pricey for a quartz chronograph, because there is some very strong competition on Ali Express  at under £70 on chronographs, plus lots of Kickstarter projects using the VK movement that are a little bit more unique in terms of design and slightly cheaper.

Check out more Spinnaker goodness on their website.

Bell+Ross BR-5 GMT: Tool Watch Simplicity

The GMT is a watch tradition that never goes out of fashion. Yes, most of us don’t travel that much now that Covid19 has provided climate zealots with the ammunition to shutdown overseas jaunts for the 80%, but still, a GMT looks good. Plus it helps you stay in sync with an overseas office if you work in say global IT, insurance, media production etc.

Now Bell+Ross have that aircraft heritage and that cockpit dial gauge style thing going on. All good. The screwdown bezel gives it a too, watch focus, a utilitarian feel. Ditto the integrated bracelet links, which add a sort of `hewn from metal’ vibe.

Then there’s the stark white-on-black numbers and markers. Functional for sure, but also punchy, eye-catching and sort of timeless. This won’t go out of fashion like some Swiss watches do – anyone still collecting Ebel chronographs with their huge pushers and rounded off cases? Nope, thought not.

At 41mm across, it’s the right size, it also looks pure tool-watch slick, stripped down and ready to travel. No fancy additions, not even a day to sit alongside the date window.

This is a pricey watch at £4100 on a textured strap, £4500 on a bracelet. For all its super-clean, brushed steel brilliance the Bell+Ross BR-5 range is Sellita powered, albeit decorated and upgarded by the B&R concern.

That is a heck of a price to pay for a Sellita powered watch, so our verdict is spend the £4500 on a different GMT, like a pre-owned Explorer maybe, or even a new Tudor Black Bay. You will hold the watch value better in the long run because B&R simply does not have the fanbase in the UK that big brands like Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling et al has, or ever will have.

Like so many watches that dare to be genuinely different, B&R pay the price in the fickle collector market.

Top Of The World? Definitely Top Value

We bought this watch from Ali Express in our quest to find cheap timekeeping for the masses, because sometimes that’s all you need for everyday wear. Save the Swiss watches and Seikos for Sundays and special occasions maybe?

OK, so what we have is a basic 42mm watch with a white dial and grey/black chapter ring. It looks a little bit like a slimmed down Ingersoll/Triumph pocket watch from the 60s, with a bold red second hand plus a date window at 6pm.

The steel case feels smooth, well polished and has the TPW logo on the back. Looks easy to pop the tab on the caseback when it’s time to change the battery too.

The crystal is raised slightly above the bezel, which makes the watch look a bit more finished, more designed, than the average sub-tenner basic watch.  The TPW is about 11mm thick in total, so it sits neatly under a shirt sleeve.

A faux leather strap completes the budget look and at £6.50 including shipping from China, yes six pounds fifty pence, this has to be one of the better looking cheap-as-chips chinese watches NWC mag has road tested.

There’s no box or paperwork so you can’t fob off an annoying relative by buying them this watch for their birthday and pretending it cost twenty notes. Nah, not that we would ever do that.

VERDICT; A winner at this money.

 

Mustonen Fires Up The Rocket Boosters

Yes, we love a new watch brand here at the Northern Watch Co magazine, so say hello to Mustonen and their debut watches. Definitely different and available at pre-order prices.

So what’s the story behind the launchpad? Martin Mustonen, the founder and designer of Finland based Mustonen watches was inspired by Mars exploration for the company’s debut timepiece.

IS THERE LIFE ON MARS? ELON MUSK IS GOING TO FIND OUT

This theme was chosen due to his passion of studuying the space and the opportunity to commemorate with the first Mustonen timepiece the achievements reached by people working in mars mission of the present and the past. Most recent major achievement was
the successful landing of Perseverance rover in Jezro crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

After  eighteen months of investment and effort, the first Mustonen watch was born. The M-1 collection features three Made in Finland Limited editions with Swiss movements: Launch edition, Bespoke edition and Apex edition (Tourbillon) each limited to 999, 500 and 15 timepieces respectively.

Precision machined from 316L stainless steel with 3-5 microns of tolerance, the case measures 39mm in width, 10mm in thickness and has a 52mm lug-to-lug distance. The mirror polished finish of the case is treated with plasma coating process resulting in 700HV surface hardness which is highly scratch resistant. Thickness of the coating is 0.1 microns.

For the bespoke edition Mustonen also offers Brushed finish and Black DLC coating for the case and clasp.

M-1 features exceptionally rare martian meteorite (NWA 6963 Basaltic Shergottite) on the side of the case covered by sapphire glass that is set on 18k gold sheet. A Martian meteorite is a rock that formed on Mars, was ejected from the planet by an impact event,
traversed interplanetary space and finally landed on the Earth as a meteorite and is one of the rarest materials on earth.

The movements for each edition were chosen with care, the most impressive of the movements being the Tourbillon movement by Concepto manufacture installed in the M-1 Apex edition.

For the M-1 Bespoke edition the customer can choose either Soprod A-10 with exceptional precision of +/- 4 seconds per day or the classic 2824-2 movement by ETA. For the movements of Bespoke and Apex Editions Mustonen offers a bespoke service for unique rotor design. STP Calibre 1-11 was chosen as the movement to be fitted to the M-1 Launch Edition.

There is the option of having a true one-off model produced, by an in-house designer too.

As for the concept of M-1 Launch Edition Martin Mustonen explains: “The concept for M-1 Launch Edition is to offer the M-1 with a reliable Swiss automatic movement for under 600 euros , without compromising the impeccable craftsmanship that goes into each M-1 timepiece so that as many watch aficionados as possible would be able able to afford and therefore enjoy the first Mustonen timepiece”

This was made possible with a steep 60% discount off the future MSRP for pre-orders and producing larger amount of timepieces for
the Launch Edition totaling 999 watches.

TOURBILLON

The M-1 Apex edition is a true haute horlogie timepiece that features exceptional Tourbillon movement by a well-known manufacture Concepto, located in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Concepto caliber 8950-A has 27 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a
60-hour power reserve.

Apex edition will be limited to only fifteen watches and each timepiece’s bespoke design specified by the customer is processed by our in-house designer and includes bespoke features such as hand engraving on the caseback,
custom rotor design and more without additional charges.

PRICES

The introductory pricing structure for M-1 pre-orders is 595 EUR for Launch Edition (-60% off future MSRP) , 765 EUR (-55%) for the Bespoke Edition (for bespoke options cost extra) and 9850 EUR for Apex Edition (-40%) The delivery of the timepieces will be in January.

More info at; www.mustonenwatches.com

Timex Continues With Retro Groove

Timex is staying on the retro path with new colour choices for the Q Reissue series, including a deep blue dial/bezel combo that we love.  It has a 38mm case, steel bracelet, easy-change battery compartment on the caseback – all that good stuff from the past, with a modern quartz movement inside.

It is a great looker although £175 is expensive for a basic fashion watch. Rivals from Sekonda, Accurist, even a Seiko 5, can be had for about £110. Just saying.

Now if you rock the Pride month then the Timex Malibu models will be right up your alley. Featuring Miami art deco colours, these watches have a 36mm case width, quartz movt, acrylic crystal and gold tone painted bracelets, which are the expandable type.

Good news for older customers who often miss these expanding links, although taking the pins out to remove links can be a bit of a faff, even for jewellers and watch shops.

Bizarrely, they feature a rotating bezel, which seems pointless on a fashion watch but still. Price is £175.

More info on  the UK Timex site here.

Croque Monsieur? Non, Je Suis Achete le Chronographe

The Monsieur Ranomo (Panda) Quartz has a handy 20% off its list price of $199.00. Just use “take20” at checkout for 20% off all purchases says the brand. If, like us, you haven’t heard of the make, here’s the spec on this motorsports themed chronograph.

Monsieur Ranomo Series feat. Vintage Racing Chronograph. It has taken the 60s & 70s inspiration inspired from the likes of the Rolex Daytona to the Zenith El Primero, we decided to craft a panda and reverse panda with a racing tradition.

Key Specifications

–  Case Diameter: 38 mm Case
–  Thickness: 10 mm
–  Band Material: Genuine Italian Leather Band
–  Band Width: 20 mm
–  Total Weight: 40 g (Miyota 0S21)
–  Case Material: 316L
–  Back Plate: Sapphire Crystal Exhibition Back
–  Buckle: Standard Brushed Buckle
–  Buckle Material: Stainless Steel
–  Dial Window Material: K1 Domed Sapphire Coated
–  Display: Chronograph
–  Movement: Japanese Miyota 0S21
–  Date Function: Yes (*Only For Miyota 0S21)
–  Seconds Function: Yes
–  Water Resistant: 5 ATM / 50 Meters

What’s included in the order:

1x Watch box

1x Brown leather case

1x Watch + strap

Bell+Ross Vintage VR-94 Has The Full Glow-Up

There’s lume, then there’s Superlume and finally, all over the dial lume. Some people really love it, and a used Timex Indiglo is one of the easiest watches to sell on eBay or Amazon at the right price. Why? It just makes telling the time at night, when you waken from some bizarre dream that much easier, and a whole lotta folk like that feature.

So the Bell+Ross Vinatge chronograph with a metal dial costed in C5 Superlume may well win some fans. It’s a 41mm case size watch, with sapphire glass, box-crystal on the front and a sapphire crystal on the see-thru caseback too. The dial has a bit of blue contrast lume on a sub-dial too. You can choose a yellow or green lume plus there’s a steel bracelt or tropic rubber strap option.

As you would expect from a Bell+Ross watch this has big numbers on the dial and a general aviation sort of feel. Inside you find an in-house BR calibre 301 movement, which is based on the ETA 2894 automatic movement. So reliability is guaranteed, as is ease of servicing by an Indie watchmaker. Those are all plus points but the downside is the price; £4300.

OK this is a limited edition of 250 pieces, but there are better value chronograph options out there with Swiss movements inside them, although they don’t have the all-over dial lume. For example you could buy an Omega Speedmaster 38 for £4300 and know that its resale value will always be at least £1000 better than any Bell+Ross model. Or you could buy a TAG Heuer F1 with its grey dial, bright yellow markers and hands option for £1700. Yes, it’s a quartz, but superbright dial day or night.

That also leaves you enough change to buy a Tudor Black Bay 58 from your £4300 budget. Nice.

 

Blow Hot & Cold With The New Ball Roadmaster TMT

Ball have a new variant on their Roadmaster series, and this time it has a temperature gauge. OK, you may not follow in Bear Grylls footsteps across snowy mountains and into deepest jungles. But this is a very well designed watch that really stands out from the crowd, with a Swiss movement and that auto dashboard inspired temp gauge on the dial. We love it, especially the blue dial, blue bezel combo. Here’s the word from Ball;

It doesn’t run from adversity, darkness and fear. It’s built for them. The new Roadmaster TMT Ceramic handles extreme conditions and measures every climate with a patented mechanical thermometer – from the scorching heat to the frigid cold. Engineered for precision, the ingeniously modified movement utilizes a special oil that ensures flawless operation. Even in –45°C (–49°F) temperatures, micro gas tubes shine on the dial and hands. The watch that once ran America’s railroads now empowers world explorers to live freely and fearlessly.

Uncluttered black and blue dials. 40mm and 43mm stainless steel strength. Black and blue rotating bezels. Tone-on-tone stylish design. The Roadmaster TMT Ceramic inherits the sport elegance DNA that epitomizes BALL Watch with the streamlined case. The bezel extends beyond the case for a better grip and the sapphire crystal case back allows a glimpse of the mechanical caliber that powers this engineering marvel.

The upgrade to the new ceramic bezel insert represents our endless quest for excellence. And as the outer-most facing part of the watch, it’s built to withstand extreme weather, everyday abrasion and all the intense knocks that come with exploration. Ceramic is also impervious to ultra-violet rays, ensuring long-lasting color and readability.

Ball have deepened their understanding of the bi-metallic hairspring’s expansion rate. Why does this matter? Simple really, when the bi-metallic spring can be calibrated to produce a predictable deflection at a preset temperature, timekeeping stays accurate at extreme temperatures. Thus, allowing our TMT module to measure ambient temperature between -31°F and 113°F, or -35°C and 45°C, results in 99% accuracy – says Ball.

For the Roadmaster TMT Ceramic, the Celsius scale is available in the 40mm case while the 43mm case comes with the Fahrenheit scale.

Watch the video clip here;

Available online only, the new Roadmaster TMT Ceramic is limited to 1,000 pieces each. Now available for pre-order until 24 March 2021 at an exclusive price, which is just under £1500. Don’t forget you need to add on UK import duty and VAT to that price – nope, we still cannot find a government calculator to work that out either.

Farer Exmoor Automatic Has That Military Edge

Farer have a new addition to their range, the Field Exmoor automatic. Featuring a Sellita SW221 movement inside the steel case, this 38mm watch is designed for outdoor adventures and has that classic mil-spec dial. It also has an orange date hand rather than the conventional date window. For £875 this is an expensive alternative to something like a Seiko 5 with a green dial, but you are buying British and getting a watch with stunning night time lume as well.

Here’s the Tech Spec;

CASE

38.5mm diameter, 12.3mm depth, 45mm lug-to lug, 42mm pin-to-pin

MATERIAL

316 marine grade stainless steel

FINISH

Brushed finish with crown protector sides, highly polished back

BEZEL

316 marine grade stainless steel external fixed bezel

DIAL

Olive green textured dial and outer date ring with highlighted end of month dates, numerals overprinted in off-white SLN Grade A Super-Luminova with light orange Super-Luminova 5 minute arrow markers

Seiko 5 is a plain Jane compared to the Farer – but we found it online at £200 at Watch Nation.

HANDS

Sword style hour/minute hands in brushed steel with off-white SLN Grade A Super-Luminova infill, orange date hand featuring Farer ‘A’ pointer, blue sweep second with Super-Luminova dot and orange tip

CROWN

6mm screw in, straight stainless steel, machined solid bronze cap featuring embossed Farer marque

GLASS

Flat strengthened sapphire crystal, internal anti-reflective coating, external hard anti-reflective coating

STRAP KIT

Tan American Horween leather strap with steel buckle, airforce blue waterproof nylon NATO strap, ‘5 row’ integrated 316 marine grade steel bracelet with tri-fold clasp (fit to size via link removal) – all with quick release pin fitting

LUG

20mm

WATER RESISTANT

20ATM