March 17th -24,
Highlights of the Annual Watch & Jewelry Show
New for their 2016 line-up is a heritage inspired piece, a couple of chronographs (which Zenith is synonymous with), and a rather interesting looking limited edition Georges Favre-Jacot Tourbillon.
The heritage “Pilot Cafe Racer Spirit“. A 1920’s art deco, 45mm Pilot’s style chronograph. As the name suggests it was inspired by the cafe racer biker movement of the 1920’s and has elements of vintage motorcycle culture translated through the watch. The Cafe Racer has a garage theme to it with its choice of colors and aging done to the metal. The stainless steel case is aged to look lightly worn and antique giving it an appearance of almost having a thin layer of soot on it. The crown is a traditional large onion crown found on pilots watches from days gone by. The dial is an aged looking “grain” slate dial with SuperLuminova art deco hands and art deco numerals that add in selling this almost century old look. The sapphire crystal is double AR treated and the case back is made of titanium. At its core beats an El Primero 4069, 36,000bph (5Hz) automatic movement. It comes on a purposely dirty “oily” nubuck leather strap with a titanium buckle completing the look of the watch. I enjoy the look of this piece, it is a great strong looking watch and it looks very much to have captured the spirit of the time period of which it was intended.
El Primero “Classic Cars“, elegant and sleek, simple, yet sophisticated. A touch of vintage and modern Zenith combined. This chronograph was designed to pay tribute to classic car collectors from around the world and is appropriately released to cross promote Zenith representing itself at more than 50 upcoming classic car events around the globe. The watch itself has three timers; hours, minutes, and seconds, with a date function (so I guess you could time events in days too). The dial is made from a type of coal called anthracite, which has the characteristic of having a beautiful metallic luster to it. Zenith finishes the dial with a “Brushed Engine” pattern and 3 different colored counters. The 42mm case is made from stainless steel, with two simple chrono pushers that were designed to resemble engine pistons. The unguarded push down crown features the Zenith star on it and the 36k vph, El Primero 400B automatic movement is visible through the transparent sapphire case back (which is more function than beauty, save for the hardened blue screws). This watch comes on a brown leather calf skin rally strap with a triple folding stainless steel clasp.
A simple, discreet, understated column wheel chronograph, the Zenith “Elite Chronograph Classic“. Featuring a new high frequency automatic movement, the cal.4069, 36k bph (5Hz) Zenith column wheel chronograph. Keeping thickness to a minimum this chronograph is 11.8mm thick (the movement accounts for more than half the size) in a tasteful, no frills, 42mm case, which is available in either stainless steel on a black alligator leather strap or in a 18k rose gold on a brown alligator leather strap with a rose gold triple folding clasp. This watch has an AR treated sapphire crystal which protects a shimmering silver sunray dial and a transparent sapphire case back to display the cal.4069 El Primero chronograph. Zenith collectors will find this piece classic and faithful to the Zenith legacy.
This limited edition haute horology piece. The Zenith “Academy Georges Favre-Jacot Tourbillon” limited to 150 pieces world wide. Combining two iconic movement complications; the tourbillon, and the fusee and chain transmission system.
The case is a 45mm black carbon looking ceramic case with an anti-reflective treated sapphire crystal on both the front and on the back of the watch.
This watch houses a Zenith cal.4085 manual wind high frequency movement with a power reserve indicator. The watch comes on a black rubber strap with a PVD coated triple folding titanium clasp.
RADO unveils a few classic pieces, some limited editions and some interesting simplistic pieces all crafted with high-tech top-tier materials. Rado watches have always represented great value on mid to upper tier Swiss made watches and that trend it seems, will continue.
Reviving an old classic, a re-imaging of a 60’s Rado, the Rado “HyperChrome 1616“. Having a square case and a round dial this timepiece looks very much a child of the 60’s. I think its unconventional obtrusive shape has an elegant to beauty to it, like an old Cadillac with giant rear wings. The SuperLuminova dial and hands is reminiscent of a vintage diver, almost something you’d find on a Doxa diving watch. While I don’t usually like day-date dials, their choice of placing the date indicator at 6 o’clock works with the symmetry of the surrounding dial print and makes it very appealing. Given its diver appearance and over-sized beefy 46mm specially hardened titanium case the HyperChrome 1616 looks like a proper tool watch and is being touted as an explorers watch. This watch in particular was created to honor and pay homage to the discovery of the cape horn in South America 400 years ago. I strongly believe this re-imagined “Cape Horn” looks bolder, makes more of statement, and is generally more impressive than the original 1960’s Rado Cape Horn it is modeled after.
This re-issue comes in two gray-scale flavors; black or metallic, which are either a hard matte black ceramic case with a “blacked out” dial and date or a specially hardened grade 5 titanium metallic case. The case is water resistant to 100m and the watch is powered by a reliable ETA cal. C07.621 automatic movement (that is a 2824-2 based chronometer grade movement with an 80 hour power reserve). The watch has a double AR treated sapphire crystal and comes on either an aged raw tan leather strap (on the titanium model) or with a more traditional looking black leather strap on the black ceramic model. The watch will be priced at or around $3,300 USD.
Rado “DiaMaster Grande Seconde“. Dual stacked sub-dials on one large honey comb dial (Clou de Paris pattern). The larger dial to the right -which looks like a typical watch face displays minutes and hours, and the other smaller, but still large dial on the left displays the running seconds and also houses a date indicator. The watch isn’t too large for the amount of dials it contains and the balance of the layout doesn’t make it look awkwardly large. Still some might find the 43mm case a little large, where most manufacturers in the formal watch space don’t really want to push past the 41mm mark. The watch comes on either a chocolate brown calf leather strap with a rose gold accented dial and hands, or a grey leather strap with a blue accented dial and hands. The case may look metal but Rado affirms it contains no metal whatsoever, it is in fact actually a high-tech plasma ceramic. The DiaMaster Grande Seconde has a 21-jewel 2899 automatic movement which uses a modified ETA 2892 movement as its base. The Rado decorated movement is observable through the transparent sapphire case back.
Rado’s 500 piece Limited Edition “True Open Heart“. Individually numbered and limited to 500 pieces world wide, its award winning design incorporates a thin 0.2mm layer mother of pearl floating over a modified ETA movement. The razor thin mop dial resembles a veil mysteriously revealing the inner workings of the timepiece. The dial is likened to an aurora borealis with a delicate shimmer that changes color depending on the ambient lighting and angle of view. The modified movement also has parts cut-out of the plates to expose more of the inner workings that would usually not be seen on a standard ETA movement. This limited piece comes in either a matte black or polished white 38mm ultra light weight monobloc ceramic case with a transparent sapphire case back.
Limited Edition “HyperChrome Ultra Light“. Limited to 500 pieces and crafted from a trio of ultra light materials including; aluminum, hardened titanium, and silicon nitride ceramic (NASA space shuttle stuff and also used by Omega in the case construction of some of their models). Rado was aiming for a “zen inspired” design with a “barely there” feel to it. Even the smallest detail of having ‘automatic’ appear vertically on the dial instead of horizontally makes a huge difference in the way this watch presents itself. The 43mm x 11mm case is a monochromatic, natural matte grey ceramic monobloc case. The dial has subtle ‘raked’ groves in it that gently sweep downward and help to reinforce the zen-like theme of the watch. The watch is featured on a neutral grey nato strap and secured with a titanium buckle, even the strap adheres to the rules of ‘clean and simple’. The crystal is an AR treated sapphire on both the front and on the back. The transparent case back reveals a 21 jewel, 28.8k bph, ETA movement with a 64 hour power reserve.
So a 43mm automatic mechanical watch with a date feature, a sapphire crystal and constructed out of a metal and ceramic material, you’d probably expect this to weigh at least 80-100 grams, and you’d be wrong. Rado has quoted the weight of this watch to be a nominal 56 grams! I’m sure I have quartz watches that weigh more than that. So there you have it, Rado took a simple minimalist approach to this piece and it maintains a quiet elegance of form, function and beauty. But don’t be fooled, it has a robustness to be worn through the trenches and to keep on going, which is good when you forget you’re even wearing it.
The exclusively limited edition, cutting edge design “True ThinLine Skeleton“. A razor thin automatic skeleton watch from Rado showing the internal workings of the watch to the amusement of those with a high sense of curiosity. This new skeleton watch from Rado comes in at 7mm thick and weighs a mere 80g‘s. Using a modified Swiss automatic 2892-2 ETA movement the dial and sections of the movement have been cut-away or “skeletonized” to reveal whats going on under the hood. Combined with the transparent sapphire case back and this watch has got nothing to hide. The 40mm case is made from cutting edge materials such as their very own “high-tech” polished ceramic. Rado will have only 99 of these available for sale world wide. The price is estimated to be over $6k, so save your pennies.
ORIS, dips into the heritage well with some well made Swiss pieces that are all bargain buys for those seeking entry for the first time into the Swiss watch club. A plethora of limited pieces, a few special commemorative pieces, but all staying true to form, function, and beauty, perpetuating their utilitarian tone.
The first piece we’re showcasing from Oris is the limited edition “Carl Brashear” dive watch, in a 42mm bronze case (symbolic of the bronze diving helmet Brashear would have worn). This watch was deservingly created to honor the first African American, U.S. Navy master diver, who also happened to be an amputee after losing their leg while recovering a nuclear warhead. Limited to 2000 pieces world wide, it features a Swiss automatic Sellita SW200-1 (ETA 2824 clone movement). Water resistant to 100m with an AR treated domed sapphire crystal and a stainless steel case back. The deep dark blue dial with gilt minute markers has lightly aged SuperLuminova rose gold hour markers and hands. The watch comes on a dark brown calf skin leather strap with a bronze buckle. Why Oris doesn’t make this bronze version of the Diver 65 at least 200m water resistance or with an alternative complimenting strap for actual water use we may never know. At $2,600usd you might be better off buying a used Tudor Black Bay, unless this collectible watch with its exclusive combination of dark blue and unique bronze case really speaks to you. If what this watch commemorates and represents really resonates with you, then it’s a must have piece.
Oris “Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II”. Another great looking dive watch from Oris based on their popular Aquis line of watches. This new model features several additions and improvements over the existing Aquis line of diving watches. A couple notable additions include an inner day indicator that circles the deep-ocean blue dial and a mustard yellow minutes rail that circles the outer diameter of the dial providing a visual contrast against the dial serving to improve the readability in dimly lit environments. The stainless steel case on this limited edition piece is 46mm, an increase from the 43mm case of the Aquis. The bezel is a scratch resistant polished black ceramic. Water resistance is rated to 500m (200m more than on an ordinary Aquis) and a double AR domed sapphire crystal is equipped. The watch maintains a traditional date indicator at the 6 o’clock position and a quick adjustable stainless steel folding clasp (that was developed in partnership with professional divers) on a rubber strap that was also fitted on the Aquis line. Watch is powered by a Swiss made Sellita SW220 automatic movement (ETA 2836-2 clone). The dial indices and bezel glow long and bright courtesy of SuperLuminova. I like the crown guards on this piece; they serve their purpose of protecting the vulnerable part of the large crown to bumps without being too intrusive to the design and overall flow and shape of the watch. The elongated lugs with their screw-in spring bars and the emphasized saw-tooth bezel really give this watch its professional diving tool credibility. All these features in combination come together to form a watch with a true authentic divers feel. This watch is limited to 2000 examples world wide and is a lot of watch for not a lot of money ~$2,200usd. The quality and craftsmanship is outstanding and at this price it really gives the Omega Seamaster ceramic and others like it a long hard think about ‘good value’.
“Artelier Caliber 112”, the mechanical day-night indicator GMT function watch. This new watch from Oris represents a lot of innovation in a complicated looking formal wrist piece. It features a patented non linear power reserve indicator that accurately shows when the 10 day power reserve has almost depleted. The 12 o’clock sub dial displays a full second time zone clock with a rotating disc indicating whether it is day or night in this time zone. This innovative in-house movement and citing watches like the Cal. 112 as the future of Oris watch, Ulrich W. Herzog, the chairman of the Oris group describes it as “…real-world functionality and real-world prices.” The watch has a 43mm case in either stainless steel or 18k rose gold bezel, an AR coated sapphire crystal with a sapphire crystal display back. Powering the watch is a 40 jewel manual wind 21,600bph movement. The dial is available in either a silver or blue-gray with SuperLume indices and comes on a croc strap with a stainless deployant clasp.
“Artix Skeleton”, a sport watch from Oris featuring a skeletonized SuperLuminova dial and a 28.8k Sellita SW200 Swiss automatic movement. An AR coated sapphire crystal with a mineral crystal case back. The 39mm case is stainless steel and water proof to 100m. The watch comes on either a black leather strap or a stainless steel chain link bracelet with a stainless steel butterfly clasp.
Another great looking diver from Oris. This hefty tool watch is the Oris “ProDiver Chronograph”. It’s a great piece of kit and features an innovative rotation safety system.
These new Black Bay models offered by Tudor appear to get the in-house movement treatment, several new fabric and leather straps, and excitingly a new rivet bracelet.
Called the “Black Bay Dark” this new black bay model is a matte PVD black steel case with no end links bracelet and a red sub inspired depth rating on the dial. It features the new in-house COSC Tudor movement the ‘MT5602’. It still retains a 3 line dial that states its COSC certified, which is a good thing, because making it a 5 line dial would look cluttered. The Tudor shield has also made a comeback on the dial, replacing the Tudor Rose of the first gen Black Bay.
There is also an aged leather strap version.
Personally for me a non PVD version of the black bay above on the black aged leather strap would be perfect.
Tudor “Black Bay 36” is the smallest of the Black Bay family and seems to take its styling from the Rolex Explorer I with a 36mm case and a polished bezel, no depth rating on the dial but is water resistant to 150m (instead of the usual 200m of the black bay), a new dark camo’ jacquard woven strap and retains the ETA 2824 movement of the first gen Black Bays (this is probably due to case size compatibility with the new in-house movements). Offered on a steel bracelet, distressed tan leather strap, or cotton camo’ fabric strap.
Largest of the Black Bay family at 43mm is the “Black Bay Bronze“. It is a brushed aluminum bronze alloy taking inspiration from historic diving equipment and over time should develop an interesting and unique patina which sounds very interesting. It gets the in-house COSC MT5602 movement. It will be available on a brown distressed leather strap and also includes a fabric woven bronze colored strap. Unique to this dial in the Black Bay line-up are Arabic numerals at 3- 6- and 9 on a root beer dial. The bronze case also sees the return of lug holes to the Tudor diving line.
The Bracelet gets a Change (a step backwards perhaps)
An interesting unexpected addition to the line-up is a new riveted stainless steel bracelet. On the vintage Rolex’s these were hard to work with, as sizing required specialist tools and was often destructive to the bracelet, arm hair also seemed to get caught up in these particular bracelets and was overall unpleasant to deal with. Tudor decided to the bring these back to further show they know heritage I guess and while these are retro and cool I’m not so sure it was entirely necessary. The screw adjustable oyster bracelet on the first gen Black Bay was adequate except for an absent divers extension or quick adjustment clasp like on the Pelagos. Whether the new rivet bracelet will have an easy quick adjustable clasp like on the Pelagos or a divers extension of some sort remains to be seen, but here’s to hoping they sorted that out.
So what of that new Tudor MT5602 movement? It seems technically identical to the Tudor MT5612 and 5621 I reviewed earlier. I can only imagine it will be a solid workhorse of a movement providing years of trouble free reliability, and a very good thing for the Black Bay line and Tudor in general as they have now fully stepped out of Rolex’s shadow. With these new models announced I believe Tudor’s fully in touch with their brands heritage and understands “vintage-chic”, I believe they are aware of what their customers loved about the vintage pieces and are giving the people what they want. Their brand can only rise higher from the low of the 90’s as they come in hot making a stellar North American comeback, marking the ‘return of the shield‘. There’s no doubt these new models will represent great value and get a very enthusiastic thumbs up from me.
It features a deep blue dial and a grey ceramic bezel with a Liquidmetal blue ceramic bezel insert. It is water resistant to 300m and is simple, elegant and with a date feature making this new release faithful to the original. I personally like the candle stick hands and the sunburst radiant blue dial which is easily seen with out too much clutter on the dial face.
The movement is the in-house chronometric performing 35 jewel calibre 1315 with a 5 day (120 hours) power reserve. The movement is easily observed and appreciated through the sapphire display case back. It’s silicon balance spring is impervious to magnetic fields and due to it’s light weight is highly shock resistant. Strap options will include a three ring NATO, or a sail canvas strap (as pictured).
OMEGA updates the Seamaster and Speedmaster line. Gone are the Wavy dials, and in are the Liquidmetal ceramic bezels and METAS certified Master Chronometers.
Omega’s latest offerings in recent years have rocketed the brand from an upper mid-tier watchmaker to a revolutionizing top-tier brand, on par with or even exceeding the engineering and quality of Rolex wrist watches.
Continuing the Planet Ocean line is this new black and orange Master Chronometer Seamaster. Rated to a depth of 600m and sporting the new super accurate Master Chronometer movement. It’s a 43.5mm case, with a sapphire display case back, a double AR treated front sapphire crystal, and a Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) hybrid ceramic rubber bezel insert with Liquidmetal being used for the bezel markers and orange rubber being used to mark the first 15 minutes of timing. The cased movement is rated to withstand magnetic fields of at least 15,000 gauss. It comes standard on the black and orange rubber strap with a steel deployment clasp. Availability will be July 2016.
My personal favourite to come out of Omega’s new PO lineup is their latest GMT offering, the Seamaster Planet Ocean “Night and Day” GMT. The black and white theme used to easily distinguish between day and night hours offers a complimentary elegance to this piece and the choice of bezel font and the inlay dash markers completes the look. The inclusion of the ceramic material formula makes for a crowded dial, especially when combined with the Arabic numerals and six other lines of text. It feels a little out of place to put a chemistry formula on the dial and offers nothing for the design, there is also no remaining vertical space as a result. I would have preferred Omega to remove “Seamaster” from above center and put it in place of the Zirconium line of text below center.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer Coaxial Chronograph (what a mouth full) in two tone “Sedna gold” and stainless steel with a deep blue dial. Double AR coated front sapphire and a sapphire display case back. Running chronograph function for measuring time. Case size is 45.5mm. 600m water resistance with a helium escape valve. Color combination is a little reminiscent of the Yacht-Master II, and I’m undecided if I like the two tone screw down chrono pushers, or the arrow sword hands that are used throughout the Planet Ocean line.
The Omega Planet Ocean 600M “Chocolate”. Smaller than the others at 39.5mm it packs all the same features as the others in the planet ocean range but in a “sedna” gold case. Sedna gold is what Omega calls their formula of “Rose Gold”. Sedna gold is a new patented alloy combining three elements; Gold, Copper, and Palladium. It is an 18k gold meaning it has no less than 75% gold content, and the formula used should ensure a long lasting lustrous finish. Unlike the other Planet Ocean models the bezel on this piece features a material called “Ceragold” that is a fusion of 18k gold and ceramic to make a bezel that is perfectly smooth to the touch. The Planet Ocean “Chocolate” will be available for purchase three months later than the other Planet Ocean models in October of 2016.
A new Limited Edition Omega Speedmaster, the Ck2998 re-issue. This watch is a reissue of the 1960’s Speedmaster ck2998, and features the return of the lollipop seconds hand (which I feel looks out of place, but will probably be what will drive the collectibility), and an updated appealing blue and white theme with a racing inspired blue chapter ring dial. It will be limited to a production run of, yep, you guessed it, 2998 pieces. The new Speedmaster retains the venerable manual wind 1861 calibre movement, but gets an AR treated sapphire crystal in place of the original hesalite. The case comes in at 39.7mm, making its case size 2.3mm smaller than the classic moon watch professional. The base 1000 tachy bezel is superlumed, and availability of this classic heritage looking watch will be July 2016. This piece will be priced at around $5,700 USD.
This rather cool looking ‘dressed up’ Moonphase Speedmaster. Featuring the 9904 Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement, a stainless steel case, and the first in the Speedmaster line to get a ceramic Liquidmetal bezel. Other features include double AR front sapphire and sapphire display back, date and moonphase indicator. The blue dial has a beautiful radiant sun brushed finish and features twin rhodium plated sub dials. Omega claims the moonphase complication is extremely accurate and would only need resetting every 10 years with a few simple turns of the crown. Case size falls on the side of large at 44.25mm, this watch should be available in boutiques starting October 2016.
No doubt you’ve seen the Speedmaster Dark/ White/ Grey Platinum edition, Co-Axial Side of the Moon. Continuing along that vein of homages to the moon, Omega presents us with the Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon “Meteorite” edition (I guess that’s the side we see from earth). While meteroite dials are nothing new and I can’t say that I really enjoy the color combination of this model, I think the addition of this piece to the Speedmaster line-up will appeal to some collectors. The whole idea behind this watch is that you can always carry a piece of space on your wrist, in the form of a meteorite. The slice of meteorite used was sourced from the Gibeon meteorite found in Namibia, which had fallen to earth in prehistoric times and was discovered in 1838. Using a slice of space rock for the dial ensures no two pieces will have the same ribbon like “widmanstatten” pattern, making each piece truly unique. The meteorite dial gives this watch an interesting metallic shimmer depending on the light source and angle at which it is reflected. The case is made of a hard white ceramic (Zirconium Oxide) material that with a treatment of very high temperature transforms it into a metallic lunar colored grey. The tachymeter bezel was made using Omega’s very own Ceragold process layered with silicon nitride (the same stuff NASA uses on their space shuttles; harder than metal, highly durable and highly heat resistant). This is the first tachymetre bezel to use Omegas own in-house Ceragold process. The dial markers and hands are made using Omega’s patented 18k Sedna rose gold process. Like the other Speedmaster Side of the Moon series models, this watch also has a date complication. Case size is 44.25mm and houses a calibre 9300 automatic Co-Axial movement, which can be easily viewed through the sapphire display case back. This watch comes on a ‘dusty moon’ colored grey leather strap, and will be available starting June 2016.
Omega makes a proper Annual Calendar, a simple yet elegant looking watch the Globemaster. Featuring a faceted pie pan dial, and blue varnished hands, and a central month indicator hand that snaps over with an instantaneous jump. The Globemaster case size is larger than in previous years at 41mm, which was necessary to accommodate the central annual calendar feature. The fluted bezel is made of a very hard tungsten carbide metal (ranking just above 9 for hardness on the 1-10 mohs scale). The watch crystal is a standard sapphire crystal with a double AR treatment. The movement is a Master Co-Axial calibre. 8922, and can be appreciated through the sapphire display case back. I certainly think it’s more visually pleasing than Rolex’s Sky-Dweller offering but less technically interesting with regards to function. The Globemaster will be available in October, 2016.
A new Aqua Terra is added to the series, dubbed the “GoodPlanet“. Teak dials are out, gloss lacquered dials are in, this may be the least interesting dial in the Aqua Terra line-up. This is the 43mm GMT function model, water resistant to the model standard of 150 meters and built from a grade 5 titanium. This new Aqua Terra sports a beautiful set of ocean blue faceted hands and a red tipped GMT fourth hand. This watch is also available in a mid-size 38.5mm version; but lacks a GMT function, and has the date indicator at the 3 o’clock position instead of the 6, the mid-size model however, is almost $4k less.
Omega donates a portion of the sales from the “GoodPlanet” series of watches to fund various world wide conservation projects, which you can read about here.