WatchTime was founded in New York City in 1999 by the Ebner Publishing Group of Ulm, Germany. In the blog the WatchTime editorial team and other contributors from top watch blogs and online watch magazines post reviews of new watch models, news from the watch industry, reports from watch collector events, and much more.
If you look too quickly at the latest release from Kari Voutilainen, you might be tricked into thinking its an entirely new timepiece for the Finnish watchmaking maestro. Given the name 28ti, the watch features a brand new execution for Voutilainen, yet it should feel quite familiar for the Kari faithful. If you haven’t guessed yet, that is because much of the watch’s movement — which is visible from the dial side, a first for Voutilainen — is taken from the Vingt-8 construction that is easily distinguishable due to the extra-large balance wheel found in the 28ti’s top-left corner.
The Vingt-8 is likely the best known Voutilainen timepiece and has been a part of the watchmaker’s catalog since 2011. When it was introduced eight years ago, it was the first Voutilainen watch to be fully designed, developed and produced in-house. For the 28ti, rather than feature a dial produced at Comblémine, Voutilainen’s industry-renowned dial workshop, the watch subverts your expectations by showcasing the movement architecture on the front. Despite the movement having literally been flipped from the inside out, the watch is still fairly legible at a glance. Running along the periphery of the watch is an hour and minute track, and the watch’s Breguet-style hands are consistent with previous Vingt-8 iterations. On the watch’s caseback, Voutilainen has shifted expectations once again due to the presence of a running seconds display and a power reserve indicator that shows off the model’s 65 hours of running autonomy. This arrangement is, again, entirely new for Voutilainen; for collectors, it offers some additional hidden functionality while letting the core timekeeping functions remain in focus on the dial side.
The Voutilainen 28ti.
The aforementioned extra-large balance wheel allows for precise regulation of the watch to within a strict set of tolerances. When Voutilainen unveiled the Vingt-8 movement construction in 2011, he was the first to use a unique type of balance spring that features a Phillips overcoil on the exterior of the spring and the less common internal Grossman curve. While the caliber inside the Vingt-8 is used as a base, it had to be slightly reconstructed for usage in the 28ti. Additionally, Voutilainen and his team have applied a unique escapement wheel configuration that provides a direct impulse to the balance through an impulse roller/jewel. The consequence of this construction is increased energy efficiency when compared to a traditional Swiss Lever Escapement. According to Voutilainen, the Vingt-8 and its subsequent iterations were the first timepieces to use such a configuration.
The caseback of the Voutilainen 28ti.
One of the immediate positives of this dial orientation is that it allows for the depth of the movement architecture and, more importantly, Voutilainen’s superlative hand finishing to be on full display. The surfaces of the pinions and wheels are completely flat and highly polished to within exceptionally uniform tolerances. All finishing work on the main plate and bridges, both made of German Silver, are by hand to achieve the highest possible levels of surface finish. The screws and all steel parts are finished and polished by hand. The titanium case is made by the workshop that Voutilainen helped establish, Voutilainen & Cattin.
On the wrist with the Voutilainen 28ti.
While the 28ti offers those that have always wanted to place Voutilainen’s gorgeous movements front and center the chance to do so, within the canon of Voutilainen, the 28ti is a hard watch to pin down. Feedback for the watch during the show was exceedingly positive, but it will be interesting to see how the watch performs over the long haul. I can easily imagine this watch becoming a cult favorite for longtime followers of Kari and his team; at the same time, it’s a timepiece that is unlikely to be someone’s first Voutilainen. Despite dial work being one of the defining characteristics for a Voutilainen timepiece, this model completely eschews that factor in favor of demonstrating Voutilainen and his staff’s immense talent in movement design and finishing.
The Voutilainen 28ti is limited to eight total pieces in titanium. Pricing available upon request.
Baselworld 2019 will most likely go down as the show’s deciding year: On one hand, Baselworld had to deal with yet another significantly lower number of exhibitors (and visitors); on the other hand, the show’s new management also had to make sure the outlook for 2020 would be convincing enough to bring back large portions of the watch and jewelry industry it had lost in just two years (if it ever wants to go back to being profitable). Still, the 2019 edition was good, and Baselworld is by far the largest and most important show for the watch industry, even without the brands from the groups like Richemont and Swatch Group present. More importantly, Swiss investment bank Vontobel concluded that “feedback from Baselworld was more positive than expected with almost all brands talking about a higher order intake”. Which is good news for everyone, even though “America has seen a little bit of a slowdown,” according to Vontobel.
WatchTime’s editorial team (as well as all our international colleagues from Mexico, India, Dubai, Germany and China to just name a few) spent several days on the ground in Basel, visited a majority of the brands present (some of them have already been covered here), and are now working on the Baselworld special for the upcoming issue of WatchTime magazine (July). Until then, we’re certain you will appreciate a slightly more personal selection of some the highlights seen by Roger Ruegger (RR), Mark Bernardo (MB) and Logan R. Baker (LRB):
How did this year’s Baselworld compare to previous years?
RR: Interestingly, the show was as busy for me as it was the years before, even though there were significantly fewer brands (this year, only 520 brands exhibited at Baselworld 2019, down from about 1,300 in 2017), and consequently fewer watches were launched during the show. Also, people weren’t afraid this year to openly question the future of Baselworld, which sometimes created a difficult environment to have a constructive dialogue about the importance and future of the show (or the problems we’d face without it). The new press center certainly was an improvement for everyone doing live coverage, and it was much less difficult to get a table in a restaurant. What didn’t change though is the typical feeling that you hadn’t managed to see and talk to everyone the day I left. Oh, and I only lost one lens cap this year, which was a substantial improvement.
MB: Certainly the absence of large exhibitors like the Swatch Group, Movado Group, and Swarovski was noticeable, and the halls during the height of the show were not nearly as jam-packed as in previous years. For a journalist on the move, dashing from appointment to appointment and back and forth to the press room, however, this was not always a bad thing. And the relocation of the press center, from across the street in the Hall 1 annex to the heart of the main Hall 1, the space formerly occupied by the massive Swatch Group Pavilion, was mostly a very positive change, although it meant less time walking between the buildings across the courtyard and thus less time outside to enjoy the uncommonly lovely spring weather that Baselworld was blessed with this year.
LRB: This being my second Baselworld fair, I don’t have much to compare this year’s show to, but I can say that while Swatch Group’s missing presence was felt heavily through the hall, it did allow other smaller brands — that don’t always get the love that they deserve — to shine. Being able to meet with these brands on a more macro scale rather than focus on heavy hitters like Breguet, Blancpain, and Omega made the show, from a journalistic perspective, a bit more diverse and interesting. Echoing Roger and Mark, the press center was much easier to access than ever before.
MB: I had anticipated that Zenith would go all-in to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its El Primero chronograph movement — definitely one of the most significant horological anniversaries of the year — and the brand did not disappoint, even though some of the special anniversary editions had already been seen in Geneva during SIHH. The evolution of the Defy Lab into the Defy Inventor, while not totally unexpected, was the type of next-generation technical innovation deserving of the spotlight in the El Primero’s anniversary year. It also bears mentioning that even though Defy and El Primero-based chronographs were obviously Zenith’s big story in 2019, the company also put out some wickedly attractive timepieces in its Pilot’s collection, as well. The Type 20 Extra Special Silver, with its silver case and riveted dial, looked especially stunning in the metal.
LRB: I truly believe that Breitling had the strongest collection at Basel from top to bottom. There wasn’t a single weak model presented during the fair and each model made complete sense from a market perspective. The 1959 Navitimer Re-Edition is a plain gorgeous watch and the trio of Navitimers released to honor Swiss Air, TWA, and Pan Am authentically capture the funkiness that makes collecting Navitimers from the 1970s and 1980s such a widespread pursuit. Watching CEO Georges Kern slowly release each model on his personal Instagram during the days leading up to the show was a great example of engagement from the executive level and just demonstrates once more that the man clearly knows what he is doing.
What was this year’s most unexpected release for you?
RR: The 5172G from Patek Philippe was something I had secretly hoped to see; the TudorBlack Bay P01 was the one watch I totally did not see coming. But what might have been more surprising to me were the watches we didn’t get to see from a lot of other brands. Baselworld’s Michel Loris-Melikoff called 2019 a “transitional year”, and it felt like quite a lot of the heavy-weights did the same, as if they were holding back. As a side note, I was amazed how many brands, Bell & Ross’ BR V2-92 Military for example, were showing watches with straps inspired by the ones used by combat divers from the French Marine Nationale (nowadays often referred to as “Erika’s Originals,” named after strap purveyor Erika op den Kelder). Move over, NATO strap.
MB:Bulova releasing an entirely new collection with Swiss-made mechanical movements was certainly not something that most would have predicted. The Joseph Bulova series, named for the man who founded the brand in New York in 1875, is comprised of 16 vintage-influenced styles, all limited editions of 350, pulled from the company’s extensive archives, specifically models produced from the 1920s through the 1940s. All of the watches are equipped with Swiss-made Sellita SW300 automatic movements (a nice nod to history, since Joseph Bulova would have certainly been working with mechanical movements during his era, albeit probably American-made ones rather than Swiss-made) and priced at or below $1,500.
LRB:MB&F has to be commended for the daring execution of its first ladies’ model. Rather than recreate one of their LM or HM timepieces into more feminine dimensions, they instead took a risk by crafting an entirely new vertical movement topped with a flying tourbillon. The Urban JürgensenOne collection which includes a number of firsts for the independent brand such as its first bracelet, its first manufacture-produced automatic movement, its first travel-time watch, and its first luxury sports watch was a welcome surprise. I’ve seen the lineup catch a bit of flak on social media due to it being such a departure from the identity that Urban Jürgensen has established, but I think this comes at the perfect time for the brand to reenergize its clientele and capture some additional market share around the world once Audemars Piguet officially leaves multi-brand boutiques. Speaking of brands introducing new bracelets, the new Nomos Tangente and Club Sport models turned out quite nice and need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
In your opinion, what was the best entry-level watch under $2,000?
RR: You’d certainly have to look at brands like Oris (Pointer Date with red dial), Sinn (104 St SA AG), Seiko (Presage with Arita porcelain dial SPB093), Doxa (Sub 200), and Squale (T183 with the 1521’s case in layered carbon). Personally, the rectangular Joseph Bulova Swiss Made Automatic Collection was my biggest surprise.
MB: The aforementioned Joseph Bulova models would be in the running, of course, though my personal favorite comes from Seiko’s Presage collection, which continues to astound with its formula of beautiful designs, high-end finishing, and automatic mechanical movements at almost unbelievably reasonable prices. This year’s standouts were a three-hand and a power-reserve model with dials made of Arita porcelain, a traditional Japanese artisanal process used here for the first time in watchmaking, and priced at just 1,195 euros.
Romain Gauthier didn’t technically release any new timepieces or movements during Baselworld 2019, but he did offer up two aesthetic updates to the Logical One and Insight Micro-Rotor. Check them out below.
The Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor Black Titanium with blue grand feu enamel dial.
For those unfamiliar with the Insight Micro-Rotor, here’s a brief download on the watch that was originally launched in 2017. The watch’s signature feature — its bidirectional micro-rotor – is visible from the dial side and from the back. Rotating smoothly and silently and positioned between two bridges, this compact oscillating mass winds a double mainspring barrel to store 80 hours of power reserve. The barrels are series-connected in order to supply a more constant flow of power to the regulator. The time is displayed on two off-center, overlapping subdials, one for hours and minutes, the other for small seconds. Also showcased on the front of the timepiece is the movement’s balance, at 6 o’clock, which beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph; the circular cutout in the movement mainplate that frames the swaying micro-rotor; and a golden plaquette engraved with the Romain Gauthier “RG” logo. The back side of the watch is also unique, with the micro-rotor visibly setting into motion the gear train, starting with the reversing gear that controls the bidirectional winding mechanism.
The latest addition to the Insight Micro-Rotor family features a blue grand feu enamel dial that is frosted to give it a shimmering effect. The new release is limited to 10 total pieces and is priced at CHF 73,000.
The Romain Gauthier Logical One, now gem-set with 92 baguette-cut diamonds.
The Logical One won the GPHG award for Men’s Complication when it was released in 2013 for a good reason. Gauthier’s research and development into the traditional fusee-and-chain constant force mechanism was a revolution in the usage of energy efficiency for a wristwatch. Gauthier and his team developed the caliber in-house and it’s on full display through sapphire crystals in the front and back. Situated to the left of the hours-and-minutes dial and its overlapping small seconds subdial, the chain-and-fusee mechanism has an unusual snail cam connected to the mainspring barrel by a ruby-link chain. With the snail cam and mainspring barrel thus configured to be on the same plane, force is transmitted in a straight line for an ultra-efficient transfer of energy. The relatively short length of the chain — which is joined together via a smart snap-clip system — enabled its designers to use strong, extra-large steel links, with rollers made from low-friction, hard-wearing synthetic rubies. To eliminate potential uneven friction within the mainspring barrel — a problem that occurs when the metal spring scratches against the edges of the brass barrel while it is unwinding — Romain Gauthier has placed the mainspring in the Logical One between synthetic sapphire plates. Sapphire has a low coefficient of friction with steel, making it an ideal material for this purpose. The result of all these innovations, according to the brand, is a movement boasting two full days of constant force, and hence a high level of timekeeping precision. Another distinguishing feature of this watch is its clever push-button winding system, with an ergonomic pusher set into the side of the 43-mm case at 9 o’clock. Protruding just slightly from the caseband and following its curves, this pusher efficiently transmits force to the barrel on the same plane. When fully wound via this pleasurably tactile method, the watch stores 46 hours of power reserve, which is displayed on an indicator on the back of the fully visible movement. The time on the hour and minute hands are set separately, via a crown at 2 o’clock.
This year, the Logical One in its white gold dressing boasts 92 baguette-cut diamonds totaling 7.2 carats across its bezel, lugs, and clasp. It’s a one-of-a-kind piece with its price available upon request.
Mühle Glashütte is an interesting brand not only for its attractive, sporty, and well-priced timepieces but also due to its compelling history. The independent German company has only been producing wristwatches since 1994, but its history as a watchmaker stretches all the way back to 1869. This year, the brand is celebrating its 150th anniversary of timepiece production as well as 25 years as a producer of wristwatches. To commemorate these dual anniversaries, the German brand has announced four new timepieces during Baselworld 2019, each with a specialty, blue anodized rotor with an anniversary engraving.
The Mühle Glashütte Teutonia Sport I Chronograph
While all four timepieces have different attributes worth discussing, the first model we’d like to highlight from the 2019 collection is the new Teutonia Sport I chronograph that combines a bicompax register layout with a clous de Paris dial pattern to create a striking look. Mühle released the first Teutonia Sport I chronograph in 2017 with an eye-catching black and red colorway, and this new release offers a more textured and interesting option that recalls German Silver Arrow race cars. Speaking of Mühle’s history, starting in the 1920s, R. Mühle & Sohn (the precursor to the contemporary Mühle brand) supplied three out of the four brands in the Saxon Auto Union racing group with Glashütte Mühle speedometers as well as car clocks and rev counters.
The blue anodized rotor features an anniversary engraving.
The new Mühle Teutonia Sport I chronograph has a bi-compax register with small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. There’s a tachymeter scale that is located on the flange of the watch and a bidirectional bezel. The stainless steel case features a mixture of brushing and polishing and is sized at 42.6 mm by 15.5 mm. The silver dial is enhanced with clous de Paris embossing and the subdials are snailed. A small, color-matching date aperture is tucked in at 6 o’clock. The sapphire crystal is slightly domed and features an anti-reflective coating. The hands and indexes have gone through a chemical-vapor deposition treatment that leaves it with the dark blue color. The tachymeter scale and second division have also gone through this process. In regard to the second scale, three fine indexes are used to divide a second up into four even smaller units, thus enabling precise measurements of as little as an eighth of a second. If the central seconds hand stops directly on one of these fine blue lines, it gives a clear reading of two, four or sixth eighths of a second. If it comes to a halt between the indices, you can read the time recorded to the nearest one, three, five or seven eighths of a second.
On the wrist with the Mühle Glashütte Teutonia Sport I Chronograph.
Inside the watch and visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback is the MU 9419 caliber that features Mühle’s patented woodpecker neck regulation system that offers heightened shock resistance and features up to 48 hours of running autonomy. The movement is specced to gain between 0 and +8 seconds per day. Typical Glashütte finishing is present including the three-quarter plate movement architecture. The oscillating weight, as mentioned, features Mühle’s blue anodized anniversary rotor.
The Mühle Glashütte Teutonia Sport I is priced at $3,899 and will be available at the end of June.
The highlight for Frederique Constant at Baselworld this year is the introduction of an entirely new range of dress watches that are equipped with a brand-new, manufacture-made movement that offers 50 hours of running autonomy.
The Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Power Reserve features a power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock and a date wheel at 6 o’clock in traditional FC fashion and comes in four different versions. The 40-mm case comes is available in either polished stainless steel or rose gold-plated stainless steel with three different dial colors (silver-white that is available in both case options, dark grey that is available in the polished stainless steel, or navy blue that is available in the polished stainless steel). Each dial has a sunray decoration to complement the classic design of the elongated feuille hands and printed Roman numerals.
This is the first Frederique Constant watch to come with a power reserve indicator on its dial which is somewhat of a surprise given that the company has previously tackled more difficult endeavors such as the tourbillon, flyback chronograph, and perpetual calendar. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to add a power reserve to the brand’s fleet of value-driven timepieces.
The power reserve indicator stretches from 9 to 11 o’clock and features red markings for the last quarter of its running autonomy. °
The automatic, in-house made FC-723 caliber uses the FC-703 movement as its base with the addition of a power reserve module. It features classic decoration like perlage and Côtes de Genève. All the new models come on an alligator strap with a deployant clasp.
The three models in polished stainless steel are priced at $3,195 and the final version in rose gold plated stainless steel is priced at $3,495.
These new models – the Tangente Sport in two colorways and Club Sport – have a few things in common – all of them are powered by the Neomatik date caliber DUW6101 (read our technical review of this movement released last year here), all three are water-resistant to 1000 ft (30 atm or 300 meters) thanks to robust cases and reinforced seals, and they all feature the brand’s second tailor-made bracelet after the first made its debut in January. Let’s take a closer look at these models.
First up, the Tangente Sport, or the Tangente Sport Neomatik Date 42 to be more precise. The standard Tangente is an emblematic model for Nomos and has been one of its pillars over the last 25 odd years. The Sport version has an upsized 42 mm case that’s been protected from shocks and water by its reinforced case, sealing, sapphire crystal glass back, and crown protection.
The watch is available in two dial faces – white or black. Both dials feature a generous application of Super-LumiNova on the hour markers and hands to help in visibility under water or in the dark. Nomos has traditionally only paired its watches with leather or fabric straps. The newly developed bracelet, consisting of 145 individual parts screwed together by hand, comes with the custom NOMOS deployant clasp. None of the screws to adjust the links are visible on the sides, lending a real sophistication to its appearance.
The Nomos Club Sport has a 42 mm case that too has been reinforced to earn a depth rating of 300 meters. It is fitted with a screwed-in crown which has a red tube to serve as a warning if the user has not screwed the crown back in after adjusting the time or date. This is the first Club timepiece to breach the 42 mm case-width mark. It is fitted with a sunburst black dial with its numerals cut out and filled with SuperLuminova that glows white. A large date window is placed at 3 o’ clock and a small seconds hand is seen at 6. This watch is also fitted with the same bracelet seen in the Tangente Sport.
All three watches are powered by caliber DUW6101, which was unveiled last year. It is a self-winding movement. Visible thanks to the exhibition caseback, it is equipped with a date mechanism with a bidirectional quick correction feature. The watch is fitted with the brand’s in-house developed swing system and uses a tempered blue balance spring. The movement has a power reserve of 42 hours. The movement is finely finished with tempered blue screws standing out on rhodium-plated surfaces with Glashütte ribbing and perlage.
While the Tangente Sport is priced at $4,980, the Club Sport will retail at $4,060 and will be available in stores by May this year.
This article first appeared in WatchTime Middle East.
In late 2018, Carl F. Bucherer revealed the Tourbillon Double Peripheral Limited Edition as the launch point for the new Heritage Collection meant to commemorate the company’s 130-year history of involvement in the watch industry as a jeweler and watchmaker. According to the brand, the Heritage Collection would function as a tentpole range of exclusively limited-edition timepieces that feature a variety of complications. This week at Baselworld, the Lucerne-based firm unveiled the BiCompax Annual Chronograph, a new watch in two different case materials and dial treatments to the lineup.
Combining an annual calendar with a chronograph, the new, 41-mm watch comes in either stainless steel with a silver dial and a panda-style dial orientation or in two-tone rose gold with a rose-and-champagne dial. The annual calendar indicator eschews a day of the week and leap year display and instead only features a big date in the upper half of the dial and a month aperture tucked between 4 and 5 o’clock. Carl F. Bucherer says that the watch is directly inspired by a 34-mm bicompax chronograph from 1956 found in the brand’s archives. Other noteworthy details include the usage of attractive syringe hands filled with Super-LumiNova, vintage-style Arabic numerals, and the usage of a black rubber strap for the panda dial and a cognac brown calfskin strap for the champagne-dialed, two-tone model. The movement offered inside is Caliber CFB 1972 with a 42-hour power reserve.
Combining an annual calendar with a chronograph definitely isn’t unheard of as makers such as Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin, and Montblanc have all released such models throughout the past few years; however, all of those models come at quite a premium. At $7,200 in stainless steel and $10,200 in its two-tone design, the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Calendar offers a strong value proposition in addition to its appealing good looks and functional complications.
On the wrist with the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual
Click here to read our recent interview with Carl F. Bucherer CEO Sascha Moeri or here to check out another 2019 release for the brand.
MeisterSinger has long been renowned for its unusual single-handed dial designs, and this year the German brand expands its signature look with the new Bronze Line at Baselworld 2019. The small collection will include a variation on the No. 3, the Metris, and the Perigraph designs, which are some of the most popular models in the brand’s catalog. The Bronze line comes on the heels of the Perigraph Bronze 2018 Edition release, and was likely prompted by the success of that unique 12-hour bronze watch. Like many bronze models, the hope for these timepieces is to produce a sharp and fascinating contrast between the dark dial and the teal patina which will develop on the case as the years pass via oxidation.
The new MeisterSinger Bronze Line
The No. 3 is one of MeisterSinger’s most recognizable designs and seems like a natural fit for a bronze dressing. The watch uses a 43-mm case with matching colored printed dial markers for the 12-hour ring dial descriptors. At each quarter hour mark is a subtle red accent, with a complementary red-tipped hour hand slowly indicating the time, while a circular date window adorns the bottom of the dial. Inside the watch and visible through a six-fold screwed exhibition case back is either an ETA 2824-2 or Sellita SW 200-1 movement capable of a 38-hour power reserve.
The MeisterSinger Bronze No. 3
The Perigraph model uses the same colorway, case, and hour-ring design as the No. 3, but works to channel classical analog instruments. This is accomplished using a circular date ring towards the center of the dial, which indicates the day via a red arrow while the circle turns by one position on each passing day. Like the No. 3, the Perigraph uses the same movement and exhibition steel case back.
The MeisterSinger Bronze Perigraph
The last model is the more robust Metris. The piece is sportier than the No. 3 and Perigraph, but still maintains the same overall color scheme and a similar dial design. This watch uses a smaller 38-mm multifaceted case, which integrates the rounded bezel with its curved lugs, and protects the crown via rounded guards. The outer printed hour-ring of the dial is the brand traditional configuration, and like the other two Bronze Line watches is produced in the same color and with the red accents. The primary difference on the dial is seen in the cyclops date window at the bottom of the face, which further references the sporty nature of the watch. The Metris also uses ETA 2824-2, though it is better protected with a water resistance of 20-bar (200-m) compared to the other two models 5-bar (50-m).
The MeisterSinger Bronze Metris
Each of the watches will be available for purchase starting in April 2019, though pricing is still unavailable, as of yet. We’ll update this article once that has been confirmed.
The Fossil Group has been making strong steps in recent years to build out the Zodiac brand as the enthusiast-minded, mechanical-powered sibling to the company’s established fashion-watch following. For those that have followed the re-development of the brand, it’s obvious that there’s been a great amount of attention placed on bringing the Sea-Wolf, and the Super Sea-Wolf, back to their rightful place in dive watch history.
Today, we’re happy to announce that Zodiac is continuing to expand its neo-vintage line-up in 2019 with a re-issue of the brand’s fan-favorite Aerospace GMT model in two separate limited-edition runs.
Zodiac Aerospace GMT in burnt orange and baby blue
Using the recognizable design of the Super Sea-Wolf as its base, the Aerospace GMT comes in two different color options. The black and gray model refers to the watch’s historical predecessor that was released in 1966 as an extension to the Super Sea-Wolf collection. According to Zodiac, the black and gray option also functions as a physical distinction between night and day.
Zodiac Aerospace GMT in gray and black
The second model comes in eye-catching baby blue and burnt orange, a playful design that should appeal to younger enthusiasts looking to move up from the main Fossil catalog into the more upscale, yet still accessible, Zodiac brand. I think Zodiac, as a brand, has done an excellent job with these more colorful models that represent today’s lifestyle-focused, Instagram-obsessed consumers.
The Aerospace GMT is nicely sized at 40-mm, comes on a three-link bracelet, and has a date window located at 3 o’clock. Rather than going for one of the Fossil Group’s STP movements, Zodiac opted to use an ETA 2893-2 with a 38-hour power reserve. While Fossil does not yet have its own travel-time caliber, the success of this limited-edition run could help determine future development.
An original Zodiac Aerospace GMT from the late 1960s.
Both of the new watches will be limited to a total production of 182 pieces in each colorway for a price of $1,695. Click here to learn more.
It’s been said time and time again, but the Grand Seiko Snowflake is a contemporary classic and is the most recognizable timepiece that the Japanese watchmaking powerhouse creates. Today, Grand Seiko has acknowledged the Snowflake mania once more by announcing the SBGZ001, what is without-a-doubt the most extravagant and lavish Snowflake design ever.
The Grand Seiko SBGZ001
Not only does the SBGZ001 feature the traditional Snowflake dial design — meant to recall the alpine environment surrounding Grand Seiko’s Shiojiri manufacturing center — but it features a platinum case that has been imbued with the same Snowflake motif. Yup, you heard that right: a Snowflake-carved platinum case.
This watch is truly remarkable and a testament to the potency of Grand Seiko’s watchmakers, a true indicator of their ability that extends beyond sheer horological aptitude and into the realm of micro artistry. It may sound like I’m being overly laudatory, but after seeing this watch for a few minutes yesterday, it’s hard not to feel this way. Of course, the downside of this release is it comes at a premium with a price tag at $76,000 (!).
The SBGZ001 features more than just aesthetic attributes as well. Released as part of a larger, luxury-driven collection to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Spring Drive with a brand-new, manual-winding Spring Drive Caliber. This new movement is Caliber 9R02 that has two mainsprings set in parallel within a single barrel and uses Grand Seiko’s unique Torque Return System to deliver a power reserve of 84 hours and an accuracy of+/- 1 second per day.
In Grand Seiko’s own words, the Torque Return System works like this:
When the mainspring has been fully wound and the torque output is at its highest, approximately 30% of the available power is not needed to maintain the precision of the watch, and is in effect wasted in a normal movement. The Torque Return System uses this energy to rewind the mainspring, resulting in an increase in the power reserve. In Caliber 9R02, this system is activated for 48 hours after the mainspring has been fully wound.
The new SBGZ001 is limited to 30 total pieces and will be available in July.