Welcome to the next instalment of the regular series, The Wind Up. In this article, we will feature several pieces from the upcoming Baselworld, as well as some other noteworthy releases from around the watchmaking world. It is a pretty stacked line up, so grab a coffee, turn your phone to silent and enjoy!
Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon
The Angelus name instantly reminds me of their classical manually wound chronographs of decades gone by. Those watches, while tremendously overpriced at the moment, are fantastically well put together and beautifully executed. The U20 Tourbillon is Angelus’ attempt to blast their way into the modern era of watchmaking, and they have executed that to perfection. It is a ‘bare-all’ show of technical mastery, absurd movement quality and precise finishing. Everything is exposed. From the blued bridges to the flying tourbillon and all the gears and pivots, everything is on show. The art of skeletonising a movement can be very risky for a manufacturer, especially from one who doesn’t really have a solid foothold in the modern watchmaking industry. But Angelus have done a wonderful job with the U20 Tourbillon. Beyond the obvious aesthetic spectacle, the A-250 calibre provides a touch of nostalgia amongst the highly modern look of a skeletonised watch. Look closer, and you will see consistency amongst the internals: brushed finishing and polished everything. A truly spectacular piece that will no doubt stun everyone at this year’s Baselworld.
Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire
Released by the supremely talented Grönefeld brothers, the 1941 Remontoire pays homage to the illustrious and highly decorated constant force mechanism. Without delving too deep into the constant force mechanism movement, it just enables a watch to run at the same rate throughout its duration of run. But believe me it is a lot more complicated than that. The 1941 Remontoire is a watch that is the best of both worlds. The dial side is highly contemporary. Frosted dial finishing, flamed-blue steel hands and applied steel indices creates a uniform colour scheme that is only broken up by the blue hands and single exposed jewel. Flip the watch over and what you will see is a highly decorated, supremely finished movement that is deep and intricate. The frosted theme from the front of the dial has made its way to the rear and looks sublime amongst all the finished parts. It really is a thing of beauty when movements are executed with such precision and love. Beautiful and technically impressive, well done boys!
The guys over in Britain consistently release watches that are well put together, extremely functional and still look great. Their no-frills style of design has made unnecessary additions to a watch virtually redundant, and this is now, for me, their namesake within the industry: no-frills functionality. The MBII-WH is the first non-black dial coming out of Bremont, and when compared side by side with the black version, it reads so much easier. It is a true beater watch, having been put to the test countless times by Bremont’s ruthless and downright merciless testing department. The dial is nice and clean, with the only interruptions being a date window that is nice and small and unobtrusive. The hands are reminiscent of the hands found in a cockpit, and the seconds hand has a nice little ejector-seat-handle touch on it. The hour markers and numbers are well designed, and the font again pays homage to the military aircraft persona that this watch represents. Quite a nice watch for those that want a watch that will withstand anything life will throw at them.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Tera ‘PyeongChang 2018’ Limited Edition
Designed for the upcoming Olympic Games to be held in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea, the Seamaster Aqua Tera has several features that will enable it to be distinguished from its other non-limited edition counterparts. First off and quite obviously, between 3 and 6 o’clock around the outer rim of the dial, the name of the city hosting the Games is inscribed in the colours of the Olympic rings. Secondly, if you turn the watch over to the dial side, the sapphire crystal is inscribed with the city name and the coloured Olympic rings. The watch will also come with a limited edition box honouring PyeongChang and the Olympic Games. The piece will be produced in a limited run of, yep you guessed it, 2018 watches (*eye roll*). Everything else is standard Omega. A very boring piece that commands the typical overinflated price tag that comes along with any “limited edition” watch. Nothing exciting here guys.
Eterna Super KonTiki Chronograph
Eterna are premiering at this year’s Baselworld with the latest model from their highly popular KonTiki collection. The Super KonTiki Chronograph is a piece that combines the thrill of adventure with the expected reliability that represents Eterna today. An emphasis on rugged design has been placed on this piece by Eterna, with extenuated pushers, a solid crown and embedded lugs to create a cushion-type case all lead to the point of the watch: functionality. The dial is simple and legible, and the rotating bezel only adds to the rugged spectacle. A respectable calibre 3916A flyback chronograph powers the 45mm beast. Priced at around the $5K mark, it is a solid piece that will more than likely outlast you.
Breitling for Bentley B05 Unitime Midnight Carbon
The B05 Unitime Midnight Carbon watch is one badass mother from the guys over at Breitling for Bentley. The case is made of black satin-brushed steel, which involved the use of a high-resistance carbon-based treatment. The dial has a raised globe motif that uses the dark grey and black colour schemes of the whole watch. It is expectedly on the larger size and I am usually not too happy about that, but the size suits the whole package and anything smaller would just deter from its point of existence. The movement is the calibre B05 which is officially chronometer-certified by the COSC and gives about 70 hours of power reserve. More of a statement piece than something you would be able to wear every day, unless that’s what you are going for. Produced in a limited run of only 500 pieces in this specific colour scheme, you should act fast if you want to secure one for yourself.
Perrelet Turbine GMT
Another debutant for this year’s Baselworld, the Perrelet Turbine GMT is sure to turn a few heads and ruffle a few feathers. The GMT is by far and large one of the most useful complications a travelling watch-lover can have. It provides them with the ability to see the time in two different locations simultaneously (so does your iPhone, but a GMT just looks so much better). The Perrelet Turbine GMT incorporates the ever-useful GMT function with a very cool feature: the infamous Turbine. The turbine rotor feature of the watch spins rapidly enough to “see” an engraving of the world hidden behind the open-worked dial. It is a very aesthetic function that, to be honest, is more about show and less about go. And while the turbine is very unique to Perrelet, it is only a novelty, rather than a useful piece of mechanical technology. For example, a GMT from Rolex or H. Moser & Cie (both representing opposite ends of the horological spectrum) look far better and seem to perform far more reliably than the Turbine GMT. This isn’t a jab at Perrelet, but it is my response to a lot of unnecessary add-ons in an industry that doesn’t really need to exist.
Oris Aquis Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II
There are an abundance of articles filtering around the Internet about Oris, and a large majority of those articles see Oris in a very different light than I do. I admire Oris and the direction that they are headed in. They make watches at a very accessible price (relatively speaking, of course), and their pieces are reliable, sturdy, and remarkably wearable. The Aquis collection is another representation of that fact. Interesting enough and tremendously durable. What more would you want in a watch for that price? The Great Barrier Reef II comes on either a steel bracelet or a rubber strap and is a bit large at 46mm, but then again it is a diver’s watch. The dial is very interesting, with hues of black and dark blue contrasted against the yellow dial ring, seconds hand and date window. The uni-directional bezel is a deep black, and the crown sits perfectly within its two half-guards. The movement is the conventional Oris calibre 735 which is based on the Sellita SW 220-1 automatic movement. Priced at around the $3K mark, it is a fair price to pay for a limited edition quality diver’s watch.
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon
The El Primero is one of the most iconic watches from Zenith ever. And over the years they have released countless models based on the first El Primero, with new advancements and better technology incorporated into the piece. The El Primero Tourbillon features an exposed tourbillon movement amidst the beautifully brushed titanium slate grey dial that is eye-catchingly stunning. There isn’t much else going on with the dial apart from the massive tourbillon window, but that’s okay because it is wonderful. Turn the piece over and you’ll be able to see through the sapphire crystal back the inner workings of the superb El Primero Calibre 4035D automatic movement, providing the piece with about 50 hours worth of power reserve. Pricing is typical of a piece with a tourbillon, so expect to pay close to 6 figures for this one.
Cartier Santos 100
Cartier. A name synonymous with high-end style and exclusivity. The Santos 100 is Cartier’s attempt at taking a walk off the beaten path, and I absolutely love it. Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of square watches, but the Santos 100 is just perfection. The case is covered in a carbon-based coating called ADLC that is almost as hard as diamond, which makes it look less-Cartier and more gung-ho than anything! Presence is key, and the Santos 100 rings true in that arena. At 41mm in diameter and 51mm long, it will sit large and heavy on your wrist, but who cares when it looks as good as it does. The red seconds hand is a nice addition that splits the black-grey colour scheme and makes the watch far more readable. The Santos 100 is powered by the in-house (*fist pump*) 1847 MC, which replaced the ETA movement that was found in previous models. Priced under $10K, it is a very specific piece but one that may open your eyes to a plethora of collection-worthy additions. Well done Cartier, well done.