Winter is well upon us. I’ve got my heater full blast, I’m downing mug after mug of coffee (I’m on decaf now to stop the jitters), and I can’t help to think that I may have taken our blissful Summer heat for granted. But no matter, I have a job to do and that’s to bring you news from the wonderful world of watches! In this instalment of the Wind Up, we’ve got a couple of Chopards, a brand new line up of Omegas and a colourful set of Oris dive watches that won’t hurt your wallet (too much). Enjoy!
Baume & Mercier Clifton 62nd Taormina Film Festival
In celebration of the 62nd Taormina Film Festival, Baume & Mercier have released the Clifton, with a limited run of 62 pieces, reference M0A10322. Now aside from the fact that admittedly I’m about as cultured as a garden potato, this piece supports the campaign that the legend Richard Gere has created to support the homeless. Its great to see successful actors and equally as successful watchmakers supporting those less fortunate than ourselves. The watch itself is really quite beautiful as well. Proportions similar to that of a vintage timepiece from the 1940s, a gorgeous polished satin finish on the 18k red gold case and a sunburst silver dial all create the effect of the piece being far more expensive than it actually is. The addition of the date window is welcoming from a practical sense, but in retrospect the watch could do without it. Turn the piece over and you’re hit with two elements. First off is the massively thick rear bezel (which I love), and second is the sapphire window showing the automatic movement. It’s surprising to see a dress piece like this exposing the movement, but they’ve done it well and the thick rear bezel really adds to its classy and sophisticated look. If anything, it’s a novelty piece and it isn’t something that will turn heads. But if you’re going to buy it, it’ll be for a good cause and you’ll know. And some times, that’s what its all about.
IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Edition ‘Rudolf Caracciola’
New from IWC is the Ingeniuer Chronograph Edition ‘Rudolf Caracciola’, a very understated piece with a brand new in-house movement. Not much hype has surrounding this piece’s release, and in fact it really flew under the radar amongst the watch-interested community. But that’s not to say it’s a drag or that it didn’t meet expectations. The dial incorporates the standard functionality of a modern day chronograph. It has the time, the date and the chronograph parameters all combines in an easy to read and equally as easy to differentiate manner. The addition of the red sub-dial hands breaks up an otherwise monotonous dial. The sloped bezel makes the dial look larger but doesn’t deter from the overall aesthetic. The block pushers and protruding crown look wonderful, as do the shapes of the lugs compared to the round case. My only reservation for the dial would be seeing an addition of a day-date function as opposed to only the date, but I do think IWC have really hit the nail on the head with respect to symmetry and proportions. Turn the piece over and you can see the new in-house calibre 69370 beating at 28,800 vph and boasting a 42-hour power reserve. I’m not a fan of fully automatic movements (meaning big ass rotors), and I would have preferred to see a hand-wound calibre from IWC, but regardless its still a very pretty movement. Its not something that’ll appeal to everyone, but it certainly is a great alternative if you’re looking for a chronograph that’s just that little bit different.
Omega Planet Ocean Deep Black
Yay, a GMT diver in ceramic with a Master Chronometer certification in four colour choices. Thank you, Omega! Available in either Sedna gold (which inherently is priced a bit higher than the other colour options), black, blue or red, Omega have really taken to paying attention to what the market wants, nay, demands. The dial is superb. Its not boring, its traditional and legible, exactly what a dive watch needs to be. All four models carry with them different dial and hand colour hints, and that will please even the pickiest of consumers. My choice would probably be the full black or blue model. Yeah yeah, call me boring but I think these are the most wearable and functional of colours. The red is a bit ostentatious and attention seeking, while the gold option is a bit too, how should I put it, blingy? But that’s not me putting Omega down, that’s just my personal opinion and therein lies the true appeal of these watches. Choice! Add to that the ever popular GMT function and what you have is a wonderful watch that will give Rolex’s BLNR GMT a true run for its money. I won’t delve into the mechanics of the watch, but rest assured you’d be wearing a highly accurate, highly functional and supremely made timepiece.
Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Black Edition
Chopard’s newest sport piece pays tribute to their ongoing relationship with Porsche and the 919 Hybrid race car. As far as sport’s watches go, this is one that will appeal to those that bleed Porsche. With it’s flyback chronograph functional and explicit sporty design, its production is aimed at a very small, very specific niche. The kind that takes their beloved sports car down to the track on the weekend and burns through countless sets of tyres, all for the love of motorsports. The dial isn’t for everyone though, and the big number 12 is a bit off putting and slightly distracting. The outer chapter ring displays the 5-minute/second counter in oversized numbers, again too large but they’re big for a reason. Timing a lap and doing 120km/h at the same time is difficult, so Chopard wanted to ease that relationship by allowing the driver to quickly read the time without having to look at the dial for more than a second. The red hints on the hands and outer chapter ring, as well as the start/stop pusher at 2 o’clock is a nice little touch. And while the addition of the date window at 4 o’clock might make the die-hards question the watch’s heritage and purpose, its still a useful little function. Only 100 pieces will be made, and I expect them to sell out quite quickly due to its racing appeal. Not bad.
Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860
Now I’m going to feature another piece from Chopard. Its not because they’re paying me to (they’re not, unfortunately!), or because I have a vested interest in their success, but because I want you all to see how versatile the brand is. A common denominator of a successful brand is the ability to provide consumers with a varied collection of watches, ranging from everyday beaters, to beautiful dress watches and casual sport watches. Chopard does all these very well. The L.U.C XPS 1860 is another reason why I really admire Chopard. Available in either steel or 18k rose gold (I’d pick the steel: its cheaper and can be worn with a larger array of outfit choices), it’s a very attractive watch. At 40mm wide and only 7.2mm thick, it has the ability to be worn casually or dressed up, and its slimline profile really enhances its comfort and wearability factors. The hands are a bit iffy for me though, and Chopard would’ve done well with slim-lining those hands too. The small-seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock is wonderfully proportioned, and the addition of the date window doesn’t impede on the overall aesthetic and flow of the piece. Turn the watch over and you’ll see the gorgeous COSC chronometer certified micro-rotor automatic movement doing its thing. Both versions offer the same movement, but the red gold version has the Geneva Seal, meaning it has more decoration and a higher level of finishing applied to the movement. However, both versions have the same gold micro-rotor, which is a nice touch from Chopard and one that should be appreciated by its wearer. It isn’t cheap, but it isn’t absurdly expensive either (I’m talking steel, of course). One for consideration, I’m sure, but a definite crowd pleaser and something you’d never regret buying.
Tissot PRS 516 Triple Seconds
One look at the PRS 516 Triple Seconds from Tissot and you’d notice several things. One, the ceramic bezel. Two, the missing traditional seconds hand. And three, the atypical dial layout. The function is traditional in concept, however its execution and thus way its been represented is really fascinating. Each sub-dial represents 20-seconds. As the hand on one sub-dial reaches the end of its reach, the next sub-dial does the same, until the final sub-dial hits the 60-second mark, all in the typical clockwise fashion. It’s a different way of reading the time, and while the novelty of it may wear off after a while its still pretty cool to think that a budget-friendly manufacturer is willing to divvy up the most traditional way to tell the time. My issue though, are the hour and minute hands. Their shape lacks any imagination, and while I can appreciate the fact that thinner hands might not suit the watch, surely something could’ve been done to them. Besides that, it’s a decent piece with an equally as decent price tag. Not a bad effort from one of my favourite affordable Swiss watchmakers.
Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon Technique Sapphire
From the masters of haute horlogerie comes the incredible Double Tourbillon Technique Sapphire (DTTS). I liken Greubel Forsey’s timepieces to that of a meal at a Michelin star restaurant. You’ll find an abundance of finishing techniques, a range of textures, different details and an array of complications that’s bound to enthral and entertain. Their watches do more then tell the time. They speak to the hoards of watch lovers out there, telling them that a watch is more than just a watch. It’s a representation of someone’s imagination, of someone’s thirst for uniqueness. It’s the kind of brand that won’t make a watch the way it needs to be made to be sold in the millions of dollars range, but rather they make watches worth millions of dollars. Inherently different and of the highest quality, Greubel Forsey truly are the absolute masters of their craft. The DTTS is quintessentially Greubel Forsey: crazy aesthetics and remarkable mechanics. There’s really no need for me to delve any deeper. Just look at it.
Oris Aquis Date
Oris make some damn good watches. From their vintage inspired Pilot’s pieces to their massive Diver’s range, their watches are solid and reliable. The Aquis Date range has just been expanded to include two new colours that have been design to perform extremely well underwater. Available in either yellow or orange with the minute scale printed directly inside the sapphire crystal, the Aquis Date is a downright hardcore piece of diving mechanics that, for all you avid divers out there, should have a good look at. The stainless steel case sits at a comfortable 43mm in width, and the ceramic bezel adds a level of sophistication and willingness to compete with the market that a lot of affordable divers seem to lack. The dial is expansive, with the focus on simply telling the time. But, the addition of the date window at 6 o’clock means that the watch can be worn everyday and still provide some functionality to your daily regime. Available on either a rubber strap (yellow, orange or black), or a stainless steel metal bracelet and powered by the Oris calibre 733 (based on the Sellita SW 200-1), it’s the perfect everyday beater, regardless of your diving capabilities.