Alpina watches recently announced a new model that has caught our eye. The new Alpina Sailing Collection Chronograph features a fairly rare modification to its chronograph functionality. These new models celebrate Alpina’s involvement with the Niceforyou Extreme 40 Catamaran racing team and are thus yacht timers. Powered by the Sellita SW500 chronograph movement the Alpina Sailing models feature a distinctive five section readout that measures ten minutes as the dots move from black to blue to red. Unlike in an auto race, one cannot simply line up a series of sailboats and expect them to stay in one place long enough to have an even starting grid. Instead, regattas have staged starts where a set countdown length is used to keep the boats maintaining a circulating position as close the start line as possible. Once this time has elapsed a flag or audible sound signifies the start of the race. The large and easy to read five dot layout has been designed so that the remaining time can easily be read at a glance as operating a sailboat in a competitive settings is fairy hectic.
Breitling does not need any long winded introduction from us. The Breitling brand has been synonymous with sport and aviation watches for years and has produced many well known models like the Navitimer and the SuperOcean line of dive watches. Breitling watches, generally speaking, incorporate the brands aesthetic DNA which includes large polished cases, distinctive bracelet design, and the rather baroque “rider tabs” (the 60, 15, 30, and 45 minute bezel tabs). This year, Breitling has introduced a refreshed Aeromarine lineup that includes a few models that have broken the trend and might hint at a new look for Breitling.
Breitling SuperOcean GMT
41mm Stainless Steel
Breitling 32 automatic movement
Sapphire with AR coating
The first thing you will notice about these new Breitling watches is the inclusion of a more traditionally styled bezel, gone are the engraved metal surfaces and rider tabs for something more modern and reserved. The Seawolf inspired markers and textured dial give the GMT a mix of luxury and military styling that matches well with its bidirectional GMT bezel. While case thickness is not listed, the width is a comfy 41mm and you can have your choice of a rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet. We love the matching red GMT hand and dial script for “Automatic”.
Mondaine, makers of the iconic swiss railway inspired watch, have released a new model named the Simply Elegant which features a remarkably thin case design. After Basel this year it has become increasingly clear that “thin” is the new “oversized” and we think this is about as good as trends get. This new found popularity has not been lost on Mondaine as the new Simply Elegant is a svelte 6.2mm thick. Available in either 41mm or 36mm sizes with the choice of a black or white dial the new Simply Elegant will likely be a winner for the Mondaine brand. This quartz powered lightweight has an MSRP of roughly $420 USD but can be found online for less. We welcome this new found fascination with thin watches as they are infinitely more wearable and thin watches make great day-to-day timepieces.
The watch collecting hobby has dozens of sub genres such as dive watches, vintage watches, chronographs, specific brands and even straps. As predominantly leather clad watches like those from Panerai have increased in popularity so in turn has the practice of fitting new and varied straps to these watches. The Paneristi are not alone in this pursuit of the perfect strap as many sport watches look great on a leather strap and straps can range in price from just a few dollars on eBay to custom straps that can cost several hundred dollars whether they are OEM (from the watch manufacturer) or from designers like ABP Paris.
In its most modern form the Aquaracer, Tag Heuer’s dive watch line, can be had in fifty plus different variations that span quartz and automatic movements, chronographs, big dates and 3 handers. Nearly all of Tag’s technology from the Calibre 5 automatic to the Calibre 16 chronograph and the Calibre S Electro-Mechanical movement can be found in their Aquaracer dive watches. Being fan of relatively traditional dive watch styling our favourites are the new 500m and 300m automatics (ref WAJ2110 and WAN2110, respectively). These divers duke it out with fierce competition at hotly contested $1500 – $3000 price point and may just deserve a spot on your most wanted list.
Last month Certina announced plans to release a new automatic dive watch. Dubbed the DS Action Diver this 200m ISO certified dive watch is looking to join other Swatch Group divers like the Tissot SeaStar, Longines HydroConquest and the Omega Seamaster. Dive watches are an integral part of the Swatch Group’s line up so its not surprising to see them plan a new diver for Certina. Certina has actually been around since 1888 and this is not their first time producing a dive watch, they made the very well respected DS-3 dive watch that is still collected today.
The DS Action Diver will be 43mm wide (no word on thickness), feature a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflection coating and be powered by the ETA 2824 automatic movement. ISO 6425 is the international standard for water resistance in dive watches. The watch must pass tests verifying water resistance, the strength of the crown/pushers, and its ability to survive varied temperatures all while maintaining water resistance of 125% of the advertised resistance.
The DS Action Diver will be available in stainless steel with a bracelet or rubber strap and Certina is also making a titanium version that features an anthracite bezel. Prices will range from $850-1000 USD which is reasonable given the features and competition the DS Action Diver will face from other watches. We give them extra points for the simple style and the use of titanium but we will have to reserve final judgment until we can get one on-wrist.
In April of this year Perrelet introduced a new line of dive watches dubbed the Seacraft 777. Perrelet is widely known for making the Turbine and the beautiful Perrelet Double Rotor and can indeed trace their roots to the development of the first automatic movement for a pocket watch. The new 777 line consists of a 3-hand model, a GMT, and a chronograph.
The new line exhibits excellent styling cues (great hands) and features a 4mm thick anti-reflective sapphire crystal and an integrated automatic helium escape valve meaning the Seacraft 777 is not only protected to 800 m, but functional as a diver as well. The 3-hand and GMT models feature 42mm cases while the chronograph functionality finds its home in a 45mm case. All models can be had with black, blue or white dials and can be fitted with either a leather strap or a classy stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet boasts screwed-link construction, a push button fold-over clasp and a slide-out dive extension.
While Perrelet doesn’t have a model line consisting of many other sport watches, dive watches are very popular and we think this new line is an attractive endeavour for the brand. Our favourite is the black dial GMT version which features a lovely date sub-dial at 6 o’clock. It is definitely the sharp yet traditional styling that makes this new Seacraft line at home with the rest of its Perrelet siblings as the brand has often balanced modern styling with classic execution. At $3100 USD for the 3 hand, $4800 for the GMT and $5000 dollars for the chronograph (The bracelet is a $300 option for any model) the new Seacraft line is not cheap but will likely end up being competitively priced given its competition from the new Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500m and the Omega Planet Ocean range. For that price, we will likely just have to enjoy the photos. Check out Perrelet’s website for more info and to see the entire lineup.
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the 1655 Explorer II, Rolex has announced the new model which features a series of changes over the outgoing Explorer II. The new series (ref: 216570) is available with a black or white dial, features an all orange GMT hand, and houses the new 3187 Rolex calibre in a larger 42mm case (last gen was 39mm). Rolex has made this new chronometer movement entirely in house and and it features some of their cutting edge technology including Paraflex shock absorbers and a non-magnetic Parachrom hairspring for excellent timekeeping and durability.
This movement allows the GMT hand to be independently set apart from standard timekeeping and is read using the 24hr fixed bezel. The all orange GMT hand is noteworthy as it follows the style of the original Explorer II from 1971. The new 42mm case is made from 904L stainless steel which is standard on Rolex sport models and is matched with a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and a cyclops for date magnification.
Water resistance is unchanged at 100m but Rolex has updated this new model with its signature chapter ring that repeats “rolex” around the circumference of the dial, this is really the only change we aren’t wild about as it is quite flashy for what once was a tool watch. The outgoing generation was due for an update and Rolex had teased the possibility of an all orange GMT hand on a future explorer at Basel 2010. We haven’t seen a price listed yet but it is expected to be a little higher than the $6325 USD that the outgoing model was listed at.
This year at SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) Panerai debuted a new Radiomir from their Historic Collection. Dubbed the Radiomir 8 Days Ceramica 45mm this new Radiomir features a couple big steps for Panerai, most notably a ceramic case and in-house handwound movement featuring an astounding 8 days of power reserve. The movement is the Panerai P2002/3 calibre and uses three spring barrels to achieve its awesome power reserve. The movement has been around since 2006 and is the same as the p.2002, but doesnt have the GMT complication. Most mechanical movements feature 38-50 hours of power reserve so this movement is definitely an example of high end watch making. Even better than the movement is how the flat black ceramic case and sandwhich dial combine to make one of the best looking Panerai in recent history. Measuring 45mm wide and featuring a 2mm thick sapphire crystal the Ceramica is not overly large for a Panerai but thanks to the ceramic material used to make the case it should be nearly impossible to scratch or corrode.
Ceramic has been very popular in watch making of late and its exciting to see a high end brand run with the concept while still keeping with Panerai's traditional additude and style. The end result is a stunningly beautiful watch that has been one of the most talked about pieces shown at SIHH this year. The beauty, high end materials, and in-house technology will not come cheap, the Ceramica has an approximate retail price of $14,700.
Just a few months ago we reviewed the Artego 300m Diver and came away very impressed with its vintage tool-diver style and excellent price point. The guys at Artego have been pretty busy as they recently launched a new watch, the Sea King. The Sea King is named after the famous Navy helicopter that has been in service since the 1960′s and has been used as a multi-purpose workhorse developed and proven to take on any challenge. The Artego Sea King is a fitting follow up to 300m Diver, as it was an opportunity for Artego to flex some muscle. Boasting 2000m water resistance, a swiss automatic movement, and Artego’s proven attention to detail the Sea King looks like an exciting modern tool-diver. The question is, in a segment that has become increasingly crowded with both new entries and old favorites, can the Sea King stand out?
ETA 2824-2 auto movement 44 x 17.5mm 24mm lugs Auto HeV on left side of the case Sapphire double domed crystal with inside AR 120 click unidirectional bezel 2000m WR (6600 ft) Solid stainless bracelet (w/ SEL) Black, white, teal, yellow, orange, or light blue dials are available Limited to 200 units per dial color