This New Ulysse Nardin Diver Le Locle Packs Cutting-Edge Tech into Vintage-Inspired Design

 The Ulysse Nardin Diver Le Locle—based on one of the brand’s 1960s-era dive watches—is a true-to-original vintage design powered by a cutting-edge movement is the name of the game with the new design.

Resting within its ’60s-style case and dial beats the brand’s in-house UN-320 automatic movement, which boasts a silicon escapement and hairspring as well as a special quick-setting date function that can be set both forward and backward (most other calibers can only be set in one direction).

While some may scoff at its rather modest 328-foot water resistance (half the original piece’s rating), it is more than adequate for the recreational wear these watches will see from the majority of buyers.

The announcement of this new release came as a bit of a surprise, as Ulysse Nardin does not typically jump on a trend bandwagon. That said, given the depth and breadth of its historical archives, the Diver Le Locle is a smartly executed reissue that only minimally strays from the original piece’s design. Its dial, hands, bezel, and case design are all true

The HYT H0 Silver

 Our choice for Watch of the Week this week was the first piece that we saw and laid hands on in Basel, and between its bold yet minimalist design and more approachable price, the HYT H0 ($39,000) remains one of our favorites of the show. The brand remains the only player in the game when it comes to using fluid to indicate time in such a fashion, and with this latest redesign, HYT is poised to draw in even more fans. Aside from its new design language, the aggressive pricing  that undercuts its siblings by $16,000 came as a bit of a shock. The H0’s case is by no means cheaper or easier to manufacture, and its inner workings are on par with other models from the brand that command a price of $55,000, positioning the H0 as quite the bargain, relatively speaking. Having just finished a brief stint of hands-on time with the new piece, we found ourselves equally smitten with HYT’s new “entry level” offering.

How It Looks

The biggest change from past HYT models is definitely

Greubel Forseys Million Dollar Grande

 The chime of the new Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie makes a resounding impression.

“You can work 11 years on a chiming watch,” says Greubel Forsey cofounder Stephen Forsey, “and if those 20 seconds of listening to the strike aren’t good, then you’ve missed the target.” Fortunately, the authoritative chime of the Swiss brand’s newly released Grande Sonnerie (roughly $1.15 million, 212.221.8041, greubelforsey.com) is proof that its 11-year development—by far the longest period the notoriously meticulous company has devoted to a watch—was not in vain. Forsey and his cocreator, Robert Greubel, have fit 935 components, tourbillon escapement included, into one of the brand’s Asymmetrique cases, crafted this time in titanium for effective sound propagation. The rich, regular, and highly audible sound is all the more impressive because it is the product not of splashy sound engineering, as is the case with many new acoustic watches, but of careful design, adjustment, and traditional tuning.

Like many watches of this type, the Grande Sonnerie, which will be limited to four or five examples each year, can switch from grande sonnerie mode,

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date

When it comes to watches from Glashütte, the vast majority of them are either classical pieces in precious metal cases or Bauhaus-inspired designs. In this, the steel Senator Chronograph Panorama Date by Glashütte Original stands apart in more than one way.

It begins with its movement. First released in 2014, Calibre 37 is an integrated chronograph which Glashütte Original developed and makes entirely in-house. Integrated means that it is not a base movement with a chronograph module mounted on top of it, but rather a movement that was made to be a chronograph from the beginning. Because of this, you can admire all the parts that support the chronograph through the sapphire glass case back, this includes the column-wheel.

The movement is fitted with a central rotor which is skeletonized and has a 21K gold segment screwed into it for added weight. A swan neck regulator and blued screws complement the typical Glashütte finish of this in-house caliber. The power reserve is 70 hours, which is quite generous and helps to further set this watch apart in the highly contested field of high-end chronographs.

As important as it is, the movement is only part of the equation. It is the 42mm

F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sport Titane

A titanium chronograph doesn’t sound like something François-Paul Journe would make, yet he does, but of course, it is not just any titanium chronograph. The Centigraphe Sport was initially launched in 2011 in aluminum. Although very light, it is also quite soft, and that is not always an advantage when you are making watches. Eventually, Journe switched over to titanium, renaming the watch Centigraphe Sport Titane.

Light weight was important in the creation of this watch. The lighter it is, the more comfortable it wears, and that is especially important when you are doing activities for which a sports watch is created. That is why the movement inside the Centigraphe Sport doesn’t feature the usual gold main plate and bridges but are they instead made of an aluminum alloy.

This is not the only focus on active use that Journe put into the watch. The chronograph is not operated by the usual pushers on the side of the case, but rather by a patented rocker. Allowing for easy operation, while at the same time it keeps the design of the watch more ergonomic. When you start the chronograph, you will notice how special it is, as the hand on the

The Death of Two-Tone

The latest edition of Baselworld confirmed the obvious: two-tone is dead! Where generally at least a few brand carry the steel-gold variety, now there were no prominent watches offered in this combination. The exception to this rule is, however, Rolex, who introduced the Sky-Dweller not only in steel but also in steel-gold.

So why did Rolex launch one of their most complicated, and may we say landmark, new models in a combination of metal’s that seems to be out of fashion? Because for Rolex steel-gold has traditionally been an important part of the brand identity. They even have a name of their own for it: Rolesor. In a way, Two-Tone watches represent what Rolex is standing for. On the steel-side, they are robust, with their waterproof Oyster-cases and overengineered movements. On the gold-side, they are probably the most recognized watch in the world, and with the exception of the sports models, they always have this well-dressed look about them.

Two-Tone is also a bridge between the steel and full-gold models. They offer a more luxurious look over steel, yet with a far more friendlier price tag than the all gold model. It is a watch for people who want the

Having A Ball With Dior Timepieces

When Christian Dior presented his first haute couture collection in Paris on February 12 1947, he revolutionised taste and style in the world of ladies’ fashion. The planet was recovering from the Second World War and the predominant austere, masculine look that came with it. With the New Look collection, and the Bar Suit in particular with tight-fitting waist and padded hips, Dior brought back a blatant return to femininity that was both seductive and distinguished. Luxurious fabrics were reintroduced, and the ball gown came back as part of the celebrations.

At Baselworld 2017, Dior Timepieces enchanted us with their latest watches from the Dior Grand Bal collection, presented amid a charming display of 22 reduced models of real ball gowns created by the House of Dior, from Monsieur Dior until Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection this year.
Each timepiece comes in a 36 mm case equipped with the automatic movement “Dior Inversé 11 ½” calibre, with functions of hours and minutes and a power reserve of 42 hours. The remarkable 360° functional oscillating weight placed on top of the dial is reminiscent of the swirling of a ball gown.

The two pieces shown above are part of the Dior Grand

Breitling Duograph owned by Formula One Champion Jack Brabham

Celebrity owned watches always seem to obtain a premium in regards to price, especially when the watch itself is desirable as well, and comes with quite a large dose of pedigree. That was the case of the Breitling Duograph that Phillips auctioned last year, and was previous the property of three-times Formula One Champion Jack Brabham.

Brabham made especially a name for himself for being the only Formula One driver to ever win a championship in a car that bears his own name. An accomplishment that I don’t see repeated anytime soon. In 1960 he was gifted this Breitling Duograph after winning the Championship in that year.
Jack Brabham in action in 1970 at Brands Hatch

Housed in a steel case of 38.5mm of diameter, the design of this Breitling is very clean and to the point. It does feature, however, a split-second complication, making it to one of the coveted Breitlings of its era. The same can be said of the movement that powers this watch. Venus caliber 185 was a manual wind split-second chronograph, fitted with a column wheel and a Breguet spiral mainspring. It was considered one of the prime chronograph movements of its time.

Ulysse Nardin and the Art of a “simple” Tourbillon

There was a time when tourbillon’s where a rare and precious complication. While they are still precious, rare has gotten a different meaning. While you still don’t see them that often of the wrist of people, many brands have at least one model with a tourbillon, most of them even several. It has become significantly more difficult for brands to stand out with a tourbillon watch. Some respond to this by adding more tourbillon’s or give it multiple axes to rotate around. Ulysse Nardin did it differently and dedicated to showing us the art of the “simple” tourbillon, with the Marine Tourbillon Grand Feu Enamel.

Mind you, the term simple only applies here on the look fo the watch, which is rather understated and non-pretentious, especially for a tourbillon. It starts off by forgoing precious metals and selecting stainless steel to craft the 43mm case of the Marine Tourbillon Grand Feu Enamel from. While the added value in this can be found in the fact that it makes the watch more robust, it also doesn’t draw away too much attention from the dial.

That dial is made of grand feu enamel and looks as pure as freshly fallen snow. Ulysse

Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military

Breitling is no stranger to delivering watches to military units, and we are not only talking Air Force here. Their watches are equally appreciated by other branches of the armed forces. With the new Avenger Hurricane Military, the brand pays tribute to this heritage, and to those who serve.

Part of a 1.000 piece limited edition the Avenger Hurricane Military looks all business. Its case is crafted from Breitlight. This is an high-tech material exclusively developed for Breitling. It is 3.3 times lighter than titanium, yet harder than steel. This makes it also highly resistance against scratches, while at the same time the material is alto anti-allergenic and anti-magnetic.

Its light weight allowed Breitling to make this chronograph 50mm in diameter, allowing for superb visibility. The numerals on the dial feature a stenciled, military look, and although Breitling themselves look at the yellow-beige color of them as being vintage inspired, I see in them the perfect camouflage color for a desert operation, especially combined with the khaki-colored strap. This strap is made from a special high-resistance Military textile fiber.

The 24-hour dial is another reference to Breitling’s military heritage, but also civilians will grow to love it. That grow

Baselworld battle of the dials

Pre-releases from Seiko and now Bell & Ross and Frederique Constant suggest that Baselworld fair might well be sub-titled “new faces”.

Seiko has announced fresh enamel dials for a range of Presage models with Bell & Ross looking to cosmetic surgery for its iconic square watch with graphic lines first released in 2005, and Frederique Constant offering a world-timer.

Bell & Ross has two models in the offing,  a BR03-92 Horograph and BR03-92 Horolum, both 42mm watches they describe – somewhat puzzlingly – as “an invitation to travel”. This is because “their functionalist dials fulfill the mission of displaying time with the utmost efficiency”.

A minimalist Bauhaus-inspired design certainly doesn’t detract from optimum readability, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation adding to the cockpit-instrument feel of things.

As Bell & Ross describes it, “the BR03-92 Horograph reminds us of the clocks in airport terminals with its simple and uncluttered display with clear digits”, while the BR03-92 Horolum “reproduces the codes of runway lighting used to guide pilots night and day”.

Their name is made up by the common root “Horo”, from the Latin “hora” (hour), followed by “graph” (graphics) or “jum”, from the Latin “lumen” (light).

Constant classic

Montblanc launches smart watch

Montblanc has become the first multi-product luxury brand to launch a smart watch, with its Android-based Montblanc Summit timepiece to arrive in Australia in May.

Vintage looks and premium materials give the feel of a real watch on the wrist and the timepiece’s display is covered by a slightly curved sapphire glass, a world first in smart watches.

The announcement follows the launch early this week of Tag Heuer’s upgraded Connected watch, an Android device whose first iteration released last year exceeded sales expectations by a factor of three. The new Tag Connected costs $2300; the Montblanc Summit starting price will be €890, which with GST would translate to about $1500. No official price has yet been determined for Australia.

Montblanc’s move is sure to cause a ripple in the tradition-bound watch industry and comes as sales of mechanical watches have been declining month-on-month for more than a year.

Montblanc, founded in Germany in 1906, makes writing instruments, watches and leather goods. The Summit is a 46mm model that brings together the company’s upper-end watchmaking expertise with Google’s latest operating system, Android 2, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.

“Nothing

Meet the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45

The new Android-based device, designated the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, takes the form of a regular watch but one whose lugs, case, strap, and buckle are interchangeable. Uniquely, though, it can accommodate a mechanical movement if the buyer chooses.

Yes, that includes the brand’s COSC-certified 02-T tourbillon if that’s your fancy.

Tag predicts it will sell about 150,000 of the new units, priced in Australia at $2300. It had hoped to sell 20,000 of the launch model but reported sales had reached triple that – about 56,000 – at the end of last year.

The Connected 45 is a distinct step up from the original Tag Connected. Made from satin or polished titanium with additional finishes in gold or ceramic, it comes in 56 different versions, 11 standard models offered instore, 45 others on request.

Jean-Claude Biver, chief executive and president of the watch division of Tag’s parent company LVMH, described the watch as “at the forefront of the latest technologies available in Silicon Valley and, at the same time, a genuine Swiss watch, bearing the Swiss Made label.”

Whether or not it’s the best of both worlds, few watches – if any – are as customisable. The exterior of the watch can

Baselworld goes big on vintage watches

Attendees at the just completed Baselworld watch fair in Switzerland would have been forgiven for mistaking the year for 1957 or even 1917, given the predominance of new models harking back to the past.

Baselworld, as it’s called, is possibly the greatest tease a timepiece tragic can experience. Here, packed into one-and-a-half million square metres of lavishly bedecked exhibition space, are hundreds of watch brands showcasing the thousands of new models they hope to tempt you with in the coming months.

The tease? Despite being open to the public – and attracting some 130,000 visitors – this is about the only spot in Switzerland you can’t actually buy a watch unless you’re a distributor or retailer, in which case it’s here that you place your order.

That means the real interest lies in seeing what’s in the pipeline, and what trends the industry is relying on to fix the predicament of flagging sales. That’s right, watch sales have been falling for months on end, with the latest figures revealing yet another 10 per cent drop in February.

Despite the usual surface energy at Baselworld, pessimism in the industry is palpable,

EVOLUTION OF THE OMEGA SPEEDMASTER

3,000 tonnes of Saturn 5 rocket, consuming fuel at 15 tonnes per second, travelling 240,000 miles away from Earth, at a cost equivalent today of £25 billion, is perhaps one of the most ludicrous ideas to ever dawn upon mankind. But as is well documented (and sometimes disputed) that is exactly what happened in 1969. And then it happened again, and several more times too. This is the quest for Earth’s nearest neighbour, it’s only natural satellite, the bleak but beautiful Luna.

The decision to pursue the Moon was announced in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, four years after the fourth Apollo 11 crewmember was born—the Omega Speedmaster. Between then and its first official NASA mission into space on board Gemini 3 in 1965 (it had already flown unofficially during Project Mercury), the Speedmaster suffered a raft of gruelling tests at the hands of NASA’s cruellest product evaluators. The testing was extensive beyond belief – ridiculous even—but nevertheless the Speedmaster passed. Amongst the worst punishment it received was 48 hours at 71°C followed by half an hour at 93°C, and then four hours at -18°C; six shocks in different directions at 40 Gs each; vibration in

ROLEX CELLINI TIME, DATE AND DUAL TIME

The most famous watch brand from Geneva did not only shocked the World with their new range of Rolex Oyster models, but also introduced a range of watches that belong to the Rolex Cellini collection. Admitted, I don’t have a lot going on for the previous Cellini models and that includes the revamped Cellini Prince models. However, I was happily surprised to see that Rolex came up with classic but modern-sized dress watches in Basel.

Rolex introduces three different versions of the Cellini: Cellini Time, Cellini Date and Cellini Dual Time. Each available in two different materials for the case and buckle, namely 18 carat white gold and 18 carat Everose gold. Each version is then also available in two different dial colors.

The Cellini Time comes with either a black or white lacquered dial and the Cellini Date and Cellini Dual Time come with either a black or silver dial featuring this so-called “rayon flammé de la gloire” guilloche motif. So in total, there are 12 variations of the new Rolex Cellini model.

The Rolex Cellini models have a 39mm polished gold case with a double bezel, fluted and domed. The domed screw down case back

OMEGA SEAMASTER 300 MASTER CO-AXIAL

This is the watch we’ve all been waiting for since Omega started to tease us via their Facebook page. We already did a guess some time ago (here), but now we finally get the chance to try the watch and see it in the flesh.

Based on the original Seamaster 300 CK2913 from 1957, Omega introduces the new Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial in a number of different flavours. The name Master Co-Axial – as this confused a number of people – is referring to the anti-magnetic movement. Omega introduces 69 new watches with 8 different calibers that will carry an anti-magnetic movement based on the > 15,000 gauss movement they introduced in the Seamaster Aqua Terra last year.

This Seamaster 300 has a caliber 8400 movement (8401 for the one with the red gold rotor) inside. This is one of the 8 new calibers that Omega is using from now on.

As you already could see on the teasers and in our previous article, the dial of the new Seamaster has a layered-effect that people also refer to as being a sandwich dial but that is not the correct association. The hour markers are lasered

ROLEX SEA-DWELLER 4000 REFERENCE 116600

 When the Rolex Sea-Dweller reference 16600 was taken out of production at the Rolex facilities in Geneva, a lot of admirers probably shed a little tear. Rolex announced the Deepsea Sea-Dweller 116660 as the successor of the Sea-Dweller but many fans of the former model(s) just more appealing than the new bulky 43mm Deepsea. I urged the people who had a weak spot for the former people to get one while they still could in a little article (here). In 2009 I wrote “One of the few things that gives me hope, is that they went from reference number 16600 to 116660 instead of using 116600. Will there be a 116600?”. Now in 2014, there is a Sea-Dweller reference 116600. And yes, it is 40mm.

I will not go into detail about the history of the Sea-Dweller as we have written on this watch many times in the past. Instead, we focus on the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 reference 116600. You could say that Rolex came up with the Sea-Dweller in 1971 (but already developed in 1967) as the first diver’s watch for professionals. The Submariner was already there of course, and could also be used by

Vacheron Constantin’s Latest Super-Complication Is the Ultimate Astronomic Watch

With its latest astronomical super-complication, Vacheron Constantin reaches for the stars and then some.

“As a company we seem to like astronomical complications,” says Christian Selmoni, head of creation at Vacheron Constantin. “They offer some interesting possibilities for us to create things that are new.” In the face of Vacheron Constantin’s latest ultra-complicated timepiece—perhaps best described as the ultimate astronomic wristwatch constructed to date—Selmoni’s remarks can only be construed as understatement.

The one-of-a-kind, double-sided Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astro­nomical Grand Complication 3600(about $1 million, 877.862.7555, vacheron​-constantin.com) is impressive not just for the number of its complications, which the company has tallied somewhat liberally at 23, but also for the way they are themed and organized.

The complications are broken into three groups: civil (conventional) time and calendar functions, solar time, and sidereal time. Because both solar and sidereal time vary slightly from civil time, for greater accuracy each group of complications is driven by its own corrected gear train radiating from the movement’s central wheel. The solar gear train drives functions including a marching equation of time, sunrise and sunset times, length of day, and seasonal indications. These share space on the front dial with civil-time

Audemars Piguet’s Iconic Royal Oak Line Welcomes an All-Ceramic Addition

An all-ceramic case and high-level finishing make Audemars Piguet’s latest Royal Oak the belle of the ball.

Rarely does the announcement of a new case material for an existing watch model generate significant buzz, but that is exactly what happened at the January unveiling of the all-ceramicAudemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar (audemarspiguet.com). The new timepiece, which made its debut at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, features both a case and a bracelet in black ceramic—an inspired choice by Audemars Piguet. The material is demanding, but it is also hardy and nearly scratchproof, unlike popular surface treatments such as black diamond-like coating and physical vapor deposition.

The brand’s R & D team spent more than 600 hours working on the design before it was ready for the production phase. Though the manipulation of ceramic is by no means new to the watch industry, it still requires painstaking attention to cut and finish. The subtle vertical brushed-pattern finishing on the bracelet, for example, takes six times as long to execute in ceramic as it does in metal—30 hours instead of 5, all of which are spent working completely by hand.

Like its