The 2016 Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage (refs. AL-525S4H6 & AL-525G4H6) collection of dressy divers is a clear reference to the brand’s so-called “days of independence” when, back in the late 1950s and throughout all the 1960s, the company introduced one beautiful model after another. Although I can’t call it a real “homage” (and I actually like that it is not,) this new pair of timepieces does a good job at recreating the spirit of the days long gone. Perhaps, the only thing that somehow devalues these gorgeous retro-styled models -besides the fact that, differing so much from other members of the Seastrong family, it needed to become a foundation of a completely new collection- is the simple mass-produced mechanism: each of these beauties just screams for a hand-wound NOS job!
Featuring design cues similar to other “aviators” released by Seiko during the last five or six years (those including not only relatively expensive members of their higher-range Prospex family like this ref. SSC279, but also a lot more affordable ones like their older SND253P1,) the 2016 PROSPEX Radio Sync Solar World Time Chronograph is available in three different finishes. The new chronograph was probably introduced to cover the niche of XXL-sized timekeepers designed with the price-conscious public in mind. While a lot of prospective customers will only wince looking at this 48 mm monster, I am sure that the model will be successful in the long run. I mean, look at this watch! This watch is amazing!
Equipped with a hand-wound Swiss-made movement, the 2016 Chr. Ward C5 Malvern Slimline Square makes a strong impression. In fact, this new accessory, as deceptively unsophisticated as it is, may become one of the halo models for the British brand all over the civilized world, at least when it comes to people who can appreciate real beauty.
Officially revealed at the SIHH 2016 show, the IWC Top Gun Miramar Chronograph (ref. IW389002) brings everything you loved about the original Miramar collection, albeit in a smaller package. With a touch oversized case crafted from dark grey scratch-resistant ceramic and a high-contrast, yet discreet dial layout, this new model looks like an interesting choice for a person who always wanted a dressy “aviator”, but wasn’t quite satisfied with earlier models and their Gargantuan proportions.
Presented at the Baselworld 2016 trade show, the Speedmaster Moonphase Chronograph Master Chronometer (ref. 304.33.44.52.03.001) is one of the most attractive takes on Omega’s constantly growing collection of the legendary “moon watches.” Combining striking exterior with an advanced, anti-magnetically shielded movement, the device tries really hard to be worth every single dollar that the Swiss watchmaker wants you to spend on it.
During the 26th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH 2016,) the Italian brand has presented several new collections. Among them was this gorgeous (but in a modest way) Panerai Radiomir 1940 3Days GMT Acciaio PAM 627 that features their brand new Caliber P.4001 movement with a micro-rotor design. Although the watchmaker didn’t dare to step too far away from the time-proven design of the Radiomir collection, the PAM 627 still looks fresh and attractive thanks to the waffle-style dial finish that they, unfortunately, use only on a limited number of models.
The 2016 Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic Cal. 4069 is equipped with the new Caliber 4069 automatic movement and is offered both in relatively inexpensive steel and much more impressively priced gold version. At this time, this is one of the most interesting choices when it comes to “dressy” chronographs with “character” currently offered by the brand.
Just in time for the St. Valentine’s Day, Blancpain has presented the limited edition Ladybird Ultraplate Saint-Valentin 2016 (Ref. 0063F-1954-63A). Featuring an in-house automatic movement with an exterior design done by something that looks like a team of real professionals, this one may be a little expensive for most of us, but it still is worth every penny.
Marketed as a sort of accessory for the 2016 Ducati XDiavel power cruiser that was presented at the 2015 EICMA international motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield Ducati (ref. 42000CN) is as sporty and laconic as the Italian sports bike. While some may find its look a bit dated (while others may call it ‘classic’,) the choice of material for its chunky case easily compensates for its apparent lack of originality making it a nice choice for a person willing to spend close to $5000 for a Swiss-made chronograph that, while looking plain, offers you the same level of quality and functionality that we expect from a timekeeper in this price range.
Based on one of their earlier Supersports models, the 2016 Breitling for Bentley GT3 (ref. V273655S/BE14/233S/V20DSA.2) delivers the traditional mix of daring exterior styling and a fairly impressive price tag. The only thing that it lacks is an in-house caliber, but for those not interested in the model’s guts and more concerned about looks and brand value its modified ETA movement may even be a better choice.
The Glashutte Original Senator Observer (ref. 100-14-07-02-30) brings you an impressive mix of a perfect self-winding mechanism, a dial that is easy to read in any circumstances, and a nicely sculpted case inherited from an earlier iteration, all seasoned with that attention to even most minuscule details that only German watchmakers exhibit regardless of the price tag that comes with their timekeepers.
The 2015 Bell & Ross WW1-97 Heritage (ref. BRWW197-HER-ST/SCR) delivers the familiar mix of a well-calculated design, which is both elegant and masculine, and a bullet-proof mechanism, which is both reliable and accurate. All of them are offered at a relatively affordable price that makes this new creation one of the best choices in the “Value for Money” category.
War never changes. Watches, however, do. It is nice when reputable brands introduce all sorts of homages to the legendary WWII-time models issued for armies and navies of all parties involved. For obvious reasons, I can’t call this 2015 Longines Heritage Military COSD (ref. L2.832.4.53/73.x) a true “reissue”. However, it is still a nice choice for a person who wants to buy a military-style timekeeper that doesn’t look like it came straight from the Call of Duty: Black Ops. This one was designed with an officer and a gentleman in mind.
The upcoming premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just a couple of months away and Nixon has already unveiled a sort of “official” Star Wars-themed collection. Besides the inevitable “Stormtroopers”, and “Imperial Pilots”, there is also a full-black limited-edition Nixon 51-30 Darth Vader that pays homage to the most iconic character of the series. And, yes: all three models are dedicated to agents of the dark side of the Force. Ah, that irresistible attractiveness of Evil!
Presented in two colors of its laconic, easy to read dial, Alpina Alpiner Manufacture makes the time-proven Caliber AL-710 in-house automatic movement its selling point. The “Manufacture” mechanism slowly replaces third-party mechanisms from their relatively inexpensive lines. Accurate and reliable, the AL-710 greatly increases the timekeeper’s collectability while still making it a nice daily wearer