Well, not “finally” because this new limited edition is just another iteration of the last year’s Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley British Racing Green. The correct title would sound like “That’s Why This New Breitling Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition Chronograph is One More Chance to Get Yourself a Bentley Watch You Can Wear,” yet it would be too long (and too clickbaity,) so, please, forgive me this attempt at sensationalism.
Designed for a person who thought that Ulysse Nardin’s earlier Diver Chronometer 44 was too pricey, too big, and too cluttered for a diver (or, perhaps, for a person who is happy with the watch and wanted to augment their collection with a simpler version,) the 2018 Diver 42 automatic three-hander offers a beautiful, clean exterior, superior build quality, and a mechanism that, alas, is a bit too simple for the price that the brand asks for this thing.
In 2017, Doxa has released several “anniversary” timekeepers that celebrate the brand’s first semicentennial in the business of making professional diving tools. While the blackfaced Sharkhunter and the silver-faced Searambler attracted their fair share of attention from collectors and, um, more normal enthusiasts alike, it was the Sub 300 “Black Lung” Limited-Edition automatic diver that broke the brand’s own sales record with the whole bunch being pre-ordered during the first 24 hours after registration officially commenced.
The 2017 Broadway Day Date Automatic (refs. H43515735 & H43515135), Hamilton’s recent attempt at grabbing their share of the growing “affordable dress watch” market, offers a nice blend of the interesting exterior, good build quality, and one of the best “long-play” mass-produced automatic movements that you can get in the sub-$1k price range. Unexpectedly elegant and amazingly refined, right now this may be one of the best choices for the money.
First presented at the Baselworld 2016, the limited-edition IWC Ingenieur Chronograph “W 125” (ref. IW380701) comes in a nice -if somewhat bulky due to its 42 mm wide to 15 mm high proportions- titanium case. Like a true luxury piece, the case features an appealing combination of mirror-polished front surfaces that are lovely accented by deliberately roughly brushed sides. Set to go on sale in just three or four months (they mention the “autumn” in the press release), the new member of the legendary Ingenieur family will be offered at a competitive -I mean, um, all things considered- price of just over $7000 USD.
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!
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.
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.
Despite its excessively (well, to my taste) long name, the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey collection makes an impression of a well-designed accessory. While I wouldn’t call it ‘revolutionary’ or ‘groundbreaking’, it successfully combines standard elements of design into an attractive time measuring device. Purists would probably wince a little at the way they use gold-plating to make a stainless steel body look dressier, but I find nothing wrong with it: for those on a tight budget, a gold-plated watch is an excellent choice.
Patek Philippe has first unveiled the self-winding Calatrava Pilot Travel Time (ref. 5524) collection during the Baselworld 2015 show. Combining in the same package a ‘historic’ dial layout of a 1930s pilot’s watch with a meticulously sculpted white gold body that only the modern tech makes possible, this is one of the most notable timekeepers presented at the trade fair. Also, there is an in-house self-winding movement that makes one drown in his own saliva while searching for one’s credit card.