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.
First presented at the Baselworld 2016, the limited-edition IWC Ingenieur Chronograph “W 125” IW380701 comes in a nice -if somewhat bulky- titanium case. A true piece of luxury, the watch 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 sell at a competitive -I mean, um, all things considered- price of just over $7000.
The 2016 Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage (refs. AL-525S4H6 & AL-525G4H6) collection is a reference to the brand’s “days of independence.” Back in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, the company introduced one beautiful model after another. Although I can’t call it a real “homage” (and I 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, the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield Ducati 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. It is a nice choice for a person willing to spend close to $5000 for a Swiss-made chronograph that 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’, this homage to the legendary Austin-Healey 3000 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.
The self-winding Perrelet First Class Double Rotor Skeleton 20th Anniversary pays tribute to the Dipteros 1777 model that the brand issued back in 1995.
The Ball Engineer II Magneto S Automatic (ref. NM3022C-N1CJ-BK) is a fascinating timekeeper. It features an interesting combination of sporty -albeit a bit deceptive- exterior with a reliable -even if a bit too standard- mechanism. It is the way the shielding system works that makes this new gadget stand out from the ranks of other magnetically shielded wristwatches.
Although the 2014 Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Hunley Automatic Diver (Ref. PM2096B-S1J-BK) still features that “polarizing” patented crown guard system as previous iterations of the watch, it is still one of the most elegant members of the growing family. As refined as a diving tool can be, it is also not expensive sporting a price tag around $1000 lower than that of an IWC Aquatimer.
The German watchmaker has just started taking orders for its new Stowa Seatime Black Forest Edition 1 automatic diver. Offered at a moderate price of just €1390 (including VAT), the new timekeeper is a wise choice for a person looking for a nice diving companion, but not willing to pay the premium for a Seamaster or a Submariner. Reserved, but also handsome, this is so far one of the most attractive divers that money can buy.
The 2014 Porsche Design Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition is yet another masterpiece of German design. Delivering just the right combination of manliness and reserved elegance that could only be compared to that of a Porsche 911 Carrera sports car, it is issued as a limited edition of just 500 pieces, which is a pity: collectibility or not, the world, which is dominated by tasteless, soulless objects of industrial design, needs more beautiful things like this one.