While the new Fortis VP-40 “Laging Handa” Patrol Squadron Forty doesn’t even try to look different from dozens of other Fortis aviation-inspired chronographs, it still offers a nice combination of a solid-built body with pleasantly massive push-pieces and setting crown, and a dial that, although looking a bit cluttered, is nevertheless easy enough to read (only if you don’t try to use the standard tachymeter scale on the bezel flange).
The limited edition 2014 Chr. Ward C70 3527 GT (ref. C70-3527GT-SRK) was inspired (and also heavily influenced) by chronographs that were selling back in the 1960s and, perhaps, 1970s. Cheerful (and even playful), it features the signature exaggerated minute track designed to look like gauges on a sports car’s instrument panel, and a contrast color scheme for its busy dial, but is powered by a way more precise thermo-compensated quartz movement. Designed and manufactured by ETA, it surpasses any “normal” quartz caliber by an order of magnitude when it comes to the tiny amount of time it gains or loses during a whole year of operation.
Available in two versions, each of them limited to 2888 pieces, the new collection of Frederique Constant Runabout automatic chronographs (Refs. FC-393RM5B4 and FC-393RM5B6) is an example of good industrial design with its large, clean dial both easily readable and pleasant to look at. Although its functionality (more on that later, you are going to raise at least one eyebrow) is somewhat limited compared to the previous Runabout Chrono, this model still makes a strong impression.
Although there is a feeling of something not being “right” when you look at a luxury watch, which is supposed to be a sort of homage to the timekeeper Neil Armstrong has worn when setting his foot at Moon’s dusty surface, the new limited edition Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 (Ref. 3126.96.36.199.06.001) looks absolutely stunning with its chocolate-colored nylon strap matching the color of the dial. The latter, by the way, looks especially grand thanks to its rose gold hour markers and hands that provide the timekeeper with an even better sense of depth and dimension.
The stately Chopard L.U.C Lunar Big Date, one of the most striking models in their whole collection, has been slightly face-lifted in early 2014. Although the redesigned model doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking in terms of exterior finish or movement design, it now looks a lot more up-to-date and, well, relevant to the current design trends. Still a tiny bit too big for a modern dress watch, the new accessory nevertheless delivers you an extremely well-balanced combination of functionality and ease of use.
With its lovingly reproduced look and feel of the original Longines CAF “aviator” that was first introduced almost 80 years ago (it was actually an evolution of one of their even older models from the 1920s), the 2014 Longines Heritage 1935 (Ref. L2.7188.8.131.52) gives you a perfect chance to own a timekeeper that perfectly blends the unique design language of the pre-war era with a modern technology.
While there are many so-called “two tones” watches that feature combinations of greyish still or titanium (or some other metal including, but not limited to, platinum and zirconium) and different alloys of gold, there are only a few models that nail that perfect mix of colors and textures. Of course, this is purely a matter of personal tastes and preferences, but this Zenith El Primero Volcano Special Edition (Ref. 51.2040.400/91.C496) belongs precisely to that category. The color and finish of its dial, the shade of gold plated on its hands and hour markers, the way the sub-dials are grouped: everything in this model whispers quietly, but clear of good taste and superb design job.
With its new El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Rolling Stones Edition (ref. 03.2048.4061/77.C496), Zenith tries to appeal to hearts (as well as wallets and credit cards) of the baby boomers: those men and women in their sixties that remember the year 1969. Some of them actually saw Jimi Hendrix performing the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock 1969, attended Led Zeppelin’s Summer 1969 North American Tour, while the luckiest of them even managed to see at least one of 16 shows of The Rolling Stones American Tour 1969.
Ulysse Nardin has been shipping its GMT-enabled Dual Timers for quite a while now and they must enjoy good sales if the model is reborn year after year trying to satisfy different tastes and budgets. However, this new dressy Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture radically differs from previous iterations. The difference is not limited to just the styling of its case and the dial: while its numerous predecessors were equipped with the self-winding Caliber UN-24, which is basically an inexpensive ETA 2892-A2 movement with an add-on module, this particular timekeeper that was presented at the Baselworld 2014 trade show is now equipped with their own UN-334 Manufacture mechanism. As the name implies, the movement is crafted solely in-house.
The face-lifted version of the Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro (ref. CM3090C-L1J-BK) was released at the Baselworld 2014 event. It is equipped with a finely executed telemeter scale and packs within its medium-sized 42 mm stainless steel body the same tried and tested automatic chronograph movement, but now looks a lot more elegant than the previous iteration of the timepiece. It’s almost like if Porsche has released its current-gen Cayenne performance SUV with its gorgeous exterior and plush interior without sacrificing all the off-road goodness of the first-gen model.