In a matter of days, the Japanese conglomerate Seiko will start selling the hybrid-powered Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition (Ref. SBGE245G). With the luxury gadget being limited to the Japanese domestic market, it will be a bit difficult to come by if you happen to live on the other side of the globe. Yet, the device is so beautiful, so impressive that it will be absolutely worth going into all the trouble to get one.
Already released as the Japanese Domestic Market (ah, that legendary ‘JDM’ abbreviation that’s been rice-rocket freaks’ and watch aficionados’ darling for so many decades!) models, the 2017 limited-edition Seiko Prospex Diver Scuba Giugiaro Design (available at the time of writing as refs. SBEE001 & SBEE002) is an almost perfect re-issue of the model from the 1980s that had a great potential, but for some reason failed to become an icon of industrial design. I can only welcome the Japanese brand’s decision to give the collection a second chance, even as only a limited-edition model.
The 2016 Alpina Startimer Pilot chronograph (refs. AL-725B4S6, AL-725GR4S6 & AL-725N4S6) is available in three colors of its laconic, extremely sober dial and two colors of the genuine (*sigh*) leather strap. It is a bit expensive, many people may (and probably will) call it boring, and it is not a match to majors like IWC and Omega in terms of mojo and perceived value, yet the combination of a highly ergonomic design, reliable mechanism, and an acceptable price make it a nice everyday watch for a person who can afford one.
In less than two months, Christopher Ward will start selling the 2016 C8 UTC Worldtimer. Styled as an “aviator” and featuring an appealing combination of a robust Swiss-made movement with their new distinctive approach to design, the new timekeeper is well worth the serious chunk of cash that the watchmaker plans to charge for it.
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.
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 Oris Big Crown ProPilot (ref. 01 111 7711 4163-Set 5 22 14FC) is powered by the new Caliber 111 hand-wound movement. Developed and built on their own premises, the beautiful mechanism not only makes this new timekeeper even more exclusive but also shows that Oris has enough resources to design and put on the production line a wonderful caliber. Their new Cal. 111 is an in-house mechanism that, at least in terms of functionality and efficiency, rivals those recently introduced by a lot more established watchmaking houses.
The 2015 Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Chronograph Big Date expands the brand’s line of affordable diving companions with yet another product. Featuring a reliable and accurate quartz mechanism packed into a visually attractive, nicely sculpted stainless steel body, the timepiece looks like a perfect “first real Swiss watch” choice for a young customer who still can’t afford to buy “a real thing” be it a member of the same collection powered by a more expensive mechanical movement or something of an entirely different league like, say, an Omega Seamaster or a Breitling Superocean.
As defiantly eclectic as it is, the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Vuelo still makes a strong impression with its deliberately oversized stainless steel body and a dial that could make your eyes bleed if only it wasn’t matched so convincingly well to the energetic shape of the case. Not designed according to the book that most Swiss-based watchmakers live by, this new Historiador may be a timekeeper of choice for a person who looks for something entirely new.
Revealed at Baselworld 2015, the Alpina Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph (ref. AL-760SB5AQ6) is not just another handsome wristwatch from just another second-tier brand. Besides featuring a distinct and interesting exterior, it is also one of the few relatively affordable chronographs that are powered by an in-house caliber. Developed by the brand’s parent company Frederique Constant, it sports an unusual design feature: instead of the tried and true cam-and-lever or a more precise column-wheel, its chronograph module has a star-shaped gear that makes it easier to produce on an industrial scale without sacrificing much in the precision department.
The 2015 Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT 44 may be not as technically advanced as a GPS-capable Seiko Astron, yet it has a mojo similar to the Swiss brand’s most iconic “aviators” issued in the 1950s. What is even more surprising is that all this mojo trickles out of this beautiful timekeeper in a subtle, deliciously refined way: something that we have rarely seen from Breitling during the last decade or two.
Steinhart celebrates its tenth year in business with this limited edition 2014 Steinhart ST 10 Anniversary Edition (Ref. L0810) that deserves some attention. First, the German brand normally uses standard Swiss-made calibers to power its timekeepers. For a change, the ST10 is powered by a neatly decorated hand-wound movement from Unitas. Second, it comes with an unusual dial layout, even though some may find it a bit, well, too unusual. Third, even as bulky as it is, the gadget is still compact enough for a sporty daily beater. Perhaps, the only thing that may turn some people off is the price: €1290 seems *ahem* a bit too steep for a Steinhart.
Delivered in the colors and textures that are often associated with those of Audi’s own racing team, the 2014 Oris Audi Sport Chronograph (ref. 01 774 7661 7481-Set) isn’t terribly original with its boring layout and the same design elements we have seen for the last couple of years. However, it features solid quality and a nice price. Also, fans of the German team will love it.
Believe it or not, but, contrary to popular beliefs, not all Breitlings do look the same. This new Breitling Galactic 44 (the ref. A45320B9/BD42-101W reviewed here and other models), for example, features an unusual (for the brand) combination of an elegantly sculpted body that looks more slender than it actually is, a remarkable set of crown-guards, and a relatively thin bezel that still displays all the relevant information for either an amateur diver or a professional pilot. Perhaps, the only thing that it needs is the usual notches that were apparently dropped here in order for its polished surface to better match that of the case. Well, nothing is perfect.