Earlier this year, Steinhart has issued their new take on the concept of a “vintage-modern pilot”. Successfully blending vintage exterior with a classic caliber and modern CNC machinery, the 2018 Nav.B-Chrono 47 Baumuster B Grey Edition (ref. 106-0877) offers, perhaps, the best “value for money” ratio for those interested in buying a relatively affordable brand new “aviator”.
ETA Valjoux 7750
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.
Presented at Baselworld 2016, the new Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss Mach 9 Automatic Limited Edition (ref. 241732) somehow manages to combine more or less adequate pricing (especially after all the usual discounts that the Swiss-based brand is known for) with a fairly small lot of pieces destined to be manufactured and sent to select stores around the world.
The iconic TAG Heuer Aquaracer family finally gets a handful of new members that have their stainless steel bezels replaced with ceramic ones. Available in black and blue, with plain or blacked-out steel bodies, and featuring a nice choice of available straps, they are still relatively affordable if you take into account a nice combination of attractive styling, reliability and a bullet-proof automatic movement to finish the picture.
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.
The new Fortis Blue Horizon features an appealing color scheme with its bronze-toned dial (that the brand actually prefers to call “Metallic Brown”) nicely matched by a cognac-brown leather strap. Although the blue accents on the timekeeper’s face look a bit ahem controversial, I must admit that this is one of the dressiest “pilot’s chronographs” that the Swiss brand has ever produced. Just don’t forget to get yourself a complementary set of good brown shoes.
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).
Chopard is known for its endless love for all things automotive. During the last two or three years, they have introduced several beautiful sporty timekeepers (check this Mille Miglia Zagato Chronograph GMT Limited Edition (Ref. 168550-6001) for example) and it doesn’t look like they are going to stop churning out new racing-inspired chronographs and three-handers any time soon. Coming in a flashy black-and-yellow (a color scheme, which is often associated with Chevrolet’s Corvette Racing team, although I am not sure whether the similarity is intentional or purely coincidental), the Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono 2014 (ref. 168570-3001) will not go unnoticed even if you plan to wear it with a Hawaiian shirt.
Ball Watches has released the facelifted version of the Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro (ref. CM3090C-L1J-BK) during the Baselworld 2014 show. The refreshed watch features a finely executed telemeter scale and packs within its medium-sized 42 mm stainless steel body the same cal. RR1402 automatic chronograph movement, but now looks a lot more elegant than the previous iteration of the timepiece. It’s almost as 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.
Based on their Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator (Ref. 01 675 7648 4264-07 5 23 77) that was first released in 2011, the Oris Big Crown Timer Chronograph (Ref. 675 7648 4234 LS) features only subtle cosmetic changes that, however, make all the difference: as cluttered as the base version is, the gadget still somehow manages to look cleaner and is easier to read.
While not terribly original, the automatic Cimier Time Square Chronograph (refs. 5106-SS011 in steel and 5106-BP021 in black PVD) delivers a nice combination of sportiness and elegance that makes it versatile if you don’t plan to wear it to a pool party or on a hiking trip.
The new Luminox Tony Kanaan Valjoux (Ref. A.1188) limited edition chronograph offers a strong blend of an unusual, aggressive-looking body combined with a bullet-proof automatic movement and offered at a fairly competitive price.
The limited edition Fortis B42 Phantoms Phorever Flieger Chronograph (ref. 635.10.91 F-4F L01) pays homage to the legendary McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II: a twin-engine combat aircraft that not only ensured US air superiority in Vietnam, but also fought in many other conflicts throughout the world, including numerous Arab-Israeli wars, the Iran-Iraq War and, of course, the Falklands War.
Back in 2012, Alpina has presented its rugged-looking Extreme Diver 300 Automatic three-hander. For this year, the Swiss-based brand updated the collection with a chronograph version predictably calling it “Alpina Extreme Diver 300 Automatic Chronograph“.
The Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Chronograph Pilote (Ref. A 61948 NO03) was first unveiled at the Baselworld 2013 show. It won’t impress any enthusiast with the ingenuity of exterior design or some revolutionary complication. It’s not the point here. Even with its standard dial layout and the usual set of features, it is a tasteful and elegant take on a concept of a “pilot’s watch” intended for men that were dreaming about becoming fighter jet pilots in their childhood only to find themselves having a good, but depressingly boring job in the downtown and spending their evenings playing Il-2 and War Thunder simulators in their man caves.