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 automatic chronograph (refs. AL-725B4S6, AL-725GR4S6 & AL-725N4S6) is available in three colors of its laconic, extremely sober dial and in two colors of the genuine 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).
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.
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.
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.