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 Bell & Ross WW1-97 Heritage (ref. BRWW197-HER-ST/SCR) delivers the familiar mix of a well-calculated design, which is both elegant and masculine, and a bullet-proof mechanism, which is both reliable and accurate. All of them are offered at a relatively affordable price that makes this new creation one of the best choices in the “Value for Money” category.
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.
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.
Inspired by a model that was commissioned by the US Air Force around 70 years ago, the Bulova AccuSwiss Type A-15 (ref. 63A119) can be a nice option for a person looking for a vintage-styled pilot’s watch, but not willing to opt for a “standard” German Luftwaffe B-Uhr-style timekeeper. Some may find the combination of a black dial with bright orange luminous compound on hands with dirty lemon 24-hour numerals a bit, well, tasteless, but it is in fact how the original watch looked, so just get used to it.
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.
Brutal, yet well-proportioned, the Breitling Cockpit B50 (ref. VB501022/BD41-155S) (especially the variation in plain machine-brushed titanium) somehow reminds me of a USAF’s F22 air superiority fighter jet: everything is in its place; everything is completely functional, yet extremely sexy. The only thing that makes the new B50 model different is the price. While still deliciously expensive, it won’t make you sell your house to get one.
Although not as technologically advanced as the stunning Astron GPS Stratosphere, the 2014 Seiko Prospex Solar Quartz Chronograph (Ref. SSC279) is also about five times less expensive. Offered at MSRP of just $450 (and you can find one on eBay at less than USD $350), it looks cool for a daily beater, and its built-in solar charger makes the gadget a must-have for a person that spends more time outdoors than inside an air-conditioned office. Just don’t forget to swap the brown leather strap for something more practical, like a solid steel bracelet or a hypoallergenic silicon band.
While the original Glycine F104 (ref. 3933) that was delivered back in April 2014 looked absolutely killer with its clean, vintage-inspired design, somebody at the company’s HQ has probably decided that sales are not quite satisfactory. Enters the Glycine F104 v.2, which is now available in a choice of four or five dials, and even includes a version with a steel black PVD bezel with 46 diamonds (1.80 carats, yuck!)
With its stainless steel body deliberately oversized to remind you of those gigantic pilot’s watches of the pre-WWII era, and a modern self-winding movement with column-wheel chronograph system, this Longines Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph (ref. L2.718.104.22.168) delivers a strong blend of masculine presence, clever industrial design and technical ingenuity. However, the price that Longines wants you to pay for the piece is steep putting it into the same category with such established (but, thankfully, too common) monsters as Tag Heuer Carrera, Omega Speedmaster and, of course, IWC Portofino: a pocket watch-based enfant terrible that started it all. Will the vintage-style design save this beautiful specimen? Well, time will certainly tell.