Anyhow, the Chopard marketing images of these new 2012 Grand Prix de Monaco Historique limited edition watches are beautiful, but don't really convey the true colors of the watches for some reason. If you place the marketing images next to the real images, the colors actually aren't that far off, but something about the lightness is lost. These are a couple of rather light gray watches - and the marketing images seem to make them feel darker than they are.
Fashion editors and people of those ranks continue to sully the watch world with their questions on style trends and what is going be hot for spring and summer. Brands like to have the people writing for mass audience consumer publications that they advertise in come to the watch shows because it would be awesome for them to get some actual editorial coverage. That unfortunately isn’t going to happen because the average writer and reader of those publications doesn’t know about or care about watches (for the most part, and there are some really great notable exceptions). Unless they are colorful under watches which do get a fair amount of coverage it seems. I am actually glad that the fashion people are there because I want them to see the world I love so much, but my advice to watch brands is to stop pretending that you are fashion brands. Be stalwart that you release nice new watches each year based on a range of factors that hopefully don’t include fashion trends or what is going to look “so hot” in the fall with orange and brown. I know I sound like a snob saying that, but that isn’t what makes this industry tick. This is an industry of half marketing people, have engineers. Each focused on making marketable wrist machines that tell the time for a long time. These items aren’t meant to be (for the most part) disposable, and are intended as lifetime investments. The current fashion industry is about disposable clothes and quickly changing color and style trend announcements so that they have something to actually “write” (list) about. That just doesn’t meld with the watch industry, and I hope it never does.
The Rolex GMT-Master II reviewed here is the two-tone gold and stainless version. It uses Rolex's famous oyster case at 40 mm and it weighs in at 160 grams. The weight is due in part to the gold material and to Rolex's usage of high-grade 904L steel which is forged completely in-house and is supposed to be highly polishable and very resistant to corrosion. The gold is solid 18-karat which is also used in the bezel and the dial markers.
For their 117th anniversary, Raffles sourced 117 customized Longines watches and we think they have chosen well for their 125th, not only with JLC, but specifically with the Reverso. For a hotel to survive 125 years of recent human history, it has to be able to change and grow without loosing its soul and the joie de vivre which makes it unique. While the engraving is not the most novel nor creative of designs, it does make a simple connection between the life of the hotel and the legacy of the Reverso. While decades of human history would suggest that even good things often come to an end, we still have the Raffles Hotel and we still have watches like the Reverso.
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2012 sees another variation on the popular Perrelet Turbine watch called the Turbine Diver - and it is just that. With a large case, internal rotating dive bezel, and 300 meters of water resistance, you can now combine your love of the spinning dial timepiece with your passion for sport watches. Well, at least I know I can.
Inside the watch is Seiko's in-house made Caliber 8R39 automatic chronograph movement. It is a nicely decorated workhorse in fancy clothing with some nice features such as a column-wheel and vertical clutch for the chronograph. As it is a diver, the caseback is solid, but you get a nice little engraving (which is actually like a wave breaking over water). It also says "Air Diver's" on the back and I am not sure what that means. Maybe some of the more hardcore Seiko dive watch fans can explain that to me.
Legibility is pretty good and you aren't likely to complain that the dial is dull. I have worn an awful lot of too-utilitarian dive watches out there with legible yet ultimately dull dial designs. With a fashionable-twist, John Isaac keeps enough spruce in their step. Did you notice how rather than state "Swiss Made", the bottom of the dial has cursive text that reads "Manufacture en Suisse?" Swanky right?
Hidden within the futuristic skeletonized case is the LW03 Concepto, an automatic chronograph movement which provides a power reserve of 48 hours and even incorporates the use of a ceramic bearing for the oscillating weight which winds the movement. This fully-decorated caliber can be viewed through the SpidoSpeed's sapphire display case back.
The AM3 Legionnaire features all of the details which make March LA.B watches stand out in the fray, like their uniquely styled screw-down crown, green date text and rear crystal, and custom decorated movement. Refreshingly, March LA.B has opted to use the more expensive ETA 2892 Swiss automatic movement as opposed to the more common 2824-2. The 2892 is one of the best mass produced movements available to a small brand like March LA.B. The same base movement was, for example, used by Omega for their calibre 1120 and later used as the base for their co-axial calibre 2500. With a watch that carries an above-entry-level price, it is certainly nice to see that they are taking advantage of the availability of the 2892 and sourcing a premium movement. The AM3 Legionnaire's domed crystal is sapphire and features an anti-reflective treatment, while the rear display crystal sports a sapphire coating and March LA.B's unique green tint.
Watch brands like to pump up their history a lot. This is especially true in Europe where with age comes legitimacy. It also helps when your history includes impressive things. A lot of today’s watch brands that bear vintage names don’t always have the most interesting histories. Much of them can be summed up as "man X did in fact make watches or clocks 150 - 200 years ago." Two of the names that do come with a really impressive history are Breguet and Jaquet Droz (both conveniently owned by the Swatch Group now).
Omega has always designed really nice watch cases. The new Speedmaster is no exception. Fit and finishing are good of course, and the overall design offers a grand look where the lugs work right into the side of the case. From the side, it looks like a layered sandwich. The crown is large, but not too big and sits into the case to help protect it. Chronograph pushers are simple and traditional in style. At its heart, the Speedmaster has always been the "nice conservative sports watch". It still is, and that is a really good thing in this context.
The Opus 4 - This dual-sided grand complication comes from none other than Christophe Claret (creator of the X-Trem-1 and 21 Blackjack). Featuring a tourbillon, minute repeater, moon phase and date all packed into a 44mm platinum case which can be worn with either dial facing up, it was surprising that this example of such a limited Opus (only 20 units made) would fail to find a buyer. A rare and unique watch like the Opus 4 likely needs a fairly rare and unique buyer, or perhaps the 0,000 - 0,000 estimated (and the corresponding reserve) was simply too high (lot 4987).
This is overall a pretty satisfying watch if the look appeals to you. It has a handsome quality to it and feels reasonably priced given the level of workmanship. Just what a Hamilton timepiece should be. Retail price is 5.
A few years ago Romain Jerome shared with me that they were going to be doing a DeLorean DNA watch. I was super excited because it not only made sense given the "DNA" concept of the brand, but was also sure to be super cool. Finally, you could show off a luxury watch to people and explain to them the DeLorean connection, which might give them some frame of reference for appreciating the collectability of the piece. Anyhow here it is...
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