If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your gadget desires remain unfulfilled. “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. Today we examine the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 and the Magrette Moana Pacific Professional.
Take me to the Moon
After some years occupying the dreaded fashion watch segment, Baume & Mercier has been regaining its former glory with several beautiful new timepieces and an evocative brand image. With the new Clifton series, Baume has managed to avoid the sophomore jinx, delivering yet another brace of seductive watches. We got our hands on the Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar and gave it a few weeks of wrist time.
To the casual observer, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with its tidy towns and the waft of manure from plowed fields on the spring breeze, is a far cry from the vaunted watchmaking regions of Europe. But there are similarities between this rolling farmland and the mountain valleys of Switzerland and Germany: a history of rural isolation, strong Puritan work ethic, cold winters, and a history of fine timepieces. Lancaster was home to the Hamilton Watch Company from 1892 until the mid-1980s and was, at one time, producer of some of the finest timepieces in the world. Today it is still a treasure trove of American watchmaking.
Rising to the top
Another BaselWorld is in the books. Journalists, retailers and watch nerds alike are retreating as we speak to their blogs, stores and web forums to debate who the winners, the losers, the biggest surprises and the biggest disappointments were at this year’s show. Of course, all of the hype surrounding the biggest watch event on the planet is a sign of the times. Watches have become big business, and the launch of a new OMEGA or TAG Heuer attracts the same buzz as a new U2 album or Bond film. Watches are cooler now than they’ve ever been.
Our intrepid band of watch experts has elbowed past the hype and tirelessly pored over the onslaught of new watches shown this past week to distill a list of the most interesting, groundbreaking and just plain sexiest new timepieces of BaselWorld 2013.
Itchy trigger fingers, apply here
The Graham Chronofighter Oversize ($6,900) is the latest offering from a brand that has long caught our eye. It’s a watch decked out with unique dial layouts, applied sub-dial magnifier portals that look like they’re straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an imposing size… and then there’s the trigger.
Prepare for a Watch Nerd Overload
If you like your watches and pay any attention at all to the watch industry, then you know about BASELWORLD, the annual industry show in Basel, Switzerland. Otherwise, you may never have heard about the exhibition, which is the wristwatch equivalent of the Detroit Auto Show and takes place April 25th to May 2nd. There’s plenty of fine jewelry too, for those who like sparkly things — but we’re here to talk watches. We’ll round up our favorite new timepieces after the dust settles, but until then, here’s a bit of a primer on one of our favorite events of the year.
Even if your aquatic adventures never go beyond a beach snorkel, summer is still a great excuse to strap on a dive watch. Timepieces designed for wet work also happen to be perfect companions for backyard barbecues, weekend cabin trips and afternoon doubleheaders. It’s no wonder the dive watch remains one of the most popular timepiece categories, thanks to a decidedly sporty and casual vibe that wears well with board shorts and t-shirts, and an overbuilt ruggedness that can stand up to the inevitable scrapes of summer shenanigans and those impromptu night swims. But while there are a fleet of watches that try to capture the adventurous spirit of the diver, a select few go a little deeper. We round up seven of the best new ones for you here.
IWC’s Ingenieur is as steeped in history as any watch. First seen in 1954, and designed as both a general-purpose sport watch and for scientists who worked with strong electromagnetic fields — hence the name, “engineers” in French — it reflected a growing trend towards robustness, which was already driving the popularity of the still-nascent diving watch. We break down the reference 3239 Ingenieur Automatic, our favorite of the bunch.
Time for a timekeeping trip
New York City’s renowned Frick Collection is currently playing host to an exceptional exhibition celebrating the history of timekeeping, and of course, we’re all too happy to geek out about it. “Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at the Frick Collection” is housed in their new Portico Gallery, and features notable pieces dating from the mid 14th century through the 19th century from the bequest of noted horology expert and collector Winthrop Kellogg Edey.
The Heuer Carrera can be summed up in one word: legible. When Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of Heuer’s founder, decided to introduce a new line of chronograph watches in 1963, ease of reading was the foremost design goal. Taking inspiration from the dashboard dials of racing cars, Jack developed what is arguably one of the best-looking chronographs ever made. These were watches designed to be worn on the track and in the cockpit of the world’s fastest cars, and many of the best drivers of the 1960s and 1970s chose Heuers. This was a time before brand ambassador programs paid celebrities to wear their watches; drivers like Mario Andretti, Gilles Villeneuve, Clay Regazzoni, Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda, and Jo Siffert wore Heuers just because they liked them.
Shine A Light
Since their early days, Victorinox (a company better known for its versatile pocketknives) has produced watches that, while standing up to the “Swiss Made” on their dials, haven’t been afraid to get dirty. The Night Vision watch ($695) is the latest handsome, sturdy and exceedingly useful piece of kit from the revered brand. And its most innovative feature has nothing to do with telling time.
Number 1 on the runway
If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. The watch companies maintain a continuous flow of tantalizing images of their new creations, the Web is rife with chronic watch flippers offering good deals on minty timepieces, and suddenly that watch you’re wearing is starting to look a little rough around the edges. Time for an upgrade. But reality steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your watch love remains unrequited. What’s a guy to do? Want This, Get This presents a lustworthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
Mad for mid-century
it’s not just the incredible storytelling that’s so appealing about Mad Men. It’s the style and setting narratives that relive a fabled American decade. Tailored suits and bespoke dresses. Cigarettes. Colors. The Rolling Stones and Beatles. More cigarettes. And the subtle dress watch. We round up 5 stunning watches from the American mid-century in celebration of the season 6 premiere.
Since dressing up is finally back, we’re going to rehash an obvious point: every watch collection needs a dress watch. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar in white gold ($25,600) may not be the right selection for a gentleman on a budget, but if you play in the horological big leagues or want to add a grail to your collection, this triple calendar with moonphase timepiece is an excellent contender.
California Dreaming, By Way of Switzerland
The XETUM Kendrick ($995), introduced this week, is the third watch collection to be released by relative horological newcomer Jeffrey Kuo since he founded XETUM several years ago. Kuo designs his collections around a singular California-modern vision of a vintage performance aesthetic; his previous models, the Tyndall and the Stinton, were inspired by pilot watches and instruments of times gone by. While the Kendrick continues the vintage theme, it takes inspiration from classic automotive instrumentation.
Never mind the mouthful of a name, this brawny Panerai stole the show for us at January’s Salon International Haute Horlogerie. The Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio‘s familiar design cues are unmistakably from the Firenze Officine, but the splash of color and an innovative new in-house chronograph calibre seal the deal.
The relentless pursuit of accuracy
Let’s get one thing out of the way: a chronometer is different than a chronograph, though one can also be the other. We’ve heard the terms confused one too many times, and while we’ll forgive past sins, it’s time to know the difference once and for all. Read on.
The term chronometer comes from two Greek words, and roughly means “time measurer.” The word first came into use in the early 18th century with specific reference to timepieces designed for navigational use onboard ships. In those days — before LORAN, radar and GPS — getting a ship around the world, much less around a rocky peninsula, was a challenge to mariners. Two parameters are necessary to determine your exact whereabouts on the globe: latitude and longitude. Latitude, your position relative to the Poles, can be determined by the angle of the sun relative to where your boat is bobbing; that was discovered and used by sailors relatively early on.
This year, little-known manufacture JeanRichard made a concerted effort to refresh its product line — new designs, new movements, new image — and it showed at BaselWorld. We recently got our hands on their latest: the Terrascope ($3,500), an old dog with new tricks.
Good for desk-diving or otherwise
Relatively young watch manufacturer Maurice Lacroix has been generating a lot of interest of late its their new collections, and the Pontos S Diver is no exception, standing out in a crowded field of me-too pieces. At turns retro and modern, the Diver, which builds upon the success of the Pontos S Chronograph from last year, presents a uniquely attractive face to its lucky wearer.
Racing for 50 years
This year, Swiss watch manufacturer TAG-Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of their iconic timepiece, the Carrera, so it was only natural that they throw a party in its honor. And oh what a party is was. Think champagne, vintage Porsches and models serving hors d’oeuvres and you’re halfway there. Held in the shadow of New York City’s celebrated Highline Park at a converted art studio, the bash was a fitting tribute to an iconic timepiece that has so indelibly imprinted itself on the worlds of horology and auto racing.
FIRE IN THE HOLE
If you’re looking for a bombproof watch, the Kaventsmann Triggerfish Bronze A2 should be in your sights. Not only has its massive 44 x 20 millimeter case been pressure tested to 300 bar (the equivalent of 3,000 meters of water pressure), it was subsequently blown up with 10 pounds of C4 in an explosive detonation test conducted by the U.S. Special Forces (damn… the crystal got scratched).
PICK IT UP BY MIDNIGHT
The Breitling for Bentley Light Body Midnight Carbon ($12,045) may have been crafted for the eminent car company, but it could just as easily have been made for the Dark Knight.
In Too Deep
Editors Note: If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. Watch companies maintain a continuous flow of tantalizing images of their new creations, the Web is rife with chronic watch flippers offering good deals on minty timepieces, and suddenly that watch you’re wearing is starting to look a little rough around the edges. Time for an upgrade. But reality steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your watch love remains unrequited. What’s a guy to do? Gear Patrol’s new series, Want This, Get This, presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
We’ve always had a love for the timepieces of Victorinox Swiss Army, so a new limited edition version of the Victorinox Swiss Army 1989 Original Chronograph ($495), the first watch they ever made, really tugs at the heartstrings.
You should unwind -- but your favorite timepiece shouldn't
A self-winding mechanical watch only lives up to its name if it’s kept moving. On your wrist, there’s no problem — the motion of your arm keeps the rotor spinning, which winds the mainspring. But leave it on your bedside table for a couple of days and you’ll need to crank it by hand and set the time and date. While that’s no great hardship with one or two watches, once your collection grows to more than that, you’re going to want a watch winder.
So which one to get? The one in the SkyMall catalog should be fine for your $40,000 Patek Philippe, right? Wrong. We’ve rounded up five of the best winders, from $40 to $7,000, to help you choose the right one for your budget and your quiver of timepieces.
Doppel the fun
Last year HABRING² — a small Austrian independent brand spearheaded by Richard Habring, creator of the Valjoux 7750-based rattrapante complication for IWC — won the Sports Watch of the Year award from the Grand Prix d’ Horlogerie de Genève for its Doppel 2.0. Not content to rest on his laurels, Habring’s upped the ante with the Doppel 3 (~$8,800), a limited-production gem.
From Here to the Moon
When the Mercury program started putting men in orbit, American astronauts largely chose their own watches to wear. John Glenn strapped a Heuer stopwatch to his wrist and Scott Carpenter wore a specially-modified Breitling known as the Cosmonaute. But by the 1960s, NASA saw a need to qualify every piece of vital equipment in the capsule, and the wristwatch was one of them. Wally Schirra had already worn his own OMEGA Speedmaster on his Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, and it was included in a quiver of chronographs selected by NASA for rigorous testing. Subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations, violent shocks, vibrations, vacuum and humidity, the Speedmaster outperformed watches from the likes of Rolex, Wittnauer and Longines to be named NASA’s approved timepiece. It was March 1st, 1965.
The Perfect Storm
For many, Harry Winston is synonymous with stratospherically priced jewelry and awards shows, but for watch aficionados, the house of Harry Winston also brings to mind some truly ground-breaking horological masterpieces. The Histoire de Tourbillon No. 4 is a fitting tribute to the eponymous escapement, which is considered by many to represent the epitome of the watchmaking craft.
Order it this minute, man
Samuel Adams and Paul Revere would be proud of this one. The Minuteman MM01 PVD ($398+), a handsome timepiece, is built by the CGA Company in the great state of Ohio. A portion of the profits from sales will go to selected charities focusing on veterans of the US Armed Forces, a worthy cause indeed.