If you’re a watch nerd, you might recognize the name Carl Evans. He’s the brains (and hands) behind British boutique watch strap brand GasGasBones. Like watch obsessives everywhere, Carl has dreamt for years of creating his own brand of watches. This year he’s finally done something about it. Informed by his 24 years of service in the Royal Air Force, Evans’s first release is a convincing pilot’s chronograph, the 6B MK1 ($2575).
36 gifts for the well-dressed gent
If you’re a stylish gent, you’re acutely aware of each seasonal shift. Spring affords chances to wear lighter, refreshed colors; summer is time for light material and sunglasses; autumn means breaking out a chunky cardigan. But it’s winter when a man can truly shine. He can layer. He can sport rich fabrics and hulking boots, overcoats and purposeful accessories. When there is such a wide, deep array of options in the winter wardrobe world, what exactly do you give the man who lives stylishly? We’re here to turn that dilemma into fruitful present curation. So brew up some nog, get out the wrapping paper (even if you’re giving to yourself) and check out our top picks in these important categories of winter style for the well dressed man.
Thomas Mercer recently released the limited edition (25 pieces) Thomas Mercer Legacy Shackleton Epic ($139,000) marine chronometer to commemorate the centennial of Shackleton’s 1914-1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Specifically, the Legacy acknowledges what is widely acknowledged as the greatest small-boat journey ever accomplished: the voyage of the 22.5-foot James Caird across 800 nautical miles of the nastiest water on the planet.
Nothing short of impervious
In recent years, watchmaking materials have improved to the point where many Swiss-made mechanical watches meet minimum anti-magnetic standards. But that’s not good enough for us; we’re bringing you six of the most badass anti-magnetic watches on the market. Each has the same magnetic field resistance, 80,000 A/m (well above the minimum standard), except for Omega’s offering, which…well, it puts the other timepieces’ resistances to shame. Now, go forth and fear no refrigerator magnets.
The Ingenieur Chronograph Silberpfeil is a direct homage to the famous Mercedes-Benz W25 Silver Arrow that dominated motorsports between the World Wars. These cars were monsters, with oversized spoked rims and massive straight-cylinder engines barely sheathed in metal. The watch’s dial sports the same circular-grained aluminum treatment as the Silver Arrows’ dashboards, and the caseback has an engraved likeness of the car itself. But enough about the watch. This year, a restored Silberpfeil took part in the famous Klausen Hill Climb race in Switzerland — and this video takes us along for the ride.
For watch lovers, a fresh scratch on an otherwise flawless crystal is a devastating sight. The feeling can be even worse on a brand new watch, or one that just returned from servicing. But before you send your tainted timepiece back for a crystal replacement, you may want to consider a home remedy. First you need to determine what can be done — and that depends on the type of crystal you’ve scratched. Read on for our full guide.
Hertz So Good
While we could list fascinating mechanisms devised by ingenious watchmakers ’til the cows come home, there’s one particular complication that’s rarely mentioned: dead seconds, where the second hand advances in increments of a whole second rather than a half or a quarter of a second. The Grönefeld One Hertz ($40,659+) accomplishes the dead seconds complication in a way that’s never been done before. To Grönefeld, this was a challenge, one that they decidedly nailed with the One Hertz.
Sailing timepieces are, despite their obscure use and narrow target market, very popular these days. Yet few are truly useful to a skipper angling for the starting buoy in a regatta — most are simple chronographs gussied up with some nautical colorways and branding. Officine Panerai knows a thing or two about sailing, having been a very active sponsor of a classic yacht regatta series for the past decade. So it comes as no surprise that when the brand released its first purpose-built regatta timer, the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio ($18,600), they got it exactly right.
Worth far better than third place
Bronze has been around almost as long as horology: finding form in weaponry and decorations at the same time water clocks first appeared (4000 BCE), it’s mankind’s oldest alloy. Concocted in varying combinations of copper and tin, bronze can pack a Vickers hardness rating higher than that of wrought iron and stainless steel combined, and is also anti-magnetic and resistant to the corrosion caused by seawater.These characteristics, along with its ability to stand out in the seas of stainless-steel wristwear, make it an ideal alloy for your wrist.
A Sistematic Takeover
The Swatch Sistem51 ($110-$220), so-named because there are fifty-one pieces in the movement, is quite simply a revolutionary timepiece. So revolutionary, in fact, that it may put an end to watch manufacturing as we know it and bring the mechanical timepiece to the masses.
It’s not often that a timepiece takes full advantage of the laws of modern physics, optics, and spherical geometry — which, when you think about it, is an odd combination to even address in a timepiece. But the Ressence Type 3 ($34,600) is just such a piece, giving scientists and engineers everywhere a reason to stare.
It’s difficult to re-invent a classic. A brand tinkers with an icon at its peril, risking inflaming die-hard fans and losing hard-won prestige. Just look at OMEGA with the vaunted Speedmaster. Everyone will agree that the Moonwatch — the Speedmaster Professional — is still the one to own, and that OMEGA has been wise to not meddle with it since 1969. But if there’s one modern Speedmaster that represents a “a giant leap” for OMEGA, it’s the new Dark Side of the Moon ($12,000) thanks to its use of an aerospace material and perhaps the finest automatic chronograph movement around.
Time For Innovation
Since the invention of the timepiece itself, the issue of decreasing mainspring torque has tormented watch- and clockmakers. As the spring gives up its coiled power, its strength diminishes little by little, causing irregularity in the oscillations of the regulating organ and undermining the watch’s precision. The revolutionary Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement ($100,000) solves this age-old problem by making use of a mix of high-tech materials and watchmaking ingenuity — with a design inspired by the flicking of a train ticket.
If you need a rugged, no-nonsense chronograph as part of your next mission kit, the new Tutima M2 (~$8000), to be released in early 2014, is it. The M2 is an update of Tutima’s venerable NATO Military Chronograph; the previous generation watch, called the NATO because it was standard issue for all NATO pilots, was outfitted with Lémania’s legendary but discontinued Caliber 5100. Tutima has preserved the 5100′s distinguishing feature, an easily legible sweep chronograph minutes hand, in their new Caliber 321.
Bauhaus and In-house
If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we’re celebrating German reunification and the Bauhaus design movement with two Teutonic tickers: the NOMOS Tangente and the Stowa Antea KS.
Rolex's Hip Kid Brother
The biggest news in the watch industry these days is Rolex sub-brand Tudor’s return to the U.S. marketplace after an absence of almost 14 years. While the reasons for their departure and return can be debated, it’s crystal clear that Tudor’s been consistently knocking things out of the park since the debut of their vintage-inspired Heritage Chronograph in 2010. This year Tudor returned to the Heritage Chronograph and made it over in the vein of of their vaunted 1973 Monte Carlo chronograph. The end result is a stunning piece of horological architecture and the birth of a modern-day classic: behold the Tudor Heritage Chronograph Blue ($4,425).
When it hits the fan
There are tool watches, and then there is the Breitling Emergency ($15,750), which can do no less than save your hide when the unexpected happens. The new Emergency is the first wristwatch to be officially certified as a Personal Locator Beacon, a function that may just be the most useful complication of all.
Made in Detroit
When Shinola started making watches under the venerable shoe polish brand in near-bankrupt Detroit, everyone seemed to be thinking “What the hell…?” Since then, Shinola has proudly yelled to the world that American manufacturing isn’t dead, even in a town that seems decidedly deceased. The Runwell ($550), Shinola’s flagship timepiece, is a growing family of watches with a workman air. A bit industrial, a bit old-timey American pocket watch, the Runwell comes in two sizes (41mm and 47mm) and gives the distinct impression that the guy wearing it would bloody your nose for making a wisecrack either about his girl or American manufacturing.
While the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is not the most complicated timepiece ever made, it’s the most complicated timepiece ever manufactured by A. Lange & Söhne, and arguably the most challenging ever attempted by any brand. It took Lange seven years to develop the watch’s L1902 movement, which features a sonnerie (chiming mechanism) with grand and small strike, a minute repeater, a mono-pusher rattrapante (split-seconds: a complication within a complication) chronograph with minute counter and flying seconds (it indicates fractions of a second in a sub-dial of its own: another complication within a complication), a perpetual calendar with date, day of week, and month in four-year cycle, and a moon phase.
Wear what you like, like what you wear
Several years ago, I unwittingly wrote what I now believe was my first Op/Ed article in the form of a post on a popular Internet watch forum. In it I dared to put a $200 Seiko dive watch up against a $4,000 OMEGA Planet Ocean — both watches I had owned — and declared the Seiko the better dive watch. I should have donned a Nomex suit for all the flaming responses I received. In the years since my inflammatory comparo, I’ve come to realize that there is so much more to a watch than its intended purpose. It’s made me think: with respect to timepieces, can “best” ever be applied?
Fifty, or Fifty-Five, Fathoms?
In our series Want This, Get This, we profile one wildly desirable, largely unattainable item and one similar item that costs far less. In fact, that’s exactly what watch modification, or “watch modding”, is all about. Now, given enough money, any watch can be modified. Just witness the huge market for blacking out and blinging out Rolexes. But there’s another subculture out there, one whose sweet spot isn’t a $25,000 watch, but rather a $50 to $250 watch — the ubiquitous Seiko dive watch. We examine the subculture and its major players.
In 1969 Omega released a handwound chrono in a strange shield-shaped case that had the pushers and crown on top of the watch. This so-called “bullhead” style was originally developed earlier for race car drivers, who wanted easier activation of the chronograph and minimal pusher interference. OMEGA, never one to shy away from a historical reference, has just released a limited re-edition of the Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph ($9,600) — albeit one updated with modern features.
Dr. Jekyll's timepiece
Just in case your budget is a bit thin for a pair of new timepieces or your multiple personalities can’t agree on which watch to wear, Hamilton has just the answer. One side of the new Jazzmaster Face 2 Face ($6,195) is a chronograph to match your high-performing, detail-oriented style while the reverse is an elegant time-only timepiece suitable for more understated affairs.
Born of a desire to create a watch that never breaks, the Casio G-Shock is revered by many as “the toughest watch on the planet”. But it is much more than that. The G-Shock is universally respected, avidly collected, and loved by everyone from Navy SEALS to tree-hugging tech nerds, a watch that gives new meaning to the word “durable”. But where did it come from? Let’s go back to the beginning: Casio’s head of watch design Kikuo Ibe and his “Team Tough” designers.
The British are coming — again. It seems that the new frontier for the Empire is in watchmaking, given the renaissance of timepieces from the island nation. Incorporating both English and Swiss parts, the English-made Pinion Axis ($2,825) will debut at Salon QP, the UK’s big watch exhibition, in November.
If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we’ve found a vintage Cold War-era military chronograph and a modern one that has the same milspec look.
A Lesson in Trickle-Down Mechanomics
Just over 30 years after saving the Swiss Watch industry, Swatch has once again broken trail into uncharted territory. Revealed at BaselWorld earlier this year, the Swatch Sistem51, today’s watch version of the Model T, is set to be released this month.
Do I hear a bid now?
The SR-71 “Blackbird” reigns supreme as the highest and fastest-flying plane ever built. And we mean reigns: 32 of these pitch black wonders have patrolled the skies above hot spots for over 40 years. To honor this achievement in aeronautics, Bell & Ross is releasing the limited edition BR 126 Blackbird ($6,700), and it’s a worthy, interesting tribute.