All posts in “Watches”

Green Watches Are ‘In’ Right Now — And This Might Be One of the Best Recent Examples

Of course, the idea of green watch dials isn’t exactly new. But green seems to be the official it color of 2021 — and if you didn’t already feel like your collection needed some verdancy, this striking new limited edition from TAG Heuer just might convince you. It takes the classic, 1960s form of the brand’s famous Carrera racing chronograph and gives it a particularly vibrant look.

Green, of course, is a wide color spectrum that can manifest on watch dials in a range of hues — and they can further change according to how light hits them. TAG calls this dial color “teal,” and has given it a sunburst treatment, meaning it has a radially brushed finish that will show light and dark shades at any given time you look at it.

The choice of beige lume provides an interesting contrast and emphasizes that this model is based on the vintage Carrera from 1964 reintroduced in 2020 as a tribute.

tag

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Though it features the same elegantly legible design as the original Carrera with its angular lugs and raised “glass box” crystal, the modern version is three millimeters wider at 39mm and powered by an automatic movement. (The original was manually wound.) Said movement is the in-house TAG Heuer 02 caliber, and it can — unlike that of the original watch — be viewed through a sapphire case back window.

You don’t often find aesthetic dial elements echoed in the movement itself at this price level, but many will appreciate seeing some pops of green on the movement’s rotor and even highlighting the surface of the column wheel. (A recent TAG Heuer Monaco received a similar treatment).

This variation of the Carrera isn’t just an example of the green-dial trend, however — it’s also part of how brands are evolving their vintage reissues to create fresh designs and more modern-feeling watches while simultaneously giving fans the echoes of vintage they seem to desire. TAG has done it before, and so have brands like Zenith: they’ve taken the best elements of successful designs (including relatively vintage sizing) and given them a forward-looking character.

Limited to 500 examples and available only from brand boutiques or official online retail, the teal-dial TAG Heuer Carrera (ref. CBK221F.FC6479) comes on a black alligator strap for a price of $6,650.

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The Best Watch Magazines, Zines and Journals

Don’t get us wrong: We think you should read Gear Patrol for all your watch-related news. And, of course, our friends at great sites like HODINKEE, Worn & Wound, etc, etc, etc. We read ’em all, personally.

But sometimes, you just want a good, ol’ fashioned, physical thing to read. You know, like a a magazine, or a zine, or a journal or something. One of those things that looks great on your coffee table. (Such as, you know, the print version of Gear Patrol.)

So here’s a short list of some of our favorite watch-related print media. Some of it’s from the established watch media, and some of it’s zines from watch brands, and some of it’s, well, other stuff. But it’s all fun stuff, and makes for great reading. Check it out!

MIIK

GP-1/0, Issue 1

mkiiwatches.com

$45.00

Guinea Pig One/Zero isn’t necessarily (only) about watches, but it does serve as an extension of American watch brand MK II’s ethos (read: experimental, experiential). Expect cool stories and explorations of the outdoors, entrepreneurship, history, and more.

Hodinkee Shop

HODINKEE Magazine, Volume 7

hodinkee.com

$38.00

If you love watches — and cars, and hi-fi, and nice shit in general — than this is the magazine for you. Beautifully designed and photographed, HODINKEE’s print publication is a must-read exploration of watches and the communities surrounding them.

Revolution

Revolution USA 2 Year Subscription

revolutionwatch.com

$145.00

Revolution is one of the best dedicated watch websites in the ‘biz — but their print magazine is worth shelling out the extra bucks for. If you’re into watches — especially stories about cool independent brands from all over the world — subscribe right meow.

Gear Patrol

Gear Patrol Annual Magazine Subscription

gearpatrol.com

$55.00

What, you thought we weren’t gonna plug our own magazine? LOL. If you like watches, we do watches. Like, in-depth, glossy, journalistic, inside-scoop sorta stuff. We also do tech, cars, style, food and drink, outdoors and fitness, homewares, and plenty more.

WatchTime

WatchTime All Access Subscription

Reviews watchtime-shop.com

$49.97

WatchTime has been producing some of the most compelling watch-related content since 1999. Their print magazine is perfect for those who crave in-depth reporting about everything from the big Swiss brands to independents and everything in between.

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What You Should Know About Invicta Watches

For many of today’s watch collectors and enthusiasts, Invicta watches simply aren’t a part of the conversation. They represent what these communities sometimes refer to as “fashion watches,” meaning they’re produced as mere accessories for consumers that don’t have a special interest in or knowledge of watches — and Invicta makes particularly brash ones. Typically as bold in size as in the use of iterative elements and wildly unrestrained design, do Invicta watches deserve your attention?

[You can see modern Invicta watches here, but be warned that you can’t unsee them.]

Though their modern watches are indeed soul-shriveling monstrosities (just my opinion), it’s worth revisiting Invicta for a couple reasons. First, whether snobby collectors like it or not, Invicta has a significant presence in the wider world of watch shoppers. So for those who might be drawn to Invicta, there’s a chance for them to be exposed to what some would call “real” watches. Second, many opinionated “aficionados” who turn their noses up simply at the name perhaps don’t know that there’s more to the brand’s history than its modern image.

As is the case with many of the world’s most prestigious watchmakers, Invicta’s roots go back to the 19th century and the heart of Swiss watchmaking country. (Specifically, it was founded by Raphael Picard in 1873 in La Chaux-de-Fonds.) Right up until the Quartz Crisis that put Invicta and many other historic brands out of business, it made everything from complicated pocket watches to elegant calendar and chronograph watches. For watch nerds who can see past the name and its modern associations, vintage models might present some good value and unexpected history.

vintage invicta

Vintage Invicta

Invicta remained a family-run brand for much of its history until its financial troubles, and the name was a couple times. The once-Swiss company is now American-owned and headquartered in Florida, part of the Invicta Watch Group that also owns historic brand Glycine. This sounds like the story of many watch companies, except that the name is now on the dial of some of the most the most popular and polarizing watches on the planet.

Many people love their Invictas and have perhaps discovered a deeper interest in watches through them. But what other options do Invicta fans have? If you’re drawn to Invicta watches for their loud, baller looks, there are a range of options worth checking out, from affordable G-Shocks to luxury Breitling and high-end Hublot watches. If you don’t have the budget for the Rolex Submariner that the Invicta Pro Diver is based on, consider these excellent alternatives that offer some of the same appeal. Below is a small selection of more watches that Invicta fans just might dig.

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These SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date Variants From Glashütte Original Offer Something for Everyone

For more than 175 years, Glashütte Original has been producing timepieces showcasing incredible detail and refinement paired with precision engineering and craftsmanship. The legacy brand, which is known for its elegance and functionality, continues to create watches that are just as at home whether you’re in the boardroom, scaling the side of a mountain, exploring the city or heading out for a bike ride. One of the manufacture’s most notable collections is the Spezialist, which features the SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date variants. Each has its own distinct personality, and each can easily find a home in any watch collection.

Glashütte Original SeaQ

The SeaQ variant of the Spezialist collection offers a range of diver-inspired performance sports watches. While the watch’s origins fall squarely in aquatic applications, today the SeaQ collection has a much broader range of uses. With water resistance up to 20 bar, a highly scratch-resistant bezel insert and a reliable and durable stainless steel 39.5mm case, the SeaQ pairs perfectly with an active lifestyle.

Glashütte Original SeaQ Panorama Date

The SeaQ Panorama Date variant of the Spezialist collection is the larger and more refined sibling of the standard SeaQ. With a 43.2mm case diameter and a case height of 15.65 mm, the SeaQ Panorama Date is a good deal larger than the SeaQ, but you wouldn’t know it when it’s on your wrist. This contemporary model is sleek and refined, offering a date window at four o’clock and a stunning exhibition caseback that allows you to view the intricacies of the Calibre 36-13 automatic movement. But don’t let its sleek looks fool you, this is still a high-performance diver. The SeaQ Panorama Date is water-resistant to 300 meters, and undergoes a rigorous set of tests to ensure its performance. Glashütte Original runs each watch through a series of tests including checking for moisture inside the watch, water resistance at over- and under-pressure, air mass flow rate tests and more. The watch is available in a variety of stunning colors, and each is guaranteed to complement everything from your weekend look to a suit. The only thing left to decide is which you like best.

One of the Craziest Watches on Earth Just Got Even Freakier

As if a watch that’s more or less inside-out and named “The Freak” weren’t already attention-grabbing enough…how about one covered in an intentionally confusing pattern? The newest watch in Ulysse Nardin’s historic Freak collection, called the Razzle Dazzle, features a mix of avant-guard design and exotic watchmaking that results in nothing if not a striking look — but there’s a lot going on behind all the complexity that first meets the eye.

The Freak is historically significant not only for pioneering the use of silicon in watchmaking back in 2001, but for its influence on unconventional horology. With a movement that rotates to indicate the time, it might be difficult to tell at first exactly what’s happening…or how the time is actually read.

At visual front and center, the escapement (with its oscillating balance wheel) is held in place by a bridge which itself turns and is shaped to indicate the minutes. Simultaneously, a similarly shaped wheel indicates the hours; there’s no traditional dial to speak of. What you are looking at, rather, are all parts of the movement’s construction.

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It’s these surfaces (movement plates) which host the black and white striped pattern that characterizes this version of the Freak X. Ulysse Nardin based this aesthetic on a pattern called “razzle dazzle” used on ships during World War I as camouflage; it was believed that interrupting lines and geometric shapes would result in visual trickery that would make the vessels’ speed, direction and distance harder for enemy craft to estimate. It didn’t prove an enduring solution, but sure made for some crazy-looking ships — and now, a watch as well.

All that history, design and engineering is visible at once in the 43mm titanium Freak X for your wearing pleasure. The watch’s case back reveals the rotor that offers automatic winding.

This might seem like exotic watchmaking and a lot to take in, but the Freak X is in fact relatively affordable among the line of Freak watches introduced over the last two decades. We’re not talking pocket change, but the Ulysse Nardin Freak X Razzle Dazzle offers a lot for $27,300 compared to watches in a similar price range.

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G-Shock’s First Full-On Smartwatch Is Finally Here

Let’s face it: a G-Shock smartwatch was inevitable. The new G-Shock Move Pro GSWH1000 combines the full-featured smart functionality of Google’s Wear OS with the Japanese brand’s famous toughness — a merging of brains and braun, if you will. In other words, this is a smartwatch you can beat the hell out of like any other Casio G-Shock, and it makes for a strong proposition even within the competitive fitness-focused wearables market.

As a G-Shock, the new GSWH1000 brings the suite of features the brand is known for. G-Shock has been building upon its digital tech over the years, offering smartphone connectivity, GPS and other developments that make some models nearly as useful as a full-on smartwatch like the Apple Watch.

The new watch builds on that by hosting an impressive list of functions and capabilities (as well as near-indestructibility) that could fill an instruction-manual-sized booklet: a heart rate sensor, GPS, Bluetooth, altimeter, barometer, compass and more. In addition to G-Shock’s typical 200m of water resistance, it also offers the world’s first shock- and 200m water-resistant microphone.

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All this means you can take your watch more or less anywhere, access the range of features you expect both of smartwatches and of G-Shock watches and not worry about a thing — except charging (which is done via a magnetic port). As a Wear OS-equipped smartwatch, it boasts a familiar range of functionality that’s almost impossible to enumerate, but naturally includes a touchscreen, customizable faces and alerts. Color maps — this is also G-Shock’s first smartwatch with a color display — can be downloaded for offline use.

The Move Pro GSWH1000 perhaps isn’t a game changer within fitness wearables, but it should make for a strong entrant considering the brand’s street cred for genuine toughness. (It should at least be in the running for “most rugged smartwatch,” and that’s notable in and of itself.) It’s perhaps not the most affordable smartwatch, but at a retail price of $699, it seems like a reasonable investment for those that can put all its features to use.

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The Best Quartz Watches Under $100

skagen mens pro planet aaren naturals quartz

Skagen

Don’t listen to all the pretentious watch snobs out there: you don’t need to spend a lot of money for a decent watch. At under $100 you can still get satisfying, attractive, robust time-tellers that can offer many years of satisfying wear — and with a quartz movement, they’ll likely be more accurate than fancy mechanical watches costing many times more. Most of all, an inexpensive quartz watch is one you don’t need to worry about. Below you’ll find some great options.

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Casio World Time

Casio amazon.com

$24.95

$19.60 (21% off)

Casio could theoretically overwhelm any list of best quartz watches under $100, but we’ll make a tough choice and narrow it down to a couple of our favorites. (Also check out the F91-W and Databank). For its price, features and nifty throwback style, the World Time is classic and has charmed many a Gear Patroler.

Diameter: 39.5mm
Water resistance: 100m
Manufacturer infocasio.com

Timex Weekender

Timex timex.com

$32.99

Sometimes you just want a simple, classic watch that tells the time and that you can enjoy for years for not a lot of money. Many watch collectors think back fondly to their early days of owning a Timex Weekender and the appreciation it gave them for watches. 

Diameter: 38mm
Water resistance: 30m
Manufacturer infotimex.com

Bertucci A-1R Field Comfort

Bertucci amazon.com

$55.00

A classic military look in the tradition of field watches going back decades, Bertucci’s A-1R is a favorite handsome, high bang-for-buck option. The smaller 36mm size characterizes watches of this style and a reinforced plastic case keeps it durable as well as lightweight on the wrist.  

Diameter: 36mm
Water resistance: 50m
Manufacturer infobertucciwatches.com

Citizen BI1045

Citizen amazon.com

$62.99

This dive-style watch from Japanese watchmaker Citizen offers sporty looks and 100m of water resistance, perfect for a swim or as a daily driver. A 42mm-wide case offers a bolder look, but the polyurethane strap will keep it light and comfortable on the wrist. 

Diameter: 42mm
Water resistance: 100m
Manufacturer infocitizenwatches.com.au

Swatch Isikhathi

Swatch amazon.com

$70.00

This Swatch belongs to a new line from the brand that uses “bio-sourced” plastic for the case and strap. It’s interesting but also designed with a fun attitude, and this model should accommodate anyone who prefers smaller diameter watches — but there are similar options from Swatch for those with girthier wrists as well.

Diameter: 34mm
Water resistance: 30m
Manufacturer infoswatch.com

Casio G-Shock GW6900-1

Casio amazon.com

$130.00

$86.75 (33% off)

Beloved by soldiers and police around the world, the G-Shock is the ultimate in tough, functional watches. This version of the absolute classic 6900 series has everything you need, from accurate quartz timekeeping and a legible display to eminently practical and convenient solar charging. 

Diameter: 41mm
Water resistance: 200m
Manufacturer info
: casio.com

Skagen Aaren Naturals

Skagen amazon.com

$96.47

With the sleek minimalist design sense Scandinavian companies are known for, this collection from Danish brand Skagen focuses on sustainability and environmental responsibility. It features a steel case made from at least 50% recycled material and a leather-styled strap made from mulberry. 

Diameter: 40mm
Water resistance: 50m
Manufacturer infoskagen.com

Seiko Solar SNE039

SEIKO amazon.com

$195.00

$96.98 (50% off)

This handsome steel watch from one of the most celebrated watchmakers in the world offers not only excellent build quality and general bang-for-buck, but solar charging. Versatile style, quartz accuracy and no battery changes = no worries.

Diameter: 37mm
Water resistance: 30m
Manufacturer infoseikousa.com

Bulova Classic

Bulova amazon.com

$175.00

$105.00 (40% off)

A dress watch is usually just a simple watch, so that means it can also make for a great everyday option. This example from the historic company Bulova offers a clean look with legible stick hands and hour markers against a silver dial. On a black strap, it’s elegant and easily adapted for just about any situation.

Diameter: 37mm
Water resistance: 30m
Manufacturer infobulova.com

Nixon Base Tide

NIXON amazon.com

$99.99

You don’t need to be a surfer to love the fun and casual feel of Nixon’s line of watches made for the sport. It’s even better if you need to track tides, but also just a durable watch made for outdoor activities that you don’t need to baby or worry about getting wet. It even comes in a range of colors, from serious black to vibrant hues. 

Diameter: 38mm
Water resistance: 100m
Manufacturer infonixon.com

All There Is to Know About Quartz Watches

Why are quartz watches affordable? Why are they better? Why are they controversial? All the answers are here.

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All the Coolest Watches That Came Out in April 2021

This roundup of new watches is going to look a bit different than those from other months. That’s because the industry’s major trade show Watches & Wonders took place in April, with many of the most important brands introducing their big releases for the year. So, yes, there were a lot of cool new watches in April. They include releases from the big boys like Rolex, Tudor and Patek Philippe, but we also have some fun and more affordable new watches from the likes of Timex, Yema and more. Sit back and enjoy, because there’s plenty of horological eye candy below.

DWISS M3

dwiss watches

Dwiss

Presented by DWISS

This time of year, many notable brands are releasing watches as a part of Watches and Wonders — a tradeshow of sorts for the watch industry. And while many of those watches are interesting and notable, few offer as unique a watch as DWISS. The DWISS M3 is a Swiss-made watch that makes use of “displaced hours.” For those not up on their watch terminology, that means the hours are displayed in the longer circumference of the dial, followed by the minutes inside that and seconds inside of that. It’s an incredibly unique timepiece, and one that would find a place in the collection of anyone who appreciates horology. To top it off, the M3 is powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement housed inside a 316L stainless steel case with a sapphire crystal and a water-resistance rating of 20 ATM. Initially only available to the 100 members of the club, now 500 pieces are being offered to non-club members. Secure yours below before they are gone.

Price: $1,390+

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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

lange

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Believe it or not, what you’re looking at is the first Lange 1 perpetual calendar…full stop. Like, without a chronograph or a tourbillon or a whiriygig or a whosamawhatsit. Ain’t she purdy? It comes in two versions: white gold (limited to 150 pieces) and pink gold (unlimited), and both cost a smidge over $100k. At 41.9mm, this is no small watch, but considering the amount of information displayed, it’s damn remarkable (time, digital jumping date, day, month, moon phase, layered leap year and day/night indicator). This is the type of watchmaking Lange is already known for, but to integrate it unburdened by another complication into the Lange 1 platform has been a long time coming.

Price: $104,500 (pink gold); $116,000 (white gold LE)

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra Thin

watches and wonders 2021 best in show audemars piguet

Audemars Piguet

Though it’s known for the irony of its price considering its fame as a steel (rather than precious metal) watch, this time AP’s flagship product has been given a platinum treatment. The latest Audemars Piguet Royal Oak model matches a precious metal case to a green sunburst dial rather than the familiar, waffle-like “Grande Tapisserie” texture of the classic model. At 39mm wide, it doesn’t sound very “Jumbo” to modern ears, but a thickness of only 8.1mm makes the “Extra Thin” part of the name perfectly fitting.

Price: $105,400

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon Watch

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The 2018 superhero film Black Panther was a cultural milestone, and now mega fans with about $163,000 to throw around can wear a little piece of Wakanda on their wrist. Though it unfortunately lacks the same technology as the hero’s suit, Audemars Piguet’s watch does offer a flying tourbillon, a prestigious name and the Black Panther character rendered in an action pose on the dial.

Price: ~$163,000

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Arnold & Son Luna Magna

watches and wonders 2021 best in show arnold and son

Arnold & Son

Watches often relegate the moon phase display to a small subdial. Swiss watchmaker Arnold & Son, on the other hand, have previously been known for (among other things) a striking and prominent execution of the moon phase occupying half the dial. Now a new model has a different take on the complication. Rather than a subdial, at 6 o’clock is a half-aventurine glass, half-marble orb. It turns vertically to represent the moon’s phases in a very visual way, but it’s hard to glean any precise information from it. Around on the case back side, however, is not only a striking view of the movement (and the reverse side of the sphere), but there’s also a dial more specifically indicating the current moon phase.

Price: $50,500

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Breitling Premier Heritage B09 Chronograph 40

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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Breitling released a new Premier Heritage collection featuring several different chronograph watches (each in a couple versions), all with a captivating 1940s aesthetic based on vintage examples. We love the complicated chronos in the collection with fancy complications such as split seconds and annual calendars, but the model known as the B09 Chronograph 40 has an appeal all its own. While it “only” features a chronograph and is offered in steel to keep it “relatively” affordable, it’s the steel version’s dial that grabs your attention. It’s in a shade of green the company calls “pistachio,” and it’s fair to say it looks pretty unique and unlike any watch from the 1940s — or from today, for that matter.

Price: $8,400

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Bulgari Octo Perpetual Calendar

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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Bulgari has already set multiple records for the thinnest watches in various categories. Their latest is a perpetual calendar housed in the brand’s distinctive Octo case, which was famously designed by Gerald Genta. Despite its mechanically accounting for every irregularity of the Gregorian calendar — including the different days in the months and even leap years — Bulgari managed to fit all the complicated clockwork required into a 5.8mm thick case in titanium or platinum, with movement only 2.75mm thick! The dial’s layout and retrograde displays seem to draw on the aesthetics of Genta’s retrograde watches, and the aggregate effect of all this masterful design and technical achievement is captivating.

Price: TBD

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Bulova Joseph Bulova Chronograph Watch

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Watchmaker Bulova has reached into its archives over the last few years for design inspiration. The Joseph Bulova collection’s newest addition is a watch styled on the brand’s first chronograph from 1941. Available in two dial variations of black and white with 42mm case diameters and Swiss automatic movements, it’s limited to 350 examples.

Price: $2,495

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Cartier Ballon Bleu 40mm

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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If there’s a sweet spot for watch sizes, 40mm is probably it for a lot of people. Previously only available in 42mm or 36mm and smaller, a new version of the well-known Cartier Ballon Bleu slides right into that glaringly open space and will make its distinctive design instantly more wearable for a wider audience. It’s essentially the same highly original, elegant design with Cartier’s seal of prestige, and (as in other core collections) it’s powered by the brand’s in-house 1847 MC automatic workhorse movement. Available in different case materials and blue, gray or classic silver dial colors, each has (integrated) bracelet or strap options with a quick-change system.

Price: $5,800+

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Casio G-Shock DW5600 NASA Watch

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The first NASA watch G-Shock launched sold out almost immediately — and so did this one. Its DW5600 case design features a black bezel and a bunch of NASA branding and references, including an EL backlight displaying a shuttle silhouette and “1981-2021” (commemorating the OV-102 STS-1 Space Shuttle launch).

Price: $140 (sold out)

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Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000RN8A Watch

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The new generation of the G-Shock Frogman dive watch is more advanced than ever but completely analog, and the brand partnered with the UK Royal Navy for its latest model. The colors of the limited-edition GWFA1000RN8A are based on that of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Price: $1,000

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Hermès H08

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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Though better known for its leather products, Hermès every so often comes out with a aesthetically striking and technically impressive watch — and many watch snobs are reminded that the French brand is indeed a bonafide watchmaker on par with many of Switzerland’s finest. The newest is simply called the H08, and it features a unique look with a cushion-like case, round dial and a distinctive style of Arabic numerals. It’s powered by the brand’s own in-house movement and comes in cases made of titanium or a black, carbon-based material called graphene.

Price: $5,500-$8,900

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Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire

watches and wonders 2021 best in show hublot

Hublot

While a number of brands have experimented with sapphire crystal as a case material, Hublot has been at the forefront. The new Big Bang Integral takes the concept to its logical inclusion, with just about every piece rendered in sapphire. This includes everything from the bracelet to movement bridges — which, of course, are clearly visible through the sapphire case and dial. Certain elements such as movement parts and screws are still in metal, but the overall impact is impressive — in addition to being hard, lightweight and extremely scratch-resistant.

Price: $422,000

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IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Mojave Desert”

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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The sand-colored”Mojave” ceramic treatment remains one of IWC’s coolest. The previous version was a chronograph and this year also sees a Mojave perpetual calendar, but the time-only simplicity of the Big Pilot’s Watch allows the focus to remain on the materials, textures and colors. The entire watch, from the case to the dial to the hands, is matte-finished, which should make for strong legibility. Further making it easy to read (if less easy to wear) is its 46mm diameter — which only whets our appetites for the possibility of something like, say, a smaller Spitfire Automatic with the same treatment somewhere down the line.

Price: $14,800

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque

jlc

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Forget about the absurdly long name for a second. Just think about the following: this is the most complicated Reverso ever. It’s the first wristwatch ever with four faces. (That’s, like, three more faces than normal.) It took six years to develop. It features three displays of lunar information, including the synodic cycle, the draconic cycle and the anomalistic cycle. (I don’t know what any of those are, but I think the middle one tells you how many dragons emerge from hibernation per month.) It’s got 11 complications, including a perpetual calendar and a minute repeater. It required 12 patents to be filed. It’s made of white gold and limited to 10 pieces. It costs 1.35 million EUR. It’s freakin’ DOPE.

Price: ~$1.6M

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Laco Palermo 39 Pilot’s Watch

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German watchmaker Laco has a new take on a couple of its historical pilot’s watch styles, swapping white for orange Super-LumiNova against the traditionally black dial. The result makes for an interesting twist on familiar designs, and inside they’re powered by a Miyota 821A automatic movement helping keep the watches nice and affordable.

Price: $410

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Marloe Haskell Global Watch

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Profits from the sales of UK-based brand Marloe’s latest watch will support environmental initiatives like the #WeTwo arctic expedition. It’s a good cause, but it also helps that the watch is good-looking and well constructed with a Swiss-made manually wound movement and reasonable price.

Price: $995

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Mondaine Essence Collection Watches

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Mondaine’s signature dial based on Swiss railway clocks is the basis for an affordable new quartz watch collection that emphasizes its use of sustainable materials in everything from its cases to the straps.

Price: $200

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Montblanc Summit Lite Smartwatch

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A more basic and affordable Lite version of Montblanc’s collection of luxury smartwatches called Summit is focused on fitness applications.

Price: $860

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Montblanc Star Legacy Metamorphosis LE 8

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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Montblanc’s crazy-complicated watches like the Star Legacy Metamorphosis are meant as a showcase and reminder of the brand’s impressive capabilities. With the press of a button and slide of a lever, the watch transforms between two different faces with a mechanical animation: The subdial at 6 o’clock displays world time with a rotating globe motif, but then it splits in half to open like shutters, revealing a three-dimensional moon in an aventurine sky. The balance wheel is visible at 12 o’clock all times, but when the shutters are opened, the entire tourbillon structure is revealed. The whole watch comprises over 718 tiny components, all handcrafted by Montblanc in its specialized facilities.

Price: $253,500

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Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020 Watch

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It might be 2021, and event might not look like past years, but the 2020 Olympics going ahead in Tokyo in July. As official Olympic timekeeper, Omega releases multiple products for each occasion, and the latest is a version of its dive watch with colors based on the games’ emblem.

Price: $5,600

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Oris Divers Sixty-Five “Cotton Candy” 38mm

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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A new dial color: big whoop, right? Well, nobody will be yawning at Oris’s unique and striking new “Cotton Candy” colorway for its Divers Sixty-Five collection. Paired to bronze, retro-styled dive watch cases, the pale tones of blue, green and pink are unexpected but feel fresh and positive. They also feel unisex, with potentially feminine colors and 38mm sizes — but these watches are all about how you wear them. They come on bronze bracelets or brown leather straps and are powered by automatic movements.

Price: ~$2,335-$2,650

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Panerai Submersible e-LAB ID

watches and wonders 2021 best in show

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Panerai’s ties to the ocean — they’re a famed dive watch manufacturer, after all — mean that they take more than just a passing notice of the environment and the need to care for it. Their new Submersible e-LAB ID aims to take the concept of a “recycled” watch to its logical extreme: roughly 98.6% of its weight comes from “materials integrating a high rate of recycled elements.” Panerai even put together a sort of consortium of companies to produce many of the watch’s components, which includes titanium, luminous material and strap manufacturers. It doesn’t hurt that the watch itself is pretty darn cool-looking: manufactured from recycled EcoTitanium, it’s powered by an automatic movement housed in a 44mm case.

Price: ~$71,235

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Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-014

watches and wonders 2021 best in show patek phillipe nautilus

Patek Phillipe

For the Patek Philippe Nautilus’s swan song, it got a green dial. Yes, the iconic steel watch often referred to simply as “the 5711” is being retired, but not before it gets a “victory lap,” as the company’s president Thierry Stern said. It’s the last of the classic design in steel that’s come to be a prestige symbol, and the dial now has a pale green hue rather than the previous version’s blue. This reference will have a particular significance to collectors and the color will make it immediately identifiable. It’s sure to be near-impossible to get your hands on, and definitely not at retail pricing.

Price: $34,890

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Rolex Explorer 36mm

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The new references 124270 (steel) and 124273 (two-tone steel and gold) have been downsized to 36mm — the size of the original Explorer from the 1950s, and most subsequent Explorer I models until 2010 or so. This is the first time that a two-tone model has been made available, though both references are otherwise the same: powered by the automatic cal. 3230, they ship on matching Oyster bracelets and feature black lacquer dials with Chromalight lume for low-light legibility. Other perks include a 70-hour power reserve and 100m of water resistance. (Maybe don’t take the two-tone Rolesor version up Mt. Everest, though — you might get some weird looks up there.

Price: $6,450-$10,800

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Shinola Duck Burton Watch

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Shinola’s latest model in its Great Americans Series celebrates Burton Snowboards’ founder Jake Burton Carpenter with a watch as part of a larger gift set including a replica of the brand’s first production snowboard.

Price: $1,200

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Swatch Big Bold Next Bioceramic Watch

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It’s kinda crazy to imagine ceramic, a typically premium material, available from the watchmaker known for its very affordable price point. In fact, the new material called Bioceramic is two parts ceramic to one part plastic, and the watch using it is as inexpensive as any other Swatch — and comes in the brand’s typically playful styles.

Price: $125

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TAG Heuer Monaco Green

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There have been a lot of green dial watches this year, but TAG Heuer’s new version of its famous Monaco chronograph might be one of the most natural-feeling with its deep hue matched to black subdials. The Monaco is powered by an in-house Heuer 02 automatic movement which you can see through the caseback — a cool touch, if you look closely, is that the important movement component called a column wheel is also colored green on top.

Price: $6,650

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Timex Q Malibu Watches

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Timex came out with a few watches sporting a strikingly summery color palette unlike much we’ve ever seen on a watch before. On the retr0-themed Q series watches at 36mm, the colors alone seem to transport you directly to 1980s California.

Price: $189

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Tudor Black Bay Chrono

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Tudor didn’t release entirely new collections or groundbreaking new models for 2021, but it’s widely agreed that the mostly aesthetic updates to existing lines look pretty great. The Black Bay Chrono now comes in very vintage-feeling “panda dial” (black subdials on white main dial) and “reverse panda” (white on black) versions. This now-popular colorway looks good on the Black Bay Chono, and it fits its character well with a more playful and casual feel compared to that of its serious older sibling, the Rolex Daytona. (Tudor is a subsidiary of Rolex.) A more substantiative change is that Tudor made the case slightly thinner — always appreciated with chronographs, which tend to be on the thick side.

Price: $5,225

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Ulysse Nardin UFO Clock

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I know what you’re thinking: Today is Wednesday. Or is it? But you’re also thinking that this is not a watch. And you’d be right. But contemplate with us for a moment just how darn cool this clock is: Built from 663 components and boasting an incredible one year of power reserve from six extra-large barrels, UN’s UFO clock can display three time zones simultaneously. It takes inspiration — like many of Ulysse Nardin’s pieces — from the ocean, and the gentle swaying of the waves. To that end, the clock’s bottom is rounded and actually swings back and forth up to 60 degrees from its axis due to a tungsten mass built into the base. If it weren’t limited to just 75 pieces at a price of $41,100, I’d buy two.

Price: $41,100

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Yema Superman Worldtime Watch

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Among multiple cool releases this year, Yema has announced a couple new versions of its Superman Worldtime — which despite its name suggesting a somewhat different type of watch is recognizable as a proper GMT with its 24-hour hand and accompanying 24-hour rotating bezel. It comes in two iterations, including one with an all-steel bezel and one with a Rolex-like bicolor “Coke bezel,” both powered by the brand’s own YEMA3000 automatic movement.

Price: $1,119-$1,190

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The Complete Buying Guide to Cartier Watches

Louis Cartier designed and built the first ground-up wristwatch in 1904. The resulting aviation timepiece, the Cartier Santos, was finally ready for public consumption in 1911. Louis Cartier wasn’t happy with the Santos because the lugs were still, in his thinking, “attached” to the case, and in 1918 Cartier finally released the Tank, a rectangular watch that effectively solved the problem of attaching a strap to a round watch.

The Tank almost single-handedly turned wrist-worn watches into a fashion trend during the roaring 1920s, and that trend changed horology forever. The Tank lent itself to endless riffing, and the number of Tank variants alone is mind-boggling (let alone the rest of the Cartier watch catalog).

By the 1970s, the three main Cartier branches — Paris, London and New York — had been sold off to various holding companies, and a proliferation of “accessible luxury” watches began to pour out of the lower-grade Must de Cartier line during the disco era. Cartier continued to make handmade, high-end watches, but the brand never made movements themselves until 2005, when they opened their stunning, ultra-modern manufacture in Switzerland. Since then, Cartier has been delighting watch fans with a bevy of gorgeous in-house watches each year.

This guide will help you navigate the current Cartier watch offerings, and it should help you understand Cartier watches more generally, as well. It’s a deep and historically rich catalog, one that reaches back to — and includes — the birth of the wristwatch itself.

NOTE: We are covering men’s watches here, and realize that this excludes many of Cartier’s greatest creations, as their watches for women are often dazzling examples of mechanical prowess and, of course, gorgeously set jewels. But Cartier watches have been unisex since before that was even a term, with the Tank leading the horological gender fluidity movement a full century before the conversation took a turn in that direction.

Santos

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Arguably the first ground-up wristwatch ever produced, the Santos remains one of Cartier’s most popular models. Features include the beautifully screwed-down square bezel, the stylish rectangle case, and the shapely lugs (which tormented Louis Cartier and resulted in the Tank). Today you can find both quartz and mechanical models. (The two models we’ve highlighted below represent the Santos perfectly.)

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Santos-Dumont Watch (Large)

Cartier Cartier.com

$3,900.00

With it classic style, alligator strap, steel case, and 100% pure Cartier flair, this modern, larger take on the Santos is a very pure expression of the original.

Movement: Quartz

Dimensions: 31.4mm diameter x 7.3mm tall

Material: Stainless steel

Price: $3,900

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Santos De Cartier (Medium)

Cartier

$9,500.00

Don’t let the medium size throw you; this watch is a gorgeous piece with tons of wrist presence. The two-tone gold and steel makes for a powerful nod to the 1980s, and the general vibe of this model is very high-end.

Movement: Cal. 1874 MC in-house automatic

Dimensions: 35.1mm diameter x 8.83mm tall

Material: Steel and yellow gold

Price: $9,500

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NOTE: Every so often Cartier will release special editions of the Santos through their Privée line, an exclusive, haute horologie branch of Cartier’s watch catalog. You can explore the current Privée offerings here. They also release special models that include stunning complications, as in the tourbillon-equipped model seen below.

santos 100 tourbillon
The Santos 100 Tourbillon represents how far Cartier can take a standard model in their manufacture in Switzerland.

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Tank

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Perhaps the most widely worn and celebrated dress watch of all time, the Tank — which supposedly derived its name and design inspiration from the first tanks that appeared on the battlefield in WWI — has adorned more famous wrists than we can even list, though Jackie Kennedy, her late husband JFK, Andy Warhol, and Muhammad Ali are all on there, to name a few. The Tank was Louis Cartier’s solution to the lug “problem” as he saw it, and the straight lines of the Tank have remained as popular and enduring today as they were over a century ago when the model debuted in 1918.

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Tank Solo (Large)

Cartier Cartier.com

$2,610.00

By modern standards, the Solo is as close to the original Tank (eventually dubbed the Tank Normale) as you’ll get these days. It’s also Cartier’s “entry-level” Tank, offered in steel and at rather affordable prices. (One of the ways they achieve that price is to use a synthetic material where the sapphire cabochon usually goes on the crown, but we won’t tell anyone if you don’t!)

Movement: Quartz

Dimensions: 34.8mm diameter x 5.55mm tall

Material: Stainless steel case

Price: $2,610

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Tank Louis (Large)

Cartier Cartier.com

$10,200.00

The second generation of the Tank was named for Louis himself because it was his personal favorite rendition. The slight changes to the original Tank include a lovely domed crystal, narrower brancards (the long sides of the watch that include the lugs), and a softening of the edges throughout the watch case. This Large model is not quite to original dimensions, so check out the medium and small if vintage vibes are a concern.

Movement: Quartz

Dimensions: 33.7mm wide diameter x 6.35mm tall

Material: Yellow gold

Price: $10,200

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Tank Américane (Medium)

Cartier Cartier.com

$5,300.00

An outgrowth of designs explored in the New York branch of Cartier after WWII, the Américane takes the allongée case into the modern era. Never let the width of a Tank fool you — these watches have massive wrist presence and take up considerable real estate from top to bottom, if not from side to side.

Movement: Quartz (steel); in-house mechanical with date (gold)

Dimensions: 22.6mm diameter x 9.5mm tall

Material: Steel; pink gold

Price: $5,300 (steel); $13,700 (gold)

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Tank Cintrée (Large)

Cartier Cartier.com

$20,600.00

Don’t let the apparent similarity with the Américane fool you, the Cintrée is curved from top to bottom, is even longer and narrower than the Americanne, and is considered one of the classic designs of the 20th Century from Cartier. Pricey and hard to find at authorized dealers, the Cintrée is something of a trophy piece (the skeletonized models even more so).

Movement: Cal. 971 MC manual-winding

Material: Yellow gold

Dimensions: 23mm diameter x 7.2mm tall

Price: $20,600

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Tank Francaise (Medium)

Cartier Cartier.com

$23,300.00

This case shape derives from some of the more daring designs that emerged during the 20th Century, and the integrated bracelet shows off Cartier’s expertise in immaculate working of precious metals. Fit and finish are surpassed by none. (If you needed further proof that segregating mens’ and women’s models is often folly, note that the medium Tank Francaise is listed solely as a women’s watch — which makes no practical sense.)

Movement: Quartz

Material: Yellow gold (case and bracelet)

Dimensions: 30mm diameter x 6.65 tall

Price: $23,300 US

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Cartier Tank MC (Large)

Cartier Cartier.com

$7,250.00

This mechanical Tank, which shows off Cartier’s in-house manufacturing capabilities, is large and in charge. Available in steel and gold with various dial colors, the MC line remains popular with those who don’t gravitate toward the smaller, vintage-styled Tank.

Movement: cal. 1904-PS MC automatic

Dimensions: 34.3mm diameter x 9.5mm tall

Material: Stainless steel

Price: $7,250 US

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Tank Asymétrique (Large with Diamonds)

Cartier Cartier.com

$97,000.00

Impossible to find at an authorized dealer and often seeing waiting lists, this Asymétrique is skeletonized, pushing its avant garde nature further than ever before. No one sets diamonds better than Cartier, and a watch of this nature will likely see its second sale at an auction house.

Movement: Cal. 9623 MC manual-winding

Dimensions: 26.2mm diameter x 7.82 tall

Material: Platinum with pave diamonds

Price: $97,000

Tank Must

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In relaunching the Must de Cartier line from the 1970s, the maison has made the Tank more accessible than ever, and done it in a forward-thinking, aesthetically pleasing way. Available in solar-powered versions (“SolarBeat”); versions with specially colored, lacquered dials; and standard quartz-powered and automatic versions, Cartier has truly gone out of its way to invite as many customers as possible into the fold.

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Tank Must SolarBeat

Cartier Cartier.com

$2,480.00

Perhaps the most exciting new Tank in years, the SolarBeat makes use of a special photovaltaic movement powered by light that comes through the dial’s Roman numerals. It’s available in two sizes with black or colored straps, and best of all, said straps are made from not leather but — wait for it — waste from apples. (Cue “Cartier Apple Watch” jokes.)

Movement: SolarBeat quartz

Dimensions: 22mm diameter x 6.60mm tall (small); 25.5mm diameter x 6.60mm tall

Material: Steel

Price: $2,480-$2,610

tank privee collection

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NOTE: Cartier often honors its history with special editions of the Tank through their Privée collection. It’s an exclusive line, very much haute horlogerie. Collectors pounce on these especially when the Crash, the Asymmetrique, Cintree, or the folding Basculante Tanks are released. Keep and eye out for those. You can explore the Privée line here.

Drive de Cartier

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This line of automotive-inspired watches are modern, with large and more traditionally — though still uniquely — shaped cases. There are seven models, ranging from the steel edition at $5,850 to a flying tourbillion-loaded model for $72,000. The solid gold model with moon phase is one of our favorites, but you can see the whole line up here.

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Drive de Cartier Moon Phase (Large)

Cartier Cartier.com

$18,600.00

It’s classic yet unique, high-end yet below $20k, and the dial engraving and moon phase painting are second to none. These are the kinds of details best realized by a jeweler like Cartier, and the brand remains unsurpassed in their dial finishing. The Drive De Cartier Moon Phase shows off this prowess as well as any watch in the Cartier catalog.

Movement: Cal. 1904-LU automatic

Dimensions: 41mm diameter x 12.15mm tall

Material: 18k pink gold

Price: $18,600

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Pasha de Cartier

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Derived from early 20th Century designs that were exported to India’s reigning Pashas, the Cartier Pasha is decidedly fancy, and thus decidedly Carter. Gold, steel, jeweled, skeletonized, complicated — you can find it all in the Pasha lineup, which you can see in full here.

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Pasha de Cartier 42mm Chronograph in Steel

Cartier Cartier.com

$11,200.00

Good luck finding anything like this watch from any other brand. From the studded t-lugs to the oval sub dials to the nearly steampunk look of the crown and pushers, the Pasha chronograph in steel represents just how manly and in-charge these enduring designs can be.

Movement: Cal. 8100 MC automatic

Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 11.5mm tall

Material: Stainless steel

Price: $11,200

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Ballon de Cartier

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After nearly a century of rectangular watches, in 2007 Cartier released a study in circles known as the Ballon de Cartier. Large, round, and featuring a rounded crown inside a round crown guard, we find Cartier’s passion for through-design alive and well in this product line. Sized for both men and women, the 42mm case is the boldest statement in the Cartier catalog.

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Ballon Bleu de Cartier

Cartier Cartier.com

$6,300.00

This steel model is sporty and classic, with a presence on the wrist that rivals the biggest Panerais and the brightest Rolexes.

Movement: Cal. 1847 MC automatic

Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 13mm tall

Material: Stainless steel

Price: $6,300

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Ronde de Cartier

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Based on older designs dating back to Louis Cartier’s reign in the Paris branch, the Ronde de Cartier is more traditional than the Ballon De Cartier, and it tends to be offered in precious metals with rather complicated movements, fancy dials, and jewels set into precious metal cases.

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Rotonde De Cartier Watch

Cartier Cartier.com

$113,000.00

If you’re going for a Ronde, go huge and get the Rotonde! This 43.5mm beast features a skeletonized “magic” dial derived from Cartier’s famous magic clocks. The entire movement appears to hover in the middle of the watch.

Movement: Cal. 9462 MC hand-wound

Dimensions: 43.5mm diameter x 12mm tall

Material: 18k pink gold

Price: $113,000

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Ronde Solo

Cartier Cartier.com

$3,850.00

If a more Earthly all-steel round watch is more your thing, then consider the Ronde Solo at 42mm.

Movement: Cal. 1847 MC automatic

Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 8.53mm tall

Material: Stainless steel (with matching bracelet)

Price: $3,850

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Clé de Cartier

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Building on the success of their larger round watches, the Clé de Cartier offers something interesting with its cushion-type case that resembles a Seiko Turtle as much as anything from the world of high-end dress watches.

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Clé de Cartier 40mm Steel

Cartier Cartier.com

$5,250.00

We like the integrated bracelet inside the cushion case, as this offers a wonderfully fresh alternative to the myriad “standard issue” luxury steels sports watches out there today. We only wish it was rated better for water resistance (it’s only 3 bar, or 100 feet), as that would make this a true do-it-all companion – but that’s what dive watches are for.

Movement: Cal. 1847 MC automatic

Dimensions: 40mm diameter x 11.7 tall

Material: Stainless steel (with matching bracelet)

Price: $5,250

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Want an Omega Speedmaster? Here Are 3 Worthy Alternatives That Don’t Cost as Much

In some sense, Omega’s Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is like no other watch. Not only is it about as iconic and compelling as any timepiece ever could be, but its base price of $5,250 is relatively reasonable, and makes for a worthy aspiration.

Circa $5,000 is still plenty of money (more like $6,000 for the newest generation), though, so something comparable but more affordable might be what’s right for you. Or, maybe you’ve heard so much hype and seen so many pictures of Speedmasters on Instagram that you simply want something a little different.

The Moonwatch’s history is hard to beat, but its handsome, legible design that’s sporty and technical yet understated is also rare in other chronographs. However, there are alternatives out there. In their own ways, each option below offers an attraction similar to the Omega Speedmaster.

The Alternatives

Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph

Want-This-Get-This-Omega-Speedmaster-gear-patrol-Bulova-Lunar-Pilot

It’s been called the “other” Moonwatch, and it even shares some visual traits with the Speedmaster. Though less well known, the Bulova Lunar Pilot is among a handful of watches that have actual space-mission cred. Bulova collaborated with NASA for decades, contributing the likes of its Accutron technology in a few ways, including in the Lunar Pilot watch. The actual model worn on the moon by astronaut Dave Scott sold at auction in 2015 for no less than $1.625 million. Equipped with a quartz movement, however, this commercial version is eminently affordable and probably one of the coolest watches in this price range.

Movement: Bulova High Performance Quartz chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Water Resistance: 50m
Price: $460+

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Farer Chronograph Sport Moritz

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British indy brand Farer released a winning collection of mechanical chronographs in 2019, and of those, the Moritz offers a look and feel that might satisfy a Speedmaster hankering. Its mostly monochromatic face, the layout of its subdials and its tachymeter give it the sort of instrument-like character of the Speedy — and it’s similarly powered by a hand-wound movement that helps keep it thin and wearable. It’s different enough, however, to have its own personality, with various design elements drawing inspiration from vintage chronographs, but also incorporating the brand’s vibrant highlights.

Movement: Sellita SW510 BH Elaboré grade manual
Diameter: 41mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: $1,955

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Bell & Ross BR V2-94

Want-This-Get-This-Omega-Speedmaster-gear-patrol-Bell-and-Ross-BR-V2-94

The black dial with black tachymeter bezel and typical chronograph dial layout make Bell & Ross’s BR V2-94 aesthetically comparable to the Speedmaster, and perfect for those who perhaps like the Speedy’s look but want something less common. The BR V2-94 also offers luxury-level fit and finish commensurate with a price that’s about $1k less than the (basic) Speedy itself — and on its steel bracelet, it’s all the more Moonwatch-reminiscent.

Movement: ETA 2894-2 automatic
Diameter: 41mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: $4,800 (on steel bracelet)

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You Might Know the Omega Speedmaster, But Not Like This

What do you know about Omega’s famous Speedmaster watch? You know it went to the Moon. You know its instrumenty looks with monochromatic dial, tachymeter bezel and conservative bearing. But there’s more to the Speedmaster line than this most famous and significant model — much more.

Of course, the NASA-approved Moonwatch represents the collection, but there are literally enough Speedmaster watches for every Tuesday of the year. Over its lifespan (beginning in 1957), the chronograph collection has been host to everything from subtle riffs on the classic Moonwatch to, well, Speedmasters that don’t look anything like Speedmasters — at least not as most people know them.

You might be surprised just how far out some cousins of the famously no-nonsense family have gotten. Here are some unexpected places the Speedmaster has gone (besides the Moon).

Alaska Project

alaska project

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At first glance, this would appear to be a most oddball Speedmaster, indeed. What undoubtedly caught your eye, however, is the removable “thermal shield” made of red aluminum, and underneath is a more familiar-looking watch. The shield was made to protect the watch from the extreme temperatures it might be exposed to while worn on the outside of a spacewalking astronaut. It was recreated in 2008 based on a prototype from 1969.

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LCD Speedmaster

lcd speedmaster

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In the mid-to-late Seventies, many watches were going quartz and digital, including the Speedmaster. The chronograph pushers, bezel and Speedmaster lugs are all there, but the Casio-style LCD display makes it almost unrecognizable. The pusher on the case’s lefthand side is used to switch between time and chronograph modes. Omega even made a special prototype of this watch for NASA, but it wasn’t adopted for use and the all-digital display didn’t last long in the collection — but this model has since become the subject of cult fascination.

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Mark III

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The Mark series as a whole represents a range of successors to the familiar Moonwatch and related models (technically, the Mark I). The Mark III was introduced in 1971 and is significant as Omega’s first automatic chronograph developed with Lemania. Its “pilot” case is, first of all, quite bonkers and appropriately Seventies, but it also came in a couple of other versions. It’s an odd Speedmaster in other ways, as well: the asymmetrical dial layout features two subdials, as both the chronograph seconds and minutes hands are centrally mounted.

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Mark V

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The Speedmaster Mark watches are all a bit funky, but this just might be the line’s peak funk. Introduced in 1984 for the West German market, these aggressively sized (45mm-wide), modern-looking Speedies are now rare. That case and integrated bracelet look very much like products of their time, and the watch features an automatic movement related to that found in the Mark III.

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Rattrapant

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Introduced in 1999, the Rattrapante is an example of the relatively few Speedies that have features or complications beyond the basic chronograph. A rattrapante is a type of chronograph also called a “split-second” and it features two seconds hands for timing two events simultaneously, the second of which is activated via the 10 o’clock pusher. It’s a rather niche function accomplished by significant mechanical complication inside, and here Omega modified an ETA 7750 to do it. Also note that this speedy features a carbon fiber dial.

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TV Dial ref 1045

tv dial ref 1045

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It might not look much like a Moonwatch, but the “TV Dial” reference 1045 sure is cool in its own right. Introduced in 1974, it competed with similar TV dial watches around that time — but this is a Speedmaster. It’s powered by the same Lemania-based 1045 automatic movement as the Mark V above, so it offers chronograph minutes and seconds as central hands, a 24-hour indicator and day-date displays. It all adds up for a somewhat chunky profile.

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Speedmaster Moonphase Calendar

speedmaster moonphase calendar

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Squint and you can still make out the shape of the classic Speedmaster — but you won’t see that name anywhere on its elegant dial. This is a complicated, classical watch that just happens to be in the Speedmaster collection. Introduced in 1990, it features moon phase and calendar functions, as its name suggests, as well as a chronograph, of course. In a 38mm case, it’s all accomplished by the Omega 1150 movement (based on an ETA 7750). It’s even more unique in the collection with a white dial, Roman numerals and a two-tone case and bracelet.

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Schumacher Yellow

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Any number of watches in the Schumacher line might be qualify as offbeat Speedmaster examples, but yellow naturally stands out. Made in the late 1990s and promoted by F1 driver and then brand ambassador Michael Schumacher, the collection is full of bold sporty designs but housed in moderately sized 38mm cases (much like the later Racing models). These are particularly fun Speedies to seek out that offer something striking and different.

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Spacemaster Z-33

spacemaster z 33

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Omega still currently produces some downright funky watches, and the Spacemaster Z-33 is certainly one of the funkiest. A retro “pilot” case (like the Flightmaster or Mark III above) in titanium is combined with an ana-digi dial (both analog and digital displays) and a range of functions made possible by a quartz movement and controlled by four symmetrically placed pushers. It exists alongside the also ana-digi Skywalker in the brand’s Instruments sub-collection of the Speedmaster family. ($5,900+)

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White Side of the Moon

white side of the moon

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First was the Dark Side of the Moon, a modern, all-ceramic take on the Moonwatch in sleek black which has become a full sub-collection in the brand’s current catalog. This is the same concept in stark white, and the effect is all the more a striking departure from the classic and familiar Speedy look. Its ceramic case is 44.25mm wide and a caseback window displays the shimmering 9300 automatic movement. ($12,000)

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These Dive Watches All Have a Special Feature

baltic aquascaphe dual crown compressor

Baltic

Everybody knows the typical dive watch look: a functional design, bold markers and, most of all, a prominent rotating bezel. Typified by watches like the Rolex Submariner, this formula comes in myriad variations and is so ubiquitous that you’d be forgiven for thinking that any other design wouldn’t even qualify as a dive watch. You’d be mistaken, though.

In the 1960s, an interesting type of watch case was developed called a super compressor. The idea was that water pressure itself — the very thing that dive watches are built to withstand — would serve to tighten the watch’s seals: the spring-loaded case back would compress as the underwater atmospheres increased.

A range of watch brands made this type of watch using the same cases. In addition to the nifty compressing case, these watches also had another very specific feature: a ring around the dial (an “inner bezel”) lived under the crystal and could be rotated via a crown at 2 o’clock. Like the (outer) bezel of a typical dive watch, this was used by divers to time all sorts of important safety measures while diving.

The result was a unique look, with two crowns: one at 2 o’clock and another functioning as a normal crown (for winding and time setting) at 4 o’clock. The watches made in this style today are sometimes called “super compressor” even though they use the same method of achieving water resistance as other modern dive watches (rather than the spring-loaded, compressing case, which didn’t turn out to be the most efficient solution).

Today, the super compressor-style watch offers some of the same appeal as more traditional dive watches, but often with a sleeker look. Most of all, it’s a dive watch with some neat history, and it doesn’t look like every other dive watch. (Though keep in mind that if you actually dive with your dive watch, operating an inner rotating crown underwater can prove a headache.) Here are some of the best modern examples you can buy.

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Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver

Dan Henry danhenrywatches.com

Collector Dan Henry started his own watch brand with the purpose of offering vintage watch styles and homages at very accessible prices. The 1970 Automatic Diver has the classic look of compressor divers from the era it’s named for and is powered by a basic Seiko automatic movement. Available in several different color schemes, it appropriately comes on a Tropic-style rubber dive strap.

Diameter: 40mm or 44mm
Movement: Seiko NH35 automatic
Water Resistance: 200m
Price: $290

Marnaut Seascape

Marnaut marnaut.com

Marnaut is a young, Kickstarter-funded watch company based in Croatia that’s focused on dive watches. Their second product is the super compressor-inspired Seascape, and it features not only the solid specs expected of this type of watch but a reasonable price and the brand’s signature dial: the radial dots are said to be based on a sea urchin.

Diameter: 40mm
Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic
Water Resistance: 200m
Price: $449+

Duality Chasm Black

duality noduswatches.com

Though most super compressor type dive watches tend to look to past decades, the Duality, from Los Angeles-based Nodus, has a thoroughly modern character. It comes on a steel bracelet and is also rated to a bit deeper than some others on this list, at 300m. 

Diameter: 40mm
Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic
Water Resistance: 300m
Price: $700

Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown Compressor

Baltic baltic-watches.com

Baltic did a really nice job with their rendering of the super compressor concept. Design lovers will appreciate its pared-back refinement, and others will like its handsome tool-watch appeal and perfect proportions. It’s available in three variations: blue or black dials in steel or a black dial in a black PVD-coated case.

Diameter: 39mm
Movement: automatic
Water Resistance: 200m
Price: ~$775

Farer Endeavour Titanium

Farer farer.com

Farer once again has an original take on a classic style with several variations of its super compressor-style watch. Each not only looks striking (we like it in its all-black DLC version) but also offers a lightweight titanium case, 300m water resistance and a Swiss automatic movement. All this makes it a pretty strong value proposition and a unique choice. 

Diameter: 41.5mm
Movement: Sellita SW200 automatic
Water Resistance: 300m
Price: $1,175

Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor

Christopher Ward christopherward.com

A steel bracelet and shimmering blue dial with sporty orange highlights give this dive watch a contemporary feel. The real noteworthy feature of the C65 Super Compressor, however, is that it actually offers the compressing case technology, which is almost unheard of today. 

Diameter: 41mm
Movement: Sellita SW200 automatic
Water Resistance: 150m
Price: $1,215

Alphina Seastrong

Alpina alpinawatches.com

A bronze case is a popular alternative metal to traditional watch case materials, and its tendency to develop a patina over time is actually considered part of its appeal. Here, in the form of a super compressor and matched to a deep brown dial, the effect is striking and unique. It’s powered by a Swiss automatic movement, and Alpina will offer a high level of fit and finish.

Diameter: 42mm
Movement: Sellita SW200 automatic
Water Resistance: 300m
Price: $1,795

Longines Legend Diver Bronze

Longines hodinkee.com

The Legend Diver actually resurrects a Longines watch from the brand’s archives, but it now comes in a bunch of great looking variations including bronze and black PVD cases, as well as a 36mm version. The green dial and bronze case here are cool, but you can also get the classic steel-with-black-dial if you’re after a more traditional look.  

Diameter: 42mm
Movement: ETA A31.L01 automatic
Water Resistance: 300m
Price: $3,000

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic

Jaeger-LeCoultre jaeger-lecoultre.com

JLC made super compressors ways back in the late 1960s. By including an in-house movement on its Polaris Automatic (visible through the back), the brand was able to keep the case nice and thin at 11.2mm. More versions in the collection are offered not only with other colors and strap options but with complications such as a chronograph, world time, date or an alarm.

Diameter: 41mm
Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre 898/1 automatic
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: $8,000

The History of the Super Compressor

A quest for increased water resistance in the late 1960s led to an icon of the dive watch world.

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Timex’s Cult-Hit Quartz Watch Goes Slightly Smaller, But Gets More Retro-Tastic Than Ever

We love Timex’s Q series for several reasons. First and foremost, in a world where noses are often turned up at quartz watches in favor of expensive and antiquated mechanical technology, the Q is all about quartz pride, but we also love it because it offers about the most affordable, retro-tastic watches you can find.

Now, a set of new 36mm models of the Timex Q are further broadening this watch’s appeal.

The four variations of this Timex seem to suggest the new 36mm watch collection is being positioned for women — but while three of the models pair pale dials with warm gold tones in what seems like a feminine matter, there’s no need to be limited by binary designations, right?

Still, if you prefer conventional definitions of identity, the fourth watch — with a classic steel case and dark blue dial — certainly feels more gender-neutral. It’ll work well for the slim-wristed, or the growing numbers of watch fans that prefer a vintage (i.e. smaller) wearing experience.

Shrinking case diameters has been one of the biggest watch industry trends in recent years coinciding with a boom in vintage styles and reissues. The existing Q watches are very much a part of that, recreating watches from the 1970s when quartz was something to advertise. At 38mm, the existing ones aren’t huge, and offer a range of style options; still, for some, the new 36mm versions will hit that sweet spot even better.

With the same 1970s looks, vintage-style crystal, 12-hour rotating bezel and that cool-ass steel bracelet as the 38mm ones, the new 36mm watches offer the same features that make the overall collection an affordable favorite. Prices start at $179 and go up to $189 for models with gold-toned cases and bracelets.

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The Newest Jaeger-LeCoultre Reversos Will Blow Your Mind

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is a watch that needs little introduction, but just in case: It’s a reversible watch, the dial of which can be flipped over and hidden such that its case back is facing outward. We’ll let you read all about the history of this fascinating design here, but suffice it to say that for “watch people,” it’s a true icon that’s stood the test of time for some 90 years.

And on the occasion of said 90th anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre wasn’t content to merely release their old watch in a new color and call it a day. (Though they did reveal a beautiful green Reverso for those who prefer the model in a more classic iteration.) No — “JLC” pulled out all the stops and launched two mind-bogglingly complex pieces aimed at collectors that truly show just how far the Reverso has come since its debut in 1931.

We spoke with Lionel Farve, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Product Design Director, to get a better feel for the new pieces and to understand the context behind and development of one of the most complicated Reverso watches ever made.

Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque

reverso hybris mechanica calibre 185

jaeger-LeCoutre

It’s the world’s first watches with four faces

Yeah, you read that right: four faces. How is that possible? This Reverso still opens on a hinged case, as in a book, but here, each part of the case has a dial with information on it: the front of the watch, the back (where the traditional case back would be), plus the part of the case attached to the lugs, and the reverse of this piece. (See the image above for better context.) Lacquer is used on the dials because enamel would have made them too thick.

reverso hybris mechanica calibre 185

jaeger-LeCoutre

The cal. 185 movement is hand-finished — and beautiful to look at

“It’s important to understand that in watchmaking, even the movement needs to be beautiful,” explains Lionel Favre. “If every part of the movement has the same finish…it appears as sort of a flat movement. So we take a long time to discuss the finishing.” You can see the incredible detail of the differently finished parts: polished, guiollché, clous de Paris, satin brushed, perlage, etc.

reverso hybris mechanica calibre 185

jaeger-LeCoutre

“This type of project isn’t written on a brief,” Favre continues. “On the first brief, they wanted to do better than the Triptyque (Editor’s Note: a three-faced Jaeger-LeCoultre high complication), and they wanted to add a minute repeater. That was the first step, but the project evolved over years, and we decided to put sound, precision and celestial (complications) — our specialties — into the watch: a minute repeater, a tourbillon, and for the celestial part, we wanted to have something new. On the Triptyque, you have the equation of time, but we didn’t want to use the same thing to express the celestial part.We have some astronomical fans at the company, and we have regular discussions and they speak about these different (astronomical) cycles. So step by step, we managed to create this movement.”

The faces reveal incredibly detailed astronomical information

So much information, in fact, that it took JLC six years to develop the in-house cal. 185 that displays it all. Here’s what each face displays:

Face 1: Hour-minute; tourbillon (indicates seconds); instantaneous perpetual calendar; grande date; day; month; leap year; night and day

Face 2: Jumping digital hour; minute repeater

Face 3: Northern hemisphere moon phase; draconic lunar cycle; anomalistic lunar cycle; month; year

Face 4: Southern hemisphere moon phase

The watch, with its 11 complications, required 12 different patents to be filed during its production.

It comes with its own mechanical box to keep it properly set

The Quadriptyque is so complex that one would need a watchmaker to reset it if the power reserve were to run out. So, instead of leaving this problem in the customer’s lap, the manufacture developed a special mechanical presentation box that allows the user to reset it him or herself — simply punch in the number of days since you put the watch down into the box, and it updates the movement for you.

“This was a proposition of our watchmakers,” Favre explains regarding the box. “The main watchmaker (on this project) —one day we spoke together and he said it was possible to create something to set the watch, because it’s very hard to set if you’re not a watchmaker. So we said, ok, it’s a really good idea, but we want something mechanical, not electronic or a machine. So he developed, in parallel, the watch and the box.”

Price: 1.35M EUR

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Nonantième

reverso tribute nonantieme

IMAGIE

It’s the latest is a long line of complicated Reverso models

In 1991, JLC debuted the Soixantieme — which featured power reserve and date displays — in celebration of the Reverso’s 60th anniversary. This was quickly followed up by models equipped with a tourbillon; a minute repeater; a chronograph with retrograde display; a dual-time display; and a perpetual calendar. In 2011, the maison debuted the Septemième, which featured an 8-day power reserve. But the Nonantième goes one better.

reverso tribute nonantieme

IMAGIE

The Nonantième is all about the semi-jump hour display

Housed within a pink gold case, the front dial features a moon phase display, a small seconds counter, and a large date display. The secondary dial, however, features a wildly cool semi-jumping digital hour display, below which sits an aperture through which a rotating minutes disc is visible. (It’s called a semi-jumping hour display because it takes 5 minutes to move — it doesn’t jump instantaneously.) This, in turn, frames a day/night indicator that takes the shape of an applied golden sun and moon passing over the horizon. This combination of complications within the Reverso framework is unique and striking.

It may be a complicated watch, but it’s still a Reverso at heart

Even a quick glance at the case profile of the Nontanième confirms its lineage from a watch developed 90 years ago. “In terms of design,” Favre begins, “It conserves a large part of polished metal, and this is what’s so nice with the Reverso: You have beautiful reflections on this large metal part. It has a lot of style, I think.”

jaeger lecoultre nonantieme movement parts

Jaeger-LeCoultre

It required an entirely new movement

The Nonantième necessitated a brand-new caliber be built: the cal. 826. Manually wound and consisting of over 230 components, it features a power reserve of 42 hours. Though it displays the same time on both faces of the watch, semi-jumping hours, day/night indicators and moon phase indicators all combine into an extremely complicated mechanical mechanism.

“We wanted to create a Reverso, but with a more surprising Reverso that one with a classic display,” says Favre. “And the thought was more, ‘How can we display the hour with something different?’ We did some research and realized that the jumping hours (complication) was really famous in the 1930s — not more the technical achievement, but more for the purity of the design. It was interesting to add this type of display to the Reverso because it echoes the date of creation of the watch — the 1930s. It’s also an ‘echo’ because this type of complication was designed to protect the face of the watch, the same as the Reverso. With the jumping hour, you reduce the size of the glass, so in a way you protect the watch. So this is double protection.”

Price: $40,500 (limited edition of 190 pieces available at Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques only)

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Want Your Watch to Be Noticed? Check Out This Glowing Chronograph

No sport watch is complete without ample lume, you say? Well, you asked for it. Bell & Ross gives you an eyeful with their latest watch to feature the nighttime spectacle of a completely glowing dial. The Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full Lum will be legible indeed, to you and everyone around.

“Lume,” of course, is watch lingo shorthand for luminant or luminescent paint, but for French watchmaker Bell & Ross it’s just “Lum” in their models that highlight the feature. For most watches, including Bell & Ross’s collections like Grey Lum and Nightlum, it’s the hands and indices that glow, but here it’s taken to the extreme.

With a little exposure to light, the full dial as well as the hands and indices glow in the dark. Legibility is maintained by black outlines that indeed make every scale and marker on the dial legible in low light — unlike traditional treatments where you can only easily see the lumed elements. Interestingly, the chronograph subdial at 9 o’clock is rendered in a blue lume in contrast to the rest of the dial in green.

Is a fully lumed dial a good idea? It’ll surely be legible, and unlike the press photos that show a bright dial at “full charge,” lume tends to fade quickly to a moderate glow that won’t necessarily be a distraction as you drive, for instance. This feature is mostly for fun and novelty, and it’ll certainly be an attention-grabber when you leave light trails gesticulating in a dimly lit bar.

bell ross

Courtesy

This new Full Lum model is applied to the brand’s BR V2-94 collection of classically inspired (V, for Vintage) chronograph watches. With a 41mm case, this is a relatively traditional silhouette for the brand that’s better known for its square-cased instrument-style watches — and a couple of these, in the form of a pilot’s watch and a dive watch, have received the Full Lum treatment as well.

Though the Bell & Ross Vintage collection fits into the industry’s overall retro trend, the Full Lum dial takes the base design in a quite different, more contemporary direction. Powered by an ETA 2894-2 automatic movement, you’re getting the brand’s excellent level of fit and finish as well as a unique look for the price of $5,100, available for preorder now directly from the brand online.

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How the Seiko 5 Became the Ultimate Starter Watch

Welcome to Watches You Should Know, a biweekly column highlighting important or little-known watches with interesting backstories and unexpected influence. This week: the Seiko 5.

The Seiko 5 isn’t just one watch. Instead, hundreds of watches with different designs, intended for different uses, have carried the emblematic shield logo with the 5 in the center. In fact, the watches have been signed several different ways — Seiko 5, Seiko 5 Sports, Seiko Sportsmatic 5, Seiko 5 Actus — and used a range of different automatic movements.

When it was introduced in 1963, the Seiko Sportsmatic 5 heralded multiple innovations. The first was the Diaflex mainspring, Seiko’s unbreakable mainspring. Another was the Diashock shock-resistant design, Seiko’s answer to the Swiss Incabloc system. Yet another was overall water resistance — although in those days the words “water proof” were used (a labeling that would have the Federal Trade Commission scrambling their lawyers if it occurred today). In any case, this third attribute was less a technological innovation and more an innovative design criteria for the Seiko 5 sub-brand.

Zen Love

So what does the “5” mean anyway? There is some disagreement. Tradition (and many an online watch forum entry) says it’s for the following five key attributes of all Seiko 5 watches:

1.The Diaflex mainspring
2.The Diashock system
3.Automatic winding
4.Day/date indication
5.Water resistance

(Some sources combine Diaflex and Diashock while separating Day and Date.)

However, Seiko’s website states a slightly different, somewhat more general set of attributes:

1.Automatic winding
2.Day/date displayed in a single window
3.Water resistance
4.Recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position
5.Durable case and bracelet

It’s interesting that Seiko doesn’t specifically state the Diaflex and Diashock systems — or overall movement durability — in their list. Perhaps this is because the two movements, while significant, were not unique to the Seiko 5. To us however, movement durability seems a bit more important than the location of the crown.

Over decades of production, many different movements have powered the watches carrying the Seiko 5 badge — sometimes different movements in a single model at the same time. They were designed primarily for mass production using the latest in manufacturing technology; there are those who maintain the movements are not touched by human hands at all during assembly, the very antithesis of what aficionados have come to envision as modern watchmaking.

This array later settled down to the 7S25/7S26/7S35/7S36 movements (day/date variations and number of jewels — 21 vs. 23 — are the cause of the differing calibre designations). These movements are iconic in and of themselves, and have been the motor inside a wide range of modern Seiko timepieces. In short, the Seiko 5 has always had a movement that, while not pretty, is a game-day piece, running year in and year out for decades with a minimum of fuss or maintenance. This is particularly favorable for a watch intended for the markets of Southeast Asia where maintenance facilities may have been at a premium.

Guys Love Their Seiko 5s

seiko 5

Courtesy

Get on any of the major watch forums and you’ll find scores of threads about the Seiko 5. Many posters are looking to buy, sell or trade. Some are looking for parts for repair or modifying. A few are looking for purchasing advice, and others are just showing off new acquisitions. In short, guys who love their Seiko 5s are as varied as the watch itself.

The 5 enjoys a status as a watch for daily wear, called a “daily beater” by many (we cringe a bit at the moniker, even if it is accurate). It comes in dozens of styles, from dress to diver and everything in between. That fact, combined with a very attractive price point, allows one to have multiple “beaters.”

There’s also quite a “modding” subculture: guys who, like shade-tree mechanics of old, modify their Seiko 5s to their liking. The sheer numbers of watches out there, along with the numerous movements used, provide plenty of parts for modifying to give homage to other, more expensive watches, e.g. Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms and Omega’s Aqua Terra.

An added bonus of mass produced movements is the economy of scale. A typical Seiko 5 watch costs well under $500; you can readily find a vintage or model for less than $100 on eBay or Amazon. In fact, this author wears a vintage Seiko 5 manufactured in June of 1968 and purchased several years ago on eBay for less than $30, shipping included. eBay and online retailers are often the best ways to obtain many Seiko 5 variants, new or vintage, since distribution was always spotty at best in the United States; the sub-brand was sold mostly in Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America.

Because winding efficiency was quite good (Seiko’s invention, the “magic lever”, allows the mainspring to be wound whether the rotor is twirling clockwise or counterclockwise), the wearer doesn’t really need to use the crown to wind the watch. A few shakes are all that’s needed to get the watch running, and normal motion as wearers go about their day keeps it running.

This development reduced part counts and eased manufacturing by eliminating the keyless works, which is the mechanism that allows the wearer to manually wind a watch. With winding unnecessary, and only a seldom need to change the time, designers tucked the crown under the lip of the bezel at 4:00 and gave the watch a uniquely clean appearance. This cleanliness lent to eminent legibility; Seiko furthered this by including both day and date displays in one window at 3:00.

seiko 5

Courtesy

But what about the overall design of the Seiko 5? The watch was, first and foremost, designed to appeal to the new revolutionary generation of young people in the 1960s. Its appearance aptly parted ways with the old school, and is still sharp today. The day-date window is typically framed with a steel bezel, and the hands are often a tapered stick design.

Many if not most cases are tonneau-shaped with lugs flowing smoothly into the overall profile. Perhaps more importantly, Seiko created a watch that went where its wearers went, wet or dry, wild or sedate — thus, the emphasis on water and shock resistance. Indeed, this was the antithesis to a 1940s or ’50s watch that wasn’t waterproof and needed to visit the jewelers for a thorough cleaning every few years.

The biggest drawbacks to the Seiko 5 in the eyes of many are the bracelets, made with pressed and formed links rather than solid ones. Again, this is a concession to manufacturing and economy. Still, such bracelets are fully functional, usually look great from a design standpoint, and typically perform flawlessly.

Therein lies the real beauty of the Seiko 5. It’s a flawlessly performing timepiece with a mechanical manufacture movement, made by a company whose president & CEO is directly descended from the founder — and the thing will run practically forever with little or no maintenance. To be blunt, that’s more than can be said for some watches 100 times more expensive.

Hiroshi Nakahara, a director of the Seiko Watch Corporation, has said “We will always take pride in the words ‘Japanese manufacture,’ which indicate Seiko’s sincere determination to manufacture truly practical watches for each customer. It’s not the easy way. It’s the best way.” What else do you need to hear?

Though the classic models primarily discussed here are no longer mentioned by the brand as currently still produced, Seiko resurrected the line in 2019 with upgrades like a modern movement with hand winding and hacking, as well as refined production and finishing. It’s a worthy continuation of its humble but venerable name, and shows that the brand hasn’t left its core fans behind as it’s climbed in price point. We hope the Seiko 5 just getting started.

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A Beloved Chronograph Watch Gets a Special Upgrade

Much of chronographs‘ appeal lies in their technical, purposeful feel. Those qualities are German watchmaker Sinn‘s speciality, and although the brand’s catalog is full of “tool watches” of all kinds, perhaps none is more recognizable or better represents the Sinn character than the 144. In celebrating its 60th anniversary, Sinn is releasing a refreshed version called the 144 Anniversary II with an all-black-coated 41mm case, upgraded features and a striking look.

The Sinn 144 was first released in 1974, and has since stood out among classic chronograph watches for its unique, military/aviation-inspired looks, as well as Sinn’s famously tough build. The modern version is more robust than ever with Sinn’s signature features like its “tegiment” case-hardening and Ar‑Dehumidifying technologies. The new version also features modern specs, of course, like sapphire crystal, 200m of water resistance and a Concepto C99001 automatic movement, but what makes the new anniversary version stand out is its black case and dial design.

sinn

Sinn

This isn’t the first time the Sinn 144 has gotten the black treatment, but this model is immediately differentiated from a (2014) edition thanks to its contrasting (“reverse panda”) subdials. The case is bead-blasted for a matte finish and colored using what Sinn calls “Black Hard Coating” — another modern feature compared to old 144 models that used black chrome.

Chronograph watches take many forms, but the Sinn 144 is distinctive among them: it doesn’t look like a whole lot of others and yet it maintains a totally function-first feel. With its black-coated steel bracelet as well as a silicon strap, one of the 600 examples in this limited edition will cost you $3,470.

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How to Read a Watch Bezel

Welcome to Product Support, a series devoted to helping you get the most out of your stuff.

We love our high complications and luxury masterpieces as much as the next watch nerd. But our bias is for timepieces that can “do things,” watches that are each an essential piece of kit. Sure, it’s an instrument for telling time, but it can also be used to time a dive or a racing lap, take a pulse, or calculate remaining fuel or crosswind speed or the distance of thunder or artillery.

How, you ask? The answer has little to do with the watch’s movement. It’s all about the bezel, that outer ring of metal (or perhaps, nowadays, ceramic) surrounding your watch’s crystal. The ones we’re talking about have numbers or other markings; they may rotate in one direction or both, or not at all; they may feature some other combination of all that. How each type of bezel works is not complicated per se, but it is deserving of a quick guide.

Count-Up Bezel With a 0-60 Scale

how-to-read-a-bezel-gear-patrol-count-up

Perhaps the most commonly seen bezel markers are on dive watches. These scales go from zero to 60, indicating minutes in an hour, and are used to keep track of time spent underwater, a critical parameter along with depth and remaining air. The first 15 (sometimes 20) minutes are marked in one-minute increments while the rest of the scale is usually marked in five-minute increments. The increased resolution for the first 15 minutes on the scale allows divers to time decompression stops with relative precision during ascents at the end of a dive. To use a dive bezel, set the zero marker opposite the minute hand; as time passes, you can read off elapsed time on the bezel without having to do any mental calculations.

Countdown Bezel With a 60-0 Scale

how-to-read-a-bezel-gear-patrol-countdown

Pretty much the opposite of a count-up scale, a countdown scale is used to set the time remaining before or during an event. Rotate the bezel so the time remaining on your parking meter is opposite the minute hand. When the minute hand reaches zero on the scale, you’re in parking ticket territory.

Tachymeter

how-to-read-a-bezel-gear-patrol-tachymeter

The tachymeter bezel is the distinguishing feature on iconic chronographs like the Omega Speedmaster and Rolex Daytona. The logarithmic scale is proportional to “one over elapsed time” (1/elapsed time) and therefore is used to measure units per time increments. Most common of these is speed in miles per hour. However, you can also calculate units per hour on a production line, pitches per hour during a baseball game, or the average rate of any other repeating event. Start the chronograph when one unit passes (mile marker, widget, whatever), stop it when the next unit passes, and read units per hour on the scale.

Pulsometer

how-to-read-a-bezel-gear-patrol-pulse

Specialized “medical watches” have a pulsometer at the edge of the dial. This is a specially calibrated tachymeter used to determine heart rate. Start the chronograph timer and count the beats until you get to the number for which the scale is calibrated — usually 15, sometimes 30. Stop the timer and read the heart rate in beats per minute. A related scale, often found on the same watch, is the asthmometer, used to determine a patient’s respiratory rate. The scale is read the same way and is typically calibrated to five respirations.

Telemeter

how-to-read-a-bezel-gear-patrol-telemeter

This is a scale used to determine the distance from the wearer to an event that can be both seen and heard. Sudden lightning storm move in while you’re on your backcountry trek? Trigger the chronograph timer when you see the flash, stop it when you hear the thunder clap. See if you’re safe from harm by reading the distance in miles or kilometers on the telemeter scale. The speed of sound in air is effectively a function of air temperature (we’ll ignore the minor effects of humidity and altitude), so the scale is usually calibrated at a typical ambient temperature.

GMT

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The term GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) has been abandoned by the scientific community but the label still sticks in the tradition-bound world of timepieces. The bezel on a GMT watch is marked in 24 equal increments, becoming the chapter ring for the watch’s 24-hour GMT hand. This makes the watch a two time zone watch. If a second 24-hour ring is included on the dial, that creates a third time zone. The bezel is also often in two colors, roughly designating day and night. To use this bezel, set the hour marker on the bezel opposite the 24-hour hand for the time zone you want to track. It’s that easy. Just remember that a 24-hour hand only goes around once a day. You’ll get the hang of it.

Compass

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You’re hiking the High Sierra and you lost your compass? Well, okay, you’re a watch nerd, not a woodsman. If you’re in the northern hemisphere (hopefully you can tell that much), rotate the compass bezel until the south mark is halfway between the hour hand (subtract an hour if you’re on daylight saving time) and 12 o’clock. Point the hour hand at the sun and use the bezel orientation to determine north, south, east and west. Just reset the bezel about once an hour and you’ll find your way home.

Slide Rule

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We’ve saved the coolest bezel for last here; it’s also the most complicated. The slide rule bezel is basically two matching logarithmic scales — one stationary and one on a rotating outer ring. You perform multiplication and division by rotating the outer ring. This is old-school math, folks; Cold-War-era engineers will wax nostalgic if you show them this one.

Say you want to multiply 8 by 14. You place the 14 on the outer rotating bezel scale opposite the 10 (a unit index used as a conversion factor) on the inner scale (at around 2:30). Opposite the 8 on the inner scale, read the answer, 112, on the outer scale. Simple, huh? Okay, we didn’t think so either. We won’t tell anyone if you pull out your iPhone as a backup.

You can use a slide-rule bezel to handle all sorts of navigational calculations: airspeed, rate/time of climb or descent, flight time, distance and fuel consumption as well as distance unit conversions. Unfortunately, those are a little complicated to go into here — refer to your instruction booklet for those (Breitling’s does a particularly nice job). The slide rule bezel is most commonly found on aviator’s watches; unfortunately, knowing how to use the bezel doesn’t get you any closer to your pilot’s license. That part is up to you.

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Typical Dive Watches Got You Bored? This Well-Designed Watch Is an Affordable Alternative

What if you want the rugged, handsome simplicity that characterizes dive watches — but in a form that stands out from the gazillions of watches that more or less look like iterations of a single design? The super compressor offers just that: an alternative take on the dive watch.

Now, one of our favorite French microbrands has just come out with one of the best looking examples in recent memory. Baltic’s new watch, the Aquascaphe Dual Crown, has a fresh design that’s underpinned by the classic features of a super compressor. And a highly accessible price — starting around $775 retail — makes it look even better.

To be clear, actual super compressor cases are mostly a relic of the past; they were developed in the 1950s to use water pressure itself to further tighten the watch’s seals. The concept is interesting and the history is cool, but this didn’t turn out to be the best method for achieving water resistance in watches, and other solutions replaced it.

It’s the look of these watches that has remained, and it’s primarily defined by two elements today. Rather than the typical dive watch’s prominent rotating bezel, a super compressor will have an inner rotating bezel (meaning it’s situated under the crystal with the dial). It’s controlled by a crown at 2 o’clock, which this is the other feature that gives the super compressor its look: two crowns, with the other one at 4 o’clock functioning as a typical watch’s crown does for winding and setting the watch.

baltic

Baltic

Baltic’s Aquascaphe Dual Crown has all that and the brand’s typically pared-back look, and the effect is instantly captivating in the way classic dive watches should be. At 39mm with a relatively thin 11.9mm profile, the proportions are spot on for a retro-styled watch like this. It’s water-resistant to 200m even when you use the bezel’s 2 o’clock crown underwater (this crown doesn’t screw in).

Available in steel with black or blue dial versions or a black PVD-coated case and black dial, the Aquscaphe Dual Crown is powered by the robust Miyota 9039 automatic movement. It comes on a Tropic-style strap made from recycled plastic or a beads-of-rice steel bracelet for an extra cost of about $84. Starting today, Baltic is accepting pre-orders for a reduced price of around $655, after which the full retail price will be $775.

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The Timex Q Watch Keeps Getting Better and Better

Are you tired of the Q Timex line yet? Frankly, we’re not — these watches are affordable, battery-powered, good-looking, and available. Honestly, we say keep ’em coming, especially if they bring more people into the cult. (Ahem, we mean, the watch fold.) So what makes the new Q Timex 1978 Reissue Day-Date special? Check it out:

It’s A Perfect Size

At 37mm in stainless steel, the 1978’s case is ideal for men or women. A domed acrylic crystal keeps the vintage theme going, while 50m of water resistance provides enough protection that you don’t have to worry too much in the rain, or washing your hands. (Just don’t take it swimming, for Pete’s sake.)

timex 1978 battery hatch

Timex

It’s Stupidly Easy to Change the Battery

The 1978’s case includes — as do all the quartz-powered Q models — a battery hatch that you can pop open using a coin. This way, you don’t need to make a special trip to the watchmaker just to get the thing going again.

timex 1978 dial

Timex

It’s Got a Great Dial

With its silver-tone dial, black printing and day-date display, the 1978 looks straight outta — well — the late ’70s. It’s a simple, handsome design that, though clearly tied to a specific moment in time, easily translates to a watch dial in 2021.

It’s Incredibly Affordable

You can get the new Q on its black leather matching strap for $169 right now from Timex.com. No wait lists, no nothing. It’s the perfect watch to gift yourself or someone special. Another home run for Timex.

Price: $169

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