Monthly Archives: March 2017

zenith pilot type 20 extra special-40mm collection



Zenith specialises in vintage-style pilot timepieces and has unveiled a range of watches with colourful straps and dials in far more “reasonable” sizes than their predecessors.

Unisex sizes and colour ranges are two major trends that rocked 2017’s BaselWorld. Zenith is nailing the trends with a smaller version of its famous pilot watch which usually comes in large sizes (e.g. the 45mm Pilot Type 20 GMT and Pilot Ton-Up, 48mm Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar and 60mm Pilot Type 20 Tribute to Louis Blériot).

The new kid on the block is the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 40mm and, as the name suggests, it has a vintage steel 40mm case. The size is ideal for both men and women and is bound to please fans of the Pilot Type 20.

zenith pilot type 20 extra special-40mm collection

The Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 40mm is a collection in itself as it features four trend-setting models in four colours: burgundy, saffron, khaki and royal blue. They may be classics but they’re bold statements in the otherwise black and white (anything from glistening silver to ivory) world of watchmaking.

The new Zenith case houses the Elite 679 calibre. The self-winding mechanical movement made in the brand’s Le Locle workshops fuels the “simple” functions (hours, minutes and seconds in the centre of the dial) and a power reserve that lasts over 50 hours.

Three of the grained dials on the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 40mm quartet match their nubuck straps whilst the saffron model has a slate grey dial. Otherwise, the timepiece is true to its pilot watch roots (e.g. the fluted ball crown at 3 on the case side): large Arabic numerals coated in beige Super-LumiNova and “cathedral” hands with a sandy luminescent coating.

Price: 5,900 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

richard mille rm50-03 caseback



7 , 5,000, 40, 1,0980,000, 10, 200 … This torrent of jumbled-up figures does not correspond to figures of a Swiss bank account but reveals a few clues as to the key features of Richard Mille’s RM 50-03 McLaren F1. Created in partnership with McLaren the English Formula 1 constructor, the new RM 50-03 incorporates the latest high-tech-material state-of-the-art innovations that feature in the world’s most powerful racecar chassis. Conclusion ? The French brand enhances its catalogue with the lightest mechanical chronograph the world has ever seen.

richard mille rm50-03 caseback

The 75 numbered pieces will be delivered with a 1:5 scale model of the 2017 McLaren F1. “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication” declared Leonardo da Vinci. The watch has a price tag of course… 1,098,000 euros…

By Dan Diaconu

omega sea planet ocean big blue closeup



The Bienne watchmaker has a new addition in its collection of diver’s watches coated from top to bottom in blue ceramic; a colour that would sink into the ocean if it wasn’t splashed with orange.

Last summer Omega took us deep into the ocean abysses with its Seamaster Planet Ocean quartet called “Deep Black”, diver’s watches with a GMT function made mainly of black, lightweight and scratch-resistant black ceramic. This time the Bienne watchmaker has chosen briny blue to adorn its Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue” without neglecting its signature bright orange that was on the first model unveiled in 2005.

The blue ceramic on the latest in the Seamaster collection has washed over not only the case but also the dial, bezel and deployment clasp. The colour is halfway between sea and electric blue and is enhanced by splashes of orange on the case, dial and strap.

omega sea planet ocean big blue closeup

The Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue” has a 45.5mm ceramic case with a unidirectional rotating bezel bearing the minute track in Liquimetal® and the 0-15 area in an orange rubber and ceramic blend. The case sides feature the 3-position screwdown crown at 3 and the signature helium valve at 10.

The dial is a blue ceramic disc whose hour rim has three orange Arabic numerals, white gold markers coated in Super-LumiNova and a white minute track beneath three gold and luminescent hands with arrow tips. An orange lacquer hand glides over the second time zone on a 24-hour scale on the chapter ring whilst the white-on-blue date display lies at 3.

The functions are fuelled by the self-winding Omega Master Chronometer 8906 calibre whose oscillating weight you can see through the sapphire case back. The movement is METAS-certified and has a 60-hour power reserve.

The woven-effect blue rubber strap on the Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue” has orange stitching and edges and is the height of comfort.

Price: 11,200 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

tudor heritage blackbay sg collection



Heritage Black Bay S&G by Tudor; a new timepiece scales the heights of a well-established collection on the contemporary watch scene.

The Heritage Black Bay may be inspired by the look of 1954’s Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner but behind the vintage mask it’s still a contemporary watch. Since the launch of the piece with a burgundy bezel, the collection has grown and struck gold with every new Tudor model. Its success story continued at 2017’s Baselworld when the Genevan brand unveiled a range of models including the Heritage Black Bay S&G, S for steel and G for gold.

The new watch has the same shape as its forebears but with flashes of yellow gold on the rotating bezel, screwdown crown, central strap link and dial features. It still oozes neo-retro style without being bling.

tudor heritage blackbay sg collection

The 41mm steel case is topped by a unidirectional rotating bezel with a matt black aluminium ring bearing the gold minute track. It houses the self-winding MT5612 calibre made by Tudor and based on the MT5602 launched in 2015. The powerful COSC-certified movement runs at 28,800 vph (4Hz) and has a 70-hour power reserve.

The three gold luminescent hands on the black domed dial have the classic Heritage Black Bay shape and track the hours, minutes and seconds along applied geometrical markers (also gold and luminescent) and a gilded minute track. The biggest surprise for the collection’s fans is the date display at 3.

The Heritage Black Bay S&G comes with a steel strap with a yellow gold central link or a black aged leather strap with a deployment clasp. As you’d expect from Tudor, the watch comes with an additional khaki fabric strap whose flecks of gold match the sun-kissed warmth radiating from the watch’s yellow gold glints.

Price: 4750 CHF (steel and gold strap) – 3600 CHF (aged leather)

By Sharmila Bertin

tag heuer aquaracer auto closeup



A few weeks before summer, TAG Heuer has unveiled a new sports watch with a stealth case and a dial with a range of blue tones

Created 15 years ago, in 2003 to be precise, the Aquaracer collection is known for its reliability, robustness and capacity for taking on the most extreme conditions. It is the ideal companion for all kinds of excursions, on land or sea. This year, TAG Heuer is releasing a fashion version of its sports model, the Aquaracer Camouflage 300m. Although it is cut out for adventure, it is not lacking in charm in a contemporary style, with its blue tones forming the famous military patchwork known as camouflage. For the new Aquaracer Camouflage 300m model, an “Arctic” pattern has been used instead of the traditional khaki.

tag heuer aquaracer auto closeup

The watch dial is indeed covered with the famous rounded marks, blending azure, light khaki and a very deep blue tone. The cone-shaped applied indices are varnished in lavender blue and coated in anthracite grey Super-LumiNova®, with the three hands – for hours, minutes and seconds – featuring the same aesthetic appearance. The date is displayed in white on a black background at 3 o’clock. A magnifying glass set in the sapphire glass protecting the dial makes reading the date easier.

The case on the Aquaracer Camouflage 300m is made of titanium, which is sanded before being coated with a layer of black PVD, giving it a delicately silky, stealth effect. It is topped by a revolving, unidirectional bezel. A minute scale is engraved on the bezel, then filled with the same periwinkle colour to be seen on the hands on the dial.

This light, simple setting contains the calibre 5, a mechanical automatic movement manufactured by TAG Heuer. The calibre drives the hour and chronograph functions while providing over 38 hours of power reserve.

A textile NATO strap with the same camouflage pattern as on the dial rounds it all off.

Price: 2,600 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

jaeger lecoultre master chronograph closeup



To provide a fitting celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Master Control collection, the watchmaker from the Joux Valley is presenting three new timepieces with a similar appearance, but very different functions.

Created in 1992, the family of round Master Control watches by Jaeger-LeCoultre has not had as much success as the Reverso collection, it’s true, but have nonetheless attracted a fair number of clients who love classic timepieces and who want something more accessible in terms of case shape. For the 25th anniversary, celebrated this year, three new Master Control models have been released, ranging from the most simple to the most complex: the Master Control Date, the Master Chronograph and the Master Geographic.

The steel cases with fixed bezels, between 39 and 40mm in diameter, according to the model, and the dials, blending circular brushed silver and sanded opaline, features in all three watches. The Master Control trio also share the same automatic mechanical movement, although they have three different calibres.

jaeger lecoultre master chronograph closeup

The Master Control model has the JLC 899/1 calibre to power the hour, minute and second displays at the centre, plus the date at 3 o’clock, while providing a power reserve of 38 hours. On the dial, the indices and Arabic numerals for the hours are linked by a circle, forming a discreet sun, across which the openwork, blued hands move.

On the Master Chronograph model, the dial is decorated by two guilloché discs with circular grooves, one to count the minutes of the chronograph (at 3 o’clock) and the other for the hours (at 9 o’clock), while the seconds tick away in the centre, as do the running hours and minutes. The calibre JLC 751G, running at 28,800 vibrations per hour, drives these functions and provides a power reserve of 65 hours.

Last but not least, the Master Geographic is a particularly useful watch for anyone who travels a good deal, since it features a second time zone, displayed in a counter at 6 o’clock on the dial, and which is adjusted using a pusher at 10 o’clock. A long counter running from 7.30 to 4.30 displays the names of 24 cities in 24 different time zones. A 24-hour indicator at 7 o’clock rounds off the functions for globe trotters with the calibre JLC 939B/1 providing the power.

Price: 5,900 CHF (Master Control Date) – 8,400 CHF (Master Chronograph) – 9,800 CHF (Master Geographic)

By Sharmila Bertin

tissot chemin tourelles edition suisse closeup


100% SWISS

Tissot takes pride in its Swiss identity and has unveiled a pair of steel timepieces emblazoned with powerful Swiss symbols on the front and back.

Tissot may have been founded by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Emile in 1853 in Le Locle in Neuchâtel but it wasn’t until 1907 that it opened its factory on Chemin des Tourelles where it still stands today. The address is so deeply rooted in the Swiss watchmaker’s identity that a classic watch collection has been named after it. A new model with a choice of two timepieces has joined the well-known range: Chemin des Tourelles Swiss Special Edition.

tissot chemin tourelles edition suisse closeup

Tissot also likes to showcase its Swiss roots and patriotism exudes from the front and back of both Chemin des Tourelles Swiss Special Editions. The case back bears the design of a Swiss Franc with Helvetia surrounded by 23 stars representing the confederation’s states. Helvetia is the allegorical personification of the Swiss Confederation. She’s wearing laurel leaves on her head and holding a spear and shield emblazoned with a cross on the back of the Chemin des Tourelles Swiss Special Edition.

The 44mm model has a sunburst silver dial whilst the 32mm watch has a white mother-of-pearl dial with the gold hour, minute and seconds hands. The ring bearing the gold hour markers and Roman numerals has a mosaic of small Swiss crosses. The black-on-white date display lies at 6.

The famous self-winding Powermatic 80 fuels the 80-hour power reserve from inside the steel case with a rose gold PVD bezel and crown.

Price 995 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

montblanc timewalker chronograph 1000 ltd closeup



The brand from Hamburg reaches new chronometric heights, taking inspiration from the motor racing track to bring technical skill and performance to its range of urban watches, TimeWalker

Montblanc is marking 2017 with the imprint of performance, speed and technique, three fundamental values it shares with the world of motor racing, a sport whose aesthetic codes it has partly taken up. The elegant, sports characteristics that the watchmakers have borrowed from the motor racing circuit have been injected into the TimeWalker urban collection, a series that is better adapted to the exercise than the more traditional ranges. Montblanc, specialists in mono-pusher chronographs since the early 20th century, and today part of the Richemont group, has remained true to its origins in the Minerva Manufacture, revising the idea of the 1/1000th of a second counter unveiled in 1916 and again in 1936 to give life to its TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18.

montblanc timewalker chronograph 1000 ltd closeup

The black, grained dial features horizontal embossed lines in the centre, where the couple of dauphine hour and minute hands are set. The seconds are at 9 o’clock, near the fan-shaped opening unveiling part of the mechanism. All the chronograph indicators have a bright red element: the second hand in the centre that follows a scale etched on the chapter ring, the double counter at 6 o’clock recording the seconds (out of 60) and the minutes (out of 15) and, of course, the 1/1000th of a second counter displayed in red from 11 to 1 o’clock.

As its name implies, the TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 is available in just 18 pieces.

Price: 170,000 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

ulysse nardin classic sonata closeup



The great specialist in marine instruments has released a wrist watch with a mechanical alarm function that is both aesthetically simple and easy to use, and endowed with useful functions operating between two time zones

Far from the hysterical tumult or strident cries emanating from electronic alarm clocks to be found on most beside tables, the Ulysse Nardin provides far more poetry to wake you up in the morning – a totally mechanical, but melodious way to open your eyes and get ready for a new day, when the cathedral-like tone of the Classic Sonata sounds.

This new model made by Ulysse Nardin is available in two versions measuring 44mm in diameter. The first watch has a pink gold case, with warm reflections blending with the wonderful deep black colour adorning the dial. The second version, meanwhile, has a more traditional and simpler allure, including a steel setting and a silvered opaline face.

ulysse nardin classic sonata closeup

Each dial contains the same three-dimensional settings, setting the different displays apart, while providing a feeling of depth. A band running around the chapter ring includes hour markers with blue or golden applied indices, depending on the Classic Sonata model chosen. In the centre, two leaf-shaped hands display the hours and minutes, while the second hand also ticks away in the centre. The large date is displayed in a double counter at 4 o’clock. As for the alarm function, it has its own counter between 12 and 2 o’clock, with the centre taken up by a sort of twelve-hour countdown, so the alarm can be set for the morning or evening. A cone-shaped indicator at 10 o’clock shows whether the alarm function is on or off. And lastly, a sub-dial at 6 o’clock displays a second time zone, which will come in handy for globe-trotters who like mechanical timepieces.

The Classic Sonata duo are powered by the same movement, the UN-67 calibre. This automatic mechanical movement, equipped with a silicon escapement, provides a power reserve of 42 hours.

Price: 24 800 CHF (steel) – 42 800 CHF (pink gold)

By Sharmila Bertin

jaquet droz phm astorite closeup



As ever, the watchmaker from La Chaux-de-Fonds elegantly blends some of the natural beauties provided by the Earth: rare minerals with soft colours, a warm-toned metal and sparkling precious stones

There are several categories of precious stones: the ones whose value is set by their price on the specialised markets; the ones whose rarity earns them the spotlight; and then the ones whose aesthetic appearance is quite simply… breathtaking! Astorite belongs to the last category. It is certainly not a well-known mineral, but it stands out because of its impressive colour, half way between candy pink and Persian pink, and flecked with silver grey or anthracite grey spangles. So it was natural for the master of stone mineral dials, Jaquet Droz, to use astorite on the face of its Petite Heure Minute Astorite model, limited to 28 pieces.

jaquet droz phm astorite closeup

Astorite is named after John Jacob Astor IV (1864-1912), a very rich American businessman and army officer of German origin, who died during the dramatic sinking of the Titanic. An investor in valuable real estate, John Jacob Astor IV also owned a mine in San Juan, Colorado, where astorite was mined. On the death of the American magnate, in 1912, the entrance to the mine was blocked by dynamiting, but was reopened almost a century later, in 2001.

The Petite Heure Minute Astorite by Jaquet Droz has a face featuring two colours and two materials. There is a pink disc made from a single piece of astorite, cut and polished by hand, on which a second, smaller disc is placed, made of white mother-of-pearl, and bevelled with a pink gold ring. The white disc contains a set of golden, lancine-style hands showing the hours and minutes.

This mineral ying yang is adorned by a double ring of diamonds (232 stones with a total of 1.23 carats) running along the bezel and the outer side of the pink gold lugs. The case measures 35mm in diameter and houses the automatic JD2653.P calibre. This movement made by Jaquet Droz, containing a double barrel, provides a power reserve of up to 68 hours.

The Petite Heure Minute Astorite model is worn with a grey satin strap with a gold pin buckle.

Price on request.

By Sharmila Bertin