More so than any other consumer product, watches are intertwined with history. Whether it’s your grandfather’s Elgin pocket watch or Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona that broke the record for most expensive wristwatch ever sold, it’s these relationships between time and personality that allow watches to retain a sort of indefinable sense of humanity on the wrist. Some brands embrace this ideological stance and put a focus on bridging the gap between historical perception and modern tastes, while others take the watch as an archival item onto itself and build it out with historically significant objects of the past. Is this taking it too far? Does adding a piece of the Titanic onto a watch provoke a moral quandary or make it more valuable? What about adding human blood onto a watch’s dial? What’s the limit to these “special-edition” timepieces? That’s up to you.
MB&F (which by now most watch aficionados know stands for “Max Büsser and Friends”) has built its brand equity on uniting some of the world’s most inventive and renowned independent watch artisans, and the new Legacy Machine Thunderdome, unveiled today after sneak previews last fall, is no exception. Not only does this wildly unconventional timepiece feature a world-first, proprietary tourbillon device; it also marks the first collaboration between watchmakers Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen.
Today on “Vintage Eye,” we’ll be focusing our gaze on Alpina’s new Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph, a neo-vintage bicompax monopusher chronograph released earlier this fall. This new model takes its inspiration from a 1970s helmet-style case design common in racing watches during the era — like this Bulova seen below via Analog/Shift— and an older-style monopusher, coming together to develop a unique watch uncommon at its price point.
The Startimer Heritage Pilot uses a 42-mm wide stainless steel “helmet” style case, comprised of brushed and polished facets. At the two o’clock position its single chronograph pusher used for starting the mechanism, stopping it, and resetting it, with a signed crown just below it. The dial is available in three color options, the first a silvered white option with two anthracite subdials evoking the panda dial aesthetic which is particularly popular on neo-vintage chronographs; and the other two use a blue sunray dial with silver registers, differing only in the colors of their hands and their tachymetric scales. This scale is angled on the outer edge of the face, while printed markers are used for each minute, with applied metal markers accented with Super-LumiNova used at each hour position. The model has two subdials, one for running seconds at 9 o’clock, the other for a 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock. Sweeping over the dial, with the printed Alpina logo at the top, are two slim hands accented with lume, while a simple pointer tallies chronograph seconds.
Women’s watches take center stage for the holidays. Whether sparkling with diamonds or sleekly simple, these timepieces designed especially for women are sure to please. Here, offered up on Black Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season, are 26 newly released ladies’ watches that are perfect for gift giving.
BELL & ROSS
New to the Bell & Ross BR S Diamond Eagle family this year are the BR S Black Diamond Eagle and the BR S Black Diamond Eagle Diamonds. The watches’ dials are inspired by the celestial sphere and are covered by sparkling diamonds that twinkle like stars in the night sky; the Aquila constellation is represented by seven diamonds. The hour circle features metal appliqués. Each version comes on a black satin calfskin leather strap or a black ceramic bracelet. The Diamonds version has a bezel set with 66 white diamonds (0.99 ct.). 39-mm steel case. BR-CAL.102 quartz movement. As shown: $7,400.
Dive watches from Rolex are highly sought after. And it’s no wonder with such an exciting
history, a number of noteworthy collaborations, unique designs and robust, accurate in-house movements. We explore the various models in this feature from our October 2019 issue.
Rolex currently produces four different dive watch models: the Submariner and Submariner Date, the Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea (listed here in order from lowest to highest in both size and price). The Submariner and Submariner Date share the same case size. Almost all watches in this collection offer versions with different materials, dial and bezel colors. The Submariner without a date indication is the entry-level piece and is priced at $7,500. Introduced in 1953, it was the first dive watch from Rolex. At that time, it had a bidirectional rotating bezel for measuring dive time. Initially, the Submariner was water resistant to 100 meters, but by 1954 Rolex had already increased this level to 200 meters. In 1955, the English Royal Navy began using the Submariner as its official dive watch and the Royal Canadian Navy followed suit the following year.
While ghosts and goblins might have disappeared with the passing of Halloween, skeletons remain alive – figuratively speaking, of course – and well on the wrists of thousands of watch collectors worldwide during the early days of this holiday season. Skeletonization, in which the dial and all non-essential materials are removed from the movement construction, is one of modern watchmaking’s most enduring trends, with roots dating back to the mid-20th century. Each year, dozens of brands unveil skeletonized timepieces that range from over-the-top and garish to pleasantly subtle. Here, we’ve gathered five noteworthy timepieces that have embraced skeletonization to great effect.