Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica

Sometimes a watch just catches your eye. And when you're stuck in quarantine, you've really got some time on your hands to sit back, and take in a ton of watch releases. Established in 1966, the Delma brand has produced a range of sports watches, pocket watches, and complicated pieces. Recently, they announced something that I found incredibly attractive - even if it is slightly out of my comfort zone in almost every way. Developed in partnership with explorer and brand ambassador Nick Moloney, the Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica embodies the true enthusiasm of adventure and a deep appreciation for the Great White Continent. It's incredibly absurd, and I love it.

Based on Delma's Shell Star collection, the Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica is 44mm in diameter with a 13.8mm case height. It looks... bananas, and something about it just makes me want to finally buy a boat. I'm no Shackleton, but damn - I think this can get me close, right? The best part about this watch is that it really isn't explicitly a dive watch, and features a cool compass bezel along with some attractive dial markings. With a textured dial pattern mimicking the Antarctic landscape and the points of sail, this is really a watch that stands out among dive watches that are simply over-engineered for no reason at all.

Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica Specs

  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Thickness: 13.8mm
  • Water Resistance: 500m
  • Movement: ETA 2824
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Dial: Ice Pattern with points of sail, tactical planner, and SuperLumiNova C3
  • Bracelet: Steel with polished center links
  • Price: $1450

In some ways, I almost find this more attractive than something like a Yachtmaster. It has flare and an equipped sense of adventure that isn't common in larger and smaller boutique brands. On the plus side, the dial seems absolutely gorgeous. And if I ever want to reach for something with that YUGE dive watch vibe that isn't a Sea-Dweller knock-off, why not reach for something like this? Also, I'm really finding a true love for accessible, generic movements like the ETA 2824 recently. You can service that anywhere. And with 25 jewels, a 4Hz operating frequency, and a 38-hour power reserve, this thing is never going to let you down.

The Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica is limited to 200 pieces and you can learn more on Delma's official site.


The Movado Datron Sub-Sea Chronograph's Lost Story: Reuniting with Movado - Part 1

There's no greater blessing than bearing witness to an iconic watch brand's reputation crash and burn, it's legacy in total ruin, and hopefully forgotten by the masses... It means getting your hands on their earlier stuff is that much easier.

Such is the case with Movado.

Today, Movado is best known for their minimalist "museum dial" and its variety of fashionable iterations available in every mall across America. More often than not, they’re outfitted with sapphire crystals and Swiss-made quartz movements. They are a staple to many enthusiasts’ first discoveries of brand awareness and accessible luxury. And, prejudices aside, it’s fair to say they're good at what they do. Beyond aesthetics however, "what they do" isn't much, and it's probably why you'd be challenged to find any watch journalism covering their accolades today.

Quality that’s lost its way is nothing new for the watch world; there are a ton of other brands that exist as shadows of their former glory... Bulova, Wittnauer, and in some respects, Longines are among them. But none get shat upon by horological elites quite like Movado. This may say more about how far the they've descended than their current offerings of today. Regardless, this is not a bad thing, and perpetuating the blanket statement that Movados are "less than" means there's tremendous value proposition to discover from their earlier pre-quartz line-up.

As such, please consider the 1969 Movado Datron Sub-Sea as Part 1 of this 2-part Movado appreciation series. Be sure to check out Part 2 for a Pre-Mesuem Dial History of this iconic brand.

Reacquainting Ourselves with the Movado Datron Sub-Sea Chronograph

Featured Insights

• Reference: 298
• Year released: 1969
• Movement: Caliber 3019 PHC, automatic chronograph (manual-wind optional), El Primero with date function, 17/31 jewels (depending on region of distribution), 36,000 bph, 51 hr power reserve.
• Case: 38mm, 18mm lug width, stainless steel, tonneau-style case.
• Bracelet: steel, link with folding clasp.
• Dial: triple register black and white panda, with date at the twelve.

Zenith-Movado-Mondia Holdings Group

Before expanding on the Datron’s characteristics, shedding light on the relationship between Movado and Zenith would allow for greater perspective. A common misconception is that Movado is a less-expensive version of Zenith (akin to Bulova/Caravelle). In actuality, the two started as separate entities but understood the value in joining forces for building on their R&D department to combat the rise of the electronic watch.

Because of this relationship, the two watch brands were tied to the hip in cohesion for both their line-ups. Secondly, Zenith took interest in acquiring Movado because they were restricted from marketing their watches to the United States due to trademark territory disputes with Zenith Electronics. The two were unrelated companies that only shared a name by coincidence. Ironically, Zenith Electronics would later purchase the majority of shares for Zenith watch company in a move that would become symbolic of the quartz dominance of the seventies.

To side-step this marketing restriction, Movado “became” the Zenith brand of the American market (although Movado was still widely available in Europe). Many watches produced in the late sixties and early seventies were completely identical in parts and materials used. You could pop off a Movado case-back and see a Zenith-signed movement.

This would even include sharing dial appearances with exception to interchanging the name from Zenith to Movado. In some cases, both names were signed alongside each other. Depending on the watch, Movado produced a greater number of cases in solid 18k and 14k gold options.

Oops, almost forgot about Mondia. Real quick, so… Mondia actually was kind of the redheaded stepchild of the trio. It's not that they were poor quality, per say. They just had the smallest budget to work with across the board. Being the most affordable, they were provided very little in the way of marketing support. In the end, the struggle to stay relevant against the quartz options was very real.

The Datron Engine: A Story of its Own

Powering the Datron is the base Caliber 319 PHC movement. However, you’re probably more familiar with its alias, “El Primero,” as marketed by Zenith. The two are virtually identical. As “the first automatic chronograph,” attempts to discuss its merits in a thousand words or less is a challenge. Still produced to this day, it’s best remembered for its 36,000 beats per hour that are capable of measuring speed up to a 1/10th of a second.

As partners, Zenith sought to leverage Movado’s experience designing complications from the forties, and their more recent development of the Kingmatic HS 360 (36,000 bph) as building blocks that would become integral for the Primero’s production. Several generations later, the Primero’s design served as the foundation for the Rolex Daytona.

This Datron utilizes a variant movement (3019 PHC) where the date window is located at the “12” instead of the typical location between the “4” and “5” markers. It’s exclusive to Movado; you’ll never see this consideration for balance incorporated into Zenith’s line-up from the era. The movement’s overall height is 6.5 mm, exceptionally flat considering its complications (for its day). As with the other triple register chronographs, the continuous running seconds is on the left subdial. The minutes are documented at the right (thirty-minute cycles), with up to twelve hours recorded at the bottom.

The second hand sweeps with an uncommon fluidity you’d expect from a high-beat movement. Some owners might tell you, “When pressure’s applied to the top pusher, there’s a noticeable difference in less force required to start the timer. This is an integrated column-wheel chronograph—where unlike the modular Calibre 11 Heuers—the mechanics here are more fluid and deliberate.” But as an owner among them, I can’t really tell any different... I’m just glad it keeps time to within 20 seconds a day after fifty years of use.

The Case

The Datron is housed in a stainless steel tonneau-shaped case with a profile that “swallows” its lugs. It’s overall form is a sporty reminder that design was shifting toward edgier seventies-styling. It may not be a timeless look, but it was more conservative than the Primero A384—with angles so aggressive that folks at Zenith pretty much said, “Screw it. Next time, let’s just call it ‘the Defy.’”

The Movado’s case front surface is a brushed texture in the direction the body’s curvature, and polished on the sides. While the crown is signed with Movado’s fifties-era “M,” the case-back is plain and without any unique appearance with exception to the engraving, “Sub-Sea.” Contrary to what the text would suggest, this was by no means a diving watch. “Sub-sea” was merely a designator to communicate water resistance in the same way that Omega had advertised a Seamaster. However, other models including the Super Sub-Sea made good on those who were left wanting something more.

With dimensions of 38mm across and 43mm lug to lug, it’s decently proportioned with modernity in mind, aided more so by the lack of a bezel. Other case alternatives included gold plaque, 14k solid gold, and 18k solid gold.

The Dial: A Balancing Act in Aesthetics

Fans of the original Hamilton Chrono-matic would find themselves right at home with the panda dial and reverence for symmetry shared by the Datron. It’s right around here that I need to be transparent about my prejudice. I’ve never been a fan of the date windows, even less so of ones located between the “4” and “5” markers for the obvious reason that the balance is compromised. Not wanting to interfere with lower the sub-dial, Movado made the decision to set the date in place of the “12” marker at the top. In doing so, the date window actually brings more balance to the piece, complementing the sub-dials with the black date placement.

Circling the dial’s outer edge is a black chapter ring with a tachymeter scale, made visible by contrasting white print. Just inside the predominantly white face we see the fine black lines marking 1/5th of a second. With exception to the date position, every five minute interval is identified by silver applied indices with luminescent accents, three of which are intercepted by the black sub-dials. I can empathize with folks who get riled up by Arabic numerals getting cut off, but the “3, 6, and 9” markers are perpendicularly positioned to accommodate for the dials, also a purposeful consideration for three hour increments. Mimicking the appearance and width of the indices, are the polished baton hands.

Just below the date window there’s the silver applied logo “M,” followed by three lines of centered text, “MOVADO,” “Datron,” and “HS 360.” Each line tapers more tightly toward the center, mindful of the remaining space. Whomever had been put in charge of this was an utter Nazi for symmetry. Oddly enough, omitted from inclusion is any mention of “Automatic.”

Other dial options included a gold gilded dial (for the gold cases) and two “inverse panda” versions offering either blue or black with white sub-dials.

The Bracelet

The bracelet that comes stock with the Datron is stainless steel with a three-fold clasp. Physically, it appears to be a combination of brushed finish links held together by beads of rice “grains.” The clasp is a brushed finish and signed with the Movado “M.” At the time of its release, Movado was known to have partnered with Gay Freres for outsourcing their bracelet manufacturing (same for Zenith), however there are no other identifying characteristics suggesting this was the case for this particular model. This would suggest Movado had made it in-house, and that it’s unique to this particular model. It’s lightweight, comfortable on the wrist, and capable of micro adjustments within an inch based on the clasp’s setting.

Final (Subjective) Thoughts

The Datron is not a “Poor man’s Zenith Primero.”  Zenith leveraged Movado as their partner to market their goods in the States, where they couldn’t be offered for legal reasons and maximized the opportunity for quality whenever available.  Although it’s easy to take pot shots at Movado for reprioritizing its interests throughout the years (and changing of hands since then), this should not detract from their earlier successes.  The original Datron is very much its own thing. The Movado of today did eventually attempt to look backward and re-release the original, however it’s engine was replaced with an ETA 2894-2 (37-jewels).

The 319 PHC/Primero movement represents the pinnacle of engineering for its time. It was a desperate attempt to outshine a tuning fork and battery through massive pooling of resources, that in the long run, contributed to laying the groundwork for many other companies in suit.  Even after all the hoopla surrounding the competition of the Caliber 11, Tag Heuer conceded to integrating the Primero movement into their “in-house.” Even more blasphemously, it outfitted their Monaco.

What’ll finding one of these cost?  Like any other watch, condition’s everything and the traditional panda dials tend to be more desirable.  Following eBay, I’ve seen them anywhere between $1100 for gold plaque - $3700 for NOS solid 18k gold. Nothing to sneeze at, but considering its legendary in-house movement, you’d be pressed to find a better value in any other vintage piece on the market.

Continue to Part 2 for a Pre-Museum Dial History of Movado.

Seiko Prospex SPB149 Dive Watch

Judging from yesterday's news, it's looking like several releases initially planned for Seiko's Tokyo summit were simultaneously dropped. From a new hi-beat GS caliber to a trio of vintage reissue dive watches, Seiko fans everywhere got a good look at what the brand would be pushing throughout 2020. Unfortunately, most of these fall well into the four-figure price range, but a couple of them do stand out as interesting. Among those is the Seiko Prospex SPB149 200m dive watch - yet another modern recreation of Seiko's very first diver released in 1965, the 62MAS.

Seiko 62Mas 1965 ref 6217 – the original Seiko diver

Unlike the first batch of modern re-interpretation 62MAS models like the SBDC051, the new Seiko Prospex SPB149 comes to the market with a cool, blue-grey dial, a smaller 40mm case, and the updated in-house 6R35 automatic movement. The smaller case size is something I think we can all appreciate - especially since the more faithful dimensions were previously reserved for the $4k+ SLA017 62MAS reissue. Another thing that stands out to me is the vintage-y handset - something modders usually look to swap out in the newer, lower-priced reissues. (sorry, big arrow Monster hand). Finally, we get a cool hint of yellow in the text and the second's hand. Hmm... almost has a bit of that Raven Trekker vibe, eh?

Seiko Prospex SPB149 Specs

  • Case Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Thickness: 13.2mm
  • Water Resistance: 200m
  • Movement: Seiko 6R35 with 70-hour power reserve
  • Crystal: Domed sapphire
  • Strap: 3-link stainless steel & an included silicone option
  • Price: EUR 1,350

Other touches include a brushed ceramic 60-minute bezel insert that is coated in sapphire. While impossible to tell from press photos alone, I bet this will make for some pretty dynamic visuals in varying natural light. Here's the kicker: this thing is apparently "limited" to 5,500 pieces. But I'm also hearing rumors of a non-limited black dial version that we haven't found any info on just yet. If true, that model could possibly come in at a lower price and be a real hit with collectors seeking that SLA017 vibe at a much lower price. For now, this watch, along with some sexy Willard reissues, seems to be the most attractive out of the bunch. We'll keep on top of these new releases as best as we can and chat through them in upcoming TBWS podcast episodes.


Hydrophobia, The Longines Heritage Classic Sector, and You

Opening Tangent

One of the surest signs that I’m getting old is the incredulity I feel every time I find out how old various songs, movies, and TV shows have become. Take the US version of The Office, which premiered on March 24, 2005 - almost fifteen years ago!!! Fifteen years since the world first started shipping Jim and Pam, and in fact back during a time when “shipping” was a term applied pretty exclusively to the world of logistics (Incidentally, 2005 also marked the launch of Amazon Prime in the US. What a year; what a time to be alive!).

Another sign of my inexorable march toward middle age is my tendency to tell seemingly pointless, tangent-filled stories about nothing in particular before getting to the point with basically no transition. Fun Run, the Season 4 premiere of The Office, involved, among many other things, a bunch of factual zingers about rabies (side note: rabies is actually a really terrifying virus and if you have any concern at all that the raccoon that bit you an hour ago might have been rabid, please stop reading this watch review immediately and seek medical attention).

This is how I learned that in its later stages rabies causes hydrophobia, or an irrational fear of water. As it turns out, this is also the connection between rabies and watch enthusiasm, as many hardcore watch fans, some of whose passions could indeed be described as rabid, have developed our own irrational fears of water: horological hydrophobia.

The reason I bring all this up is my fairly recent acquisition of the Longines Heritage Classic Sector, an otherwise beautiful and capable watch that “only” sports 30m of water resistance and also (in this configuration) comes with a blue suede-finish strap. For a lot of folks, the water resistance is a deal breaker, especially for a watch that comes in at a bit over $2,000 MSRP, but I’m here to tell you why it doesn’t have to be so. And with that awkward segue completed, here we go...

Longines Heritage Classic Sector Specs

The Longines Heritage Classic Sector brings a nice modern take to a Longines design from the 1930s. It's a moment in time that they really want to remind us about given the watch’s resemblance to another piece by a well-known Swiss manufacturer with a name even harder to pronounce correctly than Longines. The case measures in at a modest 38.5mm, with a thickness of about 12mm and a lug-to-lug around 47mm. Proportionally, this watch wore similarly on my wrist to the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical, which is 38mm wide and about 48mm lug-to-lug, though with a much thinner case at about 9mm.

For a dressier watch, 12mm, while not exactly thick, is also far from svelte. That thickness is made a bit more understandable with the knowledge that the Longines Heritage Classic Sector houses an automatic movement: a Longines-exclusive (at least for now) L893.5, produced by ETA, which, like Longines, is fully owned by the Swatch group. Therefore the L893.5 could be considered sort of in-house for those who care about that sort of thing. It’s a pretty cool movement, with a long 64-hour power reserve and a silicon balance spring to provide additional antimagnetic properties.

All told, I’d probably have been happier with a hand-wound movement and a slimmer case, but the automatic probably makes this watch a better everyday piece for most. The Longines Heritage Classic Sector comes with two strap configurations: a blue suede-finish leather strap (with an additional grayish fabric NATO included), or a black calfskin leather (with an additional light blue fabric NATO).

Lug width is a vintage-appropriate 19mm, which is ideal for someone like me whose collection is rife with vintage pieces, but might be annoying for folks who are loaded up with 20mm lug width watches and can’t handle a one-millimeter strap pinch. I get it, we’re all watch lovers here and therefore generally pretty pedantic. Such is the nature of our people!

Overall Look and Feel of The Watch

The 38.5mm case on the Longines features a mostly brushed finish on the visible surfaces, with an oversized, signed, polished crown and polished surfaces on the underside of the case including a nicely engraved caseback. I have no idea what the ETA 893.5 movement looks like, but it would have been nice to get a look at it with a display caseback; however, a solid caseback does fit more nicely with the vintage vibe and for all I know plays a role in magnetic resistance.

The dial is the real star of this show, however; sitting under a nice boxed sapphire crystal, the Longines Heritage Classic Sector dial features a great combination of surface finishes. The black paint on the numerals and minute track add nice depth to the dial over a polished metal ring. These elements themselves surrounds the more matte finish, off-white center and small-seconds subdial, which itself sports a very nice concentric pattern.

Some folks might be put off by the cut off “6” numeral or the 3 and 9 being at sort of a radial angle as opposed to just being easily readable when looking at the watch straight on, but those are both vintage cues that come with this pretty faithful reissue. There are only slight changes between the old and new. Kudos to Longines for keeping the vintage vibe intact by not adding a bunch of text to the dial. Instead, all the usual info that one might expect is on the caseback along with an engraved vintage Longines logo.

As one ought to expect from a watch that comes in at $2150 MSRP, the straps that come with the watch are of very high quality and super comfortable. I haven’t yet taken the watch off the suede finish blue leather. Given that the watch came with a second strap it would have been nice to include quick release straps and spring bars; or drilled lugs (which the original watch did not have, but still a very reasonable feature for a vintage reissue) to make strap changes a little easier.

Feeling Fine about 30m Water Resistance...Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rain

For those who don’t know, 30m water resistance does not at all mean that you can take this watch 30 metres underwater, only that it can withstand 3 atmospheres of static pressure in a lab environment. In short, this watch should be considered splash resistant. It shouldn’t be worn when swimming; shower with this watch on at your own risk. Of course, the leather strap probably also shouldn’t be out getting drenched either.

While this watch shouldn’t be your choice to time your next scuba diving expedition, it doesn’t mean that it can’t withstand a bit of bad weather in everyday use. Some watch enthusiasts, myself included, have at some point convinced ourselves that a watch needs at least 100m water resistance and a screw down crown to stand a chance at all of being a decent everyday wearer.

But that is simply not so. For the most part, I’m pretty unlikely to encounter a spontaneous swimming opportunity in my daily life, and as long as one is careful about keeping that crown pushed down (and that 64-hour power reserve and automatic movement helps make this a bit easier) this watch ought to make a fine everyday piece.

It’s a vintage reissue that has stayed mostly true to its predecessor, with the exception of a thicker case to house its upgraded movement. It has a versatile look that works as well with a t-shirt and jeans as it does with a sport coat and, well, jeans. This watch helped me get over my horological hydrophobia, and has really redefined the concept of an everyday watch for me.

Featured Insights

• 38.5mm x 47mm x 12mm
• 19mm Lug Width
• 30m water Resistance
• Longinges Caliber L893.5
• Silicon balance spring
• 64 Hour Power Reserve
• Boxed sapphire crystal
• MSRP: $$2150

Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Review (2254.50.00)

There’s a story to be told of how I came to own an Omega Seamaster Professional 300M...

One day last March, I walked into the local watch shop where I help out once a week, Arlington Watch Works. I’d finagled my way in about a year before that, offering to help with online sales in exchange for some informal bench training. That day, I was going through the new pickups I’d need to shoot for the webstore and saw an Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Chronometer 2254.50.00.

I fit it over my hand and clasped the bracelet: A perfect fit. This was fate. Destiny. Kismet. I said as much to Dan Sabouni, the shop’s owner and watchmaker. He told me to try it out for a bit and if I liked it, it was mine at cost. After a one-week test drive, the deal was done.

The Seamaster is Omega’s longest running line. Originally released in 1948 to coincide with the brand’s centennial, the Seamaster was based loosely on the waterproof watches Omega produced for the British Royal Navy during World War II. Thanks to a new-to-Omega rubber gasket system, the Seamaster could reach depths of up to 60m. Even then, though, it was solely not directed at waterfaring adventurers and was put forth as a watch suitable for “town, sea, and country.”

Fast forward to 1957, when scuba diving was taking the world by storm and Omega released the Seamaster 300 (and the Speedmaster, which you may have heard of). Ironically only good to a depth of 200m, the Seamaster 300 is the aesthetic forebear of modern Seamaster dive watches.

The ensuing decades saw the Seamaster line expand into a number of models and sub-lines, including soccer timers, quartz dress watches, and the legendary behemoth that was the Ploprof. In 1993, after what can only be described as a 30-year identity crisis, the Omega Seamaster Professional 300M was released. The “SMP” was almost entirely new; while the case featured the classic lyre lugs, the wave dial, handset, scalloped bezel, helium escape valve, and bracelet were all new.

Just two years later, when costume designer Lindy Hemming arrived on the set of the upcoming James Bond film GoldenEye, she told Rolex to buzz off, recognizing that Omega had a history more closely tied to the British Royal Navy, and therefore more in sync with Bond. Pierce Brosnan strapped on the quartz Omega Seamaster 300M 2541.80, and the Seamaster regained its caché. In 2000, Omega introduced my model, the fifth generation of the Seamaster Professional.

And 7 years after that, my specific SMP was assembled and sent out into the world. It’s been in my regular rotation ever since I picked it up almost a year ago—which means I wear it at least once a month, often more. So how has it held up? Am I still as taken with it as I was on day one?

Omega SMP Case

The SMP case is classic Omega and the first thing to pop, as ever, are the lyre lugs. Their trademark twist meet a case that is sleek and perfectly sized. With a diameter of 41mm and a height of just 12mm (including the sapphire crystal, and partly attributable to the sloped bezel), it wears splendidly on the wrist; it looks and feels equally at home under the cuff or on the beach (where I hope you don’t wear cuffed shirts). Sharp lines and a brushed finish define a narrow midcase profile, while a barely-there polished chamfer runs along the underside edge.

The 3 o’clock screwdown crown on the Seamaster Professional 300M is protected by guards that flow organically out of the case. The crown itself features an embossed Omega logo and in my opinion could stand to be a bit wider; its length allows for adequate gripping, but there are times when I wish there was more to grab onto (#crowngirth). The screwdown crown (and caseback) provide for 300m for water resistance, but that doesn’t make the Omega-branded helium escape valve at 10 o’clock any less superfluous. Ostensibly, the valve allows saturation divers—who remain at depth for weeks if not longer—to safely decompress as they return to the surface, without the watch exploding.

As of 2015, 10% of US commercial divers were saturation divers, or 336 people. Let’s give Omega a bit of leeway and say that globally there are 1500 people who conduct saturation dives. And let’s now fully acknowledge the inanity of Omega—or any brand—including this function on a modern dive watch. For the lay-wearer, it is just another protuberance to catch your watch on. For my part, I have never touched the HeV on my watch, as I fear that it would destroy the watch or unleash a mythical beast that would desolate the kingdoms of man.

The stainless steel bezel is sloped and features a scalloped edge with a black aluminum insert. While the scalloped edge continues the watery form of the case, it also serves to make the bezel nigh on inoperable except in the driest conditions. I’ve found that even with sweat on my hands, the bezel’s thinness and lack of texture makes setting it a challenge; when water is involved, it’s simply game over. Form won out over function, and the watch may be worse for it. The bezel is aluminum, which was standard until the recent move to ceramic bezels. As such, though, the insert is a bit more prone to the occasional nick and scratch.

The Wave Dial

The wave dial on the Omega Seamaster Professional 2254 has become iconic, and it remains in heavy use by Omega. The entire dial within the markers is embossed with the undulating pattern first introduced on the Bond SMP in 1993. On my Omega 2254, as on the original, it allows the dial to mirror the fluid curves of the case. This serves as a subtle reminder to the wearer to go get in the water and use the watch the way it was meant to be used. One of the treats about the wave dial in black is how it plays with light, with the pattern seeming to disappear if the light misses it, but come alive when it hits.

The dial layout is identical to that of the Seamaster 300 “Big Triangle” from 1960s: a huge triangle at 12 and smaller truncated triangles at every other hour, with the cardinal hours being lopped off to stubbiness. While the stubbiness may look odd, on the old 165.024 it provided the 3-6-9 numerals. Sharp sword hands (also harkening back to the 1960s Seamasters) tell the time, with a red-tipped lollipop seconds hand. Unlike the skeletonized hands of the Bond SMP and all new SMPs, these hands are solid and fully lumed. They are easier to read, day and night, and for that I say they are better.

Looking at the rest of the dial, the Omega logo and name are printed (not applied, as in some new models) just below 12 o’clock. There’s a bevy of text in the southern hemisphere, including the Seamaster branding in the classic script that has remained in use since the line was first released over 70 years ago. Justifying the stubby index at 3 o’clock is a beveled date window with a color matched date wheel. This is how date windows should be done; it is minimally disruptive both in physical and visual execution. We finally have a modern justification for the stubby indices at 3-6-9: symmetry!

The keys to lume excellence are charging speed, brightness, evenness, and duration; the Omega Seammaster Professional 2254 excels at all four. A quick step outside on a sunny day (literally seconds) will leave the watch’s C3 Super-LumiNova ablaze for several minutes. Because of how the lume is applied on the dial as a droplet confined by the thin white border, when it begins to dim it does so unevenly; it continues to shine in the middle of the plots after the edges have gone dark.

Stock Bracelet and Strap Pairings

The Seamaster 2254.50 comes on a 3-link bracelet featuring satin and polished finishes. The 2254 was also available on the 5-link Omega bracelet more native to the Seamaster line, though I’ve always found that one a bit busy. The 3-link bracelet articulates well for excellent comfort and closure is granted by a folding push-button clasp. The only issue when I got this watch was the clasp spring was totally shot, ensuring it popped open with the slightest nudge. Having since replaced it, I can tell you that it is both easy to do and allows fine tuning of the closure’s tension.

While the bracelet does not feature any microadjustments, it does have a diver’s extension hidden under the clasp, providing an extra 3.1cm to those who wear wetsuits to work. Because of the lyre lugs, the bracelet will never sit flush, and as such there is a disruption to the fluidity of the case when it is attached. I always prefer a bracelet be integrated as seamlessly as possible—i.e. Lorier Hydra, CW C65, ect.—but recognize that it is not always possible.

One of the great things about this watch—and steel black and white watches in general—is that strap combinations are endless. I’ve put this on all the colors, all the materials, and all the styles and it always works. With its dress-leaning styling, it is equally suited to a sleek suede strap as it is to a silicone band. As is hopefully clear from the photos in this review, the Seamaster’s ability to work well with so many straps is a testament to the design versatility of the watch itself.

Omega Caliber 1120

Flipping the watch over, a screwdown caseback reiterates the wave motif and has the classic Omega Seamaster hippocampus, whom I’ve named Gert. Considered sea monsters by the ancient Greeks, the hippocampi, with head of horse and body of fish, are often affixed to the gondolas of Venice as waterfaring protection.

Omega’s in-house engraver had taken a trip to the floating city and was inspired thusly, resulting in the seahorse emblem gracing Seamasters since 1958. Unlike smaller brands that feel a need to flaunt all their specs on the caseback, Omega has no need. So caseback text is kept to a minimum with the Seamaster name and the Omega logo.

The caseback protects the Omega Caliber 1120. While the co-axial movement that now drives almost every Omega was acquired by the brand in 1993, it wasn’t fully integrated into a movement until 1999, with the Caliber 2500. Introduced in 1996, the 1120 served as the base for the 2500.  The 1120 is based on the ETA 2892-A2, one of the finest movements ever made by Omega’s sister brand. The movement is a COSC-certified chronometer, with an upgraded 23 jewels, additional rhodium plating, 44 hours of power, and beating at 28,800vph. Please don’t hate me, but my Seamaster—which I got at cost with no knowledge of service history from the watch shop where I get to play with watches—is running within COSC specs at +4.2s/d over three days. So that’s a nice surprise.

Final Thoughts

This one is staying with me. It’s a symbol of my relationship with Dan and the watch shop, and it’s a solid watch that fits into the go anywhere, do anything schema. It’s apparent at a glance that the Seamaster Professional 300M is a bit different from your usually higher end dive watches. When put side-by-side with a Submariner, it’s sleeker, dressier, more versatile. As such, I think that it’s better considered a dress diver, if you can accept that such a thing exists. With its decidedly elegant case and its slippery-when-wet bezel, this watch is for people who never dive. It’s for those who are more likely to time a soufflé than a dive, more likely to get it wet with a hose than in the ocean, more likely to be bored at work than bored on a boat. In short, this watch is for people like me.

Featured Insights

• 41mm x 47mm x 12mm
• 20mm lug width
• 300m Water Resistance
• Diver's extension clasp
• Helium escape valve (for some reason)
• Omega Cal. 1120 Movement
• COSC-certified chronometer
• Iconic SMP wave dial pattern
• C3 Super-LumiNova

Mido Ocean Star Tribute Review: Happy 75th Birthday Ocean Star!

Mido is a company with a rich history and a series of firsts in horology. They claim to be one of the first watches on the market with an automatic movement and an anti-magnetic case with the Mulitfort in the 1930's. In 1944, they released the monocoque Ocean Star that used the cork Aquadura gasket system (that's right cork) to create a water-resistant watch. This was released roughly 10 years before Blancpain released their first water-resistant watch.

The Aquadura system lasted in Mido watches for decades. While that seems like a big deal, Mido is still virtually unknown in the United States (you'd think the #watchfam would go nuts for history like that). Similarly, The Mido Ocean Star Tribute was recently released to celebrate the Ocean Star's 75th birthday; and it went by with very little fanfare. In fact, other than a blurb about the release on Worn and Wound and Teddy Baldassarre's Youtube video he did in Spain, there is nary a US website with much information on this watch. That changes today, my friends, as I have a Mido Ocean Star Tribute M026.830.11.041.00 in hand! Well, on wrist.

As most of you have read in the past, I usually treat myself to something nice at the end of each year. A while back (after reading Mike Razak's review on the Ocean Star Captain Titanium) I bought a Rose Gold Ocean Star Captain and fell in love with its simplicity and elegance. Around this time, Mido released the Ocean Star Tribute and I kinda got that feeling you get when you buy a brand new car and they release the redesigned model a month later. I did as much research as I could, but there isn't much out there that isn't on Mido's own website. Long story short, after going back and forth and being unable to find someone in the States with one, I bought the Ocean Star Tribute in Mediterranean Blue from an AD overseas and hoped for the best.

The Case

First off, let's address the elephant in the room. When you buy this watch and open the rather large box there's no way you won't notice that the entire watch is polished. That's right. Case and all. There are absolutely no brushed surfaces on this watch. If you're the kind of person that gets your panties in a twist when you get a small mark on your watch, this may not be the watch for you. Now with that out of the way, we can actually address the watch itself.

The case is aesthetically almost the same as the current Ocean Star; it has nearly straight lugs with only a slight chamfer to break up any slab sidedness. The big difference here is the size of the watch. Coming in at 40.5mm, it's about 1.5mm smaller than the standard Ocean Star and the lug to lug is 47mm. I find this to be the sweet spot for dive watches. I know most of them have gotten bigger, and with a 7.5 inch wrist, I personally don't have a huge problem with that. But for me nothing beats a dive watch around the 40mm mark. It's just the sweet spot for big wrists and small wrists alike.

Although the case looks very much like the standard Mido Ocean Star, that's where the similarities end. This model comes with a completely different bezel that is coin-edged and clearly inspired by bezels on Rolex Submariners. It continues to be 60 clicks and has a good tight fit with very little play. Good luck turning it, though. While it's not hard to turn, the polish makes it hard to grip if you're having a dry hand day. Come to think of it, it probably will have little to no grip if you lotion up your hands.

One of the features this watch brings that I personally feel is a big improvement over the standard OS is the bigger sized crown. It looks great on this watch, and, functionally, has so much more grip for easier turning and sealing to the case. Its polished also but has sharp edges that maximize grip rather than the softer edges of the coin bezel.

Rounding out the case is the big box Sapphire crystal that sits atop the watch. It brings the height of the watch to 13.5mm. The rounded edges of the crystal obviously cause some distortion; however, I found the sapphire to be much clearer overall, and causing far less distortion of the dial from different angles than the Plexi crystal in the Lorier that I reviewed last year. You can almost read the watch looking at it totally horizontal, which I found harder to do with the big Plexi on the Hydra.

Whether it was a financial or aesthetic choice, the crystal has no AR coating. It could have been done as a throwback, but I don't miss it on this watch. I'm usually somewhat irritated by how the AR can change the color of the dial on some watches, especially if they have a domed crystal; but with the vintage feel of this watch, I don't miss it at all. I'm sure someone will gripe that they can't read their watch while holding it directly under a light or that it projects a halo on the dial. I don't have the ability to roll my eyes back far enough.

The Dial

The dial of the Mido Ocean Star Tribute that I have is called Mediterranean Blue. It's also available in black and just sings the songs of dive watch advertisements of the era. It's a simple printed dial with the MIDO logo at the top and Ocean Star in the lower section of the dial. There are thick, painted batons spaced at 5 minute intervals with simple markers for every minutes. The dial has very little negative space but doesn't feel crowded, even with the "Datoday" window at 3.

The Micro Ocean Star Tribute hands are a chromed paddle style with the second hand being an orange lollipop that works great against the blue dial. It's easy to read at any time of the day. The bezel is also in Mediterranean Blue, but as aluminum would have it, maybe a shade darker. While it's pretty much just like any Rolex homage bezel, I like that Mido used of aluminum here rather than ceramic or a fake bakelite that's on a lot of modern vintage homages. This is the kind of watch you saw on a hairy, wet wrist in watch ads of the era and I think Mido brought a great package here that works with the case to harken back to those days.

There is a downside though, and I think most of you know where I'm getting ready to go. As much as it pains me to say it, the lume is just nothing to write home about. It's your standard green Superluminova, and for the life of me, I can't understand why something advertised as SUPER can be so sub-par. It should be called Mediocre-luminova. There is no reason the lume on $80 Seiko should keep outperforming the lume on a 1K Swiss watch. But it does. Repeatedly.

I know that most people don't (and shouldn't) care since the watch will probably see more dinner parties than actual diving, and maybe I'm being an horological neckbeard about it, but a dive watch with a 200M rating should be somewhat bright. The Mido Ocean Star Tribute just under-performs in this department. The hands and bezel pip are brighter than the dial, and while the light lasts, it's not very bright. So, let's just move on to something the watch does exceptionally well.

The Bracelet

The bracelet on this watch is a thing of beauty. That's going to be a polarizing opinion, but for me there's no doubt about it. While it pegs the bling meter to the max, the all-polished multi-link bracelet looks more inspired by a 1970's disco ball than the “architecture” that Mido claims it takes inspiration from. It's fully articulating and drapes over your wrist like a gold chain in Miami. While it's not for everyone, I feel like it's one of the most unique bracelets to come out of the recent storm of vintage dive watch releases. It very much reminds me of the Shark Mesh bracelets that adorned and still adorns Omega Ploprofs.

The good news is, if you don't like it, it comes with an additional strap. For the Mediterranean Blue, you get a matching blue canvas strap with a leather back. I haven't tested it, but I can tell you that it's going to need some breaking in. It's as stiff as a teenage boy at the NOPI Nationals. The bracelet is comfortable right now.

The clasp is a smaller carry over from the Ocean Star line, which I'm fine with because it's brilliant. It has the standard push button mechanism to open and then a smaller push button set to extend the bracelet either for diving or to give yourself an extra few mm at the end of a sweaty day. It glides like butter and, amazingly, doesn't make the clasp any thicker than the clasp of a normal watch. The clasp and bracelet combo are perfect for this watch, and in my opinion vintage watches would have killed for this bracelet.

The Movement

The Mido Ocean Star Tribute is powered by the Mido Caliber 80, Mido's branded version of the swatch free-sprung balance that makes its rounds in the swatch brands. When this movement came out, I may have felt it was a gimmick, especially for people like me who rotates watches often. But over time, I've come to see a lot of value in this movement.

While it beats at only 21,600 bph (something certain watch enthusiasts can't stand from a Swiss watch), and it's not as simple to regulate as a typical ETA-2824, it does have an 80 hr power reserve, which is something that most of the vintage homage watches being released can't say. Also, if regulation is your holdup, Mido makes a lot of Caliber 80s in chronometer grade, and maybe that bleeds down. On my timegrapher, this particular Mido is running at +2 seconds a day. If you get on google, you'll find that this isn't the only one to do so. The Caliber 80 is a phenomenal movement giving you some serious luxury benefits at a not-so-luxury price. It definitely changed my mind and helps the overall package.

Final Thoughts

Mido is trying to push its way into the United States. Finally. While the Ocean Star Tribute isn't the best watch you can buy for around $1k USD, it's certainly something different than other Swatch offerings in the US. Personally, I feel Mido to be a dressier option over its Swatch siblings and the Ocean Star Tribute is no different. It's not an homage to any particular Mido, and for the most part it's probably more of a “Dive Watch Greatest Hits.” With that said, the lume isn't great, and unless you've got rubber hands, the bezel can be hard to turn. But what this watch does do right, it does it well. The bracelet and clasp are just gorgeous and just make me feel like I should be on a yacht somewhere with a medallion necklace and chest hair flying.

It's a great entry into the current vintage diver craze but with some modern touches that make it the vintage diver you always wanted or wish you could have had back in the day. If I had to compare it to something I know, it's not like a new Mustang or a Camaro, but maybe like a Dodge Challenger. It's new, and it's not the best. But it looks awesome, it’s affordable, and invokes feelings of the car that once was (while functioning way better than an old one ever could). It comes at you with options people would have killed for once upon a time, and the engine is a serious budget juggernaut. The headlights might still be a bit dull though.

Featured Insights
• 40.5mm x 47mm x 13.5mm
• 21mm Lug Width
• Polished 316L stainliness steel (case and bracelet)
• 60-Click Bezel (aluminum insert)
• 200m Water Resistance
• Superluminova
• Domed sapphire crystal
• Mido Caliber 80 (ETA C07.621) | 80 hour power reserve
• Price: Approx $1.1k USD

Rolex Explorer Alternatives: Navigating First World Problems

This is not an article about the fabled Rolex Explorer 1016 (Feature Photo Credit: HQ Milton).

But... if you squint your eyes really tight and tilt your head, it could kind of look like one.

The perfect storm of Rolex’s value increase and the vintage market renaissance has made it difficult to locate a 1016 below the five figure mark. Perhaps, if you were keen on owning a smaller watch several years ago when the craze was all about 42mm and up, it would have been economically feasible. But, sensibly, you mulled it over and pivoted toward Zodiacs or something equally pocket-friendly and settled. Several years have passed, and now that you've tumbled down this rabbit hole of vintage interest, you're kicking yourself over what could have been.

Today, if you were to list one for sale on Chrono24 in “fair condition,” the suggested price is $19,688… in excess of three times its value since 2015. Its worth by 2025 will be anybody’s guess. Sure, a Rolex is a Rolex, but while the argument can be made "there's nothing else quite like it," a broke watch snob is uniquely postured to play devil's advocate.

This in mind, there are still several tool watches of the era also designed for the casual adventurer that could satisfy your craving for purpose-built aesthetics, while standing firmly on their own merit (and not just as Rolex Explorer Alternatives). Here are several of them.

Tudor Prince Oysterdate Ranger ref. 90220

Featured Specs

  • Case: “Oyster-case” Steel, 34.5mm, with signed Rolex crown
  • Movement: Automatic, caliber 2784/ETA 2483 with hacking seconds
  • Dial: Matte black with Arabic numerals at “12-3-6-9.”
  • Hands: Luminova Sword (minutes), Arrowhead (hour), paddle (second)
  • Bracelet: Rolex “oyster-type bracelet; ref 7835,” with signed Rolex crown
  • Date produced: 1970
  • Expect to pay: $5000+

When comparing watches to the 1016, it’s difficult to ignore the Tudor Ranger... mostly because there are Rolex crowns all over it. At the time of its release, the largest differentiating factor was primarily its engine, a stock ETA movement with a Tudor-branded oscillating weight. While the prices of these have skyrocketed in suit with Rolex, they are a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for the “real deal.” Maybe it isn’t trying to not look like Rolex at all, in which case, the internal dialogue worth considering is, “Will I be happy with a borderline homage?”

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Even more controversial of an issue for collectors is the prevailing concern of reference integrity. Many early examples of the Ranger shared the same reference numbers with more conventional Tudors. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the Ranger had earned enough of an identity to rate its own unique number set. Because of this, charlatans had capitalized on the confusion by giving birth to the now infamous “Red Ranger” —a redial fraudulent model that has enchanted suckers world-wide.

Bulova Snorkel “666’ Deep Sea Diver” ref. 386-3

Featured Specs

  • Case: Steel, 35.2mm x 43.3mm long, 18mm lug width. Signed “Bulova” on crown, steel rotating bezel, with painted black indices. Note: there are two dial variants with a triangular and circular pip above the twelve.
  • Movement: Automatic with Date, 11ALACD, 17 jewels
  • Dial: Matte Black, with Luminova Arabic numerals at “12-6-9” with window date at “3.” Note: There is also a white dial variant (386-4)
  • Hands: Dauphine-shaped with Luminova on the minute and hour. Steel second hand
  • Bracelet: Originally steel (although extremely rare)
  • Date produced: 1964-1968
  • Expect to pay: $350-$800

Despite being called the “Snorkel,” Bulova catalogs referred to the model as the “Deep Sea Diver.” To make things more confusing some have referred to it as the “Devil Diver,” a nickname shared by at least two dozen other Bulovas (also boasting the 666ft depth rating on the dial).

Photo Credit:

It might surprise some that the case back doesn’t feature anything aquatic-related such as a diving helmet or a ship. Instead we see Bulova’s traditional logo of a dancer who in earlier ads from the early 20’s, represented goddess-like elegance (not unlike automobile hood ornaments of the era). At the time, Bulova’s watches were designed with luxury in mind, and it wasn’t until 1919 that they’d built a watch for men specifically for WWI.

The Snorkel was located in Army PX’s around the world when it was released, often placed alongside Rolexes and Zodiacs. And although they were never “issued,” it’s probable that thousands ended up on wrists of service members in Vietnam.

Caravelle Sea hunter ref 49482 “Dauphine hands”

Featured Specs

  • Case: Polished Steel, 36mm, signed “C” on the crown. Rotating Bezel with aluminum insert
  • Movement: Caravelle Cal. 11 / manual winding (17 jewels); 18,000 bph
  • Dial: Black with Luminova arabic numerals at “12-3-6-9,” and 5-minute indices
  • Hands: Tritium dauphine (or) baton (ref. 41585). Baton version includes a “lollipop” second hand
  • Strap: 20mm Tropic diver
  • Date produced: 1971
  • Expect to pay: $350-$800

What Tudor was to Rolex, Caravelle was to Bulova. It was sibling brand with economic methods of production, surfing off the reputation and resources of its big brother. Bulova Watch Co. went through painstaking efforts to advertise that Caravelle’s lineup was all the quality you’d expect from a Bulova, while at the price point of a Timex. This included 17-jewel movements, 50 steps of quality assurance testing, and a 200m water resistance that made the “Snorkel” a success. What never made its way to the full page magazine ads was the fact that they were produced in China.

Still, the merits of its tool watch functionality made it a popular choice for divers who needed a reliable companion underwater without breaking the bank. In keeping with utilitarian basics, Caravelle dismissed the need for a date window (for what reason would it be relevant as opposed to tracking your remaining oxygen?). The only drawback for some could have been its manual wind movement, which, cost savings aside, was behind the curve for 1971.

Featured Specs

  • Case: Polished Steel, 35mm, signed “C” on the crown. Rotating Bezel with black aluminum insert
  • Movement: Automatic Movement, date complication (17 jewels)
  • Dial: Black with Luminova arabic numerals at “12-6-9,” with a date at “3,” and 5-minute indices
  • Hands: Tritium arrowhead (hour), tapered baton (minute), white second hand
  • Strap: 20mm Tropic diver
  • Date produced: 1969
  • Expect to pay: $900-$1700

In all of Caravelle’s lineup, the Sea Hunter seems to have benefited the most from the age of vintage popularity; it’s found a strong cult following. Despite their mass numbers produced, flippers will try to price them well above a Bulova Snorkel when placed side by side.

Caravelle Sea Hunter “Swiss-Made”

To the true connoisseur, there’s a Sea Hunter reference that combats the entire notion of quality spared. It’s known simply as “the Swiss Made version.” Because Caravelle was at one point “Caravelle New York,” it’s understood that their goods were designed with the United States in mind. There’s little research that can speak to this unique model’s place for distribution, as it was never mentioned in printed ads alongside it’s counterparts. It’s scarcity has made it coveted.

Notably, it shares the same unique handset as the Ranger, yet the inclusion of the bezel sets it apart from the Explorer enough that it’s very much its own design… although eerily similar to the Longines Legend Diver.

“But I don’t want to settle.”

Then don’t. Maybe you’re kind of guy who eats first world problems for breakfast. But, consider the fact that the Rolex 1016 Explorer is one of the most mass-produced Rolex replicas circulating the second-hand market. Your likelihood of finding an honest example through dealers on eBay are that much more slim because of it. Risk can be skirted through expert sellers who routinely assess the legitimacy of their stock (expect nose bleed-inducing premiums). Educate yourself*, and learn to enjoy the research.

Photo Credits:

Rolex Explorer 1016

Tudor Prince Oysterdate Ranger ref. 90220

Bulova Snorkel “666’ Deep Sea Diver” ref. 386-3

Caravelle Sea hunter ref 49482 “Dauphine hands”

Caravelle Sea Hunter “Swiss-Made”

Ep. #161: What Would You Rather Spend $14k On?

The snobs sit down and revisit the Omega 321 Speedy release while running through better ways to spend $14k.

Junghans Max Bill 'Black and White' Watches

There seem to be two aesthetic groupings that many German watches can be organized into.  The first has to do with practicality, function over form.  In this first group, perhaps most notably, are flieger watches (German for “flyer”) which were made for pilots.  These watches were about, first and foremost, legibility.  Many of them came in extremely large sizes by today’s standards, upwards of 50mm (Imagine how gigantic they were in the 1930’s and 40’s!).  Like other military watches, fliegers had mostly sterile dials and, since their main function was accurate timekeeping, large and clear Arabic numeral save for the occasional triangle marker at twelve.  Not only are brands with military history (like Stowa, Sinn, and Laco) still making fliegers in this style (albeit a bit smaller), but newer, independent German brands have taken the simplistic, legible, and functional design cues from these original military watches and put their own modern spin on them (Damasko and Archimede for example).

The other group is focused more on form.  Perhaps that’s not correct.  Let’s say that this second group is form-forward, meaning that these watches have a certain design flair that goes beyond function though many of these timepieces also have high-functioning and well-crafted movements (though the movements, also, are showpieces unto themselves and quite form-forward).  Here, you may think of brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Nomos, and Glashütte Original.  Watches from these brands range from simplistically-styled, time only models to asymmetrical, almost abstract pieces with rare and expensive complications.

Junghans, founded in 1861, occupies an interesting niche in the realm of German-manufactured timepieces because they make watches that could fit comfortably into either of the aforementioned aesthetic groups.  To delve into an even more specific niche, one only needs look at their Max Bill line.  The Junghans Max Bill watches are the best of both worlds: high-function and practicality and well-thought-out though creative design.  Designed by Swiss architect Max Bill, a student of the Bauhaus school (and such modern makers as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee), these watches are distinctively modern and, though a hybrid of two recognizable design styles, distinctively German.  The Junghans Max Bill watches are likely familiar to fans of German watchmaking, modernist architecture, industrial design, and modern art.  I don’t know if there is another German watch brand whose design cues may be recognizable to so many people outside the Watch Fam.

Continuing on with their line of watches inspired by minimalist modern Bauhaus style, Junghans has just released new versions of their automatic Max Bill watch and their lovely Max Bill Chronoscope.  Folks familiar with these pieces will be pleased to find most of their design aesthetics intact: Max Bill-created font (particularly that endlessly satisfying “4), minimal, uncluttered dial, and sleek modern case profile.  What makes these watches what they are is this visually appealing blend of form and function.  This is the definition of modernism, something that expresses an artistic point of view, but which is made for consumption and must function at a high level.  This was a leading design principle of Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus school, that architecture (and design for that matter) could be both visually appealing and practical.

The current iteration of the Max Bill automatic and Max Bill Chronoscope share much of the same DNA as previous versions, though these new releases pay even more tribute to Bill, the Bauhaus school, and architecture as a whole.  Taking a cue from Junghans’ previous Max Bill release to celebrate 100 years of the watch, the new offerings all have substituted the traditional stainless steel case for one that is coated with an anthracite-colored PVD.  Combined with an anthracite-gray calf leather strap, the case communicates a clear nod to the foundation (no pun intended) of so much Bauhaus architecture, concrete.  Continuing on with this theme, the dial itself honors building in all its glory with a matte white dial with black and gray hands, font, and indices.  If previous versions of the Max Bill told us, subtly, the story of German modernist architecture, the newest Max Bills are screaming it from the highly-designed, though restrained, rooftops.

The new releases include three watches, both 38mm and 34mm Max Bill automatics (powered by a Sellita SW-300 movement) and a 40mm Max Bill Chronoscope (powered by a Calibre J880.2/Sellita SW-500 movement).  Fans of Bauhaus in specific, German design sensibility in general, and modern art overall will undoubtedly be drawn to Junghans’ newest iterations of the Max Bill.



  • Dimensions: 38mm (ref. 027/4007.04) or 34mm diameter (ref. 027/4006.04) x 10mm height
  • Case: Stainless steel case with matte anthracite PVD coating ; screwed caseback
  • Dial: Matte white dial with black and gray inscriptions and indices
  • Strap: Gray calf leather strap with PVD-coated buckle
  • Water Resistance: 30m )
  • Movement: Sellita SW-300 (inspired by the ETA 2824) automatic movement with 42h power reserve for hours, minutes, seconds, and date
  • Price: EUR 1,095 / USD approx. $1,207 (38mm version) ; EUR 995 / USD approx.. $1,097 (34mm version)


  • Dimensions: 40mm x 14.4mm height (ref. 427/4008.04)
  • Case: Stainless steel case with matte anthracite PVD coating ; screwed caseback
  • Dial: Matte white dial with black and gray inscriptions and indices
  • Strap: Gray calf leather strap with PVD-coated buckle
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Calibre J880.2, an automatic Sellita SW-500 (inspired by the Valjoux 7750) with 48h power reserve for hours, minutes, seconds, day/date, and chronograph
  • Price: EUR 1,895 / USD approx. $2,089

Learn more on the official Junghans website.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 Saturation

Zodiac has just announced its latest iteration of the Super Sea Wolf 68 Saturation. Following the release of the Andy Mann limited edition, the brand likely got a lot of feedback asking for a non-limited Sea Wolf 68 on a traditional link bracelet. And they’ve has delivered on just that.

The watch returns to the color scheme of a previous limited edition of the 68, with a textured black dial featuring orange accents and C3 Super-LumiNova, with a black bezel to match. It’s the first non-limited Sea Wolf 68 to feature the COSC STP 3-13 and the 3-link bracelet from the Andy Mann. The watch is priced at $1,595 and is available now.

Featured Insights

• 45 mm x 11mm x 50 mm
• 20 mm lug width
• STP 3-13 Automatic Movement
• Sapphire Crystal (AR Coating)
• C3 SuperLuminova
• Push-down, uni-direction bezel
• 1000 Meter Resistance
• Price: $1,595