Ollech & Wajs OW C-1000

Ollech & Wajs OW C-1000

By: Michael Penate

If you ask me, one of the most intriguing brand revivals we've seen recently came from Ollech & Wajs. Although their history seems a little fuzzy, the brand released a ton of interesting and quirky tool watches that are ripe for the picking, if you consider the neverending popularity of vintage reissue watches. After introducing their new OW P-101 and OW P-104 models, Ollech & Wajs is now announcing the availability of the OW C-1000—a reissue of the Ollech & Wajs Caribbean 1000 from the 1960s.

The Carribean 1000 itself was a collaboration between Ollech & Wajs and the Jenny Watch Company back in 1946. And if you consider the 60s tool watch vibes found within the OW P-101 and OW P-104 models, it's no surprise that OW chose that very same platform as a starting point for the new OW C-1000. The first reissues brought forth their very own separate "pilot" style points, and this third installment makes for a 100% diving-inspired instrument.

To me, there's a little bit of Doxa, Jenny, and OW mixed into the watch's design. It's brushed top to bottom, features a fully-graduated rotating dive bezel, and boasts an impressive 1,000m of water resistance—something I was not expecting as I started digging through the spec sheet. Another design point that I'm loving is the set of triangular hour markers at 12, 3, and 9. Together with the 6 o'clock date window, they bring a nice degree of symmetry to the dial that goes well with the handset. However, I could've done without the additional "3300 ft" text just above the date window—it's just redundant and makes things feel a little more crowded toward the bottom of the dial.

Like the original Carribean 1000, the OW C-1000 comes with an ETA movement, the ETA 2824-2 automatic. You can also opt for a brushed beads-of-rice bracelet, or stick with the straightforward black nylon RAF strap. I think the 39.5mm case size will work fine with either option, but just know that this beefy boy is 15mm thick if you count the domed sapphire crystal.

Ollech & Wajs OW C-1000 Specs:

  • 39.5mm Diameter x 15mm Thickness x 49.5mm Lug-to-Lug
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Dome Sapphire Crystal
  • Nylon RAF Strap or Stainless Steel Beads-of-Rice
  • 1000m Water Resistance
  • ETA 2824-2 Automatic Movement
  • Price: 1,456 CHF - 1,596 CHF

As another cool and relatively affordable offering from Ollech & Wajs, I'm excited to see if this straightforward diver will help inject some much-needed momentum into the brand's recent revival. I've always loved their designs, but never really wanted to sink cash into the vintage models. It's available now and you can learn more by visiting the official Ollech & Wajs website.


Archimede SportTaucher Review – How Do You Say ‘Badass’ in German?

Archimede SportTaucher Review – How Do You Say ‘Badass’ in German?

By: Mark Signorelli

I know a badass watch when I see one. Some obvious examples? Tudor North Flag on bracelet, Mühle Glashütte S.A.R. Rescue Timer, Victorinox I.N.O.X. You get the idea. That leads me to the Archimede SportTaucher (Sport Diver in English) that is the subject of this review. I wasn’t expecting a badass watch until I held it in my hand. This piece is stout. I’m not sure if it could stop a bullet but if Wonder Woman were nearby, I’d ask her put the SportTaucher on and give it a try. If you’re looking for polished surfaces, chamfered edges, genteel bracelets... well, there are plenty of other choices out there.

On the other hand, if you are keen to find a non-homage dive watch with a superbly machined case, top-notch crown, thoroughly sensible dial, and beefy (but surprisingly comfortable) bracelet, you just hit the jackpot.

Case, Dial and Hands

The CNC-milled, stainless steel case of the SportTaucher is all substance and muscle. It’s chunky without being bulky and completely void of gimmicks. Still, there is some grace in how the crown guards flow out of the case and comfortably position the crown at 4 o’clock. Size wise, it doesn’t follow any of the downsizing or super-sizing trends and just goes straight up the middle with a 41.5mm case diameter and a length that is just shy of 50mm. In keeping with its water resistance of 300 meters, the case back is etched with the image of a deep-sea diving helmet.

Archimede would not reveal the dial material but, to my eye, it looks like injection-molded polymer. There is complexity in this dial that warrants further discussion. First, there is the chapter ring, which appears to be molded into the dial as opposed to being a separate piece. The integrated chapter ring offers a precision that prevents misalignment with the hour markers (are you listening Seiko?). Then there is the sunken center section of the dial, which offers a soft transition from the hour markers. This is the only concession to softness on the entire watch and it’s very pleasing to the eye.

The hour and minute hands are standard looking sword hands while the needle-shaped second hand is a glossy red to complement the five minute indicators on the chapter ring. The hour and minute hands as well as the hour markers and bezel pip are lumed well enough to last until morning. The fluorescent green lume on the hour and minute hands is noticeably brighter than the soft aqua used on the hour markers and pip.

I like the way that Archimede handles the date window on this watch. It’s at the 4 o’clock position and simply takes the place of the hour marker. This arrangement doesn’t interfere with any of the numeric hour markers and aligns directly with the crown.

Bezel and Crown

The screw-down crown of the Archimede SportTaucher is excellent and it's one of the best I have ever seen. It engages the threads with ease and its size is head-and-shoulders above the skimpy crowns that watch companies typically scrounge from the parts bin.

The 120-click dive bezel could use some additional precision. There is a small bit of vertical play as well as some back-play. On a positive note, the clicks are very positive, there is no binding and the bezel markings line up precisely with the corresponding markers on the dial.

The Bracelet

The stainless steel, five-link bracelet is solidly built and rather thick at 4mm. It looks like it should be a hair-puller but I didn’t experience any discomfort at all. With four micro-adjust positions, I was able to achieve a perfect fit. The clasp is partially milled, double locking and feels very secure.

A diver extension is provided as well. Overall, it’s a very masculine design and contributes to the SportTaucher’s durable character.

The Movement

The Archimede SportTaucher is powered by the Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement, which features a quickset date and a 38 hour power reserve. The SW200-1 has become somewhat of a workhorse with watch manufacturers, especially in light of a limited supply of comparable ETA movements. Sellita’s own specifications indicate an expected accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per day (although in my experience I would expect something more in the +/- 5-10 second range).

On the Wrist

This is a seriously robust watch that feels like it can take a beating. You won’t mistake it for a dress diver, because that's not the Archimede SportTaucher's purpose. This is a no-nonsense watch that can handle most of what you can throw at it. On bracelet, it’s very comfortable but you won’t forget that you’re wearing a piece of steel. If you want to lighten the load, the SportTaucher looks good on a variety of NATO straps.

Final Thoughts

Archimede is part of the Ickler family of watch brands, which also includes LIMES. Based in Pforzheim, Germany, Ickler has earned its reputation as a quality manufacturer of watch cases over a 95-year period. They handle the case design and manufacturing as well as assembly and quality control.

I was fascinated by the smorgasbord of options available on the Archimede website. In addition to the five-link bracelet, the SportTaucher can be ordered with leather or rubber straps as well as an attractive Milanaise mesh bracelet. Dial options include blue, white and black/orange. You can also specify a 12 hour bezel in addition to something not often seen, a 360 degree compass bezel. Lastly, PVD case finishing is available.

Archimede will gladly sell any of their watches directly to customers via their website. As of this writing, the SportTaucher I reviewed is listed for 890.76 Euros (excluding VAT). U.S. customers will need to factor in shipping costs as well as import duties but another option is to buy from Ickler’s sole U.S. retail dealer, Watchmann. From personal experience, Greg Stein at Watchmann offers excellent service and is very responsive and accessible by phone and email.

The SportTaucher line of watches is probably overshadowed by Archimede’s better-known Pilot and Outdoor collections. In the world of dive watches, however, I feel that the SportTaucher is a more enduring alternative to the homage aesthetic and trendy styling flourishes that have become commonplace. Being badass doesn’t hurt either.
 

Featured Insights
 

• 41.5mm x 49.7mm x 12mm
• 20mm lug width
• 300 meters of water resistance
• Flat sapphire crystal
• 120 click bezel (w/ aluminum insert)
• Screw down crown
• Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement
• Price: €1,060.00 incl. VAT (€890.76 excl. VAT)

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black

By Michael Penate

Today, Zodiac has announced a new addition to its growing Super Sea Wolf collection with a bit of a twist—if you consider what the catalog currently looks like. While we've been drawn to the collection's vintage sizing and styling in the past, this watch presents a slight departure and shakes things up for collectors. It's definitely not typical for the brand, and I'm curious to see if it will be well-received. So let's break it down—here's a quick look at the brand new Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black.

One of the most immediately recognizable style elements is the fully black-plated stainless steel case and bracelet. It's not something I've seen from Zodiac before and I'm sure the aggressive styling will pull in buyers that are looking for something outside of Zodiac's usual approach. This finishing—paired with a beefy 44mm case diameter—presents us with a sleek, modern variant that balances the otherwise vintage-focused styling of the Super Sea Wolf family. And as someone that usually stays away from blacked-out watches, I have to say that this one looks stellar in the press photos. I always loved Zodiac's use of a mineral crystal layer over the unidirectional dive bezel, and it appears that this watch also has that feature.

Featured Insights
 

• 44mm x 49mm x 13mm
• 20ATM Water Resistance
• 20mm Lug Width
• STP3-13 Automatic Movement
• Sapphire Crystal
• Black Sunray Dial
• Swiss LumiNova
• $1,395

A closer look at the black sunray dial reveals a fun design touch as well. The 'Sea Wolf Automatic' text is rendered in a cool, aqua color tone that matches the hefty paddle seconds hand. It makes for a nice pop of color within a fully monochromatic watch design. Other features include AR coating, bright lume on the hands+hour markers, and a screw-down crown. Finally, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black comes with Fossil's very own STP3-13 Automatic Movement. A vast improvement over the earlier STP1-11, this version brings us an extra jewel for the upper barrel arbor, a longer power reserve, and the convenience of a swan neck regulator.

Overall, aside from the blacked-out styling and larger case size, I'm sure Zodiac fans can expect the usual Super Sea Wolf experience. The changes are minimal, but I hope that this version draws in some new fans for Zodiac, especially if the 40mm case size is something that held them back in the past.

Zodiac Watches


Seven Minutes In Heaven: The Monta Atlas

Seven Minutes In Heaven: The Monta Atlas

By Michael Penate

It's been a long time coming. Finally, after sitting on this for a bit, I'm ready to share some thoughts about the Monta Atlas GMT. Recently, work and life have managed to brutally pull me under—but when a great watch has to be written about, I do my best to share my review when I can. Monta is the product of a new era of microbrands pushing into uncharted territory with a controversial pivot toward four-digit price points. Naturally, it's still the kind of thing that strikes a nerve for several of our value-conscious audience members. But if there's one thing Monta has taught me, it's that you really can't pass final judgment until testing things out in person. Truthfully, I became a huge fan after spending time with it. And while brief, we're taking this opportunity to introduce a new segment of quick, to-the-point watch evaluations titled, Seven Minutes in Heaven. Let's get into it.

Think of the Monta Atlas as the anti-GMT, GMT. It makes no attempt at representing a romanticized piece of pilot kit, and doesn't lean on the strategy of wooing armchair aviators into an ill-informed, impulse buy. Instead, we get a watch that tells you the time and tosses in a second time zone as a bonus—that's really it. But it does this in what it is perhaps the cleanest way possible with some of the best levels of fit and finish you'll find in today's microbrand space. Inevitably, I found myself forced to break away from my GMT predilections and focus on what the Atlas was, instead of what I wanted it to be.

The Monta Atlas is 38.5mm wide, 10.2mm thick, and 47mm lug to lug. It takes the field watch vibes you'd get with the Monta Triumph and mixes them up with travel-ready functionality that will work for anyone from hardcore enthusiasts to casual watch buyers breaking that four-digit range. On-wrist, the proportions wear well and while I may be screaming into a personalized echo chamber, I love that Monta decided to keep everything within the sub-40mm confines. I've talked to guys with serious tree trunk wrists, and even they agree that the Atlas and Triumph models work for them.

Another stand-out feature on the Atlas—and all Monta watches—is the clasp. I don't know much about the patent or processes behind it, but it's the closest you'll get to the fit, finish, and performance of a six-digit reference Rolex clasp at this price point. Action is proud, solid, and secure—with a beautifully engraved Monta logo to spice things up. It's still an area I feel many brands overlook and I often refer to this as the golden standard for clasp construction outside of the Rolex family.

If you're a water resistance nerd, just know that it sports 150m (500ft) of water resistance... plenty. This feature is accompanied by a screw-down crown and a robust case and bracelet structure featuring a variety of brushed and polished surfaces. Pair that with a beautifully symmetrical dial clearly displaying two time zones, and you have one of the coolest packages available well under $2,000. Oh, and even though I've been traumatized by misaligned Sellita SW330 movements in the past, this one (with -5/+5 second a day regulation) hums along without issue. But truth be told, it's ugly as hell, mostly unfinished, and undeserving of the exhibition caseback it gets—really my only issue with this watch.

Ultimately I'd say that the Monta Atlas was a huge challenge for me. I spend way too much time fantasizing about 1675s, original Glycine Airman models, and Bulova Astronauts. Sure, they pull us back to a certain "golden age" of badasses wearing cool watches, but I'd personally love to see someone rocking an Atlas for the rest of his/her own life and imprinting every bit of adventure and experience on its stoic, brushed utilitarian case. It's no GMT Master II, but holy shit. Even after sitting on this review for months, I still find myself thinking that the Monta Atlas can be my final "flyer," no matter what.

The Monta Atlas GMT retails for $1,795 on the stainless steel bracelet and you can learn more by visiting Monta's official site.

MONTA Watch
 

Featured Insights
 

• 38.5mm x 47mm x 10.2mm
• 150 Meters Water Resistance
• Screw down crown
• Sellita SW330 / MONTA M-23 Caliber
• 42-hour power reserve
• Sapphire crystal
• 3 Dials: Black, Lacquer White, or Lacquer Blue
• Swiss LumiNova BGw9
• Price: $1,795

Christopher Ward C65 Dartmouth Review: Rhapsody in Blue

Christopher Ward C65 Dartmouth Review: Rhapsody in Blue

By: Aggressive Timing Habits

The Christopher Ward C65 Dartmouth is one of a trio of new pieces in the British brand’s military collection. The Dartmouth is named after the British Naval Academy, and its siblings (the Sandhurst and the Cranwell) are named after the academies for the Army and Air Force, respectively. All three are built upon Christopher Ward’s excellent C65 platform, with the Dartmouth and Cranwell coming in at 41mm and the Sandhurst at a slightly more modest 38mm. All three boast chronometer grade Sellita SW200-1 movements, and all three have a similar case height of about 11.6mm.

Beyond this, however, these Christopher Ward models begin to differ somewhat. This watch review will focus on the Dartmouth with steel bracelet, a diver based on the UK MOD (Ministry of Defence) 0552 specs of the 1960s.

A Quick Note on Packaging

Packaging and accessories are one of the crucial ways for watch brands, especially online brands like Christopher Ward, to differentiate themselves. Plus it's crucial in the end-consumer experience while also playing a big role in shipping, storage, and other costs. The Dartmouth comes in a nice presentation box that Christopher Ward calls their “eco-friendly luxury presentation case”. It’s a nice, solid-feeling wooden box with a soft touch cover that slides onto the rest of the box and holds together with magnets. The magnets are strong enough to hold things together but seem to be weak enough not to impact the watch movement (phew) and it does add a nice touch of luxury to the whole thing.

I do wish, however, that instead of a big wooden box, Christopher Ward would consider something with a bit more reusable potential; for instance, many microbrands are shipping watch rolls or pouches in lieu of fancy boxes. While these give less of a luxurious feel, these touches are more thoughtful and certainly much more handy to me. That said, as watch boxes go this one feels really good, is clearly well-made, and is definitely a step up from the brand’s older packaging situation.

Hands and Bezel: Something Old, Something New; Something Borrowed...

The hand set is a mixture of old standbys for Christopher Ward, with a baton-shaped minute hand that is a trademark of the C65, but an elongated hour-shaped arrow hand from the C60 Pro. This makes it ridiculously easy to tell the two hands apart, and the long, narrow arrow shape is very satisfying to the eye, matching the triangles on the dial and bezel. It does this without being overpowering like some broad arrows can be at times. Unlike the majority of the C65 line, the lume on the hands is a white TC-1 Superluminova instead of Old Radium “fauxtina”.

It’s a great choice that makes everything look fresh and new, though the luminosity itself isn’t really anything to write home about in terms of brightness. That said, it seems to hold a dim charge for a fairly long time which is probably handier for diving anyway. The Christopher Ward Dartmouth's spear-shaped seconds hand is borrowed right out of the Seamaster playbook; it’s also painted white, while the other hands are polished metal. The 120-click unidirectional bezel has an aluminum insert in a blue that’s ever-so-slightly darker than the dial.

The thin C65 bezel looks as fantastic as always here and the bezel action is very good. Christopher Ward spent a lot of time trying to create a great bezel feel and it certainly shows here, as it remains one of the nicest bezels out there in the sub-$1000 range (which this watch hits on a strap or with one of the many coupon codes that Christopher Ward tends to put out there).

Dial: Something blue

Right away, the Dartmouth gives off vibes reminiscent of the Omega “Big Triangle” Seamaster 300. This is no accident; in fact, the resemblance is called out on Christopher Ward’s own website. That particular Seamaster was based on the same Royal Navy 0552 spec from which the Dartmouth draws inspiration; the range of CWC divers, including the quartz 1983 reissue, also follow this spec. The Dartmouth has the same luminous triangle at 12, with narrower trapezoid-shaped indices (Christopher Ward calls them “wedges”) at the other hour markers.

All the markers are applied and surrounded by a nice polished frame that adds a lot of depth to the dial. The TC-1 lume doesn’t come up as high as the frames, resulting in a sandwich dial-like effect that is very satisfying. The dial itself is a matte blue, not quite a deep navy but also much darker than a bright royal blue. Christopher Ward’s logo has changed style and positions a whole bunch of times, and this time it has been moved back to 12 o’clock; I believe this is the first time that this newer sans serif logo has been placed there and it works really well. At 6 o’clock are just two words: “Automatic Chronometer”, which clearly denotes the main differences between this watch and the mainstay C65s while also offering austerity and symmetry to the dial that has always seemed to evade Christopher Ward until now.

The dial is striking in its simplicity but also quite stunning with its depth and mix of textures and finishes. I daresay this is the most beautiful Christopher Ward watch that I’ve yet seen.

Movement: The COSC of doing business

As aforementioned, the Military Collection watches all feature COSC rated Sellita SW200-1 movements. These stalwart Swiss movements tick at 28800 beats per hour and sport 38-hour power reserves, which make them great everyday wearers. But since they'd need winding every day and half or so, they are somewhat less desirable when worn in multi-day rotation (as they’d need winding every day and a half or so).

Interestingly, even though the watches have solid screw-down casebacks, the movements are still decorated with Christopher Ward’s flag motif. COSC certification means that the movement is certified to operate within -4 to +6 seconds per day; I threw mine on my time grapher and it showed the watch ticking at +3 in the up position, and a surprising 0 seconds’ daily variance in most other positions. Not bad! Not much else to say here other than the fact that the date function has been removed from the movement, which means no phantom crown position. This is a nice move by Christopher Ward and again underlies the quality and attention to detail prevalent throughout the piece.

Case: Hello, ladies

Like fellow British product Stephen Merchant (creator and star of the far too short-lived series “Hello Ladies” among many, many other credits), the C65 Dartmouth’s case is thin, quirky, and utterly delightful. The height of this 41mm watch is only 11.55mm, with some of that height coming from the box sapphire crystal, making it 0.05mm thinner than the 38mm Sandhurst and a real delight to wear. With a fairly modest lug to lug at just over 47mm, the Dartmouth should fit a wide variety of wrists quite well. Unlike the many slab-sided divers out there in the market from far more vaunted (and expensive) brands, the C65 case sports a lot of interesting edges and a mix of brushed and polished cases that make it pretty obvious why Christopher Ward has branded them “light catcher” cases. The solid caseback has the Royal Navy’s crown insignia stamped in deep detail, and like the dial, the caseback itself reveals a bare minimum of information: just the Royal Navy 0552 spec, the fact that the watch is Swiss Made, the case material (SS Steel), and the depth rating (15 ATM, or 150 metres).

The Dartmouth tops out at 150 metres due to its quirkiest feature, an oversized push-down crown. For most C65s, this sort of makes sense, as the majority of these divers feature hand-wound SW210 movements. It’s a bit weird, however, for an automatic diver to sport a push-down crown, but 150 metres should be plenty for most people and the whole thing looks fantastic, with a nice Christopher Ward flag motif signed on the crown itself and no crown guards, continuing to accentuate the vintage vibe. This is a case design that is as eye-catching as it is light-catching, and for most of us desk-diving divas out there, the push-down crown just makes the watch easier to wind and get going. If you do plan on taking this watch into the ocean, it might be worth getting the watch depth tested from time to time just to make sure the gaskets are doing their job as that’s all that is protecting this watch from a waterlogged fate.

One nitpick that I have is that, for a vintage-styled tool watch, this piece lacks drilled lugs, which are a great convenience. However, the thinness and chamfering of the lugs would probably make drilled lugs impossible, and the inconvenience is mitigated with a nifty bracelet feature which I’ll explain in the next section.

Bracelet: Cost-cutting comfort

The bracelet that comes with the Dartmouth is a standard Christopher Ward C65 22mm bracelet. It’s an oyster-style bracelet with a two millimeter taper, so at the clasp the bracelet is 20mm wide. This is fine and adds to the comfort of the bracelet somewhat, though it would be great to see a more aggressive 4mm taper for even greater comfort. The clasp is a bit larger than I’d generally prefer, but it includes a nice ratcheting tool-free micro-adjust that allows the user to dial the bracelet size up and down by about 8mm in 2mm increments. It’s a nice feature that reminds me of the system that Omega deploys in some of its divers, and it’s great to see on this fairly budget-friendly piece.

The bracelet also includes a quick release system, allowing the user to remove the bracelet and put on a strap without the need for any tools (assuming the strap has quick-release spring bars, naturally). This is another great and convenient feature, and the mechanism seems quite sturdy and easy to use. It also makes up for the lack of drilled lugs on the case, which is a win all around.

The only complaint that I have is that the pin and collar system for adding and removing links is a huge pain. It has me longing for the screw-down pins that have become common even at lower price points. However, I can see the logic of saving some cost on the link removal system and applying those savings to the clasp and quick release systems; after all, once a bracelet is sized it shouldn’t really need resizing very often if at all, whereas a clasp adjustment and strap change are both much more frequent activities.

Conclusion: Great Option, If You Can Set Your Mind At Ease with That Push-Down Crown

The C65 Dartmouth is a really nice watch. It’s got a versatile size, great vintage-inspired yet clean and modern looks, a solid COSC-certified movement, and a high quality bracelet, all for an MSRP of $1,020.

Note that Christopher Ward tends to put a fair number of promos out into the world, so it shouldn’t be too hard to drive that figure down into the triple digits. For that price point you get pretty astonishing value that’s frankly tough to beat. One competitor that comes to mind is the Mido Ocean Star; the Mido offers a titanium case, Powermatic 80 movement with silicon hairspring, day-date functionality, and a bit better depth rating at 200m with a screw-down crown (but slightly worse wearability and, to me at least, a lot less aesthetic charm, which certainly counts for a lot in my book).

Indeed, the charm is absolutely the kicker with this watch; Christopher Ward has always offered great quality and value, but with the Dartmouth it has delivered arguably its best looking diver here, and one with connections to the legendary Royal Navy. The push-down crown might be a deal breaker for some, but for everyone else this is a serious contender to be one of the absolute best at this price.

Check it out on the official Christopher Ward site.

Christopher Ward C65 Dartmouth

  • 41mm x 47mm x 11.55mm
  • Sellita SW200 COSC
    • 28,800 VPH
    • -4/+6 sec/day
    • 38h Power Reserve
  • 150 Metres Water Resistance
  • T-C1 Super-LumiNova
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 22m Lug Width

German-Made LIMES Endurance GMT Gets A New Design

We're always striving to bring the TBWS Watchfam news and updates that you don't see anywhere else. So when our inbox received an update from LIMES Watches, I knew it'd be perfect to share with all you fine folk!


LIMES is actually another brand owned, operated, and manufactured by ICKLER located in Pforzheim, Germany. Often the one ICKLER brand that everyone in the horology community is familiar with is Archimede. However, the manufacturing prowess and keen attention to detail is shared among all ICKLER brands (so if you've ever had the pleasure of wearing an Archimede timepiece, you know what I mean). That's why LIMES continues to be an undiscovered gem for those who want something different outside of the normally recommended watch brands.

The Endurance product line within LIMES represents the brands entry into reliable, robust, and functional sports and dive watches. One of the main value propositions of the LIMES Endurance line is the high quality construction and damage-resistance of the case (case construction being one of the more noteworthy aspects of all ICKLER brands).

This new iteration of the LIMES Endurance GMT features the same updates that the flagship Endurance II dive model received. You can think of it as the Endurance II with a GMT hand. Differences that I've noted compared to the previous Endurance GMT model are (a) placement of the date window, (b) style of the hands, and (c) the bezel insert.

(a) New Endurance GMT Model | (b) Previous Endurance GMT iteration

 

Check out the product page for the Endurance GMT. It's available in two dial colors as well as options for a bracelet, rubberized leather strap, or rubber strap. Here are the specs:

LIMES Endurance GMT Specs:

  • 41.5mm x 50mm x 12.5 mm
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Sapphire crystal (AR Coating)
  • Screw down crown and caseback
  • 30 ATM (300 meters water resistance)
  • ETA 2893-2 Elaborè
  • Price:
    • Including VAT: €1,480.00 - €1,580.00
    • Excluding VAT: €1,243.70 - €1,327.73

Any additional details I can find about this watch will be shared here. Also we'll try to conduct a hands-on review to bring everyone our direct perspectives on the piece.

 


Revisiting the Original Rado Captain Cook Mk II (and Struggling with Rado's Marketing)

Revisiting the Original Rado Captain Cook Mk II (and Struggling to Appreciate a Brand in Spite of Their Marketing)

By: Damon Bailey

Part 1:
When it makes sense to reject “the new and improved”

By now, I think you’d be pressed to find a watch enthusiast that doesn’t get excited over a “reissue.” Capitalizing on this, it seems every brand has been reaching through the dark corners of their archives to see which of their forgotten references are worth reissuing. It’s a winning formula that has tested its limits to the points of desperation … to continue remarking on the popularity of “new vintage” would be beyond cliché.

I’d like to think that there is goodness behind a company’s decision to look backward and make available to the masses what has become so impossibly difficult to source on the vintage market. Sporty antiquated time pieces have become the new posh . In response to this, skyrocketing prices of an original Hamilton Chrono-matic or a Heuer Autavia makes me appreciate the “more accessible” recent re-issues. It kind of reminds me of reprints in the comic book world… Is there a small part of Marvel that feels any kid who wants one should be able to hold an issue of Amazing Fantasy #1? Similarly, I love Target mostly because they allow me to buy retro AC/DC band tees that I’d otherwise never be able to source or afford. I feel from a business standpoint, there’s tremendous sense to this, and the watch world has a lot to gain from this approach.

But how do you explain when the exact opposite happens? What if a vintage sport watch that’s relatively easy-to-source is followed up with a modern-day re-release that is literally ten times the price without any attempts to update appearance?

Wouldn’t you want to know what the hell they were thinking? You can pay an arm and a leg for something that re-creates (through painstaking detail and reverse engineering) it’s direct inspiration, or you can opt for authenticity and get the real deal for less than the tax you’d pay on the new one. Think “pet rock” or “designer water”—arrant marketing nonsense. I’ll cut to the chase here:

Only in a world where I’d try to sell you Banksy’s fart as an installation art piece would I endorse Rado’s latest Captain Cook Mk II replica as a fundamental improvement over its humble predecessor. And to you, Rado, “What the fuck were you thinking ?”

I won’t waste your time with speaking to the merits of the re-release; other online reviews have already done this. To its greatest credit, I’d commend the new watch on its faithful and uncompromising reproduction of the original Mk II. You are, quite literally, looking at the exact same dial features and case dimensions between each example.

That said, focusing on reviewing the original  release with respect to greater ease for obtainability (50,000 more were produced) will provide more valuable insight. In a nutshell, the upgrades for the newer reissue include the modified ETA 2824 (akin to a Powermatic 80) and a sapphire crystal. For the purposes of further discussion, we’ll be taking a look at the Captain Cook Mark II ref. 117733.

Characteristically, the Mk II is very retro in appearance. The years of production for this reference span from 1967 to 1972. Hallmarks to the era include a tonneau-style case with hidden lugs, an internal rotating bezel, and rectangular-shaped applied indices to angled to reflect different directions of light. While evolution may have left these design aesthetics behind, there’s something unapologetically punk that makes this composition stand out among the other retro diver throwbacks that are increasingly popular today.

The Case

The stainless-steel body is high-polished and barrel-shaped. Across the width, it measures 37mm while the lug-to-lug length is 41mm. These are modest dimensions on paper however the footprint wears far larger due to the absence of a bezel (with a crystal that measures 35mm) and the extra real estate of steel between the lugs.

Then there’s the dome… a very thick 5mm box crystal that gives the case an appearance of heft. There are two crowns, both of which are signed with the trademark Rado anchor insignia reminiscent of an oscillating weight. The three o’clock operates the inside track while the smaller push-pull crown is protected by its recessed position between the case housing and bezel adjustment. It’s a subtle integration that speaks to Rado’s attempts of design-conscious forwardness.

Water Resistance

The movement is secured by a screw down case back, decorated with inward-facing seahorses and the line “Water sealed.” As with any vintage watch, gaskets and general capabilities warp over time, compromising the waterproofness. The Mark II advertised itself as being waterproof to 1625 feet (495 meters). For those of you keeping mental notes, Bulova’s “Deep Sea” diver advertised itself as 666 ft.

The Dial

The three silver hands contain heavy traces of glowing Luminova paint which, amazingly, can still be seen today. While the hour and second hand are baton-shaped, the minute is accentuated with a sword-shape application of paint. The second hand is marked separate with a rectangular paddle at the end.

The black dial is painted flat and although this particular example has minimal traces of tropical aging, there’s zero ambiguity about where to locate the hour marks. Each is detailed by polished applied indices, accentuated by more lume. The notable exception would be three o’clock, where there’s an unobtrusive date window framed in a steel accent. The rotating track is marked with lesser traces of paint at five-minute intervals, a third of which is documented by red swatches to denote whatever arbitrary twenty minutes of timing might be of concern.

One of the quirky design elements that makes Rado unique is the inclusion of their anchor-shaped logo at the twelve hour mark. Although the scuttlebutt hasn’t been verified, the ability to rotate its direction based on the kinetic energy of your wrist movement is purportedly an indicator of servicing if the watch’s lubricant has dried up.

Bracelet

Advertising from the sixties suggested there were several different bracelet options that paired with the Mk II (with no other notable changes to reference numbers). While JB Champion or GF may have partnered with some of the more notable Swiss brands, Rado leveraged their partner, NSA. More than likely, this link bracelet pictured was original to the more widely produced (but equally polarizing) Diastar model.

Due to a spring extension bracelet integrated into the fold-over clasp, this would been preferable, flexing for a half inch of travel if needing to slip over a wet suit sleeve. “RADO” is featured prominently over the clasp.

Engine

The Mk II was powered by an automatic winding movement produced by A. Schild (caliber AS 1858/ 25 jewels) that beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour. It is non-hacking, but capable of being manually wound. For what it’s worth, the one reviewed was accurate to about a minute a day without any documentation of service history.

International ads for the original men's and ladies' versions, including a manual for an unrealized prototype below.

As the review portion draws to close, I’ll sum this up with my subjective opinion that a vintage Captain Cook Mk II is a solid value in terms of bang for your buck. It’s not trying to be something it isn’t, its representative of a unique design era, and lays claim to silently contributing to technological advancements later shared by the greater industry toward the use of ceramic materials. This particular example was acquired online for just above the $230 mark and a suitable NOS bracelet for $25. In a world where even Caravelle, Zodiac, and Seiko pieces are starting to command flipping numbers well over the 1k mark, Rado has never even flirted with this measurable investment acclaim. How could this be possible? Is it that they’re not putting themselves out there? Should they reconsider promotional campaigns? These questions are rhetorical because we both know what’s going on and why their image is failing.

Rado’s marketing really, really sucks.

Part 2:
When a perfectly good watch is sold short by its unfortunate marketing

As a targeted demographic getting pummeled with their ads across social media, championing Rado’s merits has become increasingly difficult. I’m not really sure how far back their struggle with marketing goes… but here’s bit on the brand trying to convince you that with enough arm hair, the Diastar could be your quintessential man’s watch:

 

All my preconceived notions of what's masculine has been turned upside down... kind of like this watch.

 

The funny thing is actually like Rado’s designs. I wouldn’t wear the majority of their line up (largely because they remind me of Ikea furniture and jingle trucks ), but I can objectively appreciate their attempts to push boundaries. To me, the name, “Captain Cook” commanded intrigue and so it felt befitting for a dive watch to pay tribute to an explorer (albeit an ill-fated one).

On an even more personal note, an overlooked brand like Rado provided me something with which I could “connect” and “make mine” because it was deemed toxic by the larger watchfam, dismissed as “the company that did ceramic stuff.” The sentiment wasn’t unlike when you were in high school and wanted to find that band nobody else knew about… you were willing to settle with lack of polish if it meant they had less mass appeal.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the onslaught of ridiculous marketing campaigns Rado launched against me in the coming years.

  • “His and hers” watches.
  • Astrological sign-themed watches.
  • The sheer religious attachment to quartz innards and choice location dealers that would ultimately earn them the damning term, “mall watches”—a four letter word reserved for the likes of Fossil or even Shinola. But then, as if Rado were well-aware that I was campaigning their brand despite the entire internet pressuring me to think otherwise, they felt the need to release a Macy’s exclusive .

The real struggle comes with stomaching their social media campaigns. Take their Instagram account. This portal is host to some seriously basic, ratchet-vanilla storytelling that explores the drama of what it means to be white in a world montaged by arbitrary uncertainties.

In this web-series, you “Meet Karin,” a model-turned influencer-turned model who is just quirky enough to have an unconventional spelling of her name, but not extreme enough to venture outside the color white for her wardrobe. She seems overly concerned with checking her watch, despite having no particular place to be in between ordering espressos, updating her insta-feed for the perfect flower backdrop, or forgetting to move one piece of hanging art to the other side of the room. She’s a relatable human because she clumsily forgets things. Then there’s Jack. Jack likes finding things that get left behind by Karins. They both wear Rados and this coincidence paired with the serendipitous event of returning a lost item means marriage is the next logical step in getting to know one another.

This six-episode, two-minute installment campaign was entitled, “#YouCompleteMe” and if the first season weren’t enough to teach you about how to discover your soulmate through watch tastes, don’t worry; Rado followed this up with a season two. They literally called it “Season Two ”— I’m not making this shit up.

 

Between these two ads, literally none of the six people are wearing watches. Moreover, they seem to be getting along rather happily without one. I'm about about 99% certain they're stock photos from Flickr.

It’s this “His and Hers” campaign that has become the most infamous thing to watch aficionados about their brand. It’s no longer innovation or performance, but lifestyle. Unfortunately, this sort of approach would typically be limited to the likes of today’s Movado or MVMT, but even they know when to draw the line before drawing strength from beachside campfires or hipster weddings.

 

Are you a bit lost with what's supposed to be advertised with these two Instagram posts? So is Rado.

Every single time I look at this stuff I have to wonder what these folks were thinking (the ones responsible for this photoshoot). I wonder if Rado made any attempt at trying to find an actual product photographer, or if they literally just googled “Bohemian Wedding” and ran with whichever person’s feed had the most “likes.” And it’s a shame… Because I have to think about the watch designer and engineers who put their sweat and ideas into something that’s ultimately dismissed because its presence is not relevant enough to what their company is trying to communicate.

Because I’d acquired my Captain Cook Mk II several years ago, I was thrilled to see Rado release the Captain Cook Hyperchrome Re-edition. The original Mk I was impossible to find (and even more difficult now). It was a unique moment for the brand to experience some acceptance among the harsh critics that make up our watch snob world. Rado has since leveraged this Mk I’s success as a flagship for their line-up. And, true to their style of marketing, has gone on to pervert my interpretation of its spirit with images of boho explorer-pirates running away from a Swedish furniture factory to canoe the high seas.

Maybe the guy who sees this video will think, “Hot damn, that looks like a serious step up from my Daniel Wellington.” And then maybe after purchasing it, he’ll realize there’s a whole other world out there… one beyond bearded bros in v-necks, filled with beating mechanical hearts geared toward innovation.

And then maybe that, too, would be a world worth exploring.


Watch Shopping on the Disney Fantasy

Watch Shopping on the Disney Fantasy

By: Kaz Mirza

As many of you know, I'm no stranger to Disney Cruises. It's something my wife and I try and do annually. Obviously watch buying is huge on these things because of duty-free pricing on many of the cruise ports of calls/destinations. I've honestly never really given it much thought. Even with duty-free everything is still usually out of my price range. So when we go on these Disney Cruises, watches aren't even on my radar.

However on this last cruise we were aboard the Disney Fantasy, and this time it was a bit different. Remember when I said all the duty-free watch buying took place on dry land? Well, the Disney Fantasy itself actually has duty-free shopping on-board. And yes - that includes watches (some serious watches also). Here's a list of the watch brands that are available for duty-free pricing on the Disney Fantasy.

  • Bulgari
  • Hublot
  • Omega
  • Tag Heuer
  • Breitling
  • Tudor
  • Tissot
  • Citizen
  • Invicta

Since I wasn't really expecting any watch action this trip, I didn't have my TBWS camera. So all the photos I took were from my phone (apologies for the quality). I thought it would be fun to share with the TBWS family what the watch shopping experience looks like on the Disney Fantasy.

Bulgari us split off in it's own boutique while the other watch brands are included within "White Caps," the onboard duty free AD for many luxury products (perfumes, jewelry, bags, and (obviously) watches).

White caps was where I first realized there were watches on board. I happened upon it surrenditiously. As you walk down one of the main halls on Deck 3, you see White Caps, then there is a small door just to the side that leads directly into the AD.

Here's a quick video I took for everyone's reference of what the Watch AD space looks like within White Caps on the Disney Fantasy.

Below I'll group photos by the AD table they were taken at. Hope everyone enjoys the journey! Maybe next time I'll actually be able to buy a watch.

Omega Table

Breitling Table

I was super impressed with that Super Ocean Heritage II. Also, apparently Kylo Ren wears a Breitling - who knew?

Tag Heuer Table

Totally smitten with how comfortable the Link is - didn't expect to like it as much as I did.

Hublot Table

Honestly didn't spend too much time at the Hublot table, but my wife liked the two tone model, so I snapped a photo of it.

Tudor Table

They surprisingly had a couple BB GMTs in the case. None where on a bracelet, but the rep there said you could order a bracelet from Tudor for approx. $800.

Tissot Table

Naturally given my reprobate status as a "broke watch snob," I gravitated towards the Tissot pieces. I finally got to spend time with the Seastar with the Powermatic 80 and ceramic bezel. While I recognize it's honestly a fantastic watch and would be a welcomed addition to any thoughtful collection, I decided after trying it on that it just wasn't for me. I didn't feel that connection. It may have also been because I tried on the blue Seastar while wearing my Blumo - and that's just hard to compete with in my opinion.

Citizen and Invicta Table

The Citizen and Invicta displays were  combined in the same table, which is interesting because both brands have partnerships with Disney to produce watches for different properties the media giant owns i.e. Marvel as well as Mickey and his friends.

Bulgari Boutique

Unlike the brands mentioned above, Bulgari actually had a duty-free boutique presence on the Disney Fantasy. I tried on some Octo pieces, however I wasn't allowed to take photos within the actual boutique itself. But I was able to snap a couple pics outside in the public area before anyone noticed.

So, Did I Buy Anything?

The watch I came closest to pulling the trigger on was probably the Tissot Seastar (since I had the opportunity to purchase it for an unbelievable price). But in the end I didn't end up buying a watch. Do I regret it? Nope. Do I still really wish that I was able to take advantage of the duty-free watch purchase opportunity? Yup. There's something just fun about the idea of buying a watch while on vacation. And even though I wasn't able to do it this time around, I'm hopeful next time I will.


Zodiac Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf 68

Zodiac Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf 68

By Baird Brown

Zodiac has announced that it is entering into a partnership with SeaLegacy, an organization whose mission is to “turn the tide” by raising awareness of the unique threats that the ocean faces. They do this by using media to reach the masses and by funding campaigns to search for solutions to some of the problems the ocean faces. SeaLegacy has worked for some time with Andy Mann, a photographer, filmmaker, and conservationist whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, so it’s a given that Zodiac would get involved by, not only co-funding the 2019 expedition into the fragility of coral reefs in East Timor, but by also raising awareness by issuing a new Zodiac Andy Mann Limited Edition Super Sea Wolf 68!

As you may know, there was already an Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf 68 released in July of last year, but this new release seems to kick it up a notch from the previous edition. While the dimensions will most likely be unchanged from the current Super Sea Wolf 68, there are a few unique design cues to this model. First is the dial that degrades from light to dark with dial brushing that fans out from the 12 o’clock position rather than the center of the dial. This creates a look that divers call “God’s Light.” It also has a personal touch from Andy Mann himself. Rather than the standard marker at 12, this watch features a shark fin that is hand-drawn by Andy. The case back will also feature an etching of a White Tip Shark that comes directly from a photograph that Andy took.

The Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf will most likely retain the signature bezel that must be pushed down to turn and will feature luminescence on the bezel markers themselves this time around. Another carry-over will be the 1,000m depth rating of the watch for divers and collectors alike. That’s a little over half a mile underwater! The watch will also carry over its STP 3-13 chronometer movement, which beats along at 28,800 BPH and has a power reserve of 44 hours. Finally, this is the first time a Super Sea Wolf 68 will don a three-row bracelet which should greatly increase its sportiness and luxury feel. Fear not, the watch will also come with the standard tropic strap and a neoprene strap with Velcro.

Keeping with the motif and mission of conservation, the watch will come in an airtight hard-shell case that is made of 50% recycled plastic. You’ll also get a print of the White Tip Shark photo that inspired the case back signed by Andy Mann himself, a diver’s logbook, and two exclusive Zodiac stickers.

While I don’t have this watch sitting in front of me, the photos do present a sharp-looking watch that seems to stand out against the normal line up of Super Sea Wolfs, which is something I didn’t think the last Andy Mann collaboration did. This one seems to get it. It has a personal touch of the “Mann” himself and tries to be an actual Limited Piece that you can distinguish from the other 5 Super Sea Wolfs that might be adorning the wrists of the local Sea Wolf enthusiast club. It also embodies the adventurous yet vintage feel of Zodiac, and hopefully should go to raising awareness for a good cause. So much depends on our oceans.

The Zodiac Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf 68 comes with a retail price of $2,295. It will launch exclusively on the Zodiac watches website on October 24th and in select jewelers nationwide.

Zodiac Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf 68 Specs:

  • 44mm x 49mm
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1000 Meters Water Resistance
  • Screw-Down Crown
  • STP13 Movement
  • Price: $2295
  • Limited to 182 Pieces
  • Reference Number: ZO9508

Brellum DuoBox Pandial Chronograph Review

Brellum DuoBox Pandial Chronograph Review

By Michael Penate

More often than not, it's a chronograph that really ends up hooking oblivious, future watch maniacs. The layers of complication and sport utility are usually the biggest factors, and it's always stimulating to interact with the built-in features as you pass the time. There are some great options across several price ranges, but things really do start to get interesting once you pass the $1K mark - what the community usually considers a forbidden area for micro-brands to experiment in. Luckily, today we have a handful of boutique brands like Brellum that aim to bring quality and value at a price just below entry-level luxury. But what do you get, exactly? Let's take a look as I gather my thoughts after spending some time with the 2,490 CHF Brellum DuoBox Pandial Chronograph.

Now, I should be clear. We don't usually review too many watches in this price range. But I think it's important to understand what brands have to offer - especially when they venture into higher price brackets dominated by household luxury names. At 2,400 CHF this Brellum is facing pretty steep competition. Honestly, you can still score a used (no box + no papers) 1861 Speedmaster Professional for this kind of money. So what gives? Well, I'll start by saying that the Brellum is really for someone that wants something a little more luxurious than a beat-up Speedy. This is due to a cool set of features and finishing touches that elevate the watch above several competitors in this space.

Case

The case features consistent finishing along the lug tops and case edges - resulting in an immediately satisfying experience when you strap the watch on. The polished surfaces aren't too glitzy but somehow, everything feels like it's coming from the dressiest chronograph you can get under $5K. One thing to note is that the Duobox gets its name from the dual, chunky sapphire crystals over the dial and caseback. On the wrist, this really pronounces the 15.9mm thickness but thanks to the perforated calf leather strap, the watch can sit nice and snug without flopping around.

Pump pushers and a Speedmaster-like tachymeter bezel round out the sporty look. Case diameter is 43mm but for some reason, it wears more like a big 40mm or a 42mm. This might be due to the lug curvature and for some reason, I really wasn't put off by the sizing, even if it does look big on paper. Crown is a push-pull variant supporting 50m of water resistance, nothing I'll be complaining about when it comes to these motorsport-inspired chronographs. Overall, a beautiful case, even if it is a little thick.

Dial

Here we get a feel for why this series is referred to as the "Pandial." Each watch in the collection features some sort of high-contrast design between the sub-dials and primary dial space - ranging from traditional black/white to something a little more subtle, like this "Meteor Grey" version. I'll be straight with you. I simply could not be more impressed with the look and the construction on the dial side. The indices possess an incredible level of depth and polishing and the seafoam green touches are just something you don't see every day. Combine that with the smokey, brushed dial texture and the 7750 chronograph layout, and you have yourself one seriously cool-looking dial. Plus, you also get a telemeter scale (in addition to the tachymeter) in case you ever have to time enemy artillery shells... as you do. Honestly, I'd just cut the "Swiss Watchmaking" bit out from under the Brellum wordmark. It adds clutter, it's a little cheesy, and "Swiss Made" at 6 o'clock would take care of what they're trying to communicate.

Strap

One of the more pleasing aspects of this review experience came after handling the rally strap. It's a high-quality, black calfskin leather strap with comfortable perforations and contrast stitching. I'll be the last person to reach for leather, but this is one of the nicest options out there and I actually would even look to purchase it as a separate accessory from Brellum directly. The deployant clasp is straightforward with dual pushbutton actuation and perlage finishing throughout most of the hardware. Brellum also ships the watch with a rubber NATO (I didn't get to sample it) and you can even fit the Duobox with their Milanese mesh bracelet for the full stainless steel package.

Movement

I may be guilty of affectionately referring to the Valjoux 7750 as the Honda Civic of chronograph movements... but that's not what we're dealing with here. As you can see in the photo above, this is really the showstopper when it comes to the Brellum Duobox Chronograph. This is a chronometer-grade, COSC certified movement that has been beautifully finished to death. As with all 7750s I've handled, actuation is crisp and it features a 46-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800bph. Again, the crystal over the movement seems to magnify the entire package and I was constantly catching myself removing the watch just catch a glimpse. Finally, we also see that the movement finishing is above average for your run-of-the-mill 7750 - with blued screws, perlage, and Côtes de Genève.

Final Thoughts

So I have to keep asking myself - "who is this watch really for?" Well, at just over $2K it may have difficulty scoring points with diehard, value-conscious collectors, but I actually think it's good that Brellum has the balls to put products like this out there. If this came from IWC, it would be a $6K watch, easily. What we have here is a COSC-certified chronograph with a luxurious feel to it and quality that matches, or even exceeds, that which you'd find in plenty of mainstream luxury products. I'm all for it and I want to continue to see smaller brands play in this price range while offering the best package possible. They have to fight harder for it. To me, it's for the collector that might be sick of fly-by microbrands, botched Kickstarters, and boring heritage brands. In that case, the Brellum is an excellent choice. Besides, it's a 7750 chrono at the end of the day and everyone should have one. Just pick the one that's right for you.

Brellum