Seiko Presage 2020 Limited Edition Watches

Seiko is perhaps the most successful brand in terms of new releases inspired by watches from their extensive back catalog (though Timex may soon have their number on that). What makes these new homage releases so popular is the simple fact that Seiko’s back catalog, history, and heritage are so beloved by collectors, horology nuts, and members of the watch fam, and rightly so. Recent releases such as the Seiko 6306/6309 “Turtle” homage, the SRP line of divers, have proved to be instant classics in their own right. There are probably more than a few collectors who feel the need to have both the original 6309 and an SRP777 in their watch boxes.

The success of these releases, in my opinion, relies on (at least) two principles. First, Seiko has a pattern of releasing homage watches in a twofold way: a nearly one-to-one limited edition version and a closely-inspired but more affordably-priced version. This was the case, for instance, with the immensely drool-worthy SLA017, a spot-on homage to Seiko’s 62MAS diver and it’s more widely available and affordable counterparts, the SPB series watches (SPB051/SPB053). While the SPB watches are not the near doppelgängers of the 62MAS that the SLA017 is, they’re damn fine watches that, as with the new Turtles, could be revered in their own right. The second path to success is the sheer number of variations of these more affordably-priced homage series watches. Have you ever actually looked up how many different colors the new Turtle comes in? Clear your schedule for the afternoon.

The same is true of this newest release in Seiko’s Presage line. The new Presage Prestige watch is inspired by another classic from Seiko’s past, this time their first-ever chronograph (and, actually, the first Japanese chronograph watch produced), the 1964 Crown Chronograph. The Crown Chronograph was developed by Seiko for the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. It’s notable for its mono-pusher function, champagne-colored dial, and contrasting black count-up bezel. Much of those design elements are in place with Seiko’s new release (available with black bezels and the original champagne dial as well as a black dial and a lovely emerald green. However, there is one glaring omission: a chronograph function.

The original Seiko Crown Monopusher Chronograph

Keeping with the pattern of limited clone followed by accessible “inspired by,” Seiko first paid tribute to the Crown Chrono with the SRQ031, a watch that shared much of the original’s DNA except it had a three-register dual-pusher chronograph. This was paired with the SRQ029, a tribute to Seiko’s first automatic chronograph, the 6139. In the case of the SRQ029, it was a specific nod to the beloved 6139-8000 “Baby Panda” though, following the lead of the abovementioned, it had a three-register chronograph. What’s interesting about the new Presage Prestige watches is that they seem way more faithful to the aesthetics of the original Crown Chronograph than the limited edition three-register job, a noticeable departure from the norm that Seiko seemed to establish from the start with these recent homages. The Presage Prestige does, in fact, share much more with the original. Except for that pesky timekeeping function. I suppose if these new models were chronographs that would drive the price up, but I wonder how much of a deterrent that would be to buyers. How cool would a new mono-pusher Seiko be?

Specs

• Case: Stainless steel, screw case back ; Dimensions: 41.3mm (diameter), 48.3mm (length), 11.3mm (thickness)
• Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective coating inside.
• Dial: Champagne (SPB127J1), Black (SPB131J1), or Green (SPB129J1)
• Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
• Water Resistance: 10 bar/100m
• Movement: Seiko 6R35; automatic with manual winding capability, hacking, 24 jewels, date function
• Price: $825
• Release Information: Expected release, March 2020 ; limited to 1,964 pieces

What’s also a bit odd to me about this release is that it comes as part of Seiko’s Presage line which, for the most part, consists of way dressier offerings such as the Cocktail Time, the Arita Porcelain dial, and the enamel dial Spring Drive series. For a sporty watch (so sporty, in fact, that it was originally developed as an Olympic stopwatch) it seems a strange choice to be part of the Presage collection instead of something sportier. It wouldn’t fit in with the divers or the 5’s so I guess there weren’t a lot of other options. Or, perhaps Seiko could have used the Presage Prestige as a jumping-off point for a whole new line of chronograph homages/reissues (that would perhaps, one day, include Speedtimers and, of course, the Pogue??). I guess we’ll have to mark the minutes until that happens. (But not on this watch.)

Seiko


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: mybulova.com

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”


Seiko Prospex 'Alpinist-Inspired' Watches For 2020

Seiko Prospex 'Alpinist-Inspired' Watches For 2020

By: Michael Penate

Ever since SeiyaJapan revealed the news back in September this year, the watch community has been waiting to catch another glimpse of what might be coming in the next chapter of Seiko Alpinist history. Even if you trace its origins back to the Laurel Alpinists of the early 1960s, it's clear that the watch really stands out when you compare it against Seiko's mainstream line-ups. But, I can't think of another contemporary Seiko model with as much of a cult following—even if you consider how quirky it is. Finally, we now have a little more information about the new Seiko Prospex SPB123, SPB121, SPB119, and SPB117 "Alpinist-inspired" watches coming out in January 2020.

First of all, there are some clear changes and a couple of improvements that we've seen so far. Like the recently released Seiko Sumos, the new Alpinist models will be fitted with the 70-hour power reserve 6R35 movement. I'm also noticing that the 3 o'clock crown is also unsigned—a bit of a disappointment. Buyers will have four different dials to choose from, including the wildly popular emerald green option that played a part in the Alpinist craze we see today. For some additional variation, the black dial model pictured above cuts out the Arabic numerals we see in the other models and maintains a full set of attractive, triangular indices. Something tells me this will be the one to get.

Another key change is the addition of a cyclops over the 3 o'clock date aperture, something that'll really irk several of the purists. It never really bothered me, and I think it's a cool addition when you consider the well-rounded, sporty nature of the watch. Finally, the new Prospex branding on the dial now finalizes the watch's transition to one of Seiko's modern, established collections. The USA "SPB" reference prefix also makes me wonder if we'll start seeing a wave of new Alpinist models in the coming year, much like what we saw with the Cocktail Time.

Seiko Prospex Alpinist Specs

  • 39.5mm Case Diameter
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • Green/Black/Champagne/Grey Dial Options
  • Stainless Steel Bracelet or Leather Strap
  • 200m Water Resistance
  • Seiko 6R35 Movement
  • Price: $725-$750

Overall I think this is a sign that Seiko finally realized the importance of its modern Alpinist line. The release opens doors for new variations and if we're lucky, added complications (the blue dial SSASS GMT will always be my favorite). But here's the real question... with a price tag of around $300 more than what you can get a SARB017 for today, are these new models really worth springing for? Let us know in the comments.

The new Seiko Alpinist collection will be available in January 2020.

Seiko


Seiko SARX055 Review: The Baby Grand Seiko Snowflake

The Seiko SARX055 is referred to by some as the baby Grand Seiko Snowflake due to its similarity to the Grand Seiko SBGA011. However, at approximately 1/5th the price of the Grand Seiko, the SARX055 is a much more obtainable watch. However price is relative. This watch can be obtained for just shy of $1,000 which for me was a doozy of a price tag. That being said, it was something I really wanted so I started saving up for it. When the money was saved and the time came to purchase it, I almost balked. It was only with encouragement from my then fiancee (now wife) that I was finally able to pull the trigger. So, was the money worth it for the Seiko SARX055? In short, yes. For the many reasons why, please read on.

Seiko SARX055 Titanium Case: The Magic Metal

Weight is often associated with quality. This can make titanium watches polarizing because they are much lighter than their stainless steel counterparts. This lack of weight might make the watch feel cheap or perhaps flimsy. The Seiko SARX055 weighs 106g on bracelet. For comparison, the very similar Seiko SARB033 weighs in at 136g on the bracelet. The first time I picked up the SARX055 my brain definitely did a double take - you expect it to weigh more than it does! In practice however, this is actually a wonderful feature of the watch. I love wearing watches on bracelets, but some heavier watches are not very comfortable to wear for the entire day. The lightweight of the SARX055 eliminates this problem.

The finish of the Baby GS Snowflake's case is excellent. The sides are polished to a mirror-like surface. There are razor sharp transitions into satin brushed surfaces that surround the bezel. The finishing is so good, it is easy to forget this watch is titanium (which is notoriously hard to finish) and not stainless steel. The push pull crown is a nice size, easy to operate, and signed with the Seiko "S." The SARX055 case is 41mm in diameter, which I think is large for a dress style watch. However, it is saved in part by the short 46mm lug to lug length. What also helps is that this watch is only 11.5mm thick. The SARX055 will definitely serve as a dress watch slipping under a cuff, but because it is on a bracelet, it also has a sporty side. I wear this watch in more casual clothes and it works very nicely.

That Baby GS Snowflake Dial

One of the biggest draws to this watch, especially in advertising photos, is the dial. However, I was very underwhelmed by the dial when I first received it. Since this is a JDM model, I never had a chance to see it natural lighting conditions. Most of the photos online (and most of the ones in this review) are taken under studio lights that exaggerate the dynamic nature of the dial. In natural lighting conditions, the dial is less dramatic, and occasionally you won’t notice the texture.

That being said, my initial disappointment in the dial was immediately replaced fascination thanks to two other features of the watch: the anti reflective (AR) coating on the crystal and the absolutely flawless finishing of the hands and indices.

First off (and this is something you can’t fully appreciate from pictures), the crystal of this watch is basically invisible. If Seiko advertised this watch as just using a force field, I think I would have believed them. After a bit of research, I have discovered the anti reflective coating Seiko used on this watch is known under the marketing moniker Super Clear Coating. While there is a lot of weird buzzwords thrown around in marketing, this one is aptly named. The AR coating is so good that after obtaining this watch I entered a brief period where I decided I hated all of my other watches because they didn’t have this level of AR coating.

The second underappreciated part of this watch is the finishing on the hands and indices. The hands and indices are honed to a razor’s edge. In combination with the super clear coating on the crystal, light dances across the both the hands and indices in mesmerizing ways. After 7 months of owning the Seiko SARX055, it still takes my breath away.

Overall the dial is well laid out. There is an applied "Seiko" under the 12, a nicely framed date window at the 3, and Presage and Automatic at the 6. The script, Presage and Automatic, seem to float on the textured dial. The chapter ring is silver and the color match to the dial is very good. Finally, the blue second hand adds a welcome dash of color to the otherwise monochromatic dial. One complaint I have about this watch is the minute hand is a tad too short. While the second hand reaches all the way to the chapter ring, I wish the minute hand was a tiny bit longer.

Bracelet

On theme with the rest of the watch, the bracelet is also very well executed. The majority of the bracelet is brushed, but the center link’s outer edges are high polish. The center link also has a shape that is distinct from the rounded outer links. This angular edge on the ends of the center link give the bracelet a lot more visual interest.

The clasp is a departure from the usual pressed/stamped metal you find in many Seikos (even more expensive ones). Here we have a milled clasp with double push deployant. Additionally, the clasp closes perfectly flush with no gap showing. The only downside is there are zero micropositions. This can be very frustrating for finding the right fit while sizing the bracelet. There are half links close to the clasp that you can add and remove. I was lucky enough to find a nice fit without the micro adjustments, but keep that in mind if you are considering purchasing this watch.

Movement

  • Caliber: Seiko 6R15
  • BPH: 21,600
  • Stated Accuracy: +25/-15 sec a day<
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours

One of the complaints about the SARX055 is the 6R15 movement. Seiko's 6R15 is a 21,600bph, 50 hour power reserve movement with a stated accuracy of +25/-15 seconds a day (although Seiko is very conservative with these specs, I get closer to +/- 5 seconds a day on this watch). This is the same movement you can find in watches like the SARB033, which at one time was only about $300 to purchase (it has subsequently been discontinued and is slowly creeping up in price). While I can understand wanting a better movement in a watch at this price point, in the metal it is very clear that the majority of the cost of this watch is in everything but the movement.

Moreover, for Seiko, there are not a lot of other options out there at this price point. Seiko does have a higher beat 6R25, but doesn’t seem to be using that movement in current models. There is also an upgraded 6R15 known as the 6R35, but that is essentially a 6R15 with a longer power reserve. Finally, the Seiko SARA015 has the very rare 6L35. A much thinner, more accurate, and higher beat movement than the 6R15, this movement is undoubtedly more expensive to produce, and is reserved for some of the “nicer” presage models (I will avoid trying to comprehend or explain Seiko’s marketing segmentation, therein only lies madness). Just suffice it to say, I don’t think you will find a 6L35 in a sub $1000 seiko (but I would love to be proved wrong).

Final Thoughts

The only major complaint I have about this watch is the size. I really wish the case diameter was 39mm. As discussed above, the short 46mm lug to lug makes up for the larger case diameter, and it still looks good on my 6 ¾ inch wrist. However, I think at 39mm this could potentially cover the entire dress side of a two or three watch collection. My only other minor complaint is the minute hand being a tad bit short. Other than that, I was blown away by this watch.

Often times when you are purchasing budget watches, you will hear the criticism, “just save up for something nice.” I don’t agree with that sentiment. I think there are many, many watches that you can enjoy for less than $100 dollars. Also, for many people, they could save up for a “nicer watch”, but do they really want to spend that much money on a luxury item? With those caveats out of the way, if this watch falls into a price point you are comfortable purchasing in, I would say this watch is definitely worth the price.

Featured Insights
 

• 41mm x 46mm x 11.5mm
• Titanium case (w/ Dia-Shield)
• Sapphire crystal (w/ Super Clear Coating)
• 100 meters water resistance
• 6R15 Movement (50 hour power reserve)
• Price: Approx. $1,000 when you shop around (Seiya | Gnomon)

TBWS Amazon Watch Picks! (10/31/19): The Best Sub-$100 Quartz Chrono?

Welcome to our re-occurring series where we highlight our favorite watches currently available on Amazon. Below you’ll find prices, thumbnails, and reasons why we think you’ll love these watches. Please note that this page features Amazon Affiliate Links where we earn from qualifying purchases. Links are marked below as such.

*(paid link)

Citizen Titanium Radio Controlled Perpetual Chronograph | Eco-Drive AT4010-50E*

Was $750.00 NOW $347.00
(Save 54% off MSRP)

For under $400, this Citizen Chrono is packing a whole bunch of bang for your buck. Titanium, atomic-time, eco-drive, sapphire crystal, perpetual calendar… I was honestly super surprised when I saw the price. Check out the listing for all the details. It’s pretty wild.*

Dimensions:
42mm x 48mm x 13mm

Seiko SND367PC Chronograph*

Was $150.00 NOW $97.00
(Save 36% off MSRP)

THIS… I have never seen this Seiko Chrono before, but I’m absolutely in love with it. At the given price point, it’s not going to be the most outstanding quality in the world. But the oveall presentation of this Seiko is what I would call a strap monster. I’m seriously considering grabbing this just so I can have fun with straps. Don’t even get me started on the size – 38mm? . Take a look and let me know your thoughts – am I crazy for falling in love with this watch?*

Dimensions:
40mm x 47mm x 10mm

Frederique Constant Men’s Slim Line Gold-Tone (automatic) | FC-306MC4S35*

Was $2,595.00 NOW $767.00
(Save 71% off MSRP)

If you’ve become disillusioned as hell in the whole hunt for a dress watch, allow me to help. Frederique Constant often gets overlooked in the watchfam (for a multitude of reasons, none of which are merited), and that’s a huge disservice. Take this watch for an example – there’s such an incredible amount of detail here that it’s something I’m honestly surprised is available for just under $800 bucks. But honestly there’s no way you can appreciate the detail from this image. Check out the video in the product listing and you’ll see what I mean.*

Dimensions:
39mm x ? x 8mm

Citizen Blue Angels Stainless Steel | Eco-Drive AT8020-54L*

Was $695.00 NOW $303.00
(Save 57% off MSRP)

There are a few versions of the Citizen Blue Angels Chrono out there. But this one stands out because on the bracelet it’s actually quite dressy. So if you’re issue with the BA Citizen product line is that they were too sporty, then this would be the model you should check out. While you’re in there, check out the detailing on the 12 and 6 subregisters… they look like little dials on a plane. Eat your heart our Bell and Ross.*

Dimensions:
43mm x 50mm x 12.5mm

Seiko Classic Stainless Steel Chronograph | SNDC31*

Was $270.00 NOW $104.00
(Save 62% off MSRP)

A parchment color dial, classic font, and properly sized dimensions make this watch incredibly interesting. The 1/20 sec counter with 12 hour totalizer make it quite functional as well. There’s a really solid wristshot in the listing*, which gives you a good idea what how this will wear. Ideally, this is for someone who wants something classic with an old-world vibe but that they can also count on for reliability.

Dimensions:
38mm x 46mm x 10.5mm

Orient Classic Chronograph | FTV01005W

Was $330.00 NOW $131.00
(Save 61% off MSRP)

So this one’s a bit of a mystery! In my normal hunting of cool/less then normal watches around the internet, I stumbled upon this Orient Chronograph FTV01005W. There isn’t a lot of info out there, but apparently its sapphire with a screw down crown… and that date! The dial also has a lot going on in terms of texture and balance. Needless to say, this is another one that I’m thinking about buying so I can get more hands on time with it. What do you guys think?*

Dimensions:
41.5mm x ?mm x 11.5mm


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.


The Mido Multifort Patrimony

The Mido Multifort Patrimony

By: Andrew Gatto

With Baselworld 2019 wrapping up over a month ago, many of us are still talking about Swatch Group’s decision to stay home and how they are going to release their new watches to the world. Well, at least when it comes to Mido, Swatch has decided to slowly announce new models without much fanfare or extravagance. Mido has expanded their Multifort watch line by releasing the Multifort Patrimony, a vintage inspired piece with three dial and two case color options to choose from.

Mido Multifort Patrimony Specs

  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.95mm
  • Lug Width: 19mm
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Movement: Caliber 80 (ETA 2836 base) with 80 hour power reserve

Dating back to 1934, the Mido Multifort line has a wide variety of watches and complications; including chronograph, dual time, day/date and date options for both men and women. As the name suggests, the Multifort Patrimony takes vintage cues from Mido watches your father or grandfather may have owned, but built with today’s materials and modern automatic movement technology.

Mido Multifort Patrimony Case Options:

Mido chose to manufacture all of their new Multifort Patrimony watches from 316L stainless steel due to its inherent magnetic and corrosion resistant properties. In a trend that we’ve seen in the past few years (think gold Seiko Turtle and gold Bulova Computron), Mido is also giving us the option for an affordable “gold” Multifort Patrimony alongside the plain stainless steel. Using the same stainless steel case, Mido has applied a microscopically thin gold colored PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating to create a durable surface that most people will mistake for solid gold.

Thankfully, Mido resisted the temptation to make an oversized vintage inspired watch and designed the Multifort Patrimony with a tasteful 40mm case diameter. Not only is it a great diameter, it's also relatively thin at only 11.95mm thick. Mido should be proud of this because automatic movements and display casebacks are notorious for forcing watch manufacturers to make thick cases. Somehow, Mido was able to design around this and give us a watch that won't be top heavy and will easily fit under a shirt cuff.

Unfortunately, Mido went with a lug width of 19mm, not the more common 20mm. It may prove difficult to find aftermarket leather straps in this width. Smaller watches like this are a breath of fresh air; Mido actually listened to its customers and made the Multifort Patrimony a comfortable size for the majority of people.

At the 3 o’clock position, a nicely signed push/pull crown operates the movement. It features knurling for grip and a polished end with “MIDO” in raised lettering. The crown matches the case color, either plain stainless steel or gold PVD. On top, a durable sapphire crystal protects the dial while underneath; a display caseback allows you to see the lightly decorated Caliber 80 automatic movement. Typical for dress watches, the Multifort Patrimony has a water resistance of 50 meters.

Patrimony Dial Options

Depending on the case color, you have 3 gorgeous dial options to choose from; blue sunray (steel case), anthracite sunray (steel case) or black sunray (gold PVD case). All three dial colors gradually transform from lighter to darker shades as you move out from the center towards the edge.

The most unique characteristic of the Multifort Patrimony is the fact it has a pulsometer scale on the outer edge of the dial. A pulsometer scale allows you to calculate someone’s heart rate without doing any math in your head. You simply wait for the second hand to reach the 12 o’clock mark and then count 30 heart beats, taking note of where the seconds hand is on the pulsometer scale on the 30th beat. This feature is a nod to Mido’s past pulsometer watches and yet another vintage inspiration they added to this line.

Moving inward, applied Arabic numerals are placed at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 hour marks. The numerals use a vintage style white font that suits the dial and overall watch nicely. All other hour marks are basic baton style white applied markers. Closer to the center of the dial, a minute track is printed in black.

Mido decided their current capitalized and bold font logo would not aesthetically fit this watch, so they designed a printed cursive font logo that perfectly complements the vintage style of this piece. Underneath the logo is “AUTOMATIC” along with “MULTIFORT” in printed text. Just above the 6 o’clock position sits the date window. It is nicely designed and does not cut off any numerals or hour marks, just a small section of the minute track.

One of the nicest features of this watch is its syringe style hour and minute hands. Not very common on modern watches, syringe hands are a welcome throwback from the past that are just unique enough to add personality without being overly strange or out of place. Many watch manufacturers today struggle with making their hands the proper length; however Mido did a wonderful job. The needle on the hour hand reaches the minute track and nearly touches the hour markers while the minute and seconds hand reaches the pulsometer scale for accurate readings. Unlike vintage Midos, the new Multifort Patrimony uses modern Super-LumiNova luminous paint on the hour and minute hands to help you read the time in dark environments. The second hand is either silver (blue dial), black (anthracite dial) or gold (black dial) and features a stylized arrow as its counter weight.

Mido Caliber 80 Movement Details

Inside the Multifort Patrimony is the Caliber 80, a 25 jewel automatic movement based off of the ETA 2836. Featuring an impressive 80 hours of power reserve, the Caliber 80 is found in many of Mido’s watches and has a good track record of reliability. Mido was able to improve the power reserve capacity of the ETA 2836 in part by slowing the beat rate down to 21,600 beats per hour. Although maybe not as smooth as other movements, the second hand still has the characteristic automatic movement sweeping motion.

Leather Straps Options

All three Multifort Patrimony versions come on patina leather straps. The steel case with blue dial comes on a light brown strap, the steel case with anthracite dial comes on a black strap and the PVD gold case with black dial comes on a dark brown strap. All three straps feature cream colored stitching near the ends to give the watch one last vintage inspired nod.

Availability and Price

The steel case blue dial and the PVD gold case black dial are available now on Mido’s USA website. The steel case anthracite dial is currently sold out.

Mido Multifort Patrimony Prices

  • M040.407.16.040.00- Blue sunray dial, steel case: $890 USD
  • M040.407.16.040.00- Anthracite sunray dial, steel case: $890 USD
  • M040.407.36.060.00- Black sunray dial, gold PVD case: $1,000 USD

Check out Mido for more details!


Raven Watches: The Endeavour

Raven Watches: The Endeavour

By: Michael Penate

One of the most valuable aspects of our recent trip to San Francisco was finally getting the chance to handle watches that we just didn't understand in the past. Let me tell you, the Raven Endeavour was one of those watches. Since its release, the watch confused the hell out of me and even led me to question Raven's future direction for some time. But the truth is, the Raven Endeavour is loud, charismatic, adventurous, and capable of pushing you out of your comfort zone—ultimately an embodiment of its creator, Steve Laughlin. Once you come to this realization, things start falling into place.

The Raven Endeavour followed both the Trekker and the Venture—two highly successful micro divers that helped define Raven's design ethos. Naturally, you can probably understand why I was so surprised by its release when you consider how conventional Raven's previous releases were. As I sit here and type this with my Gen 1 Trekker RT07 on-wrist and a Venture on my desk, it's become apparent that the Endeavour really should exist—and it fits perfectly into the brand's catalog.

Raven Endeavour in the 'Bleu De France' colorway on a 6.75' wrist

With burly Seiko-esque dimensions, prominent lugs, and a beefy bracelet, it's a watch that you probably won't find on my wrist. But, that's exactly the point. It brings balance to the Raven line-up and rounds out the brand's offerings for anyone seeking something a little larger. The brushed stainless steel case is 44mm in diameter, 49.5mm lug-to-lug, and 14.5mm thick with 22mm lugs. And even though it's a beast of a watch, it wears slightly smaller than you might think. I'm confident that there are plenty of folks out there that would get a ton of enjoyment out of the Endeavour.

Raven Endeavour Specs

  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.5mm
  • Lug to lug: 49.5mm
  • Movement: ETA 2824 Automatic
  • Crystal: Box Sapphire
  • Bracelet: Stainless Steel (22mm width)
  • Water Resistance: 500m
  • Price: $675

The Raven Endeavour is now available in three new colors (Glacier, Caution, and Bleu De France) and you can learn more by visiting Raven's official site.

Raven Watches


Archimede Watches: The Pilot GMT 42

Archimede Watches: The Pilot GMT 42

By: Kaz Mirza

We wrote about initial release of the Archimede Pilot GMT 42 back in June 2017. However we were recently able to have a brief proper hands-on experience with the watch during Wind Up SF 2019.

At 42mm in diameter, 51mm lug to lug, and 10.2mm thick, we were a bit unsure of how the actual watch would feel on the wrist. Based on the specifications of the Archimede Pilot GMT 42, I can understand how someone may think it would wear a bit on the larger side. Allow me to assuage your uncertainties.

For my 6.75" wrist, it was perfect. While 51mm lug to lug is the max span I'm able to comfortably wear, the 10.2mm thickness (or thinness rather) allowed the watch to be incredibly balanced. The case construction is incredible, which isn't surprising given Ickler's reputation for watch case and parts manufacturing. The detailing on the sides of the lugs and the classic Flieger crown were particularly well executed. Oh, and this may be the best use of a 6 o'clock date window I've ever seen.

Before seeing the watch in person Mike and I expressed trepidation in regard to the color choices. While traditional Fliegers are reserved with their color choices, the Archimede Pilot GMT 42 seems to be having a bit more fun with its presentation. The hour and minute hands are heat-treated blue steel while the GMT hand is coated in red pigment. The contrast between red and blue allows the GMT hand to have an appropriate amount of "pop" to it.

However one of the more subtle but wonderful features is the color synergy between the thermal blue hands and the blue stitching on the strap. While it doesn't look like the Archimede site shows the watch with this blue stitch strap, it's something I would certainly pair the watch with given the option - it's a perfect match.

Please enjoy the photos we've taken here - in the future I'd like to be able to get this watch in for review in order to give everyone a proper assessment of the timepiece. However I'll leave you with the first thing I uttered to Michael as he stood next to me and I put this watch on my wrist for the first time: "This could be the one watch..." I know - I was surprised too.

Arhchimede Pilot GMT 42 Specifications:

  • 42mm in diameter | 51mm lug to lug | 10.2mm thick
  • Case made by ICKLER in Pforzheim
  • Sapphire crystal on front | Mineral Crystal on exhibition case back
  • ETA 2893-2 Elaborè
  • Available with black dial paired with a black, dark brown, or light brown leather strap | or a Milanaise mesh bracelet or stainless steel bracelet

Check out more info on Archimede's site!


Collins Watch Company Hyperion

Collins Watch Company Hyperion

By: Michael Penate

As a value-focused brand that offers one of the coolest "Flieger alternatives" on the market, I was excited to see Collins Watch Company introduce their first release in two years. The Collins Watch Company Hyperion is a new take on the brand's overall design approach with a combination of field and pilot watch elements. The progression here is natural, which is what attracted me to the watch in the first place. I've always enjoyed the way Jimmy Collins approached his designs and I think anyone who found his debut Bronson model to be a little too cluttered might find that the Hyperion is just right.

Like previous releases, I think we can all agree that Collins isn't breaking any new ground here. But, I love that prices have remained reasonable throughout years and that Collins knows what he is good at. The Hyperion features a straightforward case design that'll work for any sports watch fan. With a nice array of Arabics at 12, 3, 6, and 9, it has that cool Explorer vibe that seems to mesh well with the pilot-inspired handset. Personally, I find the dial to be well-executed, even with the date window at 4:30. The Hyperion will be available in Silver, Black, and Carbon case variations and the Carbon version will actually have the date window removed.

Collins Watch Company Hyperion Specs

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 13mm
  • Lug to lug: 48mm
  • Movement: Sellita SW200 Automatic
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Strap: Leather and nylon options (20mm width)
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Price: $495 (Kickstarter Early Bird) $750 (Final Retail)

The Collins Watch Company Hyperion is currently live on Kickstarter and you can learn more by visiting the official Collins site.

Collins Watch Company