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


Astor + Banks: The Sea Ranger

Astor + Banks: The Sea Ranger

By: Kaz Mirza

Very proud to have spent some initial hands on time with the new Astor + Banks Sea Ranger at Wind-Up SF 2019. The Chicago-based microbrand just unveiled their new diver with 3 dial options: blue, white, and black.

Initial impressions of the Astor + Banks Sea Ranger are incredibly positive. At 40mm the wearing experience is quite strong. But for me what tipped my wrist-time over the edge was the design. The Sea Ranger's design combines classic field and dive watch tropes in an effort to bring folks a proper GADA watch (Go Anywhere Do Anything watch).

The Sea Ranger is rated for 30 ATM WR (300 Meters) and also features a sunken interior military hour track. Plus (and what I found most fun), there's a 12H bezel rather than a dive bezel so you can track a second timezone with the watch. Functionality profile aside, aesthetically, I think the Sea Ranger is a blast. Very fun to wear and a great visual look. Aside from the bezel and the military time track, I love how bold the pop of color and presence is on the seconds hand. What does everyone think?

Astor + Banks Sea Ranger Specs:

  • 40mm in diameter
  • Sapphire Crystal (AR Coating)
  • 316L Stainless Steel case (also available in DLC)
  • Screw-down case back | screw-down crown
  • Movement will be either an ETA 2824-2 or Sellita SW200
  • Drilled through lugs
  • $Final Price: $850 - currently $275 off on their site ($575)

Check out Astor + Banks for more info!


The New 2019 Orient Star Modern Skeleton - Upgrading the In-House Movement

The New 2019 Orient Star Modern Skeleton - Upgrading the In-House Movement

By: Kaz Mirza

Earlier this year just before Baselworld 2019, Orient released a movement upgrade for their frankly under-appreciated Orient Star Modern Skeleton product line.

Orient's Push to Upgrade Previous 4xxxx Calibers to the New F6xxx Calibers

Orient has been using in-house movements in their watches for decades. However most of those calibers didn't see too many technical innovations or improvements during their lifetime. Over the past couple years though that's something Orient has been working on.

Out of their movement making workshop in Akita, Japan, Orient has been iterating on its new wave of calibers based on the F6[xxx] line. Among the most well know movement upgrades, the Orient Mako II and Ray II received the F6922 while the Bambino Small Seconds received the F6222 caliber.

Now it's the Orient Star Modern Skeleton's turn.

The movement upgrade from the older 40S62 cliber to the Orient Star Skeleton's newer F6F44 movement results in two main differences:

  • Bigger open heart window at 9 o'clock to accommodate the new balance wheel
  • Power reserve increase from 40H to 50H

Overall the look is still basically the same, but for me (as a movement geek) I love that Orient is sticking with previous models and giving them these movement upgrades. I've personally handled a few Orient Stars (I also own a previous generation WZ0071DJ GMT (which I reviewed )) and I can tell you that the quality on these is outstanding. The treatment of final finishing and fine detailing between standard Orient models (like the Mako and Bambino) is miles away from the refinement you get with pieces in the Orient Star line. It's just a shame that Orient Star isn't more popular in the United States - that's something that we at TBWS will be working on changing though.

Orient Star Modern Skeleton Specs:

Here's a breakdown of all the specs for the new 2019 Orient Star Modern Skeleton pieces.

  • Automatic, in-house F6F44 mechanical movement (Made in Japan)
  • Manual winding with hacking
  • 41 mm in diameter
  • 50 hour power reserve with indicator
  • Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Small seconds sub dial at 6 o'clock
  • Lumed hands and dots
  • 100 meter water resistance (10 bar)
  • Available in 4 dial styles
  • Options for stainless steel trifold buckle or leather deployant strap

Orient Star Modern Skeleton Dial/Style Options

RE-AV0004N

    • Grey dial
    • Two tone interior elements (hands, Orient Star logo, and Roman numeral XII in rose gold)
    • Power reserve indicator offset in slightly contrasting black
    • Stainless steel case with bracelet


RE-AV0003L

    • Navy dial
    • Small seconds sub dial offset in contrasting silver
    • Stainless steel case with bracelet


RE-AV0005L

    • Navy dial
    • Power reserve indicator offset in slightly contrasting black
    • Stainless steel case with leather strap with deployant buckle


RE-AV0006Y

    • Brown dial
    • Two tone interior elements (hands, markers, Orient Star logo, and Roman numeral XII in rose gold)
    • Power reserve indicator and small seconds sub dial offset in slightly contrasting black
    • Stainless steel case with leather strap with deployant buckle

The official MSRP for these will hover between $760 - $780 USD and they will be available from official Orient Star distributors. We'll share more info as it unfolds - also be sure to check out the Orient Star collection section on the official Orient Watch Global Site (photo credits to them as well).