In a year comprising 52 weeks, I will never figure out why watch brands love to cluster their releases around the same periods. That is exactly what we had this week, with a flurry of watch releases, from the likes of Tudor, Greubel Forsey, Gronefeld, TAG Heuer, Hanhart and Casio. Of course, there was also time for Richard Mille to come by and set a new record. These are the top 7 things in the world of watches; let’s get into it.
Richard Mille sets record for thinnest watch
When you think Richard Mille, outrageous tourneau shaped ultra-light sports watches come to mind. You respect the brand for what it has accomplished it is short 21-year history, but you certainly don’t think top of the line haute horology. Well, the brand has just taken that perception and thrown it out the window with its record breaking 1.75mm thick RM UP-01 Ferarri release. Colour me surprised.
By setting record like this, even if it is only by 0.05mm, this watch deserves all the plaudits it gets. It doesn’t even matter that the watch will wear large, if not thick, or that the time telling portion of the dial is extremely limited. I really like the fact that the watch has been tested for real world conditions like the 5,000Gs rating and at least a 10m water resistant. It reflects the desire by the brand that the watch is actually used and not made just to be a display piece, so kudos to Richard Mille. Let’s see if Bvlgari of Piaget has anything to say about the crown that they have just been beaten to. Check out the full article here.
Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf
“Grönefeld has become the most prestigious brand in the Netherlands, since its founding in 2008. This fame has been gained as ‘The Horological Brothers’, Bart and Tim Grönefeld, conquer various mechanisms, from their atelier in Oldenzaal, Netherlands, such as the tourbillon minute repeater, a jumping seconds, a flying tourbillon with hacking seconds, automatic, etc. Their watchmaking training in both the Netherlands and Switzerland cemented their love for complications and this week, we see a further expression of this love as they release the brands’ first chronograph, the Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf. The release also sees the debut of a technology never used in a chronograph.
Chronographs already rely heavily on subdials for their function but this design, influenced by their 1896 One Hertz and Parallax Tourbillon models, relegates everything but the chronograph hand to a subdial. The rhodium-plated subdials are elevated from the main dial, which has a grey and satin-grained finish, by stainless steel bases matching their profiles. A smart choice as it gives an effective depth to the dial that looks good and distinguishes this from what we see often, which are slightly recessed ones.” – Misael Alves
Check out the full article here.
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture
“Greubel Forsey is a combination of the names of two genius watchmaker inventors Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey. The brand was launched in 2004 and since then has made a name for reimagining existing complications, making them more impressive and incorporating them in unique designs.
The brands’ unquenching desire to innovate has produced masterpieces like the Quadruple Tourbillon, the Double Balancier, and the Mechanical Computer of the QP à Équation. Today they have introduced another. The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture is unlike any Greubel Forsey timepiece ever created, featuring a new caliber, two patents, and a case design & construction that showcases their movement like no other.
The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture has become part of Greubel Forsey’s Convex collection, and this carries the signature convex shape, constructed from grade 5 titanium, with a 47mm diameter around the case back and a 45 mm bezel. This size configuration gives enough volume to fully showcase the 3-dimensional architecture of the movement within while giving the impression of being significantly smaller than it actually is. Also helping in its wearability are the compact lugs that flow out of the case back and seamlessly integrate with the rubber strap. Don’t take me wrong, this is still a large piece especially when you factor in the 16.80mm height but would you take a smaller watch over having all this watchmaking goodness on the writ? I most definitely wouldn’t!” – Misael Alves
Check out the full article here.
TAG Heuer Monaco Purple Dial Limited Edition
“TAG Heuer hasn’t been afraid to use color on the Monaco, its most iconic design with the square case and two square chronograph sub-dials being essential elements of its design, introduced in 1969 to honor the Monaco Grand Prix. The new Monaco Purple Dial Limited Edition is a fine addition to that heritage.
It has a violet dial that fades to purple at the edges of the case and which contrasts very neatly with the black sub-dials with their white text. The colorful dial is enhanced by the case polishing and finishing of the crown and pushers.
As a whole, this 500-piece limited edition is a striking addition to the Monaco range. The purple dial, black sub-dials, and black rotor make this a striking, harmonious, and let’s face it ineffably cool watch. Is it as cool as a Gulf Monaco, maybe, just maybe.” – Mark Wheeler
Hanhart 417 ES 1954
“Steve McQueen was often spotted wearing this Hanhart 417 ES Chronograph – and it’s been re-released by Hanhart in its original 39mm case as the 417 ES 1954. The bi-compax chronograph is powered by a modern Sellita SW510 with 58 hours of power reserve and it’s like the original hand-wound only (no automatic winding mechanism). You also get a 100m water resistance.
The calf-leather bund-strap ensures that you can wear this watch in utmost comfort. It features Alcantara on the underside to let your skin breathe. The Buckle as well as the case back are featuring the original/historic logo of Hanhart. Indices and hands are covered in SuperLuminova. The watch is 13.3mm tall with crystal and 11.55mm without. A personal highlight is a beautifully signed crown.
If you want to feel like the “King of Cool”, you can get this watch now as part of the official non-limited collection at Hanhart watches of Germany. Price is EUR 1,980.” – @KoolPep a.k.a Ralf
Casio G-Shock Porcelain Series
When we hear porcelain and watches in the same sentence, our minds immediately jump to the beautiful dials that the material allows for. The Seiko Presage Arita line might be the first and most affordable that comes to mind. However, we now have another Japanese brand giving us its take on porcelain in watches, Casio with its G-Shock Porcelain series.
Of course, what we have isn’t porcelain dials, or porcelain in any material form. Instead, what the brand has released is a quartet of porcelain designed G-Shocks. Set in the GA-110, GA-700, DW-5600 & GA-2100, these watches are part of long running collections from the brands, so I won’t rehash the specs here. Suffice to say, you’d be hard pressed to find better value for the ton of functionality you get with these, e.g. a world-timer tracking 48 time zones, chronograph, day-date, 200m water resistant among other things.
The porcelain design comes in the colour & pattern on the watches, which all crafted in a primarily deep blue colour with swirls of white mixed in. If you come from a similar culture to my Chinese Singaporean background, then these would be immediately reminiscent of the blue and white porcelain plates & bowls that we use when we were kids. Casio isn’t shying away from these cultural ties either given the engraved dragon pattern on the caseback and dragon design framing the dials. Overall, a pretty good take on the whole aesthetic, even if I think there could be a greater proportion of white swirls in the patterns on the watches.
When Tudor first teased this release, it tied the watch to the British North Greenland Expedition (BNGE) that first started way back in 1952. However, the Ranger model name and design takes after a watch released much later, in 1967, i.e. the Tudor Ranger ref. 7995.
The Ranger 79950 comes with the model’s trademark 3-6-9-12 dial and arrow head hour hand. The seconds hand has a red tip that contrasts the rest of the white painted markers. It’s a shame that Tudor didn’t use the ceramic block indices that the Black Bay Pro has on this watch though, since that would’ve allowed for a nice balance between modern functionality and vintage aesthetics.
With an all brushed 39mm x 11.9mm case, the Ranger 79950 takes to the “Go Anywhere, Do Anything” philosophy extremely well especially with the T-Fit clasp Collectively, this would probably make for the most comfortable modern Tudor tool watch, that comes with all the brand’s latest bells and whistles.
This latest Ranger from Tudor is a great release. Does it reinvent the wheel, design wise? No it doesn’t. Does it build on the quirky innovation of the brilliant North Flag from 2015? No it doesn’t. But it is unfair to hold a watch accountable for what we want it to be. Instead, we should look at the Ranger 79950 for what it is; a solid, no-nonsense comfortable utilitarian watch, that you can slip on the wrist and never worry about, with just enough vintage charm to keep from ever becoming boring. Check out the full article here.
So that is it for this week. As always, get in on all the action on the Scottish Watches website, and of course, the podcast on your podcaster of choice. Till next time, take care everyone.