When we talk about sports watches, chances are a dive watch is what comes to mind. Dive watches are extremely versatile especially when the world has generally moved away from office wear, something accelerated by the current pandemic. All this is to say that dive watch news is not something that generally surprising. However, this week’s range of dive watch related news is certainly interesting with two separate partnerships with the French Marine Nationale, Tissot getting its Seastar to professional dive standards, Oris releasing a depth gauge diver, and Rado bringing back ceramic dive watches. Of course for those who have no interest in dive watches, we also have the Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers Association’s partnership with the Horological Society of New York and Zenith’s launching its latest limited edition El Primero in partnership with cigar maker Cohiba, to sandwich all the dive watch news. So, let’s get into it.
The Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers allies with Horological Society of New York
Last year, Scottish Watches got together with world renown Roger Smith, and Mike France of CW Watches to announce the forming of the Alliance of Britain’s Watch & Clock Makers (The Alliance). The idea behind this was to promote British watchmaking, something the country was once the premier location for before that title went to the Swiss. Now, as it has gone beyond geographical boundaries and partnered up (I would’ve said formed an alliance but that was too on the nose) with the Horological Society of New York (HSNY). This new partnership allows The Alliance to bring its members a far wider scope of educational events while also bringing greater awareness to the noble aims of The Alliance. Certainly a great development for this relatively new organisation.
Tudor Re-Partners with the French Marine Nationale
Photo Credit: Hodinkee
When Tudor was conceived, it was intended to be an affordable alternative to Rolex. As a result, it spent many decades living in Rolex’s shadow. However, the brand has a rich history of its own, independent of whatever its bigger sister was doing. One of these was its partnership with the French Marine Nationale tha that gave birth to one of the most iconic Tudor watches to date, the Snowflae Tudor Submariner. Earlier this week, Tudor announced that it has now, once again, rekindled its relationship with the French Navy. No special edition watch has been released in commemoration of the event yet. In a sense, it feels as if this announcement is somewhat out of order as the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue released last July would have been an ideal watch for this announcement. At the same time, one would think that the Pelagos might be better suited to the robust requirements that the French Navy may have today. For now, we are left with ample room to speculate. What do you think will be the watch for this partnership?
Yema also announces partnership with the French Marine Nationale
Photo Credit: WatchPro
In a surprising/puzzling twist of events, Tudor was not the only brand to announce its partnership with the Marine Nationale. Instead, the Marine Nationale has opted for multiple suppiers with another partnership with relatively smaller Yema. Yema was founded in 1948, and since the 1970s has had a partnership with the French Airforce. It has as of this week, expanded this relationship to include the navy as well. I for one, am curious about the timing of this expansion of this partnership. Still, the result is unfaultable with the brand releasing not one, not two, but four new watches for this partnership. The design aesthetics are largely similar, as all come with the Marine Nationale logo at the 6 ‘o clock position on a blue dial, and feature candle-like indices and a straight-sword hands. Three of these watches have 39mm cases and blue bezel and your choice of a time-only quartz option, Yema’s in-house Yema2000 automatic movement, or its in-house Yema3000 GMT version. On a slight tangent, I had not been aware that Yema produced it’s own movements that it funded via Kickstarter. That is pretty cool. The fourth option seems to be targeted at ladies, given its name “Navygraf Marine Nationale Femme” and comes in a 34mm case, has a quartz movement, a mesh bracelet and a white bezel. In all honesty though, there was no need to specify that this was for ladies though, because it is a great looking piece, and would have worked just as well on male wrists. I would rock one for sure. Overall, these are interesting releases from Yema and something to satiate the Marine Nationale itch for the time being.
Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional goes deep diving
This may be my ignorance talking, but when I think of Tissot, I think of an entry to the Swiss watch industry, something that I might pick up (and I did) while in university. I certainly do not think of professional dive watches. Well, Tissot has set out to disprove my stereotype with its latest Seastar 2000 Professional. In this case, the term “professional” is not bandied about lightly. Tissot has made this watch capable of being submerged to depths of 600m or equivalent pressure. It also incorporates a helium escape valve in seamlessly with the case (looking at you Omega) and does not detract from the visual appeal of the watch which it brings via the smoked dials. The watch that comes in three dial colour variants is not a small watch either, coming in at 46mm, by 16.25mm. What it houses though, is its Powermatic 80 calibre that boasts, as the name suggests, 80 hours of power reserve and a Nivachron balance makes the movement more antimagnetic. Despite the functional and aesthetic appeal of this watch, it only comes in at £895, which makes it feel like a steal if you have the wrist for it.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge
Oris has always, in my book, exceled at mixing things up, offering the single more interesting hits, while also keep much of its core collection stable. It is a strategy that I believe has not only won them many fans over the years but also kept those fans. This week, the brand released a watch from the former category, the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge. Aesthetically, it looks similar to almost any other Oris Aquis, apart from the use of yellow accents on the dial. On closer inspection however, you would notice that the yellow accents actually track depths from 1 – 100m under the surface. You might also notice a small gap in near the 12 o’ clock position on the sapphire crystal that leads in to a sort of tube around the edge of the crystal. That gap in the crystal is actually how the depth gauge works, by applying Boyle’s Law. As the watch is take to greater depths, the watch pressure at that depth forces the air out of the tube proportionally and creates a water-air marking in the tube along the appropriate depth. Now that is a cool functional mechanism that takes this watch to the next level.
Rado Captain Cook in ceramic
Found easily in many shopping centres/malls, Rado is often easily mistaken for a fashion watch. However, it has serious credentials, being one of the brands that long embraced the use of ceramic in its entire watch. Of course, IWC’s CEO, Chris Grainger-Herr, will tell you why a full ceramic bracelet is not the most optimal choice, but that is another story i.e. one on the Scottish Watches podcast. For 2021, Rado has released four new Captain Cook watches in its High-Tech Ceramic. All four watches feature steel bezel inserts. Three of the watches are in full black while the fourth comes in a gun-metal grey colour. What is interesting about these watches is the fact that they have a skeletonised dial that allows you to appreciate the movement. It is something some would enjoy, though I personally think these would have looked better with a solid dial. In any case, at 43mm, these releases are not targeted at me, though they are certainly cool looking watches.
Zenith Chronomaster Open Cohiba 55th Anniversary Release
Finally, we have Zenith’s latest release that is in collaboration with Cohiba, one of the world’s most renown cigar makers. Now I may not (yet) be a cigar appreciating man myself, but nobody can deny that cigars are regarded as one of the finer things in life, much like a Zenith El Primero. I guess that is where the overlap between the brands come into play. To celebrate Cohiba’s 55th anniversary, Zenith adapted its open heart Chonomaster with the use of black and yellow, as inspired by the two-tone look of cigar boxes. The two colours occupying the top and bottom halves of the watch equally with white sub-dials completing the look. The 42mm watch is powered by Zenith’s remarkable Calibre El Primero 4061 movement. All in all, this is a really fun looking watch fit for the occasion it is celebrating.
So that is it for this week. As always, do sign up for the newsletter from the Scottish Watches so the latest podcasts, videos and articles come straight to you for quicker entertainment or get in on all the action on the Scottish Watches website, YouTube Channels (Scottish Watches, Scottish Watches Live & Scottish Watches Unboxed) as well as of course, the podcasts on your podcaster of choice. Till next time, take care everyone.