Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”

The year 2021 feels like ages ago. In April of that year, Audemars Piguet, under the wonderfully maniacal vision of Francois Bennahmias, released a six-figure Royal Oak Concept tourbillon with a miniaturized sculpture of the popular Black Panther character planted at the center of the dial – and more design cues spilling onto the case.

My description of the watch is quite pedestrian compared to the reaction it garnered from the watch community. And I understood where some of the outraged watch lovers were coming from, but some of that apoplexy missed the point of the watch and the soon-to-be-ending brand stewardship of Bennahmias.
At its heart, the Audemars Piguet Black Panther Concept Tourbillon was about merging a cultural touchpoint with modern watchmaking and craftsmanship. The result was a hand-crafted sculpture of the highest detail that is best appreciated in the metal.

I was lucky enough to experience that watch for an extended period of time and came away moved by the craft rather than offended by the idea. And it hit culturally, as we saw celebrities gravitate towards the watch, whether it be Kevin Hart or NBA stars Draymond Green and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Knowing that Bennahmias is a pop-culture nut (and lover of all things film and comic book) helps to contextualize the thinking. And after a few years of sitting with the Black Panther – we now have a new contender swinging into the mix.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Spider-Man Tourbillon is the latest Marvel-comic-book-horological-crossover from the holy trinity brand. In terms of a literal explanation: The thing basically speaks for itself and in many ways continues the design decisions made on the previous launch. It is limited to 250 pieces and will come in at CHF 195,000.
That means that the base model remains the Concept collection, in the very good 42mm sizing (not-so-hot take: All AP RO Concepts should be this size). It features an internal chapter-ring-style minute readout as well as a tourbillon.The dial features alternating black PVD-coated gold hour markers and Arabic numerals that are overlaid by hands of the same material. The hands and numerals are finished in white luminescence that turns blue in the dark, in what the brand says “subtly referring to the world of Spider-Man.” And lest we forget the three-dimensional, mini sculpture of a web-slinging Spider-Man center of frame.
But where the Black Panther utilized designs derived and inspired by the Vibranium-rich mines of Wakanda, it would seem that this watch takes a webbier approach. In that vein, I won’t call this a skeletonized dial, but rather a “web dial” that appears to be partially open-worked.

The strap on the Black Panther was full purple, but Spider-Man opts for black (why it wasn’t blue, I don’t know) with red accents. For the first time on the Concept, AP is delivering an interchangeable strap system, so in addition to black and gray, there is also a black and red strap. Both feature a titanium buckle. The overall finishing of the titanium case alternates between polished and blasted surfaces, with no added engravings like the previous model. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Spider-Man Tourbillon case itself is titanium but the bezel is black ceramic.

And then there’s Peter Parker himself. The dial art finds Spider-Man mid-swing around Manhattan with one hand out of frame (ostensibly clutching some webs) while the other hand comes forward as if reaching out from a 3D movie screen, ready to shoot some – um – more webs. Now, the design form of Spidey isn’t from any big-screen adaptation of the character, but rather pulled directly from the pages of a comic book. That has always been the clear delineation of AP’s partnership with Marvel on these releases. These are Marvel comic characters, not some extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Excuse me for not knowing the exact artist this is inspired by (I only have room in my brain for so many forms of nerdery), but I have to say that the dynamism of the sculpture really gives a sense of motion to what is literally a frozen, lifeless image. And a hat tip to the designers of the watch, as Parker’s backside narrowly avoids the wrath of the tourbillon.

Inside this watch beats the Manufacture Calibre 2974 – a brand new movement based on the caliber 2948 which also represents a change from the 2965 caliber of the Black Panther. The open-working took the full engineering might of the AP team to reduce the movement down to only the necessary parts required to make Spidey the star of the show. In so doing, what we’re left with is Spider-Man essentially emerging from a void of black space, swinging around the tourbillon. According to AP, “The silhouette and volume of the character are first cut from a block of white gold using a CNC machine. The Super Hero’s suit is then laser-engraved to obtain the differences in texture that give it its textile appearance.”

Following this process, touch-ups and engraving-related finishing is done by hand by a single artisan. The painting is also a hand-finished step. In all, this is a 50-hour process. Utilizing the same basic case of the prior release was a great move here. If there is one single piece of consensus from the last release, it’s the overall form of the 42mm case.

There is enough experimentation with a watch like this. If there’s even one part that isn’t broken, you definitely don’t fix it. Instead, AP and the team kept it as a relatively blank canvas to allow the Spider-Man sculpture to shine.

I have not yet had the pleasure to see this one IRL, but if it’s anything like the Black Panther, these images you see here don’t do it justice.
In some ways, this is a silly collaboration – marrying comic books with the highest of high (the hautest of haute) luxury watchmaking – but maybe it’s also brave. Given the limited quantity, this is sure to enter the realm of collectibility just like its predecessor did.

But it doesn’t end there, just like it did with the Black Panther, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Spider-Man Tourbillon will also be offering a piece-unique variation of this watch up for auction to benefit the First Book and Ashoka associations. The Black Panther piece-unique sold for $5,200,000, so we will certainly be on standby for the hammer price on this one.

Breitling Classic AVI Chronograph P-51 Mustang

Today is a watch launch bonanza from Breitling. The brand does not want to stagger the releases and unveils seven new watches within the AVI range. This line began with the Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition from 2020, which now sits alongside 14 watches ranging from 41mm to 46mm in diameter. Each new 42mm Breitling Classic AVI chronograph pays homage to classic aircraft. The 46mm Super AVI “Mosquito Night Fighter” extends the Chronograph GMT range with an in-house Breitling B04 caliber and black ceramic case. Last but not least is my favorite, the stunning AVI Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition with a manually wound in-house Breitling B09 caliber and period-correct Hesalite crystal. The 1964 re-edition has a limitation of 164 pieces, making it an appealing proposition.

In 2021, the Super AVI Chronograph GMT took the Co-Pilot aesthetic from the 1953 re-edition and gave it a burly overhaul. The 46mm case was unpalatable for our Thor Svaboe. I, however, grew to appreciate its legibility for a chronograph with GMT function. Even so, the case does not suit all wrist sizes; therefore, the new Classic AVI bridges the gap from the authentic “capsule” recreations at 41mm to the GMT at 46mm. With a 42mm diameter, the new Breitling Classic AVI chronograph models will find a home with those who like the look but prefer greater wearability. The Classic AVI retains the 12-hour bidirectional bezel with ratcheting at each hour increment. Also consistent are the design codes honoring four aircraft — the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito.
As Thor said, you’re either blessed with big wrists or “…you will need to work out those forearms” to carry off the 46mm Super AVI chronograph GMT. This substantial diameter is why the new 42mm Breitling Classic AVI chronograph intends to provide an easy-wearing watch that works for most wrists. Following the same themes as the GMT model, each watch reflects its namesake aircraft, with only the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang rendered in two metal choices of stainless steel and 18K red gold. While there is a mimicry of the colors between the 42mm and 46mm, the apparent difference is the lack of GMT function on the new Classic AVI range. The chronograph GMT version clearly contrasts its scales, but the Breitling manufacture B04 caliber requires a substantial case to house its construction.
The Classic AVI eschews the GMT complication, and the chronograph caliber B23 is based on an ETA 7753. While you don’t get the prowess of an in-house Breitling movement, the 14.7mm profile of the case is 1.2mm slimmer than its Super AVI counterpart, which pairs nicely with the smaller diameter. That said, using the Breitling 23 caliber also cuts the power reserve from 70 hours to 48 hours. Another change is the solid case back instead of a display back with a sapphire crystal. Depending on your stance, an all-metal case back might be a benefit as it leans more into the tool aesthetic. An aircraft engraving on each model represents each of the four planes in portrait view. There is a choice of a top-stitched calfskin strap or a five-row metal bracelet for each model.
Next up is an additional entrant to the Super Breitling Classic AVI chronograph collection. The Super AVI Mosquito Night Fighter takes my previous favorite de Havilland Mosquito model and renders it in black ceramic. It’s rare to see all-ceramic Breitling references. The last one I recall with an all-black ceramic case was the crazy-expensive €37,360 Superocean Heritage Chronoworks from 2016. I must say, it’s good to see ceramic making a return here. The new Super AVI takes inspiration from the de Havilland Mosquito Night Fighter 2, an all-black two-seater Mosquito aircraft meant to slip stealthily through the night sky. Besides the stealthy appearance, the Breitling Super AVI Mosquito Night Fighter retains the fantastic chronograph GMT layout, albeit with less contrast between the black dial and bezel and the anthracite sub-dials and 24-hour scale.
Still, the indications are legible and remind me of the Superocean Heritage Chronoworks without the steep and, admittedly, experimental price. The size is also in line with the Super AVI range at 46mm wide and 15.9mm thick. It’s big indeed, but the Super Breitling Classic AVI chronograph Mosquito Night Fighter emits a powerful presence, paying homage to a legendary aircraft. Unlike the Classic AVI, the B04 Breitling Manufacture GMT chronograph movement is visible via the sapphire exhibition window, with the Night Fighter 2 laser etching on the crystal. You also have the 70-hour power reserve and blue-emitting Super-LumiNova luminescence on the numerals, indexes, and hands. Part of me likes the tool-ish nature of the watch with the brushed black ceramic case, but I also wish for a more petite 42mm example in the Classic AVI range.
Saving the best for last, here’s the limited re-edition of the 1964 AVI Co-Pilot. This watch demonstrates the influence of esteemed vintage watch expert and Breitling consultant Fred Mandelbaum. The AVI Ref. 765 1964 is incredibly authentic to its vintage forebear from, you guessed it, 1964. This model has a black bezel, a reverse-panda dial, and a vibrant red triangle marker on the 12-hour scale. Breitling recreated these details while modernizing the materials and manufacturing techniques. For instance, the black bezel is amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC) for better durability. Likewise, keeping the spirit of the original is the hand-wound chronograph movement, the modern in-house Breitling B09, which is, essentially, a B01 without the rotor and more refined finishing. The lack of a rotor allows the 41mm stainless steel case to remain appropriately svelte at 14mm thick.
That’s not to say that the Breitling Classic AVI chronograph Ref. 765 1964 re-edition is fully contemporized. The crystal over the dial is Hesalite rather than sapphire, and there’s a snap-on solid steel case back and a non-screw-down crown. This means that this model is only water resistant to 30 meters, unlike the rest of the AVI collection at 100 meters. But these features showcase the harmonious meeting of old and new, further seen in the minimal and unobtrusive logo on the dial. Perhaps a more contentious element is the vintage beige luminescent accents on the hands and numerals. I like the subtle integration; the additional color offers a nice balance. The AVI Ref. 765 1964 re-edition would look too clinical with white lume, and the five lumed interval markers on the minute counter provide a lovely motif.
The Classic AVI trades the GMT function and in-house movement to achieve a pared-back format that suits particular wrists. At 42mm for the Classic and 46mm for the Super, there are far more options to experience the tributes to each legendary aircraft. The Classic and Super AVI models will exist side by side, but the addition of the AVI Ref. 765 1964 limited edition excites me the most from today’s launch, and I can’t wait to see them in the wild. You can find more details on the Breitling website here.

MB&F Legacy Machine LMX Paris Edition

Yesterday, MB&F dropped a new piece – the MB&F LMX Paris Edition. This white gold lady was created in collaboration with Laurent Picciotto, one of MB&F’s close friends. The particularity of this watch is the amazing purple dial. Launched in 2021, the LMX pinpoints ten years of Legacy Machines, one more audacious than the other. Created in a random succession of complications and way of displaying time, the LMXs bear the wish of the unexpected. Max always says that the public and the collector must be surprised and any new piece should be different. And indeed, no one can predict the new pieces, regardless if a Legacy Machines, Horological Machines or co-creations. It is always fresh and new, with a twist… The reason why I and others love the brand so much.
I think it is impossible to love high-end horology and not instantly recognise a Legacy Machine. The specific round case with highly domed crystal and exposed mechanics is inimitable. MB&F plays with steel, titanium and gold like these metals are plasticine, and everything inside is just cubes to put one on top of the other. MB&F makes everything look so easy in watchmaking. But only M.B. & Friends know exactly that this recipe is not an easy one. The Paris Edition was manufactured in white gold, an excellent canvas for the inner purple guts. At 44 mm, the case is considered large, and the huge dome adds a lot of volume. But due to the bent lugs, clever ergonomic design, and an excellent strap and white gold folding buckle it is so nice on the wrist. It feels amazing. The feeling of having an MB&F LMX Paris Edition on the wrist is a psychological great experience that could not be possible without the obvious qualities of the watch itself.
As Jimi sings: Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me… the dial is mesmerising to the point you forget about yourself and the surrounding world – you sink deeper and deeper into the purple sunrayed dial. The way it catches the light, it darkens and lightens with any ray or shadow and metamorphoses into that wide range of unexpected shades and colours. The LMX Paris Edition displays two time zones on two independent dials, each controllable via the corresponding crowns on each side. The power reserve doubles as a weekday indication. The hemispherical complication rotates, adding a new detail to be observed during the day.
As with any MB&F calibre, the LMX offers a grade of complication and finishes that makes any hungry-for-detail eyes satiated. But like with any drug, one cannot stop returning, again and again, to study every mm in search of news details and new feelings of satisfaction – and this you get every time. The top sides split into the independent two times displays with the huge balance wheel governing, like a generous god (taking care that everything runs as… a Swiss clock) above all. The back side splits between the three barrels, winded at once, offering an impressive seven days (168 hours) of energy.
Like any other art, the beauty and interpretation are in the eye of the beholder. “If I were to give a name to the MB&F LMX Paris Edition , I would undoubtedly call it the ‘LMX Deep Purple’ in reference to the famous 1968 rock group – this piece is definitely rock ’n’ roll!”, says Laurent Picciotto, founder of Chronopassion and owner of the MB&F LAB in Paris. But I tend to disagree. While I agree this piece is rock’n’roll, I am more inclined to the Purple Hase of Jimi Hendrix. As someone who experienced the LMX Paris Edition on the wrist, the feeling I get is more about the search for the perfect woman: mysterious but revealing, voluptuous and sensual but with a feel of purity and not vulgarity, sweetness not malicious. The Paris edition is all about that positive feeling without experiencing the negative effects of drugs. Horology at this level is a drug that can be consumed without restrictions and regrets (other than, maybe, the financial: EUR 122,000 before taxes / EUR 146,400 including VAT).
MB&F has released a new variation of its LMX timepiece in celebrating the watchmaker’s long-time partnership and friendship with Laurent Picciotto, founder of the iconic Parisian boutique, Chronopassion.

The new watch, named MB&F LMX Paris Edition , houses a striking purple sunray dial plate, complete with the model’s hallmarked three-dimensional in-house horological movement. Encased in 18k white gold, the 44mm time-teller stars a high-domed sapphire crystal top with a transparent caseback. The timepiece comes with purple-lined gray alligator straps, which are finished with tonal hand-stitching and a white gold folding buckle.

Its manual-winding movement comes with a new bespoke balance wheel in the form of a 13.4mm behemoth with inertia blocks, marking a departure from traditional screwed balances with improved accuracy. In addition, its hemispherical 7-day power reserve indicator also allows the wearer to select between two modes of counting down its remaining running time.

Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver Chronograph

The provenance of Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver Chronograph might be a small, landlocked country, but thanks to its marine chronometers, the brand from Le Locle has always been closely associated with the sea since 1846. By the 1870s, Ulysse Nardin supplied more than 50 navies and merchant marine companies with precision marine deck chronometers. Today, the brand underscores its maritime credentials as the official timing partner of the exciting Ocean Race. Regarded as the longest (60,000 km) and toughest round-the-world team sailing challenge since 1973, the 14th edition of The  Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver Chronograph   kicked off in Alicante, Spain, in January 2023. Docking in nine cities around the globe over six months and finishing in Genoa in June, the teams have embarked on their fifth leg from Newport, Rhode Island, to Aarhus, Denmark. Taking advantage of the pit stop in Rhode Island and celebrating The Ocean Race’s 50th anniversary, Ulysse Nardin unveiled a 100-piece edition of its  Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver Chronograph  .
Originally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race and then the Volvo Ocean Race, the newly christened Ocean Race is a legendary sailing competition pitting racing crews on the high seas. As the race’s official timekeeper, Ulysse Nardin tracks the timings of the different legs and is also a partner of the 24-Hour Speed Challenge, in which the crew that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours wins. Consider that in the right conditions, these yachts can cover 600+ nautical miles in 24 hours. Making hay while the sun shines, UN also unfurls its flag in support of the Time to Act programme that aims to reduce the impact of pollution, climate change and industrial overfishing in our oceans.
The chronograph celebrating The  Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver Chronograph   is a member of UN’s contemporary Diver family with a black, white and light blue colour scheme. Designed to evoke the lightweight carbon hulls of the racing yachts competing in The Ocean Race, the case is crafted in titanium and the unidirectional bezel in Carbonium

, producing the signature marbled mottled effect associated with carbon. As the brand explains, the material used in the bezel is made from upcycled fibres from aeroplane fuselage offcuts that have a 40% lower impact on the environment than other carbon composites.

The sandblasted and satin-finished black DLC titanium case of this 300m water-resistant Chronograph Diver has a diameter of 44mm. The white numerals and markers on the concave bezel are raised, and the 0 is treated with Super-LumiNova. Two pushers, one with a light blue ring to start the chronograph, flank the large screw-down crown.
The sandblasted black dial hosts three slightly recessed sub-dials to relay the 30-minute elapsed times of the chronograph at 3 o’clock, the 12-hour chronograph totaliser and date aperture at 6 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock. Matching the light blue ring on the top chronograph pusher and the 5-minute markings on the bezel, the chronograph hands and the seconds track are light blue. All the hands and indices are treated with a blue-glowing Super-LumiNova. The black rubber strap with pin buckle features a black ceramic element at 6 o’clock engraved with The Ocean Race logo.
The Ocean Race 50th anniversary logo is stamped on the sapphire caseback, revealing the brand’s in-house, automatic, integrated, column-wheel chronograph movement with a 48-hour power reserve. As the precursor of the use of silicon (silicium at UN), the escapement is made from silicon and beats at a modern 4Hz frequency.

Nomos Glashütte Orion neomatik 39 – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte

Nomos is a relatively young brand when it comes to Glashütte watchmaking, but they take the heritage of their surroundings and the horological prowess of the region seriously. So, in celebration of 175 (plus) years of Glashütte watchmaking, Nomos has announced three new Orion Neomatic watches in 36, 39, and 41mm, each limited to 175 pieces. Each is engraved as such on the back with the number in the series. The brand says these watches draw inspiration from the early days of master watchmakers and horologists from Glashütte who used golden indices on white silver-plated dials and blued steel hands on their pieces. Of course, Nomos is doing it their own way – a very stripped-down Bauhaus design and thin automatic movements that would have boggled the minds of Glashütte’s watchmakers back in the day.

Iwas lucky enough to see these watches in person in Glashütte a few weeks ago and while I only got a few moments with them amidst a sea of new releases and vintage Nomos I was digging through, I was particularly struck by the dials on the new Nomos Glashütte Orion Neomatiks. Between the texture and the fact that these were the first Orions released where the seconds sit flush with the rest of the dial, this seemed like a strong release from the brand. First of all, the texture and the color are rather hard to capture as it shifts in the light. In fact, the texture seemed more apparent in my photos than in the ones Nomos provided. Granted, they were shot in very different conditions. Versus a very flat matte or shiny dial, these sit somewhere in between. The little bit of texture actually picks up the light and provides a depth that’s accentuated by the slightly raised gold indices. But from a straight-on angle, the watch does look quite traditional and flat under the right light. It’s a welcome element of stylistic versatility and detail for a really beautiful and largely minimal watch design.

While I’m not sure about the inspiration from the vintage or antique watches I saw during my time in Glashütte, I recognize that the brand’s Bauhaus style doesn’t exactly have a one-to-one correlation to the old days of German watchmaking. Nomos has, however, continued the tradition of making reliable (and in some cases very horologically creative) watchmaking that I believe the old founders back in 1845 would be proud of. Not only that but it’s a brand that knows how to have fun and still gives you serious horological chops (their swing system escapement, for instance, is fascinating). Sure, this is a solid and known movement in a new package, but it’s a damn attractive one and a very Nomos salute to the history of watchmaking in Glashütte.
While the Tangente is often seen as the most emblematic watch ever created by German watchmaker Nomos, there is another model that, in my books, feels even more classically designed. Refined, elegant, timeless and equally minimalist in its style, the Nomos Glashütte Orion Neomatiks is the brand’s vision of a dressy watch, but this time without a twist – something that Nomos is very good at. It has naturally been elected to be part of the collection that celebrates 175 years of Watchmaking in Glashütte, the small town that is home to the best German watchmakers, including Nomos. Available in three sizes, all with the in-house Neomatik movement, they come as refined as they can.

The whole idea behind this commemorative collection was to pay tribute to fine watchmaking, and as such, the watches that have been created in the frame of this collection all have refined, higher-end finishes. For instance, the top-tier Lambda watches in steel here featured an enamel-coated dial and elegant blued hands. The 175-year take on the Nomos Glashütte Orion Neomatiks is slightly different, and while it also focuses on the dial, the result is pretty appealing.

Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42

The Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 collection stands out and apart from Breitling’s classic pilot and dive watches, while still leaving all its distinctive Breitling features intact. We review the flagship model of this recently launched line, with original photos by Olaf Köster. In marked contrast to the Navitimer 1 with its instrument-like tracks around the dial, or the Chronomat with its structural unidirectional rotating bezel, the timepieces in Breitling’s Premier collection embody understatement. But if we look to the past, we can see they’re clearly identifiable as Breitling watches. Most people who choose a Breitling Premier today weren’t even born when the original Premier watches were launched in the 1940s. During that time of turmoil and new beginnings, watches in the Premier line were intended to convey reliability, value and a touch of elegance. These merits are welcome today as well and give us a chance to step away from our fast-paced world for a bit of peace and quiet.

And so the Premier collection not only recalls a different era with its name but also hits the same marks with its design as it did back in the 1940s. It is also “the first modern Breitling collection that stands for elegance in everyday life,” according to Breitling CEO Georges Kern.
Breitling’s horological journey through three generations of the founding family was “very much the history of the chronograph,” notes the brand’s historian Fred Mandelbaum. When Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 revived the historic Premier line in 2019 after a 50-plus-year hiatus, the brand aimed to capture that vintage flair in a modern interpretation. Today, the Swiss heritage watchmaker is adding six new Premier models, each in a 42mm case. Five are made of stainless steel and one of 18K rose gold, and all feature a COSC-certified manufacture caliber B01.
Breitling is synonymous with the chronograph. Through the early 20th century, the brand progressively developed its form and function with multiple patents as a utility timekeeper for the masses. But it was the third-generation leader Willy Breitling who elevated the family specialty, strategically turning the tool-watch chronograph into a style icon that we know today. Willy drew upon his business savvy to carve out a new category in the market for his dual-pusher chronograph as an everyday dress watch. Then came the Premier collection in 1943, which touted top-of-the-line quality and elegance for the fashionable set. These watches featured simple, clean designs inspired by the Art Deco style that was popular at the time. They were designed to be more refined and understated than Breitling’s other collections, which were primarily geared toward pilots and aviation enthusiasts.
Fast forward to 2019. Under the new management of Georges Kern, Breitling revived the Premier line to pay homage to the brand’s glorious past. Mike did a detailed review of the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 here. Staying true to the original “Premier” spirit, the remake boasted “the best caliber, best material, and best design.” In 2021, the brand brought back the full 1940s lineup with four new styles in the Premier Heritage collection, which Ben delved into in a showdown here. Breitling has also collaborated with several notable figures and organizations to produce limited-edition Premier watches. Among them are Bentley Motors and the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows aerobatic display team.
But the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 shows the instrumental nature Breitling is known for – more than merely chronometer performance. The center-mounted stopwatch hand has a red tip that travels around a delicate but fully legible tachymeter track, which is expertly printed on the black flange ring around the dial, and glides above the seconds track that is divided in thirds to reflect the 4-Hz rhythm of the Caliber 01 automatic movement. The precision and accuracy Breitling is known for is beautifully staged beneath a domed anti-glare sapphire crystal that reveals a certain retro charm. It is a nod to the past, just like the Premier logo on the dial: Premier models in the 1940s were the first Breitling watches to bear the product name on the dial. Its understated elegance extends even as far as the minimal application of luminous material on the hour and minutes hands – enough to barely read the time in poor lighting conditions. By contrast, legibility during the day is excellent.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection Spring Drive “Hana-ikada.”

If you’re Grand Seiko, how do you make your best-seller, the SBGA413 “Shunbun,” even better? Put it in rose gold, of course.

That’s exactly what Best Grand Seiko has done with the new SBGY026 “Hana-ikada,” a new limited edition of 100 pieces that features a familiar, pale pink dial, but now in a rose gold case. If you know Grand Seiko, you’re probably asking yourself: “from which pale pink corner of Japan’s beautiful natural world did Best Grand Seiko take inspiration for this delightful new limited edition?”
Well, after the spring equinox (i.e., the “Shunbun”), comes real spring – “warm winds flutter Japan’s cherry trees, setting the pale pink petals through the air,” Grand Seiko says. If this is Japan’s version of “April showers bring May flowers,” then, well, the Japanese have a way of framing things much more romantically than Americans ever could.

And this romantic state of mind is reflected in every detail of the new Hana-ikada. Matched with a rose gold case, the effect of the subtle pink dial is enhanced. While in some light and at some angles the pink tone of the Shunbun is hardly noticeable, it’s suddenly hard to miss on the Hana-ikada. Vintage collectors, especially vintage Patek collectors, go absolutely nuts for “pink-on-pink” anything, and that’s because it almost always looks drop-dead gorgeous. It’s hard to replicate the charm of a vintage pink-on-pink watch in the modern world, but Grand Seiko’s managed to do something gorgeous that stands on its own with the SBGY026.

Though the dial of the SBGY026 is flat, the way the light hits the textured dial makes it seem more curved than the titanium Shunbun – there’s also no rehaut, no date, no power reserve. In other words, no distractions. The dial’s finishing is on full display. Inside the SBGY026 is the manual-wind Spring Drive caliber 9R31, perhaps most notable for its dual-spring barrel, meaning it has two mainsprings allowing for a 72-hour power reserve. There’s a sly little power reserve indicator on the back of the movement (and visible through the sapphire caseback), the absolute best place for a power reserve indicator. It’s accurate to +/- 15 seconds per month, and the Best Grand Seiko Spring Drive movement means the seconds hand sweeps smoothly across the soft pink dial. The rose gold case measures 38.5mm x 10.2mm. It’s polished, wears slim on the wrist, and it’s got applied and matching indices. Grand Seiko released a handful of impressive sport watches this week too – more on those coming soon – but to me, a watch like the SBGY026 is Grand Seiko in its purest form. A slim, dressy watch, beautiful textured dial, Spring Drive caliber, and not much more. It comes on a brown croc strap with a three-fold clasp that is (of course) gold.

Grand Seiko Evolution 9

Grand Seiko introduces its third watch release of 2023. This time, it’s a deep-blue-dialed addition to the Evolution 9 collection boasting a five-day power reserve. The new SLGA021 finds inspiration for its dial in the quietly rippling waters of Japan’s Grand Seiko Lake Suwa right before dawn. The opaque indigo dial has been carefully crafted to reflect these soft waves that delicately adorn the lake’s surface. The sweeping Spring Drive seconds hand adds to the tranquil scene as an embodiment of the distant breeze that shapes the water with its ghostly presence. As always, the brand’s signature touch of poetic artistry captures a scene beautifully and turns it into yet another visually stunning textured dial.
It seems that Grand Seiko is off to a great start in 2023. Having already begun its 25th-anniversary celebration for the 9S movement with the release of the SBGH311 and SBGR325 limited editions, the brand is preparing itself for a big year. I’d wager that we’ll see another release or two before the year’s biggest reveals at Watches and Wonders in March. But for now, let’s focus on the launch of the latest addition to the Evolution 9 collection — the Grand Seiko SLGA021 Lake Suwa.
I’ve already told you about the watch’s rippling dark indigo-blue dial and the natural scene that inspired it. But what about the dial’s frame? Grand Seiko is known as a brand famous for its beautifully crafted textured dials. But a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship deserves a worthy frame. You wouldn’t put a Rembrandt in a black plastic frame from IKEA, would you? Having seen a couple of Rembrandts in The Hague’s Mauritshuis museum last weekend, I can confirm you would not. Much like a beautiful painting, the dial is given a worthy frame in the form of Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 case. At 40mm in diameter, 47.9mm from lug to lug, and just 11.8mm thick, it lands firmly within the sports-watch sweet spot. And below the double-domed AR-coated sapphire glass, the dial, markers, and hands can shine like Zaratzu-polished fish scales in the dark waters of Lake Suwa.
But the SLGA021 is much more than just a pretty dial and a great case. Underneath the dial, inside the Evolution 9 case, you’ll find Grand Seiko’s 9RA2 movement. This Spring Drive caliber has an approximate power reserve of 120 hours. As the dial text at 6 o’clock reveals, that’s five days of timekeeping. That’s something it does rather well with an average rate of ±10 seconds per month (or ±0.5 seconds per day). The watch’s sapphire display back will allow you to admire the movement as well as check on the power reserve indicator on the back. So, with the Grand Seiko SLGA021 we have a great dial, a brilliant movement, and a case described by the brand as capturing the essence of Grand Seiko. What’s not to love?
Before wrapping up and moving on to price and availability, I wanted to touch upon some of the final specs. The Grand Seiko SLGA021 has a screw-down crown, making it water resistant to 100 meters. It is also magnetism resistant to 4,800 A/m and weighs approximately 172g (on the stainless steel bracelet). I’ve gone on record stating my preference for Grand Seiko’s Elegance Collection, more specifically, the SBGW231. But I must admit that the Evolution 9 models are slowly but surely gaining my favor. And this dark blue dial will surely haunt my watch dreams for the coming weeks.


Tastefully executed pilot’s watches are Bremont’s forte and the British watchmaker is back at it again with the new Bremont Vulcan watch. The limited edition of 250 pieces joins their Armed Forces collection and tributes the Avro Vulcan, one of the most iconic aircrafts in the RAF’s history.

This is certainly not the first – nor will it be the last time – Bremont has honoured a historic aircraft with a commemorative timepiece. Just last year they celebrated the Lancaster Bomber and the historic Dambusters raid with the Bremont Dambuster Limited Edition watch. Before that there were the sold-out designs like the ALT1-C Griffon and the H-4 Hercules. All of these watches have been fast favourites with collectors, beautifully combining the Henley-on-Thames manufacturer’s core design codes with delightful details synonymous with the corresponding aircraft. The Bremont Vulcan Limited Edition watch is no different.
The Avro Vulcan was a jet powered, tail-less, delta-wing, high altitude strategic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984. It was the second of the RAF’s ‘V bombers’ and alongside the Valiant and Victor provided part of Great Britain’s nuclear deterrent force for fifteen years. It was designed to carry bombs and nuclear weapons in the event of the cold war, and with its four Rolls-Royce Olympus engines, could travel over 600 miles in the sky. It also had a range of electronic and defensive systems to protect it against enemy attack. Any aviation expert can attest to the Arvo Vulcan’s impressive capabilities and will regard it as one of the most iconic aircrafts in the RAF’s history. Now, as a long-standing partner of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, Bremont is celebrating the British aviation symbol with the launch of the Bremont Vulcan Limited Edition watch. Bremont Co-Founder Giles English comments on the Bremont Vulcan watch: “The Vulcan’s legacy as a symbol of British military power and technological innovation continues to be celebrated today, and it remains one of the most iconic aircraft of the Cold War era. As aviators ourselves, celebrating such remarkable aircraft and feats of engineering is truly inspirational and it’s fitting to incorporate these commemorative pieces within our Armed Forces Collection through Bremont’s partnership with the MoD.”
The new Bremont Vulcan watch joins the British brand’s Armed Forces watch collection which was originally launched in 2019. The series was unveiled as part of their official partnership with the Ministry of Defence, paying tribute to His Majesty’s Armed Forces, and currently consists of three core models: the Argonaut, Broadsword and Arrow. The Bremont Vulcan Limited Edition is largely modelled after the latter, opting for a 42mm case engineered from MoD hardened stainless steel with a smooth, fixed bezel, screw down crown at 3 o’clock, domed sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective treatment and a 100 metre water resistant rating. Turning the Bremont Vulcan watch around reveals a special screw down stainless steel case back. It features an image of the Avro B-1 Bomber and the heraldic badge of the Royal Air Force encircled with the inscription: ‘Approved by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Bremont has confirmed that once the crests of His Majesty’s Armed Forces have been decreed, all case backs within Bremont’s Armed Forces collection will be updated. The dial of the Bremont Vulcan Limited Edition also features several design details related to the Arvo Vulcan aircraft, most notably on the two subsidiary dials at 3 and 9 o’clock. The small seconds at 9 o’clock reveals a two-tone 3D camouflage design inspired by the same stealthy pattern used on some of the Vulcan aircrafts, while at 3 o’clock the 30 minutes counter is adorned with a nuclear symbol to remember the arsenal carried on board. For the first time, Bremont uses cathedral-shaped hands on a watch dial with the Bremont Vulcan watch electing elegant skeletonised cathedral hands for the hours and minutes. The hands are coated in glow in the dark Superluminova and extend out to large luminous Arabic numerals, sitting beside a central chronograph seconds hand coloured in RAF blue. A boxed-shaped date window is also included at 6 o’clock. To power these functions, Bremont opts for their automatic winding BE51AE monopusher chronograph movement. It is chronometer certified for high levels of precision and offers a 56 hour power reserve.
Every Bremont Vulcan Limited Edition is delivered with a choice of two straps, both crafted from sailcloth and secured by stainless steel pin buckles. The first is a light RAF blue strap and the second features a camouflage pattern to match the small seconds subsidiary dial. With every order, you’ll also receive a pair of silver cufflinks moulded into the shape of the Arvo Vulcan aircraft. In typical Bremont fashion, the cufflinks incorporate a small part of aluminium sourced from the original airframe of the Avro Vulcan XH558 ‘Spirit of Great Britain’, the final Vulcan in military service.

U-Boat Sommerso 46

U-BOAT expands their Classic collection with the new “ U-BOAT Sommerso” models, watches designed for the needs of those who love diving.

Three models with 46 mm cases in steel completely hand finished. The U-BOAT Sommerso is renewed in version 2.0, by enriching its dial with new details. Two other versions, one with a dial with blue superluminova indexes, another with an ultra-resistant black case treated with DLC, (Diamond like Carbon – innovative coating, based on carbon, that guarantees a high hardness and resistance to scratches) with a black dial and beige indexes also in superluminova. All the versions are characterized by a special 24h counter, anti-glare sapphire crystal, integrated and calibrated lens for a better reading of the date.
U-Boat is an Italian watch brand based in Tuscany. Designed by Italo Fontana, these unique remarkable timepieces combine the finest Italian craftsmanship with the designer’s exceptional vision. Inspired by the atmosphere and landscape of the region, each watch has a similar distinct tone making it stand out from the rest.

Created in order to withstand the demands of near expert level diving, the timepieces from these collections do not compromise on design. As sophisticated as practical, U-BOAT Sommerso rugged diver’s watches are inspired by the highly technical instruments of the past.