Breitling Endurance Pro Ironman

Back in 2019 Breitling launched a limited edition Superocean watch in partnership with Ironman, the famously grueling triathlon series that has bred champions and fostered feelings of inadequacy for decades now. Yesterday in Los Angeles the two launched another collaboration in the way of a duo of Endurance Pro Ironman watches from the brand’s Professional collection. Though two pieces are being debuted, only the red version will be available for the general population while the other black and gold model will only be available to those who finish the Ironman race which consists of a measly 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run (I’ve read this is something around ~40,000 people annually).
We’ve gone in-depth with the Endurance Pro on a couple of occasions (see here and here) so I will just briefly give context here. Part of the Professional collection, the Endurance Pro case is done in the brand’s proprietary Breitlight polymer which is three times lighter than titanium and almost six times lighter than steel while being harder than both. In fact, the watch case weighs 35 grams while the rubber strap itself weights 30 grams to give you an idea of how light it is.
Measuring 44mm wide and 12.5mm thick with 100M water resistance, the Endurance Pro Ironman uses the thermocompensated SuperQuartz Breitling in-house (and COSC certified) Caliber 82 movement. It’s a 1/10th of a second chronograph with a 30-minute counter and is one of the too-few HAQ (high accuracy quartz) movements out there.
As for these two new Endurance Pro Ironman watches, the first is the model with a sort of red gradient dial with black touches and the Ironman logo on the 6 o’clock counter. It comes on a matching red rubber strap that reads “IRONMAN” rather than the usual “BREITLING” text. Red is a pretty bold color choice though the gradient affect is pretty on trend at the moment.
The second model is called the Breitling Endurance Pro Ironman Finisher, which is apt as it’s only available to those people who have completed the race. Honestly this is a pretty badass looking watch, the badassness of it enhanced by its entry requirement. With a black dial with gold touches, it’s stealthy with a burst of finish-line magic. Of course, the case back also has “Finisher Series” on it. I think in both design and swagger, the Endurance Pro Ironman Finisher is the standout. I suppose there will inevitably be cases of — let’s call it stolen valor —where someone buys a Finisher secondhand (or even more nefarious means as this is obviously an unscrupulous person). To them, I say: shame!
One of Breitling’s most successful releases of 2020 was the Endurance Pro, a series of colourful, entry-level Breitling sports watches perfectly suited to the wrist of modern-day athletes. Today, they expand their “ultimate athleisure” collection in partnership with the IRONMAN Group to unveil two new Breitling Endurance Pro IRONMAN watches: one dressed in red available to the general public and another in stealthy black reserved only for those who’ve completed an IRONMAN event.

The Breitling Endurance Pro collection launched last year was an important milestone for the luxury watch manufacturer as they re-entered themselves back into the professional sports watch game. Like the new Breitling Endurance Pro IRONMAN watches, their design was inspired from a 1970’s Breitling watch known as the Spring which combined a unique pulsometer scale with a lightweight resin case. The design was contrived especially for athletes that needed to check their heart rate on something lightweight for the wrist. This very aesthetic remains at the core of the entire Endurance Pro collection, designed not only for recreation sportsmen but professionals like that of Breitling’s Triathlon Squad: Froderno, Chris McCormack and Daniela Ryf, all of which are Iron Man World Champions.
Since its inception in 1978, the IRONMAN triathlon has represented the ultimate test of body, mind, and spirit for athletes. According to Breitling, the three competition stages – swimming, cycling, and running – are the same activities that feature prominently in the lifestyles of Breitling’s core customer base: men and women of action, purpose, and style. With this in mind, Breitling and IRON began a quickly successful partnership back in 2019 with the launch of the Breitling Superocean IRONMAN Limited Edition. Now, their collaborations expands with a duo of Breitling Endurance Pro IRONMAN watches. The first is an exciting red version available globally at all Breitling boutiques and retailers like Jura Watches and the second is a black and gold piece nicknamed the Endurance Pro Finisher exclusively available for IRONMAN race finishers through IRONMAN channels.

“IRONMAN truly reflects our core values of performance and endurance. We’ve designed this to be an ideal watch for elite athletes as well as a casual, everyday sports chronograph for active people who want that winning combination of performance and luxury,” said Breitling CEO Georges Kern.
“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with such an exceptional and well-respected watchmaker. After the success of our collaboration in 2019, we are pleased to partner with Breitling in creating this new watch which embodies the strength and tenacity of IRONMAN triathletes,” says CEO of The IRONMAN Group Andrew Messick.

Now let’s get into some of the specs… Like its 2020 predecessor, the new Breitling Endurance Pro IRONMAN measures to 44 millimetres in diameter and is entirely engineered from Breitlight, an innovative in-house material designed by the Swiss watch manufacturer. It promises to be 3.3 times light than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel as well as being significantly more durable with resistance to scratches, traction and corrosion. It also stands out for its antimagnetic and anti-allergic properties, as well as its thermal stability, which gives it a warmer feel than metal. Topping the case is a bi-directional rotating bezel with engraved compass points. At three o‘clock, a tactile moulded non-screw locked crown with two gaskets delivers easy grip and manipulation in all environments while guaranteeing a healthy water resistant rating of 100 metres.
At the centre, the Breitling Endurance Pro IRONMAN watch opts for a deep red dial which fades out nicely to black as it reaches the inner bezel with pulsometer scale. To pair, the chronograph counters are dressed in black and detailed with red-accented hands. The hour and minutes hands are also coated in Superluminova and the IRONMAN logo is subtly included on the small seconds dial at 6 o’clock. Powering the design is the Breitling Caliber 82, a COSC-certified thermocompensated SuperQuartz movement which claims to be ten times more precise than regular quartz and offers a battery life of approximately three to four years. The Endurance Pro Finisher follows suit but pairs its black dial with gold accents, a black rubber strap and a special case back with a unique IRONMAN Finisher Series engraving.

Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic

The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic is easily one of the most respected pilot’s watches on the market. First conceived in the 1950s, these watches were no-nonsense tools meant to help a pilot calculate ground speed or fuel consumption on the fly (hah). The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 watch was an effort on the brand’s part to blend some of the expected Navitimer features into a highly functional timepiece, all the while maintaining that classic design we know and love. The Navitimer 1 draws much of its inspiration from the Navitimer 806, a simple three-hander released in the 1950s. The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 is being released in two different 41mm-case versions. The first is an all stainless steel construction, and the second has a stainless steel case but is accompanied by an 18k red gold bezel. (Previously, these were only available in 38mm, seen here.) The Stainless steel version will be available in one of three dial colors: black, blue, and silver, whereas the red gold bezel version will be available with a silver or anthracite dial. The watch will be powered by Breitling’s chronometer-certified Caliber 17, which ticks away at 4hz and boasts a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is resistant to 3bar (30 meters) and will be available on either an alligator strap or a stainless steel bracelet.
We have several new releases from Breitling to announce today, and one of them just happens to be the first ladies’ watch of the the Georges Kern era. It’s a 38 mm three-hand automatic interpretation of what is arguably Breitling’s best-known design, the Navitimer. What this watch is not is a chronograph – a complication long associated with the Navitimer – though it does retain the familiar slide rule bezel. The Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 comes in steel as well as steel and gold. The available dial colors include blue, silver and black. It joins 43mm and 41mm Navitimers that also launch this year in Basel.
While this watch is being put forward as the first ladies’ timepiece to debut under Breitling’s new management, I’m fairly certain that plenty of vintage-watch-loving guys out there will find the 38mm diameter appealing. I, for one, plan to try one on later this week in Basel. At 38mm across x 10.10 mm thick, this watch is right in line with vintage sports watch dimensions. And the colors are far from what one might describe as “feminine.” If you read the Breitling website closely, you can see that Breitling is itself stoking the sense of ambiguity here.

On the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 product page of the Breitling web site, you can read this: “Stylish and compact, the Navitimer 1 Automatic (38 mm) may be the smallest in diameter, but it is the ultimate statement of elegance and sophistication. The ideal accessory for the adventurous Breitling woman, it is available in steel and steel & gold with dial in black, blue or silver.”

On the page announcing this and 44 other novelties for Baselworld, the watch is described thus: “Other exciting releases included the Navitimer Automatic in 38 mm, a gentlemen’s tool watch combining elegance with vintage inspiration.”

This is a good looking, if somewhat watered-down version of the Navitimer. Given its appealing looks and refreshingly toned down dimensions, I could see it doing quite well with women and men who like smaller-sized sports watches. I quite like the black-dialed version with matching black date disc at six o’clock. I haven’t tried any of the new Breitlings on yet, but this looks like it’s going to be the most wearable of the lot.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42 Stainless Steel

The 42mm Chronomat, which was renewed last year, is now available with the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 Japan Edition Black Mother of Pearl, which uses the MOP dial, which has already gained popularity in Japan. So far, Breitling Japan has introduced a Japanese limited model of MOP dial almost every year, and among them, Chronomat using black MOP dial is very popular.

 The basic specifications are the same as the base Chronomat B01 42, and the rouleaux bracelet revived in the current model is iconic. It features a rider tab, a brand logo without wings, and a dial tone with a limited number of colors. The same applies to the see-through back, and you can see the in-house Cal.01 from the back. The price is 1,166,000 yen (tax included), and of course it will be sold only in Japan, and it is already possible to purchase and make reservations.
I was wondering if it wasn’t for me this year. The reason is that the Super Chronomat was just announced last month ( see Introducing Breitling Super Chronomat 2021 New ), and the limited edition MOP dial is also at Breitling’s other pillar collection, the Navitimer. This is because it just appeared in December last year (” Introducing Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Black Mother of Pearl Japan Edition 2020 New” ).
Personally, I think the Black MOP dial looks good on the Chronomat. The MOP itself is rarely used in men’s models, but Breitling, which has many male fans, has done it, and it has a strong impression that it has become a popular model. And the MOP dial, which is already assertive, should have a minimalist design as a whole.

 The Navitimer MOP limited model felt novel when it was installed for the first time, and it is also powerful as a product. However, for me, the red chrono needle on the MOP dial seems to be a little toe-match, and I am still attracted by the design of this chronomat. 

ADVERTISEMENT

 The Breitling Chronomat B01 42 believes that it has taken the collection to the next era by gaining a new (or rather revived) personality of the rouleaux bracelet. Isn’t the MOP dial, which is a slightly authentic approach, more attractive if it is a watch that has evolved more modernly? 

 In the current model, the Chronomat is no longer just for men, and there is a depth of design that allows you to make more use of these dial expressions. Many Chronomat fans already have one MOP dial model, but I would love to see the finish of this unit after the new generation.

Bell and Ross BR 03-92 RED RADAR CERAMIC

First introduced exactly a decade ago, the BR 01-92 Red Radar was one of the brand’s first wristwatches to reproduce a fighter jet’s instrument display, using a red-tinted sapphire crystal and rotating discs to create a dial resembling a flight radar display. A striking and clever idea, the flight-radar time display was unique even amongst the numerous aviation-instrument watches of Bell & Ross BR 03-92 RED RADAR CERAMIC(B&R).

Now B&R is revisiting the concept with the BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic, which once again features a radar display but now in the more wearable BR 03 case.
On the surface, the new BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic isn’t especially novel. The ceramic case is essentially the same used for last year’s BR 03-92 HUD, while the radar display is modelled on the 2011 original.

However, the new Red Radar is a clever rendition of the idea, and a substantial improvement over the earlier version. For one, the case is now 42 mm, making it significantly more wearable than the 46 mm original.

And the original also had a black-coated steel case – which typically shows wear and tear as the coating separates from the metal below – while the new model has a ceramic case also that’s scratch-resistant and generally more durable, meaning it will seem pristine even after years of use (though hard knocks or drops can chip or crack ceramic).
And the new Red Radar has a more practical dial design than its predecessor, which had hands printed to mimic the sweep of a radar scan, which didn’t help legibility. The new model has a more practical display that has a pair of plane icons serving as minute and hour indicators.

Nevertheless, the Red Radar still possesses the fun factor that made the original a success. I’m a fan of the radar aesthetic, as well as the combination of the red dial and black ceramic case – the watch looks unlike anything else on the market.

Priced at US$4,300, the Bell and Ross Red Radar Ceramic is a tad more expensive than last year’s BR 03-92 HUD, but remains relatively affordable, considering the case material and novel display. This is one that’s worth the price, and likely one of the coolest watches that B&R has released in recent years.

Instead of conventional hands, the Red Radar Ceramic utilises a pair of rotating discs, each printed with a plane emblem on its underside to indicate the time. The commercial jetliner on the outermost disc indicates the hours, while the jet fighter on the inner disc shows the minutes. The dial also incorporates a seconds hand that sweeps across the dial the way the scanner on a radar would.
The discs and hands sit underneath the tinted sapphire crystal that has the hour and minute scales are printed on its underside, creating the radar display with “floating” hands. Though different in style, the concept that reminds me of the dials found on Ming watches.
Under the hood is the BR-CAL.302, essentially a Sellita SW300 that’s in turn a clone of the ETA 2892. It’s a prosaic movement, but one that is robust and slender. However, it does have a short power reserve of just 38 hours, though that isn’t an inconvenience if the watch is worn daily.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark

Just in time for World Oceans Day, Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark has released its latest Diver dedicated to the brand’s menacing mascot, the shark.

Although the marine mammal has inspired the company’s campaigns and taken center stage on the dials of its NSFW erotic watches, the Swiss watchmaker’s latest model puts a trio of 3-D Lemon Sharks on the back of the case. Mimicking the species’ distinctive yellow-hued camouflage tint, the black watch is marked with gray indices and touches of yellow on the bezel, dial, seconds hand, crown and band, as well as on the “Lemon Shark” branding just above 6 o’clock.
We had the opportunity to try on the Lemon Shark at a press event in Key Largo, Florida and the major takeaway is that, at 42 mm, this Diver is surprisingly suited to many wrists: It didn’t overpower those used to wearing smaller sizes and it had enough presence to satisfy one who favors a hefty 45 mm Panerai. Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark introduced the size in its Diver collection in 2018 as a welcome alternative in a genre known for bulkier cases. Thanks to this timepiece’s concave bezel and dome-shaped sapphire crystal, it wears smaller than you might imagine but is, nevertheless, designed for high-impact.

Just like its namesake, it’s powerful but subtle. “For those of us that handle them, one of the things you have to be careful of is that, while most sharks are fairly stocky, lemon sharks can fold in half,” says Michael Heithaus, the dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education at Florida International University. “That combined with the fact that they are a little bit testy, these are the sharks that I’m most wary to be around… They will look at you and say, ‘You’re messing with me. I’m going to ruin your day.’ They can be aggressive but if you’re out diving and see them, they are totally chill.”

A marine ecologist and scientist specializing in sharks, Heithaus and the FIU Medina Aquarius Program (the world’s only underwater research and education lab) have partnered with Ulysse Nardin in an effort to better understand and protect the ocean’s ecosystem. They’re joined by another research partner, Ocearch, a data-centric organization built to help scientists collect data from the ocean at an accelerated pace. The seas have long been a focal point for the watchmaker, which traces its roots back to 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland, where it established its name as a marine-chronometer expert providing highly accurate instruments to commercial ships and international navy fleets. Building on that heritage, Ulysse Nardin now focuses on giving back to the ocean instead of conquering it. It has centered its endeavors around Ocearch, which considers itself a groundbreaking company in its efforts to “Google-ize” the approach to ocean research, as its aptly named founder and CEO, Chris Fischer, puts it. The idea is to cut out the bureaucracy of academic research by pooling together scientists and their data for a more collaborative, speedy approach to learning that bypasses time spent trying to nail down tedious grants and fundraising.
“When you look at partners like UN, they have this ancient history with marine chronometers, but they are also a bit of a disruptor in terms of their design,” says Fischer. “They came in and found us and we were just thrilled to partner with them because of the disposition of the company.”

In keeping with its do-good seafaring ethos and commitment to ocean conservation, Ulysse Nardin paired the Lemon Shark with a fabric velcro strap made entirely from recycled fishing nets collected in Marseille, France. Inside is all the meat and jaws that power the luxury timepiece in the 42-hour power reserve Caliber UN-816 movement, including a silicium escapement—an efficient material widely adopted by the industry, but pioneered by Ulysse Nardin.

Water-resistant to 300 meters (984 feet) and limited to just 300 pieces, you will need move fast to capture the, relatively, reasonably priced $7,300 Lemon Shark.
In honor of World Ocean Day and celebrating its community of friends and partner including world-renown shark experts, divers, universities, and non-profits, Ulysse Nardin unveils a stunning, shark-themed limited edition of the DIVER 42 mm
Ulysse Nardin, the Swiss watchmaker, has pledged its efforts in an environmental commitment that follows the United Nations guidelines and their 17 sustainable development goals (SDG), set to be met by 2030. Our aim is to reduce marine pollution by integrating materials culled from the ocean whenever possible into our new products. While we recycle discarded fishing nets into watch bands, we are also acquiring greater oceanographic knowledge with our focus being mainly on sharks. With their status as the apex predators of the sea and a largely misunderstood species of marine life, sharks are the avatars and cherished emblems of Ulysse Nardin.

In keeping with the Swiss watch manufacturer’s devotion to shark conservation around the world, Ulysse Nardin has launched the DIVER Lemon Shark, a contemporary and functional model designed specifically for the deep. The 42 mm model is the newborn in the Diver collection and features a black dial with a yellow lemon shark ‘signature’, a stamp of three lemon sharks on the back and a black R-STRAP made from recycled fishing nets. The touches of yellow on the bezel, dial, crown and band pay homage to the lemon shark, recalling the color of its skin and its connection to the ocean floor. It is a technical marvel fitted with the Caliber UN-816 movement; the concave bezel with a domed sapphire glass creates a sleek look designed for those who consider exploring the depths of the ocean a personal challenge.
The DIVER Lemon Shark works thanks to revolutionary silicium technology, pioneered by Ulysse Nardin at its headquarters in Le Locle, Switzerland. Superluminova indexes in ‘shark gray’ adorn the dial and a yellow 0 marks the 12 o’clock position on the bezel. The lemon yellow second hand, second markers and discreet stitching on the R-STRAP distinguish this model from all others, making it a unique and coveted timepiece that pays homage to these magnificent animals. The DIVER Lemon Shark is available in a limited series of just 300 pieces.

To celebrate the launch of the DIVER Lemon Shark on World Ocean Day, Ulysse Nardin has teamed up with world-renown shark experts dedicated to the study of marine life and ocean conservation by bringing together two outstanding organizations: OCEARCH and the FIU Medina Aquarius Program in the Florida International University Institute of Environment.
Of all the creatures in the world’s oceans, sharks may be the most misunderstood by humankind. Often feared and reviled as vicious maneaters, the vast majority of shark species are not aggressive towards humans but form a vital role in ocean ecosystems as apex predators. The lemon shark is a perfect example of this. Found mainly off the coast of Florida, lemon sharks use their yellow coloration to blend in with the sea floor and ambush their preferred diet of fish and crustaceans. Despite posing no threat to humans, the lemon shark is currently listed as near threatened in its natural habitat due to human activity. Ulysse Nardin, with its extensive aquatic ties, has long been a supporter of ocean conservation, and for its latest release the brand has joined forces with Florida International University and environmental nonprofit OCEARCH to bring awareness to these creatures. The new limited edition Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark is designed to commemorate this collaborative effort, and brings a clean and aggressive new edge to the brand’s entry-level modernist diver line.
While mechanically unspectacular, the limited-edition Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark offers an aggressive contemporary look that drastically changes the feel of the base Diver line while drawing attention to the crucial preservation of ocean wildlife.

Breitling Endurance Pro

Although many watches are aimed at folks with an active lifestyle, they often feature cumbersome stainless steel cases and fragile mechanical movements. Think of a “sports watch,” and it probably checks both of those boxes. But with such a clearly defined intended use, why wouldn’t the watch be fashioned from something light, and wouldn’t a robust quartz movement handle shocks and impacts better than a mechanical movement? 
This is the driving ideology behind the development of the Endurance Pro, a watch with a design that’s congruent to its intended use. It’s aimed squarely at active watch enthusiasts, and Breitling is even launching the watch with “The Breitling Endurance Pro Replica Strava Challenge,” a program that encourages wearers of the watch to rack up 500 minutes of swimming, running, cycling, hiking, or any sport that facilitates breaking a sweat and raising heart rates. Amateur athletes who complete that challenge are entered into a drawing to win Breitling swag, the top prize being a co-branded Breitling/Colnago bicycle. 
The  Breitling Endurance Pro Replica  is the spiritual successor to the Breitling Sprint, a chronograph produced in the 1970s that featured a resin case and a pulsometer scale. The Pulsometer scale, theoretically, could aid athletes taking their own heart rate measurements. This feature carries through to the modern Endurance Pro, and so does the use of a non-conventional material for the case. The Endurance Pro is made from Breitlight, which was introduced in 2016. It’s 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than stainless steel, which makes it ideal for sporting applications, but it’s also interesting from a material science perspective. It’s hypoallergenic, lightly textured, and Breitling reports that it “feels warmer to the touch than metal.” While the case is black, the watch comes in five colorways: white, blue, yellow, orange, and red. It comes on a colored rubber strap, but matching Outerknown ECONYL NATO straps can be purchased from Breitling. 
The “20-Year Rule” states that particular styles and trends in the fashion world work on a two-decade cycle: 20 years pass, and what’s old is cool again. The Endurance Pro has an aesthetic that would fit right in on the set of Boy Meets World, and that’s exactly what makes it particularly interesting to this author. For many collectors, the Endurance Pro will seem quite familiar. It reeks of “classic” Breitling from the ’90s.  The steady rise of athleisure in the fashion world over the last few years has set the stage for a release like this, but I’m sure it will surprise quite a few collectors as it harkens back to a much more recent era than many of the successful watches Breitling has introduced in the last year, like the Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection or the Top Time Limited Edition. 
Not everyone wants a Luminox or G-Shock to abuse while cycling or hiking – some folks want to jazz it up a little while they’re out on the trails, and this is exactly the watch for such occasions. You get some serious heritage in a watch that’s fully equipped to stand up to a proper flogging. Watch appreciation is a largely sedentary hobby – so any watch that asks folks to put in 500 minutes of strenuous activity is a great thing. At its core, the Endurance Pro is a fun watch, and we could always use more of that. 
I wasn’t particularly kind to the new  Breitling Endurance Pro Replica  in our New Watch Alert. Like all the watches in the NWA, I passed judgement sight unseen. But I am nothing if not a fair man. So I hightailed it down to a local dealer to spend some quality time with a Pro. (Thanks Ben!) My conclusion: it’s a really expensive quartz watch. But it’s also . . .

a hugely accurate really expensive quartz watch.

Thanks to its thermo-compensated COSC-certified Caliber 82 SuperQuartz

Close enough for rock and roll? Yes! Unless you’re looking for temporal bragging rights. For a $3k watch, I’m thinking that’s a thing. Fortunately, the Breitling has a few other tricks up its horological sleeve. Specifically, its weight. Or lack thereof.
The Breitling Endurance Pro is not for those who worry about the unbearable lightness of being – it weighs just 65 grams dripping wet.

Credit the 44mm Endurance’s quartz movement and Breitlight

 case for the watch’s lack of heavy. Breitling’s carbon composite is 3.3 times lighter than titanium, 5.8 times lighter than stainless steel, non-magnetic, thermally stable, hypoallergenic and “highly resistant” to scratches, traction and corrosion.
And it makes the watch feel like a plastic toy. The Endurance Pro’s orange strap, second hand, crown guard, pusher tips and interior bezel do nothing to counter that impression, and much to enhance it.

Running the chrono dispels at least some of the frivolity. Press the Endurance Pro’s pusher – the action is sharp and precise. The orange second hand slams through the seconds, the right hand subdial goes nuts, spinning once a second, and the top left subdial counts the minutes.
The bottom subdial also counts the seconds. Blame the redundancy on the bright orange pulsometer chapter ring, included to position the Endurance Pro as “the ultimate athleisure watch.”

In other words, Breitling’s marketing mavens are targeting well-heeled exercise junkies who don’t measure their heart rate with a smartwatch. Both of them.
C’mon man! We all know the  Breitling Endurance Pro Replica  is a fashion statement. Thirty minute timer? Crayola colors? If that doesn’t identify the Pro as a tool watch for pulse-quickening S&M (standing and modelling), what about the bezel compass?

The Endurance Pro’s bi-directional bezel compass is beautifully rendered; it glides around the dial like a curling stone on fresh ice. That said, if you’re lost in the northern hemisphere in a non-tropical wilderness and need to head in a particular direction, any watch will do.

To use your watch as an approximate compass outside of the tropics in the northern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontal and point the hour hand at the sun. Half way between that point and the twelve o’clock mark on your watch points to the south.

The Truth About Sundials! Anyway, the Breitling Endurance Pro’s dial is a dog’s breakfast.
Some bright spark decreed that the 12, 3, 6 and 9 indices had to be REALLY BIG and decided “we don’t need no stinkin’ 12! Put the Breitling logo there.”

Then the subdial monsters took a big bite out of the 3 and 6 (rendering them semi-legible) and pretty much devoured the 6. The same creatures all but eliminated the 2 and 10. Only six numerals made it through the attack.

Just for fun, there’s “ENDURANCE” below the dial’s midpoint on the left, bang opposite “CHRONOMETER.” It’s no surprise the date window’s retreated to a relatively quiet corner between the 4 and 5.
I love the Breitling Endurance Pro’s featherweight fighting weight, revel in its durability, worship its amazing accuracy and smile at its technicolor dreamcoat (also available in yellow, blue, red and black).

But the Pro’s premium price and busy AF dial are genuine deal killers. Sometimes first impressions last.

Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton and Blast Hourstriker

When it comes to Ulysse Nardin, it’s hard not also to think about innovative, avant-garde design. With a steady focus on the use of uncommon materials, novel mechanics, and artistic thinking, the brand in its modern history has made a name for itself with collections like the Freak, and so many individual watches like the Marine Mega Yacht and suggestive Classic Voyeur Minute Repeater, among so many others. This is not to say the brand doesn’t also tread in classic watch design from time to time, which they certainly do. In fact, much of the Marine, Diver, and even aptly named Classico collections do work in-step with very traditional styles and materials. But for these classic looks, it is undoubtedly Ulysse Nardin’s experimental work that catches the eyes of most luxury-inclined consumers.

Now, the brand is unveiling its latest experimental work in the industry, with three new timepieces that hold inventive thinking centrally from design to execution. Of these, we have the new table clock UFO, which started with a question posed by Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, “What [would] a marine chronometer designed in 2196 be like?” After this, we come to the brand’s two wristwatch novelties, the first being the Blast Hourstriker which follows up on the original Blast unveiled by the brand last summer, and brings the brand’s signature sonorous complication to the unorthodox construction. And lastly, the brand is unveiling the new Diver X Skeleton, a new hybrid watch of the Diver X and Skeleton X design first unveiled in 2019, and in effect, bringing an uncommon skeletonized look to a 200-meter water resistant timepiece.
Turning first to the very uncommon UFO, we come to an incredibly complex table clock displaying three independent time-zones and carrying a full year’s worth of power reserve via six manually wound barrels. The skeletonized aluminum creation is encapsulated via a 3mm-thick ovoid blown glass bell created by Romain Montero, a 26-year-old, Swiss-based artisan glassblower. Its total size from aluminum base to rounded glass top measures 263mm tall (or about 10 in.) and 159mm in diameter (6.25 in.). If the watch looks like something produced by MB&F rather than Ulysse Nardin, that’s because the creation was developed in close collaboration with renowned clockmaker Maison L’Epée, a brand which has been manufacturing traditional clocks since 1839 and is best known for their work with MB&F and bringing CEO Max Busser’s ideas to mechanical life.
While dubbed the “UFO,” the piece of horological art takes its inspiration from rethinking marine chronometers rather than something interstellar. “Whereas [traditional] marine chronometers were housed in wooden boxes and set on gimbles to counteract the effect of the ship’s constant sway, [the UFO] reverses this … [making] waves when it is nudged gently.” In technical terms, the almost-16 lb. (7.2kg) creation rests upon a rounded bottom, swinging up to 60° from its axis without losing balance, with the tungsten weighted center of mass such that the clock avoids swinging too fast or tipping, and by extension, damaging the clock or affecting its timekeeping abilities.
Now turning to the first of the brand’s creations for the wrist, we find the Blast Hourstriker, which as mentioned follows up on the original 2020 Blast, a time-only avant-garde design. The obvious update for the model is in its use of Ulysse Nardin’s signature “Hourstriker” complication which we last saw in 2019 with the Hourstriker Phantom. The complication notably differs from a traditional minute repeater in that it only chimes hours and half hours, rather than smaller increments of time.Like the original Blast, the Hourstriker uses a large rose-gold 5N and black DLC titanium case, measuring 45mm by 16mm, complete with sharp faceting, meticulously brushed finished edges, and an overall very sporty appeal for a 30m water resistant watch. On its dial, the skeletonized look of the alternating rose gold, DLC, and metal components provide a particularly mechanical aesthetic, the style integrated with a six o’clock flying tourbillon and small on/off indicator for the Ulysse Nardin Blast Hourstriker complication.
Speaking more to the chiming mechanism, Ulysse Nardin developed the UN-621 caliber specifically for the timepiece, with it serving as the brand’s first in-house automatic striking manufacture movement to be powered by a flying tourbillon. Like previous Hourstrikers, the Ulysse Nardin Blast Hourstriker features a Devialet amplification system developed by a team of engineers from Ulysse Nardin and the namesake French audio technology company Devialet. The system is essentially a super-thin metal membrane which amplifies the acoustic waves from the watch gong of the Hourstriker which, when combined with a torsion lever, “acts as the membrane of an electromagnetic enclosure, or more precisely, as the membrane of a phonograph head, the ancestor of the vinyl record deck.” In practical terms, it allows the sound to be louder, clearer, and more pleasant to the ear while using less overall power from the mechanical reserve.
The final release as part of Ulysse Nardin’s experimental group of 2021 novelties is the new Diver X Skeleton, an innovative hybrid watch celebrating the brand’s 175th birthday, being first founded in 1846, and limited to 175 editions.

At its core, the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton is, as its name indicates, a skeletonized dive watch, living within a supremely uncommon category of watch both for the technical difficulty of producing a highly water resistant and durable sapphire-heavy timepiece, but also for the practical viability and consumer interest in a watch that reduces visibility on a category of watch renowned for just that. Practical and technical concerns aside, the model is a unique sporty wearer, experimenting with the very centerpiece of what it means for a watch to be a diver.

The large timepiece measures 44mm by 15.5mm, cased with large sapphire windows on its front and back, as well as blue PVD Carbonium, a super durable and lightweight carbon-based material which the brand originally used on its FREAK X. As a nod towards the growing awareness of the carbon impact watches and the larger fashion world are having, Ulysse Nardin mentioned Carbonium’s 40% lower environmental impact than other carbon-based materials, a historically energy-intensive material to create and shape.
On the dial of the watch, transparency reins with the redesigned UN-371 movement on display and the model’s namesake blue “X” serving as a center point for the watch’s large lume-filled hands, each pointing to matching indices on the outer edge of the plane. Like previous X-series watches by the brand, the Diver X Skeleton features a large barrel towards the 12 o’clock position, which in combination with the movement’s slowed 21,600 vph frequency helps provide the model with a higher 96-hour or 4-day power reserve.

Altogether, the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton presents a seamless hybrid of design schemes produced by Ulysse Nardin in recent years, bringing various elements from across the brand’s collection into a well-executed timepiece. In this regard, and with a grain of salt for its viability as a practical dive watch, the watch effectively meets its purpose as a hardy commemorative timepiece to the innovative, marine-focused legacy of the Ulysse Nardin brand.

Urwerk UR-105 TTH “Tantalum Hull”

Swiss independent URWERK, a favorite of Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr, is killing-off its UR-105 model to make way for a new design.

The UR-105 TTH or Tantalum Hull is a final, limited run of 12 pieces with a case made from tantalum, a particularly hard precious metal with a density similar to platinum.

“Tantalum is a very special metal,” URWERK co-founder Martin Frei explains. “It’s precious, rare, and extremely painful to machine and finish. We made an UR-110 out of tantalum a few years ago – a first that almost was the last. The team made me promise never to use it again because tantalum eats our CNC machines’ bits, reducing their life by a factor of three. But I love its blue-gray luster.”

The “Hull” of the title is the retractable breastplate that shields the movement and can be released by pushing a sliding catch, revealing the brand’s “satellite time” indication, a sci-fi take on the classic wandering hour complication. A carousel with four hour satellites, each displaying three revolving hour numerals, rotates against a minute track so that the current hour always points to the current minutes.

A seconds disc, which rotates in ten-second increments, sits at the left of the dial while a power reserve indication sits to the right. The UR-105 also features a unique automatic winding system, regulated by two air turbines and adjustable depending on the lifestyle of the wearer, whether active of sedentary.

URWERK’s decision to retire the model stems from the brand’s desire to make no more than 150 watches each year and points to the imminent arrival of a new design.
Urwerk presented the new UR-105 Tantalum Hull (TTH), the model that marks the end of the 105 Collection. In fact, with a production of just 150 pieces per year, the Swiss brand has to replace a collection in order to bring new creations in their catalogue.
The new watch comes in a “soap bar” case in titanium and tantalum that is 39.5 mm wide, 53 mm long and 17.8 mm high.

Characterised by a fascinating blue-gray luster, Tantalum is a precious metal that is very difficult to machine and finish. Rarer than gold, harder than steel, and highly corrosion-resistant, tantalum is an alternative to platinum for its inertness. Thanks to its high density, it is extremely resistant to acids.

A limited edition of just 12 pieces, the UR-105 TTH reveal its mechanics by sliding the catch on the top of the case: an openworked carousel carries four satellites, each bearing three numerals for the hours that rotate in turn along the minute track, providing both analog and digital time displays.
Introduced first in 2017, to mark URWERK’s 20th anniversary, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei have just announced the end of series version of the UR-105CT, with UR-105 TTH “Tantalum Hull”. Why so? Simply put, for a watchmaking endeavor such as URWERK’s, which to this day produces a nominal 150 watches per year, some creations from within the fold must be brought to a conclusion, in order to make room for the next greater timepiece to forward the brand’s watchmaking story.
In its final form, the UR-105 CT has been given a tantalum shroud with less aggressive ribbing down its front, which somehow makes the watch more rounded than the original. Part of the reason why the UR-105 TTH has been given this lesser ribbed design could very simply be because of challenges involved in milling tantalum.
Says Martin, “Tantalum is a very special metal. Its name comes from Tantalus, one of Greek mythology’s bad boys. Tantalum is precious, rare, and extremely painful to machine and finish. We made an UR-110 out of tantalum a few years ago – a first that almost was the last. The team made me promise never to use it again because tantalum ‘eats’ our CNC machines’ bits. It destroys them, reducing their life by a factor of three. But I love its blue-gray luster. Pure magic!”

Seeing it in the pictures though, it has to be said that it’s almost criminal that more URWERK watches aren’t rendered in tantalum. But conceding to the difficulty, the UR-105 TTH will be produced in a limited run of just 12 pieces.
“Tantalum is a precious metal weighing approximately the same as platinum. It has a solid presence on the wrist,” adds Felix. “To machine it is a nightmare, but it has incomparable beauty. Tantalum is one of the most URWERK-ian metals I know of. It is dark, almost anthracite colored, a shade which is an integral part of URWERK’s aesthetic signature”
The Urwerk UR-105 TTH ‘Tantalum Hull’ is the last iteration of the brand’s highly acclaimed UR-105 series. Partially housed in tantalum, a rare metal that is very difficult to machine and polish, the appearance of the material and its various attributes made it a worthy choice for Urwerk, a brand that is not afraid of tackling technical challenges.
Founded in 1997, Urwerk’s models stand out from the congested watch market thanks to the brand’s distinctive design language, playful use of materials and high-end finishing. A few years ago, the Swiss brand lent me a UR-210 model and I wore it for an extended period lasting several weeks. The horological behemoth proved comfortable to wear and its wandering hours display was highly intuitive to read.

Having marvelled at the UR-210 and noting its various attributes, I was somewhat surprised to hear the brand call a halt to production. Thereafter, it was not long before the firm released the UR-220 Falcon Project. At first glance, the watch appeared similar to the UR-210 and certainly some of its genetic code had been carried over to the newer model. However, the UR-220 Falcon Project was hand-wound, slimmer and its curving case bestowed a superior ergonomic fit.
At the heart of the company’s paradigm is an overriding desire to deliver advancement. The firm has made several different models over the years and has never been afraid to slay an existing reference in order to make way for a new addition to the Urwerk family. Furthermore, the marque has always strived to keep its model range limited in size, a trait that was recently touched upon by Felix Baumgartner. The Maison’s genius watchmaker remarked, “to continue staying true to ourselves, to remain URWERK, we make less than 150 pieces per year. This means that we reluctantly have to ‘kill’ a collection to bring a new creation to life. And time for the UR-105 CT is now running out.”

Once a model has joined the current line-up, the firm invariably releases a number of animations throughout its life. Colour, textures and materials are all subject to co-founder Martin Frei’s penchant for creative expression. Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner have employed materials from a variety of sources, some ordinarily used for aerospace or medical applications. With many large watch brands, an animation is a comparatively inexpensive step, however, for a brand like Urwerk, making approximately 150 watches per annum, selecting a different case material is incredibly expensive. Put simply, when producing small quantities of components, Urwerk won’t benefit from the same economies of scale enjoyed by a big brand that has an annual production figure running into six figures.
Now, the time has come to say goodbye to the UR-105, a popular model that has sired many offspring. The Maison has played with a variety of materials and finishes, ingeniously creating a new look each time. Indeed, if one contrasts the UR-105TA Clockwork Orange, the UR-105CT Streamliner and the UR-105CT Maverick, they all share the same jawline but look markedly different.

The UR-105’s swansong is the Urwerk UR-105 TTH ‘Tantalum Hull’. The case combines titanium and tanatalum. This latter metal is rare, corrosion-resistant, hypoallergenic, robust and exhibits a blue-grey appearance. Certain grades of titanium are highly problematic to machine, causing tools to wear out more readily. Moreover, milling speeds have to be reduced to prevent heat damage, thereby heightening production times and inevitably costs. According to the brand, tantalum also presents many challenges to the CNC machine operator. Nevertheless, Urwerk has repeatedly demonstrated over the years that it is not afraid to confront technical obstacles in order to achieve the look or performance it seeks. The wandering hours display features a new skeleton carousel and the brand has made the seconds disc using LIGA technology.

As I look at the Urwerk UR-105 TTH ‘Tantalum Hull’, I lament its passing and I perfectly understand the reason why many horophiles will crave one of the 12 pieces available. However, based on experience, I predict there will be many more delights to come from this progressive brand.
Activating the sliding “tongue” of the UR-105 TTH opens the hull to reveal its mechanics, featuring a satellite time indication built on a new skeleton carousel. The latter supports four hour satellites, each displaying three-hour numerals that rotate in turn along the minute track, providing both analogue and digital time displays.

A power reserve indication and digital seconds complete the information on the dial. The digital seconds displaying the seconds in ten-second increments is particularly remarkable. To make it as light and as ephemeral as possible, the seconds disk was made using the LIGA photolithography process and the marker is openworked. The total weight of the display is less than 0.10 grams.

On the back, two turbines regulate the movement’s automatic winding system, which can be easily adjusted using a small lever according to how active the wearer is. In the “FULL” position, the slightest movement of the wrist is enough to wind the mainspring. In “STOP” mode, the automatic winding system is deactivated and the UR-105 is manually wound. A third intermediate position, “RED” (for REDUCED), moderates winding to minimize excessive tension and wear.

Richard Mille RM 74

Uniquely appealing and technically complex, the RM 74-01 and RM 74-02 In-House Automatic Tourbillons offer two new versions of the fully in-house automatic tourbillon calibre. These two striking models, both with the same ultra-skeletonised heart, are distinguished by the materials used for their cases as well as by their aesthetics, making them fraternal twins with unique personalities.

The RM 74-01 features grey Cermet, whose remarkable resistance to corrosion and scratches is particularly well-suited for a case application. Combining the lightness of titanium with the hardness of ceramic, grey Cermet consists of a metallic zirconium matrix associated with high-performance ceramic inserts. The hardness of the material, which is comparable to that of a diamond, was particularly appropriate for the case of this model. Many years of development on the part of Richard Mille and the IMI Group (a microtechnology specialist), went into designing this material and its singular grey colour. Meanwhile, the grade 5 titanium caseband, bridges and baseplate smoothly and harmoniously complement the case construction.
For its part, the RM 74-02 is enhanced with another material exclusive to Richard Mille in watchmaking, Gold Carbon TPT

. This time the technical challenge lay in combining a singular composite material (Carbon TPT

) and a precious metal (gold leaf). Years of work went into its development. A watchmaking constitutive whose resistance is matched only by its lightness, it kindles a striking contrast between the matte black of carbon and the aura of gold. Its dusky silhouette is shot with threads of 24-carat yellow gold, whose radiance extends over the baseplate and the red-gold caseband with polished pillars as well as the crown encircled with yellow gold.
The twin cores of these two models are the in-house CRMT6 calibre for the RM 74-01 and the CRMT5 calibre in the case of the RM 74-02. The materials used for the baseplate and bridges are PVD- and electroplasma-treated grade 5 titanium for the former, while the latter favours yellow and red gold. Beating to the rhythm of a tourbillon regulator with a free-sprung balance wheel, the constant energy flow from their fast-winding barrels is gently diffused via the involute profile gear teeth to ensure 50 hours of mechanical ballet. Both movements draw their energy from a variable-geometry rotor that allows each Richard Mille RM 74 watch and its winding to be personalised to the profile of its owner.

The characteristically slender lines of the RM 74-01 and RM 74-02 particularly highlight their respective tourbillons, majestically positioned at 6 o’clock within their frames. The specific work done on the flange with bevelled festoon highlights the movement of each watch, while graceful touches of hand finishing further refine the delicate features of these two pieces, combining elegance and watchmaking science to perfection.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Replica Watch

As Ulysse Nardin has streamlined its product line-up over the last few years, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Replica Watch family has become one of the collection’s anchors (if you’ll pardon the pun). Until now though, these mostly three-hand-and-date watches have been on the big side, sitting at 44mm or larger. Today that changes with the introduction of a new collection of Divers that preserve the aesthetics and details of their larger brethren but in a more manageable 42mm size. Sure, that’s still not approaching vintage diver territory, but it’s definitely a huge difference that will open this collection up to many new people. There are both blue and black dial/bezel variants and a handful of great strap options to choose from, including two different steel bracelets.

While most of the watches are part of the main collection, there is one limited edition Diver 42mm, the so-called Blue Shark, which has a steel case with a matte blue PVD coating and a blue dial with an orange shark down at six o’clock. It comes paired with a matching blue textile strap with orange stitching and is limited to just 300 pieces.
There is a lot to like about UN’s Diver collection, especially when it comes to the details. The slightly concave bezel with its concentric rings adds a lot of visual depth to the watch, the grained dials have just enough texture to them, and the faceting on the lugs and knurling on the bezel add dynamism to the cases. These watches look and feel modern, but they’re not trying to find solutions to problems that don’t exist – they know that a lot of what makes dive watches so iconic is their simplicity and there’s no reason to add superfluous extras (the only place where this misses for me is the inclusion of the geographic coordinates of the UN manufacture in Le Locle at six o’clock on the dials). I’m also a big fan of the choice to include a mesh bracelet with straight end links as an option here. It’s a play for the vintage nerds, sure, but it totally got me. I’m looking forward to seeing these in the metal soon.
The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Hammerhead Shark is yet another limited edition.This luxury chronograph features a Hammerhead shark motif on both its dial and bracelet elements. This agile animal gets its name from its head shape, which gives it panoramic vision and functions as a sensory organ that allows the shark to detect its prey.
Developed and tested in extreme conditions by daring explorers for the best ergonomic design, water-resistance and reliability