As a memory of this times long past, TX has designed (and keeps to updated and enhance) the World Time Airport Lounge watch. In addition to the dial with its retro-flair, the watch has a highly curved sapphire crystal over the dial that is meant to remind you of vintage watches that has domed acrylic crystals. Good thing that TX went with a sapphire crystal. The case is 42mm wide and wears a bit large - which is good. I think the size is proper as it is a modern watch in dimensions. The steel case clearly wants to resemble some more expensive watch cases. TX gave it brushed finishing in the middle with polished beveled edges on the lugs and a polished bezel. The chronograph pushers are polished as well and have an interesting black insert ring that looks nice. The watch crown has that deeply engraved TX logo that I always appreciate. With 100 meters of water resistance, along with some interesting details, the quality of the case is OK for the price of the watch.
Attached to the watch is a matching tungsten bracelet that is pretty comfortable and nice looking. Again, the overall look of the watch is acceptable and conservative. A respectable looking timepiece that isn't gonna win any beauty contests, but looks nice, and is a good value for the price. The case has a sapphire crystal and the case is water resistant to 30 meters.
Bremont did a good job with look of the piece in person. I had a few minor thoughts for the design to share with Bremont, but overall it is a great looking dive watch. Size is 42-43mm wide - the standard size of medium watches these days. As you can see, it wears nicely and doesn't look too small or too large. The steel case has a neat PVD ring around it that adds to the Bremont character (part of their Trip-Tic durable case construction branding), and really helps the piece stand out from other dive watches. Clearly having a multi piece case by having the pieces contrast can result in a good look. There is an interesting long and tapered single piece crown guard that is also attached to the case near the crown that is mounted on the upper left side of the case. Another look that Bremont hopes will distinguish the Supermarine 500. Note the little propeller design engraved into the crown.
In the 1990s TechnoMarine was a big deal because it was another "mold breaking" brand. I've discussed this before, but I will again because I think it is important. TechnoMarine opened the doors to modern luxury sport watches. Not that they themselves were super high-end, but the brand revolutionized the concept of who wears sport watches, and when they can be worn. Mixing plastic with diamonds was an odd thing back then. In fact, for most people it still is. But the concept worked. The watches looked like blinged-out Casio G-Shock watches with analog hands, and they worked. The industry stole the concept to a degree and overshadowed TechnoMarine a few years later with lots more, much expensive or unique pieces. To a large degree, I think you can credit TechnoMarine with making it acceptable to offer (and buy), the legions of gold watches with rubber and/or diamonds. Plastic was simply an interim material, making way for all sorts of exotic sporty materials that you'd never traditionally think of pairing with luxury watches.
While not aimed at the ultra elite watch lover who drinks morning coffee while reading the technical specs of their newest mechanical watch movement, Ernst Benz makes a very competent timepieces that is unfortunately sometimes elusive in appeal until you get your hands on one. With about 4000-5000 watches a year, the brand isn't unattainable, but certainly not pedestrian - much like John Varvatos. These special limited edition models for the fashion designer are available exclusively at his boutique stores (where you can get other Ernst Benz pieces as well). Price is about ,800.
I must say that they have succeeded rather well bringing new fresh ideas to traditional design while still honoring it's roots. Giving traditional aviator watch a modern new look with out being out of place. For many, this will be a way of getting a boutique brand Aviator style watch with a Swiss movement for a price lower than you'd expect.
Movement is a Maurice Lacroix made ML 153 manually wound movement which is in-house made. It has 48 hours of power reserve, is a regulator with a power reserve indicator, and a gear/disc for reading the hours. The clover gear moves the square gear that has an opening and small SuperLumiNova tipped hand in it that points to one of the hours on the hour scale. Minutes are read by the centrally mounted hand, and there is a subsidiary seconds dial below. The dial is a cool looking etched surface that has been cut using some pretty fancy techniques.
Like most A. Lange & Sohne watches, the Lange 1 Daymatic (Day + Automatic = equals cool retro sounding) will be initially available 18k yellow gold, pink gold, or platinum. Very ritzy, but you are talking about a brand that "does not make watches in steel." I anticipate that future models will spice things up a bit in terms of materials and dial colors. For now, the 39.5mm case is paired with one of Lange's very beautiful solid silver dials with matching applied gold hands and markers. You can see more details below in the data sheet supplied by Lange themselves.
- In 5N red gold, white gold or platinum with asymmetrical convex sapphire crystal, 11 watches each
- Transparent back with asymmetrical convex sapphire crystal
- Lateral window with shaped sapphire crystal
- Raised polished engraving of the name of the Invention on a hand-punched background
- Gold security screws
- Polished bezel and centre band with hand-finished straight graining
- Hand-engraved individual number
The Ananta Multi-Hand Automatic watch does the exact same things, but without the fancy retrograde dials - inside it is the also new Seiko 6R21 automatic movement. It has a power reserve indicator shaped like a sword that is similar to that on the Spring Drive watches and two traditional dials with hands for the day and date indicators. This is a more traditional asymmetric Seiko look. It is true that while the watch does the same things as the Double Retrograde Model, it looks a lot different visually. To me it is like a baby brother of the Ananta Spring Drive Chronograph model. It is also priced at about a third as much. These are going to be attractive entry level Ananta watches. They still have the high quality cases, design, and in-house Seiko movements as the top-end Ananta watches, but with slightly less complex movements and more affordable prices. Again, they are similar in price with the Ananta Double Retrograde Automatic retailing for ,300 and the with Ananta Multi-hand Automatic retail priced at ,100.
If you are a fan of watches made to be instruments, then please don't pass up the German greats. One of the best is Tutima. Located in Glashutte, nearby A. Lange & Sohne, Glashutte Original, and Nomos, Tutima is an historic watch brand with a serious outlook on the matter of making timepiece. While many Tutima watches have a good handsome look to them, these timepieces are functional machines - with a keen eye on making the time easy to read all in a very reliable watch case.
The back of the watch exhibits the Alpina AL-750 calibre movement through a sapphire crystal. The AL-750 is a modified ETA 7750 ébauche, which offers automatic winding, a 42 hour power reserve, and unbeatable reliability. The black rotor is finished and engraved at the Alpina manufacturing facilities. Alpina is very strong on finishing movements, which does not surprise me since they are a manufacture, able to build movements from the ground up. On a side note, Alpina watches are big consumers of wonderful Sellita movements, so I would not be surprised that Sellita's new SW-500 chrono caliber replaces the 7750 in future versions of Alpina chronographs.
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