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  2. The Orient Mako II – A Big Shark in a Bigger Ocean

    The Orient Mako II – A Big Shark in a Bigger Ocean

    Orient is known for being an underrated watchmaking company. They have a wide-range selection of watches that far exceed their current reputation. Among their lines of diver watches, one model truly stands out among the rest. That model is the Orient Mako II. There are a lot of cheap timepieces out there that turn out to be disappointments. They may be easy to afford, but when you need them the most, they will fail to deliver. The Mako II is not like that. With this model, Orient can personally show you just how much $150 has to offer you. In a world of seafloors inhabited by Rolex Submariners and Omega Seamasters, we often forget that a trusty dive watch does not necessarily have to cost a fortune. There are more affordable options in the market, and the Orient Mako II is one of the most reliable and fair choices. Try to find a timepiece that does the job better than this with a similar price tag, and you will see just what an arduous task it poses. With that said, let’s dive into the Orient Mako II and what it can do. Let’s start with a brief overview of the origins of the first edition Orient Mako and how the Mako II came to be.  The Original Mako Orient released the first Mako in 2004. The Mako was a flagship model and was an effective crowd puller as an affordable diving wristwatch. With its affordable price and capable features, the Mako was a popular choice of a first timepiece for many newcomers. It was an enormous success for Orient, and allowed them to learn more about their market. Thanks to the constructive criticism and feedback from its wearers, Orient was later able to design a new and improved model, the Orient Mako II. The Mako features a 41.5mm case with a royal blue dial. It uses an automatic movement known as the Orient Caliber 46943 with a 40-hour power reserve. Though the Mako comes with mineral glass, it is always possible to swap it for something more sturdy. For its final feature, the Mako can handle 200m or 660ft of water pressure. And to top it all off, this timepiece does not even reach $200. Just by looking at the specs and its price tag, it is apparent that this diver watch is a suitable, easily affordable diver watch for anyone. Funnily enough, this watch was not originally called the Mako. There are a handful of stories on how the Mako got its name, but the most frequent iteration involves the dolphin logo of its rubber strap. Wearers of the Orient Mako started to notice that the supposed dolphin on the rubber strap of the Mako seemed to more closely resemble a shark instead. In particular, fans thought that it looked like the shortfin mako shark. Since then, enthusiasts, and later the company itself, started calling the timepiece the Orient Mako.  Here’s a fun fact you might not have known: the shortfin mako shark, which the Orient Mako is named for, holds the record for being the fastest shark in the world. Specifications Photo by u/motorcyclerider100 from Reddit Dimensions of the Orient Mako II Starting with the dimensions, the Orient Mako II is 13mm thick and measures 41.5mm in diameter. As far as the lugs are concerned, the Mako II has a lug width of 22mm and a lug to lug measurement of 47mm. Although the size sounds quite standard, the wristwatch actually looks smaller than what the dimensions specify due to the nature of its curved lugs. That said, those with larger wrists may perceive their Orient Mako II to be a bit small-scale. If wearers want a watch that feels a little more substantial, they could instead opt for the larger Orient Mako XL. On the whole, however, the Mako II is well-sized for a wristwatch in its category and fits adequately on many. Stainless Steel Case The Orient Mako II has an aesthetically pleasing structure. The case of the Mako II has a considerable amount of heft to it without being too cumbersome on the wrist. It is made of stainless steel, and it is both brushed on its lugs and polished on its sides. As a result, the exteriors of the timepiece exude a satisfying clean look with a welcoming gleaming sheen. Accompanied by a thin bezel, the Mako II boasts a stunning and sporty build that looks appropriate for diving. The bezel on top of the Orient Mako II is particularly unique. It is relatively slim with a deep blue color and notched edges on its sides. The bezel is unidirectional with 120 clicks and can track a typical total of 60 minutes of elapsed time. Aside from the standard blue edition, the bezel can also come in all-black or in the iconic Pepsi-themed colors. While the black version also looks smart, the Pepsi version can be exceptionally appealing. With its ridged sides and slim build, choosing the Pepsi-themed model of the Mako II makes the bezel bear an uncanny resemblance to the bottle cap of a Pepsi drink.  With regards to the functionality of the bezel, although the notched edge is supposed to provide an easier grip, it doesn’t really offer any additional help. The thin structure of the bezel might look sleek, but it also makes turning the bezel quite a challenge at times. In terms of profession, it could be even harder to use for divers, considering account the gear that divers wear. Ultimately, the Mako II’s bezel looks good, but the functionality is sub-par and is better off changed to a slightly thicker bezel. Fortunately, the Mako III and the Mako XL feature a bigger bezel for those who require greater ease of use. Another feature that we need to look at is the crown. The Mako II’s crown has some good polishing on it. Engraved neatly on the center of the knob is the logo of its maker – Orient. It is a beautiful-looking crown, but it also has problems of its own. Much like the bezel, it is a tad difficult to use. For many owners of the Mako II, the crown guards do not give enough space and are too tightly crowded around the knob, making it difficult to turn. Again, this would prove even more burdensome for fully-geared divers who wish to bring the Orient Mako II with them into the water. At the back of the Orient Mako II is a solid screw-down case back that protects the movement inside. Some may prefer having an exhibit-style transparent case back, but using a screw-down case is the optimal choice to reduce the risk of having any leakages, which is crucial for a dive watch like this.  Mineral Glass There is nothing extraordinary to note here. Mineral crystal is a standard in watches of this price range. The crystal will still get the job done, but it will not shelter the dial from anything more than light scratches. If you’re concerned about the quality of protection the crystal offers, you could opt to customize the watch by replacing the mineral glass with sapphire. However, keep in mind that sapphire will cost more. Deep Blue Sunburst Dial When looking through the mineral crystal, the Orient Mako II immediately greets on-lookers with a beautiful deep blue sunburst dial. Hour markers and indices occupy the rim of the dial, other than at the 6th, 9th, and 12th o’clock positions. The hour marker at the 3 o’clock position is replaced with a day and date window perched on the right side of the dial. At the center of the watch are sword-shaped minute and hour hands as well as a red-tipped second hand. The Orient Mako II has luminescent material applied on its hands, indices, and hour markers, so wearers are able to tell the time even in the dark. Completing the overall look is the logo and signature of Orient located below the 12th hour of the dial. The Mako II also comes with a black dial variant, while the Mako II USA sports a white dial.  Orient Caliber F6922 One of the biggest complaints that owners of the first edition Orient Mako had was the inability to wind and hack the movement manually. Since then, Orient has devised a new caliber is adjustable by hand and demonstrates the ability to tell time more precisely. This new and improved movement is none other than the in-house Caliber F6922. What makes this movement so interesting is the innovative design of the caliber. Although the F6922 is automatic, it can still be hand-wound, providing wearers benefits from either side of the spectrum. The caliber has an accuracy of -15/15+ seconds, which is much more precise than the -25/35+ seconds accuracy of its predecessor. That said, the movement will still require consistent regulation every few days. Orient uses Seiko’s Diashock as shock absorbers for the automatic apparatus. The system supplies twenty-two jewels to hold the mechanical movement in place and keep the mechanisms from experiencing excessive wear and tear. The F6922 is capable of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour and has a 40-hour power reserve. Altogether, Orient’s in-house automatic caliber is a sturdy workhorse, built with the capacity to withstand actual diving and the pressures that come with it. Three-Link Bracelet The Orient Mako II comes with the usual three-link bracelet you can find on numerous affordable Japanese timekeepers. The end links are hollow, but the bracelet is easy to calibrate and wraps around the wrist comfortably. In addition, the steel of the bracelet has been brushed and polished thoroughly, so it possesses the same glossy, professional shine as the case. A double-locking clasp with a push-button design is used to fasten the bracelet. This stainless steel bracelet gives the watch a smart, distinguished look, but there are other options available. You could experiment with different straps that better compliment the classic design of the Mako II. Depending on your preferences, you can select from a wide variety of straps and bracelets. 200m Water Resistance 200m is a deep dive. With resistances like that, the watch can withstand almost all sorts of water activity, from taking a shower to scuba diving. The only thing this wristwatch cannot handle is professional diving, which usually reaches depths of around 500m. This limitation is not a hindrance as people tend to purchase a timepiece like this for design purposes and recreational diving rather than its proficiency deep underwater. Although this timepiece is highly capable, the Orient Mako II does not have ISO certification. Taking into account that this is a very affordable $150 watch, this is a fairly minor con. For those seeking an underwater companion on their casual dive outings, however, the Orient Mako II is still more than up to the task. Alternatives For those who are not a fan of the Mako II’s style, there are a few alternatives that also provide a variety of intriguing features for a similar price tag. Orient Ray II Photo by u/pleisner3 from Reddit There is no doubt that Orient knows how to make a great-looking, affordable dive watch. If the Mako II isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe their Orient Ray II would suit you better. The Ray II sports a matte black dial, similar to that of a Rolex Submariner. Pair that with a black chapter ring and a wonderfully polished stainless steel case, and you get an affordable diver timepiece oozing with sophistication.  Orient also did a remarkable job in applying luminescence to the Ray II. The quality of the luminosity is clean, well-lit, and is unexpected for a timepiece of this price range. Compared to the Mako II, the Ray II does a better job of providing wearers good legibility in the dark. An F6522 in-house caliber powers the inner machinations of the Ray II, and its performance is identical to that of the Mako II’s F6922 calibre. Other than those features, the Mako II and Ray II are almost indistinguishable. Unfortunately, that also includes the hard-to-maneuver bezel and miniature crown. That said, the Ray II is arguably the best alternative to the Mako II. It offers nearly the same amount of features and conveniences and comes with a similar price point. The Ray II also has a wider variety of dial colors to choose from, such as deep blue and pumpkin orange. Seiko SKX007 Photo by Amazon If you’re willing to plonk more money on a trustworthy timekeeper, then look no further than the Seiko SKX007. The Seiko SKX007 is a fan-favorite amongst the range of affordable diver watches. Unlike the Ray and Mako II, the Seiko SKX007 is ISO certified, making it a highly credible and ideal choice for buyers. It possesses 200m of water resistance, hardlex glass, the Seiko 7S26 movement, and is a versatile look suitable for all occasions and activities.   It is undeniable that the SKX007 looks like a first-class watch. The blend of black and white skillfully laden on the dial and bezel makes for a beguiling design. In addition, the timepiece functions extraordinarily well in the dark. Seiko is known to do impressive work applying luminescence to their watches, and they did not disappoint with the SKX007. Seiko also uses hardlex glass to shelter the dial. Hardlex has a reputation for being more durable and resistant than mineral crystals without being too costly. Although not quite as sturdy as sapphire, hardlex glass is still an inexpensive upgrade from mineral crystals. The bezel itself has more grip than the two previously mentioned timepieces. It’s smooth, it clicks decently, and it does not have any significant amounts of wobble. Indeed, the bezel feels like something you would encounter in much more expensive wristwatches. Sadly, the crown faces the same problem as the Mako II and Ray II. Much like those watches, the crown guard of the SKX007 gives too much cover, such that it becomes tricky to use the knob. Wearers will need a bit of fingernail strength to get that pesky crown going. The Seiko 7S26 which the SKX007 uses is an in-house automatic movement and is a predecessor to the 4R36 movement. Regrettably, the 7S26 does not feature manual winding and hacking capabilities. As long as you don’t find the mechanical movement too frustrating to use, however, then this Seiko is still a good option. Since its time in the production line, the SNK007 has become more limited, and this has led to an increase in value. Right now, the timepiece fetches an average price of $330. Citizen BN0151-09L Promaster Diver Photo by NY Watch Store The Promaster Diver is a Citizen timepiece built for those who enjoy swimming at the beach. Aside from having 200m of water resistance, the watch uses solar power to energize its internal components. One of the best things about this eco-friendly timekeeper is its quartz movement, which is usually more precise than mechanical movements. Since this particular Citizen uses quartz to operate, you can rest assured that you will have no trouble keeping accurate time with this watch.  The bezel is one of the most important features of a watch, so let’s take a look at how the Promaster Diver fares in that regard. On the side of the Promaster Diver’s bezel is an alternating pattern of teeth-like edges and smoothened surfaces. This design may be an unusual choice, but it serves its purpose in providing more grip. It clicks and turns well, which is satisfying. Compared to the other alternatives, this timepiece seems to have the least amount of negatives. The Citizen Promaster Diver costs approximately $180. It is more pricey than the Mako II, but it does offer a lot of benefits. Like the Mako II, the Promaster Diver can come with either a blue or black dial.  Final Thoughts Affordable Japanese diver watches continue to occupy the market to this day. Although there are a wide variety of them, not many can step up to the quality of the Mako II. If you were to look for another wristwatch under $200 that provides the same all-rounded strengths as the Mako II, chances are you probably won’t be having much luck. Although the Mako II is nowhere near perfect, it proves to be a substantial improvement from its predecessor. It is hard to go wrong with the Orient Mako II. For a timepiece that fetches a price between $130 – $150, calling this just another economical wristwatch would be an understatement. With capabilities far exceeding other wristwatches in the same price range, the Orient Mako II is nothing short of a powerhouse. The charisma of this particular timepiece is utterly magical. Whether someone is new to watches, an experienced enthusiast, or an avid collector, the Mako II attracts the eyes of all who see its sleek look. Looking for a dive watch that would allow you to explore even greater ocean depths? Check out our list of recommended Deep-Sea Dive Watches and find a watch perfect for your next deep-sea mission. Featured image courtesy of James Case on Flickr

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  3. 15 Most Expensive Rolex Watches

    15 Most Expensive Rolex Watches

    Ever wondered what the most expensive watches are? Well, Rolex is sure to be one of the first brands to come to mind when thinking about the world’s most exorbitant watches. Watch enthusiasts are willing to fork out a million dollars just to get their hands on vintage Rolex timepieces. This luxury brand of watches has become one of the best-selling and most investment-worthy. And throughout the years, it has always been associated with wealth, luxury, and elegance. Today, let us look at 15 of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world. Check it out and see if your white whale timepiece is on the list. The Most Expensive Rolex Watches 1. Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239 made history when it soared to a price of $17.8 million in 2017. It was auctioned off by Phillips Auction House and immediately became the most expensive Rolex watch ever auctioned off in history. Named after the famous actor Paul Newman, this watch was made popular because of its unique story. Apart from this watch being visible in Newman’s famous shots and films, it was also given to him by his wife, with the engraved words, “Drive Carefully Me” on the back of the case. This rare and priceless Rolex watch comes with exceptional features. A few of these include the three sub-dials with block markers, with the seconds sub-dial found at the 9 o’clock position marked with 15, 30, 45, and 60 as indicators. Other features of this watch include a 300 units-per-hour stainless steel bezel, 18,000 beats-per-hour movements, and a tachymeter scale that is attached to the bezel instead of the dial. 2. Rolex “The Unicorn” Oyster Cosmograph © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC The Rolex “The Unicorn” Oyster Cosmograph Ref. 6265 was sold for $5.9 million in 2018. The first public display of this watch was in 2013, at John Goldberger’s world-class collection. At that time, this watch was never intended to be sold, as Goldberger considered this watch irreplaceable. Only later, when he realised that the sale of this watch could benefit others, did Goldberger make the choice to auction off this timepiece. Goldberger donated all the proceeds from the sale to Children Action, a foundation built to support hundreds of children and youths around the world. Throughout the years, the Rolex Cosmograph line of watches has almost all been produced in stainless steel or yellow gold. Only a few rare exceptions to this rule exist and “The Unicorn” is one of them. The watch was manufactured in 1970 with luxurious white precious metal upon special request from a German retailer. Professionals regarded it as the rarest and most expensive watch ever sold back then. The heavy white gold bracelet, as well as the black “sigma” dial, make this watch stand out among the rest. The unique white gold case with a black background and silver graphics gives the watch an unusually luminescent glow that only white gold possesses. The watch is also marked with a crisp 18K gold hallmark, emphasizing its status as the only white gold Cosmograph that Rolex has ever produced. 3. Rolex Bao Dai © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC The Rolex Bao Dai Ref. 6062 (also known as “Keeper of Greatness”) was sold for $5.1 million in 2017 at the Phillips Auction House. This watch was first owned by the last Emperor of Vietnam, Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, who made a request for the rarest and most precious Rolex watch ever made, in 1952. During a fortuitous stroll in Geneva, the Bao Dai was offered to him when he came across Chronomètrie Philippe Beguin, a popular Rolex retailer. In 2002, the Nguyen family auctioned off the watch, which had still been maintained in excellent condition. Originally sold at $235,000, the final bid for this watch was almost 22 times its opening price. The original Rolex 6062 line came in three versions, each with different dials. However, the Bao Dai stands out as being the only one with diamond markers set around its black dial. This watch features five diamond markers embedded under the Bao Dai’s even hours and a yellow gold Oyster case. Moreover, it possesses the brand’s genetic code, particularly the full calendar complication featuring a moon phase display, and perpetual in-house movement. Its rich history and exceptional features make it the third most highest-priced watch ever sold from Rolex. 4. 1942 Rolex Antimagnetique © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC The 1942 Rolex Antimagnetiqe Ref. 4113 is another expensive vintage watch that was sold for $2.5 million at the Phillips Auction house in Geneva, Switzerland, five years ago.  Interestingly, it was first auctioned at Christie’s for $1.16 million in 2013. The auction history of this watch goes to show how it, along with other Rolex watches, has only increased exponentially in value over time, regardless of the original date of release. This Antimagnetique watch was originally gifted to different drivers and racing teams as a celebration of their victory. It was during that time that Rolex was particularly active in the car racing scene, sponsoring several racing events. In fact, the famous British motorist, Sir Malcolm Campbell, even wore a Rolex watch during one of his competitions. This million-dollar Rolex watch comes in stainless steel, with a split-seconds chronograph. The value of the watch is justified by amazing features such as raised pink gold-colored Arabic and baton hour markers; a distinguished, oversized case with a satin finish; and blue telemeter and black tachymeter scale in the dial. In addition to being a limited timepiece, this model has the distinction of featuring the largest case (44mm diameter) that the brand has ever made. 5. Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC For $1.92 million, the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 was sold in 2019 at a Phillips Game Changers event. It was named after the Academy Award winner, Marlon Brando, who wore this watch during the famous film Apocalypse Now. It is a 1972 Rolex timepiece that contains an engraved “M. Brando” which is said to be engraved by the actor himself. In order to make this watch stand out from its peers, Marlon Brando was allegedly asked to remove the bezel during the filming of Apocalypse Now in the Philippines. The watch was later passed on to his daughter, Petra Brando Fischer as a celebratory gift during her graduation, along with the note expressing the actor’s pride for his daughter. In its current form, the watch features no bezel and is fitted on a simple black rubber strap. Despite this austere, minimalistic design, it remains highly valued, especially for many watch connoisseurs. It may look like a simple old watch, but it has subtle details that set it apart, such as the luminous hour markers and hands that possess a golden beige shine because of how elegantly the watch has aged. It also has the Mark IV dial with a tiny oval at the base of the Rolex coronet. The crown, dial, hands, case, and crystals remain in their original form, preserving the watch’s initial designs and giving it a very classic look. 6. Eric Clapton’s Cosmograph Daytona © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC This 1971 Rolex Oyster 6263 Albino is another vintage watch that was sold for more than a million dollars. For a price of $1.4 million, it was sold in Geneva during an auction organized by Phillips. Before that, it was originally purchased at $505,000 in 2003 in New York, at less than half of its current price. This highly-valued watch from Rolex is named after Sir Eric Patrick Clapton, a famous English musician and singer-songwriter. This watch belongs to the list of rare and famously owned watches around the world. Among the four known existing white-dialed Cosmographs, this is the only piece that features subsidiary dials that are not in black. It comes with white printing but possesses the same silver finish as the original dial plate, hence it is also known as the “All-White Cosmograph Albino”. You can see that the clean and clear dials of the Albino perfectly match its gleaming stainless steel case and bracelet. It is powered by Caliber 727, which is manually wound and is based on Valjoux Caliber 72. Adding to its rarity and value is the fact that this expensive Rolex watch was originally owned by Eric “Slowhand” Clapton. 7. 1967 Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC In 2019, this Jack Nicklaus Rolex Ref. 1803 was valued at $1.220 million when it was auctioned off at the Phillips Auction House. This gold-cased Rolex watch was auctioned off for the benefit of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. 100% of its proceeds went to the support of children’s care around the world. For 50 years, Jack Nicklaus, a golf champion, wore this as the first timepiece that he ever owned. This expensive Rolex watch was gifted to him when he won his second U.S. Open with a record-breaking score. Nicklaus is a renowned professional golfer who has set a record of 117 PGA Tour wins and 18 Major Championships throughout his career. As such, it is no wonder Rolex gave their most prestigious model and one of the world’s most famous watches to him. In an interview, Nicklaus claimed that this was also the only watch that he had worn at every professional tournament he attended. That also makes this the only Rolex timepiece that has been repeatedly photographed and chronicled throughout the decades. This Day-Date watch was launched in 1956 and is famous for having the “President” bracelet. It features the first-ever date and day display that was spelled out completely on the dial. Although designed as a sports watch, this timepiece also manages to perfectly embody elegance and versatility. It flaunts an 18k yellow gold case that is paired with a colored “pie‐pan”‐style dial, which is an extremely rare color for watches. It also has narrowed baton hour markers that are reminiscent of golf tees, invoking the image of its renowned former owner. 8. Rolex “Stelline” Gold © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC The Rolex “Stelline” Gold Ref. 6062 was sold for $895,000 in 2015. With its cool debonair elegance, the Stelline was also the fourth most expensive watch sold in the 2012 Christie’s auction in Geneva. This model was released in 1950, featuring a Jubilee bracelet and an in-house automatic movement.  This expensive watch contains the Rolex’s genetic codes with its Oyster case and a triple calendar and a moon phase display housed in a water-resistant case. This was the first-ever automatic watch made that possessed these kinds of features. Stainless steel and yellow gold are the materials used to create this piece. With its then-groundbreaking new features, crisp polish, and luxurious design, Rolex considered this watch a top-of-the-line timepiece. Watch collectors nicknamed it “Stelline”, an Italian term that means “small star”, as a representation of the watch’s unique, small star hour markers. Just like many other vintage watches, the Stelline also has a hard durable case enclosing the blue numerals and the day and date apertures. 9. Rolex GMT Master II Ice © Christie’s Renowned football star, Cristiano Ronaldo, wore the Rolex GMT Master II Ice Ref. 116769TBR. He was spotted wearing this during the 14th Dubai International Sports Conference. This Rolex watch is considered the most expensive watch that the brand has released in the last few years. It came with a retail price of $485,350 when it was first released in 2007. This timepiece best describes what luxury should look like in the 21st century. The gleaming silver and diamond-encrusted exterior of this watch have led to it being nicknamed “Master Ice” by watch enthusiasts. The Master Ice positively drips with 30 Carats of brilliantly cut diamonds. Every inch of this watch is not lacking in these precious stones, making it aesthetically pleasing and a sure head-turner. Adding to its luxurious appearance is the 18k white gold Oyster case that features a Triplock winding crown and a screw-down caseback.   With regards to the watch’s technical features, the Master Ice comes with the Caliber 3186 self-winding automatic movement, along with 31 jewels, all of which are enclosed in a 100-meter waterproof case. The shining white dial displays the date aperture at the 3 o’clock mark and a GMT 24-hour time zone. Luminous hour markers complete the icy features of this watch. In addition, the hands of the watch are lined with black to increase readability, so you do not have to worry about being able to see the time clearly. 10. Dr. Rajendra’s Rolex © India Today This historic watch is one of the most exquisite pieces ever made by Rolex and is valued at $440,000 today. It was made for India’s first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. It is believed to have been gifted to him during the nation’s first republic day in 1950. This Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch is one of the first few Rolex watches made that contains 18k gold, instead of being made with the usual stainless steel.  One unique element to this watch is the map of India, with the date 26 January 1950, engraved on the dial. Moreover, the engraving also shows India connecting to Afghanistan and Nepal, with underlying black, blue, and yellow hues coloring the dial. The oversized gold numerals match the overall classic look of the time display. Adding to the value of the watch is its interesting, tumultuous history. The watch was confirmed by the Indian government to have been stolen from Prasad’s family years ago, only to re-emerge at a Sotheby’s auction in 2011. However, Prasad’s family successfully petitioned to have the auction halted, and it has not been auctioned for sale since. To this day, it is not known whether Dr. Prasad’s watch remains with Sotheby, or if it was returned to the Prasad family. 11. 1977 Rolex Sea-Dweller © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC Sold for a price of $414,000, the Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 was made in 1977 for the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. Given the Sultan’s reputation as a famous luxury watch collector, Rolex specially customized this model of the Rolex Sea-Dweller for him, engraving a golden “Khanjar” on the dial of the watch, at 6 o’clock position. The Khanjar is a national emblem of Oman that features a traditional Khanjar-type dagger, which is commonly used in special national events.  This is one of the rarest and most valuable watches that the brand has ever made. Among all the different models of the Sea-Dweller, the dial of the Golden Khanjar Sea-Dweller is like no other. It possesses a white coronet at 12 o’clock and has no luminous material placed in the hour markers, which is an uncommon feature in watches. The watch has also been kept in excellent condition, preserving its original sharp bevels, angles, and curves. The pristine condition of this vintage watch, along with its status as an exclusive timepiece, makes the Golden Khanjar Sea-Dweller well worth its price.   Indicating its authenticity is the engraved serial number found on the back of the case, and the lugs at the 6 o’clock position. It also has the engraved “Rolex” logo that can be found horizontally on the case back, marking it as belonging to the 1970s era of Sea-Dwellers. 12. 1972 James Bond’s Rolex Submariner © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC For $365,000, the 1972 Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 was auctioned at Phillips Watches Auction Number Two in partnership with Bacs & Russo in 2015. This is one of the most expensive Submariner watches ever sold in history. Widely known as James Bond’s Rolex Submariner, it was named after Sir Roger Moore who, as James Bond, wore the watch in the popular Bond film Live and Let Die. The watch was made popular when it was used as a prop in the movie, and even contains a signature on the back of the case that reads, “Roger Moore 007”.  Adding to the value of the watch is the fact that it was even specially modified for the movie. Its bezel was changed into a buzzsaw that can spin and was used by James Bond to cut through a rope. The watch’s magnetic power was also showcased in the film, as the watch was used to unzip Miss Caruso’s dress and to catch a spoon off of a coffee saucer.  This 39.5mm diameter Submariner watch is made of stainless steel. Its black dial is paired with a golden beige hour and minute markers. The hands of the watch are of a similar golden beige hue lined with silver, adding to the watch’s classic style. Since James Bond’s Rolex Submariner is just a movie prop, it actually has a removed movement and won’t tell you the time. Nevertheless, the watch’s status as a part of this iconic Bond film makes it a desirable and highly-valued timepiece, both for watch enthusiasts and for Bond fans. 13. Rolex Platinum Diamond Pearlmaster ©Greatest Collectibles The Rolex Platinum Diamond Pearlmaster was launched in 2011 for a price of $277,850. This model is from the Day-Date collection, which offers limited pieces only. Besides the rarity of these timepieces, what adds to the desirability of the watch is its meteorite diamond feature, with forty-two diamonds embedded in its bezel. This is the kind of watch that every luxury watch collector would dream of owning.  It has a 39mm diameter platinum case and a patterned silver dial that houses the full day display as well as two large diamonds placed at the 6 and 9 o’clock positions. The sleek look of the watch is completed with its dark Arabic numeral markers, which are perfectly designed to contrast the shining case, dial, and crown of the watch.  14. Steve McQueen 1967 Rolex Submariner © 2021 Phillips Auctioneers, LLC Another highly-prized watch is Steve McQueen’s 1967 Rolex Submariner. This watch was sold for a price of $234,000 at an auction in 2009. Its classic vintage look emblematizes the actor’s fashion sense during his heyday in Hollywood. This watch was even featured in his 1971 movie, Le Mans.  Although this watch has no particularly distinguishing elements, the famous actor’s legacy contributes to its value and provenance. It comes with the usual Submariner features such as the robust stainless steel strap, luminescent dial, 200 meters water resistance, and a date display. 15. Rolex GMT Master II © WatchShopping Last on the list is the new Rolex GMT Master II 126755SARU. This 2021, it has a reported price of $173,999.00. It is one of the newly-released watches of Rolex, capable of accompanying divers to a depth of 100 meters (300 feet).  The original GMT Master II models got their popularity during the 1950s and 60s when these watches were a favorite, not just of celebrities, but of pilots and astronauts as well — a testament to the consistent, reliable quality of these GMT Master II watches. Due to the immense popularity of the GMT Master II, Rolex has continued to release updated models of this line even up till today. These newest models feature a 40mm diameter with rose gold case, Rolex Calibre 3186 as its movement, and are made with Oyster Steel and 18k yellow gold. Wrap Up Rolex has always been a brand of watches that never loses its value for its products. As you can see from the list above, even vintage and discontinued Rolex watches still continue to increase in value over time. This proves just how investment-worthy these timepieces are. More than just a fashion statement, these timeless watches can also be passed on as an heirloom from generation to generation. Can’t get enough of these luxury pieces? Check out more of our Rolex watches available at reasonable prices and get yourself one for your new collection.

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  4. The New Trio Seiko Alpinist Models: A Collector’s Guide in 2021

    The New Trio Seiko Alpinist Models: A Collector’s Guide in 2021

    Seiko has been a trusted brand of watches for countless years. Many have adorned this brand because its pieces come at very affordable prices with consistently high quality. Since its first release, the Seiko Alpinist has been immensely popular, gaining many positive reviews from popular sites and magazines. Now, the newest release of the Seiko Alpinist has become the talk of the town, especially for watch collectors. Pay close attention, as we tell you everything you need to know about the three newest models of the Seiko Alpinist. Seiko Alpinist’s Old Models The Seiko Alpinist was first released back in 1959. It was designed as a traditional sports watch, intended to meet every mountain climber’s and recreational athlete’s needs. Although it was initially made for the Japanese market, the Seiko Alpinist’s popularity quickly spread beyond the borders of Japan.   The original design of the Seiko Alpinist had a screw-back case and a sturdy leather cuff band.  Luminous inserts could be found in the indexes, hour and minute hands, and the remarkable mountain-shaped markers at the three, six, nine, and twelve o’clock positions. These particular designs were made to give the watch more classic aesthetic and greater durability, preventing dust or small particles from entering the case and protecting it from any moisture and water. These designs remain incredibly popular even today, pushing Seiko to apply them to the new Seiko Alpinist-inspired models.  New Seiko Alpinist-Inspired Models Originally designed as a traditional sports watch, the Seiko Alpinist’s design has evolved over the years, from a traditional sports watch to a highly functional watch that fully embodies the Seiko Prospex collection today. The re-created Seiko Alpinist features an upscaled quality, and these new wristwatches join the ranks of other innovative collections under the brand, such as the Seiko Presage. In fact, these timepieces are the hybrid models of the Prospex series. One notable change to the new Seiko Alpinist watches is the elimination of the “Alpinist” label on the dial or caseback. Instead, they are now referred to as Alpinist-inspired watches. Nevertheless, the iconic markers, dials, rings, straps, and indexes are still made with the same designs as their predecessors.  Get to Know More About the Recreation of 1959 Seiko Alpinist Did you know that the original Seiko Alpinist watches paved the way for Seiko to enter into the sports watch arena? Its first-ever model was introduced in 1959 as part of the Laurel collection. This particular collection from Seiko was among the first in the watch industry to produce an enamel dial produced by the company itself. This collection was especially well-received by the public because of how the watches were well-designed. Its popularity as a trailblazer led the brand to develop more sports watches and other timing devices for sports such as the Seiko 5 Sports. In 2003, another batch of Seiko Alpinist watches was produced, this time featuring a quartz movement. The watches possessed a high-precision caliber movement 8F56 with a frequency of 196,609. A few of its remarkable features included the GMT function and perpetual calendar. And unlike the modern Seiko Alpinist watches, the 2003 models featured a titanium case and bracelet with 100-meter water resistance. The 2003 batch was only available in two versions: Seiko Alpinist SBCJ021 (cream dial) and SBCJ019 (black dial) with illumination.  The third generation of Alpinist watches was released in 2006. Now, these watches—SARB017, SARB013, and SARB015—were the most famous among all, especially the SARB017, nicknamed the “Alpinist Green” for its green dial. It featured different dials and as well as upgraded movement and indices. Unfortunately, the production of these watches was discontinued by Seiko in 2018. Most recently, in 2020, Seiko released a new collection of what they label as “Alpinist-inspired” watches, marketed as part of Seiko’s Prospex line. The famous SPB117, SPB119, and SPB121 bear the 6R35 caliber movement and a cyclops (magnifier) over the 3 o’clock date aperture. The SPB117 stands out among all as it is the only model that has a different bracelet and indices. Read more below to find out about these watches. New Features of Seiko Alpinist-Inspired Models Seiko itself announced that they made a considerable number of changes to the watches. It is available in three different models: green dial (SPB121), black dial (SPB117), and gray dial (SPB119). Some of the changes that you should look out for include: New automatic 6R35 caliber movementUpgraded power reserve up to 70 hoursUse of stainless steel materialSlimmer casesTwin crown set upCyclops over the date windowEach model has its own unique characteristics that would perfectly match its owner while staying consistent with the line’s overall hybrid design and layout.  SPB117 Model What to look for in your Seiko Alpinist SPB117 model: Three-link oyster braceletMountain-shaped indicesSmall Prospex “X” logo on the dialCathedral-styled handsThe SPB117 shows a different dial design than the other models. This is also the only watch that comes with a stainless steel Seiko Alpinist’s bracelet with oyster-styled links, making it versatile enough to be worn by both men and women who have outfit variations. The links of the bracelet are sturdy, measuring 20mm lug width, which is thinner than other watches. The three-link bracelet is all-brushed, easy to wear, and gives a smooth, functional feel.  The sought-after black dial does not have the usual Arabic or Roman numerals; it simply has the triangular indexes that are inspired by the Seiko Alpinist models. The iconic red “20 bar” label is found below the “X” symbol that marks this as a Prospex watch. An outer compass ring is present in the bezel with two rings of markings. The inner marks every one degree, while the outer ring marks every 15 degrees. Like the previous Alpinists, the SPB117 has cathedral-style hands with a luminescent feature generously applied up to the tips. A newly-styled date display window shows a larger numeral on a white background. All these are enclosed with a 39.5 mm stainless steel and a Seiko Alpinist’s 46mm lug to lug case, which is water-resistant up to 200m, or 660ft. Lastly, you do not need to worry about the readability of the numerals, since a magnifier is included in the new features. All of these wearable features from the SPB117 come with just $750. SPB119 Model What to look for in your Seiko Alpinist SPB119 model: White dialHuge Arabic numerals on even numbersRotating compass bezelCathedral style handsThe Seiko SPB119 is another professional watch Seiko has added to their collection. It is a 39.5mm watch that showcases a very clean and sleek design. One unique feature of the SPB119 is that, among the newly-issued models, it is the only variant with a white dial. The rotating compass bezel is controlled by a dedicated crown at 4 o’clock, making it another feature of its directional bearings. This feature works by holding the watch horizontally and pointing the hour hand towards the sun. This will allow you to set the internal compass bezel accordingly.  The new silver indices of the SPB119 are another notable change from the SARB013, an older, similarly white-dialed Alpinist model that featured gold-colored indices. Comfort is also a priority in this timepiece, as it comes with a black calfskin leather strap and a sturdy, durable deployant clasp. This kind of strap is easier to use and can be secured just by fastening it and expanding the strap’s size accordingly. Like the other new models, the SPB119 also features a sapphire crystal with a magnifier on the exterior for a more readable time display.  For a price of $699 only, the SPB119 provides every wearer a decent and functional watch that has an accuracy of +25 to -15 seconds per day. Powered by the 6R35 caliber movement, it moves automatically with a manual winding capacity and beats at 3Hz with 24 jewels. The 6R35 caliber movement also provides an upgraded power reserve of 70 hours, which is great if you intend to wear the SPB119 for several days.  SPB121 Model What to look for in your Seiko Alpinist SPB121 model: Green dialGold numerals and indicesNATO strapPerfect lug to lug measurementReleased for a price of $659.00, the SPB121 model stood out among the rest because of its unique golden numeral markers placed in a sunburst green dial. It also has minimalistic, simply-styled letterings for its label. The Prospex “X” logo found at the bottom signifies emphasizes its status as part of Seiko’s Prospex collection. An inner rotatable compass ring can also be found at the 4 o’clock position. The watch’s 39.5mm stainless steel case is a great size for all wrists, whether men or women. A lug-to-lug size of 46.4mm is the perfect measurement, carefully balancing the sturdiness and the versatility of the watch. This is a watch you can opt to wear as either a casual dress watch or as a professional watch. The versatile combination of silver, gold, and green colors makes this watch perfect for any attire a wearer could have.  The SPB121 also has a screw-back case with an open window, allowing you to easily view the movement inside. Also, a date magnifier is placed in the watch, along with an upgraded sapphire crystal that is AR-coated. Some collectors prefer to pair this watch with a NATO strap to make it look more sporty. Its 200-meter water resistance allows you to do outdoor activities like swimming and diving without having to worry about the static pressure exerted on the watch.  Who Should Buy These? Anyone who has an admiration for classic, luxurious, and valuable watches would definitely love to wear one of these Seiko Alpinist-inspired timepieces. Though these are made with high-quality materials and upgraded features, they still come with inexpensive prices that are easy for almost any watch collector to afford.  Furthermore, since 1881, Seiko has been a favorite of many watch enthusiasts. Its watches have become the symbol of value and style. Even famous personalities like Kristen Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sandra Bullock have shown their appreciation for this brand. For anyone looking to wear the same timepieces as your favorite celebrities, Seiko watches are an affordable and reliable choice. Pre-Owned Buying Tips Hundreds of Seiko watch imitations are sold anywhere, online and in-store. Some are even sold at higher prices with very low quality. As such, we want to help you have your own authentic watch by giving you these tips: Buy from Reliable SellersMake sure that you are buying from a reliable store or seller before making an offer to save yourself from fraud. Watchshopping.com is a reputable store of watches that sells several watch brands, including Seiko. It promises buyers 100% authentic products with safe and secure payment. You can also go to Seiko online communities to check for some other stores that are verified by members. Look for Replacement PartsIf you are buying a Seiko watch, make sure to check its worn parts like the dial, bezel, or hands. Oftentimes, pre-owned watches are already being serviced and replaced with new old stock (NOS) parts. So, before paying the full price, you should determine the age of each part. Verify the Serial NumbersVerifying the serial number (comprised of six digits) means it should match the model number. Engravings on the case, movement, and bracelet should also match with those on authentic Seiko watches. Reference numbers of Seiko watches are commonly found on the caseback bearing the case code and the movement.  2021 Seiko Alpinist Models Available in August 2021, the SPB241J1, SPB243J1, SPB245J1, and the limited edition SJE085J1 will be the latest versions of the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation.  First, the SJE085J1 Limited Edition, with only 1,959 available pieces, is one of the most awaited timepieces from the upcoming release. Among the re-created timepieces, it is the only one that is powered by Caliber 6L35 with an accuracy of +15 to -10 seconds per day and 45 hours of power reserve. It embodies the original Seiko Alpinist with a leather strap that sits within a protective cuff band. This watch is smaller and thinner than its predecessors, with measurements of 36.6mm case diameter, a lug-to-lug of 43.8mm, and a thickness of only 11.1mm. It features a stainless steel case material with a box-shaped sapphire crystal for additional durability. The black dial contains silver hands and indices come with the Lumibrite feature that creates a multi-dimensional effect on the surface of the dial.  Seiko has not specified the magnifying feature on the SJE085J1 Limited Edition, but we can be sure that it comes with a date display and stop-seconds function. The watch is also 20-bar water-resistant, allowing it to withstand water pressures up to 200 meters. Unlike the SJE085J1 Limited Edition, the other three models SPB241J1 (white dial), SPB243J1 (black dial), and the SPB245J1 (green dial) are powered by Caliber 6R35 with a 38mm cases diameter and 12.9mm thickness. More differences from the Limited Edition piece include the curved sapphire crystal, a three-fold clasp with a push-button release for the strap, 10 bar water resistance, and a see-through caseback.  Quick History of Seiko Watches If you have wondered where and when did Seiko start as a watch company, it all began in 1881 in Japan. A 21-year old, Kintaro Hattori, braved the big city of Tokyo to open a small shop where he sold and repaired watches and clocks.  After more than a decade, his humble shop grew and was fully established. Following a factory expansion, Hattori’s place of business was later named the ‘Seikosha’, which translates to “exquisite house” or “success house”. The shop-turned-factory marked the beginning of Hattori’s accomplishment as one of the world’s most important manufacturers of timepieces. In the late 1890s, Kintaro Hattori broadened the range of his business, from producing simple wall clocks to innovating a new model of a pocket watch, which he called the “Timekeeper”. This development added to the country’s pride in keeping up with modern technology. Fast forward to 1913, and Seikosha produced Japan’s first-ever wristwatch, The Laurel. This step forward made the brand popular more than ever, pushing it to become a manufacturing force in the horology industry that created hundreds of watches a day.  Seikosha was then rebranded to Seiko in 1924. This was after Seiko released several timepieces internationally that allowed the brand to become synonymous with accuracy and precision, innovation, and refinement.  Recent innovations and development from Seiko include the Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch that was made with a 6-hour chronograph and an energy-saving technology, the Seiko EPD watch that was considered as the world’s first watch with an active matrix system, and the Seiko Spring Dive that was equipped with energy efficiency and friction reduction.  Conclusion Over the years, the Seiko Alpinist has gone through a lot of changes, from its movement, cases, straps, indices, and dials. Despite all these changes, however, it has established and maintained its own identity in the wide world of watches. The re-created Seiko Alpinist watches continue to combine fashion, functionality, and affordable prices, while also providing a variety of styles for everyone to choose from. Can’t get enough of Seiko watches? Check out more of its best-selling watch collections like the Presage and Brightz. If you are looking for another watch guide that could help you in choosing your dream wristwatch, read our watch buying guide articles and get yourself familiarized.  Photo credits: All photos courtesy of Seiko’s official website unless stated below the image.

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  5. Seiko Samurai: A Review on One of Seiko’s Best Diver’s Watches

    Seiko Samurai: A Review on One of Seiko’s Best Diver’s Watches

    Seiko has been in the watchmaking market for several decades now. Even though their timeless expertise paved the way for creating high-quality watches, Seiko, in general, has yet to be considered as a luxury watch brand—with Grand Seiko being an exception. This, in turn, puts Seiko on par with Casio in terms of mass-producing several iconic and affordable wristwatches. But that does not necessarily mean that Seiko does not have a few gems hidden in its sleeves. There is no doubt that Seiko has created a global following due to the reliability and iconic designs of their watches. This popularity has led to several pocket watches and wristwatches that have taken the modern era by storm. One of the many innovative watches that Seiko has produced is the Seiko Prospex Samurai. In this review, we will be discussing what makes the Seiko Prospex Samurai watch one of Seiko’s best diver’s watches in the 21st century.  History of Seiko Prospex Samurai Seiko started as a small watch repair shop in Central Tokyo back in 1881. In 1892, Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori expanded by buying a factory in Tokyo which he named Seikosha. The massive success of the Seikosha, which roughly translates to “exquisite house” or “success house”, marked the start of Seiko becoming a substantial figure in the watchmaking industry. Competing with the prominent Swiss watchmakers, the Japanese watch brand captivated the world with its top-notch watchmaking expertise. This success was further amplified when Kintaro Hattori created the “The Laurel”, Japan’s first-ever wristwatch in 1913. With Seiko’s headstart in cutting-edge horological technology, Kintaro Hattori then went on to produce several more wristwatches under the Seiko brand name. Photo Courtesy of Seiko In 2004, Seiko introduced a promising watch model that embodies all the watchmaking principles of Kintaro Hattori, as well as the accumulated experiences of the brand. The model in question? The Seiko Prospex Samurai. This watch is widely regarded as one of the best diver’s watches Seiko has ever released. Not only does it have the classic bulky size of a regular diver’s watch, but it also has a reliable automatic calibre movement and a 200m water resistance. The first generation of the Seiko Samurai watch was made with both titanium and stainless steel, with later generations being made only in stainless steel. You may be wondering why this particular watch is named “Samurai” of all things. Seiko, like many other watch brands, has been known to name its products in the most abstract way possible. A few examples are the Seiko Monster and the Seiko Turtle. The Seiko Monster got its name due to its size, while the Seiko Turtle has a shape reminiscent of a turtle’s shell. The Seiko Samurai, on the other hand, derives its name from the minute hands of the watch, which are shaped like a sword. This might be confusing to some since a samurai katana is a curved long sword, rather than a regular straight-edged sword. Regardless, it holds up, especially since Seiko has always been rather unpredictable in terms of naming their watches. Impressions At a glance, the Seiko Prospex Samurai may seem like an ordinary diver’s watch. Without knowing the specifics of its name, you might be wondering: what makes this particular watch so special? There are several features that set the Seiko Samurai apart from other Seiko diver’s watches. One of them is the Seiko Samurai’s waffle-textured dial and the sleek stainless steel case. The watch’s sleek sword-shaped minute hand, as well as the unusually-shaped arrowhead hour hand, also serve to distinguish it from other watches. These unique design schemes are what make the Seiko Samurai an ideal diving companion that can also be used outside of the said activity.  Since the Seiko Prospex Samurai was initially a Japan-exclusive watch, not much was known regarding the specifics of the watch other than the name itself and the fact that it is a diver’s watch. However, over the years, it slowly gained the right kind of attention from watch enthusiasts, making this seemingly rare timepiece highly sought-after. The black dial variant is the most common option available in the market. Furthermore, since this was a highly exclusive watch, variations of the Seiko Samurai can be relatively hard to find. Seiko took advantage of the high demand for the Seiko Samurai and released a few limited edition colour variants—one of which is the rare Seiko Samurai Orange Dial SRPC07.  The indications and the AR35 calibre movement might make it seem like the Seiko Samurai series is just like any other dive watch in the market. With the hours, minutes, and seconds hands, as well as the date aperture, anyone would assume that it is just an ordinary watch. But a closer look reveals that the Seiko Samurai actually offers more than it initially seems. Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Seiko Prospex Samurai and how they set it apart from other diver’s watches. Specifications Looking at a Seiko watch for the first time may leave you thinking that there are only minor changes with each watch line. That is perfectly understandable since Seiko has been sporting similar design schemes to stay true to their established identity. A closer look, however, shows us how Seiko manages to create subtle, if not major, changes with each of their staple watches, giving a distinct look to each watch while still emphasizing consistency within the Seiko brand. If you prefer a larger case size, the Seiko Monster will surely meet your needs. If you are looking for a watch with a perfectly round shape and has a sizeable thickness, the Seiko Tuna is a perfect choice. The point is, Seiko watches stay true to their brand, while also making sure that each watch is uniquely suited to meet the user’s needs. Case and Bracelet Initially, the Seiko Prospex Samurai was introduced mostly in titanium, with stainless steel as a secondary option. The titanium versions, however, were later discontinued in 2008. That is why stainless steel variants are the ones that are more easily available in the market. Rest assured, however, that the stainless steel cases and bracelets are easily comparable with titanium materials in terms of durability and shine. The lugs were made smaller to balance out the proportions of the watch and provide maximum comfort on the wrist. On the other hand, the bezel adds more to the design of the whole watch with its engraved diamond shape patterns on the sides. If you look closely, this pattern also resembles the diamond pattern found on the hilt of a katana—a nice detail that stays true to the watch’s namesake. The overall size of the Seiko Samurai is not as bulky as it seems. At 43.8mm in diameter and 13.4mm in thickness, this watch is slightly smaller than your average diver’s watch. Nevertheless, the stainless steel case still provides excellent durability, no matter the size.  Dial The original Seiko Samurai was released with only a black dial with a waffle-like textured pattern. Following that, Seiko released several more variations that include a gradient ocean blue dial that goes from indigo-blue at the top to black at the bottom, and the seemingly rare orange dial. There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to the colour of the dial alone, but since the discontinuation of the Seiko Samurai series, finding your preferred Seiko Samurai watch may prove to be harder than it seems. Most people resort to buying pre-owned units, while others are still scouring official stores to find the one they are looking for. These dials exude a variety of styles such as sporty, chic, classy, and casual. Nonetheless, the original waffle-pattern textured dial still best represents the simplicity of the Seiko Samurai line. Indications The indications of the Seiko Samurai are minimalistic and focus more on reliability rather than style. A diver’s watch should always be clear and accurate when it comes to timekeeping. Otherwise, it could potentially lead to certain accidents, such as miscalculated decompression stops or running out of oxygen due to the inaccuracy of a watch. That said, the Seiko Samurai provides fairly simple watch functions that allow the user to tell the time as accurately as possible, without the risk of miscalculation. The watch also sports white hour markers and hands, providing maximum legibility even in the dark ocean depths, so telling the time will not pose much of a problem. Furthermore, with the help of the LumiBrite technology, you can easily read the time both in the dark and underwater.  As mentioned before, the minute hands of the watch are shaped like swords. While they do not resemble katanas, when these hands meet each other at a certain time, they do look more reminiscent of a sword when combined. This is a cool detail to take note of. The date aperture is found at the 3 o’clock position. Since it is a diver’s watch, the bezel of the Seiko Samurai can only be rotated counterclockwise. The markers on the bezel are also white, maintaining a consistent design scheme while also allowing for greater legibility. Rather than adding a more few bells and whistles, the straightforward nature of the Seiko Samurai prioritizes function, making it an extremely reliable dive watch that deserves the praise it’s getting. Calibre Movement There are a lot of people who frequently associate Seiko with Casio, mainly because both are Japanese companies. One difference to keep in mind is that Casio very rarely makes automatic watches, and instead produces quartz movement watches. In comparison, Seiko has many automatic movement watches to choose from. The calibre used in the Seiko Samurai is the AR35. This is an automatic calibre movement that allows hand-winding and provides many of the useful functions necessary for a dive watch.  One of the best functions the AR35 offers is the stop-seconds function. This allows the user to adjust the time without having to worry about the seconds hand, ensuring accurate synchronization, right down to the second. This function has existed in the industry for several years now but is still widely used in the horological craft. Another notable feature is the power reserve of the Seiko Samurai. This movement allows the watch to last for approximately 41 hours when not in use. Since it is both a self-winding and manual-winding watch movement, running out of power will not be a problem for the wearer.  A Few Notable Seiko Prospex Samurai Models Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic Black Dial – SRPB51K1 Starting with the original model, the Seiko Prospex Samurai SRPB51K1 retains the simplicity of the Samurai watches that came before it. With the black waffle-textured dial and minimalistic indications, it is impossible to mistake the watch’s classic design. The watch also sports a 43.8mm stainless steel case and a stainless steel bracelet, ensuring that the durability of the watch remains the same. The bezel has a black and grey colour with a unidirectional movement. The hands and indexes are all coated in LumiBrite, which allows visibility even in the dark or underwater.  Speaking of underwater, all of the Seiko Samurai watches can go up to 200 meters underwater, and the Prospex Samurai SRPB51K1 is no different. This is to be expected, since it is a diver’s watch, and this is indicated on the dial itself. The watch is further equipped with the AR35 calibre movement, which gives it a 41-hour power reserve as well as the stop-seconds function. Overall, nothing can beat the original when it comes to subtlety and simplicity. Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic Black Dial (Hard Coating) – SRPB55K1 The Seiko Samurai SRPB55K1 offers a similar design as the Samurai SRPB51K1, with a few notable differences. This model is reminiscent of the titanium variant due to the black coating of the case. Rest assured, though, that this watch uses stainless steel for its case, and thus maintains the same durability as other Samurai watches. The bracelet used for the Seiko Samurai SRPB55K1 is silicone instead of stainless steel. Not only does this add more comfort, but the soft exterior also adds more to the style of the watch. The Seiko Samurai SRPB55K1 also retains the familiar black waffle pattern on its dial. However, it offers a different look on both the hands and the indexes. By using a gold-tone lining, the indicators are highlighted without any worry of legibility issues. The markings on the bezel also adopt a gold colour scheme to stay true to the overall design and provide a refined feel to the totality of the watch. Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic “Save The Ocean” – SRPC93K1 Last on the list is the Seiko Samurai “Save The Ocean” SRPC93K1, a special edition timepiece introduced in 2018. Versions of this edition can be found in both the Seiko Turtle and Seiko Samurai lines as well. This model does not only look good, but it also provides a specific message for everyone in terms of marine conservation.  Much like the rest of the Seiko Samurai models, the Seiko Samurai SRPC93K1 holds the same design, size, and functionalities. The highlight of this watch is its beautiful gradient dial which perfectly captures the ocean depths. The engraved horizontal lines add a texture to the dial that resembles the unending waves of the sea. The black section at the bottom of the dial embodies the unknown depths of the ocean that are yet to be explored. The Seiko Samurai “Save The Ocean” SRPC93K1 is a watch that symbolizes the importance of marine life as well as the beauty of the vast ocean. Seiko Samurai Price Range The best thing about Seiko’s watches is that they are at a very affordable price range. Although Seiko is not considered a luxury brand, the watches are of amazing quality and should be considered for your collection. Seiko Samurai watches do not cost more than a thousand dollars apiece. Indeed, the functionalities and the classic designs of the Seiko Samurai ensure that this is the timepiece that will give you the most bang for your buck. The Seiko Prospex Samurai SRPB51K1 currently costs $469 in the market. Since it features the common design of the Seiko Samurai collection, the price tag for it seems fairly reasonable compared to its fellow watches in the collection. Each model may differ in price, but the usual price range starts from $450 up to $600. Compared to the usual price of Casio watches, the Samurai is undoubtedly more expensive—but for good reason. For only a few hundred dollars more, you can own a dive watch that is equipped with an automatic movement, which is the best choice compared to a quartz watch. It may not be on par with the Rolex Submariner, but it is a great timepiece for those who plan on starting a watch collection. Either way, do not be discouraged about its price being below $1000; the Seiko Samurai is a solid automatic dive watch that offers more than what it is worth. If it is still above your desired budget, you can always rely on pre-owned watches. Depending on the condition, it can be bought for as low as $300—or even lower. Just be sure to find a reliable seller and avoid shady deals online. Final Thoughts The Seiko Prospex Samurai is truly one of Seiko’s most popular dive watches today. Not only does it provide the necessary tools for diving, but it also boasts impressive accuracy and reliability. The AR35 calibre movement exceeds all expectations when it comes to sustaining a diver’s watch while also prioritizing precision.  In addition to that, the Seiko Samurai is also flexible in terms of usage. The bezel can be used when timing recreational activities other than diving. Furthermore, the compact size of this watch makes for a great everyday watch. The various dial colours available are yet another reason for the Seiko Samurai’s popularity. With so many colors to choose from, you can mix them up with any event or activity as you see fit. Whether it’s professional or casual, the Seiko Samurai manages to be the perfect watch for any occasion. Overall, the Seiko Prospex Samurai is a great diver’s watch that is easily on par with most of the top dive watches in the industry. For a very affordable watch, the Seiko Samurai is more than what it is worth—making it the perfect underwater companion for everyone. Looking for the best Seiko timepiece to give to your girlfriend or mother? Take a look at our list of Best Seiko Women’s Watches for some great options. Featured image courtesy of George Thomas from Flickr

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  6. The Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph – Why Should You Need One?

    The Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph – Why Should You Need One?

    The Sinn 356 Chronograph is a pilot watch that belongs to the Sinn Instrument Chronographs collection. Ironically, despite its considerable reputation, this pilot watch flies under the radar. Sinn is known to make a lot of excellent timepieces. Although they aren’t the most famous brand, their level of craftsmanship gives them an identical reputation. The Sinn 356 is a pilot chronograph with qualities that can reach heights. Though it is not one of Sinn’s most modern or popular creations, the 356 can hold its own and challenge your expectations. This article aims to give us a better understanding of the Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph and its variants. Hopefully, this helps you decide if the Sinn 356 is the ideal timepiece for you.  Everything We Need to Know About the Sinn 356 Sinn manufactured the 356 in 1996 as the successor to the 256 Pilot Chronograph — featuring a more refined and elegant look than its predecessors. Although the Sinn 356 chronograph has garnered some age, the watch carries a design and function that transcend its era and can fit in similarly just like any other modern timepiece.  There are two versions of the 356: The base variant and the SA variant. The beloved German watch company had three SA variants as alternative options for the original timepiece. Each version of the 356 SA showcases different-colored dials with a satin-finished steel case. With that said, let’s get right into the specifications of the Sinn 356. Dimensions of the Sinn 356 With regards to its overall size, the Sinn 356 is proportionally average. The timepiece has a case diameter of 38.5mm with a thickness of 15.5mm. It also has a band lug width of 20mm and a lug to lug distance of 45.6mm. Without the strap, the timepiece weighs 71 grams which should neither be too light nor too heavy. All aspects put together, the watch is well-balanced and can lay on anyone’s wrist with relative comfort.  Bead-Blasted Case  While the SA versions use satinized steel, the original Sinn 356 features a stainless steel casing that has been bead-blasted to achieve its confident dull sheen. The case is beautifully beveled to give the 356 a smooth and sleek look that fits all occasions. The bezel is also wonderfully crafted and fastens the dome-shaped acrylic glass neatly. Wearers can access the chronograph function of the 356 through pushers stationed at the 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock of the timepiece.  All models are pressure-resistant and screwed with a large crown to protect the inner mechanisms from pressure changes. The reason for this design dates back to the 20th century. At that time, pilots would often wear gloves to protect their hands from the conditions of flight. Since the pilots wore the gloves throughout the flight, adjusting their timepiece proved to be an infuriating task. As a solution, Sinn and other watch companies applied larger crowns so pilots would not have to remove their gloves. Bead-Blasted vs. Satinized What’s the difference between bead-blasted steel and satinized steel? First of all, both kinds of finishes are processed differently. Bead-blasted steel is the result of projecting spherical-shaped media to a steel surface. In effect, the steel obtains a uniform and streak-free exterior. Achieving a satin finish is done by brushing an abrasive material vigorously on steel. After the steel is polished and softened, the outcome is a modern-looking matte finish that is also resistant to corrosion. The second difference comes from the sheen. Bead-blasted steel offers a dull and non-reflective look, while satin-finished steel looks shinier and sharper. Due to this, the case of the standard 356 is not as reflective as its SA variants. Another difference comes from their resistance. Unfortunately, satin-finished steel is more resistant to corrosion and scratches compared to bead-blasted. If not maintained properly, the case of the standard Sinn 356 will corrode faster than its other versions. Does that mean satin-finished steel is better than bead-blasted steel? In terms of resistances, satinized steel is the clear winner. How about for appearance? That will all boil down to your preferences. Both types of finishing look good on the case. Whether bead-blasted or satin-finished, it is of great significance to carefully maintain the case of the 356. Doing this will allow its clean and elegant look to stay with you for many years to come. Dial  The standard Sinn 356 and its SA-I variant bear the same matte black dial with a syringe-like minute and hour hands. The dial consists of three recessed subdials and a bordered day and date window. This design allows the subdials and the window to be more discernible without compromising the main dial. I particularly like the structure of the handset due to its design. The thickness of the lower part of the arrows allows the alpha handset to be more noticeable, and its upper, more slender arrowhead pinpoints time precisely without meshing with the other dials.  White-colored numbers, hour markers, indexes, and subdial handsets are scattered across the dial to counteract its dark flat surface while giving it a minimalistic yet sophisticated two-toned look. The digits for 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock are unregistered in the dial to make space for the positioning of the day and date window and the subdials of the dial. All numbers and handsets are coated with luminescent colors to allow easier reading at night. The 356 SA-II and SA-III use a copper and silver electroplated guilloche dial, respectively. Having the dials of the SA II and III electroplated gives it a premium chrome style that can catch the eyes of any viewer. Describing the process of making an electroplated dial is not an easy task, but a summary of the process is available in Sinn’s Technology Glossary. All versions have the Sinn and Flieger (Pilot) signature positioned at the top and bottom of the day and date window. Acrylic Glass An acrylic dome-shaped glass shelters the dial of the standard Sinn 356. Acrylic glass is a type of protection made of Poly-acrylic Esters. The material is flexible, impact-resistant, and is a more cost-effective substitute for sapphire. Users can opt to have the acrylic glass replaced with sapphire glass for more long-term durability. Despite being regarded as glass, acrylic has more resemblances to hard plastic than actual glass. That said, the glass is highly resistant to breaks, weather, and corrosion. While this type of material is impact-resistant, it has a softness that makes it susceptible to scratches. Too many scratches will hinder its wearers from reading the dial effectively. With that in mind, Sinn ensures that their users can hide light scratches with a good amount of polishing. SA versions of the 356 come with a dome-shaped Sapphire glass as standard. The interior of the sapphire dome is coated with an anti-reflective inlay — allowing wearers to view the time from different angles and lighting conditions without any distortion. SW 500 Movement A Sellita SW 500 uses a mechanical, self-winding mechanism to operate the Sinn 356. The SW 500 is based on the Valjoux 7750 and is known for its resilience and durability. It is a relatively large and thick movement that bears 25 jewels to reduce wear and tear. The system produces 28,800 oscillations per hour and is anti-magnetic. A seconds stop function is also present in the mechanism for wearers to synchronize time with reliable precision.  The movement of the 356 is protected by a stainless steel caseback that is screwed down (along with the crown) for more efficient water resistance. The SA variants utilize a sapphire crystal caseback that is similarly screwed down. Since the SA case backs are transparent, wearers can view the inner machinations of the 356 in all its intricate glory. Comprehensive Strap Selection Sinn provides its customers with the option to choose their preferred leather, stainless steel, or silicone strap for the 356. The catalog of leather bands for the Sinn 356 is composed of a wide-range selection that features cowhide, calfskin, horsehide, and alligator leather. Customers can also choose between a two-link, bead-blasted, stainless steel bracelet or a black silicone strap with a large-scale or small-scale folding clasp. Personally, the timepiece looks stylish with any strap on it. I suggest that you pick one that allows your watch to lay comfortably on your wrist. Alligator leather may be the safest and most refined material, but it is also the most luxurious among the four. Water Resistance Despite being a pilot’s watch, all versions of the Sinn 356 are waterproof and can endure water pressure for up to 10 bars or 100 meters. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, a bar is a type of measurement equivalent to 10 meters of water pressure. Timepieces of this kind of caliber can resist rain splashes and shower water without a problem. While it is unsuitable for extreme water sports such as deep-sea diving, the timepiece can withstand more leisurely activities such as swimming and snorkeling.  Up Close with the 356 Flieger Family It would be disappointing if I keep mentioning the variants without giving you an illustration of their unique appearances. Without further ado, let’s meet the other attractive individuals that complete the Sinn 356 Pilot family. 1. Sinn 356 SA Photo by SinnThe first SA variant of the 356 Pilot is the most identical to the standard model. With sapphire glass and a satin-finished casing as the only difference, the 356 SA offers its wearers a similar timeless look with a little more luxury and a lot more durability. The changes may not be dramatic, but the switch from bead-blasted to satinized steel will increase the overall corrosion resistance of the watch. Sapphire glass is also much more resistant to scratching than acrylic. Shaping the sapphire was a strategic move by Sinn as it increases the capabilities of the sapphire to resist impacts. A timepiece built this way can effortlessly withstand the test of time while maintaining its deep and stylish appearance. 2. Sinn 356 SA-II Photo by SinnBeneath the sapphire dome lies a shiny copper interior. A closer look at the SA II reveals a uniform guilloche pattern that travels outward from the center of the electroplated dial. The distinct beauty of the SA II makes its wearers stand out from the mundane crowd with a powerful and fashionable statement.  Despite boasting an intriguing design, it happens to be my least favorite member of the Sinn 356 family. To me, the other colors complement the entire watch better than the copper tone. Don’t get me wrong, the timepiece still looks astounding. It’s just my preference. 3. Sinn 356 SA III Photo by SinnThe SA III is the final entrant to the 356 series and is my favorite among the four. This marvelous piece possesses a silver-hued, guilloche-patterned, electroplated dial similar to the SA II. Despite the coloring, the dials are still highly legible. The blend of the satinized steel and silver interior gives the SA III an even complexion throughout its structure without melding the different components too much.  I love the level of sophistication the SA III Pilot brings. If I had it, I would pair the timepiece with a stainless steel two-link bracelet. This kind of bracelet will allow me to keep the uniformity of the watch. I’m Not a Pilot, Why Would I Need the Sinn 356? Different people need different things. A carefully designed timepiece can go a long way in meeting the owner’s specific criteria. A diver watch specializes in water resistance, allowing it to stick by its owner’s side while traversing the mysterious ocean. Sports watches have features to let their users track their progress as they enter a healthier lifestyle. For socialites and secret agents, becoming dressed to kill is a feat that only a striking dress watch can achieve.  However, some watches break the limit and become more than just a tool. The Sinn 356 is more than just a tool watch. It is a companion that’s always there for you when you need it. Yes, the 356 caters to pilots, but it is no stranger to everyday life. With such a versatile appearance and function, the watch can be what you want it to be. It is stylish enough to be used for special occasions and is strong enough to be brought underwater. The Best Alternative to the Sinn 356 Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Auto Chrono Photo by HamiltonIf you want a different pilot watch, you can go for the Hamilton X-Wind Auto Chrono. With more crowns and a tachymetric scale, this piece from the Hamilton Khaki Aviation collection is more than just a substitute. The X-Wind uses the H-21, an automatic movement with a reserve of 60-hours. With the case and dial loaded with numbers and meters, the design of this particular Hamilton watch leans to a more technical side. Personally, the dial of the Hamilton is not as legible as the Sinn 356. I also prefer the overall simplistic design of the 356. If this is the kind of watch you’re looking for, don’t let my preferences stop you. The X-Wind fetches a similar price tag of $1,870. Final Thoughts Though it is not the greatest among the Sinn Instrument Chronographs watches, the Sinn 356 is a stunning example of what the ideal pilot watch should be. It is a timepiece that can accurately display various times to its wearers, even when battling through extreme conditions. It flaunts a dateless style that can be directed to Sinn’s tradition in watchmaking throughout the years. All aspects considered, there’s barely anything to add or remove from the 356 to make it even better. Maybe the only thing the watch is missing is an owner?  The Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph fetches an average price of $1,700 USD to $2,400 USD, while its variant’s price ranges between $2,300 USD and $3,400 USD. It does require a hefty amount of money, but it is definitely worth your investment. With proper maintenance, this watch can probably outlive you. With that in mind, you won’t just be buying the watch for yourself. The Sinn 356 can be passed down as an heirloom to the next generation so that they too can love and respect the glorious timepiece just like you did. Need a diver watch? Check out our guide to the Omega Aqua Terra 150m

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  7. Patek 5970 — An Ode to the 5270’s “Perfect” Older Brother

    Patek 5970 — An Ode to the 5270’s “Perfect” Older Brother

    One of the most symbolic father-son moments in watch history was when Philippe Stern handed the reins of Patek Philippe to his son Thierry Stern. This iconic moment gave birth to one of the most outstanding timepieces in watch history — the Patek 5970.  The Patek Philippe 5970 is a series of perpetual calendar chronographs manufactured by Patek Philippe in the early 2000s. Anyone who is an avid watch collector will tell you that Patek Philippe provides one of the finest watches in the industry. The passed-down technique that Patek uses in crafting their timepieces is evocative of the brand’s image. This technique made the glorious anatomy that makes up the Patek 5970. At first glance, you’re not entirely sure if the timepiece is vintage, modern, a mix of both, or somewhere in between. In this article, we will unshroud the mystery that makes this watch not only a prized possession but also a technical masterpiece. After discovering what the Patek 5970 has to behold, we will compare the 5970 with its successor — the 5270. But before we head into the nitty and gritty of the 5970, let’s get to know the origins of this lovely slice of luxury, A Closer Look at the Patek 5970 The Patek Philippe 5970 was coined in 2004 by Thierry Stern as the successor to the reference 3970. In devising the 5970, Thierry wanted to create a watch that would cater to the younger generation while also inheriting the legacy that defined Patek’s remarkable history. Patek Philippe began manufacturing the reference 5970 in 2004 and ended its production in 2011. The Patek 5970 was the last of Patek’s perpetual calendar watches to utilize the Lemania 2310-based movement. The Patek 5970 series would sell at an approximate price of $100,000 USD to $200,000 USD for each timepiece.  The Patek 5970 was later on succeeded by the Patek 5270, which uses Patek’s in-house movement mechanisms. Although it was the 5270’s time to bask in the limelight, the watch (5270) did not receive the same amount of appreciation compared to its predecessors. The 5970 remains one of Patek’s most revered and most sought-after references to date. Its unmatched luxury and distinct design make this timepiece a close and spitting image to the Perfect Watch. Photo from Phillips Specifications The timepiece measures 40mm in diameter with a thickness of 13mm. The Patek 5970 will look even thicker if your wrist is on the small side. Despite its bulky appearance, the watch is well-proportioned and fits the hand like a glove. People can don this premium watch with relative ease on various special occasions or in everyday life. Even in this level of luxury, it’s not easy to find a burly wristwatch that can wrap comfortably around your wrist.  1. Case Different cases with various colors shelter the Patek 5970 and its variants. The custom cases cover and protect the timepiece from danger and also separates it from other corresponding references. While none of them are inherently the same, each watch case has its own set of similarities. The case can either be made of 18Kt gold or platinum, depending on the model version. Each case comes with a crown and two pushers positioned at the right side of the timepiece. The watch cases are sleek and finished skillfully, and the lugs on each side are carefully beveled to lay comfortably on one’s wrist while avoiding excess protrusion. Personally, I am glad that the lugs are very short. The appeal of long-lugged watches is something I cannot (and will not) understand. Long lugs make my timepiece look like it has a pair of skis attached to it. I prefer having a small-lugged wristwatch that does not look like it’s ready to ski down a snowy mountain. 2. Dial Like most of Patek’s line-up of perpetual calendars, the Patek 5970 can indicate different aspects of time. From seconds, minutes, and hours, all the way to days, months, years, leap years, and moon phases, the 5970 fulfills its role like any other watch of its caliber. By looking at any of the Patek Philippe 5970 variants, you’ll see that the dials are ladened with all sorts of time indicators and matching leaf-style handsets. The dials for the Patek 5970G, Patek 5970R, and Patek 5970J feature a light tinge, while the Patek 5970P has its dial colored black. Visible near the rim of each dial is a tachymetric scale that provides more functionality to the 5970. Despite being fully loaded, there’s still a sufficient amount of space that separates each component. The subdials and numbers are far enough to not clash with one another, allowing its wearers to view the time and date without difficulty. The preciseness placed on the proportions and overall balance of the dial is remarkable — a distinct level of craftsmanship Patek has carried throughout the ages.  The Patek Philippe and Geneve signatures are placed below the day and month window to complete the dial’s style. 3. Movement Photo from Phillips As mentioned above, a Lemania-based movement operates the Patek 5970. The base of the apparatus is deeply customised to create the CH 27-70 Q. Although heavily modified, the Lemania-based mechanism is a crucial piece of Patek’s perpetual timepieces due to its usage in the company, dating back to 1986. The Patek 5970 has a power reserve of 60 hours before needing to be manually rewound. Twenty-four jewels hold the CH 27-70 Q together to reduce friction between the parts. At the rear of the watch, you can see an exhibition-style caseback that shelters the mechanism. With this design, people can enjoy viewing the intricacies of the CH 27-70 Q movement. The watch uses sapphire glass to form the transparent caseback to help ensure that the apparatus can avoid all sorts of scratches and damage. 4. Strap The Patek 5970s typically use high-quality alligator straps to hold their luxurious timepiece. Juxtaposed to other reptile skin such as crocodile skin and caiman skin, the material of Alligator skin is much more flexible and durable. Alligator leather is also said to age well, so it pairs well with an ageless watch such as the Patek 5970. Alligator skin undergoes a type of processing that excludes the use of harmful chemicals, allowing users with sensitive skin to wear the watch without irritation. Maintenance for the alligator strap is simple and easy, too, since all you need to do is wipe it with a damp cloth. Picking alligator leather was an experienced choice for making the 5970’s strap. Patek Philippe 5970’s Four Different Variants Photo from Phillips Patek Philippe 5970P (Platinum) Possibly the fan-favorite of the series, the platinum-cased 5970 boasts a unique and versatile look that makes it stand out among the rest. This particular 5970 is the only model that features a black dial. The 5970P entered production in 2010 and was the last version of the series before its discontinuation. The charcoal black dial and platinum case made this particular 5970 model attain an exceedingly high demand among enthusiasts and collectors alike.  I’m a simple man. When I see the color black, I like it. The blackness of the dial definitely sets it apart from the other three versions. It is the most popular variant of the bunch and is the series’ highest sold base watch. Patek Philippe 5970R (Rose Gold) You’ve probably heard this specific color go around during the release of the iPhone 6. One of the first 5970s produced was the Patek Philippe 5970R. Like the 5970G, the 5970R began its production in 2004. Patek continued to manufacture the 5970R for five years and halted production in 2009.  Compared to most shades of rose gold that highlight a rosy-red hue, the redness of the 5970R has a milder tone which makes the gold aspect of the rose gold shade more distinct. The merging of the rose gold case with the clean yet elaborate white dial makes the 5970R a vintage take with a modern twist. Although it has some resemblances with the 5970J (yellow gold), this eccentric work of art has its personalized spot in the series that gives it as much attention as its siblings. Photo from Christie’s Patek Philippe 5970G (White Gold) The Patek 5970G was also one of the first in the series to make its debut. Along with the rose gold version, Patek began producing the 5970G in 2004. This model features a neatly done white dial accompanied by a matching white gold case. The white dial is balanced with black hands and black numerals, giving it a simple yet intriguing two-toned elegance. Although the Patek 5970G arguably has the cleanest look, it was the least popular piece of the series. Its minimalist design has likely catered to a younger demographic instead of Patek’s usual audience. I’m glad to be a part of the younger generation, as I think the 5970G suits me. The complementing tones are elegant, and the watch looks good on all kinds of wrists. Photo from Phillips Patek Philippe 5970J (Yellow Gold) Everything about the Patek 5970 screams classic, and you can sense the prestigious aura it exudes. The 5970J was introduced in 2009 and is the rarest model of the reference. It was made as another option for enthusiasts apart from the rose gold and white gold versions and only underwent one year of production. I’m a total sucker for this kind of color scheme, and this variant is undoubtedly my favorite among the four. Its extensive vintage look, high-quality crafting, and sepia-like tone sequence make this watch one of the best watches I’ve ever seen. Patek 5970 vs. Patek 5270 — A Comparison  The Patek 5970 has been likened to the Patek 5270 by many watch enthusiasts. Both perpetual calendar watches were conceived during Thierry’s time as chairman and are both reputable constructs. Although most enthusiasts deem the former to be more well-loved than the latter, more 5270s populate the market. You can find a model of the 5270 under the Patek Philippe Complications with no sign of the Patek 5970. That said, let’s get a better understanding of these two models. Movement: CH 27-70 Q vs. 29-535S Q The first and apparent difference is the movement. Unlike the 5970, which used a heavily modded Lemania 2310, the 5270 used the 29-535S Q,  a mechanism built solely in-house. Not only was it a more modern apparatus, but it was also the first mechanism Patek ever made. The 29-535S Q comes with a column wheel to manage the different levels of the watch. The new column wheel allows the systems of the 5270 to work smoother and be subject to lesser wear and tear. Is it better than the 5970’s movement? Technically, yes. Another difference, albeit minor, between the two is their power reserves. The 5270 has a power reserve of 65 hours, while the 5970 only had a power reserve of 60 hours. Other than that, the two mechanisms work like a charm with barely any noteworthy contrasts.  Diameter: 40mm vs. 41mm The Patek 5970 has a diameter of 40mm, while the 5270 has a diameter of 41mm. The 5270s new case and new lugs make this model one of Patek Philippe’s most sizable references in their catalog. Despite being only a millimeter greater in diameter, the 5270 is visibly bulkier than its predecessors. The Patek 5970 also exhibited a more comfortable fit compared to the 5270. That said, both references fit cozily on the wrist despite their girthy exterior. Series: One vs. Three  The Patek 5970 only had a single series during its production. The sole series of four metals features the following versions: Rose Gold, White Gold, Yellow Gold, and Platinum. With four stunning and unique timepieces, it proved challenging for enthusiasts and collectors to pick a favorite. With regards to the Patek 5270, there were things it did right and things it didn’t. I usually like hearing the good news first so let’s start with that. The 5270 had two windows embedded on its 4:30 and 7:30 sides. This innovation solved an issue that some users had in reading the 5970’s multiple dials.  That said, it is time for us to go through the three series of the 5270 and its bumpy road. The first series of the 5270 featured a white gold case identical to the 5970 variant, a light-silver dial with a gold handset, and (get this) no tachymeter. It is unknown why Patek excluded this component from the 5270. Due to that decision, fans were unhappy with the outcome as their expectations were unmet. In effect, the 5270 had to reintroduce itself in a second series. The second series had a white gold case with a choice between an opal or blue dial. To not cause events that repeat history, the second series now comes with a tachymetric scale. Patek finally took care of the problem. However, a new obstacle made itself apparent when enthusiasts noticed something unsightly in the dial. How should I say this? Do you know that feeling when you take a picture of yourself, and you see your double-chin? Yes, that grim reminder that we need to lose weight is such an eyesore.  The 5270 has a similar issue in which a small protrusion is visible at the bottom of the dial. This design messes with the perfect circle of the tachymeter and is an absolute bane for those with an inkling of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Funnily enough, this disfigurement also acquired was described as a “chin” by its users and viewers in the watch industry. The model was further snubbed by its audience not only because reading the tachymeter would prove a challenge but also because that “chin” is straight-up unsightly. Well, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board. After yet another fault, the brand releases its 3rd series of the 5270. This installment has the same palette option as the second series (white gold case with either a blue or opal dial. The series also unveiled another color scheme – sporting a Rose Gold casing merged with an opal dial. It looks like the third time was definitely the charm for the 5270. The 5270 finally had its breakthrough and is now placed in a better light. Goodbye, chin. I won’t miss you a single bit. Is one better than the other? It took a while, but the 5270 finally hit the sweet spot that the Patek 5970 has leisurely stayed. Despite having mishaps during the development of the 5270s series, its first and second series developed a niche as part of the 5270’s history. Such models would sometimes fetch a price that’s equal to the models of the 5970. Is one better than the other? Personally, no. I like the 5970 better by default, but that doesn’t mean that the 5270 lacks. Both references showcase superb performance and individual style, which is what matters the most. The 5970 may be rarer, but they are both priced closely. Additionally, I think these two references (along with the 3970) can outclass any of Patek’s current catalogs — including Patek’s Grand Complications set. Final Thoughts The Patek 5970 is a reference series that you could very much call perfect. Honestly, you won’t find a more spectacular piece of horology than the 5970. It’s simply such a beautiful timepiece that it’s in a league of its own. No wonder the world of watch enthusiasts has kept its eye on this particular reference. It has so much to flaunt and hardly had anything remotely disappointing to converse.  If anything, one thing I can complain about is the longevity of its production. For such a lustrous and complex timepiece, the amount of time it had in assembly was considerably short. There was only an estimated amount of 2,800 ever made, according to watch collector and Patek Philippe expert John Reardon. With only that many 5970s, you probably will not be seeing the whole in-person anytime soon.  This beloved timepiece not only marked Thierry Stern’s spot in Patek Philippe’s lineage but also made Philippe Stern a contented and proud father. _____________________________________________________________________ Want a watch that’s more oriental?  Here are the Top 5 Japanese Dress Watches.

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  8. IWC Mark XVIII: A Guide To The Exquisite Modern Pilot Watch

    IWC Mark XVIII: A Guide To The Exquisite Modern Pilot Watch

    Known for being one of the top names in the Swiss watchmaking industry today, IWC has been creating timeless, streamlined, and fully functional pieces for both men and women. These products are not only made with a passion for Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship but also with utmost dedication to producing straightforward yet distinct and well-thought-out designs. This is why many genuine watch aficionados and even casual wearers continue to patronize the label. IWC’s line-up of watches may be too simple for some in terms of appearance and color choices, but their classic aesthetics are undeniably cool and striking. However, what stands out the most among IWC’s offerings is its premier and popular collections of pilot watches, which exhibit a different level of sophistication as well as amazing features.  One of which is the IWC Mark XVIII. Considered a new addition to the Mark series and a direct successor of the iconic IWC Mark XVII, the IWC Mark XVIII carries a cutting-edge design coupled with ultramodern features that effortlessly make it a quintessential pilot watch of today. Let’s take a closer look at this top-tier timepiece, which continuously raises the reputation of IWC among other luxury watch brands. How does it differ from the previous IWC Mark watches? What makes it so special among the other aviation watches released by the brand? More specifically, let’s find out why it deserves to be included in your must-have list. The IWC Mark Pilot Watches Through The Years With the growing trend for aviation watches in the 1930s, IWC also developed a desire to create their own take for the said timepieces to help improve the lives and work of pilots. The brand wanted their very first pilot watch release to not only withstand any kind of extreme threats such as high and low temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius and extreme light conditions but also provide a distinct touch to any style. This is why the IWC Special Pilot’s Watch, also known as the “Spezialuhr für Flieger” and “Mark IX”, which was released in 1936, came with a tough and shatterproof crystal as well as an antimagnetic escapement that thoroughly protects the watch’s movement, called the Caliber 83. Aside from having a rotating bezel that comes with an arrowhead indicator which pilots can use to take note of various periods times especially when the plane is about to take off, the watch also features large and luminous hour-markers and hands that provide legibility no matter what time of the day it is. Not to mention, its color scheme is on the neutral side, which makes it not too overwhelming to wear and carry around. IWC Mark X A few years later, IWC then released an enhanced and much more conventional version of their classic pilot watch, reserved only for military use. Called the IWC Mark X, this model was part of the British Armed Forces’ official military watch line-up, which they later supplied to their troop members. The pilot watches included in the said list, which was known today among collectors as the “Dirty Dozen”, carry various specifications required by the British Ministry of Defense. These features have aided the army in fulfilling their duties for their country. Together with the watches produced by other big names in the industry at that time such as Omega, Buren, Eterna, Cyma, Longines, and Jaeger Le Coultre, the IWC Mark X started accompanying the missions and voyage of British military members in 1944. The Mark X pretty much had similar characteristics as the Mark IX. Both had humongous indexes and clearly visible texts and hands. The case is also huge enough to fit all types of wrists, whether slender or wide. However, there are still some modifications that significantly improved how the watch performs in general. Some of them are not that noticeable unless inspected closely or unless you open the watch and see the core. Other than the fact that the 35mm watch has a tough Faraday cage that protects the mechanism from any kind of magnetism, the watch is also equipped with the Caliber 83 15 movement that brings utmost precision and longevity. The movement exactly runs at 18,000 vibrations per hour (“vph”), which is quite a good number for watches released during the same era.  If the troops needed to plunge into the water for their expeditions, they did not have to worry as the watch’s exterior is protected by a strong and hard ring, which also has waterproofing attributes — thus, the birth of the markings that say “W.W.W.” which stands for Watch, Wrist and Waterproof. Amidst all these, what sets this watch apart from the other watches included in the “Dirty Dozens” is its extraordinary snap-on caseback. While it makes the timepiece more susceptible to moisture risks, the caseback is still pleasing and appealing to look at. IWC made sure to even secure it by using a lead seal to protect the whole watch. Indeed, this is the vintage model you should look out for if you want something that does not only offers amazing functionalities but also remind you of a very important period in our world’s history. IWC Mark XI The IWC Mark XI or simply the Mark 11 Pilot Watch is one of the most sought-after and prized timepieces ever released by the brand. First launched in 1949, it marked the beginning of IWC’s popularity in terms of creating legendary aviator’s watches that are not only meant for professional pursuits but also while conducting your daily commitments and endeavors. Embodying sophistication in all aspects, the watch comes with a water-resistance and anti-magnetism capability as well as a sleek dial, with luminous shapes at the end of the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock positions. Not to mention, the watch’s hands are also a mixture of baton shape and sword shape, which makes it easier for anyone to identify the respective placements dedicated for the hour and the minute. The signature is also not too big or small, which prevents wearers from experiencing major distractions. Moreover, the dial is in a cool black color, which blends well with the silver hue of the case. To guard the watch against extreme pressures, it also comes with a screwed top ring, along with luminous hands that gleam effectively especially during dark conditions. Created specifically for the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Mark XI is the epitome of a true IWC Pilot watch for it boasts the much-needed attributes that an aviator will need. While the aforementioned models, namely the Mark IX and the Mark X, boast great features that most pilot watches have and that you never simply see in other vintage models we see lurking around the secondhand markets today, they are not considered Pilot watches since they specifically accompanied the British army for their tasks. What’s more, the Mark X watches do not come with any anti-magnetism capacities that a genuine aviators watch should have. Despite the confusion, the Mark IX, Mark X, and of course, the Mark XI became extremely well-loved by all watch connoisseurs given how neat and readable their dials are. The color combinations they came with also easily fit most men’s tastes. IWC Mark XII The IWC Mark XI watch maintained a healthy and solid fan base for around four decades. It is not so surprising to see given how trailblazing and stunning it is, from its pristine exterior parts and luscious strap down to its firm caseback and trustworthy movement. In fact, it did not need any tweaks at all, both major and minor, proving that the amount of hard work IWC poured into making such an incredible model was all worth it. However, as the demands for an upgrade of the iconic timepiece continued growing, IWC finally made a decision to release a new jaw-dropping version in 1993, which now comes with an automatic mechanism.  Called the IWC Mark XII, this 36mm model looks identical to its direct predecessor, with few minor upgrades on the side. The unacquainted would surely have a slightly difficult time telling them apart. One of the differences from the IWC Mark XI that you will instantly notice is that it comes with a different movement, thus the appearance of the “Automatic” text on the bottom part of the watch’s dial, just above the 6 o’clock position. Aside from this, the luminous indicators beside the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock marks are slightly faded, but they do not affect the overall appeal of the timepiece at all. Lastly, the watch also comes with a date indication that seamlessly replaced the 3 o’clock position, which is quite convenient if you like to be updated all the time and if you like keeping things organized. IWC Mark XV The IWC Mark XV watch marked the beginning of the brand’s journey and relationship with the general public. Six years after the Mark XII was introduced, the Mark XV started gracing the retail stores with much sophistication and gracefulness. Rather than embodying a utilitarian vibe, the watch had a much simpler concept that was easier to comprehend and navigate. This is pretty much the reason why many enthusiasts consider the Mark XV as a piece that is more suited for regular civilians, despite being included in the brand’s aviation and military watch lineup. Apart from boasting a bigger case size of 38mm, this time-and-date only timepiece also utilized an automatic in-house 21-jewel Caliber 37524 movement based on ETA 2892-A2 rather than a 36-jewel mechanism produced by another luxury company, Jaeger Le Coultre, which you can see in IWC Mark XV’s predecessor. It also has a date window, sitting closely beside the 3 o’clock position. Proudly showing the world the brand’s magnificent creation, the signature is also written in a huge font that creates a well-balanced look for the whole dial. IWC Mark XVI  Continuing their legacy and expressing their desire to keep up with the fast-paced world, IWC dedicated itself to putting out more watches under the Mark series. The brand’s vision is to make them look more cohesive yet unique to the eyes of many, with little to no modifications included. To fit the taste of modern men, the succeeding timepieces are not only characterized by neater and chicer dials but also bigger case sizes. Signaling the new century ahead, the company released the very first contemporary version of their iconic aviator and navigator timepieces in 2006. Called the Mark XVI, the 39mm timepiece endorsed variety by replacing the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock positions with baton-style and triangle indicators as well as a date display, while also giving wearers additional strap options like leather ones. The hands also give a direct ode to the brand’s classic Big Pilot watch, given that they look longer to match the diameter of the dial. In terms of power, the Mark XVI utilizes an in-house movement known as the IWC 30110, which is also based on the ETA 2892-A2. Despite all these big changes, the watch still demonstrates amazing anti-magnetic resistance as well as the ability to battle strong water pressures. Unable to fully accept the changes brought by modern times, IWC loyalists were against the whole idea of the Mark series’ major revamp, which is why the brand was left with no choice but to halt the Mark XVI’s production in 2012. IWC Mark XVII IWC Mark XVII | Photo @sjpulvirent on InstagramEvery painful ending leads to new beginnings, as they say, and true enough, IWC was able to quickly rise from the heavy criticisms by releasing the IWC Mark XVII watch in 2012. As many brands are becoming more fearless when it comes to themes and designs during that time, IWC also plunged into the trend by coming up with a very experimental look for the said timepiece. With a case size of 41mm and a height of 10.8mm, the Mark XVII is still considered the biggest watch from the series. Swaying away from usual layouts, you will also see a medium-sized vertical date display on the right side of the timepiece, with a bright red pointer that serves as its focal point. Adding a more glamorous feel, it also comes with a stainless steel bracelet with a clicking adjustment clasp. Just like its close predecessor, it relies on the Caliber 30110, which has a power reserve of up to 42 hours. IWC Mark XVIII: The Handsome Tool Watch That Breaks Barriers IWC Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince” | Photo from Nathan Ashfield on FlickrThe IWC Mark XVIII, also known as the Mark XVIII and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII, is considered the latest update to the iconic and timeless Mark series that solidified the brand’s reputation as a leader and expert in manufacturing trustworthy aviator watches. Launched in 2016, the watch may not be one of the newest offerings by the brand, but it is undeniably among the well-loved and celebrated pieces ever released by IWC throughout its entire history — all because of the simplicity and directness it brings to the table. Although often mentioned in a lot of horological conversations and watch forums because of the sudden reversal in terms of its general updates from the face composition, additional features such as the date display as well as case size, the Mark XVIII undeniably bears a high level of prestige, as well as enticing charms similar to what general vintage IWC watches exhibit. This makes it a great collector’s item for any watch lover who constantly seeks to put thrill into their collection. Taking inspiration from one of its original forerunners called the Mark XI or simply Mark 11, which also takes the lead in many star-studded auctions due to its historic and trailblazing attributes, the IWC Mark XVIII  is exquisite in all aspects. However, this pilot watch can also pass as an everyday dress watch despite the athletic and commanding feel it gives off from time to time. Apart from carrying close resemblance to its predecessors, which attest to how IWC likes keeping things in a consistent manner, the timepiece also carries reliable and strong components, further making it a valuable watch you could even pass down to the succeeding generations. Anatomy of the IWC Mark XVIII Among the most coveted models from the diverse IWC Mark XVIII line is the IW327009 version. It may look quite plain on the outside but it will surely change your perspective about tool watches once you get to know it from a deeper perspective. If you are currently in the process of deciding whether you should finally give in to the temptation and purchase the watch, here are specifications and other important details you should familiarize yourself with. The following information will convince you that it is an incredible piece to own and that it is worthy of gracing your wrist.   Case material: Stainless Steel Case dimension: 40mm Movement: Mechanical, Automatic Power reserve: 42 hours Water resistance: 60m Case With just one look at the stunning case of the IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009, you will instantly know why it is slowly becoming a hot item these days despite being released a few years ago. Unlike its direct predecessors, this one sports a case size of 40mm, which is quite smaller than the Mark XVIII but slightly bigger than the timepiece that inspired the whole Mark series, the Mark XI. The dimensions are not too large or too small, but rather just enough to fit any wrist. Many were expecting that IWC will release the follow-up to their 2012 model with a humongous case size based on the trend it implements. However, the brand demonstrated the unexpected with the Mark XVIII. Despite this, the case stands out not because it has ornamentations or patterns but because it is straightforward yet attractive from every angle. Due to the case’s wide arrangement, any consumer would find the watch comfortable and convenient to wear. Not to mention, the proportioned structure also allows potential wearers to fully admire the beauty of its smooth dial. Slipping the watch under your shirt’s cuff would not be a problem either, given how this specific Mark XVIII model only measures up to 11mm in height and 50mm in terms of lug-to-lug size. When it comes to durability, you do not have to worry as well since this understated timepiece is made with a sturdy and low-maintenance stainless steel material. Aside from the fact that it can handle a few bumps and slight impacts, it also ensures that the core and other inner parts of the watch are protected from all kinds of moisture and corrosion threats. While the bezel does not offer any kind of special characteristics like a tachymeter scale or diamond embellishments, it still looks pristine because of its beautiful satin finish. Giving contrast to the rest of the watch, the top ring is in a silver hue, giving off an industrial appeal. Matching its aesthetics, the lugs are also in the same color, with a defined yet curvy structure that provides more edge to the overall appearance of the timepiece. Crown, Caseback, Crystal, and Water Resistance There are many good things worth noting and emphasizing about the IWC Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009. Even its smallest parts such as the crowns and crystal bear great significance. Apart from bearing an emblem that showcases the logo of the brand, the crown of the screwed-down, which makes sure that it remains with a water resistance of up to 60 meters or 197 feet. This is not a bad specification at all considering that you can still bring it to your trips to the pool as well as casual snorkeling activities. Despite not having any crown guards at all, the crown still looks great due to its oversized figure as well as fluted patterns on the sides. When it comes to the caseback, the watch definitely proved its creativity by placing a grand logo in an airplane shape in the middle, symbolizing that the Mark XVIII is part of IWC’s iconic lineup of pilot watches. Placed against the same polished stainless steel material just like what you will see in the front, a text that says “International Watch Co. / Pilot’s Watch” surrounds the emblem neatly, along with other vital information, such as water resistance and serial number. For those who are fond of seeing the watch’s movement from time to time, you might need to note that this model does not give a glimpse of the mechanisms at all. Despite this, IWC attests that the caseback will protect the whole watch from dust, rust, water, and any kind of threats that might harm its performance. Plus, being an aviator’s watch, the Mark XVIII is equipped with a soft-iron inner case, which thoroughly prevents it from coming in contact with strong magnetic fields that could potentially affect its accuracy. Almost all other luxury brands in the market utilize the infamous sapphire crystal for their watches, but IWC still incorporated the said component into their creation since it offers a much more reliable level of strength compared to its competitors. Aside from keeping the piece secured from abrupt changes in atmospheric pressures, sapphire crystal rarely gets affected by scratches and impacts unless they are major ones. Moreover, the material provides convenience to any wearer since its appearance is always clean and smooth, ensuring that you will be able to read the time precisely anytime, anywhere. These are enough reasons to explain why watches made with sapphire crystal— such as the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII — are quite hefty on the pocket. At the end of the day, the brand just wants the best for their loyal and potential customers, while also giving them more than what they paid for. Dial Nothing much has changed in terms of the dial of the IWC Mark XVIII watch, when put beside the Mark XI and the Mark XVIII, which are its original blueprint and forerunner, respectively. All of them want nothing but to bring modesty, legibility, and clearness, which is why the unacquainted would always get confused about how these supreme watches differ from one another. However, by doing lots of research and reading, you will know that Mark XVIII is a remarkable timepiece on its own, with modern technologies serving as its backbone. Crafted to organize the perspective of the user, the dial of the IWC Mark XVIII is only equipped with the essential functions you will be needing on a daily basis. In the case of pilots, the dial only has features that are necessary for doing their jobs appropriately. One of these useful functionalities is a date window peeking at the 3 o’clock position. Despite causing major commotions in watch forums due to its peculiar arrangement, the date display still does its job well mainly because the texts you will see on its surface are in a crisp white color, which endorses good readability. Since the watch’s dial is slightly textured and is coated with a deep black color, featuring white-toned hands and Arabic-style hour-markers that complement the overall neat look, anyone can easily determine the time without feeling overwhelmed at all. Specifically, both hour and minute pointers are in Flieger-style, which you typically see in the IWC Big Pilot collection as well as other contemporary members of the Mark series, while the seconds hand is elongated enough to promote greater legibility. To make the watch look more simple, the brand added the 6 and 9 numerals back to the dial— which disappeared in the Mark XVII watch — with the exception of the 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock mark that still embody the same triangle and date display layout, which also serve as a way to pay homage to historic IWC watches produced by the brand in the past. What’s more, these huge markings, along with the hour and minute hands, are coated with luminous elements, powered by the SuperLuminova technology for better visibility, especially when faced with dim light conditions. IWC could have done a better job in putting lume to all of the hour-markers, but the watch is still exceptional even for the years to come. All in all, the arrangement of all elements found in the background is symmetrical and well-categorized, which makes room for more focus and fewer distractions when it comes to the timekeeping process. Movement Hailing from a renowned brand, you can only expect that the IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009 will deliver only the best service especially when it comes to its movement. This is why IWC made the 163-component Caliber IWC 35111 automatic movement as the said timepiece’s source of power. This mechanism takes after the Sellita SW300-1 movement, which boasts a power reserve of up to 48 hours. Not to mention, it also has 25 jewels and runs at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour or 4.0 hertz. Since the IWC 35111 movement is somehow thin, you would not be able to see any bulging shape on the back of the watch. Emphasizing its great capacities, it also makes the movement of the central seconds hand swift and on point. Price of the IWC Mark XVIII Despite being the latest addition to the Mark series, the IWC Mark XVIII watch is more reasonably priced than its direct predecessor. This is understandable though since IWC removed a lot of features from the Mark XVII to create the simpler yet cooler Mark 18 timepiece. With a typical price tag of around $4,000 USD to $5,000 USD, you will surely get not only the best pilot watch aesthetics but also powerful mechanisms that you deserve. Despite the heavy competition between other aviator watches such as those being offered by Zenith and Breitling, it is no doubt that purchasing IWC Mark XVIII is something you would not regret doing. Should you get an IWC Mark XVIII?  If you’re a fan of pilot watches in general or you tend to go for the functionalities being offered by the said timepieces, the IWC Mark XVIII is definitely the way to go. It is a good entry point to the diverse realm of IWC Pilot watches and it would also give you an idea about how dedicated IWC is in its craft and workmanship in general. Aside from this, the piece in question is a great conversation starter given its history, despite being a time-and-date-only watch. Not to mention, this watch is one of the most talked-about IWC watches in horological discussions and online forums. Final Thoughts While many assume that tool watches, specifically aviator timepieces are only meant for professionals, the IWC Mark XVII watch proves otherwise. This timepiece is the perfect example of a modern tool watch, which you can effortlessly rock at all times no matter what situation or occasion. Its stunning appearance, coupled with its amazing and cutting-edge features makes it a watch worth getting. Known as one of the groundbreaking pilot watch inventions ever unveiled by the brand, the timepiece simply demonstrates the true purpose of aviator watches and why we still need them despite the growing demands for more innovative — perhaps digitalized — watches. If you have been wanting to anchor your collection with a tool watch that you can use and abuse in the coming years, then you should definitely check out the IWC XVIII. Who knows? It might even be considered as an iconic watch in the future just like its older siblings. Interested in knowing more about IWC as well as its other fantastic offerings? Check out our reviews on the IWC Big Pilot and IWC Portofino.  Featured image from IWC’s website Other photos from IWC unless stated otherwise                      

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  9. Omega Aqua Terra 150m: A Guide to One of Omega’s Best

    Omega Aqua Terra 150m: A Guide to One of Omega’s Best

    Omega is one of the most popular timepiece manufacturers in the luxury world. They are definitely in the forefront of horology along with other big names in Swiss watchmaking. With over a century worth of experience, it is no surprise that they were able to master the craft of watchmaking and become the well-acclaimed brand they are today. Among Omega’s renowned pieces is the Omega Aqua Terra under the Omega Seamaster collection, with a chronometer feature and hundreds of variations. Read on to find out more about the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, its extensive catalog, and why you should consider getting one.  All About The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Collection  While the Seamaster has been around since the 1940s, the Seamaster Aqua Terra is actually a product of the 21st century. It was first released in early 2000s as a way to balance out the Seamaster’s reputation as a diving watch. The Omega Aqua Terra is meant to be a versatile watch that offers the same reliability as most models that are ideal for water activities. Aside from that, it is also designed to be a timepiece that can be worn everyday and in fancy occasions. To put it simply, the Aqua Terra was created with the idea of reaching a wider variety of audience while still offering impressive features. At present, there are around 265 models under the Omega Aqua Terra 150m collection.  Up Close with the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ever wonder what makes the Aqua Terra so different from Omega’s other collections? Well, here are some of its distinct characteristics.  Eye-catching Dials  This is one of the most noticeable things about the Omega Aqua Terra 150m. Most, if not all, of the models in this collection feature a rather unique-looking dial pattern. For example, the pieces feature either a vertical or horizontal teak pattern. Meanwhile, some of the ladies’ watches have mother-of-pearl or wave opaline patterns.  150m Water Resistance Another common thing among all the Omega Aqua Terra watches is its depth capability. These pieces all have a water resistance of up to 150 meters. This is, arguably, the perfect capacity to cater to more people regardless of whether they do water sports or not.  Co-Axial Master Chronometer  Lastly, Omega Aqua Terra 150m watches are all equipped with a co-axial master chronometer calibre that has been certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. Simply put, this just means that each model boasts precision unlike any other.  Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Collaborations  Watch brands working with other companies for a collection or a limited edition model is something pretty common in this industry. Omega has definitely mastered the art of collaborating with others, which is a true testament to how trusted and adaptive they are as a brand. The Aqua Terra 150 collection is home to numerous models that are a product of strong and enduring partnerships.  Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra x Golf Watches You’re probably wondering what’s common ground between a “diving watch” and golf? Well, Omega was a steady comrade of the Professional Golfers’ Association for many years. The Swiss brand is known to have been the Official Timekeeper of the PGA from 2011 to 2020. This partnership led to the creation of numerous Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Golf Edition watches through the years. Up until today, there are five of these models in Omega’s current catalog.  Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra x Olympics Watches At this point, most of us are well aware that Omega has been involved with the Olympics since the 1930s. Therefore, this collaboration is considered a result of a longstanding relationship. There are currently two Omega Aqua Terra models listed on the brand’s website: the Aqua Terra 150m Pyeongchang 2018 Limited Edition and the Aqua Terra 150m Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition. These watches were made in celebration of Omega being the Official Timekeeper at the most recent winter and summer Olympics.  Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss Watches This one is not really an explicit collaboration but more of a product of teamwork. The Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss is equipped with Omega’s Co-Axial calibre 8508, which boasts unparalleled magnetic resistance. The amazing technological feat was created by a group of engineers from Omega, ETA, Asulab, and Nivarox FAR.  Best Omega Aqua Terra Watches  Here’s an in-depth look at some of the Aqua Terra watches in the market right now.  1. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer GMT World Timer    The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT World Timer is as distinct as it can get. It is the type of watch that’ll just make you stare without even knowing. This is largely because of its busy and complex-looking layout upfront.  It comes in both a polished case and a bracelet made out of stainless steel. Moreover, the sun-brushed dial in blue follows a vertical teak pattern with an outer circle of different cities. Aside from the usual luminescent hour markers and hands, the dial also consists of a 24-hour glass ring and an image of the Earth. Everything about the face of this watch screams beautifully crafted, from the concept to the quality materials used.  When it comes to functions and features, the Omega Aqua Terra 150m GMT World Timer is just as impressive. It is powered by the Master Chronometer Calibre 8938 with an anti-magnetic automatic movement. From its unparalleled precision to its masterful design, this Omega Aqua Terra would make a great addition to anyone’s collection.   2. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer  41mm The Omega Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 41mm watch is an ode to the more traditional, water sports watches. It has a very straightforward design that’s vaguely inspired by nautical elements. The subtlety of the entire timepiece makes it an ideal watch for maritime enthusiasts, watch connoisseurs, and regular watch lovers alike.   It comes in a symmetrical case in stainless steel paired with a rubber bracelet. Meanwhile, the silver dial follows a horizontal teak pattern that takes inspiration from a sailboat’s wooden deck. It also includes Super-LumiNova hands and indexes along with a date window at 6 o’clock.  For technical details, the Aqua Terra 150m is powered by the Omega Master Chronometer calibre 8900. Its automatic movement boasts excellent precision and an anti-magnetic feature. With its superior durability, this will make a great beater watch regardless of whether you enjoy extreme activities or not.  3. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer Ladies 34mm Here we have a beautiful watch for all the women who enjoy luxury. The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 34mm has a very striking and alluring exterior with a beautiful blend of colors in the dial area. Another great thing about this model is how it is able to retain the marine theme through the materials used.  This ladies’ Omega Aqua Terra 150m model comes in a case and bracelet made out of stainless steel. It has a Tahiti mother-of-pearl dial which includes luminescent hands and a date window at 6 o’clock. However, the key aspect of this watch is the 11 diamond indexes in the dial to represent the hour.  Following an automatic movement, this timepiece is driven by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8800. Aside from the impressive accuracy, being equipped with the said calibre allows for less maintenance for your watch.  4. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 41mm Golf Edition  Next up, we have one of the most recent products of a longstanding collaboration between Omega and the PGA. The Omega Aqua Terra 150m Golf Edition serves as a way to celebrate the brand’s enduring involvement with the sport.  This piece is presented in a stainless steel case and a striped NATO bracelet in green and black. Following a horizontal teak pattern, its sun-brushed dial includes rhodium-plated, luminescent hands, and indexes. It also has a date window at 6 o’clock and a minute track with 4 quarter numbers.  Lastly, this Golf-Edition model is powered by the Omega Master Chronometer calibre 8900 with an automatic movement that boasts precision unlike any other.  5. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm   Right off the bat, you can immediately tell what the theme is for this Omega Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm watch. Everything about it screams nautical and maritime-inspired. It is actually a more vibrant and “out there” version of the Aqua Terra (Ref. 220.12.41.21.02.002).  This model has a symmetrical case made from 18K Sedna gold and stainless steel paired with a rubber strap in blue. Its silver, teak-patterned dial is also inspired by the wooden decks of a sailboat. Moreover, it consists of Super-LumiNova hands and indexes plus a date window.  This watch is also driven by a Master Chronometer calibre 8800 following an automatic movement. Just like most Omega watches, this model also went through a series of tests to ensure excellent shock resistance.  6. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 34mm Two-Tone Here we have another beautiful watch for the ladies. This Omega Aqua Terra 150m Two-Tone watch is heavily inspired by the ocean. The main point of the design was to reflect the essence of the sea. It is an elegant timepiece with great meaning.  This watch is presented in a case and bracelet made of stainless steel and 18K Sedna gold. Its blue dial, following a wave pattern, has white 18K Sedna gold hands and indexes. Another marine-related element of this watch is how the hour markers were made to look like sailboat hulls.  Following an automatic movement, this model is also powered by a Master Chronometer calibre 8800 with anti-magnetic properties and shock resistance.  7. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 41.5mm Pyeongchang 2018 Limited Edition  The Omega Aqua Terra 150m Pyeongchang 2018 watch is a limited-edition model created for the most recent Winter Olympics. Arguably, the most unique aspect of this watch is the PYEONGCHANG 2018 inscription on the minute track using the five colours of the Olympics. Only 2018 pieces of this model were produced.  It is presented in both a case and bracelet made of steel. Its blue dial, following a vertical teak pattern, consists of luminescent hands and hour markers. This watch also follows an automatic movement powered by a Master Chronometer calibre 8500. This is a limited-edition piece every watch collector should consider.   8. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition   Last on this list is another watch made in collaboration with the Olympics. It was created in celebration of Omega being the Official Timekeeper of the 2020 Olympics. Only 2020 pieces of this model were produced.  The Omega Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition is presented in a steel case paired with a rubber bracelet. The blue ceramic dial follows a laser engraved Tokyo 2020 pattern. It also consists of rhodium-plated, luminescent hands, and indexes. The Tokyo 2020 logo is also printed on the watch’s sapphire crystal caseback. Lastly, it is also powered by the impressive Omega Master Chronometer calibre 8900.  Omega Aqua Terra 150m’s Selling Points  Rich History. As mentioned, Omega is a watch brand that has been in the industry for over a hundred years now. This means that they have a fair share of milestones and breakthroughs in their arsenal. While having a rich history is considered a prestige, it shows that the brand knows what they’re doing. The Aqua Terra is a result of Omega’s decades of experience. Globally Recognized. This may seem like a pretentious reason but international recognition is actually an indicator of many things. First, it can show whether the watches are a potential investment or not. It doesn’t take a genius to know that renowned and established brands tend to hold their value more. Second, it is a testament to the brand’s quality. Omega’s Aqua Terra collection is well-loved by many all around the world. Knowing this should allow for easier decision-making.  Variety of Options. If you’re dead set on finding the perfect watch, the Aqua Terra 150m is the best place to start. With over 265 pieces to choose from, running out of options should be the least of your worries. There’s also a relatively good ratio of men and ladies watches, so plus points for inclusivity.  Excellent Quality. This is pretty self-explanatory. After going on about the Aqua Terra, it is pretty clear that this watch offers quality unlike any other. Certified chronometers, anti-magnetic properties, super durability, and impressive precision are just some of the things you get with the Aqua Terra.  Good Investment. Yes, we all know it is a great investment in terms of quality and lifespan. However, there’s more to it. While the Aqua Terra typically depreciates as time goes by, especially when bought at full price, these watches tend to hold their value through the years.  Brief History of Omega The beginning of Omega’s story dates back to 1848 when Louis Brandt opened his own workshop in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. He then spent the next decades mastering the craft and selling a decent amount of timepieces all over the world. From the very start, Brandt’s philosophy has always revolved around producing the best, which is something he passed on to his sons as well. In 1879, after Brandt’s death, his three sons stepped up to handle the family business. The brothers were able to bring a lot of great things to the table when they took over such as numerous innovations and unprecedented fame.  It took them less than a decade to launch the Labrador which is their first mass-produced calibre manufactured in-house. In the 1890s, they officially started using the name Omega after the launch of the 19-line Omega calibre. The Swiss brand only continued its way up with its involvement at different sports events in Switzerland. This connection with sports eventually led to them becoming the Official Timekeeper at the 1932 Olympics in California and the many other Olympic Games that followed.  During Omega’s 100th anniversary, they launched the first model of what would be one of the most iconic collections ever: the Seamaster. This 1948 diving watch paved the way for the hundreds of models that came to be in the decades that followed. In fact, even James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) was seen with this timepiece on his wrist in the 1990s. Today, the Omega Seamaster range includes the Aqua Terra, Diver 300m, Planet Ocean, and Heritage Models.  Final Thoughts The Omega Aqua Terra is a renowned line, and for good reason. It has many great qualities, from elegant designs to impressive features. Overall, watches from this range would make a great addition to anyone’s collection.  

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  10. Tudor Black Bay 41: A Guide To The Versatile Time-Only Watch

    Tudor Black Bay 41: A Guide To The Versatile Time-Only Watch

    Since its inception, Tudor has always been proving its determination and passion for excellence and premium craftsmanship by creating and producing high-quality and reliable watches. Aside from the fact that its products are built to last for decades and are made with top-notch materials and parts, all of them are also reasonably priced, given how the brand wants everyone from various walks of life to have access to their unique releases. Although often being linked to Rolex due to their connection and history together, the company has a different and enticing charm. Tudor’s line-up of watches is not only extensive and diverse but also impressive and classic. In fact, most pieces could instantly find their way to every aficionado and even casual wearer’s list of must-have watches to look out for. One of the timepieces that attest to the brand’s desire to make a name for itself is the Tudor Black Bay 41. But what exactly makes this watch special and exceptional? Hailing from the most popular collection of the company, the Tudor Black Bay, the Black Bay 41 effortlessly boasts a whole new level of sophistication and versatility, making it the perfect sports or field watch you could repeatedly wear all year round. Even though it is a time-only watch, it also has the capacity to steal everyone’s attention, all thanks to its irresistible appeal. With that being said, let us find out more about the Tudor Black Bay 41, particularly its roots, its features, and its compositions that will make a lot of you swoon and drool out of awe and admiration. A Quick Look at Tudor’s Interesting History Tudor’s roots can be traced back to 1926 when a Swiss watchmaking house called Veuve de Philippe Hüther Company registered the company’s trademark on behalf of Rolex’s founder, Hans Wilsdorf. This allowed Wilsdorf to obtain the rights to Tudor and use the name for business purposes, particularly in terms of watch manufacturing. Furthermore, it also led to the brand’s successful establishment in Geneva, Switzerland, a place where horology abundantly and significantly thrives. One of the first few pieces the label released sport a polished and rectangular-shaped case with the iconic Tudor signature on the dial. Meanwhile, few others have Rolex’s name, given how both brands come from the same mind. This is why a lot of collectors encounter confusion and difficulties when faced with the said models from the aforementioned era. A few years later, Wilsdorf took over the management and eventually owned the Tudor brand. From then on, the company focused on releasing pieces with exquisite functionalities and designs. That same period was when watches with a rose logo appeared on the markets. Symbolizing beauty and regality, the said image pertains to the invincible union of strength the models boast. After a decade, in 1946, Wilsdorf realized that it is time for the company to grow further and decided to expand the reach of the brand to a wider audience. He went on and established Montres TUDOR SA, whose primary goal is to create and manufacture timepieces both for men and women that are affordable and can fit any budget while boasting similar selected attributes and level of reliability that Rolex watches have. This is why there a lot of Tudor advertisements during the said period that show a hint of Rolex’s identity and designs. A lot of watch connoisseurs and casual wearers also like to refer to Tudor timepieces as cheaper alternatives to the expensive and glorified Rolex timepieces, given how both of them almost somehow look the same, with signatures, materials, and few features as only exceptions. Specifically, what Tudor did is to utilize the robust and infamous Rolex cases and bracelets, coupled with imported movements to craft their pieces. This is particularly evident in the Tudor Oyster collection which was released during the same decade, where the Rolex-exclusive Oyster cases were added to some of the most gorgeous and trustworthy Tudor watches. Proving its extreme dedication, the company eventually unveiled other iconic lines such as the Tudor Prince, Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner, the Tudor Oysterdate, and the Tudor Advisor. These pieces bear the new Montres Tudor logo, where the company signature and rose image were the only ones put together, without the presence of the iconic shield. Realizing that they offer so much more than being closely related to Rolex, the label started to produce cases, crowns, and bracelets on their own, which they added on the models they released during the 1980s to 2000s. However, like any other company, Tudor also faced some major hurdles during their entire 95-year run. The majority of it is related to financial and sales, which is why they decided to halt the import and selling of their products to major world markets, such as the United States during the late 1990s to early 2000s. Tudor Black Bay: How It All Began Completely embodying the popular quote “the sun will rise and we will try again,” Tudor came back stronger and better in 2009 with a major relaunch. Instead of continuing its legacy with its iconic lines, the brand decided to release new collections, which are truly breathtaking. Some of the series unveiled by the brand after its hiatus are the Tudor Grantour, Tudor Glamour, and Heritage Chrono collections. All of them bear incomparable beauty and identity, coupled with precise performance and dependability that you would simply not resist. However, what stands out the most among the company’s modern lines is the Tudor Black Bay collection, which houses the sleekest and chicest diving watches you will ever find in the market today. Unveiled in 2012 following the release of the Tudor Heritage Advisor and the Clair de Rose series, the whole Black Bay line takes inspiration from the acclaimed Submariner models the company is known for during the early 1950s and 1970s. Specifically, the watches from the line are reminiscent of the Tudor Submariner with reference numbers 7922 and 7924 as well as the dive watches made for the members of the French Naval Army in 1969. Design-wise, the first few Black Bay pieces sport humongous and oversized winding crowns, sturdy cases without crown guards, as well as an hour hand that is bigger than the rest of the luminous pointers found within the dial. While the indices are all numberless, the signature of the watch takes the cake as it is printed in a gilt manner, along with the railroad edges you can utilize for an easier timekeeping process. What’s great about the pieces is that the information found at the bottom part of the dial, just above the 6 o’clock mark, is also useful especially if you are the type of person who is very meticulous and particular with the smallest details. These texts will tell you the water-resistance level and the kind of movement the watches boast, whether it is self-winding or manual. Throughout its nine-year run, the Black Bay collection has relatively expanded its capacities for greater variety and for consumers, especially watch enthusiasts, to appreciate, recognize and rave about it more. From only having dive watches as its main offering, the line is now home to sporty and spirited chronographs and innovative and functional dual time timekeepers, which both carry supreme longevity and capabilities. What’s more is that a lot of them now come with masterful and powerful in-house movements, swaying away from the imported ETA calibers that Tudor utilized not only in the preceding Black Bay models but also in its other remarkable collections. While some may think that it is too plain and boring for the fast-paced era we are now living in, the brand still incorporated time-only pieces that embody simplicity and grace all at once. These watches give a direct ode to the typical vintage pieces lurking around legit vintage stores and secondhand online trusted e-commerce websites. One of them is the Tudor Black Bay 41, which we will discuss and explore further in this article. Aside from bearing a handsome yet alluring appearance, this timepiece has unexplored charms that deserve more praise and appreciation from the vast watch community. Tudor Black Bay 41: Your Next Go-To Time-Only Wristwatch As emphasized above, the Tudor Black Bay 41, also referred to as the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41, the Black Bay 41, and the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79540, is one of the fantastic and grand upgrades to the classic Black Bay models released by the brand in 2012 in an attempt to re-introduce the wonders of Tudor watches to the watch industry. First released to the market in 2017, it is known for being one of the latest additions, not just to the 32/36/41 collection but the entire Black Bay series. Not to mention, it extremely attests to the incomparable mastery, passion, and rigor the company exhibits when it comes to creating desirable, trailblazing, and robust timepieces you could proudly bring to any of your endeavors. Aside from being one of the highly sought-after merchandise from the luxury company at this present day, the watch also blends modernity and refinement effortlessly as evident in its lustrous and subtle image and head-turning overall appeal. Just by looking at this one, you will realize how simplicity is not a bad thing at all. It rather gives the piece the opportunity to shine and stand out even more even without grand ornamentations as well as jaw-dropping additional attributes. This becomes the reason why it deserves a place in any watch lover’s collection since it provides a good balance not just to any outfit but also in terms of preferences. Known as the notable successor of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36, which was revealed to the general public in 2016, the Black Bay 41 will fit the taste of urbane men due to its prepossessing aura and enthralling design. The large case alone takes the cake, given how it perfectly fits most wrist types without feeling heaviness at all. While it does not come with any aesthetic and visually appealing complications such as an annual calendar, a dual time function, a moon phase indicator, or a date or day display, the watch is made out of premium materials and bears strong components both in terms of the exterior blueprint and the interior mechanisms that all guarantee its usability and long life span. This also makes it a good investment for any collector out there who is looking for something that is incredibly breathtaking yet practical. Above all these, what’s great about this one is that it deviates from the typical concept of sports watches we see around today. Designed to sway away from the usual, the Black Bay 41 does not come with any rotating and unidirectional bezel at all, making it more confusing to a lot of enthusiasts whether the timepiece falls under the category of a tool watch or a dress watch. However, when inspected closely, you will realize that its mission is to offer a different vibe and charm to any wearer, making it more enticing and tempting to own. Demonstrating flexibility and versatility, the watch allows you to experience what it is like to have a piece you could bring to any gathering. Whether you are going for a casual meeting with your acquaintances or an extremely formal suit-and-tie event, the Black Bay 41 is all you need in order to spice up and complete your whole look. This is why a lot of experts usually call it an elegant sports watch. Despite the blurry line, the watch still boasts a high level of water resistance compared to usual dress timepieces and a great caliber, which makes the watch more impressive. Although often compared to the legendary Rolex Explorer due to its classic appearance, the Tudor Black Bay 41 will give you the best value for your hard-earned money, given how it embodies sophistication and robustness in all of its aspects. From its straightforward dial and its extremely polished case to the flawless bracelet design, this model could instantly pass as your next go-to everyday watch. Up Close With The Tudor Black Bay 41 With the increasing interest for Tudor models at this present day, it is no surprise that the Tudor Black Bay 41 Ref. 79540-0006 is one of the most coveted watches among the brand’s extensive lineup of watches. Despite being a time-only model, its minimalist and lavish feel is what brings the model to the top of everyone’s must-have list. If you have been pondering for quite some time now whether it is the time for you to finally purchase this lovely timepiece, you can refer to the specifications and other important details below, which will give you an idea of what Tudor Black Bay is all about and why it attains so many good reviews from dedicated watch geeks and aficionados. Case material: Stainless steel Case dimension: 41mm Movement: Mechanical, Automatic Power reserve: Approximately 38 hours Water resistance: 150m or 500ft Case Among the first things you will notice in a watch is the case. In fact, it becomes one of the major factors whether a potential wearer would give in and purchase a certain timepiece or not. With that being said, it is important that a watch’s case does not only boast a striking look but also powerful durability. The exterior of the Tudor Black Bay 41 in the M79540-0006 variation is the perfect epitome of a straightforward yet tough and beautiful case you will never see in other models. Just like what its name suggests, this model sports a case size of 41mm, which makes it an appropriate watch for men, especially those who have bigger and wider wrists. At first glance, you may think that this one is too heavy to wear due to its unusual large footprint.  However, when tried on, the watch is proportional and well-balanced after all because of how the case was delicately formed into a perfectly round shape. This becomes the reason why the watch is very comfortable to wear all day. Exhibiting a rugged yet handsome feel, the case of this model is extremely polished to the point that you can even see bits of your reflection when you place it in front of your face. Due to its satin finish, the case of the Black Bay 41 also looks smoother and neater, which gives off a very pristine and lavish feel. The absence of any rotating bezel makes it thinner and sleeker, which is perfect for professional men who like giving off impactful and remarkable first impressions to people they encounter for the very first time. What’s more is that the bezel is somehow crafted in a flat manner, which perfectly fits the figure of the symmetrical shape of the lugs. This is why women are also drawn to this sports watch, given how the watch just sits perfectly on the wrist without any unnecessary bulkiness. This characteristic somehow fits the purpose of this Black Bay model, which is to provide consumers a sports watch that is not limited to athletic pursuits only but all major life happenings in general. Just like the other members of the Black Bay collection, the case, as well as the lugs of this model, are made out of stainless steel. Despite not being so lightweight like the titanium material, stainless steel ensures that both the surface and inner parts of the Black Bay 41 are protected from any kind of moisture and corrosion, which could, later on, turn into rust. Aside from that, this material boasts a great level of strength, which is good if you are the type of person whose life revolves around commuting, wherein accidental bumps and impacts are nearly inevitable. Not to mention, stainless steel is not too burdensome on the skin, which means that you do not have to worry about getting a significant allergic reaction if you choose to go for the timepiece in question. With these alone, you can already see how the watch thrives significantly among its other competitors. It is no wonder why a lot of people get drawn to its amazing qualities and features. Crown and Water Resistance Sticking with the overall theme of all watches under the Black Bay collection, the crown of the Black Bay 41 is oversized yet very accessible to any wearer. Besides the fact that it is placed in a screw-down manner, the smooth winding crown also comes with the signature emblem of Tudor, which is lovely and enthralling at the same time. Following the shape of a rose, the logo looks exactly like the brand’s iconic symbol that first appeared on the dials Tudor watches released in the 1930s. To ensure a nice and exact fit, the watch’s crown also sports a black winding crown tube made out of anodized aluminum. Aside from the fact that it protects the watch from being damaged, it also ensures a smooth movement if in any case you want to adjust the time. Moreover, it also provides a different touch to the overall aesthetic of the model, giving wearers more reasons to admire and praise the irresistible qualities of the timepiece. Another notable characteristic of this watch is that it can withstand water pressures of up to 150 meters. This may not be considered a major feature since a lot of modern watches as well as other models from the collection like the Black Bay Chrono, the Black Bay 58, and the Black Bay GMT sport waterproofness ratings of 200 meters. However, it is still considered a good level to have, especially if you like to maintain an active and fast-paced lifestyle. While you cannot bring the watch to any major and extreme diving activities, it is still suitable for your casual trips to the pool and the beach. What’s more is that you can also use it if you want to go snorkeling while still being cautious with the water depths you are planning to plunge into. Crystal Luxury brands often rely on sapphire crystal as the main barrier for their products for many reasons. One advantage of using it is that it endorses superior rigidity to other options such as acrylic glass and mineral glass. For one, it is extremely hard for this component to attain major scratches no matter how powerful and hard the impact it experiences. Since it is made out of aluminum oxide that was directly produced by experts working in laboratories, the sapphire crystal also comes with a clear and clean look, which allows you to view the time without experiencing any difficulties at all. This makes watches that come with this kind of material suitable for those who value function and style equally. However, it is important to note that once sapphire crystal becomes entirely shattered or damaged, it will be impossible for any authorized repair personnel to give quick remedies to your timepiece. Your only option would be to replace it entirely with a new crystal. Nevertheless, you will still get the most out of your Black Bay 41 watch especially if you take good care of it frequently. Dial When it comes to the dial, the Black Bay 41 with reference number M79540-0006 exhibits an entirely vintage feel, which can make you feel like you are in the 60s era. Being a time-only watch, this one comes with only the essential functions that you will need on a daily basis. Depending on your perspective, this may be a hit-or-miss since it embodies simplicity to its fullest. Despite this, the watch will surely provide you the courage and confidence that you will need in order to face daily challenges head-on. Bringing the overall smart and versatile look of the watch together, the dial of the Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0006 is in a cool black color, while the hour and minute hands in snowflake form and sword-style sport a white-colored hue. First utilized in Tudor military watches, the snowflake hands give the watch a quirky and fun vibe albeit its robust look. The numberless hour-markers also bear the same tone, with outlines that are defined for easier distinction. Exhibiting variety, the indices of this watch are specifically printed in round, baton, and triangle shapes. The baton ones correspond to the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock placements, while the rest of the watch are in round form, with the exception of the 12 o’clock mark which takes the inverted triangle symbol. Giving the watch more definition, the railroad-like pattern on the outer portion of the dial is a very astonishing sight to see. The addition of plain texts with no unusual font style also makes the model less cluttered. Movement In terms of potency, the Tudor Black Bay 41 uses an automatic movement called the Caliber T600. This mechanism is a modified version of the Caliber 2824, with a few minor tweaks and modifications on the side. Aside from boasting a power reserve of around 38 hours, the movement is thoroughly protected by a hard case back, which is embellished with the signature Tudor symbol with the texts “Geneve” and “Suisse.” Bracelet Matching the case, the model in question comes with a stainless steel case with small gaps that serve as its unique element. To add, a clicking folding clasp is what ensures security on the wearer’s wrist. It may seem too boring on the outside but once released, the clasp’s body is adorned with the Tudor signature, which is the same emblem you can find on the caseback, as well as the face of the watch. For those of you who are not keen on bracelet watches, there is a leather strap option (Tudor Black Bay Ref. M7950-0007) that is extremely smooth and soft to run your palms on. Endorsing a great amount of comfort, a fabric strap is also available for purchase (Tudor Black Bay Ref. M7950-0010). This will not only amp up your clothing pieces but also accompany you significantly during your outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing. It is an extremely breathable material, which will make you feel as if you are not wearing a watch at all. Other Versions of the Tudor Black Bay 41 The watch we dissected above is just one of the many editions of the iconic and well-crafted Tudor Black Bay 41. As mentioned earlier, the collection is so vast that you might become too overwhelmed when asked to choose what model specifically resonates with your personality and lifestyle. While the one we reviewed above sport a black, white, and silver color scheme, there are other options that deserve their own moments of appreciation. Below are the other Tudor Black Bay 41 variations you can check out if you are not big on the typical monochrome theme. 1. Tudor Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0010 Looking for something that is extraordinary but not too daring and loud? The Tudor Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0010 should definitely go on your radar. Many of you will definitely agree that this timepiece is an actual stunner even on photos alone. What more if you actually witness its beauty in person, right? Just like the Tudor Black Bay 41 in M79540-0006 variation, the watch comes in a 41mm case made out of stainless steel. Its bezel is also gleaming which contrasts well with the black hue of the fabric strap. If you are wondering what is the difference between this watch to the classic Tudor Black Bay 41 model, well it is very obvious. You can already find it just by looking at its dial. Aside from sporting a dark blue tone, the indices are also in matte white, with some vibrant and matte coatings all over their body. They are also printed in circle, triangle, and baton patterns, which lessens the confusion of many when reading the time. In terms of the movement, the Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0010 also runs on the superb Caliber T600 automatic movement, which gives any wearer ultimate convenience. This model is perfect for those who want to be a bit adventurous in terms of their choice but do not want to go overboard. 2. Tudor Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0011 Next up, we have a piece that bears a similar vibe to the Tudor Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0010. The only difference is that the Tudor Black Bay 41 Ref. M79540-0011 is more industrial-looking, which is perfect if your style mainly revolves around manly, fierce, and classic ones. Considered the latest addition to the jaw-dropping Black Bay 41 lineup, this timepiece bears a silver-colored dial, which is entirely a sight to behold. This is due to its gorgeous and enthralling sunburst finish, which gives a gleaming effect together with the watch’s stainless steel bracelet. The grey-colored—almost ceramic—outlines of the indices and hands give the watch more character and poise. Not to mention, the minimalist and black-colored edges and texts give way to greater legibility and easier time-tracking. Just like the first-ever model, this one comes with a water resistance level of up to 150 meters. Since its exterior is also made out of sapphire crystal, you can expect that this watch will also handle impacts very well, no matter how big or small they are. Proving its amazing performance, the Tudor Black Bay in M79540-0010 also boasts a power reserve of around 38 hours, just like its predecessors. This prominent timepiece is an excellent and exceptional choice for those who want something that has a touch of finesse yet very straightforward and uncomplicated to use. Final Notes If there is a collection that sums up how Tudor continuously strives to achieve success and excellence, it is the Tudor Black Bay. It is so well-made and iconic to the point that when one mentions the brand, the Black Bay series is the one that automatically comes to mind. While many of you think that the line has already reached its peak and glory primarily because of the continuous success it experiences, the Black Bay 41 watch completely scratches that idea. Aside from bearing a good price point together with an opulent appeal, the way the model was created and designed is truly exceptional. Not to mention, the accuracy it brings to the table is top-notch despite adapting an imported movement. It is considered a conversational piece not because it comes with grand complications. Its simple time-telling function also becomes its focal selling point. The Tudor Black Bay 41 is solid proof that you do not need a fancy watch to stand out among the crowd. Apart from this, it attests to how Tudor never stops making itself known to the public as a promising luxury watch brand rather than Rolex’s sister company. With the amount of effort the label has put into producing the versatile, compelling, and fully functional Black Bay 41 model, it is never surprising to see why it is one of the current and most recommended time-only pieces today. While there isn’t any recent news regarding the developments of the whole Black Bay collection, particularly the Black Bay 32/36/41 line, we can only hope that Tudor will leave more room for their improvement. Perhaps, a few bolder color and strap choices, as well as size variations, are some of the things we can expect in the upcoming releases. Want to know more and delve deeper into Tudor’s releases and history, particularly its other collections and offerings? Make sure to read our articles about the best Tudor watches you can find in the vast market today, why the Tudor Black Bay GMT stands out, as well as how Tudor differs from its sister brand Rolex. Photos courtesy of Tudor unless stated otherwise Featured image from Tudor’s official website        

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  11. Baltic Aquascaphe: Review of the Underrated Diver

    Baltic Aquascaphe: Review of the Underrated Diver

    Baltic watches have been under the radar among watch enthusiasts for a while. Almost overnight, the company became one of the most sought-after brands of today. The watch community embraced the launch of the brand alongside the Bicompax chronographs through a Kickstarter campaign. From chronographs, the brand continues to evolve in the tool watches department. The Baltic Aquascaphe met much fanfare with its release. Let’s take a deeper look at this timepiece. What is Baltic? Before we get to know the Baltic Aquascaphe, let’s first see what Baltic is all about. The brand is fairly new to the market with its launch in 2017. It wasn’t any other launch. Like many microbrands, the story of Baltic began in a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign became the launchpad for the company to release two of their debut timepieces, both met with much fanfare. The watches launched are HMS 001 and the BICOMPAX 001, a chronograph. These timepieces easily catapulted the brand from the ground up, pushing founder Etienne Malec to launch more timepieces. The company has since been one of the most sought-after microbrands in the market. Following other French watch brands, such as Bell & Ross and Cartier, Baltic continuously wows patrons from all over the world with the quality of its timepieces. What we know today is that so far, the company sits with fairly priced timepieces. The watches from the brand have expanded from two models and now have different models such as the Aquascaphe. The Baltic Aquascaphe Baltic named the Aquascaphe rather cleverly. This refers to the famous Bathyscaphe,  a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible from the 1960s. This was developed by the Swiss and built by the Italian, a true legend in underwater exploration history. However, this reference only applies to the name. Despite that, Baltic still made sure to stick to the same timeline when it comes to aesthetics. The Baltic Aquascaphe adopted the design of divers from the 1960s and 1970s. There are many cues that point to this such as the case design as well as the dial. Baltic didn’t hold back in applying their vintage theme to this timepiece. Today, there are three versions of the Aquascaphe available in the market: gilt, blue gilt, and black. Generally, there is a lot to say about this watch, so let’s break the watch down by its functions and parts. Here’s our in-depth review of the Baltic Aquascaphe. Case Right at first glance, you’ll notice the attention to detail. The Aquascaphe gives the impression that it’s a great tool watch. Firstly, you get a sapphire crystal to protect the dial. The screw-down crown allows the watch 200 meters of water resistance. There are some parts of the watch that’s familiar to those who already own the watch. This appears to be Baltic’s way of saying that they’re going for a certain aesthetic that would stick. I would say that they did well if that’s their goal given that you can reminisce older models from the company. That said, watch out for the mid-case design of the watch as it’s practically the same. Given Baltic is going for a vintage-inspired look, it’s easy to understand why they gave it such a size. The Aquascaphe measures around 38 mm across and 39 mm at the bezel. Lug-to-lug, it measures around 47 mm. It should sit comfortably around the wrist with a 12 mm thickness. Overall, the sizing gives the timepiece a proportioned design that doesn’t stray away from the vintage concept Baltic aims to have. It is incredibly impressive how thin this timepiece is. You can be fooled by the mid-case of the watch. With the long lugs set low, you would even think it’s much thinner than advertised. For a classic addition to the timepiece, the sapphire crystal of the watch comes domed. This adds height to the watch but visually, the timepiece is still a lot thinner than other divers. When against the wrist, you can expect it to look flat. That way, it’s easier to wear this watch. Bezel The bezel of the Aquascaphe is one of the most impressive parts of the watch. If you look closely, the insert of the bezel is pretty thin. This works wonders especially if you want something that goes along with such a thin watch. The thing with divers is that they can be on the heavier side. Smaller divers come with large bezels that eat up a large chunk of the timepiece. The dial ultimately looks smaller and that would throw off the overall proportion of the watch. With the Baltic Aquascaphe, you’re sure that the bezel doesn’t take away from the dial. It’s not too large that it shrinks the dial. Moreover, true to its vintage inspiration, the insert only comes with 15, 30, and 43 numerals. At 0/60, a triangle sits while other markers appear as dots. With the bezel in sapphire, you’re sure that this watch is only of the highest quality. This also gives a fair addition to the price of the watch. Dial The Aquascaphe is available in two major colors: black and blue. However, on the company’s website you can find the following color combinations: Black Silver Black Cream Blue Gilt Black with Steel Bezel Bronze Blue Gilt and Bronze Glossy Black Generally, all the watches have very distinct vintage-inspired looks. However, you can go for a more modern look with the Black Silver iteration of the watch. The white lume definitely gives it a newer face with light gray prints and a matte dial that’s also grainy in texture. If you want something more vintage, Black Cream is a great option for you. The cream-colored lume gives it a truly vintage feel. Meanwhile, the Blue Gilt proves really great, especially when underwater. The dark blue sunray dial looks wonderful when underwater and its cream lume perfectly matches the faux-gilt paint. Many people prefer the Blue Gilt for its complete aesthetic; it truly is a vintage diver. As aforementioned, there are many similarities between the Aquascaphe and Baltic’s first model, the Bicompax. It also bears similarities with HMS models from the brand. Among those, the 12 numeral stands out. This little detail ultimately unifies the watches under the brand. Overall, the dial of the Aquascaphe truly captures a multi-dimensional canvas. A pleasant texture sits at the markers of the watch and for a watch at this price, the lume proves incredibly potent. This is despite the little area of application on the markers. For even better legibility, the watch has the minutes/seconds index printed around the outer edge of the dial. Movement At the heart of the Baltic Aquascaphe is the Miyota 9039 movement. This is an automatic-winding 24-jewel movement with hacking and hand-winding features. It comes with 42 hours of power reserve which works wonders if you don’t plan on wearing it on weekends. With a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, you’re sure that it’s accurate. It’s very similar to the 9015 minus the date complication or date position in the crown. Baltic surely did a great job of choosing this movement as it’s a lot thinner than Swiss options. This is just as reliable as more expensive movements in the market. Bracelet We weren’t kidding when we told you that the Aquascaphe sits perfectly around the wrist. There are two options available for this watch. You can get it with a tropical rubber strap that’s perfect especially if you plan on wearing it while diving. You can also get it in a “beads of rice” bracelet that exudes great premium appeal. Both options are great but the beads are great options if you plan on wearing them on a day-to-day basis. Baltic made sure that even the bracelet of the watch has a vintage feel. It’s versatile enough to be worn in a casual setting and works wonders on more formal events. With the watch being thin, the Baltic Aquascaphe is comfortable around the wrist. Price The Baltic Aquascaphe costs €579.17 EUR or around $700 USD, brand new. However, you can still find this timepiece on the secondhand market for less. You can avail of a more expensive version which is the Bronze Blue Gilt and Bronze Glossy Black. These cost around  €625 EUR or about $770 USD. These are reasonable prices especially with the features and quality of the watch. Baltic Aquascaphe GMT & Dual-Crown Baltic launched another Aquascaphe with a GMT function. This timepiece varies only in bezel design with a 24-hour marker instead of dots around the bezel. The colors are also a lot sportier than the Aquascaphe with combinations of blue/green, blue/gray, and blue/orange. These colors prove great especially when underwater. It also comes with a date window at 6 o’clock. The Aquascaphe GMT costs more at €920 EUR or around $1,120 USD. Baltic Aquascaphe GMT (Left) and Dual-Crown (Right)Meanwhile, if you want a leaner version of the timepiece, the Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is for you. This timepiece comes with two crowns, one of which controls the inner bezel of the watch. The bezel of the timepiece is bi-directional, perfect for any recreational diver. It costs around €550 USD or $670 USD. A Powerful Newcomer: Baltic Aquascaphe What makes Baltic such a powerhouse is the fact they’re incredibly reliable. This is a relatively new brand that’s making waves in the watch community for crowd-funded watches. The fact that many people choose to support this watch without nays says a lot about it. The Aquascaphe proves itself a good competitor for other brands and companies of the same price point. Surely, there are better things that await us, but what we have right here is already impressive for a first. Looking for more dive watches? Here are dive watches under 1000 USD. All photos courtesy of Baltic.

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