1. Watch Guides

  2. History of Omega Seamaster Watches

    History of Omega Seamaster Watches

    The Omega Seamaster has garnered a reputation for being one of the most prominent Bond watches. However, the history of the watch dates back decades before the fictional British super-agent first swapped it on his wrist. In this lineup’s 70-year history, the Omega Seamaster became highly renowned, to say the least. It was a watch that could be worn as a sophisticated dress watch or a heavy-duty solid steel diver. Let us rewind time and see how this timeless horological masterpiece came to be. The History‌ of the Omega Seamaster The first model of the Seamaster was launched back in 1948. These models were based on designs of a watch that Omega had made for British airmen during the Second World War. It came with an O-ring gasket and had improved water-resistance, which is why it was called “waterproof” at the time. It had a depth rating between 10 to 30 meters. Shop Omega Seamaster Watches This was an improvement from previous water-resistant watches that relied on shellac or lead gaskets. The problem with such watches is that they were easily affected by temperature changes. That’s what a diver would experience at several depths. So to get around this, Omega looked upon World War 2 submarines as an inspiration. From that inspiration, the brand included a resilient rubber gasket in the Seamaster’s final design. The new case allowed the models to withstand 60-meter depths and temperature ranges between -40 to 50 degrees C. The original edition came with two variations: center seconds, as well as small seconds at the dial’s bottom. It was made out of stainless steel material and designed with sturdy, short lugs with a slim profile for everyday use. In 1955, the Swiss Laboratory for Watch‌ ‌Research‌ tested out 50 Seamaster cases with a 60-meter depth rating. This along with the experimentation for new materials led to the introduction of several new models in the latter decades. The Omega Seamaster 300 (1957) Following the testing, Omega rolled out a trio of Master watches starting from 1957 when scuba diving was all the rage. These new watches included the Railmaster, the Speedmaster, and finally the Seamaster 300. The Omega Seamaster 300, unlike its previous models, was actually built to be used underwater. Despite the title, the Seamaster 300 could go as far as 200 meters underwater. Omega claims that it was due to the limitations of the equipment, and not the watch itself. The CK2913, which was the original reference, displayed the new Naiad winding crown. This was Omega’s response to the screw-down design, the patent which is still utilized over at Rolex. Omega Seamaster Chronograph 1968 This was a more fashionable take on the traditional diver watch. It had symmetrical subdials that were easy to read and didn’t just appeal to seamen. Interestingly, this watch is what inspired Alaska III which was used on the space shuttle in the 80s. Protopapas says that it predates the future NASA proposal by 10 years. The Bond‌ ‌Watch‌ or Seamaster 300M (1994) Somewhere during the mid-1990s, the Omega Seamaster had lost its steam. To make things worse, this decline allowed another fan-favorite in the Omega Seamaster Professional to take over. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Seamaster 300 achieved global recognition as a James Bond watch. Not only that, the Omega Seamaster officially dethroned Rolex as the favorite new timepiece for the suave British agent. This was a big deal since Ian Fleming, author of James Bond did include a Rolex in the GoldenEye novel. What’s more, is that he also wore a Rolex himself during the time the book was published. This change was made because the costume designer of the film said that Omega was more relevant to the British Royal Navy. As a result, it was more relevant to the James Bond character. The model of the watch was the Seamaster Professional 300M that Brosnan’s Bond character worn in GoldenEye. And ever since then, for the next 25 years, the Omega would be the trademark Bond watch. For the next three Brosnan Bond films, the character was sporting the Omega 300 Automatic‌ ‌Chronometer. When Daniel Craig stepped in as Bond in 2006 Casino Royale, he was wearing two Omega watches. The first was the Omega Seamaster 300 and the other was the Seamaster Planet Ocean that came with a rubber strap for the action sequences. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean made another appearance in the Craig-Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008). He later wore the same watch for Skyfall (2012). Then in the 2015’s Spectre, a special edition of the Omega Seamaster 300 was released titled Spectre. This was to commemorate the 20-year partnership of the brand with the Bond franchise. This served as a call back to the first Bond Seamaster. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean (2003) 2003 was when the Planet‌ ‌Ocean‌ range was meant to dive deeper into the sea. These versions came with the Omega Co-Axial 2500 movement. They also came with a 600-meter water-resistance rating, a chronometer certification, and a helium-escape valve. These watches were the first to come with state-of-the-art materials like the in-house Omega 8500 caliber, and the liquid metal bezels. This pretty much explains why this watch was good enough to be a Bond watch starting from Casino Royale. Seamaster Professional‌ ‌Diver‌ 300m (2018) In 2018, this watch celebrated the 25th anniversary with a facelift of the 1993 classic with 2018 technology. These saw the release of 14 such models that came in several finishes. Protopapas compared the Omega Seamaster as a classic car design that’s never going to lose its luster.

    read more
    0
  3. 5 Reasons Why Mk II Watches Are Good Watches

    5 Reasons Why Mk II Watches Are Good Watches

    You may wonder if Mk II watches are indeed good watches. It’s a fair question as the microbrand has flown somewhat under the radar and occupies an odd space in the watchmaking world. They do homages, contemporary takes on classic designs that could be disastrous in the wrong hands. But Mk II watches do this arguably better than anyone else. Here are a few reasons why. 1: The Spirit of Bill Yao Founder Bill Yao is about as hands-on as a company head can get. Literally. He’s often found at his workbench agonizing over every little detail on whatever watch he’s currently fixated on. A graduate of the elite Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Yao turned away from the world of high finance and a lucrative career on Wall Street. Instead, he followed his love of tinkering with timepieces and started making aftermarket parts for Seiko watches. That passion project would eventually lead to his launching Mk II Watches in 2002, based in the suburbs of Philadelphia where Yao was born and raised. Photos from mkiiwatches officialAnd while Mk II has a range of ready-made offerings, they’re equally known for their customizations that are done by Bill himself. That kind of personalized attention requires patience from his loyal fans who wait months or even years until their one-of-a-kind creation is complete. 2: The Turbulent Tale of the Kingston If you’ve heard nearly nothing about Mk II, which is the case for many non-watch-geeks, the little you have heard probably involves the Kingston. It’s the watch that put the fledgling company on the map and nearly caused its downfall. It started with a simple idea. Yao wanted to create a watch that pays tribute to the Rolex Submariner Reference 6538 worn by Sean Connery in the James Bond flick Dr. No. Sounds straightforward enough. He wanted to build it to match the Rolex quality and offer that high-end craftsmanship at a price of just over $1,000. Okay, ambitious, but plausible given Yao’s skills. Soon enough, 100 trusting customers made pre-orders. Photos from mkiiwatches officialBut the financial crisis that was rippling across the world in 2009 had its say. From vendors to assembly and quality control, you name a stage of the watchmaking process and there was a problem facing Yao. Delays led to more delays, with months turning into years. Some customers even accused Yao of fraud. But, after five harrowing years, the last of the initial orders were delivered, though with little profit to show for the years of pain. Then fortune took a turn. The Kingston was so well received that nobody even talked about the disastrous rollout. Reviews were glowing. Some people started reselling the watches for two and three times the price they just paid. Many felt the homage actually outdid the original Rolex! Yao was suddenly famed for homage watches, renowned for creating affordable masterworks that were well worth the wait. Mk II had arrived. 3: They Transcend Homages Say the word “homage” and you can almost feel the collective eye roll of serious watch aficionados. But for Mk II watches, “homage” is a guiding principle, with a very specific meaning. That’s why the company is named Mark 2, as in the second version. Mark 2 is the new chapter in a watch’s story. So for Mk II, this second evolution of a timepiece means capturing the original style of watches from the past and making them more accessible with today’s technology. Mk II has some strict rules about how they handle homages. First, in order for a watch design to get the homage treatment, it must be at least 15 years old, and preferably much older. You can’t pay homage to a contemporary timepiece as that’s not how homages work. Second, the functionality of the homage must be equal to, or better than, the watch that they’re honoring. They don’t do cheap knock-offs. Third, the homage should bring value to a watch’s story. Changes and modern interpretations of original designs take the initial intent into account and attempt to honor that intention rather than simply go for similarity. 4: Modern Military Style Among the list of things that Mk II watches do well in, and that’s a solid list, perhaps none is better than making military-inspired watches. Photos from mkiiwatches officialThe Mk II Paradive goes in a different direction with its homage to military watches, notably with the Gen 3 model that mirrors the Benrus Type I divers watch that was issued to US soldiers during the Vietnam War. While looking decidedly modern, the Gen 3 echoes the style of the Benrus on its dial, bezel, and case without ever slipping into tactless imitation. Drawing inspiration from Rolex and Tudor’s MilSub, the Fulcrum is what Mk II likes to call its “American MilSub.” The Fulcrum is unique in the Mk II line as it doesn’t pay homage to any specific model, but rather the genre of vintage military watches as a whole. Instead of a diver-style rotating bezel, an American MilSub has a prominent twelve-hour unidirectional bezel. A bead-blasted steel case wears on the large side at 42mm in diameter, with anti-magnetism and a sapphire crystal adding durability. It’s ready for action on a sturdy rubber strap. 5: A Nice Price From the beginning, affordability was at the heart of Bill Yao’s plan. The goal was to make luxury watches accessible through imitation. And the reasonable price tags of their ready-to-wear timepieces prove that Mk II watches have succeeded. Offerings in their Cruxible line are available online for about $650, while their Hawkinge models cost even less at under $600. Their Paradive watches come in at just under $900. And for true bargains, they’re accepting pre-orders for their Stingray II and Tornek-Rayville watches at $450 each. Photos from mkiiwatches officialNone of this is to say that a Rolex isn’t worth the cost. Or that homage to an Omega is better than the real thing. But if you broaden your thinking a bit, and understand the motivation behind an homage watch, a creation from Bill Yao’s MKII workshop just might be the next timepiece you put on your wrist.

    read more
    0
  4. A Closer Look at Orion Watches

    A Closer Look at Orion Watches

    In the recent avalanche of affordable watch brands, Orion Watches has managed to poke its head above the pack and grab attention. That’s no easy feat. Let’s look at how this upstart micro-brand has earned so much respect in just a few short years. Orion Watches, A Family Heirloom Launches a Dream It began with one simple act of gift-giving. While a teenager, Orion watches founder Nick Harris received a 1955 Omega Constellation that had been passed down in the family for generations, starting with his great grandfather. Nick saw that the watch needed repair and started studying up on horology. And a passion for watches was ignited. Nick began modifying watches as a hobby, and soon started selling them online. People readily purchased his creations and the demand for his modding grew. After some training at Seattle’s SAWTA watch-making school, Nick decided it was time to go pro by launching his own brand. The Orion brand was born with a plan to hit the market in 2016. Orion Watches Debut of the Orion 1 The Orion 1 was the first watch to bow under the Orion banner, starting with a limited 300-piece run. Nick created this premiere piece for watch wearers like himself, those with slim wrists and a love of vintage flair. And for watch lovers who like things a bit out of the norm, with a 9mm diameter that should in no way work on a 38mm case. Yet it does, with some help from hefty crown guards, a generous bezel, and oversized lugs combined to make these large individual components not seem so big as a whole. Keen observers will note that the matte dial is a nod to classic Omega Seamaster’s, giving the watch that dressy-but-sporty vibe we first saw with luxury tool watches in the 1950s. Calamity Stakes a Claim Among Dive Watches The Orion Calamity is one of their most popular offerings. And it’s not one that was destined to succeed. Today’s market is inundated with dive watches, from both established brands and a slew of recent micro-brands. Plunging into those waters and making waves (how many puns can we get?) probably isn’t the best business plan. Yet Orion went for it with their Calamity. The result is a great modern dive watch that pleased the masses. Keeping things simple, the Calamity is only offered in stainless steel with black, blue, or green matte dials. Measurements also stay conservative at 40mm across with 11.3mm thickness. In what appears to be a nod to the Orion 1 (and thus Nick’s signature feature), it comes with a massive knurled screw-down crown that’s bracketed by sloped crown guards, helping to downplay its considerable size. The dial is no-nonsense, feeling sporty with a pop of orange on the second hand. And while most micro-brands go with more affordable components on the inside, the Calamity features Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement, costing more as it’s thinner than the more common 2824. With water-resistance up to 666 feet, the Calamity is ready for underwater action but perhaps feels more suited for dress-casual occasions. Orion Watches, Going Classic and Contemporary with the Hellcat The name “Hellcat” may have stirred up a notion about airplanes in your brain. Yes, the Hellcat was a famous World War Two fighter plane and the US Navy’s go-to aircraft for missions in the Pacific theater. And so, Orion aptly named its pilot watch after this aviation legend. A follow-up to the Calamity, the Orion Hellcat isn’t quite as vintage-inspired as its name might suggest. Yes, it does have elements of throwback flair such as the lack of crown guards that reminds of watches from a previous era. But overall, it feels more modern. It has a thin bezel on a streamlined stainless steel case that mixes polished and bead-blasted surfaces. Large Arabic numerals give a contemporary feel to the dial. It’s available in black and an eye-catching glossy red. The latter is a rarity with pilot watches, as black, white, and blue are the norms. That makes the Hellcat an iconoclastic entry in the pantheon of aviation horology. Source: orionwatch offical websiteOrion Watches, Suave Military Style of the Field Standard The Field Standard was created in reaction to the poorly made military watches; more so from that lesser micro-brands who have churned out of the past few years with their flimsy crowns and crystals that feel on the verge of cracking. Instead, Orion’s field watch features a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating and a case made out of 316L stainless steel that’s highly resistant to corrosion. And the Field Standard is water-resistant up to 100 meters. But this isn’t really a watch that wants to get tested out in the wilds unless your idea of wild is a buttered rum latte at an upscale bistro. The dial goes for classic cool with large Arabic numerals, topped by pronounced cathedral hands. On a black or brown croc-patterned strap, the Field Standard oozes business-casual charm. But as field watches tend to do, it’s just as happy to dress down with jeans and a t-shirt. Orion Watches: Conclusion Nick’s come a long way since that fateful day when he first held the family heirloom that would guide his life into the watchmaking world. And now, we imagine that the cherished timepiece he passes on to future generations will definitely be an Orion watch.

    read more
    0
  5. Breva Watches: All You Want to Know About this Truly Unique Brand

    Breva Watches: All You Want to Know About this Truly Unique Brand

    When you think about unique brands in the watch industry, Breva watches should be top of your list. This is one watch manufacturer that did not follow the crowd when it came to designing its pieces. From its origins to the models Breva launched over the years, the brand is in a league of its own. Is this a watch meant for collectors? Or is it the next brand you’ll wear on your arm? Let’s find out. Breva Watches — The Origins There’s some romance entangled in the story of how Breva came to be. The name was inspired by the wind around Lake Como after all. But it’s also clear that its inventor was driven by passion and had an appreciation for modern inventions. And of course, the weather. The man behind Breva watches was Vincent Dupontreue from Paris. He was born there in 1977 and even his childhood was marked by the influence of jewelry since he sold bracelets when he was as young as 11. This also proves the sense of entrepreneurship that would come in handy later in his journey. Later on in his life, Vincent worked at a clothing store but when his young age prevented him from managing his own boutique, he went out completely on his own. In the late 1990s, he opened a fashion brand named after himself. Vincent clearly had an interest in many industries because he later sold his brand, studied business, and got into the art gallery business. All of this led up to his decision in 2010 to start up the Breva fashion watch brand. Breva Watches Journey Vincent’s projects were always motivated by his love for being an entrepreneur. This particular project—Breva—had the added motivation of him wanting a unique way to forecast the weather. Some motivation came from the warm winds at Lake Como and it also resulted in the name, since ‘La Breva’ refers to this type of wind. But Vincent wanted to do much more than simply give honor to the weather; he wanted to empower watch wearers to get forecasts from their timepieces. For this reason, you’ll find unique components on Breva watches such as altimeters and even barometers. It took some time to make this idea a reality. From the time the brand started, it took three years until it launched its first impressive watch, the Genie 01, in 2013 at Baselworld in Switzerland. This is how the world came to have its first timepiece with altimeter, weather forecasting barometer, and time components in one unit. Best of all is that the designers didn’t lose sight of the aesthetic value of wristwatches. The brand’s watches are incredibly functional, but you can view any Breva watch and you’re bound to fall in love with the look as well. Breva Watches To date, Breva watches has launched three main models: Genie 01, Genie 02, and Genie 03. Each watch is unique, in terms of look and features. The Genie 03’s attraction is the small but effective mechanical Speedometer that can measure airspeed. There are also power reserve indicators and a compass. You can imagine that it requires some space to fit in all the interesting components, but Breva watches managed to do it while still providing a stylish watch. A bit bulky perhaps, but comfortable to wear. For example, the Genie 03 measures 44.7mm x 17.50mm. The secret lies in the fact that certain features can open up to perform their tasks. For example. on the Genie 03, the watch’s anemometer can lift above the face of the watch in order to catch the wind and give you the information you want. Moreover, on the Genie 03, the brand also showcased its expertise in terms of movement design. Your watch comes with the Breva’s own automatic movement called the BRE03.001. Another characteristic that makes the watches so attractive is the fact that you can see many of the components and gears through the sub-dial of sapphire crystal. You can witness how your watch works and even just by looking at the small parts, you’ll notice the high level of craftsmanship and workmanship the brand invests in its pieces. Breva Watches — Who is it for? Some critics may say that Breva watches are simply a trend with features people won’t use. But the truth is that a watch that delivers accurate weather information, without the need to connect to the World Wide Web or without you making a call, could be of exceptional value. For example, it can help someone who is hiking in a remote area. When you have some information about the surrounding air pressure and wind, it can help you determine if a storm is on its way. Final Thoughts Vincent was driven by his entrepreneurial spirit to bring something onto the market that’s truly different. Will it be everyone’s preference? Perhaps not. But is it worth your consideration to own something that will have people take a second look at your arm? Definitely.

    read more
    0
  6. ToyWatch: All You Need to Know

    ToyWatch: All You Need to Know

    Don’t, for one moment, let this watch brand’s name fool you. Although called ‘ToyWatch,’ these accessories are everything but toys. And since it’s been mentioned on ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things’ list in the past, chances are you might want one too. Below, we’ll share the basics about this brand so you can determine which of their many models—they cater for every preference—should find their way into your closet. ToyWatch: The Company The ToyWatch brand originated in the style-focused city of Milan, Italy in 2006. Perhaps, it was inspiration from this city that resulted in the ornate logo design. But another aspect the company stood for was “fun.” That’s in part why they started out with manufacturing plastic watches. The president and CEO of the company was Stefano Cassina. Over the years, the brand grew and opened facilities in America—where a subsidiary was created—as well as in Hong Kong. At one stage, in America, ToyWatch USA was headed by Agostino Magni. He gained experience while being president of Rebecca Jewelry, as well as by working for the Sundek swimsuit brand. His wide network and influence—even with retailers such as Bloomingdale’s—assisted in expanding in the US. The company saw various changes, with shareholding resulting in J. Hirsch & Co. owning just under 50% of the brand’s shares in 2011. In 2013, there were more changes when ILP III private equity fund eventually owned all the shares. No matter what was happening behind the scenes, the watches found favor with the masses, and eventually, they were sold across the world. Outlets from London to Kuala Lumpur added these to their watch collections. As mentioned, Oprah loved the brand and Ellen DeGeneres also featured certain models on her show in 2009. Today, you’ll still find many ToyWatch products on the market. However, the original company itself was eventually dissolved. The products that form part of the ranges definitely represent uniqueness. You’ll find watches with flower imagery, stunning jewels, and even watches worn as bangles that wrap around your wrist several times. What to Expect from a ToyWatch The name of the brand definitely fits with its original watch ranges. They were mostly manufactured from plastic. But the brand kept an open mind and started catering to other niches too. Today, you’ll find all kinds of substances in ToyWatch ranges: Aluminum and steel Swarovski elements as decorative features Gold and diamonds for style Ceramic Silicon Polycarbonate Leather straps The watches also incorporate features that the modern customer values. This includes tachymeters, magnified dates, and chronographs. This expansion means the accessories can meet the consumer’s needs in terms of durability, style, and functionality. ToyWatch Products Do yourself a favor and look at a page online or a storefront where various ToyWatch models are displayed. You’ll quickly notice the diversity this brand decided to launch onto the market over the years. The company has many collections, with engaging names such as ‘Skull’, ‘J-Looped’, ‘Velvety’ and ‘Maya Natural Stones’. You can see from this shortlist—there are many more—that there’s something for everyone. There’s even a Vintage collection and a ToyStrong. In each of these collections, there’s bound to be a watch that suits your outfits and preferences. Final Thoughts The history of ToyWatch tells the story of an original idea that spoke to what certain people were looking for. It also shows the power of being willing to change according to what consumers at large are after. From plastic for fun to crystal for some luxury, ToyWatch has featured it all! Although the company changed and the original entity even ceased to exist, the watch industry still has many ToyWatch options to offer. Which one will you wear?

    read more
    0
  7. Martian Watches: Your Go-To Guide

    Martian Watches: Your Go-To Guide

    If you want to be associated with those that are ahead of their time, Martian Watches is a brand you should take note of. The brand has a few claims to fame, and below, we’ll explore all these aspects in detail. Of course, it’s not only about the brand’s unique history. What are their watches like? In short, they’re definitely worth adding to your shortlist of accessories to buy this year, especially if you love innovative gadgets. Want to find out more? Where did Martian Watches Come from? Here’s a unique story: Martian Watches is actually a watch brand founded by another company called SilverPlus, Inc. The company originated in Irvine, CA, and is a proudly US brand. The company behind Martian Watches, SilverPlus, Inc, is known as a distributor of communication equipment. The president, Stan Kinsey, is a well-known investor who has been part of famous brands’ boards, such as serving as an executive at Disney back in the 80s. The brand was established over a decade ago in 2007. But, at the time, it had one of the most innovative approaches to watch technology. No wonder the name still garners respect from many people. What Makes Martian Watches Unique? Here’s one of the most fun facts about Martian: to the best of the industry’s knowledge, Martian was the first brand ever to incorporate voice command into one of its watches. These days you’ll find many brands, from Fitbit to Samsung that has this feature. Nonetheless, Martian was the first. Another unique approach to being part of the watch industry was how the brand funded its new products. The wireless watches that could connect to smartphones were first sent to customers in 2013 but before that, the brand launched a Kickstarter campaign. This was successful enough to gain the funds they needed to realize their dream. The Martian brand wasn’t only adored by gadget lovers. Other prominent brands also took note, with Guess wanting to team up with them with the goal of designing a few smartwatches together. Eventually, not all these plans were realized; but the fact that such a well-known company took note of Martian, proved the brand’s worth. Features of Martian Watches The initial focus behind the Martian range was to create watches that allow for hands-free management of wearers’ mobile devices. This was done by putting wireless technology to good use and enabling watches to communicate with phones. They also created a compact OLED display. The units’ other features include: Noise-canceling microphones Speakers Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity Micro USB port Accelerometer The USB port is the feature you use to charge your Martian watch and watches are compatible with both Android & iOS. As mentioned, Martian did everything it could to stay ahead of the game, adding features modern consumers can appreciate. Via the OLED screen, wearers can see who is calling them on their mobile devices and you can even get notifications from your social media profiles. Yes, today these seem like regular features, but a few years ago it was unheard of! All these impressive features and the innovative approach to the watch industry earned the brand a number of awards, most notably from the respected entity: CNET. They also won the Edison Award for Productivity Tools in 2013 and even Popular Mechanics CES gave them an Editor’s Choice Award. There’s no doubt that Martian impressed everyone around them. Martian Watches Today It wasn’t all plain sailing for the brand, unfortunately. The company launched another Kickstarter campaign later on, but this one didn’t go as planned. They suffered significant losses, couldn’t supply all their clients with the watches ordered and they ran into debt. The sad news is that the brand didn’t survive in the long term. After a strong start in 2007 and its many victories in the watch industry, it had to close its doors in 2018. During its 11 years of operation, it added impressive watch models to the modern market. Martian Watches that Deserve a Place in Your Collection If you can get your hands on a Martian watch these days, go for it! The brand succeeded in incorporating high-tech and impressive style in many of the models. If analog is your preference, there’s the Martian G2G with its modern spin or the ultra-classy Passport model. Or perhaps, you’ll prefer the Marian Victory available in four different designs that go with almost any outfit. The older Notifier model was also a crowd favorite and you can see the brand catered with watch styles for various niches. The watches all come with Voice Command technology that empowers you to live more hands-free. Final Thoughts Not all good things last forever and it’s sad that such a prominent brand is no longer part of the industry. Nevertheless, the smartwatches they left behind were indeed impressive and still occupy an important place in the history of American watch brands.

    read more
    0
  8. Closer Look at the Chopard Mille Miglia

    Closer Look at the Chopard Mille Miglia

    For more than three decades, the Chopard Mille Miglia has kept the spirit of vintage road racing alive with a steady flow of limited-edition timepieces. Let’s delve into what makes this watch so special. Mille Miglia. “1,000 Miles” in Italian. It stands for the distance and the thusly titled open-road race that once roared through the Italian countryside. While the last of the endurance racers competed in the grueling heat more than half a century ago, today Chopard captures their essence in the watch that’s named in their honor. They Rolled Out of the 80s While the final drivers crossed the last finish line of the Mille Miglia in 1957, it wasn’t until over three decades later that the Swiss watchmakers Chopard paid homage to their neighbors to the south. In 1988, Chopard debuted what would be the first of a series of limited edition Mille Miglia watches, starting with their Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph. It was designed to capture the spirit of road racing with a prominent bezel, pronounced tachymeter scale, and a design inspired by the look of a classic race car’s dashboard. Drivers and Watches Today, the famed race is honored by the annual Mille Miglia Storica.  A parade of pre-1957 classic cars and a massive road-rally event for serious auto enthusiasts. The event features a rotating roster of A-list celebrity drivers. These drivers have a serious incentive to participate. Each is presented with that year’s limited edition Mille Miglia just for taking part. A Few of Our Favorite Chopard Mille Miglia Watches With a new offering each year since 1988, there are lots to choose from in the line. But let’s take a look at some standouts that have become favorites through the years. Chopard Mille Miglia 8331 To mark the 10th anniversary of the watch, Chopard created the much-loved 8331. This one doesn’t try to overwhelm with size, with a relatively small 39mm diameter round case. Like all in the line, it honors racing heritage, here with a tachymeter on the dial and three chronograph functions. And, sure, maybe they are overdoing it a bit on the racing theme with the rubber strap featuring a tire-tread pattern. But hey, it works. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. And for all of those gearheads who like to poke around under the hood of a car, flip this one over to view the inner workings of the movement through a display case back. Mille Miglia GTS We first met the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Power Control at Baselworld in 2015. A bezel with a black aluminum insert gives the GTS a super sporty look. It’s complemented by a black dial that pays tribute to the dashboards of yore. The dial is dominated by large Arabic 6 and 12 numerals. Those numerals are matched only in their prominence by the trademark Chopard red-arrow logo that crosses the date window. The power reserve indicator is styled to look like a gas gauge on a car from the 1950s. It is available in stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold. The GTS can go on a stainless steel bracelet but the sporty watch feels just as at home on a sturdy rubber strap. Chopard Mille Miglia GMT 8992 This is one of the most iconic timepieces in the line. The GMT 8992 is an all-stainless-steel chronograph that jumps feet first into racing style. It has the trademark tachymeter on the dial and a 24-hour bezel that frames its 42mm face. Three chronograph dials continue the racing functionality, as does the signature Chopard Mille Miglia red-arrow race logo. While it comes with a fine leather strap, this sporty offering might feel a bit more fitting on a thick rubber strap. Chopard Mille Miglia Racing Colors These are arguably the most popular watches in the line. We need to leap forward 30 years from its debut to the anniversary editions we saw in 2018. The watches stayed true to the racing roots. The five colors on the 30th-anniversary rollout represent the colors of the countries that competed in the original race. France raced blue Bugatti’s, Italy drove red Alfa Romeos, the British brought green Bentleys, Silver Arrow Mercedes came from Germany, and Belgium competed with yellow race cars. Each watch in the group sports these different dial colors. In common they have 42mm wide stainless steel cases with 12.67mm thickness, screw-down crowns, and pushers to operate chronograph functions in true vintage racing style. Chopard Mille Miglia, Does the Name Sound Familiar? No, you’re not crazy. Well, at least not for any strange sense of familiarity you may have felt with the name Chopard Mille Miglia. That’s also the name of Italian airline Alitalia’s frequent flyer program. Classic Corvettes are painted with Mille Miglia Red. And the Mille Miglia is also a type of jacket, featuring goggles in the hood, that’s popular with British soccer fans. But the name Chopard Mille Miglia will forever be associated with the iconic watches from Chopard. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few who are invited to take the wheel of a classic roadster. More realistically, just keep an eye out online, and perhaps one of these coveted watches will find its way from the race routes of Italy to your wrist.

    read more
    0
  9. Watch Guide to Different Types of Watch Materials

    Watch Guide to Different Types of Watch Materials

    A lot comes to mind when considering a new timepiece like the price or style. However, watch materials should also be right up there on the list. So, what should your watch be made of? Well, let’s delve into this watch guide for distinct types of watch materials that go into making high-quality watches.  Watch Materials Stainless Steel for Lasting Durability If you’re looking for a watch, you’ll likely be browsing a bunch of steel models, as stainless steel is the most used material in watches today. One big reason for its popularity is durability, as stainless steel has a serious ability to resist corrosion. It’s lightweight and more affordable than gold. Stainless steel eclipsed when it came into wide use at the dawn of the 1930s. With polished or brushed finishes, stainless steel watches do have slight downsides. They can scratch and dent more easily than some other more-durable materials. But stainless steel is still plenty tough! A popular material for dive watches, stainless steel is found in some of the most legendary timepieces designed for undersea exploration. While the Rolex GMT Master II and the Rolex Daytona are both popular stainless steel offerings, the Rolex Submariner is particularly tied to stainless steel as it owes its heritage to the Rolex Perpetual Oyster, the world’s first hermetically sealed steel watch. From the Omega Speedmaster on the high end to more-affordable selections such as the Seiko Prospex, stainless steel dive watches are things of beauty that literally stand the test of time. Gold and its Many Mixers These days when on the hunt for a stylish gold watch, you can choose from either white, yellow, and rose gold. What’s the difference you ask? Well, white gold looks a lot like steel because pure yellow gold is mixed with steel or the silvery-white metal palladium, as well as possibly zinc or nickel. It’s not hard to tell Rose Gold at first sight, as the copper that gets mixed with the Yellow Gold gives it a rosy hue. On the plus side, you get a warm and elegant coloring that goes great with dress watches. But there’s the negative in that since Rose Gold can scratch and dent more easily than other alloys. Yellow Gold, as you can probably guess, has a traditional golden color that’s a common sight with luxury watches. But it’s usually not pure gold, as 24 karat gold is too soft to make a durable watch. So, it’s mixed with copper, much like Rose Gold. The difference is in the copper content, as the more copper you put into the mix the more red, or rose, coloring emerges. The number of options for high-end gold watches can be dizzying, from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date or the Omega Speedmaster 57 and so on. If you’re looking for something affordable, you can consider steel watches with gold platings. Tissot, Seiko, and Invicta are great brands to look into if you’re in the market for an affordable watch that gleams in gold. Titanium for Twice the Toughness This lightweight alloy came onto the scene in the early 1970s. That’s when many thought the days of stainless steel were numbered. Titanium has nearly two times the strength of stainless steel and half the weight. It’s also highly resistant to corrosion. Perfect, right? Well, sort of. Titanium is also more expensive than steel and, perhaps most importantly, its duller finish just doesn’t gleam like stainless steel. Titanium settled into an esteemed spot in the watch world as a go-to material for dive and similar tool watches. The Citizen Promaster Diver is a great example of a fine titanium dive watch, as is the Tudor Pelagos with a titanium case that’s water-resistant to 500 meters. Some other great titanium timepieces include the TAG Heuer Formula 1, the PVD-coated Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto, and the Seiko Presage SARX055, an atypical titanium dress watch. Buy TAG Heuer Formula 1 Watches   Watch Materials, An Ancient Art Goes Modern with Ceramic While it may seem strange, ceramic watches are made of exactly what they sound like — they are hardened clay. It’s the same technique that’s been used in making pottery for centuries, with some help from today’s modern science to create super-durable compositions of zirconium oxide. But despite its long history, ceramic is a relative newcomer with watches. It didn’t really go mainstream until the debut of the IWC Da Vinci Ceramic in 1986. Before that, Omega had dabbled with ceramics in the early 80s for the special-order Seamaster Cermet. And even earlier, the Rado DiaStar broke ground in the early 60s with its tungsten carbide ceramic case. But it wasn’t the case until IWC hit the market with its zirconium oxide case that we got the kind of material that’s used in today’s ceramic cases.

    read more
    0
  10. Closer Look at the Rolex Explorer II

    Closer Look at the Rolex Explorer II

    Designed for discovering far-off lands, the Rolex Explorer II has been gracing the wrists of adventure seekers for decades. It’s also a refined watch that wears well for dress-casual occasions. Let’s take a closer look at this iconic timepiece. Rolex Explorer II Started in the 70s 1971 to be exact. That was the year Rolex decided that the Explorer needed a bigger brother and rolled out a larger version. The Explorer II made its debut with a 39mm stainless steel case and a complementing steel bracelet. As for the “explorer” part, it was made for adventurers with a 24-hour hand pointing to a fixed bezel. It offered military time to explorers who might not be able to readily tell the difference between AM and PM in a dark situation such as caving. A generous application of lume adds to its use in low-light situations. The first Rolex Explorer IIs have also earned the dubious nickname of “Steve McQueen’s’’ because the late actor was said to have worn one. But we’re not so sure about that, as there are no photographs with him wearing one and McQueen was famously partial to both the Rolex Submariner and the TAG Heuer Monaco. Still, the name survives. All About the White Dial Buy White Watches The white-dial versions we saw debut in 1984 are hands-down the most popular Rolex Explorer IIs, back then and today. The early white-dial models were produced from 1984 to 1989. They are highly sought after by collectors — and mainly for a slight defect! The white paint on the first incarnations fades more than it should, turning the dial to an ivory-cream color that watch enthusiasts simply love. In the 80s, we also saw a change, with the addition of red paint and a small triangle to the 24-hour hand. Today, that hand pops with vibrant orange and is a signature grace note to the elegant watch. The Polar Explorer Arrives All Rolex aficionados know the nickname. The unofficial title of “Polar Explorer” was given to the reference 16570 versions that premiered in 1989. We then saw the addition of round hour markers, with black outlines to create a striking black-and-white motif that remains in production today. The reference 16570 remained in production for 22 years after its debut. And while the white dial is what catches the attention of most, a closer look at the face reveals true luxury. The hour markers are made from 18-carat gold! So, tarnishing will never be a problem with these precious metals. Buy Rolex Explorer II Watches Forged with Oyster Steel That “Oyster Perpetual‘’ name that’s emblazoned on its face is more than just branding. Rolex prides itself on crafting timepieces that can stand up to extreme conditions and that’s ever so clear in its Oystersteel cases. More often found in high-stress uses such as aerospace applications, high-grade 904L steel is used in an alloy that Rolex specifically developed in-house. The result is an ultra-tough alloy that resists corrosion and can take one serious beating while still polishing to a fine finish. And not just the case. The Oyster bracelet is equally durable, with the same fine finish and Rolex’s exclusive Oysterlock clasp to guard against the possibility of the bracelet slipping by accident. Rolex’s propriety bracelet system also allows the wearer to adjust its length by around 5mm to ensure a comfortable fit. A True Swiss Chronometer Like all Rolex watches, the Rolex Explorer II passes the stringent tests of the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute for certification. Many Swiss watches, even from luxury brands, can’t say the same. Inside the Rolex Explorer II, you’ll find the self-winding mechanical calibre 3187 movement. It has a Parachrom hairspring that offers a high degree of precision. The Explorer II is built to take on extreme environments. There are Paraflex shock absorbers to prevent any damage from the bumps one might encounter while out exploring. A Favorite of the Rich and Famous He may have taken a step back from his royal duties, but Prince Harry will never give up his Explorer II. He was first spotted wearing a classic white-dial Reference 16570 while serving in the British Army. Since then, he has carried the timepiece into civilian life. Action star Jason Statham also loves to go vintage with his “Steve McQueen” Explorer II. So does Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom. His vintage Rolex Explorer II has a history. It was stolen from his home by the infamous “Bling Ring” burglars. But later retrieved and, quite possibly, on Bloom’s wrist right now. Buy Rolex Watches And we saw a Rolex Explorer II backstage at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Rolex designed the Greenroom where the celebs await to take the stage. They embedded an Explorer II in a table at the center of the exclusive space. Rolex Explorer II Conclusion Maybe you’re an explorer and are on the lookout for that perfect watch to ascend to the top of Mount Everest. More likely, the most exploring you’ve done lately is checking out the new wine bar in town. From extreme environments to elegant evenings, you can’t go wrong with a classic Rolex Explorer II.

    read more
    0
  11. An Introduction to Mido Watches

    An Introduction to Mido Watches

    Have you heard of Mido watches? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. Even though the Swiss watchmakers have a long history that began at the watchmaking center of the world, they’re often overlooked, especially in the United States. Well, let’s do our part to change that and introduce you to Mido watches. Mido Watches Started Over a Century Ago Founded in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland in 1918, Mido debuted with unique colorful dials that embodied the Art Deco style that was all the rage in Paris at the time. The automobile came into vogue in the 1930s and Mido was right there with designs that embraced high-end car culture. When the 20th century took flight en masse in the 1940s, Mido shifted to aviation and produced innovative chronographs. Spanish for “I measure,” Mido has always prided itself on precision. As the desire for dive watches surged in the 1960s, Mido dove in with its iconic water-resistant single shell case on the Mido Ocean Star. The seafaring tradition continues to this day with their Commander collection. In the 80s, Mido got sporty, with tennis legend Björn Borg as their brand ambassador. In the 90s, they went global with the World timer, a groundbreaking analog watch that tracks time zones across the planet. And during the 21st century? Well, they’ve continued to produce luxury watches in all of the areas they’ve mastered over the decades. The Mido Collections: An Overview With over a century of heritage, it’s hard to narrow them down. But let’s look at some of the most popular and most beloved Midos on the market today. Mido Watches Multifort Collection Drawing design inspiration from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Multifort Collection comes under the banner “force and strength.” With scalloped lugs and rounded crowns, Multifort offerings also take design cues from Mido’s timepieces of the 1930s and 40s. The vintage homage is most notable in the Multifort Patrimony, offering mid-20th-century aesthetics in a round 40mm case and a curious function from another century. On the edge of the dial, you’ll find a pulsometer scale. While nearly unheard of today, these stopwatch-like functions were once commonly used by doctors to take pulses. Buy Mido Multifort Watches Mido Watches Baroncelli Collection Housing some of the most elegant timepieces Mido has to offer, the Baroncelli Collection goes for sophistication with Baroque neoclassical leanings that draw inspiration from the landmark Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II building in Milan, Italy. Debuted in 2016, timepieces in this line are made with an eye on both male and female watch lovers. Some models in the Baroncelli Collection go full-on classical, such as the Reference M86002218 with angular rose-gold hands, distinctive Roman numerals, and a slim round case that looks exquisite on a fine brown alligator strap. Others opt for more minimalist designs, like the Baroncelli III Automatic with slim silver-tone hands, and the bare minimum of index and hour markers on the snow-white face. On a black leather strap, it presents the epitome of monochrome sophistication. Buy Mido Baroncelli Watches Mido Watches Commander Collection Created in 1959, and originally part of the Ocean Star series, the Commander Collection hasn’t seen drastic design changes in the ensuing decades. The timepieces in this collection still draw inspiration from the Eiffel Tower. Though we still see lots of variation in the collection. For simple elegance look to the Commander II Automatic Silver Dial, it comes with a silver dial enclosed in a round stainless steel case that meets a silver metal wristband. We contrast that minimalist offering with the Commander Automatic chronograph, with three subdials on its silver face. The stainless steel case is plated with rose-gold, making the watch wear well with a black alligator strap. Buy Mido Commander Watches Mido Watches Belluna Collection Belluna’s architectural inspiration comes from the Italianate style of London’s Victorian-era Royal Albert Hall. Notable entries under the Belluna banner are the Sunray models. As you may have guessed, they feature sunray dials. They also feature Caliber 80 automatic movement with up to 80 hours of reserve power. As they’re dress watches with classic looks, put a Sunray on a black or brown leather strap and you’re ready for an elegant night of culture with London’s finest. Mido Watches Ocean Star Collection When Mido watches looked for design cues for the Ocean Star Collection, they followed a beacon of light to the Gibraltar Lighthouse and created a line that captures the seafaring spirit. At the esteemed head of that spirit is the Ocean Star Captain. It is impeccable in black and gold, with rose-gold hands and hour markers over an analog black dial. With a screw-down crown, it’s water-resistant up to 200 meters. It has a mix of elegance and rugged assuredness on a sturdy rubber strap. The Ocean Star Captain V finds a better fit with a stainless steel link bracelet. Buy Mido Ocean Star Watches Mido Watches Conclusion Maybe not all of this was new to you. Maybe you own a Mido and are well versed in their history and heritage. But for many more of us, we have over a century’s worth of catching up to do when it comes to Mido watches.

    read more
    0
To Top