As we approach the end of 2016 and prepare for a new year of watch introductions in 2017, we take a look back at some of the most notable timepieces launched at this year’s SIHH and Baselworld watch fairs, in several categories. As in past years, this year’s fair brought an abundance of interesting new dive watches from a variety of brands, several offering new in-house movements, chronograph functions, and new case materials such as bronze. Here are 10 that caught our eye.
The three-hand version of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe appears for the first time in a plasma gray ceramic case. It has a unidirectional plasma gray ceramic bezel with a blue ceramic insert that has hour markers made of LiquidMetal, an amorphous alloy that resists deformation and bonds tightly with the ceramic. The 43-mm case is water resistant to 300 meters. The deep blue dial has central hours and minutes hands that echo the look of their predecessors. During dives, the large, red-tipped central seconds hand with luminous dot serves as an indicator that the watch is running. The watch is equipped with Blancpain’s self-winding Caliber 1315, which is fitted with a robust Glucydur balance wheel, with square-head gold micro-metric regulating screws to improve pre- cision and allow efficient adjustment. The watch comes with two strap options – a three-ring NATO strap or a sail canvas version with rubber interior, shown here – and is priced at $12,800. Click here for our full report on the watch from Baselworld.
Breitling has re-engineered its automatic chronograph Caliber 01, launched in 2009, and incorporated the improved version in a limited-edition (100 pieces) watch called the Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks. (Chronoworks is the R & D department at Breitling that made the improvements.) The new movement, Caliber 01 Chronoworks, has a power reserve of 100 hours, compared to 70 hours for the original movement. Breitling achieved this increase by making a bevy of changes aimed at reducing friction and eliminating unnecessary weight in the movement components. Like the original 01, the new version is certified by COSC. The changes included incorporating a baseplate and gear-train bridges made of high-tech ceramic. The gear arbors can pivot directly in the baseplate and arbor holes without any loss of energy and without lubrication, Breitling says. The company also makes the center wheel, third wheel and fourth wheel out of silicon so that they will be lighter and therefore easier to set in motion. The escape wheel and lever are also made of silicon. The watch is 46 mm in diameter. It has a matte ceramic case with a transparent caseback and is water resistant to 100 meters. Price: $39,295. Click here for more detail on the watch and movement.
The Eterna Super KonTiki Chronograph, a larger version of the re-engineered KonTiki from last year, has a case in polished and brushed stainless steel, measuring 45 mm in diameter, with a screw-locked crown and rotating bezel. It has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to 200 meters. The watch will be available on a rubber strap (as pictured; $4,700) or a Milanese steel bracelet ($4,900). Below you’ll find some photos we snapped of the watch at Baselworld. These new models in the Eterna KonTiki collection, which is famously named after the wooden raft used in Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 ocean expedition, features a new flyback chronograph movement, Caliber 3916A, designed and manufactured in-house by Eterna. More info and photos can be found here.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 45.5mm Chronograph has a large case made of 18K Sedna gold and stainless steel and a bicolor bracelet combining the same materials. Both the dial and the unidirectional rotating bezel are in polished, deep blue ceramic; the numerals and diving scale notations on the bezel are in Omega’s own Ceragold material. The screw-down caseback, as on all the new Planet Ocean watches, is enhanced with an alveol wave pattern design. The movement in the watch is Omega’s Master Chronometer Caliber 9900, an automatic with a column-wheel chronograph function and a power reserve of 60 hours. Like all Master Chronometer calibers, it features a silicon balance spring and a co-axial escapement and is antimagnetic to 15,000 Gauss. The case is water-resistant to 600 meters. The hands and applied indices are in Sedna gold and enhanced with Super-LumiNova. Also available in all-steel or all-Sedna gold versions with various bracelets and straps, prices on the chronograph range from $8,900 to $30,000. Click here for more on all the new Master Chronometer watches in Omega’s Planet Ocean collection.
Oris launched the first ProDiver Chronograph, designed as a tool watch for professional divers, in 2009. This year, the company released a revamped, upgraded version. The new model retains many of its predecessor’s features and attributes, including a 51-mm-diameter case made of lightweight titanium; a black ceramic bezel insert with a white minutes scale (Oris claims to be the first watch brand to use this material in a divers’ watch); an automatic helium release valve that protects the watch from damage during saturation dives; and a unidirectional diver’s bezel with Oris’s patented Rotating Safety System, which locks the bezel in place once the dive time is set, ensuring that it won’t move in either direction and thus preventing accidental, and possibly life-threatening, timing errors by divers with a limited air supply. Click here for more details.
The Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic Acciaio is the first in the Radiomir 1940 collection to feature a white dial — a rarity in the Panerai portfolio overall. The watch — which comes in the familiar Radiomir 1940 cushion-shaped case, measuring 42 mm in diameter and made of polished 316L stainless steel — strives for clarity in its dial, with large, black Arabic numerals at the hour markers and small seconds set aside on a subdial at 9 o’clock. Dots at each hour position (two at 12 o’clock), treated with luminous paint, aid in nighttime legibility. The case, whose proportions and shape are faithful to those of the original 1940 model for which the watch is named, is only 10.93 mm thick and has a polished. stainless steel winding crown bearing a relief “OP” (for “Officine Panerai”) logo. The movement is Panerai’s in-house Caliber P.4000, which provides the watch a power reserve of up to three days when fully wound. More details here.
The 2016 versions of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M for men have stainless steel cases measuring a stately 43 mm in diameter, up from the 41-mm diameter of the previous models. The studded, 12-sided unidirectional bezels are made of polished ceramic and now include engraved, silver-lacquered numerals whose contrast with the bezel aids in legibility. Like last year’s Aquaracer models, they feature a magnifying date window over the date at 3 o’clock. In classical dive watch tradition, a Super-LumiNova-coated dot marks the 12 o’clock position on the bezel. The watch, as per its name, is water-resistant to 300 meters (1,000 feet), and features a screw-down caseback engraved with a divers’ helmet. Inside the Aquaracer beats TAG Heuer’s automatic Caliber 5, with a 28,800-vph frequency, a rapid date-correction function, and a power reserve of 38 hours. Click here for more details and photos.
The new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze is the first bronze-case model in the Black Bay collection and the first Black Bay with a 43-mm case (other models have 41-mm cases). The aluminum bronze alloy, for which Tudor has exclusive use, will develop a patina over time and give the watch its own individual look. The caseback is steel with a bronze-colored PVD coating. The watch is water resistant to 200 meters. The watch contains Caliber MT 5601, designed and manufactured in-house. It is a slightly larger variation of the MT 5602, Tudor’s first in-house movement ever, which was launched last year. The movement has a silicon balance spring and a power reserve of 70 hours. It is certified by COSC. Each watch comes with two straps: a woven jacquard one (shown here) and an aged-leather one. Price: $3,975. Click here for our full article on the watch.
The Tutima M2 Seven Seas is a response to what the German brand says were frequent requests for a three-handed, self-winding model in the M2 chronograph family. The M2 chronograph is the updated version of Tutima’s NATO Chronograph, made for pilots. Tutima has created the M2 Seven Seas for sailors and divers. Its case is made of solid pearl-blasted titanium and has a diameter of 44 mm and a height of 13 mm. It features a screw-down crown, a screw-in back, and a 3-mm-thick sapphire crystal, which is nonreflective on both sides. The watch’s 500-meter water resistance is indicated on the dial. Its calibrated bezel rotates in one direction only. The watch is powered by Tutima’s automatic Caliber T 330, which has a power reserve of 38 hours. The Seven Seas comes with either a black or deep blue dial, with either a Kevlar strap ($2,100) or titanium bracelet ($2,500).
Zodiac continued the bronze theme, introducing a bronze-cased version of its hefty Super Sea Wolf 68, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 Bronze. (The “68” in the name refers to the year 1968, when the original Super Sea Wolf was launched.) The watch measures 50 mm by 44 mm and is water resistant to 1,000 meters. The movement is a COSC-certified automatic STP 1-11 16, which has a 48-hour power reserve. (STP stands for Swiss Technology Production, a movement producer located in the Swiss canton of Ticino and owned, like the Zodiac brand, by the Fossil Group.) Zodiac is making the watch in a limited edition of 82 pieces; the number is a reference to 1882, when Zodiac was founded. The watch comes with two straps, in brown leather and olive green fabric. The bezel rotates in one direction only; as a safety feature, the wearer must push the bezel down slightly before turning it. Price: $2,095.