New Watches this Week: IWC Portugieser, Kudoke, Frederique Constant, and others

Posted by Robert Farago on July 20, 2020

IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlear Brown” – $12,500

Orlebar Brown makes athleisure clothing for men with killer abs. IWC makes watches. New watch alert! There’s nothing brown about IWC Orlebar Brown timepiece. It’s a 44.6mm Portugieser in OB’s colors: a marine-blue dial, rhodium-plated hands and a red chronograph seconds hand. Before we move on to our next 11 selections, check out at that top subdial . . .

That’s the flyback chronograph’s elapsed hours and minutes. The display doesn’t blend with the seconds subdial, but it’s perfectly practical way to time extended intervals. An industrial looking 89000-calibre movement motivates those elegant hands. Tommy Tutone may not agree, but the all-white Portugieser’s still the one.

NOMOS Ludwig Neomatic 175th Anniversary LE– $4200

Well there’s something new: a date window with Roman numerals. Celebrating parent Glashütte’s 175th anniversary (don’t mention the war), the Ludwig’s enamel white dial and blued hands evoke pocket watch style. How the date’ll look at the end of this month (XXXI) is an open question, but the quality of NOMOS’ minimalist design and craftsmanship is not.

The watch is powered by NOMOS’ redesigned in-house caliber DUW 6101, complete with the brand’s legendary swing escapement. New watch alert! It’s also the first NOMOS with a three-position crown; for independent winding, date and time. The German brand’s watches offer extreme value. No doubt: this LE will sell out.

Vollebak Garbage Watch – $TBA

The NOMOS ain’t no Vollebak, girl. The newcomer sure is PC. “To avoid trashing our planet we need to start figuring out how to re-use the stuff we already have.” Like developing nations don’t do this already. As does Vortic. Anyway, I reckon the Garbage is more treasure than trash, in an Electricianz sort of way.

These are PR images of the Garbage prototype. Those gears look cool, but I wouldn’t count on the production watch holstering a mechanical movement. Then again, Vollbak’s clothing has a steampunk-meets-cyberpunk in a post-apocalyptic Road Warriorworld vibe. Vollebak might want to put a call into Patek Philippe . . .

The Electricianz The Stone Z – $420

“The Stone Z is an invitation to explore the infinity of space, dressed in a Tuxedo,” The Electricianz proclaims, raising questions about their copywriter’s drug habits. Stone Z or Gen Z Stoner? Regardless, their new watch is Sub-Zero refrigerator chic, especially when compared to their IED-themed timepieces. The “extra” button at the 2 o’clock lights up five blue and one white LED – saving battery power, of course.

The evening show is half the fun. I don’t think I have to tell you that the watch is quartz powered, but you do need to know that it’s a 45mm timepiece. PETA members might also want to take note of the “croco Calfskin leather” strap. If you can get past all that you’ll own a 50-piece Swiss-made watch whose makers believe “endless is the universe, timeless is The Stone Z.” Let’s hope not. About the second part, I mean.

SWATCH SISTEM51 Hodinkee Summer Edition – $170

HoDinkee’s previous SWATCH collabs sold out in Femtoseconds. Which was, I believe, the point. You know, exclusivity. I reckon the Ho learned its lesson re: leaving money on the table. Their latest SWATCH SISTEM51 Summer Edition co-production is still available and will be until it sucks every last dime out of Ho’s fanboys’ pockets – and anyone else who doesn’t think white watches are about as classy as white patent leather shoes (i.e., not).

Our man Baruth was not kind about the robot-assembled disposable mechanical watch. I’ll imply stay new watch alert and point out that $170 isn’t a big ask when your hard-earned cash helps HoDinkee’s boss take care of his Porsche collection. “How many other watches in your collection feature circles, rectangles, and triangles on the dial?” the HoDinkee Shop asks. The same number of watches purchased from any website that pretends to review watches. Just sayin’ . . .

Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale – $2150

I’m not sure how I feel about new watch alerts featuring new watches with old watch designs. Especially a watch with a dial sprayed with black droplets to look . . . mouldy? Oldy! At least Longines didn’t embiggen the faux-faced redo to suit modern tastes. Their 38.5mm homage to the British Royal Air Force World War II timepiece is perfectly-sized to fool anyone who knows nothing about watches that it’s a vintage piece.

Nothing says World War II vintage watch like a set of ginormous blued spade-style watch hands. Strike that. Authenticity – or something somewhere in the general vicinity of authenticity – demands less ornate hands infilled with deadly radium-226.Circling around a dark face. With a sub-seconds dial. And an up-arrow indicating military procurement. Never mind. Excellent L888 movement, eh chaps?

Timex T80 Rainbow – $TBA

We’ve taken watchmakers to task for greenwashing while somehow neglecting to mention their financial contribution to the cause. New watch alert! Unlike the previous Tom Snyder Timex, the T80 Rainbow doesn’t appear to be tied to a contribution to LGBTQ rights orgs. And while gay rights are a thing in China – where all but one Timex model are made – human rights are not. Just so you know.

Kudoke 2 Nocturne LE – $10k

New watch alert! The Christopher Ward Moonglow isn’t the only timepiece that puts the earth’s satellite front and center. The Kudoke 2 Nocturne cranks the moon-centric minimalist up (down?) to 11. The timepiece combines an anthracite frosted dial with a hand engraved yellow gold sun and black and white starry sky disc that rotates in synch with the moon phase. Lunatics need apply.

The Kudoke’s powered by Stefan’s new in-house Kaliber 1-24H, beating at a smooth 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour, delivering a 46-hour power reserve. The moon watch is finished with a frosted and rhodinized plate with a raised hand-hammered and engraved balance cock. Which looks pretty much how it sounds, what with those two wheels flanking its base. Got to say it. This watch is OK Kudoke.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer LE – $35k

New watch alert? Kinda. This isn’t the Senator’s first term in office. Looking to expand its base, the new-for-2020 limited edition watch offers well-heeled voters a solid gold, silver-plated (by friction) dial. As before, the black Roman numerals and tracks are laser engraved, then filled with black lacquer and sealed in a kiln. As before, it’s made and decorated with the kind of attention to detail that makes Germans wonder why anyone would be treated for OCD.

The 42mm Senator LE’s in-house manual wind Calibre 58-03 has a party trick. When you pull out the crown to set the time the second hand travels to 12 and stops, awaiting activation. The minute hand jumps in exact one minute increments. Sync with the atomic clock and you’re good to go – for “only” 46 hours. But, with a little love and some expensive servicing, the rest of your life.

Oileán H-B1 Chronograph Triple Calendar – $26,800

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind. Or so the Irish saying goes. Watchmaker extraordinaire John McGonigle  – trained in Switzerland – must have been mulling the H-B1 for some time. It’s a fully realized chronograph with more dials than a Fender Frontman. And a moonphase complication proudly proclaiming its fidelity to The Emerald Isle.

Big Mac based his baby on the exquisite manual wind Valjoux 88movement, made exquisiter by a complete teardown and rebuild; thinning this, decorating that, remaking brass and copper-beryllium parts with steel. Just for fun, one of the bridges is the shape of an Celtic harp (also featured on Guinness cans). I can’t wait to see what Mr. McGonigle creates when he calms down a bit.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Automatic – $1,695

New watch alert! “Please note that the editorial team and the Shop team produce their content independently of each other,” Hodinkee urges under their glowing “review” of the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Automatic, on sale now at their shop. What I note: the creamsicle-colored Zodiac is a horological treat at least as tasty as the recent procession of inky blue dive watches.

The 40mm Zodiac’s motorized by an ETA 2893-2 – a movement a manufacturer can order as an accurate AF chronometer rated engine. But here didn’t. On the other hand (literally), you can adjust the Super Sea Wolf’s GMT hand without stopping the movement. Wolf Larson would have appreciated the tough little timekeeper, but I reckon he’d prefer to strip it off a dead soy-boy than give one his money.

Frederique Constant Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic – $3070

Weird. Freddy’s new runabout is gorgeous equipped with a silvery dial and a dark blue seconds hand, and a dog’s breakfast kitted out in a dark grey dial with a light blue seconds hand. The former is certainly up to the aesthetic standards of its partner in this venture, Riva boats. Well, their classic launches. And wouldn’t you know it? FC gives you a free Riva with every watch!

The Yes-evoking Runabout is powered by Fred’s automatic Calibre FC-392, based on a Sellita movement, based on Valjoux architecture. So it’s a cam/lever timer that works with the small seconds subdial (9 o’clock), a 30-minute chrono counter (12 o’clock) and an hour chrono counter (6 o’clock). Not to mention a date display – because without it the Runabout would pose a greater challenge to the Riva’s minimalist perfection.

Panerai Luminor Blue Mare – $7700

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“Panerai historically were build up around huge bad-ass hand-wound movements,” commentator Mikita writes under aBlogtoIgnore’s review. “It’s been the biggest part of their appeal and the reason why the cases are that huge, why the winding crown is that huge, etc. Owning a Panerai was about getting pleasure from wearing a wristwatch with a pocket watch movement, winding it with signature “crack -crack -crack” every morning.”

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In other words, the Blue Mare is a perfect return to form for Panerai, including white lume (deep-sixing the brand’s recent penchant for fauxtina), excluding the fact it has an automatic movement. And, as commentator Charlie Sherlock points out, “It should be a law that the date wheel must match the dial.” Don’t you hate it when people point out flaws you didn’t see? If so, you’re on the wrong website. Thanks for stopping by!

Which are your favorites?

Which of these week’s new watch releases do you have your eyes on? Let us know in the comments!

This article was republished with permission from TheTruthAboutWatches.

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