New Watches this Week: Steel Moonwatch, Glashutte Original Tourbillon, and More

Posted by Robert Farago on July 28, 2020

Raymond Weil Tango Bob Marley Limited Edition Men’s Quartz GMT LE – $1150

If ever there was a watch for well-off rastafarians, Raymond Weil’s Bob Marley homage is it. That said, I think this 42mm timepiece is aimed at the kind of music fans who’d mistake Haile Selassie for an Arabic greeting. Let’s take a closer look and check out 11 more examples from our weekly new watch alert . . .

Mr. Weil’s minions engraved Time Will Tell around the caseback. I’ve got to say it’s not the song with the most cheerful lyrics (“think you’re in heaven, but ya living in hell”). No matter where you live, the Tango Bob Marley tells the time via a quartz movement. And that’s all Ray’s got to say about that. Me too. I’m waiting for the Toots and the Maytals watch. Make mine CBD instead of GMT.

Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 44 Beverly Hills Limited Edition LE – $7,395

From Bob Marley’s Jamaica to Wheezer’s Beverly Hills (that’s where I want to be). You can’t buy this sumptuous black-and-gold Superocean at a local Breitling dealer – unless you’re local to 216 North Rodeo Drive. But you can buy it on the Internet at full retail! As you’d expect, Breitling’s 44mm flex machine’s “ultra-hard” ceramic bezel is accented with 18k gold. The sealed caseback lacks bling but projects status underwater down to 200m.

The Beverly Hills Superocean’s powered by the Breitling Manufacture COSC-certified Caliber B20. It’s the mechanical fruit of Breitling’s development deal with Tudor, based on the Rolex sub-brand’s Caliber MT5612. It’s regulated by a variable inertia oscillator (a la Rolex) with a silicon balance spring held in place by a traversing bridge, fixed at both sides to improve shock resistance and mitigate bad vibes. So now you know.

OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 (Steel) – $14,100

OMEGA has manufactured more Moonwatch variants than NASA launched Apollo missions. The Swiss watchmaker has made enough money on these “special editions” to cover the cost of an 18th mission. Old new watch alert! Announced in January, this is the long-awaited steel version of the platinum version that recreated the manual wind 321 movement of the original version. How great is that?

Purists may scoff at the exhibition caseback. Everyone else will be all agog at the movement’s 18K Sedna gold PVD coated finish. I stand by my assessment that reading the Moonwatch’s hands is like playing a game of Pick Up Sticks. But this is the somewhat affordable retro-mod 39.7mm Moon/grail watch Speedy fans are looking for. OMEGA’s committed to building no more than two thousand 321’s per year (both platinum and steel). Houston, the steel Moonwatch 321 has landed.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch LE – $29,800

JLC made a movie watch? Shades of the Hamilton Murph. How déclassé. I suppose we should be grateful that the Jaeger-leCoultre Kingsman Knife doesn’t have any obvious connection with the bloody blades used in the next installment of the James Bond rip-off movie series. That the word “Kingsman” doesn’t appear anywhere on the watch (not even a sticker). And that – new watch alert! – it’s drop dead gorgeous.

Some may find the Kingsman too self-consciously retro. I like the pocket watch-style “railroad track” indices and the faux bow at the top of the crown. Equipped with the previously sidelined JLC cal. 849 movement, the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch is now the thinnest watch in the vastly underrated watchmaker’s arsenal. The best one for pretending you’re an aristocrat fighting to defend freedom the monarchy.

Glashütte Original PanoLunar Tourbillon LE – $147,211.89

Purveyors of high horology justify sky high prices by [discreetly] pointing out that the teeny tiny bits are hand decorated by artisans trained by master craftsman on the planet Dagobah. Put a price on the workmanship for this watch we can. $47k. That’s the difference between the “plain” PanoLunar Tourbillon and this LE, filigreed to an inch of its life. Note: Swiss unions rule, and they don’t need no stinkin’ 3D printing!

The frilly engraved PanoLunar goes some way to ameliorating the negative space on the bottom right of the dial. It’s still a watch with too many elements bashing into each other. At the risk of repeating myself, an expensive wristwatch with a tourbillon is like a Lamborghini with neon underbody lights. The PL’s hands are motivated by Glashütte’s Caliber 93-12 movement, complete with a 21k gold rotor emblazoned with Gucci’s double G logo having some sort of tiff. Now that’s original!

Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 – $3800

[Longines] original on the left, redo on the right. Other than not coating the indices and hands with deadly radium, downsizing the case from 51mm to 49mm, changing the crown shape, going vertical on the strap stitching, sliding the word “automatic” under the sub-seconds dial and “Longines” above the minute counter (with fewer indices), altering the typography (check the 3 and 9), substituting fat cathedral hands for slim pointers and adding a hideous date window, they’re more or less identical.

The newbie runs on Longines caliber L788.2 (a.k.a., ETA A08.L11). It’s a reworking of the fabled Valjoux architecture, modded with a column wheel monopusher chronograph. The whole schmeer’s based on the U.S. Army Air Corps watch of 1935, designed “to extremely rigorous specifications in terms of aesthetics, durability and precision.” (Not to mention government kickbacks.) Too bad Longines didn’t go for a more historically accurate Boeing P-26 Peashooter for the caseback. Or not.

Gorilla Fastback Drift Mirage Wandering Hours LE– $3,750

My cigar buddy and I were left wondering by the Wandering. What time is it? Over to HoDinkee. Yada yada “texturally rich timepieces” yada yada 2018 Fastback GT Mirage yada yada yada. “The time is read off three rotating hour disks, mounted on a carrier,” they finally explain. “The disks each carry four numerals, which indicate the hour, and they pass in turn across a sector at the top of the dial, thereby showing the minutes.” It’s 10:10, then.

To make the movement (and our heads) spin, the FDMW depends on their proprietary module G-5238, designed and manufactured by Switzerland’s VAUCHERUrwerk uses the same basic movement. Audemars Piguet did too – before the drugs wore off. Gorilla hand-chamfers and brushes the carousel cage. (PETA has been notified.) The hand-milled base plate’s fixed in place by two “poli miroir” fasteners (mirror polished to you and me). The FDMW’s a lot cheaper than an Urwerk, FWIW.

Raymond Weil Don Giovanni Così Grande LE – $15k

Can Raymond Weil sell three watches – any three watches – for 15 large? The most expensive watch I can find in their current catalogue (or an airport Duty Free shop) is the $2995 horological Jimi Hendrix riff. Maybe that’s why Ray’s only offering three Don Giovannis. New watch alert? Actually, it’s a “re-issue” of an “iconic” model from the early noughties – an attempt to clear out the closet and return the Raymond Weil brand upmarket before smartwatches call closing time.

The jumping hours 50mm’s case shelters the hand-wound Calibre RW 1400 – a modified ETA 2892 automatic. Back in 2010, watchtime.com wasn’t overly impressed with the Don: “The hour on our test watch jumped one minute too soon, which could result in a false reading of the time by one hour shortly before the full hour . . . It is possible for the unusual hour display to be obscured by the minute hand, raising the possibility of confusing one o’clock with 11 o’clock.” Jomshop.com recently sold a pre-owned Raymond Weil Don Giovanni for $1575.

Genus GNS1.2 TD – $154k

Touting Genus’ genius, HoDinkee’s Jack Foster offers a master class in metallurgy. The potted version: it ain’t easy making a metal watch case that looks like candy (just ask Richard Mille). It ain’t easy to tell the time with GNS1.2 TD, either. But it is creepy. Here’s Jack’s explanation and a short video for those of us who failed to stay new watch alert, dozing off before seeing the YouTube video.

“These are diamond-shaped elements which orbit two sub-dials once per hour, and which indicate how many tens of minutes past the hour it is. The hour can be read off the pointer to the left, which indicates the hour via a rotating carrier which makes one full revolution every 12 hours; the number of minutes which have passed in each ten-minute interval is shown on a disk at the right, which rotates once every ten minutes.” Got it?

Hublot Big Bang Unico 45 Sky Blue LE – $21,500

“The limited edition Hublot Big Bang Unico 45 Sky Blue makes a compelling ‘his and hers’ pairing with the previous release,” aBlogtoWatch’s Sean Loretzen declares. Woke-up Sean! A woman’s watch is any watch he/she/they want to wear. As a cisgender male I’m not afraid to wrist a watch the color of Paul Newman’s eyes. Especially an almost legible Big Bang.

The Sky Blue’s in-house HUB1242 Unico automatic chronograph movement is a work of art. Props to Hublot’s horologists for making 300-parts – including no less than 42 jewels – look so fly. From underneath. Topside, it’s only a matter of time before Hublot gets new watch alert and aligns those case head screws.

Seiko Watch Prospex LX Antartica Divers Limited Edition LE – $6500

I knew the Seiko mothership brand was moving upmarket to counter the threat posed by the smartwatch crisis, but $6500 for a Seiko Prospex? This is the same model line that offers a perfectly serviceable dive watch for $800. Aside from the fact that the seductively named SNR045J1 was inspired from Antarctic vegetation (who isn’t?), how can the watchmaker justify the price?

Spring Drive! New watch alert: this isn’t the first time Seiko’s exclusive quartz mechanical movement has appeared in a Prospex. Nor is it the first $6500 Prospex. But why anyone would buy the SNR045J1 over any one of three new $6200 Grand Seiko Limited Edition dive watches? The brand overlap is yet another example that Seiko’s marketing department is insane. Nice watch though.

Grand Seiko SBGW262 – $30k

Prospex doesn’t offer an 18k gold-cased dress watch. Yet. Meanwhile, Grand Seiko does. Thirty large buys you a dial made of Urushi tree sap from the base of Mt. Iwate, towering above Seiko’s Shizukuishi Watch Studio. The laquer’s mixed with iron to turn it a dark lustrous black. As with previous Urushi models, Kaga Maki-e Urushi master Isshu Tamura crafted the dial and hand painted the indices. So there is that.

For the grandly-named SBGW262, Grand Seiko left the Spring Drive to Prospex and fitted the 39mm watch with their mechanical 9S64 movement. The same engine powers the $4300 SBGW231. Which kinda makes you wonder how much GS pays Mr. Tamura. The SBGW262 isn’t a limited edition, but it has my financially limited admiration.

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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