New Watches: Citizen, Accutron, Monta, Seiko, and Others

Posted by Robert Farago on August 24, 2020

Citizen Super Titanium Armor – $650

Citizen watches tend to be busier than popcorn on a skillet. That said, the Citizen Eco-Drive One was a two-handed minimalist masterpiece, now available at a significant discount (no surprise there). New watch alert! For just $650, Citizen’s new Super Titanium Armor Chrono will scratch that itch and time your boiled eggs. We’re talking about . . .

A featherweight, light-powered, Bicompax chrono whose bezel rotates to hide the crown and pushers – that doesn’t show the time in 43 world cities or challenge you to calculate the square root of 225. What’s not to love? The bracelet? I imagine it’s light and titanium enough not to worry about the feel. It’s a 43mm watch, so that’s just as well.

Accutron Spaceview 2020 – $3450

The Bulova Accutron was the world’s second electronic timepiece, after 1957’s Hamilton Electric 500. The new version runs a Miyota/Accutron caliber NS30-Y8A – a quartz resonator with a dual stepper motor and electrostatic drive system. If you want to know what all that is and does, head over to HoDinkee. New watch alert: when a watch is touted as a “conversation piece” it’s time to change the subject.

May – December! Yeah, that’ll sell it. Anyway, the Spaceview is huge (43.5mm), expensive and I’m gonna say it, ugly. I understand why Citizen put the tech on display. If they hid it they’d have to compete with Grand Seiko Spring Drive’s insane craftsmanship, and who can do that? The Accutron’s top left wheel spins pseudo-tourbillon style. Fun!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Bangle – POA

In 1929, Jaeger-LeCoultre created the world’s smallest mechanical watch movement: the caliber 101 (14mm long and less than 5mm wide). There’s a reason it remains the record holder: it’s only slightly more useful than a fire retardant paper hat. Never mind. JLC’s new Bangle makes a statement with 144 griffe-set diamonds and 852 grain-set diamonds (996 in all), graduating from small to fiancé size.

You gotta hand it to JLC: their fourth gen caliber 101 crams 98 components – compared with the original 78 – into the space of a tall postage stamp. It takes 130 hours to slap this thing together. If we knew the price, we could calculate an hourly wage. But if I knew the price I couldn’t afford it. Actually, either way. I’d really like to know how you set the time. Tweezers?

Itay Noy Night Flight – $16,800

Mr. Noy is a fellow member of the Twelve Tribes, hand making timepieces in Tel Aviv. His new watch combines laquer and 24k gold to create a cityscape as seen from an airplane window. His creations are based on overflights of Taipei, Beijing, Seoul, Melbourne, Geneva, Cairo, Athens, Berlin, Jerusalem and others. Others meaning “pay me 17 grand and I’ll do your city.” New watch alert!

The dials look more like satellite photos than airplane seat views. The Night Flight’s caseback is shaped like an airplane window, not the face. The 43mm watch runs on a hand wound ETA Caliber 6497-1 – also used by Panerai, Victorinox Swiss Army, Glycine – with a repositioned crown and other mods. The gold paint isn’t luminescent. Shame.

Serica 4512 Commando – $650

Serica would like you to know that their 4512 Commando separates itself from the herd with its minimalist design, “extra-thick” double domed sapphire crystal (2mm), robust case construction, 200m water resistance, laquered dials and “oversized” crown. That last bit tells the tale: it’s a 37.5mm watch in world of 41mm-and-up timepieces. And then there’s . . .

The Bonklip bracelet – an attachment that went out of style some 50 years ago. Resuscitated by Serica because people with small wrists have big hands, presumably. The Swiss watch is powered by a manual winding STP1-11 (base ETA 2824-2). Made by the Fossil Group, the movement’s as tough as a trig test and good for a 44-hour power reserve. A small Swiss watch at a small price.

Cool Hunting + NOMOS Club Campus 38 Limited Edition Pride LE – $1,650

We’ve given Oris, Breitling and IWC grief for greenwashing. They somehow forget to mention how much money goes to their chosen charity. Props to NOMOS for spelling it out. The German watchmaker donates $100 per Pride to The Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. The watch differs from the regular Club by dint of its contrasting colored seconds dial. Great watch. Good cause. Big problem.

NOMOS made just 22 watches in each color. Blue sold out in a nanosecond. By the time of this writing, they’re probably all all-gone. I reckon NOMOS could have sold at least 500 of each Pride, generating $66k for the charity, instead of $13,200. With the watch sold as a Limited Edition, they can’t go back and they left a lot of money on the table. Better luck and more bucks next time.

Monta Noble – $1600

The Monta is your basic budget-priced everyday Swiss sports watch: 38.5mm 316L steel case, 150m water resistance and a modded Sellita SW300 movement (42-hour power reserve, Incabloc anti-shock, Nivatronic balance spring). Where the Nobel breaks from the pack: 7 layers of anti-reflective coating under the sapphire glass. Lovin’ that! And . . .

“The Most Comfortable Watch Bracelet on the Planet.” If that’s true, if the Nobel’s bracelet is supremely comfortable and possesses half the sensuality of an OMEGA bracelet, the classically handsome (a.k.a., endlessly inoffensive) Monta is the bargain of a lifetime. I suspect they’re referring to the micro-adjustment and free two half-links, but I’ll find out.

Greubel Forsey Balancier S LE -$213,677 

New watch alert! Watches at this price point are art. What separates “good” art from “bad” art? Four variables: craftsmanship, reputation, rarity and personal taste. As usual, Greubel Forsey nailed one through three (they’re only making eight examples). As for personal taste, there’s the old dictum: if you don’t understand it, it’s not for you. Me? I’m puzzled.

I’m sure the watchmaker and its supporters can write a treatise on the “meaning” of the dial falling away at the bottom, but I’m no fan of this farrago. If nothing else, the branded wheel at the top left seems self-indulgent. That said, I really like the case shape; it’s different in the good sense of the word. So there is that.

Montblanc Star Legacy Exo Tourbillon Skeleton LE8 – $NA

!!! No information available !!!

Montblanc has made a lot of watches – none of which have caught fire (cough Summit 2 smartwatch cough). All of which are available for significant discounts. Richemont is moving the brand upmarket, cutting models, raising prices, telling their Minerva movement maker to get on with it. The skeleton watch above is their new “halo” piece. You may notice something odd about it . . .

Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon Skeleton Limited Edition 8

New watch alert! It doesn’t exist. These are illustrations. The PR materials tell us that the Calibre MB M18.69 movement required four-and-a-half years of development. So . . . where is it? Is this an attempt to gauge interest before actually building it? If so, I hope it works. Stunning symmetry makes this Montblanc the only skeletonized tourbillon watch I’ve ever admired. Bring it on!

Seiko 5 Sports STREET FIGHTER V Limited Edition – $529

“Rise to the top of the world by wearing this collaboration timepiece, radiating the spirit of fighters fighting an intense, bruising battle!” I’m not sure what these watches have to do with Mount Everest. Or how 9,999 examples of six variations (59,994 watches) counts as a “limited edition.” But I’m certain these will fly off the electronic shelf. Even if you know nothing about the game, they’re fun, fresh and funky.

If you’ve wasted countless hours kicking the shit out of a virtual foe, it’s worth clicking on the top link for the “character select” function. Each watch gets an explanation of how the watch ties in to its fighter, and its own video. Reflecting the characters’ obvious steroid abuse, the watches are a healthy 42mm, and you get all the quality (if not accuracy) for which the model is famous.

Glashütte Original SeaQ – $17,300

What are we to make of this, then? A steel braceleted German dive watch with a deep blue sunray finish galvanized dial and a gem-set bezel. I somehow don’t think I should like it, but I do! (Especially as GH moved the date window to the 3 o’clock.) I’m enamored to the point where I’m going to forgo a caseback pic for a closeup of some of the 47 brilliant cut sparklers and the central sapphire.

Props to Glashütte Original for resisting the urge to put their automatic Caliber 39-11 movement on display. The SeaQ’s screwdown caseback is gorgeous in a mucho macho dive watch sort of way – making the diamond bezel thing even more wonderfully bizarre. Bonus! The stones sparkle during the day, the lume looms large at night. How great is that?

AVI-8 Blakeslee Chronograph – $285

Wikipedia.org tells us that Colonel Don Blakeslee “flew more combat missions against the Luftwaffe than any other American fighter pilot, and by the end of the war was a flying ace credited with 15.5 aerial victories.” I’m not sure how the Col. would feel about having a cheap Chinese quartz watch named in his honor. Especially one as illegible as this. Not that AVI-8 sees it that way.

“Carefully considered and perfectly proportioned, the dial is an effort in legibility and visually arresting layout.”I love me some unintentional truth telling. And other translation weirdness: “custom built and shaped [pushers] within the line of the wings and fuselage.” Full credit to AVI-8’s highly-paid assemblers for aligning those screws – something high end watchmakers consistently fail to achieve.

And we’ve achieved our dirty dozen new watch alert target. A cigar’s calling my name. Chocks away!

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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