New Watches: Audemars Piguet, Timex, Frederique Constant, G-Shock, and Others

Posted by Robert Farago on September 14, 2020

BALL Engineer II Timetrekker – $2,430 (Pre-order)

I’ve chronicled my difficulties buying a BALL watch. New watch alert! The next day, I received an email asking if I wanted to review a BALL watch. So someone at BALL is on the Ball. Meanwhile, the new BALL Engineer II Timetrekker is a GMT for dummies. The second time zone hand advances or retreats via the screw-down pushers on the left. The day/night indicator is for local time. Aside from that . . .

It’s a 40mm watch fashioned from the same 904L steel – a chromium, molybdenum, nickel and copper blend – used by Rolex. The watch is thin by BALL standards (12.8mm) and holsters a COSC-certified movement protected by their Amortiser® anti-shock system. With the indices arrows pointing this way and that, trekkers are advised not to use it as a compass. Just sayin’ . . .

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph LE – $59k

TTAW writer Oscar Klosoff and I came up with a definition of a grail watch: “something we’ll never own.” Add this limited edition APROC to that list. The Swiss watchmaker’s only cranking out 100 examples of the powder blue-on-dark blue chrono, sure to be snapped up by buyers growing old waiting for a bog standard Royal Oak.

Buying a $60k 18K white gold Royal Oak bestows brownie points for steel Oak aspirants. The LE’s powered by ye olde self-winding Audemars Piguet caliber 2385 (previously used in 102 Royal Oak variants), complete with a column-wheel chronograph doo-hickey and 18k gold oscillating weight. Can a watch that’s water resistant to 50m really be called a luxury sports watch? Does anyone care?

Timex Marlin® Automatic – New York Yankees™ – $259

I’m from Rhode Island. I was born a Red Sox fan. Think Hatfield vs. McCoys – to the point where wearing this New York Yankees-branded Timex in suburban Boston is more dangerous than flashing a Rolex President (unless you’re the Rolex President). New watch alert! The Yankees Timex is just plain silly – the logo ruins an otherwise tasteful retro-60’s watch.

It’s a bulbous 40mm timepiece, but the bare bones exude 60’s cool. The hands are motivated by a Miyota 8215, accurate to -20 to +40 seconds per day. (No hacking seconds, so it’s hard to tell.) The Marlin’s strap is its weak link (so to speak); it stains easily and feels like a cheap seat at Fenway. On the positive side, the generic MLB caseback tells us BoSox fans our time will soon be at hand. Again.

Mühle-Glashütte S.A.R. Rescue-Timer – $2,799

After NOMOS sued Mühle-Glashütte for not being as Glashütte as they’d claimed, M-G went belly-up. It’s come back stronger than ever, albeit flogging a watch powered by a Sellita SW 200-1 Automatic movement (with local parts). How’s 1000m water resistance for strong? No? How about a 4mm thick sapphire crystal and a rubber bezel?

The German maritime rescue service tested the Rescue-Timer – whose timing functions are a bit lacking in the stopwatch or rotating bezel end of things. I dig the indices’ triangulation, the “you can’t knock this” crown placement and the internal date wart doo-hickey. I’d love to see the Super-LumiNova light up and the quality of the steel bracelet. A strong entry in the tool watch category. Willkommen zurück.

Frederique Constant High Life Perpetual Calendar – $10k

I had Fred pegged as one of those semi-independent watch brands headed for extinction.  New watch alert! The [non-Miller] High Life  perpetual calendar moon phase watch may save the Citizen-owned Swiss watchmaker’s bacon. G-SHOCK aside, perpetual calendar watches are usually a lot pricier. An IWC Spitfire runs $28,200. Freddy’s PC is “just” 10K and as legible as a Beware of Zombies sign.

The High Life PC runs on FC’s automatic FC-775 caliber, offering a power reserve of 38 hours. [Hint: perpetuals heart watch winders.] You can view the movement’s perlage and Côtes de Genève through a sapphire crystal caseback (but not on Frederique’s website). The quick change strap system is another bonus, completing a horological lifesaver for a brand that’s made some dopey and doomed watches, establishing itself as a depreciation king.

Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition – $44,300

I can’t decide what’s creepier, the Samurai or the Grand Seiko. Will ya look at those lugs? And when did Grand Seiko decide to make a $44k Seiko Astron? I’m sure this chrono GMT’s beautifully built – but so was the Trump Tower’s lobby. I’m not saying the 44.5mm diameter, 16.8mm thick 60th Anniversary LE is ugly. That would be adding fuel to the pyre.

Grand Seiko is limiting production of this watch-as-weapon to 100 pieces. Good luck with that. Then again, there are buyers for whom a gold watch – and this monstrosity is nothing if not 18k – is as irresistible as the VIP room at their local strip club. On the positive side, the Caliber 9R96 movement beating within is accurate to ±15 seconds a month (±1 second per day). So there is that.

Parmigiani Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue LE  – $41k

Gold big or go home? No points for guessing which of these two similarly priced precious metal watches I prefer. Somewhat new watch alert! The “new” Parmigiani Tondagraph is just like the steel Tondagraph only far more Presidential. Saying that, the new clou triangulaire guilloché pattern is debonair. And Parmagiani moved their enigmatic “double end” running seconds hand from the 3 to the six. Same gold rotor, thank God. For an extra $20k, what do you expect?

An in-house, COSC chronometer certified PF071 automatic chronograph movement with a single central column wheel, 36,000 bph beat rate and 65 hour power reserve? You got it! Apparently “only seven brands in the watchmaking world have the expertise necessary to develop, manufacture and meticulously assemble such an intricate caliber.” Strange use of the word “only,” but fair dinkum.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Pink Gold – $46,200

In times of economic uncertainty, people often turn to gold. What kind of consumer considers conspicuous consumption an appropriate response to the post-pandemic economic slump? Hell if I know. Anyway, there’s not a whole lot to say about this well known Vacheron – reviled in some corners – and two paragraphs in which to to say it. Did you know that . . .

“One ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet covering 9 square meters and 0.000018 cm thick. Gold has an electrical resistivity of 0.022 micro-ohm and a thermal conductivity of 310 W m-1 – it’s very efficient for the transmission of heat and electricity. Gold has the highest corrosion resistance of all the metals, corroded only by a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid.” – sciengsustainability.blogspot.com

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control Memovox Timer LE – $15,600

You’re probably familiar with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox alarm watch. For an extra four grand, this Memovox counts down before it does the Anita Ward thing. It’s ideal for a new watch alert reading comprehension quiz, or limiting a solar roof salesman to a five minute spiel. This variant also gives you a show – the first time JLC’s put a Memovox movement behind a transparent caseback. Check out the JLC gong show . . .

Someone at JLC is on drugs. I’m not feeling too good myself. So here’s The Robb Report‘s Wei-Yu Wang to explain the Timer’s operation: “The arrow pointer sets the alarm to go off at a specific time, and the entire disc in the middle turns with it. At the same time, the reverse end of the hour hand doubles as a red indicator that denotes the time left before the alarm goes off.” Clear as mud. As a bell? We report, you deride.

G-SHOCK MTGB1000VL4A – $1100

“The MTGB1000VL reproduces the frightening yet beautiful blue, purple, and gold colors of the lightning caused by a volcanic eruption with a rainbow ion-plated bezel and a multi-colored dial.” Who knew volcanic eruptions came with a rainbow ion-plated bezel and a multi-colored dial? Only the most new watch alert, I guess.

This is “the first MT-G series model to use a semi-translucent red soft urethane material for the band—to represent the aggression of magma bubbling up—rendering a distinct image of power on the wrist.” Who knew magma needed anger management? The same people who know the solar-powered G-SHOCK’s standard list of Bluetooth-enabled features. And don’t laugh when they learn this is a 55.8mm watch.

Oris Roberto Clemente Limited Edition – $1,950

Modified watches tied to a deceased icon – be it drug-addled guitarist Jimi Hendrix or baseball legend Roberto Clemente – are a no brainer for a mainstream manufacturer. Other than royalty fees, a horological homage costs next-to-nothing to produce. They appeal directly to their dead celeb’s fan base. And they give HoDinkee writers a chance to write about something other than watches. I’ve linked to wikipedia. That’s me done. As for the watch . . .

Props to Oris for not doing anything to the Big Pilot’s dial to telegraph the wearer’s fealty to Mr. Clemente’s legacy. The caseback’s engraving is bit odd – in a Doctor My Eyes kinda way – but the coin edge design is a cool touch. And then there’s the double stitched baseball glove soft leather strap. Combined with the RC’s bright minimalism I reckon the Oris is worth the price of admission.

Hublot Ferrari 1000 GP White Gold – $52,600

“The matte black surfaces shot through with hints of red do little to maintain the ‘50s spirit inspiring the rest of this version.” I love it when aBlogtoWatch‘s sycophants try to hate on a watch. The best bit: Sean Lorentzen doesn’t get it. The GP100 Big Bang is awesome in every respect. Maybe he was looking at the wrong picture. Here’s the money shot:

This image shows the Big Bang’s glossy white gold case in all its shiny glory. You can savor the depth and complexity of the movement – including the column wheel doing its thing on the dial side. It’s both a subtle piece and a whacked out weirdo love bug junkie. Bonus! “An outer case contains a pair of driving gloves, one of which is signed by Charles Leclerc and the other by Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari’s current drivers.” Sold!

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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