New Watch Alert: Grand Seiko, Longines, Bulova and Others

Posted by Robert Farago on February 24, 2021

Grand Seiko SLGH005 – $9100

New watch alert! Shhh! Grand Seiko’s latest nature-inspired watch was inspired by Shirakaba (birch trees). “Shira meaning ‘white’ while kaba is the combined kanji for ‘wood’ and ‘beauty’, giving white birch trees the poetic meaning of pure elegant beauty.” Well no wonder GS named it the SLGH005. Anyway, you can be sure the watch doesn’t have any birch defects. “Knows by the brand as the Series 9 design,” ablogtowatch.com typos, “the lines of the case are shared with 2020’s limited edition SLGH002, but the SLGH005 presents the case concept for the first time in a regular production stainless steel guise.”

For $33,900 less, I might add. Yes, well, the SLGH002 LE is as gold as you wanna be while the SLGH005 is fashioned from stainless steel, brushed and Sallaz Bros. polished to a micromillimeter of its life. The blue second hand offers a welcome splash of color, while [ABTW reckons] the date window is an unwelcome intruder. The Shirakaba (sue me) is powered by GS’s Caliber 9S85, that somehow manages at 80-hour power reserve at 36,000 bph with +5/-3 seconds per day accuracy. As a Monty Python fan, I’m waiting for the GS larch. It’s going to be a long wait, but I’ve got time on my hands. Wrists too.

Longines Avigation BigEye Titanium – $3500

Bereft of new watch alert ideas, Longines has been going back for the future to flog their mid-market marvels. Their latest command performance: a refreshed re-release of an original watch they never released, this time with a 41mm grade 5 titanium case and a gradient blue dial. In case you missed it, back in the day, some bright spark at Longines decided the combination of “aviation” and “navigation” would catch on. Back before anyone thought a blue dial was the bomb. What’s not immediately clear . . .

What indices-eating subdial does what. The oversized 30 minutes counter lives at 3 o’clock, the 12 hour counter runs at the 6 o’clock and the stopwatch second hand spins at the 9 o’clock. Why it’s arranged thus is anyone’s guess, but the layout may account for the fact that Longines never put this design into production (until it did). The glove-friendly pushers are connected to Longines Calibre L688, a column wheel-modified Valjoux movement with a 54-hour power reserve. Another “unique” piece for your dining and dancing pleasure.

Bulova Devil Diver – $750

The new watch alert know that Bulova is Having a Moment. The Devil Diver – named for its 666 feet (203 meters) water resistance – is sure to move the ball forwards. For one thing it’s orange – not the color of the year but definitely the color of Doxa’s most coveted timepiece. For another, it’s got a cushion case box crystal vintage vibe like, well, you know (even though the 41mm Devil Diver’s a retread of the significantly smaller 60’s Bulova design). And unlike the $1800 previous metal braceleted version it’s priced to go.

On the downside, it’s powered by a Miyota Caliber 821D (reinforced version of the 821A), a reliable enough engine that delivers a less-than-stellar -20 /+40 seconds accuracy per day. The rubber strap looks almost as comfortable as the Seiko Orange Diver’s horological hair shirt (jury’s out). Still, the Devil Diver’s a sensible watch at a sensible price, unlike their $3450 Spaceview actual Accutron redo. “Proper” retro for the win! Proof the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Vostok-Europe Gaz-Limousine Tritium Chrono – $489

“Inspired by the best in Russian motoring . . . the GAZ Limo watch collection from Vostok-Europe is the only true line of dress watches produced by the Lithuanian-based brand today,” watches.com proclaims. Huh. Well, if Vilnius‘ finest do produce another line, I’m hoping it’s a little more ZIL-111. Russia’s Gaz-Chaika limo was one step down from the vehicle ferrying around Russia’s top commies. Then again, the “GAZ Limo [watch] is equally fitting in jeans and casual shirt all the way up to a black-tie affair.” So there is that.

As there’s no image of the caseback on Vostok’s website (which threatens to install malware), there’s a GAZ-13 limo doing its thing. The new watch alert among you are probably [boy] wondering if the Vostok-Europe Gaz-Limousine watch is as reliable as the vehicle from which it takes its name. Holy unholy Russian – Japanese alliance Batman! There’s a Miyota 6S21 Quartz spinning those tritium-filled hands! That circumnavigate a not-insubstantial 45mm stainless steel case. Take that panda-faced Rolex!

BALL Roadmaster TMT Ceramic – $2,149 (pre-order)

I’ve consistently argued that the tourbillon is watchmaking’s most useless – if awesome – complication. A watch mounted thermometer runs a close second – unless you’re a hypothermia-averse polar explorer or ice fisher. Props to BALL for being new watch alert enough to know that making a better watch isn’t the key to competing against Rolex, OMEGA, et al. It’s making something different. And here it is. “Distinctive enough” to forgive the BALL Roadmaster TNT Ceramic’s “unique” date window position? . . .

Not for symmetry-seeking minimalist me. But the BALL’s rugged reliability is the bomb. The Roadmaster TMT Ceramic bezel can take a beating (impervious to ultra-violet rays!) and how can you not love a watchmaker that boasts “Our specially blended Swiss oils ensure that our mechanical calibers can safely and precisely operate in temperatures from -45°C to 80°C (-49 to 176°F).” It’s available in both behemoth (43mm) and large (40mm) sizes, Fahrenheit or Celsius. For temp freaks, the heat is on.

Longines Dolcevita – $1800

“The Longines DolceVita has never been the most appealing watch of the brand.” New watch alert! When monochrome-watches.com slates a watch, you know Longines has a problem. Needless to say, monochrome softens the blow; Brice Goulard predicts that the model’s new Art Decor Sector dial “might change the situation.” Well, The Situation has changed (he’s been sober for five years). Meanwhile, the SweetLife’s new dial is unlikely to transform the fortunes of the mid-market brand’s Cartier Tank Americaine-a-Like. Especially when you compare the DolceVita to . . .

the 1995 Must de Cartier Art Deco LE, a watch with genuine fake Deco style [sic] and brand cachet. That said, the Longines is bigger (47mm tall), box fresh and runs on their ETA based L592 mechanical movement. You also get the winged hourglass logo on the caseback with a reminder that the watch is water resistant to 3 bar – perfectly adequate should someone spill a bit of Suze on your timepiece before dinner. And you get a date! On the watch I mean.

This article was republished with permission from TheTruthAboutWatches.

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