Romain Jerome will produce a select batch of the PAC-MAN timepieces as a limited run of just 20 pieces per each of the four styles. The watches will be exclusively launched at the Colette store in Paris on September 3rd, and then at other Romain Jerome retailers thereafter on September 10th, 2012. Price for the Romain Jerome PAC-MAN watches is ,900.
For me, the best part of the Spitfire watches are the beautiful applied hour indicators and hands. The indicators are applied and filled with very white lume for excellent clarity and legibility. Against the metallic dial it makes for a superb look that is hard to complain about. Even with all its functions, the large 46mm wide Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is clean looking and easy to read. You won't be blamed for falling in love with this watch.
Other new Sporting pieces include some new versions of the Sporting Chronograph Ceramic. These are hard to not like given their colorful rubber coated center links that come in either red or yellow. Ralph Lauren calls these "racing stripes" which ironically enough are not on their Sporting Automotive watch. Also about 45mm wide these matte black ceramic watches are pretty cool looking with their striped bracelets. It it also a way of RL making the pieces a bit more fun and light-hearted. What do you think about the fact that the bracelet has the dash of color but the dial is monochromatic?
Watch What-Iffed: Rolex Sky-Dweller
One the watch dial are the time with subsidiary seconds dial, date dial, and moon phase indicator. Oddly the date and seconds dials are labeled, while the moon phase indicator is not. The "Reveal" part of the name comes from the opening and closing doors on the bottom and top of the dial. They are toggled open and closed via a pusher on the left side of the case. This pusher switch opens up a second time zone read digitally via the double rollers at 6 o'clock. The day/night indicator at 12 o'clock functions as an AM/PM indicator. The dial and all functions are really legible, and overall the face of the Chapter Three watch is attractive. Though it does miss a bit of the avant garde oomph of the Chapter One and Two watches.
I am glad to know that no living animal species was harmed in the creation of this watch. Dresden, Germany based high-end brand Lang & Heyne will produce a limited edition set of 25 Caliber I movements for its watches with bridges made from the tusks of extinct wooly mammoths. You don't see mammoth ivory used a lot. It is rare and hard to get being available only from well-preserved mammoths. All the ivory here for example was sourced from a find in Siberia, where the permafrost can preserve entire mammoth bodies in relatively good condition. Lang & Heyne acquired some ivory through a German dealer and investigated its properties in watch making.
Beating inside is the Bremont BE-54AE automatic chronograph movement. Visible thanks to the sapphire display back, this movement is derived from the ETA 7750 but has been modified with a 24 hour UTC function and then decorated by Bremont and COSC certified. As was my impression with past Bremont models, the ALT1-WT's feature list has been designed with actual use in mind. Bremont is not one for vaporware and the chronograph, UTC hand, and world timer bezel all boast strong legibility, reliable implementation and excellent ease of use.
The strap change system works really well. There is a pusher on the lugs that you press to release the strap. It clicks out and then clicks back in again. This system allows wearers to interchange Hublot straps which is likely to be a new and lucrative business for Hublot - as its watch owners can personally swap out straps as they like.
To activate the screen you tap it. This is usually done with a finger, but when my hands are full I just tap the watch on my cheek or forehead - that does the trick. When the screen is activated you can then swipe it with your finger up, down, or to the sides. This allows you to access the various screens. All adjustments are done via holding your finger on the screen for a few seconds. The simplicity of using the Slyde is not a let down. I was worried at first that it would have a steep learning curve. Not at all. In just a few minutes you'll learn everything you need to know about it.
As you can see, there are two dials on the watch. Each is relatively independent - so you can consider this a two timezone watch. The concept is really about marrying the traditional world of horology with the modern electronic age (though the movement is of course purely mechanical). Adjusting the digital display is done via the pushers on the side of the case. One is used to advance the minutes, and the other is used to advance the hours. Reading the dial is relatively legible depending on the version of the Meccanico dG. I like this black and white model a lot. Though the watch has had a range of colors starting with the famous neon green.
The internal rotating bezel is operated via the left crown. It does not screw down and the bezel rotates smoothly without clicks. Functional types should prefer a rotating bezel with distinct notches, but it is fine this way for most purposes. Engineering a unique clicking system (like Bremont did with Roto-Click) would just increase the price of the watch a lot.
Skeletonized watches are often pretty expensive - at least the good ones are. The key is to not only skeletonize a movement, but to do so in a natural way that still looks authentic. Maintaining dial legibility isn't a bad thing either. What Breil did here is work with Japanese watch movement maker Miyota for a skeletonized version of one of their automatic movements. I have a feeling Miyota does the skeletonization themselves, and the result is pretty impressive - from the front and back of the watch.
Both the Tide Temp Compass and Perpetual Calendar offer additional functionality over a typical low-cost quartz watch but something does feel off about each one. It's almost as if they are both trying a little bit too hard to be something they are not. Despite aiming to be a nautical adventure watch, the Tide Temp Compass isn't built for true aquatic life. Likewise, the Perpetual Calendar tries to look the part of a sophisticated dress watch but the dial appears cluttered and more casual when a closer look is taken. These aspects can be overlooked given the sub-0 price points assuming you like the styles. The Timex Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass and Perpetual Calendar watches are available now for 0-200 USD and 0-175 USD respectively.
OK, enough with that. Moving back to Mr. speedyhands - the Type XXII timepiece. I was with Breguet at their boutique here in Los Angeles checking out... well watches. They showed me the Type XXII 3880ST watch and i immediately noticed that it was different than the piece I previously discussed. The most noteworthy change was the removal of the linear indicator under 12 o'clock. Everyone thought it was a power reserve indicator - but it wasn't. It was actually part of the minute counter for the chronograph. Don't ask... it has been removed. The scales on the dials also changed. I think for the better. In addition to being more colorful, the scales are more useful for reading the 60 minute chronograph.
On the rear of the watch is more classic finishing and another view of the manually-wound movement. The caseback is not super exciting, but nonetheless nice. What you can't see is just how complex the movement it. In it are over 600 parts and it has two mainspring barrels. One of them is purely dedicated to the "animation" of the hands as they move around when the time changes. Power reserve is about 45 hours.
Just walking by the out-of-the way watch repair stand hardly delivers the message of what Central Watch is. Most of its operation is hidden from view in a long narrow space behind the stand. Over the years, Central Watch took over a few adjacent stands which now display watches for sale and contain watch maker desks. The space is almost comically quaint. I likened it to feeling like an office in a train car - while Steve corrected me that it was more like a submarine. New space should be on the way soon.
You can see that BRM developed a new parachute style logo to go with this collection. The logo is right on the dial with the Bombers name. Rarely is the model name of a watch located on the dial. The dials again are a mix of instrument, art, and plane aesthetics. You can see elements like a compass in there, as well as features taken from traditional aircraft cockpit gauges. BRM did a nice job with the dials, especially given that there is a healthy variety. There are even more dial versions than shown in this article. Doesn't something about the look remind you of classic baseball art styles?