Friday, October 12, 2018

New Omega Speedmasters: Sneak Preview

New Omega Speedmasters: Sneak Preview

We love our Omega Speedmasters. The commemorative editions. The limited editions. The special dials. The commemorative, limited editions with special dials. Here are some forthcoming Omega Speedmasters. We don’t have any insight on when these will be released, so keep your eyes open and wrists ready.

A Speedmaster to mark the 1,000,000 cup of coffee sold in NASA’s vending machines, the Java Fuel Speedmaster.
One of the most precious Speedmasters, the
blue Snoopy Award. 
A Speedmaster to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the 1989 Speedmaster Apollo XI Speedmaster which commemorated the 20th anniversary of Apollo XI, the Apollo XI Anniversary Anniversary Speedmaster.

A Speedmaster to mark the 10th Anniversary of the first couple to have sex in orbit, the Eros Speedmaster. Note: This watch may not be safe for work.

A Speedmaster to celebrate Neil Armstrong’s 100th birthday, which will be in 2030. This Speedmaster will be issued in 2020, so you can get yours ten years in advance. It will be reissued again in 2025 and 2030, but these second and third editions won’t be as collectable and valuable. The Armstrong Birthday Speedy will show a moonphase complication along with a dial dotted with candles in place of stars.

A Speedmaster for watch collectors who can’t decide which Speedmaster to get, the Schrodinger's Cat Speedmaster. This Speedmaster will feature a holographic dial that shows a cat at play or a cat that’s dead, depending on the angle at which you look at the watch.

A Speedmaster to mark the successful filming of the movie that made the world believe men walked on the moon, the David Blaine Speedmaster.

A Speedmaster that commemorates the installation of LED lighting at NASA HQ in 2009, the Bright Speedmaster.

A Speedmaster that celebrates the first successful unclogging of a space toilet, the Throne Speedmaster.

A Speedmaster to honor the first American in space, Alan B. Shepard, who didn’t wear a Speedmaster but would have if we had given him one, the Alan B. Shepard Speedmaster.

A Speedmaster to commemorate the first Speedmaster, limited to 5,005 units, the Limited Anniversary Speedmaster. The relief gold medallion at the 9 o’clock position shows the original Speedmaster.

The 2028 Sydney Summer Olympics Speedmaster may turn out to be the rarest Speedmaster if the summer Olympics are held in another city.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Wear Your Moonphase Watch or Die

Until there's a day when werewolves no longer roam the earth, the moonphase will continue to be an essential watch complication.

The Christopher Ward Malvern uses the calibre JJ04,
CW's moonphase movement, a modified ETA2836-2.
An excellent werewolf warning watch.
You can buy an accurate mechanical moonphase for under $2,000 or thereabouts, such as the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase. The Christopher Ward C1 is accurate enough to reliably warn you when the full moon makes its sinister appearance every month. You don't need an ultra-fancy, multi-century, hyper-accurate moonphase unless you're thinking about the watch’s resale value. (More about moonphase watch accuracy in a moment). But who, seriously, would ever sell a moonphase in a world such as ours, where monsters consume human flesh every full moon?

While a routine moonphase watch is fine for safety, if you want a supremely accurate moonphase (assuming you have cash left over after fortifying your house’s doors and windows against werewolves), the world’s most precise moonphase watch is the Sauterelle a lune Perpetuelle 2M, accurate to less than one day every 2,060,757 years. It's as beautiful as it is expensive: $125,000 buys a lot of silver bullets.

I know what you're thinking: The internet is good enough for telling me when the next full moon will occur, because there are thousands of moonphase websites in each of the world’s 6,500 languages. In addition, everyone living on our werewolf inhabited world almost certainly has a full moon alarm on their phone. (The government is still debating whether to make the full moon alarm mandatory so that phone owners can't ever turn it off.) “Why do I need a moonphase watch?” you ask.

Surely you've heard reports about moonphase websites being hacked and moonphase apps corrupted by viruses. Nobody knows for certain if werewolves themselves have developed the skills to perform such dark, sophisticated deeds or if it's humans allied with the werewolves, but this much we know: Every full moon, screams of terror and pain penetrate both city and countryside skies. The werewolves are as cunning as they are vicious.

You could be their next victim.

Members of the "naturism movement" rely on what they see in the sky to determine when the full moon has arrived. But the full moon can be obscured by clouds or weather, or be below the horizon. Your eyes alone are no good for forecasting the full moon.

How to choose a moonphase watch? What should you be thinking about when pursuing something so vital as one of these timepieces?

A Lange and Sohne's Saxonia moonphase,
elegant safety.
When it comes to moonphase complications on which your life depends, why not combine accuracy with beauty? (I know I wrote that you don't need a luxury moonphase watch, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't covet one.) Why not the A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Moonphase or the Rolex Cellini moonphase, both in the $25,000 neighborhood? In olden days people carried daggers that were prized for their artistic design. Function mixed with beauty is an eternal human pursuit. Buy the most gorgeous moonphase you can afford—and then some.

I’d also recommend the one-hand MeisterSinger Lunascope, which offers one of the most unobstructed views of the moon of any moonphase watch.

One of my favorite moonphase watches is the Arnold & Son HM Perpetual Moon, a 42mm creature with perhaps the most beautiful rendition and large—29mm of pure lunar— of the moon of any moonphase watch. You can’t miss the moon on the Arnold & Son. The HM Perpetual Moon costs about $30,000.

The Prague astronomical clock, completed around 1410, displays a myriad of functions, including the all-important moonphase. The historical record shows that werewolves roamed eastern Europe in frighteningly large numbers in the fifteenth century, which may have spurred the creation of this clock. Werewolves are not going away; on the contrary, they’re becoming more numerous and dangerous.

The moonphase complication is both delightfully simple in concept and complex in execution, which is why moonphase watches aren't cheap. The moon takes roughly 29 1/2 days to orbit the earth. Most moonphase watches have two identical moons on opposite sides of a rotating disc. As the moons pass by the single circular opening of the moonphase complication, we see the moon's changing phases. A fifty nine tooth gear advances the moon one notch every twenty four hours, completing the moonphase cycle every 29 1/2 days (fifty nine divided by 2 equals 29.5.) Moonphase watches using a 59-gear movement are accurate to within one day every two years, seven months, and change. But because the moon's orbit around the earth actually takes 29.53 days, a more perfectly precise moonphase might use a 135-tooth gear that bumps up the moonphase accuracy to within a day every 122 years. Other technologies enhance a moonphase’s accuracy even more.

Ochs und Junior's moonphase has a sterling silver case for added protection.
I've recently joined a group. We call ourselves Lunar Sanctuary. We meet at the first quarter moon, before it becomes a waning crescent to check that all our watches' moonphases are correct. We synchronize watches, just like in the movies. One woman's got an Ochs und Junior Moonphase, accurate to one day every 3,478 years. While nobody knows if this helps in real life, the Ochs und Junior also has a sterling silver case, silver being a werewolf's weakness. I might get that watch. I think my life is worth the Ochs’ $9,000 watch price tag, and the silver thing—yeah, that just might help in an emergency. Besides, Ochs und Junior is gorgeous and refreshingly unique. With moonphase watches on so many wrists, it's nice to see a watch with bold design.

Don't make the deadly mistake of buying a sun and moon complication, which is simply a pretty day/night indicator that tells you nothing about the moon’s phase. A sun and moon complication, attractive as that is, can lead to your premature, and painful death.

And don't believe the rumors that a full moon displayed on your moonphase watch will attract werewolves. It won't.

So I ask you again: Do you want to rely on hackable electronics in your phone or a dependable, mechanical moonphase to keep you alive?

Werewolf in Geneva, 1580

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The World's Greatest Vintage Watch: The Rolex Pepsi

Are there any colors more beautiful than those of a vintage, sun-touched Rolex Pepsi?

Photo from Bob's Watches
I could go on. I could compare the beauty of a faded Rolex Pepsi bezel to Helen of Troy, a summer's day, or a romance novel featuring Fabio on the cover. I could say gazing at a Rolex Pepsi bezel that's been caressed by time is like standing on the surface of an alien world and looking up at that planet's diamond ring circling the equator. I could tell you that a Pepsi bezel that's been touched by the sun over decades is a circus of sublime color for your eyes to enjoy.

I could say that a vintage Pepsi bezel that's walked through time is hypnotic.

But all you need to do is look at a vintage Rolex Pepsi to know that this is one of the most beautiful objects on earth.

Thanks to Bob's Watches for the Rolex Pepsi photo. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Watch Inquisitors Private Detective Agency

Let me make a suggestion: If you want to get a watch and
not have your spouse know about it, don't choose this
Rolex. Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius.
Has your spouse been secretly buying watches while you sleep? Has he or she clicked surreptitiously on Chrono 24, eBay, or Timepeaks, ordered a watch, and had it shipped to the office or a Post Office box in the hope of keeping his latest acquisition hidden from you? Are you concerned that the reason you can’t take a vacation to Milan is because your family funds are clandestinely being siphoned off by a Rolex, A. Lange & Sohne or Panerai dealer?

At Watch Inquisitors we understand your deepest worries. We know what it’s like to have to wear a Casio G-Shock while your spouse spends the day with a broad grin and a gold Patek.

The cloud of suspicion takes many forms. It might be your husband secreting himself in the bathroom for abnormally long periods of time, emerging with smile of satisfaction, and when you tap his phone, you find that the last place he visited was the sales forum on Watchuseek. It might be his arriving home from work carrying his usual briefcase...and another bag. Your deepest worry might percolate to the surface when you notice your husband reading posts on a specialized watch website for a watch brand he doesn’t own. Perhaps you found a business card for a jewelry store in his pants pocket—and your anniversary isn’t for nearly another year.

This platinum, limited edition (20 pieces)
Grand Seiko SBGH265J might slip under the radar...
if you can pay $53,000 without anyone finding out.
You want the truth. Watch Inquisitors will uncover it for you.

We also provide counseling services if your greatest fear is realized: He loves new watches more than you.

While we can’t reveal all our tricks of the trade (we like to call them “ticks of the trade”) we can tell you that Watch Inquisitors uses advanced forensic tools as well as old-fashioned gumshoe techniques to determine if your loved one has been buying watches on the sly. Watch Inquisitors is the spring drive of detective agencies.

Watch Inquisitors will track, trail and reveal whether your supposedly faithful spouse is telling you the truth when he or she says, “Honey, you know I’ve had this watch for years.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What Are Grand Seikos Made Of? Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice?

Dials, movements and watch hands get all the glory, but the steel that watches are made from are the unsung heroes of watchmaking.
Grand Seiko SBGH267

Grand Seiko deploys three kinds of steel in their watches: Grand Seiko cases use 316L steel, the hairspring is made out of Spron 610, and Spron 530 is what you'll find in the mainspring. These steel alloys have special properties that make watches more accurate and robust. Spron 610 resists impact and magnetism better than previous alloys used for the hairspring; Seiko’s Spron 530, which took six years to develop, has the ability to handle greater torque and offer higher power reserves than what came before. Steel isn't sexy (unless you want it to be) but it's what makes the watch hands go round.

But the metal that we watch wearers notice most belongs to the watch case. It's the case that catches our eye -- or catches scratches. It's the 316L steel.

Different watch companies use different stainless steels. Rolex builds their steel case watches out of a metal they call 904L, which Rolex says is the Hulk of steels, only prettier. But contrary to Rolex’s marketing material, their 904L steel is not much hardier than Seiko's 316L when it comes to everyday wear, though it does have better resistance to salt water and chemical corrosion. 904L steel is used in industries which have high chemical contact such as acid and petrochemical storage tanks, which is where it originated from. Grand Seiko could have used 904L steel because Zaratsuing a 904L --giving the watch case that magical Grand Seiko polish and lines-- is theoretically doable by Seiko's wizards. After all, Grand Seiko already cuts and shines even stronger titanium for their ultra-light weight and robust titanium watches. But the problem with using 904L steel is that its gummy nature would make any scratches on the Zaratsued surface deeper, more pronounced, prominent...and sad.

Friday, September 21, 2018

What Interstellar, the Movie, Has to Say about the Future of Watches

by Rob Mawyer

Christopher’s Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar is about quantum physics and space travel and love and mankind’s will to explore and discover, but it’s also a movie about watches. I love movies with huge high-stakes set pieces and stories about fathers and families, and Interstellar has both of those in spades, but more often than not when I rewatch the film these days I find myself thinking about watches and how they might function in the dystopian future we seem hell-bent on creating for future generations.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the entire plot hinges awesomely on a secret message encoded onto a Hamilton watch, specifically a sharp-looking black Khaki Automatic that Jessica Chastain’s character Murph puzzles over in the back half of the film. Murph finds the watch in a box in her childhood home, currently owned by her brother. It was a gift to her from her father, Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey.
Hamilton's marvelous Khaki Automatic,
nicknamed the Murph Watch.
The second hand of the Murph Watch allowed
Jessica Chastain’s character to solve the problem
 of gravity. The watch also collected a lot of dust.
The thing about Hamilton's black Khaki Automatic and the message hidden in the movements of its second hand is that McConaughey’s character Cooper, an ace pilot, has been recruited to fly a team of scientists to an entirely different galaxy via an inter-dimensional wormhole in search of planets that might be hospitable to human life. Earth is dying, see. A blight is killing crops slowly, one by one, with each passing season. Barely anything works anymore, and food scarcity requires most able-bodied folks to take up farming, despite the dying crops, which is why we find McConaughey’s Cooper at the beginning of the movie is working a family farm rather than doing what he was born to do—fly. Mankind is on its ass, in other words, and Cooper needs to do his small part to save it, so he agrees to pilot the mission to the wormhole and whatever might exist through (and beyond) it.

Friday, September 14, 2018

My Astro Boy Watch and Some Thoughts about Fun Watches

Fun is part of watch collecting. 
Even somebody who enjoys steak wants a BLT every now and then.

The same is true for watches. Even if you're a Patek, Omega or Rolex dress watch kind of person, you probably want -- and should have -- a fun watch.

I have a watch that's built for fun. Enter my Astro Boy Watch, which I bought from Japan's JR Railway catalog for a little under $400. This limited edition watch is no longer available, though like most watches you'll eventually find one on eBay or at a second hand watch store.

I've got Breitling, Omega, Rolex, Grand Seiko, and some minor planets, too, but I'm going to be wearing only my Astro Boy watch for the foreseeable future. The Astro Boy watch is playful. It's colorful and curious. It's retro, nostalgic, and 37 mm of pure automatic watch joy.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Grand Seiko Snowflake v. Omega Planet Ocean v. Rolex Oyster Perpetual

If there's any truth at all to the expression, "the devil is in the details," it's true for Grand Seiko's Snowflake, a watch for which the details are the main event.

And if the movie line, "there can be only one," means anything, it means one watch towers above its rivals, and that watch is also the Grand Seiko Snowflake.

Rumors swirl among watch reviews and YouTube videos about how Grand Seiko holds beauty above all else. Except perhaps for precision, reliability, and perfection, because it's part of Seiko's mindset, part of Seiko's DNA that these elements are equal and inseparable. Like designing a spacecraft for a mission to the edge of the solar system, everything inside and outside of Grand Seiko must be flawless.

Perfection is a quest, perhaps never obtainable because everything made by humans is flawed just like we are, but essential to pursue nonetheless because one day the gap between imperfection and perfection will be imperceivable.

The Grand Seiko Snowflake's hands, which hover magically over the dial, were made by and for fairies to fight their battles -- and with the Snowflake's razor sharp dauphine hands, victory is as certain as the sunrise. Of that I am sure.

Which brings me to this article's main event: the Snowflake's hands. I'll let the pictures speak the words, but you'll see what I see: The precision and polish, and the unity of design are far greater with the Grand Seiko Snowflake than it is with the Omega Planet Ocean or Rolex Oyster Perpetual. When it comes to details the Grand Seiko Snowflake is number one.

Grand Seiko Snowflake, photo by Ákos Balog

Omega Planet Ocean, photo by Ákos Balog

Rolex Oyster Perpetual, photo by Ákos Balog

The Japanese quest for perfection, for harmony between what's man-made and created by nature isn't an obsession. It's an elemental part of Japanese culture and history, inseparable from Japan as breathing is from living. This quest is reflected in the ancient arts of sword making and the modern art of making watches.  And the pleasure is all ours.

Photos by Ákos Balog by way of the Grand Seiko Owners ClubÁkos Balog is the owner of  PhenomeNato Straps.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Grand Seiko's First Quartz GMT

A Better Wrist's Watch Briefs are a short articles to whet your appetite for great watches. 

The +/- 5 seconds a year Grand Seiko 9F GMT
This is the it watch, the watch that's got people lining up outside the doors of Grand Seiko boutiques even though it won't be available until January 2019. Introducing the Grand Seiko Sport Collection GMT.

Grand Seiko engineered their incomparable 9F quartz movement to offer unparalleled accuracy for both the primary time and an independently settable GMT hour hand. Grand Seiko took their 9F86 movement, which is accurate to within 10 seconds a year, and upped the game to make this watch accurate to +/- 5 seconds a year. 

These new GMT watches will come in three different styles with different color accents, each 39mm. Only the yellow, limited edition version has this heighted accuracy. The other two Grand Seiko Sport Collection GMTs will be accurate to +/- 10 seconds a year. 

The yellow toned Grand Seiko GMT will be available in a limited edition in the fall of 2018, with the other two models available in January 2019. 

Visit here for more information

Friday, August 31, 2018

Your Casio G-Shock May Stop Working in 2019

From Ft. Collins, Colorado, WWV broadcasts a time signal that’s synced with an atomic clock, which gives radio-controlled watches and clocks uncanny accuracy.

But that’s no big deal in the internet age where our phones are synced nearly perfectly with our cell phone networks, and where GPS time signals are accurate to 40 nanoseconds.

If the NIST proposed budget is approved,
radio-controlled watches like this Casio G-shock
Sky Cockpit will no longer automatically set
the time in 2019. 
It’s no big deal, too, because accuracy is only a quartz watch away: You can strap a Grand Seiko quartz watch to your wrist — a beautiful creature that’s accurate to within ten seconds a year. Or you can wear a Longines Conquest V.H.P., accurate to within five seconds a year, a Breitling Superquartz, boasting plus or minus ten seconds a year, a Citizen Chronomaster, which doesn’t deviate by more than five seconds a year, or a Bulova Curv, which will keep you on track to within ten seconds a year, and call it a day. There are awesomely accurate quartz watches for the taking.

You can also buy a GPS watch, like the Seiko Astron. The Astron not only keeps perfect time because it’s synchronized with GPS time, but it automatically changes the hour when you change time zones. How clever is that.

But there are drawbacks to these watches. They’re generally expensive. The Bulova Curv costs over $500, and both the Citizen Chronomaster and Grand Seikos can lighten your wallet by thousands of dollars. High accuracy quartz watches and GPS watches also tend to be large.