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You may have heard of CrafterBlue before but probably not for making watches. Based in Hong Kong, Crafter Blue have made a name for themselves making curved end Block-integrated straps for Seiko dive watches including the SKX, Marinemaster, Sumo, Turtle, Samurai and Shogun. Their range has since expanded to include straps for the Tudor BlackBay and Pelagos.

So what happens when a strap company starts to make watches? We reached out to Crafter Blue’s founder – Steve Chan who kindly sent us their Mechanic Ocean to spend some time with and put it through its paces.

Design

To start with, the Mechanic Ocean is clear in purpose. It is a dive watch through and through. At 45mm across and over 16mm in height there is no getting away from the fact that this is a large watch. It is not going to ‘slip under a cuff’ or be worn subtly with a suit. Nor should it. It was designed to be highly robust and reliable when faced with the rigours of the ocean, and the design language clearly speaks to this. For example the crown has been placed on the left hand side of the watch. Not to allow this to be worn on the right wrist, but to ensure the crown doesn’t dig into the back of your hand when swimming. In addition it is far less likely you will strike the crown on an object when its pointing up your arm.

The Crown on the left ensures you’ll be hard pressed to hit it on anything

On the right hand side of the watch is an automatic helium release valve that sits flush with the case. If you want to know more on our thoughts of helium release valves take a read of our article here.

The textured dial features applied markers and offers an unexpected level of detail. The hands are easy to read and are filled with a generous quantity of lume!

Movement

Powering the Mechanic Ocean the Calibre 3531 which is a modified Seiko NH35 adorned with a decorated red gold rotor with Geneva waves. Unfortunately this detail is completely lost on owners as the Mechanic Ocean is fitted with a solid caseback which is what you might expect from a ruggedized dive watch. But the bigger question is why adorn the movement with a level of Swiss finishing for a watch with no Swiss connection – nor the ability to appreciate it? However, the NH35 is a solid movement which is easy to service, highly durable and overall a great choice for a watch in this price bracket.

The modified NH35A movement with a rosegold rotor is decorated with Geneva waves

Strap

As you might expect, the mechanic Ocean is fitted with a CrafterBlue rubber strap that the company is renown for. In this particular instance it is a block-integrated bi-colour vulcanised rubber strap which is made in line with CrafterBlues’ signature design aesthetic – namely a flat tang buckle with twice as many holes as you might expect. This allows for a much finer adjustment on your wrist ensuring a good fit and comfort all year round. in addition the strap is a good length allowing it to be worn over a wet suit. It also allows the watch to be worn without having to have links removed from a bracelet.

However it’s not all plain sailing. Look a little closer and you’ll see that the crown guard doesn’t actually guard the crown – it protects the stem leaving the crown exposed. For a watch of substantial proportions, the dial itself is smaller than you might expect. For comparison the dial on the 40mm Oris divers 65 is actually 5mm larger than the mechanic ocean, even though the Oris case size is 5mm smaller.

Throughout my time with the Mechanic Ocean, I had a troubling thought in my mind. While the Mechanic Ocean is a very capable and robust watch, its a newcomer to an already saturated market which therefore poses the question: “Why would I choose this watch over a comparable watch from Seiko who are probably the undeniable champions in this sector with a proven history of dive watches for over 50 years”

This becomes an even more prominent question when you consider the Mechanic Ocean is in fact more expensive than an ISO 6425 certified divers from Seiko such as the Turtle or Samurai which use the very same movement – but in the Seiko it’s an in-house movement.

If you re looking for a dive watch for under £1000 then quite frankly your options and choices are far and wide with countless microbrands offering a seemingly unlimited choice, and often very little to differentiate one watch from another as design queues often point to the same inspirations.

This watch however does not follow the herd and is clearly not another watch trying be be something it’s not which is a refreshing change. It is has been designed for a singular purpose and in that regard it does exactly what it says on the tin – its a capable, solid, reliable divers watch with no pretence.

So if what you’re looking for is not something that follows the trend of historical divers and boldly embodies its own more contemporary design language, then the Mechanic Ocean might just be for you.

The CrafterBlue Mechanic Ocean is available from:
www.crafterbluewatches.com
Price: $425

With the release of the trailer for the new James Bond film “No Time to Die” Omega have also taken the opportunity to announce the new ‘Seamaster 300m 007-edition’ watch – which is identical to the watch worn by 007 in No Time to Die.

Omega have in the past drawn criticism for their ‘Bond’ watches – with models displaying the infamous 007 logo on the hands, or the rifling of bonds gun on dial, however this model embodies heritage styling queues such as domed sapphire glass and tropical lume.

Featuring the Ministry of Defence Broad Arrow on the dial – harking back to Omega’s history in producing watches for the British military, this is the only subtle indication of a heritage connection to the military from the front. Engraved on the caseback is a series of numbers, which follow the format for genuine military-issue watches, including the number 62, which refers to the year of the very first James Bond film, Dr No.

This 42mm Seamaster, in lightweight Grade 2 Titanium, sports a brown tropical aluminium bezel ring and dial and is slightly slimmer than the standard Diver 300M models thanks to the doming of the sapphire-crystal glass. it is available on a Grade 2 Titanium mesh bracelet or as seen here on the new ‘Bond’ NATO. It is powered by OMEGA’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8806 – a variant of Omegas 8800 calibre with no Date

Interestingly and of note is; this is not a limited edition series watch and will be available to the public through authorised dealers and Omega boutiques from February 2020 starting at £6520

Futher information:
www.omegawatches.com

It can be said that as watch lovers, quite often we’re a pretty hard bunch to buy for. After all once you own a spring bar tool, a few straps and a nice watch valet or storage box, the remaining choices of what to get us for birthday and Christmas become a little more tricky. If money is no object, buying a grail watch for the one you love is clearly a possibility however bypassing the waiting lists is another problem entirely! For those of us who don’t have infinitely deep pockets, a nice picture of the aforementioned grail might seem like a suitable alternative? But with Christmas looming, where might you go to get such a thing? To tease you further, its possible you might have seen some beautiful watch art in the pages of GQ magazine, or adorning the walls of watch dealers or perhaps, behind some of the now infamous YouTubers discussing watches on a weekly basis. If this is the case then join us below as we share with you some of our favourite watch art that just might be a life saver at Christmas for that loved one in your life!

a History of Time

This superb illustrative journey shows a visual history of iconic timepieces spanning over 100 years of watchmaking. Starting in 1904 with the Cartier Santos Dupont the poster takes you on a journey through time in 49 intricately detailed hand-illustrations of the most prominent and notable watches of the last century. These horological icons have been seen in films and on the wrists of presidents, celebrities, and cultural icons.

Featured watches include the Cartier Tank as worn by Muhammed Ali, Hamilton Ventura worn by Elvis Presley, Tag Heuer Monaco as Worn by Steve McQueen, The ‘Paul Newman Daytona’ and the Rolex Datejust worn by Martin Luther King Jr. As you can tell this a long and distinguished list! This fabulous collection of watches has influenced or defined the design of the modern era of watchmaking in the 21st century.

A History of Time is available as an 18″x 24″ print on 192 g/m² paper shipped unframed allowing you to choose the mounting and frame of your choice.

As an exclusive treat for our readers, you can get a 20% discount on this using the discount code ‘Wristworthy’ at the checkout!

Available from:
Website: VeryOnBrand.com

Art-of-Horology

However taking things up a notch, if you’re looking for something a little more unique and personal but can’t afford to buy that special person a speedmaster, how about buying them a poster of their grail watch or alternatively, a favourite watch in their own collection?

For the past three years, Art-of-Horology have been producing these fantastic posters which have been featured in GQ magazine, within many watch shops worldwide and behind prominent YouTubers (including Theo & Harris and Bark & Jack amongst many others) – so its possible you have seen these before but not known where to get them.

Their collection of watch art posters are each digitally re-created by Liam and with over 50 watches and designs to choose from there’s a great choice on hand. These include horological icons from the infamous Seiko SKX & Casio F-91W to the AP RoyalOak, Omega Speedmaster, and Rolex GMT Master II amongst many others.

Each poster is available as a high quality A2 print on 180 gsm premium silk stock. These are shipped unframed allowing you to choose your mount and frame while keeping shipping costs to a minimum .

Furthermore, if the watch you would like as a poster is not available, Art of Horology can make it for you. This not only allows you to have a digitally recreated piece of artwork of any watch of your choosing, but also if you wish; a commissioned representation of a precious heirloom is equally possible.

One last and beautifully unique touch, each piece of art can be adjusted to the specific time and date of your choosing – this allows you to provide a truly personal gift imparting a memorable time and date of an event like a birthday, anniversary or celebration for example.

Art of horology are in fact 3 years old today, and after having shipped more than 1500 pieces of art to 57 countries, we’re delighted to celebrate with them! For a limited period of time, our readers can get a 15% discount a using the promo code ‘Wristworthy’. So if you’ve been considering one of these for yourself, or perhaps a birthday or Christmas gift for that watch lover in your life, now is most definitely the time to buy one!

Unfortunately we can attest to the impact of these posters first hand – we bought a Tudor BlackBay GMT poster some time ago, and just over a month ago ended up buying a Black Bay GMT! You might want to be careful which poster you buy as your next purchase could very easily be much more expensive!

Available from:
Website: Art-of-Horology
Instagram: @the_art_of_horology

One Hour Watch

However, if youre looking for a one-off hand drawn piece of art, look no further than the incredibly talented Lee Yuen-Rapati.

Based in the UK, Lee is a designer from Canada who specialises in illustration, type design, and industrial design. He holds a Master’s degree in typeface design from the University of Reading, and a Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary design from NSCAD University.

In 2014 Lee began the series One Hour Watch which involves creating an original watch drawing every day in one hour or less. The series currently stands at more than 1800 drawings and ranges from his personal creations to recreations of iconic favourites. Lee has worked as a commission-based illustrator for a wide array of clients ranging from an international community of watch collectors and enthusiasts as well as for established watchmakers such as Roger W Smith, and Urban Jürgensen.

Each piece of art is individually created by Lee usually to a standard size of 12x15cm however he’s happy to work within a clients request as essentially every piece is commissioned and bespoke.

Lee doesn’t sell any of his existing “One Hour Watch” pictures which are kept as a library and catalogue of some of his work so far, however he is more than happy to re-produce any of them as commissions if there is one in particular that you would like. Below is a small selection

Contact Details:
Website: watchtype.net
Instagram: @onehourwatch

We hope that this will provide a few options for those already thinking about Christmas presents. You should have plenty of time to order these for delivery before the holiday season. In addition, look out for our forthcoming article on watch accessories which may include some more gift ideas as we head towards the holiday season.

Have you seen or discovered watch art elsewhere? let us know in the comments below which is your favourite and why.

Collecting watches is a very personal thing. It is an expressive extension of our personalities and choices – what works for someone does not work for others and hence buying a watch can result in some great additions to your collection. However, there comes a time for most of us when during the lifetime of collecting watches we decide to part with one or two (or often more).

This can happen for a number of reasons ranging from the pursuit of a grail watch where personal sacrifices need to be made, to realising that although we really like certain timepieces, we are just not wearing them much. This then represents a considerable investment that is not being used. In addition as we grow older we also typically gain more disposable income and learning from our experiences and changing tastes, find what used to be the unobtainable, within potential reach.

So how might you go about parting with your watches?

While many people use eBay, it’s business model is inherently designed to support buyers through lowering their risk. However selling on eBay isn’t quite so ‘risk free’. There is of course the risk of fraudulent or unscrupulous buyers claiming the watch is not genuine or claiming it has been returned and getting their money back through PayPal (as they are protected) and you never see the watch again. While this is not necessarily commonplace, it has happened on a number of occasions and as a seller it’s a risk you must be aware of. In addition, eBay requires quite an investment in time, and results often fall short of hopes and expectations. Lastly, the eBay and PayPal fees which are around 10% – which makes you ask the question why they take so much when you have to do all the hard work?

Risks, high fees and low prices are all issues sellers face on Ebay.

An alternative you may consider is part exchanging them for the watch you want with a pre-owned specialist, like Watchfinder for instance. While this can offer you a great level of convenience and I must say I have in the past personally chosen this method, they are in the business of selling pre-owned watches which means they need to have a margin in their sale, unlike selling directly to another collector. This means you will inherently not get the best value for your watches – which is the price you pay for convenience.

So what’s the alternative? Well you could choose to use a broker such as James from KibbleWatches.co.uk. Brokers work in much the same way that an estate agent does. They perform all the hard work in photographing, listing, promoting and selling your watch on your behalf for a small percentage of the sale. A key benefit of brokers is that they typically become well connected within the industry so they are able to draw upon those relationships in a way that you or I can’t.

This is the route I most recently took when I chose to part with a couple of my Tudors. I wanted to get the best realistic price possible for them as I was buying another hi-value piece. I didn’t have the time to create two eBay listings, write ups, photographs and then spend ages haggling with people wrongly trying to negotiate a price reduction because they’ve seen a worst condition watch with missing papers for cheaper elsewhere. So having met and spoken to James previously I gave him a call and asked to meet up.

James is well known within the intimate watch circles in London and further afield, so he has a lot to lose if his reputation becomes tarnished. This results in him being open, honest and friendly as his desire is for you to be as happy with the outcome as possible – happy customers are good business!

My experience was extremely straight forward, painless and surprisingly quick. I met with James in central London and we reviewed and discussed my two watches and my personal aspirations for what I might hope to achieve. This is an extremely important part as being realistic up front about their condition and value saves endless conversations and heartache later. He agreed that in this particular case, both watches were in extremely good condition and having the box, papers, hang-tags etc placed them as premium examples. We discussed and agreed what would be realistic to achieve for the watches as well as him gaining an understanding as to what the minimum I might hope to achieve for them. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get this step right. Having an unrealistic expectation of your watch’s worth can be crippling for you and the broker, as it results in watches that don’t sell. This means you don’t have funds freed up and the broker ends up promoting a watch he can’t find a new home for. No one wins. We also discussed and agreed a reasonable rate for commission. This will reflect the work that the broker has to put in to selling your watches including good photography, advertising and promoting them, leveraging contacts within the trade, negotiating on your behalf, and finally (and very importantly!…) acting as escrow ensuring cleared funds are received before parting with your watches. This critical step protects you as the seller from losing your watches through fraud.

From there I signed a consignment contract with James containing all the above details on it, and left him with my watches to photograph, promote and sell on my behalf through KibbleWatches.co.uk supporting this with promotions through a number of social media platforms.

Within a mere 7 days through contacts within the industry and previous customers James had successfully negotiated the price within the range we had previously discussed and agreed a sale. He then contacted me with the good news and arranged a bank transfer for the sale price (minus his previously agreed commission)

Overall I achieved a great price for both watches – higher than I would have achieved by part exchanging the watches through watchfinder, in a short time with no stress or hassle. What more could I ask for?

My experience was refreshingly simple & straightforward and as James is a knowledgeable collector himself, it felt more like chatting to an old friend rather than negotiating a business deal.

All in all I cannot recommend KibbleWatches.co.uk highly enough. If you are considering parting with a watch I would suggest you give him a call!

KibbleWatches contact details:
Website: www.kibblewatches.co.uk
Instagram: @kibblewatches
Mobile: 07786 515664

Oris launched their new Big Crown Pro Pilot X in London, England on the 10th September and we were kindly invited to the launch to find out what this watch is all about.

While the watch debuted amongst a 3 day event in Shanghai, China on the 5th September, you would be forgiven for asking why a Swiss watch company would launch a product outside of Switzerland or indeed Europe, however its clear this was more than a watch launch. Allow me to explain…

Oris has had at its core the focus of “Real watches for real people” to deliver affordable quality swiss timepieces, and to this extent their core range are based on Sellita movements fitted with their signature red-rotor. However in 2014, Oris in celebration of 110 years of watchmaking, launched their first in-house calibre in 35 years and named it appropriately ‘Calibre 110’. Since then each year, Oris has released another successive calibre in the series: the calibre 111 in 2015, calibre 112 in 2016, calibre 113 in 2017 & calibre 114 in 2018 all showing innovation and investment in their watchmaking.

The new Big Crown ProPilot X includes the new ‘calibre 115’ which takes that innovation to another level. This movement was designed from the outset to be skeletonised and on display. It is a manually wound calibre beating away at 21,600 beats per hour (or 3hz) featuring a small seconds and a non-linear power reserve indicator. The titanium case (a mixture of grade2 and grade 5 case pieces) has been designed to be assembled around the calibre without requiring traditional movement spacers or retainers. As you can imagine the tolerances required to do this are exacting – leaving little room for error. However this allows the movement to be on display in all its glory.

Oris Calibre 115

The new Pro Pilot X is itself a divisive watch. Although it is named a ‘ProPilot’ which would normally elicit the aspiration of an easy-to-read pilots watch with form following function, this new ProPilot X is a far cry from what a pilot would want – but its not designed for pilots. It takes its inspiration from the design of the ProPilot and builds on it to create something you will want to look at and study – not to tell the time but as a piece of art on your wrist. However, glorious as it is, it is not going to be for everyone. The case is 44mm in diameter, and although the bracelet tapers down the new bespoke clasp jumps back up again in size delivering a more utilitarian aesthetic. Overall the whole watch feels ‘engineered’ like a piece of architecture. It’s not delicately elegant but it is fascinating and alluring at the same time.

What we see here is Oris flexing its muscles and showing what it is capable of. The launch of the Pro Pilot X in Shanghai represents an acknowledgement of the largest watch market in the world and where ostensibly its’ largest customer base will be.

The watch industry asserts a cost of roughly $1m to create a new 3 handed watch calibre and those prices go up considerably with additional complications to the calibre. Oris is continuing to innovate and invest in its future having now released 6 calibres in as many years and is showing no signs of letting up any time soon. Aside from the financial investment, it takes years to design and develop a new calibre. There was almost a hint of excitement when we mentioned to Rolf Studer (Oris’s CEO) that the Calibre 116 must clearly be in development – his response alone said everything. “That will be something special”

Details:
Watch: Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot X
Reference: 115 7759 7153 7 22 01 TLC
Case: 44mm Titanium case
Movement: Manually wound 3hz with 10 day power reserve and small seconds
Price: £5950

Items in this Article:
Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot X

On the 7th August Seiko stunned the watch community by the surprise launch of of 27 Watches marking the revival of the Seiko 5 line of watches now re-vamped to become the Seiko 5 Sports collection. While this was a surprise (rarely has a manufacturer launched so many watches at once) the SKX has been a problem brewing for some time for the brand. Allow me to explain why Seiko had little choice…

So what are the new watches?
Well, Seiko has taken to revamp the Seiko 5 series by taking one of the most cult watches in history and updating it for today. Based on the Seiko SKX visual aesthetic (which itself is based on a number of heritage models) Seiko has introduced 5 ‘Themes’ – Sports, Suits, Specialist, Street & Sense within which they have ostensibly created 27 different visual variants of the beloved SKX. These include models with Steel, Mesh, NATO and Rubber straps, with regular or blacked out and rose gold cases, textured dials and even an orange dial (a re-invigorated SKX011 – their least popular SKX model). These new watches include a much wanted upgrade to the trusty 7S26 movement in the guise of the 4R36 movement. This benefits from the addition of hand winding and hacking and is the base movement for the Prospex Range. But these watches are not referred to as ‘Prospex’ but as Seiko 5 Sports so why not? Well the most significant and notable change is the removal of the screw down crown and that the new range is not ISO certified unlike the SKX that they replace.

So why did Seiko chose to do this?
Well to understand this, you need to take a look at where the Seiko SKX sat in the range. You see the SKX represented a marketing nightmare for Seiko. As a watch, it is the perfext embodiment of a no frills diver. It is an ISO6425 certified dive watch (which means each and every watch has been tested to 125% of the depth stated on the dial as well as a whole variety of other stringent tests) which in theory places it in the same camp as the Seiko Samurai and the Turtle whose RRP is ostensibly the same as the SKX (although the SKX can invariably be purchased for less) But the SKX doesn’t carry the Prospex logo on the dial and doesn’t have hand winding or hacking so cannot be accurately set to a reference time. This is because it contains the extremely robust and clever 7S26 which has served Seiko well for decades, however the public are demanding more.

This leaves two courses of action for Seiko. Improve the movement and upgrade the SKX to Prospex status in Seikos’ lineup – which would delight SKX owners but then create too much competition and not enough diversity in the bottom end of the Pro series range, or demote the capabilities of the SKX by removing the screw in crown and ISO6425 rating of the watch and create a whole series of watches with enough models to appeal to those wanting to get their first mechanical sports watch – which quite frankly is where the SKX sat anyhow.

Given the choices Seiko had in front of them I completely understand why they chose the course of action they did and I hope that we see a whole new generation of watch enthusiasts embrace and adopt the new Seiko 5 Sports range, however I know that there will be many mourning the demise of their beloved SKX for a technically inferior model. The New Seiko 5 Sports range should provide a robust entry level sports range to attract customers looking to buy their first ‘propper’ watch and provide great selection to choose from.

One small concern…
The new models have a push/pull crown and a 100m waterproof rating. While this should be more than adequate for those wanting to swim with their watch rather than dive professionally, we have unfortunately had some bad experiences with Seiko models that don’t have a screw down crown – specifically the SNZH55 which is a Seiko 5 dive watch with a push/pull crown rated to 100m. This let water in while swimming in a swimming pool (so at most 2 metres deep). We hope that Seiko has done a better job with the new Seiko 5 Sports range as early negative experiences could inhibit a potentially great watch that will inspire the next generation of watch lovers.

This might also be the time to go and buy a Seiko SKX while you still can as we can see demand for this is already on the rise. The new Seiko 5 Sports range goes on sale in September with an indicative pricing of £250-£350.

Items in this article:
New Seiko 5 Sports range
Related:
The Problem with an SKX

Last year we published an article titled “Getting into Rubber” where we undertook the most comprehensive review of Rubber straps for watches comparing 13 straps from 8 manufacturers on 6 watches.

One of those companies was Vanguard Speciality Straps who while they were a relatively new company producing straps for the Tudor Black Bay, were keen to hear feedback on their product as they were well aware that this was their first offering in the space. The strap was priced competitively as a luxury strap. The design and fit of the strap was great however in our opinion there were two areas that let the strap down. Firstly the tang buckle provided with the strap was certainly not commensurate of a quality strap, and while it was possible to pair the strap with Tudors deployant clasp, not all Tudor owners would have one of these as they were only provided on a Black Bay purchased on a leather strap. Secondly while the silicone rubber that the strap was made from was indeed soft, it was certainly not of the quality that compared to other premium straps. However the design, fit and comfort of the strap were excellent.

Since then, Vanguard have been working hard to address these two issues and provided us with one of their newer MK2 rubber straps.

Firstly Vanguard have changed their packaging to create a smaller and more slender box. This may well help with international shipping and is certainly kinder on the environment using less materials.

The new buckle Is a substantial improvement. It is 316L forged with a brushed finish and is much more substantial than their last buckle. The underside is grooved to allow the strap to recess into it helping it sit well on the wrist and the top features the Vanguard logo etched into it.

Vanguards new milled buckle is a significant improvement over their last

The change of rubber to FKM Vulcanised Rubber is also a substantial improvement. The newer matt finish still feels soft and supple but certainly looks and feels more of a premium texture. As you might expect, it’s dust & UV resistant and anti-allergenic. In addition we found it far less susceptible to attracting lint and fingerprints caused by oils and grease on your skin leaving a much improved experience for the wearer.

First and second generation Vanguard straps

Overall it would be easy to assume that these two changes are relatively insignificant but the impact they make is more substantial than you might expect. The newer strap feels a substantial improvement delivering a high quality strap that pairs well with a premium watch at a competitive price.

Vanguard have been working hard to increase the diversity of watches they manufacture straps for and currently include Submariner, Daytona, GMT Master II, Datejust, and Explorer II amongst others. Vanguard are also working on a variant for the Black Bay 58 which we think will be in high demand. In addition we also know that they are prototyping straps for the Omega Seamaster range which we think will be a big hit among the watch community.

You can tell the measure of a company by the way it listens to and values its customers and their feedback. We have been impressed with the engagement of vanguard and their approach. While vanguard are not the first to offer premium fitted rubber straps in this space, they are interested in feedback and listen to their customers.

After having had the opportunity to wear this strap on a Tudor Black Bay for a few months we can attest to how well its made. In our opinion it’s a great choice for those wanting a rubber option that will be both comfortable and durable without compromising quality.

Vanguard Straps are available direct from their website – www.vanguardstraps.com for $130

Links to items in this article:
Vanguard integrated rubber strap for Tudor Heritage Black Bay

We’re proud to announce that we have been publishing Wristworthy for a whole year and what a year it has been!

In June 2018 we published our first article and since that article first hit the press we have been bowled over by the response from our readers. In our first year, our articles were read more than 15,000 times by more than 8000 people from 127 countries! To say this has blown us away is an understatement!

We’ve written articles on watches and straps from a number of manufacturers, looked at movement architectures, highlighted the truth about water resistance and become recognised as professional publishers by Flipboard.

We’re really excited for the year ahead as we have some exciting projects underway (in fact we have a huge backlog of articles) but were also interested to hear what you’d like to see us write about. So please do get in touch either in the comments below, via contact page, or drop us an email – we’d love to hear from you!

As I was travelling with work and ‘hopping’ time zones, I thought it would be a great opportunity to put a GMT through its paces as an ideal travel companion and as Christopher ward have recently released their new Trident GMT (or more specifically, “C60 Trident GMT 600 Mk 3”) it seemed a great opportunity to spend some time with this watch and see how it measures up.

First impressions are good. The case is well designed and put together, and you can see that ChristopherWard have taken care with the design. It’s available in two case sizes – 38mm and 42mm which will suit both smaller and larger wrist sizes. The top and sides of the case are brushed with a polished bevelled edge separating the two. The case design incorporates integrated crown guards that are slender but sufficient, and the ChristopherWard logo is embossed on the crown itself. Overall, the watch feels solid, well designed and good quality for the price

Turning the watch over reveals the caseback which has a beautifully engraved trident seal. It’s not laser engraved but deeply pressed into the caseback much in the same way that the ‘Hippocampus’ is engraved on the caseback of Omegas Seamaster range. In addition, there are 6 slots that form part of the design but are clearly there for a specialist case back opener.

The dial is polished and features applied markers that hold a healthy amount of Grade X1 GL C1 Super-LumiNova® which is new for ChristopherWard. The hands also show an attention to detail with the counterbalance of the second hand also featuring the signature ‘Trident’ design, and the GMT hand in orange being a smaller iteration of the hour hand. They’re sharp and all contain a healthy application of lume.

In addition, the hybrid rubber+fabric strap has been well thought through. The underside features channels to allow moisture to escape and as a nice touch it also has the ChristopherWard logo moulded into the design. The top of the strap features a cordura layer allowing the watch to have the practicalities of a rubber strap while maintaining the look of a fabric strap. The brushed buckle is signed and the strap includes quick release spring bars – allowing the owner to quickly change straps tool-free (which is great while travelling).

As a watch the trident is a competent timepiece. It’s rated to 600m which is far beyond the demands that any recreational diver will place on it. It has a simple design aesthetic that works well and Its unfussy and well built. So where do things start to come unstuck? Well it feel like the marriage of the two functions has compromised both. Lets start with the bezel.

The action is good and the teeth on the sides allow an easy grip for turning it. The size of the bezel shows a well thought out integration with the size and aesthetic of the watch case, and the ceramic blue insert is vibrant with the 24 hour markers filled with Super-LumiNova make it easy to read by day or night. However, It’s unidirectional which would imply it’s for monitoring dive times but there are no minute markers on the bezel for monitoring dive times as its inscribed with the 24 hour markers for the GMT hand. This means the bezel’s useless for divers and frustrating to use with the GMT hand as it doesn’t rotate in both directions. This was clearly not well thought through.

In truth, many other manufacturers also exhibit one of these two problems. Tudors BlackBay GMT and Omega’s PlanetOcean GMT (amongst many others) also cannot measure dive time as their bezels are populated with 24 hour markers. However they do have bi-directional bezels meaning they can easily allow the wearer to track multiple time zones. So in reality they are first and foremost GMT watches that are built to survive deep water immersion rather than being proper divers watches.

However, in the case of the Trident GMT, the movement is also fundamentally flawed in its operation as a GMT but this is a little more complicated to explain..

In an integrated GMT movement architecture, the movement works a little differently. Firstly the movement drives three hands for the main timekeeping but these are not what you would expect. They are the seconds, minutes, and the 24 hour hand (often referred to as the GMT hand) rather than the normal 12 hour hand. This allows the primary reference time to be constant and is all set with the watch as if adjusting the time as normal (by pulling the crown out two positions causing the watch to ‘hack’ or stop). In addition to this but independently set is an additional 12 hour hand that is also connected to the date wheel. This allows the wearer to quickly adjust the hour hand forwards or backwards an hour at a time, and where it crosses the 12 o’clock position at midnight, it moves the date forward or backwards as required. This is the only way of setting the date on a GMT. Yes that’s right, on a purpose designed GMT movement, you can wind the hour hand backwards and if it crosses the midnight position it will happily wind the date backwards one day.

To a user the whole process of operating it is extremely easy. The watch will run with the reference time set and when crossing time zones simply pull out the crown one position and move the hour hand forward or backwards one hour at a time without stopping the watch ensuring accurate timekeeping is maintained.

Christoper Ward have chosen to use the ETA 2893 modular GMT movement to power the C60 Trident GMT. I can understand why Christopher ward would want to do this – ETA are a massive movement maker that supply a variety of complications to suit watchmakers worldwide with a proven reliability, easy servicing and a brand recognition that allows them to sell a watch with a Swiss movement. However In order to build a modular movement you need to not only operate the primary timekeeping functions of the watch but also provide a connection to deliver power to the additional module. This allows the base movement to be used as a timekeeping movement in its own right (in this case on its own it is the ETA 2892-2 base movement), and for its functionality to be extended depending on which module is fitted on top. This means that the module on top (in this case ETAs GMT module) has to run the 24 hour hand but it also has be able of being independently set. This is done buy pulling out the crown to the first position and instead of winding the crown backwards to advance the date, you have to wind it forward to move the GMT hand forward by an hour at a time. This is the direct opposite of how you expect a GMT to work where the GMT hand maintains a constant (Showing the time at the Greenwich Meridian) and the local time is adjusted independantly.

It means that every time you move to a different time zone you have to…

  1. Pull the crown out two positions stopping the watch, adjust the time of the watch to the new time zone moving all the hands on the watch (NOT back past midnight) and having to use another reference time as now the watch has stopped so it’s no longer accurate.
  2. Next push the crown back in one position and wind the crown forwards to return the GMT hand back to where it should be.
  3. Next wind the crown backwards to advance the date (if necessary) all the way round 30 positions (if retarding the time causes you to pass midnight and hence now showing the previous day).
  4. Lastly press the crown in again to finish setting the time and date and screw the crown down ensuring its water tight once again.

As you can see this is extremely frustrating and you only have to do this a couple of times to realise how flawed this movement architecture is. Frequent travellers will quickly become disillusioned with a GMT like this.

I must point out that this is not a criticism of Christopher ward – they don’t produce movements themselves and have to buy these in from a supplier. The experience here will be exactly the same for other manufacturers who all rely on ETA to supply them with a GMT movement.

With this in mind I feel here that the marriage of both a divers watch and GMT have been fundamentally compromised. You cant measure dive time on it, and you cant easily switch time zones.

As I returned from my trip I was deeply torn. At face value its specified well and the build quality is great. Had this been purely a focused divers watch, with a gratuated dive-time bezel, It would have been hard to fault. However, the main selling point of the watch is as a GMT and in this regard its exasperating to use! There is one thing that the trip has taught me – the value of a properly designed and integrated GMT movement architecture!

Links to items in this article:
ChristopherWard Trident GMT

Founded in 2015, Farer is not your typical watch company. Their founders have a background in design, and since their first watches were released it has been apparent they are intentionally following their own trajectory, rather than following the herd. As part of the British watchmaking revival, we have been watching with keen interest the growth of Farer, who have continued to innovate where others imitate. Farers’ Aqua-compressor (their modern interpretation of a vintage diver) is a case in point, and early this year they kindly sent us a Leven to spend some time with.

The Leven comes in a beautifully lacquered multi-layered black wooden box. On the top layer, the watch comes fitted to the silicone rubber strap, the additional steel bracelet, and a compression spring bar tool. Underneath this layer, is the warranty card, instruction booklet, and cleaning cloth supplied in pocket below.

The case of the Leven is a classic example of Farer’s design roots incorporating brushed and polished elements as well as true technical functionality into a contemporary case with vintage aesthetics. The case (often mistakenly called a super-compressor) incorporates technology originally patented in the 1950’s by Piquerez where the case becomes more watertight the deeper it is taken. Ostensibly, the case is designed so that water pressure on the exterior of the case increases pressure against the gaskets thereby tightening the seal.

Although there are a number of modern watches that resemble the look of traditional compressor cases (usually the inclusion of twin crowns) here the Farer also utilises the original technical design features implemented on a modern watch.

On the side of the case are the twin Farer Crowns. The beautifully detailed bronze crown at two o’clock will patina over time to create a unique aesthetic for that particular watch and once unscrewed, winds the watch and sets the time. The additional crown once unscrewed turns the unidirectional internal bezel. Incidentally, although under normal use the watch is rated to 300m, even with the crowns unscrewed Farer still rate the watch to 100m allowing you to set the internal bezel without fear of water ingress.

With a case height of only 13mm, the Leven is slimmer than many dive watches and with the added benefit of the cushioned case design can easily slip under almost any cuff. Although the case width is 41.5mm wide excluding the crown if feels and wears much more like a 40mm watch in part due to the lug to lug dimensions of just 45mm allowing the watch to be comfortably worn by people with smaller wrist sizes.

The Leven – as with all of Farer’s Aqua Compressors, comes with two straps. Firstly, the watch is shipped on a beautifully soft vulcanised rubber strap. It can certainly be said that this on its own puts many strap manufacturers to shame. The rubber is beautifully soft and supple ensuring it’s immensely comfortable to wear. The supplied buckle is substantial without being clumsy and has been milled rather than pressed. The shoulders of the strap have been beautifully engineered to flow seamlessly into the case as a ‘block integrated’ design rather than looking and feeling like an afterthought.

The additional steel bracelet also puts many others to shame. While not on par with the Tudor Black Bay bracelet, it is a considerable step up from most Seiko bracelets, and certainly anything else that we have seen at this price point. We found it refreshing that brands are starting to realise that people want to be able to wear their watch on a variety of straps thereby varying the suitability of the watch to the occasion. For anyone who has ever struggled to remove a bracelet from a watch with a conventional spring bar tool knows only too well the correct way of doing this is to squeeze the spring bar from both sides simultaneously which is only possible with the right tool. Thankfully Farer provide this with the watch and this makes the whole exercise pretty straight forward.

The dial is beautifully thought through. Radially brushed from the centre to the outward edges, the dial feels a natural extension to the brushed top surface of the case. Where a date window would seem clumsy it has here been intentionally omitted, and raised indexes are filled with lume. It’s clear that the Leven is the product of intentional design creating a simple, elegant and yet positive visual aesthetic in the form of a modern diver.

The movement is the more rare elaboré grade non-date ETA 2824-2 as found in Tudor’s ETA powered Black Bay. This is another example of how the details matter. It would be easy for Farer like many other smaller brands to choose an standard ETA 2824 movement and just remove the date wheel, however this would exhibit a phantom position in the primary crown when it is pulled out to its first position and turned with no effect, requiring the user to pull it out to position two to set the time. The movement is finished with Farer’s custom rotor engraved with ocean waves, inscribed with “Farer submersible” and is displayed for all to see through an exhibition case back.

The elaboré grade ETA 2824-2 non-date

We spent considerable time with the Leven and took every opportunity to put it through its paces. Worn at work, social occasions, swimming with the kids and a plethora of other occasions this is a tough watch for an active lifestyle.

From the moment you first handle the Leven you are left with the impression that this watch punches above its weight. The case feels beautifully designed and carries a sense of both design and finish that are on par with much larger brands and price points. This is a modern contemporary divers watch that delivers swiss build quality with a unique design language and an attention to detail that exceeds expectations.

If you are looking for a watch that doesn’t mimic others but sets itself apart from the crowd, I seriously encourage you to take a look at the Farer Leven.

What’s your favourite dive watch and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Links to items in this article:
Farer Leven

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