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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

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!

Today at their annual Townhouse event, Bremont announced their partnership with the Ministry of Defence and in celebration of this, their new Armed Forces Collection.

The new HMAF (Her Majesty’s Armed Forces) collection signifies a significant step in the evolution of Bremont’s relationship with Her Majesty’s Government. Until now, although Bremont has been commissioned to produce one off pieces by specific military units uniquely for them, Bremont have not had a formal relationship with the Ministry of Defence. Today that changes. Bremont is proud to announce its partnership with the Ministry of Defence honouring Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Through this partnership, Bremont has become the sole luxury watch producer allowed to legitimately use the signs, symbols and insignia of all three services. This is also the first time that civilians can purchase official Bremont military timepieces bearing these symbols.

To celebrate this new relationship, Bremont today have released three pieces incorporating the Heraldic badges of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air force. These are the Argonaut, the Broadsword and the Arrow. These have been designed around a new traditional two piece case with a screw in, stamped caseback.

Bremont’s new Armed Forces case design

For the Navy, Bremont announced the Argonaut: a 42mm steel cased dive watch with an internal unidirectional bezel and a 300m water resistance on a Royal Navy blue sailcloth strap and is available for £2795. For Land forces, Bremont announced the Broadsword: a 40mm Field watch with small seconds on a traditional British Army green canvas strap and is available for £2595. For the Airforce Bremont announced the Arrow: a 42mm Monopusher chronograph on a Royal Airforce blue canvas strap which is available for £3595.

Bremont’s new Armed forces Collection: The Argonaut, Broadsword and Arrow

This is the third year that Bremont have organised their now Iconic townhouse event – naturally a typically British approach to showcasing their latest collection. Bremont will be hosting sister Townhouse event in New York this year following on from this event.

To mark the celebration of 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing, Omega have announced that they have put the infamous Calibre 321 movement back into production!

Over the last 2 years and operating in total secrecy under the codename Alaska II Omega have set up a dedicated Calibre 321 facility in Bienne.

Eugene Cernan’s watch – an ST 105.003 which incidentally is the reference model that NASA tested to to become flight certified, is currently in the Omega Museum in Bienne. This was digitally scanned using to create the reference model for re-creating the reborn Calibre 321.

The new facility in Bienne will see end to end production of Calibre 321 watches by the same watchmaker including the movement, watch head and bracelet.

The Calibre 321 – Omega’s column wheel chronograph movement was last seen in the original Speedmaster before it was replaced by the calibre 861 (a cam actuated movement) before finally being updated to the calibre 1861 which is till used today. For more information, take a read of our recently published article “An introduction to chronograph movements

Omega fans have long been waiting to see the return of the Calibre 321 as it was last produced in 1968 and it will surprise few that Omega have chosen to bring this back as we look to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

We expect to see an announcement from Omega within the next few months of a Apollo 11 50th anniversary limited edition Speedmaster to be released this year.

What do you think? – Will you be rushing to place a deposit for one as soon as its announced? Let us know in the comments!

It never ceases to amaze me how much anticipation, excitement and then outcry follow an Omega release.

A year ago in recognition and celebration of the huge community of watch enthusiasts dedicating a specific day of the week to their beloved Omega Speedmaster, Omega launched the Speedmaster “SpeedyTuesday”. This was Omegas response to a conversation with Robert-Jan Broer the founder of Fratello watches who asked Omega to do something special and “not a cap or a T-shirt or a pen or a button..”. So omega agreed produced the ‘SpeedyTuesday’ watch.

The release went public on their website and their Instragram page and as Omega chose to release 2012 watches – the year ‘#SpeedyTuesday’ started, and these sold out in hours.

However Omega are renown for producing limited edition watches. Quite probably more so than any other brand in the industry. The limited editions of just the Speedmaster’s alone borders on the ridiculous. Here are just some…

  • Speedmaster Racing
  • the First Omega in Space, aka ‘FOIS’
  • the Moon Watch 42mm – celebrating, 40 years since Apollo 15
  • The Moon watch 40mm –
  • Omega Speedmaster Apollo
  • Omega Speedmaster 2998
  • Omega Speedmaster snoopy
  • Omega Speedmaster missions (22 separate mission watches available individually or in a combined case)
  • Omega Speedmaster ’57

However its not just the number of ‘limited editions’ that Omega have produced, but also the production run that really is not that limited. Take for example the 2008 Omega Seamaster Professional Bond watch (ref:212.30.41.20.01.001) of which Omega only made 10,007 watches as a limited edition. yes you did read that correctly, ten thousand and seven watches as a ‘Limited Edition’. In comparison Panerai’s typical yearly quota for models in their Luminor range are about 6500 watches.

So it was nice that Omega released the initial SpeedyTuesday in a relatively low numbers however as a consequence many were left wanting as this was a very popular watch.

Following on from last years initial “SpeedyTuesday” release Omega have this year produced another watch under the same label.

OMEGA’s 1967 “Moonwatch” has been a hit with collectors ever since it appeared in the Japanese TV show “RETURN OF ULTRAMAN.” Now, that popular chronograph has been reborn – in the form of an exclusive #SpeedyTuesday model that is limited to just 2,012 piecesOmega

On Tuesday 11th July, Omega announced via its website and Instagram the new #SpeedyTuesday Limited Edition  “Ultraman” Ref:311.12.42.30.01.001. The watch would be produced with the same production volume as the last – some 2012 watches in total and would come with its own special presentation case. Other details include a hesalite crystal, colour coded NATO, and a UV light on the end of the strap changer which when used on the dial reveals a silhouette of Ultraman’s face on the 9 o’clock subdial. Incidentally, the strap changer itself is shaped like Ultraman’s Beta Capsule

Although the watch is unavailable until mid-august, customers could make a reservation for the watch through their website and this year due to high anticipation that Omega were about to release another special edition, collectors were ready and poised on Tuesday morning to ensure they were able to acquire it. As a consequence, all the watches were reserved in exactly 1 hour, 53 minutes, and 17 seconds according to Omega!

And so follows the outcry. By the way in which Omega chooses to release these special edition watches, it provides no warning to collectors or consumers and massively disadvantages whole communities. In this instance all watches had gone before anyone in America had even heard about it. Furthermore Omega’s online reservation system kept crashing and provided wildly inconsistent results at times reporting it was “under maintenance”. Users on social media were reporting that they had tried multiple times to make a reservation only to find the system crashed at the confirmation stage with on screen buttons not working to accept confirmation.

Here is just a small excerpt from Instagram of the outcry to Omega..

Good job Omega! Had numbers 173, 1525 and 13XX reserved and couldn’t finish the reservation for any of them. How about a proper system for events like this 😡😡😡😡 j_sillanpaa
I collect omega watches and it is an absolute shame for such a successful watch company to not be able to spend the right money on a System that doesn’t crash every two second. Not me more anyone I spoke to could reserve one watch from the second it was launched. I’m extremely upset and hope omega will do something about it bisno10
@omega How about a reservation system that works? I had 3 watches at separate periods but reached the confirmation and the system flunked out. I couldn’t click your button! Really disappointed! mkcperspective
@mkcperspective same here. I actually got the confirmation email and confirmed within minutes only to get rejected anyway. Very annoying and waste of timecarmistine
@carmistine Best part… As a US/Canada West Coast. I waited until 3:00 AM, got my exact number, only to have a system error. I humbly accept if I lost out because I was late to the party but I wasn’t. I had 3 chances and the system failed 3 times. Not a fun experience if the confirmation button doesn’t work. @omega mkcperspective
Omg. I assume the wait list is worthless. Please release the next one at a reasonable hour for those in North America… watchfoodie
System kept crashing everytime I tried to confirm the reservation , @omega 😠 Not once but thrice. What’s with that 5min time limit anyways? kevinw73
I hate you guys for not producing more! I had no.1192 booked. And I was filling out the info and I kept clicking on confirm info but it didn’t work! The timer ran out and I ended up losing the watch!! mutawapawa
@omega the site in the bio is not working and says its under maintenance!!! ahmadb007
not fair @omega . your site won’t let me go through the confirmation page. got a preferred number and was very close to making a reservation. baynte_nwebe
Had a number, then site went unresponsive and timed out 😭watchanson
I filled in the info and suddenly it wasn’t available anymore… how can you reserve one? roy_hgvlt

For such a large company it is disappointing and unnecessary for customers to endure this kind experience. Omega have a huge and loyal fanbase and this is not how you treat customers. I would love to see a formal response from Omega to its loyal fans, but for now in the absence of being able to actually order the watch from Omega, all we will be able to enjoy are the press pictures.

 

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