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We’ve talked a lot this year about TAG Heuer’s consistent stream of new Carreras that have come to market to celebrate the brand’s 160th anniversary. But TAG, more than any other brand, has a fleet of iconic chronographs in their stable that they return to again and again, making changes here and there, both small and large. The Monaco is more of a cult favorite than the Carrera – it’s a tougher sell with its square case. But among enthusiasts of both watches and racing, it has a strong following, and new variants are always worth exploring. Today, TAG Heuer announced the latest Monaco, a year after this particular watch celebrated its own anniversary with a yearlong celebration of limited edition releases. These new watches can be seen as something of a “next generation” Monaco that is the current standard in the catalog, and they feature some updates that are completely contemporary while also drawing on the past (no surprises there). Let’s take a closer look.
There are two dial variants here, both with brushed sunray effects. The more modern and contemporary to my eye is the black dial with silver subdials. The blue version seems to draw more on the Monaco’s colorful past, and has a playful and sporty feel, where the black feels a little more sober. Each variant features the same set of red accents on the handset, and has the same running seconds arrangement as the recently released Carrera, with a simple crosshair in lieu of an actual subdial. As it does on the Carrera (and this limited edition Monaco from last year), this has the effect of focusing the eye on the chronograph elements, and makes what is actually a three register watch appear as having only two, which equates to a cleaner look. The case is 39mm with 100 meters of water resistance, and of course has the imposing, square shape that we’ve seen in the Monaco from its inception.
The dial, it’s often said, is what sells a watch, and these Monaco dials are nice enough. But the bigger news here, at least for Heuer fans, is perhaps the inclusion of a bracelet on these new Monacos. This is a watch that throughout its history has been primarily seen on straps, often of the racing or rally variety, and it’s a little strange at first to lay eyes on this well known case mounted to a stainless steel bracelet. Indeed, according to TAG Heuer, it’s been 20 years since the last time a Monaco was available on a bracelet direct from the factory. It shouldn’t be surprising, though, that TAG went in this direction: we’re all keenly aware of the importance of stainless steel sports watches on bracelets in the current market, and the Monaco, while not a flagship product for TAG, is still visible enough that it would be silly to not give customers an option.
The Monaco bracelet seems to be fashioned in a vintage inspired style with a generous taper from the lugs to the butterfly clasp. It has the initial appearance of a three-link design with a small polished center link connecting two brushed outer links. On closer inspection, however, those two outer links are actually connected by a thin bar, creating what in practice is actually an H-link design, similar in theory to a Sinn bracelet, but with a much thinner connecting piece. Overall it’s attractive and straddles the line between sporty and refined in a way that you’d expect for a watch at this price point ($6,750). It’s a luxury item, no doubt, but has a clear sporting heritage and is almost certainly made to a standard that will allow it to stand up to regular daily wear without an issue. It should be noted that the black dialed Monaco is also available on a leather strap, while the blue variant is only available on a bracelet at launch.
The Monaco runs on the Heuer 02 Automatic movement, the same modern in-house chronograph caliber that we’ve seen in this year’s succession of Carreras. As we’ve pointed out whenever we get the chance, this is a solid, technologically up-to-speed caliber that is real competition for similar in-house calibers from Rolex, Zenith, and others. Compared to watches from those brands, the features stack up (column wheel, vertical clutch, 80 hour power reserve) and can be had in watches that are often less expensive than those you might be cross shopping.
The black dialed versions of the Monaco, on a bracelet or leather strap, are available this month, with the blue dialed Monaco following in January 2021. TAG Heuer
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How the original Polaris came to be has to do with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox. Translating to “the voice of memory,” the very first Memovox was created in 1950, featuring an alarm function that was widely coveted due to its inherent usefulness. The calibre 489 within the watch had a striking alarm mechanism that could be preset to ring at any time of the day, sounding not unlike an old-school telephone ringing gently on the wrist. But Jaeger-LeCoultre went one step further, finding a number of creative ways to incorporate this function into other watches, and in 1959, very smartly decided to place the calibre into a water-resistant wristwatch so divers could rely on the alarm instead of having to frequently check the bezel on their watches while underwater.
That was the Memovox Polaris, launched in 1968, with an internal rotating bezel, an alarm function and a triple-layer case-back for better sound transmission. And while the Polaris is now considered one of most important Jaeger-LeCoultre’s stable, encapsulating its diving watch legacy and which draws upon more than a century of expertise in chiming watches, it’s almost a surprise to anyone to find out that the original Polaris was also one of the rarest Jaeger-LeCoultre watches ever produced, with an original run of only 1,714 pieces.
In 2018, for the celebration of its 50th anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre brought the Polaris back into the spotlight, becoming the sports watch collection that was missing from the brand’s repertoire. There had been re-issues of the Memovox before 2018, but the new Polaris collection marked a new turn for the maison. It was a brand new collection, a real homage to a true classic, the rebirth of an icon.
The 2018 line-up spanned several models; the two models that stayed truest to the 1968 original, the Polaris Memovox and the Polaris Date, and the Polaris Automatic, the Polaris Chronograph and the Polaris Chronograph WT.
And then, if you recall, mid last year, Jaeger-LeCoultre released a special limited edition of the Polaris Date with a double gradiented blue dial that was reminiscent of the funky 1970s Polaris II, which was produced only between 1970 and 1972. The limited edition Polaris Date in blue, came as quickly as it went as only 800 pieces were made, but the resplendent blue stuck in our minds. But not to worry, that blue gradient dial is about to make its third appearance.
The New Polaris Mariner
What was missing from the collection launched in 2018, it appears, was the quintessential dive watch. The original Polaris was a dive watch after all. Enter the new Polaris Mariner, a new generation of high-performance diving watches that bears the sporty aesthetic of the Polaris collection, but is also fully ISO 6425-compliant. The two utilitarian, no-fuss dive watches presented today are the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date. It also brought back the beautiful, funky blue dials we loved on the 1970s watch and the limited edition last year.
Let’s start with what is similar. Both the watches are 42mm, as was the original Polaris, and features all the same key design codes like the glass-box crystal and the three crown configuration. On the Polaris Mariner Memovox, the top crown controls the alarm by aligning the triangular pointed on the centre disc with the desired alarm time. The middle crown operates the inner unidirectional rotating bezel while the lowest crown sets the time.
The original Polaris came with a dynamic mix of brushed and polished surfaces on the dial. On the Polaris Mariner, the dial is a stunning gradient of blues to evoke the feeling of being in the deep sea; there are three concentric circles finished in different textures on the dial, the centre disc is sunray-brushed, the middle ring is subtly grained and the outer ring comes in an opaline finish. The dial is further accented with bright orange on the inner unidirectional rotating bezel, the seconds hand and the alarm function to make reading the watch underwater a lot easier. In the dark, the lume on the indexes and the large Arabic numerals glow a bewitching blue, while the second hand glows orange, yet another thoughtful touch to maximise a diver’s safety in the water.
In keeping with their purpose as a high-performance diving watch, the Polaris Mariner are both water resistant to 300m. Furthermore, the crown used to set the notched inner-bezel is screwed down to avoid any unintentional movement. The crown also comes with an additional orange security band, a sign to warn divers if the crown is not fully screwed down.
A Transparent Sapphire Caseback
Beating inside the Polaris Mariner Memovox is the Calibre 956, a self-winding movement that was first introduced in 2008 and is a direct descendant to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first automatic alarm watch calibers.
Previously, the Memovox watches came with a closed case-back to which the gong was attached. In the new Polaris Mariner Memovox however, the striking mechanism is completely redesigned. The watch is now fitted with a transparent sapphire case-back for the first time, allowing the wearer to watch the hammer in action when the alarm rings. The pink gold rotor is also open worked to allow for better viewing.
On the other hand, the Polaris Mariner Date is fitted with the calibre 899, which now, following updates, comes with a power reserve of 70 hours. The movement is viewable behind the transparent sapphire case-back as well.
Unlike the previous Polaris offerings, the Polaris Mariner Memovox and Date are offered only on stainless steel bracelets in a brushed and polished finish, but not on rubber or leather straps.
There are a lot of key elements that the Polaris Mariner watches have in common with the original Polaris, but it’s certainly not vintage in any way or form. The inspiration is clear, but the watches are extremely contemporary; with their large case sizes and dive-ready specifications, it is without a doubt sportier and more robust than the Polaris watches of 2018. Jaeger-LeCoultre calls innovation and tradition equally its guiding principles, and Polaris Mariner, equally paying homage to the maison’s past and being high-performance timepieces, certainly fit its vision.
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Shock. That’s been the general consensus for the last few days among our enthusiast community. Rolex has just unveiled the all-new Rolex Submariner Date 41mm Ref.126610LN, and they’ve made one of the biggest changes to the dive watch in its 51 years of existence.
For the first time in the legendary moniker’s history, the Oyster case of the new Submariner has been enlarged to 41mm, up from 40mm. Now that may not sound like a big deal to the dilettante, but for those who have lauded the Submariner as one of the most iconic, recognisable and celebrated watches of all time, trust us when we say, this is a BIG deal. Not since the introduction of the Ref.16800 in 1979, has the size of the Submariner changed.
It’s also worth noting that when the Ref.1680 and its 39.5mm case was superseded by the 16800, it only grew by 0.5mm. And that’s the way the Subby has stayed for the last 41 years … it was a certainty, something you’d bet money on – the sun will rise in the morning, and the Rolex Submariner will always be 40mm. Even in 2010, when the namesake adopted the “Maxi Case” and became the Ref.116610, it still measured in at 40mm. Granted, it was a chunky, slab-sided 40mm, but 40mm nonetheless.
This latest Submariner, the Ref.126610, and its increase to 41mm, means that the best sports watch in the world falls out of the generally agreed upon “Goldilocks zone” of wristwatch sizes. For some, at least on paper, 41mm is just going to be too big. So why has Rolex done this? And should we keep sharpening our pitchforks, or calm our farm? Well, as we alluded to before, since its inception, one of the biggest criticisms of the Maxi Case Submariner 116610 has been that it’s too slab-sided, too bulky and block-like. There’s no denying that it did lose some of its elegance and grace compared to previous models, and that’s what Rolex has attempted to address with the new 126610.
The new Submariner is indeed more svelte, and that’s because the Oyster case has been completely redesigned. The lugs are slimmer and taper more, and the crown guards are also more slender, even diminutive. That extra millimetre has also allowed Rolex to extend and elongate the case, giving the whole visage better overall proportionality. In fact, it actually looks smaller than the model it replaces, which is a fairly miraculous trick indeed.
While the change in size has been a complete shock to the system, the other big change to the new Submariner Date is one that just about every single punter in watch world saw coming – a new movement. Gone is the Calibre 3135. In its place, Rolex has fitted the Calibre 3235. Released in 2015 in the Pearlmaster, the Calibre 3235 is a flagship movement from the Big Crown. It features more than 90 per cent new parts compared to the 3135, and is protected by no less than 14 different patents. The new self-winding movement serves up a host of benefits, but the main talking points are an increased power reserve of 70 hours (up from 48 in the 3135), Paraflex shock absorber and the brilliant Chronergy escapement. Nothing against the old 3135; it was a brilliant piece of horological engineering, but it had been around since 1988, and it was time for a change.
Of course, being a modern Submariner, the new Rolex Submariner Date 41mm Ref.126610LN still benefits from all the features of the old model. That means 300 metres of water resistance, Cerachrom bezel, Triplock screw-down crown, sapphire crystal with Cyclops above the date aperture, gloss black dial, rehaut, blue Chromalight luminous material, brushed Oyster bracelet, Oysterlock deployant clasp with Glidelock extension system … you get it, it’s got the works.
What does this mean for the previous Submariner Date?
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Omega has introduced a new take on their Seamaster Diver 300M that celebrates the brand’s partnership with the not-for-profit organization Nekton, a research foundation committed to protecting the planet’s oceans. The watch itself receives a unique bezel, dial accents, and caseback that differentiate it from other Seamaster models. Omega supports the Nekton ‘First Descent’ missions that began in 2019 to survey and protect the Indian ocean with the help of a research vessel dubbed Seamaster 2, which is also depicted on the caseback of this special Seamaster.
The Nekton edition of the Seamaster 300M will be non limited in production, and immediately sets itself apart by ditching the ceramic bezel in favor of a full titanium unit with laser ablated diving scale in positive relief. This execution yields a monotone appearance leaving the rough texture within the relief to create contrast to the Arabic numerals and minute markers. A black ceramic [ZrO2] dial remains with the familiar wave pattern that’s also been laser ablated. A newly red emblazoned seconds hand accents the dial as a nod to the red submersible used by Nekton. The overall effect of these revisions creates a markedly different looking Seamaster 300M that suit the watch particularly well.
The large helium escape valve remains a fixture at 10 o’clock on the case (still our biggest gripe with the watch), and within the case we find the METAS chronometer Omega build caliber 8806 beating away. The view of said movement is sacrificed in favor of an engraved caseback depicting the Seamaster 2 being used by the Nekton ‘First Descent’ expedition. The engraving necessitates a NAIAD LOCK caseback guaranteeing correct orientation of the depiction.
The Seamaster 2 vessel is so named in honor of the late Sir Peter Blake, an explorer and skipper of a boat by the same name, Blake advocated for ocean preservation alongside Omega prior to his death in 2001. The team at Nekton carries on in his mission to protect the oceans, with a goal of 30% protection by 2030. This Seamaster and Omega are helping to raise awareness of their goal, along with providing assistance to their expedition as a sponsor.
The watch will be offered on a rubber strap for the price of £4,700 as well as a steel bracelet, which is priced at £4,960. Learn more about the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition right here.
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Two supposedly seaworthy watches quite at home on dry land...
In this column, two of our writers go head-to-head in an epic showdown for the ages. Strong opinions and hysterical hyperbole are welcome (so feel free to join in with the fun in the comments section below). And don’t forget to let us know which watches you’d like to see torn to shreds/effusively exalted next week. We’ll try and feature as many of our readers’ choices as we can. After last week’s divisive debutant, the Tudor P01, we have a couple of controversial models from Omega and Rolex. This week, the Yacht-Master stares down the Aqua Terra in one of the loveliest (or should that be “lubbliest”?) showdowns in memory.
Wow, that was close. The polarizing Tudor Black Bay P01 duly polarized. It looked like it could go either way for a time, but Mikey Mike brought home the bacon with a 52/48 win. Less than 40 votes separated the camps. This week, I have a feeling it won’t be so close…
Omega Aqua Terra vs. Rolex Yacht-Master
I guess the clue is in the name. The Omega Aqua Terra collection features watches designed for water and land. But perhaps because the “Aqua” received top billing, the models generally look quite like early Seamasters, and the word Seamaster generally makes an appearance on the dial, it’s not hard to see why people might be tempted to think of these watches as more nautical than anything else.
The Rolex Yacht-Master‘s jib is cut a little cleaner. While this may not appear the most functional of watches, it does meet the criteria of yacht clubbing rather well. Gold is also highly resistant to corrosion. That should never be overlooked when bashing a luxury seafaring watch… But what do our contenders, Ben and Jorg, make of these two? Let’s hand over to Messrs Weppelink and Hodges to find out in which bay they plan to drop anchor…
Ben Hodges — Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra
Jorg is leading two-to-one on the Omega vs. Rolex showdowns. The Sub was just too much of a giant for my giant killer Seamaster 300M to fell. But that has not dampened my spirit. If anything, it’s spurred me on to keep fighting the good fight of the Omega Seamaster collection against the venerable diving Rolex.
The watches today are intended for the waves rather than the ocean depths. The Yacht-Master was that watershed moment where things are changing and never going back. Released in the early ‘90s, the Yacht-Master was a luxury sports watch that had no real guiding purpose for its existence. From this point onwards, the tool aspect of the Rolex professional lineup had lost a little meaning. In its place was the idea that a Rolex was merely an interpretation of the golden age of mechanical tool watches.
The Yacht-Master certainly was an aspirational timepiece for budding sailors. While known for hanging loosely on the boat-tanned wrists at the yacht club bar, many saw it as a trophy that indicated the success of achieving the Yachtmaster certificate. A gruelling challenge that not only assesses your adeptness at harnessing the winds and sea but navigation, distress calls and the ability to handle a man overboard situation. I am only at the level of a coastal skipper, so for me, the Rolex Yacht-Master eludes me. But I am quite happy defending the equally surface-dwelling Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra.
The Aqua Terra exists in the ether between land and sea, effortlessly blending into office life while reminiscing of the time diving off the back of the catamaran for a cooling dip. Rarely would I say this, but I think the TV commercials produced by Omega of Eddie Redmayne posing on a sailing boat encapsulates the spirit of the Aqua Terra. The 41mm two-tone Sedna and steel ups the luster without sacrificing the casual nature too. The horizontal grooves of the dial mimic the teak decking on a luxury vessel. Perhaps the nautical theme over-extended itself with the non-functional stitching on the rubber strap and matching solid Gold strap end tabs. But it plays into the fantasy that I’m only too happy to buy into.
Another thing I appreciate about the Aqua Terra is how identifiably “Omega” it is without the common traits. There is no helium release valve at 10 o’clock. Nor is there an asymmetrical chronograph case with crown guards. Yet, the subtle lyre lugs, conical crown and prominent shark-tooth indices still evoke pure Omega-ness (not a word, but should be).
Jorg Weppelink — Rolex Yacht-Master 40
Ah, the Yacht-Master! A watch that I probably would have cursed when I first got to experience the joy of sailing. I vividly remember the instructors at the sailing camp in my senior year of high school in 1995. They fanatically encouraged us to curse those oversized and ostentatious motor yachts passing us. I would not be surprised if we verbally cursed a skipper with his first-generation golden Yacht-Master (ref. 16628) to the bottom of the sea somewhere during that week. Oh, the irony, because today I would happily wear a ref. 16628.
Ben: I have been there on both sides; either in the frenzy of Hobie cat racing between passing recreational yachts — as well as cruising the ostentatious yachts themselves. In both situations, I want everything and anything to get out of my way.
I have to say I like that you have put both watches into context Ben. Rolex does not have to sell the Yacht-Master to me based on its potential of being a luxury watch for yachting life. Neither does Omega with its Aqua Terra. I think you said it correctly that both of the timepieces seem to suffer from a lack of definition when it comes to their intended purpose.
Ben: True, but in my view, the Yacht-Master suffers move in that regard, because what you get from the Submariner is so much more.
Well, yes, the Yacht-Master is more outspoken in its flashy character with only the bidirectional bezel functionality to back it up — and it certainly gets a lot of flack from purists. Well, crucify me because I like the Yacht-Master. Why? Because from the moment I got face to face with the stainless-steel Yacht-Master (ref. 16622), I liked that it dared to be different from other hyper-focused Rolex sport models.
Why the Yacht-Master?
Viewing the steel Yacht-Master up close in 2005, I was intrigued, but not directly convinced. Rolex’s use of a combination of steel and platinum or “Rolesium” as Rolex put it, created an overall very grey aesthetic that seemed a bit boring. But the Yacht-Master changed the moment I put it on my wrist. Its case is very comfortable with its 40mm diameter and sleek profile with marked curves, and slightly plunging lugs.
…the watch turned out to be anything but boring.
Next to that, Rolex showed the magic of the Yacht-Master was in the details preventing it from becoming boring. First, there is the combination of sandblasting the bezel and polishing the numerals against the grainy character of the dial. They contrast perfectly with the polished upper parts of the lugs and polished center links for the oyster bracelet. What was blasphemy for purists, turned out to be perfect for the Yacht-Master. Add the lovely contrasting red seconds hand and red Yacht-Master name on the dial and the watch turned out to be anything but boring.
Enjoying shrimp cocktails
Fast forward to Baselworld 2015 where Rolex introduced the Everose gold Yacht-Master on the black Oysterflex bracelet (ref. 116655). Once again, it was that specific combination of materials, colors, and finishes that defines the Yacht-Master that made it a hit. The combination of a rose gold case with a black Cerachrom bezel, a black Oysterflex bracelet, and a black dial and created something that immediately made me want to become a yacht owner and steal some cocktail shrimp from the buffet at the local yacht club. It is easily one of my favorite Rolexes in the current collection.
which brings us to the bi-color version of the current Yacht-Master (ref. 126621) that was first introduced in 2016 — at that time with ref. 116621 as the Yacht-Master with the updated Caliber 3225 was introduced in 2019. When it comes to the gold and steel combo, there is no brand that pulls it off better than “Das Haus” as Robert-Jan dubs in his review of this bi-color Rolex Yacht-Master. The combination of rose gold and steel or “Rolesor” with the chocolate-colored dial, is as much a statement as the Yacht-Master itself. Both are a statement of traditional sophistication and understated style. I am kidding, of course. The bi-color Yacht-Master is bold, it screams luxury, and it doesn’t hide it, and why should it?
The Yacht-Master IS style over substance, and that’s ok.
So, with the Yacht-Master, you know what you get. It’s a luxury sports watch from Rolex that is more about style than it is about substance. And there is nothing wrong with that. But tell me more about the Aqua Terra, Ben. Because if there is one thing I may never understand, is what Eddie Redmayne has to do with being on a boat sporting the Aqua Terra. It just seems unbelievable, undefined somewhat. Anyone can be on a yacht, even Eddie Redmayne. What makes Redmayne the right man for the job? Despite being incredibly talented actor, it looks like an act that he can’t pull off. Or is it maybe that speaks to the undefined character of the Aqua Terra?
Ben: You got me on the ropes now, Jorg. Or am I just doing the rope-a-dope? Actually, it is blasphemy to mention ropes in the context of sailing. Officially, there is only one rope on a sailing vessel and that is tied to the ship’s bell. All other ropes; sheet, line, jib, halyard etc. has a name to match the function. Otherwise, could you imagine the confusion? “Pull the rope!” “Which one?”
Jorg: To avoid any big catastrophes let’s meet up on a motor yacht okay?
Ben: I digress…what I still do not understand is what the Yacht-Master brings to the table. All previous sport Rolexes had a function or feature or some form of professional application. I can see that with the Yacht-Master II, but the first outing is just a luxury void.
Jorg: It’s funny how this keeps popping up in all the discussions about the Yacht-Master as if that is necessary to like a watch? And just to be clear, any Rolex has primarily become an outing of luxury. And as you brought it up, the majority of Rolex owners that use this argument hardly use their watch for its intended purposes anyway. If finding that functional purpose is absolutely necessary for you, then my yacht is off-limits for you Ben.
Ben: With the Aqua Terra, what you have is the legacy of the dressy vintage Seamaster design from the late ’40s. Before the Seamaster 300 came into the fray in 1957 and made the collection dive-focussed. Yet still, the Aqua Terra has diving potential, 50 meters more than the Yacht-Master I might add, at 150 meters. From the innovation standpoint, Aqua Terra was the first Omega to house an anti-magnetic movement that is certified to at least 15,000 gauss. That is a considerable achievement for Omega. The Globemaster may have got there first with the Master Chronometer Co-Axial calibre and stamp of approval by METAS in 2015. But the benchmark of anti-magnetism was already set two years prior by the Aqua Terra with Calibre 8508. That specific reference was 188.8.131.52.01.002.
Ben: Now, the Aqua Terra we have today has circumnavigated full circle and is also fitted with the METAS certified Calibre 8900 with Master Chronometer status since 2017. The other improvements along with the new calibre were shifting of the date window to 6 o’clock and flipping the grooves horizontally. All subtle design changes that brought attention back to the casual wristwatch. I also really like the choice of colors of the Aqua Terra. There less a focus on bold primary colors as you see on the Planet Ocean. And more of tranquillity in soft blues and gentle greys.
Ben: The Aqua Terra is a watch for sailing seas in a good mood, which are all the reasons why I think Omega captured it with Eddie Redmayne on a yacht. And no, it is nothing to do with Redmayne as a person. He is a good actor, great actually. But in the context of the TV commercial it’s the calmness content with which he exudes on a beautiful yacht without another soul in sight.
Jorg: I could parry your story with the story of how the design of the Yacht-Master had been around since the 1960s as an updated version of the Submariner. Or how the Caliber 3235 movement is a great step up from the previously used Caliber 3135. And how it’s one of the easiest automatic movements to service, but also one of the most robust that can withstand daily wear perfectly. But somehow I feel the choice between either one of these two watches is predominantly based on the difference in character rather than its technical details.
Jorg: We could go on for hours about details but maybe it’s best to sum up this showdown by drawing a comparison between Eddie Redmayne and Pierce Brosnan. The difference in character between the watches is the difference between Eddie Redmayne in the Omega commercials and Pierce Brosnan in the Thomas Crown Affair — yes I know he wore a Reverso in the movie but we’re talking yachting here.
Jorg: You probably remember the scene where Brosnan as his character Thomas Crown pushes his catamaran to the edge. In the end, he deliberately lets it capsize just because he can. Where the Aqua Terra and Redmayne bring calmness and an almost serene silence, the Yacht-Master stands for the excitement and fun that Thomas Crown has when he pushes his catamaran to the edge and goes far beyond that edge. It’s an over the top statement that not everyone may appreciate, but one I very much like because of it.
Jorg: But let our readers decide which of the two stories they think is more compelling. Is it the flashy outgoing character of the Yacht-Master or the more distinguished character of the Aqua Terra. Let us know by voting for your favorite of the two watches!
Original Article Here: https://www.fratellowatches.com
Wether you prefer the Aqua Terra, or the Yacht-Master. Both are available to win on the website for a fraction of the price (under 0.05% of the total value to be exact).
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Brand in Focus: Rolex
When anyone mentions luxury watches, there’s only one brand that comes to mind: the Rolex. The luxury Swiss watch brand is home to some of the most iconic timepieces, expertly crafted by some of the most dedicated watch designers and engineers. Not surprisingly, Rolex watches are some of the most coveted timepieces in the world, which is why we regularly give them away here at Watchlotto. Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at the brand and what makes their timepieces so special.
History of the Brand
Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf, who founded the company in London, 1905, at the age of just 24. At the time, wristwatches were elegant and stylish, but they weren’t very precise, and thus not very reliable. Determined to prove that such timepieces can be elegant and reliable, Wilsdorf equipped all of his innovative designs with small, precise movements, which soon became a success. In 1910, the Rolex became the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, awarded by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne, Switzerland.
After World War I, Rolex moved to Geneva in 1919 and became registered as Montres Rolex S.A. in 1920. In 1926, Rolex created the first ever waterproof and dustproof wristwatch, known as the Oyster. Named as such because of it’s sealed case, providing optimal protection, the Oyster’s waterproof capabilities were proven a year later when it was worn by a young swimmer named Mercedes Gleitze, who crossed the English channel wearing it. At the end of the ten hour swim, the watch remained in perfect working order.
Fast forward to 1931, the company invented and patented a self winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. This was the world’s first of its kind, and is still at the heart of every modern watch today. The Oyster continued to demonstrate its impeccable performance throughout the world of sports, racing and even aviation over the next few years, being worn by crew members in the first flying expedition over Mount Everest and by Sir Malcolm Campbell when he set his 300mph record in 1935.
In 1945, Datejust was born. This was the first self-winding wristwatch to show the date in the dial window. While initially designed for men, the Datejust was soon available in a number of different models for women too, with the Lady Datejust later being released in 1957.
Throughout the early 50s, the brand continued to create pioneering timepieces that went much further than simply telling the time. Rolex soon became known as the “watch of achievers,” with designs being made for exploring, diving, mountain climbing and aviation. One of the most iconic instances was in 1953, when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Mount Everest wearing the famous Oyster. To celebrate the world renowned expedition, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer was born soon after, followed by the Submariner, which was the world’s first diver’s watch, with incredible waterproof abilities of up to 330 feet. In 1956, the Oyster Perpetual Milgauss landed. It was rigorously tested by engineers at CERN and was confirmed to be resistant to magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss.
Fast forward to the 1960s, and the Cosmograph Daytona was released, a robust, waterproof design featuring a tachymetric scale on the bezel. This was used for calculating average speed, making it a must-have accessory for racing drivers everywhere. The Daytona was then followed by the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, designed for professional deep sea divers thanks to a helium escape valve to withstand decompression, and waterproof to up to 610 metres.
As the years went on, the brand continued to produce more iconic models, including the Explorer II in 1971, and the Sea Dweller 4000 in 1978. In 1976, the brand launched the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in order to celebrate 50 years of the Oyster. Created to honour courageous individuals who took on extraordinary challenges, the awards were given to projects anywhere in the world.
Fast forward to the present day, and the brand launched their Perpetual Planet initiative in 2019. Over the years, Rolex have been present in research into environmental issues, and the initiative partners with the National Geographic Society, supporting studies into the impact of climate change and the importance of protecting our oceans.
Our Favourite Models
There’s no denying that Rolex have graced us with some incredible timepieces throughout their history, but there are some that stick with us more than others. Let’s take a look at some of the rarer models that deserve a place in the watch hall of fame.
Introduced in 2010, the Rolex Submariner, also known as the “Hulk Submariner” was given its nickname thanks to the rich, green colouring and the redesigned case, which featured thicker lugs and a Maxi dial, giving a chunkier and more robust appearance. It was released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the legendary Submariner watch, and was the first time it became available in any other dial colour than the traditional black or blue. Many famous faces have been spotted wearing the Hulk over the years, including Matt LeBlanc, Slash from Guns and Roses, and Robert Downey Jr. If you’re a fan of this Marvel-inspired piece, we currently have a Submariner Date Hulk up for grabs - enter now for just £5.14!
To give it its full name, the Rolex GMT-Master was originally created in 1954 for the pilots of Pan Am, who required a watch with two time zones. The GMT-Master features a bidirectional 24 hour bezel, along with a second-hour hand, displaying another time zone in conjunction. The red and blue bezel has practical uses as well as giving the watch its nickname - the red indicating day and the blue indicating night, allowing the wearer to instantly distinguish the time of day in the second time zone. Of course the red and blue colouring instantly creates reminders of the iconic drinks’ logo, thus giving it the nickname of the “Pepsi.” In 1985, the GMT-Master II was born which featured a red and black bezel, inevitably being given the nickname of the “coke watch.” This limited edition masterpiece is one of our watches that’s currently up for grabs, and you can give yourself a chance to win for just £5.34 per entry!
Another one for the superhero fans - the GMT-Master II 116710 BLNR launched in 2013 and is one of the most highly sought after Rolex watches. The main feature of the watch is the ceramic black and blue bezel, which is what affectionately gave it its nickname of ‘the Batman.’ Its cult following along with it being one of the most coveted Rolex models has meant that it’s one of the models that’s more difficult to come by. So much so that getting one from an authorised Rolex stockist often means a wait of a good few months. However, we’re pleased to tell you that the GMT-Master II, aka the Batman, is currently one of our watches up for grabs, worth over £7500!
Whether you’re a Rolex enthusiast or not familiar with much beyond the brand name, we hope we’ve given you a little more insight into the world of these marvelous timepieces. Remember, at Watchlotto we’re on a mission to help you win your dream watch, and we have a whole array of incredible Rolex models just waiting to be won. Take a look at our full watch selection today and enter to win one of these iconic pieces!
Written by Amy Jackson - Content and Features Writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes - 21st August 2020
In recent months, we get more questions about the 1990s Speedmaster Professional watches than ever. The ones with tritium dials and hands, that tend to age nicely and turn yellow.
It is something I’ve been saying all along — the 1990s Moonwatch is the next best thing! You can still find them with boxes and papers, and they do look awesome with the tritium on the markers and in the hands turning yellow. Even more interesting perhaps, are the versions with display backs. A hesalite crystal on the dial and a sapphire case back — what a combo! This article is originally from 2016 (go figure), but in light of the recent requests we received for more information about these watches, I decided to revise the original article and add some more information to it.
Speedmasters With Display Back
In 1980, Omega introduced the first Speedmaster Professional with a display back. Generally speaking, such a watch was quite an uncommon thing at that time. However, it was only available for the 18-karat gold Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI numbered edition — reference 345.0802. That watch is powered by caliber 861L movement, similar to what later would become the caliber 1861.
That changed in 1985. Omega started using caliber 863, which was based on the Lemania 1873 movement. The first Speedmaster Professional to feature caliber 863 movement was reference 345.0808. This reference was produced between 1985 and 1988. It was a normal production watch, but every watch was numbered. In total, Omega produced 1,000 of these watches, with a copper finish caliber 863 movement beating away within.
345.0808 and 3592.50
Then, from 1988 onwards, Omega stopped using 345.0808 as the reference number and continued with its PIC coding system. That meant that from that moment on, Omega used 3592.50 as a reference number for this watch.
345.0808 was also still used but as a reference for the case (and not for the entire watch). This often confuses readers, we’ve noticed. That’s understandable. Especially when it isn’t all that changed! Around the same time, there was also a slight change to the movement. The caliber 863 now had a gilt (yellow) finish instead of copper.
1988–1997 – 3592.50
When Omega introduced the 3592.50 with its gilt finished caliber 863, it was numbered to approximately 1,000 pieces (again). On the case back of these watches, you will find the “Apollo XI” engraved. That engraving was often defaced so the model could be sold as an Apollo XI 20th anniversary model (which it is not). This watch was produced till around 1990.
Then, there’s also a 3592.50 with “Apollo XI” engraved in the case back, but not numbered. Omega knew how to confuse people back then (and even now). The 3592.50 with the “Apollo XI” engraving in the case back was used till 1995 for the unnumbered version. Then, in 1996, a new 3592.50 sees daylight. One with the same specifications, but without the “Apollo XI” engraving and with the new style bracelet (reference 1499, see above). Until this point, Omega used the famous 1479, and the 1450 and 1447 on the earlier (345.0808) models.
In 1997, Omega made some drastic changes to the Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch” and went from the 359x.50 reference code to 357x.50. Omega calibers 1861 and 1863 were being used as well as a newer type of bracelet and Super-LumiNova instead of tritium.
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When it comes to Rolex’s sports watches, the focus is often on their famed Daytona, GMT-Master, Explorer of Submariner, rather than the Yacht-Master. Even today can the Yacht-Master be considered a new kid on the block, as this model wasn’t introduced until 1992 and doesn’t have such a long history as the other Rolex sports models mentioned. Some refer to it as the Submariner’s casual sibling, and there is some truth to this. While visually, it has some similarities, there are also differences. The 60-minute graduated bezel is bidirectional, and Yacht-Master is waterproof to 100 meters. In effect, this makes it the perfect watch for people who enjoy all kinds of water sports but don’t scuba dive.
This is especially the case for the Yacht-Master 42, which Rolex introduced last year. As its name already indicates, does it have a diameter of 42mm, making it the largest, time-only Yacht-Master currently available. Where the Submariner is all business, and for many, the ultimate ‘tool-watch,’ is there with this Yacht-Master room for elegance. While it is fitted with an oyster-case, it is made out of white gold instead of oystersteel. Its black dial is a perfect match for the very attractive bezel, with its matte black Cerachrom insert with polished raised numerals and minute markers. While perhaps just a detail, it gives the Yacht-Master 42 a lot of its character, and the bezel with raised numerals has also become a hallmark of this model.
Inside the Oyster-case, we find caliber 3235. This sturdy, automatic movement features a full bridge over the balance wheel, fitted with a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. With other features such as high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, is this not only perfect for people who enjoy an active lifestyle but can Rolex offer a precision of -2/+2 seconds a day, after casing. Rolex is a company that invests a lot of time, effort, and resources in every aspect of their watches, and the strap is no exception to this. The Oysterflex may look like a rubber strap, it is in fact so cleverly designed and made that it rightfully deserves the title bracelet. Flexible metal blades inside the high-performance elastomer give it the comfort of a strap and more constructed feel of a bracelet, offering the best of both worlds. For the Yacht-Master 42, it is perfect as it not only complements the looks of the watch, it also matches the lifestyle and activities for which this very good looking Rolex sports watch was created in the first place.
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