Baselworld 2018: Breitling Introduces the Navitimer Super 8, All 46mm of It

A massive watch inspired by the WWII ref. 637 stopwatch.
Navitimer Super 8 in titanium with Military green dial and brown Nato leather strap. (PPR/Breitling)

Following the launch of the new Navitimer 8 collection, Breitling has now introduced the Navitimer Super 8, an outsized “destro” that takes inspiration from the ref. 637, a thigh-borne stopwatch used by bomber pilots during the Second World War.

This little known military watch was designed by the Huit Aviation, Breitling’s aviation instrument department, and made oversized for optimal readability and ease of use. It was worn on the thighs so the stopwatch could be read by glancing down with hands on the controls. The ref. 627 had a large, notched bezel and a pronounced crown located on the left side of the case for easy operation, even with gloved fingers.

The ref. 637

The Navitimer Super 8, however, is time-only and not a stopwatch. But in a concession to its history it does have an inner bi-directional rotating bezel to measure elapsed time.

The Super 8 is available in two iterations: stainless steel with a black dial, and titanium paired with a green dial.

Like the rest of the Navitimer 8 collection, both watches feature luminous Arabic numerals and hands. It is by far the largest watch from Breitling this year, measuring 46mm, or 50mm if you include the notched bezel.

Navitimer Super 8 in titanium with Military green dial and brown Nato leather strap

Powering the Super 8 is the Breitling B20, which is based on Tudor’s MT5612, a COSC-certified movement presently used in the Tudor Pelagoes and Black Bay. It features a variable inertia balance wheel and a 70-hour power reserve.


 

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Baselworld 2018: Patek Philippe Introduces the Aquanaut Chronograph Ref. 5968A

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Up Close with the Patek Philippe Ref. 5270P-001 With “Salmon” Dial

A crowd favourite for sure, with Arabic numerals to boot.
Patek-Philippe-5270P-salmon-dial-Pt-4

It seems just like yesterday but the Patek Philippe ref. 5270 chronograph with perpetual calendar was introduced in 2011, and has been available in nearly a dozen variations in that span (including the duo with the infamous “chin” on the dial”).

Now all versions of the ref. 5270 on leather strap have been discontinued – they met with middling commercial success – and replaced with something that’s sure to be a hit with traditionally inclined enthusiasts: the ref. 5270P-001 with “salmon” dial.

With this Patek Philippe is given collectors what they have been asking for, at least going by the large premiums placed on salmon-dial chronographs on the secondary market. While the new ref. 5270 is fundamentally identical to the earlier ref. 5270s, the new model has a dial that’s a major departure, at least by Patek Philippe standards, from the old.

The “salmon” colour, or “golden opaline” as Patek Philippe labels it, has always been a popular colour, but historically found only on custom dials (like those for Eric Clapton), limited editions (as with the 175th Anniversary London Grand Exhibition watches), or the priciest complications (the ref. 5101P 10-Day Tourbillon for instance). The new ref. 5270 makes the colour significantly more accessible, though perhaps some owners of expensive salmon dials watches might be lukewarm to the new launch.

Patek-Philippe-5270P-salmon-dial-Pt-6

Notably, the new ref. 5270P-001 replaces all earlier versions of the ref. 5270 on leather strap, including the 18k gold models. In the latest catalogue, the only other version available is the ref. 5270/1R-001, which is in rose gold with a matching rose gold bracelet.

Patek-Philippe-5270P-salmon-dial-Pt-7

And its other novel element are the Arabic numerals for the hour markers, something that was last found, at least on a regular production model, on the ref. 5004 split-seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar.

Patek-Philippe-5270P-salmon-dial-Pt-2

As with past Patek Philippe watches with salmon dials, the hands and hour markers on the new ref. 5270P are in blackened gold. Design-wise, the rest of the dial is the same as the outgoing versions.

Patek-Philippe-5270P-salmon-dial-Pt-1

The platinum case is also available for the first time without diamonds, but size-wise it is identical to the gold models. Its diameter is 41mm, and height is 12.4mm.

It retains the signature flared lugs of the ref. 5270, which are beautifully shaped and probably the most overlooked feature of the watch.

The diamond in-between the lugs at six o’clock found on all platinum Patek Philippe cases.

And the CH 29-535 PS Q is again stock with the usual specs: hand-wound, 65-hour power reserve, and Gyromax balance wheel.

Patek-Philippe-5270P-salmon-dial-Pt-3

Price and availability 

The Patek Philippe ref. 5270P-001 “salmon” is priced at US$187,110 or SFr165,000.


 

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Baselworld 2018: Introducing the Seiko Prospex Hi-Beat Diver 1968 Remake

A remake of Seiko's first 300m dive watch.
Seiko Prospex 1968 Automatic Diver SLA025-01

Seiko is continuing with its streak of vintage dive watch remakes at Baselworld 2018 with the 1968 Automatic Diver’s Re-creation, a spot-on replica of one of the Seiko’s earliest dive watches, the third in its lineage to be exact.

The limited edition is modelled on the vintage ref.  6159-7001 (and to a lesser extent the nearly identical ref. 6215) of 1968. It was distinguished by its one-piece case rated to 300m, as well as gilt hands and hour markers.

Seiko Prospex 1968 Automatic Diver SLA025-02

The remake does practically everything the same way, right down to the 36,000 beats per hour of the movement. But the cal. 8L55 inside is a modern movement with a 55-hour power reserve. More notably, it is a variant of the 9S85 found inside the top of the line Grand Seiko watches but without the fine finishing or special regulation.

The 1968 original

The steel case is 44.8mm in diameter, 15.7mm high and fitted with a domed sapphire crystal. Unlike the basic Seiko dive watches of today, this diver remake has a case finished with the Zaratsu technique, the same technique used for flagship watches like the Credor Eichi II, which gives it flat and distortion free surfaces.

It’s fitted to a silicone strap with a hobnail pattern that mimics that on the original.

Seiko Prospex 1968 Automatic Diver SLA025-03

Price and availability 

Limited to 1500 pieces, the Prospex 1968 Automatic Diver’s Re-Creation (ref. SLA025 or SBEX007) is priced at US$5400 or ¥550,000.


 

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Baselworld 2018: Introducing the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat V.F.A., and 9S 20th Anniversary Editions

A remarkable precise mechanical watch.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat VFA platinum

Once upon a time, in the years before the Quartz Crisis, Seiko’s very best timekeepers were “Very Fine Adjusted”, or V.F.A., mechanical movements regulated to extreme precision.

At Baselworld 2018, almost a half century since the last Grand Seiko V.F.A., the chronometric appellation is back, as one of a trio of limited edition watches created to mark the 20th anniversary of the Grand Seiko 9S movement – the first mechanical calibre developed for the relaunch of Grand Seiko in 1998.

While only the platinum model is V.F.A., all three 9S anniversary editions share the same case and dial design. The cases are all 39.5mm in diameter and 13mm high.

Each edition has differently coloured dial but the same decoration: a spiral guilloche motif that features a repeating pattern comprised of the Grand Seiko and Daini Seikosha logos. Daini Seikosha, now known as Seiko Instruments Inc., developed the first high beat Grand Seiko movement exactly fifty years ago, in 1968.

All three editions will be available starting March 2018, or just about now.


The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A. (ref. SBGH265) is a limited edition of just 20 watches in platinum.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat VFA SBGH265

The Grand Seiko V.F.A. is rated to -1 to +3 seconds a day, making it one of the most precise mechanical watches that rely on the traditional lever escapement. The cal. 9S85 inside is regulated and tested over 34 days in order to achieve the V.F.A. standard.

Like most precious metal Grand Seiko watches, the rotor inside the V.F.A. is set with an 18k yellow gold medallion bearing the Grand Seiko lion logo.

Grand Seiko VFA 9S85

It will cost ¥5.5m plus taxes, or about US$52,300.


The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Special (ref. SBGH266) is adjusted to the Grand Seiko “Special” standard, or -2 to +4 seconds a day. Just as with the V.F.A., this is equipped with the cal. 9S85, mechanically identical but regulated differently.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special SBGH266

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special 18k gold

Limited to 150 watches, the Grand Seiko “Special” is in 18k yellow gold. It is priced at ¥2.8m, or about US$26,600.


And the most affordable of the trio is in stainless steel with a matching steel bracelet. The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 (ref. SBGH267) is regulated to -3 to +5 seconds a day, which is the ordinary Grand Seiko standard.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat SBGH267

It also differs from the precious metal models with a special rotor found only on a handful of past Grand Seiko limited editions. Shaped like a spiral, the rotor is made of titanium on top and a tungsten weight under. The striking blue finish is the result of electrolysis of the titanium, which creates a surface oxide layer that is blue.

This is limited to 1500 pieces, and priced at ¥650,000, or about US$6200.


 

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Baselworld 2018: Seiko Introduces the Credor Spring Drive Eichi II in Rose Gold

All the goodness of the Eichi, but more affordable.
Seiko Credor Spring Drive Eichi rose gold 1

Unveiled in 2008, the original Seiko Credor Eichi was a time-only watch with an exemplary movement finish inspired by Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity. After a brief 25 piece run, that was replaced by the Credor Eichi II in 2014. Both Eichi models are the products of Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio, a dozen-man operation that produces some of the best watches in Japan.

A decade on from the original Seiko has unveiled the Eichi II in 18k rose gold, retaining all its signature features – porcelain dial, blued hands, and a gorgeous movement – but making it significantly more affordable thanks to the gold case.

The white porcelain dial has the same blued hands as the platinum Eichi II, but the hour markers and logo – painted free hand by a skilled craftsman – are in a dark grey instead of the blue of the platinum model.

Seiko Credor Spring Drive Eichi rose gold 2

While the case material has changed, the dimensions remain the same, 39mm wide and 10.3mm high, as does the Zaratsu finishing technique that creates a mirrored, flat surface that is practically distortion free.

The crucial quality of the Eichi II is unchanged. The cal. 7R14 inside is Spring Drive, hand-wound, and a sight to behold.

Seiko Credor Eichi II 2

Notably, the Eichi II in gold costs about a quarter less than the same in platinum, making this a deal in comparison.

Seiko Credor Spring Drive Eichi rose gold 3

Price and availability 

The Credor Spring Drive Eichi II in rose gold (ref. GBLT998) is priced at ¥4.3m before taxes, equivalent to about US$40,900. It will be available at Seiko boutiques and selected retailers worldwide, starting August 2018.


 

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