Year in Review – Top Stories of 2018

Stories that shaped the year.
year in review 2018

From the latest business news to auction reports to reviews of the latest and greatest, it’s obvious that readers love solid content. We’re most proud of what we do, which is intended to help readers gain an insight into watchmaking and make informed decisions. With 2019 just days away, here’s a recap of the most popular stories from the past year.


15. Why the Ref. 5235G Regulator is the Most Interesting Modern Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe 5235G regulator 2

Dark horse, sleeper hit, whatever you name it, the ref. 5235 is one. The watch is one of Patek Philippe’s most unusual and overlooked models. Not only is the only watch made by the Geneva watchmaker with a regulator-style display, more significantly, it also boasts a calibre that is unique to the reference – no other watch shares the same movement or even base movement. And it’s also the only serially produced Patek Philippe movement with both a silicon escapement and hairspring. Read the review.


14. Hands-On with the Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday “Ultraman”

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday Ultraman 8

A hotly anticipated watch that sold out in a flash online, the Speedmaster “Ultraman” takes itself less seriously than the first Speedy Tuesday. We looked at it in detail, and also compared it to the original Speedy Tuesday, as well as a vintage Speedmaster ref. 105.012. Continue reading about the Speedmaster “Ultraman”.


13. Comparing the Best of Japanese Watchmaking – Grand Seiko 8 Day and Credor Eichi II

Grand Seiko 8 Day-Credor Eichi 2

Detailing the differences between two categorically similar watches – nay, horological masterpieces – produced at Seiko Epson’s Micro Artist Studio – the Credor Eichii II and the Grand Seiko 8 Day. Here’s the full story, along with lots of photos.


12. Macro Match: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date vs. Grand Seiko SBGA011 “Snowflake”

JLC-Master-Control-Date-vs-Grand-Seiko-Snowflake-2

A detailed comparison of two different, yet comparable watches that are crowd favourites amongst enthusiasts, with lots of solid macro photos. Here’s the story.


11. The Ad Man Who Made The Best Watch in The World

Rene H. Bittel Bozell Agency Patek

Alan Downing tells the story of René H. Bittel, a little-known Swiss ad man who helped Patek Philippe regain its footing after the Quartz Crisis by crafting the ad campaigns that would come to define the company in the 1980s and 1990s. Most notably, he put into words the notion that a mechanical watch was for a lifetime, and one’s heirs. Read about Bittel and his accomplishments.


10. Helmut Sinn, Legendary Maker of Pilot’s Watches, Dies at 102

Helmut Sinn Guinand

Helmut Sinn’s life was epic – as a fighter pilot during WWII he lost two fingers after being shot down, followed by a stint as a rally car driver, and finally a watch entrepreneur. He was successful enough that he sold the eponymous company at the age of 78 in 1994, several decades too early, as it turned out. He then continued his career with a second company, before passing away at the grand old age of 102. It was a life well lived, and worthy of remembrance.


9. Living with the G-Shock 35th Anniversary Full Metal Gold IP

G Shock Full Metal Gold 35th Anniversary 1

The all-gold, limited edition G-Shock “Full Metal” is one of the coolest watches of 2018. Find out why in our detailed review.


8. An Honest Take on the Hits and Misses of Baselworld 2018

Baselworld 2018 hall 1-1

A no-nonsense take on this year’s Baselworld, an event that has recently suffered a streak of defections and bad press. We’ll do another one in 2019, but for now you can revisit 2018’s right here.


7. How Good is Vacheron Constantin’s Entry-Level FiftySix?

Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Self-Winding steel

A surprise entry on the list, since Vacheron Constantin is neither a mass market brand, nor is the FiftySix a runaway bestseller. In fact, it was controversial at launch, being the most affordable Vacheron Constantin wristwatch by some margin. Yet the FiftySix has been a hot topic – we looked at it in detail, so see for yourself.


6. The Best Tool Watches Under US$5,000 From Baselworld 2018

Best beater watches Baselworld 2018

We chose the best “beater” watches from Baselworld 2018, a fair that does much better at affordable timepieces than SIHH. No matter how large your budget, value for money is always reassuring and comforting, so the popularity of this story is no surprise. See the selection of winners under US$5000.


5. Up Close with the Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” on Jubilee Bracelet

Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi Jubilee 6

Possibly the hottest watch of the year was the GMT-Master II “Pepsi” with a Jubilee bracelet. Rolex also upgraded the case alloy, which is now Oystersteel, as well as the movement, giving it the latest generation automatic with 70-hour power reserve. But none of that matters as much as the blue and red bezel. Read the review, which has few surprises but is worth a read in any case.


4. An Open Letter to the Swiss Watch Industry, From a Frustrated Millennial

SIHH 2018 fair 2

A tech exec in his early 30s, Brandon Moore tackles the topic of how to sell luxury watches to everyone’s favourite demographic – millennials. This story was not doubt as well read by the industry itself as enthusiasts and aficionados. Read it in full.


3. The True Story of the Mythical Rolex “Zenith” Daytona in Platinum

Rolex Daytona Zenith platinum 16516 5

We detailed the intriguing backstory of the unique Rolex Daytona “Zenith” in platinum, one of just five made at the request of former Rolex chief Patrick Heiniger. We got the scoop thanks to Sotheby’s watches, which proceeded to sell the watch for over US$871,000, making it the most expensive modern Rolex watch ever sold at auction. Read the one of a kind “Francesca-Romain” Daytona.


2. Up Close with the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight – Smaller, Slimmer and Better

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-7

One of the most affordable watches of the year, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight was also one of the best. In a market rich with bargains, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight still manages to be a poster child of value. It boasts much of the same goodness that makes all other Tudors such compelling buys, but hews closer to the vintage originals that inspired it, being smaller, thinner, and just better on the wrist. Read the review.


1. Breaking News: Swatch Group to Leave Baselworld Fair in 2019

Baselworld

We were the first amongst the watch blogs to break this news on a sleepy Sunday, thanks to a friend in Switzerland who picked up weekend paper NZZ am Sonntag and got a shock.

You can read about the Swatch Group’s surprise departure, as well as the consequences – the resignation of the MCH chief executive, and then the forecast of a US$100m loss.


 

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