Baselworld 2013: Longines Heritage Military 1938 (with specs and price)

Inspired by 1930s military watches, the Longines Heritage Military 1938 is a new addition to the Longines Heritage line. It’s available in three guises, time-only, chronograph and dual time zone.

Longines, along with Tudor, are the most successful and consistent in creating remakes of vintage timepieces. This year Longines adds to its already sizeable Heritage collection with the new Longines Heritage Military 1938, which comprises a trio of watches. 

The Heritage Miltary 1938 watches all have black dials with large, white Arabics, a small fluted crown and a prominent railway minute track. The three watches draw heavily on 1930s military watches like the WWW made for the British Army and of course the famous Longines “Greenlander”. 

The basic model (ref. L2.788.4.53.x) is a three-hand, time-only watch with an ETA 2892 movement. This retails for S$2400 including 7% tax in Singapore, which works out to about US$1950.

Heritage Military 1938 automatic

Then there is the Heritage Military 1938 24 hours (ref. L2.789.4.53.x), a dual time zone watch with a red GMT hand. This has a 42 mm case with an ETA A07 movement, from ETA’s line of large calibres derived from the Valjoux 7750. The retail is S$2960 with tax, or about US$2400.

Heritage Military 1938 24 hours

And the third watch is the Heritage Military 1938 Chronograph (ref. L2.790.4.53.x), which also uses an ETA A07 movement. The case diameter is also 42 mm. Retail is S$3750 including tax, or about US$3000.

Heritage Military 1938 Chronograph

All three watches are water resistant to 30 m and have synthetic fabric straps.

While I do like all of Longines historical remakes – they are nicely made and fairly priced – all of them have a date window (like the recent Avigation A-7 chronograph for instance) which looks blatantly out of place, though it is admittedly practical.


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Baselworld 2013: Breitling Emergency II with dual frequency distress beacon

The Breitling Emergency II is an improved version of the famous distress signal watch. It can broadcast in two frequencies, enabling it send a signal to the satellite-based Cospas-Sarsat distress alert system.

Launched in 1995, the original Breitling Emergency had a built-in personal locator beacon (PLB) which could transmit a distress signal on demand and was intended for those unfortunate enough to be stranded in an inhospitable, remote place. But the international standards for distress signals have changed since then, and the Breitling Emergency II has been designed to ensure that anyone who needs to use such a watch will be heard. Like the original Emergency, the new Emergency II broadcasts a distress signal at 121.5 MHz, which can be received on land, by ships and also aircraft. But the Emergency II also sends out a signal at 406 MHz, meaning it can be received by the satellites of the Cospas-Sarsat system. Cospas-Sarsat is a multinational satellite system for search and rescue (SAR), which is comprised of five geosynchronous satellites and six low Earth polar orbit satellites.

The distress signal is transmitted from the watch from two antennae in the lower part of the case. A cap must be unscrewed and pulled out on the right side of the case, extending the main antenna and also releasing the cap on the second antenna on the left.

And in case the wearer forgets how to operate the transmitter, instructions are also engraved on the back of the watch.

Once set up, the Emergency II will broadcast a distress signal alternating between the two frequencies over 24 hours. The first signal is sent on the 406 MHz frequency intended for satellites and lasts 0.44 seconds every 50 seconds, while the second signal on the 121.5 MHz lasts 0.75 seconds every 2.25 seconds. The transmitter has its own rechargeable battery, with a battery life of more than 18 hours at -20 °C and over 24 hours at +20 °C (bad news for those stranded somewhere chilly). This is charged by a special unit that both charges and tests the transmitter to ensure it is functioning well.

Separate from the distress signal tranmission unit is the watch movement, which is powered by a thermocompensated quartz movement. It has the usual electronic functions, including 1/1000th second stopwatch, countdown and so on. The watch will function in temperatures from –20 °C to +55 °C and is water resistant to 50 m. The watch case is titanium with a diameter of 51 mm. It is available on titanium bracelet or rubber strap, with the choice of yellow, orange or black dials. That means once the SAR team reaches the area, they just need to locate the enormous brightly coloured watch, which should be easy enough.

Though its utility is questionable, the Breitling Emergency, both the old and new, is a very, very cool gadget.   In Singapore the Emergency II retails for S$21,000 (about US$17,000) on rubber strap and S$23,000 (about US$18,600) on bracelet, inclusive of 7% tax. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Stowa Flieger FO1 TESTAF

Stowa has developed a wristwatch that meets the technical standards set by FH Aachen for pilot’s watches known as TESTAF.

Though the Stowa Flieger FO1 TESTAF looks similar to watches from Sinn, it has an interesting concept. The FO1 TESTAF was designed to meet the an established standard for pilot’s watches set by a well reputed German technical university, which is the likely reason for its generic aviator’s watch appearance. Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren (TESTAF), which means “technical standards for pilot’s watches, is a set of criteria developed by FH Aachen – Aachen University of Applied Sciences for aviator’s timepieces, in collaboration with Sinn. 

Watches must meet certain standards for readability and functionality, as well as pressure, temperature and shock resistance. For instance the watch must function well between -15 to +55 °C. More information on the TESTAF standards and test can be found on the FH Aachen TESTAF site.

The watch itself has a 45 mm titanium case with a bidirectional rotating bezel held by screws. It is water resistant to 200 m. In order to meet the TESTAF standards for strap attachment, the lugs have screwed bars. And the movement inside is an ETA 2824.

Made in a limited edition of 1000 watches (FH Aachen charges €8000 for testing anywhere from 100 to 1000 watches), the Flieger FO1 TESTAF retails for €1084.03 on a leather strap (about US$1400), and a bit less on a rubber strap. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Introducing the Stowa Flieger and Marine Chronographs, now with hand-wound movements

Stowa now offers hand-wound versions of its Flieger and Marine Chronos, using a modified version of the Valjoux 7753.

Two years ago Stowa unveiled its minimalist Flieger Chronograph with an automatic movement, which only had two hands for the chronograph and another two for the time. Now Stowa has added a manual wind version of the Flieger Chrono, which is more in keeping with its bare essentials philosophy.

The new manually wound Flieger Chrono uses a Valjoux 7753 movement modified by Stowa. The automatic winding mechanism is removed, and the bridge is customised with the Stowa logo in relief. 

The case remains the same as the automatic, at 41 mm wide but the slimmer movement means the case back is thinner. So the hand-wind version is 1 mm slimmer at 13.7 mm high. This retails for €1638.66 without VAT (or about US$2150), compared to €1386.55 for the automatic. The same manual wind movement is also used for the new Marine Chronograph hand-wound, which retails for €1680.67. Like the Flieger the Marine Chronograph was previously only available as an automatic. – SJX

Stowa Marine Chronograph
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News: Panerai PAM523 Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days – new entry level in-house automatic

Panerai recently took the covers off an entry level Luminor with an in-house movement, the Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days PAM523.

Panerai doesn’t show at Baselworld but here’s some news from them: the Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days PAM523 is the first Panerai with the 1950 case with a 42 mm case diameter. It has a white dial and a date feature. Inside is the P.9000 automatic movement with three day power reserve made by Panerai.

The retail price in Singapore is S$10,200 including 7% tax, or about US$8200. Remember to check out my comprehensive SIHH report for the rest of Panerai’s 2013 collection. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph with new in-house, integrated movement

Girard-Perregaux finally has its own in-house, integrated chronograph movement, which makes it debut as the 1966 Integrated Column-wheel Chronograph.

After a long dry spell, Girard-Perregaux has presented two notable and interesting movements at Baselworld 2013. Alongside the constant force movement unveiled before Basel, Girard-Perregaux also has a new manually wound, integrated chronograph movement, the GP 03800-001, presented in the round 1966 case. Based on the tried and tested GP cal. 3000 base movement (used by a plethora of brands including MB&F), the GP 3800 movement is an integrated movement.  Essentially that means the chronograph mechanism can be seen from the back of the watch, unlike the earlier modular movement GP used which had the chronograph mechanism added onto the dial-side. And because GP wisely chose to make this a manually wound, rather than automatic movement, the chronograph mechanism is visible in all its glory.

The GP 3800 calibre has some notable features, most notably an instantaneous jumping seconds counter, just like on the Lange Datograph. As each recorded minute passes, the minute hand jumps instantaneously, instead of creeping over as with most chronographs.

It also uses GP’s in-house Microvar balance wheel with six adjustable weights and two screws for fine adjustment. Visually it is attractive and well finished. Notice that only the eccentric screws used to adjust the position of levers are blued, while the rest are polished.

The 1966 Chronograph has a 40 mm pink gold case, with either a silver or black dial. While the movement gets top marks, the case looks a little to large for the calibre; that is not unexpected since the 3000 series movements are all small. The sub-dials are clustered uncomfortably in the centre. Hopefully this marks the return of GP as a serious player in high horology, because the brand has been idle in terms of technical and fine watchmaking for several years now. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Rolex Yachmaster II in steel ref. 116680 (with price and specs)

For the first time the Yachtmaster II regatta chronograph is available in steel, with a bezel in blue ceramic.

The Yachtmaster II is now much more affordable with the launch of an all steel model. This has a blue ceramic bezel, and unusually for a sports Rolex, blued steel hands and indices. These go well with the glossy white dial. At 44 mm the case dimensions are identical to the precious metal models. And it also uses the same cal. 4161 movement with yachting countdown function which can be used to countdown from between one to 10 minutes.

The price is CHF17,800, which works out to about USD18,900.  – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Rolex GMT-Master II with blue and black ceramic bezel ref. 116710BLNR (with specs and price)

The Rolex GMT-Master II has been facelifted and now has a black and blue ceramic bezel.

Previously only available in black, the Rolex GMT-Master II is now also offered with a black and blue ceramic bezel. This is more intuitive, since it indicates day and night. To match the bezel, the GMT hand is in blue, whereas it was green in the previous version.

It is otherwise the identical to the earlier all black version with the same 40 mm case and bracelet. This does not replace the current model, rather it is an addition to the line.

This is the first time the GMT-Master has a black and blue bezel. Traditionalists will probably find it a shame Rolex did not bring back the iconic Pepsi or Coke bezels for the GMT. The price is CHF8500 or about USD9000.

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Baselworld 2013: Introducing the Rolex Daytona in Platinum with Ceramic Bezel and Glacier Blue Dial ref.116506 (with specs and price)

Now available for the first time in platinum, the 50th anniversary Cosmograph Daytona has a Cerachrom bezel and ‘glacier blue’ dial, along with a matching platinum bracelet.

Though there was much speculation as to a new Daytona, it appears the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” holds true. For the Daytona’s 50th anniversary, Rolex has unveiled a platinum Daytona – the first time this metal is used for the Daytona – with a brown ceramic bezel and a pale blue ‘glacier’ dial.  To match the ceramic (which Rolex terms Cerachrom) bezel, the chronograph registers are ringed in brown as well, bringing to mind the many “Patrizzi dial” Daytonas which pop up at auction. The colour combination sounds odd but I expect it will look quite attractive in the metal.

But it is fundamentally the same Daytona as before. The case remains the same 40 mm in size, and the movement is still the cal. 4130 with column wheel and vertical clutch. The retail price is CHF71,500 before tax, which is equivalent to about USD75,800. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Introduced The Redesigned Bulgari Bulgari, Featuring An In-House Movement

Bulgari has updated its classic Bulgari Bulgari, which now has the in-house BVL 191 movement.

Originally penned by Gerald Genta, the Bulgari Bulgari has become the brand’s signature timepiece. The new model has a slimmer bezel and sleeker lugs, as well as the BVL 191 movement made by Bulgari. The case is 41 mm wide and water resistant to 50 m. It is available in steel, pink gold as well as steel and gold, with the choice of black or ivory for the dial colour. And there is the option of leather strap or bracelet. – SJX

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