Baselworld 2013: Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5227 with officer’s style case

The Calatrava Ref. 5227 is the latest Patek Philippe dress watch with officer's style case, this time with an invisible hinge for the case back. It is simple but classically attractive in the traditional Patek Philippe style.

Though it looks like many Calatravas that have come before, the new Calatrava Ref. 5227 is different. For one it has an officer’s style case with a hinged case back that reveals the sapphire display window. The hinge for the case back cover is hidden underneath the cover itself, making it almost invisible from the outside.

Despite the cover and display back, the watch is only 9.24 mm high. Despite its simplicity the case is beautifully executed and more proof that Patek Philippe’s case construction is steadily improving. Inside the 39 mm case is the cal. 324 SC, which has the adjustable mass Gyromax balance wheel, and more importantly, the Spiromax hairspring made of Silinvar (silicon and invar).

The ref. 5227 is available in white, rose or yellow gold.

Though the new ref. 5200 Gondolo 8 Days is the most technically notable watch for Patek Philippe this year, the ref. 5227 Calatrava is more beautiful and representative Patek Philippe in a historical sense.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5227R in rose gold
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Baselworld 2013: Hublot Big Bang Unico in-house movement

The Hublot Big Bang finally has an in-house Unico movement. Available in four variations, which are the first of a new line.

Big Bang Unico in King Gold with ceramic bezel

The new Hublot Big Bang Unico watches are the first Big Bang chronographs equipped with the in-house Unico movement. Though the Big Bang Unico looks similar to the original Big Bang (and every other Hublot), there are noticeable changes compared to the original Big Bang. For one the case is now larger, at 45.5 mm wide. And the chronograph pushers are round, which is unusual for a Hublot. Also, the case has the push-button mechanism to enable easy swapping of straps, which was first used in the Big Bang King Power. The Unico movement is made by Hublot, and it is a flyback chronograph with column wheel, as well as silicon escape wheel and pallet fork. It’s about time the Big Bang was upgraded, since the original Big Bang – which made its debut in 2005 – is beginning to look dated given with the multitude of imitators. More importantly the Valjoux 7750 movement is now difficult to accept for a watch of this price range. That being said, this does not replace the Big Bang for now, instead it is an additional line.

Big Bang Unico in King Gold

For models are available, in King Gold or titanium, with a matching alloy or ceramic bezel. – SJX

Big Bang Unico in titanium with ceramic bezel
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Baselworld 2013: Introducing the Jaquet Droz Grande Heure GMT – the bare essentials of a dual time zone

With only two hour hands, the Jaquet Droz Grande Heure GMT is a travel watch reduced to its absolute bare essentials, or maybe even a bit less. Perfect for travellers with the luxury of not needing to know the time exactly.

The Jaquet Droz Grande Heure GMT is a more elaborate version of the single-handed Grande Heure of several years ago. With the rose gold hand indicating local time, and the blued steel hand for home time, the Grande Heure GMT shows the wearer two time zones simultaneously.

And because the dial is in 24 hour format, day and night in both time zones are easily distinguished as well. But because the watch only has hour hands, the time indicated is approximate, rather than exact. Each one hour interval on the dial is divided into 10 minute segments, so the time can be told with certainty only to the nearest 10 minutes. A watch like this definitely works better for a holiday instead of a business trip.

The 43 mm case is rose gold and the dial is ivory grand feu enamel. Inside is the Jaquet Droz 5N50.4 calibre, which is based on the Frederic Piguet cal. 1150.


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Baselworld 2013: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph “Racing” with El Primero

TAG Heuer announces the Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph “Racing” with a titanium carbide coated titanium case, containing a Zenith El Primero chronograph movement.

The  Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph “Racing” is a large, 43 mm chronograph utilising the 36,000 bph El Primero movement from TAG Heuer’s sister company Zenith. Water resistant to 100 m, the titanium case is coated with titanium carbide, a ceramic which is extremely hard and corrosion resistant. Instead of hour numerals, the indices on the dial are minute markings, which TAG Heuer has used on several of its Carrera models, notably on its super high frequency chronographs like the Mikrotimer. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Grand Seiko 44GS modern interpretation

A pair of limited edition Grand Seiko watches, inspired by the 44GS, for the centenary of Seiko watchmaking.

In addition to the 44GS reissues which are nearly perfect reproductions of the 44GS of 1967, Seiko has also announced two limited editions that are modern interpretations of the 44GS. Both are in steel on matching steel bracelets, with the automatic 9S65 movement inside.

Though the cases are similarly styled to the 44GS, with wide case sides, the watches are more substantial. The case diameter is 40 mm, with a height of 13.4 mm. Additionally the case back has a sapphire window showing the 9S65 movement which has a three day power reserve.


Two models are available and both are priced at JPY450,000 without taxes, or about US$4600. The first is a silver dial with a blued steel seconds hand (ref. SBGR081) which is limited to 1200 pieces, and a more striking version with a black dial and gold hands (ref. SBGR083) which is limited to 700 pieces. 

Delivery starts from 6 July 2013 onwards.


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Baselworld 2013: Grand Seiko 44GS limited edition for 100th anniversary

To mark 100th years of Seiko watchmaking, the company has created a limited edition reissue of the 44GS of 1967, equipped with the manual wind 9S64 movement.

Grand Seiko 44GS replica in steel SBGW047

Named after the cal. 4420 inside, the 44GS was the first Grand Seiko produced by Daini Seikosha (now Seiko Instruments Inc or SII), back in 1967. With its angular and clean case lines, the 44GS had a more modern look than the earlier Grand Seiko models, establishing the signature Grand Seiko aesthetic that still characterises the line today. Seiko has remade the 44GS for its 100th anniversary, in three colours of gold as well as steel. Like the commercially successfully 130th anniversary reissue of 2011, the new 44GS reissue is faithful to the original. The case is 37.9 mm wide and 11.5 mm high, with wide, polished flanks. Seiko uses a technique similar to black polishing (or speculaire) to finish the case, resulting in extremely precise and distortion free surfaces. The box shaped sapphire crystal have antireflective coating on the inside.

Inside is the 9S64 movement with three days power reserve. It cannot be seen however, as the case back is solid with the Grand Seiko medallion, just like on the original 44GS. Four models are available (prices do not include Japanese value added tax): SBGW043 in 18K white gold and limited to 70 pieces, JPY1.6 million (~US$16,300) SBGW044 in 18K yellow gold and limited to 70 pieces, JPY1.575 million (~US$15,300) SBGW046 in 18K rose gold and limited to 70 pieces, JPY1.575 million (~US$15,300) SBGW047 in steel and limited to 700 pieces, JPY450,000 (~US$4600) While all are nearly like for like reproductions of the original 44GS, the steel model is actually identical as it has the exact same silver dial as the 1967 model. The watches will be available in Japan and internationally, with delivery from 8 June 2013 onwards. – SJX

SBGW043 in 18K white gold
SBGW044 in 18K yellow gold
SBGW046 in 18K rose gold
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Baselworld 2013: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 gauss

Omega has unveiled the production version of the Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 gauss, which has the highest level of magnetism resistance of any wristwatch today.

Resistant to magnetic fields of over 15,000 gauss (or 1,000,000 A/m or 1.5 Tesla), the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15’000 gauss is a big technological achievement. It far exceeds the magnetism resistance of other watches, thanks to the use of proprietary non-magnetic alloys for key movement components. This means the movement itself is resistant to magnetism, in contrast to the traditional method of dealing with magnetism, which shields a regular movement via soft iron enclosure. A soft iron  cage usually protects against a magnetic field of up to 1000 gauss or 80,000 A/m, but at higher levels of magnetism the soft iron protection is ineffective. 

Movement protected from magnetic fields by soft iron cage which works up to 1000 gauss or 80,000 A/m
Soft iron cage is ineffective at magnetic fields of 1000 gauss and above
In the Omega  Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15’000 gauss the magnetic fields pass through movement, but it is entirely unaffected

Take for instance some competitors which use soft iron cages to protect the movements inside: the Panerai Submersible Amagnetic is rated to 40,000 A/m, while the antimagnetic Grand Seiko automatics are 80,000 A/m, and so are the Rolex Milgauss and IWC Ingenieur.  Developed by Omega, ETA, ASULAB (the R&D division of the Swatch Group) and Nivarox FAR (the component manufacturer best known for its hairsprings), theCo-Axial 8508 inside also has a silicon balance spring, as well as the four year warranty that comes with all Omega watches equipped with silicon parts. Because the COSC certified chronometer movement needs no shielding, it is visible from the display back, which is of course a first for an antimagnetic watch. The Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15’000 gauss has a black dial with yellow accents, along with a 41.5 mm steel case, which is water resistant to 150 m. It is available on leather strap or steel bracelet. – SJX

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