Introducing The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award (With Specs And Price)

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Omega once again commemorates the Silver Snoopy award given by NASA for the Speedmaster Moon Watch that helped the Apollo 13 mission return to Earth safely after an explosion in space.

Omega played a vital role in the successful re-entry of the Apollo 13 spacecraft after its oxygen tank blew up on the way to the Moon, limiting the spacecraft’s electrical system. The hand-wound Speedmaster Moon Watch helped save the day by timing certain re-entry procedures. Omega commemorates the Apollo 13 mission and its award with the Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award. NASA bestows the Silver Snoopy award on individuals or companies for significant contributions to mission safety and success. Specifically, the Silver Snoopy is awarded for “contributions toward enhancing the probability of mission success… improvements in design, administrative/technical/production techniques, business systems, flight and/or systems safety or identification and correction or preventive action for errors.”

Because the Speedmaster Moon Watch was critically useful in timing re-entry when the electrical systems went out after an oxygen tank explosion onboard Apollo 13, famously depicted in the film of the same name, Omega received the Silver Snoopy. The first Speedmaster Snoopy was introduced in 2003 and proving that a combination of a famous wristwatch and iconic cartoon character is impossible to resist, promptly sold out. That has since become one of the more sought after Speedmaster limited editions (and there have been a plethora of them). Dedicated to the same subject, the Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award is limited to 1970 pieces, with several notable features. Unusually for a Speedmaster, the dial is white, and decorated with a sleeping Snoopy at nine o’clock. The hands, indices as well as the Snoopy logo are in Super-Luminova, so they all glow green in the dark. The rest of the dial is somewhat cluttered.

The minute track from one to 14 seconds comprises of 14 boxes, with “What could you do in 14 seconds?” printed below, a reference to the 14 seconds it took the astronauts on Apollo 13 to correct their trajectory on re-entry to Earth using the Speedmaster Moon Watch. Somewhat curiously, “Failure is not an option” is printed on the dial just above the hands, reproducing the line spoken by Ed Harris playing the mission’s flight director Gene Kranz in the film Apollo 13. This is probably the first watch carrying speech from the fictional portrayal of a real person involved in a real historical event.

The back of the watch is much more charming. Snoopy is also on the case back of the watch, depicted in a sterling silver relief on base of the same metal decorated with deep blue enamel. 

Sterling silver paillons are set into the enamel to mimic the cosmos. To protect the sterling silver from wear and oxidisation, the medallion is under a sapphire crystal.

Beneath the medallion is the hand-wound calibre 1861, the same Lemania 861 movement that has powered generations of the Speedmaster Moon Watch (except the very first which was equipped with the Lemania calibre 321).

The case is steel and 42 mm in diameter, with a black ceramic bezel insert. The strap is black nylon with a folding clasp. The Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award will cost 9500 Singapore dollars or 6100 Swiss francs.

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A luxe version of the Speedmaster reissue, the "First Omega in Space" is now offered in 18k Sedna gold, a rose gold alloy proprietary to Omega.

H. Moser & Cie. Introduces The Venturer Small Seconds With Roman Numerals (With Pricing)

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H. Moser departs from its characteristic aesthetic with the new Venturer Small Seconds, its first watch with a white lacquered, Roman numeral dial.

From its beginnings H. Moser & Cie. established a clear visual identity for itself with unadorned dials with baton indices and its logo in flowery script. The new Venturer Small Seconds with a Roman numeral dial departs from this aesthetic in a minor way that results in a drastic change in appearance. The dial is lacquered white with black printed Roman numerals, while the leaf shaped hands are blued steel, also a first for Moser. While exactly the same dimensions as the existing Venturer Small Seconds, measuring 39 mm wide and 12.5 mm high, the case is white gold; earlier models were only available in rose gold.

The hand-wound HMC 327 movement is exactly the same as before, with a three day power reserve indicated on the movement. The Venturer Small Seconds is priced at US$20,500. For a detailed look at the current Venturer Small Seconds, see here.

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H. Moser Introduces the Venturer XL & H. Moser Endeavour Concept Funky Blue

H. Moser & Cie. adds two blue timepieces to its collection at SIHH 2016, the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Funky Blue and Venturer Small Seconds XL - specs and prices follow.

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Introducing The Breguet Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 – A Significant Evolution Of The Minute Repeater (With Pricing)

Breguet has remade the minute repeater complication, endowing the Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 with ingenious features ranging from a unusually shaped gongs to a vibrating bezel and crystal, making this one of the most signficant minute repeater wristwatches.
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Breguet is on a roll with its new Tradition timepieces unveiled at Baselworld to mark the 10th anniversary of its most distinctive modern wristwatch. The Tradition Chronographe Indépendant, for example, is an innovative new chronograph construction. The one that really takes the cake, however, is the Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087, a striking wristwatch with several novel and innovative features.

Wristwatch minute repeaters have evolved significantly over the last three decades, beginning as what were essentially miniaturised pocket watch movements, to rapid progress in recent years, with Cartier, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre making notable timepieces. But the new Breguet Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 goes further than most in its reinvention of a traditional complication.

To start with the Tradition repeater is automatic, with a peripheral rotor that is mounted around the edge of the movement. That minimises the space needed for the winding mechanism, and also leaves the view of the movement unobstructed. Its power reserve is 80 hours, with a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, just beside the time display.

The watch was constructed in order to achieve a particular type of sound, selected from a set of 100,000 synthetic sounds. Consequently, much of the construction of the Tradition repeater is departs from tradition (no pun intended).

Gongs and alloys

Instead of the conventional round shape that were invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet himself in 1783, both gongs are bean-shaped and differing in size. These gongs are attached to the bezel, itself mounted on the case band with three pillars that allow both the bezel and crystal to vibrate. That vibration aids the tranmission of sound from the gongs to the outside of the case.

The gongs are made from gold as is the watch case, namely white or rose gold, while the base plate and bridges of the movement are titanium. Titanium’s lightness (the alloy is not dense) means it transmits sound well.

Vertical hammers

Both the hammers are mounted perpendicular to the plane of the case, instead of being parallel. Only one other repeater wristwatch has a similar feature, the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish five minute repeater. While the Van Cleef repeater gongs move on the same plane as the watch case, the hammers in the Breguet move upwards, striking the gongs from below.

And the usual buffer spring for the hammers (which prevent the hammer from striking the gong twice as it bounces back), has been modified to pull back the hammer instantaneously once it hits the gong. This allows the hammer to strike the gong with maximum force, without the damping effect of a buffer spring that reduces the striking power of the hammer. A more powerful strike results in a louder chime.

Chain transmission

The power for the striking mechanism is transmitted by a tiny chain, instead of gears. Similar to the chain found in the chain and fusée constant force mechanism, this feature was inspired by the No. 160 pocket watch Breguet made for Marie-Antoinette.

Magnetic governor

Conventional repeater governors (a spinning mechanism that regulates the pace of the repeater chime) either depend on air or mechanical friction to operate. Breguet uses a magnetic governor comprised of magnets that slow the spinning of silver weights that is nearly silent, so it does not detract from the repeater chimes.

Resonating back

The perforated case back is fitted with a gold membrane inside that increases the volume of the repeater chimes by vibrating the empty space in between the membrane and the case back. Because the membrane is fixed to the sapphire crystal of the display back, the movement is unobscured.

Tourbillon

For good measure the Tradition repeater is also equipped with a tourbillon that has an escape wheel and hairspring in silicon.

The specs

The Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon has a case diameter of 44 mm, with the button at 11 o’clock to activate the repeater. A bayonet locking mechanism secures the button, requiring a slight twist to unlock it. The price of the Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon is 450,000 Swiss francs or 662,000 Singapore dollars, in either rose or white gold.

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Breguet has remade the minute repeater complication, endowing the Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 with ingenious features ranging from a unusually shaped gongs to a vibrating bezel and crystal, making this one of the most signficant minute repeater wristwatches.

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TAG Heuer Announces The Monaco V4 Phantom, With A Carbon Composite Case And Movement (With Specs And Price)

TAG Heuer's most distinctive haute horlogerie watch has undergone a makeover: the Monaco V4 Phantom is equipped with a carbon composite case and movement, as well as a more affordable price tag.
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A watch that took several years to come to market due to the challenges in making a belt transmission reliable, the Monaco V4 is TAG Heuer‘s signature high-end complication. Just introduced at Baselworld 2015, the Monaco V4 Phantom is the latest iteration of the ingenious belt-driven movement this time with both the case and movement bridges made of carbon composite, carbon fibre strands in a hard polymer.

Carbon fibre can be arranged in infinite alignments inside a polymer before being set, and in the Monaco V4 Phantom two types of carbon composite are used. The carbon composite used for the case has a marbled appearance, with the carbon fibre inside the polymer arranged in a random pattern.

In contrast the bridges are made with the carbon fibres formed directionally, then bead blasted, resulting in a clean, grained appearance. To complete the monochromatic look, the main plate of the movement, screws as well as hands and hour indices are all coated in titanium carbide.

Despite being more than 10 years old, the V4 remains the only movement only where the power transmission is conducted via tiny polymer belts, rather than gears and pinions as is convention. And the automatic winding is achieved with a weight that travels on a linear track, rather than a rotor that oscillates in a circular motion as is convention.

The price of the Monaco V4 Phantom is notable, at 66,500 Singapore dollars or 45,000 Swiss francs, it is the most affordable V4 to date. That is about half of what the first V4 in platinum cost at its launch nearly 10 years ago, and less than a third of the Monaco V4 Tourbillon unveiled last year. This demonstrates Jean-Claude Biver’s determination to move TAG Heuer in a lower price segment, across all product categories. After Biver took over the helm of the brand last year, he embarked on a major strategic shift with a proportional major personnel overhaul. TAG Heuer’s line-up at Baselworld reflects that.

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Introducing The Omega Globemaster, A Modern Chronometer With A Retro Pie Pan Dial (With Specs And Price)

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Omega has revived the Globemaster name for the new Constellation Master Chronometer tested to METAS standards, combining a state of the art movement with styling that combines elements from classic Constellation watches.

Late last year Omega announced a new chronometer testing standard developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) that goes far beyond the traditional COSC requirements. A revival of an long forgotten name applied to early Constellation watches from the fifties, the new Constellation Globemaster is the first watch tested to METAS standards, making it Omega’s flagship chronometer wristwatch. The Globemaster is tested to METAS chronometer standards, one of the most stringent watch testing processes in use, encompassing eight criteria that include timekeeping in six positions as well as in tests replicating daily wear. Proper functioning in magnetic fields of 15,000 Gauss is also tested. And the Globemaster movements are also, in a seemingly redundant move, COSC certified.

The movement inside is the Master Co-Axial calibre 8900 (for the steel models) or 8901 (for the gold watches), fitted with a lubrication-free Co-Axial escapement, silicon hairspring. It’s decorated with the circular Cotes Arabesques, essentially spirally Geneva stripes, that Omega applies to its high-end movements.

Set onto the sapphire case back is a relief medallion depicting an observatory, the traditional emblem for the Omega Constellation, a reference to observatory chronometer trials Omega often participating in back in the mid-twentieth century.

Visually the Globemaster combines design cues from various vintage Constellation watches, including the distinctive pie pan dial that’s arguably the model’s most recognisable feature. The star logo at six o’clock is also found on early Constellation watches, while the fluted bezel and slightly tonneau-shaped case are taken from the Constellation C of the sixties.

With a case diameter of 39 mm, the Globemaster is available in steel, Sedna red gold as well as two-tone models that combine the two alloys. And in the steel model (pictured below) the bezel is made of tungsten carbide, a hard and dense metal often used for the tips of industrial drills.

The Globemaster starts at 9800 Singapore dollars or 6300 Swiss francs for the base model in steel with a leather strap, going up to 27,950 Singapore dollars or 18,000 Swiss francs for the gold on leather versions.  And the top of the line platinum limited edition is 57,500 Singapore dollars or 37,000 Swiss francs for the platinum limited edition.  Estimate date of delivery is November 2015.

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Hands-On With The New Seiko Marinemaster 1000 m “Emperor Tuna” Rose Gold SBDX014 (With Specs And Price)

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Seiko introduces a new version of its signature “tuna” dive watch, the Marinemaster Professional 1000 m Diver’s (SBDX014) in titanium, ceramic and rose gold accents.

The latest Prospex “tuna” dive watch from Seiko is the Marinemaster Professional 1000 m Diver’s SBDX014. It’s essentially a redesigned Marinemaster 1000 m SBDX011 (nicknamed the “Emperor Tuna”), intended for the international market, as the SBDX011 sold only in Japan. In terms of specs and materials the new Marinemaster 1000 m is identical to the Emperor Tuna, with the same massive case and short lugs that allow it to wear smaller than it looks. The inner case is black hard coated titanium with a black ceramic shroud that measures 48.2 mm in diameter at its widest and is 17.4 mm thick. Like all of Seiko’s other professional dive watches, the case is a one-piece construction for increased water resistance.

The biggest difference is the rose gold coating on the bezel, shroud screws, crown and hands. This is inspired by the yellow gold accents found on the Professional Diver’s 600 m of 1978, which was the first ever quartz saturation dive watch.

And the dial has been redesigned with lance-shaped hands, making it similar to the Spring Drive Tuna introduced two years ago.

The movement inside is the 8L35, an automatic with 50 hour power reserve that’s a simpler and detuned version of the Grand Seiko calibre 9S55. Like all of Seiko’s other high-end mechanical (not Spring Drive) movements, this is made at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Morioka.

Part of the Seiko dive watch 50th anniversary collection, the SBDX014 is a regular production model, unlike the limited edition Marinemaster Hi-Beat also introduced at Baselworld. The Marinemaster 1000 m SBDX014 is priced at €3450, equivalent to about US$3690 right now.

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Rolex Introduces The Oyster Perpetual 39 – The Larger, Facelifted Entry Level Rolex Oyster (With Specs And Price)

For the first time the entry level Rolex Oyster Perpetual is available in a 39 mm case, keeping the traditional Rolex Oyster aesthetic while adding a dose of colour with new dial finishes.
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Rolex has grown its base Oyster Perpetual line further with the addition of the Oyster Perpetual 39, the largest and latest addition to the range. Last year the no frills collection was revamped with new sizes and colours, injecting a bit of freshness into what was an old fashioned watch, but the largest model was just 36 mm. Just unveiled at Baselworld, the new flagship Oyster Perpetual is 39 mm, giving it a more masculine and modern form. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is the most accessible Oyster watch (referring to the watches with waterproof cases and screw down crowns) that Rolex offers. They are all self-winding (which Rolex terms “perpetual”), indicating the time but without a date function.

From left: The Oyster Perpetual in 26, 31, 34, 36 and 39 mm sizes

At 39 mm in the diameter the new Oyster Perpetual 39 mm is the largest yet, putting it close to sports models like the Sea-Dweller and GMT-Master in terms of case size. Several new metallic dial colours are offered with the 39 mm model, including grey with blue hour markings.

Aside from the larger size, the Oyster Perpetual 39 is otherwise identical to its smaller siblings. The hands and applied hour indices in 18 ct. gold (a standard feature for all Rolex watches). And the bracelet is the classic Oyster, with links that have a brushed top surface and polished flanks, along with the spring-loaded Oysterclasp. Alongside the 39 mm, new dial finishes are now offered with the other Oyster Perpetual sizes. Notably, each of the Oyster Perpetual case sizes have dials unique to that size, except for the purple “Red Grape” finish that is available in all five sizes.

Oyster Perpetual 34 mm with champagne dial
Oyster Perpetual 31 mm with red grape dial
Oyster Perpetual 26 mm in olive green

The Oyster Perpetual 39 has the calibre 3132 inside, featuring a 48 hour power reserve and the non-magnetic Parachrom Bleu hairspring. Different calibres are used in the smaller models, but with similar specs. All the Oyster Perpetual models are COSC certified chronometers. Priced at 5400 Swiss francs, equivalent to about US$5460 at today’s rates, the Oyster Perpetual 39 has the right price, form and size to make it an easy success.

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Introducing The Hublot Classic Fusion Enamel Britto – Pop Art In Champlevé Enamel

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Designed by pop artist Romero Britto and executed in champlevé enamel, the Hublot Classic Fusion Enamel Britto puts the Brazilian artist’s recognisable motifs on the wrist.

With his brightly coloured and easily digestible works, Romero Britto’s work has proliferated across countries and products, ranging from sculpture and painting to hardshell luggage. And now it has inevitably made it to Baselworld, with the Hublot Classic Fusion Enamel Britto. The dial is designed by Britto, in his typical mix pop art and Cubism, and then created using in fired enamel. The dial is created with the champlevé enamel technique, which starts with the white gold dial disc being stamped with the outline of the motif (historically the design is hand-engraved). Each of the cells in the stamped design are then filled with enamel.  Filling in the design is done one colour at a time, with each colour being fired in an oven after application. That means several trips to the oven are necessary to create a dial that is vivid, glossy and fade resistant.

This has the standard, 45 mm Classic Fusion case with a black composite resin insert under the bezel. It’s equipped with the Classico HUB1302 movement, a slim, hand-wound calibre with the seconds at seven o’clock.

Two versions are available, the first is in black ceramic in a limited edition of 50 pieces with a price of US$39,100, and the second is 30 pieces in platinum for US$67,800.

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