Introducing the Rolex Datejust 41, Powered by a High-Tech New Movement

Rolex gives the classic Datejust a minor facelift, but a major technical revamp with a brand new movement.

Like it did last year with the Day-Date 40, Rolex has given a decades old, and perhaps old fashioned, classic a movement fit for the 21st century. By far the most popular men’s Rolex wristwatch ever, the Datejust is now powered by the calibre 3235, a new generation movement that will run better for longer, as well as being more user friendly.

Rolex Datejust 41 2

Rolex Datejust 41 4

The new Datejust 41 retains the traditional, conservative look typical of the model and is offered in the same traditional guises. With a stainless steel case measuring 41 mm in diameter, it’s available with either a Jubilee bracelet with a fluted bezel, or the slightly sportier Oyster bracelet and domed, smooth bezel. And for now the Datejust 41 is only offered in Rolesor – a two-tone combination of steel and gold (either yellow or Everose).

But thanks to the new movement, the dial is better proportioned than on the old 41 mm model, with a date window that is closer to the bezel, though the overall look remains the same. Unlike the unchanging design, the movement inside is part the latest generation of Rolex calibre, boasting 40 patents

Rolex Datejust 41 1

It shares many features with the calibre 3255 that made its debut in the Day-Date 40 last year. That includes conveniences like a 70-hour power reserve, boosted by the optimised gear train and thin-walled barrel that stores a larger mainspring. More prosaic are features like a date that can be set at any time of the day, and redesigned keyless works that make setting and winding easier.

Rolex cal. 3235

Less visible but equally important is the Chronergy escapement that is 15 percent more efficient than a conventional escapement thanks to high-precision, skeletonised components made by electroforming.

The Datejust 41 is an addition to the Datejust line, while the similar Datejust II (which is powered by the previous generation movement) remains in the catalogue, though odds are the new Datejust will eventually succeed the old one.

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Girard-Perregaux Introduces the Place Girardet, with a Single Gold Bridge and No Tourbillon

Conceived to mark Girard-Perregaux's 225th anniversary, the Place Girardet features the brand's signature gold bridge, with every watch of the limited edition fitted with a one-of-a-kind dial. Specs and prices below.

Girard-Perregaux celebrates its 225th year in 2016 with the Place Girardet, a 225-piece limited edition combining the brand’s signature golden bridge as well as the in-house Microvar balance wheel.

A feature appropriated from the icon Tourbillon sous trois Ponts d’or, or Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, the Place Girardet has a single pont d’or, one rose gold bridge on the dial at six o’clock. That secures the Microvar balance wheel, an adjustment mass, free-sprung balance wheel that is made in-house and promises better precision and stability after regulation.

Girard-Perregaux Place Girardet 1

Notably, every dial on each of the 225 watches in the Place Girardet anniversary edition will be different. Each dial features a gold plate at nine o’clock engraved with a year, starting from 1791 and ending with 2016. Each dial will echo the style or a major happening of the specific year on the dial, with varying colours, finished and markers, though the hands and exposed balance wheel remain the same.

Girard-Perregaux Place Girardet 3

While the dials differ, everything about the watch is standard across the series. The rose gold case is 41 mm in diameter, and thin at just under 11 mm high. And the movement is the calibre GP01800-0005, an automatic movement with a 54-hour power reserve.

The Place Girardet is priced at SFr29,600, or S$46,800 in Singapore. The price is the same for any one of the 225 pieces.

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Grandmaster Chime Redux – Patek Philippe Brings Back its Most Complicated Watch

The wristwatch with a 1366-part movement first made for Patek Philippe's 175th anniversary makes a surprise comeback as part of the regular collection. Read on for details, including the official retail price.

First unveiled in 2014 at Patek Philippe‘s 175th anniversary celebrations, the Grandmaster Chime was then announced as a six piece limited edition with a heavily engraved case. The most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch ever, and also its first wristwatch with a grande and petite sonnerie, the Grandmaster Chime is now, unexpectedly, back in the collection.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 5

The new Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300G has the exact same movement as the six piece limited edition, but sans the fancy case decoration – and it is part of the regular collection. Or as regular as a US$2.25 million watch can be.

While the key complication in the Grandmaster Chime is the grande and petite sonnerie, which strikes the time automatically as it passes like a grandfather clock, it include a slew of other complications. Those include an alarm, date repeater that chimes out the date, second time zone, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 2

Because the calibre GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM has 20 complications in total – too numerous for one dial – the Grandmaster Chime requires a reversible case so that the displays on both faces can be visible on the wrist. That’s the same 47.4 mm case as 175th anniversary edition, except now in white gold with a clous de Paris, or hobnail, engraving.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 1

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 3

While the six owners of the 175th anniversary Grandmaster Chime might be miffed at this abasing of the limited edition, the new ref. 6300 does keep the 1366-part movement “alive” as Patek Philippe notes, instead of relegating it to a mere six examples.

The price of this lively watch is SFr2.2 million, equivalent to US$2.25 million.

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Introducing the Longines RailRoad, the Historic Remake of a Railway Chronometer

Modelled on the precision timepieces made for railroad engineers, the new RailRoad wristwatch is faithful to the original and affordable - and has no date function. Details below, including pricing.

Sitting in the Longines Museum is a wristwatch from the 1960s, a sample of the type issued to railroad engineers the world over, from the United States to China. Eminently legible and strikingly legible, the no-nonsense chronometer has been remade by Longines as the RailRoad.

Longines RailRoad

Satisfyingly faithful to the original – the RailRoad is one of the few modern Longines remakes without a date window – the RailRoad is stainless steel and 40 mm in diameter. Lacquered in glossy ivory and slightly domed, just like the original, the dial features oversized hour numerals with a 24-hour scale to easily distinguish between day and night, along with lance-shaped hands.

Longines RailRoad 3

While the original bore the lettering “R.R 280” on the dial, short for railroad and the calibre number, the remake reads “R.R 888”, a reference to the L888.2 movement inside. Based on an ETA movement, the L.888.2 is automatic with a 64-hour power reserve.

Longines RailRoad watch museum

The RailRoad is priced at a reasonable SFr1700 or S$2700.

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Patek Philippe Introduces the Annual Calendar Ref. 5396 with Breguet Numerals

To mark the 20th anniversary of bestselling complication, Patek Philippe is launching a face-lifted ref. 5396, featuring Breguet hour numbers and dauphine hands. Specs and official pricing below.

First introduced in 1996 as the ref. 5035, the annual calendar has become Patek Philippe‘s bestselling complication. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the annual calendar at Baselworld 2016, Patek Philippe has given the classical ref. 5396 annual calendar a makeover.

One of the most traditional of the brand’s annual calendar watches, the ref. 5396 is distinguished by the twin apertures for the day and month, and the moon phase display at six o’clock – a layout that is reminiscent of the refs. 3448 and 3450, two of the great Patek Philippe perpetual calendars of the late 20th century.

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5396R-012

The face-lifted ref. 5396 looks even more classic, with the most significant change being the solid gold, applied Breguet numerals for the hours, a feature typically reserved for limited editions when used on Patek Philippe watches with complications. Those are paired with dauphine hands for a look that harks back to classic Patek Philippe watches of the mid-20th century.

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5396 Basel 2016

The case remains the same as that on the existing version of the ref. 5396, measuring 38.5 mm in diameter and typical of Patek Philippe, a slim 11.2 mm high. Inside is the 324 S QA LU 24H, a self-winding movement with a silicon hairspring.

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5396G-014 dial

Two variants of the new ref. 5396 are available. The first is rose gold with a silver dial, the ref. 5396R-012. And the second is the white gold ref. 5396G-014, featuring a dark grey dial finished with sunburst brushing. And note that both the existing, baton-marker versions of this model, the refs. 5396G-011 and 5396R-011 will remain in the catalogue.

The new ref. 5396 will retail for SFr42,300 including taxes, same as the existing versions of the reference.

Update March 17, 2016: Official price in Swiss francs added.

Correction March 29, 2016: Model reference error amended.

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Introducing the Tudor Black Bay Dark in Black PVD

Featuring a familiar all-black look, the new Black Bay Dark is powered by the in-house MT5602 movement. Read on for specs and price below.

The Black Bay Dark is Tudor‘s signature dive watch with a major makeover. The case remains the same 41 mm as the Black Bay, but it’s been given a brushed satin finish on all surfaces, then coated in black via physical vapour deposition (PVD), resulting in a subdued, matte appearance meant to evoke military equipment. The only colour on the dial is the depth rating in red, another element of vintage dive watches.

In fact, the look brings to mind the mythical Rolex Submariner rumoured to have been made for the South African army during Apartheid, the same unicorn that inspired countless aftermarket all-black Rolex watches.

Tudor Black Bay Dark 1

But it’s not just a cosmetic makeover, the Black Bay Dark is powered by the MT5602. A variant of the in-house movement introduced last year in the North Flag and Pelagos, the COSC-certified MT5602 is automatic with a 70-hour power reserve. And it also features a silicon hairspring that’s both impervious to magnetism and temperature changes.

Tudor Black Bay Dark 2

The Black Bay Dark (ref. 79230DK) is available with two strap options. The first is a matching all-black steel bracelet – with the retro straight ends of the recording setting Black Bay One – priced at SFr4250.

And priced at SFr3950 is the version with a distressed grey leather strap. Both variants are also accompanied by a grey NATO-style fabric strap.

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