Omega Introduces the Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black

Almost entirely ceramic inside and out.

With no physical launch event this year, Omega unveiled its new watches in a prerecorded video that concluded with a cameo by its brand ambassador George Clooney. The line up was compact, indicating there will be more new models later in the year. There was only a single Seamaster Diver amongst the new offerings, and it was the Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black.

Initial thoughts

Reminiscent of the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, Seamaster Black Black is typical of Omega in its quality and technology. It’s almost entirely ceramic on the outside, made up of components sintered, sculptured, and sanded with precision. And the Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement within boasts all of the brand’s technical innovations. For a bit under US$9,000, it is a fair deal for the quality and materials.

But the all-black look is dated. The pioneer of the look was the Big Bang All Black of 2006, one of Jean-Claude Biver’s opening acts at Hublot. Its success created a wave of all-black watches that lasted for about a decade. And the novelty of the coloured ceramic will be quickly lost if additional variants in other colours of ceramic are introduced, as happened with the Dark Side of the Moon.

Black ceramic

The dial, bezel, case middle, and case back of the new Seamaster are all black ceramic, specifically zirconium dioxide, or ZrO2.

The dial is etched with laser, creating an alternating polished and matte finish, with the polished elements standing out in slight relief. And to preserve the all-black look the hour markers, hands, and 12 o’clock bezel marker are filled with Super-Luminova that’s dark grey in the light, but glows in the dark. The minute hand and bezel pip glow green, while the hour and seconds hands glow blue.

The case back is Omega’s patented Naiad Lock, a bayonet-locking mechanism that ensures the back is always the right way up. And the back can be ceramic because it snaps shut along a fixed track. Ceramic is too stiff to resist torsional force, making a conventional screw-down back with threads impossible.

And the cal. 8806 is visible through the sapphire window. It has a silicon hairspring and escapement made from non-magnetic alloys, resulting in a magnetism resistance of over 15,000 Gauss.

Key facts and price

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black

Diameter: 43.5 mm
Height: 14.47 mm
Material: Black ceramic
Water resistance: 300 m
Dial: Black ceramic

Movement: Cal. 8806
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 25,200 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 55 hours

Strap: Black rubber with black ceramic buckle

Availability: At Omega boutiques and retailers
Price: US$8,650; or 12,400 Singapore dollars

For more information, visit


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Hands-On: Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater Ref. 4261 ‘Les Collectionneurs’

A delicious elegant wristwatch.

Part of Les Collectionneurs – vintage wristwatches that have been sympathetically restored by the brand itself – the ref. 4261 is very much a classical, mid-20th century gentleman’s watch, albeit one with a minute repeating movement.

The design is simple and accented by the barest of flourishes, yet it manages to be distinctive enough to feel like a Vacheron Constantin. In fact, the slim minute repeater with teardrop lugs is arguably the archetypal design for a Vacheron Constantin striking watch.

The ref. 4261 that’s now in show in Singapore, part of a selection from Les Collectionneurs

The little extra that marks out the ref. 4261 as a special watch

According to Vacheron Constantin, the ref. 4261 was the first minute-repeating wristwatch model produced by the brand. Launched in 1943, it remained in production until 1951, but just 36 were produced during the period.

They were offered in yellow or pink gold, as well as platinum. About a dozen were made in yellow gold, and this is one of them. It is also one of the last ref. 4261s made, having been finished in 1951, the final year of production.

Most interestingly, this example is powered by a 13-ligne movement. It was the largest minute-repeating movement used by Vacheron Constantin at the time. According to Vacheron Constantin, just ten of the ref. 4261s produced contained a 13-ligne movement, while majority were equipped with a slightly smaller, 12-ligne calibre.

Just 5.25 mm high – less than half the height of the modern- day Rolex Daytona – the ref. 4261 is slim and remarkably elegant on the wrist. Watches cases are no longer made like this, which might seem regrettable, but is actually a practical advancement.

Like most vintage watches, the case is lightweight and thin, which means it is unfortunately not water resistant (which is why it was not opened to show the movement).

The elegance of the case is attributable to the delicately shaped lugs, and also the structure of the case: a flat middle topped by a double-stepped bezel and a slightly domed back. This makes the case seems even thinner than it is – and it is wonderfully thin – while making it interesting despite its simplicity.

Although the watch is just 36 mm in diameter, small by modern standards, it looks and wears larger, because of the narrow bezel and wide dial. In fact, given today’s inclination towards old-school style, the ref. 4261 could pass for a modern-day remake.

As is often the case with mid-century vintage watches, the design flourishes are discreet. On this particular ref. 4261, they take the form of a concentric stamping for the chapter ring. The hour markers in turn are facetted arrowheads, save for the quarters that instead rely on Roman numerals.

Everything on the dial, balance, proportions, and density, sits perfectly as ease with the design, resulting in a watch that can only be described as classically beautiful.

At arm’s length, the concentric patterning on the chapter ring creates shadows that give the dial surprising degree of depth

Sympathetic restoration

All the watches in Les Collectionneurs are nearly factory fresh, despite being several decades old. Restoration of vintage watches is often frowned upon, and for good reason – the process often strips out subtle details that distinguish the watch.

The restoration of this ref. 4261 has been artfully performed, with nearly all of its defining details either preserved or reproduced faithfully – “Genève” for instance, retains its all-important accent.

Similarly, the case has been gently refinished, preserving its shape and details. The case back, for instance, retains a good thickness and neat edge.

The hallmarks on the case remain evident

The ref. 4261 minute repeater as well as the rest of the Les Collectionneurs line up will be on display the Vacheron Constantin Marina Bay Sands boutique in Singapore from now until March 31, 2021.

Alongside the Les Collectionneurs selection, Vacheron Constantin is also staging Diptyques – A History of Collaborations, an exhibition dedicated to historical watches the brand created in partnership with designers, artists, and engineers. Diptyques will be on show for the same period.

Vacheron Constantin Marina Bay Sands boutique
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018972


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Russian Custom Shop HoD Presents the “Guiding Star”

One-off watches made affordable.

A four-person workshop in Moscow, HoD Russia specialises custom watches at affordable prices. Because the team is made up of a sculptor, engraver, and two engineers, HoD’s offerings are diverse in style, with a focus the dial. Cofounder Vasiliy Avitisov describes the brand as specialising in “dials with high relief [made] from a variety of materials”. Amongst its recent project is the “Guiding Star”, commissioned by a watch collector based in Japan.

Initial thoughts

Conceived alongside the client, the Guiding Star is a good example of what HoD can do. The dial is minimalist in function, yet decorated and visually striking – and it is made in house, from raw material to finished product. The dial is made of an epoxy resin mixed and coloured in HoD’s workshop, and then machined into the dial disc.

The purple contrasts against the hobnail guilloche sub-dial, while the client’s initials form the 12 o’clock market, a reminder that the Guiding Star is a custom watch. One of the joys of going full custom, so to speak, is being able to dictate even the smallest of details, such as the buckle. It’s been hand-engraved with the client’s initials flanked by a Japanese wave motif, or seigaiha.

The personalised pin buckle

With comparable watches starting from US$2,800, the Guiding Star illustrates the brand’s value proposition – time-0nly watches with a high degree of customisation. The affordability means that while the customisation can be elaborate, the finishing is workmanlike. HoD makes sense for a watch enthusiast on a budget who is looking experiment with a custom timepiece or simply something off the beaten path.


HoD Russia describes the case as being “vintage-inspired”, which explains the inclusion of teardrop lugs and an onion crown, though the watch still has a contemporary case size of 41 mm. The movement is a Unitas 6498 that’s been skeletonised by hand – with a saw and file. For what it costs, the movement has been open worked in an interesting and thorough manner, leaving most of the movement’s mechanics visible through the sapphire case back.

The primary bridges of the Unitas movement

According to Mr Avitisov, the overall design, production of dial and hands, as well as the skeletonisation of the movement are all done in-house by the HoD team.

However, the manufacturing and finishing of the case, certain aspects of the movement finishing, and the assembly of the watch is done by Saint Petersburg watchmaker Maxim Sushkov, who was also responsible for the production of the made-in-Russia Ouroboros.

Key facts and price

HoD Russia “Guiding Star”

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.85 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Unitas 6498-1
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: 46 hours

Strap: Leather with engraved steel buckle

Availability: Unique piece commissioned by a client; custom dials available upon commission 
Starting from US$2,800 for a comparable custom order

For more, visit HoD Russia on Instagram.


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Curated Vintage Vacheron Constantin with Les Collectionneurs

A diverse selection of restored watches in Singapore.

Traditionally considered one of the “holy trinity” in haute horlogerie, Vacheron Constantin vast, rich archive of historical timepieces. For several years now, Vacheron Constantin has carefully mined that history, curating a compact collection of vintage watches each year for Les Collectionneurs, restored vintage watches offered at its boutiques.

Les Collectionneurs includes Vacheron Constantin timepieces from the last century that span the brand’s repertoire, from the mega-rare complicated references to more affordable time-only watches – all sympathetically restored and backed by a two-year warranty.

A selection of Les Collectionneurs watches are on usually show at a handful of boutiques around the world, and a 16-piece line up recently landed in Singapore. From now till March 31, 2021, the watches will be available at the Vacheron Constantin boutique in Marina Bay Sands, alongside Diptyques, an exhibition exploring the brand’s historical watches created in collaborations with other artists, jewellers, and designers (which are drawn from the brand’s museum and not for sale).

Here’s a look at highlights from the Les Collectionneurs line up in Singapore.

Ref. 4414 “Heure Universelle” pocket watch

Completed in 1949, this yellow gold pocket watch is equipped with the world time mechanism invented by Louis Cottier. Unlike a GMT watch that tells the time in a second location, a world time use a simple but clever pair trick to show the time in all 24 time zones at once: a 24-hour disc indicating the time on a 24-hour scale alongside a cities ring for each time zone.

The present example has been restored, but only modestly, showing noticeable age, particularly on the dial, which makes it appealing original.

The dial striking star markers for the hours

The ref. 4414 is priced at 166,000 Singapore dollars, equivalent to US$123,800.

Chronomètre Royal Ref. 6111

Less exotic than the world time pocket watch – and more affordable – this Chronomètre Royal ref. 6111 is still captivating for its simplicity and appealing quirky design. At a distance, this 1956 example is deceivingly simple – seemingly a time-only watch an ordinary dial – but design of both the dial and case incorporates subtle details that give it finesse.

To start, the watch is beautifully proportioned, an overused but apt in this case. The dial stands out for its indices that are surprisingly unusual in shape, with short lozenge-shaped marks for the hours and a double, elongated-lozenge for each quarter.

Each side of the lugs is a petal of the Maltese cross

But the defining element of the ref. 6111 is the clever use of geometry on the case, where the four lugs are each one arm of the Maltese cross, the brand’s logo. The modern-day FiftySix collection draws inspiration from the ref. 6111 for its similar lugs, which are gentler in shape.

Like many of the wristwatches in Les Collectionneurs, this ref. 6111 has been artfully restored, giving it the aura of a new watch while still preserving many of the details that make it appealing as a vintage timepiece. Most notably, the Vacheron Constantin logo under 12 o’clock and minute track are slightly raised, indicating the champleve enamel used to create the markings remains intact. In contrast, excessive restoration can sometimes flatten the markings entirely.

The FiftySix (left) alongside the ref. 6111

The ref. 6111 is priced at 31,300 Singapore dollars, equivalent to US$23,300.

Ref. 6440 “Cioccolatone”

Last but not least is a three-hand watch that has even more flair, perhaps the most flair of all the time-only watches in Les Collectionneurs – the ref. 6440. Nicknamed “Cioccolatone” – Italian for “chocolate” – the watch gets its name from the wide, squarish case that calls to mind a piece of slightly melted chocolate.

The watch is striking in its shape and size, calling to mind a flamboyant era of watchmaking that is seemingly far removed from today. But this is a notably late example of the watch, having been produced in 1967, just two years before the first-ever quartz watch that would eventually usher in the Quartz Crisis. And the design is distinctive enough that Vacheron Constantin has since revived it in the modern day, most notably as the Toledo 1952.

Turn the watch on the side and the case is revealed in all its glory – the silhouette seemingly flows outwards, but is also stepped, giving it the appearance of a viscous wave.

Similarly, the dial is simple, but extravagant in its details. The indices for the quarters, for example, are oversized and composed of several different shapes. And the markers for the hours in between are arranged in an unusual pattern that traces out a square, but creating a harmonious but quirky look.

Even the central boss of the second hand is crisp, implying excellent restoration or a replace of the original hands with a period-correct set

An expressive, but still elegant and traditional design, the Cioccolatone is a paradoxical watch that exemplifies explains the unusual appeal of some vintage timepieces.

The watch is priced at 60,000 Singapore dollars, equivalent to US$44,700.

The Les Collectionneurs selection, which includes the highlights above, are on show at the Vacheron Constantin boutique in Singapore from now until March 31, 2021, together with the historical watches in Diptyques.

Vacheron Constantin Marina Bay Sands boutique
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018972

This was brought to you in partnership with Vacheron Constantin.


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Seiko Introduces the Presage Sharp Edged GMT

Grand Seiko looks for less.

Named after the planar, angular case, the Sharp Edged series is one of the most striking lines in the affordable Presage collection. The latest addition to the range is the Presage Sharp Edged GMT, the first models that go beyond time-only.

With a larger case and new movement, the new GMT references – SPB217, SPB219, SPB221, and SPB225 – retain the asanoha dial pattern and case design of current models, while incorporating a second time zone function and power reserve indicator.

Initial thoughts

It’s pretty clear that the Sharp Edges models were conceive to offer some of the Grand Seiko, but in a less elaborate watch at a more accessible price.

So it’s not surprising the new Sharp Edged GMT watches resemble the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT released last year. The dial layout is similar, as is the styling of the angular, faceted case. In many ways, the Sharp Edged GMT is the smaller brother of its Grand Seiko counterpart and one sharp-looking watch – no pun intended.

Importantly, the Sharp Edged GMT is identical to the Grand Seiko GMT in terms of function. It is a true GMT watch – the second time zone hand can be set independently whilst the seconds hand is running. Majority of GMT watches in its price range are conventional movement with an added 24-hour hand, which makes setting the two time zones more tedious.

Ultimately, the main attraction of the Sharp Edged GMT is its affordability. With a retail of US$1,380, the watch doesn’t have much competition – you will be hard-pressed to find another bona fide GMT watch with an in-house movement for the same price.

Colours galore

The Sharp Edged GMT is being launched with four variants, so there’s something for everyone. As is tradition with Seiko, each of the four are named after traditional Japanese materials or themes. Ideal for anyone who prefers brighter dial colours, the SPB217 has a navy dial. It’s named Aitetsu, literally “indigo iron”, while the green SPB219 is Tokiwa, which means “evergreen trees”.

SPB217 (left), and SPB219

SPB221 (left), and SPB225

In contrast, the SPB221 and the SPB225 feature muted colours. The SPB221 is named Sumi-iro, which refers to the black ink used in Japanese painting and calligraphy. And finally the SPB225, known as Hihada-iro, is named after the reddish-brown of the dial that’s inspired by bark of Japanese cypress trees.

Of the four, the Hihada-iro is my pick, in part because it reminds me of the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT “Champagne Diamond” SBGE267G released late last year.

Colour aside, all four watches are otherwise identical. They boast a relatively high level of finishing for the price; not quite Grand Seiko level but reminiscent of what its pricier cousins do.

For one, the applied indices are faceted, brushed at the front but polished on the sides. The hands have an angular form that’s the result of milling with diamond-tipped tool, in keeping with the Sharp Edged moniker. And the lugs have crisp edges, while the bracelet features alternating vertical-brushed and polished finishing.

Notably, Seiko says that the steel case and bracelet of the new GMT is finished with a “super-hard” protective coating that makes them more resistant to scratches.

The Sharp Edged GMT is powered by the 6R64, a calibre launched several years ago but rarely used. The movement has a respectable 45-hour power reserve, along with power reserve and date functions.

Key facts and price

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged GMT
Ref. SPB217
Ref. SPB219
Ref. SPB221
Ref. SPB225

Diameter: 42.2 mm
Height: 13.7 mm
Material: Stainless steel with scratch-resistant coating
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: 6R64
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve, GMT
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Stainless steel bracelet

Availability: From May at Seiko boutiques and retailers
Price: US$1380

For more information, visit


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