Greubel Forsey Introduces the GMT Sport with an Integrated Bracelet

Sleek high horology.

Best known for its ultra-exotic tourbillons, Greubel Forsey builds movements with unique three-dimensionality and exemplary finishing. In 2019, it started applying its unusual brand of watchmaking to the sports watch for the first time with the GMT Sport – a world time with inclined tourbillon – and now follows up with the new GMT Sport that has the same movement but the addition of an integrated titanium bracelet, a first for the brand.

Initial thoughts

Although the integrated-bracelet sports watch may be new for Greubel Forsey, it’s now a familiar and fashionable concept. Greubel Forsey is relatively late to the party – beyond veterans like the Royal Oak and Nautilus, such sports watches are already found at almost every price point, from Citizen’s US$2,000 Series 8 to the Lange Odysseus.

That said, the GMT Sport is noteworthy for one simple reason – it’s the most complicated, and perhaps best finished, integrated-bracelet sports watch money can buy, combining a world time, dual time, and an inclined tourbillon. So while Greubel Forsey took its time with the concept, the brand certainly executed it in style.

I much prefer the new GMT Sport over the earlier version. For one, the bezel is now plain, devoid of the tiny, relief inscriptions that are something of a Greubel Forsey signature but don’t quite work on a sports watch.

The dial is now entirely in blue, giving the new GMT Sport a more modern look (that admittedly is also fashionable given the popularity of blue-dial sports watches). But the changes are minor facelifts, and the watch retains the distinctive ovoid case and the familiar three-dimensional dial (or more accurately, movement) that had made the original GMT Sport a hit amongst serious watch collectors.

Starting at CHF480,000 for the version on a rubber strap, the new GMT Sport is priced identically to the earlier generation. The integrated bracelet costs about 10% extra, or an additional CHF40,000. That’s more than the retail price of a Royal Oak ref. 15500ST or a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711/1A, though I suppose relative to the price of the watch, it is a very modest upgrade for the 33 individuals who will own one.

The ultimate sports watch

An exercise in hand-finishing and ergonomics, the GMT Sport is perhaps the ultimate sports watch. Clean and sleek, the elliptical bezel features hand-finished linear brushing on its top as well as polished edges. The result is a more elegant aesthetic reminiscent of the defining luxury-sports watches like the Nautilus.

However, unlike many of its compatriots, the case of the GMT Sport is subtly curved, giving it a profile similar to a Richard Mille tonneau case, allowing the watch to sit more ergonomically.

And the ergonomics matter because the watch is large. The diameter is a manageable 42 mm, but the case is a thick 15.7 mm high. Beyond the curved form, the lightness of the titanium case (and now bracelet) also helps its wearability. And unlike most Greubel Forsey movements that are in traditional German silver, the bridges and base plate of the GMT Sport movement are in titanium, further trimming its weight.

The titanium bracelet appears very well done, as it should be for what it costs. Not only does it integrate seamlessly, all of its links also exhibit remarkably detailed finishing, namely straight-graining, frosting and hand-polished bevelling. Even the sides of the bracelet are natural extensions of the case, and feature three distinct types of finishing.

Notably, the large clasp incorporates a ratcheting mechanism (that is likely identical to that found on the Lange Odysseus), which allows for fine adjustment of several millimetres either way.

Travel time

The entire dial of the GMT Sport is been rendered in matte blue with accents in red. Despite the many indications on the dial, it is relatively legible, with the displays sitting on three levels: the main dial for the time; the second time zone and rotating disc for the small seconds at 11 o’clock as well as the power reserve at four; and the sunken apertures for the globe and tourbillon.

Even though it’s the traditional highlight of a Greubel Forsey movement, the 25° inclined tourbillon – which makes a revolution every 24 seconds – arguably plays second fiddle to the three-dimensional globe.

The globe completes a counterclockwise rotation every 24 hours, moving in the direction of the Earth’s rotation, allowing the wearer to see the approximate time around the world intuitively thanks to the 24-hour sapphire ring circling the globe. And the globe also doubles up as a day and night indicator.

Over on the back is a large world time disc that allows the wearer to see the time around the world simultaneously as on a traditional Cottier-style world time.


Key facts and price

Greubel Forsey GMT Sport

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.7 mm
Material: Titanium
Water resistance: 100 m

Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds; second time zone; world time with DST; 24-hour rotating globe; power reserve display, tourbillon
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600bph (3Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Titanium bracelet, or rubber with titanium folding clasp

Limited edition: 33 pieces
Availability:
At authorised retailers
Price: 480,000 Swiss francs (rubber), 520,000 Swiss francs (bracelet)

For more, visit Greubelforsey.com.


 

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Breitling Revives the Hand-Wind Split-Seconds Chronograph

With the Premier Heritage Duograph.

Best known for its chronographs – especially those for pilots – Breitling now ups the ante with the Premier Heritage Duograph that just debuted alongside the new Premier Heritage chronographs. Named after the split-seconds chronograph Breitling produced during the 1940s to 1960s, the new Duograph is Breitling’s first hand-wind split-seconds chronograph powered by an in-house movement (it did debut an automatic split-seconds in 2017).

Capable of recording two elapsed time simultaneously, the split-seconds is also known as a rattrapante – derived from rattraper, French for “catching up” – and was historically Breitling’s most expensive chronograph due to its complexity. The B15 in the new Duograph simplifies the construction of the split-seconds mechanism, resulting in a surprisingly affordable watch, with the steel version priced at about US$10,000.

Initial thoughts

Alongside with the release of the Datora, the Duograph is proof that Breitling is inching towards more complicated chronographs, which is a good progression for the brand. Breitling has a storied history with chronographs, and the Duograph is a return to form for a brand that was put back on track when Georges Kern, previously the chief executive of IWC, took the wheel and set a new course.

The Premier B15 Duograph in steel

It is important to note that the rattrapante is a challenge to do well, which is why few brands offer the complication, while those that do often price the split-seconds at a steep premium to a standard chronograph. The Duograph starts CHF9500 in steel, making it substantially cheaper than similar offerings from its competitors. That’s thanks to a modular construction – the rattrapante mechanism is a module that sits under the dial, mounted on the B09 base (which is an integrated chronograph movement).

That makes the Duograph the Breitling for me, especially the version in steel. It’s well-priced, despite a technically complex, in-house movement, and has a blue dial that blends past and present – what’s not to like?

Rattrapante

The Breitling Duograph will be available in two variants, at least for now.

The first is a steel model that features a radially brushed blue dial with polished, applied Arabic numerals that give the watch a contemporary look. However, the vintage inspiration is evident in the syringe hands, as well as a domed sapphire crystal that mimics the look of acrylic crystals found on vintage watches. In addition, the registers are recessed and stamped with a concentric patternproviding the dial with some visual texture.

The Duograph can also be had in an 18k red gold case that features a black dial with gold numerals. Undoubtedly the more formal of the two, the gold Duograph brings to mind a 1950s chronograph with a “gilt” dial – not a bad look at all and perhaps an option for black-tie wristwatch, notwithstanding the 42 mm case.

Beating inside the Duograph is the new B15 that’s manufactured entirely in-house by Breitling. It is essentially the B09 hand-wind chronograph movement combined with a split-seconds module that resides under the dial. As a result, the view from the back is identical to that of the standard, hand-wind chronograph movement.

The B15 is also the manual-winding variant of the B03 automatic split-seconds, and boasts an above-average power reserve of 70 hours and is COSC-certified.

Like all of Breitling’s in-house chronograph movements, the B15 is equipped with both a column-wheel and a vertical clutch.


Key facts and price

Breitling Premier Heritage Duograph
Ref. AB1510171C1P1 (steel)
Ref. RB1510251B1P1 (gold)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.35 mm
Material: Steel or 18k red gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Caliber B15
Functions: Split-second chronograph, column-wheel, vertical clutch, 1/4th second, 30-minute counter
Winding: Manual-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap with folding clasp

Availability: From Breitling’s online store, boutiques, and authorised retailers
Price:
Steel – US$10,250; S$13,950
Red gold – US$22,850; S$28,950

For more information, visit Breitling.com


 

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Breitling Introduces the Premier Heritage Chronograph and Datora

Retro chronographs in modern colours.

Breitling’s opening salvo for the year is a trio of chronographs at Watches & Wonders 2021. The first is the Premier Heritage Chronograph, a straightforward, two-register chronograph, and another is the Premier Heritage Datora, an old-school combination of a chronograph with triple calendar. (The flagship model is the Premier Heritage Duograph split-seconds chronograph, which we cover in another story.)

The new Premier Heritage collection is modelled on its namesake line from the 1940s, continuing the brand’s recent efforts of revisiting its past catalogue and re-introducing notable references, but with a couple of modern twists, like the mint-green dial for the Premier chronograph.

The Premier Heritage Chronograph in steel

Initial thoughts

I’m a big fan of the new releases. While the Premier Heritage Chronograph may not be the most innovative, it’s an improvement over the previous generation Premier chronograph.

For one, the case size has been reduced to 40 mm from 42 mm, giving the new watch proportions more akin to its vintage inspiration. The dial, now sans date window, is cleaner too. And its manual-winding movement should please traditionalists, who can also admire the movement through a sapphire case back without a rotor to obscure the view.

That being said, the mint-green dial will likely divide opinions. It’s a bold look, but I can’t help but wonder if keeping to a safer colour would have been the wiser choice given the retro design.

The Datora in salmon

I have no such reservations with the Datora. I think it’s stunning, especially the steel variant with a salmon-dial. With its chronograph and triple calendar combination, it is very much reminiscent of mid-20th century watches, giving it an old-world charm. Despite the numerous indications, the dial sticks to the traditional layout for this complication, giving it a neat, symmetrical appearance and unhindered legibility.

But the movement inside the Datora means it is quite a bit larger, both in diameter and height, meaning it loses some of the vintage charm of the standard chronograph.

Starting at US$8,400 for the steel model, the Premier Heritage Chronograph is a hair cheaper than the existing Premier B01 Chronograph, and is priced similarly to other notable manual-winding chronographs such as the new Omega Speedmaster.

However, the Datora is arguably more of a value proposition given its complication-to-price ratio. It’s priced at US$12,950 in steel, due largely to the fact that the movement inside is a Concepto calibre derived from the Valjoux 7750, albeit heavily modified to give it column wheel amongst other things.

Premier Heritage Chronograph

The Premier Heritage Chronograph is clearly vintage inspired, with syringe hands and applied Arabic numerals (with an open “6”), and a domed sapphire crystal. The steel variant is paired with a striking “pistachio green” dial, while the 18k red gold variant has a more reserved silver dial.

The Premier Heritage Chronograph in gold (left), and steel

It’s powered by the B09, previously found on the Avi Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition, which is the manual-winding variant of the in-house Calibre 01 found in many of Breitling’s higher-end chronographs. It is a column-wheel movement that utilises a vertical clutch, has 70 hours of power reserve, and is COSC-certified.

The case is 40 mm and a bit over 13 mm high. It has alternating brushed and polished surfaces, along with deep, horizontal fluting on the sides that give it a slight Art Deco look. The same case design is shared by the rest of the Premier Heritage line, including the Datora.

Datora

Like the Premier Heritage Chronograph, the Datora relies on similar design elements – syringe hands, a domed sapphire crystal, an outer tachymeter scale – to bolster its vintage look. A particularly retro touch is the tiny face on the moon phase indicator.

The steel case is matched with a copper-toned dial, while the 18k red gold model has a silver dial identical to that found on the gold Premier Heritage Chronograph.

At 42 mm by 15.35 mm, the Datora case is the biggest amongst the Premier Heritage models. It has the same styling and finish as the other Premier chronographs, but the size makes it probably a touch too large for a vintage-style chronograph, but likely inevitable because of the B25 movement inside.

Inside the Datora is the B25, which is actually a Concepto cal. 2000. A movement maker specialising in high-end variants of the Valjoux 7750, Concepto heavily reworks the 7750, replacing the standard cam with a column wheel, and installing its own regulator. As a result, the B25 is a column-wheel movement, though it has the same 48 hours of power reserve found on the stock 7750.

The B25 with the column wheel visible at nine o’clock


Key facts and price

Breitling Premier Heritage Chronograph
Ref. AB0930D31L1P1 (steel)
Ref. RB0930371G1P1 (gold)

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 13.08 mm
Material: Steel or 18k red gold
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Caliber B09
Functions: Column-wheel, vertical clutch, 1/4th second, 30-minute counter
Winding: Manual-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap with folding clasp

Availability: From Breitling’s online store, boutiques, and authorised retailers
Price:
Steel – US$8,400; S$10,950
Red gold – US$20,200; S$24,550


Breitling Premier Heritage Datora
Ref. AB2510201K1P1 (steel)
Ref. RB2510371G1P1 (gold)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.35 mm
Material: Steel or 18k red gold
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Caliber B25
Functions: Column-wheel, 1/4th second, 30-minute counter, day, date, month, moonphase
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap with folding clasp

Availability: From Breitling’s online store, boutiques, and authorised retailers
Price:
Steel – US$12,950; S$16,950
Red gold – US$25,650; S$32,950

For more information, visit Breitling.com


 

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H. Moser & Cie. and Minimalist Humour with Seconde/Seconde/

Logo erased.

Having become synonymous with stunningly minimalist fume dials and a peculiar sense of humour, H. Moser & Cie. now combines both in the new Endeavour Centre Seconds X Seconde/Seconde/.

A limited-edition collaboration with Parisian artist Romaric Andre, who specialises in modifying watches as Seconde/Seconde/, the new watch reimagines the brand’s signature time-only watch by replacing the traditional hour hand with a pixellated eraser – a tongue-in-cheek reference to Moser’s “concept” dials that forgo the brand’s logo.

Initial thoughts

When I first saw the press release for the new watch, I did a double take – was it an April Fool’s gag? The watch is funny and out there, and something only Moser could pull off successfully.

Being family-owned – with young, open-minded leaders – Moser can be adventurous than its peers. The Seconde/Seconde/ collaboration is Moser doing what it does well. In fact, Moser’s strength is obvious despite the “erased” logo – the watch is instantly recognisable as a Moser.

I’ve always liked Moser’s whimsical offerings, such as the Apple Watch-esque Swiss Alps Final Upgrade, and now the Endeavour Centre Seconds X Seconde/Seconde/. These watches have an undeniable fun factor rarely seen in haute horlogerie, which endows the watch with a playful charm. It’s an atypical watch that is typical of the brand.

At US$21,900, it’s priced identically to the standard Endeavour Centre Seconds in gold; this, however, has a steel case. That diminishes its value proposition somewhat, though steel is still a fashionable material for limited editions, which will make it more alluring for some collectors.

An eraser hand

With both sharing “a taste for the unexpected”, H. Moser & Cie. and Seconde/Seconde/ are a natural fit. Known for modifying vintage timepieces by installing quirky, cartoonish hands, Mr Andre has done the same here: the traditional hour hand is now a pink-and-purple eraser.

“A metaphor for removal and for minimalism” according to Mr Andre, the new hour hand is a reference to clean dial, something the brand debuted for its concept watches in 2015. It is also symbolic of “constant striving effort” says Mr Andre, as one often has to erase past attempts in creative endeavours, in say, designing a new watch, before arriving at the final work.

Each watch will be accompanied by a numbered artwork by Seconde/Seconde/ with “Less is more” written by hand on its lower corner, a nod to Moser’s watchmaking.

Beneath the hood beats the in-house cal. HMC 200. The calibre utilises a proprietary Straumann hairspring manufactured by the brand’s sister company, Precision Engineering, and boasts a handy three days of power reserve.

In addition, the rotor is 18k solid gold, with the movement featuring Moser’s signature alternating wide and narrow Geneva stripes, as well as the trademark V-shaped balance bridge.


Key Facts and Price

H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Centre Seconds X Seconde/Seconde/
Reference 1200-1229

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: HMC 200
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Black alligator leather with steel pin buckle

Limited edition: 20 pieces
Availability
: From H.Moser & Cie online
Price: US$21,900; 19,900 Swiss francs

For more, visit h-moser.com.


 

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Hands-On: Massena Lab Archetype 0.0

Keen details and compelling value.

Announced two months ago, the Massena Lab Archetype 0.0 is yet another vintage remake – and there are many of them – but it is executed well, better in fact, than most of its peers.

Produced as a “pre-series prototype”, which I take to mean it conceived as a larger-scale limited edition that didn’t proceed, the Archetype gets the basics right, being a “gilt” dial chronograph with a hand-wind movement. But crucially, it also gets the details right, ranging from the two-tone gilt print to the typography on the dial. Though it is a bit larger than ideal, the Archetype is a winner amongst vintage remakes and also a good value proposition.

Initial thoughts

I first met William Rohr some time in 1998, albeit briefly, when he came to Singapore to buy a Lange – I think it was a platinum Lange 1 – because back then it was worth flying halfway around the world to do so. I think he was still in his earlier career in real estate at the time.

William is a sharp-eyed collector whose taste I respect, and often agree with. But he is also now an industry veteran who has continued to remain relevant over the decades while wearing many hats, an accomplishment I respect even more.

His career has taken him from, amongst other things, general manager of watch forum Timezone.com to a stint at Antiquorum just after the Patrizzi era, and now his own brand. Consequently, William is still a player after some two decades, while many of his peers from that era of the watch internet have faded away.

So when William starting making watches under his own brand, I knew I had to buy one. William named his brand after the pseudonym he goes by online, William Massena, which was inspired by André Masséna, one of the marshals of Napoleon’s army.

I liked the Habring2 editions that were his inaugural products, particularly the second model, but since I am working on something of my own I decided to pass. The recent Uni-Racer looked like a good product, but the vintage Universal Geneva Uni-Compax was never really my thing.

Last year’s Massena Lab edition made by Habring2. Image – Massena Lab

When the Archetype 0.0 was revealed, I liked it, for the same reasons that Longines’ vintage remakes are appealing – solid vintage style that pulls together varied elements in a coherent manner. Neither imaginative nor novel design was expected, but I did expect William’s eye for detail to show, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The “gilt” dial of the watch is surprisingly glossy and outstanding, while the case and crystal are of excellent quality. The gilt print is actually subtly two tone, with the registers and logo in a matte finish, allowing the “sector” and scales to catch the light perfectly.

The only downside is the size; the watch is quite large and feels like an oversized vintage watch. Still, it is a job well done and also good value. The Archetype compares well to similarly priced vintage remakes, and does better than rivals in most aspects, especially the dial.

Gloss and gilt

The dial is a perfectly executed replica of a vintage dial, albeit on a larger scale. All the details are done correctly, right down to the serifs on the numerals and the open “6”.

The lengths of the hands are also just right

Even the “Massena” logo has tiny serifs in its font

Finished in a deep, glossy black that’s almost mirror-like, the dial has gilt print down in two colours. While the scales and tracks are in a bright, mirrored finish, the logo and registers are in a darker, matte finish, a distinction that’s unusually thoughtful. It’s not obvious, but instantly visible at the right angle.

Because the dial is so reflective – both the surface and the print – it catches the light well, with the gilt print lighting up when the light hits it just right.

In fact, the twin types of print are sometimes opposites in how they catch the light because of the contrasting matte and mirrored finish. In some instances, the mirrored print appears invisible, leaving only the registers and logo against a black dial.

Notably, despite having been enlarged to suit the movement and case, the proportions of the dial are pleasing. The registers overlap the minute track slightly, as on some vintage chronographs. The two sub-dials are larger than they would be on a vintage chronograph, but only slightly.

Because the crystal is domed, the tachymetre scale is slightly distorted at the edges, another detail that evokes a vintage watch

Like the dial, the case is vintage inspired and smartly detailed. The case is finished with a combination of brushed and polished surfaces that are arranged well – the flat, polished bezel against the brushed lugs, and the polished bevel on the lugs against the brushed case sides – giving the case texture and visual interest.

Amongst the notable details are the narrow-stemmed, “pump” pushers, instead of the disproportionately fat pushers found on many modern chronographs.

The case back is flat, with a circular brushed finish surrounded by a sloped, polished rim, which brings to mind the snap-on backs of some vintage watches. Here it’s a water-resistant back secured by screws, but I would have preferred a screw-down back with polygonal or notched edges, which is no improvement in functionality but is even more reminiscent of vintage sports chronographs.

The bezel has a tiny step at the top where it meets the crystal

The only weakness of the case is its size. It’s 42 mm in diameter, something that’s accentuated by the narrow, sloped bezel. And it is tall at 13.5 mm, in part due to the domed crystal. I wish it were thinner but it is what it is.

The movement inside is a Sellita SW510, basically the hand-wind version of the Valjoux 7750 clone made by Sellita. As a result, it is definitely robust and easy to service, while also being quite thick at 7 mm high, making it partly responsible for the size of the watch.

Unsurprisingly, the tactile feel is also similar to the 7750 and its derivatives, the winding click is relatively soft, while the pushers feel stiff; the start and stop button requiring more force than the reset, as is traditional for the 7750.

Notably, because Sellita has been progressively upgrading the ETA-clone movements it produces, the SW510 has a 58-hour power reserve, longer than the 42-44 hours of the stock 7750.

Though the movement is hidden under the back, it is Elaboré, or “Special”, grade, which means it has been decorated neatly but industrially, with Geneva stripes on the bridges and blued-steel screws. And it is also regulated to COSC chronometer standards according to Massena Lab, or in other words, as good as it gets for a chronograph in this price range.

Concluding thoughts

The Archetype 0.0 accomplishes exactly what it sets out to be, and does so in good style. The dial is a wonderful remake of a vintage “gilt” dial.

Admittedly, the case is a bit larger than I would wish for – a necessity of the movement and construction – but not so large that it feels clunky.

Importantly, the Archetype compares well against similar watches, most notably the various Longines Heritage chronographs. The Archetype has a fancier dial and more details in the case finishing, although many of the Longines offer higher-spec movements, simply because Longines’ sister company is movement giant ETA.

All things considered, the Archetype offers slightly better value than its peers, largely because of its excellent details and smaller production run. I look forward to seeing what William has planned for the next Massena Lab chronograph.


Key facts and price

Massena Lab Archetype 0.0

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.5 mm
Material: Steel
Water resistance: 100 m
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: Sellita SW510 BH M
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and chronograph
Winding: Hand-wind
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 58 hours

Strap: Leather with pin buckle

Limited edition: A small run of “pre-series prototypes”
Availability:
 Sold out
Price: US$4,250

For more, visit Massenalab.com.


 

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