Patek Philippe Unveils the Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5990/1R in Rose Gold

Resplendent, classic blue.

Patek Philippe’s most coveted model line, the Nautilus was the focus of the four new launches at Watches & Wonders 2021. In addition to the ref. 5711/1A with an olive-green dial, the second new Nautilus for men is the Nautilus Travel-Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1R-001, a rich combination of a rose gold case with a deep blue dial.

An ultra-luxe travel watch (that’s still a bit more affordable than the recent Greubel Forsey GMT Sport), the ref. 5990 has been one of the most complicated models in the Nautilus line since its introduction in 2014. First launched in stainless steel with a black dial, the ref. 5990 was an instant hit due to its good looks and practicality – and the fact that it’s a Nautilus.

Initial thoughts

In rose gold case with a blue dial, rendered in a shade of blue similar to that of the original ref. 5711/1A, the new ref. 5990/1R-001 is a good-looking timepiece that no doubt looks and feels like a luxury-sports watch, albeit more luxury than sports. If the steel ref. 5990/1A wasn’t not luxe enough, this ought to do the trick.

Leaving aside the fact that it’s a Nautilus, hence an ultra fashionable watch that’s near impossible to get, the ref. 5990 is appealing in its intrinsic qualities, regardless of material.

Despite the complications, the ref. 5990 is actually svelte, just 12.53 mm high, making it one of the slimmer flyback chronographs on the market – and it also incorporates a second time zone function. Add to that the fine finishing of the Nautilus case, and the ref. 5990 is a surprisingly refined watch for a biggish sports chronograph.

It is priced like a biggish luxury-sports chronograph, with retail pegged at a hefty US$106,452, but will no doubt prove to be popular, as most Nautilus models inevitable are. That’s a bit of a shame, because the desirability of the model mostly obscures its intrinsic qualities and appeal.

Ultimate travel watch

Applied rose gold hands and indices complement the blue dial that’s stamped with the traditional linear pattern of the Nautilus and finished with a sunburst brushing. Both the hands and indices are solid gold, and filled with luminous paint.

The dial layout is actually fairly complex, with several indications for the travel time and calendar, but everything is sensibly laid out and legibly enough.

The dial of the ref. 5990 is nicely symmetrical, with the chronograph sub-dial at six o’clock mirroring the date register at 12

Including the Travel Time complication, the ref. 5990 has twin pushers on the left side of the case to set the local time hand in one hour steps.

The second time zone display is augmented with twin day-night indicators conveniently labelled “home” and “local” for each of the two hour hands. A white aperture indicates day, and a black aperture, night time. When not in use, the second hour hand can be hidden under the local time hour hands, concealing the dual time zone display.

As typical of the Nautilus, the ref. 5990/1R is finely finished, with alternating satin-brushed and polished finishing visible on the bezel, bracelet and case.

Beating inside is the cal. CH 28-520 C FUS, a flyback chronograph movement that combines the column wheel with a vertical clutch. It also features the Travel Time dual-time zone function, a decent 50 hours or so of power reserve, and a 21k gold rotor.


Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel-Time Chronograph
Ref. 5990/1R-001

Diameter: 40.5 mm (measured from ten to four o’clock)
Height: 12.53 mm
Material: Rose gold
Water resistance: 120 m

Movement: Cal. CH 28-520 C FUS
Functions: Hours, minutes, flyback chronograph, dual time zones
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 45-55 hours

Strap: Rose gold bracelet

Availability: At both retailers and boutiques
Price: US$106,452; or 140,300 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Patek.com.


 

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Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Ref. 5990/1A

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Hands-On With The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Ref. 5990/1A (With Live Photos, Review And Price)

Freshly unveiled earlier this year, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time is the second iteration of the Geneva watchmaker's sports chronograph, replacing the ref. 5980/1A. Known as the Ref. 5990/1A, the new Nautilus has a dual time function combined with a chronograph, and a handsomely symmetrical dial.

Vacheron Constantin Introduces the American 1921 Collection Excellence Platine

The ultimate version of a quirky, elegant watch.

Vacheron Constantin’s most distinctive – and arguably most compelling – time-only watch is the American 1921, a large, cushion-shaped wristwatch with the dial rotated off the vertical. Already available in a variety of guises, including platinum, the model now gets an upgrade in terms of materials with the American 1921 Collection Excellence Platine.

Like the other watches in the Collection Excellence Platine (CEP) collection – Vacheron Constantin debuts a CEP model every year or so – the American 1921 CEP has its case and dial in platinum, while the strap is stitched with thread woven from silk and platinum wire.

Initial thoughts

Wide, thin, and quirky, the 1921 is one of Vacheron Constantin’s most unusual offerings. I love everything about the watch – the design, size, and details – especially the platinum version with a silver dial and blue numerals. The CEP edition goes one better, and is even more appealing. The matte, grained platinum dial and applied Breguet-style numerals are perfect.

Compared to the standard version of the 1921 in platinum, the 1921 CEP is relatively good value. The 1921 CEP costs less than 10% more than the standard version – a modest increment for the platinum dial and 100-piece production run. But the standard model is pricey to start with, so the 1921 CEP still costs a hefty US$51,000.

Pt950

Debuted in 2006, the CEP collection now includes a variety of models, most recently last year’s Patrimony with calendar. Though the models are diverse, they all share the same all-platinum treatment.

The new American 1921 sticks to the same formula. The platinum case is matched with platinum dial that’s been sandblasted, giving it a fine, granular surface. And as is tradition for the CEP watches, a tiny “Pt950” hallmark at three o’clock indicates the dial material.

The platinum dial is matched with applied numerals and hands made of 18k white gold – the applied Maltese cross at 12 o’clock is also white gold – while the minute and second scales are printed in black. The result is a near monochromatic dial that’s livened by a blued steel seconds hand.

The watch is powered by the cal. 4400 AS, a large, hand-wind movement that’s a thin 2.8 mm high but boasts a longish 65-hour power reserve. Like most mechanical Vacheron Constantin movements, bears the Poincon de Geneve, or Geneva Seal, which means it’s passed the decorative and functional criteria required to obtain the hallmark.

The 4400 AS as seen in the standard version of the American 1921 in platinum  


Key Facts and Price

Vacheron Constantin American 1921 Collection Excellence Platine
Ref. 82035/000P-B748

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 8.06 mm
Material: Platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance:
 30 m

Dial: Platinum with white gold applied numerals

Movement: Cal. 4400 AS
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Hand wind
Frequency:
28,800 beats per hour (4 hz)
Power reserve:
 65 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 100 pieces 
Availability:
Only at boutiques
Price: US$51,000; or 73,500 Singapore dollars

For more, visit vacheronconstantin.com


 

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Chanel Introduces the J12 Electro “Rainbow”

Rainbow sapphires and powered by proper mechanical movements.

Chanel’s signature all-ceramic watch – that’s recently been executed in transparent sapphire crystal – receives the rainbow treatment for Watches & Wonders 2021. Inspired by the electronic dance music culture of the 1990s, the J12 Electro collection is made up of a variety of models that span the price spectrum, along with a one-of-a-kind, 12-piece set.

Initial thoughts

While the rainbow colours seem faddish, Chanel is enough of its own brand – and the J12 a successful enough design – that the line up still feels original. While most of the Electro watches are over the top, the 12-piece set is subtle bling in literally every colour – and truly cool.

It is a shame that the only affordable watch in the line up is a 33 mm quartz watch, leaving all the mechanical options in the six-figure price range. The 12-piece set, for instance, costs over US$1.00m. That said, the allure of Chanel is so great that the globular crystal clocks it debuted in 2018 swiftly sold out, despite the price tag of roughly US$240,000.

Rainbow galore

The most extravagant watch in the line up is the J12 Electro Star, a 38 mm model in 18k white gold set with over 32 carats of baguette-cut diamonds and 13 carats of sapphires. Totalling 267 baguette-cut stones, the sapphires are set on the flanks of the case and links, creating a rainbow gradient of colour. It’s powered by the cal. 12.1 movement made by Kenissi, the movement maker partially owned by Chanel.

J12 Electro Star

The cal. 12.1 of the Electro Star is similarly set with rainbow-gradient sapphires

Conceived as a “12-beat gradation of colour”, the J12 Electro Box is a set of 12 watches, all in matte black ceramic and equipped with the cal. 12.1. Each watch in the set is unique, being set with 46 baguette-cut sapphires of the same colour. Together, the 12 watches form the rainbow gradient from pink to red.

J12 Electro Box

Having been unveiled in an almost totally clear format last year, the all-sapphire model returns as the J12 X-Ray Electro Caliber 3.1. Both the bezel and dial are set with coloured sapphires.

The case and bracelet are primarily sapphire, but held together by 18k white gold screws and pins, while the bezel is also white gold. Inside is the cal. 3.1, a hand-wind, in-house movement made by Chanel’s manufacture.

J12 X-Ray Electro Caliber 3.1

Continuing the theme is the J12 White Electro Dream. This is a polished white ceramic J12 that has the bezel, crown, and back in 18k white gold. It is similarly set with coloured sapphires on the dial and bezel, while the movement is the cal. 12.1 automatic made by Kenissi.

The J12 Black Electro Dream is the chromatic opposite – matte black ceramic with the same coloured sapphires and cal. 12.1 movement.

J12 Electro Dream in white

J12 Electro Dream in black

The cal. 12.1 in the Electro Dream

And the base model is the J12 Electro. It’s a 33 mm ladies watch in polished black ceramic and equipped with a quartz movement. The numerals and scales on the dial and bezel are printed in a rainbow gradient of colours.

J12 Electro


Key facts and price

Chanel J12 Electro Star
Ref. H6816

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: 18k white gold set with diamonds and sapphires
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 12.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: 18k gold bracelet set with diamonds and sapphires

Limited edition: 12 pieces
Availability
: At Chanel boutiques
Price: Approximately US$1.25m; or 1,710,600 Singapore dollars


Chanel J12 Electro Box
Ref. H6829 to H6842

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Matte black ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 12.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Matte black ceramic

Limited edition: Unique set
Availability
: At Chanel boutiques
Price: Approximately US$1.11m; or 1.488m Singapore dollars


Chanel J12 X-Ray Electro Caliber 3.1
Ref. H6824

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Clear sapphire and white gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 3.1
Functions: Hours, and minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 55 hours

Strap: Clear sapphire

Limited edition: 12 pieces
Availability
: At Chanel boutiques
Price: Approximately US$690,000; or 937,100 Singapore dollars


Chanel J12 Electro Dream
Ref. H6827 (white ceramic)
Ref. H6827 (black ceramic)

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 12.6 mm
Material: Matte black or polished white ceramic with steel bezel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 12.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Bracelet in matte black or polished white ceramic

Limited edition: 55 pieces in each colour
Availability
: At Chanel boutiques
Price: Approximately US$110,000; or 148,800 Singapore dollars


Chanel J12 Electro
Ref. H7121

Diameter: 33 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Polished black ceramic with steel bezel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Quartz
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Winding: Quartz

Strap: Polished black ceramic bracelet

Limited edition: 1,255 pieces
Availability
: At Chanel boutiques starting July
Price: Unavailable

For more, visit Chanel.com.


 

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Tudor Introduces the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K

Ultra-luxe value proposition.

Tudor’s first-ever solid-gold dive watch is making its debut at Watches & Wonders 2021. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K has a case in 18k yellow gold – in a sleek, brushed finish – along with a gold-flecked green dial. (And the Fifty-Eight 18k is launching alongside the more affordable Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 with a sterling silver case.)

And despite being ultra-luxe for Tudor, the Fifty-Eight 18k is very much like the rest of Tudor’s offerings in being a value proposition, with a retail price of a bit over US$18,000 – a solid deal for a solid-gold dive watch.

Initial Thoughts

If there is one thing this year’s Watches & Wonders has made abundantly clear, it is that green is the new flavour of the day. The Fifty-Eight 18K is one of many green watches being launched – but doubtlessly the best value proposition – and Tudor opted for a dark, rich green that complements the case metal.

Stylistically, the new Fifty-Eight models are polar opposites. The sterling-silver 925 is reserved and subtle, while the 18K clearly has greater visual impact.

The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K comes with two straps: alligator leather and fabric

The Fifty-Eight 18k is expensive for a Tudor, with a retail price of US$18,340. That’s over US$15,000 more than last year’s navy blue version in steel. But – and this is a big but – when compared with the precious-metal dive watches made by practically every other brand, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K is a bargain in relative terms.

Green and Gold

The 39 mm case of the Fifty-Eight 18K is entirely brushed, a prudent decision since a mirror-polished finished on a gold sports watch can look overly flashy.

It’s matched with a green dial that Tudor describes as “golden green”, a dark green inflected with hints of gold and finished with a fine, granular texture. Notably, both the hands and applied hour markers are also solid yellow gold, a first for Tudor.

The aluminium bezel insert is a shade darker than the dial, best described as olive, with its scale in gold

The satin finish of the case also extends to the bevel running along the upper edge of the case

The in-house MT5400 is visible through the sapphire case back. Because the back is open, the watch is slightly thicker than the steel Fifty-Eight, at 12.7 mm high against 11.9 mm for the steel model.

The MT5400 is a high-spec movement made by Kenissi, the movement manufacture co-owned by Tudor (with Chanel being the other shareholder). Though the smallest proprietary movement in Tudor’s catalogue, the MT5400 still boasts 70 hours of power reserve, a non-magnetic silicon hairspring, and a free-sprung balance wheel. And it is rated to run within -2/+4 seconds per day.

As with the Fifty-Eight 925, the interior of the gold case has thinner walls than its steel counterpart, due to the density of gold, which is double that of stainless steel. This was presumably done to ensure the gold version is not excessive weighty compared to the steel model, which is why the MT5400 has a wide base plate compared to the otherwise identical MT5402 found in the steel Fifty-Eight.

The MT5400 with its noticeably wider base plate


Key facts and price

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
Ref. 79018V

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 12.7 mm
Material: 18k yellow gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200m

Movement: Cal. MT5400
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Both alligator leather and fabric, each with a pin buckle in yellow gold

Availability: Only at Tudor boutiques starting now, available at retailers subsequently
Price: US$16,800; or 23,040 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Tudor.com.


Correction April 10, 2021: The retail price in US dollars is US$16,800, and not the price stated before.

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Tudor Introduces the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925

An understated, precious-metal dive watch.

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Smaller and more affordable, the Heritage Black Bay 36 is the new entry-level watch is Tudor's line-up of sports watches.

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Tudor Introduces the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925

An understated, precious-metal dive watch.

Met with critical and commercial acclaim at its launch  in 2018, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight hit the sweet spot with enthusiasts who had been clamouring for a Black Bay in a trimmer and smaller case. At Watches & Wonders 2021, Tudor releases two variants of the model that are perhaps its most unusual dive watches ever: the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 in sterling silver, and the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K in solid yellow gold.

Initial Thoughts

Though a precious-metal case for a “tool” watch seems incongruent, it’s a familiar combination for high-end sports watches. But Tudor has done it differently, with the evocative 925 silver case a perfect match for the Fifty-Eight, which is at heart a vintage remake.

The look of the Fifty-Eight 925 is pure understatement – a low-key yet striking watch that will be recognised only by those in the know. Thankfully, Tudor resisted using faux-aged Super-Luminova on the hour markers and Snowflake hands, a decision that preserves the watch’s clean look.

The Fifty-Eight 925 in sterling silver

And the look is clean. The bezel and dial are in taupe – a restrained grey-brown – a versatile colour that is studiedly neutral. Despite the inconspicuous colour – and specifically because of it – the watch is actually quite noticeable on the wrist.

It is vaguely vintage in style, which goes with the soft, silvery colour of the case. Given both the colour and smaller case size, the Fifty-Eight 925 is perhaps the most gender neutral of all the Fifty-Eight models.

Ordinarily sterling silver would be liable to tarnish, which would be quite unattractive on a watch like this. But Tudor promises the silver alloy is formulated such that “use does not affect the appearance of the case”.

The Fifty-Eight 925 is also priced right, with a retail of US$4,700. That’s about US$1,300 more than the standard steel model, which is substantial but justified given the precious metal case.

Vintage-Inspired

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 1925 is the first Tudor dive watch in silver, though Tudor did produce silver-case watches in the early decades of the 20th century.

It’s made of a proprietary alloy with a secret composition, though it is probably silver mixed with copper, and possibly germanium, tin, or silicon, as most tarnish-resistant silver alloys are.

The 39mm case is entirely satin finished, including the transitional bevel between the case flanks and the tops of the lugs that’s polished on the steel models.

The Fifty-Eight 925 will be available with either a leather or fabric strap

Besides the case material, its construction is also unusual.

The in-house MT5400 is visible through the sapphire case back – something almost never found on past Tudor watches, save for the North Flag and Black Bay Ceramic One “Only Watch”.

Though the calibre is plainly finished in an industrial style, it is a compact movement with all the features expected in an excellent modern movement, including a free-sprung balance and a longish, 70-hour power reserve. And it also features a non-magnetic silicon hairspring, along with a promised daily rate of within -2/+4 seconds per day.

The MT5400 in the Fifty-Eight 925 is a variant of the MT5402 found in the steel Fifty-Eight, but with a larger base plate, presumably because of thinner case walls in order to optimise the weight of the silver case, since sterling silver is about 40% denser than steel.

The MT5400 in the Fifty-Eight 925


Key facts and price

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925
Ref. 79010SG

Diameter: 39.0 mm
Height: 12.7 mm
Material: 925 sterling silver
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Cal. MT5400
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Leather or fabric with pin buckle

Availability: Already at boutiques and authorised retailers
Price: US$4,300; or 5,904 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Tudor.com.


Correction April 10, 2021: The retail price in US dollars is US$4,300, and not the price stated before.

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Panerai Introduces the Submersible Bronze Blu Abisso PAM 1074

Bronzo in 42 mm.

Before bronze became the modish material for dive watches, Panerai got there first with the Bronzo PAM 382 in 2011. Since then, there have been multiple iterations of the Bronzo – which had a 47 mm case – with the latest being the PAM 968 introduced two years ago.

At Watches & Wonders 2021, Panerai unveils a smaller, 42 mm Bronzo, the Submersible Bronze Blue Abisso PAM01074.

Initial thoughts

If the new Bronzo looks familiar, that’s because the bronze-and-blue guise has been done before with the Bronzo PAM 671 of 2017.

But there’s a significant difference: the smaller form factor of the new PAM 1074, which is eminently more wearable at 42 mm. It’s still a sizeable watch, but by Panerai standards, the PAM 1074 is a small watch. Not only does that make it more appealing as an everyday watch, the smaller size also makes it a practical option for female watch enthusiasts.

Despite the reduced size, the watch is distinctly Panerai in style. And the bronze and blue combination remains striking. The beige Super-Luminova and oxidised bronze will give the watch a well-worn look that is thematically congruent with the Submersible’s status as the brand’s “tool” watch. And though it complements the bronze case, the heavy dose of faux patina may prove divisive, especially those who prefer a clean, white lume.

At US$15,900, the latest Bronzo is priced at the mid-range of Panerai’s offerings, and is fair value as far as Panerai watches go. In fact, it’s slightly cheaper than the PAM 968, though that had a ceramic bezel. But against the broader market, especially for a case in bronze – which is neither a precious metal nor one that’s hard to work – it is pricey.

Bronzo, but smaller

Blue and gold have always been a winning combination, and the PAM 1074 is no exception. Over time, the bronze case and bezel will develop verdigris, the bright, blue-green patina that develops on the surface as a result of oxidisation, resulting in an aged appearance (and a possible allergic reaction upon prolonged contact with skin).

The dial sticks to the design of the original Bronzo, with applied baton-and-dot markers along with skeletonised hands that are unique to the Submersible line.

Beneath the hood is the Panerai’s in-house P.900. Essentially a slimmer version of the P.9010 that powered previous Bronzos (and also found on some of the Luminor Due models), the P.900 features three days of power reserve and date function.

The movement is visible through an exhibition case back that’s made from titanium as to prevent the wearer from developing potential allergic reactions to verdigris.


Key Facts and Price

Panerai Submersible Bronzo Blu Abisso
Ref. PAM01074

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 14.37 mm
Material: Bronze
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 300 m

Movement: P.900
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: Three days

Strap: Suede leather with bronze buckle, and additional blue rubber strap

Limited edition: 1000 pieces per year
Availability: Only at Panerai boutiques
Price: US$15,900; or 22,700 Singapore dollars

For more information, visit Panerai.com.


 

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Rolex Introduces the Cosmograph Daytona Meteorite

With ceramic or gold bezels.

Rolex has released new references of the Cosmograph Daytona with meteorite dials, in each colour of gold as well as the option of a bracelet or silicon Oysterflex strap. The versions on Oysterflex are matched with a black ceramic bezel, while the bracelet models featured gold bezels.

Initial Thoughts

Meteorite dials on Rolex watches are not new – the meteorite dial with Roman numerals made its debut on the Daytona almost two decades ago –  and the current lineup includes features both the Day-Date and GMT-Master II with meteorite dials.

The meteorite dials will be available in all three colours of gold (from left): Everose, white, and yellow gold

The new arrivals are essentially a modest facelift – they share the same case, bezel, and mechanics as current gold Daytona – albeit one that is very well done. They are certainly eye-catching, especially combined with high-contrast black registers (the first-generation meteorite dials had matching meteorite registers).

The new look is fairly priced. Depending on the case metal and choice of bracelet, expect to pay a premium of 10-15% over a standard gold Daytona model.

Exotic dials

Made of a slice of iron meteorite, the dial is first etched with acid to highlight the Widmanstätten pattern, the streaky motif created by the crystalline structure of the material, and then polished. But it still retains a slightly textured surface, unlike the perfectly smooth lacquered finished of most Daytona dials.

As is conventional for Rolex, the applied hour markers, Rolex coronet, chronograph register borders, and hands are made of gold in the same colour as the case.

Aside from the exotic dial material, the new models are identical of the rest of the Daytona family. That means a 40mm case, screw-down crown and pushers, and a tachymeter bezel.

Notably, the bezel material depends on the bracelet – Cerachrom, or black ceramic, for the models on the silicon Oysterflex band, and gold to go with the gold bracelet.

In-house engine

The movement in the new Daytona models remains the same, the cal. 4130 (we took an in-depth look at the calibre a few weeks ago). It is an impressive, in-house automatic chronograph movement with 72 hours of power reserve, a vertical clutch, and column wheel.

The balance is made of Rolex’s proprietary blue Parachrom, a niobium and zirconium alloy that endows the balance with paramagnetic properties. Also, the movement is rated to keep time to -2/+2 seconds per day – know as the Superlative Chronometer standard – as all current Rolex watches are.


Key facts and price

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
Ref. 116519LN-0038 (white gold on Oysterflex bracelet)
Ref. 116508-0015 (yellow gold)
Ref. 116505-0014 (Everose gold)

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: White gold, yellow gold, Everose gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: Cal. 4130
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds, chronograph
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Oysterflex strap with folding clasp or matching metal Oyster bracelet, both with EasyLink extension

Availability: From May 2021
Price:
Yellow gold on Oysterflex – US$32,850; or 44,140 Singapore dollars
Yellow gold on Oyster bracelet US$41,000; or 55,150 Singapore dollars

White gold on Oysterflex – US$34,050; or 45,840 Singapore dollars
white gold on Oyster bracelet US$43,700; or 58,810 Singapore dollars

Everose gold on Oysterflex – US$34,050; or 45,840 Singapore dollars
Everose gold on Oyster bracelet US$43,700; or 58,810 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Rolex.com.


 

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Patek Philippe Introduces the Ref. 5172G Chronograph

A revamp of its classic chronograph.

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Multi-coloured gemstones are back on the Cosmograph.

Rolex Introduces the Explorer II Ref. 226570

Gently facelifted, but a latest-generation movement.

Rolex Introduces the Explorer 36 mm Ref. 124270 and Ref. 124273

In steel as well as Rolesor.

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Explorer II, Rolex is revamping both Explorer models, with the larger Explorer II getting a modest facelift and a new movement.

But the Explorer gets a more wide-ranging makeover. The time-only watch retains its utilitarian good looks, keeping its distinctive dial with numerals at the quarters and an arrow at 12 o’clock. But the Explorer is now 36 mm, just as it was back in 1953 and down from the 39 mm of the outgoing model.

More notably, the new Explorer will be available in Rolesor – two-tone steel and gold – for the very first time. Both versions of the new Explorer – the ref. 124270 in steel and ref. 124273 in Rolesor – are powered by the cal. 3230, a latest-generation, time-only movement.

Initial thoughts

Following the mantra of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, Rolex sticks to incremental improvements, slowly but substantially improving its watches over time. The Explorer was last given a gentle facelift in 2016, and it was truly gentle: the hands were lengthened to better match the 39 mm case, while the quarter-hour markers were filled with luminous paint.

The Explorer

The new Explorer is a product of this philosophy, delivering more in a more compact package. Though the case is 36 mm, the movement boast all of the brand’s latest innovations, while the dial also features a reformulated Chromalight luminous paint that glows for longer in the dark.

At the same time, it is interesting that Rolex should choose to downsize the Explorer, given that recent developments indicated the opposite: sports watches like the Submariner and the entry-level Oyster Perpetual were upsized to 41 mm last year.

The Explorer is a compelling watch, particularly at its retail price of US$6,450 in steel. Getting one will probably be tough initially, but hopefully become easier over time, which is highly likely given that the Explorer has never been amongst the most popular sports watches.

Two-tone and updated mechanics

Aside from the smaller size that replaces the 39 mm model, the other major bit of news is the Explorer in Rolesor. The Explorer ref. 124273 is a combination of Oystersteel (a type of 904L stainless steel) and yellow gold.

While the steel model sports an all-brushed finish, even on the bracelet, the Rolesor adopts more shiny look with polished yellow-gold centre links on the bracelet. And to go with the gold accents on the case and bracelet, the Explorer in Rolesor also has yellow gold hands and hour markers.

The Explorer ref. 124273 marks the first time the model has been given the two-tone treatment

The applied hour markings on the Rolesor model are in yellow gold

The key upgrade is to the watch’s internals. The time-only cal. 3230 inside has a Chronergy escapement and 70-hour power reserve, just like the other latest-generation Rolex movements.

Additionally, the balance is made of blue Parachrom, a proprietary alloy of niobium and zirconium that has better magnetism resistance. And the movement is tested to within -2/+2 seconds per day, the norm for all of the current Rolex line up.

Both Explorer models are outfitted with the three-link Oyster bracelet that incorporates the Easylink tool-free, quick-adjust system in the clasp that allows up to 5 mm of adjustment either way.


Key facts and price

Rolex Explorer I
Ref. 124270 (steel)
Ref. 124273 (Rolesor)

Diameter: 36 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: 904L Stainless steel, two-tone (Rolesor)
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: Cal. 3230
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet with EasyLink extension

Availability: From May 2021
Price: Steel – US$6,450 or 8,620 Singapore dollars; Rolesor US$10,800 or 14,540 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Rolex.com.


 

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