The TAG Heuer Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique

TAG Heuer has been appointed the Official Sponsor and Timekeeper of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. In celebration of the partnership, the brand is introducing the Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition as a tribute to the iconic race. This very weekend, May 8-10, was the scheduled date for this year’s race, and although it had to be canceled, the brand has chosen this fitting time to release the namesake limited edition timepiece. Sporting the signature red and white of classic sports cars, this watch captures the essence of the historic race with its vintage cues and features the race’s logo at one o’clock on the dial.

The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, a biannual weekend-long event, is one of the highlights of the classic-car racing calendar featuring more than 200 grand prix cars representing 50 different car makers. The cars themselves are chosen for their historical value and degree of originality, and they compete in seven series spanning the decades from the 1930s to the 1970s. For the last event, in 2018, drivers from more than 21 countries took part in the race. TAG Heuer’s association with such events dates back to the late 1950s, when Jack Heuer himself saw an opportunity to merge his passion for racing with the Heuer brand by choosing to name a host of his watches for some of the most prestigious races of the time. Heuer’s connection to the racing world needs little explanation these days, and the Monaco, first released in 1969, is one of the icons of that tradition.

This watch is not a vintage reissue, but rather a contemporary evocation and tribute to a modern event that celebrates the history of racing itself . The red and white motif gives the watch a strong masculine look, and in some ways, the dial design blends the late ’60s/early ’70s appeal of the Monaco with an almost Art Deco feel. In terms of the design, the watch utilizes a classic serif-style typography for the Monaco name, text, and numerals. The dial has a sunburst effect, and the contrast of the red of the rounded square subdials against the white of the main dial surface looks to provide great legibility. Overall, the dial seems to have equal parts red and white and feels quite balanced. It has a warmness to it that, while being a modern watch, gives you all the feelings a vintage piece would.

This limited edition Monaco beats away with the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 movement, visible through a sapphire caseback adorned with the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique logo. With 168 individual components, a column wheel, and a vertical clutch, the Calibre Heuer 02 offers an 80-hour power reserve. This particular watch features both pushers and the crown on the right-hand side of the case and is equipped with a perforated leather racing strap. The caseback of every piece will be engraved “One of 1000.”

In the run-up to its release, the watch will be on display at the Automobile Club de Monaco and available for pre-orders via the brand’s website and in select TAG Heuer boutiques before its launch this summer. The TAG Heuer Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition may not fill the three-day hole in the racing calendar this year, but it certainly helps.
Brand: TAG Heuer
Model: Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition
Reference Number: CBL2114.FC6486

Diameter: 39mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Red and white
Indexes: Rhodium-plated stick markers
Lume: Super-LumiNova
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Black calfskin leather strap, folding clasp in polished stainless steel

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde

Previously launched in both white and pink gold versions, this is the latest incarnation of Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date, and it is now part of their limited edition and boutique-only Collection Excellence Platine. With a 950 platinum case and a matching dial, the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date even features strap stitching using thread in both platinum and silk. When VC wants to do special, you know they don’t mess around.

Limited to just 50 numbered units for the Collection Excellence Platine, the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date joins a rare group of watches that have been promoted to this platinum-themed collection since the concept was introduced 2006. Sizing is the same as the other two versions of the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date at 42.5mm wide and 9.7mm thick. The function set – a large retrograde date display along the northern radius of the dial and a rather subtle moon phase and moon age display (showing the day in the moon’s cycle) at six o’clock – is both cleanly symmetrical and visually interesting with lovely details on the moon phase and a centrally-mounted blue hand for the pointer date.

Apply all of this on a lovely matte sandblasted platinum dial, and you have a brand new look that feels at once traditional in form and contemporary in execution. Just like the previous versions, the platinum Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date uses the 2460 R31L, an in-house automatic movement from Vacheron Constantin that ticks at 4 Hz while offering a 40-hour power reserve and a design that allows all of the functions to be controlled via the crown alone.

While the existing Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date versions (those being in white or rose gold) retail for $40,100, each of the fifty platinum pieces being added to the Collection Excellence Platine will sell via VC boutiques for $67,000. With platinum forming everything from the case to the dial, and even the thread used for the strap, you kinda knew it was going to cost a pretty penny. That said, you get a very limited and lovely watch in return.
The Basics

While the Big Bang Unico GMT is not a chronograph, it does have some chronograph DNA, and it is the inclusion of chronograph-type functionality that makes it so easy and intuitive to operate. Simply unscrew and pull out the rubber-coated, H-branded crown and set all three main hands — hour, minute, and GMT hand — to the correct local time. When changing time zones — as I did, from New York (EST) to Basel (CET) — simply push the pedal-like chrono-style pushers to move the local-time hour hand in one-hour increments in either direction while the minute hand and seconds hand remain unaffected. Because the gears for the minutes and seconds are not driven, it is not necessary to synchronize all of the hands with every change of time zone. Longtime fans of the Hublot brand may note that the rectangular shape of the GMT pushers resembles those of early Big Bang chronographs, thus differentiating them from the more button-like rounded pushers of modern Big Bang Unico models. Hublot has built a safety device into the mechanism preventing simultaneous activation of the two pushers.

Brand: Vacheron Constantin
Model: Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date Collection Excellence Platine
Reference Number: 4010U/000P-B545

Diameter: 42.5mm
Thickness: 9.7mm
Case Material: 950 platinum
Dial Color: Sand-blasted 950 platinum
Indexes: 18k white gold, applied
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Dark blue alligator leather with platinum folding clasp

The Krayon Anywhere Universal Sunrise-Sunset Complication

The sunrise-sunset complication is a surprisingly straightforward one to implement mechanically, and yet it remains relatively rare in a wristwatch. While the complication has existed in clocks for centuries and in pocket watches for many decades (including, perhaps most famously, the Patek Philippe Star Caliber pocket watch, and the Caliber 89, as well as the earlier Graves Supercomplication), it was not introduced in wristwatches until the Jules Audemars Equation Of Time in 2000, which was followed a few months later by the Martin Braun EOS watch (two of the least deservedly forgotten watches of the last two decades, if you ask me).

The basic problem with a sunrise/sunset watch is that it necessarily can show the times of sunrise and sunset for only a single location. This is due to the fact that the time of both is affected by both latitude and longitude, as well as the time of year and civil time. Any watch with the complication must, therefore luxury replica watches, be made for each client individually, as the two cams that control the sunrise and sunset cams are specific to a particular point on the Earth’s surface. You can have the cams made for New York, for instance, but if you happen to travel to any other city, the complication will no longer be accurate.

If you are a confirmed homebody, or if the watch in question is one that you do not particularly travel with a great deal, the problem is academic. However, those affluent enough and with eccentric enough tastes to want such a watch in the first place, would undoubtedly want to be able to enjoy traveling with the watch without having to explain to every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Harriet) who asks, first, what it is, and secondly, replica rolex uk why it is not working properly in Mallorca when it works just fine in Cincinnati (to pick two locations at random). Additionally, the problem is not just one of owner’s ego; while there is something intrinsically deeply satisfying about the sunrise-sunset complication, there is something deeply unsatisfying about its being inextricably functionally bound to a single point on the Earth’s surface.

Now, the problem of making a sunrise-sunset complication which can be used anywhere on Earth was finally solved quite recently, by a constructor named Rémi Maillat who is the founder of Krayon. The first Krayon watch was the Everywhere watch, which was a kind of descendant of the medieval universal astrolabe (and with which we went hands-on in 2018). The astrolabe is an astronomical device used to observe, among other things, the altitude of celestial objects, and also to indicate which stars are above or below the horizon at any given time. But, like the sunrise-sunset complication, these were, as a rule, restricted to use in a single location. Eventually, however, universal astrolabes were developed that could account for differences in latitude. The Krayon Everywhere watch did the universal astrolabe one better, however. The Everywhere is essentially a wrist-mounted astronomical computer. You input the necessary data – UTC, latitude and longitude at the desired location – and the watch (also taking into account the equation of time) will show you the correct sunrise/sunset times anywhere in the world.

In addition to its many technical innovations, the Everywhere watch is also quite wearable – just 42mm x 11.70mm which, for a timepiece of this complexity, is a phenomenal accomplishment. The dial layout is also logical, very legible, and aesthetically harmonious. The only disadvantages to the watch are its extreme complexity (over 600 components) and high cost: The Everywhere is quite expensive, with a starting price around CHF 600,000 and going up rather sharply from there depending on desired modifications. With a view to making a watch perhaps more suitable to being worn on a regular basis, while still retaining many of the advantages of the Everywhere watch, Krayon has now introduced the Anywhere watch, priced at CHF 96,000 and CHF 116,000. It is a timepiece which can still show the time of sunrise and sunset anywhere on earth without the troublesome and expensive process of making new cams for every desired location and having them switched out by a watchmaker, although the owner can no longer directly control the necessary inputs.

A comparison between the two watches shows some immediate and obvious differences. The Everywhere watch wears its complexity lightly, relatively speaking but there is still no doubt that the dial delivers a considerable amount of information, albeit in about as economical and concise a fashion as I can imagine. After all, the Everywhere watch is not merely an instrument which passively displays information. It is rather a mechanical computer, which must show information input as well as the information output by the complex mechanism; in this sense, it is as much an astronomical calculator as it is a watch. The Anywhere watch offers a much clearer dial, which still displays the signature data of both the Anywhere and Everywhere watches – that is to say, the time of sunrise and sunset – but which omits the program input indicator, as well as the latitude indicator (the original Everywhere watch could be set to any latitude from 60º north to 60º south, which are the highest and lowest latitudes where “white nights” can be observed and which therefore mark the practical limits of a sunrise-sunset complication).

Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT Carbon

When we think of Hublot, we tend to picture ruggedly stylish chronographs, avant-garde materials in eye-catching color combos, and sporty design influences ranging from soccer to motor racing. Rarely do we think of classical dual-time functionality, and that’s a shame because Hublot’s Big Bang Unico GMT models — introduced in 2017 in titanium and carbon fiber-cased editions, and joined by King Gold and ceramic versions this year — represent a distinctly masculine, eminently legible, and user-friendly take on this classical “practical” complication. Here’s a hands-on look at the Big Bang Unico GMT Carbon model, on which I tracked my overflowing appointment calendar at Baselworld 2019 while keeping track of the time back home.

Even without the flagship chronograph model’s busy, tricompax face, the watch is immediately recognizable as a Big Bang, sporting an unapologetically large 45-mm case, constructed of carbon fiber, a material long associated with Hublot and its “art of fusion” design ethos. The material makes the thick case (15.85 mm) quite sturdy and yet pleasantly lightweight. The round, stationary carbon fiber bezel is anchored firmly to the octagonal case middle by the Nyon-based brand’s signature H-shaped screws — six of them, to be exact, representing the hour points at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o’clock. The other hour markers on the bezel, on which a central arrow-tipped hand indicates a traveler’s home or reference time, are stencil-style Arabic numerals and half-hour indices filled with white lacquer for an excellent contrast with the dark checkerboard pattern of the carbon fiber base. The flange of the bezel, with a white printed minutes scale, is made of blue composite resin, another favorite material of Hublot and one that lends an attractive blue highlight to the ensemble, matching the thick rubber strap, the “Night” sector on the dial’s central day-night indicator, and the protruding, blue-resin lateral inserts, sandwiched between the bezel and case middle and held by titanium screws.
The chrono-type pushers control the hour hand, which moves forward or backward in one-hour increments.

The Arabic hour numerals missing on the bezel are used as the principal markers on the dial, which is openworked in the now-recognizable style of other Unico-equipped watches. Big, bold, eminently legible and filled with Super-LumiNova, these numerals alternate with thick bar indices for the main time display i.e., the current time in one’s location away from home, which is displayed by thick, partly skeletonized and luminous-filled pentagon-shaped hands. The running seconds tick away via a very thin, blue-lacquered central hand, whose counterweight is shaped like a Hublot “H” and whose tip elegantly glides past the indices on the blue inner scale.

While the Big Bang Unico GMT is not a chronograph, it does have some chronograph DNA, and it is the inclusion of chronograph-type functionality that makes it so easy and intuitive to operate. Simply unscrew and pull out the rubber-coated, H-branded crown and set all three main hands — hour, minute, and GMT hand — to the correct local time. When changing time zones — as I did, from New York (EST) to Basel (CET) — simply push the pedal-like chrono-style pushers to move the local-time hour hand in one-hour increments in either direction while the minute hand and seconds hand remain unaffected. Because the gears for the minutes and seconds are not driven, it is not necessary to synchronize all of the hands with every change of time zone. Longtime fans of the Hublot brand may note that the rectangular shape of the GMT pushers resembles those of early Big Bang chronographs, thus differentiating them from the more button-like rounded pushers of modern Big Bang Unico models. Hublot has built a safety device into the mechanism preventing simultaneous activation of the two pushers.

Following the very intuitive design codes, the pusher at 2 o’clock moves the hand forward an hour, while the one at 4 o’clock moves it backward a hour. In a matter of moments, the triangle-tipped, luminous GMT hand will continue to point to the home time on the 12-hour bezel, while the main hour and minute hand will be set to the local time. If in a few days you are flying from, say, Basel to Tokyo, just click the pusher again until the hour hand moves to that city’s local time. Best of all for jetlagged wearers who may not want to do the math required of a more standard 24-hour GMT timekeeper, the dial’s day-night indicator allows one to see at a glance whether your home time is in AM or PM time. Divided into blue for night (matching the strap and the flange) and light gray for day (playing off the colors of the exposed Unico movement and the case’s carbon fiber pattern) — and, to make it even more idiot-proof, labeled as such also — this disk moves along with the hands, allowing a quick “day or night” reference for the home time.
Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT Carbon – Dial – Day-Night

The in-house-manufactured engine for all this ease of use is Hublot’s Caliber HUB1251 Unico, self-winding by means of a skeletonized rotor and amassing a power reserve of 72 hours. It is ensconced behind a carbon fiber caseback held fast by titanium screws and fitted with a sapphire window. The movement’s base, of course, is Hublot’s original Unico caliber, which has had its integrated chronograph components, including the column wheel, stripped out (as well as the typical skeletonized date disk, another addition by subtraction to keep the watch’s two time zone displays as simple as possible) and a patented, proprietary GMT module added. Perusing its micromechanical expanses with a loupe, one notes the matte finishing on the skeletonized, micro-blasted bridges, the balance oscillating at a speedy 28,800 vph, and the bidirectionally swinging, blade-edged rotor, running on ceramic ball bearings, which can be not only seen but heard while doing its work: hold the watch up to your ear, gently shake your wrist, and listen to the metallic rasps of the movement’s mechanical pulse.
Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT Carbon – Back

A Hands-On Review of the Breitling Superocean Héritage II

Breitling and Tudor made the decision to bundle their expertise in the design and production of mechanical watches even before changes came to the Breitling company. This became clear, not only in interviews with CEO Georges Kern, but as it is expressed by the timepieces themselves. A modified Breitling movement B01 powers Tudor chronographs as its MT5813, and Breitling is now using the in-house Tudor movement MT5612. Replica Watches UK

The Breitling Superocean Héritage II is powered by the automatic B20 caliber that came from a collaboration with Tudor. It’s found in the 42-mm stainless-steel and rose-gold three-hand version we tested here. Rolex Replica

The Superocean Héritage II is the first watch to use the three-hand movement since 2017, and bears the name B20 in its modified version. Breitling first issued the 42- and 46- mm models in 2017, followed by the launch of a third size at Baselworld 2018 that measures 44 mm, as well as our test watch – the unusual two-tone 42-mm version in stainless steel and rose gold. Black elements on the watch, like the bezel, dial and the Aero Classics rubber strap with its Milanese-style mesh pattern, lend both presence and elegance.

The unidirectional rotating dive bezel is one of the most striking changes Breitling made to the Superocean Héritage II, while taking care to preserve the character of the watch that made its debut in 1957. The rotating bezel contains an ultra-hard high-tech ceramic inlay that resists both scratches and impacts. The gold rim has a finer look than that of its predecessor, though it is still easy to grasp and turn with half-minute ratchets. It seems a bit loose for use as a professional dive watch.

The bezel lacks a precise minutes track despite the one printed directly next to it on the dial. This would allow for exact setting of the dive time, to the minute. But this shouldn’t be a problem at all for fans of recreational diving, who just happen to be the main target audience of the Superocean Héritage II. And although the gold seconds hand cannot be seen in the dark for a function check (due to a lack of luminous material), the hour and minutes hands are both clearly visible.

A design featuring unusual shapes – a triangle on the hour hand, a diamond-shaped minutes hand, and slightly conical hour markers – relies heavily on the original Héritage from 1957. The all-important minute hand for diving extends precisely out to touch the dedicated track around the dial circumference. Unfortunately, only eight points are visible under limited lighting conditions – insufficient for professional divers, in any case. The luminous dot on the ceramic bezel stands out alongside the slightly brighter hands, but this alone cannot help determine a precise, to-the-minute calculation of dive time. In daylight conditions the combination of black, white and rose gold creates an easily legible ensemble.

The old Breitling logo – a curvy “B” – in place of the winged letter and stylized anchor, has returned to the dial. (The earlier logo was introduced in 1979 to show equal kinship to flying and diving.) Proof of its status as an officially certified chronometer stands below the brand name.

The lower portion of the dial features the Superocean name in its characteristic font and references its water resistance and “Automatic” watch movement – which, unfortunately, cannot be seen beneath Breitling’s solid threaded caseback.

And it would be a sight to see. In contrast to the original Tudor design, the Breitling B20 is more finely decorated – with Geneva stripes and satin finishes, and two additional jewels. Otherwise, both versions have the same design and features. The balance wheel is stable and supported beneath a bridge, vibrating at a rate of 4 Hz with variable inertia and a silicon hairspring. Fine regulation is adjusted via screws, to a chronometer-certified level, just like the Tudor.

In actual practice, the Superocean Héritage II can do what the COSC certificate promises. It runs smoothly with a gain of about 3 seconds per day with minimal positional differences. At the end of the 70-hour power reserve, the amplitude falls to slightly below 200°, but the rate remains stable at +2 seconds.

The watch is not difficult to rewind if it winds down completely. The large, deeply fluted crown is easy to grasp and release from its screw-down position. Hand winding is smooth. Clear stops indicate the positions for quick-date adjustment and setting the time. The hands can be adjusted without play, and the date advances at midnight. Only slight pressure is needed to screw down the crown into its locked position.
OK Photography
The folding clasp opens with two deployment buttons. The upper part contains a strap extension.

It’s no simple thing to fit the Aero Classic rubber strap to the wrist. It must be cut to measure and then can no longer be altered. Only the single-sided folding clasp provides an additional 9 mm of variability; a sliding element offers seven different positions for adjusting the strap length, and is simple to use. The polished clasp has two deployant buttons on the side for opening, with a winged “B” making reference to an earlier Breitling era.

Once the rubber strap has been tailor-fit, the Superocean Héritage II sits snugly on the wrist where, despite its case thickness, it doesn’t seem overly heavy, thanks to its contrasting design features – a truly stunning piece for Breitling fans who go diving for fun.

Functions: Hours, minutes, central sweep seconds, date, unidirectional rotating dive bezel with ratchet feature, screw-down crown

Movement: Breitling B20, automatic, 28,800 vph, 28 jewels, balance ring with variable inertia, silicon hairspring, screw-type fine adjustment, Incabloc shock absorption, 70-hour power reserve, diameter = 30.8 mm, height = 6.50 mm

Case: Stainless steel and 18k rose gold, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides, water resistant to 200 m

Zenith Defy Classic Black Ceramic Watch

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