The Worn Wound Podcast Ep. 61: From Switzerland to New Zealand

On this week’s episode of The Worn & Wound Podcast, Ilya is joined by Worn & Wound contributor Allen Farmelo to discuss Baselworld 2018, Allen’s trip to New Zealand with the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer, and a whole lot more.

This week’s episode of The Worn & Wound Podcast is brought to you by Hamilton Watch.

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Show Notes

Allen with the Bell & Ross BR123 GMT 24H.
Ilya with the Nomos Club.

Below, you can find some of the watches we discuss in today’s episode:

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

Tudor 1926 Collection

Longines Military Watch

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Bronze Bezel

For more, check out our Baselworld 2018 coverage here.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer

Review: 6B MKIII Scramble Chronograph

Late last year, long-time Worn & Wound reader James Smith (you Instagram fanatics may better know him as thejames80) reviewed his fantastic Seiko ref. SPB053 in a guest post for the site. Today, he’s taking a close look at another watch from his collection; it’s a unique, limited piece, and it’s from a brand you likely have never heard of—the MKIII Scramble from 6B.


Spend enough time in the watch world and you are sure to come across the custom strap maker GasGasBones, aka Carl Evans. If the look of these unique and fully customizable straps do not stick with you, the name surely will (I know both lingered with me when I discovered the brand years ago). While the straps are deserving of a full review in their own right, I am here to take a look at the MKIII Scramble offered by Carl’s lesser-known brand, 6B.

Like GasGasBones, 6B is a one-man operation run by Carl himself. The name 6B is derived from the Ministry of Defense (MOD) historical code for the Royal Air Force (RAF), from which Carl retired after a 25-year career. The 6B code (sometimes 6BB or 6A or 6E) was stamped into the case backs of military issued watches. For more information on these specific military watches, check out Time Spec: 1970s British Military Asymmetrical Chronographs and Time Spec: A Primer on Military Watches.

The MKIII Scramble is the third offering from 6B. Like the prior two, this is a limited edition release and it comes with incredible custom packaging (more on that later). There are quite a few things that set this watch apart from other similar military-styled chronographs, so let’s jump right to the review.

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Review: 6B MKIII Scramble Chronograph

CaseStainless steelMovementValjoux 7750DialMatte BlackLumeC1-GL Super-LumiNovaLensSapphire with double ARStrapTwo nylon mil-strapsWater Resistance50 metersDimensions38mm x 45mmThickness13.5mmLug Width18mmCrownPush/pullWarrantyYes—1 yearPrice$2250

In military aviation, scrambling is the act of quickly getting military aircraft airborne to react to an immediate threat, usually to intercept hostile aircraft.

Case

The case measures 38 millimeters in diameter with a lug-to-lug dimension of 45 millimeters, and the drilled lugs are 18 millimeters wide. The thickness is 13.5 millimeters, which makes this one of the thinner Valjoux 7750-based chronographs that I have come across.

The mid-case is fully polished and has a relatively simple, classic case shape with slab sides. The standout feature of the case is the bezel. The fixed bezel is finely brushed with a sunburst finish. The top and bottom edges of this brushed band are bordered by narrow, polished strips, and this mix of polished and brushed surfaces plays with the light in pleasant way. Also, the bezel area slopes up from the mid-case to the slightly domed crystal and makes for a snag-free case. The sapphire crystal features anti-reflective coating applied to both sides, and it’s effective in keeping away reflections while having a slight purple hue to it in certain lighting.The crown (measuring 6 millimeters by 3 millimeters) is unsigned and does not screw down, which seems appropriate for a pilot’s watch with 50 meters of water resistance. Signing the crown with the 6B arrow symbol would have been a nice (and somewhat expected) touch, but this crown is sterile.

Flipping the watch over is a display case back, which shows the undecorated Valjoux 7750 (also a small point of contention, as some decoration would have been welcome here). Previously available, but now sold out, some Scramble watches had a solid case back with an inscription that read, “DON’T COME AND TELL – RING THIS LIKE HELL!” with “SCRAMBLE” over an image of a scramble bell.

Carl describes the inspiration on his website:

“While looking at some old Pathe war time footage of the Battle of Britain, I came across a clip of a chap frantically ringing a scramble bell like crazy and all the aircrew running for their aircraft.”

This case back version plays nicely into the watch’s name, as the term “scramble” was first used during the Battle of Britain. The display case back on the watch reviewed here contains minimal branding and shows the dates of the Battle of Britain, which spanned July 10, 1940 to October 31, 1940.

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Dial

One of my favorite aspects of the MKIII Scramble is the matte black dial with stark white hands and dial markings. The dial has printed lume-dots for the hours (absent at 3, 6, and 9) and unlumed minute marks around the perimeter. At the very edge of the dial, a perimeter line rings the dial and runs through the minute marks. Lines run from the hour indices toward the center of the dial and connect to an inner circle. This inner circle is only interrupted by the chronograph’s sub-dials, and it’s similar to a dual function gauge found within aircraft instrument panels. Overall, it’s a pleasing aesthetic and it kind of reminds me of something celestial, like a constellation.

All the sub-dials have a circular machined finish, which creates some depth to the dial. The running seconds sub-dial has only hash marks at the 5-second marks, while the chronograph sub-dials have Arabic numbers to distinguish them and to aid in reading the elapsed time.

The pilot’s hands are lumed and legible. Both the primary minute hand and the chronograph second hand are angled toward the dial, and at their ends they curve down. I imagine that this slanting helps the hands fit under the domed crystal while also keeping the overall case thickness to a minimum. Plus, it’s a nice, vintage-inspired touch.

C1 Super-LumiNova paint is applied to both the dial and hands. While C1 is not particularly strong here (or in general), the stark-white daytime color is what gives the dial its signature, high-contrast look.

Movement

Inside the watch, the Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement ticks away at 28,000 bph, and my particular example has been keeping excellent time while on the wrist. This 25-jeweled, integrated caliber hacks and can be manually-wound, and it boasts a 44-hour power reserve. The pushers activate and reset with a nice click that is typical of the 7750. For more information on this movement and its history, see Chronography 5: The Valjoux 7750.

Straps and Packaging

The MKIII Scramble ships in a custom wooden “ammo” box, and this packaging is just over the top! Removing the lid off the box and you are greeted with a Spitfire aircraft instrument panel cluster with the dial of the Scramble showing through a cut out in the panel. The underside of the lid contains time setting instructions, a warranty date, and a sketch of the Spitfire, which was a commonly used RAF fighter aircraft from WWII. Also included in the packaging is a key with a custom message on the key holder. The key is inserted into the instrument panel and is used to lift the panel from over the lower packaging area. The lower packaging area contains the Scramble watch head, two nylon straps, a spring bar tool, and a single slot leather wallet.

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Of the provided straps, one is a MOD-standard grey Phoenix G10 strap. The second strap is a custom mil-style strap from GasGasBones and comes in an olive color. It has a combination of a metal lower keeper and a fabric upper keeper. The fabric is soft and flexible straight out the box. This strap also has “MKIII” laser-etched on the buckle, which is a nice touch.

The wallet is an uncommon item to receive with a watch, but it’s a nice addition to the packaging. One side of the wallet depicts the firing order of the Rolls Royce V12 Merlin aero engine which powered the Spitfire aircraft. The other side has the 6B logo and additional engravings can be customized on this side by request. The custom spring bar tool also doubles as the container for the spring bars—just unscrew the spring tip from the base and shake out the provided spring bars. The far side of the spring bar tool is signed with the 6B arrow symbol.

Conclusion

On the wrist, the Scramble is a well-fitting and comfortable, smaller-sized chronograph. I particularly like the dial design (date free!) and unique bezel style. To me, this is a modern execution of a pilot’s watch with some historic design cues, but overall the watch doesn’t feel derivative. Given the design and the history poured into the packaging, I can imagine the watch being worn by a present-day pilot (preparing to scramble a fighter jet, no doubt) on one of the provided nylon bands.During my short time of ownership, I have fitted several leather straps onto the watch, including some simple leather two-piece bands and a Di-Modell Chronomisso strap. As you would expect, the vibe changes with the strap you put on the watch.

The pricing seems in line for a limited production modern chronograph with great finishing and unique packaging. As of this writing, of the 50 MKIII Scrambles producesd the number of watches remaining is down to the single digits. In speaking with Carl, these are produced in small batches and the final watches are currently being assembled. So if this one catches your interest, you might want to act fast. 6B

Photography by James Smith

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Review: Bell Ross BR V2-92 Aeronavale

The Aeronavale is the aviation branch of the French Navy. Breguet famously equipped the Aeronavale with the battle-ready Type-20 pilot chronographs, which have been, and still are, ceaselessly coveted, collected, and copied. However, with the new Aeronavale 41-millimeter, Bell & Ross has created a watch suited not to battle garb but to the French Navy’s beautiful gold and blue full dress uniforms.

The Aeronavale is not a “real” military watch. In fact, the French Navy had nothing to do with it. Rather, Bell & Ross simply dreamed it up. Bell & Ross can get pretty conceptual this way, with recent examples including their copper-dialed Bellytanker (designed for an imaginary vintage land-speed-record scenario) and their sporty Racing Bird (meant to accompany a computer-generated high-speed plane).On the surface Bell & Ross’ concepts can seem lofty, but I’ve found that the concepts help bring these watches down-to-earth by eliminating the pretense that a mechanical watch is, today, a real tool. When you consider that a life-long American civilian like me regularly wears a watch that Bell & Ross dreamed up to complement the French Navy Air Division’s full dress uniform, the whole enterprise takes on an air of delightfully absurd costuming. But, somehow, overtly acknowledging that we’re all playing dress-up seems to temper the absurdity.

But why would I—or anyone for that matter—fall for a watch like the Aeronavale? Typically there’s some personal connection that sets the heart aflame, and I’m sure others who enjoy the Aeronavale will have their own story. For me, it goes back to childhood.

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Review: Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Aeronavale

CasePolished Stainless SteelMovementBR-CAL.302 (Base Sellita SW301-1)DialRadially Brushed BlueLumeSuper-LumiNovaLensBox SapphireStrapPatent Leather with Deployant ClaspWater Resistance100mDimensions41 x 47mmThickness11mmLug Width22mmCrownScrew Down, SignedWarrantyYesPrice$2990

One summer when I was around 12, the US Navy’s sailing team borrowed my Dad’s sailboat for a tet-a-tet against a crew of scrappy yahoos from the Buffalo Yacht Club. Predictably, the Navy’s clean-cut sailors breezily command victory. Later that night the Navy Band played the most badass funk—all of them in full dress uniforms like some strange spin-off of The Village People; the horn section lock-stepping to “Ladies’ Night” by Kool & The Gang; the dangerously handsome lead singer flirting with everyone’s wives and daughters. Utterly gobsmacked, Navy-cool has enchanted ever since.

Funny, though, that I didn’t fall in love with the Aeronavale’s predecessor, the 42-millimeter BR123 in the same colorway that Bell & Ross released in 2016. That watch has a significantly larger dial, and I felt like a poseur sporting such a huge blue and gold billboard. Thankfully, Bell & Ross has been following the trend toward smaller watches, and this new 41-millimeter 92-V2 Aeronavale is one of the best fitting, most elegant, and properly proportioned watches I own. It delivers just enough Navy-cool.

All of the B&R 92-V2 watches run on the BR-CAL.302, an adaptation of the increasingly ubiquitous Sellita SW300-1, which itself is a near-clone of ETA’s 2892. The “-1” indicates that this movement has beefed-up teeth on the gear train, which Sellita claims reduces inaccuracies introduced by shock. Bell & Ross doesn’t disclose whether they’ve made any mechanical upgrades, and the only visible modification is the engraved logo and other subtle touches on the rotor. As with all SW330s, its a-magnetic Nivaflex hairspring oscillates 28,800 times an hour, it includes an Incabloc anti-shock system, and it can store up to 42 hours of power. The movement is visible through a sapphire crystal mounted in the handsome screwed-in case back.

The BR-CAL.302 features very light decoration.

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Being vintage-inspired, the entire case is polished to perfection, its shape traditional and elegant, its connections seamless and sharp. This is high-quality metalwork, as impressive under a loupe as it is at arms length. Like all of Bell & Ross’s vintage-inspired pieces, the lugs are long and leave a sizable gap between the strap and the case, which affords a clear view of the excellent connection where the bezel, case, and lugs meet. This can be a contentious detail, but I adore it.

The BR-CAL.302 and the handsome mid-case.

The crown threads in and out like it’s dipped in butter, and the robust crown guards—which match the case so well that they look like a third pair of lugs—are visually and ergonomically unobtrusive. The crown is signed with the iconic “&” that’s come to stand for Bell & Ross, and even the minute details of that signature exhibit flawless brushing and polishing.

The bezel has a polished coin-edge which slightly overhangs the case, thus providing ample grip and a classic look. The bezel clicks 120 times per rotation, and, because the Aeronavale is a flight-oriented watch, the bezel is bi-directional. Though it moves into position with perfect alignment, like most bi-directional bezels there is a bit of play when stationary. The blue anodized aluminum of the bezel insert matches the dial to a tee, and the gold 60-minute markers similarly match the gilt markers on the dial.

Case finishing is exceptional. An excellent sapphire imitation of an acrylic crystal. Tasteful, vintage-inspired lugs holding onto a mil-strap for casual occasions.

The curved, anti-reflective sapphire crystal is a thing of true beauty, almost indistinguishable from acrylic other than the deadened sound it produces when I drum on it with my fingernail (acrylic is more resonant than sapphire). The crystal’s curves produce creamy, dreamy visual distortions, and, although neither the edge of the dial nor the tip of the hands curve downward—as so many vintage dials and hands do—at certain viewing angles the crystal’s distortions create the illusion of curvature toward the polished steel rehaut. All told, the Aeronavale’s crystal is among the most convincing sapphire imitations of acrylic I’ve seen.

I know I’m supposed to join the chorus lamenting the ills of date apertures placed at 4:30, but I’ve grown to love these discrete, circular date windows. And thank you, Bell & Ross, for not interrupting any of the Aeronavale’s gloriously legible gold numerals and markers with the date aperture (a big pet peeve of mine). On the Aeronavale, the date wheel is rendered in the same radiant blue as the dial, and the numerals are in white paint that matches the minute track, logo, and three lines of spec text on the dial.

The Aeronavale is rated to 100-meters of water resistance, so I will SCUBA dive in it, though I can’t recommend doing so to anyone else because watch brands claim that you need a better rating in order to dive deep. The WR rating has me questioning what qualifies as a Dressy Tool Watch, or DTW, a category that Ilya and I, in true Bell & Ross fashion, simply dreamed up. We disqualified rotating bezels as too “tooly,” but because the Aeronavale is dressy enough for full dress military uniforms—arguably the dressiest outfit a person can wear—I am tempted to make an exception and declare the Aeronavale a full-on DTW.

The Aeronavale can be dapper and dressy.

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Attributes that make the Aeronavale so dressy include the fully polished case, the radially brushed blue dial, the vertically-brushed gilt numerals and markers, the dual-tone beveled hands, and the unique “ice-blue” calfskin strap. Tally that all up, and you’ve got quite a fancy presentation. The whole package looks like something you’d wear to meet a dignitary.

The dual-tone hands deserve a closer look, as they are brushed on one half and polished on the other. This treatment—which is found on a few watches including some of Mido’s offerings—creates the illusion of a much more deeply beveled hand while also shortening the stack of hands on the central arbor. The visual trick is quite convincing—so convincing that I missed it entirely until Ilya pointed it out. Bell & Ross has skeletonized those hands and filled them with Super-LumiNova, though, as with many of their watches, the small quantity of lume makes it seem like an afterthought. The upshot is that the Bell & Ross made no concessions to lume as they loaded the dial with those vertically brushed gilt numerals and markers. Lastly, the relative lack of lume reinforces the notion that the Aeronavale is more costume than tool.

Lume is a bit of an afterthrought. The alternately brushed and polished hands give one the impressions of faceted hands.

If you’ve still got doubts about its dress watch status, check out the Aeronavale’s “ice blue” patent leather strap. It fades from deep dark blue at the edges to a muted mid-blue at the center, and the white stitching picks up the white paint on the dial and date disc. I adore this strap, though its something I’d never have leaned toward outside of this context. The signed deployant clasp is mirror-polished like the case, features snail engraving inside the buckle, and it is a cinch to open and close. Deployant clasps on leather are often a bit bulky on the backside of the wrist, and this one is no exception. That bulk doesn’t bother me, however, and it’ll be a personal choice between the steel bracelet (which I’ve only handled in a boutique for a moment), a standard pin-buckle on the leather strap (which is easy enough to convert), or a third-party strap that suits your fancy (which is half the fun).

The patent leather strap is quite formal. The Aeronavale dresses down easily on a mil-strap (shown here on one of our ADPT straps).

The highly finished deployant clasp.

Though I’ve made a strong case for its dressiness, I was delighted to find that the Areonavale dresses down just fine on a mil-strap. During the past couple of sweltering months I’ve had the Aeronavale on navy blue nylon and paired it with everything from shabby old work shirts and tattered khakis for Saturday schluffing to swim trunks and a rash-guard while paddle boarding. The Aeronavale’s versatility keeps this watch on my wrist far more than I had anticipated, and despite owning it for only a couple months, it is already my most worn watch this year.

The Bell & Ross Aeronavale retails for $2,990 on the leather with deployant clasp and $3,300 on the steel bracelet. Bell & Ross

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Undercover Wrist: Six Noteworthy Camouflage Watches

Not just intended for outdoor recreation these days, camouflage has emerged as a trendy and bold alternative for your daily wristwear. Found on both watch straps and dials, the military-focused hue isn’t one normally associated with the luxury world of watchmaking but it has evolved into a distinct look for those in search of a design that blurs the line between tactical and tony. With more and more watch brands embracing camouflage, it’s easy to get lost in the (horological) woods, so here’s our guide to six of the more noteworthy introductions from the past few years.

At SIHH 2018, Audemars Piguet debuted dozens of new timepieces. One of the more controversial pieces was a Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph that featured a camouflage strap, a khaki-green ceramic bezel, and a beige dial. While the strap definitely embodies the camouflage “look,” it’s the bezel and dial combination that really stand out. The beige oozes a sort of creamy charisma that matches seamlessly with the brown subdials and almost forest-green bezel. It’s priced at $31,000. You can read more here.

The Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Chronograph with a Khaki Green Bezel and Camouflage Strap
Bell & Ross was one of the trailblazers in the camouflage race with the look being a mainstay in the brand’s lineup since 2007. The latest update came last summer with the release of the BR03-92 Black Camo. For the dark dial, the brand developed an original, military-style tricolor coating with a patchwork of matte gray tones that simulate the camouflage used by elite military commandos for stealth missions. The 42-mm case is made of black ceramic with a matte finish – another nod to actual mission utility, as it renders the watch nearly undetectable in the dark and helps to avoid unwanted reflections. Ceramic was chosen as the case material for other practical reasons: it is almost entirely scratch resistant, tougher yet lighter than steel, hypoallergenic, and heat resistant enough to wear in the world’s most brutally hot battle zones. Inside the case, which is water resistant to 100 meters, the watch’s self-winding movement, Caliber BR-CAl.302 (based on a Sellita SW300-1), performs its own mission, powering the hours, minutes, central seconds and date and amassing a 38-hour power reserve when fully wound. The watch is available on either a black rubber strap or an “ultra-resilient” black synthetic fabric strap, both with pin buckles made of black PVD-coated steel. The price is $3,800. You can read more here.

First released at Baselworld 2016, the Graham Chronofighter Black Arrow was an extension of the Chronofighter range with a military bent. Available in four different colors – blue, gray, beige and green – the watches were noted for featuring a telemeter complication at 3 o’clock. A telemeter can measure distances between an event and an observer based on the speed of sound, so this new lineup has a practical military application compared to a time-and-date-only watch. The 47-mm watch has a ceramic bezel and features a 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock. Inside the watch is the g1747 movement with a 48-hour power reserve. It’s priced at $8,050.

In 2017, TAG Heuer introduced a heavy-duty version of its Aquaracer with a blue camouflage dial. Water resistant up to 300 meters and powered by the brand’s automatic Calibre 5, the watch is enclosed in a 43-mm titanium case and has an anti-reflective flat sapphire crystal (for photo or tactical ops). The blue dial is a seamless mix of subdued style and military influence, making it ideal for the adventurous watch enthusiast. Price: $2,800.

In 2017, Anonimo updated its Militare Alpini with two new camouflage chronograph options. The bronze model comes in either brown or khaki green and features a guilloché-style dial that updates its military look. The 43-mm watch has the typical identifiers of an Anonimo Militare timepiece, namely the crown at 12 o’clock with its patented protector, and the 12, 4 and 8 o’clock numerals enlarged and in focus to form the “A” of Anonimo. Inside the watch is a Sellita SW300 automatic movement with a Dubois Dépraz 2035 chronograph module developed exclusively for the brand. It has a power reserve of 42 hours. on the titanium caseback? An image of the Matterhorn, the iconic mountain that, like Anonimo, has a foot in both Italy and Switzerland. Both brown and khaki-green versions are limited to 97 total pieces each and are priced at $5,390. For a hands-on review of the khaki-green-dialed model, click here.

The sole German brand on this list, Sinn released the U1 Camouflage in 2016 as a limited edition of 500. The watch is completely made from bead-blasted german submarine steel and has a water resistance rating of 1,000 meters. The surface of the bezel has been hardened using Tegiment Technology – a proprietary metal hardening technique – to make it scratch resistant. Inside the watch is the Sellita SW 200-1, with a 38-hour power reserve. The 44-mm watch comes on a matching green silicone strap, with an additional olive textile strap to switch. It’s priced at $2,160.

10 Milestone Moments in the History of the Wristwatch

Today it is common for a man to wear a watch on his wrist, but it was a different story around 100 years ago. World War I, which started in 1914 and ended in 1918, brought to the battlefield much that was new — airplanes, mustard gas, military tanks. It also brought something new to civilian society: wristwatches, formerly restricted to ladies, became military-issue equipment, supplanting pocketwatches in popularity among gentlemen. Soldiers returning home from the war brought their wristwatch-wearing habit with them, thus beginning the fascinating history of the wristwatch, an invention that has become an integral part of our modern life. In this article, you’ll discover 10 milestone moments from the first 100 years of the wristwatch’s history. It is an excerpt of the feature “A Wristwatch Timeline,” which you can download from the WatchTime Shop.


1. Breitling Chronograph

Breitling: Chronograph, 1915
Breitling: Chronograph, 1915

1915: Breitling launches one of the first wrist-worn chronographs. It features something new: a push-piece at 2 o’clock, separate from the winding crown, rather than integrated into it as on the pocketwatch chronographs of the time.

2. Cartier Tank

Cartier: Tank, 1919
Cartier: Tank, 1919

1919: Cartier introduces the Tank watch. The company says that the shape of the case sides was inspired by the treads on military tanks, which were first used in WWI.

3. LeCoultre & Cie. and Jaeger Reverso

Le Coultre&Cie and Jaeger: Reverso, 1931
Le Coultre & Cie and Jaeger: Reverso, 1931

1931: The Swiss company LeCoultre & Cie. and the French firm Jaeger collaborate to bring out the Reverso, whose case can be slid sideways and flipped over to protect its crystal. (The two companies will merge in 1937.)

4. John Harwood designs the winding mechanism

British watchmaker John Harwood, 1926
British watchmaker John Harwood, 1926

1926: Fortis introduces the first wristwatch with an automatic winding rotor. The winding mechanism was designed by the British watchmaker John Harwood, who modeled it on the one that Abraham-Louis Perrelet devised for pocketwatches in the 18th century.

5. IWC’s First Pilot’s Watch

IWC Schaffhausen: First Pilot's Watch, 1936
IWC Schaffhausen: First Pilot’s Watch, 1936

1936: IWC Schaffhausen makes its first pilots’ watch, which it calls the Special Watch for Pilots. It has a rotating bezel for measuring elapsed times.

6. A. Lange & Söhne’s factory is destroyed

A. Lange & Söhne: Company building destroyed, 1945
A. Lange & Söhne’s company building was destroyed in 1945

1945: Russian planes bomb the A. Lange & Söhne factory in Glashütte, Germany, nearly destroying it just hours before the armistice is signed.

7. First automatic chronographs

Zenith: Movement El Primero, 1969
Zenith El Primero movement, 1969

1969: The world’s first automatic chronographs are introduced. One, Caliber 6139, the first to hit the market, is from Seiko; another, the now-famous El Primero, is from Zenith; and a third, Caliber 11, is the work of a consortium of companies: Heuer-Leonidas, Breitling, Dubois Dépraz, Büren, and Hamilton.

8. Jean-Claude Biver and Jacques Piguet buy Blancpain

Jean-Claude Biver, 1983
Jean-Claude Biver, 1983

1983 Jean-Claude Biver and Jacques Piguet, head of the Frédéric Piguet movement manufacturer, buy the defunct Blancpain brand and relaunch it as an all-mechanical-watch brand with movements supplied by Frédéric Piguet.

9. SMH, now known as Swatch Group, is formed

Nicolas Hayek, SMH CEO 1983
Nicolas Hayek, SMH CEO, 1983

1983: The two financially troubled Swiss watch conglomerates ASUAG and SSIH are merged to form SMH (Societé Suisse de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie), now known as the Swatch Group. Nicolas Hayek engineers the merger and becomes CEO.

10. Rolex’s new Cosmograph Daytona

Rolex: new Cosmograph Daytona, 2000
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, 2000

2000 Rolex launches a new version of the Cosmograph Daytona containing the new, in-house Caliber 4130. The introduction means that all Rolex-brand mechanical watches now have in-house movements.

These milestones are part of our 12-page timeline devoted to chronicling the first 100 years of the wristwatch’s history. Download it now for just $2.99 from the WatchTime Shop!

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Bell Ross Adds New Replica Watches to their Vintage Collection, Including a Limited Edition Bronze Chronograph

Bell & Ross as a brand is perhaps best known for their square shaped watches that strongly resemble aircraft instrument panels. While those watches have a definite cult following, the brand also produces watches in a far more traditional style, often with a focus on military watch designs of the past. When it comes to “new vintage” watches, Bell & Ross, as a brand, is something of a sleeper hit. Having been created in the early 90s, the brand doesn’t have a back catalog of timepieces to reintroduce to the public. While some might see vintage inspired watches coming from a new brand as opportunistic, one could also choose to see it as an opportunity to really refine a style of design. Over the years, Bell & Ross has gradually become increasingly adept at something few brands can manage: creating watches that have the appearance of something historic, but are actually, in their own way, fresh and modern. Their three newest releases are case in point, so let’s jump in.


Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Blue

  • Case Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: Blue
  • Dimensions: 41mm 
  • Crystal: Sapphire    
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Crown: Screw down        
  • Movement: BR-CAL.303
  • Strap/bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet, elastic canvas strap
  • Price: $3,200 – $,3500
  • Reference Number: BRV293-BLU-ST
  • Expected Release: February 2020

Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Green

  • Case Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: Green
  • Dimensions: 41mm 
  • Crystal: Sapphire    
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Crown: Screw down        
  • Movement: BR-CAL.302
  • Strap/bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet, elastic canvas strap
  • Price: $2,990 – $3,300
  • Reference Number: BRV-292-MKA-ST
  • Expected Release: March 2020

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze

  • Case Material: Bronze
  • Dial: Blue
  • Dimensions: 41mm 
  • Crystal: Sapphire    
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Crown: Screw down        
  • Movement: BR-CAL.301
  • Strap/bracelet: Elastic canvas strap
  • Price: $5,200
  • Reference Number: BRV294-BLU-BR/SF
  • Expected Release: April 2020

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First up is the BR V2-93 GMT Blue, a new take on a GMT the brand first launched in 2018. This version has a bold blue dial, and its rotating 24 hour bezel makes it a compelling choice for professional aviators who need to track as many as three time zones simultaneously as it does for leisure travelers, who just need a good solid watch that lets them keep up with their home time. The GMT’s styling is sleek and sporty, with sword hands and a bezel insert in anodized aluminum providing nice vintage touches. 

The BR V2-92 Military Green is derived from Bell & Ross’s “LUM” collection, and is the brand’s version of an all purpose tool watch. The drab green dial has heavy military vibes, evoking both khaki camouflage and wide open spaces that field watches were made for. Small details abound, my favorite being the color matched date disk at 4:30. The green tone of the dial is this watch’s strongest asset, and to break that up with a white or black date window would have really thrown off the design. 

Lastly, the BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze is at once a departure from the other newly introduced watches in this lineup, but also very much in the same vein. This new Aéronavale chronograph, part of a series of watches inspired by the aviation branch of the French navy (but not actually sanctioned by them in any way), maintains a traditional case shape with very clear vintage inspired lines and proportions, but has been styled with an iridescent blue dial and a warm, bronze case. At a glance, of course, the yet-to-patina bronze makes you think of precious metals, giving the BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze an heir of something fairly formal and refined. While this watch can certainly be dressed up, in terms of specs it’s every bit as robust as the other watches in this series, with a sapphire crystal, modern Swiss movement, and 100 meters of water resistance.

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The two register chronograph layout keeps busyness on the dial to a minimum, allowing the blue and contrasting bronze elements to be the star of the show. While the BR V2-93 GMT in blue and the BR V2-92 in green are permanent addtions to the Bell & Ross catalog, this BR V2-94 Aéronavale in bronze is limited to 999 pieces. 

Also of note with the two non-limited watches in this collection is that they can each be purchased on either a stainless steel bracelet. or canvas strap that Bell & Ross tells us has an elastic quality (the Aéronavale is only available on a strap). While the conventional wisdom is that one should always opt for the bracelet option to keep potential future accessory costs down, the straps appear to be nicely matched to each watch, and offer a great casual look that really complements the vibe Bell & Ross is going for here.

There’s something almost whimsical about Bell & Ross’s new-vintage creations. As with any watch, you’ll dig the design or you won’t, but for watch fans who are after something that is clearly indebted to designs of the past but still offers something new, Bell & Ross is worth looking at. These are not painstakingly reproduced replicas of watches from a generation ago, but simply impressions of what those watches looked and felt like. Bell & Ross

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Time Tools: 8 Tool Watches From Luxury Brands

The phrase “tool watch” was originally coined to describe watches that serve as tools to accomplish specific tasks, such as a divers’ watch with a rotatable bezel and high resistance to pressure that is designed to be used underwater. And while you wouldn’t want to use these tool watches to hammer nails, they emphasize functionality and are robust, accurate, legible and (ideally) not excessively expensive in case they suffer a scratch or two during rough usage. In this article from our archives, we present eight of them.

1. ORIS BIG CROWN PROPILOT DATE ($1,550)

Oris Big Crown ProPilot
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Date

This pilots’ watch from Oris achieves optimal legibility thanks to its matte dial and impossible-to-overlook hands and numerals, which are coated with plenty of luminous material. The big crown can be operated while wearing gloves. The textile strap is steplessly adjustable thanks to a clamping system; the clasp works like the buckle on a seatbelt aboard an aircraft. With a date display on its dial and a time- tested automatic movement inside its case, this watch offers everything you need. Stainless steel, 41 mm, Sellita SW 220, automatic

2. TUDOR PELAGOS LHD ($4,400)

Tudor Pelagos LHD
Tudor Pelagos LHD

The letters “LHD” in the name of this divers’ watch stand for “left-hand drive,” like a car with its steering wheel on the left. For a watch, LHD means that the crown is located opposite its usual position. This is convenient for a southpaw who wears the watch on his right wrist. But this watch can also be worn on the left wrist, thus keeping the crown especially well protected against impacts. Tudor’s own auto- matic movement has earned a chronometer certificate and accordingly runs with great precision. The titanium case is extremely resistant to salt- water and can resist water pressure to a depth of 500 meters. A helium-release valve rounds out the professional equipment. Titanium, 42 mm, manufacture Caliber MT5612, automatic; click here for more details.

3. CERTINA DS ACTION DIVER AUTOMATIC ($895)

Certina DS Action Diver
Certina DS Action Diver Automatic

The DS Action Diver Automatic upholds the ISO standard for divers’ watches. The stainless-steel case is water resistant to 200 meters and has a rotatable bezel with a diving scale. The dial has luminous indexes, along with plenty of luminous material on the hands to assure that the face is always clearly legible, even underwater and in the dark. The time-tested automatic movement and the robust stainless-steel bracelet equip this timepiece for every mission. The price is appealing, too. Stainless steel, 43.2 mm, ETA 2824, automatic.

4. SEIKO PROSPEX AUTOMATIC DIVER’S ($495)

Seiko Prospex Diver
Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver’s

Nicknamed “Turtle” because of the shape of its case, the Prospex Automatic Diver’s was introduced in the 1970s. With an indestructible urethane wristband, a case that resists water pressure to a depth of 200 meters, and a unidirectional rotatable bezel, this watch is optimally equipped to accompany a diver underwater. And despite its low price, it has a self-winding manufacture movement. Seiko makes the crystal from Hardlex, which isn’t quite as scratch-resistant as sapphire, but nonetheless harder than ordinary mineral crystal. Stainless steel, 44 mm, manufacture Caliber 4R36, automatic.

5. TAG HEUER AQUARACER 300M CALIBRE 5 ($2,800)

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5
TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M Calibre 5

This classic divers’ watch from TAG Heuer has a trendy military look with a black titanium case, sand-colored textile strap, and sand-colored elements and gray luminous material on the dial. The watch has plenty to offer from a functional standpoint, too: Black titanium-carbide coating resists scratches and the screwed crown contributes toward achieving pressure resistance to a depth of 300 meters. The nonreflective treatment on the sapphire crystal helps assure good legibility. Titanium coated with titanium carbide, 43 mm, ETA 2824 or Sellita SW 200, automatic.

6. BREITLING AVENGER BLACKBIRD ($5,105)

Breitling Avenger Blackbird
Breitling Avenger Blackbird

The militarily inspired Avenger Blackbird has a distinctive 48-mm case made of DLC-coated titanium. The coating helps prevent reflections from light, which could betray its wearer’s location. With a unidirectional rotatable bezel, screwed crown, and water resistance to 300 meters, this timepiece is also suitable for diving. In addition to the case, the dial and textile strap are also black. The luminous material on the hands and indexes is beige in daylight conditions. Breitling’s Caliber 17 is based on an ETA 2824 movement and has earned a chronometer certificate to confirm its accuracy. DLC-coated titanium, 48 mm, ETA 2824, automatic; for more on the Blackbird, click here.)

7. ROLEX EXPLORER II ($8,100)

Rolex Explorer II
Rolex Explorer II

This watch, which debuted in 1971, is made for adventurers, researchers and expedition members. Equipped with a second time zone, the continually updated design has become iconic. This model epitomizes a tool watch, although its high price might make its wearer feel annoyed if the case should suffer a scratch or two. The 904L stainless steel that Rolex uses is more resistant to saltwater than ordinary 316L steel. And Rolex’s manufacture caliber is regarded as the sturdiest and lowest-maintenance automatic movement. Rolex’s famous accuracy is assured not only by a chronometer certificate, but also by the brand’s in-house standards, which specify that the watch be so finely adjusted that it neither gains nor loses more than two seconds per day. Stainless steel, 42 mm, manufacture Caliber 3187, automatic.

8. ALPINA ALPINER 4 AUTOMATIC ($1,395)

Alpina Alpiner 4
Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic

Developed for rugged excursions and mountain climbing, the Alpiner 4 is equipped with a sturdy, 44-mm stainless-steel case and a unidirectional rotatable bezel. A soft-iron inner case protects the automatic movement against magnetic fields. The hands and indexes are coated with white luminous material for good legibility. The screwed crown helps keep the case water resistant to 100 meters. Stainless steel, 44 mm, Sellita SW 200, automatic; more details here.)

This article appears in the July-August 2017 issue of WatchTime Magazine.

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Il Dolce Orologio: Exploring the Eclectic Watch Families of Eberhard Co.

While Italian watch enthusiasts have embraced the timepieces of Eberhard & Co. for well over a century, only a relative handful of American collectors are aware of the brand’s rich history and diverse offerings. Now, buoyed by a surprise Geneva Grand Prix win for its most historically significant model, Eberhard is making the U.S. sit up and take notice.

Eberhard Scafograf WINNER GPHG 2016 poster
The modern version of the Scafograf 300 won the Sports Watch prize at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

When we discuss the history of diving watches, we usually focus on a handful of acknowledged icons, like the Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. When we discuss important historical chronographs, we inevitably bring up Heuer, Breitling, Zenith, and Rolex’s Daytona (which, of course, for much of its existence, used a Zenith-made movement). The Daytona, Heuer’s Monaco and Carrera, and perhaps Chopard’s Mille Miglia collection tend to enter the conversation when it turns to watches connected to auto racing. All this is as it should be, though another venerable Swiss watch brand – one that was founded in 1887, yet operated for much of its existence under the radar of many American watch aficionados – makes a fairly convincing case for inclusion in the conversation. Here is a family-by-family tour through the inventions, world’s firsts, and remarkable technical and design achievements of Eberhard & Co., a Bienne-based watch manufacturer that continues to innovate after 130-plus uninterrupted years.

Eberhard & Co. factory
The original Eberhard & Co. factory building in La Chaux-de-Fonds
Georges-Lucien Eberhard - Founder
Company founder Georges-Lucien Eberhard

Evolutions in Timing: Extra-fort & Contograf

Founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds by 22-year-old entrepreneur Georges-Lucien Eberhard, whose Bernese family traced its watchmaking heritage back to the 10th century, Eberhard & Co. adopted the chronograph as one of its specialties from very early on. The company’s first chronographs were pocketwatches, which were still predominant in the early 20th century prior to World War I. The company produced its first wrist-worn chronograph in 1919, and as stopwatch technology evolved (along with the popularity of wristwatches, which had eclipsed that of pocketwatches), launched increasingly advanced models: a double-pusher chrono in 1935, a watch with an hours counter in 1938, a flyback in 1939. Eberhard chronographs were worn by Italian Royal Navy officers during these pre- and post-World War II years, pioneering the company’s strong presence in the Italian market that remains today.

The culmination of all this advancement was the launch of the Eberhard Extra-fort in the late 1940s. The Extra-fort, which took its moniker from the toughness of its case (fort means “strong” in French), was notable for its sliding push-button that enabled the user to measure intermediate times, a device introduced to the watch industry by Eberhard. The Extra-fort quickly became a leader model for the company throughout the 1950s and influenced the design of all Eberhard chronograph watches that would follow. Among these models was one still prized by collectors today, the Contograf of the 1960s, which included another new and innovative feature, a fast- changing date, in a distinctly shaped trapezoidal window at 6 o’clock, and whose minutes counter was divided into three sectors meant to help its wearer measure the duration of a telephone call.

Eberhard Extra-Fort - 1940
An Eberhard Extra-fort model from the 1940s

In the modern era, producing reliable, competitively priced chronographs remains an Eberhard specialty. In 2014, the company issued a modern version of the Contograf, in a stainless-steel 42-mm case and a ceramic, counterclockwise unidirectional bezel emblazoned with a tachymeter scale. The movement is an ETA 7750, one of the many calibers produced by the Swatch Group-owned movement producer that are used in Eberhard watches – a corporate relationship unlikely to change in the near future despite the growing trend of watch manufacturers moving to in-house production, according to Eberhard CEO Mario Peserico. “We have always had a very good relationship with ETA,” says Perserico, who has been with the company more than 25 years. “We’ve always declared that our base movements are ETA, and this allows us to maintain the price position in our core collection between about $2,000 and $7,000. The technical aspects are important, of course, but we’ve found that at least 50 percent of the reason that a client chooses a watch is its aesthetical aspects. Obviously, of course, there are some special pieces that extend that [price] range.”

Eberhard Contograf 2014
The Eberhard Contograf launched in 2014
Eberhard Extra-Fort Roue a Colonnes Grande Date
The Extra-Fort Roué à Colonnes Grande Date

One of those outliers is the Extra-fort Rouée à Colonnes Grande Date, whose first generation was a 500-piece limited edition celebrating the company’s 125th anniversary in 2012. Equipped with a column-wheel chronograph movement and the titular big date indicator at 12 o’clock, the model is one of the few Eberhard watches available in precious metal cases, with rose-gold and white-gold versions priced at $21,070. The anniversary edition also paved the way for the further expansion of the venerable Extra-fort collection, which today includes a three-hand automatic, a three-hand with power-reserve indicator, and a limited-edition Rattrapante model in either steel or rose gold.

Eberhard Scafograf 200 ad
A magazine ad for the Eberhard Scafograf 200

Diving Into History: The Scafograf

Like most Swiss watch companies at the time, Eberhard invested much research, effort and capital into the development of water-resistant watches for diving, which was growing as both a commercial and recreational pursuit during the 1950s and 1960s. The company had in fact been an early adopter, patenting the Calotte Patrouille case construction, which protected a watch’s movement from dust and humidity, as early as 1921, and building highly water-resistant watches for sporting and military use in the years before World War II. It was the launch of the Scafograf in the 1950s, however, that secured Eberhard a spot in the annals of dive-watch history. The first Scafograf, released in 1958, had a 36-mm case, water-resistant to 100 meters, and a distinctive dial, with triangular hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock; it did not have a rotating bezel, a fairly new device at the time, which first appeared on one of the Scafograf’s more well-known predecessors, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. A 200-meter Scafograf would launch just a year later, with a similar dial design and a rotating bezel (but no crown guard) added. Only 200 pieces were made of each of these early models, perhaps indicating that Eberhard found it difficult to find an audience for them, competing as they were with the Rolex Submariner, the Omega Seamaster and the aforementioned Fifty Fathoms, among many others.

Eberhard Scafograf 300 1950s
The Scafograf 300, the most influential of Eberhard’s line of dive watches, debuted in 1964.

The third generation debuted in 1964. The Scafograf 300, as its name implies, upped the water resistance to 300 meters, expanded the case dimensions to 42 mm, and streamlined the dial design. It was also the first Scafograf to be powered by a self-winding caliber. The somewhat immodestly dubbed Scafograf Super followed it in 1984, deep in the heart of the Quartz Crisis, with a quartz-powered movement, a helium-release valve, and an extreme water resistance of 1,000 meters, a depth achieved by only a handful of other watches at the time. A professional-grade offshoot of the collection, the Scafodat, with a 500-meter water resistant case, an internal rotating bezel controlled by a large crown, and a dial design reminiscent of the first two Scafograf models, debuted in 2006 and remains in the portfolio today.

Eberhard Scafograf History
The evolution of the Eberhard Scafograf

It is the design of the Scafograf 300 that appears to have best stood the test of time and trends, as it was that watch that Eberhard resurrected in spectacular fashion in 2016. Decidedly modern in many of its elements – a larger 43-mm case in stainless steel, a ceramic unidirectional bezel, Super-LumiNova on its hands, indexes and 15-minute bezel dive scale, three color options for the central seconds hand, and an integrated black rubber strap – it is nevertheless a very faithful homage to the original in an era where retro-look watches, particularly dive watches, continue to grow in popularity. Under its screwed caseback, engraved with a starfish, beats the automatic ETA 2824-2 caliber, with a 40-hour power reserve. Eberhard’s modern-day stewards were no doubt beaming with pride when the Scafograf 300 took home the Sports Watch prize at the 2016 Geneva Grand Prix, against stalwart competitors like the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark and TAG Heuer Monza.

Eberhard Scafograf Black Sheep
The Scafograf GMT “Black Sheep” Edition

In the wake of the prize-winning re-edition, Eberhard has added two more versions of the Scafograf. The Scafograf GMT, introduced in 2017, adds a triple-time-zone indication to the dial, which is offered in both blue and black, with matching rubber straps. That model’s 43-mm steel case features a stylized globe, rather than a starfish, engraved on its caseback, and its bezel, also in ceramic, is bidirectional rather than unidirectional, the better to easily use it in conjunction with the GMT hand to set additional time zones. And since the watch is more of a “desk diver” than an actual dive watch, the water resistance is dialed down to a more mainstream, though hardly pedes-trian, 100 meters. At Baselworld 2018, the brand introduced a new feminine version, the Scafograf 100, in a 38-mm steel case with ceramic bezel and mother-of-pearl dial, as well as the limited-edition “Black Sheep” version of the Scafograf GMT, in a 43-mm black DLC-coated case, black ceramic bezel insert and dial, and a contrasting orange GMT hand. “We see the term ‘Black Sheep’ in a positive sense,” says Peserico. “It is a watch for someone who wants to stand out from the crowd.”

Pursuing Power: The 8 Jours

In addition to the ongoing quest for the most waterproof watch, Eberhard has also embraced the challenge of making a self-winding watch with a lengthy power reserve. In 1997, with the mechanical watch renaissance just ramping up, the maker introduced the simply named 8 Jours (“Eight Days”) timepiece, which incorporated a new, and now patented, winding module with two overlapping springs, which together are an extra-long 1 1/2 meters in length (compared to a standard spring, which is only around 30 cm). The device enabled the base movement to amass an eight-day power reserve, thus meeting Eberhard’s goal of offering a watch that its wearer would need to wind only once per week. The watch’s unconventional, asymmetrical dial had a left-side power-reserve indicator, and its caseback featured a sapphire porthole with the bridge of the large going barrel visible through a silhouetted number 8. The original version of the 8 Jours came in a 39.5-mm case, but Eberhard, once again at the forefront of a watch industry trend, debuted the 42-mm “Grand Taille” (big size) version shortly thereafter. The “Grand Taille” case size, which emerged as a response to consumer demands in the late ’90s and early 2000s for bigger watches, has since become a fixture in nearly all of Eberhard’s collections.

Eberhard 8 Jours Grande Taille
Eberhard 8 Jours Grande Taille

Auto Racing Inspiration: Tazio Nuvolari

Eberhard’s fondness for Italian design and culture, and Italy’s embrace of the brand, also brought about one of the most enduring relationships between a watch company and an auto racing icon. Tazio Nuvolari (1892 – 1953), known as Montovano Volante or the Flying Mantuan, was a motorcycle racer turned race car driver who won 24 Grand Prix races and raced for Alfa Corse, Scuderia Ferrari and Maserati. Once dubbed “the greatest driver of the past, present and future” by none other than Ferdinand Porsche, he remains revered by fans of racing history, especially in his native Italy.

Tazio Nuvolari - Automobile Club Mantova
Tazio Nuvolari in a vintage race car

Eberhard & Co. launched the first Tazio Nuvolari Chronograph in 1992, the centenary of the racing legend’s birth. It was the brainchild of Palmiro Monti, who bought the company from the founding family in 1969 and strengthened its ties to the Italian market. “Eberhard is a Swiss brand owned since 1969 by an Italian family,” says Peserico, “but the roots stretch back even further, because when Mr. [Maurice] Eberhard of the founding family used to travel to Italy during the 1950s he was building a very strong distribution network. At that same time, Nuvolari was becoming a myth in the racing world. So the idea to build a product that would honor the memory of this great pilot was one that made sense to us.”

Eberhard Nuvolari Naked Chrono
The Tazio Nuvolari “Naked” Chronograph

A milestone piece in the Tazio Nuvolari collection came in 2013, though its inspiration traced all the way back to 1936, the year that Nuvolari drove his 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo 300 miles on New York’s Roosevelt Raceway to capture the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup. The watch that celebrated that victory was dubbed the “Naked” Chronograph, and it was the first in the family to feature a black dial with white Arabic numerals. On the technical side, the watch also incorporated a chronograph stop-pusher that was co-axial with the winding crown, a feature that debuted in Eberhard chronographs of the 1930s. In 2017, Eberhard added a three-hand automatic to the line, which had previously consisted exclusively of chronographs, to woo customers with simpler tastes and, presumably, leaner wallets. The latest addition, which premiered at Baselworld 2018, is the Nuvolari Legend, a black-dialed chronograph with big, luminescent Arabic numerals, and a vintage-look spiral tachymeter scale in km/hr in the center, overlapping the minutes counter at 12 o’clock and hour counter at 6 o’clock. The driver’s Alfa Romeo Type 12C car is emblazoned on the screw-down exhibition caseback, and the watch, avail-able in both 39.5-mm and 43-mm sizes, secures its retro look with the addition of an “antiquated” leather strap.

Eberhard Nuvolari Legend - reclining
The Eberhard Nuvolari Legend

Dashboard Design: The Chrono 4

Perhaps the most recognizable model in the contemporary Eberhard collection made its debut relatively recently, in 2001, and its DNA can also be traced to Eberhard’s connection to the Nuvolari racing mystique. The Chrono 4 – another creation of Monti, who died in 2005 – brought to the world an entirely new design for a chronograph wristwatch, one influenced by the look of the dashboards of the race cars admired by Eberhard’s large Italian audience, and one that boasts yet another Eberhard patent. Below the central skeletonized hands and unusually placed 12 o’clock date window, four overlapping subdials line up in a horizontal arrangement, displaying chronograph minutes, chronograph hours, the time on a 24-houe scale and the running seconds. To accomplish this feat, Eberhard created its own module that would modify the base ETA 2894-2 movement. “If you look at chronograph dials over the last 20 or 30 years, they are all some version of 3-6-9 or 3-6-12. We wanted to change the positioning, to create a watch on which you can read the time in a different way,” says Peserico. “It took three years to develop, partly because of the difficulty in adjusting the existing movements for the positioning of the subdials.”

Eberhard Chrono4 - original
The Eberhard Chrono 4 debuted in 2001.

Making its debut in an era when large watches were in vogue, the original 40-mm Chrono 4 swiftly begat larger models in the ensuing years, first the 43-mm Grand Taille version in 2008, and eventually an even larger iteration, the Chrono 4 Géant, (“Giant”), whose case was a hulking 46 mm, in 2010. Arguably, the larger case versions were a sensible aesthetic choice, as they allowed the horizontally aligned subdials, which due to the design needed to be quite small, to be slightly enlarged and thus more legible. All three versions continued to adopt new dial colors and case materials, such as titanium, as the collection expanded. The most avant-garde version is the “Full Injection” Géant limited edition of 2013, distinguished by its carbon-coated steel case and côtes de Genève finished dial with sporty red accents.

Eberhard Chrono 4 Full Injection Geant
The Chrono 4 “Full Injection” Géant limited edition

Since its introduction, Eberhard has tinkered further with the design of the Chrono 4, with its most extreme iteration being the tonneau- cased Temerario, whose four subdials are stacked vertically, rather than horizontally, along the dial’s right side, and whose pushers are unconventionally positioned at 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, somewhat reminiscent of a classical “bullhead” arrangement. Among the three patented innovations in this model are the clever crown-access system, which uses a hidden lever beneath the case to pop open the lid of the chamber that conceals the winding crown at 12 o’clock.

With Eberhard & Co. attaining a higher international profile after the GPHG prize, Peserico knows the time has come, after many years of spotty U.S. distribution, to pursue a larger footprint in the U.S. market. “We’ve been in the U.S. for several years, through some rocky times and some less rocky times,” he says. “The brand has always been there and hasn’t changed, but local distribution at times was difficult. But we think we have found the solutions. We have partners, we’ll be at some events, and we will be helping dealers with communication. We want to rebuild the American market because it is a market with huge potential. It’s only a matter of time.”

This article originally appeared in the September-October 2018 issue of WatchTime.

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Buying a Chronograph? Here Are 10 Things You Should Know

Sometimes, the analysis of which watch to buy proceeds little further than, “Wow, that one looks cool.” Chronographs, however, are often thought of as “tool watches,” and when it comes to tools, you want the right one for the job. To guide your choice we offer 10 factors to consider when selecting a chronograph, to help make sure it suits your wants and your needs.

1. It’s the Way That You Use It

daytona opener new

Salesman: “How will you use your chronograph?” Customer: “Use it? I hadn’t thought about that.” Chronographs are not just for timing races – they offer many practical uses. Tracking cooking times, parking meters, walks or runs, bike rides, exercise routines, meetings, and guaranteed pizza delivery are often cited. So is determining the shortest commuting route. With your chronograph, you can find out how long an “instant” oil change really takes. Or, try this: when they tell you your table will be ready in five minutes, press the start button. When your wife says she will be ready in five minutes, press the… no, wait, that’s a bad idea.

Lawyers and others who sell units of time can track billable hours. Or you can pass the time by measuring intervals spent stuck in traffic, watching TV commercials, or waiting for the doctor/dentist. Activate your chronograph for a short time when you have an idea you want to remember. Later, when you see the odd elapsed time, it will jog your memory (assuming the idea is still in there). Other uses require that the watch have particular features. For example, most chronographs can’t be operated under water, and many can’t time hours-long events. Some chronographs are designed to run continuously, while others are not (more on this later). Choose carefully if these are features you desire.

2. Can You See Me Now?

missing_seconds_detail

Legibility – the easy-to-read display of elapsed times – can no longer be taken for granted. In days gone by, manufacturers  assumed that chronographs would be used and relied upon, so legible elapsed times were a given. Today, elapsed-time indications are often sacrificed on the altar of fashion. Manufacturers will ditch them in a second for the sake of a design they think will induce the customer to say, “That one looks really cool,” and reach for his or her wallet

overlap_subdials
Hungry subdials: the IWC’s “eat” several chronograph seconds, while the Zenith’s eat each other.

But you’ll want displays that are easy to make out when you’re using your chronograph, so pay attention to the dial, and especially to what’s missing. If you need to read the chronograph in the dark (we won’t ask what you might be timing), you’ll have to search even more diligently, as very few chronographs will suit your needs.

3. The Origin of the Species

A. Lange & Söhne’s Caliber L951.6 from the Datograph Up/Down is a finely finished in-house movement.
A. Lange & Söhne’s Caliber L951.6 from the Datograph Up/Down is a finely finished in-house movement.

Chronograph movements come in a range of flavors: in-house, third-party and hybrid, integrated and modular, and more. To some, this is a virtual caste system, and place of birth and physical form confer status, or stigma, for life.

In-house chronographs are typically integrated, not modular, in design, and a column wheel usually occupies central command (more on these concepts below). In-house movements can offer fine functional finishing, careful adjustment, and the resulting smooth feel of quality. They can also be beautiful to behold. In-house production gives brands the freedom to produce singular designs, and offers control over every step in the manufacturing process. Of course, all of that requires investment. Chronographs with in-house movements tend to be rather dear, and service can be costly as well. The service is also likely to take a long time, and be performed far away. Collectors often joke about the number of frequent flier miles their timepieces have accumulated. That’s called using humor to mask pain.

Third-party movements offer their own advantages. Most have been around for awhile, or they are based on tried-and-true designs, so they are extremely reliable. Service is relatively inexpensive and can usually be handled without sending your watch overseas. Replacement parts are in ready supply. These movements are generally quite sturdy, and they can be excellent timekeepers. (ETA offers mechanical movements in various grades, and as you move up the quality ladder, the timekeeping improves. The top level is COSC-certified.) On the other hand, third-party movements are produced in large quantities, so they are not exclusive. They exhibit little or no hand work. Their components are often stamped, not milled.

Girard-Perregaux’s new chronograph caliber is an integrated, column-wheel design.
Girard-Perregaux’s new chronograph caliber is an integrated, column-wheel design.

They are rarely beautiful to behold. They tend to employ mechanisms designed primarily to reduce costs. Some of these calibers can be found in watches costing from hundreds of dollars to several thousand, even reaching into five figures, which can be distressing to those who buy in at the upper end of the spectrum.

4. Built-Ins and Add-Ons

T he Breitling Caliber 01 (above) and Rolex Caliber 4130 (below) b oth use column wheels to control the start, stop and reset functions.
The Breitling Caliber 01 (above) and Rolex Caliber 4130 (below) both use column wheels to control the start, stop and reset functions.

When it comes to chronograph movement design, purists prefer integrated to modular, because the integrated variety is designed to be a chronograph from the ground up. That means all components are optimized for that use. That can be important because a chronograph can be a “heavy” complication that requires significant power to operate. If engaging the chronograph generates a drag the base caliber was not designed to handle, that can affect timekeeping, which means the chronograph can’t measure elapsed time accurately (though most of us would never notice the split-second error). Modular movements, also called sandwich or piggyback designs, begin with a base caliber and add a chronograph mechanism mounted on a separate plate, usually on the dial side. If you want a nice view of the chronograph through the display back, an integrated movement is the way to go.

daytona column wheel lg

Some feel that in all but the finest executions, a modular construction will be less precise. The chronograph seconds hand may jump or stutter when started, the continuous seconds or the minutes hand may jump slightly when the chronograph is activated (even the date disk may move slightly), and the feel of the push-piece is not as smooth and buttery. As noted above, modular designs can also generate more amplitude-reducing drag when the chronograph is engaged. In two recent WatchTime tests, a modular chronograph’s amplitude dropped by 73.5 degrees on average when the chronograph was switched on, while an integrated model’s fell by 19.5 degrees. (The integrated model also used a vertical clutch – see below.) If you’re not sure which type of movement a given watch contains, there are some modular tip-offs. They include a high jewel count, no chronograph components visible through the display back, a date display that sits down in a hole and not directly below the dial, and a crown that is not on the same horizontal plane as the chronograph buttons (though some brands try to disguise this with oversized crowns, push-pieces, and guards).

5. Make It So

Imagine what would happen if you could activate the reset mechanism while the chronograph was running. The phrase “train wreck” comes to mind, and yes, the pun is intended. (Note to newbies: see “train” in Berner’s.) To prevent this and other disasters, chronographs employ systems to coordinate actions initiated by the push-pieces. As you might expect, there are different systems, and each has its supporters and detractors. The traditional system, favored by purists, is the column wheel, so named because the key component looks like a wheel lying on its side with a series of small, vertical columns rising up from it. Each push of a button causes the wheel to turn, and as it turns, the columns, and the spaces in between, move in small increments. This action moves the ends of levers that rest against the column wheel, and the levers control the chronograph’s start, stop and reset functions. Column wheels are traditional, expensive to manufacture and to adjust, and difficult to service. They also look great, and they provide very smooth push-piece feel. In other words, they’re made to order for luxury chronographs.

Column wheels were once ubiquitous, but some manufacturers searching for efficiencies developed cam mechanisms to take the column wheel’s place. The new system functions much like the traditional one, with an eccentric cam (a thin piece of metal with an irregular shape) replacing the column wheel. Cam systems are generally less expensive to manufacture, easier to adjust, easier to service, and not as nice looking. In use, cams generally perform as well as column wheels. NASA certified both the column-wheel and cam versions of the Omega Speedmaster for space flight. Chronographs powered by the Lemania Caliber 5100, with cam switching, were certified by several countries for military use. When the Swatch Group announced that it would halt Caliber 5100 production, watch manufacturers using the movement objected, saying it was the only caliber that could withstand large shocks without the chronograph seconds hand stopping. (The 5100 was eventually discontinued and replaced by an ETA caliber.) Finally, the ETA 7750, which is also known for being rugged, uses cam switching. If you’re looking for a tough tool watch and you don’t care about movement aesthetics, cam switching will fit the bill. If you care about tradition, a nice view through the display back, and the approval of purists, the column wheel is for you.

6. Let’s Get Engaged

An example of a vertical clutch mechanism from the Rolex Caliber 4130 chronograph movement
An example of a vertical clutch mechanism from the Rolex Caliber 4130 chronograph movement

The column wheel and cam issue orders, but other components further downstream transmit the mainspring’s energy to the stopwatch, and once again, there are competing systems. The traditional system uses horizontal or lateral coupling to transmit energy. When the start button is depressed, a wheel mounted on a moveable bridge or lever slides horizontally to link the fourth wheel, which rotates once per minute, with the chronograph center wheel, which drives the chronograph seconds hand. The intermediate sliding wheel is required because if the fourth wheel meshed directly with the chronograph center wheel, the chronograph wheel (and the seconds hand it activates) would run counterclockwise.

The horizontal meshing system is aesthetically pleasing because it enables the owner to watch the chronograph engaging and disengaging. However, meshing teeth can cause the chronograph seconds hand to jump when it starts, and because the teeth used for chronograph coupling have a different shape, or profile, than teeth used for continuous power transmission, regular or continuous chronograph use can cause the teeth to wear. The extra wheels in this system can also sap the mainspring’s energy, affecting the balance wheel’s amplitude, and so, timekeeping. The other main contender in this arena is known as the vertical clutch. Though not as aesthetically pleasing (because the chronograph engagement takes place largely out of sight), this system offers some advantages. It reduces chronograph drag, the chronograph seconds hand does not jump when started, and the chronograph can run continuously without causing excessive wear.

In simple terms, in the vertical system, the chronograph is  always “in mesh” with the timekeeping wheel train, and a clutch engages and disengages the chronograph. The clutch means smooth starts for the chronograph seconds hand, and the  “always in mesh” feature means that starting the chronograph does not generate significant additional drag. The drawbacks include cost, poor aesthetics, and the fact that the vertical clutch can be difficult to service. If you’re a traditionalist who will happily trade a bit of precision for the joy of watching your chronograph in action, the horizontal coupling system is for you. If you’re more concerned with precise starts and stops, or if you like to leave your chronograph running all the time, consider the vertical clutch variety.

7. The Need for Speed

The three wheels involved in the horizontal coupling system are highlighted in this image.
The three wheels involved in the horizontal coupling system are highlighted in this image.

There is a direct relationship between a movement’s frequency and the size of the fractions of a second it can measure. The higher the frequency, the smaller the fractions. So, as the average frequencies for wristwatch movements have increased over the years, chronographs based on those movements have become able to measure smaller and smaller fractions of seconds. Movement frequencies are often expressed in vibrations per hour, or vph. This relates to the speed of the balance wheel’s oscillations. Viewed from above, the balance wheel swings back and forth, left and right. Each swing to the left or to the right is a vibration. Each vibration, or beat, causes the seconds hand to make one jump forward.

The most common frequency for modern mechanical movements is 28,800 vph. To calculate how many vibrations that is per second, divide that rate by 3,600, which is the number of seconds in an hour (remember that vph is vibrations per hour). The answer is eight, which means that the movement is capable of measuring time to 1/8 of a second. Similarly, a watch with a frequency of 18,000 vph can time events to the nearest 1/5 of a second. A frequency of 21,600 vph yields accuracy of 1/6 of a second. A watch with a frequency of 36,000 vph can time events to the nearest 1/10 of a second. If the fellows making 1 Hz, or 7,200 vph, movements (they include the companies Grönefeld and Antoine Martin) ever decide to produce a chronograph, it will measure only half-seconds. Having mastered this bit of math, it is important to keep in mind that the movement frequency does not always translate directly to the motion of the chronograph seconds hand. That’s because the manufacturer can use gear ratios to change the rate at which the chronograph seconds hand moves around the dial. A chronograph with a 28,800-vph movement might be (and often is) geared to actually measure 1/5-second increments on the dial, not 1/8-second.

T AG Heuer’s Mikrograph can time events to the nearest 1/100-second.
TAG Heuer’s Mikrograph can time events to the nearest 1/100-second.

In recent years, some manufacturers, notably TAG Heuer, have started producing chronographs with two mainspring barrels, two wheel trains, and two escapements that run at different frequencies. The timekeeping escapement can tick along at a leisurely frequency meant for movements that run for years on end (offering low wear and a long power reserve), while the chronograph escapement can operate at a much faster frequency that allows it to measure hundredths or thousandths of a second and beyond. That faster speed means the chronograph’s mainspring unwinds quickly, so super-fast chronographs typically cannot time multi-hour events. For example, TAG Heuer’s Mikrograph, which measures to the nearest 1/100-second, can time events only up to 90 minutes in duration. If you need a chronograph that can measure specific intervals, such as 1/10s of a second, pay attention to both the movement frequency and the chronograph seconds track on the dial to make sure they meet your needs.

8. Exotic Extras

Anything one watchmaker can invent, another can make more complicated, which leads us to some exotic forms of the chronograph: the flyback and the rattrapante. The flyback, sometimes called the split-seconds flyback, can be used as a traditional chronograph, but a special feature allows the user to stop, reset, and restart the chronograph with a single push of a button, usually the one at 4 o’clock. The flyback’s drawback is that the reset mechanism makes it difficult to get a precise elapsed-time reading. When you depress the 4 o’clock push-piece, the chronograph seconds hand does not pause for you to take a reading – it instantly flies back to zero. If you’re looking at a finish line to judge when to push the button, you can’t also be looking at the watch to get the elapsed time. The flyback is much more useful when measuring fractions of a second is not required. For example, if a pilot has to execute a series of turns at specified time intervals, he can quickly reset and restart the chronograph before making each turn. Another exotic option is the rattrapante chronograph, also known as the split-seconds or doppelchronograph. Rattrapante means “catch up” or “catch again” in French, and doppelchronograph means “double chronograph” in German.

These watches have two chronograph seconds hands, one on top of the other. One, the rattrapante hand, can be operated independently of the other by means of a third push-piece, usually located at 8 or 10 o’clock. The extra seconds hand allows the timing of a second event, or splits within a single event, though with one significant limitation we will discuss momentarily. For example, in a 100-yard dash, you can start the chronograph, push the button at 8 or 10 o’clock when the first runner crosses the finish line, and the button at 2 o’clock when another runner crosses the finish line. The two chronograph seconds hands will show the two runners’ times. Pushing the rattrapante button again causes the rattrapante hand to catch up to the primary chronograph seconds hand, which is how you time splits in a longer race. For example, in a one-mile race, you might press the rattrapante button each time the runner passes a quarter-mile marker, reading the time for that split. After reading the time, you can press the rattrapante button again to reunite the chronograph seconds hands, until the next quarter-mile marker comes up. The limitation is that the rattrapante hand has no minutes counter of its own. So, you can time two events, or splits within a longer event, as long as the rattrapante hand does not have to measure more than one minute.

To overcome this limitation, you can purchase an inexpensive quartz stopwatch, or one of the most sophisticated (and, at $120,100, one of the most expensive) chronographs ever produced – the Lange Double Split, which offers a double rattrapante function – each chronograph seconds hand has its own counter on the 30-minute totalizer. The four chronograph hands (two seconds and two minutes) also have flyback functionality. And, the movement has two column wheels – one for stop-start-reset, and one for the rattrapante functions. Now that’s exotic.

9. Do You Need a Date?

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet is a beauty with whom you will not get a date.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet is a beauty with whom you will not get a date.

It’s a hard fact of life that some of the best looking and most popular modern chronographs, and many classic vintage models, do not have a date. Think Rolex Daytona, Omega Speedy Pro, IWC Portuguese, and vintage chronographs from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, and many others. Some of us want a date display, but the chronograph that has captured our hearts does not have one. That leaves the cellphone option, which, in our view, is acceptable, even for a true watch aficionado. As long as you’re wearing a watch, what you do with your phone is your business.

If you want to find out if you can live without a date display on your wrist, take a daily-wear watch and change the date so it’s wrong. Or, put a tiny bit of tape on the crystal to block the date. If after a week you have not experienced withdrawal, you’re ready for that chronograph sans date.

10. But Wait, There’s More

If Montblanc’s Vintage P ulsographe makes your heart race, you can use it to check the rate.
If Montblanc’s Vintage Pulsographe makes your heart race, you can use it to check the rate.

Adding a scale to a chronograph dial or bezel expands the range of information the timepiece can convey. Think of these scales as primitive apps that increase the chronograph’s usefulness.

One set of scales is based on the relationships between time, speed, and distance – if you know two values, you can calculate the third, and the scale makes the calculation for you. For example, a tachymeter allows you to calculate speed over a known distance, typically kilometers or miles. Most tachymeter scales start at 400, located at about eight seconds on the dial, and end at 60, at 60 seconds, or 12 o’clock. A simple example of tachymeter use involves determining the speed of a car, where time and distance are known. Start the chronograph when the car passes a mile or kilometer marker, and stop the chronograph when the car passes the next marker. Look at where the chronograph seconds hand points on the tachymeter scale, and that number represents the car’s speed.

Longines offers a chronograph with both an asthmometer and a pulsometer.
Longines offers a chronograph with both an asthmometer and a pulsometer.

The tachymeter can only measure for one minute, and it is typically graduated to show only a certain range of speeds (for example, between 60 and 400 kilometers per hour). The speeds of runners (too slow) and supersonic jets (too fast) fall outside the tachymeter’s range.

Baume_new
This Baume & Mercier features a telemeter at the edge of the dial and a tachymeter in the center.

A telemeter allows the user to calculate distance based on known speed and time. The scale is graduated using the speed of sound through the atmosphere. The scale allows the user to determine the distance to an event that can be both seen and heard. The two most widely cited examples are lightning and artillery fire. The user starts the chronograph upon seeing the flash of light and stops the chronograph when he hears the sound. The approximate distance to the event can then be read off the scale. Miles and kilometers are the most common units of distance.

This Omega Speedmaster has a traditional tachymeter bezel graduated from 60 to 500 kilometers per hour.
This Omega Speedmaster has a traditional tachymeter bezel graduated from 60 to 500 kilometers per hour.

Pulsometers and asthmometers work on the same principle to indicate a patient’s pulse or respiration rate, respectively. The scale is typically explained on the dial. For example, it may read “Gradué pour 30 pulsations” or “Graduated for 5 respirations.” The user starts the chronograph and stops it when the   indicated number of heartbeats or breaths has been counted. The seconds hand will point to the number of beats or breaths per minute on the scale.

With that, we’ve reached the end. Thoreau said, “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.” We hope this little overview helps you catch the fish that is right for you.

This article first appeared in WatchTime’s February 2014 issue.

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10 Highlights in the History of the Dive Watch

In the beginning, dive watches were pure tools: essential swimming buddies that helped keep divers on time and hence, well, alive. Today they’re something else: fashion statements, conversation pieces, rugged companions for a trip to the beach or pool. This is an excerpt from Timeline: “Dive Watches Through the Decades,” which traces the history of the dive watch from its start in the 1920s, with the invention of the first truly water-resistant cases, to 2014. (Only mechanical watches are included.)

1. Rolex Oyster (1926)

Rolex Oyster, Ref. 679, 1926
Rolex Oyster, Ref. 679, (1926)

In 1926, watches constructed especially for use by divers appear. They have insulated crowns (the crown is the chief point of entry for water into a watch case). It was also the year that Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf introduces the Oyster case, which has a screwed crown, screwed caseback, and securely sealing crystal. It is the world’s first truly water-resistant case. One year later, Wilsdorf asks Mercedes Gleitze, a stenographer vying to become the first British woman to swim the English Channel, to wear an Oyster on one of her attempts. She doesn’t make it all the way, but the Rolex she wears around her neck keeps on ticking.

2. Panerai prototypes (1936)

Panerai watch, PAMPR004, 1936
F38F
Panerai watch, PAMPR004 (1936)

The Italian Navy commissions Panerai to develop the first prototypes of a watch that will evolve into the model now known as the “Radiomir.” The watches, water resistant to 30 meters, go into production two years later. The early Radiomir watches have movements and proprietary cases – cushion shaped and 47 mm in diameter − made by Rolex. They are named for the radium that makes their dials legible even in murky water.

3. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (1953)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, initial Model, 1953
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, initial model (1953)

Blancpain presents its first dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters. (Fifty fathoms is equal to 300 feet, or about 91 meters. It is the maximum depth divers can go at the time with the equipment then available.) The watch is the result of a request by Captain Bob Maloubier, who was a secret agent for the British during WWII and then became leader of the French military’s combat diving corps. He asked Blancpain to make a watch with a black dial, large Arabic numerals, clear indications and a rotating bezel. “We wanted in effect that each of the markers be as clear as a guiding star for a shepherd,” Maloubier later recalled.

4. Panerai crown protection (1956)

Panerai crown protection, 1956
Panerai crown protection (1956)

Panerai receives a patent for a curved, crown-protecting bridge. Now a hallmark of the company’s Luminor collection, the bridge contains a locking cam lever that pushes the crown against the case so that it fits tightly against the crown’s seals.

5. Breitling’s first dive watch (1957)

Breitling Superocean, 1957
Breitling Superocean (1957)

Breitling launches its first dive watch, the Superocean. The watch is water resistant to 200 meters, thanks in part to its monocoque (i.e., one-piece) case and its especially sturdy crystal. The watch’s bezel can be locked in place so that it won’t be knocked off position during a dive. A chronograph version of the watch comes out in 1959.

6. First Rolex Sea-Dweller (1967)

First Rolex Sea-Dweller, 1967
First Rolex Sea-Dweller (1967)

Rolex introduces the Sea-Dweller, a deeper-diving version of the Submariner. Its distinguishing feature is its helium valve, through which helium that has entered the watch case during time spent in a diving chamber can be released. The watch is produced at the request of the French company COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise), which specializes in deep-diving equipment and services, chiefly for offshore oil and gas extraction. The watch is water-resistant to 610 meters.

7. First dive computer (1983)

The first dive computer is introduced. In the 1990s, the use of dive computers becomes widespread, and dive watches are relegated chiefly to the role of back-up equipment.

8. ISO invents dive watch standard (1996)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issues standard 6425, defining the features that a watch must have in order for it to be designated a “dive” watch. They include requirements for water resistance (the watch must be 25 percent more water-resistant than claimed on the dial), legibility under water, resistance to thermal shocks and ability to measure elapsed time. Standard 6425 supplants the standard issued in 1984 and is still in effect today.

9. CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet (2009)

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet, 2009
CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet (2009)

CX Swiss Military unveils the 20,000 Feet, which breaks the Rolex Deepsea’s record for water resistance (20,000 feet is equal to about 6,100 meters) and enters the Guinness Book of Records. (CX Swiss Military had held the deepness record from 2005 until the Deepsea appeared in 2008.) The watch is a chronograph with a 28.5-mm-thick case and a domed back. According to CX Swiss Military, it is actually water-resistant to 7,500 meters, thus providing the 25-percent margin of safety required to meet ISO 6425.

10. IWC Aquatimer collection (2014)

IWC Aquatimer Deep Two, 2014
IWC Aquatimer Deep Two (2014)

IWC updates its Aquatimer collection, fitting it with an outer, bidirectional bezel and an inner, unidirectional one. The most impermeable of the new Aquatimer models, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000, is water resistant to 2,000 meters.

Discover the complete history of the dive watch in our download — available in the WatchTime Shop — which includes even more highlights and firsts, like the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 and the first Omega Seamaster!

 

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