April 30, 2019
by Kenny Yeo
The month of April is a time of contemplation and reflection. It is a time to slowly digest, understand, and compose our thoughts and reactions to the new watches that were released just a month before at Baselworld 2019. Despite the absence of the Swatch Group, there were still a lot of new watches introduced and some of the most popular watches of the month include Nomos’ new Club Sport Neomatik 42mm, a funky Rolex GMT-Master II with a meteorite dial, and of course, Tudor’s highly controversial and divisive new Black Bay P01. We also take a closer look at Patek Philippe’s new Calatrava Weekly Calendar 5212A, which happens to be one of my favorite new watches from Basel this year.
From around the Web, we have an in-depth analysis of Grand Seiko’s new 9R02 Spring Drive caliber that explores why it is a worthy and significant addition to Grand Seiko’s range of Spring Drive calibers. Finally, we have a list of what could very well be the six most overused words in watch journalism.
No coverage of Baselworld would be complete without a roundup of our favorite watches from the show. But instead of just plainly sharing our top watches from the show, we are introducing categories. So, what you will see here is a list of our favorite entry-level watches, favorite high-end watches, favorite line extensions of existing watches, and favorite new product line watches. What are you waiting for? Hit the list below for some of the most interesting watches of Baselworld 2019.
It’s no secret that Nomos is one of the most popular watch brands among readers of this site. And why wouldn’t it be? Nomos offers well-made watches with honest movements at a palatable price. Not surprisingly, then, one of the most talked-about watches from Baselworld 2019 was the new Club Sport Neomatik. This is possibly the sportiest watch that the German brand makes. It comes in a large (by Nomos’ standards) 42mm stainless steel case and bracelet. It is also water-resistant to 300 meters. And yet, it still retains very much of the brand’s unique design cues and aesthetics. If you have always wanted a Nomos that was more masculine and rugged, this is it.
What’s the most discussed and controversial watch of Baselworld 2019? There’s a very good chance that it is the Tudor Black Bay P01. The dial is traditional Black Bay stuff, with the signature Snowflake hour hands, diamond lollipop seconds hand, and large lume plots. However, the case design is unlike anything else that Tudor or even Rolex makes. It looks large, unwieldy, and it even features a rather unusual bezel locking system. Here’s our take on this watch after handling it at Baselworld 2019.
One watch I have always felt was underrated and overlooked is the Oceanographer Devil Diver from Bulova. The watch is, essentially, a reissue of an old Bulova diver, and it surprises me to this day that it is seldom mentioned when people talk about the best vintage-inspired watches or affordable divers. It’s always some Tudor or Oris, but the Devil Diver from Bulova is really quite spectacular. Sure, it might have a case that is very similar to the cheaper Seiko Turtle, but the Oceanographer Devil Diver counters with a more distinctive dial with striking colors and unique-looking hour markers. I won’t hesitate to say that it is one of my favorite dive watches.
The United States used to be a watchmaking powerhouse but a series of unfortunate events, including the Great Depression and then the second World War, soon resulted in the demise of American watchmaking. Hamilton, a brand born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is now owned by the Swiss Swatch Group, while other brands like Elgin and Waltham are no longer around. However, American watchmaking is enjoying a resurgence of sorts, and Timex’s new American Documents watches are one of the most significant watches of this renaissance. This is because virtually every component of the watch, apart from the movement (Swiss Ronda), is made in the U.S. — the case, dial, hands, crystal, and even the strap. Better yet, Timex said these watches are only the beginning, which means even bigger things are in store for American watchmaking.
It is often said that Rolex is a very conservative brand and, while that is mostly true, the green giant of Geneva does have its crazy streaks. Need proof? Remember the 50th Daytona in platinum? How about the GMT-Master II 116759SARU? Yeah, from time to time, Rolex does some pretty wacky and inexplicable things. And one of its newest oddball watches is the GMT-Master II 126719BLRO, which is really a Pepsi GMT in white gold and with a rather stunning-looking but equally unusual meteorite dial — which makes us wonder, why a meteorite dial? And who is this watch really for?
One of my favorite new releases from Baselworld 2019 comes from Patek Philippe and it is the Calatrava Weekly Calendar 5212A. First of all, it comes in stainless steel, so it isn’t crazy expensive. But also importantly, it has a playful aesthetic and a quirky and seldom seen complication. As its name so clearly suggests, it is a weekly calendar, and so it shows the week of the year around the dial, along with the date and day of the week. With the weekly calendar, owners can quickly see how much of the year has passed or is left, and this is apparently very useful in business environments. It also features a new movement with a hacking mechanism.
Now read our top watch stories from across the web.
2019 is a milestone year for Grand Seiko, as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of its unique Spring Drive movement. To mark the occasion, Grand Seiko released a handful of limited-edition 20th-anniversary models. What’s really worth sitting up and taking note of, however, is the new 9R02 movement that powers two of them. This new movement is derived from 7R14 movement found in the Credor Eichi II but with a number of improvements. Most tellingly, the power reserve has been increased, thanks to a pair of stacked mainsprings and the Torque Return System. But technical improvements aside, what’s really worth looking into is the level of finishing found on the new 9R02 movement. Still think Grand Seiko can’t hold a candle to the Swiss?
Source: Watches by SJX