In this month’s roundup, we begin in Germany with Leica’s very first watches. These aren’t just watches slapped on Lecia logos. This is truly Leica’s very own take on what a Leica watch should be. Next, we take a look at two quartz watches — one from G-Shock and another from Girard-Perregaux. Finally, we end in China where a Chinese watch brand is looking to redefine what it means to be considered haute horology.
From around the web, we take a look at a fascinating vintage Panerai watch with a uniquely weathered dial. Moving on, we ponder on the topic of quartz watches and why it is that they have such a nasty reputation among enthusiasts. Next, travel back in time to learn more about the special relationship between Patek Philippe and its now-defunct Brazilian retailer Gondolo & Labouriau.
1. HANDS-ON WITH THE LEICA L2 WATCH
In 2018, Leica surprised watch enthusiasts when it announced that it was launching its own watch collection. It might have taken a while, but the watches are finally ready. And after handling the L2, we now know just how serious Leica is about this endeavor. This isn’t just a watch with a Leica logo — the L2 features a dual-time complication with a rotating inner bezel and day/night indicator. It also has a cool zero-reset function that is activated by pushing down on the crown, which has been styled to look like a shutter button. Furthermore, it’s a manual-wind, and the movement, visible through the display caseback, has an interesting architecture. This is a serious bit of kit.
2. HANDS-ON: CELADON HAUTE HORLOGERIE CENTURY WATCHES BOAST ‘MADE IN CHINA WITH PRIDE’
The countries most associated with haute horology are Switzerland, Germany, and, perhaps, Japan. China is not typically in that conversation, but a small brand wants to change that. The brand in question is Celadon Haute Horlogerie, whose mission statement is “Made in China with Pride.” Recently, the brand launched its Celadon HH Century watch collection, which consists of two models featuring cloisonné enamel dials and a third that has a regulator dial configuration. The enamel dial watches are impressive. And the dials are said to be produced by a third-generation grandmaster enamel artist that is rumored to have worked on dials for major Swiss and German brands. Best of all, you can pick up one of these for much less than what you’d pay for a Rolex Submariner.
3. HANDS-ON: CASIO G-SHOCK G-STEEL GSTB400-1A WATCH
The fun thing about G-Shock is that there are always new models and colorways to look forward to. There are so many that only the most diehard collectors will be able to keep track of them. And one of the newer editions that caught our eye recently is the GST-B400. This model is notable because it’s G-Shock’s slimmest G-Steel watch yet. At 12.9mm-thick, it is a lot more wearable than earlier G-Steel models, which were hulking beasts — and that is saying something considering how big some G-Shocks can be. Despite the slimmer dimensions, the GST-B400 still has a carbon core guard structure and all the features you’d expect from a relatively high-end G-Shock watch.
4. CROWDS COME FOR SEIKO WATCHES WITH ABLOGTOWATCH IN LOS ANGELES
2021 was an important year for Seiko because it marked the 140th anniversary of the brand. To celebrate, aBlogtoWatch and Feldmar Watch Co. in Los Angeles hosted guests to show off the latest Seiko models. Apart from Seiko’s anniversary, the event was notable because it was the first event that the Feldmar Watch Co. had organized since the start of the pandemic. It feels good to be out and about again talking watches with like-minded enthusiasts.
5. HANDS-ON: GIRARD-PERREGAUX DEBUTS CASQUETTE 2.0 WATCH
Introduced in 1976, the Casquette was one of Girard-Perregaux’s responses to the Quartz Crisis. Even in the wild ’70s, the Casquette was a funky watch. It has a driver-style display, unusual case design, and only around 8,000 units were said to be made. Girard-Perregaux has wisely decided to revive the Casquette for 2022. The new watch is extremely faithful to the original, but it’s made with modern materials — black ceramic and grade 5 titanium, to be exact — and it’s executed with greater refinement and flair. I know many readers turn their noses up at quartz watches, but tell me this isn’t cool?