It’s the end of the month, and it’s time for another round-up. For May, we recap two very popular watches from Baselworld 2019 — the Rolex Yacht-Master 226659 in white gold and the Zodiac Aerospace GMT. We also discuss the important role that Rolex plays in the luxury watch industry and also the ludicrousness of how watches in precious metals are priced. Finally, we have an in-depth review of the very interesting and divisive Konstantin Chaykin J0ker watch.
From around the web, we turn our spotlight onto Japan with a feature of watch-shopping spots and also a visit to Seiko’s fabled Micro Artist Division. We then turn our attention to an interview with Wei Koh, who speaks openly about the early days of his magazine — Revolution — and the watch industry. And lastly, we have new evidence that proves that early Panerai watches were, in fact, made by Rolex and not Panerai themselves.
1. ROLEX YACHT-MASTER 42 226659 WATCH & THE MESSAGE IT SENDS TO OTHER TIMEPIECE FANS
The Rolex Yacht-Master has always confounded me. It looks so much like the Submariner that I have always questioned its purpose and reason for existence. And this year, Rolex bemused me even further when they released a new 42mm-wide version of the Yacht-Master in white gold with a black dial and a black bezel. Now, from afar, it’s very easy to mistake it for a Submariner. But, this is a $30,000 watch, mind you, which raises the question: Just what kind of a person buys this watch? We think we might have the answer.
2. OMEGA SPEEDMASTER APOLLO 11 50TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION WATCH IN STAINLESS STEEL
The hottest new watch of May has got to be Omega’s new Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited-Edition watch, which, as its long name suggests, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. As we all know, the moon landing was a milestone event for human civilization, and Omega played a huge role in it by providing watches for the mission. It is fitting that Omega pulled out all the stops for this important piece, with moonshine gold accents, a laser-engraved dial and caseback, and an all-new Master Chronometer-certified movement that is the successor to the legendary caliber 1861.
3. KONSTANTIN CHAYKIN JOKER WATCH REVIEW
To be honest, the Konstantin Chaykin Joker was a watch that completely flew under my radar. I heard about it and I had seen pictures of it, but I never dug deeper. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I found out it was under $8,000 and that all had been sold out. For sure, the Joker theme won’t be to everyone’s taste but I especially like watches that have a whimsical quality about them. And then there’s the watch’s horological credentials. The base movement might be an ETA but it features an in-house module, and everything else about the watch — case, dial, crown, bezel, plates, and more — is done in-house at the Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture in Moscow. It’s a watch that deserves a lot more recognition and respect.
4. ZODIAC AEROSPACE GMT WATCH HANDS-ON
It is any wonder at all that the Zodiac Aerospace GMT was one of the standout watches from Baselworld 2019? It’s a thoroughly alluring watch that combines well-judged vintage aesthetics with the excellent use of colors, functionality, a palatable price tag, and exclusivity. We could really do with more watches that are as thoughtful and attentive as these are. And so it should come as no surprise that they are all sold out. If you weren’t one of the lucky few that managed to get one, here’s a closer look at what you missed out on.
5. TODAY’S LUXURY WATCH MARKET NEEDS FAIRLY PRICED PRECIOUS METAL WATCHES
Have you noticed that the price of gold versions of watches is never commensurate with the actual value of gold or even the rarity of an individual model? For example, the Grand Seiko SBGK005 in stainless steel from the new Elegance Collection is $7,400, but that goes up to $19,000 in yellow gold, and — wait for it — $29,000 in rose gold. That makes absolutely no sense at all, since the prices of yellow gold and rose gold only differ slightly. This observation is true not just for Grand Seiko but also for many other watch brands. Yes, gold costs more, but there should be some semblance of logic and rationality when it comes to the pricing structure of gold watches vs. their stainless steel counterparts.
6. TODAY’S TRADITIONAL WATCH INDUSTRY CAN’T EXIST WITHOUT WHAT ROLEX IS SELLING
There’s no denying that Rolex is the most famous of watch brands. Seasoned watch-lovers also know Rolex as a maker of highly reliable watches. But its influence and significance in the watch industry actually spreads far wider. In fact, our editor-in-chief Ariel Adams believes that Rolex is singularly responsible for generating much, if not all, of the demand for luxury watches. Is this hyperbole? Perhaps, but Ariel makes a very strong case for the role that Rolex plays in this industry and also elucidates the brand’s mastery of marketing and advertising.
Now read our top watch stories from across the web.