We are starting this month’s round-up with a couple of tool watches. First up is a close look at the Omega Seamaster 300M 007 “No Time To Die” watch. This watch not only plays a role in the film, it also commemorates Daniel Craig’s last outing as the super-spy James Bond. Next, we examine Rolex’s newest version of the Explorer II, the Ref. 226570, to see what else has changed besides the new movement.
From around the Web, we are starting with an in-depth look at Patek Philippe’s new Calatrava, the Ref. 6119 “Clous de Paris.” Will this simple-looking time-only watch finally make Calatravas hip? Moving on, we have the story of how a rare wartime Panerai with an “Error Proof” dial was found. And speaking of “Error Proof” dials, we have the story of how this particular style of dial gradually became known to most watch lovers as the “California” dial. Yes, it has something to do with the state of California, but it might not be what you think.
1. HANDS-ON: OMEGA SEAMASTER 300M 007 ‘NO TIME TO DIE’ WATCH FOR DANIEL CRAIG
Have you watched No Time To Die? I thought it was a fitting end to Daniel Craig’s stint as James Bond. It also happens to feature a pretty cool watch. The Seamaster 300M 007 Edition is obviously based on Omega’s latest Seamaster 300M but with some interesting and, some say, controversial design elements that include faux lume and shark mesh bracelet. Looks are subjective, but I quite fancy this watch, and I applaud Omega’s audacity in creating a watch that celebrates Bond while knowing that it might put some fans off. I also like that, unlike previous Omega Bond watches, this isn’t a limited-edition piece. Perhaps, unlike other watch brands, Omega isn’t just all about raking in profits, after all.
2. HANDS-ON: ROLEX EXPLORER II 226570 WATCHES
Seeing that this year would have been the Explorer II’s 50th anniversary, many were hoping that Rolex would give us an entirely new Explorer II. But we now know that was not to be. Rolex introduced the new Explorer II Ref. 226570, but to most people, these look exactly like the old Ref. 216570. The new Ref. 226570 retains the Explorer II’s signature brushed stainless steel bezel, and the dial looks mostly the same. However, there are changes if you know where to look. For instance, inside the watch is Rolex’s new caliber 3285, which is found in newer GMT-Master IIs. The case also has revised geometry to make it wear smaller and fit more comfortably.
3. EXPLORING EARTH AND SEA WITH THE OMEGA SEAMASTER AQUA TERRA WORLDTIMER
The Aqua Terra collection straddles the line between sporty and dressy. And one very apt addition to the lineup is the Aqua Terra Worldtimer that was introduced last year. Essentially, this is a somewhat dressy-looking sports watch with 150 meters of water resistance and the worldtimer complication. The execution isn’t overly complicated but it is thoughtful and effective. The dial has the teak finish that we have come to associate with Aqua Terra watches and in the middle is a laser-ablated map of the northern hemisphere. An interesting nod to Omega is that Paris on the cities ring has been replaced with Biel — the home of Omega. As travel around the world cautiously resumes, this seems like an apt watch to acquire to celebrate the occasion.
4. WATCH REVIEW: BALTIC MR01
If you know Baltic, then you probably know its vintage-inspired watches. Until now, the company has arguably been most famous for its Aquascaphe dive watches. And, to a lesser extent, the equally charming Bicompax. Recently, the Parisian brand released what looks like its biggest hit yet — the MR01. This is the first of a new line of watches with micro-rotor movements. The watch has a diminutive 36mm case and the beautifully textured dial features Breguet-style hour markers. And at just 10mm-thick, it really plays the part of a vintage dress watch very well. I can foresee this being a popular gift this Christmas season.
5. PATEK PHILIPPE INTRODUCES THREE NEW CHRONOGRAPH WATCHES WITH COMPLICATIONS
Some of October’s biggest news was the release of three new highly complicated chronographs from Patek Philippe. To be clear, these aren’t brand new references, but they are no less impressive (and important) to collectors. The big daddy is a new version of the Ref. 5204 perpetual calendar split-seconds chronograph that comes in a rose-gold case and a slate-gray dial. Next is a new version of the Ref. 5930P world-time flyback chronograph. This new version comes in a platinum case and a bright-green dial. Lastly, we have another watch with a green dial in the new Ref. 5905. This is an annual calendar with flyback chronograph, and it’s the first time it’s available in a stainless steel case and bracelet. Take a closer look at the watches in the link below.
1. IN-DEPTH: PATEK PHILIPPE CALATRAVA REF. 6119 “CLOUS DE PARIS”
When you mention Patek Philippe, most people are probably thinking of the Nautilus or one of the brand’s uber-complicated pieces. But collectors are fast becoming appreciative of simple time-only watches, too, as evidenced by the popularity of watches like F.P. Journe’s Chronometre Bleu and Akrivia’s Chronometre Contemporain. Patek’s response to this was unveiled earlier this year in the form of the Calatrava Ref. 6119. This simple three-hander has all the hallmarks of a classic Calatrava watch. There’s the signature hobnail bezel, subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock, and thin case profile. Inside is the all-new calibre 30-255 PS, a suitably-sized handwound movement that’s thin, handsomely finished, and has an adequate power reserve of 65 hours. Is this the watch that finally makes Calatravas hip?
Source: Watches by SJX
2. ROLEX-PANERAI 3646 ‘ERROR PROOF’ FROM A BOSNIAN BAZAAR
Can you still find gems at flea markets? Well, if this story is anything to go by, it is entirely possible. You just have to be really lucky. I won’t spoil the story for you except to say that the watch in question is a very rare Panerai 3646 with an “Error Proof” or “California” dial with the case number 261002. It is said that Rolex only made 720 pieces in this particular case number range, and the watches are split between those with thicker cases and sandwich dials and those produced later in 1944 that had slimmer cases, lower bezels, and “Error Proof” dials. Click the link below to find out how this watch was discovered and how it ended up in the hands of its current owner.
3. A CALIFORNIAN CONTROVERSY: THE ORIGINS OF THE TERM “CALIFORNIA DIAL” AND WHY IT CAN MEAN TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS
Let’s cut straight to the chase. The half-Arabic, half-Roman dial that we commonly refer to as a “California” dial is actually wrong. According to seasoned collectors, the correct term, as silly and cumbersome as it may sound, is actually to simply refer it as a “half-Arabic, half-Roman” dial. Some also call it an “Error Proof” dial, as that was what Rolex supposedly called in an advertisement from the 1940s and in the patent. The term “California” dial that we know today actually has a more unsavory origin story. To find out what that is, you have to click the link below.
4. THE KING SEIKO KSK SJE083, A HANDSOME RE-EDITION THAT REVIVES A SURPRISING INTERNAL RIVALRY
2021 is a big year for Seiko because it marks the company’s 140th anniversary. In celebration of this milestone, Seiko decided to create what is essentially a modern reissue of a very important King Seiko watch. King Seiko, for the uninitiated, was a sub-brand of Seiko created by the Daini factory to directly compete against Grand Seiko. We know who eventually won but the annals of King Seiko are not without some very iconic pieces. One such piece was the King Seiko 44KS watch from the mid-1960s. It is this watch that the King Seiko SJE083 was based on. It’s a fine example of how brands should approach modern reissues of iconic vintage watches.
5. WILL THE APPLE WATCH KILL THE LUXURY WATCH INDUSTRY?
Much has been said about the Apple Watch’s impact on the luxury watch industry but I think it’s worth revisiting this topic again. It has taken Apple only six years to become the largest watch brand in the world. To appreciate its absurd growth rate, consider that it took Casio 34 years to ship 100 million G-Shock. Apple took a little over five years to do the same. Cynics will also point toward the industry’s practice of continuously raising prices. And on top of that, it’s harder than ever to get the really popular, hyped-up watches. Sure, one can argue that we should follow our hearts and turn a blind eye to the chatter on social media, but let’s be real. I wonder how many such customers turn to the Apple Watch in the end. The threat of the Apple Watch is real whether the industry wants to admit it or not.