We begin the first of June’s roundups with two, in my mind, very special watches. The first is Seiko’s brand new SBGD001 Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve watch. Announced at Baselworld earlier this year, it is made by Seiko’s elite watchmakers at their Micro Artist Studio – the same people responsible for their high-end Credor watches. It is the clearest sign yet from the Japanese watch powerhouse that they are intent on being on par with the Swiss when it comes to high-end watchmaking. The other watch that I want to highlight is the Bremont Jaguar MkI, which is one of the best-executed automotive-inspired watches money can buy. Bremont gets it, and this watch skillfully blends in design cues from one of the most desirable cars ever made, the Jaguar E-Type.
Elsewhere, we also take a look at what it’s like to finally receive a handmade watch by Roger Smith, one of today’s leading independent watchmakers. Finally, we take a close look at what is arguably the rarest Rolex reference in the world, the Rolex Oyster Zerograph Monopusher Flyback Chronograph or Reference 3346 – with only one model known to be in existence.
1. Grand Seiko SBGD001 Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve Watch Sends A Clear Message To Switzerland
In my opinion, one of the best watches to come out of Baselworld 2016 is Seiko’s new Grand Seiko SBGD001 Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve watch. Made by Seiko’s elite Micro Artist Studio – the same people that make Seiko’s very exclusive and exquisite Credor watches – the new Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve watch combines all the aspects that watch connoisseurs love about Grand Seiko. To begin with, it has a very functional and accurate Spring Drive movement with a long 8-day power reserve. On top of that, it is immaculately crafted with a platinum case, a dial sprinkled with diamond dust, and a movement that’s been exquisitely designed and finished with a strong reference to Japanese culture. Banzai Seiko!
2. Ophion OPH 960 Watch Review
Ophion is amongst the microbrands that I truly admire. Based in Spain, the OPH 960 is the brand’s first watch, and it has a simple, restrained, and classic design that is really easy to fall in love with. What’s unique about it, and I suspect this will please a lot of watch lovers, is that it uses a Technotime TT718 movement that is not often seen in watches. It’s a manually wound movement, and it has been quite nicely decorated for a watch at this price point with blue heated screws, graining on the wheels, and beveled edges on the main bridges. It’s a great choice for anyone that’s looking for a dressy yet unique watch.
3. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116508 Green Dial 18k Yellow Gold Watch Hands-On
Rolex’s Daytona is a very special watch with a rich history and fascinating story. While all eyes are on the new stainless models with Cerachrom bezels that were unveiled at Baselworld earlier this year, Rolex also took to the opportunity to unveil a new 18k yellow gold version with a deep green dial. Personally, I will reserve my judgment until I’ve spent some more time with the stainless steel versions. However, Rolex’s full-gold Daytonas are always eye-catching, to say the least. This new yellow gold version won’t be as popular as the new stainless steel models, but for readers who love gold and Rolex’s signature deep green hue, this watch is a winner.
4. Car & Watch Review: Jaguar XJ & Bremont Jaguar MkI
Collaborations between car makers and watch brands aren’t new. There have been many in the past, but sadly, few are successful. The ill-fated alliance of Ferrari and Panerai comes to mind. Fortunately, Bremont and Jaguar seem to have hit upon winning combination. The watch in question is the Bremont Jaguar MkI, which draws many design cues from Jaguar’s legendary E-Type. The watch is, in my mind, one of the best automotive-inspired watches of all time. And though we don’t have an E-Type with us, we do have Jaguar’s new XJ luxury limousine to take for a spin along with the Jaguar MkI watch. This surely must be the dream watch of Jaguar car fans.
5. Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On
World time watches seem to be all the rage these days. IWC has a new world timer in the form of their new Timezoner Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin has the new Overseas World Time, and now we have here Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Geophyisc Universal Time watch. The Geophysic Universal Time watch is essentially the world time version of the Geophysic True Second watch. This also means that it has the pretty funky true second complication. All in all, this is a really handsome world time watch and will look great on the wrists of well-heeled travelers.
6. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph Watch Hands-On
My biggest complaint about Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore watches is that most of them aren’t equipped with an integrated chronograph movement. Instead, the movement within uses a chronograph module on top of their in-house caliber 3120. For the price, you would really expect an integrated chronograph movement. Fortunately, within the Royal Oak Offshore collection are more exclusive pieces that do have integrated chronograph movements, such as the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph that you see here. Not only is it an integrated chronograph movement, it also features a tourbillon and seldom seen peripheral rotor that gives its owners an unrestricted view of the movement from the sapphire caseback.