Every year, the world’s watch brands unveil the vast majority of their new pieces at either the SIHH watch salon in Geneva in January or at the huge Baselworld trade fair in March. Occasionally, however, some brands debut a new model, or even an entirely new collection, later in the year, independently of the two major fairs. And in recent years, the venue several of these brands have chosen is WatchTime New York, the two-day collectors’ event hosted annually by WatchTime Magazine at Manhattan’s posh Gotham Hall. This year’s WTNY was the biggest ever, with 30 sponsoring brands and nearly 1,200 guests. Here are five new releases from five brands that you didn’t see at SIHH or Baselworld.
Longines Avigation Bigeye
A modern re-issue of a chronograph that Longines produced in the 1930s, the Avigation BigEye (“Avigation” is an amalgam of “aviation” and “navigation,” which are the two functions the original watch was engineered to serve) is distinguished by its extra-legible, semi-glossy black dial with big luminous Arabic numerals and extra-large 30-minute chrono counter at 3 o’clock (presumably, the “big eye” referred to in the model name). The dial, protected under a domed sapphire crystal with several layers of AR-coating, also has a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and a sub-dial for running seconds at 9 o’clock. The 41mm stainless steel case is water-resistant to 30m and features two prominent chronograph pushers for easy handling, even for a pilot wearing gloves.
Powering the watch, albeit hidden behind the engraved caseback, is Caliber L688, an ETA A08.L01 modified exclusively for use by Longines. The self-winding movement has a 54-hour power reserve and column-wheel chronograph control. A brown calf leather strap with contrast stitching completes the vintage-aviator look.
A. Lange & Söhne Blue Dials
Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne brought to the U.S. for the first time a quartet of new, blue-dialed timepieces from four of the brand’s most coveted collections. The deep “Prussian blue” dials adorn new versions of the Lange 1, Lange 1 Daymatic, Saxonia, and Saxonia Automatic. All four models are in white gold cases and contain manufacture movements, adorned with polished hands and rhodiumed gold appliqués that provide a stark and pleasing contrast with the azure dials, all made from solid silver. All are mounted on dark-blue alligator straps with solid white-gold buckles.
The Lange 1, widely regarded as the flagship of the Saxon brand’s collection, has a 38.5mm case and is equipped with the manually-winding Caliber L121.1, which powers the hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds indication as well as an indicator for the watch’s 72 hour power reserve and the model’s hallmark “outsize” date.
The Lange 1 DayMatic is the self-winding, slightly bigger brother to the Lange 1, with a 39.5mm case and driven by the automatic Caliber L021.1, whose power reserve is 60 hours. Instead of the power reserve indicator – not as important in an automatic watch – the DayMatic adds a retrograde day-of-the-week display to the timekeeping and outsize date functions.
The case of the Saxonia, another of Lange’s most storied models, is a more discreet (some might say feminine) 35mm in diameter and only 7.3 mm thick. It is powered by the manual-winding Caliber L941.1, which stores 45 hours of power when fully wound. Its elegantly simple dial displays only the hours and minutes on central hands and seconds on a sub-dial at 6 o’clock.
Like the DayMatic, the Automatic version of the Saxonia has a slightly larger case diameter (38.5mm, but only slightly thicker, at 7.8mm) and a self-winding movement (Caliber L086.1). The movement has a power reserve of 72 hours and, like all the other movements in the new blue-dial models, is equipped with a stop-seconds function and features the array of decorative finishes for which Lange has become well known, all on display through sapphire crystal casebacks in each watch.
Tag Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition
Swiss sports-watch specialist TAG Heuer, exhibiting at WTNY for the first time, made a splash with the official US debut of its new TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition. The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic blue-and-orange Gulf Racing stripes, the logo that famously adorned Steve McQueen’s Porsche 917 racing car and livery in the 1971 film Le Mans. Portraying driver Michael Delaney in the movie, McQueen – channeling the style of Swiss Formula One legend Jo Siffert – wore on his wrist a Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133B, launched in 1969 and outfitted with a Heuer Caliber 11, one of the first automatic chronograph movements ever developed and the first to reach the market.
The new watch is a modern descendant of the original, which was also notable for being the first Swiss-made automatic chronograph that was both square-shaped and waterproof, as well as the first with a left-side winding crown. The stainless steel case measures 39mm and features alternating brushed and polished finishes. The sapphire crystal over the dial is domed and beveled. Water-resistant to 100m, it has chronograph pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. The blue sunray-finished dial is decorated with the Gulf racing stripes on the left side, and also features a Gulf logo above the date window at 6 o’clock and a vintage “Heuer” logo (in place of the modern TAG Heuer logo) under the “Monaco” text at 12 o’clock. The Monaco’s hallmark squared sub-dials (running seconds at 3 o’clock, 30-minute chronograph counter at 9 o’clock) are also in evidence. A red lacquered central hand tallies the chronograph seconds.