February 2012

Another automobile inspired watch company from Italy: Enter Meccaniche Veloci. Whenever these companies release a bunch of watches that just don’t sell too well, there are bargains to be had. Its not that there’s anything wrong with the watches, but without the proper marketing, its hard to command the same prices at brands out there that just have better recognition.

I picked up an Ace Cafe from Meccaniche Veloci (say that 10 times really fast), and for the money, not too shabby. Read more to find out what I think 🙂

I really didn’t like the textile strap that came with it.. the white stitching didn’t look to great since the highlights on the watch are red. I ended up switching it to a Hirsch Croco pattern strap which also doesn’t really look all that great – that’s the strap in the photos. I ended up picking up a Black Calf Rally strap with red stitching that works PERFECTLY with this watch. Maybe I’ll post a photo some time later.

The arabics at 3, 6 and 9 look to be Panerai-inspired, and the open visible movement is .. well, not my favourite. Unfortunately I think the open movement on the front makes it look a bit cheap because the movement isn’t decorated. We’re talking bone-stock ETA 2824-2 here, not Patek Philippe. The hands are lumed, but not the dial on this guy. While I might not agree on the open movement, there are other details that warrant some applause. The red line aroudn the crystal gives it a neat look, as do the alternating brushed and polished parts – which we will see more of later.

There are those alternating brushed and polished parts I had mentioned. Even though they are PVD coated, they did a nice job creating more interesting textures with the alternating finish. The lugs also have some semi-skeletonization which is a very nice detail and overall adds to the value of the watch. These are the kinds of details that set it above the rest.

Visible caseback showing the stock ETA with slightly decorated and signed black rotor. Nice touch to make it match the case. Now if the whole movement was black that would be even cooler. Also a nice touch was the contoured caseback that lets the watch sit more snugly on the wrist.

Here is a closeup of the dial showing the aluminum dial ring, and the visible date wheel. The raised indices look like a translucent plastic or rubber, which is a very interesting choice of materials. Overall its a very creative and different looking watch. The company seems to have focused all its efforts on the Meccaniche Veloci Quattrovalvole, which is a watch that derives its design from a Four-Valve Engine Cylinder.

Here’s a look at the rather large 44.5mm diameter Ace Cafe on my 6.75″ wrist. It wears pretty nicely, and doesn’t look to big in my opinion. The watch is on the thicker side due to its shape and how it is a flat cylinder, and measures 11mm thick. Overall a lovely watch for the money – so long as you can get it for cheap. I would say quality wise it is better built than Hamiltons, and probably up there with Newer Oris watches in build quality.

Diameter: 44.5mm
Thickness: 11mm
Movement: Swiss ETA 2824-2
Case: Stainless Steel PVD
Strap: Textile

Christopher Ward, a British maker of affordable watches, launches their unlicensed tribute to James Bond’s 50th Annviersary and new movie, Skyfall. We all know that this right belongs to Omega, but that didn’t stop Christopher Ward from jumping on the gravy train!

The watch is dubbed the C60 Trident-PRO Automatic SKBRG22, and looks like a Rolex Submariner Homage. The watch features an automatic Selitta SW200-1 movement and is mounted on a Striped nato strap. Watch is Swiss made and will be priced at £350.

When these Retrowerk steampunk watches came out a few years back, I blogged about them and how funky the Steampunk designs were a bit off the wall for me. Well, I ended up finding one for a good deal so I bought it! I never thought I would have ended up buying one of these, but I did.

And there she is, in all her antiqued, worn brass finish. The watch is actually considerably better made than I thought it would be, especially for the kind of money these go for these days. I am seeing them being liquidated for around $500 for the automatic models, which is a significant step down from their original $1200 MSRP. At $1200, its a bit of a stretch, however.

There’s a big, juicy piston driven crown protector, which reminds me a little of the Espresso machine style levers that Graham is so fond of with their Chronofighters. The Graham Chronofighter levers are much more refined, however. This is a bit cruder, like the U-Boat canteen covers.

I have a gripe about the way this was designed, however, and that’s because it is so difficult to hand-wind the crown due to the location of the protector when it is unscrewed. I can only manage about 1/4 turns when handwinding, and its a bit frustrating!

The piston is hollow on one side, and has a spring inside that pushes it to an open position when the crown protector is removed. As you can see, there is a lot of attention to detail in the finishing and imprinting on the case to create the steampunk style.

The caseback is not brass-finished like the rest of the case, but rather a bead blasted stainless steel, but is very well finished nonetheless. They didn’t cheap out on the case back, and in fact has each one individually serial numbered – a nice touch. This one is numbered 36. I wonder how many they made? Since there are three digits, probably not more than 999 of each model. That’s a pretty scarce production run – maybe they’ll be worth something in the future!

There’s the headshot. The arabic numbers are lumed, and the domed crystal is sapphire. When these were first announced, they were going to have mineral crystal, but it seems they got upgraded. I think they did a fantastic job with the brass finishing on the steel case, but while I like brass, I’m not sure if I like the steampunk. I’ll probably keep this watch for a little while, but I don’t know if it will be a long term keeper. I’ve got it mounted on a vintage ammo NuboStrap right now, and it looks great on there.

The one place on this German made watch where I felt they skimped a bit on the quality is the dial. The Lume isn’t the brightest, and the Retrowerk Logo is kind of shiny and rounded on the edges.. not as clean and crisp as I would prefer and gives it a bit of a cheaper look to it.. but the case details are fantastic and it has a great worn look to it.

Here’s a wristshot of the 46mm watch, which wears quite decently for such a large watch. The smaller face/crystal attributes to the slightly more digestable wrist presence. Most larger crystal 46mm watches like the Navitimer World have much larger wrist presence, and they don’t even have a gigantic brass piston on the case!

At any rate, really a novelty watch for the steampunk enthusiast that appreciates quality Swiss and German engineering. The watch is constructed well and keeps good time. It wears on the wrist well and really accomplishes what it sets out to do in my opinion. Is this watch for everyone? Certainly not, but I think it will definately be right for some people.

Breitling for Bentley has released a new Limited Edition Bentley GMT model dubbed the “V8”. This is to commemorate the new Bentley Continental GT V8, a smaller 4.0L version of their V12 powerhouse. Kind of interesting seeing as the original Breitling for Bentley GT watch to match the V12 GT is actually smaller than the GMT V8. At any rate, it is a nice limited edition of 250 pieces, and features a unique red inner bezel.

Specs are the mostly same as the regular GMT:
Model: Breitling for Bentley GMT V8
Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: Breitling 47B
Power Reserve: 48 Hours
Water Resistance: 100m
Bezel: Bidirectional
Crown: Screwdown
Crystal: Sapphire
Diameter: 49mm

I was contacted by Ilan, the founder and owner of Egard watches with some follow-up information on the Egard Shade and information on release date and pricing information. He told me that pricing for the Shade will be $620US on Leather, and $670US on bracelet and will be available only directly from Egard through their website, which hopefully will be launched soon! Some minor unexpected delays have pushed the release date back a little bit, but it should be out soon.

Current production on the Shade is only 100 pieces, but it is not a limited edition as I understand it. Ilan mentioned that there will be two other models released shortly, one of which will be a limited edition. We should be recieving review copies of this watch to write about so that will be very cool. I look forward to seeing what them!

Company Profile:

“Created as a tribute to designer Ilan Srulovicz’s father , Egard watches have been highly influenced by his father’s work in engineering. The attempt to dig under the surface and find the inner workings of the mechanics of things played a large role in the creation of the watches.

Egard watches are meant to be felt as much as they are meant to be worn. Designer Ilan Srulovicz began his process by visiting various parts of the world and drawing from the architecture and environment. Having a background in the field himself he found that watches today lacked a certain tangibility and identity. The intention was to create a line that allowed true self expression while maintain the highest level of quality.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Egard watches are a statement of self expression while maintaining the components of a luxury watch. Egard watches do not know the term compromise.

“Though we ask not to be bound nor gripped by the hand of time we seek to measure it. Not so that we may control it or defeat it but rather so that we may expose ourselves to it’s infinite scale.” Ilan Srulovicz”

Next Page »