August 2013

Now here’s a little beauty that harkens back to the days of the pocket watch and so many other wonderful things that our new throw-away iGeneration no longer appreciates. A solid .925 Sterling Silver watch case, a true gentlemen’s timepiece from Graham with their trademark trigger crafted in a less modern style to give the watch plenty of character, and a worthy homage to George Graham of the company’s namesake.


“GRAHAM made its new Chronofighter 1695 a timeless watch making instrument. An automatic 42 mm chronograph powered by a sophisticated Swiss movement. The minutes counter is placed at 6 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock, a distinctive GRAHAM disposition. In keeping with Gentlemen’s taste for style, we have also chosen to crown the watch with a silver (925) case. The silver (925) case back is elaborately hand-engraved with the Greenwich Royal Observatory as a tribute to the early life of George Graham, the official watchmaker of this important British Institution. The case back also features a sapphire aperture on the balance wheel and the escapement. An homage to “Honest George”, the father of the chronograph and creator of simplified escapements which are the ancestor of the Swiss modern escapement. Elegant and distinctive.”

Case: 42 mm silver (.925)
Movement: calibre G1745, automatic chronograph, 25 jewels, 28’800 A/h (4Hz), Incabloc shock absorber, 48 hours power reserve,
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both faces
Caseback: Silver (.925) case back with Greenwich Observatory hand-engraved and sapphire aperture on the balance wheel

Well, now that the dust has settled after the Basel release of the new Breitling models, its time to think and reflect. Breitling surprised many with the slimming down of their trademark “chunky” Avenger line earlier this year and many picked them up when they hit the market in June. The Super Avenger II and Avenger II Seawolf were slimmed down a bit in specs, while the new Avenger II was slimmed down quite a bit to 43mm. The new Avenger II GMT is also weighing in at 43mm. Breitling is a frontrunner and a trendsetter in the watch industry. While many may disagree with that, there is no doubt that Breitling is one of the pioneers of the big-watch movement, and now they have slimmed down their Avengers… an interesting direction.


There have been several discussions on the BreitlingSource Forums regarding the size of the Super Avenger 2 in the past, and how the watch actually wears larger than the previous model, despite the .4mm smaller measurement. The new Super Avenger has a larger crystal, but is substantially thinner, giving the watch a different feel on the wrist. I personally prefer the new size, having tried one on.. which inspired me to talk a bit about the new Avenger II line.

The Avenger II Seawolf, on the other hand I have not had a chance to try on yet. I’ve seen some chatter about the differences but so far I’m prefering my own Avenger Seawolf Steel original. The new Bracelet seems a bit off to me on some of the models while it does appear to work on some of the others. Again, even though this model specs at .4mm smaller, it “looks” bigger. Possibly due to the overall change with the larger Crystal and thinner bezels on the Avenger II line.


The Avenger II and Avenger II GMT are almost like completely different watches than the previous Avenger II. There are some great pics posted from one of our users with his Avenger II. Well, the GMT IS a totally new watch to the Avenger II line, and in my opinion Breitling shrunk these down to 43mm in order to fill a void that was left in the brand when they decided to extinguish the Colt Automatics. With the departure of the Colt GMT, cutting the Avenger down to 43mm would make it a in-between for buyers that would be searching for a colt. The Avenger II GMT doesn’t appear to be available yet, at least not here a couple weeks ago.

Overall the line is sitting well with me. I was a bit surprised when I heard about the drop in size initially, but the Super Avenger is still healthy and large… and in fact wears larger in my opinion than its predecessor. I took the time to try them on and quite like them. I think I might need more time to completely digest the Pro III bracelet, however.

It was only a matter of time – Breitling would be launching a Blacksteel Cosmonaute that looks awesome with its all-black dial and subdials to go with the brushed blacksteel case. Breitling’s successful Blacksteel watches have now invaded the Navitimers! When it was revealed at Basel, the watch was mounted on a Ocean Racer rubber strap, which I’m not sure if I personally liked the presentation. Perhaps with the inevitability of the Navitimer Blacksteels to come, they should make a blacksteel oriented strap or bracelet that suites the Navis.


From Breitling:

Intersidereal darkness

The first spacegoing wrist chronograph enters a new orbit with an exclusive and technical all-black version issued in a worldwide 1,000-piece limited series.

On May 24th 1962, Lt Commander Scott Carpenter orbited the earth three times aboard the Aurora 7 capsule. On his wrist was a Navitimer featuring a 24-hour graduation serving to distinguish day from a night – an absolute necessity in space. This space conquest pioneer joined the Breitling collections under the name Cosmonaute. 50 years after its first flight in 2012, the Navitimer Cosmonaute is pursuing its odyssey in a new and highly original version featuring a case in black steel created using a highly resistant carbon-based coating. The dial and counters of this high-performance chronograph are in the same black color, enhanced by luminescent indications and small red hands. The Manufacture Breitling Caliber B02, chronometer-certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) features two key characteristics true to the original model: a manual winding system and a 24-hour display.The famous Navitimer circular slide rule enables pilots to perform the entire range of calculations relating to airborne navigation directly on the wrist. The engraved caseback bears the official Aurora 7 mission insignia. Issued in a numbered 1,000- piece limited series, the Navitimer Cosmonaute Blacksteel is fitted with a black rubber strap further enhancing its tech-savvy, masculine appearance.”

Posted up a couple of video reviews that I uploaded to Youtube. One is a Seiko Premier Automatic one that I shot a while back that I had forgotten to upload, and the other is a more recent Seiko Monster SKX779 that I reviewed. Both are fantastic watches from Seiko and really show how great a timepiece they guys can produce in the sub-$1000 price range.

Seiko Monster Video Review:

Seiko Premier Automatic Video Review:

DaLuca Straps is pretty well known in the Strap world, particularly the Panerai Strap world, for his out-of-the-box style of watch straps. He’s also expanded his business to take on third-party straps and in-house leather goods such as wallets, belts and watch accessories like the watch strap folder. I am lucky enough to own one of these in black, and its one of the best strap folders/cases I own.


The case comes in various colors and types of leather, all which are specified as “limited edition”. I’m guessing that DaLuca uses leathers of which he has limited supply for each strap folder. The stuff he uses ranges from normal shades to bright colorful ones and even one in camo canvas. I opted for the much more conservative “Black”.


The folder is held together simply by velcro strips which are sewn into the leather, which are effective at keeping the folder closed and easy to use. Once opened, the folder unfolds twice and reveals 11 watch strap slots, plenty wide enough for even thick 26mm and 27mm Panerai ammo straps. This is one of the most efficient strap cases on the market, allowing you to hold lots of straps in a relatively small package.


The DaLuca strap holder also features three tool slots, two which are half-height slots for shorter tools and a full height slot for a longer tool. The leather is an unknown type, thinner than most watch strap leathers but still pretty robust. Its a little flexible which is great for this folder. It doesn’t have much tannery smell. I am quite certain the other folders use a totally different leather, so keep that in mind if you’re browsing.


And there it is full packed with straps. I have much more than 11 straps, but this is great for storing some of them… but since this is such a great compact folder, I might have to get a couple more just to store the rest of my straps too! I do recommend this strap storage folder.. its my favourite one I have.