April 2014


Love this modern take on the classic Crystal Ball table clock from Panerai. Dubbed the Panerai PAM581, this is definitely a cool piece that would look awesome on any watch collector’s desk. Its got an 8 day power reserve in it’s manual wind movement, the P5000 calibre.

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Navitimer 01 Panamerican

Breitling has released a new dial face for the Breitling Navitimer dubbed the Navitimer Panamerican, in stunning bronze. This will be a very limited production of 1000 pieces. In addition to the dial color, the watch will feature a transparent caseback so you can see the 01 movement. Cool. See below the press release from Breitling:

The new face of the legend
Iconic in its classic version with a black dial, the famous Navitimer adopts even more exclusive colors in a limited series featuring a magnificent bronze dial.

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Created in 1952, the Navitimer is not only the doyenne of all mechanical chronographs produced worldwide. With its technical and functional style, this instrument unique in its kind has asserted itself as one of the ten great 20th century watchmaking classics – and a cult object for all passionate aviation enthusiasts. Breitling offers this legendary model in a 1,000-piece limited series distinguished by a bronze-colored dial – an original and refined touch that further highlights the originality of the design with its three hollowed counters and its circular slide rule designed to perform all calculations involved in airborne navigation. A transparent caseback provides a chance to admire the Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01, a high-performance selfwinding chronograph entirely developed and produced within the Breitling Chronométrie workshops and chronometer-certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) – the highest benchmark in terms of precision and reliability, and the only one based on an international standard.

See the watch on Breitling’s site.

Recently sold this Zenith Defy Classic Power Reserve watch, and realized that I never posted a review on it, even though I had posted a video review years ago. I had this watch for over 4 years, and really enjoyed the time I spent with it. It was one of Zenith’s more down-to-earth Defy designs, but still turned many people off with its unconventional looks. I was a big fan of this style, especially in all-silver.

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The watch has a very “white-like” sheen to it, somewhat different than the usual brushed stainless steel. The knurled silver-white dial also gives the watch a sense that the dial is an extension of the case, and play nicely off each other.

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The solid engraved stainless steel bezel has Zenith Stars inlaid into it, also in stainless steel. The watch features a Power Reserve indication at 1:30, small seconds at 9:00 and a date at 4:30. The date features an inside-mounted magnifier that aids in reading.

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The watch is fairly thick, and the bracelet’s middle links feature matching Knurling that is also on the dial. This complements the watch very nicely and really balances out the design.

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The back features a sapphire exhibition crystal, giving a very good view of the in-house Zenith Elite caliber 685SC which features 55hr power reserve, and 38 jewels. As stated on the back, the watch also features 300m water resistance, and is Swiss Made like all of Zenith’s watches.

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The dial has no lume, but the hands have a small amount of lume at the times to give it some night time readability. The crystal is AR coated, and shows some blue tinge at the right angles. The applied alternative numerals and indices are gun metal colored and completes the watches’ play on multiple shades of grey.

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Just one more shot here for good measure 🙂

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Finally the wrist shot. The 43mm case diameter is perfect for my wrists, though the bracelet is a bit uncomfortable. I didn’t get a shot of the hidden double-butterfly clasp, but it can dig into the wrist at times. It also does not have microadjustments. Overall its a cool-looking watch, with some serious in-house Swiss pedigree in there. If the style suits your fancy, well worth the money they are asking for them nowadays. I sure am going to miss mine!

I was always a fan of the extra large 48mm Alpina Avalanche Extreme watch, and when I tried one on for the first I was very disappointed to find out that it looked ridiculous on my wrist and just didn’t sit right on it. The rubber strap mounted on the fixed lugs just didn’t conform to my wrist. So when I had a chance to snap up this 42mm Avalanche Extreme Automatic, I jumped on it, hoping that I had found a happy medium. While it did fit better, I was a bit disappointed with the look and size on my wrist.

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This model differs from the large 48mm models in that its not a significantly smaller watch, and actually wears much more like 40mm rather than the 42mm it measures at. This is probably partly because of the narrow lugs and rubber strap, combined with the somewhat “shorter” length of the watch from lug to lug.

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Generally it is a handsome watch, however it has a very symmetrical look that I found slightly bothersome on the wrist. I feel like the watch looks like a “target” on my wrist, and I didn’t find the look very attractive on me. Combined with the fact that the watch looked too small on my wrist, I knew it was going to be a catch and release.

The watch features a 316L stainless steel case with PVD Stainless Steel bezel and caseback with exhibition window. Crystal is Sapphire, and the case is water resistant to 200m. The Alpina Avalanche Automatic is Swiss Made.

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The dial is very nicely designed, and probably one of the most interesting parts of the watch. It is multi-layered and textured, giving it a sense of complexity. Sorry for the somewhat fuzzy photos, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t in focus when I took the shot! The center of the dial features a matte white triangle pattern, and then alternative black and white rings, also in a matte texture on a raised section of dial. The indices are applied, and feature a small amount superluminova, not particularly bright. The date is located at the standard 3 o’clock location.

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The caseback is exhibition, and gives a good view of the AL-525 (Base ETA 2824-2) movement. It has a nicely designed rotor, that looks quite interesting. The rotor is given a Geneva Stripe finish, and then PVD coated with a polished finish, which is a nice change. Alpina also uses proprietary triangular shaped screws to secure the case back and bezel on this particular watch.

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And finally the look on the wrist. It may not look especially small in this photograph, but in real life, it gives the perception of too small, like a large man wearing a suit that doesn’t button in the front. And really that can be summed up as my comment on this watch.. too small for my tastes, but the design has some potential. I would have liked to see a 45-46mm version that conforms better to my wrist than the 48mm full sizer. Overall a decent design, with some decent execution on a watch that is a bargain on the secondary market if you like this smaller size, and also a great deal with the larger size too.

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