Into the Mariana Trench with Omega

When Victor Vescovo piloted his submarine „Limiting Factor“ to the bottom of the Mariana Trench at the beginning of this year, he set a new world record with a diving depth of 10,928 metres. Three Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional watches were along for the ride: Two attached to a submersible’s robotic arm, another to a Lander.

And who could be better suited to accompany a journey into the abyss than Omega, as the brand’s watches have joined divers and adventurers in dangerous depths for decades. In 1932 the „Marine“ was born – the first diver’s watch for everyone. This watch was used by the researcher Charles W. Beebe when he dared his 14-mile dive. 
1948 the Omega Seamaster was introduced, valued by British pilots and sailors for its water-resistance and absolute reliability. The Seamaster 300 from 1957 was designed specifically for divers and underwater workers. 
The Omega „Ploprof“ was created in 1970 and has accompanied Jacques-Yves Cousteau on his dives. Only one year later followed the Seamaster 1000, one year after that the Seamaster 120 Big Blue. In 1993 Omega launched the popular Seamaster Diver 300M. 
The year 2005 then saw the beginnings of the Ultra Deep, which we present here today.

For Omega, the development of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional started from scratch and included some risks. A watch doesn’t have to be enormous to withstand extreme pressures. The manufacturer managed to limit the thickness of the diver’s watch to less than 28 millimetres without sacrificing its exceptional resistance. The bezel, case, caseback and crown were machined cutoffs from the hull. The Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional also comes with a viewport. The loadbearing surface of the Limiting Factor’s viewports has been engineered to minimise pressure on the inside edges of the cone, where the stresses are highest. 
Fully integrated into the titanium case, the lugs of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional are left open to lower the risk of exceeding material limitations at full ocean depth, as both the watch and the strap can be subjected to high traction loads. They are called “Manta” lugs due to their distinctive look.

The maximum pressure selected was within the tolerances required in the Mariana Trench, but to be safe and meet the standards for diving watches, Omega insisted on adding a 25% safety margin, which meant that the watches had to work up to 1500 bar. And as if that wasn’t enough, the three watches were subjected to METAS rigorous testing for ten days after returning from their dive. Even after the strains in the depths of the Mariana Trench, the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep passed all the tests and received the Master Chronometer certificate.

The expedition logo is located in the centre of the caseback, inside concentric circles evoking the Multi Beam sonar technology. Information such as model, reference number, certification and „tested to 15,000m 49212ft“ can also be found.

Omega’s choice of strap material drew on the brand’s experience in space: The combination of polyamide bracelet and Velcro closure is closely associated with the straps used in the Apollo missions.

Zenith Defy El Primero Fusee Tourbillon

Since the dawn of precision timekeeping, watchmakers have sought to produce timepieces that offer unfaltering performance through the use of constant force. Zenith reinterprets the fusee and chain constant force mechanism in a modernistic style in the new Defy Fusee Tourbillon.

The Defy Fusee Tourbillon is available in two distinct editions in Carbon and Platin. The first version features a light yet robust carbon case, crown and buckle head. The carbon fibre treatment even extends to the open dial, with the central skeletal element and surrounding flange ring giving off the unique simmer of this material. The second version of the Defy Fusee Tourbillon is crafted in platinum. The exposed movement provides a vibrant, voluminous view, where the mix of materials and tones add visual depth, from the anthracite base of the movement to the blued chain and tourbillon cage topped with a set of geometrical bridges in two tones.

The spoke design of the bridges is amplified by their bicolor finish, where the top satin-finished surface is given a black treatment, while its polished sides are a lighter grey rhodium tone. The layout of the bridges offers a balance of the various functions and complications. On the top half of the movement, one can admire the uniquely conceived fusee and chain constant force mechanism. On the opposite end at 6 o’clock, a tourbillon cage with an entirely new construction featuring an off-centered balance wheel makes a full rotation every 60 seconds. Like the chain, the tourbillon cage comes in a striking blue color. Positioned at the edge of the dial between 4 and 5 o’clock, a red-tipped hand indicates the power reserve, a handy feature when manually winding the Defy Fusee Tourbillon with its 50-hour power reserve.

The Defy El Primero Fusee Tourbillon is housing the new El Primero 4805 SK calibre, a manual-winding movement that follows the Defy code of avant-garde movement architecture with an open three-dimensional impact. By combining the fusee and chain mechanism with a tourbillon regulating organ, Zenith places precision at the forefront of its unique take on haute horlogerie.

The Defy Fusee Tourbillon in carbon is limited to 50 pieces, the second version in platin will be available only 10 times.

The new Alpina Seastrong Diver 300

Alpina has relaunched its Seastrong Diver 300, and, with its updated design, the watch remains true to the outstanding characteristics of the previous models. The new Seastrong Diver 300 is clearly inspired by the watch manufacturer’s legacy and is the perfect successor to the Alpina timepieces of the past centuries – especially the Seastrong “10” from the 1960s. Retro is still a hot trend in the watch industry as well as with watch enthusiasts; a trend here to stay, it seems.

An oversized case with striking curves, luminous indexes and an unidirectional rotating bezel; these are the outstanding features of the new Seastrong Diver 300. In addition, Alpina has equipped this diver’s watch with a new case with a diameter of 44 mm. It is made of either titanium or bronze and bears a PVD coating. The 60-minute-bezehl comes in grey, navy blue or black, and, as is common with diver’s watches, is uni-directional. All indexes on the bezel are coated with lume so that they are perfectly readable under water.
The dials of the new Seastrong Diver 300 are available in dark brown, grey or blue. Of course, each and every one of them is contrasting beautifully with the large, luminous indices and hands, which results in an exceptionally good legibility. The large triangle at twelve o’clock is a reference to the legendary Alpina logo. At three o’clock you’ll find a small date window, which Alpina has matched to the colours of the various dials, so it blends in perfectly.
Both the case back and the crown are screwed down. The Seastrong Diver therefore has a water resistance of 30 atm – or 300 metres.
The diver’s watch is powered by the AL-525, an automatic calibre. It operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and provides a power reserve of at least 38 hours. The movement can be seen through the transparent case back.

Alpina supplies the Seastrong Diver 300 with a vintage leather strap. Since leather straps are not suitable for prolonged contact with water, a rubber strap is also included, making the watch a perfect companion for under water adventures.

Ochs und Junior Does It Again

The watches made by Ochs und Junior look very simple and lack much of the usual pomp of luxury watches. At the same time, they present an extremely sophisticated approach to modern watchmaking that emphasises functionality for itself. But this does not mean that watchmakers as well as watch lovers do not absolutely adore the puristic wristwatches.
The latest addition to the Ochs und Junior collection, the two time zones + date, also embodies the manufacturer’s strictly uncluttered design philosophy.

The two time zones + date shows hours and minutes in two different time zones, the date in your home timezone, running seconds and the power reserve. The big innovation in this watch is how Ochs und Junior has decided to implement the second time zone. Instead of adding an extra hand, Ochs and Junior opted for a central hour disc and replaced the traditional hour hand with one with a wedge-shaped opening. The main hand shows the local time, while the opening frames the hours of the second time zone.
The spiral date display, which runs around the outer rim of the dial, consists of 30+1 holes that are easy and intuitive to read. The small disc at twelve o’clock indicates the power reserve (the dot pointing to the right, when the watch is fully wound, and pointing to the left when the power reserve gets empty), while the small disc at six o’clock indicates the running seconds.

The Ochs und Junior two time zones + date display is powered by the Ulysse Nardin UN-118 basic movement, to which only ten additional components have been added to implement the date display and the GMT time. This automatic movement operates at a frequency of 4 Hz and provides a power reserve of up to 60 hours.
All settings are made via the crown.

The two time zones + date comes in a 42mm titanium or PVD-coated titanium or silver case. And like everything else – the dial, bracelet and the colour of the Super-LumiNova – the case material can be changed to fit the individual taste of the buyer. This is a feature, Ochs und Junior offers for all its watches, how awesome is that?
The case is water resistant up to 10 atm.

The Ochs und Junior two time zones + datum is as much fun as the other models made by the manufacturer. It is always exciting to see how Ochs und Junior can implement new functions once more simply and intuitively. And we can hardly wait to see what will be next.

DB28GS Grand Bleu: Bethunes First Sports Watch

This year, watch manufacturer De Bethune presents its first 100% sports watch. This diver’s watch is equipped with a new caliber, water-resistance to more than 100 meters and makes a lasting impression with an exceptionally good readability. De Bethune developed and designed the DB28GS Grand Bleu to be a resolutely sporty watch – while cultivating the aesthetic elegance cherished by the brand.
Just 10 years ago, De Bethune began developing timepieces with a more contemporary spirit with the first DB28. Already at that time, De Bethune’s founder and Master Watchmaker, Denis Flageollet, an outdoor sports enthusiast, felt the need to create watches adapted to an active lifestyle. In 2015, the first DB28GS was launched, followed by the DB28GS Grand Bleu, De Bethune’s first diver’s watch.

Since not only divers’ watches in particular, but sports watches in general – in every situation, in any kind of weather and under the poorest of lighting conditions – should be particularly easy to read, De Bethune developed a special lighting system for the DB28GS Grand Bleu. To illuminate the watch and the movement from the inside, the slightly bluish white light source is produced by a fully mechanical means that works on the dynamo principle. Neither electronics nor a battery is needed. A pusher at 6 o’clock activates a mechanism that provides the energy needed to light the watch.

As a diver’s watch, the DB28GS Grand Bleu is also equipped with a uni-directional rotating bezel which serves to enable accurate calculation of immersion time, as well as the transition through various decompression stops. Generally, all the numerals relating to the minutes counter are indicated on the bezel, which tends to create a more crowded visual effect. For the DB28GS Grand Bleu, these indications appear on the sapphire crystal driven by the bezel. This enables the model to remain unusually slim for a diver’s watch.
The DB28GS Grand Bleu displays central hours, minutes and seconds.

The DB28GS Grand Bleu is powered by a new movement, the 27th from the De Bethune factory. The hand-wound calibre operates at a frequency of 28,800 vph and provides a power reserve of five days.
The movement is housed in a titanium case with a diameter of 44 millimetres and a water resistance of 10 atm. De Bethune has placed the crown at 12 o’clock, and the patented system of floating lugs ensures that the watch sits perfectly on the wrist.

The DB28GS Grand Bleu is delivered with two straps: a canvas version and a striated natural rubber iteration.

News from TAG Heuer: Special Carbon Series in Black

TAG Heuer has introduced its newest and simultaneously most modern interpretation of its famous Aquaracer. The watches – three different versions overall – combine an urban look that combines comfort, durability and sportiness.
The first models of this ultra-light, hard-wearing and modern special series are the first of a collection, TAG Heuer will extend over the next months. The Carbon series also comes with the appropriate name: Aquaracer Carbone.

The dial boasts an imitation carbon effect. TAG Heuer offers the Aquaracer Cabone in three different versions, which are sporting accents in either blue, yellow or pink gold. But in these watches, black is clearly the dominating color which raises the issue of readabiltiy. But TAG Heuer didn’t skimp in terms of Super-LumiNova and yes, it’s deep grey in daylight. Which is pretty cool because it’s practically seamlessly blending into the background as long as it isn’t dark.
Over the dial lies a sapphire crystal, sporting an ingrained magnifier at the 3-o’clock position. These cyclops are always controversial and often crucial in terms of liking a timepiece or not. But that’s how it is, and may we say that the cyclops is integrating itself quite beautifully into the overall design of the Aquaracer Carbone.

The 41-mm-case is made from titanium with black PVD coating. Thanks to the random injection of carbon fibres into a resin pressed at high temperatures, each peace is unique, boasting an exclusive black and grey marbled motif. So, even if the case is not made from carbon, there is carbon in it – but I think we can all agree, the name might be a bit misleading.
Like one would expect from a diver’s watch, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Carbone is water-resistant up to 30 atm.

The technical details are the same as in the Aquaracer, TAG Heuer has incarnated three years earlier. All models are powered by the Calibre 5. The automatic movement is working at a frequency of 4 Hz and provides a power reserve of approximately 38 hours. Since the case back is solid (also made from PVD coated titanium), the movement cannot be observed.

All three models are completed by black nylon straps with black, yellow or blue topstitching, matching the colored accents on the dials.

Porsche Design Expands 1919 Collection

Prosche Design has introduced a new watch this spring; an expansion of the 1919 collection: the 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown & Leather. It is the first flyback chronograph in the series. Porsche Design is known for its understated design language which is found in all of its objects. Straightforward, purist, and uncompromisingly functional is the overall motto which is also evident in the 1919 Collection. It is inspired by the purist design and functional aesthetics of the Porsche 911.

In order to intuitively display the time from every angle, the radius of the dial is as large as possible. With this task in mind a slim titanium case with bold minute indices positioned on the outer edges of the dial was created, foregoing a tachymeter bezel. Hours, minutes and the chronograph seconds are displayed by central hands; at 12 o’clock is the subdial for the chronograph minutes positioned, at 6 o’clock the one for the chronograph hours. At 4 o’clock a date window can be found.
The lugs are entirely integrated into the strap in order to achieve significantly more ergonomic stability; and through uniform force distribution. The case measures 42 mm in diameter and 14,9 mm in height; it is both polished and matte and water resistant up to 10 bar.

The 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown & Leather is powered by the 01.200 calibre. Porsche Design has introduced it in June 2017 for the first time. The flyback chronograph, which allows the measurement of successive intervals. The automatic movement is beating at 4 Hz and provides a power reserve of up to 48 hours. It is also completely black (the PVD coating also extends to the rotor), a standard for Porsche Design, and can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back.

Das ausbalancierte Design verleiht dem Chronographen eine herrliche Leichtigkeit, welche durch das Armband ideal unterstrichen wird.
Die Farbgebung in einem tiefen Braunton verleiht dem 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown & Leather eine betont zeitgemäße Note, ohne seine zeitlos anmutende Persönlichkeit zu beeinträchtigen.

The well-balanced design gives a unique visual-lightness to the watch, which is further enhanced by the elegantly proportioned strap.
The deep brown hue lends the 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown & Leather a contemporary touch, without compromising its timeless characteristics.

The 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown & Leather will be available as of September 2018 at Porsche Design stores as well as online for 5.950€.

Unfathomable Precision: The Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth

Favre-Leuba can look back at 281 years of brand history. The watch manufacturer is known for creating an interface of traditional watchmaking and the dynamic engineering spirit of today.
In 1968, Favre-Leuba has introduced its vision of the perfect dive watch, the Bathy. It was equipped with a depth gauge and was a milestone in mechanical instrument watches. It is a much sought-after collector’s piece today and the year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Bathy. The perfect time to pave the way for a new legend – and the question, if it is possible to improve on excellence. The answer can be found in the new Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth.

The retrofuturistic design is a deliberate nod to the original 1968 Bathy. From a technical standpoint, however, the Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is an entirely new creation. Its functionality and materials have not merely been improved upon – they have set a new standard. The case design is a homage to its popular predecessor and is complemented by bold, functional colors and easy-to-read hands.

The new case is crafted from titanium and, with its 48 mm diameter, guarantees perfect readability at the bigger dial.

The depth gauge in the Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth turns on one of the established rules of watchmaking completely on its head. Never let water get inside of a watch? Quite the opposite. The new Bathy features apertures in the case back that actually invite water inside. It may sound crazy, but it isn’t: these openings are part of the depth gauge, which is hermetically separated from the movement. The concept is based on the compression of a specially designed membrane that is integrated into the case back. Water enters a separate chamber through the apertures, causing the membrane to compress as the pressure increases. A mechanical contact sensor inside the watch reacts to this compression and conveys the information via the hand of the depth gauge onto the dial.
The dive depth is displayed on a nonlinear display via a central hand on the dial. Depths up to 120 m can be measured extremely precisely. The scale for the first 30 m is finer, with two red marks at 5 and 10, where decompression stops may be necessary. The Raider Bathy 120 Memo Depth also features a mechanical depth memory (MemoDepth), which stores the maximum depth reached during a dive. The depth gauge at 3 o’clock reliably displays the value until it is reset via the screw-in pusher at 4 o’clock.

The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is water-resistant up to 200m, as is the norm for a dive watch. Its optimal range of measurement is 120 m, more than double that of the original Bathy (50 m). A built-in mechanical limiter ensures that neither the pressure membrane nor the depth gauge are damaged if the wearer dives deeper that the optimal range.
Even on ambitious dives to depth where there is little light, all of the relevant information is perfectly readable. Design and features of the Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth are inspired by the belief, that unnecessary difficulties should not get between a diver and the thrill of the dive.

Like every professional dive watch, the Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is fitted with an unidirectional bezel. It turns only counterclockwise so that it is only possible to accidentally move the bezel in a direction, which would subtract from the planned dive time.
The watch is powered by the FL321 hand-wound movement. It is based on the EMC 3903M caliber, which has been completely re-engineered by Favre-Leuba. It features a 65-hour power reserve and a power-reserve indicator displayed at 12 o’clock.

The Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is an extraordinary instrument, inspired by the original Bathy yet re-interpreted and perfected. This watch is an achievement in the development of mechanical instrument watches – and impressively stylish as well.

Die Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth ist ein außergewöhnliches Instrument, das einen neuen Maßstab in Sachen Taucheruhren setzt und dabei ihre Impulse von der Ur-Bathy bezieht und diese neue interpretiert. Fantastisch aussehen tut sie außerdem.

Impressive: The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33

Omega’s pioneering spirit has taken the manufacturer on adventures beyond the earth’s atmosphere and below the surface of the ocean. Now the manufacturer launched a natural extension of its legacy in space, the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33. Designed especially for space explorers, this watch is an innovative upgrade of the Speedmaster Professional X-33 released in 1998.
The new model is powered by an advanced quartz calibre and was developed to meet the needs of astronauts and others who can appreciate its impressive variety of functions. Moreover, the European Space Agency (ESA) has approved this watch for inclusion in all of its missions.

The ceramic bezel features a chromium nitride scale. There is luminescent white Super-LumiNova with green emission on the 60-minute indicator. The 45 mm brushed case is made of titanium and features an also brushed crown and pushers.

The black dial with its white indexes and hour markers, has a central opening that allows the wearer to read the displayed digital elements such as the time in up to three different time zones, three alarms, chronograph and countdown functions, and a perpetual calendar. In addition to its analogue and digital displays, it tracks mission elapsed time and phase elapsed time.
Skeletonised black and white hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova which emtits a green light. The bold red seconds hand is clearly visible and all hands can be disengaged to allow clear reading of the digital display. The liquid crystal display (LCD) with an electroluminescent backlight features grey segments on a black background.

This Speedmaster is powered, as we mentioned above, by a multi-functional quartz chronograph movement, the in-house calibre 5619. It includes a thermo-compensated integrated circuit. This new movement was developed under an ESA patent licence based on an invention by ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy.

The Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 comes on a titanium bracelet, featuring a fold-over clasp. And there’s also an interactive iPad App for this watch, which you can download from the Omega website.

Always Different: Urwerk

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The watchmaking company Urwerk celebrates its 20th birthday in 2017 – in style of course. Frei & Baumgartner, the founders of Urwerk, presented their new company and their first watch at the Baselworld 1997, causing quite a stir. And even two centuries later, it doesn’t get boring with Urwerk. The new UR-T8 which marks the companies 20th birthday was presented at the SIHH. This watch proves the enormous creativity and the aspiration of Frei & Baumgartner to revolutionize how we think about wristwatches. The way in which the time is displayed as well as the shape of the case is once more unique – and a novelty.

The UR-T8 is Urwerk’s first transformable watch – inspired by the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre “Reverso”. A Series of precise actions unlocks the case from its cradle, flips it over and returns it with a satisfying click. It then becomes a mysterious object on the wrist. There are two pushers on the bezel which, when pushed simultaneously, lift the watch vertically. It then can be rotated about its axis before clicked back into its cradle to return to the present time. From one side, the UR-T8 is watch, from the other one is a futuristic design piece which resembles a watch only partly since the time display is completely gone.

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Urwerk has a new version of its trademark wandering-hour indication in the UR-T8. This intuitive display arranges the twelve hours in groups of four on a three-armed carousel. These successively sweep across the scale of 60 minutes to show the time both digitally and analogically. It is the biggest and most elaborate carousel configuration yet applied by Urwerk, with each arm supporting a satellite carousel bearing the four numerals. A complex planetary gearing transforms a tangle of wheels, screws and jewels bearings into a meticulously orchestrated ballet.

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The Urwerk UR-T8 features a unique pneumatic control of the self-winding system. A spinning vane connected to the winding rotor absorbs any sudden and violet movements of the rotor without compromising its winding efficiency.
The watch is powered by the calibre UR 8.01. It works at a frequency of 4 Hz and provides a power-reserve of 50 hours.
The case is made from titanium with a black PVD-coating and it measures 60.23 x 48.35 x 20.02 mm.
Of the UR-T8 will only be 60 pieces available.