BREMONT Supermarine 300M Date

Back in 2010, Bremont introduced the Supermarine 500, which introduced a fresh take on a pretty well-trod path: the dive watch. Its unique crown guard, sapphire bezel, signature Bremont three-piece “Trip-Tick” case, and overall styling set it apart from the pack. It quickly became a favorite of dive watch lovers. Then, in 2014, came the Supermarine 2000, which quadrupled the water resistance, introduced the anti-magnetic and anti-shock properties of Bremont’s MB watches, and beefed up the case from 43mm to 45mm. The S2000 is an exercise in sheer overkill in every respect, a watch that will survive things no human wearing it ever could, something many who buy the watch appreciate.

But for many, 45mm, or even 43mm, is too large for a watch, even a diver. So at last week’s “Basel-upon-Thames” event in London, Bremont released new additions to the bremont supermarine 300m date lineup – the Type 300 and Type 301 – both with an all-new 40-millimeter case.
Bremont has always leaned hard on the aviation angle, owing to the company’s founders’ passion for flying. So even the brand’s dive watches take their name from the British company that built many legendary airplanes — Supermarine. The name Type 300 references the name given to the prototype Spitfire fighter that Supermarine built in the 1930s in advance of World War II. The new watches share the same case, which is 40mm of hardened stainless steel with the familiar three-part construction for which Bremont is known. They’re slimmed down considerably too, at 13mm from the top of the domed sapphire crystal to the rear of the solid screw-down caseback. The smaller size should improve wearability, as the S500 and S2000 are both heavy, tall leviathans. Of course, with the smaller size comes less water resistance. But 300 meters is more than adequate for scuba diving. bremont supermarine 300m also wisely edited out the helium release valve from the case, a nod to its more recreational purpose.
Instead of sapphire bezels, the new watches now sport unidirectional ratcheting ceramic timing rings, in either black or blue respectively, matching the two dial versions available. (The blue bezel on the prototype we were shown is not the final iteration and will be more closely matched to the dial on the final production models, we were told.)
The dials themselves are markedly new as well. The “corduroy” texture from the bigger Supermarines is gone, and on the Type 300, Arabic numeral are used at six, nine, and 12, with rectangular hashes replacing the large round markers of the S500 and S2000. The black dial version has faux “gilt” accents for the Bremont logo and minute track while the blue dial version sticks with white markings. The latter’s blue is reminiscent of the shimmering sunburst blue used on the blue version of Bremont’s U2 pilot’s watch, and it catches light beautifully.
The Type 301 has a more vintage-inspired style, with painted (not applied) dots and hashes and an upside-down arrowhead at 12 that, all tinted with luminescent paint meant to mimic old tritium. Sure, it might remind one of a classic Submariner in more ways than one, but Bremont is hardly the first to follow this legible convention. The dial and bezel of the Type 301 are more matte in finish than those on the Type 300, and they almost look a faded grey from certain angles.

All dials have red accents in the bremont supermarine 300m name, the sweep hand tip, and the “60” on the minute track of the Type 300. The day display of the other Supermarines is gone in favor of a white-on-black date wheel on all watches. Hands are slightly different from those on earlier Supermarines — here they’re modified swords without the round tip on the hour hand.
The Type 300 and 301 make use of a chronometer-certified, Bremont-modified self-winding ETA 2892 movement that here is called the BE-92AE. Though not in-house, in a tool diver with a solid caseback I would argue this is not terribly important, and bremont supermarine 300m does re-test its movements after they return from COSC certification and are cased up.

The watches are all available on a 20mm stainless steel bracelet, a calf leather strap, or a striped nylon NATO-style strap, with the blue Type 300 also having a blue rubber option. The nylon strap is thicker than most of the $15 aftermarket ones available and has a bit of a smooth shine to it, not unlike that found on the NATOs available from Omega.
Nick English explained that his and his brother Giles’s preference runs more to leather straps on watches, but obviously on a diver they felt that offering a steel bracelet was wise. The bracelet is of high quality and looks sharp, but the clasp is a simple two-button release with no dive extension or security latch. My opinion is that the leather is the way to wear these watches unless you’re getting them wet (in which case you can substitute nylon or rubber).

My personal impression is that these watches look better on the wrist and in person than in photos. The size is predictably good and though the more conventional designs aren’t as distinctively Bremont as the Supermarine 500 and 2000, the Trip-Tick case profile separates the Type 300 and 301 from the rest of the diver herd.
Pricing for the Type 300 and Type 301 is $4,095 on either strap and $4,695 on the bracelet. This pricing draws obvious comparisons to other high quality divers out there, such as Tudor’s Black Bay family. And while value judgments with luxury watches are largely subjective and a futile exercise, these watches do stack up well with others in the vicinity. I’ve dived many times with a Bremont Supermarine 2000 and can vouch for its robustness in its intended environment and I suspect the new Type 300 and 301 will perform similarly. And at 40mm, the new ones should be more friendly for terrestrial pursuits too.

BELL & ROSS BR-X5 Black Titanium

When Bell & Ross launched the BR-X5 in 2022, the watch marked one of the pinnacle works by the brand. Featuring an avante-garde interpretation of the brand’s familiar circle-in-square aesthetic, alongside an integrated case-and-bracelet and a compelling dial, the watch served as a distinct elevation of the brand’s familiar and fan-loved motifs. Last week at Watches and Wonders 2024, the brand once again revisits the design, introducing its latest in the new Bell & Ross BR-X5 Black Titanium.
The watch itself is familiar in general composition, though subtler in tone and style as compared to previous iterations of the watch— which have thus far included light blue, full lume, and orange-touched editions. It measures 41 by 12.8mm on the wrist, featuring a grade 2 titanium construction with a microblasted finishing that provides it with a darkened, matte look. Machined sides and the integrated style connecting the watch to a matching titanium or rubber strap attach the watch in the collection, while the classic square look of the case proper holds it true to Bell & Ross.
The dial of the model is— like the case— a familiar execution of the BR-X5, distinguishing itself via a semi-monochromatic black with white Super-Luminova details. Applied ovular hour marks serve for most of the indices, with a matching handset indicating the running time. An aviation-inspired date window provides some daily utility towards the 3 o’clock position, while a large power reserve scale sits at its opposite at the 9 o’clock. Inside, the Bell & Ross BR-CAL.323 provides the power, with the automatic movement capable of a 70-hour reserve.

BELL & ROSS BR 05 Black Ceramic

In watchmaking, lightweight and highly resistant ceramic has become a favourite material, embraced by most brands, such as Bell & Ross. Renowned for its extensive use in the aerospace industry, ceramic is a highly technical substance that aligns seamlessly with Bell & Ross’s design philosophy rooted in aviation. Inspired by aircraft instrument panels, the brand naturally gravitates towards offering timepieces crafted in ceramic, with a particular affinity for the distinctive aesthetic of black ceramic.
While black ceramic has been a staple in various B&R collections, it had yet to take centre stage in the BR 05 series, launched in 2019 and aimed to provide Bell & Ross enthusiasts with timepieces in the popular steel integrated bracelet sports category while retaining the signature design language of the iconic BR 03 collection. Now, we gladly introduce a trio of new and captivating models: BR 05 Black Ceramic, BR 05 Skeleton Black Ceramic, and BR 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic, just unveiled at the Watches and Wonders 2024 event in Geneva.
As we anticipate the addition of models with various functions to the BR05 Black Ceramic line in the future, the models unveiled today consist of a time-and-date reference and two skeleton three-handers, sharing many common features.

The square case of the new BR05 Black Ceramic series measures 41mm in width and 11.2mm in thickness, slightly larger – by 1mm than other similar BR05 references in the collection. Bruno Belamich, the Creative Director and co-founder of Bell & Ross, elaborated on this decision. The black colour tends to visually shrink objects, prompting an adjustment in the case dimensions to maintain the pieces’ powerful presence.
The BR 05 Black Ceramic and BR 05 Skeleton Black Ceramic boast a combination of satin-finishing and polishing. At the same time, the BR 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic flaunts a matte surface achieved through sandblasted ceramic, offering a sportier and crisper appearance. All models feature a water resistance of 100m, a screw-down crown flanked by guards for protection, and sapphire crystal on both the front (with AR coating) and back. The dials mark the key distinctions among the three new references. The BR 05 Black Ceramic, featuring a time and date display, boasts a glossy black sunburst dial. Rhodium-plated skeletonized hands and baton indices, filled with white Super-LumiNova, emit a green glow in the dark. White-printed numerals accompany indices at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock, while the aperture at 3 o’clock showcases a white date on a black-coloured disc. The brand’s logo and indications of automatic movement and Swiss-made origin complete the dial-side information. In contrast, the BR 05 Skeleton Black Ceramic presents a transparent, black-tinted dial adorned with applied baton indices filled with Super-LumiNova. The 12 o’clock position features a double index. The hands maintain uniformity across the series – skeletonized and luminescent for hours and minutes and rhodium-plated for seconds. Through the dial, rhodium-plated movement components discreetly peep out, preserving Bell & Ross’s favoured stealth-like aesthetic.
Lastly, the BR 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic’s semi-transparent dial is crafted from black smoked sapphire crystal. The applied indices are treated with C5 Super-LumiNova, appearing green in daylight and low-light conditions. The rhodium-plated skeletonized hands receive a touch of the same high-shine green luminescent material, ensuring visibility in all lighting environments. For timekeeping, the time-and-date BR05 Black Ceramic utilizes the automatic calibre BR-CAL.321 (based on the Sellita SW-300) with approximately 54 hours of power reserve. The oscillating weight, adorned with decorative elements, is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. On the other hand, the two Skeleton references employ the calibre BR-CAL.322, boasting similar characteristics, including 54-hour autonomy and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour.The BR 05 Black Ceramic and BR 05 Skeleton Black Ceramic are permanent additions to the collection. They come with an integrated matching bracelet and a black rubber strap, each secured with a steel folding buckle. In contrast, the BR 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic is a limited edition of 500 pieces and exclusively features an integrated black matte ceramic bracelet. Pricing details are yet to be confirmed and will be updated during the W&W fair (expect starting prices of about 6K euros).

Chopard Launches Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Chrono California Mille 33rd Edition

For the sixth consecutive year, Chopard proudly served as the Official Timekeeper of the 33rd annual California Mille, which took place last month from April 21 to 25. Inspired by the original Italian Mille Miglia open road race from Brescia to Rome (of which Chopard has also been a global sponsor since 1988), the California Mille is a 1,000-mile, four-day excursion through Southern California’s most scenic destinations. To mark the occasion, the Swiss brand unveiled the new Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Chrono California Mille 33rd Edition, a chronometer-certified timepiece in Lucent Steel with numerous references to the legendary Italian endurance rally that enthusiasts effectively call “La Corsa Pùi Bella del Mondo,” the most beautiful race in the world. Typical of the collection, the watch exudes a very elegant yet functional elegance that evokes the spirit of the 1960s.
The C.O.S.C.-chronometer certified self-winding chronograph is clad into Chopard’s genuine steel alloy Lucent steel and water-resistant to 100 meters. Presented with a diameter of 44mm, it is equipped with mushroom-style chronograph pushers engraved with a knurled pattern and a ratcheted crown to ensure good grip and facilitate use.

The luminescent beige dial with green and red racing stripes and the California Mille logo has a textured finish that serves as a beautiful backdrop for the snailed small seconds and chronograph sub dials and the date window at 3 o’clock.

The watch face is framed by a thin and slender green bezel bearing a tachymeter scale. Its contrasting white transferred graduations serve to measure average speed ranging from 60 to 400 km/h by means of the chronograph sweep-seconds hand. The case back is closed and bears a “USA Limited Edition 25” engraving. The Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Chrono California Mille 33rd Edition is fitted with a brown calfskin strap lined with rubber. In keeping with the codes established at the launch of the Mille Miglia collection, the lining is patterned like the tread of 1960s Dunlop Racing tires.
On April 21, 2024, over 70 classic cars manufactured pre-1958 began their four-day excursion covering over 1,000 miles through some of Southern California’s most scenic routes as part of the 33rd edition of the California Mille. For the sixth year in a row, Chopard served as the Official Timekeeper of the rally, which began in La Jolla and ended at Westlake Village in Los Angeles, with the journey taking drivers through Rancho Mirage, Lake Arrowhead, Pasadena, and Valencia. This is also the sixth time Chopard has released a watch for the race; this year’s edition is the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Chrono California Mille 33rd Edition watch, which marries details from both the Italian Mille Miglia and its Californian counterpart.
The link between cars and watches is a personal one for Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard Co-President. He has a passion for classic cars, and it was under his leadership that Chopard became the world partner and official timekeeper of the 1000 Miglia in 1988. As he puts it, “Lovers of fine cars often have a great weakness for precious timepieces, and vice versa. Extreme precision and sporting elegance are important in both these fields.” The Chopard team entered the 2024 California Mille with a vintage blue Porsche 1957 356A (T2) Speedster, a.k.a “Bluebelle,” on loan from the incredible Ingram Collection.

Patek Philippe Sonnerie Minute Repeater Only Watch

Earlier this week, Patek Philippe announced their official entry for Patek Philippe Sonnerie Minute Repeater Only Watch 2023 (now being held May 10, 2024). The new watch, a ref. 6301A, features a grande et petite sonnerie and minute repeater with a grande feu enamel dial, all cased in steel, one of the rarest metals for a complicated Patek.
Last year’s delay in the Only Watch auction resulted in several brands pulling out but also had add-on effects for the brands that stuck around. Some smaller brands use Patek Philippe Sonnerie Minute Repeater Only Watch as a chance to test new ideas for future releases and need the positive press of massive auction results to prove the value of their eventual serial production. Patek, however, decided they’d rather not wait. Instead of holding off on launching production of their Only Watch release-based series, they just moved forward with it anyway and announced the 30-piece limited series of the ref. 1938 Minute Repeater Alarm last November. The watch felt very unusual compared to past Pateks, with a grand feu enamel portrait of Philippe Stern on the dial. This new watch feels much more “Patek.”
As is always the case with Patek Philippe Sonnerie Minute Repeater Only Watch , the new 6301A is a unique version of Patek’s grande et petite sonnerie and minute repeater, featuring the manually wound caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement seen through the exhibition caseback, which strikes three gongs. The watch is cased in steel, one of the most ideal metals for a chiming watch (denser materials like gold or platinum deaden the sound), measuring 44.8mm by 12.03mm thick. As far as I can tell, this is the first time Patek has done a standalone grande et petite sonnerie watch (the only other I can think of is their record-setting Only Watch Grandmaster Chime). That means the watch strikes the quarters and hours in grande sonnerie mode or only the hours if set to petite sonnerie. The watch also features a silence and can chime the time on demand with the minute repeater triggered by a monopusher-style button in the crown.
The movement measures a very compact 37mm by 7.5mm thick while still housing two mainspring barrels that impart 72 hours of power reserve for the movement and 24 hours for the strikeworks. That extra power allows the watch to complete all 1056 strikes from the sonnerie over 24 hours. The movement also features jumping small seconds (also known as deadbeat seconds).
The dial is capped with a Rare Handcrafts dial with hand-guilloché swirling pattern with Grand Feu blue-green enamel similar to the newest version of the Cathedral Gongs minute repeater ref. 5178G. The dial is set with 12 baguette-cut diamond hour markers (0.45ct worth of diamonds). The power reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework features transfer-printed “Only One” along their edge. In all, it’s an eye-catch piece from the brand and one that feels more harmonious with other releases they’ve done in the past, and while it won’t come anywhere near breaking the record of the steel Grandmaster Chime, it’s a watch I certainly would love to see in the metal. Patek Philippe Sonnerie Minute Repeater Only Watch

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164G

Ibet most people have a watch they’ve convinced themselves they’re going to have one day, no matter how out of reach it might always be. The Patek ref. 5164 has long been my white whale. Like James Stacey, I’m a lover of a versatile GMT, and the Aquanaut is – in my opinion – the king.
When I wrote about the discontinuation of the ref. 5164A, I called it a “fan-favorite.” That might be a bit much to say about a watch that cost over $40,000 and was nearly completely unobtainable by anyone but VIPs at Patek, but it was a great watch to imagine wearing and even better if you could actually get lucky enough to own one. The cool design, comfortable strap, and the sporty specs (from water-resistance to steel case) and black colorway all made it the pinnacle of “quiet luxury” before quiet luxury was a thing.

There’s an elegance to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time, which hasn’t changed with the new ref. 5164G. I wear my Rolex GMT-Master II almost every time I travel, but there’s something so cool about the tactile experience of using the pushers on the left-hand side of the case. While it’s relatively easy to use a “flyer” GMT to set your new timezone (unscrew the crown and pull out to the appropriate position to jump the hour forward or back), there’s nothing like using the pushers on the ref. 5164. The top pusher advances the hour hand by one hour for each click, while the bottom takes the hour back. Either way, a skeletonized hour hand keeps tracking your home time but hides, uncluttering the dial wh Two apertures track day or night in the home and local time zone (blue for night, white for day). It’s a beautiful symmetrical watch with the date on a subdial at 6 o’clock. This type of design has a long history at Patek, dating back to the early 1960s with the ref. 2597 Travel Time Calatrava. As James Stacey mentioned in his Hands-On with the 5164R in 2019, the movement in the 2597 originated from the mind of Louis Cottier – the father of the worldtime – which means that any ref. 5164 follows in an important linage of creativity. But the bold design and sportiness of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time is probably far beyond what Cottier could have ever imagined. While the ref. 5164A is no longer available, Patek’s choice to continue the long-running reference with another new version in precious metal was somewhat predictable. I had hoped that Patek would introduce a new Aquanaut Travel Time with a new reference in steel. It would have likely been the biggest release of Watches & Wonders in a quiet year like this, but it wouldn’t have been in line with the brand’s decision to avoid steel sports models for now.

It also wouldn’t have made much sense as the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref. 5164 remained in the catalog in rose gold, so two generations of watches being in the catalog together was unlikely. The new white gold version brings back a white-metal option to the catalog, using the same caliber 26‑330 S C FUS movement, so yes, this is mostly a case metal and dial/strap color change. But it also changes how the watch wears on the wrist. The Aquanaut Travel Time continues to be one of the most comfortable-wearing sports watches on the market, with a great custom-cut rubber strap and a deployant clasp. The case still measures a slim 10.2mm thick with a 40.8mm measurement from 2 to 8 o’clock. The lugs also drop down nicely to hug the wrist. But in gold, the watch starts to feel top-heavy, a problem with many precious metal sports watches on straps instead of bracelets – that heavy case material can throw off the balance. It also means that Patek has reduced the sportiness of the watch in another, more practical way, with the water resistance now down to 30m from 120m from the 5164A. This is not just a change for the 5164G but also an updated specification for the 5164R and all other Aquanuat and Nautilus models. Either metal came with a display caseback, but unfortunately, the new water resistance makes me a little more hesitant to imagine taking the Aquanaut into – well – the aqua. However, the question of fit and balance is a personal preference, just like the new dial color. While Rolex has a penchant for giving options on options of colors to fit different customers’ preferences, that’s not the path Patek likes to take. Just like their confidence in the materials they want to use (customer demand be damned), they also have a strong design sense. After a few quiet years of releases, I would have imagined Patek would have wanted the “pop” of hype that would have come with releasing a “khaki” Aquanaut Travel Time in white gold or something bolder in platinum. But, there’s probably something to be said for Patek trying to continue to cool demand. Prices for the 5164A have slowly decreased, not to retail, but it’s a start.

Instead, we got the opaline blue-gray dial, embossed Aquanaut pattern, and white gold case and a $63,040 price tag. Based on the photos, I was afraid the dial would be too light blue to be wearable for someone like me who likes something more low-key. While it’s not the classic 5164A I’ve dreamed of for years, it seems darker in person and shifts with the light. That means it feels like it could be a decent daily wear option if you’re so lucky. It will be a bit longer before I get the Aquanaut Travel Time of my dreams. While it’s not the watch I wanted to see, it’s the one we’ve got. Undoubtedly, the 5164G will stick around for a while to continue on the now 13-year run of the reference (the longest-lived reference in the catalog, I believe). It seems unlikely that Patek would kill a new release just to introduce a brand-new model one year later. In the meantime, plenty of people will enjoy the new 5164G. To steal a line from James, it remains my pick for the coolest modern Patek Philippe. I’ll still keep my dream of an Aquanaut Travel Time in steel, but this is the watch I need right now, while I save up a bit more for the day that Patek brings back my white whale. For more information on the new Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref. 5164G, including complete specs, read our “Introducing” post or visit Patek Philippe’s website.

Patek Philippe Nautilus chronograph 5980

Although its absence from the brand’s lineup may have been brief, the Patek Philippe Nautilus chronograph reference 5980’s presence has been sorely missed in the collection since it was quietly discontinued in early 2024. As part of its Watches and Wonders 2024 novelties, however, Patek Philippe brings this popular chronograph complication back to the Nautilus family with a unique blend of refinement and casual cool. The new Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 5980-60G brings back the unique stacked, concentric subdial layout of previous Nautilus chronographs, but combines this with a relaxed blue colorway and an offbeat denim-effect strap.
Measuring 40.5mm wide and 12.2mm thick, the Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 5980-60G’s 18k white-gold case is, from a design perspective, pure classic Nautilus. The layout should be instantly familiar to enthusiasts, with the same broad chamfered bezel, porthole-inspired case side flanges, and smoothly elegant integrated lugs as the rest of the Nautilus collection. Naturally, the largest difference from the mainline Nautilus case design is the inclusion of chronograph pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock. Broad and subtly rounded, the polished oval pushers add a new source of flash to an already bright and eye-catching case design. Patek Philippe tops off the case with a sapphire display caseback, as well. Given the Nautilus line’s sporting, aquatic pretensions, it’s difficult to judge the reference 5980-60G’s miniscule 30-meter water resistance rating as anything but disappointing.
Like the case, the dial design of the Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 5980-60G should be familiar to fans of the brand. The classic Nautilus dial layout is broadly preserved here, with sleek paddle hands, angled applied indices, and a horizontally slatted “teak deck” dial surface. Rather than the deep, oceanic blue usually used for the Nautilus series, this new model uses a more muted, denim-inspired blue dial hue in images for a fresher, more relaxed look. The unique concentric subdial design of previous 5980 models is refined and highlighted here, gathering both chronograph hours and chronograph minutes into a single tightly packaged display at 6 o’clock. Crucially, though, this model ditches the two-tone display of previous blue 5980 references for a cleaner all-blue subdial layout, featuring tight azurage, airy white scales, and elemental stick hands for both subdial displays. Overall, it’s a simpler, more visually open layout than many of its predecessors, but one that still feels instantly at home in the brand’s catalog.
Patek Philippe powers the Nautilus reference 5980-60G with the manufacture Caliber CH 28-520 C/522 automatic flyback chronograph movement. The Calibre CH 28-520 C/522 offers robust if unspectacular performance, with a 55-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. In terms of finishing, this movement is contemporary and handsome in images, with circular Côtes de Genève across the semi-skeleton bridges and balance cock, polished anglage, oversized perlage on the mainplate, and an engraved 21K gold rotor with matching circular Côtes de Genève.
The new strap design added to the Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 5980-60G arguably steals the show for this release. Attached to the case via the line’s classic polished rectangular integrated center links, this calfskin strap accurately captures the texture and color variations of heavily worn denim in photos. Equipping a strap inspired by faded blue jeans to a watch as formal and traditionally Swiss as Patek Philippe might seem like an odd pairing at first glance, but this more laid-back approach has its own sort of charm in images and matches the dial colorway splendidly.
The reference 5980 Patek Philippe Nautilus chronograph may have enjoyed a brief retirement in early 2024, but for Watches and Wonders the Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 5980-60G brings this fan-favorite layout back to life in a charismatically casual new style.

Patek Philippe 5330G World Time

To a certain type of person, Patek Philippe is world timers and world timers are Patek Philippe. While Patek didn’t invent the complication, it’s become strongly associated with the brand over the decades, in large part because of well-executed references like the new Patek Philippe 5330G World Time.
Patek introduced the 5330G at last year’s Tokyo Grand Exhibit as a limited edition of 300 and only for the Japanese market. Now, it’s bringing the new World Time reference to its general catalog with an opaline blue-grey dial. The carbon pattern in the center of the dial calls to mind the 6007A Calatrava introduced to celebrate the opening of its new manufacture in 2020.
The Patek Philippe 5330G World Time is powered by the new Patek caliber 240 HU C, which Patek introduced in last year’s LE. It’s a world timer with 24-hour day/night indication for each time zone, but it’s most notable for being the first world time that has a date that faithfully tracks the local (i.e., 12-hour) time. According to Patek, it’s done this while adding less than a millimeter of thickness to the caliber. It’s the type of practical mechanical innovation that Patek continues to do as well as any manufacturer, in particular in its world and travel time watches. The caliber 240 is an automatic movement that beats at 3 Hz and has a 38-48-hour power reserve.
The white gold case measures 40 x 11.57mm. It’s well proportioned and wears thin on the wrist, exactly what you want from the dressier side of Patek. The lugs are compact and keep the 5330G wearable, even given its slightly larger diameter. The round case and stepped lugs feel heritage inspired, appropriate for a classic complication like a world timer.

While the Japanese limited edition had a guilloché purple dial that was certainly an acquired taste, the main catalog 5330G plays it down the middle with a blue-grey opaline. The textured carbon pattern in the middle of the dial contrasts with the smooth world timer rings. A glass date pointer that’s tipped with red feels like a considered touch.
Somewhat provocatively, Patek has paired a denim-style calfskin strap with the Patek Philippe 5330G World Time , just as it has with the updated 5980G. For awhile, we’ve been saying it wouldn’t hurt brands like Patek to deliver its modern dressier watches on something besides the oh-so-formal alligator, so I like seeing something new from Patek. As we mentioned on the first Watches & Wonders episode of Hodinkee Radio, it calls to mind the brown denim-adjacent strap on AP’s Travis Scott collab.

A Patek world timer isn’t going to set the world on fire. It’s simply Patek doing what it’s always done, just making it about 10 percent better – in this case, that means a practical innovation that makes the watch just that much more usable. But the Patek Philippe 5330G World Time is a well executed, modern take on an old-school complication, and that’s exactly the type of thing we like to see from Patek Philippe.

Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon Openworked

The first time I saw Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon in Sand Gold, I thought I was looking at stainless steel. AP had just announced the watch, a mix of materials to create a new gold alloy that’s a softer hue between pink and white. But in the bright blue lights of a convention hall, the watch looked completely white. As it made its way around the circle of press at the event, only when I got it up close, under a bit of shadow, did the rosy tones start to come out of the case. For “just a new material,” it was pretty impressive. But I figured that it was a one-time experience, like learning how a magic trick was done.
The second time I saw Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon in Sand Gold, I thought I was looking at stainless steel. I was at another press preview, this time in New York when I saw my friend Perri Dash working on a wrist roll in the shade. “It’s cool that they brought out the stainless steel version,” I thought to myself. Then I got closer. You know what they say, “Fool me once…”

Any other batch of releases and the new 26735SG (for “Sand Gold”) would have easily been the watch that grabbed the most attention. It certainly caught my eye, but as someone who loves the Royal Oak, I’m never quite sure how the audience will react. This time, the watch was the “With Special Guest” to John Mayer’s top billing with his show-stopping Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, so I expected it to get overshadowed. Then there’s the fact that it’s easy to dismiss the watch – like I said before – as “just a new material.” That’s why I was, frankly, pleasantly surprised by the fact that the few photos I posted of the watch on Instagram seemed to really resonate.
Detractors aren’t completely wrong. The 26735ST (“ST” for steel) was the first openworked Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon, released back in 2022, so the movement here isn’t new. If that’s all that gets you excited, you might be bored, but from my standpoint, the caliber 2972 is nothing ever to be disappointed in. It has a beautifully semi-symmetrical architecture that’s clean, clear, and intentional in a way that tells you the caliber was designed to be skeletonized from the start. With all that’s going on in the movement, the flying tourbillon is still the center point, standing proud at 6:00. And while skeletonized watches are never the most legible, the geometric pattern means you can more easily tell the hands and movement apart. To me, all that bumped the 2972 quickly to the top of the class, setting the standard for openworked (or skeletonized) watches back in 2022.
So sure, the most important thing to note with the new ref. 26735SG is the new sand gold material, but it’s not all just about color. When I wrote about the watch a few weeks ago, I missed a brief mention in the press release that AP’s new sand gold should be more color-fast and durable over time. While not many people (myself included) have to worry about the durability of rose gold, it’s particularly finicky and prone to fading when exposed to salt water or chlorine. Very few brands have solved that issue, Rolex and Omega being two of the notable exceptions.

And while it isn’t all about color, it certainly is a big selling point. Almost all gold used in watchmaking is 18k or 14k alloys, made harder and more durable by mixing other materials with pure gold. Choosing what materials you use can lend colorfastness, hardness, and shift color. While these mixes are now closely studied, tested, and checked for impurities that might impact the final product, back before the early to mid-1900s, this kind of gold mixing was wild and free. It’s not uncommon to see four-color gold cases (bonus point who can name the fourth color besides yellow, white, and rose), and often, if you see white gold cases (on Cartier, for instance) made before the 1950s, it’s actually rhodium-plated yellow gold.
These proprietary color mixes are part of why it’s so fun to debate things like who has the best rose gold on the market (ahem AP ahem) or talk about why A. Lange & Söhne’s Honey Gold case is so special. Speaking of Honey Gold, it’s a great jumping-off point for the new Sand Gold. While Lange’s mix is a pinkish hue trending toward a soft yellow, Sand Gold is even softer. The beige tone definitely trends toward white gold, thanks to the balance of 20 percent copper and five percent palladium used to strengthen the 18k gold case. I called it “very Loro Piana,” a reference on my mind as I walked past a very beige display at their boutique in Milan just before seeing the new watch. But it’s as “quiet luxury” as a loud watch like a gold Royal Oak can get.

This continues my perception of Audemars Piguet’s materials science dominance. Sure, other brands were often first. IWC, for instance, released the first ceramic-cased watch with the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar in 1986 and currently makes some of the most budget-friendly ceramic watches. But AP has made ceramic and other materials like frosted gold such an inextricable part of their brand identity that people clamor for their ceramic watches in a way you don’t see for anyone else. When AP pulled out of Only Watch last year, their proposed watch was basically the same Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon but in ceramic with blued titanium bridges. I heard from more than one AP client who tried incredibly hard to buy it, saying to AP, “Name your price.” But their success isn’t just with ceramic. When AP was testing its Concept Supersonnerie RD#1, the brand used the worst material imaginable, the incredibly dense and terrible-sounding platinum. It takes a lot to bend the material to your will that way and yet it’s still one of the best-sounding repeaters I’ve heard.
In this case, we must credit AP’s partner, PX Précinox La Chaux-de-Fonds, which developed the gold alloy. AP has no proprietary rights to the gold, but they did create the name for this product. As for using it this well, well that’s all AP.

The use of Sand Gold has even improved the great caliber 2972. The hands and markers (in white gold) have even more contrast against the movement, with the bridges treated with a sand-gold hue to match the case while standing out from the gears and barrels, which are rhodium-toned. Oh, and maybe I’m the only one who found this funny, but the rotor is technically made from 18k pink gold, though that’s been rhodium-toned as well, making it essentially white gold.
The most important thing, however, is how AP has pulled off the magic trick that has fooled me one too many times. The best way to illustrate it is in the pictures above, and the examples below.

I try incredibly hard to have consistent lighting and color across all my images. I spend hours on it in post-production, in addition to using a lighting set-up that I color-correct before I even take my first image. Any reflective material plays off its environment; that’s how the physics of light works. For the physics or photography nerds out there, you’ll know that in polished metal, the angle of incidence (light coming in) equals the angle of reflection (light coming out), and whatever else is in the environment impacts the color (whatever is at a 90-degree angle from the polished metal will cast a color on it). A color cast can still be prominent even with brushed metal, like many facets on the Royal Oak. But I’ve never experienced a color shift when shooting a watch as much as I have with Sand Gold. Placed on a piece of brown leather, the watch seemed to play off the environment’s more yellow and red hues, landing on something close to AP’s current rose gold mix. But look what happened when I took it outside on a cold day with direct and cool light. While hard light is terrible for taking photos of watches – creating contrast and weird shadows – you can see why I continue to be fooled by the new Flying Tourbillon. In fact, when I asked to grab the watch and take these pictures, someone else absent-mindedly picked up a nearby white gold 16204 (Jumbo openworked) before realizing they weren’t holding a tourbillon in their hand. It was incredibly validating – or at least comforting – knowing I wasn’t losing my mind.
What you’ll see most of the time is something in between, a gorgeous Royal Oak as you see below. At 41mm by 10.4mm thick, it’s not the quintessential Royal Oak size (the 39mm x 8.1mm Jumbo by which all other Royal Oaks are measured), but it’s not far off either. On my 7.25″ wrist, it arguably is the more “correct” size for my frame despite my (often obnoxious) obsession with the Jumbo. If this is the watch I had to wear, I wouldn’t complain about it in fit or finish. But at a rumored $270,000+ and estimated less than 100 pieces being made one year, I won’t hold my breath at ever seeing one in the wild for a long time.

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

Today marks an important milestone for Breitling as it launches the next generation of Aerospace. With the outgoing Aerospace Evo stock levels in flux for the past few years, it has been uncertain whether the analog-digital Grade 2 titanium watch would stay. Breitling’s new 43mm Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter settles the debate and celebrates 25 years since the first nonstop global balloon flight in 1999. The smoky orange dial of this special edition matches the balloon’s gondola, with the Orbiter insignia flanking the right of the central pinion. Can the new Aerospace soar above the clouds, or will it deflate and come crashing to the ground? Let’s find out.

The Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter is a firm favorite at Fratello. Since 1985, the ana-digi watch has graced the wrists of pilots and enthusiasts of all generations. For a while, though, it seemed like the popular Swiss watch was on its way out. Breitling’s focus on heritage designs and mechanical ingenuity put the Aerospace on thin ice as an outlier to the brand’s direction. A few years ago, you would have struggled to find the 2013-introduced Aerospace Evo in any Breitling boutique or authorized dealer. While stocks replenished, it was hard to shake the feeling that the 11-year-old model had begun to lose touch with modern smartwatches. The new Aerospace B70 radically refreshes the collection to align it with Breitling’s Professional family.
Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter
While this edition is specifically a tribute to the 1999 global balloon flight — more on that soon — the inaugural B70 model shapes the Aerospace’s future. So, what is significant about the B70? First, it’s worth explaining how the Breitling Aerospace has operated since its creation. The quartz timepiece, and later thermo-compensated SuperQuartz in 2001, features dual LCD screens on the dial with analog hour and minute hands. The Super-LumiNova-equipped hands can be synchronized or set independently from the digital display, providing a tremendous dual-time function. From 2007, the Aerospace used the Breitling caliber 79, which started life as an ETA 988.352. This COSC-certified chronometer maintains an accuracy of ±10 seconds per year and a three-to-four-year battery life. More than that, there is a programmable countdown timer, chronograph, alarm, four-year calendar, minute repeater, UTC, and backlight. All these functions are controllable via the single crown. The Evo, which has been in production since 2013, is the last generation to use the Breitling 79 movement. Considering the B79’s valiant 17-year run, 2024 seems like a reasonable year to refresh the movement. The new B70 is a manufacture caliber co-developed with MMT. Powering the new Aerospace, the B70 is a thermo-compensated SuperQuartz COSC-certified chronometer with analog and digital displays — very much in keeping with the Aerospace DNA. The key new features are the 1/100th-of-a-second chronograph (with split-time and flyback functions), an electronic tachymeter, and a lap timer. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the three integrated pushers for controlling the watch’s functions. That’s right; the new Aerospace no longer relies solely on its rotating crown with integrated push-piece to activate its functions. While it’s a shame to lose the intuitive single-crown control, the B70’s recessed pushers sit almost flush within the sculpted lugs.
Breitling Orbiter 3 nonstop global balloon flight
I have told this story before, but it’s worth reiterating the Breitling Orbiter 3’s incredible feat. In March 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones circumnavigated the globe in the first successful round-the-world flight in the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon. It is still the most prolonged time an aircraft has remained airborne without stopping. However, Piccard and Jones didn’t make the trip in 80 days, as novelized by Jules Verne, but in 19 days, 21 hours, and 47 minutes. Breitling was growing impatient with the failure of Orbiter 1 and 2 and proclaimed that the Orbiter 3 would be the last attempt to be sponsored by the Swiss watch brand. Thankfully, the third time, as it often is, was the charm. The Breitling team was not alone in this global record attempt. Cable & Wireless sponsored a team with a head start and surpassed the distance previously set by the Breitling Orbiter 2. However, both sides had to contend with adverse weather and maneuver around restricted airspace over China and Yemen. The Cable & Wireless team was still ahead and progressing well but elected to rely solely on solar power without any backup batteries.
A fateful decision
The extra power storage would’ve increased weight and energy consumption. Nearing the Pacific Ocean, the balloon was positioned with the Sun on the wrong side of the solar panel. Quickly losing power, the Cable & Wireless team ascended to catch the light and compensate. It was a fateful decision because ice gathered on the balloon during the ascent and added too much mass. Along with the dwindling power, the aircraft descended and eventually ditched into the ocean. With just enough time for the mayday call, the pilots were soon rescued. With the main competition out of the race, you would’ve thought Piccard and Jones would relax in their efforts. Hardly. Knowing the same fate could await them, the level of fear was rising. What they had in their favor were the Breitling Emergency watches with orange dials strapped to their wrists. The beacon at the lower half of the case could be unscrewed and pulled for a distress signal to pulse to the nearest air and rescue forces if necessary.
Speeds of up to 100mph
They stayed airborne and continued the journey to Egypt, their finish line. The jet stream was favorable and helped them reach 100mph while also assisting with fuel efficiency. After nearly 20 days and 45,633km, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones touched down in the Sahara Desert. As they waited seven hours to be picked up, they noticed their last propane tank, not jettisoned, had only four inches of fuel left. Perfect timing or blind luck? You decide. But I think the truth is that you don’t break records of this magnitude without the rub of the green.The balloon’s gondola is now on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. There is also a fantastic documentary on YouTube, via Bertrand Piccard’s account, that is worth watching. It covers this flight with onboard, hand-held cameras and footage shot by the pilots.
Back to the Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter
Breitling was not content with just updating the Aerospace’s movement. The brand has also sculpted and refined the case. I mention the recesses on the case sides already as they’re a dramatic diversion from all previous references. The bidirectional bezel has also been reworked and no longer has numerals in five-minute increments in a digitized typeface. Instead, it now only includes dashes on the main surface with numerals on the rider tabs at 15, 30, and 45 minutes. These numerals are elongated and more mature, befitting of the Aerospace’s grown-up refresh. Speaking of numerals, the ones on the dial align better with the style of the Endurance Pro. This alteration may be hard to spot at first. But looking at the 8, you may spot the B70’s wider bottom half versus the straight 8 on the Evo. The 3, 6, and 9 numerals are also reminiscent of the Endurance Pro. Thankfully, the Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter showcases these indices in their entirety, unlike the Endurance Pro, on which the sub-dials bite into them. Breitling is molding the Aerospace B70 to align with the Professional collection, where the Endurance Pro also resides. Therefore, the venerable “wings & anchor” logo stays on the dial, albeit replacing the 12 above the LCD screens rather than in between. This fan-favorite emblem, introduced in 1984, is now only found within the Professional family, whether rightly or wrongly. As for the case back, the Aerospace B70 contains a segment of the Orbiter 3 balloon visible through the exhibition window. Within the window is the mission logo with the inscription “First non-stop flight around the world 25th anniversary” running the circumference.
Initial impressions and pricing
As a longtime Aerospace fan, this announcement excited me, as my Fratello colleagues can attest. I will try to temper my enthusiasm; for now, this model is a tribute to the Orbiter 3 flight. However, knowing the brand, this execution will likely form the basis for future Aerospace models. The orange-to-black gradient dial of the Orbiter edition is quite striking. It’s not quite the color for me, but it makes sense to reference the gondola’s paint scheme and the orange-dial Breitling Emergency worn by the pilots. I must go hands-on with the B70 to adapt to its new layout and functionality. But aesthetically, I do appreciate the more prominent digital display. However, the movement’s increased functionality does drop the battery life to approximately two years from the B79’s four years. Despite the more complex case, the Aerospace still achieves a 100m depth rating. Yet, the “living piece of history” does increase the case thickness from 10.8mm to 12.95mm. Perhaps future Aerospace B70s will forego the unique window and instead opt for a regular titanium case back, reducing the thickness. The bidirectional bezel is also a departure from the Evo but in line with the Endurance Pro. I don’t mind the influences from the Endurance Pro as they provide continuity within the range.