Graham Fortress Ltd Replica Watch 2FOAS.B01A

The Graham Fortress is a chronograph equipped with a monopusher set within the crown. By placing the monopusher/crown on the left flank of the case, the watch breaks with convention. However, here is much sense in taking this unusual approach to chronograph design.

What’s in a name? The Fortress upholds Graham’s fondness for aviation-themed product names. Perhaps its moniker doffs its hat to the Flying Fortress of the 1930s? Alternatively, the word ‘fortress’ may evoke thoughts of military strongholds or castles and, by default, elicit images of strong, castellated buildings and impregnable structures. All of these associations are consistent with the tough nature of this new Graham model.

To really understand the watch brand from La Chaux-de-Fonds, a person has to think like Graham, i don’t subscribe to convention or accept mediocrity; be #bold and #brave. If a sign says ‘keep off the grass’, put on a pair of big boots and do a jig on the turf. If other brands choose to place push-pieces on the righthand side of the case, then break the rules and go for a leftfield approach.
Indeed, as you look at the new Fortress from Graham you will note a monopusher located on the left flank of the case. This lone pusher, positioned in the top of the crown, starts, stops and resets the chronograph. It’s a #one-stop shop for all of your stopwatch needs. By combining it with the crown it endows the case with a clean, uncluttered profile.

But a leftfield design can also be eminently logical. A pusher on the left side of the case proves more #intuitive to use. When using a chronograph, the wearer observes the start of an event, actuates the stopwatch function and, thereafter, at the end of the event, halts the timer. The potential problem is the human factor, namely the time gap between seeing an event and pressing the push-piece. The shorter the gap between observation andpressing the pusher, the more validity the recorded elapsed time has. The thumb is the fastest actingdigit, hence with thisdesign, a right-handedperson will instinctively place their plumpest digit on the push-piece and press it with lightning-bolt alacrity.

Another key benefit of positioning the combined crown and monopusher on the left is superior wearer comfort. Often when a watch is worn and the wearer flexes their wrist, the protrusions on the right flank of the case gouge the wrist, chafe the skin or inhibit free movement. The Fortress’s leftfield approach causes no such problems.
The blue sunray dial and the black grained dial feature #bold, luminescent hour and minutes which collaborate with ample, applied Arabic numerals, imparting meaning. The dial has two circular brushed counters, a small seconds display at 3 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph register at 6 o’clock. A date display is located adjacent the monopusher/crown. Housed in a 47mm stainless steel case, the generous proportions of the watch confer impressive wrist presence, while the exhibition caseback affords sight of the Fortress’s Swiss automatic movement.

This rebellious firm doesn’t subscribe to slick marketing, it chooses to focus on making excellent watches, rich in character. Indeed, the Graham Fortress Ltd is a serious watch from a company who still knows how to have #fun.

Chopard mille miglia classic chronograph raticosa

Editor’s note: As race car driver and Chopard Ambassador Romain Dumas wins the Time Attack 1 Division of the 99th Running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb wearing the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Speed Black, we go hands-on with two new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa watches. We recently went hands-on with some of Chopard’s other new 2021 releases, and you can about them here and here. These have been photographed with the grateful assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney and Chopard Australia. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
As the road bends curving like the nude beauty of a voluptuous body, you witness the beauty of naked nature in your rear-view mirror; grass in various shades of green lace the valley, the cold air breezes past, motorbikes can be heard revving, your adrenaline pumping, the grey asphalt road with clearly marked white lines beckons.

The blue sky laced with white clouds moves over the horizon. The abundant of tress cast their shadow, and the mountain peaks in the distance stand tall and firm.
You pull up at the lone solace for rest amongst this haven of ‘motor-valley’, the Chalet Raticosa.

A must stop for motorcyclists, near the Chalet at the top of the pass is a sign post, covered in racing symbols and stickers. A welcome scent of gasoline in the air engulfs you.

With Lamborghini, Ferrari and Ducati factories in the vicinity, all this is a reminder that you are passing by the famous Italian Raticosa Pass, and the love for motorsports courses through this pass’s every bend and turn.
The 2021 Mille Miglia race is spread over the course of four days and includes three passes along the way: Passo della Cisa in the first leg and Passi di Futa e Raticosa on the third day of the race. In fact, the Raticosa and Futa passes are now the only real stretches of the Mille Miglia where one can still drive as if the time is still 1955.

At almost a 1000m above sea-level, the Passo della Raticosa is where the exciting and adrenaline pumping journey of the annual Mille Miglia car rally-cum-race takes centre stage. And the same passion for motor-sports comes alive on the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa.

The new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa comes in two variations: with a varnished beige dial and fauxtina accents in stainless steel ref. 168589-3033 aka ‘the dawn version’ and the 500-piece limited edition with a varnished black dial with fauxtina accents again in stainless steel ref. 168589-3034 aka ‘the dusk version’.
They both retail for the same 8’620 AUD or 5’900 CHF or 8’140 SGD. They are both 500-piece limited editions and COSC-certified, and come on the exact same strap. Both these versions feature the same design and specifications as well, but the real beauty shines through when looked at up close; they are different as day and night, dawn and dusk.

The best part is, from a collector’s point of view, there is a space for both of these chronos to co-exist in one collection.
Given these are on my ‘must-get-at-some-point’ list, I have of course tried a number of Chopard Mille Miglia watches over the years; but have never officially reviewed them. So when we got to go hands-on with these, suffice to say I felt like a child let loose in a toy store.

My first reaction was how familiar they looked, and yet different at the same time. Truth be told most of these watches are very similar every year, featuring minor tweaks or colour changes. But if you have a winning formula, why tinker with it? Chopard has a history of churning out some exquisite pieces from time to time, with one of my favourites being the Mille Miglia Racing Colours Yellow from 2018. Both the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa feature the same design architecture as the ones I have tried on, but on the wrist, the beige, black and fauxtina colours come alive, lending these a distinctive aesthetic.
These measure at 42mm diameter — 47mm with the crown — and 12.67mm thickness, with a rather long lug-to-lug of 50mm. On my ~16cm wrist, these sit surprisingly well. There wasn’t any overhang thanks to the curved lugs. Honestly, it’s a good design for someone with slim or large wrists. Another reason why this works on slimmer wrist sizes like mine is the case design and dial: the watch features a stepped bezel that not only visually demarcates the case but also decreases it to 39mm. Given the thickness of the bezel, the actual dial ends up being only 35mm. So when looking from the top, the small dial makes it work on my wrists while the large lug-to-lug ensures it sits with an impressive presence. The watch is not very thick (for a chronograph), measuring only 12.67mm. It’s main middle case-band is only 7mm, again aiding in making the watch look slimmer. Assisting this effect is the 4mm high stepped bezel as well.
Given the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa features an all polished case and lugs with no surface texture breakage, these design and height/diameter differences help bring a degree of nuance to the watch design.

Both the watches weigh a rather decent 95g each, which makes them wear just right: not too heavy for a chrono that they become burdensome, and not too light that you can barely feel them.

The one dimension I did find annoying was the 19mm lug interhorn spacing. It just makes it difficult to source aftermarket straps and on a 42mm diameter watch, 19mm could easily be increased.
That said, I particularly love the perforated strap that features a rubber base reminiscent of vintage Dunlop car tyres topped by a beautiful thin layer of brown calfskin patinated leather. An embossed and branded pin buckle completes it.

The strap patina also complements the faux-patina looking, lume in-filled, 1920s-car-dashboard-inspired Arabic numerals.
Both these feature the same display case-back with Mille Miglia and LE branding that showcases the ETA 2894-2 calibre and the decent decorations in the form of Geneva Stripes on the bridges and the circular-grained mainplate.

The dial layout is also the same on both, symmetrical, a bit cluttered but highly legible. The fonts on the main dial and sub-dials are different, further aiding in readability.
The peripheral sloping tachymeter scale adds to the sense of depth perception already accentuated by the external sloping bezel, and the red on the tip of the chronograph second’s hand perfectly complements the Mille Miglia arrow at 12’o clock.

The crown design seems to have changed and evolved over the years as well, and I particularly appreciate the presence of an almost oversized crown with a steering wheel embossed on it.

It’s always the little details that go a long way, and the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa is impressively chockfull of them.
This is where the similarities cease, and the day and night, dawn and dusk personalities start to take form.

The black dial version ref. 168589-3034 is my favourite of two. In this version, for starters, the date wheel colour has been matched to the dial, that provides a sense of coherency.
But most impressively, it is the execution of contrast of the sub-dials and dial that is the star for me: the chronograph counters are sunken again providing visual relief, and feature concentric circles or an azurage pattern. To top it off, there is also a mild sun-ray effect to them. Then the main dial while in the same black colour features a circular-brushed texture and a rather strong sun-ray effect.
The ‘dawn version’ or the beige coloured ref. 168589-3033 is completely opposite in personality (on a micro level). The main dial features a grained texture, that rather than contrasting synchronises with the sunken counters. The date wheel here is not matched to the dial but is in traditional white. But the pink-ish faux-patina look in-fills on the dial really come alive in this version. And only that, for someone with a naturally tanned skin, this works superbly. I really liked how the brown strap, beige dial and faux-lume worked on my skin tone.
At the end of the day, both these watches are great. They are opposite but the same. The black one is more dressy and the beige one more casual. But both are sporty and soaked in motor-sports DNA. These are also different from Chopard’s previous releases. We managed to get a couple of comparison shots with another silver and black dialled Chopard Mille Miglia and all of these offer something distinctive.
Before we head on to the movement specifications, there are a couple of elements I wouldn’t mind seeing altered.

One, it kind of bothers me that while the case features a screw-down crown, the timepiece is only 50m water-resistant. Given the sporty design, I would really appreciate if Chopard increased this to 100m in the future editions.
And two, it is that god-forsaken cries against design architecture, the 4.30 date aperture. Frankly it’s not even required on the dial, as is already a fair bit of activity on the dial. Remove that, and the dial is a symmetric wonder, and is something that I as both a watch enthusiast and an architect definitely appreciate.
Both the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa feature the outsourced automatic movement, the ETA 2894-2. This movement is available in three grades if I am not mistaken: Elaboré grade with a nickel balance, Top grade with a Glucydur balance, and the most accurate of the lot, the Chronomètre grade. Chopard has thankfully chosen to go with the latter, the COSC-certified grade.
I say thankfully because the ETA 2894-2 in general don’t have the best reputation amongst watch enthusiasts, especially when compared to the ETA Valjoux 7750. Without getting too technical, this is due to ETA 2894-2 being more of a module that cannot be easily and readily serviced by any watch repairer (as its parts aren’t readily available at local watchmakers and usually must be sent to Switzerland for replacement). This ends up making the long-term running cost of an ETA 2894-2 timepiece potentially higher than that of a chronograph watch fitted with a Valjoux 7750 or an integrated movement.
The integrated vs modular chronograph debate has been raging for a bit now, and I have no intentions of adding more fuel to that fire. So I am not going to address it directly in this review. It’s a topic for another time and place. But I will say this though; from a personal point of view, I prefer the integrated approach, that is, ETA 7750. That said, my Heuer Monaco LE 1969 features a Dubois Depraz chronograph module on top of a Sellita base. So it’s not like I would not buy the Mille Miglia because it uses a modular movement. I just prefer if it came with an integrated one instead, especially considering the fact that Chopard has the means to create exceptional in-house movements thanks to its Fleurier Ebauche workshops.
All said and done, the ETA 2894-2 is based on the ETA 2892-A2 that is a much more premium ETA offering than say the standard 2824. The ETA 2894-2 features very smooth winding, is robust, Chopard offers COSC-precision, and the movement is thin.

And for those connoisseurs and collectors for whom the possible higher service cost is not a deterrent, there is no other reason why someone shouldn’t consider a watch with the ETA 2894-2.
And when the package looks as handsome as the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa, this consideration kind of takes the back seat.

Another aspect to consider is that usually the ETA 2894-2 is used over the ETA 7750 family because the 7750 measures a bit larger at 30mm x 7.9mm; so chronograph watches with the ETA 2894-2 can be slimmer and fit under the cuff.

And for those who would like to own a sporty chronograph timepiece that can also be used as a dress watch, the black dialled Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa ref. 168589-3034 with only 12.67mm thickness is a stellar offering.
As for the specifications, in regards to the generic ETA 2894-2, it measures 28mm x 6.10mm, comprises 37 jewels — instead of only 25 in the 7750 — beats at the standard frequency of 4Hz, and offers ~42-hour power reserve.

Besides powering the Chopard Mille Miglias, ETA 2894-2 is also used by a number of other brands such as Bell & Ross, TAG Heuer (as Calibre 17), Longines and even Hublot (as HUB4300). In the past, I have also seen it used by other brands such as Bulgari and Ventura as well. So rest assured, you are in good and reliable company here.
When it comes to the original Mille Miglia races, Sir Stirling Moss and his Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR are legendary. And when it comes to having a horological equivalent of this for your wrist, the Chopard Mille Miglia sets the stage on fire.

That said, the Chopard Mille Miglia watches are not for everyone. I remember the first time I saw a Chopard Mille Miglia was at an AD while looking at an Omega Speedmaster FOIS. And as legendary as the Speedmaster is — and I personally do own the 2018 iteration CK 2998 — I couldn’t help but drifting towards the Mille Miglia. It’a a car lovers dream watch.
My wife couldn’t understand what I saw in it, and even now, after working with me on our website for a year and half, doesn’t see the many minute details on the Mille Miglia that I find so impressive. I am sadly yet to own one of these, but if I ever was in a situation where I was behind the wheels of a race car, there is no other watch I would rather wear. These are a sure-fire speed junkie heart kick-starter. If you feel the need for speed, these are the ones for you.
My love for the Chopard Mille Miglia is obvious. And if I had the funds, I would be getting one of these.

But my dilemma with the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa watches is that I don’t want just one, but both. I think they work best as a set.

I reckon these should have also been available as a set of both, that came inside a nice lux packaging, with perhaps an additional red car replica of the one used by the Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. And I am not a marketeer for the brand but they could have made the price for the package a bit cheaper than buying these two individually.
For over 30 years, Chopard has been the official timekeeper of Italy’s famed Mille Miglia classic car rally. The races are so relevant in Chopard’s existence that every year Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele competes in the gruelling, 1,000-mile contest that runs from Brescia to Rome and back.

It is then only natural that the Maison produces a new Mille Miglia watch collection every year to mark this event.
And this year’s versions can be simply summarised by the Italian saying:’Segui il tuo corso e lascia dir genti’.

It roughly translates to ‘Follow your own road, and let the people talk’.

Simply put, you can’t go wrong with the new Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa watches. Honestly, if you like the look and have the finances for it, get both.
This dream team of both watches, driver and navigator, dawn and dusk, interchangeable during day and night, allows you to travel in the fast lane.

And even if you decide on just one, these chronos will allow you to follow a distinct road on your horological journey.

Richard Mille RM 029 Automatic Le Mans Classic

The silence has been eerie these last two years on the outskirts of Le Mans. Anyone familiar with the world’s most iconic historic racing event will know that every second July, the whole town vibrates to the sound of scorched tarmac in the distance. The legendary race, Le Mans Classic will return not only in 2022, but exceptionally the next year too, in 2023, to mark the centenary of the very first race on the Le Mans 24 Hours circuit.
Usually, 700 historic racing cars take to the legendary Bugatti circuit together with 8,500 others in the club areas. The event is more than likely to top next year the record of 135,000 spectators it last saw in 2018. Richard Mille has been a partner ever since its inception in 2002 and has created the 8th model dedicated specifically to this event, a limited edition of 150 timepieces, the RM 029 Automatic Le Mans Classic. Aficionados will instantly recognize the timeless green and white color combination of one of the world’s greatest historic racing event.
The RM 029 Automatic Le Mans Classic, with total case dimensions of 40.10 x 48.15 x 13.10 mm, has a caseband milled from a solid block of white Quartz TPT, offset by front and back bezels in green Quartz TPT. The front bezel sports the characteristic double Le Mans stripes. These have been created from separate pieces of white Quartz TPT that has been inlaid into the green Quartz TPT bezel at 12 and 6 o’clock – a first for the brand. The vibrancy of this classic color combination is perfectly accentuated by a sporty white vented strap in rubber, guaranteeing excellent long-term comfort.
The skeletonised grade 5 titanium calibre RMAS7 movement with its oversize date window at 4 o’clock and a unique variable geometry rotor system driving double winding barrels forms the heart of the new RM 029 Automatic Le Mans Classic. A dedicated and finely detailed 24-hour counter at 2 o’clock pays fitting homage not only to the event itself but also to the hundreds of automobiles and drivers who relay over the 24 hours, starting at 4pm (indicated by a blue arrow).
Day or night, this limited edition gets fans and drivers alike back where they belong – out on the circuit, crossing the legendary Le Mans black and white chequered flag in perfect time.

Chopard Happy Sport Golf Edition

We did a random survey of 100 golf club listings on EBAY a couple months ago and our “Golf Club Scam Alert System” found that there was a high-probability that 24 of those listings were FAKES! (24% of the club we surveyed were fake)Chopard Happy Sport Golf Edition

Since this has become such a problem we thought it would be a good idea to help you know what you are getting when you purchase something online. So today we are going to show you 10 ways not to get scammed when you are purchasing equipment online. But first, we want to give you the background on how this whole illegal operation all got started and why it is so rampant right now.
HOW & WHERE GOLF CLUB COUNTERFEITING ALL GOT STARTED
Why? Well there are many reasons why this became such a popular profession and one worth serious jail time and heavy fines. It all started when foundries overseas started to get the majority of the golf club production business from the United States. China and Taiwan began to get almost all the work in regards to golf club manufacturing about 2 decades ago. And now…the US produces next to nothing and the reason is cost and efficiency. The engineers and foundries overseas for the most part are finely oiled machines…they do incredible work at unbeatable prices. They are very good, extremely creative and incredibly hardworking. The majority of their workers put in 12-hour days, 7-days a week, and are paid only about $150 a month. But…and this is a big but…they can make up to $10,000 for stealing an original design by an OEM…which is a huge motive when you consider the fact that it is more than they make in 5 years!

Secondly, and no less important to the cause of Chopard Happy Sport Golf Edition club counterfeiting is the fact that so many people now touch this product or design before it is completed. There are now lots of middle-men involved in the production of a golf club…believe it or not there might be over 75 people touching a design before it hits the shelves. And this leaves much more room for mischief. This is where the majority of the shadiness begins. There is much less control when lets say a company like Taylormade gives its design to a firm overseas compared to one in its own backyard.
The counterfeiting of golf clubs actually began in Taiwan although after the Taiwanese government started enforcing intellectual-property laws and the Taiwanese wages went up compared to China’s, the roles reversed and now China is the main producer of counterfeit golf clubs. They make about 85% of all the counterfeit golf clubs on the market today. Although…ironically many are funded by Taiwanese investors…interesting huh. Employees make such little money, that they’re will always be stealing and the selling of molds going on in this business. Even though many foundries perform daily body searches with metal detectors at every entrance an exit and security cameras which watch over them like hawks during their shifts…it still won’t make a difference. There is just too much to gain…the market for this has just gotten too big.
So, why do we keep using these foundries to make our clubs you ask? Well the big OEM’s will tell you…the benefits and rewards (profits…go figure) are just much larger then the risk of someone knocking off their club. If they didn’t use these foundries, drivers instead of costing $300 would run you about $1000 smackeroos!
We spoke to reps from every major name brand Chopard Happy Sport Golf Edition club company on the market and then put together a comprehensive checklist for you to use the next time you purchase something of EBAY or from any online retailer for that matter. And if you don’t think these fakes are showing up in the big retail stores…guess again. Almost all of the big chains have had to implement mandatory inspections of every club that comes through their shop because the quality of the counterfeits are getting so good. And that is why we put together the most comprehensive checklist.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph

Although the mainline Audemars Piguet Royal Oak series enjoys near-universal esteem as the progenitor of the luxury stainless steel “bracelet watch,” its younger sibling the Royal Oak Offshore has historically carried a more divisive reputation. Without the weight of the standard Royal Oak’s reputation to confine it, the Royal Oak Offshore series has evolved into its own distinct entity, with a bolder, louder, and more aggressive personality than the parent line. For 2021, the brand has introduced a new flagship for the Royal Oak’s brasher younger sibling, one which combines a revised case design with a new case size and a spectacular set of complications. The new limited-edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph offers a tauter, more muscular interpretation of the Royal Oak Offshore design alongside an ultra-modern skeletonized flying tourbillon movement.
Measuring in at 43mm, the sandblasted titanium case of the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph is immediately recognizable as a Royal Oak Offshore but evolves the concept in a more futuristic and aggressive direction. Sitting at a midpoint between existing 42mm and 44mm Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph models, this new case keeps signature elements like the tall octagonal blasted and polished bezel and the integrated lug design but substantially reshapes the chronograph pushers and crown guards. This new assembly is at once angular and muscular, with a taut organic flow that calls to mind modern Lamborghini in images. Wide chamfered and bead-blasted crown guards are deeply cut back to showcase heavily faceted black ceramic chronograph pushers, before sharply angling back outward to flank the octagonal black ceramic crown. Other changes to the Royal Oak Offshore formula here are subtle but also add to the sense of muscularity in the overall design as opposed to the monolithic heft found in other case variants. Perhaps the best example of this is the polished chamfer that runs the length of the case atop the integrated lugs. For this model, the chamfer tapers outward to the lug tips much more aggressively than the 42mm or 44mm cases, and this wider flowing taper introduces a brighter flash to the visual equation while helping to introduce an implied curve to this famously angular case. On the backside, the edge of the sapphire display caseback mimics the iconic Royal Oak bezel with its octagonal shape and accenting screws. While the overall new form is aggressive, strong, and extremely sporty, its actual water resistance is rated at a mildly disappointing 100 meters.
Rather than the traditional mega-tapisserie dial texture of most Royal Oak Offshore models, this new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph opts for an ultramodern skeleton treatment. Like the case, there are shades of modern supercars in the skeleton design, particularly in the wide chamfered bridges flanking the 6 o’clock flying tourbillon and the vent-like ridged structure of the movement plate beneath. The brushed black titanium main surface of these bridges and the overall simplicity of the bridge layout keep the visual focus on the timekeeping elements in initial images, with the mainspring barrel and brushed gear train elements forming a visual backdrop for the top half of the dial. With its oversized form, uncluttered surroundings, and framing bridges, the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock forms a natural visual centerpiece, with a slim three-pronged tourbillon cage that showcases the inner workings of the escapement as much as possible. To aid legibility against this skeleton background, all elements of the flyback chronograph are highlighted in bold fire engine red, including the central chronograph seconds hand and the hands of the off-axis skeleton subdials. Bright polished 18k white gold helps the skeleton paddle handset stand out against the predominantly black backdrop as well.
Audemars Piguet powers the new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph with its in-house Calibre 2967 automatic flying tourbillon flyback chronograph movement. First appearing in the Code 11.59 series, the Calibre 2967 receives a substantial aesthetic overhaul to match the sporty and aggressive look of the Royal Oak Offshore line. Beyond the visual facelift, this is still Audemars Piguet’s first-ever flying tourbillon equipped flyback chronograph movement, and the ultramodern skeleton design sports a solid 65-hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. Audemars Piguet finishes the watch with its new easy interchange integrated strap system. While the black rubber strap with its revised and sharply tapering grooves is a sporty match for the aggressive look of the Offshore, the watch also includes a hand-stitched black alligator-leather strap.
With one of the brand’s most striking modern movements and a muscular new evolution of the classic Royal Oak design, the new limited-edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph is an aggressive new flagship for the line and a potential look forward at the stylistic future of the Royal Oak offshore series. Only 100 examples of the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph will be made.

Richard Mille RM 07-01 Automatic Coloured Ceramics

Each of the three models in the new RM 07-01 Coloured Ceramics collection, set apart by brand new ceramic case colour and graphic dial elements, is limited to an edition of 50 timepieces.

The RM 07-01 Pastel Blue, RM 07-01 Pastel Pink and RM 07-01 Pastel Lavender are shots of sheer summer delight, housed in cases of ceramic and animated by the automatic CRMA2 in-house movement. The segmented central dial plates are assembled from inserts of ceramic, geometrically patterned rubber and — a first for Richard Mille hand-crafted guillochage.

The rhodium-plated red-gold dial element at the center of each RM 07-01 is a segment of a larger pattern, a motif that is part botanical with six lobbed, part sunburst, part Art Deco and all Richard Mille. Surrounding the guilloché dial segment and reinforcing the theme of modernity blended with tradition, are geometrically shaped elements of ceramic and rubber, in perfect complement with the ceramic case and bi-colour rubber straps.

There are three colour variations within the collection — TZP pink ceramic with cerulean-lilac rubber strap, TZP lavender ceramic with coral-tangerine rubber strap, and TZP blue ceramic with olive-aqua rubber strap.

Together with the bright energy of the bi-colour rubber straps and the hand-finished sheen of the gold guilloché dial, the ceramic cases of the new RM 07-01 make for three of the most enjoyable Richard Mille watches.
Richard Mille is known for its complex tonneau cases, openworked movements and above all, its fearless use of color. The latter is the standout feature of three new RM 07-01 Colored Ceramic editions. Each of the three editions is rendered in a unique combination of colors: the Pastel Blue combines light blue with turquoise accents; the Pastel Pink mixes purple and blue highlights; and the Pastel Lavender comes with red and orange elements.
The three-part case is a wearable 31.40 x 45.23 x 11.85 mm, and although the RM 07-01 is known as a ladies’ watch, the thickness and length are substantial enough for any wrist. The technicolor models are made of a pure ceramic called tetragonal zirconia polycrystal, which contains 95% zirconia. Richard Mille says the material is scratch resistant to 1,400 vickers, tougher than sapphire. A long and difficult machining and grinding process using diamond tools is required to create the complex forms of the bezel. The caseband is crafted in micro-blasted white gold with hand-polished pillars, while the base plate and bridges are made of micro-blasted grade 5 titanium
The dial is made using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. It starts with a rhodium-plated red gold center that is finished in a guilloché motif that the company describes as “part botanical, part sunburst and part Art Deco.” This is the first time Richard Mille, a rigorously contemporary brand, has applied guilloché to a watch dial, but the unusual pattern gives this old-world craft a modern kick. The center is surrounded by microblasted ceramic inserts and geometrically patterned rubber appliqués in various interesting configurations and colors. The straps are bi-colored, matching elements of the case: in cerulean-lilac, coral-tangerine or olive-aqua.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked

Although the mainline Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked series enjoys near-universal esteem as the progenitor of the luxury stainless steel “bracelet watch,” its younger sibling the Royal Oak Offshore has historically carried a more divisive reputation. Without the weight of the standard Royal Oak’s reputation to confine it, the Royal Oak Offshore series has evolved into its own distinct entity, with a bolder, louder, and more aggressive personality than the parent line. For 2021, the brand has introduced a new flagship for the Royal Oak’s brasher younger sibling, one which combines a revised case design with a new case size and a spectacular set of complications. The new limited-edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph offers a tauter, more muscular interpretation of the Royal Oak Offshore design alongside an ultra-modern skeletonized flying tourbillon movement.
Measuring in at 43mm, the sandblasted titanium case of the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph is immediately recognizable as a Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked but evolves the concept in a more futuristic and aggressive direction. Sitting at a midpoint between existing 42mm and 44mm Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph models, this new case keeps signature elements like the tall octagonal blasted and polished bezel and the integrated lug design but substantially reshapes the chronograph pushers and crown guards. This new assembly is at once angular and muscular, with a taut organic flow that calls to mind modern Lamborghini in images. Wide chamfered and bead-blasted crown guards are deeply cut back to showcase heavily faceted black ceramic chronograph pushers, before sharply angling back outward to flank the octagonal black ceramic crown. Other changes to the Royal Oak Offshore formula here are subtle but also add to the sense of muscularity in the overall design as opposed to the monolithic heft found in other case variants. Perhaps the best example of this is the polished chamfer that runs the length of the case atop the integrated lugs. For this model, the chamfer tapers outward to the lug tips much more aggressively than the 42mm or 44mm cases, and this wider flowing taper introduces a brighter flash to the visual equation while helping to introduce an implied curve to this famously angular case. On the backside, the edge of the sapphire display caseback mimics the iconic Royal Oak bezel with its octagonal shape and accenting screws. While the overall new form is aggressive, strong, and extremely sporty, its actual water resistance is rated at a mildly disappointing 100 meters.
Rather than the traditional mega-tapisserie dial texture of most Royal Oak Offshore models, this new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked opts for an ultramodern skeleton treatment. Like the case, there are shades of modern supercars in the skeleton design, particularly in the wide chamfered bridges flanking the 6 o’clock flying tourbillon and the vent-like ridged structure of the movement plate beneath. The brushed black titanium main surface of these bridges and the overall simplicity of the bridge layout keep the visual focus on the timekeeping elements in initial images, with the mainspring barrel and brushed gear train elements forming a visual backdrop for the top half of the dial. With its oversized form, uncluttered surroundings, and framing bridges, the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock forms a natural visual centerpiece, with a slim three-pronged tourbillon cage that showcases the inner workings of the escapement as much as possible. To aid legibility against this skeleton background, all elements of the flyback chronograph are highlighted in bold fire engine red, including the central chronograph seconds hand and the hands of the off-axis skeleton subdials. Bright polished 18k white gold helps the skeleton paddle handset stand out against the predominantly black backdrop as well.
Audemars Piguet powers the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked with its in-house Calibre 2967 automatic flying tourbillon flyback chronograph movement. First appearing in the Code 11.59 series, the Calibre 2967 receives a substantial aesthetic overhaul to match the sporty and aggressive look of the Royal Oak Offshore line. Beyond the visual facelift, this is still Audemars Piguet’s first-ever flying tourbillon equipped flyback chronograph movement, and the ultramodern skeleton design sports a solid 65-hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. Audemars Piguet finishes the watch with its new easy interchange integrated strap system. While the black rubber strap with its revised and sharply tapering grooves is a sporty match for the aggressive look of the Offshore, the watch also includes a hand-stitched black alligator-leather strap.
With one of the brand’s most striking modern movements and a muscular new evolution of the classic Royal Oak design, the new limited-edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph is an aggressive new flagship for the line and a potential look forward at the stylistic future of the Royal Oak offshore series. Only 100 examples of the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph will be made. While Audemars Piguet has declined to reveal the exact pricing of this new model, MSRP is expected to be well into the six-figure range.

Replica Jacob and Co. Astronomia Alec Monopoly watch

Street artistAstronomia Alec Monopolyhas lent his own inimitable style to Jacob & Co.’s flagship timepiece, the Astronomia, for a new limited edition collaboration.

A limited run of nine pieces are being produced featuring the recurring themes and characters seen in Monopoly’s body of work. That means a dial featuring statuettes of Scrooge McDuck, Monopoly Man, Money Wings and the almighty dollar.

The characters are drawn by Monopoly before being rendered in CAD to establish working dimensions, each is then hand sculpted and cast in gold before being hand-finished and finally hand-painted by Monopoly using bright acrylic paints.
“This is by far the smallest scale ‘canvas’ I have ever painted. Every element, brushstroke and color choice needed to be carefully thought out and perfectly executed,” says Monopoly. “My street art murals are often free flowing and wild but given the intricacies and meticulous mechanics within these watches I needed to approach the creative process with much more precision and patience.”

This 18k rose gold Astronomia’s manually wound four-arm movement is fixed at the centre of a black night sky base with each arm supporting a different mechanical feat, including a rotating one-carat spherical Jacob-cut diamond, a rotating hand-lacquered magnesium globe, a double axis tourbillon and a watch dial displaying minutes and hours.

“Alec is a young artist that started his career taking risks and not thinking twice about it,” says founder Jacob Arabo. “He acted as if he had nothing to lose and he continued to persist until he broke through to become world famous for his creativity and unique angle. I started out the same way by doing something different and unique and I persisted until I was able to break through.”
Recently, Jacob & Co. announced a partnership with graffiti artist Alec Monopoly. Monopoly previously had a partnership with TAG Heuer, so he is no stranger to the watch world. This first collaborative effort with Jacob & Co. is the fruit of great co-mingling, with the result being a highly colorful art piece based on Jacob & Co.’s famed Astronomia three-dimensional watches. The Astronomia Alec Monopoly watch, with four-arm vertical movement and complications, features tiny characters found in Monopoly’s work.
Crafted in 18-karat rose gold, the watch boasts a sapphire crystal and fours sapphire case sides for easy viewing of the movement and the animation inside. Against a sleek backdrop base that emulates a black night sky with stars, the signature Jacob & Co. Astronomia revolving double-axis tourbillon — opposite the revolving watch dial placed on a patented differential gear system — is perpendicular to the arm that boasts the three-dimensional hand-lacquered magnesium Earth globe on one side and a Jacob & Co. proprietary faceted Jacob Cut one-carat diamond with 288 facets on the opposite side. The diamond makes one rotation per minute. The highly complex JCAM10 caliber boasts 365 parts and offers 60 hours of power reserve.
These rotating complications, though, take a backseat in this watch to Alec Monopoly’s art, which comes into play in the form of whimsical three-dimensional characters and bold colors. To begin with, the hands on the watch dial are bright lime green, a signature Alex Monopoly color. Other colors range from hot pink to bright red, and more.
Jacob & Co has unveiled its first watch made in partnership with internationally renowned contemporary graffiti artist, Alec Monopoly.

The Astronomia Alec Monopoly contains miniature pop characters and images that are staples of Monopoly’s artwork within the iconic Astronomia watch form, with its four-arm vertical movement and exclusive complications including a hand-lacquered globe of the earth rotating every 60 seconds; and a double-axis tourbillon with the first rotation in 60 seconds and the second rotation in five minutes. The ultra-haute jewellery and watchmaker and irreverent street artist Astronomia Alec Monopoly may be strange bedfellows, but they share a vision for taking their passions to the extreme.

“Alec is a young artist that started his career taking risks and not thinking twice about it,” Jacob Arabo, founder of Jacob & Co, says. “He acted as if he had nothing to lose and he continued to persist until he broke through to become world famous for his creativity and unique angle. I started out the same way by doing something different and unique and I persisted until I was able to break through.”

Mr Monopoly recalls running into Mr Arabo at events around the world, and eventually acquired his own Astronomia Tourbillon “and immediately fell in love with the brand”.

“There is just so much thought, time and talent put into each of these timepieces,” Mr Monopoly says. “This collaboration is a work of art within a work of art.”

The Astronomia Alec Monopoly has four main sculptures on the dial: a Monopoly Man holding an ice cream cone with a melting pink dollar sign; an interpretation of Scrooge McDuck, holding a Money Bag with gold coins piled at his feet, Money Wings, and a multicoloured dollar sign with multiple drawings of diamonds, dollar bills and the Jacob & Co. logo.

“I love the juxtaposition of my youthful cartoon characters, brought to life with bright and vivid colors in a timeless watch with stunning complications,” Mr Monopoly says. “It’s the perfect setting for my art and a watch made for true collectors to wear. My hope is this is a watch that gets passed down generations with the same passion and pride as a masterpiece original artwork.”

Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT

The name Breitling always seems to stir a certain sense of awe and prestige whenever I hear it. It is certainly a name many watch connoisseurs have heard along their journey in time (forgive the puns). Not only is this Swiss giant famed for its Aviator brand, it has also redesigned its Avenger range of rugged, powerful and yet simply elegant watches. Reviewing this new Breitling Avenger collection certainly sets a bold precedent for future releases.

Being a premium household name in the aviation industry, Breitling has found itself amongst the machinery, clocks and flight equipment aboard counteless aircrafts since the 1930s. Debuting in 2001, the Avenger collection immediately stood apart with its rugged durability and bold dials. With the recent cull of the Breitling Colt, it was great to hear that the Avenger collection is here to stay, with this latest revamp certainly positioning it as one of Breitling’s key pieces. Ear-marked for its performance, it seems only fitting that Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT decided to launch one of its boldest collections into the modern era of aviation.

The Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT  collection now comes in 14 new references, 3 case sizes (43mm to 48mm), some colorways and various strap options. Although targeted to pilots and aviation personnel, I believe the Avenger collection would also suit adventurous individuals with a busy, stylish, yet purposeful lifestyle.
Watches come in different dials and sizes and some better than others, fortunately in the case of Breitling, you can be assured that they aren’t cutting any corners when it comes to their watches. In their bid to keep high standards of quality, Breitling have ensured that their Avenger collection of watches all come with Super-LumiNova luminescent hour, minute, and second hands providing an after-glow in the dark (great for all the late sleepers).

So what is Super-LumiNova I hear you say? Well it is luminous material developed by the Swiss to create non-radioactive and highly temperature resistant after-glow in watches. Unlike traditional luminous material such as radium and promethium, Super-LumiNova is said to suffer no ageing (meaning it doesn’t lose its glow after a number of years). This is because it works like a light storage battery, absorbing sunlight or artificial light, using this to power glow emitted at night. 
This came as quite a strong positive and selling point for the Avenger collection, as many might know that previous luminous watch pigments contained radioactive elements, which we can all agree is slightly unnerving to hear. Although the radiation levels are almost non-existent, having a non-radioactive option brings much more confidence. All Avenger watches come with a three-register dial, a date window at 3 o’clock and Super-LumiNova luminous-coated hands and numerals. The Chronograph variants however, also include subdials at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock. There is also a choice of dial number register, either as simple indices or military-style stencil-type numbers. Depending on the watch, the dials also come in one of three colours – black, blue, yellow or green. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the yellow dial as it does seem a bit too military for me, but I can see where it could appeal to others. For me, the blue dial wins all the time – classy, simple, yet striking.
The Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT collection comes in a range or 43-48mm which should be fine for most, although those with smaller wrists may find it a little clunky at first. There is a choice of stainless steel or DLC-coated titanium (only with Night-mission variants) as material, with the latter being more durable. All Avenger references are water resistance up to 30 bar (300 metres) apart from the clearly specialised Avenger Automatic 45 Seawolf and Seawolf Night Mission variants, which are water resistant up to 300 bar (3000 metres). Seems a bit of an overkill to me, however this brand is targeted toward aviation/military personnel who may have occasions in which that feature is necessary. All the watches in the Avenger collection also come with convex sapphire crystal glass and double anti-reflective coating, meaning there is minimal surface reflection. A word of warning, those who are regular watch polishers should be careful, as I’ve had experiences whereby polishing the case can remove the anti-reflective coating if it gets on the crystal. As most Breitlings have their AR coatings on the outer casing trying to fix scratch marks can become quite costly, in some cases you may need the crystal replaced.

All Avenger watches also come with a steel screwed back caseback, except for the Night Mission variants which have screwed DLC-coated titanium casebacks. Due to the need for optimum water-resistance, all the Avenger watches come with dual gasket screw lock crowns. It is clear that the features for the casing of the Avenger watches are geared towards activity, especially marine related.

The bezel on the watches are unidirectional and ratcheted. This means that the bezel gets locked in position unless a certain amount of force is applied by hand. This is a very useful safety feature for deep-sea and scuba divers, although I’m not sure how practical it would be in day-to-day life. I could just be over-reacting.
As with any premium watch, after the initial aesthetic pleasure has worn off, the wearability factor kicks in. How does it feel on the wrist? What is the strap like? Is performance up to scratch? (I promise, no more puns). Breitling is often known for its powerful movement and durability and does not seem to disappoint either with the Avenger collection. The watches as standard are COSC-certified and use the Breitling Calibre 13, 17 (Seawolf variant) and 32 (GMT complication) for movement. For those who are unaware of what this indicates, these are related to the movement power of the watches and grading. Breitling mentions that for the highest level of performance, they use the highest grade parts for the entire movement, assembling the calibre carefully rather than having it pre-made. While all of that sounds like great marketing to me, my main focus is having a functioning time piece with a long life and fortunately, the Breitling Avenger watches all come with a power reserve of between 38-42 hours. All 17 and 32 calibre Avenger watches come with a self winding, mechanical, bi-directional winder with ball-bearing. The 13 calibre variants however are unilateral. Personally, I prefer my watch to have a bi-directional winder as the free-movement on unidirectional rotors can make them a little noisy. The anthracite, khaki green or blue leather military strap options add a very open, outdoors feel to the collection. Designed to be more hard-wearing, these are clearly geared towards those who will spend the majority of their time outside and active. The collection has however not forgotten the less active but equally stylish audience by offering those who desire it, the classic stainless-steel strap with folding clasp.

Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver 39mm

Ulysse Nardin’s connection to sea exploration began in the 19th century, when the brand crafted precision marine chronometers to aid sailors’ navigation on the open seas. Today, of course, modern seafaring navigation doesn’t require onboard mechanical marine chronometers, so there is no longer any demand for them (except for collectors).

We’re at about the century mark for water-resistant wristwatches, and for decades top brands have consistently improved upon their water-resistant and diver watches.

One of those brands is Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver 39mm. Counting the three new diving watches detailed below, the brand offers 38 different timepieces in the Diver collection. The breadth of this collection and its myriad style options offers a timepiece to suit almost any taste and level of marine activity.
The largest of the new pieces, the Diver Chronometer 44mm (ref. 1185-170-3/BLUE), offers complications not usually associated with diver “tool” watches. In addition to the essential unidirectional rotating bezel for timing dives, the 44mm watch has a power reserve indicator and a combination small seconds-date indicator at 6 o’clock.
The case is titanium with a blue PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating. The bezel is also blue, with 18K rose gold numerals, indices, and outer ring. The watch’s hands and hour indices are also rose gold, with a rich coating of glow-in-the-dark Super-LumiNova. A blue rubber strap with a blued titanium buckle completes the elegant yet rugged look of the timepiece.
Second in size is the Diver 42mm watch (ref. 8163-175/GREY-5N) in a rich grey that Ulysse Nardin calls “shark grey.” Powered by the calibre UN-816 automatic movement, the watch has 18K rose gold accents on its bezel, and its hour indices and hands are coated with Super-LumiNova. Also, its sandblasted grey dial features a relatively undersized date at 6 o’clock so that it doesn’t distract from the hands or bezel.
Overall, the watch, priced at $10,400, has a stealthy look to it, with its grey matte satin-finished case, grey rubber bezel, and grey alligator strap. Stealthiness is essential for sharks on the hunt, making “shark grey” quite an apt name for the watch’s color.
Dazzling diamonds are the focal point of the third new model, the Lady Diver 39mm (ref. 8162-182B1-0A/3A). The watch’s case is crafted of rich 18K rose gold, with 40 individually set diamonds on its bezel. Moreover, the new model has an opalescent mother-of-pearl dial, a nod to the ocean’s riches. Diamonds also serve as hour markers for the watch, and it has a small date at 6 o’clock.
For all its sparkle, the new Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver 39mm – available for $25,800 on either a white rubber or alligator strap – packs plenty of watchmaking power with its calibre UN-816 automatic movement.
Last but not least, the 15-piece Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm Beau Lake Limited Edition is the result of a design partnership between the two brands, both of which are dedicated to ultimate hand craftsmanship.
This limited edition is almost identical to the new Diver Chronometer we already discussed, but the Ulysse Nardin x Beau Lake model bears both brand names on the dial. Plus, the $16,300 limited edition watch comes with a rosewood-wrapped, custom 11’6” Malibu paddle board featuring Ulysse Nardin’s anchor logo. All of Beau Lake’s products “blend vintage aesthetics with high performance,” according to the brand. And the Malibu’s design inspiration comes from “Gibson guitars and ‘50s surf culture.” Also included are a matching Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver 39mm-embossed paddle and a travel bag.
Ulysse Nardin and Beau Lake share “a love of life on the water, a sense of adventure, and appreciation for history,” the brands said in a statement, and it shows!