It's been a busy summer of watch releases, new editions and teasers, so much so it would be difficult to cover them all in one article! Which is why we at WatchGecko have introduced a new monthly series of 'What caught our eye' to the Magazine. A series which in which we look at all that has gone on in the watch world over the last month, including the watch stories, new releases and our own stories that turned really out heads, and pick our favourite moments - starting with August! Check out our writer's top picks below.
Technically it was July when I stopped and took a breath at a $4000 Casio G-Shock but it’s taken through August for me to process it! The typically Casio titled MRG-B5000B-1, or “MR-G”, is an eye-wateringly expensive addition to the G Range. I am a huge G advocate (wearing a GA-100 right now) yet my mind is still playing catch up at used-Rolex prices for a G-Shock. However, we need to understand this high-end edition - what’s so special about it? Technically it’s at the top of its game. There is sapphire crystal, Ti61 Titanium (2x stronger than normal titanium), a new alloy called DAT55G for the bracelet, and a Cobarion bezel (a cobalt-chrome hybrid) developed at Tohoku University. Protection comes from a process called Multi-Guard. For example, the bezel of the MR-G is no longer a single piece of resin; instead, we find 25 components designed to hugely enhance shock resistance. The DLC coating has been polished to within an inch of its life and there is a plethora of functions including advanced connectivity and radio calibration. And in all these advances Casio still manages to pay homage to the original 1983 DW5000C with a red outline screen and “brick” pattern.
No question, the 2022 MR-G is a heck of a machine. A brilliant piece of technology which is truly eye-catching. However, old-fashioned as I may be, the last time I wore my venerable G-9100 Gulfman I was operating a chainsaw and within seconds it was covered in sawdust. To me, that’s the essence of a G, the joy of G ownership. However, it will be fascinating to see how many of these $4000 models sell. I suspect all, in double quick time.
Outside of Watch-World, the most interesting news was the rolling out of NASA’s new Artemis Moon Rocket for its maiden (unmanned) flight. Not since 1973 have we seen something that big heading to Launch Complex 39B of the Kennedy Space Centre. The Moon mission may not be till 2024-ish but already we are anticipating what watches the astronauts will wear.
It started, as so many good stories do, over a pint in a pub garden in Tewkesbury. On the other side of the table was my friend and colleague Richard Brown, whose musings you will read about elsewhere on these pages. And, as was inevitably the case, we got to talking about watches – and the next itch to scratch. Mine is an old one: I’ve wanted for a long time to own a Breitling. Richard has a Blackbird, and WatchGecko owner Jon Quinn recently invested in a Chronomat. But what I’m after is somewhat different: a very distinct Superocean from the 2000s: the one with the ‘italic’ numerals – which look a bit like something out of a pop art cartoon – and the bright colours (you can have orange, red or yellow). I like them all, but I really want orange: just because I think it’s a good colour for a dive watch to be. Another friend of mine had one until quite recently – and he says it’s the one watch that he now regrets selling. Especially because, for some unfathomable reason, prices for Breitling’s of that vintage are currently about as affordable as they are ever going to be. Which means that the search is officially on – and I look forward to sharing that journey and the eventual results with all our readers.
And that leads me neatly to my next inspiration. The pub in question was called the Hop Pole, and it’s a Wetherspoons, with rooms as well, not to mention incredibly cheap (and good) beer. No surprises so far. What you might not expect a Wetherspoons to provide is a medieval hall, complete with ancient timbers and paintings. It’s so frozen in time that you’d not be surprised to see a knight in full armour come clanking in to down a pint of Magna Carta after a hard day’s joust.
I travel a lot anyway, so decided not to go away over the summer but visit a few places in England instead. The medieval Hop Pole pub was just one of the many surprises I experienced, serving as a useful reminder that inspiration comes from all sorts of unexpected places. Even Wetherspoons.
What really caught my eye this month was the arrival of the Isotope Old Radium Bronze Pilot, the first Isotope watch to be made from bronze. The CuSn8 bronze alloy has a warm hue to it which takes on an almost rose-gold effect and patinas at a slower rate than standard bronze watches. There’s something about the warmth of this specialised bronze that makes the dial feels fresh and original, combining pilot and field into one design – not to forget their signature Lacrima dial design keeping heads turned in a black-grained finish.
Old radium-coloured indices and markings match the bronze sword-shaped hands, all benefitting from generous coatings of lume. Under the sapphire caseback beats the recently introduced Landeron Calibre 24, an alternative movement to the classic ETA and Sellita calibres, with an impressive 40-hour power reserve and accuracy of -/+ 12 seconds a day.
There are three dial colours to choose from in this limited-edition collection, including a muted grey, olive green or a bold ox-blood. Isotope has created 300 pieces per colourway for a reasonable £800, with a second batch expected to drop for October/November.