Last weekend The Altman Building at #135 West 18th St in New York hosted the 2022 Wind Up Watch Fair. Sadly WatchGecko Magazine was not able to attend but we wanted to share with you our top selections from the event.
Duckworth Prestex Belmont
One of our previously featured podcast guests here at WatchGecko has been Neil Duckworth – and if the name sounds familiar, it’s because Neil was the man responsible for bringing TAG Heuer to the UK in the 1980s, following the company’s restructuring. Neil is a watch man through and through, with his grandfather having founded the Prestex brand back in the 1920s, which existed up to the 1960s. Now Neil has relaunched the brand as Duckworth Prestex, and he revealed his first dive watch at the New York show. The Belmont (named after a sailing and water sports club that Neil used to visit) comes in orange, blue, or green and it’s a properly chunky diver. One of its most distinctive features is the wave pattern on the dial, which is a bit reminiscent of an Aquaracer, only with wavy rather than straight lines.
Coupled with the traditional cushion case looks, this is a properly eye-catching watch, especially when paired with a matching rubber strap. What I like about it is that it hits exactly the right blend between traditional and modern: very much a theme of Neil’s watches, as he incorporates many aspects of the original 1920s Prestex designs.
Fears Archival 1930
Fears Archival 1930. Image Credit: Fears watches
This isn’t exactly a new release, having been around since last year to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the company, but it certainly caught the attention at the New York show due to its elegantly classical proportions that are in stark contrast to other watches trying to make a statement. Yes, it’s another British watch on my list of American favourites, and like Duckworth Prestex, it’s got a great story behind it as the resurrection of a much older family business. The Fears Archival captures the art deco Zeitgeist perfectly, which is probably what made it feel so at home in New York, and adding to the authenticity is that fact that
it uses new old stock movements, in a case that’s slightly larger than the original. For a little while, I’ve had the feeling that classically-styled dress watches are coming back into fashion, but for now they are still rare enough to stand out – and the Fears watch at the New York show was the perfect example.
Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver
Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver. Image Credit: Nivada Grenchen
We’ve all been in the situation of staggering back late from local hostelries and deciding that food is necessary, right now. Not being in a fit state to follow any complex recipes, and with ravenous hunger taking hold, a common solution is to find all your favourite foods, throw them together, and instantly consume the result. That’s how one evening at university I found myself eating baked beans and bacon spaghetti, while my friend Dan tucked into a delicious liver and tuna sandwich with Marmite. The result was culinary heaven.
Nivada Grenchen has done exactly the same with a watch, putting together a chronograph, a pilot watch, and a dive watch into one serving: three of my favourite genres. And unlikely as it may sound, the result is equally appetising. You can get all sorts of variations on this watch, but the example showed at New York was absolutely captivating – with so many details within a surprisingly cohesive whole – and reminded me once more of how Nivada Grenchen is a massively under-rated brand. The watch is true to its 100-year history but still incorporates a wide variety of modern features – within a Sellita movement – to be everything you would want it to be, as well as a head-turning looker.
Richard’s Choices…not sure if I can compete with baked beans and bacon spaghetti
Bulova A-11 Hack
Bulova A-11 Hack. Image Credit: Bulova
The A-11 is one of the great war time watches and deserves to be considered along side the British Dirty Dozen. Originally made for US troops in WW2 the A-11 effectively spawned a whole style of classic Field Watch and today is cloned by many brands. To buy a vintage A-11 today, in good condition, will set you back up to $1000 so the chance to own a brand new one, designed by one of the original manufacturers is a real treat.
At 37mm this 2022 iteration is slightly bigger when compared to the original model. The stainless steel case features a lug width of 18mm and includes an oversized winding crown, drilled lug holes, and the distinctive coin-edge textured bezel from the 1940s watch. The dial is hugely reminiscent of the original A-11 watch; however, Bulova have chosen to finish it in a deep blue colour with white luminous markings and a bright red seconds hand. This is very different to the black dials of the original watch but it really works. The A-11 Hack watch is the self-winding Miyota 82S0 movement, which offers a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. I am always looking for cool Field Watches and the chance to own “The watch the won the war” for less than £400 is very tempting.
Vertex MP45 Heritage Manual and Automatic
Vertex MP45 Heritage Manual and Automatic. Image Credit: Vertex
The MP45 is the latest incarnation of a watch that was first commissioned in 1945. Monopushers are popular now as they bring something a little different to the saturated chronograph market but and you’ll have to be fast to grab one of these MP45s as vertex are only making 25 of each. The heart of these machines beats with a purpose built Sellita movement with a 62 hour power reserve and the old MOD Broad Arrow UK military acceptance logo on the dial harks back to Vertex watches being used during D-Day.
There are real parallels to the A-11 above. Its so nice to see watch manufacturers being innovative but still embracing important milestones in their past.
Formex REEF GMT
Formex Reef GMT. Image Credit: Formex
No apologies given. I can’t resist a Formex so when something new comes out it’s exciting. Whilst recently enjoying a G&T with Formex CEO Raphael Granito I noticed he was wearing an early model of the REEF GMT. It was as stunning in real life as it looked in the company images. Now the range is fully formed and you’ll be hard pushed to select one!
Aside from the fact that the REEF allows for time reading in three different time zones simultaneously, the tech specs hit way above the price bracket. It is powered by a decorated self-winding COSC-certified SW330-2 GMT movement visible through a sapphire crystal display case back, automatically charging with a custom made skeleton rotor. The watch is just 11.4mm thickness making it a great fit for adventure and elegance. For any underwater activities, it is tested to 300m. A GMT bidirectional rotatable GMT bezels with sunburst finish is made of an extremely hard Zirconium oxide ceramic. The bezels with white numerals on the scale are filled with Swiss Super-LumiNova® BGW9 and glow in the dark. The 48-click action is smooth and offers to accurately track a third timezone.
Once again Formex makes you sit up and take notice. We said last year that they were a brand to watch and still stand by that observation. It's all about imaginative design with Formex. The tech capability is never sacrificed but they evolve genres, and that’s quite a trick.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300. Image Credit: Christopher Ward
There have been many exciting releases from Christopher Ward this year, including the C65 Aquitaine and the bright and colourful range of C63 Sealanders (made even better by its new 36mm case size). But the new and improved C60 trident Pro 300 is the most exciting in my opinion.
Each aspect of the watch has been carefully considered using customer feedback and the all-important Christopher Ward forum. This gave the 300 some improvements on the C60 Trident Pro 600 such as a more slender case profile, a more powerful lume, an exhibition caseback and a new bezel design. The bezel now comes in two parts, a regular rotating outer section with a coloured ceramic insert, and a fixed steel inner ring, with gradients all the way around.
Of course, as the name suggests, these improvements to the 300 came at the cost of water resistance, now capable of 300 meters rather than the 600 meters of its predecessor. However, Christopher Ward knows that the average customer won’t even need 300 meters, never mind 600 meters of water resistance. I for one welcome the improvements to wearability made possible by the slimmer case.
Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium
Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium. Image Credit: Baltic
An evolution to Baltic’s Aquascaphe line, the 55g titanium case gives the new Baltic Aquascaphe some reassuring toughness. That same durability carries on into the domed sapphire crystal and brushed uni-directional ceramic bezel for an overall impressive tool watch, packed into a 41mm case.
The lume on all models has been significantly improved. The black dial uses Super-LumiNova® C3 X1, which lasts 60% longer than the standard Super-LumiNova® grade. Along with the large and generously lume-coated hands and indices, the black-dialled version makes for the ultimate 300-meter diving watch for its visibility in low light, not to forget its impressive 42-hour power reserve.
The first series of the Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium will be offered at 300 pieces per model, each coming with its own unit number engraved onto the caseback and either black or blue rubber tropic strap with a matching titanium buckle.
Oris Big Crown Wings of Hope Limited Edition
Oris Big Crown Wings of Hope limited edition. Image Credit:Oris
The new Oris Big Crown Wings of Hope limited edition has been released as part of Oris’ Change For The Better programme, which hopes to raise awareness of Wings of Hope, a US-based humanitarian organisation that uses aviation to bring medical support to remote communities.
Two versions of the model have been released based on the Big Crown pilot’s watch, a 40mm steel model and a 38mm yellow gold model. The Big Crown X Wings of Hope has been upgraded with Oris’ powerful Calibre 401, similar to the Caliber 400 found in many new Big Crown models, featuring the same 5-day (120-hour) power reserve, strong antimagnetic properties and a 10-year guarantee. The 401 however also benefits from central hours and minutes with subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock and an accuracy of -3/+5 seconds a day.
A flat and polished bezel replaces the coin-edge bezel we’ve come to associate with Oris, yet remains distinctly vintage-looking. The cathedral hands and domed crystal have also been replaced by baton-style hands and a slightly flatter sapphire crystal.
The Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition watches bring something new to the pilot’s watch genre and have found their own niche amongst enthusiasts. That being said Oris has only produced 1,000 models of the stainless steel version, while the 18k gold model is even more exclusive with only 100 models.