Parmigiani Fleurier’s Toric Petite Seconde Breathes New Life Into Its Original Collection

It was a year ago, nearly exactly to the day, when I asked Parmigiani Fleurier’s CEO Guido Terreni: When would we see a new Toric? More than anything, I wanted to know when the brand was going to feel confident enough in the momentum they’ve found in the new Tonda PF – a darling in the modern enthusiast community – to revisit the collection that Michel Parmigiani developed to restart the brand. high quality replica watches
“I would say over 10 or 12 years, the brand really lost a little bit of its direction,” Terreni told me. “So you have very interesting pieces that are collectible from the early days of the Toric, because that’s where the prestige of the brand comes from. And then there was a decade in which I think you have where the brand lost a little bit of contact with its clientele. The first line that I chose to work on was with the Tonda PF, because it was the most urgent and had the most potential in terms of sales. But the Toric is the collection with which we were born. So it goes well of saying that we have to work on it.” high quality replica watches
What I didn’t realize, and would come to find out during Watches & Wonders in April 2024, is my timing in asking about the Toric couldn’t have been worse. Terreni later told me that just before our meeting, he had received an early prototype of the Toric relaunch and felt it completely missed the mark. He was ready to throw the entire idea out and start from scratch, potentially pushing the relaunch by at least another year. Luckily, the core ideas were still right. Though the project was reworked significantly, the team was able to make the fantastic reinterpretation of the Toric that we were shown at Watches & Wonders, delivering in September 2024. high quality replica watches
The new Toric line was launched with three pieces: two variants of the Toric Petite Seconde we see here and a Split-Second Chronograph I’ll cover at a future date. The most recent versions of the Toric seemed stuck between two design languages. The dial had touches of guillochage that we saw on the original line but often with applied numerals and a logo floating in a block on the dial, interrupting the design as a raised island of an afterthought. Compared to the Tonda PF, with a stripped-down dial, the Toric seemed a bit out of place.

The new Toric follows the Tonda with that simplified dial design, including the new oval logo. The 18k white gold dial sheds the guilloché for a hand-grained texture drawn from antique marine chronometers and table clocks. Michel Parmigiani has perfected this technique in his restoration work on things like Breguet’s Sympathique clock, stripping the oxidized dial and creating a new grené texture with a mixture of cream of tartar, sea salt, and silver with demineralized water. The dials, finished in grey celadon (green) and sand gold, are built on an 18k white gold or rose gold plate, respectively. You can see that through the chamfered edges of the dial plate that create the layers for the subdial and near the five minute markers. Pressure is allied with a brush by hand until the maker feels resistance and tiny grains form. The dials are then finished with hand-applied 18k indices in the appropriate color.
The PF780 manually-wound movement has an equally stripped-down and modernist design language while being made fully in 18k rose gold. Only the two barrels and the balance can be seen through the 18k rose gold bridge structure, which are finished with Côtes de Fleurier, and a sandblasted plate peaks through the bottom. It’s a finishing style that sits somewhere between British frosted simplicity and Swiss-decorated elegance. The movement really puts a premium on the feeling of winding the crown, a feeling that can’t be beat and becomes a point of emphasis the more I handle watches and imagine my next purchase. The movement is only 3.15mm thick, beating at 28,800vph, with a 60-hour power reserve.
If this all looks very un-Toric to you, that’s fine. The brand has purposefully avoided doing a reissue or remake of the original line, but has kept a few of what it considers the core elements from Michel Parmigiani’s original design. The knurled bezel, inspired by Doric columns with a splash of “torus” geometry (a circle drawn around a point to create a three-dimensional “donut” of sorts, or “bagel” for the New Yorkers), continues as the through-line for the Toric line. The cases have otherwise been redesigned, with no harsh angles but rather a fluid line meant to connect through to the strap, with curved spring bars. The brand says this was meant to strive for harmony and balance, key tenets of Michel Parmigiani’s original concept for the brand. I think it harmonizes the Toric with the Tonda PF for a cohesive lineup. While the green and white (platinum) combination of the Toric is my personal favorite (I’m not yet quite 100% confident wearing gold) the rose gold Toric is stunning as well. I personally love original generation Toric watches in rose with a black dial and rose accents as it feels a bit more bold and serious. Across the board, the finishing is stunning and even the very subdued balance bridge gives enough to look at that I’m not upset there’s not more of the movement showing. If I want that kind of display, I can always turn to other offerings in the Parmigiani lineup. You might also notice from this angle that the dial isn’t perfectly flat (even discounting the sunk subsidiary seconds at six o’clock). The dial features a chevé design, where the dial drops slightly to meet the inner edge of the case, mirroring the bevel of where the sapphire meets the case. The two final thoughtful additions to the Toric are odes to Michel Parmigiani (and their Italian-born CEO Guido Terrini). The first is the signature of Michel Parmigiani that is cut into the Côtes de Fleurier between the two barrels of the movement, a new touch on these watches for the brand’s founder. The straps, meanwhile, aren’t stitched in the traditional way you normally see but with “punto a mano” style stitching used by top Neapolitan tailors. Finally, the watch wears fantastic, with a 40.6mm by 8.8mm measurement. Anything below 9mm starts to get into the sweet spot of what I would expect for high-horological dress watch sizes. The lugs are a bit shorter, which means it sits higher on the wrist but may allow people with smaller wrists (like Tony Traina shown below) to pull the watch off without much trouble. On my 7.25-inch wrist, the watch fit just right.
The new Toric line is a much more cohesive step forward for Parmigiani and will put the brand on a solid footing, not having to rely solely on the Tonda PF line as the only distinctly modern option. The price, however, may be a sticking point for some collectors. Cased in platinum and rose gold, the watches command a premium for materials and finishing, coming in at CHF 52,000 and CHF 45,000, respectively. I would consider these more thoughtful watches for a discerning collector – maybe slightly more difficult to process and justify than the Tonda PF – but at nearly twice the price of the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante, they’ll likely take some time to pick up steam with customers. I think early adopters of the new line will be happy they got in while they could, because it feels like Parmigiani has another hit on its hands.

How To Protect Your Jewelry

This Mother’s Day, Hodinkee Insurance wants to help you and your family protect not just your high quality replica watches, but your jewelry, too. Whether you or a spouse own an engagement ring, a pearl necklace, or an heirloom that’s been passed down from generation to generation, your fine jewelry is made to be worn and enjoyed, especially when celebrating important life moments. To keep your fine jewelry protected and looking its best, consider these five important tips:
When you’re not wearing your jewelry, it should always be stored in a safe and secure place. Consider investing in a high-security safe, such as a bolted safe with a high-security TL-30 rating, that is too heavy for one person to move easily on their own. Store your items in individual pouches to prevent them from rubbing against each other and getting scratched. Keep your jewelry away from direct sunlight to prevent fading or discoloration.
If you take your high quality replica watches jewelry on trips, keep expensive items with you at all times, or use the hotel’s main vault (not the safe in your room). Never pack jewelry in your luggage or wear valuables to the pool or beach.
Before wearing high quality replica watches jewelry, check for any loose clasps, prongs, or mountings. If components are loose or damaged, avoid wearing those pieces and take them to a professional for repair. Damaged prongs, in particular, can lead to gem damage or loss. Consider a scenario where one prong is loose, causing the stone of an engagement ring to fall out of its mounting. While you might recover the stone, it could have sustained damage as it hit the floor. A little bit of regular maintenance goes a long way in preventing heartache.
When cleaning high quality replica watches diamonds, use a mild detergent or a sudsy ammonia bath. Never let your diamond touch chlorine bleach, as it can pit and discolor the mounting. Make sure your pearls are cleaned and restrung regularly to prevent pearl strings from becoming stretched, weakened, or soiled. Wipe pearls with a soft cloth after each wearing. Over time, perfume, cosmetics, hairsprays, and the oils and chemicals on your skin can erode the quality. To protect pearls from scratches, store them in a soft cloth pouch.
Fine jewelry can be a significant investment, so it’s always wise to consider insuring your pieces. Call us biased here if you must. Since Jewelry can be easily misplaced or lost, it’s always a good idea to go with an insurance provider that will cover you if you lose an item by accident. While typical homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect your home and what’s inside it, there is usually limited coverage for valuable possessions – like jewelry – that may get lost, stolen, or damaged. Look for a policy – like Hodinkee Insurance underwritten by Chubb, for example – specifically designed to protect your fine jewelry and other valuables with all-risk worldwide coverage and no deductible.

The Patek Philippe Ellipse Is Once Again On A Bracelet

Today, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse sits on the periphery of mainstream Patek collecting. Outside of dress watch fanatics, vintage obsessives, the Queen, Drake, and John Reardon of Collectability, no one pays much attention to the Ellipse. Given the social media cataclysm of design-led watches these past few years, a focus on this watch feels somewhat overdue.

It’s not like the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse went anywhere. It has remained firmly in the catalog since 1968. What started as a blue-gold dial and yellow-gold 27×32 mm case on a bracelet has morphed into a few different elliptical iterations. What was once a dainty yellow-gold dress watch on a bracelet assumed a modern form and became larger in proportion. The recent references include a jumbo platinum model with a sunburst blue dial (5738P-001) added to the collection for the Ellipse’s 40th anniversary in 2008, which was then joined, in 2018, by a large rose-gold model with a sunburst ebony black dial (5738R-001) as well as the platinum hand-engraved 50th-anniversary model ref. 5738/51G in 2021.
Last month, at Watches & Wonders, Patek (re)introduced the Ellipse on a bracelet. It was the perfect way to give the watch a revamp with a nod to the brand’s artisanal heritage. But the bracelet does more than signal a long history of metalwork. It changes the entire positioning of the watch. Whether it was an intentional move by Patek or not, the bracelet brings the watch right back to its mid-century roots and echoes the current desire for more obscure ’70s design amongst a certain set of collectors and dealers (who are very present on social media). You could call this obsession with mid-century vintage a “return to glamor,” or you could call it the inevitable next phase of the trend cycle. Whatever it is, it has permeated the watch community. The Patek Ellipse is making a confident stride into the spotlight as a consequence.

In all of its simplicity, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse became one of the defining watches of the decade. It was conceived to be an instantly recognizable shape by Patek as well as unisex in its appeal. Composed of clean, simple, and symmetrical lines, its success was predicated on its almost ideal and proportional balance. A quick Ellipse recap, in case you need one: the Golden Ellipse was based on a “divine proportion” known as the golden ratio/golden section – a centuries-old aesthetic rule concerning the relationship between height, width, and volume which is said to be an expression of mathematically proven architectural perfection. This nod to antiquity resulted in a shape that was neither a circle, rectangle, or oval.
The design evolution of the Ellipse is relatively straightforward. It has come on bracelets, on straps, in various precious metals, with a stepped case, with gem-set embellishment, with a minute track and small seconds, it has even come as an Ellipse-Nautilus hybrid (aka Nautilipse). The “divine” shape means that it’s always easily identifiable and instantly recognizable as Patek. Having been made during the tail end of the ’60s, it was a precursor to the more audaciously designed watches of the 1970s. It was the little bridge between the more staid look of the ’50s and ’60s and the totally unrestrained experimentation of the ’70s.

Today the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse watch has remained true to its original form, albeit much larger in size to fit the demands of the modern consumer (or so I am told). This new rose gold release is 34.5 x 39.5 mm in diameter with a thickness of 5.9 mm. The dial is a sunburst ebony black with rose gold applied baton-style hour markers and slim cheveu-type hands. The crown is set with a black cabochon-cut onyx which creates a nice little balance of black detail. The watch comes equipped with ultra-thin movement Caliber 240, features a solid caseback, and is water-resistant to 30 meters.
Now for the crowning glory: The extremely intricate chain-style 18k rose gold bracelet is composed of fine rows of links individually mounted and polished by hand, and has an engraved clasp with three adjustment positions and is non-removable. The bracelet is made of 363 parts, including more than 300 links, each of which are crafted by artisan chainsmiths from a gold wire using CNC. Throughout its history, Patek Philippe has showcased the skills of its artisans and specialized suppliers with its variation of hand-made mesh and chain bracelets. The late 1960s and the ’70s also stand out as a period of great experimentation with metalwork for the brand. The new bracelet was created in the style of a classic chain but with modern specs eliminating the technical drawbacks associated with vintage models. The length can be adjusted as the clasp (its cover adorned with an engraved motif continuing that of the bracelet) offers the choice of three adjustment notches. “The bracelet is directly inspired by the earliest mesh bracelets of the line,” explains Founder of Collectability, John Reardon. “The clasp itself is what captures my heart though – constructed almost identically to what we saw from Patek Philippe in the 1970s and 1980s”
The new Ellipse is a kind of luxury item that feels understated and well made with just the right amount of opulence. It’s restrained but impactful. It’s the kind of watch that makes you stare down at your wrist and feel a sense of insular watch-knowledge pride “I am wearing a Patek and I don’t need to scream about it”. And it sits in line with where fashion finds itself today: a return to quiet classics. The clean ebony dial is what minimalist dreams are made of, and it contrasts perfectly with a bracelet that is so intricately woven that it could be a type of knit pattern used by only the finest of luxury heritage cashmere brands tucked away in some remote Scottish highland village. It’s a premium product but it’s quietly glamorous.
Not to say that the Ellipse is slept on, because this isn’t a quest for vintage underdog glory. Perhaps the Ellipse is so much of a classic that it doesn’t need to be made a fuss of. Nobody would ever talk about the return of a white button-down dress shirt or Levi’s 501s! It has pure lines, a clean dial, and a subtle aesthetic impact. The kind of watch that I think speaks to a person with their own personal style. They can slip it into an existing wardrobe rotation, it doesn’t need to be the centerpiece. While the new release is nearly twice as expensive as the existing model on strap ($36,900 vs $60,100), the bracelet does warrant a new category of price. It’s gone from being a dress-watch to a dress-jewelry-watch hybrid. Nonetheless, the Ellipse is discreet. The bracelet endows it with a perfect vintage feel that doesn’t make it feel like a forced reissue. It’s a clever way forward through a style of elegance that was originally honed in the mid-century.

The Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton

We are here in Miami this weekend ahead of the Grand Prix where Moser has just announced a follow-up watch to the blue Streamliner Skeleton Cylindrical Tourbillon announced just a couple of weeks ago to cement its new partnership with the Alpine F1 team and Moser’s new brand ambassador Pierre Gasly. That watch featured blue accents, which represent the livery of the BWT Alpine F1 team. Of course, if you know Formula 1, you know blue isn’t the only color the team sports. And so where we had a 100-piece LE in blue, today we are getting a far more limited variation of the Cylindrical Tourbillon of 20 pieces in pink. The pink version is effectively the same watch as the blue, but with a new strikingly pink strap color and a vibrant pink small dial at 12 o’clock. The case remains 42.3mm in steel with a dome sapphire crystal giving way to the elegantly skeletonized dial with lumed markers and indices. high quality replica watches

Moser has taken its in-house HMC 811 caliber and created a real piece of art, where you can feel the dimensionality of the movement while simultaneously being able to see straight through the watch to the wrist below. high quality replica watches

At race-opening press conference last night, Gasly took to the podium to answer his first questions as Moser ambassador, and he did so wearing not one, but two watches – both limited edition Moser pieces in pink and blue. While it’s likely nobody will ever get such a chance in the future, it was really cool to see both livery colors manifested in these watches side by side.
Moser entering the F1 space is news in its own right. The Meylan family has really shepherded this brand into a new era and year after year, delivered fresh takes on haute horlogerie. I often think back to the Moser’s more exuberant releases such as the pixelated eraser or the “don’t call it an Apple Watch” watch. But in recent years, the Streamliner has proven itself to be a household name in many ways and a centerpiece model for Moser. As the brand’s footprint grows, it makes sense that they would expand into new areas, and a partnership with Alpine is certainly a new frontier. This is especially true when you think about Moser’s stance on branding. Most of the time you don’t even see a brand on the dial of one of its watches, and if you do, it’s nearly invisible. But it’s that commitment to its own brand ideals that also appealed to Alpine, a commitment to the craft over a commitment to flash. high quality replica watches

And so what we have for this first partnership is not your typical racing watch, but rather Moser doubling down on what it does best, with a twist. I loved the blue edition when I heard about it a couple of weeks ago, but seeing the both watches this week, I can truly say the pink is very cool. It is one of those colors that would have been easy to screw up, but adds just the right amount the flash to this design. On the wrist, the 42.3mm sizing wears more like 41mm I would say and the rubber strap is line with what Moser has always done – something that doesn’t get nearly enough attention – and that’s deliver some of the best rubber straps in the watch game. Of course, this is a 20 piece LE and so we won’t be seeing many of them around the world, especially given the price tag of $97,000, but it is a really great way to celebrate F1 Miami and a new partnership for a brand that always keeps us on our toes. high quality replica watches

The Chopard Alpine Eagle Is Ultra Thin Again With The XP TT

Since its inception in 2019, the Alpine Eagle has undergone a series of metamorphoses both internally and externally. We’ve seen Chopard release the Alpine Eagle in yellow gold, with full gem-setting, with a high-frequency movement, and with a chronograph – as well as with an ultra-thin profile + salmon dial combo.

Last year’s aforementioned XPS model was a runaway success. Many of my colleagues have since continued to declare its ultra-slim merits amongst themselves in #watchtalk slack channels. The XPS paved the way, along with the high-frequency Cadence 8HF, for a new kind of elevated segment within the Alpine Eagle range. high quality replica watches
This year the Alpine Eagle 41 XP TT was added to the lineup. A little watch semantics 101 recap / warning for you (and myself): you must absolutely not call this a skeleton dial (as I first did) because Chopard has very clearly not marketed this as skeletonized (because it is not) nor openworked (which it very clearly is), but as “a new ultra-thin timepiece providing full visibility across the entire intricate mechanical workings of L.U.C Caliber 96.17-S.” I suppose it sort of makes sense when you take a closer look at the very industrial looking XP TT. In full transparency (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), I had to think a full 30 seconds about the difference between skeleton and openwork dials. Technically speaking it’s an openwork dial, but it’s a different kind of openwork than we are used to seeing from higher priced luxury competitors like Audemars Piguet or Vacheron Constantin.
Let’s get simple logistics out of the way before I embark on my attempt at giving you a non-lofty explanation of why Chopard has chosen not to broadcast this release as “openworked.” XP stands for eXtra-Plat (ultra-thin). The watch’s movement, the L.U.C Caliber 96.17-S, measures 3.30mm thin, and the case measures a very slim 8mm. All in all, I’d say that’s pretty skinny. TT stands for Technical Titanium; so, naturally, this watch is considerably lighter than your main collection Alpine Eagle. The XP TT is 41mm in diameter, but the proportions are a little different from the norm here with a thinner bezel, which I gather is meant to make more room for this “all-goods-on-display” dial. The mainplate and bridges are openworked to follow the curves of the case opening, creating concentric spaces around the movement’s center. You could say the lack of finishing on the mainplate evokes a sort of industrial look, or you could be cynical and say it looks a little bare. There is still plenty of aesthetic nuance to be had here. The sandblasted mainplate and bridges are black-rhodium-plated and create a contrast that nicely highlights the gilded gear trains and the “LUC” engraved, off-center micro-rotor in 22-carat gold. If I am calling the baseplate finishing lacking, I must also note the quality of the beveling in the keyless works as well as the finely polished screws throughout – true L.U.C-level attention to detail. high quality replica watches
When the L.U.C Caliber 96.17-S was first used in 2012, it was Chopard’s first in-house skeletonized/openworked movement. Yes, I know I said not to call the XP TT skeletonized, but back in 2012 they called their openworked novelty the L.U.C XP Skeletec, so go figure. The last use of the caliber (before this year) was for an L.U,C XP Skeletec LE in 2021. Now for the plot twist: most, if not all, of the watches containing said caliber featured Geneva stripes on the baseplate. Those previous Skeletec watches were a little more traditionally decorated, as one would expect from the L.U.C line. My first guess is that the XT PP’s baseplate is somehow supposed to work congruously with the sandblasted finish of the Alpine Eagle case. At the very least, we must note the blasted baseplate is clearly an intentional decision from Chopard. Personally, I feel that it would have been nice to see an updated movement with more openwork features. It’s a funny little paradox to have a L.U.C movement with, let’s say, restrained finishing. But then perhaps this is an attempt at putting out a more reasonably priced ($26,500 to be exact) openwork product. And I support democracy in the watch space!
The watch is made of grade-5 titanium. But I’ll be honest here, I’m not a lightweight material obsessive. In fact, I prefer gold watches above all, so that sort of disqualifies me from having any helpful take on how this titanium watch actually feels on the wrist. I hate to break it to you, but all titanium watches kind of feel the same to me in that they evoke a generic “wow I can’t believe how light this watch is” reaction, and then I’m quickly on to the next. But this time I was noticeably more curious. I tried on the watch because even though a 41mm titanium “openworked” sports watch sounds exactly like everything I would hate on paper, I loved the look of it. I loved its look even before I had seen it in person. Which is why I am here writing about it. And okay, my curiosity was also slightly peaked by the fact I have a little obsession with the vintage Saint Moritz skeleton. Don’t ask me to pick between the two because you know the answer. But today we are thinking about a modern watch buyer and what they need from their modern Alpine Eagle. And apparently, they need lightweight-ness!
For some more lightweight talk, the signature Alpine Eagle bracelet feels super comfortable in titanium. And it now comes with a triple folding clasp in Chopard’s proprietary Lucent Steel with new safety push-pieces. According to Danny’s introducing post, the safety pushers on the clasp are for ease of removal from the wrist and will soon be featured permanently across the Alpine Eagle line. Like the case, the titanium bracelet is a touch darker than its steel cousins, which I quite like. It’s a little less shiny and a little more rugged. high quality replica watches

The Alpine Eagle 41 XP TT makes perfect sense as a next logical step for the brand and its deeper foray into “popular” watches. And by popular watches, I mean integrated bracelet sport watches that the masses continue to voraciously consume as the collector community moves on to lauding dressier and more unusual alternatives. However, this is not expansion for expansion’s sake. It’s certainly not a “let’s do an openwork luxury sports watch because AP seems to sell those.” Firstly the XP TT has a Saint Moritz skeleton predecessor. And secondly, the XP TT edges the brand’s sports model toward what Chopard has always stood for in enthusiast circles – true dress watch elegance. Chopard will tell you this idea is “the ultimate expression of classicism,” and they may be right. You only need to look at ultra-thin models from the ’80s and ’90s for proof that slim bezels and cases have been Chopard’s thing for decades.
Across the catalog, Chopard is clearly pushing towards premium finishing whenever possible – even going further than L.U.C level with the new Qualité Fleurier release. While core-collection L.U.C dress watches might not be to the taste (or pockets) of everyone, the continued use of these premium movements in the Alpine Eagle offers Chopard’s focus of high finishing in something far more wearable. This is not an aesthetic revolt, it’s a push for versatility.

Airain Type 21 Re-Edition

One of the most enduring types of classic watch designs are military timepieces intended for pilots. The golden era for this was the middle of the 20th century when a variety of companies would produce spec watches for military organizations around the world. Rather than come up with entirely original designs, brands would make products to fit rubric design specifications set forth by military organizations. One of the most famous types of military pilot watches during the 20th century was the Type 20 and, later, the Type 21 dial designations. Many companies produced watches with Type 20 or Type 21 dials, including Airain. Originally founded by the Dodane family (another brand that made these types of military aviation chronograph watches), Airain produced Type 20 and Type 21 watches in the 1950s and 1960s. Airain is back today under Dutch ownership but with proudly Swiss Made products. Airain has already released “re-edition” versions of its Type 20 dial watches, and today, I review the Airain Type 21 Re-Edition reference 423.438 watch, which does a great job of offering a vintage military watch-wearing experience with entirely modern materials and construction. high quality replica watches

The Airain Type 20 and Type 21 Re-Edition watches are similar in design, style, and price. They also both launched as limited-edition/limited-production models that Airain claims will later be part of its permanent collection. The original Type 21 dial designation was intended to be a slightly tweaked Type 20, with what I understand was a bit more focus on legibility and refinement. Practically speaking, your preference between the Type 20 and Type 21 dial is going to be a matter of taste. I prefer the Type 21, as the dial is just a bit simpler, more elegant, and more legible, to my eye.
Some vintage-style watches feel thoroughly modern when worn and handled, and others are designed to replicate some of the look and actual feel of original models. The latter is the approach Airain took with the Type 20 and Type 21. The cases are modest in size, the designs are thankfully restrained, and the sapphire crystals over the dials are designed to look like an old acrylic crystal in terms of its shape and how the dial looks when viewed through it. Airain even decided to use a manually wound (versus automatic) movement to go with the “classic” wearing experience. Another benefit of using a manual movement is that it allows the case to be thinner.

The Airain Type 21 case is in polished steel, is 39mm wide (39.5mm wide at the bezel), and just 10.9mm thick (not including the crystal, which adds about two more millimeters). The case has a modest lug-to-lug length of 47.7mm and is water resistant to 50 meters (without a screw-down crown as that would make regular winding less convenient). This is a good opportunity to complement the crown design, which is comfortable to operate and doesn’t look disproportionately big in size.
The countdown bezel is an attractive and distinguishing feature of the Airain Type 21 case. It moves relatively securely even though it is bidirectional, and allows you to track or countdown anything you want using markers on the bezel. The matching steel-on-steel look of the bezel is visually appealing. Airain decided to use an “old radium” color for the luminant on the hands and hour markers. I am a fan of this color, as I find white to be too harsh. These khaki colors mixed with a black face always look pleasing to my eyes. There is little original about the dial design since most watch lovers are familiar with the chronograph dial look of Type 20 and Type 21 dials. With that said, Airain gets a lot of the details correct and succeeds in creating a sexy, historical, and still serious visage for the Type 21 Re-Edition. high quality replica watches
What is inside the Type 21? You can’t see the movement through the back of the case as Airain wanted the Type 21 to have a simple, instrument-style military watch caseback. The brand refers to the movement inside the Type 20 and Type 21 Re-Edition watches as the Airain AM2. This is a Sellita SW510-based modern chronograph movement, which has the automatic winding system removed and displays a 30-minute chronograph on the dial. It should be noted that the column-wheel controlled chronograph also has a flyback complication, which allows the chronograph to be immediately reset without having to be stopped first. The movement operates at 4Hz and has 63 hours of power reserve. Airain further claims that the movements are individually tested (to five positions) and regulated for peak accuracy and performance. I will admit that I prefer automatic-winding watches, but given the them here I don’t mind having to manually wind this timepiece since it is actually a pleasure to do so.
The Type 21 Re-Edition is not a budget watch, and accordingly, Airain includes high-end packaging as well as an extra strap light brown suede strap option. Airain even includes two different buckles that you can swap out, although I would have preferred if the brown strap did not require the exact same hardware as the black strap. That means if you want to swap out the straps regularly, you also have to swap out the buckle hardware – which isn’t ideal. It should not be a complicated fix for Airain to include just a few extra small metal parts in the kit to solve this issue.

Even if you have little interest in military aviation history or care that Airain used to supply timepieces to the French military, the Type 21 can be a very satisfying product. These types of classic-looking sports watches are enduringly popular because they are fashionable and rarely inappropriate for a setting. Mid-20th century “professional” watches of this type endure today in many forms whether they were designed for divers, drivers, flyers, or fighters. Conservative good looks, a slight air of adventure and class, and enthusiast appeal help make timepieces like the Airain Type 21 a success. I’ve certainly found it an easy choice to wear given its modern durability, sensible size, and casual style. high quality replica watches

Patek Philippe 5396G Annual Calendar Shines Bright

This year at Watches & Wonders, Patek Philippe introduced the white gold 5396G Annual Calendar, which adds a gradient blue dial and diamond baguette indices to the existing collection.

The 5396G is still a 5396, with a white gold case measuring 38.5 by 11.2mm and water resistant to 30 meters. Patek’s caliber 26‑330 S QA LU 24H is visible through a sapphire caseback and powers the annual calendar, moonphase, and a center sweep seconds hand. The day and month sit in-line below 12 o’clock, while the date is cut out of the subdial at 6 o’clock
The sunburst blue dial has a gradient that transitions to black by the minute track. The combination of the sunburst effect and smooth gradient has a subtle effect that keeps the dial more interesting than a typical flat treatment otherwise might. Sharp dauphine hands and a sweeping seconds finish off the look. The 5396G is delivered on a matching shiny blue alligator strap with a deployant clasp.

The Patek 5396G Annual Calendar has an MSRP of $63,510 – for reference, it’s $6,000 more than the existing 5396R that remains in the catalog.

Taking a step back for a moment, the Patek 5396 Annual Calendar was introduced way back 2006 as the first annual annual calendar in a Calatrava-style case; remember, the first Patek annual calendar was only introduced a decade earlier. Patek last updated the 5396 lineup in 2016 on the 20th anniversary of the complication. Now, the reference gets its most dressed-up treatment yet. Patek has used the blue gradient dial and baguette indices combinations a few times now; I particularly appreciate it in the 5170P, Patek’s first chronograph with an in-house caliber. Using the combination for its long-running annual calendar reference feels like a fitting tribute to the 5396. Doing it in platinum would’ve been a real statement, but perhaps platinum should stay (mostly) reserved for a higher comp like this year’s 5236P. Is the 5396 worthy of the baguette treatment? I dunno, but whenever I think of the reference I remember John Mayer waxing poetically about the limited-edition 5396G for Tiffany & Co. with a black dial and Breguet numerals. That watch was limited and more special than this version, but if the 5396 was good enough for Mayer and Tiffany & Co., surely it’s befitting of baguette indices. More broadly, baguette indices are one of my preferred modes of putting diamonds on a dial. It feels a bit more subdued than many other takes on diamond setting, as much as a bunch of diamonds can ever really be subdued. But it works well in Rexhep Rexhepi’s Rubis or Diamont, and it looks to succeed here, too. Combined with the typical gradient blue dial, it makes for a compelling addition to Patek’s annual calendar lineup.

Piaget Altiplano Concept Tourbillon

This year is Piaget’s 150th anniversary, and after digging into its heritage for the release of the Polo 79, now it’s showing off the technical watchmaking the manufacturer is most known for: ultra-thin. The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon is just 2mm thick, the same thinness as the original record-setting Altiplano from 2018, but now Piaget has managed to add a tourbillon, making it the world’s thinnest tourbillon.

Let’s not waste any time, here’s what its profile looks like: The new Piaget AUC features a cobalt blue case that’s blue PVD-treated and measures 41.5x2mm. Most importantly, it’s powered by the Piaget caliber 970P-UC, a manual caliber with a one-minute peripheral tourbillon and 40-hour power reserve. According to Piaget, it had to redesign 90 percent of the movement to accommodate a tourbillon, which requires 25 percent more power from the mainspring. It takes the title of world’s thinnest tourbillon from the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, which comes in at a positively chunky 3.95mm. high quality replica watches
While the caliber has been reworked, the principle of the AUC stays the same: the case and movement are one. In other words, the movement’s components are directly integrated into the caseback. The tourbillon rotates at 10 o’clock and the uncovered mainspring barrel sits prominently at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon uses ball bearings instead of pivots to rotate; this construction also allows Piaget to execute a sapphire opening in the caseback that makes the tourbillon visible. high quality replica watches

Price is on request, but to give you an idea, the original record-breaking Altiplano Ultimate Concept (without tourbillon) had a price north of $400,000. So you’ll have a thinner watch and wallet.

Even after picking up the Piaget AUC, it makes no sense. Like, you see the little tourbillon spinning inside, dutifully making its once-per-minute rotations, and you think to yourself, “surely, a watch that’s about as thick as my credit card can’t accommodate a spinning cage, right?” But it can and it does.
In many ways, Piaget is ultra-thin watchmaking. While Bulgari has reclaimed the title of the world’s thinnest watch with the new Octo Finissimo Ultra (1.7mm thin), Piaget’s after a different prize. I’m not sure my eyes are actually capable of perceiving the 0.3 difference between these two watches, nor can my mind comprehend how a tourbillon can spin freely in those cramped quarters. Or how Piaget managed to power that whirring mechanism? Sure, the manufacturer says it had to find a more powerful spring with a thicker blade, and it fit most of the gear train on ball bearings to minimize friction. high quality replica watches

Yes, I want Piaget to focus more on finding ways to revisit its heritage. But ultra-thin watchmaking is in its blood, too. With all of these watches chasing ultra-thin superlatives, we’re well beyond the realm of practicality. Brands are shaving tenths of a millimeter off of millimeters just because they can.

The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon is a watch that has to be seen to be believed, but even after that, I’m not sure I comprehend it.

A Solid-Gold Rolex Deepsea

Raise your hand if you ever plan to dive 12,800 ft. down someday. Okay, now put on the new Rolex Deepsea on your wrist and try raising your hand again. Do it 10 more times. Is your arm tired? This new “dive watch” weighs a reported nearly 320 grams – nearly three-quarters of a pound. To put it into context, Vacheron announced the most complicated watch in the world yesterday and it weighs less than three times this watch. Even the watch I believe is the heaviest wristwatch ever made – the AP Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721 – isn’t far off at 429 grams. But in a “hold my beer” moment for Rolex, this watch goes 39 times deeper than the Offshore. That means it might be the most unnecessary “tool” watch Rolex (or anyone) has ever released, and yet, sometimes, things go far past the part of making sense that they absolutely rock.
While Ben Clymer (below) can pull it off as a yacht rock look with a double-breasted suit and white dress shirt, we all can’t be so lucky. This watch isn’t just heavy, it’s BIG – 44mm x 17.7mm of nearly solid gold swagger (swagger I definitely don’t have). Those are the same dimensions as the Oystersteel-cased Deepsea ref. 136660 that was released in 2022. But this watch is an entirely new ballgame in so many ways.

It has a 5.5mm crystal and a helium escape value, and even with all that, the new Deepsea now has a blue lacquer dial to match the blue Cerachrom bezel unidirectional dive bezel with yellow gold numerals and accents. Oh, and there’s no “Sea-Dweller” on this watch. Instead, the dial boldly proclaims “Deepsea” in gold text, which is where a watch this heavy would drag you if you’re not careful. To borrow one of my favorite Ben-isms (something he says whenever we’ve seen or heard about a watch that’s so crazy, ridiculous, or unexpected that it’s hard to understand), “What are we even talking about anymore?”
That’s because, among a few other (and probably more important) changes, the Deepsea now stands on its own giant feet as a separate collection from the Sea-Dweller. This doesn’t just dwell in the sea, it commands the sea while commandeering your wrist space at the same time. You’ll no longer see “Sea-Dweller” on the Oystersteel dials either, which technically means that Rolex kind of introduced two new steel watches without telling us, or at least new generations of dials on the “D-Blue” and black-dialed Deepseas. It’s a realization I’m coming to while writing this story, so I’m glad you can be along for the ride of discovery.
If you look closely around the edge of the dial, you’ll see that yes, the watch has a helium escape value (as advertised in bold letters) and you might sneak a peak at it in a photo further down, but frankly, I was so overwhelmed by the wildness of this watch that I barely paid it any attention. There’s also a new compression ring made of blue ceramic, which works with the HEV and ensures water-tightness to those insane depths listed on the dial.
The other thing I forgot to photograph in the moment was that the Oyster clasp includes Glidelock, which gives you 10 notches, each adding 2mm of length to the bracelet (20mm total) so you can fit the watch over a wetsuit. I’ll put a picture below (after a photo to remind you how thick and how much gold we’re talking about) because it’s kind of amazing that Rolex went all-in on treating this watch like it was just your average Deepsea that folks will be taking to do things like… I don’t know, saturation diving to work on oil rigs? If that’s your gig and this is going to be your new watch, I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re dying to be the ’80s yacht rock saturation diver, you might have to put up with the fact that the caseback isn’t solid gold. Instead, it still remains RLX Titanium, which I get the impression isn’t a weight savings measure – that ship has sailed faster than and in the same way as I blow my “diet” plans at Thanksgiving time – but rather another measure to maintain strength under pressure.
The point, to me, is a bit of an afterthought, but if you’re the kind of person who can (and wants to) pull this watch off, you’re going to have to part with CHF 49,900. But man, you’re going to have a blast while wearing it.

As we passed this watch around the table, it was absolutely silly. My coworkers were in fits of laughter at the absurdity of the heft of this chonky, gold tool watch. People would put it on the wrist, wear it, pass it around, and ask for it back just to experience it one more time. Often, with any tool that’s become outdated in the face of technology, having fun is the entire point. Just because you can’t doesn’t mean you should, but it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Thank god someone at Rolex shares that mentality. The same reason Rolex made it is probably similar to the reason most potential buyers will pick one up: because they can. Sure, that’s often an obnoxious reason, but in this case, I dig it.
So, who is this watch for? If “Her Deepness” Sylvia Earle – one of the most legendary marine biologists of all time – can wear a gold Datejust on her “casual” diving trips, this watch could be for anyone. While people aren’t likely to be diving to 12,800 ft. (which just so happens to be the average depth of the Atlantic Ocean) there’s a giant part of me that wants to strap this watch to my wrist and see what it’s like to wear the best, most unnecessary, most outrageous, and maybe most giddy-inducing release we’ve seen so far this year in the environment it was apparently designed for: deep-sea diving. But I’ll probably need to get two – one for each wrist – to balance things out so I don’t spend my entire dive swimming in circles.

Beach Stone Dial Oyster Perpetual: Malaika Crawford

As if we were on the same wavelength, Rolex teased its upcoming novelties in a short video on their various social media platforms. As always, it’s nearly impossible to decipher much from it, but in that video we saw what looks to be changes to bracelets, perhaps a new Sky-Dweller or a solid gold Datejust. There appeared to be a GMT-Master II in there as well as some interesting dial work and a curious yellow gold sports model with a caseback that had us scratching our heads (is it an exhibition style or a different metal?).
In any event, this just goes to show you what power Rolex wields when it comes to watch enthusiasts trying to figure out what they will and won’t do year in and year out. We certainly fall into that bucket and make it a yearly tradition to get clairvoyant with the Crown’s novelties. Last year we (okay, I) basically correctly foresaw the gold GMT and I’ll never let anyone forget it. This year our choices run the gamut from “obvious” to full-on funky. We made our Tudor picks yesterday, and now without further ado, here are our predictions for Rolex mere days ahead of Watches & Wonders 2024. Like we said yesterday, let us know what predictions you have in the comments and tell which of ours you like best!
Beach Stone Dial Oyster Perpetual: Malaika Crawford
Last year’s emoji Day-Date and celebration dial OP mean we all have carte blanche for anything our hearts desire in this round-up. I got swept up in the try-and-be-as-weird-as-possible approach and dreamt up some goofy colorful enamel heart-shaped gem-set novelties. My colleague TanTan brought me back down to earth with a more reasonable (but still enough of a fantasy to appease me) idea. How about a new take on “beach” Daytona dials. Why not remake pastel beachy colors and put them into OP cases? On bracelets. Obviously.

I say these 2024 beach dials should be close to the original concept and made of stone, TanTan wants pastel colored lacquer dials, but this is my “prediction” and so I am making executive decisions. We are going OG turquoise, yellow mother of pearl, pink mother of pearl, green chrysoprase/chalcedony. Okay, so the chances of this happening are slim but they are not impossible. And so if we are buying into this fantasy, let’s just go all the way “beach,” and make these in white gold.

This would be “new” for Rolex, no stone dial OP watches have been made. The modern OP is a relatively new Rolex model and was seemingly created to exist as a more moderately priced option, entry level we could say. But there is precedent to my prediction! Some of the rarest vintage stone dials are found in Datejusts, which was a similarly low-market model compared to the Day-Date at the time.