If you’re planning to put in some serious time by the water this summer than it’s important you have all the right accompaniments, hat, sunglasses, a good e-book or two and a suitable watch. Not to keep track of the hours as they leisurely drift by of course (you’re on holidays remember, who cares!?), but to let that cutie at the bar know that time (and style) is still important, even when you’re wearing nothing more than swim trunks and a straw hat.
With that in mind, today we are taking a closer look at the new Pontos S Chronograph collection from Maurice Lacroix. This sporty, diving inspired chronograph is available in a range of colors and best of all comes with an extra color matching NATO strap in addition to the stainless steel bracelet it is presented on.
The newest installment of the James Bond series, SKYFALL starring Daniel Craig, is set to hit cinemas later this year and as we have come to expect from the maker of Bond’s most essential on-screen accessory, Omega has created a limited edition Seamaster Planet Ocean to celebrate.
Last year a fascinating and at times feisty exchange took place on this site regarding the role and professionalism of bloggers. This subject has reappeared on other forums since then, suggesting that we don’t do our research before we write. So, to counter that we’ve decided today to take an educated look at the Clerc Hydroscaph.
The Facts In Brief
Founded in 1874 and still owned by the Clerc family, the main product lines are the Odyssey and Hydroscaph watches. Both are unashamedly large, these are eye-catching time pieces, but I am going to discuss the Steel version of the Hydroscaph and what it is like to live with.
The Hydroscaph is big; as you can see from the picture probably a bit too big for my scrawny wrists but it still fits very nicely. While the lugs aren’t articulated they do reach around the wrist making the fit snug and and it hugs the wrist. As befits a true diver’s watch the strap is rubber, but in the two weeks I have been wearing the watch it has never once been sweaty or uncomfortable even in a Geneva summer. It has a nice quality feel and is wide and thick enough that it doesn’t look like it is going to perish or crack.
If you prefer it is available with a hornback crocodile strap which is very nice at a small extra cost, but seriously only buy it if you aren’t going diving.
The multi-part case is rated to a depth of 1000m and is constructed using a number of gaskets with all fittings being of the screw-in variety to maintain the seal. The main body has a brushed finish, but the crown is a mixture of both polished and brushed surfaces and this gives it a very superior look and feel. The bezel also rotates and rather than moving freely is altered with a fold out clasp at the 1 o’clock position.
The dial is time, date and GMT and Power Reserve; the first two of which are controlled via the stem while the GMT display at 12 o’clock is set by using the screw-down pusher located between 10 and 11 o’clock. This version came with the lime green hands which I have to say I prefer and are very much on trend. It is not overly done – some other models literally plaster the color all over – but just enough to accentuate the right bits. The dial is split horizontally, textured black to the top and white at the bottom, and whilst some may argue that this could slightly compromise readability I have to say I don’t care as I really like this design very much.
There is an issue that must be addressed with any steel watch – the weight. For the Hydroscaph I would say it is weighty rather than heavy, and although there is a titanium version if you prefer, when I’m buying a diver’s watch I want it to be solid, it has a job to do after all. I don’t think at any point I felt that it was too heavy and my daily watch is considerably lighter. Go with the steel.
I really enjoyed wearing this watch, it’s easy to wear, feels like it would last a lifetime and will not look out-dated in 5 years time. I don’t dive so I might be tempted by that fancy hornback crocodile strap for that extra bit of class but I think that would be my only request.
The Final Word
I am extremely lucky I get to try out watches on a fairly regular basis but not for some considerable time has a watch provoked so many positive comments from colleagues and friends. This is a quality product, makes a very bold statement while having the cache of being uncommon and reasonably priced, a difficult trick to pull off. This watch would certainly make my Christmas wishlist.
One of the biggest stars of the recently concluded World Cup was ‘Paul, the Octopus’ – a prophetic cephalopod that predicted correctly the outcome of every single one of the eight matches he was asked to. Well, I’ve got my own Oktopus and it also gets it right… in many different ways.
When Tom Mulraney and I were discussing all the hoopla regarding Rafael Nadal’s $525,000 Richard Mille tourbillon a couple of months ago, he asked me to write a feature about a watch of mine for The Watch Lounge. Back then I was swamped with work, not only writing for my Espiral do Tempo watch magazine but also doing a lot of tennis commentary for Eurosport, so I had to decline. But recently I had a few days off after Wimbledon and thought about the challenge – I’ve always enjoyed talking about my watches and used to have a column in the magazine with that kind of personal/emotional insight, so I decided to give it a go.
Initially I thought of writing about one of the best, affordable sleepers in the watch industry that always gets praise whenever I use it on my wrist: the Klassik Chronograph, an atypical watch within the Chronoswiss collection that sadly just went out of production. But then World Cup fever made me decide to go from the most classical to the most contemporary timepiece in my collection and pick my diver’s watch from Linde Werdelin instead for the article.
A great diver’s watch with titanium case, helium escape valve and water resistant to 1111m.
I had a couple of friends over at my house and we were discussing who would be the favourite team to win the final; of course, Pulpo Paul’s predictions came into the conversation and I said: «Well, I also have a psychic Oktopus, this watch I’m wearing right now – and it says Spain is going to win, because from all the five international ladies working at the Linde Werdelin headquarters, this one was handed out to me by Eva Mureddu, who’s Spanish». And it turned out my Oktopus was right – Spain actually won (though I have to underline they beat us in the last 16 with an offside goal that was the only one Portugal suffered in the competition!).
I picked up my Oktopus during my stay in London for this year’s Wimbledon championships. I’m always happy whenever I can mix my two passions that are also my two jobs (writing about tennis and watches); I had already visited the Linde Werdelin premises in the past, located in the Notting Hill area and also invited Jorn Werdelin to watch some tennis at the O2 Arena, where the year-end ATP World Tour Championship is played, and at Wimbledon’s famous Centre Court.
I have to say that I was divided until the very last second (and had doubts even after the decision!) between the grade-5 Titanium version and the blackened DLC version, but from the beginning it was pretty much clear that the Oktopus would be the model I’d want from a brand that got my attention right from the beginning.
For those of you not familiar with the two different models, Morten Linde has created an excellent video where he discusses the two. Check it out below and then keep reading:
So why the Oktopus? Well, for emotional and rational reasons. Emotionally, I think I’ve always been attracted to Nordic design – and even though I’m a purist that loves vintage timepieces (especially those from the 60’s and car racing inspired chronographs from the early 70’s), my taste is versatile enough to also embrace a great modern design like Linde Werdelin’s: it was a ‘coup de coeur’ right from the beginning, when I saw the first pictures. Rationally, I find the Linde Werdelin concept quite ideal – a stylish designer watch powered by a traditional mechanical calibre combined with an electronic instrument able to provide all sorts of downloadable data.
There were also a couple of prior references that might have prepared me for Linde Werdelin: I remember going to Baselworld more than a decade ago and looking for another Nordic brand, albeit Swedish (Linde Werdelin has Danish roots), called Sjöo Sändstrom, that also combined a mechanical and a quartz calibre (a bit like TAG Heuer’s Monaco Sixty Nine, a few years later); I also remember vividly a discussion I had with Franck Müller a long time ago where he told me that the future of watchmaking would lie in a combination of a mechanical watch and a quartz-powered device that would provide all the extra information required in these rapidly evolving times.
So, there you go: I was somehow unconsciously prepared to pay a lot of attention to Linde Werdelin. I’m quite demanding, but everything I saw was convincing and, as a member of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève jury, I even put Linde Werdelin’s Trigon & Land Instrument combo on top of my top 10 list in the ‘Sports Category’ because I found it to be the most innovative entry. Turns out my colleagues from the jury thought otherwise, but by then I knew sooner or later I’d make the decision to have one for myself.
The Linde Werdelin original analogue-digital combo of watch + instrument.
After the sturdier Oktopus model was introduced in 2009, I knew it was the one I’d be expecting when I had the chance to see it closely at the Baselworld fair: it is slightly bigger than the previous models, I find the bezel a bit more attractive and it’s the first Linde Werdelin line with numerals instead of only indexes on the dial. Yes, it’s also watertight to 1111m with a helium valve, but I mainly wanted a sports watch with a contemporary design, rather than a diver’s watch…
So, after the decision was made I had to choose which model from the Oktopus range. I love the Moonphase introduced this year, but it’s a specialty version and out of my budget; I also find the Tattoo quite interesting and think it can be the starting point for a series of limited editions dedicated to contemporary icons. But I knew my choice would be between the Titanium and the DLC versions… and, because I’m thinking of getting one of Project X Designs DLC blackened customizations, I ended up picking the Oktopus Titanium – with a dark gray case that offers a nice contrast with the lacquered black bezel.
DLC and Titanium versions: undecided until the very last moment.
Now, which strap? I’m really demanding (almost maniac!) in what concerns strap selection and Linde Werdelin offers a great variety of sumptuous straps/bracelets; probably for the Oktopus Titanium the right choice is the rubberized calf strap, but since I already have a black-dial Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore with black rubberized calf, I opted for the black textile strap – but planning on getting a pointed calf strap and a tracked calf strap later on so that I can adequate the look of my Oktopus to more urban circumstances.
The strap attachment system invented by Linde Werdelin is quite interesting and a fundamental part of the modernity of the design. Eva Mureddu just took a couple of minutes to change the straps and I could finally get the timepiece on my wrist.
So, as you can see, my Oktopus got it right in so many ways – from the outcome of the World Cup final, to the design and architecture of the case, to the sophisticated details. It even predicts what time it’ll be in exactly 5 minutes. And if they gave the name ‘Paul’ to that now legendary octopus, I think I might as well do some baptizing around here: from now on, this beauty on my wrist is going to be ‘Otto, the Oktopus’.
*Miguel Seabra hails from Portugal and has been covering tennis for 20 years and watches for 15. Check out Miguel’s profile on his Twitter page: «Tennis & Mechanical Timepieces – editor of Jornal do Ténis and Espiral do Tempo, Eurosport commentator and watch specialist. It is great to have both passions for a job!»
Finland has long been known for its contributions to industrial design and handicrafts, and indeed their architecture is famous around the world (in the right circles anyway), but watch-making? Not quite. In fact, historically speaking the only notable time-telling devices Finland has been responsible for creating have come attached to Nokia cell-phones. That was until Stepan Sarpaneva returned to his country of birth after spending several years studying and working in Switzerland for companies like Piaget, Parmigiani, Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret.
With his latest creation, the Sarpaneva Korona K0, Stepan shows us once again that there is more than one country in the EU capable of producing exceptional, high quality and above all, original timepieces.
A Different Perspective
One of the great things about Stepan is that he is not Swiss and so his reference points and design influences are completely different. Don’t get us wrong, we are absolutely enamoured with Swiss made watches and Swiss watch-makers (heck, we’ve pretty much built a website dedicated to spreading their message) but the simple fact is that this means that his bold creations are often unlike any of the other pieces you regularly see gracing these very pages. This does not necessarily mean they are better or worse, just simply that they are different.
The Korona K0 is no exception. Even at first glance it appears at once familiar and yet simulataneously so unlike anything you’ve seen before. The design is daring and bold but at the same time evenly tempered, in typical Finnish fashion. Still, understated or not, the exceptional quality and craftsmanship Sarpaneva is so well known for is obvious in every aspect of this new timepiece.
The trade-mark spider-web like black diamond coated stainless steel dial features Superluminova indexes and the 46mm case is crafted from Grade 2 Titanium and rated to 200m water resistance with a subdued matte finish that only serves to further enhance the subtle use of color on the inner-rotating bezel.
Even just the shape of the case itself is different enough to draw your attention without being offensive and gives off a decidedly rugged, sporty vibe complemented by the rubber strap. Yet, at the same time you get the distinct impression that it would look just as at home in the board room as it would on the sports field.
What really makes this piece special though is the concept of integration. You see, Stepan has been clever enough to modify the mainplate in the Soprod A10 calibre automatic movement to incorporate the function of rotating the internal bezel. Whereas as most watches with internal rotating bezels require two crowns (one to set the time and the other to rotate the bezel) the stainless steel, diamond coated Imperial Blue timer ring on this piece is manually adjustable by moving the bajonette screw-down crown to the first position.
Very practical but also very cool.
No word on pricing as yet with availability scheduled to be sometime in 2011.
The Final Word
Sometimes different can be very bad, and sometimes it can be very good. To date Stepan Sarpaneva’s unique creations have always belonged to the second category and judging by the new Korona K0 he intends to continue this trend. We can’t help but be impressed by his bold design choices and clever integration of functionality, producing timepieces that are both highly attractive and at the same time extremely practical.