Omega’s De Ville line hit retailers’ shelves 50 years ago, in 1967 – the same year in which the world’s first heart transplant took place, the Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and Thurgood Marshall was confirmed to the Supreme Court as the first African-American Supreme Court justice. In fashion, men wore ankle-high boots and women wore jaunty boots and often a jauntily slanted beret or pillbox hat along with them. And either sex may have sported a popular Omega wristwatch to keep the time.
Omega now celebrates this golden anniversary of mechanics and fashion by presenting three new deluxe models in elegant gold cases not an everyday occurrence for the Biel-based brand, even today in housings reminiscent of the original stylish cases of that golden year.
And recalling the heyday of yellow gold as the most luxurious metal of the time, the brand introduces these 39.5 mm cases not only in modern white gold and red gold, but also yellow gold – which docks right into a trend-in-the-making of yellow gold’s comeback in replica watches.
Nostalgically designed, the case backs of this new model are not transparent as they would be today but rather solid, brushed, and embossed with a likeness of Chronos, the god of time, alongside the words “De Ville” and “50th Anniversary.”
The front of these De Ville models is dominated by an enamel dial proudly emblazoned with nostalgically classic black numerals –except for the “12,” which is red to denote enamel as the dial material – and a classic railroad track for the minutes. The color of the 18-karat gold hands match that of the 18-karat gold case material.
This fake watch, which sports a three-year guarantee, is powered by automatic Omega co-axial Caliber 2500. This movement was chosen not only because all mechanical Omega replica watches are now powered by co-axial movements; this is also a nod to the fact that it was the De Ville that first housed a co-axial movement back in 1999.
The red gold version will already be available in Omega replica boutiques around the world next month, with the white gold and yellow gold variations following later. Omega’s De Ville line of 1967 was a direct successor to the Seamaster De Ville, which first appeared in 1962.
Omega, official timekeeper of the Olympics for the 28th time since 1932, began its one-year countdown to the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, on February 8, with the installation of a special countdown clock at City Hall Plaza in Seoul. As per tradition, the brand also launched its first limited-edition timepiece devoted to the 2018 games: the Omega Replica Seamaster Planet Ocean “PyeongChang 2018.”
The 43,5mm watch, which is limited to 2,018 pieces (again as per tradition), features the bold blue and red colors of the South Korean flag. The stainless steel case has a unidirectional rotating divers’ bezel that boasts a watch-world first: a polished blue ceramic ring with a diving scale that combines rubber and Liquidmetal, a proprietary alloy used on various uk replica watches made by the Swatch Group, Omega’s parent company. Red rubber is used for the first 15-minute segment of the scale, while Liquidmetal is used for the bezel’s minute numerals and indices, as well as for the luminous dot at 12 o’clock.
The dial is made of polished blue ceramic (Zr02), and features applied rhodium-plated indices. The indices, hour hand, and seconds hand are coated with a white Super-LumiNova that glows a bright blue in the dark; the luminous material on the minute hand and the 12 o’clock dot glows green instead of blue. Covering the dial is a domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with double-sided anti-glare treatment. The screw-down crown, to the right of the date window at 3 o’clock, has a relief Omega replica logo, and the helium-release valve at 10 o’clock is embossed with “He,” the chemical symbol for helium.
Inside the watch is Omega’s co-axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8900, with automatic winding and a 60-hour power reserve in two series-connected spring barrels. This movement — which famously debuted in the original Omega Globemaster in 2015 — is the first to receive Omega’s Master Chronometer certification, passing eight separate, rigorous tests over 10 days to meet standards for precision, endurance, and resistance to magnetic fields, as set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (METAS). The new, alveol-patterned screw-in caseback, engraved with the words “PLANET OCEAN” and “LIMITED EDITION,” along with the limited edition number, has a sapphire window for viewing the movement, with the transferred words “PyeongChang 2018” and the Olympic Winter Games logo.
The Swiss Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “PyeongChang 2018” limited edition comes with a blue structured rubber strap with a blue and red rubber lining. It is packaged in a special presentation box, which also includes an extra stainless steel bracelet and a strap-changing tool so the wearer can quickly and easily switch from strap to bracelet and vice versa. The retail price of this ensemble is 6,400 Swiss francs.
The story could well be titled “Swiss watch brand in social-media savvy shocker”. Because Omega has gone and launched a watch based on an Instagram hashtag.
Since 2012, thanks to Fratello Watches founder Robert-Jan Broer, fans of replica Omega’s Speedmaster chronograph (NASA’s preferred wristwatch, no less) have been sharing pictures of their beloved watches under the #SpeedyTuesday banner.
At noon on Tuesday January 10 2017, Omega decided to give its followers something really worth clicking the “heart” button for – a limited-edition “Moonwatch” Speedmaster Professional with reverse panda dial and luminescent radial subdials with “#SpeedyTuesday” on its black-and-white military-style fabric strap as a nod to the fans.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the 2,012 numbered watches, which also count as the first Omega replica to ever be retailed on the brand’s own website, are now sold out. However, there is still an option to put your name down if a number comes up again.
It’s an amazing move on Omega’s part because it shows that finally the Swiss replica watch industry is wising up to the power of social media, not just in terms of pushing sales but in terms of building a community – lest we forget, bloggers extraordinaire Hodinkee and ABlogToWatch owe everything to this online buzz. However, it has only been recently that brands have started to build their own online personalities.
So, if you’re interested in expanding your tech-horo horizons, then some other watch brands well worth a follow (and a chat with) are Audemars Piguet, Zenith and those kings of gnomic German whimsy, Nomos Glashütte.
Anyone for #MinimatikMonday?
The Tudor Pelagos waterbaby with a smart new “LHD” numbered series
Back in the early Seventies, the story goes that the French Navy’s elite frogmen made a special request to their watch supplier, Tudor: they wanted “left-handed” versions of their Submariner diving replica watches, which could be worn on the right wrist with the crown on the left for easy adjustment. Before, left-handed divers had had to make do by wearing their replica watches upside down.
Bringing this little-known quirk of its history to light, Tudor took everyone by surprise just before Christmas with a new edition of its modern-day Pelagos diving range, named LHD for Left Hand Drive. Crown duly on the left (enabled by simply turning the in-house automatic movement by 180º, turning the hands 180º the other way), it also comes with a tastefully retro “patina” colouration to the numerals in a nod to the historical inspiration.
The watches are all numbered too, which makes the identical pricing to the existing Pelagos (£3,020) mightily tempting. That you get a titanium beauty good to 500 metres down sweetens the deal further.
With the new year comes new replica watches, and with plenty of series celebrating anniversaries this year, only months and days now separate the market from some potentially very interesting updates. Among the models celebrating anniversaries is the Omega Constellation, which turns 65 years old in 2017. This will also be the 35th year of production for the Constellation’s “Manhattan” model. The Constellation series is highly valued group by replica Omega fans, both in its vintage and modern versions, so this year could mark a significant development of the lineage in a more historically-oriented way — much as the release of the Globemaster did in 2015.
As mentioned, the Constellation series was founded in 1952 and featured “pie-pan” dials. These pieces came in steel, yellow gold, and occasionally even platinum; often featured geometric hour markers and dauphine hands; and were held in high esteem for their superior timekeeping. These are the models that have gone on to inspire today’s Globemaster production line (seen below), but are designs that have more or less been under the radar since the late 1960s.
Today’s models are more commonly based upon the “Manhattan” design family released in 1982. These replica watches, while sharing the Constellation name and the signature observatory emblem on the caseback, were different than the pie-pan models of the past. They were first developed using quartz movements (Omega didn’t release a mechanical, automatic model until 1985), were relatively thin, had integrated bracelets and very different dial configurations, and, most notably, included four claws on the bezel to secure the crystal to the rest of the case. They were very much a product of the 1980s, but have nevertheless retained a strong place in the brand’s lineup in the decades since, with both men’s and ladies’ versions available.
The contemporary series offered by Omega includes day-date models, mechanical and quartz movements, integrated leather straps as well as metal bracelets, and an array of material options from steel, to the three golds, to combinations of each. Focusing primarily on the date-only, all metal, and non-jeweled models, we find that the watch has a host of features both similar to, and contrasting with, historical references within the series. It uses the integrated-clasping bracelet common to the series and the distinctly shaped case available in 38-mm and 35-mm diameters, with either a sapphire or solid caseback (for mechanical and quartz movements, respectively); and features the four-clawed bezel engraved with Roman numerals for each hour except the 3 and 6 o’clock marks.
On the dial, which is available in a range of color and material options, is an outer luminescent minute ring, applied tick hour marks, and a date indicator at the 3 o’clock position. The watch uses dauphine hands for the hour and minute, and a simple pointer for the seconds counter, all of which sweep over the trademark star towards the bottom of the dial. The mechanical models are available with the automatic cheap Omega Caliber 8500, which has a 60-hour power reserve, while the quartz models use the Omega Calibre 1532, which has a battery life of around 25 months. While prices vary dramatically depending on the specific model, entry into the Constellation series is typically around $1,700 for quartz models and $3,200 for mechanical.
Noticeably, the modern watch uses engraved Roman numerals on the raised bezel instead of the simple, flat, printed markers on the vintage editions. Also, the bezel and its claws today serve a less functional and more decorative role than in the past: the original’s flat sapphire crystal that needed to be secured to the case has been superseded by a modern, more stable, domed crystal. On the dial, the use of dauphine hands and tick hour markers are more reminiscent of the pre-Manhattan variants of the series than of the stick hands and Roman numerals seen in the 1980s. Finally, the finishing techniques on the modern version are much more refined than in the past; note the sharper edges on the case, the brushed look compared to the original’s polishing, and the overall higher quality of the watch as evident in its increased thickness and sturdiness throughout.
Of course, there are also many shared attributes between the historical and contemporary models. The modern watch still has the integrated bracelet and case, it still combines various metals, its bezel still has the signature claws, and its dial continues to display a date indicator and the name “Constellation” in a cursive script. The differences lie mostly in the overall styling, placement of features, and finishing. The watch still retains its overall shape, but it’s thicker, with a less flimsy bracelet; it still uses Roman numerals, but now they are engraved on the bezel rather than applied to the dial. The watch maintains its distinctiveness, but now at modern, luxurious Omega replica standards.
The Omega Constellation Manhattan line holds a special place for me personally: it was one of my first “real” watches outside of the cheaper, more disposable pieces that preceded it, a watch gifted to me by my father (actually, “gifted to me by” should read more accurately as “stolen from”), which more or less introduced me to the wider world of replica watches that is today covered in watch publications and online forums. So, with this year marking another anniversary for the series, and with a growing focus by swiss Omega on its historical foundations, it will be interesting to see where the brand ventures next with one of its most distinct families. Whether that is with a renewed focus on pre-Manhattan variants in the Globemaster line, or possibly a curvier model in homage to the 1980s classic, it would surely be one of the more fascinating releases of the year.
The Wipeout Omega Replica Collection will support 4K resolutions on PS4 Pro, and we’ve got 4K footage to prove it.
During the weekend, Sony announced it’s working on remasters of Wipeout HD, Wipeout Fury, and Wipeout 2048. All three games will be included in one package called the Wipeout fake Omega Collection, due for release next year.
The remasters will run at 60fps, and will support 4K resolutions on the PS4 Pro. This build of the game was playable on the showfloor at PSX, and our man Alex captured some of it for your viewing pleasure.
The footage shows uncut gameplay from two of the available tracks. Turn it up to 4K60 for the best experience.
Wipeout Replica Omega Collection is out summer 2017.
— Raynald Aeschlimann, president of Omega since June, has worked with the leading global luxury watchmaker for 20 years. He opens up to Forbes India about helming a top brand
Q. At Baselworld 2016, we saw some new replica watches from Omega, such as the Seamaster Planet Ocean models, Speedmaster CK2998 and the Moonphase Chronograph Master Chronometer. What was the underlying theme of these collections?
For Omega replica, Baselworld 2016 was about introducing more models with Master Chronometer certification. This high standard of precision and performance is something that we have committed ourselves to. It helps us establish trust and confidence. With a new generation of buyers coming through, this is extremely important.
Q. Stephen Urquhart had an illustrious tenure as president. What do you propose to bring in or change at Omega?
It’s always important for a brand to remain true to its DNA. So I don’t foresee making any major changes. However, one of my challenges is connecting with a new generation of buyers. Those in the 20-40 age group are the future of our business, so we have to adapt our marketing, product and sales around their needs and wants. Things like social media and ecommerce are now very much a part of consumers’ lives.
Q. Exports for Swiss manufacturers have been sluggish of late. Will demand for luxury replica watches improve?
It will improve. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world regarding politics, economies and social stability. That affects the entire luxury market, not just watches. I’m confident that things will balance out again. I don’t think the love of mechanical watches will stop. Omega remains an aspirational product, so the motivation to buy is already there. The Swiss industry still makes the best replica watches, so when the markets are calmer, demand will rise again.
Q. How do you propose to increase Omega’s presence in India?
India remains an important market for Omega. We are renovating a major boutique in Delhi and meeting with some close clients to promote our new Globemaster collection. We plan to extend our boutique reach across India. There are plans to open a new boutique in Hyderabad and I hope we can continue with even more in 2017.
Fellows has been a family-owned business since its founding in 1876. While we offer a wide range of sales, we’re watch and jewellery specialists. Many auction houses have cultivated a certain mystique, which has limited their reach, but Fellows has always offered a variety of price points so both novice collectors and seasoned experts can find what they’re looking for.
I’ve been with Fellows for five years, having previously worked in luxury replica watches retail. As a director, I’m responsible for steering the future path of the company, making sure we stay abreast of industry trends and ahead of the competition. As a watch specialist it’s my job to source replica watches for sale, value them and then promote the auction.
Depending on the model, it can be significantly cheaper to buy a vintage timepiece at auction, rather than a new model. However, paradoxically, it’s in vintage sales that auction records tend to get set. The real driver for the collector is to get something with historical significance, rather than a new mass-produced version. By definition, all vintage replica watches are limited editions, even if the number produced runs into the hundreds of thousands.
Many memorable timepieces have passed through Fellows’s auction room over the years. However, although high prices are nice to achieve and generate a buzz in the saleroom, it’s the watches with a story behind them that stick in the mind. For example, I’ll never forget selling the Breitling Emergency worn by one of the balloonists who successfully circumnavigated the globe, or the dive watches from the memorial sale for one of the greatest contemporary exploration divers.
Many people ask me what key things they should look for to tell if a vintage watch is genuine, but there’s no obvious way of knowing – it takes lots of research and experience. It’s more difficult than dealing with new pieces, as there’s less archive material for comparison and you have to decide what’s legitimate wear, rather than poor-quality construction. The historical development of model lines is not always clearly documented, but luckily there are some passionate and well-informed collectors to be found online.
For first-time buyers, the only rules are “buy what you like” and “buy the best you can afford”. The investment is in the joy of ownership, and, if you’re a first-time buyer, forget buying to make money. If you have a modest budget, Omega Replica Constellation “pie pans” in steel are great value, or a Rolex Explorer. Both can be sold on later for all the money you paid but are also credible enough to keep forever.
Fellows embraces new technology to make bidding more accessible than ever. For example, for the past ten years Fellows has catalogued with the web in mind, and today our website has multiple high-resolution images and interactive 360-degree photography. This, combined with the detailed lot descriptions and condition reports, gives buyers the confidence to bid without ever seeing the watch in person, extending our reach internationally.
Fellows’s “The Watch Sale” happens every month, so we have a constantly changing inventory. The good news is we offer an extraordinary variety of replica watches for sale; the bad is I have no idea what we’ll have at auction in only two months’ time, hence the exciting state of flux that we exist in.
ADRIAN HAILWOOD’s extensive career includes stints at Cartier, Mappin & Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels and Breguet. Since joining Fellows in 2016, he has taken responsibility for the watch business and client development.
The announcement earlier this year that Stephen Urquhart was to retire as president and chief executive of Omega after 17 years created a vacancy for one of the most important positions in the Swiss replica watch industry.
Mr Urquhart had brought Omega back from the doldrums of the late 1980s to become what many regard as the jewel in the crown of Swatch Group. He cemented the brand’s role as James Bond’s watch supplier, reinstated its sponsorship of the Olympic Games and recruited Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Nicole Kidman as ambassadors.
Now Omega is the closest rival to Rolex replica in the market of £400-£1000 watches, selling around 600,000 timepieces per year against an estimated 800,000 for the latter. (Rolex does not release production figures.) And almost six months since he took over, 46-year-old Raynald Aeschlimann intends to achieve an elusive goal.
Overtaking Rolex “would give me the greatest pride”, says the Swiss Mr Aeschlimann, who joined replica Omega in 1996 and became vice-president and international sales director in 2001, having run the brand’s operations in Spain and the US. “But while we would very much like to be number one, what we need to do first and foremost is to work towards giving customers more confidence. And those customers are the people of Generation Y, the ones in the 20-40 age group.” Mr Aeschlimann’s opportunity — much like everyone else’s — is millennials.
“They are the ones who are supporting us because the people in the 40-60 age group remember us from the time when Omega was selling crap,” he says, referring to a period during the 1980s when the brand had all but abandoned its mechanical fake watchmaking heritage in favour of an extensive range of quartz-powered models. “At one point back then, someone even suggested killing off the Speedmaster and went as far as reducing the range to a single reference.”
The Speedmaster is now Omega’s “hero model” and the firm has capitalised on its heritage as the “moon watch”, worn by Neil Armstrong when he took his “giant leap for mankind” during the Apollo 11 mission of 1969. It is just such history and proof of technical prowess that Mr Aeschlimann believes will attract those important Generation Y buyers, who like “true stories” and “true values”.
Mr Aeschlimann says Omega has a long history of innovation, ranging from the creation of the Marine diving watch in 1932 to the introduction in 2000 of the first industrially-produced coaxial escapement, which offers enhanced accuracy and reduced servicing. Now, more than 90 per cent of cheap Omega’s mechanical watch movements are of the coaxial design, which was invented by the late English horologist George Daniels.
Surpassing Swiss standards is part of Mr Aeschlimann’s plan. Omega is working with the Swiss government’s agency for measurements (Metas) to enhance the quality and accuracy of its products through a series of rigorous tests beyond the requirements of Cosc (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, a 40-year-old system). “I don’t think spending £500 or more on a replica watch counts as an everyday purchase to most people, so it gives reassurance to know that what they have bought has achieved Master Chronometry certification and that they can look on our website and check the official test results of their actual watch. We’re aiming to make more than 400,000 Metas-certified fake watches a year.”
Another set of rules governs what can be called “Swiss Made”, but these are not taxing: “Swiss Made” may only mean that 50 per cent of the movement’s value is from Switzerland. (This will change to 60 per cent of the entire product’s value from 2017.) To keep the label credible, Mr Aeschlimann insists a higher percentage of the watch’s value is actually produced in the country. “I just don’t understand why anyone would not fight for that to be protected. I would say 50 per cent of the credibility of a brand comes from it and, apart from the straps and the ruby bearings, everything that goes into an fake Omega watch is made here.”
He knows that the label hides all kinds of behaviour. “I think the possibility that the Swiss Made label should ever be misused represents a big danger that could bring trouble for the whole industry,” he says. He adds that a focus on technical improvement and quality has enabled Omega to treble its average price during the past 15 years while cutting the number of outlets globally from 7,000 to 3,000.
He maintains, however, that it is still vital to spread the history and culture of Omega around the world, something which the brand is doing through ambassador choices and sponsorship. George Clooney is “a bridge across the generations”, while Eddie Redmayne is the millennial star.
“We’re also very conscious of our corporate social responsibility which is why, for example, we are no longer involved in motorsport. Michael Schumacher was an Omega ambassador for a long time, but that was in a different era — Formula One no longer matches our values, it’s too commercial and not sufficiently eco-friendly for us.
“Athletics, swimming, golf and sailing have become our focus, and the fact that Omega is the only watch brand anyone sees during the Olympic Games is incredibly valuable.”
Such events, says Mr Aeschlimann, all help to bring Omega the exposure he believes it needs in order to attract and retain those Generation Y buyers. Things have moved on from the days when Piccadilly Circus was the ultimate place to advertise. Now, Piccadilly Circus is everyone’s mobile, tablet and laptop.
— Know the second, minute, hour, day, and month at a glance.
On the most complicated of days, anything that can simplify your life is a very good thing. And that’s one of the reasons Omega’s new Globemaster Annual Calendar watch feels so appealing right now: At a glance, it can tell you the present second, minute, hour, day, and month.
It only helps that all this modern functionality is wrapped up in a design that takes its cues from vintage replica watchmaking: The fluted bezel on both the brushed stainless steel and rose gold versions gives it a sophistication that you won’t find in more contemporary designs. Both versions feature a 41mm case, a leather strap, and cursive writing indicating each month along the outer edge. A fourth hand jumps to the section indicating each month of the year, and a window at six o’clock makes sure you’ll always know the date.
The stainless steel version carries its deep blue strap into the details on the face, while the rose gold version’s dark gray face makes for a dial that’s easy to read. But they both represent a marriage of timeless design and contemporary convenience that’s hard to beat.
The first timepieces I recall coveting were my grandmother’s.
Maybe they were the first objects of any kind I hankered after, given I was not yet a teenager, but there was a carriage clock by her bed that looked somehow important, a small battered Rolex handed down to, and in my formative years, on the arm of an aunt, and a gold Waltham pocket watch that I chanced upon while visiting my grandmother’s home in Somers Avenue, Malvern, Victoria. The latter was a 17th birthday present from her parents; by the time I spotted it, many years later, it seldom appeared in daylight, like her best silver.
On passing to my mother it remained in the realm of the unavailable – but with the tantalising rider of “maybe one day” which, eventually, arrived, as is the way of such things. Ditto for the little Rolex replica that migrated in my direction on my aunt’s passing. Treasures then, and still treasured, the only exception being the carriage clock, whereabouts long unknown.
As to the value of these objects, that’s something that’s both minuscule and immeasurable; early Rolex replica watches and Waltham pocket pieces are easily found in the secondary marketplace and command modest prices, but owning pieces handed down by forebears – well that’s a different proposition, the worth here being sentimental and historical rather than monetary. This is assuming there are no 5512 or 5513 model Rolex Submariners or military issue Jaeger-LeCoultres or Blancpains in your immediate past, sought-after collectables that now bring prices many times the original ask.
Either way though, you have to like the object in question, which brings me to the question of what watches today might make the grade as a future prized piece. Even better, should you still have a favourite and functioning grandparent – or elderly relative – is there a timely treat they might be persuaded to invest in before looking your way?
Something – almost anything – with Patek Philippe adorning the dial has traditionally fitted such a bill and still would, but your options have broadened in recent times thanks to special replica watches appearing at almost every level – and catering to almost every taste. If it’s a simple everyday wearer you might suggest an replica Omega Seamaster 300, a fake watch as likely to be regarded as handsome in 50 years as its 1970s-style lines suggest now. You can imagine a little patina and use would only enhance such a model, whereas Omega’s latest ceramic-cased Planet Ocean, a resolutely modern-day statement, might not age so well; treasures are like that, they wear history like a badge.
Moving up a bit there’s a classic that most certainly won’t date, the Richard Lange Pour le Mérite from A. Lange & Söhne. The name mightn’t trip off ancestral lips like “Patek” or come with the same clever advertising reassurance – that “you never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation”. But make no mistake, Lange has its own impressive history, surviving World War ll’s divide of Germany and now thriving at horology’s high end.
As for the Glashütte-based brand’s recently announced Pour le Mérite, it’s a quietly confident beauty in white gold with a black dial. What makes it special is not so much the presentation – impressive as it is – nor the limited production run of just 218 pieces. Rather, it’s heirloom material because of its uncompromising approach to precise timekeeping. It achieves this by employing a complex fusée-and-chain transmission arrangement inspired by the mechanism of historic pocket watches. You read correctly. Peer closely into the back of the replica watch and you’ll spot a tiny 636-part chain wrapped around the mainspring barrel, 0.25 millimetres thick and 156 millimetres long, we are told. It delivers power from the mainspring to the wheel train via the cone-shaped fusée in a way that guarantees constant torque and stability across the entire power-reserve range; when the watch is fully wound, the chain pulls at the smaller circumference of the fusée.
Conversely, when the tension of the mainspring is nearly depleted, the chain pulls at the larger circumference of the fusée. The Lange spans a happy 40.5 millimetres and it doesn’t hurt that previous versions – cased in rose gold and platinum – sold out. Mind you, you’re looking at a price tag in the region of $120, but what else are your grandparents going to be splashing out on at this stage?
One of a kind
The answer to that is probably not another similarly priced arrival regarded by enthusiasts as a treasure, as that’s MB&F’s Horological Machine No.8. This low-six-figure item is a fake watch that blends high-end craftsmanship with high-octane, race-car-inspired design and is destined to be just as rare as the Lange. Exquisitely sculptured, and undeniably a wrist-borne fantasy, it looks better than anything you’ll see at a race track, but is probably not your average octogenarian’s idea of a fine timepiece.
Barely recognisable even as a watch, it’s all angular forms and optical prisms with two of the latter showcasing bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes.
Dominating the structure are so-called roll bars milled from solid blocks of grade 5 titanium and hand-polished “to gleam like tubular mirrors”. No matter the time, they draw the eye, while the engine sits in full view under a sapphire crystal cover. It’s a view few will get to see, and given the limited production (as little as 20 in a year) and intrepid nature of such pieces, a mere sighting would be something to be treasured.
If the HM8 is a bit outré, the other go-to names on aficionado wish-lists are De Bethune and Greubel Forsey, whose models may not be familiar in family circles but include nary an ordinary timepiece – and barely anything that might pass for a bargain. If you or a favourite forebear could afford one, they’re undoubted treasure. And if you can’t? Just pray that your old uncle’s Longines is a good-looking one with a story.