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Jason Pitsch

Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

Launched at Baselworld 2016, and inspired by the Lightweight Striking 10th Chronograph, the new El Primero 36’000 VpH has a similar aesthetic, for considerably lower price. The El Primero 36’000 VpH features a stainless steel case instead of carbon fiber, and the movement is not as complicated as the lightweight striking 10th version, but the watch does feature the same sporty tri-color theme, an open-worked dial, and a high-beat El Primero Chronograph movement with 1/10th of a second accuracy. Measuring 45 mm in diameter, with sapphire crystals on both sides of the dial, this is a bold timepiece the flaunts its 5Hz mechanical engine. The dial is unique within the 36’000 VPH collection, thanks to its date disc that features stencil-type numeral with a bright red background at 6 o’clock. A partially skeletonized dial reveals the mechanics beneath, as well

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Jason Pitsch

Introducing the Brew HP-1 Automatic

Jason Pitsch

Brew Watches, a New York-based startup watch brand, with one quartz powered watch collection, and a successful Kickstarter campaign already under their belt, has unveiled their first mechanical watch collection – the Brew HP-1 Automatic. The HP-1 represents a departure from the original collection in that the original case is square-shaped with the illusion of a rectangle, whereas the new model, also a square-shaped, looks perfectly square. It has a mechanical movement inside, as opposed to a quartz. And it is more refined than the first model, taking the espresso machine pressure gauge inspired theme to the next level. Interestingly, the watch will be powered by a Seiko NH35A movement, made in Japan, which is arguably a better choice than a comparatively priced Miyota, for example. The automatic caliber features the ability to hand-wind, hack the seconds, and both robust

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Jason Pitsch

Patek Philippe Ref. 5396G Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

This year at Baselworld, Patek Philippe introduced two new versions of the Ref. 5396 Annual Calendar – which was previously only available with baton-shaped applied hour markers – with two new versions replacing the indexes with Breguet-style Arabic applied numerals. One version is in rose gold with a silvery opaline dial (Ref. 5396R-012), and the other in white gold with a gray dial (Ref. 5396G-014). The case has stayed the same at 38.5 mm in diameter and with a fully polished exterior, clear caseback, and 30 meters water-resistance. The automatic movement, caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/303 movement, is also unchanged. It runs at 4Hz (28,800 vph), measures 33.3 mm/5.78mm, has 10 bridge, 34 jewels, 347 total parts, and a 45-hour maximum power reserve. The bridges are chamfered and polished, the mainplate is decorated with a perlage finish, and the

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Jason Pitsch

The Charming Bird Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

Originally announced is 2013, the Charming Bird is a half million dollar Jaquet Droz timepiece that features the world’s first singing bird automaton in a wristwatch. Basically, there are two mechanical movements that control the time and automaton functions, respectively. First, is the movement which controls the time, caliber JD 615, beats a 3Hz (21,600 vph) and features automatic winding via a platinum oscillating weight. It powers the hours and minutes display located at 12 o’clock and is controlled by the crown just above that. The movement is in-house made and features 29 jewels and a 38-hour power reserve via a single barrel. Second, is the singing bird automation movement is controlled by a hand-winding mechanical movement, with a crown and push-button at 2 o’clock. You have to manually wind the crown, which in turn compresses the air to activate

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Jason Pitsch

EDITORIAL: Swiss watch industry exports 2016 first half results

Jason Pitsch

As of June, according to the FHS, all the principal watch markets are in decline. In January through June, the exports of Swiss watches dropped 11.9 percent in terms of units and 10.7 percent in terms of value compared to the same period last year. Precious metal watches performed the worst with a 31.4 percent decline in the first half of 2016. Watches priced between 500 - 3,000 francs (export price) represent the only segment to have avoided a double-digit decline during the same period (which is consistent with the previous 12-months). Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry If you want to see more comprehensive Swiss watch industry half-year statistics, I recommend this well-written Bloomberg article. I will instead highlight just two key segments: precious metal watches and 500 - 3,000 Swiss franc watches. These two areas are the

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Jason Pitsch

Reverso à Eclipse tribute to Vincent van Gogh

Jason Pitsch

This year is the 85th anniversary of the Reverso, and to celebrate Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to present a second series of the Reverso à Eclipse watch in tribute to Vincent van Gogh (the first series was offered in 2015 featuring his famous “Sunflowers”). The second series Reverso à Eclipse tribute to Vincent van Gogh features an enameled dial painting of one of Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings, a self-portrait from 1887-1888, which is a permanent part of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Crafted in platinum, the classic reversible case has the unique ability to transform the dial via a wheel on the case flank at 2 o’clock, which opens and closes shutters on the dial, revealing three different versions of the dial – giving it the à Eclipse designation. It is fitting that

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Jason Pitsch

Tempus Machina Ref. 809H Submariner

Jason Pitsch

Tempus Machina, the company that created a customized Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060 as an homage to the highly collectible Ref. 6538 Big Crown, in 2015, is at it again. This time, they have customized another modern Submariner Ref. 114060 to look like a collectible 1960s vintage Ref. 5512 with pointed crown guards. In addition to the 5512-inspired pointed crown guards, the so-called Ref. 809H Submariner by Tempus Machina also has a gilt-printed 3, 6, 9 “Explorer” dial. “The lugs of the modern ceramic sub has been slightly thinned to create a more appropriate profile. Lugholes are drilled and sharp bevels are applied to the mid-case,” according to Tempus Machina. Limited to 30 pieces, the watch goes on sale today for $25,000. The price is steep, but if you want that vintage look, that many of us crave in a Rolex,

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Jason Pitsch

Chopard Grand Prix Monaco Historique Chrono

Jason Pitsch

Seen here on the wrist of the President of Chopard USA, is the Grand Prix Monaco Historique Chrono. The watch features a 44.50 mm x 14.10 mm case, constructed out of titanium for the case middle, pushers, and crown. With a stainless steel bezel and caseback. This timepiece was introduced in 2014 and pays homage to Chopard’s status as the official timekeeper on the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, dating back to 2002. Said to be inspired by the classic single-seaters sports cars from the 1970s, the Grand Prix Monaco Historique Chrono has a snailed gray dial and a yellow flange with graduations for the chronograph. Matching the ring are yellow chronograph hands for seconds (central hand), 30-minutes (12 o’clock), and 12-hours (6 o’clock). A small seconds subdial sits at 9 o’clock, and there is a date aperture at 3

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Jason Pitsch

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar

Jason Pitsch

Earlier this year Bell & Ross launched a limited edition version of their BR-X1 timepiece called the Hyperstellar. The BR-X1 line is inspired by aviation, and the “X1” designation is in reference to famous test pilot Chuck Yeager, who was the first to break the speed of sound, reaching Mach 1 in a Bell X-1 experimental rocket plane. The Hyperstellar takes the aviation theme of the BR-X1 collection a step further, by marketing it as “An Innovative Chronograph Designed to Conquer Space.” However, the watch has not been in space and is not designed for real astronauts. Although, features such as the large “rocket pushers” would allow for an astronaut to activate the chronograph, even with gloves on. And the large 45 mm diameter square case, with a highly legible circular dial consisting of prominent luminescent hour, minute, and second

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Jason Pitsch

Armin Strom Tourbillon Skeleton Air Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

One of my favorite timepieces from Swiss-based watchmaker, Armin Strom, is their Tourbillon Skeleton Air which comes in a matte gray titanium case, and normally includes a gray (shown below) or white alligator horn-back strap as well as an additional gray or white rubber strap. However, this particular piece is (shown above) with a brown horn-back alligator strap, which is a stunning combo. And which emphasizes how a simple strap change can significantly alter the appearance of the watch. The Tourbillon Skeleton Air case measures a very wearable 43.4 mm x 13 mm, which is a good size for a wide variety of wrists. It is not a 38 mm dress watch for sure but it is also not a 48 mm Panerai. With a non-locking crown and 50 meter water resistance, it is not really a sports watch, nor

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