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Full Circle — These Larger Than Life Watches are Heavily Inspired by Historical References

Full Circle — These Larger Than Life Watches are Heavily Inspired by Historical References

Space Walker
The fabled Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch propelled itself to legendary status in 1969 when it was strapped onto the wrist of Neil Armstrong during his Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. The Speedmaster Ref. 105.003 was made possible thanks to rigorous testing by NASA in 1964. The Moonwatch may be the first wristwatch on the Moon, but the Speedmaster Ref.105.003 was also the first to be used on a spacewalk by astronaut Ed White during his Gemini 4 mission in 1965. It was nicknamed the Speedmaster “Ed White” much later by the watch community.

As part of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing’s 50th anniversary, the brand announced the release of the Omega Speedmaster 321 in stainless steel. The timepiece bears the design influence of the Speedmaster “Ed White” including the vintage Omega logo, straight lugs, dot-over-90 tachymetre bezel, and a step dial as well as the absence of crown and chronograph pushers guards. Most notable is the return of the once-defunct Calibre 321 that was housed in the Speedmaster “Ed White” and Moonwatch. Viewable through the sapphire open caseback in all its glory, Omega reconstructed the manual-winding movement inline with its original design schematic and specifications.

Numero Uno

January 1969 was a milestone in Zenith’s history as it introduced the world’s first high-frequency, fully integrated automatic chronograph calibre. Originally codenamed Calibre 3019 PHC for secrecy, the movement was later renamed the El Primero or
the “the first” in Spanish. The first watch thought to be fitted with the calibre was the Zenith A384, as seen in the Swiss luxury watchmaker’s March 1969 advertisement.

The El Primero has since written itself into watch folklore with no less than 23 variations of the high-frequency movement produced. To mark the 50th anniversary of the movement, a series of limited-edition watches were produced – one being the Zenith A384 Revival.More than just a vintage-inspired watch, the Revival is a historically accurate recreation of the original A384 including the “ladder” bracelet and geometric date aperture. The emblematic chronograph is housed within a 37mm stainless steel tonneau case fitted with a sapphire crystal and open caseback – the only two modern improvements to the watch. Beneath the lacquer dial sits the Calibre El Primero 400, which bears the hallmark of its predecessor, beating at a cadence
of 36,000vph.

Oyster Case

A year after Tudor’s coronet-donning big brother released the Submariner in 1953, it followed Rolex’s footsteps with the unveiling of its own Submariner. The move by Hans Wilsdorf – the founder of Rolex and Tudor – was to offer high-quality dive watches at more wallet-friendly prices. This marked the start of three generations of Submariners, each with unique designs and executions. The first and last Tudor Submariners produced were the references 7922 and 79090, respectively.

The decision to create the Tudor Black Bay collection was hugely inspired by the three generations of Tudor Submariners – modern dive watches paired with vintage elements. When the first-ever burgundy-bezel Tudor Black Bay was launched in 2012, it received rave reviews for its fresh take on watches – the use of the snowflake hour hand stood out as did the inclusion of colours. Since then, the popularity of the collection rocketed, and the Black Bay has grown to include 19 different models in various colours, sizes, complications, and case materials such as the Black Bay Bronze seen here.

Any negative notion that the collection is a copy is eradicated as it has grown into a collection with its unique identity. The second edition of the Black Bay Bronze is identical to the first except for the dial and bezel colours – a handsome shade of slate grey instead of brown. The dial is a graduated affair – the centre is lighter than the edges – contrasting again with the uniform slate grey bezel. As before, the nubuck and fabric straps on offer also match the shades of grey.

Silver Arrows

The first Carrera to leave the Heuer factory in 1963 was introduced by Jack Heuer – the great-grandson of Edouard Heuer – after his fascination with the Carrera Panamericana legendary car race in 1962. Designed with legibility in mind, the chronograph was sleek and uncluttered. With this ethos, Heuer incorporated sleek baton markers and painted the tension ring with 1/5 second demarcations to keep the dial minimal. The chronograph counters were recessed to create depth of field and visual interest.

To celebrate the brand’s 160 years since its inception in 1860, TAG Heuer releases the Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition. The monochrome silver dial pays homage to the storied Heuer Carrera 2447S, lauded as one of the most iconic watches made. Much of the 2447S’s DNA is retained and apparent – a clean and well-proportioned dial that offers maximum legibility takes centre stage.

Redesigned hour and minute hands filled with luminous beige paint contrast against the brushed sunray dial and sunken counters. Limited to 1,860 pieces, it exhibits notable differences from its historical brother – a larger 39mm case dimension is in line with current tastes, scratch-proof domed sapphire crystal takes the place of acrylic, and TAG Heuer’s automatic in-house Heuer 02 movement powers the watch instead of the original’s manual-winding Valjoux 72 calibre.

This story first appeared in the March ’20 issue of Men’s Folio Singapore.