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Introducing: Skagen Grenen Solar

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Even before I really got into watches, Skagen was a brand I knew very early on, as it was the watch I got for myself to wear at my wedding. So, you could say the Danish minimalism has a special place in my mind palace, for sure. They’ve been making moves to be more eco-conscious, and their latest release is a big step in that direction. Meet the Skagen Grenen Solar.

Blancier Crazy Planet

I’m assuming the watch doesn’t really spin like a Looney Tune on drugs, but here’s Blancier’s latest creation, the Crazy Planet with a clever external gear system that adds a bit of cool to the beefy three-handed design. More news on pricing and availability as we get it, but Blancier has been pumping out the hits for years now. Great stuff.

Blancier Handmade Watches is proud to present the latest creation of its
Manufacture Lottermann & Söhne from the German city of Mannheim.

With “Crazy Planet” – developed and produced entirely in house – Blancier is once again introducing a watch of unparalleled world class.

The most important wheels of the Crazy Planet are laid out in a planet orbit
formation. In normal mechanical watches, all wheels are invisible, hidden under the watch face. Blancier has made wheels visible by displaying the workings on top of the watch face.

The Casio GRB200RAF honors RAF flyboys

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Pip pip and all that. Casio has announced a new GRAVITYMASTER model in collaboration with UK’s Royal Air Force. The model, which is a specially designed G-Shock, comes with a carbon-infused resin bezel and band.

Grand Seiko brings us back to a simpler time

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The 1960s were a beautiful time for watches. Horlogy was in its prime and the great names we know and love today – Rolex, Omega, Cartier – were just one of many watchmakers churning out commodity products to a world that needed to tell the time. Their watches – simple, elegant, and mechanically complex – were the ultimate in mechanical efficiency and design and no one did it quite as well as Seiko. This mechanical golden age ended in the late 1970s with the rise of the quartz watch but Seiko is resurrecting it with their Grand Seiko line of luxury pieces.

Grand Seiko is special for a few reasons. First, it’s Seiko’s haute horlogerie skunkworks, allowing the company to experiment with all the fancy materials and techniques that Swiss watchmakers have worked with for years. The watches are made of precious metals and feature Seiko Hi-Beat movements. These watches “vibrate” 36,000 times an hour or ten times a second. This means that the balance wheel inside the watch is moving back and forth far faster than, say, an Omega Co-Axial 8500/1 series which is clocked at 25,200 vibrations per hour. What this means in practice is that the seconds hand moves with an almost uncanny smoothness.

The rest of the watch I tested, the euphoniously-named SBGH263G, is based on a piece from 1968 that came from Seiko’s mechanical hey-day. The $6,200 watch has a 39mm case and, according to Seiko, is style for maximum elegance. They write:

The dial has elegant and easy-to-see Arabic numeral for the hour mark. The concept color “Shironeri” is a reflection of Japanese tradition. The color and texture of the dial come from the glossy white silk of the outfit worn by the bride in a Japanese wedding. It symbolizes purity and innocence.

This watch is a formal piece for wearing, presumably, to your own wedding. That said, it’s also very reminiscent of 1960s style watches. The size, case shape, and polished hands and numerals all hearken back to a simpler time in watchmaking when everything didn’t have to look like a robot’s goiter or a pie plate.

It is quite small and if you’re used to Panerais or Nixons you’ll definitely notice a grandpa vibe about this piece. Because it is not very complex – that is it does not have any real complications like a stopwatch – it is very pricey. However, knowing Grand Seiko’s dedication to a very lost art of non-Swiss horology, it’s well worth a look.

I’ve been following Grand Seiko for years now and the quality and care the company has been putting into these watches is palpable. This watch is no commodity product. The case is polished to a high sheen and everything – from the screws to the beautiful domed sapphire crystal – is put together with great care. Seiko also makes lower end pieces – my favorite is the Orange Monster – but this is far above that in terms of build quality and price.

Pieces like this Grand Seiko remind us that, before Apple Watches and Fitbits, there was an entire universe of truly striking timepieces made for the absolutely sole purpose of telling the time. I love pieces like this one because they are no frills and yet they are full of frills. The watch is as simple as can be – three hands and a date window without any lume or extraneous buttons – and yet it shows amazing technical skill. It is expensive but this is a handmade watch by a storied manufacturer and it’s well worth the price of admission of you’re a lover of the elegantly antiquated.

The Marloe Haskell has Antarctic style and class

The author, Jeffrey Donenfeld, standing at the Ceremonial South Pole, Antarctica while working at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Marloe Watch Company is a new company, starting in 2015, but specializing in vintage-inspired, heritage-rich timepieces. Based out of Oxfordshire, England, they now produce four varieties of wristwatches, each with their own story. Their latest piece is the Haskell – inspired by British Antarctica adventure, this watch features a classic design, and most notable, an incredible etching of the continent of Antarctica on the caseback.

REVIEW: Ingersoll Richmond (Part 2)

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Yesterday, we started taking a look at the third Ingersoll model we’ve reviewed recently, the Richmond.  Today, we’ll pick up things where we left off, and have a look at the dial design.

Introducing: Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph

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It’s not often that the worlds of watches and audio overlap. For the people interested in such things – and particularly the “old school” way of building things – there is indeed an overlap. To put it another way, if you’re into high quality audio, you likely are in to watches as well. If you find yourself in the middle of that particular Venn diagram, then the just-announced Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph should fit in well with your collection.

Building a look with the help of Grand Frank

As you’re no doubt aware, we here at WWR have started to broaden our focus.  Yes, watches will be our primary mission (that is not changing), but we are expanding into taking a look at interesting items that would fall into the category of “Men’s Style”.  Then again, a watch could simply be viewed as an accessory within that category, so it all makes sense.  Today, we’ll be taking a look at a trio of items from Swedish brand Grand Frank.

The Raketa Polar is a 24-hour watch for fans of the USSR

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Nostalgia is a weird thing. It makes us desire the old and weird and confuses quality with age. Nothing that, we present the Raketa Polar, a 24-hour watch that creates a curious pang of sentimentality for endless tundra and the rise of the proletariat.

REVIEW: Magrette Regattare 2011 (part 2)

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(For part 1, see yesterday’s post). Now, we can finally take a look at the watch itself.  As I mentioned yesterday, the case is made from stainless steel, and measures in at 44mm.  What makes it interesting for me is the use of both brushed and polished finishes in an alternating manner.  When you look down on the watch, the bezel is brushed, but you see the polished finish of the case.  Alternately, when you look at it from the side, you can again see the varied finishes.

Another interesting twist to this watch is the internal bezel.  It’s uni-directional, and is controlled by the upper screw-down crown, which is signed.  The lower crown (also signed) can be used to manually wind the watch (even an automatic can be jump-started), set the time, and/or set the date, after unscrewing it and adjusting it to the correct position.