OceanicTime Archives

2021-06-17

OMEGA Seamaster AQUA TERRA [now with SUB-DIAL]

Omega has created a new look for their non-diving Seamaster model, the Aqua Terra which now includes a first for the AT, a sub-dial which can be found at 6 o’clock instead of its traditional central seconds hand. But have Omega compromised the good looks of the watch which imo benefits from those beams of deep blue or bright orange as is found on a couple of Aqua Terra iterations; and has the inclusion of the sub-dial detracted from the watch’s simplicity? The 2021 collection comprises of ten 38mm models, two of which are luxury editions; as well as nine new 41mm models, including four luxury versions. If you’re curious, you can look up the 38mm models on Omega’s website in due course. There’s one with a nice shade of green but the 38mm models have different dial markers to the 41mm models which aren’t particularly appealing. The 41mm series includes four Stainless steel editions and one bi-color, luxury model in Stainless steel and 18K Sedna™ gold, all of which are powered by OMEGA’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8916. The watches come with two-tone dials in blue-grey, silvery-blue and silvery-beige, which Omega says adds depth to the displays while contrasting beautifully with the new sub-dials. The watches are fitted with either matching Stainless steel or Sedna Gold bracelets, or an integrated structured rubber sports straps in a dial complementary color. Each watch comes with a 5-year warranty and Master Chronometer certification card, ensuring that the watch has passed the tests certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). Thoughts? Certainly an interesting move – historically there have been tons of Seamasters which have sported sub-dials but this is certainly something new for the modern Aqua Terra. I wonder what the true Aqua Terra aficionados think of the inclusion of a sub-dial – are they spitting out their coffees as we speak?!

If I was in the market for an Aqua Terra, it definitively wouldn’t be one of these new 2021 sub-dial models. 

For me the AT now seems perhaps a little less Aqua and a bit more Terra. But what do you think? 

 

2021-06-16

ORIS Aquis Date CALIBRE 400 41.5MM

Introducing the new Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm; introduced as a trio, the collection includes models with anthracite, blue or green colorways.

If you hadn’t already worked it from the new model’s suffix – yes, this is a slightly smaller 41.5mm version of Oris’s CALIBRE 400-powered Aquis Date. Pound for pound it’s pretty much the same watch as the one that wowed us back in the fall of 2020 but of course it’s shrunk and also comes with one minor cosmetic tweak that helps to differentiate it from its big brother. Most noticeably is the simple line of otherwise superfluous text once saying “PRESSURE RESISTANT” which is absent from the dial of this 41.5mm version. While the missing dial text does set the sizes apart at a glance the most obvious reason for removing it was owing to the reduced space on the smaller dial. Unlike the also (relatively) new AQUISPRO Date Cal 400 which has a ton of other cool tricks up its sleeves in addition to its movement, the Aquis Dare Cal 400 is all about its engine – the very same ground-breaking automatic movement from Oris, the specifications of which include: a power-reserve of 5-days thanks to twin barrels both of which house extended mainsprings with 2.5 days of autonomy each, a more stable rotor-system with a low-friction slide bearing system, in which a metal stud runs through a lubricated sleeve – naturellement! The system is far less complex, than a traditional one so is not only more efficient but is less prone to wear and tear resulting slimmer chance of a breakdown. Then there’s the Cal 400’s inclusion of a silicon escape wheel as well as a silicon anchor. When tested by the renowned Laboratoire Dubois, the Calibre 400 deviated by less than 10 seconds a day after exposure to 2,250 gauss. In short the movement is highly magnetic resistant. And finally with regard to the watch’s movement – such is its level of specification that Oris offer all watches powered by their Cal 400 a whopping 10 years warranty. So imagine you bought one and wore it for 7 or 8 years and finally decided to flip it, you’d be able advertise it as still being under warranty – that’s crazy! Further features of the watch include: a multi-piece Stainless steel case with 300 meters of water-resistance, a screw-down crown and case-back, a domed sapphire crystal plus sapphire exhibition back glass and a unidirectional diver’s bezel with ceramic inlay.

The new Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm can be delivered with either; a Stainless steel bracelet or with a black rubber strap – 

both with of which come with a security folding clasp with a diver’s extension and make use of Oris’s Quick Strap Change system.

The new Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm has a Swiss retail price 3’200 CHF on its bracelet or 3’100CHF on rubber and is available as of June 2021. Thoughts? I would imagine that these are going to fly off the shelves given the more popular size. It’s such a lot of movement for the price, too.

Personally I must admit, I think the new AquisPro Cal 400 is damn near perfect – but I would love to see that moving down in size from 49.5mm to a more manageable 45mm. 

But what do you think – this, its big brother or the new TITONI

 

2021-06-11

PANERAI Submersible BLU NOTTE

Could this be the Italian diver of your dreams? Introducing PANERAI’s new Submersible Blu Notte AKA PAM 01068; the latest Submersible model from the Italian born Swiss Manufacture, and one that ticks many boxes. First of all it is delivered in a jaw-dropping night blue (blu notte in Italian) colorway that includes a sun-brushed dial and color-coded ceramic bezel inlay. Then there’s the Submersible Blu Notte’s wrist-friendly, compact size that includes a case diameter of just 42mm – considered a mere bambino among Paneristi. Finally the Submersible Blu Notte is the first 42mm Submersible model to come equipped with Panerai’s gorgeous Stainless steel link bracelet. Further spec. includes 300 meters of water-resistance and power courtesy of the automatic mechanical, P.900 caliber which delivers 3-days of autonomy.

The new Panerai Submersible Blu Notte PAM011068 has a Swiss MSRP of 10'600 CHF (incl. sales tax). 

Liked this? Then why not check out the Submersible BLU ABISSO . . .

Thoughts? For me this new Submersible Blu Notte has it all – sexy colorway, manageable case diameter, bracelet, oh, and it isn’t packed with a load pricey echo-tech. 

This or the VERDE MILITARE? It’s a tough one; in an ideal world – I’d say both. But what do you think?

2021-06-10

ULYSSE NARDIN Diver LEMON SHARK

Blue Sharks, Great Whites, Hammerheads; UN’s love affair with the ocean’s most misunderstood predators casts light on yet another endangered shark species with the launch of the new Diver Lemon Shark, the release of which was timed to coincide with World’s Ocean Day (June 9th). Honoring World’s Ocean Day and celebrating its community of friends and partners which include: world-renowned shark experts, divers, universities, and non-profits like OCEARCH which UN already work with – yet another stunning, shark-themed Limited Edition of their Diver 42mm has been unveiled. In addition UN has doubled its efforts with an environmental commitment that follows the United Nation’s guidelines as well as their own 17 sustainable development goals such the ambition to reduce marine pollution by 2030 by incorporating manmade materials (like discarded fishing nets) from the ocean wherever feasible into all their latest watch products.

While UN already recycles discarded fishing nets into watch bands, they are also gaining greater oceanographic knowledge with their focus being predominantly on sharks. 

With their ever precarious status, these remarkable apex predators have become the much loved avatars of the brand showing up on numerous timepieces over the years.

In keeping with UN’s continued support of shark conservation, they have launched the Diver 42mm Lemon Shark which features an all-black case and dial with yellow printed Lemon Shark name and matching yellow accents such as those found of the rehaut, the seconds hand and bezel’s 0hr marker. Meanwhile the watch also comes with a stamp of three lemon sharks on its screw-down case-back and is equipped with a black textile R STRAP made from recycled fishing next. The strap is finished with further (stitched) touches of yellow. Those touches of yellow on the bezel, dial, crown and strap pay homage to the Lemon Shark, while recalling their yellow skin color which provides the perfect camouflage against sandy in-shore areas where it often forages for food. Power comes from the Caliber UN 816 movement that works thanks to Silicium technology – meanwhile a concave unidirectional diver’s bezel, a screw-down crown (signed with a yellow UN emblem) a domed Sapphire crystal and 300 meters of water-resistance complete the watch’s diver’s features. The new Diver Lemon Shark is available in a Limited Series of just 300 pieces and has an MSRP in the US of 7’300USD. Thoughts? This is a very appealing looking Diver 42mm variant – those yellow accents literally pop and fizz against the black and who doesn’t love lemon sharks; they’re among the cutest sharks that there are (after Megalodons – I could kiss one of those).

With roughly 400 shark species; I wonder what the next shark muse will be for UN, tiger sharks are an obvious choice but how bout’ a one of the deeper diving species such as sleeper sharks or six-gills. But what do you think???

 https://www.ulysse-nardin.com/

2021-06-08

JACQUES BIANCHI Marseille RÉÉDITION JB 200

Now here’s an intriguing new diver’s watch soon to be released by the French start up, Jacques Bianchi that seems to have all the requisite components for a successful debut / comeback:

* created by a team of dive watch industry veterans – check! 

* heritage that can be drawn upon for a reedition – check! 

* history intertwined with veritable who's who from the world of dive watches – check! 

* tie in with the French Navy – check! 

* good-looking diver-centric design – check! 

* inclusion of charming white bearded French dude named Jacques – check!

And that gentleman btw, if you hadn’t already surmised is the passionate watchmaking veteran Jacques Bianchi himself, who at 80 years young still works out of his workshop in Marseille, was friend to the likes of Jacques Mayol and Captain Cousteau and his second-in-command Albert Falco, known as "Bébert", has repaired most of the Rolex watches of the Comex divers (Maritime Expertise Company), has created his own eponymous brand and discovered dozens of watchmaking water-resistance processes throughout his career and all for the sheer love of dive watches!

It is no coincidence too that Comex (like JB) is also based in Marseilles since its creation in 1962 by Henri Delauze, well known to Jacques Bianchi. 

It is not a coincidence either that the French Federation of Underwater Studies and Sports (FFESSM) is also based in the Phocaean City. Even less a coincidence that Beuchat Diving, leading global specialist in diving equipment, hails from Marseille.

Jacques Bianchi has had an incredible career that included heading up the regional after-sales service for LIP while The Atelier Jacques Bianchi was approved to repair and overhaul diver’s watches from: 

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breitling, Longines, Eterna, Certina, Citizen, Seiko and went on to become an approved Rolex watchmaker in 1974. 

At the same time, Jacques Bianchi started distributing the legendary Swiss brand, AQUASTAR and began creating links with the Comex divers who would come knocking on his door to have their Submariners and Sea-Dwellers repaired.

A close friend of the famous, French free-diver, Jacques Mayol, whose life story and that of his friend, Enzo Maiorca were the inspiration for the 1988 Luc Besson film, The Big Blue - JB also designed unique prototypes for the famous apnea specialist on the basis of Lemania regatta chronographs, inventing a new process for sealing the chrono-pushers.

Jacques Bianchi’s contribution to maritime exploration also included the development of watertight boxes to test the waterproofness of watches in the open ocean. 

Two of his brand’s historic models were once favored by the French Army: the JB 200 Quartz, which was used by the French Navy during the late 1980s, and the JB 300, which was used by Army divers in the mid-90s.

The new JB 200 pays tribute the historic model developed by Jacques Bianchi in the early 1980s but has of course been duly updated for 2021. 

Remaining largely faithful to the OG JB 200, which was used by the French Navy, the 2021 version comes with a 42mm Stainless steel case which is water-resistant to 200 meters.

Meanwhile its overall design evokes the look and feel of a 1970s skin diver while its “destro” crown (offset to the left), its black texturized dial decorated with the silhouette of a large SCUBA diver, its luminescent indexes and its extremely legible hands further underscore its diving intent as well as a wealth of dive watch know-how from the team behind it. The historic JB 200 was powered by a quartz movement, a France-Ebauches for the first series. With the help of Fabrice Pougez (of MAT Watches), the Jacques Bianchi Marseille team chose to equip the new model with a reliable Seiko NH35 mechanical movement.

In order to outfit the new model with an automatic caliber - necessarily thicker than a quartz movement - the proportions had to be reviewed and improved. 

The 42mm off-crown diameter of the case remains unchanged, but a long adjustment process was necessary to preserve the spirit of the historical shapes and the technical requirements imposed by the integration of an automatic movement.

Luminescent, the oversized indexes and hands are of course no longer made using harmful tritium, but are instead charged with an ivory (off white) colored Super-LumiNova recalling those veteran diver’s models that once did. More precisely, the size of the indexes has been noticeably increased for better readability. The inscription "Jacques Bianchi Marseille" also appears at 6 o'clock, as a nod to the typographic location of the technical specifications of professional diving watches. The unidirectional 60-click bezel features the typical graduation of the historic model from the 1980s;

its numerals and minute track are made of Super-LumiNova in the same ivory color as the hands and indexes. Finally, the original mirror-polished inclined bezel has been identically reproduced to maximize light reflections on the dial. 

The new JB 200 will be equipped with a black Tropic-style rubber strap, characteristic of the era of its birth. The JB 200 will be available to pre-order as of June 15 2021 with an introductory price of 599USD.

Thoughts? That’s a pretty fair price considering the JB 200’s impressive background story. Sure, a Swiss auto would have been more appealing (at least to me) but the popular NH35 is no slouch. As for the overall look and appeal of the watch – it’s certainly a looker. 

The clean dial with its oversized ivory hands and markers and that massive diver icon are showstoppers. It’s going to interesting to see how the Jacques Bianchi brand progresses but one thing’s for sure this is cool comeback. But what do you think; do you see a JB 200 in your future???