Thursday, October 1

Dear Santa: Chester’s Christmas Wishlist

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We begin our holidays special with 3 watch selections from each of our writers. This time the watches are categorised by price, with three tiers of prices under 1) SGD10,000, 2) SGD25,000; and 3) Limitless.

1) Seiko 1970’s Diver’s recreation SLA033 (S$6000)

Seiko releases a recreation of its classic Prospex, a watch that originally came out in 1970. This 45mm watch is affectionately known as the turtle, in part due to its shell like case design. It was famously captured on the wrist of Martin Sheen’s character Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now.

The new Prospex re-creation of this 1970 diver’s watch is slightly larger than the original but faithful in every other respect to its design. It is, however, completely up-to-date in its technology. It incorporates caliber 8L35 which was specially designed for use in diver’s watches. The case has a super-hard coating and a dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and is 200 meter water resistant. The upper surface of the bezel rim is Zaratsu polished to a perfect mirror finish. Presented on a high strength silicone strap, this Prospex timepiece is assembled by hand in the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan. It is offered as a limited edition of just 2,500 and will be available from July in Seiko Boutiques and leading Seiko retail partners worldwide. The watch is priced at US$4250, about S$6000.

2) Blancpain Air Command Chronograph (S$25,000)

The new Air Command Chronograph was first released in early 2019, a re-issue of the original legend from the 1950s. The 1950s Air Command was originally designed to be procured by the United States Air Force (USAF). Only a handful of prototypes were made and distributed, however, the bid fell through and the project was ultimately shelved by the USAF and no orders for the watch were placed. The original prototypes from the era are today considered grail watches, with one example selling at 6-digits in Swiss Francs at a Phillips auction in 2016.

In line with Pilot’s style watches, the case hangs on the large side at 42.5 mm. That said, the size gives the watch more sportiness considering that it was first designed as a military instrument. The pump pushers, bezel, big crown and tapered lugs are inherited designs from the original. But being more than just a cosmetic homage, the Air Command Chronograph packs a punch with an intricate vertical clutch column wheel flyback chronograph. The model is limited to 500 pieces and is priced at CHF18,000 ~ approximately S$25,000.

3) Patek Philippe 5370 Split Seconds Chronograph (US$249,200)

First released in 2015, the Patek Philippe 5370 Split Seconds Chronograph is understandably rare and ‘understated’ in the world of Patek Philippe. A high complication split seconds  chronograph, with a difficult to execute Grand Feu enamel dial, and in black (it is generally claimed that black is the most difficult color). It is cased in platinum, subtly marked by an encrusted diamond at the 6 o’clock position on the case.

The grand feu enamel dial appears blacker than black. Highly legible and clear markings make simple but elegant.

The watch though in a traditional black dial and white case; has an imposing presence. It measures 41mm in diameter and is larger than most Patek Philippe watches. The case is a manifestation of elegant lines, thoughtful contours and top-tier finishing. A theme congruous with the lusciously polished dial and immaculate movement finishing.

The CHR 29-535 PS. Beautifully laid out, it shows the complicated nature of the split seconds chronograph. Note the double column wheels.

The movement in the ref.5959 is the CHR 27-525 PS, a proprietary movement by the maison. The ref. 5959 is also the first in-house chronograph made by Patek Philippe. Earlier chronographs, including the illustrious ref. 3970 (CH 27-70) and the ref. 5004 (CHR 27-70) are based on a heavily modified Lemania 2310 ébauche.

The Patek Philippe 5370 on the wrist. Case diameter is 41mm. Perfect on the wrist.

A dream watch for me, this grand complication timepiece was first priced at US$249,200 when released.

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