It is summer once again. Northern hemisphere, we know it’s winter in good old Australia. This is certainly one occasion that is celebrated by many, especially by our counterparts in the West, who had to endure a muted season last year when the COVID-19 situation hit one of its peaks in the region.
Summer time is certainly looked forward to by many, with the sun that brings about some form of warmth and life to the people. It is also the time that is perfect for outdoor activities, albeit with social distancing hopefully as the COVID-19 pandemic is not out of the woods just yet.
For watch collectors, the summer does bring about a different set of watches to wear as well. As people transition towards sportier and outdoor activities, watches with leather straps are certainly not ideal. Tool watches and sports watches, in our opinion, are certainly much more appropriate choices considering the varying degrees of rugged activities that people will be partaking in while enjoying the warm weather.
Hence, to celebrate the new season, we will be taking a look at some of the cool watches that collectors might want to consider. These watches are predominantly sports or tool watches, and they are slightly more vibrant as compared to their more serious-looking counterparts. After all, summer is the season that brings life to everything, isn’t it?
Swatch Big Bold NEXT C-Blue
We begin the article with an interesting timepiece with a fascinating concept behind it: Swatch Big Bold NEXT C-Blue.
The new Big Bold follows the 2020 Bio Reloaded, where the brand features bio-friendly materials in the production of its watch. For the 2021 iteration of the Big Bold, the 47mm piece is fitted with a bio-ceramic case that is 30% from castor oil (a bio-sourced material) and 70% ceramic. Pigment is then added to give the watch its vibrant colours.
Powered by a quartz movement, the Big Bold is an affordable and fun watch that tells an intriguing story. It is priced at S$194, and frankly, you will be hard pressed to find another cheerful timepiece that is nearly perfect for the summer – at this price point.
Over the years, Sinn is known to produce exceptional tool watches – both the U1 and U2 are great testaments to that. However, beyond those models, many people are unaware of the other wonderful watches that this Frankfurt-based manufacturer is producing. One of them is the EZM12, from the Einsatzzeitmesser collection.
The Einsatzzeitmesser collection, or EZM for short, is a collection of tool watches that are designed specifically for certain industries. Interestingly the EZM12, which is the latest addition in the collection, is produced specially for rescue operations. The watch comes with multiple functions, such as an inner and outer rotating bezel for timekeeping, a pulsometer, and a day-date function. In addition, the watch comes with brilliant luminescence for its indices and hands, and its parts (such as the strap and bezel) can be easily removed for sterilisation. The attention to detail is amazing.
The EZM12 is very robust in its construction as well. Similar to most of Sinn’s watches, the EZM12 is cased in TEGIMENT Stainless Steel, in which it is multiple times harder than conventional stainless steel that other watch manufacturers use. In addition, it features a dehumidifying capsule, and a depth rating of around 200 meters. The watch is set to retail at US$3,340 (about S$4,420).
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 White Camo
When it comes to cool watches, Bell & Ross is probably one of the brands that would come to mind. Its watches, which were inspired by flight instruments, are certainly iconic especially amongst newer collectors.
The BR03-92 is one of the mainstays of the brand, with its distinctive combination of a large square case and round dial. This particular edition, dubbed the White Camo, is a tad more fascinating than the usual with the presence of camouflage patterns on both the dial and strap. The end result is certainly interesting, and it certainly brings the BR03-92 onto the next level altogether.
The 42mm BR03-92 White Camo is priced at S$5,600, and it is limited to a production run of 999 pieces. This variation is certainly engaging, and it is fair to say that it is unique enough as there are not many watches out there that are designed with such a motif extensively (even for most of the other military themed pieces).
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”
Continuing with the theme of aviation-inspired pieces, we have the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”.
The Pilot line from IWC has seen some interesting pieces throughout the years, and the “Mojave Desert” is certainly one of them. In tandem with its namesake, the watch is fitted with a scratch-resistant “sand-coloured” ceramic case, which was inspired by both the Navy pilots’ flight suits and the desert landscape around the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. It is also paired with a brown dial, complemented with light brown fonts and hands.
Powering the timepiece is the Calibre 69380, an IWC-manufactured movement that features a classic column wheel mechanism. It is self-winding, and it has a power reserve of around 46 hours. It is priced at US$8,200 (approximately S$10,860), and we think this is a functional watch that is highly suitable to meet the demands from all the summer activities.
Zenith DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone
Zenith is a brand that has been constantly breaking barriers, but is still highly underrated in the industry. The new DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is one such timepiece.
The DEFY series from Zenith has been an interesting one, with its uber modern design cues that aim to attract the younger crowd. The collaboration with Felipe Pantone – an Argentine-Spanish contemporary artist – is definitely a step in the right direction. Featuring an effervescent array of colours on the skeleton dial, the Felipe Pantone edition is certainly a conversational piece with its artistic touches. The playful use of colour is even more obvious when it is paired with its contrasting carbon case.
Limited to a production of 100 pieces, the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is certainly a stunning piece to include in any watch collection. We really like the approach that was taken, and we dare say the “Rainbow” PVD bridges are perhaps one of the most interesting finishes that we have seen in a movement. The watch retails at US$19,100 (approximately S$29,300), and it is certainly one of the most outstanding pieces that we have seen in 2021.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore is a modern classic – the contemporary version of the highly-acclaimed Royal Oak collection. Big and bold, the Offshore is certainly a masculine piece that provides a brilliant wrist presence.
One of the offshoots of the Offshore series is the Diver, which was launched in 2010 (after it was renamed from the Offshore Scuba, which debuted in 2005). As its name suggests, the Royal Oak Offshore Diver features the Royal Oak’s signature octagon bezel and tapisserie dial, but with an additional internal bezel that is used to time the how long the diver is able to remain underwater (before the oxygen tank runs out of oxygen). We do like how AP had managed to integrate the inner bezel seamlessly into the watch, and yet still allow the timepiece to retain the collection’s DNA.
The new Diver is now powered by the Calibre 4308, instead of the usual 3120. We were told that the new movement is much more stable and precise, but it still retains the power reserve of around 60 hours. Finishing-wise is magnificent, and we do think it is a notch better than the previous one (although we do prefer the rose gold winding rotor as compared to the new one which has a blackened 22-carat pink gold instead). The 42mm watch is available in 3 different variations, and it is priced at S$35,200.
We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s compilation. The watches are admittedly different, each with their own positives and unique propositions despite the differing price points.
Personally, the Swatch offers an interesting concept, especially with the global push for sustainability. We do agree that there is a need to promote these ideas, and Swatch’s effort in broadcasting the message with a fun and exciting watch is a positive step in the right direction. We do hope that brands that focus a lot on R&D, such as Hublot and Richard Mille, can take more steps like this as well. These are big brands, and they do have enough clout to make a substantial impact at this front.
Finally, do let us know your thoughts on our selection, as well as some of your favourite go-to watches in the summer. In the meantime, do enjoy the sun, and please remember to stay safe as well!