In this round-up we broach the subject of micro-brands. We explore who and what constitutes a micro-brand, and why some collectors adore micro-brands so much. We also have a slew of new and interesting watches, including AkriviA’s first non-tourbillon watch, the AK-06; MB&F’s outrageous HM7 Aquapod watch; and Piaget’s new and controversial Polo S chronograph.
We also take a look at the history of Breitling’s SuperOcean watches. Unbeknownst to most watch lovers, Breitling was one of the first brands to come up with dive watches, and in this round-up, we will examine the history of early Breitling SuperOcean watches. And to close things off, we will explain why, despite the weak demand for new watches, it is unlikely for watch brands to start slashing prices on watches soon.
1. AkriviA AK-06 Watch Hands-On
AkriviA is a small watch brand based in Geneva and founded by Rexhep Rexhepi. Rexhepi is just 30 years old and has been called the next big thing in independent watchmaking. Even Kari Voutilainen has singled Rexhepi out as one of the young watchmakers to keep tabs on. When you look at Rexhepi’s watches, it is easy to see why. The ArkiviA AK-06 was unveiled at Baselworld earlier this year and it is the brand’s first non-tourbillon time-only watch. But don’t let that throw you off because if you look closely at the dial, you’ll see that this isn’t an ordinary time-only watch. The movement has been specially designed to be aesthetically pleasing and the finishing is exemplary.
2. MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On
I would not suggest trying to know that the Vanguard collection’s point by reading about it on Franck Muller’s website, as that isn’t likely to tell you a lot. In fact, it is a great illustration of the kind of writing that actually doesn’t clarify much but takes up space on a luxury brand’s web site. My take on the Vanguard is the fact that it’s quite simply a modern rendition of the layout that made Franck Muller as a brand popular in the first location. Say what you will about some of the people who have worn the new or the showiness that the brand is famous for that not all people like… but at its heart, the core “Franck Muller look” is well-done and until now has not really been captured better by anybody else in regards to their classic Cintrée Curvex look.So with this said, consider the Franck Muller Vanguard collection to take that traditional Art Deco look and make it feel much more modern. You then have the case which, additionally tonneau for your Vanguard, is more slender and a little more ergonomic than the Curvex case. It sits nicely against the wrist, and with the right color and material choices causes a daring, yet elegant look which doesn’t sacrifice legibility for style. Notice the compass markers on the inner flange ring — which I will consider being for style. Greater than another tachymeter scale — that is for sure.This special version of the Franck Muller Vanguard is the mention V 45 SC DT AC.GL Vanguard Glacier — known as such due to the particular PVD-coated finishing over the steel case and the use of some white rubber strap with matching dial accents. Be aware that this is among those rare steel Vanguard watches (due to this specific PVD treatment) but many non-gold ones are in titanium. Visually, the expression of the strap proceeds through the case with a smart look which makes the case appear as though it sandwiches the ring. To allow for a more lavish look versus straight rubber, the strap includes white alligator over the rubber lining — which makes for a fantastic appearance (as folks understand who’ve worn straps such as this from different brands such as Hublot).
If you are a person of means and you are ready to splash the cash on a statement watch, you could do a lot worse than any of MB&F’s Horological Machine watches. The HM7 is the latest and it makes a very strong case for being the most outrageous of them all. It might be round in design, but it is completely unconventional. It has a double-domed case and the time is read off two concentric discs, which in turn surround the flying tourbillon regulator. The highlight of the watch is possibly the bezel, which isn’t directly affixed to the case. Instead, it sits on extensions, allowing it to surround the case and look as if it is floating in mid-air. All in all, I can’t quite decide if it looks like a hockey puck or a jellyfish. Take a closer look at this unusual watch for yourself here.
3. Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold Watch Review – Just How Magical Is It?
Hublot has two unique gold alloys that it uses in its watches. One of them is King Gold, which is a variant of red gold that appears even redder due to its higher percentage of copper and added platinum. More impressive perhaps is Magic Gold, which is a completely new type of gold developed by Hublot that fuses gold with ceramic. The end result, according to Hublot, is the world’s first scratch-resistant gold. So, just how scratch-resistant is it? We put it to the test with the Big Bang Unico Magic Gold watch.
4. Piaget Polo S Chronograph Watch Hands-On
Piaget’s new Polo S and Polo S Chronograph watches were possibly the most surprising and controversial watches of last year. The design of these new watches generated a lot of chatter online, mainly because of their resemblance to Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and Aquanaut watches. While there are some inescapable similarities between Piaget’s new Polo S watches and Patek Philippe’s sports watches, in the flesh, however, the Polo S watches have a much more distinctive design than what press photos would suggest. Here, take a look at the Polo S Chronograph watch for yourself.
5. Five Reasons Collectors Like Watches From Micro Brands
When I started out reading about watches, the thing that amazed me most were micro brands. I knew your traditional big name watch houses like Rolex, Omega, Breitling, and Patek Philippe. But then I came across names that I never heard of like Steinhart, Helson, Armida, Magrette, just to name a few, and I was intrigued. Where are these brands from and why haven’t I heard of them before? Where and how are their watches made? These were some of the questions I had and it led me down a rabbit hole. So what is it about micro brands that gets some watch lovers so excited? Here are some reasons why.
6. Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic PAM674 Watch Review
The Luminor Due is Panerai’s latest collection and on first glance, it might be hard to tell just what exactly is new or unique about it. The name itself is a bit confusing because Due (pronounced as doo-eh) is actually Italian for two. However, the Luminor Due isn’t really a successor to the Luminor nor the Luminor 1950 collections. So what is the Luminor Due? Personally, I think of a Luminor Due watch as an ultra-slim version of Panerai’s iconic Luminor watches. It won’t be a stretch to say it’s the dressiest Luminor you’d find right now. But don’t just take it from me. We have an extended review of the new Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic PAM674 watch right here.
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