June 19, 2019
Best of bronze
The development of new materials, alloys and coatings for watch cases has become increasingly important in recent years. High-tech substances such as ceramics and titanium are now firmly established alongside the classic materials, i.e. stainless steel, gold and platinum. Sometimes watchmakers also turn to time-honoured historical materials such as bronze. Based on copper and another metal, this alloy was already known and used in classical antiquity. Bronze is extremely resistant to corrosion and has a high structural strength. A welcome aesthetic side effect is the metal’s warm hue, which gradually acquires a natural patina with the passage of time. The patina does not detract from the advantages of the material in any way. The visual change is only a testimony of age, which makes each timepiece unique and unmistakable.
Zenith – Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Adventure
Alongside a new chronograph version, the Swiss manufacture also presented at Baselworld a three-hand pilot’s watch in the line’s classic vintage style. In keeping with its name, the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Adventure combines a 45-mm bronze case, water-resistance to 100 metres and a khaki-green dial with Arabic numerals and facetted cathedral hands inlaid with Super-LumiNova. Under the dial, self-winding manufacture Calibre Elite 679 ensures precision timekeeping. Two wristbands – a leather strap with a camouflage pattern and a second strap in khaki – round out the instrumental appearance that aficionados know and love from early pilot’s watches.
Tudor – Black Bay Bronze
Tudor, a pioneer when it comes to the use of bronze, unleashed a new version of the iconic Black Bay Bronze at Baselworld 2019. Apart from the 43-mm bronze case, it is distinguished by a slate-grey gradient dial and a unidirectional aluminium bezel. A detail not to be missed is the historic “snowflake” hand, a signature of Tudor divers’ watches for 50 years. Water-resistant to 200 metres, the newcomer is powered by manufacture Calibre MT5601, a self-winding automatic movement which is certified as a C.O.S.C. chronometer and offers a 70-hour power reserve.
TAG Heuer – Autavia Isograph
The Autavia has carried the DNA of motorsport since the 1960s. The Autavia Isograph unites the stylish aesthetics of that golden decade and the technical benefits of today. Inspired by dashboard displays, the brown dial with luminescent Arabic numerals is surrounded by a matching ceramic bezel. This stainless steel watch is 42.0 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 100 metres. The power is provided by chronometer-certified Calibre 5, which is equipped with the recently premiered isograph hairspring, which is fabricated from a special carbon composite for improved timekeeping performance. In addition to its antimagnetic properties, the slender coiled spring is also resistant to shocks, impacts and temperature changes.
Bell & Ross – BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze Limited Edition
As its name states, this pilot’s watch from the popular vintage collection, which is limited to 999 timepieces, taxis onto the runway in a bronze case. The case is 41 mm in diameter, water-resistant to 100 metres and contains chronograph Calibre BR-CAL.301 for accurate timekeeping. The case appealingly matches the colour scheme chosen for the luminescent black dial, which contrasts with its two totalizers. The flight crew also includes an aluminium bezel with a tachymeter scale and a date display.
Oris – Big Crown Pointer Date
The Big Crown Pointer Date is one of the staples in the Hölstein-based brand’s rich history. First introduced in 1938 as a genuine pilot’s watch, it has been a mainstay of the collection ever since and remains one of Oris’s signature designs. Its oversized crown was originally intended for gloved airmen but now serves a more aesthetic purpose, while the pointer date function caters to mechanical aficionados. With verve and taste, the new 36-mm bicolour version, which debuted at Baselworld 2019, combines a stainless steel case and a fluted bronze bezel complemented by a distinctive blue dial. The watch is powered by self-winding Calibre Oris 754, based on SW 200-1.
Meistersinger – Bronze Linie
This German brand, which has earned widespread renown with its instrument-style single-hand watches, now presents three new models. The numerals and hands in “Old Radium”, as well as the instrumental red tip on the lone hand, contrast with the deep blue sunburst on the dial of the No. 03 Bronze, the Perigraph Bronze and the Metris Bronze. The Metris Bronze is the sportiest watch in the trio. It offers water resistance to 200 metres. All models are powered by Swiss automatic movements from ETA or Sellita. The movement in the No. 03 Bronze and in the Perigraph Bronze is visible through the case’s transparent back.
Laventure – Sous-Marine Limited Edition
This still-young company, which was founded by Clement Gaud at the beginning of 2017 and is based in Neuchâtel, specializes in robust tool watches inspired by diver’s watches from the 1960s. One example of these distinctive timepieces is the Sous-Marine: it debuts in a limited edition of just 50 models, each with a black dial and 41-mm bronze case. A massive, unidirectionally rotatable bezel tops the case and surrounds the luminescent “Maxi” dial in sandwich construction with extra-large indices for optimal readability. Power is reliably provided by automatic Calibre ETA 2824-2, which quietly ticks behind the case’s engraved back.