HANDS-ON: The Swatch Sistem51 Irony – perfect for the Christmas stocking

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Back in 2014, Swatch made waves with the original Sistem51, an innovative and affordable robot-assembled automatic watch. Much like the original Swatch, the Sistem51 was hailed as revolutionary, and touted as radically democratising the Swiss mechanical. While the sub-$200 timepiece was never going to threaten Omega’s market share (for example), it nonetheless featured some impressive technical features – like the single central screw holding the whole affair together, the anti-magnetic construction and 90 hours of power reserve. The initial Sistem51 came in the distinctive jellybean style case of the classic Swatch. Plastic, and fantastic. Earlier this year the Sistem51 got an… Read More

HANDS-ON: An exercise in harmony and contrast – the Hublot Classic Fusion Racing Grey in King Gold

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If you look at watches on a regular basis (we’re guessing you do), it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of ever-escalating novelties that defines the industry – because let’s forget, for all the talk of savoir-faire and timelessness, this is an industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing what creativity and innovation can be packed in a 45mm case, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a watch doesn’t need to have a brand new in-house movement, multiple tourbillons laid out in the shape of a swan or a dial crafted from the tears… Read More

IN-DEPTH: The Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar Chronograph

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The story in a second Baume & Mercier’s Clifton always had a pretty face. Well, that face just got complicated. It’s hardly a secret. We like the Clifton at Time+Tide. It’s a well-balanced collection that walks a fine line between dressy and casual, retro and modern, all while being very well priced. Typically, though, these Baume & Mercier watches tend towards the simpler complications – calendar or moonphase or date – that sort of thing. Today we’re looking at a Clifton that loads all these complications into one watch. In theory it sounds good – more bang for buck, right?… Read More

IN-DEPTH: The Seiko Prospex ‘Turtle’ Diver

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The story in a second: The Seiko Turtle offers a winning combination of heritage and quality at a supremely wallet-friendly price. Seiko dive watches have a massive – at times fanatical – following. It’s these guys and gals who are responsible for giving the brand’s cryptically coded watches their colourful nicknames – the Tuna, Monster, Sumo and, in this case, the Turtle. Officially, the Turtles we’re looking at here are known as SRP775 (black gilt dial on bracelet), SRP773 (blue dial on bracelet) and SRP777 (black dial on silicone). From now on, collectively, we’ll just call them Turtles. But wait, there’s more. These… Read More

HANDS-ON: The Baume & Mercier Clifton Perpetual Calendar raises the bar

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Baume & Mercier are known for their value-focused take on traditional watchmaking. Their Clifton and Capeland collections epitomise this approach, offering versatile style at a price that won’t break the bank. Of course, this means some concessions must be made: Cases are usually steel, and complications are of the more down-to-earth variety. But just because this sort of everyday mechanical is Baume & Mercier’s bread and butter doesn’t mean that they don’t have the capacity to hit the horological high gear on occasion. In fact, over the past few years Baume & Mercier has released a series of fairly stunning special edition… Read More

HANDS ON: The Piaget Limelight Gala – winner of the GPHG ladies’ watch prize lands in Sydney

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Coming face-to-face with an award-winner can be nerve-wracking. When you’ve watched from afar, seen photographs, read reviews, you’re always curious to know whether things will live up to the hype. These days, after all, it’s spin that makes the world go round. So, yes, the preamble to meeting Piaget’s pink gold Limelight Gala, complete with Milanese bracelet, was understandably tense. This was just a couple of weeks after it had won the ladies’ watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) – what if, away from her wintry hemisphere of choice, she wilted under the harsh Australian sun? What… Read More

IN-DEPTH: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II

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The story in a second Blancpain has upped the ante on last year’s excellent Ocean Commitment watch, with a second – even bluer – limited edition. These days it’s not unique for a watch brand to have a corporate social responsibility program, usually tied in with a limited edition product. Few, however, do it with the level of integrity and (dare we say it) commitment as Blancpain’s work in marine conservation and research programs. Though the Ocean Commitment program itself is comparatively young, Blancpain has donated a total of roughly seven million Euro over the past seven years. But beyond… Read More