Ice, ice baby: The best gem set watches from Watches & Wonders

Watches & Wonders

Gems, dazzle, diamonds and pizzazz. This year we have seen a delectable tableau of precious stones within, around, and pavèd on some of the flashiest new watches shown at Watches & Wonders. And while the entire Phygital viewing experience does leave a lot to be desired, the top maisons have managed to convey the blend of haute gioallerie with horology to a greater extent then I had ever imagined. Sadly my bank manager does not agree. The perhaps most interesting fact of the mesmerising dials on this list, is that all except one are aimed straight at both sexes, the only thing stopping men being wrist-shyness and self-confidence. Zenith DEFY 21 Spectrum collection As one of an unbelievable range of four gem-set references, this takes the green trend and turns the volume up to 11. Comfortably strapped to our wrist, the Zenith DEFY 21 case sits in angular contrast to the soft, rubber green textured strap, a comfortable yet strong presence in its 44mm non-retro shape. Its remit is one of being the technological masterpiece of the Zenith sports range, a breathtaking whizz of the chronograph seconds hand timing at 1/100th second with a separate 360,000 vph escapement. No, that’s…

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The launch of Zenith Icons is a thrilling prospect for vintage fans

I’ve always had a soft spot for vintage Zenith ever since buying a 1950s dress watch from a woman in Rome. Nervous that I was about to wire over my cash to a total stranger in a foreign country, I attempted to strike up a connection. If I was going to be swindled, I figured, then at least she’d feel mildly guilty if we’d built up some form of rapport. Over the back and forth of email, we slid into an easy correspondence. Paola explained the Zenith had originally belonged to her late grandfather, a former general in the Italian army. She even shared an old photo of him – a straight-backed man in military uniform saluting the camera while riding a white stallion. If this fine, upstanding soldier knew that his beloved watch would one day fall into the clutches of a slovenly journalist like me, then he’d surely now be turning in his grave. I, on the other hand, was thrilled by the watch’s sepia-grained voyage onto my wrist. Every now and then, while wedged in a throng of commuters on the train, I’d glance at my Zenith and imagine its former existence on the arm of the…

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MICRO MONDAYS: Is the Hegid Mirage the first interchangeable case system with a Swiss movement?

Variety is the spice of life – we all love to change things up. As a result, to many enthusiasts the mere idea of the “Exit Watch” or the “one watch for all occasions” is a frankly laughable concept. How many of us finally obtain that elusive grail only to start hankering for another piece on a whole other level? To feed our fickle tastes we resort to strap swapping as any watch can change personality with a suede two-stitch or NATO. But one thing we can’t change is the case. So imagine being able to have your favourite black or blue dial, and choose an angular sports case on a Tuesday before swapping to a classic round case for the Saturday dinner party. Well, the entire Hegid collection offers exactly this possibility with its new EVOL(R) system. This tempting metamorphosis is the premise behind the French brand Hegid’s new Mirage model. Consider something similar in concept to the easy case-swapping of G-Shock squares and Casioaks, except this time it’s steel-cased Swiss automatic wristwear with a goldilocks sizing of sub 40mm. Surely I’m not the only person who’s had this secret wish.. Start with your first complete watch from Hegid,…

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Watch & Act! Auction Items
13.08.2020  |  Time+Tide

A barn find to give you hope – the story of a very special NOS vintage Gruen Ocean Chief

vintage Gruen Ocean Chief

Editor’s note: This week, Eric Ku, vintage watch dealer and friend of Time+Tide, posted about five years having passed since the remarkable watch barn find story involving a LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm. A man by the name of Zach Norris came across an interesting-looking watch at a local Goodwill store, featuring a price tag of $5.99. He bought it in a heartbeat, suspecting it was worth more than the tag suggested, and was delighted to discover its true value. He was flooded with offers for the watch, one of which came from Eric Ku. He agreed to sell the watch to Eric for a cool $35,000. That’s right, nearly 6000 times the price he paid for it. We put a call-out to see if anyone else had their own story of successful thrift shop hunting, and Frank (@SpeedyFett on Instagram) reached out, telling the tale of his vintage Gruen Ocean Chief. Enjoy!  I have a barn find story from a couple years ago that is pretty special. I took my family on vacation to Philadelphia for my kids to experience the old historic area. Little did I know that in addition to the Liberty Bell, just around the corner was…

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