Thor Svaboe

Posts by Thor:

23.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The critics were wrong, and the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time flies again, this time as the 7234G-001

The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time in its first iteration, ref 5524G-001 definitely caught our attention when it was released. We called it the most confusing watch of Baselworld 2015. Patek Philippe had anticipated the sceptical reaction, and the opening line of their press release about the watch sought to quickly legitimise it – referring to the two-hour angle pilot watches from the '30s whose style codes it extends. But, despite the fact that PP holds its turnover cards close to its chest, word since then is that it has sold better than expected with its sharp and unexpected style. Journalists…

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SeikoProspex SLA042 23.09.2020

GPHG 2020 – 5 disruptive nominees that should be winners in a chaotic and disrupted year

As the inaugural peak of Haute Horlogerie appreciation is upon us, a renewed GPHG convenes. This time with an expanded panel of judges, a semi-online voting process, and, refreshingly, with a truly broad range of nominees. There is a sense that perhaps disruption is the plat du jour. So, let the GPHG roll on with the words of Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin fresh in our minds: "It's time now for revenge, it's time for coming back, it's time for reassuring watch lovers that the industry is back, that the watch industry will excite them, that the watch industry has never…

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22.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The Hublot Big Bang Camo Yohji Yamamoto is everything that's great about the brand, in a watch

Hublot's Big Bang series this autumn is like an unstoppable tank, with this last month being marked by strong new editions of Big Bang and the Spirit of Big Bang. But no watch has quite captured all that the brand has become quite like this urban warrior, with an almost imperious level of quality and finishing. The Hublot Big Bang Camo Yohji Yamamoto is dressed to kill in full camouflage, and their second collaborative project this year with the enigmatic Japanese designer, this time with only 200 watches available in Hublot boutiques. Hublot dials up the toughness a considerable notch…

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Hublot Big Bang Ferrari 1000 GP 20.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The Hublot Big Bang Ferrari 1000 GP

Two brands, both brash, bold, loud and cutting edge. Well, OK, not loud in the same sense as a V12 engine, but Hublot is a perfect fit as the watchmaking partner to Ferrari. This time, it is a celebration of Ferrari's 1000th Grand Prix, a milestone in Formula One's 70th anniversary year and, yes, it took place last weekend at the Mugello circuit in Italy. The bright red steeds of Ferrari are interlinked with F1 like no other brand in history, and after a few changes in their suppliers of racing engines for the wrist, they found the perfect match…

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Seiko Alpinist SPB155J 19.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The brand new Seiko Alpinist SPB155J and its siblings SPB157J and SPB159J

The Seiko Alpinist series is a beloved staple of enthusiasts on watch forums and Instagram, with its comfortable shape, size and particular Japanese take on a sophisticated field watch with a rich history. Earlier this year, changes came to the lineup, with the Alpinist logo no longer present, and the Prospex X above the historical "Automatic" vintage font logo at 6. I observed the discussions that ensued, and was left with the positives of the excellent 6R35 movement easily tipping the scales on the plus side. This time the new Seiko Alpinist SPB155J and its siblings SPB157J and SPB159J are…

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18.09.2020

Get ready, one more sleep till you can order the ultimate unisex summer watch, the Unimatic x Mihara Yasuhiro U1-MY2

Unimatic's tough Italian exterior gets the touch of Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro in a marriage of crisp white Cerakote™ and extreme minimalism. Unimatic, based in Milan, has a strong reputation for their no-nonsense tough 40mm tool watches, with their bold cases and stubby-perfect 49mm lug-to-lug length. With the Unimatic x Mihara Yasuhiro they have managed to bridge the divide between horology and Hypebeast. This is their second collaborative project this year, with the previous project being the instantly sold out Unimatic x Massena Lab neo-vintage version of this same U1. This time they're back with a focus on purity, both…

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Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph 13.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, a pinnacle of complexity within the range

Close to being at a loss for words … almost thankful that I haven't got this on my wrist for a hands-on review as I would not leave the house. Email to Director: Self-imposed lockdown initiated, reason — the new Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph needs a full 10 days of attention, all Wi-Fi and mobile communication hereby disconnected. Let's start with the obvious. The CODE 11.59 range has been expanded this year with new references featuring more expressive colours. From the first image alone, it is clear that this is something completely different again. The Tourbillon Chronograph…

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11.09.2020

What nickname has Instagram settled on for the Rolex Submariner ref. 126619LB in white gold?

Now that Rolex has released watches and ended that dreadful rumour that they were sitting 2020 out, the important work begins. Nicknaming them. The one that has perhaps caused the most contention, is this one, the Submariner ref. 126619LB in white gold.   We're going to tell you everything you need to know about it below. But first, some data. We asked Instagram what its nickname should be. Our favourites are as follows: Sonic. BMW (or Beemer). Blueberry. Sega. Add to these a decidedly not-catchy suggestion of "I wish the stupid nickname game would stop and availability happens." The winner,…

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Grand Seiko SBGC238 07.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The new Grand Seiko SBGC238 Limited Edition Spring Drive Chronograph is futuristic, aggressive, brilliant

I am beginning to run out of synonyms for the scope of Grand Seiko for 2020, with yet another impressive reference being pulled out of what seems to be a very deep hat. This time we are looking at the Grand Seiko SBGC238, a limited edition of the largest most angular case possibly ever from the brand. It is a shape that echoes strength in a futuristic form that, in spite of its angular weapons-grade appearance, sits very comfortable on the wrist, once again setting the bar for large-case ergonomics.  The case Yes, we are looking at a large chunk…

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Limited Edition in 18k white gold 06.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The menthol-fresh Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Limited Edition in 18k white gold

In a week marked by the one-millimetre revolution, Audemars Piguet has quietly tip-toed into the room and released a frosty breeze of a limited Royal Oak to everyone's surprise. As if by magic, a new reference of the perfectly sized 39mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Limited Edition in 18k white gold appeared on their website.  This is no revolution, but rather a superb dial colour variation suiting the white gold to a tee. I'm thinking this is a sharp move by AP, though with a short 100-piece production run they might be gone rather quickly, as this combination is a…

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sub-40mm Technical Divers 05.09.2020

5 heavy-duty dive watches from a range of price points that don't monster the wrist – all sub-40mm

Many of us are re-evaluating our preferred size of watches, as the trend is ever-increasing (or should that be shrinking?) towards 36-40mm watches for men, with vintage vibes. In my case, it's a matter of practicality. My wrist is on the slender side and I wear a shirt most days, so a 45mm wrist chunk is not going to work. The increasing range of options is a godsend for many of us.  But have diminishing sizes hit all categories? Let's say we're looking for a tough, no-nonsense modern tool watch that can take a beating. In other words, a diver.…

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Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series 01.09.2020

INTRODUCING: The Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series is yet another competitively priced collection for dial fetishists

Seiko Presage is the sharp alternative between everyday Seiko and the mythical big brother Grand Seiko, with a price range coinciding with the Prospex range and an emphasis on dressy references with a classic Japanese twist. During the last couple of years, Presage has mainly been known for their very popular Cocktail Time series, with a typical Seiko focus on superb value for money – especially in their choice of colourful and elaborate dials. As with their ever-expanding Prospex series, we are now seeing a proper step up in style with the new Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series.  In this…

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best dials of 2020 31.08.2020

The best dials of 2020 – Part 2

Editor's note: If you missed Part 1, make sure you check it out as it includes the likes of Moser, Chopard and Greubel Forsey. In the best dials of 2020 Part 2 we keep the eye-catching dials rolling, from affordable microbrands all the way to the most haute of horology. Enjoy!  anOrdain Model 2 Time-consuming vitreous enamel with a high breakage quota, and a Scottish microbrand producing time-consuming small batches of 36mm watches. This quirky combination must have been a hard sales pitch to secure funding from the bank managers, but had they seen the end result, the arguments would…

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Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic 30.08.2020

INTRODUCING: The breathtaking and brutally slim Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic

Let's be honest, 2020 is not just a year of disastrous market decline, job losses and lockdowns. This year has also been one of rapid change and lateral thinking within the horological community. There have also been many heartening examples of the show going on, despite the uncertain backdrop. And with another stunning timepiece in the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic, it's proof again that there's no stopping Jean-Christophe Babin and Bulgari, as we witness yet another record-breaking complication for the ultra-thin Octo Finissimo. What is a certainty is that the Finissimo line was launched only six years…

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Girard-Perregaux Infinity Editions 27.08.2020

INTRODUCING: The Girard-Perregaux Infinity Editions show their dark side at Geneva Watch Days

Girard-Perregaux is not holding back at the Geneva Watch Days, launching their complete but limited Infinity Editions, a tempting collection set around the dark opulent theme of gold, polished black onyx and titanium. At first, it seems an incongruous marriage of past and future: the rarely seen deep gloss black of onyx associated with jewellery and Rolex dials of the '70s, paired with what is still considered, in our traditional halls of Haute Horlogerie, futuristic titanium. Unusually and fascinatingly, Girard-Perregaux has darkened both limited editions of existing references and debuts their Free Bridge model. Join us as we visit the…

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best Beads-of-Rice bracelets 27.08.2020

3 of the best beads-of-rice bracelets on the market and the differences between them

The beads-of-rice bracelet, a bracelet design only a few years ago lost to the winds of time — a memory of stretched-out and rattly bracelets on a well-worn 35mm vintage gents watch. Or the mythical Gay Frères kind, one of the most sought-after. I'm embarrassed to admit that I once threw one in the trash, short of knowledge. As with many details of horological nature, the BOR bracelet has again come full circle, but tighter of tolerance, with a solid feel and on the cusp of becoming ubiquitous. If your memory is of the charmingly loose and jangly feeling of your…

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Best Dials of 2020 26.08.2020

The Best Dials of 2020 – Part 1

Me, I'm a dial man. Don't get me wrong, I love a sharp bevelled case and intricate movements, but what gets me first is the face of the watch. Here we'll look at 10 examples – over two stories, the second of which to follow in the coming days – of dial faces that could launch a thousand watch enthusiasts. Into bliss. From minimalist craftsmanship in precious metals to microbrand vitreous enamel, these are the best of the best. There's no need to underline the fact that 2020 has been a dramatic year, with a sharp downturn for the Swiss…

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Boldr Venture 24.08.2020

MICRO MONDAYS: The Boldr Venture might be the best value titanium watch on the market

Yes, it's a very bold opening line. In fact, this is no boldr (sorry!) than a simple statement of the facts, should you sum up the parts, starting with a titanium watch with 200m water resistance for under $300 USD including shipping. Boldr Supply Co. is an established microbrand with five watch lines, and a solid community following of their watches and accessories for the self-categorised Urban Explorer. The two questions you're likely to ask yourself: How is it possible to have a stock model in titanium with a low might-never-happen-Kickstarter project price? Is the compact field watch that is…

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Girard-Perregaux Laureato 23.08.2020

IN-DEPTH: Girard-Perregaux Laureato Vs. the Laureato Absolute Chronograph – the Beauty and The Beast

If you were to pick Girard-Perregaux's Jekyll & Hyde, this would be the pair of watches that fit the bill; the Laureato 38mm and the Laureato Absolute Chronograph. Girard-Perregaux is a distinguished but quiet presence on the horological scene, and have a history whose shadow and depth extends well beyond the brand's current day reputation. And when we are talking about the modern era and the category du jour: steel sports watch with integrated bracelets, GP are well and truly in the game with the Laureato range, reissued in 2017, based on the 1975 hit. This, however, is a tale…

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best Scandinavian watches 21.08.2020

The Nordic way – 5 of the best Scandinavian watch brands, and the models they are known for

The Arctic is a tough environment with long dark winters, where the isolation breeds creativity and a certain strict code of design, whether they be the toughest tool watches or classic dress pieces in a Scandinavian pared-down aesthetic. Regardless of the style of watch, there is a design language that defines the Nordic region. Here are five of the best Scandinavian watch brands out there, and some of their best known models.  5 of the best Scandinavian watch brands Linde Werdelin Oktopus MoonLite – a tough tool with an astronomic twist The masters of Nordic tools, Linde Werdelin, originate from…

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Seiko SLA037 Omega Seamaster 300 review 15.08.2020

IN-DEPTH: A top-of-the line Seiko diver, SLA037 Vs. the lesser-seen Omega Seamaster 300, same price, different experience?

Editor's note: Here we continue a new style of review that pits two similarly specced watches against each other, in an arena that is less touched up, and more true to the naked eye than our usual images. Last week we had a super-popular Seiko and the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. While both alike in specs, they were at very different price points. So, this time we thought we'd pit two dive watches with similar specs and aesthetics – from the golden mid-century era – and almost an identical price, against each other. There is extra sass here, because one is proof…

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Glashütte Original SeaQ diamonds 11.08.2020

INTRODUCING: The Glashütte Original SeaQ – a 39.5mm dive watch with a diamond bezel? Sorry, what?

Watching Andrew in the Virtual Baselworld 2020 recap I had a deep understanding of the distracted description of the glacial blue degradè dial of the Sixties pieces from Glashütte Original. Today I'm quietly drawn to something that is so far removed from my vintage diver tool-tastes that I am genuinely surprised. Glashütte Original is the independent child in the Swatch Group family, left to their own devices in the German mountains, with the result being a superb range of classic Germanic horology infused with a strong identity and in-house production. Their fascinating mix of strictly traditional watchmaking, in their Senator series,…

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Sinn U50 SDR 09.08.2020

HANDS-ON: The Sinn U50 SDR is submarine tough, but mighty slim and perfectly sized at 40mm

A neutron star is tiny, at an average 20km in diameter, but incredibly dense. Its mass is equivalent to 1.5 times our Sun – which has room for more than a million Earths. How does this set the backdrop to a review of the fêted Sinn U50 SDR, the first-ever Sinn with a waiting list?  Physics and astronomy is an unusual starting point for a watch review, but stay with me…! Thanks to the generous engineers at Sinn Spezialuhren in Frankfurt, I have had the new Sinn U50 diver comfortably on my wrist for a couple of weeks, and the…

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Tudor Black Bay 58 Vs. Seiko Prospex SPB147 08.08.2020

IN DEPTH: The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Vs. Seiko Prospex SPB147J – the battle of gilty pleasures

If a watch has become synonymous with the One Watch Collection, a quintessential vintage diver, or the perfect Sub reissue Rolex never released, it's the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. In fact, care of the recent navy blue update, it's currently as viral as the AD waiting lists are long. Personally, I love vintage tool watches, and especially the quiet bling that a warm touch of gold brings to the party. But can we find alternatives in the same perfect 38-40mm size from another big box brand? Yes, we can — from Seiko, well known for their brilliant vintage reissues, but…

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Rolex GMT-Master 1675 02.08.2020

LONG READ: I did not want to like the vintage Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master ref. 1675. It had other plans.

I have had enough of vintage Rolex. Really, enough. Hyped out. Even in the darkest days of lockdown I would skip Hodinkee's Talking Watches episodes focusing on GMT-Master references and vintage Rolex collections … bring me some carbon fibre! Why, then, do I find myself standing here outside the house of the owner of a 1969 Rolex GMT-Master 1675 feeling sick and wanting to leave? Caressing the scratched lug for the last time, trying to read the surface like braille, encoding the history within. I did not want to hand it back. A weekend with the iconic Rolex "Pepsi" 1675 I'm…

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MB&F X L'EPÉE X MASSENA LAB 31.07.2020

INTRODUCING: MB&F x L'Epée x Massena LAB

How can a table clock be desirable? My thought process is well on the way to becoming coherent, meaning Sellable To The Wife. She has a background as a buyer in the oil business, so I can't tell her that the need for a USD$27,000 non-wearable time piece is driven by desire.  The title of my presentation (with PowerPoint?): How to justify the purchase of a USD$27,000 table clock with a T-Rex theme. Well, actually, just the skeletonised legs and one eye, but beautifully made … It will be made more difficult by her not knowing what Max Büsser and…

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Garbage Watch 25.07.2020

INTRODUCING: The Garbage Watch is a piece of trash and they know it

Not the zingiest name I've come across, I must admit. Is this a statement, an actual watch – or something stolen by an Area 51 engineer from an alien craft?  It might be all of the above and, boy, it's brash and edgy (pun intended). Consider this an ongoing story as much as it is a watch. While everyone is staring goggle-eyed at the bold architectural structure with its bombardment of colours and textures, I will endeavour to explain the mission of this Garbage Watch. Vollebak is at the cutting edge of high-tech fashion, and this is their first watch.…

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Linde Werdelin 3 Timer GMT blue dial 10.07.2020

IN-DEPTH: Linde Werdelin release '3 Timer' GMT in sandblasted steel with stunning blue gradient dial, limited to just 55

No fauxtina, no sub 40mm case and seemingly hewn out of a three ton block of arctic granite … I am blown away by how something so big can be so refreshing. A massive chunk of sandblasted blue freshness. You can tell by my name that I might have a Nordic bias here – but my personal preference is small, vintage, with a hint of bling. Yes, everything the Linde Werdelin range is not. Still, I feel myself drawn to this big chunk of a watch, seemingly made for my demigod namesake and not for my puny wrists. The lineage…

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