By Marie A. Picon
Versatile, attractive and typically feature-packed, sport watches have been edging out dress watches as wardrobe essentials for years now. If your go-to daily wearer is more “garage” than “gala,” more “cockpit” than “conservatory,” then watchmakers had consumers like you in mind as they prepared for this year’s Couture and JCK trade shows in Las Vegas, where we found lots of interesting new sports watches.
Among the most notable exhibitors was Bremont, which showed two new models produced as part of its continuing partnership with aircraft giant Boeing. Like the hardened stainless steel that Bremont uses in other models, a prime feature of the Bremont Boeing Model 1 TI-GMT and the Bremont Boeing Model 247 TI-GMT chronograph is a super-strong material, specifically Boeing aviation-grade Ti 6-4 titanium. Each of the two models is 43 mm in diameter and has an anthracite-colored ceramic bezel, marking Bremont’s first use of high-tech ceramic. The dial features a stand-out GMT hand and some of the subtlest partnership branding we’ve seen, in the form of the seconds-hand pointer, inspired by an element in Boeing’s logo. Both new watches use COSC-certified automatic movements in anti-shock mounts. Available beginning in August, these watches are priced at $6,450–$7,495.
Ball, another brand we like here at ATimelyPerspective, introduced show-goers to a new version of its sold-out 40-mm Skindiver watch of 2013. The redesigned Engineer Master II Skindiver II is 43 mm in diameter and features a COSC-certified automatic chronometer movement, 500-meter water resistance and a helium release valve. One thing that hasn’t changed is the price: $2,799, the same as its predecessor’s. The dive watch is expected in stores at the end of this month. Later this year, watch for the Engineer II Volcano, which premieres a patented carbide composite case material. Extremely lightweight and supremely scratch resistant, the black composite has the added advantage of being a solid colored material. If it should ever scratch, the scratch will appear black as well; there’s no silvery substrate to show through. This 45-mm automatic day/date piece is also COSC-certified. Packaged with both rubber and canvas straps, it will carry a $3,700 price tag.
The recently resurrected Waltham brand draws on a wealth of historical American watchmaking achievement, but its Swiss-made debut collection emphasizes contemporary style with beefed up, angular cases and refined finishes. There are three models, each offered in three finishes, and each named in honor of a notable Waltham aircraft clock from the past. The XA Pure, for example, references the Waltham XA Type 37 used by Charles Lindbergh. Prices start at $5,500.
At the higher end of the price scale, luxury watch and jewelry maker Chopard has a brand new 1,000-piece limited edition that’s sure to rev the engines of classic racing enthusiasts everywhere. The Mille Miglia 2015 Race Edition shows off a bright red dial and a racing glove–inspired calfskin strap. The COSC-certified chronometer movement is self-winding and has power reserve indication and a stop-seconds function for precise setting. It is offered in stainless steel (1,000 pieces, priced at $6,980) and in Chopard 18-karat rose gold (100 pieces, $22,730).
And there were plenty of others. Tutima exhibited the M2 Pioneer chronograph—with in-house automatic movement—in pearl-blasted titanium with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal that appears virtually invisible against the matte-finished velvet-black dial. The four variants of this model range in price from $6,500 to $7,500. (You can read more about this watch here.)
Frederique Constant unveiled a new limited edition quartz chronograph (2,888 pieces, $3,795) in its Vintage Rally Healey collection, a tribute to classic Healey cars. Alpina showed its 44-mm Seastrong Diver 300 quartz chronographs in steel with appealing new aluminum bezels in bordeaux, gray, burnt orange and navy blue ($1,295). This brand also previewed its forthcoming launch of supple, striped NATO straps to fit any of its 44-mm watches; a set of four will retail for around $200.
With so much variety, it seems as if there is something for everyone among this year’s sports watch offerings. But for those who still can’t find their ideal sports watch, Ernst Benz offers custom configured timepieces in the same price range as the regular production timepieces in its expansive collections ($2,500 to about $9,000 for basic automatic mechanical pieces). Watch for this brand to launch a new configurator app later this year.