The Weekly Round-up: 18th May 2020
We are back! The third installment of ‘A Week in Watches’. Considering this is currently week 10 of isolation, to say that I am losing my marbles would be somewhat of an understatement. Luckily for me, and you, we have this fantastic hobby to keep us occupied! So sit back, relax, and let us take a look at what has happened this week in the horological universe.
Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze
Baltic are very quickly becoming a serious player in the ‘affordable’ watch space. Whilst they are still classed as a microbrand, I would say at this stage they are only in the sense of scale. Their timeless and nerdy designs, coupled with collaborations with the likes of Worn & Wound are putting them firmly on the map. I would bet it has got to the point where even ‘non-watch’ people might start to know who they are. And their new release of the pillar of their collection, the Aquascaphe, now in bronze, is a very cool addition.
I still have not quite made up my mind about whether I like bronze as a case material or not. There are certain applications which I loath, and others which I love. The Undone x Simple Union being one that falls into the latter camp (pictured below). And I feel like it might be joined by this Baltic. This piece retains the superb vintage dimensions (39mm wide and 12mm deep) as well as a gorgeous sunray blue dial. I think once the case starts to patinate, it will really make that dial pop. Ultimately bronze is a fairly polarising area of watchmaking, and whilst a bronze watch is not a viable daily (It just isn’t so don’t bother trying to justify it) as a summer watch or a weekend piece I think it can add some real fun to a collection, so well done Baltic!
Photo Credit: Fiftyfathomsmilspec on Instagram
De Bethune DBX28XP
Now, we are going from one of my favourite brands at the lower end of the spectrum to one of my favourite brands at the dizzying top end of the spectrum, De Bethune. De Bethune are this year celebrating 10 years of their innovative and wacky watchmaking, and they are doing it by celebrating one of their most iconic models, the DB28. Now, I appreciate that De Bethune is pretty polarising watchmaking, but even if you would not wear one, you have to appreciate the sheer watchmaking brilliance that goes into their watches. Amongst a whole host of technical achievements, they are credited with inventing the most ingenious lug system I have ever seen. If you are not aware of what I am talking about, look into the ‘floating lugs’ that De Bethune have come up with, it is ingenious and aesthetically stunning.
This piece, the DBX28XP ‘Extra Flat’ utilises this ingenious lug mechanism, as well as Titanium as the case material, making it light as a feather. Unlike the standard DB28, this special piece does away with the moonphase and is upsized in case diameter to 43mm, but smoothed down from 9.3mm to 7.2mm. This is capped off by a totally bonkers in-house movement, which has more patents attached to I thought it was possible, and you have what I think is one of the coolest pieces of watchmaking. To coin a phrase that I came up with with a few friends a number of years ago, this is the definition of ‘horny horology’. To say that this watch gives me a tingly feeling in the pants region is a complete understatement.
However, as is often the case with watches that are this awesome, owning one of these does come at a price. £64,000 could buy you a lot of things, 32,000 pints at my local (in East London you will be surprised to hear) or 64,000 penny sweets, the list of sensible alternatives really is endless.This watch hits the same spot for me as MB&F, it is unusual, technically amazing, and so futuristic I do sometimes wonder where the team at De Bethune are actually from the year 2200, and I love it.
Photo Credit: Hodinkee
Urwerk UR-100 gold auction
Following on from last week’s debrief about the Urban Jurgensen Big 8 “London Edition” for A Collected Man, which are for sale to raise money for COVID-19, this week Urwerk have followed suit with this, A gold version of the UR-100. The auction, which took place on Urwek’s website, allowed the winner to specify the chosen charity whom they would like to donate too, a very nice touch.
The watch itself is honed from a block of 2N yellow gold. Which for Urwerk is actually something that they only really dabble in. The cool thing about this particular execution of gold is that it is inspired by Star Wars, the hueue taken from the colour of, you guessed it, C-3PO! It also, instead of featuring the number of pieces ‘25 PCS’ this particular UR-100 has ‘FIGHT C19’ instead, again another nice touch.
Outside of this watch being awesome, it also highlights the brilliance of this hobby. Brands are now doing whatever they can to help the efforts to end this pandemic.
Photo Credit: Hodinkee
MB&F L’Epee 1839 Starfleet Explorer
As well as making truly bonkers and awesome watches, MB&F have also been known for making desk clocks and other devices that tell the time. In 2014, MB&F partnered with L’Epee to release a truly bonkers table clock. Now, 6 years later, they have partnered again to release this, the 1839 Starfleet Explorer.
Photo Credit: Hodinkee
This, along with some of the other creations that MB&F have come up with, are the epitome of fun in watches. Who needs a desk clock that looks like a space station?! Absolutely no one… But everyone should be able to appreciate the fun that would be evoked through having one of these sitting on the corner of your desk. This particular clock comes in at 16.5cm across and 11cm tall. It comes with an eight-day movement, so for a week it takes care of itself. The time is displayed on two stacked disks, the top displaying minutes, and the lower displaying hours. Coming in three colour accent options (Red, Green and Blue) this truly is a piece of art. I cannot imagine ever really looking at this on my desk to check the time, being a watch wearer. But as effectively a piece of horological art, these are something absolutely awesome. However, being a limited edition of 99 pieces per colour, and setting you back around £8,300, this is a purchase for a collector who has that sort of cash lying around and doesn’t want to spend it on a watch! You can find them here if you would so like.
Once again, thank you for tuning into my little round-up of some of the watch news of the week! I must say I am thoroughly enjoying having the freedom to look at a number of different pieces of news from the week, alongside a more focussed piece of editorial, which you can find on the website. But as always, have an enjoyable and restful weekend, and come back next week for more of the same.