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Li Wang

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The Oris Aquis 39.5: Sized just right for many

We’ve recently gushed about the Tudor Black Bay 58, which is a new soon-to-be release under-40mm version of their popular vintage-inspired dive watch. Oris, a brand we unabashedly love, also introduced a smaller version of their flagship entry-level diver the Oris Aquis Date. The Oris Aquis 39.5 is a return to the 40mm case size range for this model (after a brief discontinuation), and it sure looked and felt great when we got to try them on first hand at the Oris booth at Baselworld 2018.

39.5 mm to the left, 43.5 mm version to the right

For most guys, the 40-39mm sized case for a dive watch works well. After all, the Rolex Submariner has been this size since the dawn of its existence. This size doesn’t look puny on a big wrist and doesn’t look massive on a small wrist. And if you have an average sized wrist, the 40mm-ish sport watch case size looks just right for modern times.

When we spoke to Oris’ media reps, they confirmed that the company does pay attention to customer feedback very closely and the smaller Aquis was a response to requests for a smaller sized version. Oris’ motto is “Real watches for real people,” which is a philosophy that has really translated into Oris’ product line. Nothing is very flashy, and their designs are, for the most part, very original across their lineup.

At a quick glance, the Aquis Date doesn’t look that far from other classic divers. Upon closer inspection one notices a circular case shape with a proprietary lugs to bracelet/band interface. The bracelet is incredible for a sub-$2,000 watch and the entire watch feels very solid and ready to take on some rough usage (should you choose).

What we’ve always liked about the Aquis line is that it offers modern bells and whistles without excess. The scratch-proof ceramic bezel insert, dependable Selita SW 200-1 base movement with 38-hour power reserve, and 300 meter water resistance rating has this watch inline with other divers that aim to be “professional standard.” Available in a beautiful blue sunburst as well as traditional black dial (in either matte or glossy), the Oris Aquis Date 39.5 is a strong contender is the sub-40mm diver category.

 

Rolex

The ceramic Submariner 114060 vs. 14060

I had the pinnacle of the modern sport Rolex, a ceramic bezel no-date Submariner 114060. I eventually sold it for its aluminum bezel predecessor, the 14060m. Same movement, much different case, bezel insert and bracelet. Let’s take a look at the Submariner 114060 vs. 14060.

Photo credit: Apia Creations

For me, the older version’s case is more streamlined, with thinner lugs and a bezel insert that’s easily replaceable if damaged. The old rattly bracelet feels a lot cheaper, but it wears very comfortably. Of course modern sport Rolex bracelets are amazing feats of engineering and design. The Glidelock clasp works well for on-the-fly micro adjustments, but fortunately for me, my wrist doesn’t swell up that much in the heat, so minute changes in bracelet size aren’t as meaningful to me.

Gridlock allows for tool-free micro adjustments.

The old style micro adjustment requires a toothpick to make adjustments.

The dial of the 114060 uses blue Chromalite lume, which emits a blue glow, whereas the older 14060 uses a green lume. The new blue lume looks amazing and wins out here. While there’s  nothing wrong functionally with the green, the blue appears very clean and matches the overall luxury feel of the modern sport Rolex.

The 14060 has a smaller dial markers that the ceramic version.

The ceramic bezel version features larger dial markers and looks great on an Everest Band, we must say.

The cerachrom ceramic bezel on the 114060 won’t fade or scratch. The traditional aluminum bezel may scratch or fade, but is less-expensive to replace. Both look very sharp, as Submariners can be identified by the crisp bezel insert from a distance.

The 14060m version also features the same movement as the 114060, the 3130, which features a Parachrom hairspring, which Rolex says makes the movement more resistant to magnetism and shock. The 14060 sans “m” designation does not offer this feature, but many owners of the older movement report no issues in timekeeping and basic durability.

The bottom line

I chose to keep the older 14060m because of the case shape. It has thinner lugs and looks leaner, less boxy. This look suits my lifestyle as I transition between wearing a sport coat and dress shirt to T-shirt and chinos quite often. The more subdued look of the aluminum bezel Submariner works better for me.

That said if you favor a more flashy Sub with an bracelet that feels extremely solid, the 114060 is a no-brainer. Its case shape is sportier and more casual, which may also work well for you if you have a dressier watch to wear with dressier clothes.

 

Panerai

Our take on the smaller Panerai Due

The Everest/Monta crew hit up the Panerai boutique in Lucerne during one of our days off from Baselworld 2018. Two of us gravitated towards the more traditional sized 44mm-47mm models, while the other two guys with us tried on the smaller watches in the brand lineup, the newish Panerai Due line. Just this week Hodinkee posted a review of the 38mm Due, which, predictably, had most of its comments focused on the low water resistance rating of 30 meters and how that is inherently contradictory to the brand’s tool-watch heritage.

So how do we feel about these smaller Panerai watches?

OK, but…

The truth is: In the real world a lot of non-watch people will recognize the Panerai esthetic—simple dials with oversized cases and a signature Luminor crown guard. So for some people, the new smaller and thinner Due models offer the Panerai look without the bulk. So even with the snap on caseback and measly 30 meter water resistance, people who choose the Due get that brand recognition on the wrist when sitting in a business meeting. For men, the smaller size does allow you to fit the Due underneath a shirt cuff.

However…

Even with the practical elements of a smaller, slimmed down Panerai, we are still in the camp of “If you’re going to get a Panerai, get a Panerai!” It’s like if you have decide to eat a chocolate chip cookie, enjoy a full-on version, not some “healthier” take with less sugar or more fiber. So if you like the Panerai look, go for the classic larger case sized models. Save it for more casual outfits and proudly rock a watch that might be too big for you in the traditional sense. We recommend getting your feet wet with one of the Panerai Base models, such as the 8 Days Acciaio.

The Base Logo remains one of the most popular models with Panerai fans as it remains true to the company’s heritage in the looks department.

Our colleague @chronos_1010 is also a Panerai fan and when’s he’s not spending time with his GMT II or Sub, he’s been wearing his limited edition PAM911, which features a seductive green dial. He’s also owned the PAM372, a popular 47mm case model that uses a 1950-style case and Plexiglass crystal and has a dial reminiscent of the vintage Reference 6512. Both watches are big and simple, yet have a elegant beauty in the overall package.

 

 

Dealer Spotlight

Dealer spotlight: The crown jewel of Boca

One of our top dealers of Everest Bands is Jewels in Time in Boca Raton, Florida. Not only does the store carry the most coveted high-end timepieces, they have an in-house team of Swiss-certified watchmakers for watch repair, service and restoration.

The store’s customers have adopted Jewels in Time as the go-to place to shop for family heirlooms. There are many stories of graduation gifts, wedding presents and watches bought by grandfathers for grandsons. One attorney won his first case and purchased his first Rolex to commemorate the victory.


The owners founded the store on the principle of “offering fair value prices to the public on high grade timepieces, diamonds and estate jewelry.”

They carry major brands, including Patek Philippe, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Ulysse Nardin, and Rolex. Jewels in Time also carries a large selection of pre-owned watches and provides a custom-design service for updating old jewelry or creating that very special and individualized piece.

Jewels in Time is a located in the heart of Palm Beach County at 4400 North Federal Highway, Suite 116, in Boca Raton. Follow them on Instagram @JewelsInTimeInc. Call 1.888.755-TIME

Tudor

The Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight: Hitting the Sweet Spot

Photo by Dante Barger for Bezel and Barrel

One of the announcements at this year’s Baselworld that caught us off guard, but very happy was the first sightings of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, a smaller version of Tudor’s popular vintage style dive watch. Critics of the original Black Bay felt it was too large and too thick, a trait that accentuates the tall slab sides of the case. Tudors appears to have addressed those points with the a new version of the Black Bay that possesses a 39mm case with an 11.9mm thickness… and they fit in their in-house movement. Black Bay critics were shushed, well, at the least the ones who didn’t feel the need to complain about the use of gold on the dial and bezel insert markers.

What’s also cool are the small details like the matte dial with gilt accents. Unlike the first generation Black Bays, this latest iteration does not have a colored crown tube, with will please traditionalists. Dive watches on leather straps are scorned by some, but in this instance the pairing really works in the looks department. Faux vintage means you can get away with the whole faux vintage look. Remember, we’re talking about watches here, no need to get too uptight on the imaginary rules of the hobby.

The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight contains the in-house MT5402 movement, which is COSC-certified and has a power reserve of about 70 hours. What we like about this new model, which should be hitting stores late summer (according to ADs we’ve spoken to), is that it provides the best esthetic attributes of a vintage Submariner (no crown guards!), yet retains the traits that make it distinctly Tudor (snowflake hands). Tudor, for the most part, can still fly under the radar in scenarios where rocking a Rollie can be considered flaunting one’s status. We, of course, don’t feel that wearing a Rolex is a signifier of wealth, but unfortunately that perception exists. With the Black Bay Fifty-Eight the owner can own a watch that wears like a traditional Sub and at the same time stand out from the Submariner crowd, which in certain situations it seems like a big crowd indeed.

Photos courtesy of Tudor

Priced at $3,575 on a bracelet, this model should be very tempting for anyone thirsting for a vintage style diver with modern features. It’s definitely a very versatile offering and we think Tudor nailed the look and feel completely. For more information, visit TudorWatch.com.

Sinn

The Sinn 103 Sa BE Pilot Chronograph

First of all, let’s give proper respect to the cream hands and markers on the blue dial of the Sinn 103 Sa BE. While not everyone is on-board with faux patina, it this case the color of the lume just works so well against the particular shade of blue of this Sinn chronograph. In the end, why can’t we just call it French vanilla lume instead of placing meaning behind its esthetic?

Photo courtesy of Sinn

Not that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the watch itself (announced at Baselworld 2018) is stunning on the wrist. It’s masculine and bold with a 41mm case with a 17mm thickness, available in a two leather strap options (tan and blue) and two bracelet options (H-link and five link).

A Valjoux 7750 powers the watch, which features a nice clean day/date display and 20mm lug width. It also delivers 200m without the use of screw-down pusher, which is a very nice combination. For a Sinn watch, this model doesn’t have any of the technological advances Sinn is known for, such as hardened steel. It’s a functional, handsome, and basic watch—in a very good way. The pilot chronograph will get you through your days in style without fuss.

The Sinn 103 Sa BE Pilot Chronograph is $2,760 on strap, $2,950 on bracelet (Limited to 500 pieces) and available for reservation at WatchBuys.com.