月度归档:2019年05月

Comparing the Rolex Submariner to the GMT-Master II

Two watches, perhaps the two most well-known in Rolex’s sports watch lineup, have amazing similarities, and one can be forgiven for confusing them at a distance. These two watches are, of course, the Submariner dive watch (ref. 116610) and the GMT-Master II (we’ll call it the GMT for short, but we’re talking about the current ref. 116710).

The Submariner GMT Master Comparison

The individual histories of the Submariner and the GMT are well documented elsewhere, so let’s compare and contrast the two current models.

Here is the comparison between the Submariner and the GMT-Master II.

Similarities

First, the similarities. The Submariner and the GMT-Master II are luxury watches. Both watches are currently housed in the 40mm diameter so-called “super case” with a ceramic or Cerachrom bezel insert. This case, done in 904L stainless steel, debuted in 2007 with the GMT (the Submariner received the new case a year later). There are minute differences in the two cases, but you need to set them side by side and look very closely to see them.

Rolex Submariner 116610LV “Hulk” is housed in a 904L case, the same as the GMT-Master II.

Both watches buckle to your wrist with the current Oyster bracelet. And of course, the movements of both watches are COSC certified chronometers.

But the bracelets are where we begin to see differences between the Sub and the GMT. The Submariner gets Rolex’s folding Oysterlock safety clasp with their Glidelock extension system. The GMT’s Oyster bracelet, on the other hand, buckles with a simpler folding Oysterlock safety clasp with and Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link. There have been multiple cases where the Submariner and the GMT are compared.

The GMT-Master and the Submariner have a few different aspects that give it an edge.

Differences

The biggest difference between the two watches is the GMT’s additional hour hand tipped with a triangular “arrowhead.” This hand indicates the hours in 24-hour format. This fourth hand can be set independently of the main hour hand, and the 24-hour time is marked on the bi-directional rotating bezel.

The Submariner and the GMT are very similar, but also very different.

In fact, when moving across time zones, one can move the GMT’s regular hour hand to reset to local time without affecting the 24 hour hand’s position. This makes such adjustments easy and routine for the busy traveler.

The Submariner, on the other hand, is a classic three-handed watch – hours, minutes, seconds. It’s available with or without a date function. It’s available in all-steel, two-tone steel and yellow gold, yellow gold, and white gold, each with the revolutionary ceramic “Cerachrom” bezel.

Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR has an additional hand to measure the 24-hour day.

With the Submariner, choices of bezel and dial colors depending on the metal chosen means you have numerous variations from which to choose. The uni-directional bezel is marked in typical dive watch fashion of five minute increments, numbers each ten minutes, and the first fifteen minutes in one-minute tick marks.

The GMT-Master has polished center links on their bracelet, while the Submariner has a uniform bracelet design.

The GMT’s Cerachrom bezel, on the other hand, is marked in 24 one hour increments (digits on the even hours). It’s currently offered in a couple of two-tone color schemes – black/blue “Batman” (steel only) and red/blue “Pepsi” (white gold only), or all black (steel, two-tone steel and gold, and yellow gold).

Even though the GMT features Rolex’s patented Triplock screw-down crown system, the watch is only rated to 100M/330Ft (in all metals). The Submariner is rated to 300M or 1000Ft. This is interesting, given that both watches are housed in the super case.

So there you have it. The Submariner and the GMT-Master II are fraternal twins, nearly identical, but each with its own capabilities.

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The New Breitling Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition

We can only imagine that the CEOs of other luxury watch brands are wondering if Breitling can actually kick-start a trend with its new conservation-oriented timepieces. On May 10th, the Swiss powerhouse known for its aviation-inspired watches launched their latest limited-edition chronograph in Bali, which commemorates the brand’s partnership with Ocean Conservancy.

Ocean Conservancy

The nonprofit environmental advocacy group “helps formulate ocean policy at the federal and state government levels based on peer-reviewed science” to tackle threats to ocean wildlife and ecosystems. A worthy cause if not one that we immediately associate with watches costing tens of thousands of dollars. Of course there’s a celebrity name involved as well: Kelly Slater, winner of 11 world surfing championships and the key member of Breitling’s Surfer Squad.

The Surfer Squad, which also includes Australians, Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore, is part of Breitling’s campaign to “celebrate the collective spirit of squads united in pursuit of their mission.” In addition to the Surfers Squad, there is the Cinema Squad (featuring Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron), the Explorer Squad and the Jet Squad.

In Bali, Breitling organized its guests as well as local volunteers in a beach cleanup initiative. “I always say – and I believe that I can speak on behalf of the entire Surfers Squad – that beaches are, in effect, our offices,” Slater said at the event. “What we have seen here and on beaches and in oceans around the world is shocking, and I would like to thank Breitling and Ocean Conservancy for their shared fight against plastic pollution. Everyone can contribute to a cleaner environment – for ourselves and for future generations.”

The Breitling Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition

As for the 44mm watch itself, limited to just 1,000 pieces, it’s most distinctive features are a caseback that is engraved with the Ocean Conservancy logo and the limited edition number, and a pair of NATO straps made of ECONYL yarn, an innovative material repurposed from nylon waste, “one source of which is fishing nets from oceans around the world,” Breitling notes.

The unidirectional rotating bezel is a standard Superocean feature, but the dot at 2 o’clock as well as the minute and hour hands are coated with Super-LumiNova that emits a blue light instead of the usual green. In keeping with the same theme, there are also blue accents and a blue central second hand, in addition to tone-on-tone sub-dials with blue accents. Lastly, like its siblings in the Superocean Heritage collection, the new Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition is powered by Breitling’s self-winding Caliber 13 movement, offering users a 48-hour power reserve.

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The Evolution of the Rolex Datejust

Often times, the most important and dependable things in life are not the most exciting or the most passionately discussed. Many of the objects that fall into this category are so perfect at performing their fundamental tasks, that their designs hardly ever change throughout the years, and they rarely become the hot discussion topics that circulate passionately among collectors and enthusiasts.

For Rolex, no other watch in their collection better embodies this ethos than the humble and iconic Datejust. While some of Rolex’s most famous watch collections are characterized by their continuous evolution and the implementation of radical design enhancements, the history and evolution of the Rolex Datejust is marked by consistency, and how this single watch has served as the backbone of Rolex’s catalog since its introduction nearly three quarters of a century ago.

The Evolution Of The Rolex Datejust

The very first Rolex Datejust made its debut in 1945 as a means to commemorate the company’s 40th anniversary. At the time, the Rolex Datejust was the world’s very first self-winding wristwatch to feature a date window that would automatically change over at midnight. Although this functionality may now seem rather commonplace, it was the Datejust that first introduced this feature, and forever set the standard for how a date complication on a wristwatch should function.

Since its initial introduction, the Rolex Datejust has remained in continuous production, and it has appeared with a wide selection of different case sizes, metal options, dials, bezels, and bracelets. Although the Datejust has constantly been evolving as Rolex refines and improves its design, the modern version of the Datejust is still very much the same watch that Rolex first unveiled to the public nearly three quarters of a century ago.

For more information on the history and evolution of the Rolex Datejust, check out our Rolex Datejust history page and be sure to watch the accompanying video, where we go over the entire history of the Rolex Datejust, from its introduction in 1945 (before it even received its “Datejust” name), all the way through the arrival of its most recent updates.

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What is a Rolex Nipple Dial?

In the vintage Rolex community, there are some unique terms and names that come up often to describe certain design traits or particular watches. Take for example the “nipple dial”—a nickname coined by collectors and used today to describe a particular dial style. Read on to learn about the Rolex nipple dial and which Rolex watches you can find them on. It all started with the GMT-Master.

What Is A Rolex Nipple Dial?

The nipple dial is a specific dial style found on select vintage Rolex GMT-Master and vintage Submariner watches with slightly protruding hour markers made of precious metals. These applied round indexes are always crafted in yellow gold and are filled with luminescence for optimal legibility in low light.

Sitting alongside the applied yellow gold round hour markers on the Rolex nipple dials are the familiar baton markers at 6 and 9 o’clock, in addition to the inverted triangular index at 12 o’clock. Mimicking the style of the round ones, these three indexes are also applied, yellow gold, and lume-filled. Depending on the watch, some nipple dials can be black, brown, or blue.

Where Are Rolex Nipple Dials Found?

Rolex no longer manufactures the nipple-style dial so you can only find it on a few vintage Rolex models in gold or in two-tone gold and steel.

For instance, when Rolex introduced the first GMT-Master in the mid-1950s, the yellow gold versions of the GMT-Master ref. 6542 came equipped with a brown nipple dial to match the brown Bakelite bezel and yellow gold case.

Other GMT-Master models that feature the Rolex nipple dial includes the yellow gold vintage GMT-Master ref. 1675/8, as well as the two-tone GMT-Master ref. 1675/3. The third generation of the GMT-Master came about in the early 1980s with the 1675x family of references. Interestingly, some yellow gold GMT-Master ref. 16758 and some two-tone GMT-Master 16753 watches still came with nipple dials while other housed dials with the flatter luminescent indexes with yellow gold surrounds.

In addition to vintage GMT-Master watches, there are also some vintage Submariner models that come fitted with nipple dials. In the late 1960s, Rolex unveiled the very first yellow gold Sub, the Submariner ref. 1680/8. Depending on the color of the bezel, the vintage yellow gold Submariner ref. 1680 can come with a matching black nipple dial or a matching blue nipple dial. In the late 1970s, Rolex launched the newest generation of the Submariner Date and the yellow gold Submariner ref. 16808 was again offered with either a black bezel and dial or blue bezel and dial combination, complete with nipple style dials.

Immediately recognizable thanks to its unique design, the Rolex nipple dial represents an important time in Rolex’s history when the brand’s tool watches took a turn to become luxurious sports watches, worn more so for status than for utility. Distinct, uncommon, and a historically significant part of the Rolex archives, vintage nipple dials are highly sought after in Rolex collecting circles.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak vs. Royal Oak Offshore

When a luxury watch brand has a hit on their hands, it is not uncommon for the company to create a spin-off of the popular model. It’s a way to create a new, often brasher, version of the watch for a new audience without alienating the fans of the original. Think the Rolex Deepsea to the Sea-Dweller, the Patek Aquanaut to the Nautilus, the Omega Planet Ocean to the Seamaster Diver.

The newer edition retains many of the fundamentals of the first but it is distinct enough – whether in size, functionality, or materials – to warrant its own name and collection. Another example of this is the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and its younger but beefier brother, the Royal Oak Offshore. Let’s take a look at the Royal Oak vs. Royal Oak Offshore to highlight their origins stories, similarities, and differences.

First Came The Royal Oak

The history of the Royal Oak watch is well documented. But in case you need a refresher, the Royal Oak was designed by prolific watch designer, Gerald Genta and launched by Audemars Piguet in 1972. It was unlike any watch on the market at the time. It had a large (for the era) 39mm case, an octagonal bezel secured to the middle case via exposed screws, a hobnail textured dial, and an integrated bracelet. Almost as audacious as its design was its hefty price tag (for a full stainless steel watch).

Unbeknownst to the designer and the brand at that time, the debut of the Royal Oak essentially laid the foundation for the entire luxury sports watch genre. Many other watchmakers would soon follow with their own expensive steel watches boasting non-traditional designs. Although there was plenty of resistance to the watch at first, the Royal Oak eventually became Audemars Piguet’s flagship timepiece. As a result, Audemars Piguet has produced countless versions of the Royal Oak over the years in varying materials, sizes, colors, and complications.

Then, The Royal Oak Offshore Followed

In 1993, Audemars Piguet shook up the conservative watch world yet again with the introduction of the Royal Oak Offshore. Using the Royal Oak watch as the foundation, designer Emmanuel Gueit added his own spin to Genta’s original design to create the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.

The maiden Royal Oak Offshore inflated the case size to a massive (again, for the time period) 42mm, placed a visible black gasket underneath the octagonal bezel, made the links on the integrated bracelet slightly curvier, and added black silicon caps on the chronograph pushers and winding crown. And just like the 1970’s Royal Oak, the 1990’s Royal Oak Offshore had its fair share of critics (side note: maybe this is a good sign for this year’s highly controversial release of the new Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 collection). In fact, not only did the Royal Oak Offshore pick up the unflattering nickname, the “Beast” but it’s been reported that even Genta accused Gueit of ruining his masterpiece. Tough crowd.

But just like its predecessor, the Royal Oak Offshore successfully carved out its space in the luxury watch landscape, and today it is a popular Audemars Piguet watch collection, independent of the original Royal Oak.

Differences & Similarities: Royal Oak Vs. Royal Oak Offshore

At first glance, it is easy to spot the design traits shared between Royal Oak (RO) and the Royal Oak Offshore (ROO); they do after all have similar shapes. However, if you look at them side by side, it is clear that the ROO is bulkier in size and personality.

Men’s Royal Oak watches are typically 41mm and smaller (there are exceptions with the ultra-complicated editions), while the men’s Royal Oak Offshore watches are characteristically 42mm and larger. Plus, almost all Royal Oak Offshore models are chronographs, making them even larger on the wrist. Although both watches are undeniably sporty, the Royal Oak Offshore has a bolder design approach, while the Royal Oak takes the subtler route. For instance, RO watches have thinner profiles than ROO watches. Plus, whereas the Royal Oak has a smaller hobnail pattern on the dial (“Petite Tapisserie”), the Royal Oak Offshore generally displays the bigger pattern (“Méga Tapisserie”).

The Royal Oak Offshore collection is home to plenty of colors, modern materials like rubber and ceramic, and primarily consists of chronographs and divers’ watches. On the other hand, the Royal Oak watches lean more towards traditional metals, leather, classic colors, and plenty of refined complications like perpetual calendars and tourbillons.

In short, the Royal Oak Offshore is the flamboyant version of the lower-key Royal Oak. Another shared theme between the pair is that both Audemars Piguet models overcame their rough starts to become cult classics.

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Do you know what Are Panerai Sandwich and Sausage Dials?

Okay, I’ll admit, these are not the most elegant labels when discussing luxury watches. But if you hang out with Paneristi long enough, you’re bound to hear the terms “sausage” and “sandwich” being used when discussing Panerai watches and their different dials. So what exactly are Panerai sandwich and sausage dials? Let’s dig in, shall we?

Panerai Sandwich Dials

As its name suggests, sandwich dials utilize a layering technique. This is by no means exclusive to Panerai, but the Florentine watch brand did opt for sandwich dials early on in their history, as a way to create highly luminescent watch faces. Early examples of Panerai sandwich dials used three layers, and the company followed that up with the more common two-layer construction.

Essentially, a Panerai sandwich dial includes two separate disks where the bottom layer holds the luminescent material in recessed indexes while the top layer has index cut-outs to allow the luminescence to shine through. When looking at a Panerai sandwich dial, you’ll notice the cool cut-out stencil effect immediately.

Panerai first used a radium-based material for lume, which they patented as “Radiomir” and later used a proprietary tritium-based substance called “Luminor” . Of course, these days, Panerai uses modern-day (and non-reactive) Super-LumiNova on their dials.

Much to the chagrin of Panerai enthusiasts, Panerai seems to be moving away from sandwich dials on most of their current watches, saving this technique for special releases instead, like the recent Luminor Due modes.

Panerai Sausage Dials

In contrast to the sunken indices of the Panerai sandwich dials, the Panerai sausage dials have painted on hour makers that protrude slightly. In some models, the indexes were first etched into the dial and then filled in with luminescent material. In other versions, the lume was painted directly onto a flat surface.

Regardless of technique, the end result is curvier numerals and stick markers that swell above the dial, which ultimately made way for the (unfortunate) sausage name. But these are also referred to as Panerai painted dials if you prefer to use that term (as I do). Additionally, Panerai painted dials are not to be confused with Panerai printed dials, which have a flat surface.

Sandwich Or Sausage, Which Panerai Dial To Choose?

Place a sandwich and sausage dial next to each other, and you’ll spot the difference immediately. There are those who prefer the sandwich dial – both for its style, and because it more closely resembles the dials fitted to early Panerai watches. Yet, fans of the Panerai sausage dial say that this design actually offers better legibility from all angles since there’s no sunken-in effect.

Both dial designs offer their own distinct look, and both have a place in Panerai’s history. I’ve always liked stencil style typography so I gravitate towards Panerai sandwich dials. But I have nothing against Panerai sausage dials (except for the dreadful nickname), since they’re quite good looking too.Which Panerai dial do you prefer?