Issue 92 - Oracle Time - May 2023 Aviation Issue

Page 1


Editor’s letter

When we were planning this issue a few months back, before all the madness of Watches & Wonders, I assumed we’d have the usual kind of watch on the front, an instrument panelinspired tool piece. Possibly it would have a chronograph (flybacks are in vogue right now), possibly not. What I wasn’t expecting was to dredge up childhood memories of The Muppets.

Well, I can thank Oris for a waltz down memory lane (and for rekindling my love of Treasure Island; Cabin Fever is one of the finest songs ever written), who have been having more than a bit of fun with their new mean, green mascot. That takes the form of our cover star this month, the ProPilot in bright, froggy green, with Kermit himself in the date window. It’s fun, funky and I love it.

But while the ProPilot might be a newcomer to the pilots’ watch canon, one of the most iconic ever built is the Breitling Navitimer, defined by its signature slide rule bezel. But knowing what that bezel is and how it works are two very different things. So, we thought we’d explain in more detail on page 44. If you’ve ever been stuck doing division or unit conversions in your head, it’s one for you.

Less iconic to most modern watch lovers is the Bulova A-11, although as Sarah Fergusson found out on page 147, it shouldn’t be. Dubbed ‘The Watch that Won the War’, the Stateside counterpart to the Dirty Dozen is an archetypal military timepiece that’s not just a part of aviation history, but is unfairly undervalued and a true unsung hero of vintage watches.

That all said, there’s more than a few pilots’ watches to choose from, both modern and archivally flavoured, pricey prestige pieces and accessible bangers. Check out our round-up of the best on page 59, covering everyone from British independents like Zero West and Farer to industry veterans like Zenith and, of course, Breitling.

It’s not just watches that have been shaped by the cockpit. Dashing pilots have long been style icons and the humble flight jacket has a history as high flying as any mil-spec timer. From the early days of practical necessity to the embodiment of cool that is Top Gun, Charlie Thomas tracks the inevitable rise of the menswear staple on page 76.

For a better look at aviator style as a whole however, check out this issue’s style shoot on page 92. Shot at the Stow Maries Aerodrome, a haven of serious vintage aircraft, we paired modern cockpit-ready styles with matching watches from the likes of Longines, IWC and Breguet. If that doesn’t make you want to take to the skies yourself, nothing will.

Now, aircraft are one thing, but it’s the dream of many a pilot to go further. What’s 30,000 feet up compared to breaking the atmosphere entirely? Space travel is the next frontier. The question many of us have to ask then is what is it actually like? That’s something that very few people alive can answer and an elite cadre that Paolo Nespoli is part of, having spent over a year in outer space. Dominic Bliss discovers the facts of that reality on page 39.

Back on terra firma, Ferrari have been writing a new chapter in their endurance history, part of which was the 1,000 Miles of Sebring, which the prancing horse dominated. Both a fantastic race for the world-famous marque and a statement of intent across the various endurance series around the world, Ben Barry goes over the return to form on page 120.

So, whether you’re next stuck at the airport and wondering what to do (we have an article on just that on page 129, incidentally) or just want to get horologically inspired with some high-flying new releases, there’s something in these pages for you. So stay safe, stay sane and as ever, enjoy this issue.

KEEP IN TOUCH: @oracle_time | @oracle_time | |
COVER CREDITS Photography: Fraser Vincent
Watch: Oris ProPilot X Line



Sam Kessler



DIGITAL EDITOR Michael Sonsino


Shane C. Kurup

Shane is a men’s style editor who has worked for a range of leading titles, including The MR PORTER Journal, Men’s Health UK, Esquire US, PORT, The Telegraph and Wallpaper*. He’s rather partial to a jazzy silk shirt, wide-leg trousers and a gin and Dubonnet (or three).

Michael Sonsino

A relative newcomer to luxury watches, Michael is OT’s Junior Content Producer. He’s still trying to tell his balance spring from his tourbillon and as such is a fan of timepieces with a simple design, and who can blame him? But if his obsession with miniatures is anything to go by, he has an impressive eye.

Sarah Fergusson

Raised in a home full of antiques, Sarah Fergusson’s passion for vintage lead her to pursue a career in the auction world beginning over a decade ago. Now Head of Watches at auctioneer Lyon & Turnbull, she can also be heard co-hosting the Scottish Watches podcast and seen at RedBar events wearing her Chronographe Suisse, or more recently, her Tudor BB58 925.

Dominic Bliss

Dominic Bliss is a London-based journalist, specialising in long-form feature writing for the likes of National Geographic, Men’s Health and GQ. His late grandfather once owned a beautiful antique Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, an heirloom which sadly ended up on the wrist of another member of the family.

Ben Barry

A motoring journalist for over two decades, Ben has worked as a scriptwriter for Channel 4’s Driven, as deputy editor on CAR Magazine and has spent the past ten years as a freelancer. Still a regular for CAR, he’s also contributed to The Sunday Times, Octane and National Geographic.

Charlie Thomas

Charlie Thomas is a UK-based writer and photographer. An eternal pessimist, he has an equal love of both fine food and KFC. His work has appeared in The Independent, The Times, NME, the London Evening Standard, Tatler and Esquire.

Michael Pepper







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Discover all the latest on our radar and what should be in your basket this month

24 — NEWS

What’s happening in the world of fine watchmaking and the luxury industry at large


Your guide to all the latest and greatest watch releases from around the world


Having spent close to a year in space, Paolo Nespoli reflects on his out of this world career



When it comes to character watches, less is more. Just not when it comes to colour according to the Oris ProPilot X Line

“It’s a sleek summer watch for even the most jaded of collectors. For anyone that can embrace a little fun, it’s even better”
God’s Green Frog - p48



A look at the manufacturer behind Montblanc’s modern masterful timepieces


Why the flight jacket is still one of the coolest pieces of clothing around


Pairing cockpit-ready styles with matching watches from Longines, IWC and Breguet


The horological journalist on double reds, John Malkovich and driving with the roof down


Hands-on with watches from Vacheron Constantin, Gerald Charles, and RZE

120 — 1,000 MILES OF SEBRING

In rural Florida Ferrari plotted its return to endurance racing after a 50-year absence


Travel broadens the mind, but it can also broaden the size of your watch collection


Kristian Haagen is a Man of Influence - p103


Making sense of the analogue calculator made famous by the Navitimer


Take to the sky with these high-flying pilots’ watches

Introducing the latest and greatest watches from the best small scale independents


It might be ‘The Watch that Won the War’ but it’s criminally undervalued and underpriced

150 – IN FOCUS

Van Brauge’s tribute to a Genta icon and a Marathon turning the clock back to the 1990s

129 92 76 39
“Whenever John Malkovich appears, I listen. I once bought an IWC Big Pilot, because I saw him wearing one”


The coolest things in the world right now


Sure, it doesn’t have the cache of the Daytona, so the new Oyster Perpetual was a little out of the limelight for a Rolex release this year – but honestly, it doesn’t need it to shine bright. Taking the colourful concept of the collection to the extreme, the new piece answers the question of which dial hue is best with a resounding: yes. The bubble-like pattern unites all five of the colours introduced back in 2020 – candy pink, turquoise blue, yellow, coral red, and green, if you were wondering – into one funky aesthetic candy shop. We love it, especially as it’s available in all three OP sizes of 31, 36 and 41mm. Five colours however likely means five times as in-demand. Right?

Find out more at



Nova is a new star resort set on the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives and this summer they’re launching a series of events and packages designed specifically for solo travellers. Daily excursions with professional marine biologists to study whale sharks and manta rays, wellness activities, and sporting events all offer great ways to meet with your fellow travellers and get to know your new island community. Their solo travel promotion runs throughout July with discounted prices of $408 (approx. £338) for individuals. Find out more at



Lamborghini were always going to celebrate turning 60 like any ultra-wealthy Italian, with a massive party. Of course, they’ve kept their party to the road in the form of the marque’s high performance electrified vehicle (HPEV) delivering 1015 CV. That’s more than quick enough to tighten a sphincter or two. To get there, the raging bull combined a naturally aspirated V12 engine, an eight-speed, double-clutch transverse gearbox and three electric motors. To put all that into hard numbers, we’re talking 0-100 km/h in only 2.5 seconds and a top speed of more than 350 km/h. Combined with a suite of driving modes and a new design, the Revuelto is definitely Lamborghini’s present to themselves. And anyone that can get hold of one.

Price is yet to be confirmed but expect around £450,000. Find out more at

20 aficionado


Sure, the subject of this entry into aficionado is technically the Hackett spring-summer collection for 2023… but if we’re being honest the main reason we’re including it is for the spectacular landscape of rolling mountains and savannah in the background. It makes us even more jealous of the frustratingly handsome superstar, Jensen Button than we already were following our interview with him a couple of issues ago. The clothing featured includes the Saharan Overshirt (£160) and striped linen chinos (£165), perfect for keeping cool on your next 4x4 mounted jaunt around Keenyah. Discover the full collection at

21 aficionado


The Highlands are beautiful, nobody can doubt that, but colourful? Well yes, according to The Glenrothes. For the Speyside distillery’s first 42-year-old single malt, master whisky maker, Laura Rampling took inspiration from the striking hues of their surrounding landscape to create a liquid with apricots, orange peel, and coriander seed on the nose, vanilla, honey, and orange oil on the palate, and a long-lasting, distinctly aromatic finish. It’s all the summer notes you could want from a Scotch in one bottle, refined over four decades. That also means it’s gorgeous. Only 1,134 bottles of The 42 are available. Find out where from at

22 aficionado


Much as we hate to say it, a big ol’ Royal Oak on your wrist is as good a target for theft as a diamond-set Rolex these days and many a collector has been put off wearing theirs in public. Now however, Audemars Piguet are offering peace of mind to owners with a free replacement service that’s the first of its kind from a luxury watch brand. So, if your favourite Genta-designed sports luxe icon gets snatched off your wrist, just send them a photo of the watch and the report, and you’ll have yourself a nice new timepiece of equal (or greater!) value. Honestly, it’s a fantastic step for the watchmaker and one we want to see many more doing, too. After all, there’s no better advertising than someone actually comfortable enough to wear your watch in public.

Find out more at



How much would you spend on a personalised number plate? A few hundred pounds? A few thousand maybe? How about $15 million – the price that plate P7 went for last month at auction in Dubai? Part of the Most Notable Numbers auction, a sale specifically for sought-after license plates, had a few other lots like AA 19 and Q 22222, but none of them grabbed the attention of Telegram founder Pavel Valeryevich Durov quite like his first initial combined with lucky number seven. If that sounds like the definition of a vanity plate, you’d probably be right, but to give the buyer – and the auction – his due, the incredible amount raised was for the 1 Billion Meal Endowment Campaign, a fund designed to help vulnerable communities across the world during Ramadan. Find out more about the campaign at


It’s the 60th anniversary of the archetypal racing watch this year and TAG Heuer are going big – Hollywood big. Leveraging the talents of their most recent superstar ambassador, Ryan Gosling, and stuntman-turned-director David Leitch, the watchmaker have produced Chase for Carrera; an actioncomedy saluting the legendary Carrera. It’s a fun romp of a short film, typically slick and upping the ante for anniversary celebrations in the watch world. Anyone want to one-up Ryan Gosling?

Find out more at

25 world news
The amount raised was for the 1 Billion Meal Endowment Campaign, a fund designed to help vulnerable communities across the world
It’s a fun romp of a short film, typically slick and upping the ante for anniversary celebrations in the watch world


While we’re not strict monarchists at Oracle Time (other than the occasional style writer; looking at you Mr Kurup), even we’re caught up in coronation fever, along with the rest of the world. And if you’re planning to attend the festivities on 6 May – or just want a good excuse for a feast – you may well be looking for a British getaway. Well, if you find that getaway courtesy of Oliver’s Travels and their curated selection of beautiful properties, you can amp up the royal treatment with a coronationthemed dinner party, thanks to Dineindulge.

The new Coronation Package means that when you book a UK cottage or manor house, you can choose a two, three or five course menu inspired by the Commonwealth and with an emphasis on sustainability and green values, just the kind of things that undoubtedly meet with royal approval.

Find out more at


If you have yourself a superyacht, you probably want to equip it with a super sound system. Nothing ruins an on-board cocktail party like tinny static just when the bass is about to drop. And while you probably have the money for a live band, for a subtler solution there’s the latest three-way collab between audio specialists McIntosh, Sonus Faber, and Wally Yachts.

The first of its kind from the high-fidelity legends, the on-board systems are powered by Sonus Faber’s D.A.D. Tweeter Damped Apex Dome, Paracross Topology, and McIntosh’s Power Guard and TripleView Power Output Meters, all stress tested like a hull in a perfect storm. The first instance has been installed aboard the wallywhy200 yacht, but expect a wider roll-out soon.

Find out more at

26 world news
Nothing ruins an on-board cocktail party like tinny static just when the bass is about to drop


Roger Smith is one of the 21st century’s most important independent watchmakers and part-responsible for the modern renaissance in classical haute horology. And now one of his most important pieces is up for auction courtesy of Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo. The Handmade Pocket Watch Number Two isn’t just a phenomenal tourbillon and perpetual calendar timepiece; it’s the piece that led to Roger Smith’s acceptance as George Daniel’s apprentice. It’s a landmark historical watch, meaning its estimate of over $1 million seems almost low. We’ll see for sure when it heads to auction from 10 to 11 June at 432 Park Avenue for the New York Watch Auction: EIGHT. If you’re interested, you might want to start counting your pocket money now. Keep up to date with the auction and view the other lots at


What’s better than a customised Mercedes-AMG G-Wagen? A G-Wagen and a speed boat. Or, in the case of Brabus’ latest insane package, the car, the boat and a Panerai. The car, dubbed the 900 Deep Blue is a big overhaul of the G-Wagen, complete with a new paint job, custom interiors and an overtuned, 900bhp engine. It’s joined by the Shadow 900 Deep Blue Signature Edition, a 38-foot Axopar speed boat, which can hit a bracing 60 knots on the water. Finally, you have the Panerai Submersible S Brabus Blue Shadow Edition, with a huge 47mm titanium case, a skeletonised dial and 300m water resistance, just in case you fall in the water hopping between boat and SUV. The whole lot can be yours for around £1,050,000 and like all good toys, are also sold separately. Find out more at

27 world news


The current watch zeitgeist has decreed that green is cool. A few years back it was an edgy alternative to the usual blue or black, but now every watchmaker under the sun has been imitating emeralds, forests or felt puppets. It’s enough to make you think that green dials are the hottest property since Gerald Genta’s slew of 70s releases. But is that actually the case?

This should be a sure-fire winner. Sure, it’s not the steel version that most collectors go crazy for, but it was released as part of the Royal Oak’s 50-year anniversary revamp, and it’s gorgeous besides. You’d expect it to be a bit of a grail watch. At this price that’s still probably the case, but given the massive drop it’s seen, it doesn’t bode well for less hype-driven timepieces.

Current price: £206,300 Change: Down 43%

There’s only one green-dialled Nautilus and it’s one of the priciest pieces in the world right now for rarity as much as anything else. But how has its little cousin, the Aquanaut, fared? It has the same sports luxe look with more emphasis on the sport, and getting hold of it new is still easier said than done. So, you should be buying second hand, especially if you like green. An over 40% drop in the last year is not a great indicator for the Patek Philippe.

Current price: £112,300 Change: Down 44%

Now this has to be good. It’s gold rather than steel but the Daytona’s the Daytona, getting your hands on any version is a coup. Well, handsome as the yellow gold and green combination is, the 116508 hasn’t escaped the downturn, dropping nearly 23% in the last year. It has to be said though that the last month has seen a massive upturn (likely thanks to Rolex’s Daytona revamp), so we may need to revisit this one before rendering judgement too harshly.

Current price: £79,800

Change: Down 23%


A limited edition in collaboration with a legendary British marque, the Aston Martin edition of Girard-Perregaux’s vastly underrated Laureato is one of the few watches that has a reason to go British racing green. And it looks like that’s helped it out a lot. It’s still in the red, but very mildly compared to the others here and like the Daytona is in the midst of a solid upturn. Worth a punt, if you like the diamond-engraved dial as much as we do, though not a certainty for sure.

Current price: £28,400 Change: Down 10%

And here we are, one of the best performing greenies here. It likely helps that it works with the lowest starting price, but either way the Aqua Terra is a more-than-solid watch and the subtle sea green dial here fits the overall nautical look of the watch nicely. It’s now lower than it’s peak of £4,300-ish, but not much and again, on the uptick. It’s not a huge return on investment (a couple hundred up on its start-of-year price) but it’s much better than a loss.

Current price: £4,220 Change: Up 4%

28 investment watches



Ben Marsden (hands_and_bezel’s real name) has the kind of watch collecting story we’ve heard time and again here at Oracle (and plenty of our staff have experienced first-hand)

The Leeds-based amateur photographer wasn’t really ‘in to’ watches. They were on the radar, sure – his dad owned an Omega SMP300 Chronograph – but not to any serious extent. Then he bought a green Seiko 5 SRPD in 2021. As well all know, once you start, there’s no going back. Given shots like this, that’s a good thing for both us and Ben. Apparently, the love for Omega is hereditary, as Ben paired the brown trim of our Aquatic issue (along with the Panerai Radiomir Otto Gionri on the front) with his own

Speedmaster on a bespoke chocolate brown, blue-stitched strap from Balabanhoff. It must have been taken on a Tuesday. It’s good to see he’s kept the bracelet readily to hand too – along with a handy perennial, the photographer’s best friend. Follow Ben on Instagram @ hands_and_bezel for much more like this.

Want to showcase your own eye for a perfectly composed watch shot? Well, get your hands on this issue, get snapping and don’t forget to use #oracletimeout for your chance to nab a page to yourself next month. For now though, Oracle Time, Out.

30 time out


THERE ARE MANY WAYS to get your Oracle Time fix. Our favourite is of course within these lovely glossy pages to which you can subscribe via our website. An annual subscription containing 10 issues of the magazine is only £89.50, more value than a serious microbrand watch. Alternatively, you can come and say hello on one of our many digital channels. Instagram is the perfect place to share your wristshots and thoughts with us – remember to use #OTWristshot. Or you can watch our latest video content on YouTube, listening to the dulcet tones of our editor via our website using the QR code in the top right.





• 40mm case in platinum, stainless steel, yellow gold or rose gold with 100m water resistance

• calibre 4131 automatic movement with 72-hour power reserve

• From £12,700,




There’s a good chance you already know all about this one, but it would be remiss of us not to include. After all, not only is it a (slightly) tweaked version of one of the most iconic timepieces around, but it’s Rolex’s first – along with the new Perpetual 1908 pieces – to have a sapphire caseback. Evidently, they now put more faith in their finishing. Otherwise, there’s some fine-tuning to the case and dial and a few new variations, including a particularly handsome platinum version with a brown ceramic bezel and the ice blue dial that’s Rolex’s signature for the uber-precious metal. All in all, solid work from Rolex this year.

Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar 5261R-001

Patek Philippe as a watchmaker are no stranger to calendar complications, but the Aquanaut as a collection is. Well worry no more, odd sub-sect of collectors that need complicated sports watches, your time has come. The 5261R-001 is the first Aquanaut with an annual calendar (not perpetual) over a slate grey dial. While it’s technically a women’s piece, at just shy of 40mm of rose gold, it’s nothing if not unisex. And hey, if any watchmaker can pull off this kind of haute horology sporty mash-up it’s Patek.


• 39.9mm rose gold case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre 26 330 S QA LU automatic movement with 45-hour power reserve

• £49,530,

35 FRONT — introducing
Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona

FREDERIQUE CONSTANT Classics Tourbillon Manufacture

There are plenty of anniversaries being celebrated this year, but one of the more under-the-radar is Frederique Constant’s 35th birthday. The nowCitizen owned brand has been pushing their haute horology further and further, so it’s no surprise that to celebrate they’ve turned out a Mosersleek tourbillon. A classical dress watch with a second indicating tourbillon at six o’clock, it’s actually a lot of watch for the money – said money being a smidge under £23,000. For any tourbillon that’s decent; for one this refined, that’s impressive.


Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Ref. 25770SN

Playing off the breakthrough model that put the Royal Oak Offshore up there with the Genta original – courtesy of one Arnold Schwarzenegger’s turn in satanic apocalypse film End of Days – this 30th anniversary piece is a beast. High contrast black and yellow and dimensions (if not diameter; 43mm isn’t that big) worthy of an action hero, there’s a lot of watch to love here. It’s a limited edition but by AP standards, 500 is a relative cornucopia of watches. Not that it’ll be easy to get hold of… it’s one of the coolest Offshores for a while.


• 43mm black ceramic case with 100m water resistance

• calibre 4401 automatic movement with 70-hour power reserve

• POA, limited to 500 pieces,


• 39mm rose gold case with 30m water resistance

• Calibre FC-980 automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• £22,995, limited to 150 pieces,

FRONT — introducing


Riviera Azur 300m

Why Baume & Mercier don’t have more of a presence in the UK, we’ll never know. Hopefully something as simple as adding dive watch functionality to their signature sports watch collection will help. The Riviera Azur takes the sports luxe good looks of the collection and turns that screwed bezel into a rotating diving version. Paired with semi-transparent dials in blue or smoky black and backed with a professionalstandard 300m water resistance, plenty of lume for low-light reading, and a great movement, the Azur could well be the perfect summer diver.


• 42.1mm stainless steel case with 300m water resistance

• Calibre BM13-1975A automatic movement with 120-hourpower reserve

• £3,600 (blue), £3,750 (black),


Billionaire Timeless Treasure

While they might seem a touch schizophrenic at times in what they release, it’s always worth reminding yourself that Jacob Arabo is a jeweller first and foremost – and the Billionaire Timeless Treasure is impossible to forget. A veritable wall of yellow diamonds with a border smattering of green tsavorite, the bracelet to bridges are festooned with precious stones – 425 diamonds, in fact. Oh and each of those is Asscher-cut. Not heard of it? That’s because it’s one of the most exclusive cuts in gem-setting. If you’re wondering what all this will cost you, get ready: $20 million. That’s about £16.5 million. No surprise, it’s also a piece unique.


• 52.2mm x 43.5mm yellow gold case with 30m water resistance

• Calibre JCAM39 manual-wind movement with 72-hour power reserve

• $20,000,000 (approx. £16.4 million), unique piece,

FRONT — introducing

Words: Dominic Bliss

The Interview: PAOLO NESPOLI


39 the interview

When Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli arrived on the International Space Station for the first time, despite all his rigorous training, he was flummoxed by the zero-gravity atmosphere.

“There is no up and no down,” he explains. “It’s a bit of a mess and it plays tricks with your brain. When you arrive there, you are physically disabled. How do you move, walk, eat, sleep? Your brain tells you immediately: ‘this place is nuts’. For the first four weeks, it makes you almost dumb. It’s the transition between Earthling and extra-terrestrial guy.”

Nespoli, now 66 years old, became an extra-terrestrial guy for a total of 313 days, during his long career as an astronaut. He conducted three missions aboard the ISS, first flying there in 2007 in Space Shuttle Discovery, then later in

Russian Soyuz rockets. He explains how zero gravity is just one of the discomforts space station astronauts must get accustomed to as the station circumnavigates our planet – at a speed of five miles per second, completing 16 revolutions every 24 hours.

While hurtling in orbit, the time that governs the space station is Greenwich Mean Time – essentially a compromise between the Russian and the American astronauts. To maintain some sort of circadian rhythm, all residents tend to work and sleep at the same time. Everyone has their own sleeping quarters, which is similar, Nespoli says, to a telephone booth, with a small door you can open and close. “That’s your only personal place on the station,” he

the interview
Conducting three missions aboard the ISS, with his first in 2007 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, 66-year-old Paolo Nespoli (above) can soon qualify for extra-terrestrial residency after spending a total of 313 days in outer space during his long career as an astronaut
“For the first four weeks, it makes you almost dumb. It’s the transition between Earthling and extraterrestrial guy”
41 xxxxxxxxxx
42 the interview

explains. “Inside you keep your computers, your pictures, your spare clothes and a sleeping bag.

Some choose to strap themselves in tightly as they sleep, while others prefer to float a little. Some lie face up, others face down.

“At night, when you try to go to sleep and you close your eyes, you feel as if you are falling,” says Nespoli. “For some people it’s very difficult to sleep. I personally liked the floating part. I put my sleeping bag on loosely. I turned the lights off, and I covered the various LEDs with sticky tape, so it was pitch dark. You could regulate the temperature and the flow of air.” He says space offered him some of the best nights’ sleep of his life.

Born in Milan, Nespoli first trained as a paratrooper and Special Forces soldier in the Italian army. By the early 1990s, after studying aeronautics and astronautics, he joined the European Space Agency in Cologne, Germany, initially training other astronauts. Five years later he transferred to NASA, in Houston, Texas, and soon became an astronaut himself. By 2007 he was 250 miles above the Earth on his first visit to the International Space Station.

As an Italian, one aspect of living off-planet that irked him were the limited facilities for cooking. Hardly cordon bleu. “NASA looks at astronauts like they are machines,” he says of his former employer. “What does that machine need to work? Oxygen, water, food. Food is just fuel. NASA wants us to have calories, vitamins, and proteins. The smell, taste and appearance are secondary.”

A while back, however, there were mutterings of a minor mutiny aboard the space station, with astronauts complaining about the blandness of the food on offer. As a special concession, NASA allowed crew to choose extra items beyond the standard menu. Nespoli requested lasagne, fish, and Italian desserts, and suddenly became very popular at dinner times.

The food he craved most of all, however, was pizza. “I remember looking down at clouds on Earth and seeing pizzas in the clouds. My brain was giving me a message, showing me what I was missing.”

During his final mission, while talking

via videophone to a group of schoolkids back on Earth, the subject of pizza came up. Coincidentally, one of the schoolkids’ fathers worked for NASA. “When the next spacecraft arrived, I got a message from Houston, telling me there was a special package for me,” Nespoli recalls. “Inside were all the ingredients to make a pizza in space.”

Currently, there are seven astronauts aboard the space station – three Russians, three Americans, and one Emirati. It seems the war in Ukraine has little effect out in space.

Nespoli believes the work these astronauts are doing is still vital as, in

the distant future, when mankind finally leaves his native planet, he may have to live aboard space stations as well as other planets.

Habitable exoplanets beyond our solar system might prove to be very rare indeed. “Earth is almost a fluke of nature,” Nespoli says. “But there are plenty of flukes of nature. There are many planets that could be similar to Earth, but they are a number of light years away – impossible to reach with today’s technology.”

Which is why learning to live aboard space stations, as Nespoli did for 313 days, is such an important lesson.

Nespoli seemingly preferred to play with his food in zero gravity rather than eat it, as he described NASA’s menu as merely fuel to which smell, taste and appearance were secondary. It wasn’t all gloom though, as he enjoyed weightless sleeping, despite the potential for feeling as if you were falling
the interview



Making sense of the complicated analogue calculator made famous by the Navitimer

There are a lot of useful bezel variations out there, whether it’s your tachymeter for measuring speed, your telemeter for measuring distance, or your pulsometer for measuring… well, pulse. But of all of them, the slide rule bezel stands out as the most useful – and notoriously complicated – watch tools out there. So, how does it work?

In essence, the bezel is a round version of an architect’s slide rule, meaning it has one side (the inner) that remains static, with another (the outer) that can be slid in either direction to calculate various equations. Unlike other bezels which offer one calculation however (even if you use a tachymeter to measure distance, it’s still the same

calculation) the slide rule is like a tiny analogue computer, able to work out a host of different things – multiplications, divisions and conversions.

So, let’s break it down, starting with multiplications. This is done using the red 10 between two and three o’clock on the inner scale. You then slide the number you want to multiply x10 above it. As it doesn’t matter which number you multiply by which for the result, you can do this with either number. You then find the other number you’re multiplying on the fixed bezel and read the final result off the sliding bezel above it.

So, to put that into the context of a primary school maths problem: five children have six apples each. Because kids are healthy like that. How many apples are there in total? You slide the outer scale so that 50 is in line with the red 10 on the fixed scale. Then, you find six on the fixed scale and read off the number it lines up with, which will be 30. The happy, healthy children have 30 delicious apples. This is an incredibly simple example, but it works for much harder-to-multiply numbers than five and six and takes out any human error. You can also scale it up to larger numbers, turning 12.5 into 125, you just need to keep track of the decimal places yourself.

Next, division. This is a little trickier as division only works one way, meaning the number you’re dividing always needs to be on the outer scale, the number you’re diving by always on the inner scale. Operationally though, it’s just simple if not simpler. Just line the two numbers up and read the result at the red 10. Again, you can scale up the dividend by 10s, you just need to once again remember where your decimal point is.

So, let’s say you were splitting a bill five ways. Because I’m not a masochist, I’m going to say you all agreed to round up for a bit of an extra tip. The bill is £145, so you slide 14.5 on the outer bezel above fifty. Then you read the result above the

oracle speaks
45 oracle speaks © Illustration Prints Harry
46 oracle speaks

Like a tachymeter, you can also work out average speed, too. Likely even easier than the classic racing bezel, in fact

all-important red 10. The result? £29. Personally, I’d round that up further to £30, but then I probably had most of the wine.

One very pilot-centric thing a slide rule bezel can do is rapid unit conversions. Look closely and you can see all the various units dotted around the fixed bezel. Naut, for nautical miles, KM for kilometres, etc. All you do is line up the number you’d like to convert and the result will sit nicely above the marking for the other unit. It’s simple, effective and brainless. All good things.

Like a tachymeter, you can also work out average speed, too. Likely even easier than the classic racing bezel, in fact. You know you’ve gone 75 miles in 30

minutes. So, line up 75 on the outer ring above 30 on the fixed ring. You can then read off the result, in this case 150mph, above the 60, i.e. the full hour. Yes, you’ve been speeding, but this is the Autobahn, that’s kind of the point.

Finally, you can use it for conversions of various things like temperatures and currencies. You just need to know the exact conversion rate first. For temperature that’s easy – one degree of Fahrenheit is 5/9th of a Celsius. So line up 50 on the rotating bezel (remember it’s in 10s, but I’m sure you can do that mental math), with nine on the fixed. The only other thing you have to remember here is to subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit result because temperatures are weird like that. So, you know it’s 32 Fahrenheit. Set the bezel to 50 over nine, which gives you 32 again. 32 degrees C is lovely and warm – but that’s before you account for the final step, which gives you a frigid 0 degrees. Brrr.

Currencies work the same, without that final step, you just need to know the current exchange rate. A dollar is currently equal to 0.8 good British pounds sterling. That’s 80p to you and me. So, put eight above the red 10 for the conversion (remember everything on the outer bezel is x10), meaning you have dollars on the inside, pounds on the outside. Then, find any number you want, they’re all converted and ready to make working out the price of your Maine Coast lobster dinner all the easier. If it costs $45 (the price of a twin Lobster dinner at Gilbert’s of Portland) then that’s £36.19. The downside is that you need to keep up to date with exchange rates.

There are a ton of other ways of using your slide rule bezel, depending on how you use the information shown, but if you can get a handle on these basics, you can use it to calculate pretty much anything. Granted some things are easier than others – there’s not room for every possible unit, ready for conversion – but if you have a notebook, pen and a bit of maths, you should be fine. There’s a good reason it’s considered an analogue calculator.

” oracle speaks
Anyone can use their Breitling Navitimer Boeing 747 (left) as an analogue calculator to work out a huge variety of equations, from multiplications and divisions to more complicated conversions like temperatures, currencies and distance



48 god’s green frog
god’s green frog

Saturday 11 February was National Kermit Day. Did you know that? Because I didn’t, and I grew up with the manic notes of The Muppet’s Treasure Island ingrained into my soul. Though in fairness, Cabin Fever was a banger – and to be even fairer, the floppy felt freaks have been a part of cultural dialogue since they burst onto the scene in the 1960s. More recently, they’ve had a string of movies with varying degrees of success, which prove that a puppet’s life isn’t over until the fat pig sings.

At the same time, we’ve seen a bumper crop of cartoon-slanted timepieces in recent years. The revamp of the Gerald Genta name came complete with Mickey Mouse, Popeye’s been popping up on Bamford Franck Mullers and Reservoirs alike, and the various Snoopies prove that you just can’t keep a good dog down. It was only a matter of time before The Muppet’s boarded the nostalgia train – though I’m not sure many of us were expecting the final stop to be Holstein. Which all brings us to this, the ProPilot X Kermit Limited Edition.

First, let’s get it out of the way. Yes, it’s a very, VERY green watch. I’m not quite sure the images here do it justice, but if you were to over-saturate a high-res picture of a particularly envious poisonous tree frog (incidentally, Kermit’s colour scheme is very similar to Costa Rica’s bare-hearted glass frog, which is completely safe to lick), you might get somewhere close.

For some of you reading this, that’s more than enough to put you off at a glance and I can understand why. It’s a lot of colour to strap to your wrist and far more eye-catching than your usual black-dialled diver or classical, silver-dialled dress watch. The fact that I completely disagree with you shouldn’t come into it. After all, I like my wrist candy loaded with more E numbers than a hyperactive M&M.

Still, if there’s one watch that can stand up to that level of colour it’s the Oris ProPilot X. The aviationinspired (it’s not strictly a pilots’ watch) piece is rendered in full, sand-blasted titanium with its particular flat grey look. It’s darker than steel and with a bit more of an industrial twang to it, especially when paired with the turbine-esque bezel and crown. As with previous editions – namely the pale blue and pink from last year’s Watches & Wonders release slate – it can use a bit of colour. And this is more than a bit.

So, where’s Kermit? Well, as you can see from our shots, he’s nestled nicely into the six o’clock date window. You can see him clearly in our shots; you’ll probably see him clearly in any shots you see of the new watch. You won’t, however, see him much if you actually end up buying it.

Unlike TAG Heuer’s Mario Kart Formula 1 Chronograph (incidentally one of my favourite character watches of the moment), which has replaced most of its dates with a reel of coloured shells and fruit skins, Kermit is only there on the first of each month. The rest of the month you’ll see the usual numbers instead, which is a change I can really get on board with.

I’m not about to laud the merits of a lime green dial and then bang on about subtlety. Far from it. I love Kermit being on the watch for the one day he is. But on the other hand, it doesn’t scream that you have a Sam the Eagle body pillow stashed at home (I won’t judge if you do). If you didn’t know this was a Kermit watch, most of the time you wouldn’t know since there’s not even a name on the dial other than Oris. Even if you’re happy to show your love, it just makes it a little bit more special when that gawpy pink maw ushers in the start of a new month. Perhaps I’m just a little disillusioned with entire dials given over to cartoons, but that thematic restraint is something I believe more brands should do.

What most other brands can’t do easily however is match the mechanics that back up the green, the Oris

It’s a lot of colour to strap to your wrist and far more eye-catching than your usual black-dialled diver or classical, silver-dialled dress watch
god’s green frog He was the face of The Muppet Show and now he’s on the face of ProPilot X Kermit Limited Edition, which is greener than the great man himself and features his image is in the six o’clock date window, but don’t get used to seeing him as he’s only there on the first day of the month
god’s green frog
god’s green frog

Not just a pretty face, the mechanics in the ProPilot X back up the aesthetics with the Oris Calibre 400 under the hood, which was originally launched in the Aquis back in 2021 and features epic anti-magnetic qualities, a five-day power reserve, and a 10-year warranty


Not strictly a pilots’ watch, the aviationinspired ProPilot X comes on an impressive full titanium bracelet that sits nicely on the wrist with broad, flat links and a lifting clasp meant to look like a pilots’ safety belt in the cockpit

god’s green frog

Calibre 400. The Calibre 400’s been on the scene for a little while now, having launched originally in an Aquis back in 2021. It’s still not the de facto movement in the Oris line-up like it should be, but it’s seen some serious expansion in there, with manual-wind versions and various minor complications. While the ProPilot X isn’t the kind of professional-standard pilots’ watch that needs the calibre 400’s epic anti-magnetic qualities, a five-day power reserve is always good to have – as is a 10-year warranty. A decade of free repairs is the kind of boast that deserves a little faith.

Matching the impressively machined case is an equally impressive full titanium bracelet with broad, flat links and a lifting clasp meant to look like a pilots’ safety belt in the cockpit. I’m not sure about that; I’ve never been in a cockpit, but it is far more fun to use than it should be. Just be careful you don’t fiddle the watch right off your wrist and a few feet onto the floor. You might have a 10-year warranty but a smashed crystal just isn’t all that fun. That bracelet, combined with a svelte 39mm case diameter, ensures the ProPilot X sits very nicely on the wrist.

All-in-all, there’s a lot to love about the ProPilot X Kermit Edition. With a green more delicious than a Mexican lime and a pared-back approach to the notso-humble character watch in stark counterpoint to the modern glut of the things, it’s a sleek summer watch for even the most jaded of collectors. For anyone that can embrace a little fun, it’s even better.

And hey, if you’re a touch disappointed that Kermit’s not splayed across the dial, banjo in hand, Oris have a TV spot just for you. I wouldn’t normally say go watch an advert, but this particular one’s charming as hell. And anyway, this is just the start of what’s likely to be a long, nostalgic relationship between Oris and The Muppets. As The Muppets are owned by Disney, does that suggest other IPs will get looped into the Oris Bear’s neighbourhood? Maybe. But at the very least, a pink Miss Piggy edition has to be on the cards somewhere.

It’s a sleek summer watch for even the most jaded of collectors. For anyone that can embrace a little fun, it’s even better
god’s green frog


Arena Micky Mouse Football, £20,200

While Gérald Genta is best known for being the driving force behind the sports luxe watch movement, having designed the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak among others, he was also a pioneering figure in character watches. His Mickey Mouse designs are iconic and Bulgari have revived the concept in their Gérald Genta line. This is the Arena Bi-Retrograde Mickey Mouse Football, showing Mickey in the act of kicking a ball. His right arm functions as the minute hand, pointing to the retrograde minute scale –although if he’s not careful he’s going to commit hand ball. The watch is powered by the BVL 300 calibre with 42-hour power reserve. More details at


x Label Noir x Popeye, £4,350

As a relative young’un, Popeye was a bit before my time, although I still look upon the character with fondness due to the fantastic water ride at Universal Orlando. The Sailor Man himself is the focus of Reservoir’s limited edition collaboration with Label Noir, a watch personalisation and customisation brand.

The watch itself is 41mm in titanium with a grey DLC coating, making it durable and scratch resistant. It certainly ate its spinach. Popeye is striding across the dark grey dial and like Mickey above, his arm forms the retrograde minute hand. The movement below is the manufacture Calibre RSV-240 with 56-hour power reserve.

More details at



56 character watches


Tune Squad Looney Tunes, $369 USD (approx. £265)

Space Jam. Is it the greatest sport film of all time? Field of Dreams, Rocky, Le Mans… all of them take a back seat compared to this masterpiece of cinema, an extended universe to end all others. I’m of course being a little tongue in cheek, but there’s no denying that there are people out there who go loopy for Looney Tunes, making them the perfect subject for character watches. This is the Undone Tune Squad, created to celebrate the opening of the Space Jam sequel last year. As a chronograph, it features three characters at the same time rather than focusing on just one, with any combination of iconic characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, and more.

More details at


Formula 1 x Mario Kart Chronograph, £3,550

While he’s by no means as old as Popeye, Looney Tunes, and Mickey Mouse, Mario has been part of our lives for almost 40 years, with his first game being released in 1983. So, while we typically think of him as being fresh and new with shiny modern graphics a la the upcoming movie, he’s as venerable as his moustache. Tag Heuer have paid tribute to him with the Formula 1 x Mario Kart Chronograph. It features a finish line checkerboard pattern and Mario himself sits in his kart at the top of the small seconds subdial. Additionally, several date numerals have been replaced with items and symbols that will be instantly recognisable to players. The engine inside is the Calibre 16 with 42-hour power reserve.

More details at


Popeye, £12,500

Up next is another traditional style character watch and this time it’s Popeye again, standing proud on the dial of the Bamford x Franck Muller Vanguard Black Titanium. Here, both of Popeye’s burly arms are used as the hour and minute hands while Swee’Pea (a baby who forms part of Popeye’s supporting cast) crawls around the dial as the seconds hand.

Bamford are best known for producing customised versions of watches from other big brands and this is no different, based as it is on the Franck Muller Vanguard with a 44mm tonneau case. It’s powered by the movement FM 800 with 42-hour power reserve.

More details at

57 character watches

Since the early days of aviation when Brazilian pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont first strapped a Cartier to the outside of his flight jacket, watches have been synonymous with aviation. In WWII the formula was refined to an archetype, with oversized numerals and a stripped-back, practical look with legibility first and foremost. Over a century on, the basic concept remains the same: a watch that can be read quickly, at a glance in the cockpit. That’s not to say that the formula’s not been mixed up here and there. From chronographs to GMT hands and slide rule bezels, the humble utilitarian timepiece has added more strings to its bow than an overcompensating harpist. Versatile barely comes into it. And at both ends of the price spectrum there are some serious contenders for your next co-pilot, whether you actually have your pilot’s license or not. Here are the best of them.




• 43mm stainless steel case with 30m water resistance

• Breitling 01 automatic movement with 70-hour power reserve

• £7,300, limited to 747 pieces,


Navitimer B01 Chronograph Boeing 747

One of the most iconic pilots’ watches ever made meets one of the most iconic planes ever made in this handsome tribute. Like the modern Navitimers it has a notched rather than beaded bezel, but don’t hold that against it. The retro palette of red and off-white, lifted directly from the early aircraft, is a fun twist on the layout and highlights that signature slide rule bezel. The black chronograph subdials are perfectly readable against the cream backdrop and the entire ensemble makes for a slight but welcome version of 2022’s Naitimer redesign. The limited edition number? 747 of course.



• 42.5mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• El Primero 3652 automatic movement with 60-hour power reserve

• £10,100,

ZENITH Pilot Big Date Flyback

After years of aeronautical silence, Zenith is back in the air with its new (currently small) pilots’ collection. With only four watches at the moment there’s not much to choose from, but don’t let that take away from the highlight that is the Big Date Flyback in plain steel. The ridged black dial is highlighted with an unmissable red chronograph hand front and centre, and a multi-coloured 30-minute chronograph counter at nine o’clock. The titular Big Date sits at six o’clock, working with the bi-compax layout for a symmetrical layout that tickles that OCD itch. Throw in the oversized crown and you have a welcome return to cockpit form. It’s no Type 20, but it’s the next best thing.

LONGINES Spirit Flyback

After the GMT addition to Longines’ incredibly successful, vintage-flavoured (but distinctly non-archival) Spirit collection, it was only a matter of time before the winged hourglass expanded to a chronograph. It’s the next logical step. What we weren’t expecting was a flyback however, a cut above your usual stopwatch complication. Not only is it as elegantly handsome as the rest of the collection, with a smart black dial and bezel combination with gold-edged indexes, but it’s one of the most affordable flybacks around. It also has an impressive 68-hour power reserve. Seriously, with a fair few recent Longines edging up in prices, this brings the brand back to a serious value proposition.


• 42mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre L791 automatic movement with 68-hour power reserve

• £4,100,

— pilots’


• 47mm carbon fibre case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre 793 automatic movement with 56-hour power reserve

• £5,250,

• 44mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with 41-hour power reserve

• £3,600, limited to 100 pieces,

ORIS ProPilot Altimeter

One of the few aviation-specific complications, Altimeters are few and far between, in good part because they’re bloody hard to make. Oris are one of the few watchmakers to bother and their latest is their best yet. It uses air pressure to indicate altitudes of up to 6,000m, a third higher than the previous 2014 model. At 47mm, it’s massive, but that’s necessary to get all the information on the dial without feeling crowded. Throw in the blacked-out, PVD look and you have an imposingly technical timepiece that’s deceptively light thanks to its combination of carbon fibre case and titanium crowns, bezel and caseback. It’s a lot of watch.

ZERO WEST DB-1 Blackout Lancaster

An homage to the Lancaster bombers that flew the legendary Operation Chastise – the Dambusters -the DB-1 takes cues from the aircrafts’ instrument panel, particularly the altimeter, across the dial, set in a distinctively machined case with the British brand’s signature screwed lugs. This being Zero West, the DB-1 does more than take inspiration from the aircraft; the caseback is set with material from one of the bombers that flew the raid, namely Lancaster ED825. Fit on a custom rubber strap, it’s a piece of history nestled in a distinctly modern package.

FRONT — pilots’ watches THE DETAIL


Pilot GMT LE.1 Chronometer

Can’t choose between chronograph and GMT? With Brellum’s latest limited edition, you don’t need to. Not a problem you’ve ever encountered? They’re still both good to have, particularly when wrapped up in a package this handsome. The stark black-on-white dial is seriously good-looking and while there’s perhaps a touch too much information for the kind of pared-back readability pilots’ watches were originally designed for, it more than makes up for that with functionality. It’s also very well finished for a watch at this price point, as visible through the sapphire caseback. All in all, a damn finely executed pilots’ piece. Just be quick; there aren’t many of them.


• 41.8mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre BR-754 GMT automatic movement with 46-hour power reserve

• £3,120, limited to 23 pieces,


Meister Pilot Automatic Blue

There are no worries about readability here. Deviating from their usual Max Bill inspired Bauhaus style, Junghans take on the pilot is based on control panel instruments of what apparently is a very retro cockpit. The blue lacquered dial is interrupted by the small seconds at six o’clock and wide date window at 12. Finished with a faceted bezel designed to be operable in gloves and a cool blue leather strap with white and red stitching to match the highlights of the dial, it has all the ingredients of a classic pilots’ watch done in a distinctively unclassical way. It’s not a bad price for it, either.


• 43.3mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre J880.1.6 automatic movement with 38hour power reserve

• £1,990,


> > A flyback chronograph is one that allows you to reset the second hand without stopping the chronograph mechanism, rather than the usual stop, reset, restart. The first official flyback appeared in 1923 courtesy of Breitling and is designed to allow quicker consecutive timings – pretty useful when you’re in the cockpit.

62 FRONT — pilots’ watches


Pilots’ Watch Chronograph 41

Top Gun Oceana

2023 is the year of the Ingenieur SL for IWC, but it’s impossible not to link them with their pilots’ watches, no matter how much they talk about Genta. Part of that is the legacy of the Mark series of mil-spec pieces, revamped last year with the Mark XX, but a bigger part is the modern Top Gun. And there’s good reason. The association with the legendary flight school is always appealing, but here the sporty flight chronograph has been given a colourful overhaul with the Oceana, in full blue ceramic. It’s less stealthy but a whole lot better looking, especially on the hybrid strap.


• 41.9mm ceramic case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre 69380 automatic movement with 46-hour power reserve

• £10,500,


Laco Chronograph Kiel.2

As a watchmaker, Laco are inseparable from traditional flieger timepieces. It’s German aviation military style in the finest sense and the Kiel is one of their absolute classics. In fact, it’s such a classic that it’s now seen a bit of a revamp in the Kiel.2, a robust, readable and eminently practical pilots’ watch. Available in two variations – white and black – both offer superb contrast, though for the more authentic look the black is impeccable. Equipped with chronographs for cockpit timing all set in a generous 43mm stainless steel case, they’re workhorse watches built for action. As is the movement in fact, the Laco 500, a riff on a reliable Sellita number. It’s a good chunk of watch for under 2K.


• 43mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Laco 500 automatic movement with 52-hour power reserve

• €2,190 (approx. £1,930),

FRONT — pilots’ watches


• 44mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Seiko NE57 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve

• €488 (approx. £430),

BALL Roadmaster Pilot GMT

In typical Ball style, the Roadmaster Pilot’s a chunky old piece of instrument. It’s only 40mm across, but has the type of shape and dimensions you’d expect to survive better than a black box, complete with 5,000g shock resistance and anti-magnetism to match. This time though, as well as the zeitgeisty green colourway, the new version is a true GMT, meaning you can quick-set the 12-hour local time without touching the second time zone, so you can keep your home time the same while hopping across the world. Who better than a pilot to need something like that?


• 40mm titanium case with 300m water resistance

• Cakuvre RR1204-C automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• £2,660, limited to 1,000 pieces,

BREGUET Type XXI Flyback

One of the most legendary pilots’ watches ever built. The Type XXI may seem a step away from the type of watchmaking Breguet’s usually preoccupied with –classical, guilloche-covered beauties – but here that same haute horology swagger has been leveraged into a heritage aviation design that more than holds up today. In its latest incarnation, the military-slanted Type XXI is equipped with a flyback chronograph, made all the more readable by eye-catching green lumed numerals. It’s also available in an orange version, but honestly, it’s all about the green.

KIENZLE Pilot Timer KM 418

A flieger in the best aviation tradition, Kienzle’s Pilot Timer has the signature fluted bezel and generous 44mm proportions we’ve come to expect from German pilots’ watches, with a slight Italian twist. What sets theirs apart however is the amount of information on the dial, despite not being a chronograph. A tachymeter around the inner bezel, a large, central power reserve indicator and a date semi-disguised as a subdial at six o’clock, it still manages to remain clean, legible and practical. At this price, it’s genuinely hard to knock. Or at any price, really.


• 42mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre 584Q/A automatic movement with 48-hour power reserve

• £14,300,

“ That haute horology swagger has been leveraged into a heritage aviation design that more than holds up today
It has the type of shape you’d expect to survive better than a black box

• 39.5mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance

• Calibre SW200-1 automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• £780,

FARER Pilot Cayley Verde

The match-up we never knew we needed, Farer’s take on the classic pilots’ watch is charming as all hell. Equipped with a big crown for ease of use in the cockpit, it’s actually a lot more diminutive than it looks with a 39.5mm diameter, making it one of the few watches of its silhouette that we can all wear, even in magnetic fields thanks to its in-built faraday cage. Then there’s the dial. A stunning California number in shimmering green with blue lumed numerals (both the Roman on the top half and the Arabic on the bottom half) with yellow hour and minute hands, it has flawless spring vibes. It’s relatively pared-back for the British brand colour-wise, but when legibility is this key, that’s just what you want.


PRIMUS Desert Pilot Dark

Eschewing the usual black colour palette most pilots opt for, Hanhart’s latest overtly military pilots’ watch would suit a desert conflict with its sandy dial and matching strap. Pair that with some Hanhart signature touches like the red chronograph pusher and that fluted bezel, and it’s unmistakable. This latest version has a blacked out case to amp up the machismo, along with a fully blacked out Vulcanos Hornet knife. Just in case you need to cut yourself free of your parachute, I guess. Just don’t try flying commercially with it.

• 44mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre SW510 automatic movement with 48-hour power reserve

• £2,550, limited to 100 pieces,

FRONT — pilots’ watches

ALPINA Startimer Pilot Heritage

One of the few archivally flavoured pieces in this article more inspired by a movement than a specific model, the Startimer is named for the vintage ‘bumper’ movement, a calibre that dropped the usual 360-degree rotor in favour of a quicklyoscillating version penned in by bumpers. While the actual movement in this piece is more ‘inspired by’ than a re-issue, it’s still a great calibre story, all the better when wrapped up in a handsome, streamlined pilots’ watch like this. Sure, the crown placement’s less than ideal for operation in gloves, but everything else is pretty much perfect in an elegant, vintage way – and the movement visible through the caseback is downright gorgeous.


In keeping with their cricket-inspired Cover Drive and space programme-inspired Apogee, the deeply patriotic Bangalore Watch Company’s pilots’ range, the Mach 1 is all about India – in this case, the Air Force. The Mach 1 has all the tool watch practicality you’d expect from a military timepiece, but here with a bright blue dial echoing the colour of an Indian Air Force officer’s uniform. It’s a fun, funky twist on the formula, with the kind of colour you just don’t expect to see on a pilot’s watch. Paired with a few off-kilter details like the uniquely shaped crown and the Indian flag on the dial, there’s a lot to love here even if you’re not from the country yourself. That’s doubly true when it comes to value.


• 40mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre SW200-1 automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• £728.95,


• 42mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre AL-709 automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• £2,695, limited to 188 pieces,

Everything is pretty much perfect in an elegant, vintage way – and the movement visible through the caseback is gorgeous


• 42mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• Calibre BR-CAL.303. automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve

• £3,800,


BR 03-93 GMT Blue

There’s no more obvious allusion to the cockpit than a Bell & Ross watch. Others draw inspiration from instrument panels; the watchmaker’s square design looks like it would slot right in. Here that signature industrial silhouette has been given a jet-set overhaul with a handsome GMT bezel in blue and grey (for day and night respectively), matched with a lovely blue dial. It’s not a subtle watch –thanks to its square shape it covers a good chunk of the wrist – but it’s one of the most individual aviation pieces out there, even if it is a bit love-it-orhate-it. We love it, by the way.


Eurofighter Typhoon

Lumed indexes are a necessity for low light reading on a night flight, but the Eurofighter Typhoon takes things a step further: the entire dial is luminescent. Given the 43mm size, that’s a lot of glow, all in a watch that lives up to its name with an overtly technical look, complete with a representation of its namesake fighter jet on the nine o’clock subdial. Fitted to a classic riveted leather strap and aviation touches like a red chronograph pusher, textured crown and a take-off timer on the minute track, there’s a lot to take in and more to love.


• 43mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance

• ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic movement with 48-hour power reserve

• £369,

FRONT — pilots’ watches

Words: Sam Kessler



history of minerva

For many of us, Minerva is a name that’s come to us a bit late in life. Not our lives of course – I’m still young, dammit – but in Minerva’s. That’s because most of the current discourse around the old manufacturer has been since it was bought by Montblanc. That’s not such a bad thing; with pieces like their Minerva Unveiled and other heritage-slanted releases, Montblanc have been doing a good job keeping the name alive, but there’s a lot more to Minerva’s history than a rose-tinted nod here and there. Indeed, the story of Minerva is inextricably tied to watchmaking in Villeret as a whole.

The initial seeds of what would become Minerva were planted in 1858 as the H. & C. Robert watchmaking factory by brothers Charles-Yvan and Hyppolite Robert. There’s not much to talk about back then; it was a modest watchmaker by today’s standards and as one of the brothers passed away and Charles’ sons took over, it was renamed Robert Frères Villeret by 1878, which is really where things kick off.

Robert Frères Villeret never really made it onto a dial. Instead, the brothers Robert trademarked a number of different names for their products, each with its own logo and linked to the mothership by way of a simple, arrow symbol. These brands shared the family’s love of Greek mythology (in case the name Hyppolite was too obtuse), leveraging names like Mercure, Ariana and, of course, Minerva. For the first 15 to 20 years, this watchmaking involved casing up third party pocket watch movements. It definitely established the brothers’ manufacturer, but this kind of “etablisseur” operation just wasn’t all that exciting. So, in 1895, RFV began building their own movements, which is where Minerva as we know it starts to take shape.

The first movement in RFV and Minerva history was the 18-ligne No. 1, or the calibre 18-1 (size-number, a consistent naming scheme at the brand). After the watchmaker moved into their forever factory on Rue Principale in 1902, it was built upon with the 19-2 but it wasn’t really until 1908 that Minerva movements took off, for one specific complication: Chronographs.

First, there was the Calibre 19-9 (the ninth 19 Ligne Minerva movement if

72 history of minerva
Minerva’s calibre 10-48 (above) was released in 1943 with the Pythagore timepiece, which took its name from the movement and positioned its bridges according to the Golden Ratio, a mathematical theory of beauty proposed by Pythagoras. If the family’s love of Greek mythology wasn’t clear before, it is now.
The watchmaker moved into their forever factory on Rue Principale in 1902, but it wasn’t really until 1908 that Minerva movements took off, for one specific complication: Chronographs
73 history of minerva

you’re following the naming scheme), which included a minute counter but no hour, establishing a Minerva signature. It was the watchmaker’s first dabbling in stopwatches and led to a specialisation that saw incredible advancements in the field. By the mid-1910s, Minerva was producing stopwatches capable of measuring to 1/100th of a second. That’s impressive on paper, but more importantly was vital to the evolution of motor racing, which was quickly getting to the point where those fractions of seconds genuinely counted.

In 1923, Minerva introduced the Calibre 13-20. Measuring in at 12 ¾ ligne to upset their naming scheme, it was small enough to be fitted into a wristwatch. The monopusher columnwheel chronograph caused a storm. Developed in collaboration with Dubois-

Depraz (who themselves are going through a renaissance right now), it wasn’t just one of the only chronograph calibres on the market, but it was incredibly well-built for the time –enough that it was continued for decades after its initial launch. Minerva SA, Villeret – by 1929, the official name of the company as a whole – built their mechanical reputation on the Calibre 13-20 and by the 1930s were leveraging that reputation with sports timekeeping, notably at the 1936 Winter Olympics.

The next big step came in 1943 with the Calibre 10-48 and the Pythagore timepiece. The name of the watch came directly from the movement, which positioned its bridges according to the Golden Ratio, a mathematical theory of beauty proposed by Pythagoras. It was done for the beauty

of the thing more than any technical reasons, which is charming as hell given that you’d need to actually open up the watch to see it. Fortunately, the Pythagore was an elegant dress watch worthy of the movement.

Over the next few decades, Minerva thrived. Able to produce whole movements, including balance springs in-house, they weathered the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and at the turn of the millennium they were still presenting new movements. They weren’t just chronographs either; two hand-wound time-only movements cropped up in 2003 and in 2005 they launched the Tourbillon Mystérieuse. This was the last timepiece launched under Minerva’s name and what a last hurrah. Built by master watchmaker Demetrio Cabiddu, the piece included a mystery dial at six o’clock balanced by a tourbillon at 12 o’clock, all in the kind of elegant 47mm case that collectors expect from independent watchmakers today.

A year later, Minerva’s own story ended. After being acquired by Richemont, the manufacturer was put under the auspices of Montblanc (though with Demetrio Cabiddu still firmly in charge) and in 2010 the Montblanc Metamorphosis was unveiled.

The Minerva name is still incredibly respected these days, and not just by Montblanc. You can get vintage Pythagores for anything from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on year and condition, with the earlier ones actually priced a little lower.

Cal.13-20 CH chronographs are a little pricier, usually well over the 3K mark for a decent example, which is unsurprising given its place in watchmaking history. Hell, I’d argue they should be a bit more expensive. Not only are they incredible vintage timepieces, the Cal.13-20 CH is one of the most influential chronographs in timekeeping history, up there with the El Primero for its impact on automotive timekeeping.

While there’s no chance of Montblanc and Minerva separating any time soon – nor, I’d argue, should they – the latter is still a name any watch aficionado should know. And hey, if it encourages more heritage pieces from Montblanc, all the better.

By the mid-1910s, Minerva was producing stopwatches capable of measuring to 1/100th of a second. That’s impressive, but more importantly was vital to the evolution of motor racing
Developed in collaboration with Dubois-Depraz, Minerva introduced the Calibre 13-20 (above) in 1923 to great acclaim, as the incredibly well-built monopusher column-wheel chronograph was one of only a few chronograph calibres on the market and was even used for timekeeping at the 1936 Winter Olympics history of minerva


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Why the flight jacket is still one of the coolest pieces of clothing around

\ 86 / Don’t miss the flyest kit of the season that’s built for life on the wing

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The fifth generation shoemaker combining tradition with modernity

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Utilitarian style upstages the classic aircraft at Stow Maries Aerodrome

Utilitarian you

> > The utilitarian style gets a bad rap. After all, not everything utilitarian is branded with an oversized GAP logo. Thankfully, the pioneers that ruled the skies in the early part of the last century not only revolutionised combat and travel, but they also challenged how we all look at practical clothing today. From the flight jackets that introduced short hems so pilots didn’t sit on them in the cockpit to big pockets for carrying maps and hard wearing leather for a rugged outer shell. Embodying the kind of practicality that the Armed Forces are driven by, these additions brought about a style rebellion that is still felt today, thankfully.

Oracle Style — Apr.23 77

Not just a style choice, original flight jackets were cut with a short hem so pilots didn’t sit on them in the cockpit and included big pockets for carrying maps, compasses and flight notes, while the hard wearing leather provided a rugged and smart outer shell

78 STYLE — bombs away

Why the flight jacket is still the coolest bit of kit around


There is surely no other piece of clothing that is better suited to the silver screen. Indeed, the bomber jacket has been ingrained in the minds of movie aficionados as much as fans of classic military garb, given that it has clothed a number of cinema’s finest leading protagonists. There was the stoic Hilts played by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, whose battered brown leather A-2 never left his shoulders. Bruce Willis’ Butch Coolidge donned his own suede MA-1 throughout Pulp Fiction, showcasing the potential of the jacket when worn with jeans. And who could

forget Top Gun, with the latest film paying tribute to Maverick’s original patched G-1 in the opening scene? Tom Cruise gets dressed in his hanger, first strapping on his IWC, before reaching for his leather jacket and aviator sunglasses. He mounts his Kawasaki GPZ 900R Ninja motorbike and rides, jacket open, to his Mach 9 flight in what is surely the dictionary definition of cool.

But the primary objective of the original bomber jackets wasn’t to look good. It was to perform. And given their origin in World War I, when aeroplane cockpits were open to the elements, that was the difference between life and death. Anyone who, like Cruise, has ridden a motorbike in cold weather will know the potential of wind chill and rain to completely debilitate you, lowering your ability to concentrate and perform. Now imagine that at altitude, at 200mph chasing down the enemy. It was imperative that the pilot’s clothing was up to the job.

This is why early jackets were bulky, heavy duty designs made from thick leather and soft shearling, the latter of which often lined the inside and the collar. In the US, these were designed by the hastily thrown together Aviation Clothing Board, which was only assembled in 1917, a year before the war ended. It wasn’t until the inter-war years when the bomber jackets we know and love began to take shape. Jackets like the A-2 and Irvin Flight Jacket were being introduced as aircraft technology rapidly evolved. But the core traits remained the same. Aviator jackets needed to be warm and durable, and cut with a short hem so pilots didn’t sit on them in the cockpit. Pockets, both inside and out, were useful for carrying maps, compasses and flight notes, while hard wearing leather was at once rugged and smart.

Many early flight jackets differed in style based on location and regiment, with some looking like the shearling jackets of today, while others adopted more of an all-in-one look. It wasn’t until the late 1920s that jackets became more consistent. Although it had a relatively short shelf life, one of the first such designs born on US soil was the

STYLE — bombs away
Whether it’s resting on the shoulders of sex symbols like Marilyn Monroe (right), or worn by movie stars racing fighter jets on their motorcycle (below), the bomber jacket is the universal epitome of cool
Early flight jackets differed in style, with some looking like the shearling jackets of today, while others adopted more of an all-in-one look
81 STYLE — bombs away
82 STYLE — bombs away
Early flight jackets were improved upon in the inter-war years with the addition of a zip up front, and a heavier-duty and warmer horsehide leather, while a hidden placket gave it a more minimal appearance

A-1. This simple, lightweight style was standardised on 27 November 1927, issued as a summer flying jacket. It was the first design to have a knitted waistband, cuffs and neck, while its button through front and large pockets would inform future flying jackets for decades to come.

It was, however, flawed. Its buttons were fussy and time consuming to undo with gloves on, while the leather was too light for year-round wear. It was succeeded by the A-2 in 1931, a design that is arguably the most famous and iconic of all aviator jackets. This was the style worn by the US Air Corp from the 1930s to the end of WWII, a longevity which no doubt contributed to its heroic status. It was worn by thousands of pilots who gave their lives to the war effort, after all.

It improved on the A-1 with the addition of a zip up front, while a hidden placket gave it a more minimal appearance. This was furthered by the large flap pockets having concealed snap closures, as well as the new leather collar, which was far smarter than the A-1’s knitted version. Shoulder epaulettes were added, and the jacket was crafted from heavier-duty horsehide leather, which was warmer and could take a beating. The official colour of the A-2 was ‘seal brown’ but thanks to its simple design and large leather panels, many airmen decided to customise theirs with patches and odes to their service. The backs were painted with tributes to their plane’s nickname and the places they flew, often featuring bikini-clad pin up girls and small bombs connoting the number of missions they flew.

The 1930s was a good time for flight jackets. Over on UK soil, it was an American who pioneered the RAF’s outerwear. Leslie Irvin invented the modern parachute, but he also dreamt

83 STYLE — bombs away
Approved by the Air Ministry in 1932, Leslie Irvin’s instantly iconic sheepskin flying jacket (above) sported a chunky collar made from the best bits of the sheep, was lined with shearling for warmth and comfort, and would become the template that brands still imitate today
This was worn by the US Air Corp until the end of WWII, a longevity which no doubt contributed to its heroic status

up a shearling jacket that could withstand the sub-zero temperatures WWII planes were subjected to. Approved by the Air Ministry in 1932, the RAF sheepskin flying jacket, or ‘Irvin’ jacket as it was known, was a chunky, large-collared jacket made from the best bits of the sheep. Lined entirely with shearling for warmth and comfort, and with an outer made of the hard-wearing skin, it was warm, rugged and instantly iconic. A number of brands produce their own versions today. One such is

the UK-based Goldtop, which makes its own from 100% British sheepskin. “It’s been styled on the original WWII sheepskin flying jackets worn during the Battle of Britain”, says brand director, Joe Cullen, “with the two-panel back rather than the (cheaper to produce) quartersplit panels”.

Other brands, like Aero Leather, devote entire lines to military jackets. They “are reproduced to the finest detail using original WWII patterns”, says Denny Calder, the brand’s production manager. “They are made using materials as close as possible to what was used originally; this is true of not just the leathers, but also the hardware and labelling. The leathers chosen are carefully selected to be as close to original spec as possible, be it in the Horsehide leather we have tanned both in the UK and Italy or the North American Shearling used in our Sheepskin jackets.”

Flight jackets moved on following WWII. The G-1 of 1947 was one of the last of the great leather styles, while the MA-1 brought in the modern jet era at the end of the 1950s with its lightweight nylon construction and simplified profile. Today, military pilots around the world wear more complicated flight suits, so the romance of the once humble aviator jacket is reserved for those with a taste for history and quality clothing that is built to last. You might not wear an A-2 for what it was intended for, in the same way you wouldn’t strap an IWC Pilot’s Spitfire to your wrist to go flying in, and that’s ok. They’ll both make you look cooler than you are, and anyway, appreciating the stories behind them is half the fun.

84 STYLE — bombs away
Today, military pilots around the world wear more complicated flight suits, so the romance of the once humble aviator jacket is reserved for those with a taste for history
A descendent of the Irvin flying jacket, Goldtop’s version (left) is made from 100% British sheepskin with a styled based on the original WWII sheepskin flying jackets worn during the Battle of Britain, and features a two-panel back rather than the cheaper to produce quarter-split panels




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A clean interpretation of the A2, with simple detailing and large flap pockets up front, The Jacket Maker’s A2 is a great entry point into the world of aviator jackets. Cut from a supple sheepskin, it comes with a hidden placket, zip-up front and can be made to measure for the perfect fit.


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For faithful recreations of original designs, Aero Leather is hard to beat. This A-1 is made in exactly the same way as it was in the 1920s, except the leather has been upgraded to goatskin. Luxurious details include the handsewn buttons and replica label, which shows the pattern and contract number.




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Based on the Battle of Britain spec Irvin Flying Jackets, Goldtop’s take is suitably ready for action, whether you plan to go flying or you need something warm and protective on a motorbike. Made from 100% British sheepskin, it comes with solid brass hardware and a split full-panel back.


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The Real McCoy’s team prides itself on its accurate reproduction garments, which are designed to the same specifications as the originals. Its MA-1 jacket is no different, with its distinctive boxy silhouette, heavy-duty nylon fabric and signature sleeve pocket.


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Made in Manchester from luxuriously soft, breathable moleskin, this bomber takes the best of heritage design and updates it with minimal detailing and a flattering, tailored fit. It’s easy to wear whether you dress it up with trousers and leather boots, or down with jeans and trainers.

85 STYLE — pilot’s picks

The High Life

Taking to the air has long been aspirational, so it’s little wonder that high-altitude style has elite status in the design world. For our Aviation issue, we present the flyest kit of the season built for life on the wing.

Bomber Command

> > The modern lightweight bomber seen on city streets today was originally developed with the arrival of the fighter jet, when a svelter alternative to the bulky shearling pilot jackets was needed for moving unencumbered in a cramped, gadget-laden cockpit. Virginia-brand brand Alpha Industries played a pivotal role in the development of the style after winning the contract to make its trademark MA-1 bomber for the US Air Force in the 1960s. Today, it still crafts sleek, stealthy iterations of its seminal design that any elite fighter school recruit would be proud to pull on.

Alpha Indutries MA-1 bomber jacket, from £150

Lofty Vision

> > Aviators have always been at the top of the eyewear style league – after all, the specs appeal of a heroic dogfighter never dates. But, there’s always a case for giving classic designs fresh visual appeal, which artisanal eyewear brand Jacques Marie Mage knows all too well. Its Japanese-made 1962 aviators, with their angular lines and tinted lenses are a case in point. While donning them might not give you the 20:20 vision of a fighter pilot, you’ll be the style squadron leader this summer.

Smooth Operator

> > The days of dressing up to fly might be long gone, but the professional traveller knows the bane of arriving as a crumpled mess when you’ve gone straight from plane cabin to boardroom. Luckily, those smart tailoring wizards at Paul Smith have smoothed things out with its A Suit to Travel In collection. The range of sharp suiting has been engineered with high-twist wool yarns to resist wrinkling and features travel-friendly details such as adjustable drawstring waists, roomier cuts and extra pockets for your on-the-go essentials, so you land looking like you mean business.

Paul Smith A Suit to Travel In collection, from £310

Jacques Marie Mage 1962 Aviator-Style Sunglasses, £910

STYLE — style manifesto

Wardrobe Wingman

> > With any trip comes the dread of packing, but British brand Asali aims to upgrade the experience with its customisable travel bags inspired by the world of aviation. Founder Mindy Arora’s husband is an RAF pilot, which inspired the leather goods label’s designs that salute the UK’s most iconic military aircraft from classic Spitfires and Lancasters to modern Typhoon jets. The just-launched Pilot carryon with its compact, yet multi-faceted functionality is a highlight of the season. Made from hardy leathers with intelligent details, this range has life on the wing in the bag.

Style Drop

> > The Armed Forces – and the intelligent upcycling of surplus military fabrics into responsible streetwear – has been at the core of RAEBURN’s design DNA since the brand marched onto the fashion scene in 2009. Founder Christopher Raeburn was a Royal Air Force Cadet in his youth and AW23’s collection takes flight with the prolific use of jump-jet parachute fabric in lightweight jackets, shorts and totes that have Maverick clout stitched into their seams. Abstract camouflage – another RAEBURN signature – is applied to sweatshirts and tees, reinforcing the brand’s modern military appeal.

Fly Boy

> > Mr Armani – the legendary Milanese designer that gave swagger to oversized tailoring in the 1980s – has always had lofty ambitions in the field of fashion. In 2018, his SS19 Giorgio show was staged in an actual hanger at Milan Linate airport and this winter’s collection takes its cues from the aviators of the Golden Thirties. Cloud-soft cashmere aviator jackets, houndstooth jumpsuits and fur-lined military overcoats were topped off with leather bomber hats and pilot scarves. This is definitely a few thousand feet above your standard issue garb.

The AW23 Emporio Armani collection will be available from August 2023

— style manifesto

Flights of Fancy

Globetrotting is firmly back on the agenda, so clock up your air miles in fine fashion with these first-class flight companions

7/ Ning Dynasty cloud-print hoodie, 8/ Travel sleep eyemask ‘Jetlagged’ / ‘Flight Mode’, £29 9/ Fendi cargo-pocket cotton-blend Bermuda shorts, £550 10/ Aesop Flight Therapy oil, £25 11/

89 STYLE — kit bag
1 8 5 6 3 2 4 9 10 11 7
1/ Bellroy Tech Kit organiser, bronze, £55 2/ JiyongKim sun-faded twill bomber jacket, £1410 3/ Off-White black buckle-detail suede slippers, £620 4/ Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX wireless noise-cancelling headphones, timber, £449 5/ Carl Friedrik Carry-on Pro suitcase, chocolate, £445 6/ Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback, £10,100 black, £270 Charles Simon Mackenzie carbon fibre, aluminium and leather watch case, £7,649


That said, even the staunchest of traditionalists has to move with the times and, even without compromising on quality, that means shifting aesthetics a little more towards a modern wardrobe. Hence the Everdon Wholecut Mid Boot.

The Everdon is far from a classic boot. Based on Crown Northampton’s previous Harlestone sneaker, it’s essentially the high top equivalent of that smart, leather sneaker. But that’s not all. The boot is a mix of styles that the makers found lying around the workshop, not just taking the casual style of the Harlestone, but adding elements from an archival hiking boot and some court-inspired soles from Lactae Hevea. That mix was then boiled down to a single, holistic design in-keeping with the Hand Stitch Collection it’s a part of.

> > Northampton has been synonymous with shoemaking for centuries, the hub of British cobblercraft, and for over 100 of those years, so has Crown Northampton. And honestly, within those decades, not a huge amount has changed. The company is still run by the Woodfood family, now into their fifth generation; their shoes are still made in much the same way they always have been.

The result is one of the most versatile shoes in Crown Northampton’s arsenal. The wholecut Horween leather speaks to the heritage elements of both the design and the shoemaker as a whole, and amps up the dressy nature of the silhouette. At the same time, it’s easily dressed down for a more casual look, whatever you need it for.

Throw in a solid selection of leather colours – the burnished, cherry red is a particular highlight – and sole combinations and you have a quality high-top sneaker (or mid-top boot, depending on how you look at it) to suit any wardrobe.


90 STYLE — wardrobe champion
The fifth generation family-owned shoemaker that combines tradition with modernity


Stow Maries Aerodrome in Maldon has, quite frankly, never looked so good. Sure, the historic vintage aircraft usually take centre stage, but that was before our aviation-inspired photo shoot paired them with some of the best pilots’ watches and the finest styles to match.

Breitling AVI REF. 765 1953 RE-EDITION, £6,800 Photography by FRASER VINCENT & TOM PETTIT

Connolly beige sweater £950,

Reiss stone technical trousers £118,

Harrys London suede cliff boots £695,

Sock Shop ribbed cashmere socks, £22

Connolly dark tan sports grip leather holdall £1,300,

93 STYLE — shoot
94 STYLE — shoot
Longines Spirit Flyback, £4,100
STYLE — shoot
Mr P. shearling trimmed leather bomber jacket £875, John Smedley snow white roll neck jumper £195, Incotex green cotton satin balloon trousers £345, Crockett & Jones black scotch grain boots £595, Dunhill wraparound sunglasses £565,
96 STYLE — shoot
IWC Pilot’s Watch Mk XX, £5,050
STYLE — shoot
Anest Collective grey suede zipped shirt £2,570, white wool roll neck £690, grey wool blend trousers £785, Crockett & Jones black rough-out suede boots £500, Connolly black driving goggles £165,
98 STYLE — shoot
Breguet Type XXII 3880, £19 400

M.C.Overalls black collared zip overall £170,

David Gandy Wellwear green cotton crew neck T-shirt £35,

Crockett & Jones black scotch grain boots £595,

Bottega Veneta rim aviator sunglasses £350,

STYLE — shoot
100 STYLE — shoot
Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT, £3,800

Tod’s green jacket £1,320, brown knit shirt £800, brown trousers £650, and suede gommino boots £690,

Anderson’s waxed cotton belt £119,

Master-Piece metal key ring £45,

Sock Shop ribbed cashmere socks £22,

STYLE — shoot
at Select | Thanks to Stow Maries |
Styling by Jessica Punter hotography by Fraser Vincent Model: Jack Buchanan
Great War Aerodrome,

Words: Sam Kessler

Men of Influence: KRISTIAN HAAGEN


men of influence

What was the last watch you bought?

A beautiful Cartier Tank Américaine in white gold. I have for many years been looking for a Cartier that fits me well. The classic Tank is too small, the Santos is too big, even the Dumont. The Cintree is the perfect watch, but also way too rich for my pocket. So, when I tried on the Américaine with its attractive curved profile, I knew that it was the one for me. I tried it on in steel, but when I realised that the precious metal version has a date and a subtle guilloche dial, I knew the white gold was the one to go for.

Do you collect anything outside of watches?

My girlfriend would probably say I collect Red Wing boots or waxed jackets (Barbour and Belstaff). But I am less passionate about Red Wing, Barbour, or Belstaff than I am with watches.

What, other than a watch, is at the top of your wish list?

I have two Land Rovers: a 1967 Series 2A and a 2000 Defender TD4. And if talking wish list, I would love Cool & Vintage in Portugal to work on either one – or even better, on both my Land Rovers.

A recent find/discovery?

I have been searching for a Double Red Sea-Dweller for a long time. And out of the blue, I was offered a perfect example from 1972 with a military provenance. It has a stunning tropical dial and was bought by a military diver who used it professionally for years until he realized what he owned.

What inspires you?

Driving with the top down in my Land Rover or my motorcycle. That is very zen-like and always frees my mind. The wind in my face and the sun inspires me. Also, I bought a Leica last year, and that has changed how I shoot pictures. I used only to shoot macro (of watches). But now I bring my camera everywhere, and that inspires me to do better and different photography. I recently visited Fotografiska in Stockholm and it also inspired me to shoot in different formats than I am used to.

104 men of influence
Kristian looking at you as you cross the road in front of his 1967 Series 2A Land Rover (above), and the Cartier Tank Américaine (right) that he proudly purchased recently
“I have been searching for a Double Red Sea-Dweller for a long time. And out of the blue, I was offered a perfect example from 1972 with a military provenance”
105 men of influence

A book/podcast/album that changed the way you think?

Any book of Bret Easton Ellis has had a significant impact on me. Most recently, The Shards. But Douglas Coupland, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac have also had me read on for hours, days even, and forget everything and everyone around me.

Who is a celebrity/person of note/intellectual you admire?

Whenever John Malkovich appears on my screen, I listen. I have always been a big fan of his, and I recall I once bought an IWC Big Pilot, because I saw him wearing one. He wore it on top of his crisp white shirt sleeve, mind you.

What’s your ideal long weekend? Packing up the Land Rover or motorcycle (a Yamaha Ténéré from 1987) and driving to our country house. It is a somewhat primitive place surrounded by wild nature. I love it there. Not much else to do there but do garden work, cook over an open fire and enjoy bottles of wine.

What would we always find in your fridge? White wine. American chardonnay, preferably.

What’s a rule/mantra that you live by? I don’t live by any rule or mantra. I guess I am very much like my late father: I take it day by day.

What does the year ahead look like for you? Busier than ever. I do a lot of public talks (on watches), and bookings keep ticking in. Also, I am preparing another book project. I have already published eight books (on watches).

106 men of influence
“Whenever John Malkovich appears on my screen, I listen. I have always been a big fan of his, and I recall I once bought an IWC Big Pilot, because I saw him wearing one”
A perfect weekend for Kristian would be packing up his 1987 Yamaha Ténéré (above) and driving to his country house, where preferably an American chardonnay will be waiting for him
hands-on reviews THE SPECS • 42.5mm platinum case with • Calibre 2460 R31R7/3 with 40-hour power reserve • POA, boutique exclusive, VACHERON CONSTANTIN PARTRIMONY RETROGRADE DAY-DATE An exclusive new look for an underrated Vacheron Constantin staple to celebrate the watchmaker’s year of the retrograde
hands-on reviews

2023 is the year of the retrograde for Vacheron Constantin, with their trio of mainline releases all embracing the snapback complication. It’s a type of display we don’t see that often – except for occasional specialist novelties with a modern flair or anything from Reservoir – but it’s one that Vacheron have been low-key representing for years now with the Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date. Now they’re combining that loveliest of retrogrades with their now annual limited-edition colourway - and it’s gorgeous.

The Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date has always been one of my favourite pieces under the Maltese cross. Sure, the Overseas gets all the love these days, but the oversized (for Vacheron) 42.5mm case and it’s relatively thin bezel provides some rarefied wrist presence to the dress watch. Then there’s the actual complication, which takes the form of a pair of retrograde displays, with date across the top half of the dial from nine-ish to three-ish, and the days in a mirroring curve on the bottom half. Both are indicated with arrow hands.

It’s just a lot of fun. Date retrogrades aren’t all that uncommon in the already uncommon canon of retrograde watches. It’s a slow-moving display that only needs to switch back once a month, one of the easier retrogrades to incorporate into a movement. The day on the other hand is something else. It’s not much technically harder but laying it out takes some confidence. All the days (bar Thursday which is cut off by the central hand stack) are written out in full, taking up a good chunk of the vast dial space the case gives it. The result is Pedro Pascal levels of charming.

So, what’s new for 2023? Basically, the colourway. Platinum limited editions have been a part of Vacheron’s release slate for years with the Excellence Platine pieces. Last year they extended that to the not unique but undeniably attractive combination of platinum and salmon in the Tradition Perpetual Calendar Chronograph as a shorthand for boutique exclusives. It tapped into the trend for vintage-flavoured pinkness enough to be our cover star in 2022. And here it is again but, I’d argue, in a much cooler format.

The reason is simple: blue. Previous platinum Vacherons have tended towards the restrained, with typical blued hands but otherwise keeping things to more classical black and silver. Here, both retrograde displays and the hands that indicate them are in the same deep blue hue. It’s a small change on paper, but with so little else on the large dial, it’s a good amount of colour that comes alive on the salmon backdrop. It does make them a little harder to read than I’d perhaps like – both colours are relatively dark, so there’s not too much contrast there – but I’d happily give over practicality in favour of beauty.

As with other Patrimony Retrograde Day-Dates, the new watch has plenty of wrist presence, even more in fact. When I first got to grips with it earlier in the year, I couldn’t decide if it was just a touch too big for my dainty wrists. When I came back to it recently, I fell in love with its slim-but-wide proportions. It’s far bigger than your standard dress watch, but the size not only leaves plenty of room for the dual retrograde display, but it feels fantastic on the wrist while still being able to slip underneath a shirt sleeve.

Inside is the 2460 R31R7/3, the same movement as the

other Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date models. That means a 40-hour power reserve, not too shabby for this kind of energy-sapping display, and Poinçon de Genève-level finishing. If you want to know precisely what that means, flip the watch over for the kind of calibre embellishments we’ve come to expect from Vacheron – i.e. exquisite.

It’s a level of finishing you can see across the rest of the watch too, from the faceted Maltese cross under the Vacheron logo, which has been given a slight revamp, to the white gold bead minute markers and shortened hour indexes around the date display. They’re all small touches but add up to a better overall watch.

The bottom line is that, while there’s not much entirely new about the Vacheron Constantin Partrimony Retrograde Day-Date, it shows off an incredibly cool watch in a new, rose-tinted light. It’s part quirky, part sophisticated, all stunning – and I want it. We don’t have a price quite yet, but surely it can’t be that expensive… right?

POA, boutique exclusive,

vacheron constantin
While there’s not much entirely new about the Vacheron Constantin Partrimony Retrograde Day-Date, it shows off an incredibly cool watch in a rose-tinted light



Blurring the lines of categorisation, it’s a sports watch with one eye on dressing for dinner

hands-on reviews
THE SPECS • 39 x 41.7mm titanium case with 100m water resistance • Calibre GCA 3002 automatic movement with 50-hour power reserve • £15,600, limited to 150 pieces,
114 hands-on reviews

When you hear the name Genta a certain and very specific style comes to mind. The Royal Oak, the Nautilus, the Ingenieur, all greats of watch design and all with that very specific industrial flavour the designer’s name has become synonymous with. Which is why there are a couple of reasons you might not at first link them to Gerald Charles. Firstly is the name of course, as when Genta founded Gerald Charles in 2000 he wasn’t allowed to use his second name. Secondly, because the Maestro silhouette that has come to define the brand isn’t what we’ve come to expect. There’s not an octagon or a screw in sight!

Every current Gerald Charles timepiece has the same case shape, with incredibly minor variations. That shape involves a two-tiered bezel, a faceted, rectangular case shape with a more rounded six o’clock end and an overall look that’s more art deco than sports luxe. It’s definitely not without its charms but I always considered it a pretty niche look, unique and deeply specific. Yet apparently that shape and style are deceptively versatile because not only does the Gerald Charles Maestro GC Sport Clay have a cool new dial, it’s a bona fide sports watch.

That might sound strange for a watch still sharing that tiered case construction, but just look at the dial, named for and inspired by clay courts. It’s not just inspired by either; it’s been (apparently) tested by ATP players to put it through its paces.

Now, I’m well aware that very few people are ever going to wear their watch playing. Forget the potential damage to the piece, it’s just not comfortable and even a svelte timepiece can get in the way or catch on things. At least in this instance, Gerald Charles have tried to minimise those problems, both by setting it on a comfortable rubber strap and by swinging the crown round to nine o’clock to give your wrist that extra freedom of movement. It’s also very light thanks to its titanium case, weighing in at just 65 grams.

This is one of the few instances where I’m completely on board with titanium. For general wear, I find the metal makes watches feel like toys without the sort of heft that I like. I know there are plenty of collectors out there that love it, but I always prefer steel. Except for here. Not only does it make sense conceptually, but it looks cool too, with a grey sheen that makes these feel a lot more modern, more in keeping with my pre-set notion of a Genta watch.

So, there’s enough here to make you want to give it a go on the court? Mechanically, it seems like it’s up to the task, too. The movement inside is the Ref. GCA 3002, a joint effort with Fleurier’s Vaucher movement maker, combining ultra-thin construction with an Incabloc anti-shock system to survive solid impacts. The rotor’s also been given an overhaul to stop it over winding while you’re jumping around trying to return. It’s not Richard Mille levels of shock resistance, but then neither is a tank and you don’t really need either to make sure that a quick game of tennis doesn’t ruin your timepiece.

Aesthetically, other than the more modern nods in the grey of the titanium and the gorgeous textured brown fume of the clay dial, the rest of the watch is pure Maestro. Whether you like that or not is down to your particular taste; there’s

not a lot else to compare it to. It is undeniably wellconstructed though and as the GC Sport shows, has a lot more to it than you might expect.

This particular version is actually one of three tennisinspired watches in Gerald Charles’ collection, the others being the Grass it’s paired with and the previous GC Sport in blue, which with its sunburst dial is much more classical. Given there’s so much green and blue around these days, I prefer the Clay, but the equally textured green has its charms. Either way, those charms have their cost. All three of the Maestro GC Sport watches have a price tag of £15,600, a substantial sum for a sports watch. But then, these aren’t just your average beaters, but immaculately finished, uniquely designed watches that just so happen to have been rendered sports appropriate. And honestly, I’ve come to really enjoy it. It wouldn’t be my first choice Gerald Charles (that would be their superlative skeleton) but it’s like nothing else out there, and that’s something I can always get on board with. £15,600, limited to 150 pieces,

gerald charles
These are immaculately finished, uniquely designed watches that just so happen to have been rendered sports appropriate


The microbrand’s biggest watch yet is a masterclass in practical, accessible cool

hands-on reviews
THE SPECS • 44mm titanium case with 300m water resistance • Miyota 9015 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve •
118 hands-on reviews

If you’ve ever gone hunting for an accessible field watch – the kind you can put through its paces without the guilt that comes with beating up anything with a bit of prestige to it – then you’ll have likely come across RZE. Their Valour 38 is a contender for the best $300 of stripped-back tool watch you can get, right down to its titanium case and colourful dials. Yeah, I’m a fan.

It’s not just the bang for buck nature of the watches I like though, but the size. RZE have a propensity for smaller diameters, which fits my emaciated wrists nicely. Anything over 42mm often looks silly on me (except for some notable exceptions I’ll brush on later) and tend to err on the diminutive over the bulky. But I’m well aware other watch lovers think otherwise. Apparently, a good cross-section of those other watch lovers have been giving their feedback to RZE, as the shiny new ASPIRARE is their largest timepiece yet at 44mm.

It might not seem massive, but by RZE standards it’s a big step up and has the aesthetic impact to match. That said, it’s not heavy by any means, in part because of the bead-blasted grade 2 titanium that makes up the case, an RZE signature, and for the slim, 13mm profile. In fact, from the side it’s positively svelte. From the front however there’s something of the Seiko Prospex about the ASPIRARE, and not just for that four o’clock crown. The distinctive, faceted look and feel of the watch are more in line with the accessible Japanese stalwart – and that’s no bad thing. Far from it, in fact.

It’s as practical as ever, too. The case has been given RZE’s own UltraHex coating – essentially another layer of honeycombed titanium to act as an extra safety blanket –and offers a more-than-respectable 300m water resistance. It’s a proper diver and feels it. That’s also true of the colourway, a simple and practical combo of high-contrast white on black with a cool, textured dial. The indexes are particularly fun, chunky and oversized like any uncompromising diver, but with a massive cartouche-esque index at 12 o’clock that makes the layout RZE’s own.

So far, so good – if nothing particularly stand-out in the wider pantheon of dive watches. What you don’t get on first glance though is that the bezel is interchangeable. There are a smattering of customisable watches in this vein out there, but not generally divers, where the bezel is so specific – unidirectional, 120-clicks. The fact that you can just click off the bezel and switch up the look while maintaining all the practical necessities of a tried-and-true diver is pretty damn impressive.

Personally, I’m not sure how much I’d flip between bezels. Every time I’ve worn a customisable watch, I’ve switched plenty in the first couple of days before getting bored of the process and just leaving it on my favourite. It’s always a cool

idea – I particularly like Certina’s version, the DS+ – but it’s a novelty more than anything. It’s a nice thing to have, but for me at least doesn’t factor into the watch as a whole.

The piece we have here is a prototype, but most of the details will be carried over to the production version. The only real change will be quick-release spring bars to give you another outlet for easy customisation. The bracelet that comes with the ASPIRARE is fantastically well-machined titanium, but I imagine it would look killer on a black-andgreen NATO.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I tend to avoid larger watches, with a couple of exceptions. Despite its downright stupid size, I love Seiko’s PADI Tuna Can, just because of how it feels on the wrist. It’s not fitting under a sleeve any time soon, but it’s far more comfortable than it has any right to be. There are echoes of that here. At first – in part due to loving the Valour 38 – I thought a 44mm RZE diver would just be too much but, after scant hours of it on the wrist I’ve been converted.

As ever, RZE’s latest is also incredibly accessible. A large part of that is due to opting for a Miyota movement over the more common and pricier Sellita, but the 9015 is nevertheless a reliable workhorse, in this instance graced with a custom date wheel. And hey, given you can grab the ASPIRARE for just …, that’s a compromise I’m more than willing to make.

rze aspirare
The fact that you can just click off the bezel and switch up the look while maintaining all the practical necessities of a tried-andtrue diver is pretty damn impressive



120 © Ignite Media
Words: Ben Barry
121 1,000 miles of sebring

Ferrari might have the longest continuous history of any Formula 1 team, but at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring endurance race this March, Oracle witnessed its return to the pinnacle of endurance racing after a 50-year absence (the film Ford v Ferrari chronicles the twilight of its last era).

The Italians didn’t mess about. Appropriately driving a Ferrari 499P wearing number 50, Antonio Fuoco edged out long-dominant Toyota by two tenths of a second in qualifying, securing pole position for himself and two teammates as the sun set over the Floridian circuit. A second 499P bagged fourth on its debut, fractions off two Toyota GR010s ahead.

It was both a shock and a very welcome shake-up for a sport that’d become a little stale over the last five years.

Held under sun so hot the cars literally had to wear shades when parked for the pre-race grid walk the next day, Sebring jumpstarted this year’s seven-round World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Naturally Ferrari hopes to win the title overall, but the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the jewel in the championship’s crown and the bigger prize in any year. But this year’s Le Mans is really significant in marking the French race’s centenary, and for Ferrari to win a 10th time after 50 years away on the race’s 100th anniversary would be as pleasing to fans of decimalisation as Ferrari’s famously devoted Tifosi fans.

Sebring suggests Ferrari will be in the mix at Le Mans this June with its new 499P – a hybrid racecar that channels F-16 fighter jet as much as Ferrari. Built to new Le Mans Hypercar rules that have been key to endurance racing’s revival (Porsche, Cadillac and Peugeot join Ferrari in challenging Toyota, while Lamborghini and BMW follow next year), the 499P features full carbon fibre construction, from its underpinnings to the dramatic curves of its low-slung body.

The 499P’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine is derived from the road-going 296 GTB supercar, mounted behind the driver and able to send up to 671bhp to the rear wheels, while an electric motor can divert another 268bhp to the front axle for all-wheel drive.

Rules cap the combined total at 671bhp, stipulate a 1,030kg minimum weight, and dictate all-wheel drive activates only above certain speeds, but it all aims to keep costs relatively sensible, level the playing field and improve the spectacle. Early indications suggest it does.

For British Ferrari driver James Calado, the 499P is a big step over the road-car based Ferrari 488 GTE he raced previously in the WEC’s entry-level class.

“In terms of G-force it’s actually not too far off the GTE cars – it’s mainly the high-speed corners where you feel it a little bit in your neck,” revealed the 33-year-old before the race, “but the 499P is lighter, there’s more downforce and it’s got the electric motor at the front so the difference in terms of performance is probably 14 seconds per lap at Sebring. That’s massive.”

Calado shares number 51 with former F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi, but for the 29-year-old Italian, the 499P is slower.

gh, it’s the mental approach that requires more recalibration after F1. “You drive knowing you will hand over to your teammate, so you want the best car for them, the tyres, the car, everything,” summed up Giovinazzi when Oracle Time rather surreally jumped in a golf cart with him before the start.

Sebring’s 12-8pm duration might have been a third of Le Mans’ day-long epic, but the track’s probably three times rougher. Located between Orlando and Miami in a rural landscape of orange groves and cattle ranches, the 3.74-mile track was established in 19 on a US Air Force Heavy Bomber training base, flowing together runways and access roads to create a layout like a badly drawn alligator head, its jaws open, pointing left. Some of the concrete is the very same laid for B-17 and B-24s back in the mid-20th century, so it’s a gnarly old surface that stresses everything from tyres to powertrain.

1,000 miles of sebring
Ferrari have returned to endurance racing with British driver James Calado, Antonio Fuoco, and former Formula 1 racer Antonio Giovinazzi behind the wheel of the 499P – a hybrid racecar that channels F-16 fighter with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and 671bhp, which is derived from the road-going 296 GTB supercar

“The 499P is lighter, there’s more downforce and it’s got the electric motor at the front so the difference in terms of performance is probably 14 seconds per lap at Sebring. That’s massive”

123 1,000 miles of sebring
124 1,000 miles of sebring

The Sebring International Raceway is far from a comfortable return to endurance racing for Ferrari, as the 3.74mile track on a former US Air Force Heavy Bomber training base still makes use of the gnarly concrete laid for B-17 and B-24s from when the base was established in 1950

126 1,000 miles of sebring

Before the start, Ferrari team boss Antonello Coletta briefed his drivers that finishing the race and gaining valuable experience was the thing to do, but that rather underplays the pace and peril of modern-day endurance racing – the battles at Sebring were fierce, something made all the trickier by having to pass slower cars contesting lesser classes. Given Coletta also wanted a podium finish, the drivers were tasked

with driving very quickly while not crashing (ah, the job description of every race driver).

There are no launches from the lights in endurance racing, so after a rolling start pole-sitter Fuoco led the pack for a few laps in the number 50 499P, but it didn’t take long for Ferrari to lose its advantage, allowing the more experienced Toyota team to pounce –number 50 received a drive-through penalty for overtaking under safety-car conditions, and then a five-second penalty for an infringement under refuelling. It’s the sort of procedural stuff Ferrari needs to iron out, though its performance in F1 suggests that’s easier said than done.

Worse was to come. By around 5pm the Toyotas were already comfortably in front when the second Ferrari – number 51 – committed to overtake a much slower Ferrari GTE Am car. The two touched with barely a glancing blow but the contact saw the 51 spin, clout another competitor and come to rest stricken at the side of the circuit.

All credit to mechanics who patched 51 up and got it back on track, but with 20 minutes or more lost, the rest of the race was damage limitation. Car 50 fared better, getting back into contention to battle Porsche and Cadillac for the third step on the podium. It was gripping stuff.

As darkness fell on that second night, the Toyotas were cruising with a comfortable two-lap lead when Brit, Mike Conway took the chequered flag, just two seconds ahead of his teammate as fireworks fizzed in the warm evening air.

The record shows Sebring was business as usual for the Japanese reigning champions, and yet everything had changed with Ferrari’s podium and pole. “Today is just the start of the big race coming for 2023,” summed up Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi, another ex-F1 man, after the race.

Never mind that Ford v Ferrari flick, Toyota v Ferrari at the Le Mans centenary this June is the one to watch.

127 1,000 miles of sebring
The battles at Sebring were fierce, something made all the trickier by having to pass slower cars contesting lesser classes
Ferrari’s return to endurance racing didn’t have the champagne ending they were hoping for, as a drivethrough penalty and then a five-second penalty for a refuelling infringement, as well as an on-track incident hampered the team’s race as they eventually settled for a hard-fought third place finish



I can attest that if you travel any decent amount, you probably spend far too much time in airports. Especially these days, when ‘get there three hours early’ is the general advice, you can add a good chunk on top of your travel time. But for watch collectors, there’s sometimes the opportunity to make the most of that pre-flight limbo, as among the many luxury boutiques you’ll find in any airport are the watch shops.

Amid the usual inflatable neck pillows and pulp crime novels, you can be pretty sure that, in a big, fancy airport catering to the most well-heeled of jet-setters, you’ll find more than a handful of boutiques geared towards serious horological aficionados. But other than being stuck in airport with nothing else to do, why do these stores matter?

Well, depending on exchange rates and taxes, there’s a chance

you’ll find a deal. Many of these boutiques inflate their prices to compensate, but you can still get as much as 30% off. Perhaps more importantly, because of their high turnaround of stock, airport stores often have bigger collections than your local, one-horse outlet. Finally, who doesn’t get a bit of a buzz over a new watch? Ticking a watch off your wishlist is at the very least, something to fill your time.

So, next time you’re in an airport lounge half a day before your flight is due, go to your happy place and think about watches. You may just find something special – and possibly empty your bank account. Especially if you’re in one of these five airports.

© Tim Griffith airport watch


Voted the best airport for shopping in 2022, Doha’s Hamad International is a masterclass in how to do duty free. Along with a handful of well-appointed standalone boutiques from Hublot, Omega, and others, the airport’s own horological emporium, The Watch Room, is one of the coolest and largest stores of its type, pairing the usual run of airport favourites – Breitling, Montblanc et al – with more off-kilter options like Ulysse Nardin.

Yet selection isn’t why it’s so tempting. Haggling is a way of life in the Middle East and while you’d never dream of doing that here in the UK, in Qatar it’s a given, even in the airport. So, as well as the tax-free shopping, you may be able to knock even more off the price of your chosen watch with some ballsy debate. Granted, you probably don’t have a leg to stand on if you’re after a Daytona, and by all accounts airport stores are less into haggling than the stores in Doha proper, but you can still potentially knock a few percent off the ticket price.

It’s an ethos you can apply to the rest of the shopping options too, although there are more shops than a single trip can really take in. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time there and miss your flight.


> > It might be tempting to try getting back into the country with your shiny new watch on your wrist, but given the customs agents can just run your credit card to check, it’s probably not worth the risk. Smuggling has a bad rap. So, that means working out the customs you owe – which here in the UK is a little trickier than elsewhere.

• STEP 1: convert the price you paid into British pounds. Simple enough.

• STEP 2: Find out the basic import duty. You can find it out using the free tool at uk. All you need to know is the price of the watch in GBP (that you just calculated), the commodity code (1901110000) and the country in which you bought it.

• STEP 3: If you didn’t buy at duty free, add VAT – just multiply the price paid in sterling by 0.2 to get that extra 20%. Combine that with the import duty and you have what you owe customs. It’s up to you whether you haggle or not.

130 airport watch
Haggling is a way of life in the Middle East and while you’d never dream of doing that here in the UK, in Qatar it’s a given


With a butterfly garden complete with indoor waterfall, a free cinema, and a rooftop swimming pool, Changi airport is an international attraction in its own right. It’s stunning, and there’s good reason it’s been named the world’s best airport 10 or so times. But, as well as being one of the most beautiful airports in the world Changi Airport has a serious selection of watch stores, with standalone boutiques for Rolex in T3, Omega in T1 and Montblanc in Ts 2 and 4. Sure, that’s nothing necessarily to write home about, but Gassan Watches is.

The Singaporean watch specialist (think Watches of Switzerland but with an emphasis on airport shopping), Gassan has been in Changi since 1999, before watches in airports was cool. Now they have outposts in Terminals 1, 2 and 4 and offer a broad collection of mainstream brands –Omega again of course, but also Breitling, Longines and many more. They also have a range of Rolexes to rival the watch with the crown’s own store. Given Singapore’s reputation as a watch collector’s paradise, Gassan is a store that you should definitely make time to go see – even if it means arriving an hour earlier than you normally would.


You don’t need to leave sovereign soil for some solid watch shopping. Heathrow, being one of the world’s busiest and most important airports has an impressive array of watch stores, including Cartier and Tiffany – where you can also grab some last-minute jewellery – as well as Hublot.

Most important though are the Watches of Switzerland boutiques across terminals 3, 4 and 5, with the store in the newest terminal being a flagship among duty free stores. It’s relatively small by Watches of Switzerland standards but a lovely space that has a consistently good selection of pieces. They also happen to run the standalone Rolex store, where you can ask about the new Daytona. If you dare.

The downside of course is that you’re less likely to get a great discount (you’ll save the 20% VAT, though at the cost of a price hike to compensate) but they make up for that with their reserve and collect service. Just buy the watch beforehand and swing by to grab it with all those lovely duty free benefits – the perfect compromise if you’re rushing for a flight. After all, it’s not like you’ll be hanging around to haggle.

131 airport watch
Buy the watch beforehand and swing by to grab it with all those lovely duty free benefits


Hong Kong International takes shopping seriously. No half-hearted selection of cut-price stores here; across the two separate malls you can find nearly 300 different stores, covering everything your credit card could desire. It can be a bit overwhelming in all honesty, but if retail is your preferred form of therapy, then you might find yourself struggling to head to the gate. ‘Boarding’ doesn’t really mean anything, does it?

Among those various shopping options are a surprising number of standalone watch boutiques. Through departures at Terminal 1 you’ll find Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Omega, Panerai and Piaget all with their own outposts. The only brand not really represented in fact is Rolex, whose store at Hong Kong International left a while back.

You’re less likely to get yourself a discount from this particular set of stores – and brand-specific stores in general, really – but the shopping experience and selection often make up for it. Plus, if they say you can get a watch, you can.

132 airport watch
Through departures at Terminal 1 you’ll find Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Omega, Panerai and Piaget


Yes, it’s an ugly airport from the outside, that’s something the French have had to come to terms with. Not the only thing, but a major one. Largely they’ve done so by spending no small amount of effort turning the inside of Charles de Gaulle airport into a shopping experience to rival any in Paris. Throw in a few trees and it would rival the Champs Élysée.

It goes without saying that the boutiques of French brands here are phenomenal – Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Hermes (though with plenty more than just watches on offer, obviously) – but CDG also has a fantastic Rolex boutique and, if you’re after a last-minute present for a fellow watch lover, a Swatch store. Don’t underestimate how far a shiny new Swatch goes.

Like Heathrow, the shopping process is also made as streamlined as possible. Just reserve your watch(es) of choice at one end and they’ll be waiting for you when you land. Even if you’re just hopping across the channel for an hour.

133 airport watch
It goes without saying that the boutiques of French brands here are phenomenal


Telluride Mountain Village, Colorado, United States of America

Nestled into the southern portion of the Rocky Mountains, it’s little surprise that Colorado is home to some of America’s highest altitude establishments. Alpino Vino is a gourmet restaurant set into the gorgeous mountain terrain of Telluride’s ski resort – it’s pretty much only accessible by skiing or the dedicated Snow Cat bus. It offers a menu of fine Italian food and European specialities along with American wine.

It’s located at an elevation of 3,647m. Learn more at


The jet-set lifestyle just isn’t complete without equally elevated dining. But while 20-course tasting menus and rare delicacies are all well and good, sometimes you just want to take things a little more literally. In fact, a well-known side effect of dining at altitude is that your palate is susceptible to changes, enhancing the flavours and culinary experience the higher you go. Well, with these restaurants, you can’t get any higher, from lodges devoted to haute cuisine perched on mountaintops to dining at the top of an iconic skyscraper. Just don’t look down; you wouldn’t want to lose your appetite.

The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is a viewing platform and venue offering unrivalled views of Switzerland’s most famous peak. In addition to the platform, it’s also home to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, a prize-winning modern restaurant with panoramic windows and a zero energy design. At 3,883m, it’s Europe’s highest mountain restaurant and has capacity for 60 diners. The menu features local specialties and the kind of food you’ll appreciate when you find yourself on top of a mountain. Discover more at


> > CULTURE — high altitude dining > >> >> >
→ MATTERHORN GLACIER PARADISE - 3,883M Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland

GUSTU - 3,625M


10 de Calacoto #300, La Paz, Bolivia

We’re classifying Gustu as a mountain top restaurant by the fact that the entire city of La Paz is set into a mountain range. It’s the highest elevation capital city in the world at 3,625m. Gustu itself offers an eight course tasting menu of local Bolivian produce with dishes like lamb tamale, chili cream, and roasted vegetables. There’s also an extensive wine list featuring world class South American wines.

Learn more at

You can reserve the chef’s table experience, which comes with the best table in the house, a champagne aperitif, and four course meal


Q - 3,048M

Sölden, Austria

Ice Q is an Austrian restaurant situated 3,048m above sea level. Unlike many mountain top establishments that are compact to withstand the elements, Ice Q is a glorious glass construction with modern, angular design. You can reserve the chef’s table experience, which comes with the best table in the house, a champagne aperitif, and four course meal, all while overlooking 250 3,000m plus mountain peaks.

Learn more at

138 CULTURE — high altitude dining

HEAVENLY JIN - 556M J Hotel, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China

Heavenly Jin currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the highest restaurant in a skyscraper, situated as it is on the 120th floor of Shanghai Tower, 556m above the ground. It’s an absolutely stunning dining room with ribbon-like crystal lights and a Silk Road theme. It attracts a revolving range of top chefs from across the world leading to a diverse and frequently changing menu. Book at

Tokyo, Japan

With views stretching from Tokyo all the way to Mt. Fuji, Sky Restaurant 634 inside the Skytree is located 345m above ground. The menu is a fusion of French and traditional Japanese cuisine, cooked in a French style but with flavours common to Tokyo and the surrounding area. There is also signature Japanese cooking on display with their Teppan menu, where food is cooked on a large iron plate in front of customers.

Book at

139 CULTURE — high altitude dining
← SKY RESTAURANT 634 - 345M Skytree,
The menu is a fusion of French and traditional Japanese cuisine, cooked in a French style but with flavours common to Tokyo
It attracts a revolving range of top chefs from across the world leading to a diverse and frequently changing menu

↑ ATMOSPHERE - 442M Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

We simply can’t talk about the world’s highest restaurants without talking about one housed in the world’s tallest building. Atmosphere in the Burj Khalifa is an exclusive restaurant and lounge set on the 122nd floor, 442m above the ground. It specialises in French cuisine with a 13-course blind tasting menu, allowing the chefs to take you on a culinary journey with seasonal produce. It’s also won multiple fine dining awards. Book now at


110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY, United Kingdom

We couldn’t finish without including at least one from our capital (even though it’s the lowest at approx. 200m). Duck & Waffle is located on the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate with views over the iconic London skyline, including the neighbouring Gherkin skyscraper. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the restaurant’s signature dish is their duck and waffle with a crispy leg confit, fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup. It’s pure comfort food, any time of day. It also holds the honour of being London’s highest restaurant, higher even than those of The Shard as they’re on a lower floor.

Book now at

140 CULTURE — high altitude dining


• 44mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance

• Sellita SW 200-1 elaboré automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• €1,560 (approx. £1,370), limited to 35 pieces,


From inspired design to accessible haute horology, this is the latest and greatest from the creative world of microbrand watches


Botta Design

Uno Automatic 35 Edition

If less is more, then the Botta Design Uno Automatic is the most. The one-handed watch has been making Bauhaus waves for 35 years and to celebrate the studio has released this handsome limited edition version. Available in either white or black, both with a single, red central hand for minutes and hours and blacked-out, PVD-coated 44mm cases, they have the aesthetic impact that only this level of minimalism can achieve. The culmination of three-and-a-half decades of watch refinement, grab one while you can – there are only 35 of each colour.

143 BACK — microbrand corner

Bernhardt Retro World

While Retro World might sound like a Stranger Things-flavoured theme park, in Bernhardt’s hands it’s one of the most fun recent throwback timepieces around. Given the stiff competition there, that’s saying something. Available in three funky variations, here we have the perfect summer version in crisp white and blue. Equipped with a peripheral world time complication (which is where it gets its name), the Retro World’s 1960s-slanted cushion case and Milanese bracelet pair perfectly with its dual crown look, with the upper crown operating the rotating inner world time bezel. It’s cool, useful and incredibly accessible.

Lilienthal Berlin

Chronograph Blue Orange

Part pared-back minimalist timepiece, part high-contrast sports watch, the Chronograph Blue Orange is far more particular in execution than in name. The smooth, tactile case has a shimmering, dark blue metallic sheen, with highlights in solid orange across the chronograph hands, edge of the crystal and around the winding crown. The effect is striking and between those good looks and solid build – especially the matching blue-coated steel bracelet – the watch has more than enough to make up for a simple, if effective, Ronda quartz movement.


• 42.5mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance

• Ronda quartz movement

• £395,


• 41mm case with 200m water resistance

• Miyota 9015 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve

• £352, limited to 300 pieces,

144 BACK — microbrand corner

Moels & Co


We’ve spoken about Moels & Co’s signature rounded rectangular watch before; it’s hard not to love, with its painfully cool retro good looks and the spider-esque dial. But as we venture into the warmer months, we have our eyes out for colours to suit – case in point, the sky blue Heavenly. A gorgeous, pale shade to suit a spring sky, it works flawlessly with the otherwise pared-back silhouette and comfortable mesh bracelet. Backed by a solid Sellita movement, it’s a look both rooted in rose-tinted nostalgia and the timelessness of great design.


• 45mm x 33mm case with 100m water resistance

• Sellita SW200-1 b automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve

• £946,

Genius Smart

We’ve all been there. You’re deciding on your next watch and get split between the twin icons that are the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Well, now you don’t need to decide! Genius Watches have built their name on a literal 50/50 aesthetic split between the two Genta designs, with the top half of each watch aping the Patek, the lower half the octagonal Royal Oak. Their latest edition – the Genius Smart – repeats the theme but with a more pared-back look. Fortunately it’s not as pricey as either icon it riffs off, with a quartz movement taking a good deal off the price tag.


• 39mm x 49.8mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance

• RONDA 515S QUARTZ movement

• From CHF 890 (approx. £800),

145 BACK — microbrand corner

Words: Sarah Fergusson




Why ‘The Watch that Won the War’ is a serious value proposition –even by Bulova standards – for now

CULTURE — unsung vintage hero
148 CULTURE — unsung vintage hero

With vintage watches gathering momentum in value and popularity by the day, it seems sensible to look for those pieces that are still flying under the radar (no more aviation puns to follow, I promise.) Vintage steel tool watches in particular are of course having a moment, but it appears that certain pilots’ watches are still very affordable. One in particular is the Bulova A-11, or the Watch that Won the War, as it’s affectionately known.

We all know that the UK government commissioned watches specifically for the RAF late in World War IIthe ever-popular Dirty Dozen, while over in the USA these came from Bulova, Waltham and Elgin. The A-11 was supplied to the US Air Force in the tens of thousands by these three brands, and they can be found for sale today at a fraction of the price of their British-worn counterparts.

To give a little aviation-horology-history context, watches for pilots started to appear in around 1910. These watches were specifically designed for the wrist and not the pocket, as had been the precedent; and were a far more practical and safer option. Like all military watches, the design of the A-11 was driven solely by purpose and specified by the US government towards the end of WWII.

A-11 watches were housed in a 32mm case and have a black dial with large white Arabic numerals for immediate legibility. This was in contrast with previous USA military timepieces which had white dials. An outer minute track with 10-minute markers was also demanded, as well as a central hacking seconds hand that stopped on the crown being disengaged, aiding easy synchronisation. The crowns themselves were larger, for easier operation while wearing flight gloves. Depending on which source you consult, the Bulova A-11 could have a nickel, silver, or chrome-plated case, but all definitely had screw-down backs. Further questions remain over strap type with some sources stating a one- or two-piece fabric strap and others mentioning larger leather straps to be worn over flight suits. Some A-11s can be seen to have smooth bezels, others have a coin-edge style, and in addition, some have lume and some do not; bezel type and lume presence were not specified for the A-11. Internally, reliable, minimum 15 jewel movements were required, and these included the Bulova 10AK CSH.

Whereas a GB-issued Dirty Dozen watch from IWC can fetch around £4,000 at auction (£8,000 retail), its American counterpart, the A-11, can easily be found at auction in varying conditions for upwards of around £250, or £900 at retail, in working condition. But why?

There is a certain romanticism in the discourse on period Air Force-issued watches. British examples are of course known as the Dirty Dozen, a name that conjures ideas of dangerous covert operations and lovable rogue soldiers (although the term is also used to refer to the 12 human errors than can lead to aviation incidents, and is of course the title of a very famous WWII-themed movie.) As far as nicknames go, the Dirty Dozen seems more exciting in vicariously mischievous ways, than the Watch that Won the War. But it can’t be down to a nickname, surely. Many of the dozen brands tasked with creating watches for the RAF were, and are, highlyregarded ‘luxury’ manufacturers, vs. Bulova, which sits comfortably in the more affordable zone, comparatively.

Rarity is also certainly a drive too. For example, only between 1,000 and 5,000 of the Grana DD versions were ever produced. Several have sold at auction in the UK in recent years for around £9,000. The collector’s mind will also be seduced by the concept of completeness here too; the idea that one can possess a ‘full set’ of all 12 watches is quite enticing and only a handful of these groups have ever come to auction. The most recent made £25,000 at a London auctioneer in 2020.

So, if you don’t want to stretch to a DD IWC, and the A-11 has piqued your interest, the best advice is the same I would give to anyone jumping into vintage watches in general; do your research and buy from someone of whom you can ask as many questions as you need. That might be an auction house or dealer, and in any case, see it in person first if you can.

With the A-11, along with most mid-century military watches, any buyer or collector does have to be aware of the issue of originality. Due to factors such as wear and tear and damage (they are now in their 70s, and were used by the military after all), along with platedcase materials prone to corrosion, some offered for sale are actually ‘franken’ or composite pieces, put together from a number of available retired watches.

Too apprehensive to buy vintage? Well, a fashion emerged for these utility-driven timepieces following WWII; a familiarity with their appearance along with the vicariously available excitement of pilot life drove this, and many brands responded with aviator-style watches. As we know, the demand for these has persisted for the interceding 70 or so years; the Breitling Navitimer, Omega Speedmaster, Rolex GMT Master and IWC Pilot offerings are still going strong, although of course some have not been continuously available. Around 10 years ago there seemed to be a pilots’ watch renaissance with several brands coming to the fore including IWC. Bulova specifically have of course offered several aviation-themed pieces, including a re-issue of the A-11 in 2022. It was perhaps not completely well-received as it sacrificed a pure pilots’ aesthetic, in favour of a blue dial. If you are brave enough, I say go for one of the originals, if you can, before we see them all fly (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

CULTURE — bulova a-11
Available at a fraction of the cost of the British Dirty Dozen, the A-11 (or the watch that won the war) is housed in a 32mm case with a black dial and large white Arabic numerals for immediate legibility, which is in contrast with previous USA military timepieces which usually featured white dials




A modern tribute to an unsung Genta design that’s remained iconic since the 1950s

To say that Gerald Genta was a prolific designer is an understatement. Sure, he’s best known for defining sports luxe in watch design with the Royal Oak, Nautilus, Ingenieur SL, the list goes on, but there are a huge number of subtler creations on his resume. In fact, one of the legendary designer’s finest pieces came long before he became synonymous with octagons and visible screws – the Universal Geneve Polerouter.

You might not know it to look at the brand today, but back in the 1950s, Universal Geneve was one of the biggest players in the watch world. Regular contributor Ken Kessler has previously lauded the extra-terrestrial merits of the phenomenal SpaceCompax, but 1954’s Polerouter is a classic in the truest sense, albeit just as adventurous.

Designed to be flown across the magnetic high point of the North Pole, it was at once a stripped back tool watch and an elegant, semi-dress piece, defined by its minute track and crosshair dial. It’s as timeless a timepiece as has ever emerged from Genta’s scribbles; not bad given he was in his early 20s at the time. So where is it now?

It’s strange in this era of archival raids and re-issues of anything tangentially acquainted with Genta that the Polerouter’s not seen the light of day. It’s something that bugged British watchmaker Max Van Brauge enough that he reached out to the modern Universal Geneve. After getting no response, he took it upon himself to pay tribute to the iconic watch. The result is the superb Fifty Three.

This isn’t Van Brauge’s first foray into the past. From Hemmingway to Brooklands racetrack to the architecture of Paris and New York, the brand has scoured the past for stories to bring watches to life on the wrist. The Polerouter might be a bit more modern than their usual wheelhouse of the 1940s, but aesthetically it fits into their wider portfolio perfectly – and the Fifty Three is handsome as all hell.

It has that signature engraved minute track as the original watch and the same crosshair dial, both definitive elements of the Genta design. In fact, one of the few elements that isn’t faithful is the date window, which has been moved to six o’clock rather than three o’clock. Inauthentic it may be, but that small change brings additional balance to the

design. We’re not blasphemously saying you can improve on Genta, but it’s a nice change.

The Fifty Three is available in three different versions. The Polerouter’s tool watch origins are amped up in the steel version; its innate elegance in the full gold, and between the two a bi-colour version with a steel case and gold bezel. That last is our personal favourite, with its gorgeous, modelappropriate gold indexes.

Of course, anyone can re-create a sought after vintage model, but doing so with any semblance of accessibility is another matter entirely. Which is why it’s so impressive that the Van Brauge Fifty Three is priced at £3,160. The Fifty Three is the closest thing you can currently get to the original Universal Geneve Polerouter without hunting for a true vintage piece. And hey, even if that aesthetic heritage is just words to you, there’s no denying that the Fifty Three is a good-looking, solidly built watch in and of itself. After all, you don’t need Gerald Genta’s name to build an iconic watch. But it does help.

Find out more at

IN FOCUS — max van brauge
British watchmaker Max Van Brauge has once again raided the archive with his handsome Fifty Three, a timeless take on the Universal Geneve Polerouter, which is available in three different versions
The Fifty Three is the closest thing you can currently get to the original Universal Geneve Polerouter
FOCUS — marathon navigator


The legendary 1990s pilots watch returns

What makes a good pilots’ watch? Legibility is a key factor of course, as it needs to be read on the fly (sorry). But that’s not all. Back in the day, it would have needed to be operated with flight gloves on too, so grippy bezels and big crowns were a must. It also had to be the kind of rugged, durable timekeeper that could survive a less than soft landing and keep ticking.

As a whole, it’s a pretty demanding set of criteria, and one that watchmakers around the world have fulfilled aplenty across the decades. Mostly we talk about the ones from WWII, your Dirty Dozens and A-11s (more on that later in this issue), but that’s only scratching the largely scratch-resistant surface. One of the most iconic and much more recent pilots’ pieces in fact was the Marathon Navigator.

Originally designed in 1986 at the behest of Kelly Air Force Base (now Kelly Field in Texas), the Navigator wasn’t Marathon’s first run in the field. They’d already been building military watches since 1941 as the sole supplier of US Armed Forces timekeepers and the now-legendary GG-W-113 Vietnam service watch – a collaborative effort with Hamilton and Benrus that really put them on the map. So if you were the US Air Force in need of a watch, Marathon was where you turned.

The demands were high; along with the usual legibility, it needed to work in the low temperatures and low pressures of a few thousand feet up. So, in 1986, the Navigator was born courtesy of Marathon’s Leon Wein and (current chief watchmaker) Jean Maurice Huguenin. Defined by its asymmetrical case with an oversized crown guard, it embodies the kind of utilitarian tool watch vibe necessitated by a warzone. Unlike many pilots’ watches, it came with a bi-directional bezel for use as a second time zone and a quartz movement ensured it would keep ticking.

Perhaps more importantly to Marathon, it was also the first time the brand worked with eminent Swiss watchmaker Gallet. They worked with the Swiss manufacturer to meet urgent contracts, but it also began a tradition that saw them work later with Minerva and Nouvelle Lemania, before going fully in-house in La-Chaux-de-Fonds in 1992.

To call the Navigator a success is a severe understatement. Thousands of Navigators were ordered, and it saw a lot of action, especially in the Iraq War. The original design however was phased out a few years later in the late-1990s, leaving military collectors wanting more. And after twoand-a-half decades, more they are getting.

That’s because the original steel Navigator is back, albeit with a few tweaks here and there. The

Embodying the utilitarian tool watch vibe necessitated by a warzone, the new Marathon Navigator remains authentic to the 90s version, but with more tapered lugs for a better fit on the wrist, while the size of the bezel has been increased for increased usability and sapphire crystal added for better performance at altitude

overall asymmetrical design is authentic to the 90s version, with some concessions to a modern wearer like more tapered lugs for a better fit on the wrist. The bezel size has been increased to further enhance usability and sapphire crystal means better performance at altitude alongside the materials usual scratch resistance. The movement of course has also been updated, this time using an ETA F06.412 HeavyDrivePreciDrive quartz number, complete with a date and a phenomenal +/-10s a year accuracy.

Other than that, this is the Navigator collectors have been clamouring for, horological proof that not everything from the 90s was awful, and a watch with a military legacy very few watches this side of WWII can match. Find out more at

IN FOCUS — marathon navigator



BWG Bavarian Watches are a German watchmaking brand which create watches inspired by the dual personality of Baveria. On the one hand you have grand, soaring castles with Romantic designs and on the other, you have the bustling, modern city of Munich. As such, BWG watches tread a line between luxurious design and practical utility, both of which are exemplified in the new Isaria model with its 42.2mm case with 200m water resistance and bold facetted design. The name and colourway options are inspired by the river Isar, which flows through Munich. €555 for first 50 buyers, €1,555 standard price (approx. £490/£1,375), pre-order at



The Pilot Timer – KM 417 is Kienzle’s flagship pilot’s chronograph, featuring a 44mm stainless steel case with fluted bezel. The dial is clearly inspired by the instruments found in cockpits, with the black, red and white colourway creating a high contrast display that’s easy to read. It houses the NE86 automatic chronograph movement from Seiko, which features hours, minutes, central chronograph seconds, a 30-minute timer and a small seconds indicator. There’s also a tachymeter presented on the flange.

Meteorite is a very evocative material that is seeing increasing use in watchmaking. Literally originating in space, meteorite has hurtled through the atmosphere of Earth undergoing enormous strains and pressures that create its signature Widmannstätten pattern of striations and crisscrossing lines. Lilienthal have integrated a thin disk of meteorite into the dial of the Chronograph Limited Edition Meteorite III with the space rock functioning as the small seconds subdial. £709, available from


Sphaera are a young Austrian microbrand which have launched their debut wristwatch, the Desk Diver, on Kickstarter. As the watch’s name implies, the Desk Diver takes visual inspiration from technical tool watches, while also being an instrument designed specifically for day-to-day life in the office. It features a 40.5mm diameter case with screw-in bezel and a sandwich dial with SuperLuminova. The latter enhances the dive watch aesthetic in the vein of iconic models like the Panerai Radiomir. The Desk Diver is powered by the Landeron 24 W automatic calibre. Early Bird Price €850 (approx. £750) available on Kickstarter – learn more at

Gravithin – ArgoMatic

The Gravithin ArgoMatic is inspired by the Argo constellation, a grouping of stars in the southern hemisphere that has since been re-classified as three separate constellations. The dot pattern across the rings of the dial are evocative of stars in the night sky while the red seconds hand represents the lens of a sextant, a traditional form of navigation. The watch itself has a 42mm steel case and houses the Miyota 9015 automatic with 42-hour power reserve.


Jean Rousseau –Watch Case Yellow Goat

As part of Jean Rousseau’s new Franche-Comté collection, they’ve released a new watch case in yellow goat leather. It’s designed as a light and elegant pocket case, ideal for transporting a precious watch to and from an event, or protecting while travelling. The vibrant tone is inspired by the heritage of the Franche-Comté region of France, matching the yellow colour found on the region’s flag. £215, available from

Horology Wrists – MoonSwatch Straps

Horology Wrists produce a range of straps dedicated to the headline grabbing Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch. Considering how colourful and diverse the MoonSwatches are, the Horology Wrists straps are correspondingly eccentric and exciting. A beige strap to match the Jupiter, a burgundy for the Pluto and a sporty red and white number for the Mars are just three examples in a collection of 30+ designs. There’s also a mixture of materials available with versions in sporty rubber or military style nylon. £35-£55, available from


Featuring three screwdrivers, a Rapport London has been producing horological goods for over 100 years with products ranging from watch winders and boxes to mechanical pocket watches. This is the Brompton Three Watch Roll, a protective case designed for transporting up to three watches. It features a crocodile-effect leather exterior while a soft suede interior keeps the watches safe during transit. There are also many colours to choose from including red, green, blue, brown and black. £300, available from


Dirt is the perennial enemy of watch collectors, whether it be the grime of regular wear or the dust that collects on an unworn, display watch. Maison Des Montres produce a dedicated Luxury Watch Cleaning Kit designed to keep your luxury timepieces in pristine condition. The kit comes with a gentle cleaning solution, a nano-bristle brush and a microfibre cloth, all of which are ideal for removing dirt and finger prints without causing scratches or damage to your timepiece.

AED 249 (approx. £55), available with free worldwide shipping from


Swiss Kubik have been producing high end watch winders for over 10 years and have mastered the art of combining style with function. Their designs are unapologetically bold, designed to stand out in a room and showcase the watches contained within. The Masterbox Couture combines the signature cube shape winder with a leather exterior, providing a sumptuous finish. It can be operated via either a direct power supply or batteries, giving you transport options. £955, available from

155 watch accessories

Hockerty – Custom Jeans

Hockerty offer an online tailoring service meaning you can submit your measurements from anywhere in the world and have a custom clothes made in as little as 21 days. From ultra-smart suits to casual jeans, they’ve got you covered. Take jeans for example, the number of styles and fabrics on offer is impressive: straight, slim, bootcut, cropped, roll-up cuffs, square or rounded pockets and colours from indigo to white. It means you can create the perfect jeans for any casual occasion and to match your individual tastes. Approx. £99-£120 depending on material and pattern, available from


The Cambridge Satchel Co. is dedicated to crafting exquisite bags and satchels right here in the UK, in Cambridge if that wasn’t already apparent in the brand’s name. Their traditional leather bags fuse style with practicality, and its exactly that combination that makes the Messenger one of their most popular products. This is the navy colourway edition with a navy body and brown fastening straps. What makes the Messenger iconic is the over shoulder strap allowing it to be worn across the body and the flap opening for easy access. £265, available from


It’s perhaps not a surprise that a brand called Joe Merino are specialists in creating merino wool products, a fabric that’s celebrated for its relative warmth to weight ratio. What that means is that the Joe Riva short sleeve shirt is soft and lightweight, while also helping with temperature regulation. For 2023 Joe Merino have expanded the Riva Buttons collection with some additional colours including the pale cement tone, which is a lovely neutral tone for any occasion. €120 (approx. £105), available from

Nishane –Hundred Silent Ways X

Nishane are celebrating their 10th anniversary by relaunching their top five fragrances in a new X series. The collection consists of the Hundred Silent Ways X, Hacivat X, Ani X, Wulong Cha X and Fan Your Flames X, each an ideal gift for a partner. Hundred Silent Ways X has top notes of peach and mandarin, heart notes of jasmin and iris, all of which are supported by base notes of patchouli and leather.

50ml $245, 100ml $360 (approx. £198/£290), available from


Swaine have been at the peak of London’s luxury market since its inception in 1750, making it one of the oldest names in the luxury industry. However, just because they’re old doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of innovating and developing new concepts, as the Indy Backpack showcases. This brand new collection of bags is handcrafted from full grain calf leather with an Alcantara lined interior and is available in black or cognac. It’s produced in a backpack style with padded shoulder straps for comfortable daily wear. £2,900, available from

156 style

Mosso Moto – ME650

Mosso Moto produces accessible smartwatches designed for everyday use, featuring an AMOLED touch screen and wireless charging via its base. As a smartwatch, it has virtually every function you could possibly want including exercise records, 29 sport modes, heart rate monitor, sleep monitor, remote photography, music control and more. That’s in addition to all the regular functions that might be found on a watch such as a stopwatch. It’s the ideal daily companion through life. $155, available from


Giga 10 is Jura’s premium automatic coffee machine and is capable of making an astonishing 35 types of speciality coffee, making it a market leader in terms of drink customisability and options. It operates with a dual ceramic grinder set-up that means you can have multiple blends on the go at the same time. For example you might use one for a dark roast espresso while the other has a medium roast for a white coffee.

£3,450, available from


The health benefits of cold water immersion are well documented, however the practicalities of creating an ice bath at home can make it difficult – if you’ve ever tried to fill a bath tub with ice from the freezer you’ll know what we mean. That’s where the Lumi Therapy Recovery Pod Ice Bath comes in, it has been specially designed to be portable – allowing you to place it either indoors or outside easily – and has great insulative properties ensuring cold temperatures for extended periods. Even cold tap water can maintain a chilly 15°C. Although if you want to go full Wim Hoff, you can add as much ice as you want.


Latin for ‘prepared in all things’ – is Sonus Faber’s big, all-in-one loudspeaker system that connects wirelessly to whatever digital player you have to hand, whether that’s your in-home streaming set-up or your phone. These types of things are designed more for ease of use than pinnacle clarity, but it’s hard to find just where that supposedly inevitable compromise is within the Omnia. It takes all the best features of Sonus Faber audio systems and distils them into a single beautiful speaker.

Learn more and find a dealer at


Qobuz are a music steaming platform available on desktop and mobile dedicated to curating a complete audio experience for audiophiles. As such, in addition to producing their own musiccentred magazine, they utilise the highest quality audio files possible for the 100 million+ songs they have available, so that you can listen to them the way the artists and recording engineers intended. Plus, with their download purchases system, you can own still own your music collection and tailor it to your preferences. From £10.83/month, available at

157 tech

Bentley 3 Litre Red Label

This is a Bentley 3 Litre Red Label on offer from Tom Hardman on a 1924 chassis 665. The car is offered in great condition with full provenance including an extensive history of previous owners, as well as a comprehensive list of repairs and alterations. Over the course of its existence, it has competed in numerous classic car events and races and is in suitable rally condition. Tom Hardman is a vintage car specialist operating out of Ribble Valley in Lancashire but with clientele and satisfied customers around the world. Price on request, inquire at


Gunther Werks have built a reputation for themselves as one of the foremost experts in modifying Porsches. Their cars are jaw drop worthy to say the least. However, the chances of owning a custom Gunther Werks are low and so they’ve introduced the new GW9 accessories line to broaden their audience. The GW9 GT2 RS EVO AERO Front Spoiler is but one part of a carbon accessories body kit that they now produce for the Porsche 991.2 911 GT2RS.

$9,295 (approx. £7,500), available from gw9.

Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe

Classic car collectors exist in all forms, but this Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe is one for the most fastidious and dedicated collectors around. That’s because it features the more powerful SE (MC)-spec with extremely rare factory-fitted automatic transmission. The XK140 was the first Jaguar sports car available in automatic, making it surprising that this example is in such good condition. That condition is largely due to the fact it has a milage of less than 20,000. The car is finished in Old English White with black piped-red leather seating.

Estimate £80,000-£100,000 at auction on 20 May 2023 from


This 1949 Triumph Roadster 2000 was fully restored in the 1990s and has just 4000 miles on the clock since then, ensuring it has maintained good condition. The maroon bodywork is gloriously rich and combines with the light brown interior really well. Its previous owners reportedly kept it in Cornwall where it was perfect for sunny excursions to the beach.

£24,995, available at at time of writing


Bonhams are auctioning the 2000 Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R Kaizo driven by Paul Walker in the Fast & Furious franchise on 5 May 2023. It was the star vehicle in Fast & Furious 4, making it a key piece of automotive and cinema memorabilia. It’s also, without question, the single most desirable version of the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R in existence. Learn more at

158 motoring

The Wristwatches in Series 4 of Succession Continues to Impress.

If you haven’t been watching Succession as a watch fan, you’ve severely been missing out. Not only does the Jesse Armstrong series offer incredible writing, drama, cringe worthy moments, hilarity and an insight into the megalomaniacal

and Machiavellian Roy family as they dual it out for money and status but also it’s a watch collector’s dream.

As well as being amazing television, it offers what feels like a documentary style insight into the lives of the uber Rich, with father Logan Roy famously tossing aside a gifted Patek Philippe from goofy cousin Greg in the pilot episode. If that isn’t a statement of just how rich someone is, I don’t know what is.

There are many other watches from the first three seasons that deserve to be mentioned, such as the Rolex SeaDweller Deepsea given to Greg from Kendall, or Kendall Roy wristwatches like the Vacheron Harmony Mono-Pusher Chronograph & Traditionelle World Time. Or the pinnacle of Kendall’s collection,

the Nautilus 5711. However, with series 4 fresh on our screens, let’s focus on the new wristwatches that we’ve spotted.

For the new series, Kendall wears a blacked out, large watch. Given his character, it’s no surprise that it’s a customised Rolex, specifically the Rolex Predator from Bamford Watch Department. He’s also been spotted wearing some sort of salmon dial silver watch in series 4 episode 3, which fits the bill of a salmon dial Patek Philippe akin to the Ref. 5320G.

However, Kendall Roy’s star wristwatch this series has been the Richard Mille he wore in episode 4 in the aftermath of a rather significant event (you’ll find no spoilers here). The watch was reportedly chosen by Jeremy Strong, the actor who plays Kendall, as the addition of a new watch and one of such high reputation in particular, is symbolic of the character’s arc. The material, the positioning of the bezel screws and the fact it seems to sit relatively flat on his wrist lead me to believe it’s an RM 67-01 Extra-Flat.

Looking to other wrists now, we find Roman Roy wearing an IWC Pilot’s Watch 36 with a blue dial. This is also a watch that gains significance in the wake of the aforementioned, spoiler-free event. In his state of distress, we actually see Roman fiddling with the crown of the IWC, using it to distract himself.

The final watch to mention is Tom Wambsgans’ Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph with reverse panda colourway. This is a watch that can go five rounds with Kendall’s Richard Mille and Nautilus 5711 in terms of icon status and the sense of personal power it imbues. Afterall, just like the Nautilus, the Royal Oak was also designed by Gerald Genta, the most famous watch designer ever. As a last thought, if you consider the fact that Genta also did work with IWC (albeit not on the Pilot’s Watch) Succession really emphasises the importance of Genta as a designer.

At time of writing series 4 of Succession is still airing and as such there may be more watches to discover. Keep an eye on for a comprehensive overview once the series has concluded.

160 END — watches out
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