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Introducing Model 2 Straps by worn&wound

July 28th, 2014 by

Today, we’re very excited to unveil our newest American-made watch strap, the Model 2! Our third American-made strap, the Model 2 was designed to be a simple, stylish go-to strap for all seasons. It’s a 2-piece design made out of unlined Horween leather, cut with a slight taper. The edges are raw, letting them gain a nice patina, and the knots are hand-tied out of thick waxed linen thread for a crafty, hand-made finish. We used both a fixed metal loop as well as a wide leather band for keepers, creating a rugged detail that hints at military straps.

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The Model 2 strap was created to split the difference between our heavy-duty, finely finished Model 1, and our rugged, military inspired NYC NATOs By mixing elements of dress and sport straps, the Model 2 has a retro aesthetic that is simultaneously masculine and elegant. Try this on everything from beat up tool divers to dress-casual vintage pieces.

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The rich, waxy Cavalier Chromexcel Horween leather used with the Model 2 – Crimson has a dark, reddish brown color that subtly changes under stress as the oils move around the surface, creating a dynamic appearance. This also allows the Model 2 – Crimson to develop a distinct, beautiful character as it is worn, picking up nicks and scuffs for a rugged patina. The Crimson has been finished with natural/light brown waxed linen thread, bringing out the earthy tones in the leather.

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The Tumbled Essex Horween leather used for the Model 2 – Black has a deep, dark color and a beautiful texture. This leather is seriously as soft and supple as leather gets, feeling “broken in” immediately. We offset the black with natural/light brown waxed linen for a rugged, worn-in look that goes with everything. Dress down your formal watches or dress up your sports watches with this one.

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Our newest color, Russet is a gorgeous earthy brown hue that will darken and patina beautifully with wear. The matte, oiled Stampede Chromexcel Horween leather chosen for the Model 2 – Russet is tough, but supple and will wear in nicely. We accented the Russet with charcoal waxed linen thread for a dark, faded palette that looks especially good against titanium or blasted steel.

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The Model 2 currently comes in 20 + 22mm widths with polished hardware, all ship with an extra set of springbars on the house. We love these straps and have already been wearing them non-stop for several weeks, so we think you’ll all love them too. Available now for $59 + shipping.

-w&w

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w&w Instagram Round-Up #30

July 27th, 2014 by

Another great week of watch shots! We have a killer selection below, not just of great watches, but of some pretty great photos. We love to see creativity and photo skills being shown off in your IG pics, so don’t hold back! Enjoy!

In order for your picture to be considered it should:

a. include the hashtag #wornandwound and @wornandwound
b. be a watch related photo. It doesn’t have to be a watch on your wrist, but watches should be at the core of the image
c. be awesome (naturally)

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on what we’re up to, what watches we’re looking at and to be eligible for future giveaways. We also just appreciate your support!

@soubido and a new Makara Octopus

@soubido and a new Makara Octopus

@nicksetiawan and a Montres Militare

@nicksetiawan and a Montres Militare

@mywatchlife with a Longines Legend Diver and breakfast

@mywatchlife with a Longines Legend Diver and breakfast

@mike_sal and a mean looking Deep Blue

@mike__sal and a mean looking Deep Blue

@makoykoy a Tissot Seastar and a gorgeous old Canon

@makoykoy a Tissot Seastar and a gorgeous old Canon

@kimnk a Speedy, a bottle of single malt, and a great view

@kimnk a Speedy, a bottle of single malt, and a great view

@jsnowball81 and the Pleamar Dual Crown Diver

@jsnowball81 and the Pleamar Dual Crown Diver

@jonathan_ponce and a bronze Archimede

@jonathan_ponce and a bronze Archimede

@jeep99dad and the Vulcain Nautical Cricket

@jeep99dad and the Vulcain Nautical Cricket

@dennistejero and a Raketa Big Zero (and a great composition!)

@dennistejero and a Raketa Big Zero (and a great composition!)

@cgx_ and a Seiko Sarb027

@cgx_ and a Seiko Sarb027

@belzy77 and a MKII Vantage

@belzy77 and a MKII Vantage

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A Look at Clockwork Synergy Straps

July 25th, 2014 by

It’s not often you find aftermarket watch straps in a big-box retailer. But that’s exactly what Jeff Braswell achieved when he struck a deal with Best Buy to have six varieties of his Clockwork Synergy Straps right next to the Pebble Watches display at the electronics giant’s locations in November of 2013. That same year his company was part of a giveaway on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” launching the brand into the national spotlight.

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Clockwork Synergy, which has two employees in its Ellicott City, Maryland office, just launched their Divers Strap that fits the Pebble Steel. It’s just one of over 5,000 styles and color choices the company offers, from nylon and oiled-leather NATOs to the GQ-endorsed chambray strap to bands for Philip Stein and Technomarine watches. Each watch band ships with a sleek branded Clockwork Synergy black watch box.

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“Instantly add a little class to your wardrobe,” is the brand motto, which watch enthusiast’s belief that the right watch and band combination is the final touch to any outfit.

Braswell touched upon the guiding tenants to his company philosophy:

  1. High quality at an affordable price.
  2. Easily interchangeable
  3. Fast and free shipping
  4. Attention to customer service

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“I’ve always been an aspiring entrepreneur,” said Braswell. “But as every business owner knows, you have to build a solid foundation before you can take it full time. So while staying in the career world, I ran Clockwork Synergy on the side, while rolling 100 percent of the profits back into the business, so we could continue to bring in more styles and colors to the market place.”

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An overview of the Clockwork Synergy line:

  • Nylon NATOs: Hundreds of colors and styles, available from 16mm to 26mm and in different thicknesses.
  • Leather NATOs: 24 options with two different hardware choices
  • 3-ring heavy NATOs: over a dozen different colors with five different hardware options
  • 5-ring heavy NATOs: Over 24 choices in different colors in both nylon and leather, with 5 hardware options
  • Nylon NATOs with a nylon loop: 32 options, three sizes.
  • Crocodile leather grain: available from a 10mm up to a 28mm
  • Lizard leather grain: 12 colors, six sizes.
  • Divers silicone: Over 50 colors to choose from in multiple sizes
  • 2-piece nylon watch straps: NATO style but 2 pieces with interchangeable pins

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Major announcements for the coming months:

  • Four new classes of high-end Raw Calf Leather straps in four types, Vintage, Worn, Distressed and Suede leather.
  • Leather racing style straps for “guys who ride a motorcycle to work in a suit.”
  • Partnership with DaLuca straps with American Handmade Leather watch straps

“Anytime we introduce a new line of straps to our catalog, we always try and maximize all the color options possible,” said Braswell. “We try and bring in tons of color to accommodate everyone.”

And most importantly, add a touch of class to your wardrobe.

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For more Clockwork Synergy be sure to check out their facebook, pinterest, twitter and instagram

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Register Now for the Watchbuys Chicago Roadshow

July 24th, 2014 by

Just a heads up to all of our friends and readers located in the midwest, the Watchbuys Chicago Roadshow will be happening Friday, August 1, 2014 through Sunday, August 3, 2014  at a hotel in the Magnificent Mile. If you’re a German watch fan, these events are not to be missed. They’ll have everything from your favorite Sinns to the new Nomos Metros all out for viewing. If you want to attend, head to their registration page to get your spot. And don’t dawdle as these fill up fast!

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The Bremont Wright Flyer

July 24th, 2014 by

A piece of history being made and every watch a piece of history.

There’s not much middle ground with Bremont. It’s either ‘Bremont? I’ve got three already!’ or ‘Bremont? I’d rather wear a Casio.” This is a good thing. When a watchmaker polarises opinion, it generally means they’re doing something new, interesting and different. And that’s just what Bremont have done. They’ve created a new English watchmaking business from scratch. Starting in 2002, it’s grown in the twelve subsequent years from a tiny operation to a significant brand.

Make a success of something and you’ll attract your share of detractors and, historically, the watchbuying public have been split on Bremont. One side has talked about the quality of the watches, the warmth of the team (Bremont’s always been a hands-on business), and attention to detail. The other has accused them of being contrived, too focused on image and too dependent on branding. And there’s always been that ‘accusation’ of using ébauche movements, despite it being common practice in almost every watch company.

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It’s easy to see how those negatives could be true but for Bremont’s founders, Nick and Giles English. Meet them and you realise very quickly indeed that they’re making watches because they love watches, not to boost a corporate balance sheet. The brand’s ‘Boy’s Own hero’ style is theirs, not the focus-grouped contrivance of a slick Soho agency (although they did use London-based Abbott Mead Vickers to put together a series of press ads). The link to vintage aircraft is because the brothers restore and fly vintage aircraft. In short, Bremont is real, not front.

To prove it, Bremont have got a bit of a name for featuring exotic, flight-connected things inside their watch cases. So far, they’ve put Spitfire metal in the rotor of the EP120 and the P51 features aluminium from a P51 Mustang. If you’re going to go down the historical aviation track, these take some beating. But with their new watch, Bremont might just have aced the Spit’ and the ‘Stang .

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This evening, they unveiled their new aviation watch, the Bremont Wright Flyer, at London’s Science Museum. The watch is named for the Wright Brothers’ first ‘plane and the link with Orville and Wilbur Wright is very real indeed. The Flyer incorporates fragments of muslin fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer – the landmark aircraft responsible for the world’s first heavier than air human flight.

You can sense Nick’s very genuine enthusiasm when he talks about the watch. “Giles and I still cannot believe that it’s happened. Holding the original and invaluable muslin used to cover the 1903 Wright Flyer is incredibly emotive. Does the creation of a special aviation-inspired watch really get any better than this?”

Bremont’s Henley-based watchmakers have layered the fabric inside the watch between the movement’s decorated rotor plate and a sapphire crystal display window. There’s a tiny fragment of it in each of the 450 watches they’re producing, but that’s hardly the point. Bremont weren’t about to cut-up the world’s most historically important aircraft to make the watchstraps. Family member Amanda Wright Lane says, “The wing cloth from the 1903 Wright Flyer is considered almost priceless by some, but we felt Bremont’s passion for aviation heritage made them a suitable choice for this rare use of the cloth.”

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The Wright connection on its own is quite something. But not only does the new Flyer contain a bit of aviation history, it makes a bit of watchmaking history too. The 43mm Trip-tick (that always raises a smile) case carries Bremont’s first in-house movement, laying the ébauche argument very firmly to rest. It’s all rather eclipsed by the Wright brothers historic angle, but this is a brand new Bremont movement with many elements made at Henley.

It underscores the English brothers’ enthusiasm for historic aviation that they decided to put their new movement in a watch that was going to hit the headlines anyway. In fact, the announcement of the new watch almost plays the new movement down: “Bremont unveils the ultimate aviation watch, incorporating original material from the 1903 Wright Flyer, plus its first in-house movement”. Oh yeah, we’ve just designed and made a whole new English watch movement but don’t worry about that – just look at what we’ve put in the case with it! It’s like Aston Martin announcing a new car with a dashboard made from David Brown’s old desk and casually mentioning it’s got a completely new engine that turns out 800bhp and runs on water.

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The new BWC/01 25 jewel movement deserves some space to itself. It’s an automatic that takes power on both the clockwise and anti-clockwise turn of the rotor. The crown itself is thoroughly period, with knurling and a taper towards the case. With a Nivarox balance spring beating at 28,800bph, Bremont claims a 50+ hour power reserve. The balance itself is cut from Glucydur; tough and thermally stable – so the Flyer should certainly be accurate (and the entire Bremont range are COSC rated in any case). Decoration-wise, you get Geneva stripes and an exhibition back to see them through. Mind you, perhaps we should be calling them ‘Henley Stripes’ now.

The metal dial gives you a choice of black or white with applied gold numerals. There’s a subsidiary seconds dial marked with ‘1903’ (the year of the first flight) and railtrack ten minute intervals. And, perhaps most significantly, it carries the word “London”. Looks like English watchmaking has taken another step forward.

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Steel edition, 300 pieces

You can have your Wright Flyer in a choice of stainless steel, rose gold or white gold. Bremont will be making 300, 100 and 50 pieces of each, respectively.

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Rose Gold edition, 100 pieces

One wonders what the English brothers will try next. We’ve had The Victory with its nautical theme, incorporating copper from HMS Victory in its case. The Codebreaker has fragments of Bletchley Park history in the form of part of an Enigma coding machine, pine from a hut and fragments of computer punchcard. The P51 and EP120 have clear aviation links through original aircraft metal. If I were running NASA’s museum I’d be keeping a careful eye for a couple of suspicious-looking Englishmen with tinsnips hanging around the Saturn V rocket and the Lunar Module.

White Gold edition, 50 pieces

White Gold edition, 50 pieces

Nick English has described the aim of Bremont as “To make a watch that, on its own merits, is a bloody good watch.” He, Giles and their team have gone rather further than that with the Flyer. It will be interesting to see how many detractors it carries cross the fence to the Bremont side. One suspects it’ll be more than a few.

$25,950 in stainless steel
$39,995 in rose gold
$44,995 in white gold

by Mark McArthur Christie

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Christopher Ward C8 Regulator Review

July 23rd, 2014 by

After recent news, Christopher Ward is more likely to be known for their affordable in-house SH21 movement than anything else, but if you look our archives, you’ll find most of our reviews are of their pilot’s watches. We’ve looked at the C8 MKII, the C10, the C11 and the C1000 Typhoon, all of which offer something different. The C8 MKII is fairly classic pilot, reminiscent of IWC MK series, the C10 is a more formal, with a touch of navigator DNA, the C11 is a modern instrument panel-style aviator and the C1000 Typhoon is a dark and stealthy modern pilot realized in ceramic. Today, we’re going to take a look at a follow up to the C8 MKII; the C8 Regulator.

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What sets this watch apart is indicated clearly in the name; it’s a regulator. This fairly uncommon complication splits the hour, minutes and seconds into 3 separate dials. Typically, as is the case with the C8, you have the hours and seconds as secondary sub-dials, and the minutes about the center. The concept behind this watch, as in why you are finding a regulator on a pilot’s watch, is that in WW2, regulator’s were supposedly used for timing bombing runs. With minutes being the most significant unit of time to pay attention too, it makes sense to emphasize them in this way.

In order to achieve this functionality, Christopher Ward outfitted the C8 Regulator with a Unitas 6498 manual movement with a bespoke regulator module. As is evident in their various collaborations with Johannes Jahnke, they are adept at creating in-house components. Now that they are partners with Synergies Horologères, a Swiss movement manufacturer, I imagine they will be playing with bespoke modules for their regular lines more often.

Of course, this done come at a price, literally, as the C8 Regulator comes in at $1,425 as shown in PVD. This is on the higher end for Christopher Ward, being more than twice the price of the C8 MKII, and higher than your average Unitas powered watch. That said, aesthetically, it’s one of their more finely tuned pieces, and quality wise, is well executed.

Christopher Ward C8 Regulator Review CHRISTOPHER_WARD_C8_REGULATOR_FACE1Case: PVD Steel Movement: Unitas 6498 w/ Regulator Dial: Black Lume: Old Radium Super-Luminova Lens: Sapphie Strap: Leather Water Res.: 50M Dimensions: 44 x 52.6mm Thickness: 11 mm Lug Width: 22 mm Crown: 8 x 5 mm Warranty: 60:60 Guarantee Price: $1,425

Case

True to the pilot/flieger tradition, the C8 Regulator is a large watch. Measuring 44 x 52.6 x 11mm, it’s wide and flat, like its automatic brethren the MKII. The case shape and design are classic pilot, with slab sides, slender tapering lugs and a broad bezel. While it’s been a long time since we handled the C8 MKII, which is even thinner at 9.7mm, the 11mm thickness is striking. The bezel, central case and case back are nearly all the same, making for a very sleek profile.

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Contrasting this is the large onion/diamond crown at 3. Measuring 8x5mm, the crown is long and wide. This makes it very easy to grasp for winding the movement or setting the time, but a bit jagged and unwieldy. Coming off of a 44mm case, it will bite your wrist throughout the day.

Flipping the watch over, you’ll be presented with a great view of the Unitas movement inside. The glass runs practically edge to edge, giving you a very full view the inner workings of the watch. Since Unitas’ are manual and everything is oversized, they are especially enjoyable to ogle.

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As far as finishing goes, you have two options, the matte PVD shown or just matte steel. Though it costs a bit more, PVD works very well with this watch. The overall palette, which we’ll get into more when looking at the dial and strap, is dark, but warm, mixing black and brown almost like tortoise shell glasses. Though PVD can sometimes make a watch less versatile, here it completes the look.

Dial

The C8 Regulator takes a classic approach to the dial, utilizing the regulator layout and “old radium” lume to create something more interesting and dynamic. The primary index, which is minutes, consists of thick rectangles and small dashes, with numerals every 5. At 15 and 45 the numerals are removed for logos and a 30 and 60 they are removed for sub-dials, creating a sense of radial symmetry.

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The sub-dials at 60 and 30 are for the hours and seconds, respectively. Both have the same simple design, almost mirroring each other, which emulates the larger minutes index. Separating them from the main dial, which is entirely flat, is a ring of circular graining under the linear portion of the index, with the numerals set in towards the hand. If I were to register a complaint about this dial, it’s that it is very flat, which is emphasized by its large diameter. That said, the flatness makes it look more like WW2 era military design, so it’s staying true to itself.

What makes it all come together is use of the “old radium” super-luminova. The burnt, creamy orange color looks amazing against the matte black surface. And where the lume is not used, such as on the logos and the individual minute marks, they have color matched paint so you can’t distinguish between them. The effect is both aggressive and stylish, which is further emphasized by the matte PVD case. The only downside to this lume is that it’s not as bright as white or green paints.

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For hands, they went with broad roman swords, which are very clear and well proportioned. They also went for edge-to-edge lume, rather than a bordered style, which also works very well on this watch as it’s more bold. The minute hand, as is expected, is very large, so you can’t miss it at a glance, while the hour and seconds hands are much smaller. That said, they are large sub-dial hands, thus being easier to read and glowing better.

The regulator layout is a bit off putting at first, but within a short amount of time you acclimate to it. Then, it’s actually very easy and fast to read. There is a logic to having the hours above the minutes, so you can read the same way we say the time… i.e. 12…30. Also, I find I am generally aware of the hour, so I tend to look for the minutes first, which the regulator makes all the more simple. More over, it adds a level of uniqueness to this watch that separates it from other pilots. Though the language is the same, it really has a different feel.

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Movement

The Unitas 6498 is a workhorse manual movement of pocket watch descent that you’ll come across with some regularity. It features 17-jewels, manual winding, sub-seconds and a frequency of 18,000bph. In this instance, Christopher Ward created a module to separate the hours out onto a sub-dial, creating the regulator. The best thing about these movements is how large they are, making them great to look at. The balance wheel is huge, but beats fairly slowly, giving a hypnotic pulse. If you wind it while looking at the back, you can clearly see the mechanism in action.

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They also often serve as canvases for elaborate decoration or partial rebuilding (like when a German brand might switch in a 3/4 plate). In this case, the decoration is minimal, but still well executed. Under the balance is a plate of perlage, which makes the golden wheel stand out all the more. The main plates then have Cote de Geneve, a standard, but attractive pattern. The screws inside are all polished on the top surface, which I believe is the same “flat polish” they use in their new SH21 movement. More of a subtle approach than blue screws, but handsome. Lastly, on the barrel, in blue, is the Christopher Ward London logo.

Straps and Wearability

The C8 Regulator comes mounted on easily the nicest leather strap I’ve seen from the brand. Called a “vintage leather” this 22mm strap has gorgeous coloration and texture. It’s a mix of mid-dark brown with highlights of tan and gold which appear in the crevices of the natural texture. The highlights resonate with the “old radium” lume, tying the two together. The contruction of the strap is impeccable as well. It’s thin, with a light padding, tapering by the edges. There is a matching brown stitch that runs down the edge and black/very dark brown edge inking that flows into the PVD case.

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Accompanying the strap is their patented Bader deployant clasp. Designed by their new partner and founder of Synergies Horologères, Jörg Bader, it’s indeed an improvement over other designs. It creates a very clean, keeper free strap when closed, turning the leather into more of a bracelet. It then open with two buttons place on the top portion of the mechanism, rather than underneath where they can pinch your skin (something that annoys me often with deployants). The only potential downside is that for it to work, the straps themselves must be very thin in order to pass through the system. I personally prefer thinner straps, so that’s not a concern for me, but one couldn’t swap the strap with a 4.5mm thick piece of leather.

As expected, on the wrist, the C8 wears large. It’s big and flat, which further emphasizes the width, though makes it more comfortable than a tall and wide watch would be. The 52.6mm lug-to-lug isn’t too bad though, so I didn’t find it reaching over the sides of my 7” wrist. That said, this isn’t a watch for petite wrists or those who prefer smaller watches. Regarding comfort, the real offender is the crown, which does regularly push against the hand. I suppose you can get used to this, but it’s not very pleasant.

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Aesthetically, this is probably my favorite pilot’s watch from Christopher Ward. It’s aggressive, well balance, and has a beautiful, masculine palette. The mix of black and warm golden tans and browns speaks to patina, rugged leather, machinery, etc… All things that just work with casual men’s wear. Putting this watch on immediately makes me wish it was fall, so I could put on my Iron Rangers, black jeans, a heavy shirt and a leather jacket, and enjoy this watch in its element.

Conclusion

The Christopher Ward C8 Regulator is a very cool offering from the brand that has a bit more personality than their other pilots. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked them all in this way and that, but this one comes together in all the right ways. Interesting functionality, well executed aesthetics and a proper amount of aggressive edge put the C8 Regulator in a class of its own. It also stands apart from what else is out there, only really competing with a Bell & Ross that costs much more (it’s gorgeous too, but that’s a different article).

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The downsides are that it is big, which will make it hard to wear for some people, and costs a decent amount at $1,425 in PVD and $1,375 in steel. Though less than the C1000 Typhoon, it’s more than Fliegers from other brands, many Unitas 6498 powered watches and a fair portion of their own line. I assume the increased price cost is do to the added complication as well as rising costs on movements. As is always the case with C Ward’s it’s Swiss made, built and finished well and backed by their 360 warranty. So, in the end, if you are looking for a big pilot watch with a slight twist and a lot of style, and are willing to pay a bit more for that, you will like what you get.

by Zach Weiss

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Halios Progress Report

July 22nd, 2014 by

It’s no big secret that the worn&wound crew are huge fans of Halios. For the past 5 years, the Vancouver-based brand has been responsible for creating some of the most unique boutique divers on the market, all of which are priced well under a grand. 2013 was an especially exciting year for Halios, with the announcement of not one, but three new attractive models: the Tropik B, the Tropik SS, and the Delfin. Both Tropik models were huge hits upon their release and are currently sold out (more on this later).  The Delfin was initially expected to make a splash in late 2013, but a number of production delays pushed back that deadline to 2014. A few months ago, Halios founder Jason Lim revealed photos of the final Delfin prototype on Facebook, showing off a watch that promises to be the next Halios classic.

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Halios is known primarily for making solid tool divers like the Puck and the Holotype, with the Tropik series—boasting a more refined aesthetic—representing a slight departure from the norm. The Delfin seems to fall smack-dab in the middle, sportier than the Tropik line but with a touch of finesse that builds on the elements that made the Tropik a big hit. At 44mm, it’s certainly a watch that commands attention, but it’s the little details that really make it stand out. The custom case design, ceramic bezel, applied markers, and matching date wheel speak to a level of finishing rarely seen at this price (the projected MSRP is $650), making the Delfin an incredible value. The only real noticeable (and regrettable) difference from the original specs is the lack of drilled lugs. Less a design choice and more a matter of expedience, Lim decided to forego this beloved detail after encountering a number of manufacturing issues, which would have undoubtedly led to more delays. The Delfin is expected to be ready in 4-5 weeks, but Lim warns that the timeline is not set in stone. For those who want to be notified upon its release, email info@halioswatches.com.

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The reveal of the Delfin is not the only news coming out of Halios HQ. In a recent post on Facebook, Lim enlightened Halios customers on a number of outstanding issues that have in recent months become extremely divisive.

For those of us with Tropik Bs, the promised bronze buckle has become something of a fabled unicorn. After a lengthy holdup resulting from issues with flighty suppliers, I’m happy to say that the buckles are now on their way to their owners.

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Likewise, Tropik SS owners are likely to see an end to their wait for a bracelet. Lim recently approved the latest endlink prototypes, and they are now in production. With the rest of the bracelet ready to go, the full package should be available for order quite soon.

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And finally, for anyone who regrets not getting on the Tropik SS bandwagon back when they were first released, Lim announced that a second batch of white and black dialed Tropiks are 7-8 weeks out. (He also announced a handful of remaining Tropik Bs, which were happily scooped up within hours.)

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Tourbillon 1000% by Nicholas Manousos

July 21st, 2014 by

Tourbillons don’t grace the pages of worn&wound often as they are typically found in watches that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s not a matter of not wanting to discuss them, it’s a matter of not having the chance. Yes, there are some “affordable” ones on the market, but they are one of those things that is tied so closely with the skill, craft and expertise of seasoned watchmaking, that inexpensive alternatives just don’t really make sense. Well, the other day I got to experience a tourbillon like no other, one that I am very excited to present to you.

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The Tourbillon 1000% doesn’t exist in a watch movement, rather it’s a 3D printed scale model of the complication. Designed, engineered and made by Nicholas Manousos, it’s the result of 3 years of engineering and design, stands several inches tall, with large parts all clearly demonstrating the actions of the escapement and tourbillon carriage. It’s fun and colorful, like a child’s toy, but shows a very complicated piece of horology in action.

Nicholas is an interesting guy who, after working in California in the tech world for 15 years, decided to shift gears after a chance meeting with Peter Speake-Marin and go to watch making school. He attended the WOSTEP program in Miami, where he learned the ins and outs of watchmaking. Now, with his mix of experiences and skills, Nicholas is looking at horology from a different perspective, one that applies new technology to this old craft. Currently working out of his NYC apartment, he is designing, engineering and making strives in his pursuits, as is clearly seen in this first work.

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There’s a lot going on with the Tourbillon 1000%, so it’s worth taking a step back for a second and looking at an overview. First, there is the tourbillon. For those new to the world of watches, or those who want a brief refresher, this complication was designed by Abraham Louis Breguet in 1795. After becoming aware of the inaccuracy that occurred in watches (pocket watches at the time) in different positions he discovered that gravity was effecting the escapement. His solution was to rotate the escapement in a carriage at a fixed rate, thus the effect of gravity would be spread out over time, counter-acting the negative effects. Thus the tourbillon or “whirlwind” was born. 210 years later, it’s still one of the most revered complications, often used to demonstrate a brand’s manufacturing skills.

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Second, also on the horological front, is the co-axial escapement. Invented by George Daniels, and currently employed by Omega, the co-axial design minimizes friction in the escapement, eliminating the need for lubrication and prolonging servicing intervals. The mechanics get complicated, but Nicholas, using the Tourbillon 1000% as a guide, explained the advantages to me. Essentially, lever escapements (the kind typically found in a movement) employ sliding friction to operate, where as the co-axial is a direct impulse. In his design, this is critical, as the lever escapement, even at this scale and in plastic, would have required lubrication. (For a great refresher on how a watch works and an easy visualization of a lever escapement, check out the video below, relevant material starts at 5:18)

Lastly, there is the emerging technology of 3d-printing or rapid prototyping. Though it has been a round for a while (I actually worked in a 3D-printing center in grad school, several years ago) with the advent of smaller, less expensive printers, like the Makerbot, and services like Shapeways, 3D-printing went from a tool for designers and engineers to a public fascination. There are various forms of 3D printing, from ones that use lasers to bond powders together, to UV printers that catalyze liquid plastics by using UV light, to the more common rapid deposition variety, where molten plastic is layered to form a solid, all of which offering benefits and negatives, from resolution to cost. Nicholas uses a printer of the last variety, which prints at a resolution of 200 microns, allowing for precise tolerances.

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Everything but the jewels are 3D-printed from PLA, a biodegradable plastic, in the Tourbillon 1000%, where he uses skateboard bearings to get the job done. As an abundant, functional and easily obtainable stand-in, the bearings make a lot of sense for his design. The Tourbillon itself is big and chunky in a fun way. It’s also colorful, with each component standing out for easy recognition. This is perhaps my favorite thing about the 1000%. It demystifies something quite complex in a fashion that is neither pretentious or arrogant.

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The construction of the 1000% clearly indicates this with the use of large, easily manipulated screws. In a few seconds you can take the whole thing apart, look at the individual components, and then reassemble it again. In fact, I had the pleasure of doing this very task, and through seeing it come together, gained a new understanding of how parts interwork…

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Of course, as with a watch movement, the real magic occurs when it comes to life. Standing upright, on the carriage, one can simply place a finger on a tooth of the fourth gear, which is on the opposite side from the balance, and let the weight of their hand act as the power source, and then… click, click, click, it instantly is in motion. The balance spring beats before your eyes as the balance wheel slowly, hypnotically swings back and forth at 1hz. Within, you can see the roller engage the pallet, which receives pulses from the escapement, all meshing seamlessly together. To see the Tourbillon effect more clearly, one holds the fourth wheel in hand, and pushes on the carriage (the grey frame) which then slowly rotates around the balance, moving a small distance per beat.

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It’s really quite a remarkable thing to behold. It’s almost surreal how something that, while completely inert and made of materials that are perceived of as “cheap” can, with just a bit of added energy, perform a set of complex tasks. Not the least of which is beat at regular intervals. Though I don’t need a reminder as to why I love wearing a watch, seeing this brings that sense of awe over what is really going on at the micro level in that funny object strapped to my wrist to the surface.

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Anyway, the Tourbillon 1000%, if you haven’t gotten the gist yet, is a really cool thing. As an object it’s alluring and as a teaching tool it’s effective. It’s just a very exciting development from an up and coming watchmakers who clearly is going about things in his own way. The 1000% is actually a part of his research, more than it is a final product, so you know great things are to come. As far as purchasing goes, Nicholas didn’t make this to be a mass produced product, so availability is limited. If you are interested, head to www.nicholasmanousos.com and contact him directly.

by Zach Weiss

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w&w instagram round-up #29

July 20th, 2014 by

This was a big week for us on Instagram, as worn&wound now has over 10k followers! We want to say thank you to everyone who follows us, whether you are a new comer or have been with us since we started the account! We appreciate immensely, and are already looking to our next milestone, 20k… hopefully we’ll be there soon! Anyway, here’s 12 awesome shots for you, enjoy!

In order for your picture to be considered it should:

a. include the hashtag #wornandwound and @wornandwound
b. be a watch related photo. It doesn’t have to be a watch on your wrist, but watches should be at the core of the image
c. be awesome (naturally)

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on what we’re up to, what watches we’re looking at and to be eligible for future giveaways. We also just appreciate your support!

zachcurd

@zachcurd and a vintage Zodiac chrono

@wristtime and a Hamilton Khaki Field

@wristtime and a Hamilton Khaki Field

@watchingmpls and a Hygge chrono

@watchingmpls and a Hygge chrono

@ulfmeister and a vintage Raketa

@ulfmeister and a vintage Raketa

@thevictorgg and a Tissot Tradition

@thevictorgg and a Tissot Tradition

@sangwoo.seok and a Damasko DA37

@sangwoo.seok and a Damasko DA37

@racerx66 and a Raven Vintage

@racerx66 and a Raven Vintage

@marks_watches and a Rossling & Co.

@marks_watches and a Rossling & Co.

@jho017 and a Seiko 5 SNK

@jho017 and a Seiko 5 SNK

@gshobbies and a Sinn U1

@gshobbies and a Sinn U1

@calvingsc and an Oris Artix GT

@calvingsc and an Oris Artix GT

@alistairasaurus and a Seiko SNDA65 on a w&w Model 1 Rye

@alistairasaurus and a Seiko SNDA65 on a w&w Model 1 Rye

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