5 New Bronze Timepieces From Tudor, TAG Heuer, Bell & Ross, Hentschel Hamburg, And Oris
Bronze, an age-old material used since antiquity, has had quite a run as a case material in the world of luxury watches in recent years.
Not surprisingly, the sturdy metal is perfect for robust sports and cool tool watches. Important aspects contributing to its current popularity are also the look and feel: the warm, glossy tone takes on an individual patina over time, some even describe it as a “living” material.
But not all bronzes are the same: while some brands praise this individual touch, others are proud of their models’ color consistency, which is achieved by the use of special alloys.
Whether its bronze case changes over time or keeps its pristine appearance, these five debutantes from 2019 each have an unmistakable charisma all their own.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze: one colorful shade of gray
It is definitely more than one, but less than 50, shades of gray that distinguish the gorgeous dial of the new Black Bay Bronze. No matter how many separate shades comprise it, it is one of the finest sports watch dials of 2019.
Maintaining the legibility and the characteristic design of the iconic Black Bay’s dial, this slate-gray rendition is full of charm and finesse. The “dégradé” coloring forms an impeccable backdrop to the luminous minute dot markers and Arabic numerals set in fine bronze surroundings – not to forget the iconic snowflake hand, a signature element of Tudor diver’s watches for the last 50 years.
The bronze case, water resistant to 200 meters, is harmoniously proportioned at 43 mm and equipped with a diver’s bezel enhancing the cool color combination. The same goes for the nubuck leather and textile straps, both of which highlight the elegant tool watch look and feel the Black Bay Bronze exudes.
The automatic manufacture Caliber MT5601 is a certified as a C.O.S.C. chronometer and boasts a whopping 70-hour power reserve.
For more information, please visit www.tudorwatch.com/watches/black-bay-bronze.
Quick Facts Tudor Black Bay Bronze
Case: 43 mm, bronze
Movement: automatic Caliber MT5601, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve, officially certified as a C.O.S.C. chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
TAG Heuer Autavia: a legend on the racetrack revving up underneath a bronze hood
Specifically made for the use on the racetrack, the Autavia has carried motorsport “DNA” with it since its inception in 1962. Inspired by dashboard instruments and coming from the mind of Jack Heuer himself, it offered unmatched readability thanks to the large, no-nonsense dial and a robust case resisting the extreme conditions of its motorized surroundings.
As one of TAG Heuer’s best known timepieces, the Autavia still generates great excitement today, though it has not been a standalone collection since 1985. The new Autavia, kickstarting a modern line, weds the stylish aesthetics of that golden decade with the brand’s latest designs.
Putting its dashboard display inheritance front and center, the gradient dial with luminescent Arabic numerals framed by a matching ceramic bezel offers excellent legibility.
For more information, please visit www.tagheuer.com/en-us/watches/tag-heuer-autavia-automatic-watch-42-mm.
Quick Facts TAG Heuer Autavia
Case: 42 x 13.5 mm, bronze
Movement: automatic Caliber 5 (based on Sellita SW200), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, officially C.O.S.C. chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds; date
Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze Limited Edition: cool vintage style meets elegant color scheme
This French brand flies high with its aviation-inspired timepieces offering unmistakable style in the BRO line. I find it amazing how the design team led by Bruno Belamich – the “Bell” of “Bell & Ross” – is able to vary the signature design in every new version so that each exudes its own personality.
I’m am also very fond of the Vintage collection, which displays fine retro touches of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the BR-V92 lineup. The latest addition is the BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze Limited Edition.
As its name states, this pilot’s watch limited to 999 timepieces taxis up to the runway in a bronze CuAI7Si2 case, an alloy known for only a rather modest development of patina.
The watch is a comfortable 41 mm in diameter, water-resistant to 100 meters, and contains a chronograph movement based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2894-2.
So far, so good. But the big deal about this timepiece is its face: the shiny black two-tone Panda-style layout is a real pleasure to look at.
The bronze-colored counters and finely executed minute track contrast beautifully to match the color scheme of the case and the blackened aluminum bezel, which features a tachymeter scale.
The same rings true for the discreet date display with matching bronze-colored numerals against a black backdrop. The impression is not only highly sophisticated, but also makes for great legibility, which is crucial in this genre (and in a date display that small).
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze Limited Edition
Case: 41 mm, bronze
Movement: automatic Caliber BR-CAL.301 (based on ETA 2894-2), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Limitation: 999 pieces
Price: €4,900 / $4,900
Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date: twice as good
A witness to the early days of aviation, Oris’ Big Crown Pointer Date first took to the skies in 1938 when its creators made a watch for glove-wearing aviators – hence the oversized crown and clear, luminous Arabic numerals on the dial.
Ever since, the timepiece has maintained its hallmarks defined by the cathedral hands, the big crown, the fluted bezel, and the central hand with a “pointer tip” indicating the date. Today, it is one of the Hölstein-based brand’s signature timepieces.
To mark its eightieth anniversary in 2018, a few really nice variations touched down on the runway in bronze and bronze/stainless-steel combinations.
In 2019 a new bronze execution expands the brand’s pilot’s watch arsenal. And for the first time, the dial is likewise crafted in bronze. It is chemically treated and coated with a transparent matte lacquer to create a unique finish for every piece.
The brown chamois deer leather strap adds a special touch to the composition of warm bronze tone and chocolate color scheme.
For more information, please visit www.oris.ch/en/watch/oris-big-crown-bronze-pointer-date.
Quick Facts Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date
Case: 40 mm, bronze
Movement: automatic Caliber 754 (based on ETA 2894-2), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: CHF 1,900 / $2,000 / €1,800
Hentschel Hamburg H2 Sport Bronze: a class of its own
A tasty tidbit for lovers of independent watchmaking and fans of individually produced timepieces in very limited batches, Hentschel Hamburg is known for its perfectly proportioned and notably thin watches tailored to its wearer’s wrist.
Drawing upon the rich tradition of historic marine chronometers from this German seaport town, the dial of the H2 showcases the beautiful, clean style of these early navigational instruments.
Only high-class mechanical movements based on historical rarities are used by the company. A vintage Caliber AS1130 powers the Sport Bronze.
As a passionate watchmaker, founder Andreas Hentschel respects the original design of the highly regarded movement, but has opted to improve important components to increase stability and longevity by reducing friction within the gear train – like the shock-resistant escapement.
Also, Hentschel has added newly constructed bridges reminiscent of those used in old pocket watch chronometer calibers. All movements used by Hentschel, the premium execution of which is outfitted with a sophisticated swan-neck fine neck regulator, are finished to a very high standard by the watchmaker and his small team.
The sunburst patterns, Geneva stripes, perlage, and blued screws can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back.
Speaking of cases, Hentschel’s bronze examples consist of a special secret formula that has been used in Hamburg’s shipbuilding industry for more than a century. This traditional alloy does not oxidize or tarnish, rather conserving its typical color, an intense reddish tone similar to pink gold, for years and even decades.
Unlike gold cases, however, bronze is much harder and less sensitive to scratching.
The slim bezel is likewise crafted in this special alloy. In the H2 Sport Bronze it frames a more modern version of Hentschel’s signature chronometer-style dial with small seconds at 6 o’clock and alternating Arabic numerals and dot markers, which, like the hands, are also crafted in bronze.
For more information, please visit www.hentschel-hamburg.com.
Quick Facts Hentschel Hamburg H2 Sport Bronze
Case: 39.9 x 8.5 mm, bronze
Movement: manually wound Caliber HUW 1130 S (based on vintage Caliber AS1130), 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 37-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
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