Santa On A Budget: 3 Wishlist Timepieces Under $5,000 From Bell & Ross, Tutima Glashütte, And Longines
The watch year 2022 was one to remember. We saw a plethora of complex mechanical masterpieces and grand complications that wowed enthusiasts and seasoned experts alike, once again shining a bright light onto the world of high horology.
Among them were Patek Philippe’s Reference 5470P, a 1/10th-of-a-second monopusher and rattrapante chronograph; A. Lange & Söhne’s latest version of the iconic Zeitwerk, an avantgarde timepiece that displays the hours and minutes mechanically-digitally in unparalleled size and clarity; and MB&F’s LM Sequential EVO Chronograph, which just won the coveted Aiguille d’Or (top prize) at the 2022 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. For this watch, Belfast-based watchmaker Stephen McDonnell succeeded in creating an independent dual chronograph system, each with column wheel control and vertical clutch, in one movement. Magnificent!
These are just a few examples that prove that there are no limits to the industry’s ongoing ingenuity and craftsmanship.
While most of these bravura pieces are limited editions aimed at affluent collectors, the watch year 2022 also held a pleasing variety of well-crafted timepieces within reach of pockets with perhaps a bit less depth. As the year slowly comes to an end and with the holidays approaching fast, it is a good time to look back on some of these awesome debuts that stood out to make for a thoughtful and long-lasting Christmas gift.
These three timepieces from Bell & Ross, Longines, and Tutima Glashütte have caught my attention. Each a highlight in its own right, these are watches that I would wear anytime or give as a present to a loved one.
Bell & Ross BR 05 Copper Brown: catchy copper
There were some great new releases from Bell & Ross this year, such as the BR 05 GMT White, a classic double time zone watch on a bright white dial attached to the collection’s signature integrated metal bracelet. A couple of weeks ago, the French brand with a production facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds introduced the BR-X5, which is a new take on the brand’s hallmark square case with a new manufacture movement developed with Kenissi. The C.O.S.C.-certified self-winding caliber boasts a power reserve of 72 hours and sports a bold easy-to-read date indication.
In comparison, the recently introduced BR 05 Copper Brown is “only” an extension to an existing collection. However a very pleasing one, in my opinion. The newest colorway offers a luxurious brown-copper hue enriched with a sunray brush and joins the navy-blue, black, and silver-gray options. The intense and almost glowing shade is a magnificent backdrop to the three signature Arabic numerals and color-coordinated date indication and is a nice change from today’s predominant green and blue dials. The numerals, indices, and hands are presented in contrasting white, making the layout sleek and legible.
First introduced in 2019, the BR 05 steel sport watch line is distinguished by a decidedly urban-style interpretation of the iconic square BR 03 aviation-inspired family. Combining round and square shapes in its case and dial design, it is an unmistakable Bell & Ross timepiece. However, it is much more versatile with a distinctively elegant appeal thanks to a more octagonal base that widens towards the crown and its protection bumpers.
The expressive architecture of the case, which is water-resistant to 100 meters, is enhanced by the alternation of polished and brushed surfaces, offering a nice play of light. The same applies to the metal bracelet on which the BR 05 was originally released. For this version, Bell & Ross also offers a color-matched rubber strap.
Like its predecessors, the BR 05 Copper Brown is driven by Caliber BR-CAL.321. This self-winding caliber is based on the tried-and-tested Sellita SW 300-1 and equipped with a skeletonized rotor, which comes to life through the exhibition case back. Nice add-ons, the movement features a quick-set date and hacking seconds.
For more information, please visit https://www.bellross.com/us/our-watches/our-watches-urban/BR-05-AUTOMATIC/BR-05-COPPER-BROWN-STEEL-STRAP,
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR 05 Copper Brown
Case: 40 x 10.3 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber BR.Cal.321, based on Sellita SW300-1a, 4 Hz / 28,800 vph frequency, 56-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; date
Price: $4,600 (strap); €4,400
Tutima Glashütte Seven Seas S: almost too good to be true
Watch designs have been trending toward smaller case sizes in recent years, even in the field of sports watches, with the latest example being Tutima Glashütte’s Seven Seas S. Despite having been downsized four millimeters to a moderate diameter of 40 mm and a svelte height of 12.5 mm, the M2 Seven Seas S is a serious diver’s watch that ticks all the boxes in terms of readability, liability, robustness, and authenticity. The signature water resistance of an impressive 500 meters featured in previous models by the brand remains in the new versions as well.
As is crucial for dive watches, the latest M2 Seven Seas S editions – the “S” stands for stainless steel – sport luminescent coatings on indices and hands as well as the unidirectionally rotating bezel, which features raised numerals and markers. The dials – available in a stunning red and more subdued blue, each with a gradient finish – are protected by a 2.5 millimeter-thick sapphire crystal.
Well protected behind an engraved case back, automatic Caliber 330 with a 38-hour power reserve control the indication of hours, minutes, seconds, and date. In the Glashütte-based brand’s fashion, this watch’s rotor is upgraded with a gold seal.
For under $2,000, you get a first-class sports watch combining the art of engineering and expert design à la Glashütte.
For more information, please visit https://tutima.com/watch/seven-seas-s-6156-07/.
Quick Facts Tutima Glashütte Seven Seas S
Case: 40 x 12.5 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber Tutima 330, based on ETA 2836, 4 Hz / 28,800 vph frequency, power reserve of 38 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: €1,980 (metal bracelet), €1,700 (rubber/leather strap)
Longines: champagne with an elegant attitude
Longines celebrated its 190th anniversary in 2022 with many beautiful new timepieces. No wonder that so many celebratory watches have appeared: 190 years old is an impressive age, even in Switzerland, the cradle of fine watchmaking.
In the course of its long history, Longines, which has successfully coined its own distinctive elegance, has set benchmarks in many areas, whether in sports and instrument watches or classic models. In my opinion, Longines has also been a modern trailblazer when it comes to faithful retro designs, which is combined with today’s technical achievements.
One of the most successful tributes to the brand’s past is the Longines Spirit, a family of pilot’s watches that first took to the skies in 2020. Comprising a time-and-date model and a chronograph in stainless steel with diameters of 40 mm and 42 mm respectively, the line has been expanded by numerous versions in titanium and some intriguing dial options.
As is the case with most watches, it’s the dials that catch our attention first, allowing us to decide if we want to explore further or not. With clearly legible Arabic numerals in a harmonious format that also glow at night thanks to a coating of Super-LumiNova, a fine minute scale on the flange, large baton hands that are also luminescent, and expressive colorways enhanced by a sunburst finish, the Longines Spirit effortlessly and effectively checks the boxes for a pilot’s dial.
The five stars and word “Chronometer” at 6 o’clock signal that at the heart of this watch beats one of the brand’s highest quality movements: Caliber L888.4, made by ETA exclusively for Longines. It features the Swatch Group’s movement manufactory’s sophisticated silicon balance spring, comes with an official C.O.S.C. chronometer certificate, and offers a lengthy power reserve of 72 hours.
Earlier this year, Longines introduced the Spirit in a new unisex diameter of 37 mm with some alluring dial options in blue, matte black, and – brand new – a luxurious yet subtle champagne hue. This bright, warmly shimmering dial with its refined sunburst finish blends beautifully with the circular and horizontally brushed stainless steel of the case and bracelet.
In fact, it made me think of Dom Pérignon, who allegedly as he discovered champagne, said, “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!”
For more information, please visit www.longines.com/en-us/watch-longines-spirit.
Quick Facts Longines Spirit
Case: 37 x 11.7 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber L888.4, 25,200 vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve, silicon balance spring, official C.O.S.C. chronometer certificate
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date