Watches of the Week: 18/07/2022 - 24/07/2022
Welcome back to the next edition of my weekly round up of all the latest watch releases and news. In last week's instalment, I featured a handful of new watches, with the fantastic A. Lange & Söhne taking the win as the week's highlight. This week that just past was a far milder affair, with only a few of watches being released that caught my eye.
The first being the fabulous Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White, made in honor of Shark Week. The second being the aesthetic delight that is the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier, the latest watch in the maison's Urban Culture Tribe offering. And third is the immense De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite.
Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White
First is the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White. Before I delve into the minutiae details of the watch, let me give you a bit of a background on the watch's initiative. The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White is made to support shark conservation, with the watchmaker pledging a super generous 1% of annual sales to support non-profit organisations focused on sharks (this doesn't just include the Diver Chronograph Great White, but all "shark" watches). From the outset I felt that the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White gave a love it or hate it vibe. I'm really digging white coloured watches at the moment, so the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White was right on track with being another winner in my book. I really like the multi-textural look of the watch. It features a 44mm wide titanium sandblasted and satin-finished case with a white rubberised bezel and a grey sandblasted dial. There are subtle details throughout with pops of colour that do well to break up its monochromatic look and feel. Powering the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White is the maison's manufacture UN-150 calibre. This is an interesting calibre, albeit a fairly contemporary one, with the escapement wheel, anchor and balance spring made in silicium (so as to improve hardness, lightness, anti-magnetism, as well as removing the need for any lubrication). Unfortunately the movement isn't visible due to the closed caseback, but it does feature a pretty cool Great White stamped into it. The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Great White is limited to only 300 pieces and is priced from 12,600CHF. Verdict: Another fabulous piece from Ulysse Nardin that is a play between colours, finishings, modern design and contemporary conservation.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier
The second piece in this week's short but sweet edition is the new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier. Made in collaboration with the renowned urban culture artist Hajime Sorayama, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier is an inspiring watch that continues in the watchmaker's path of creating super modern watches that blend the worlds of traditional and contemporary watchmaking. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier is crafted in 42mm of titanium with a matching titanium bezel, crown, and bracelet. The calibre RD720SQ is on full display here through the dial and the caseback, and it's been finished to the nth degree. It features a star-shaped bridge design by Sorayama and draws inspiration from the artist's metallic 3D sculptures. Perhaps the most striking visual element here is the micro-rotor, which is finished with a moiré effect, a fixed fringed sapphire glass and a mobile engraved metallic part, a reminder of the artist's obsession with light reflection. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier is limited to only 28 pieces with pricing on request. Verdict: Roger Dubuis excelled once again in recreating what has become a staple for the maison.
De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite
Crafted from a meteorite that was thought to have struck the Earth more than one million years BCE between Finland and Sweden, the De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite boasts perhaps one of the world's oldest known meteorites, to date. The meteorite used is made up of mainly iron and nickel, giving it a geometrical cross-hatched Widmanstätten pattern. That's only one of many virtues that makes the new De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite such an amazing timepiece. The meteorite, which makes up the majority of the dial's area is, of course the focal point. But don't look past that incredible polished titanium integrated hallowed lugs and case, which are beautifully crafted.
While the De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite is an aesthetic delight, you absolutely cannot look past the beating heart of the piece in the manufacture calibre DB2109V4, the very same that won the chronometry prize at GPHP in 2018. This amazing space-tech like movement boasts mirror-polished delta-shaped bridges, two self-regulating, hand-snailed barrels, a high-frequency titanium and silicon tourbillon movement which performs 30-second rotation at 5Hz which is suspended in an ultra-light carriage that weighs only 0.18 grams. The balance wheel, like the delta-shaped tourbillon bridge, is made of blued titanium, and has white gold inserts that is optimised for temperature differences and air penetration. This is all depicted by a deadbeat central seconds hand.
The De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite has a limited production of only 5 pieces per year, with pricing upon request.
Verdict: De Bethune's DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite is yet another reason why I am so happy that the maison's doors remain open for business.