Which of These 5 Watches Would You Take to a Desert Island?

As spring turns into summer, many of us may be reminded of a desert island. Let’s say one were to be stranded on such an island and only watch could come along. Which one to take? I know — not an easy decision for a watch lover. But how about if I narrow it down?

In this article from my blog, Watch-Insider.com, I offer the five luxury replica watches, in alphabetical order, that you would have to choose from as your “desert island” watch. I’m curious to find out what everyone would choose, and why. Let me know in the comments section below.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms: The “Fifty” is the archetype of what we today would call a “real” divers’ watch. This iconic Blancpain is powered by an in-house movement and the design is a beauty.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver: A 100% masculine sports watch from Cartier. This ISO 6425-certified divers’ watch is perfect to accompany you through thick and thin. It’s also very good-looking and powered by an in-house caliber.

Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver

Omega Seamaster 300: This recent re-edition of a legendary Omega watch reflects the brand’s modern know-how, with superb in-house technology and bordering on what I’d call perfect design. This Omega Seamaster is essentially ageless.

Omega Seamaster 300

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 2500m 3 Days Automatic Titanio: This titanium-cased Panerai Luminor is powered by an in-house caliber and built to survive rough conditions both underwater and on land. And it is simply a cool watch.

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 2500m 3 Days Automatic Titanio

Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000: The recently released “version 3.0″ of the dive discount fake watch legend is fully packed with all the most mature Rolex technology. The Sea-Dweller would make a perfect companion under the waves and also look really good on your wrist.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000

Best replica Watch , A Good Chance!

Marvin was founded in 1850 by two brothers (by the name of Didisheim) in Saint-Imier, in the middle of the Jura. Before we write yet-another-romantic-but-sad-story about a watch company that didn’t survive the quartz crisis in the 1970s but DID have some nice cheap replica watches before that time we are going to stop here.

Just a few years ago, Marvin Watches Co was brought back to life again by its current owners, true passionate people about watches and the watch industry. We know, because we’ve met them during BaselWorld and at their current headquarters in Vaumarcus, Switzerland.

The nice thing about being a watch manufacturer with some history, is that you might have some antique catalogs and drawings of watches that once were yours. Marvin has such luck, as they made pretty nice (and affordable) pieces in the 20th century. Some of their current models are also based on those vintage timepieces but Marvin also invests quite an amount of time and resources in designing new swiss replica watches as well. The Loeb collection is a perfect example of that.

However, we love watches that have some ‘vintage DNA’ and picked the Marvin M115, which is their own code for the Marvin Regulator Automatic from their Malton collection. This 42mm diameter round watch has a very cool Regulator feature that we’ve seen on other watches as well (Chronoswiss, IWC, Sinn). Chronoswiss was the first to design a Regulator for a wrist watch, as it is normally something for clocks, and it has been their ‘signature’ watch ever since. Marvin designed a Regulator as well, in three different flavors and here is what we think.

Marvin M115 Regulator

Marvin achieved to design and produce a round watch with a classic looking regulator lay-out, without becoming old-fashioned. This Marvin M115 is a modern wrist watch that’s suitable for the young executive that wants to have his first decent timepiece without having to pick entry-level models from big watch manufacturers and wants to refrain from buying vintage 35mm classic watches as well. Marvin Watches Co uses a nice modern 42mm case with some kind of design signature in the side, as shown below.

Marvin Malton Collection

Inside is a Swiss made movement, based on Dubois-Dépraz caliber 14072. This movement features the Regulator lay-out, a 38-hour power reserve and a date indicator. The date indicator has a small magnifier under the sapphire crystal. As you can see below, the mechanical movement is relatively standard but does have a customized case back for Marvin. However, if you are new to mechanical watches or this will be your first mechanical timepiece, you’ll be excited to have a glance at the movement every once in a while.

Marvin M115 Regulator

As you can see above, the straps have a quick-release to be removed from the case very easily. We’ve seen this system with some Patek Philippe watches as well. By sliding the small button with your nail, you make the spring bar a bit smaller so it can be released from the tag heuer replica watches case. A very convenient method to change your straps.

Marvin M115

We are impressed by the design of the case and the clean classic Regulator dial (without becoming a timepiece that’s too classic for young people). The M115 comes with a black dial with grey sub dials, a grained silver dial and a white dial. We’d pick either the grained silver dial or the white dial with the very nice blue hands and matching blue numerals. Being able to read a Regulator dial is a matter of just moments and this feature does give a nice classic nod to the timepiece.

The Night of Replica Omega Firsts

When you think of chaep replica Omega online, you probably think of their Speedmaster, Seamaster, Constellation and De Ville collections. Perhaps some exotic models like the Flightmaster or vintage chronometers like the 30T2 or Centenary models also come to mind. Omega did so much more than these models and collections of course. What to think about the first commercial diving watch, the Marine from 1932? The wrist sized tourbillon watch from 1947? The Co-Axial movement in a 1974 Speedmaster or a central tourbillon?

Omega Firsts - Marine Chronometer

If you have ever been to the Omega museum in Biel (click here for our report on the museum and an older but more complete overview here), you’ve probably seen the amazing collection of pocket watches, wristwatches and other timing devices. The museum is definitely worth visiting and I consider it to be the most beautiful mono brand museum around. Perhaps I am a bit biased though.

For those who are unable to take a plane to Zürich and then travel to Biel by train (or take a car), you either have to do it with the photos we showed you here or hope that the best quality replica Omega Museum will come to you.

In 2013, we had a magnificent Speedy Tuesday event for our readers which included a number of special Speedmasters from the museum. Museum director Petros Protopapas was there with his team to talk about special Speedmasters and to answer questions from the crowd. A report on that event can be found here.

Last December, our colleagues of the Australian based Time+Tide website hosted an event together with Omega’s Museum to show a number of Omega Firsts to their readers and Omega fans. Museum Director Petros and the local Omega staff showed magnificent pieces from their heritage to the guests of the evening. Not only did Time+Tide take beautiful shots of the Omega Firsts (click here for their report), but they also did a wonderful 12 minute movie of the Omega Museum Director’s presentation.

Baselworld 2015: The New Sinn Watches

When visiting Baselworld, one can’t help but be impressed by the size of the displays in Hall 1. This is the home of the big brands: Rolex, the Swatch Group, Patek and on and on. Once you’ve had your share of the bright lights, though, it’s important not to forget the smaller brands sitting in Hall 2. One of the highlights for me every year sits in the “Hall of Small” and that’s Sinn. You see, this was my first year attending Baselworld as a member of the Press with Fratellowatches but I did visit as a public attendee the prior 2 years. It was fun for me just to view the best cheap replica watches through the glass but I will always remember that it was Sinn that actually let me handle their new watches without a press pass. Yes, the folks at Sinn are some of the nicest around and their lack of attitude carries through in their purposeful, no nonsense watches. 2015 is no different, so let’s take a look at the 7 new novelties.  By the way, pricing quoted is only for the German market or markets in Europe where Sinn has direct sales.


Sinn 240 St

The 240 St comes in at 43mm with an internal rotating pilot’s bezel actuated via the upper crown. The case is made of stainless steel and uses a hacking Sellita SW 220-1 with day and date display. 100 meter water resistance and DIN tested shock resistance and anti-magnetic qualities are also featured. Lug width is 22mm. Pricing will be 1,350 Euros on leather and 1,505 Euros on bracelet.


My thoughts: The 240 St should be a big hit for Sinn. It’s well-priced and follows the case design of the legendary 140/142 chronographs. Also, super compressor style vintage replica watches are extremely popular right now and the Sinn 240 St adeptly captures that trend. When I saw it, I immediately thought of a vintage Longines Ultra-chron that I had recently considered for purchase; this could fill the void for me while offering the reliability of a new watch.


Sinn U212 S E

The U212 S E is a limited edition model of 300 pieces and like others in the U family, it is made of submarine steel. It has 1,000 meter water resistance and features a scratch resistant, tegimented case with Sinn’s Ar-dehumidifying technology. The ratcheting bezel is external. Case size is 47mm with a case thickness of 14.5mm and a lug width of 24mm. The movement is Sellita’s SW300-1. Pricing will be 2,360 Euros on leather and 2,590 Euros on silicone.


My thoughts: The U-series is incredibly popular amongst fans of the brands it’s arguably the collection of watches that put the brand on the map. In this case, you have a rugged looking diver with a black case combined with vintage lume and a destroy crown position. It’s an attractive watch, but I’d expect some criticism over the use of what some might call faux patina on an otherwise very non-retro watch. Then again, with a production run of only 300, this should sell out easily.


Sinn 903 St B E

The 903 St B E is a tri-compax styled chronograph with date function and internally rotating bezel. It has a navy blue dial and joins a collection of existing similar models that have a white or black dial. The 903 has an automatic movement based on the Sellita SW 500 and can be seen through a sapphire display case back. The case is 41mm in diameter and 14.5mm thick. Lume is done in ivory and the watch has a water resistance of 100 meters.  Pricing will be 2,690 Euros on leather and 2,925 on metal bracelet.


My thoughts: I love this watch. The navy dial looks great and the overall detailing on the dial is of a quality that, in my opinion, easily bests similar competitors (ahem, Breitling). Yes, it does look like a Navitimer, but there are reasons for that stemming from a time of turmoil in the watch industry and, needless to say, Sinn has a bona fide right to make this watch. In any case, while I find the bracelet a bit too shiny, the watch would look great on a strap. The size is perfect for most wrists and this watch looks like it would work for just about any occasion.


Sinn EZM 3F

Sinn introduces a new model in their EZM series with an external bezel, magnetic field resistance of up to 80,000 A/m and water resistance of 200 meters. The watch features a crown on the left side of the case for added wrist comfort. The bead blasted stainless steel case is 41mm and 13mm thick. Lug width is an even 20mm. Ar-dehumidifying technology is also present. Date display is at a unique 3:30. The movement on the EZM 3F is the ETA 2824-2. Price will be 1,490 Euros on leather and 1,625 Euros on metal bracelet.


My thoughts: This watch felt perfect on the wrist and while it is quirky, this is a real watch for Sinn-ophiles. I’ve done some reading on Sinn forums and this watch really seems to be one that the addicts were requesting. There’s no doubt that the EZM 3F is a formidable tool-watch with its bezel, water resistance and strong anti-magnetic properties. To boot, the price is very affordable.


Sinn EZM 7 S

Sinn’s Mission Timer 7 comes to us in a limited edition of 300 pieces. It contains 200 meter water resistance, 80,000 A/m anti-magnetic properties and Ar-dehumidifiying technology. It has a stainless steel, Tegimented case at 43mm and 12mm thick. The color-coded bezel is easy to use wearing gloves and the colors aid those wearing breathing apparatuses. Essentially, the watch was designed for firefighters. The EZM 7 S contains a GMT function and is powered by the ETA 2893-2. Pricing will be 2,190 Euros on leather, 2,420 Euros on silicone, and 2,485 Euros on metal bracelet.


My thoughts: There’s no doubt that Sinn designs special discount fake watches for niche uses and the EZM 7 S defines this. With only 300 to be produced, I’d expect it to be popular amongst those in the emergency rescue field. Aesthetically, it’s a bright piece but looks and feels like it could literally bust through a wall. It probably wouldn’t be my choice but there’s no doubt that it’s well crafted.


Sinn 104 St Sa

The Sinn 104 St Sa brings a new dial to the extremely popular and inexpensive 104 family. The dial ushers in one with Arabic numeral hour markers. A 41mm stainless steel case with an anti-reflective crystal and display back is present. A screw down crown aids 200-meter water resistance. Hands come in a syringe style while the dial shows day and date. The movement is the Sellita SW 220-1. Pricing will be 990 Euros on leather and 1,225 Euros on metal bracelet.


My thoughts: This was a no-brainer and will sell very well for Sinn due to great, classic looks and a great price. I think this is really one of Germany’s best pilot’s watches. The quality is fantastic and it really wouldn’t look out of place at any function. As you can tell, I’d wear this watch happily. In the future, I’d love to see Sinn make this watch without a date: that would really be something special.


Sinn 6068  

Sinn introduced a new financial district watch with its 6068.  Actually, it’s an update based on a prior limited edition watch and moves the date window from 3:00 to 4:30. The watch is a simple 3-handed piece with a date function and an internal rotating bezel used to display a second time zone. The stainless watch features a display case back with a rotor depicting a bull and bear. It is water resistant to 100 meters and has a diameter of 38.5mm. Pricing will be 1,990 Euros and will include both a leather strap and metal bracelet.


My thoughts: The financial district watches often fly under the radar for Sinn, but they’re highly attractive watches with great finishing. Furthermore, they come with serious packaging and accessories such as a bracelet, strap, changing tool, and a massive box. Sinn takes a lot of pride in the fact that “Frankfurt am Main” is on their dials. In fact, the representative met with was very excited about that fact that German bankers love these aaa grade swiss replica watches and often have them in their rotation amongst far more expensive pieces. I really like them and have a friend who owns a more complicated version; it’s very nice! Furthermore, with a 100-meter water resistance, these pieces aren’t resigned to the trading floor!


I hope you enjoyed taking a very brief look at the new releases from Sinn. We’ll be sure to write more in depth articles once we get our hands on some of these pieces.  Sinn makes some very high quality pieces and they’re rather unique in a sea of “me-too’s” in the watch industry. Finally, for those of you who have never visited Sinn in Frankfurt, it’s a worthwhile experience as they have their watches “out” in their showroom and you can help yourself to try on anything you like…and then buy. Furthermore, Sinn will open a retail shop in Frankfurt’s Roemerberg Square this summer. I’d expect it to be another fantastic experience in customer service. Let us know what you think about the new Sinn’s below in the comments area.

Fratello Classics: 5 Vintage Watches For the Budget-Minded Aficionado

Let’s say you are on a budget of $1,000 – $1,500 for a nice timepiece. If you care about things like warranty, water resistance, no maintenance for the next five years and so on, you may want to skip this week’s Fratello Friday article on vintage watches. If you are living your horological life a bit more on the edge, however, I encourage you to read on.

If you have unlimited funds to spend on a vintage timepiece, you can find that perfect Rolex Submariner or that interesting, early Omega Speedmaster. However, for those who do not, the team at Fratello Watches offers up some very interesting, alternative vintage watches — hidden gems, if you will — that can be bought for much less.There may be brands in here you’ve never heard of; after all, quite a few manufacturers of mechanical watches were swept away in the 1970s due to the so-called quartz crisis. Other brands will be more recognizable, either because they never went away or because a new company bought the name and started a whole new business.

1. Alpina Sea-Strong Startimer

Alpina is known today for its sporty and affordable watches, made at the Frédérique Constant manufacture in Geneva. Long before Frédérique Constant CEO Peter Stas revived it, Alpina was already making very cool swiss replica watches. Exhibit A: this 1970s Alpina Sea-Strong Startimer. We’ve found one for sale for just over $1,100.  This is a Lemania-based chronograph; in fact, it contains almost the same Lemania movement that Omega used in some of its Speedmaster watches in the 1970s (Mark III, IV and ‘125‘). The only difference is the lack of a 24-hour indicator, and you can live with that, right? Why is it so cheap? Well, the current seller is not 100% sure about the case since he couldn’t find another identical watch. If you are a purist, this one might not be for you. If, however, you are looking for a nice vintage piece with a very solid movement, you might want to make an offer. More information can be found here.

Alpina Sea-Strong Startimer

2. Seiko 5 Sports Speed-Timer “Bullhead” 6138-0040

Vintage Seiko tag heuer replica watches are booming. Just dive into this category and you will see how large the following is. For $999 (or a good offer) you can become the owner of this 1970s Seiko Speed-Timer “Bullhead.” (The “Bullhead” nickname comes from the look of the crown at 12 o’clock with chronograph pushers on either side.) Seiko might be still frowned upon by snobbier watch collectors, but the fact is that it does deliver superb-quality watches for the money. We have a lot of respect for this Japanese company, both for its historical timepieces as well as its modern pieces. Seiko cheap good replica watches are known for their simple-looking but reliable movements, as well as for funky 1970s designs. The size of this watch makes it a very easy timepiece to wear by modern standards. More information can be found here.

Seiko Speed-Timer "Bullhead"

3. Yema Chronograph

This company is probably unknown to most people nowadays, yet it actually still exists. It was founded in France and was owned by Seiko for before falling back into French hands. If you search for “vintage Yema watches” you will come across some pretty awesome-looking pieces, with unusual names such as Seaspider, Yachtingraf, and so on. We found this Yema Chronograph with a two-register chronograph movement (Valjoux 7734) and a date window at 6 o’clock. This 39-mm timepiece would fit most wrists and has a cool 1960s/early 1970s look. It comes with a plexi crystal and can be fitted to a leather strap but would probably look even more “military style” when worn on a NATO strap. At $1,050, this watch isn’t outstandingly cheap, but it might be an interesting purchase for those who want to own a cool vintage chronograph. More information can be found here.

Yema Chronograph

4. Omega Seamaster Chronostop

This is, of course, a brand we all know well. Although this watch pushes the limit of the stated budget constraints, and would need a new strap and perhaps a bit of cleaning, it is an awesome watch to own. This 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronostop has a hand-wound caliber 865 (yes, a variation of the famous Speedmaster Professional caliber 861 movement). The Chronostop name was used for various models in the Omega luxury replica watch collection, and also for the Genève collection. This watch features one pusher to operate the chronograph seconds hand. The same pusher is used to start, stop and reset. The chronograph seconds hand can be used like a normal second hand as soon as you push start and just let it run, but you can also use it to time things within a minute. Of course, you can manually zero all hands by using the winding and setting crown, but if you’re doing this a lot, you might rather go for a proper chronograph. We’ve found this $1,200 watch for sale here. Again, it might need some work.

Omega Seamaster Chronostop

5. Enicar “Birks of Canada” Chronograph

The name Enicar should ring a bell for many watch lovers. This brand made a lot of nice watches in the past — including the Enicar Sherpa, one of its best-sellers — and had its own in-house-developed movements. Actually, Chronoswiss used the Enicar Caliber 165 movement in its Régulateur Automatique top quality replica watch. The Enicar watch company still exists today, but doesn’t have much of a presence. This Enicar chronograph with “Birks” printed on the dial is a 1960s or early 1970s watch that was retailed by Birks of Canada, hence the name on the dial. It was more common in those days to have the name of a retailer printed on the dial. This particular Enicar watch has a 37-mm diameter — which is small — but perhaps the cool thing about it is that it has a Valjoux Caliber 72 movement inside. That’s right, the same caliber that was used on those early (Paul Newman) Rolex Daytona discount fake watches for sale. The case of this Enicar has a C-shaped look that was quite common in those days as well. If you don’t mind the 37-mm size, and the fact that it has no “real” watch brand name on the dial, this could be an awesome watch to own. It is mainly the Valjoux 72 movement inside that makes this watch the most expensive one of the bunch. It is being offered for $1,599 or your best offer. We included it on this list because you can probably bargain your way down to below the $1,500 threshold.

More information can be found here.

Enicar "Birks of Canada" Chronograph

Ball Watch Engineer II Volcano Features New Antimagnetic Case

In 2014, Ball Watch broke new ground in antimagnetic watch technology with the introduction of its Engineer II Magneto S, a tag heuer replica watches that featured an inner shield, made of a patented alloy called “mumetal,” which protected its mechanical movement from the adverse effects of magnetic fields. This year, the company takes the concept a step further with the Engineer II Volcano, which boasts an entire case made of antimagnetic mumetal. I got my first look at the replica watch sale this week at the JCK watch and jewelry fair in Las Vegas.

Why “Volcano?” Because, the company says, volcanoes are among the most ideal environments for exploration and research into antimagnetic technologies because of their natural links to strong magnetic fields; volcanoes inspired Ball Watch’s researchers to further develop the magnetism-resistant mumetal alloy beyond its initial usage, as a protective inner “diaphragm” surrounding the movement, and incorporating it into the components of the best quality replica watch case itself.

Ball Engineer II Volcano - front

The case band of the Engineer II Volcano, made in Switzerland, is made up of superimposed layers of carbon and mumetal. Further playing on the volcano theme, the finished case (45 mm in diameter and 12.4 mm thick) sports a textured carbon look that resembles cooled lava rock. In fact, the watch’s entire ensemble is inspired by volcanic rocks and ash and fiery lava. The dial is predominantly slate-gray, with subtle touches of red. And it wouldn’t be a Ball Watch without the hallmark ultra-luminous H3 gas tubes for nighttime legibility — 15 of them in total here, used in the indices and the hour and minute hands.

Ball Engineer II Volcano

The Ball Engineer II Volcano is powered by the automatic BALL RR1102-C caliber, which boasts a COSC chronometer certificate. In addition to its uncommonly high resistance to magnetism, the watch can withstand impacts of up to 5,000 Gs and is water-resistant to 100 meters. It has a screw-down winding crown and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. Completing the volcanic look is a choice of either a black rubber strap or a canvas NATO strap in gray and black stripes. The price is $3,700, making it a relative bargain compared to other mechanical top quality replica watches with high antimagnetic protection. Below is a live shot of the Engineer II Volcano taken at JCK.

Ball Engineer II Volcano - live

5 Watches With Diamonds That Men Can Actually Wear

Ever since I visited the Bunter factory just outside Geneva , a company that specializes in cutting and setting diamonds for discount luxury watches from Cartier, Patek Philippe, Hublot and others, my interest in diamonds and diamond-setting has increased. I was actually the first journalist who got to see that company’s entire process from A to Z. It was an amazing experience, and taught me that even some of the biggest names oin watchmaking, such as Cartier and Patek Philippe, entrust the work on their diamond-set master pieces to outside experts. I still wouldn’t normally be inclined to wear a watch with diamonds myself, but when I thought about the few that I would, I came up with the following list.

1.Rolex Day-Date Ref. 118238

The Rolex Day-Date on President bracelet with diamond hour markets is, perhaps, a rather safe choice, but it is certainly a luxury replica watches that does look good with diamonds, and those who notice won’t ask questions. This classic 36-mm timepiece only comes in gold or platinum, and the diamonds have been perfectly set. Whether you are a drug kingpin (hopefully not) or an internet entrepreneur, this watch will fit your style.

Rolex Day-Date 118238


2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402B ‘Jumbo’

I love the Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ (as can be seen here) and, although I firmly believe that an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak should be in stainless steel (especially the ‘Jumbo’ or ‘Extra-Thin’ editions), I’ll make an exception for this white-gold model from 1980, with diamond hour markers on the dial. Despite the diamonds and the white-gold case and bracelet, the watch is about as thin as the traditional Royal Oak “Jumbo,” thanks to its use of the beautiful, extra-thin, self-winding Caliber 2121. (Photo courtesy of Antiquorum.)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402B "Jumbo"3. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5713

In the same category as the Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’, this white-gold Nautilus ref.5713 would also be a fine choice if you’re going for a little “bling.” The Royal Oak has a bit more of a masculine look due to the sharp edges and corners in the case design, but a man could pull off this Patek Philippe Nautilus as well. I would rather see the diamonds on the hour markers than a diamond-studded bezel, which would make it look a bit more toned down. However, the ‘integrated’ design of the Nautilus makes this design work. Some Nautilus watches from the past had diamond hour markers, but these were on the smaller Reference 3800 models. (Photo courtesy of Antiquorum.)

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5713


4. Panerai Luminor

In my opinion, for a men’s watch to look right with diamonds, the best quality swiss replica watches itself needs to be distinctively masculine. Perhaps the Nautilus above is a bit of an exception, but I will make up for that with this Panerai Luminor with diamond-set hour markers. Both the Arabic numerals as well as the stick markers are diamond-studded. This one is a rare edition from 2002; only 100 were made. No, diamonds on a military-style watch do not really make any sense, but neither does a tourbillon movement in a divers’ watch (also from Panerai). Who seems to care, anyway? (Photo courtesy of Antiquorum.)

Panerai Luminor5.  Rolex Submariner ‘Serti’

Another Rolex made the list. The Rolex Submariner in gold/steel (also referred to by collectors as the “Clown”) is available in this “Serti” version. “Serti” is from the French word sertissage, which means “setting stones.” Available with several dial colors and precious stones, the Submariner “Serti” is a watch for which you can easily swap the dial for a normal “Clown” dial when you’ve had your fill of wearing diamonds. After all, there are plenty of these discount fake watches and parts for them on the market. If you make friends with a watchmaker, you can even periodically switch dials to suit your needs. As with the Panerai, it really doesn’t make sense to put diamonds on a divers’ watch, but it is more about style than practicality when we’re talking about diamond watches. After all, how many Submariner watches, with or without diamonds, will ever see water, other than in a shower or bath? (Photo courtesy of Antiquorum.)Rolex Submariner 16613 Serti

Seiko 6138 Yachtman vs Tissot T12 Chronograph

When we last took a reader’s survey about 9 months ago, we found out that you’re craving reviews of swiss cheap replica watches. Well, in today’s #TBT, let’s talk affordable vintage chronographs. More importantly, let’s talk about vintage watches that are actually easy to source and, furthermore, will truly fall within the price ranges I provide.

If you’re like me, you’ve read countless reviews about cost conscious vintage watches and it often turns into a discussion about little known brands that used a good Swiss movement, perhaps shared a case with others, and then died an unsung death in the mid to late 1970’s once the quartz crisis took hold. These brands made some great pieces, but unless you’re a true student of the game, they may leave a collector wanting for a brand with a little more name recognition. A great example of this is the multitude of watches that go by the name of “Poor Man’s Heuer Carreras”. I personally like these watches a lot and they do have nice pedigree, but if I were being completely honest, I’d rather wear a real Heuer Carrera.

So what’s one to do if they want a legitimate, credible vintage chronograph made by a well-known, respected maker? Here are a couple good suggestions: Seiko and Tissot. I am offering two choices from different countries because, despite my endless preaching from the vintage Seiko pulpit, I know there are some of you who will simply never feel like a watch is good enough unless it says “Swiss” on the dial. Well, more power to you, and more Seikos for me, but I’ll reluctantly kowtow to your wants and desires and provide a continental choice.

Seiko 6138 and Tissot T12

We’ve spoken a lot about Seiko on these pages so I’ll spend a little time giving a very brief history on Tissot. Tissot was founded in 1853 in Le Locle, Switzerland and really blazed trails by offering the first mass-produced pocket watch in that year. They went on to introduce a number of firsts: first anti-magnetic watch, first discount fake watches made of stone, wood and plastic. Interestingly, they merged with Omega back in 1930. Lemania, the movement maker joined the group 2 years later and became the chronograph movement maker for the brands. Having a captive chronograph maker enabled both Omega and Tissot to become official timing partners for many events such as the Olympics, Formula 1, and other sporting events. Oh, let’s not forget that it allowed Omega to compete for, and win, the spot as the Moonwatch with NASA. If you’re following me this far, and know anything about the cost (a lot) to develop a movement, you’d be correct in guessing that Tissot and Omega used a lot of similar or even same movements over the years. At times, Omega used a slightly more advanced version or one with more decoration, but perhaps think of it like VW and Audi. VW and Audi both use many of the same engines; Audi may receive a slight bump in horsepower and is generally surrounded by more luxurious trappings, but the bones are the same. So, in the end, what I am driving at is that one can often find a nice vintage Tissot chronograph movement that carries much of the prestige of what inside a far more expensive Omega. Incidentally, all the brands I mentioned: Omega, Longines, and Lemania have been under the Swatch Group since 1983.

Ok, so now it’s time to unveil the contestants. For this comparison, I chose two chronographs that are somewhat stylistically similar. They hail from the early 1970’s, which puts them right in the beginning of the lugless/C-case era. I’ve taken it one step further and have chosen two pieces, which can also be described as having “UFO” cases. The watches for comparison are the Seiko 6138 Yachtman and the Tissot T12 Chronograph.

Seiko 6138 Yachtman

No one knows why this particular Seiko 6138 is called the Yachtman other than the fact that advertisements from Seiko coined the term. Functionally, though, there is nothing to suggest that the swiss replica watch would work as a regatta timer. In fact, most now prefer to call it by the “UFO” due to its flying saucer-esque case design. The UFO rings in at an imposing 44mm, which places it square in the territory of similar vintage offerings from brands like Heuer at the time. It’s a good-looking chronograph with rather timeless color choices versus a lot of Seikos from the time. A black dial is nicely contrasted with silver subdials and orange/red highlights on the central chronometer hand, dial and the external tachymeter bezel. Pushers and crown are well proportioned for the case size. Naturally, it contains a Hardlex mineral crystal that is prone to scratching.

Seiko 6138 Yachtman

We last featured a vintage Seiko chronograph here. We all now know Seiko’s important place in watch history due to their release of an automatic chronograph in 1969, but suffice it to say, the company was not about to rest on their laurels. The 6139 movement was introduced in 1969 and strangely; the numerically backwards Seiko 6138 was introduced one year later. I need to take a moment and correct a misstatement in my 6139 article; the 613x movements were not modular. They are fully integrated chronographs, which makes them truly landmark as far as design and easily pits them against the Zenith El Primero. With that settled, the differences between the Seiko 6138 and its stable mate, the 6139, is that it added hand winding, and featured two chronograph registers versus one. The Seiko 6138 contains registers measuring minutes and hours whereas the 6139 only measured minutes. Also, unlike the 6139, the 6138 takes care of its day and date changing via pulling the crown out one detent and turning it either forward or backward. Inside, it features a column wheel and vertical coupling: all hallmarks of a serious chronograph movement. It’s a 21-jewel piece, at least in its early iteration that bumps along at 21,600 bph and has a power reserve of 45 hours. Finally, it has gained a reputation for being a reliable workhorse of a movement.

Seiko 6138 Yachtman

The Seiko UFO wears very well, despite its height, and fits in as a modern piece with its large case size. It’s a heavy piece that feels extremely solid as well. I’ve had this piece on a 19mm rally strap and it looks great but I’ve now chosen to pair it with a non-original, vintage Seiko oyster bracelet. The original bracelet looks more like a jubilee style and has become difficult to find on the secondary market. In any case, I ended up going with a bracelet over a strap because the weight felt better supported by something more substantial. It’s an enjoyable piece to wear for most occasions and it usually receives more than its fair share of compliments. Plus, it simply feels durable and able to withstand a minor beating. The chronograph function works very smoothly and has a nice tactile feel when depressing the nicely detailed pushers. Hand winding, via the unsigned crown, is also very smooth and on a par with most of the Swiss chronographs I own.

The piece you’re viewing, from 1972, has an unusual, if brief, story. I actually found this Seiko 6138-0011 on eBay and while I could usually care less about boxes and paperwork, the documentation included told an interesting tale and it certainly piqued my interest. Many different language options were offered on the day wheels for Seiko and this piece contains a day wheel in Farsi. It was actually sold in 1973 in Tehran, Iran. Perhaps it was with the original owner and left the country before the revolution, but we will never know. Somehow, it ended up with the seller in California who ended up putting it up for auction. Who knows what this watch has seen?

Seiko 6138

Finding a Seiko 6138 UFO is relatively easy despite the fact that it is a very popular model for collectors. It was made for several years and was seemingly popular when new despite a $145 price tag. Head over to eBay and you’ll be greeted with many specimens. Pricing ranges from $250 to roughly $600 depending highly on condition, whether it has been serviced, and if it is original. Aftermarket dials are everywhere on these pieces and I also see a lot of incorrect hands. Also check for original bezel inlays, as there are aftermarket parts for these as well. While I could normally care less about getting a bracelet with a vintage Seiko, this one deserves a substantial one in order to keep it firmly planted on the wrist. The best idea, as I always mention, is to join a Seiko forum and ask questions about a proposed piece. Buying a non-running example is risky before checking with your favorite disconut luxury watchmaker to ensure he or she services them.

Tissot T12 Chronograph

I am not going to kid you; I have been looking at T12’s for a long time. In this case design, Tissot offered up everything from a simple 3-hander, a compressor style diver, and some sort of world timer. The chronograph is today’s focus, though. When I say I was looking at these for a long time, what drew me to them was the bulbous case design, which I always found to be a pure form. Plus, the dials always appealed to me for appearing clean and uncluttered. I don’t know why I waited until roughly a week ago to grab one, but it probably has a lot to do with a comment I made about the intent of the article; specifically, there are always affordable pieces available in one condition or another. The other reason is that I could not figure out how large the piece is from the pictures and a diameter measurement usually does not tell the entire story. Well, the one you see here was spotted and bought in person.

Tissot T-12

This Tissot T12 contains the Lemania 873 movement. Not ringing a bell? The 873 is, mechanically, the exact same movement as Omega’s 861 caliber. Do you need another hint? This, folks, is the same movement found in the vaunted Speedmaster Professional; the same best replica watches that is qualified for space travel. It’s a manual wind, cam lever operated movement that also operates at 21,600 bph and has a 40-hour power reserve. It contains three registers in the familiar 3-6-9 positions, which measure hours and minutes while showing a running seconds hand. Did I mention that this movement has real pedigree? Furthermore, like the Seiko, it is highly reliable and, depending on your watchmaker, easier to repair than the Seiko.

When I mentioned I hadn’t bought a T12 before because I was unclear on how it would fit, it’s really because I thought it would be a massive piece that I’d wear once a month and then resign it to safe queen status. Well, sometimes, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. When I first saw the T12 shown here, I couldn’t believe its normal size despite measuring in at 43mm. I strapped it to my puny wrist and, perhaps, due to its hidden lugs, the piece wears much smaller than its size. A lot of it likely has to do with the case design that doubles as a very thick bezel. This serves to create a relatively small area that is contained under the crystal; it is porthole like. Additive to that is the fact that the tachymeter bezel (mine is slightly misaligned) is also internal. Back to the crystal: it is a beautifully formed acrylic piece that integrates with and follows the curvature of the case and lies smoothly on the surface.

Tissot T12

Let’s talk in detail about the dial because it’s fantastic. The complex design, I am guessing it was manufactured by Singer, is a 3-register piece that follows the panda format: black step-down subdials on a white dial. It also features interesting, inwardly angled and applied hour markers that further assist in making the watch seem smaller. The subdials contain two red stick hands and one in white. Beefy, tritium-filled, rectangular hands take care of the time keeping duties while a unique red, diamond-shaped hand is the centrally mounted chronograph hand. Yes, there is a lot going on here, but it never really appears as loud; the details simply work.


It’s time for more details; one turns the tag heuer replica watches over to reveal a nice case back depicting a ship. I’m not sure if this refers to Tissot’s Navigator or Seastar line but it’s nicely done. It is a press fit case back and sits smoothly against the wrist. The pushers are simple pump affairs and the piece carries a nicely signed crown. Returning to the case back, it gets interesting as the attachment for the bracelet is actually done via a hoop that is integrated into the case. Verbally, this is difficult to describe but it’s probably the largest detractor on the watch as it makes fitting NATO straps or normal straps nearly impossible without some sort of custom attachment. One could cut a normal strap but you’d need a mandrel to thread through the strap ends to keep it affixed. However, all is not lost as the original bracelet is a very high quality affair made by, none other than, Gay Freres. Yes, the same Gay Freres that made bracelets for some very high-end brands and was ultimately gobbled up by Rolex in the early 2000’s. It’s a really nicely made “compact oyster” design that suits the discount fake watches well. Furthermore, the clasp has a huge range of adjustability: so much so that I did not need to remove any links. Oh, and lastly, it is date stamped and puts this piece at 1970.

Finding a T12 chronograph isn’t terribly difficult. I think that the round, UFO styled case puts off a lot of potential buyers. This is a shame, though, as the aforementioned details and serious movement offer a lot for the money. I also think it looks infinitely better in person than in pictures. Speaking of money, expect to pay around $600-1400 for a T12. I often see pieces with ratty dials at the lower end or pieces that have had the fine matte finished case polished to a high shine; the case and bracelet should have a matching finish. Check to ensure the hands are correct and if the chronograph is functioning properly. I’d also steer clear of buying “head only” pieces due to the odd bracelet fitment and also because the bracelet is of nice quality. Finally, regarding the bracelet, try to check for stretch, as this is also common.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R – Is Gold Allowed?

Perhaps I changed a bit during the last few years or at least my taste did, but I am warming up to gold watches. Not only did I think they were often too gaudy, tacky or whatever label you want to use, I also was of the opinion that certain cheap replica watches for sale should be in stainless steel only. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus are perfect examples of that thought.

However, like I wrote, I am warming up to gold watches and even gold versions of these classic stainless steel luxury sports watches. Not how Gerald Genta meant them to be perhaps, but as long as it is done with the utmost respect to the original design, I can be fine with it. However, I am still a bit of a purist and am torn between the real deal in steal or the warm colour of gold. Since it is a watch that shouldn’t be worn during sports anyway in my opinion, gold can certainly be used for a watch like this.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R

When I first saw this piece I just shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself that the stainless steel Nautilus reference 5711/1A or the vintage 3700/1A is the one that I would like to own some day. Period. But when I had my appointment inside the Patek Philippe booth in Basel and got to see and try the new Nautilus in gold, I wasn’t so sure about that anymore.

The new Nautilus in gold is an amazing looking discount fake  watches, even on a pale skin like mine I think I could get away with it. Where the stainless steel version – which I often tried – feels comfortably light (there is still enough weight to ensure you the watch is still there), the gold version has a much bigger presence. The weight of the gold does not make you forget what’s on your wrist. Besides the weight aspect, the presence is also there because of the warm colour of gold. Due to the very recognizable type of finish on the case and bracelet, this watch will never look tacky or flashy in gold.

Nautilus 5711/1R

A gold Nautilus isn’t something new. Actually, the first Nautilus reference (3700/1A) was also produced in gold in those late 1970s. Later Nautilus models were also available in gold (like the reference 5980 chronograph), but never the reference 5711/1A. Patek Philippe decided to use rose gold for the case and bracelet and instead of the blue/green-ish dial in the stainless steel version; they’ve picked this warm chocolate brown colour for the dial. It gives the swiss replica watches a very classy look and makes you forget about the fact that a Nautilus should be a stainless steel watch only.

Actually, it made me wonder whether a gold Nautilus 5711/1R is something a purist can get away with. Besides the fact that there actually was an original 1970s 3700/1A in gold, you can debate whether the current 5711/1A isn’t already too far away from the original 3700/1A series for a purist (here is a comparison between the 3700/1A and 5711/1A). The see-through case back, the second hand and the fact that it isn’t a monocoq case anymore, already makes the 5711/1A a modern interpretation of the original 3700/1A.

Nautilus 5711/1R

The best solution perhaps would be to own an original Patek Philippe 3700/1A in stainless steel and have the Nautilus 5711/1R in rose gold as a modern watch. See how I am looking for excuses to own both? The new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R is a great example of how it should be done in gold. A job well done by Patek Philippe. The Genta adept in me probably will always crave for that mint condition 3700/1A in stainless steel, a rose gold 5711/1R on the wrist would make that hunt a bit more bearable.