First of all, we Gnomon wish everyone a happy new year! It’s the start of the new 2021, and we’d felt great relief from what might be an interesting 2020, where we spent most of our time working in safe, confined places. Although last year was one where many avoid looking back, few things are worth rekindling. Evidently, several watches that were released on our site are definitely worth doing so. Over here, we’d kickstart a new year by highlighted five models from different brands that consistently deliver their incredible new novelties with enthusiasm.
From the compelling Ocean 39 Marina Blue through our collaborative effort with German watchmaker Steinhart to the well-executed Seiko Prospex 200m Baby Marinemaster 200 “Reduced.” These brands have been on full throttle last year and aren’t stopping when we leaped into a new one. Now let’s look at these five exceptional, still-hot timepieces currently available on our site.
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Squale Sub-39 SuperBlue
Kicking things off, we have Squale with their whole new collection: the Sub-39. We voted for the SuperBlue variant with its unique dial and bezel found within a retro diver’s case. It recalls many elements of vintage Squale dive watches with a throwback to the sixties. Squale has been a maestro of manufacturing dive watch cases, and the Sub-39 collection was a significant move to rebirth one of the founder’s watch case. The original was inspired by a famous Swiss explorer named Jacques Piccard, who descended into the Marianas Trench in the Bathyscaphe Trieste with another partner, Don Walsh. The case is yet another classic from the brand, with its slim mid-case profile, old-school bezel, and case back aesthetics that was unlike any others.
To add to that, the Sub- 39 SuperBlue received another element, which was extracted from the brand’s historical archive, which is the quirky sunburst blue dial. The deep blue sunburst dial matches well against the contrasting modern-ish stainless steel bezel, lending a more contemporary look. It features a retro pie-pan aesthetic that slopes down gently at the dial’s outer edge – adding another layer of dimension to the piece that brings it to a whole new level.
Inspired by very own 30 Atmos “Super” diver of the sixties, the dial uses maxi indexes (super big hour markers) reminiscent of many famous dive watches during the 60s to 70s, paired nostalgically with a set of unique arrow-shaped hands. All that said, this newer release has been a piece that stood out to us quite a bit.
Seiko Prospex 200M Automatic Blue “Baby MM Reduced” Ref. SBDC127
In 2020 where many watch brands are riding through harsh tides, Seiko, on the other hand, remains on the streak with their releases. The brand almost had a shake-up with every single release, from the start of the year until the end. Today, we want to highlight the latter, with another fantastic re-issue based on its iconic Marinemaster ethos. The Prospex 200m “Baby MM Reduced” is a handsome dive watch that generated Seiko enthusiasts’ traction. It felt like an upgrade from the previous Baby MM series (SBDC061/63) from 2018, which includes ideal “reduced” proportions with correct elements from the granddaddy ref. 6159-7001.
Gone are the “Prospex” arrow-head hour hand and needle seconds hand; the SBDC127 clads the 6159’s broad hands, along with the quirky “traffic light” seconds, that are filled with Seiko’s famed Lumibrite. The case is now sized down previously from 44mm of the SBDC06X, measuring directly at 42mm wide and 46mm from lug-to-lug. These dimensions resulted in a daily-beater, being much wearable for even the most svelte wrists, who are interested in getting a taste of Seiko’s dive watches.
Since Seiko has been upping the ante in the Prospex line, the SBDC127 is executed impeccably, with refined casework and finishing, exuding a premium feel for its wearer. And the Baby MM now gets the latest upgrade of its renowned workhorse movement: the 6R35 caliber with 70 hours of power reserve. This excellent Prospex diver definitely caters to the heart of Seiko fans all around the world.
Steinhart Ocean 39 Marine Blue – Gnomon Exclusive
Speaking of an enthusiast-focused release, the Steinhart Ocean 39 Marine Blue cannot be excluded for this. As the sold-out-within-24-hours Ocean 39 Marine Blue Limited edition (with our first-ever signature branded onto the dial), which had been an indelible mark in history for Gnomon Watches, we don’t want to disappoint our community and watch lovers. Therefore, we presented the on-going version of the Ocean 39 Marine Blue, sans the double signage and the vintage crystal material, and boy did we keep the fire within enthusiasts going.
In keeping the heritage package here, the Ocean 39 Marine Blue is heavily inspired by dive watches back in the 1960s. Matching the oceanic blue bezel, its dial shows off asymmetrical purist format with no date that stays true to that of an original military design – characterized by its square markers and unique handset requested by the French Navy enhance legibility. Speaking of which, it’s a particular handset that resembled the beautiful tips of a snowflake, reminding us of the majestic snow-capped mountains and dainty snowflakes descending upon the earth, while all that in the calling for better legibility. All the handset and hour markers are then topped off with a nice caramel-tone SuperLuminova, pairing well with the blue dial and bezel.
This exclusive Steinhart Ocean 39 Marine Blue stays fervor for watch-collectors, exuding a sense of beauty with both form and function. It’s definitely a handsome tool watch without any disappointment for not able to experience one.
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Black 40mm Ref. AL-525NN3S6
Now let’s take a break from dive watches. We now turn our eyes to another successful release from Alpina with their Startimer Pilot Automatic, now in 40mm. Pilot watches aren’t a new thing for the renowned manufacturer, and official supplier of military aviation watches to continental air forces during the fifties. Although fliegers are generally massive in size (an appeal for this genre), where standards are usually from 42mm onwards, Alpina went against the grain with a new update on their signature pilot model with better size for collector’s current trend. At 40mm, the 4mm sized down Startimer now feels more delicate while enabling it to be apt as another daily wear on most wrists.
While the size got smaller, no corners were cut on the execution. Alpina continued to demonstrate their savoir-faire on case finishing, with delicate satin-brushed on the case surfaces, only to be beautifully contrasted by mirror-polished bevellings that break up the case with sharpness. Everything feels well done on the Startimer 40mm, along with its applied hour markers that resulted in the sense of depth that we all enjoyed looking upon.
Alpina has once again surprised us with their Startimer pilot watch, where this genre seemed to always leave an impression of plain and no-frill timing instruments for pilots. The Startimer 40mm surpasses all that. It has to be admired in person to understand its beauty and the work that has been put into it.
Squale 20 ATMOS Blue Heron Ceramic – 1545 – SEL Bracelet
Now, this is another dive watch from Squale, and we couldn’t leave this one out as one of the top five highlights. So hear us out on this one. To many, this might be another “mundane” release of a ref. 1545 20 Atmos Classic with a blue ceramic bezel, but this particular release might just be what we need right now. The Blue Heron might be a gateway for many of us in this period and future through its everlasting appeal and robust construction. It reminds us that sometimes, all we just needed is a proper watch without any gimmicks or inappropriateness while staying fashionable enough for us to pick up and wear it through every occasion, despite having a pandemic going on concurrently. It’s a watch like the Blue Heron that exemplifies well in this area.
All that said, since its release, the Blue Heron is a welcoming addition to the 20 Atmos line. It is tastefully executed with the desirability of what watch fans, dive watches, particularly are looking for. The blue and black combination has been the primary attraction of the new Blue Heron, not just in looks, but the effervescence of what classicism is about. And with the additional blue bezel, the watch carries a more interesting casual vibe as compared to, say, a black bezel and dial watch, whereby there’s plenty in the market right now.
Inside the watch is the Swiss workhorse movement Swiss automatic movement ETA 2824-2/SW200. Its robustness and longevity reflect equivalently with what the Blue Heron is projecting. It offers incredible value for its price point, packing excellent specifications in a classic diver design – checking all the boxes as a good everyday watch.
Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.