Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Back to Basics - the 180

This is the latest from Sarpaneva's sister brand, S.U.F, may I introduce you to the 180.
Courtesy of Sarpaneva/S.U.F Watches
Now as a point of transparency, I am a Stepan Sarpaneva fan.  I like his unique take on things, I like that he speaks his mind (when he speaks), and I truly appreciate his aesthetic sense.  It would be easy to say that it is all in the DNA, and when you come from a famous artistic family that would be an easy conclusion to make.  But dig into his work, or just spend some time shooting the shit and you will come to understand pretty quickly that Mr Sarpaneva is a one-off.  And thank goodness for that!

Now while I write about this stuff, and get to see beautiful things, it is safe to say that as a social worker/English teacher the Sarpaneva collection is something that I will have to admire from afar.  And that is why I was so excited when he came out with the S.U.F collection.  And I'm even more excited about this new series - the 180.  Something cool, "Sarpanevaesque", and priced within reach!  
And it's something new - a field watch.

Courtesy of S.U.F
The case measures 38.7mm and is machined from Finnish steel.  The movement is an automatic Soprod A10.  The 180 is limited to 50 pieces in each color version.  The  price is 2200 euros without taxes (2728 euros including 24% VAT).

While there is nothing wrong with pilot's watches, I have never fantasized about throwing on a bomber jacket, goggles and jumping in a biplane.
shamelessly borrowed from the worldwide infoweb
It's just not me.  But a field watch?  Now that's something that appeals.
Courtesy of Sarpaneva
You can have it in a cobalt blue, white and a black dial.  

And my personal favorite?  RED!  But not just any red, this is referred to as cranberry-red “Karpalo” -
Courtesy of S.U.F
While bright red not be everyone's jam, let me give you a personal bit of Henki lore -

Back in the 90s, Wendy and I lived first in Turku, then Helsinki Finland.  Winter was, let's just say, not my thing.  I like ice hockey, I enjoy making a snowman.  But beyond that? It was a challenge to adapt to.  Without realizing it, I took to wearing fairly bright colors during the winter months, and bought an Omega Speedmaster in bright yellow (Schumacher).  I can honestly say that up to that point I was not too fussed about color and full truth be told?  I did not want to stand out.  Was it my own way of keeping a "summer" feeling during a dark couple of months?  Quite possible, or maybe it was my little way of being contrary.  At any rate, had the S.U.F 180 cranberry-red “Karpalo”been around back then?  I would have bought it for sure.

But enough about me, here is the rest of the 180 story straight from the source in Helsinki:

S.U.F performs a flawless about-turn with ‘180’, marching into utilitarian field-watch territory

Sometimes, we all need to stop. To turn 180 degrees and realize how far we’ve come, but also remind ourselves where we’re going. Even S.U.F – a watchmaker driven by the Finnish people’s stoic, honest-to-goodness determination – needs perspective.

The new ‘180’ is precisely that: a stripped-back field watch, whose minimal utility draws on S.U.F’s past while signposting the future. All the while providing new recruits with an unfettered way into the world of ‘proper watches’.

Long-devoted fans of S.U.F will sense echoes of its early model, the Komentaja. But true to form, 180 goes back while moving things on; reimagining classic features with a contemporary cool.

The ‘railway’ minutes track for a start, circling numerals whose Scandi-noir typeform is unique to S.U.F.’s founder Stepan Sarpaneva - the master watchmaker with iconic Finnish design in his blood. 

The traditional ‘lollipop’ seconds hand too, sweeping across a gleaming dial in far-from-traditional colourways. For 180’s launch, these include cranberry-red “Karpalo” -
Courtesy of S.U.F
Liquorice-black “Salmiakki” -

Courtesy of S.U.F
 Cobalt-blue “Taivas” -
Courtesy of S.U.F
And “Kuura”, in a crisp frosty white that Helsinki residents know all too well.
Courtesy of S.U.F
Wherein lies the rub, since the 180 could arguably be the most ‘Finnish’ S.U.F yet. Its high-grade stainless-steel case is machined from domestically forged metal, impregnated with chrome mined near the coast. The straps’ leather even comes from Nordic Elk.

And of course, it’s all painstakingly hand-assembled in the heart of the Finnish capital, at the SarpanevaUhrenFabrik workshop.

Whose postal code also happens to be ‘180’.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Regulator Classic Carbon Racer

From Chronoswiss -
Courtesy of Chronoswiss
Available on a rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet. 

Courtesy of Chronoswiss
Here are the pertinents -

Regulator Classic Carbon Racer

Off-centre hours at 12:00, central minutes, small seconds at 6:00

Solid stainless steel case, with satin finish and polished bezel with partial knurling and curved, double coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal, screw-down case back with satin finish and sapphire crystal, onion crown, water resistance up to 10 bar, strap holders screwed down with patented Autobloc system

Ø 41 mm, height 12.7 mm

Chronoswiss caliber C. 295, automatic, with stop seconds

Ø 25.6 mm (ca. 11 1/2 ́ ́ ́), impulse-angle 51°

4.35 mm


Glucydur, three-legged

Balance spring:
Nivarox 1

Fine Adjustment:
Via Excenter

Shock Protection:

4 Hz., 28‘800 A/h (semi-oscillations)

Power reserve:
Approximately 42 hours

Special features:
Engraved, rhodium-plated rotor, with Côtes de Genève and ball bearing; 
polished pallet lever, escape wheel and screws; bridges and plates with perlage

Carbon dial, scales with circular-graining, interior of hour with guilloche details, skeletonized small seconds display

New shape “Trigono”; rhodium-plated or lacquered; with Super-LumiNova inlays

Stainless steel bracelet, or rubber strap

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ralph Lauren Polo Bear Collection

From the Amazon Prime Series Jack Ryan -

Nicolás Reyes: [coming down from his horse] Do you know anything about polo?

James Greer: I know Ralph Lauren makes a great shirt.

Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
For those of you who don't have HBO, I highly recommend that you find a way to watch the documentary on Ralph Lauren.  

It aired last night (at the original time of writing this article) from 9:00 PM, and whether you appreciate fashion, a success story, you are a fan of artists and what drives them, or simply enjoy a true entrepreneurial story?  Get it in front of you and watch it.  It is worth your time.
Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
I will not craft a false narrative and say to anyone that I was a fan of the first iteration of the Ralph Lauren watch collection.  They just weren't my jam.  While it was (and as far as I know still) is a partnership with Richemont, and while the look is classic, I just felt that the same thing was available through other Richemont brands.   The Ralph Lauren collection evolved and grew, but for whatever reason it never really resonated with me.
Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
And then something happened this past BaselWorld.  A Ralph Lauren watch changed my mind, and did so in the highly unlikely form of an earlier Ralph Lauren Bear watch being worn on the wrist of a young blogger from Singapore.  Think about this for a minute, BaselWorld is the ultimate vanity/ego trip for those of us in the media.  We fret and worry about which watch to wear because we want to stay "fresh" in the eyes of our peers.  And you will see some extraordinary pieces from time to time - tourbillons, equations of time, I could be wrong but I might have seen one last year that can make a cappuccino ; )  Remember, we are the lucky few that from time to time will be gifted with prototypes and other rare one-offs that can't be bought or sold.  So what did this dashing young man have on one of his wrists?  A Polo Bear watch.  And I am not engaging in hyperbole when I tell you that this watch got a lot of attention.  Not because it was a tourbillon, not because it was crafted of Unobtanium, nor because the dial was varnished with the tears of unicorns.  The real reason?

It was FUN!  And it spoke to me and to the several journalists, collectors and even independent brand owners that were gathered around our mini-fair at the HYPE.  And the more I think about it, it isn't too difficult to understand.  For the same reason that I continually hope that some brand will make a truly solid, classic, mechanical Tintin or Snoopy watch, this young man's Polo Bear watch hit that wonderfully joyful visceral button.  It spoke to the idea of why we like watches in the first place.  It goes without saying that in today's world, you don't NEED a watch.  You want one.  

And my personal favorite out of the new collection?
Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
The Tuxedo 42 mm.  It just speaks to me.

Here are the pertinents -

Automatic Swiss movement, made by Sellita Caliber: RL200, 11’’’1/2, 26 jewels Frequency: 28'800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) Power reserve : ~38 hours
Decor: Vertical Côtes de Genève and perlage (circular graining)

Hours, minutes, central seconds

Stainless steel, polished
42.00 mm
Thickness: 10.7 mm
Curved sapphire crystal, internal colourless anti-reflective treatment 
Open case back with sapphire
Inter-lug width: 20.00 mm
Water resistance: 5 bar (~50 m)
Crown: Stainless Steel with Pony logo

Color: Off White (creamy) lacquered
Black Arabic numbers, printed Bear 3D printed

Hour, minute: red, lacquered Second: Shiny black, lacquered

Black Alligator, 20mm/18mm – 115/75mm

Pin buckle 18.00 mm, polished