Up to the Minutes: Old masterpieces and motoring-inspired watches

Bringing you up to speed on a Jaguar C-Type for your wrist, a phenomenal archive raid from Zenith, and Lord’s new Father Time…

Unwittingly, your luxury-watch bulletin for this month happens to be dominated by a particularly Gentleman’s Journal axis of summer pursuits: cricket, convertible cars and swimming (as well as a particularly smart dress watch, just because).

Rather than gauche opportunities to show off your latest bit of wrist candy, these all present occasions to invest in a ‘proper’ wristwatch for all the proper reasons. And if in doubt, put it down to Father’s Day… even if you’re the father in question.

Kari Voutilainen brings ten Zenith masterpieces back to life

When Helsinki’s grandmaster of hand-Finnish — apologies, finish — is on board for a special project with Zenith, you know something special is on its way. Once a professor at Switzerland’s watchmaker hothouse WOSTEP, Kari Voutilainen now plies his exacting craft deep in the heart of the Jura Mountains’ horological heartland, using antique lathes, brainiac experiments in ‘chronometry’ (mechanical precision to you and me) and an engraved dial factory nonpareil. 

This is a safe pair of hands, then, for restoring and fine-tuning a handful of prize-winning movements long residing in the Zenith archive; calibres which wiped the floor during the Fifties’ heyday of ‘Observatory’ chronometry competitions.

Occupying an actual watch case for the first time, these ten 135-O calibre-fitted ‘Observatoires’ (CHF132,900) remain the best of the best – much like the watch guys at Phillips auction house, who initiated the project. And, just like the original movements, they serve as 24-carat validation for Zenith’s core catalogue offering, if proof were ever needed.

There’s a new Father Time at Lord’s, as Oris joins cricket’s iconic weather vane

Those warmed by that quintessentially English sound of leather upon willow are about to warm to the sound of ruby ticking on steel – specifically from Hölstein, the Swiss home of historic watchmaker, Oris. Because, this summer, Oris becomes the cricket ground’s first ‘official timekeeper’ in its 230-year history. 

The partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Lord’s gains extra poignancy with the flagship placement of Oris’s logo on the clock tower, immediately beneath the Mound Stand’s iconic ‘Father Time’ weather vane – a surprise gift to MCC from its architect Sir Herbert Baker in 1926, and one intended to compensate for the disquiet felt about the cost of the stand’s late completion. 

One of the partnership highlights will be the award of an Oris watch to cricketers whose names are added to the famous Lord’s Honours Boards – a vaunted accolade for scoring a century, or taking five wickets in an innings or 10 wickets in a match. Stay tuned for the limited-edition Lord’s watch, hopefully on red-leather, with a white contrast-stitch strap.

Breitling’s UK-only Superocean is a watertight, last-minute Father’s Day gift

Weighing in at a brawny 44mm diameter, with a rocksteady chronometer-certified precision between –4 and +6mm per day, and a practically nonchalant resistance to pressure down to 1,000m beneath the waves, this Breitling Superocean (£3,350) is the horological equivalent of every idolised father (even if the cold reality has long set in). So why not reassure the old man that he could still have what it takes, if it wasn’t for that uncompleted crossword and mug of tea? 

Exclusive to the UK, this handsome fellow is adorned with a varnished bezel in Brittania-esque blue, paired with contrasting matte black dial and either a black rubber strap or three-row metal bracelet. Move fast, though – not only is Father’s Day this Sunday, but this watch is also limited to just 250 pieces.

It’s roof-down motoring season, and Bremont’s Jaguar C-Type is perfectly timed

It’s difficult to keep up with Bremont these days, especially since the ribbon was cut on its multi-faceted ’Wing’ manufacturing facility last year. Being in Oxfordshire, we’re excited that watchmaking has resolutely returned to these shores — but we’re also thrilled that the luxe-utility, military-approved brand is just a gentle drive down the road from Blighty’s historic and thriving motoring heartland, the Midlands. 

That translates to a febrile technological partnership with Williams F1, as well as a more gently nostalgic hook-up with Jaguar. The new C-Type chronograph (£5,395) is pure high-octane and begoggled wrist action — but that’s to forget how future-forward the car it celebrates really was. Unveiled only three years after WWII, it won two straight Le Mans at an unprecedented 100mph-plus average speed, chiefly down to all four wheels’ pioneering disc-brake technology; technology subsequently adopted wholesale.

Longines dives into the summer with 2022’s coolest horological revival

Longines’ ‘Heritage’ line never fails to charm and beguile. After all, the watchmaker boasts one of Switzerland’s most colourful and lengthy timelines, both technologically and design-wise. 

Since its original, sepia-tinted revival (the Legend Diver of 2007) the emphasis has been on the latter. But, with this month’s blisteringly cool Ultra-Chron diving watch, we have both in spades. Mostly, though, the reminder that Longines’ boffins established ground zero for high-frequency (therefore precise in all orientations) mechanical timekeeping. 

The watch to which it pays tribute here is a 1968 piece that introduced a movement ticking at 36,000 vibrations per hour / 5 Hertz / 10 beats per second movement inside a 100-metre-water-resistant case for the first time – one year before Zenith and TAG Heuer garnered all the ‘high frequency’ credit with its El Primero and Calibre 11 chronographs. We can’t wait for Longines’ next raid on the patent office.

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