Last week, I had a most pleasant encounter with an AquaLion. No, I’m not suffering from heatstroke. It wasn’t a sea lion, but a mechanical diver’s watch made by Vertex. And I also saw a Freelancer on a motorbike. Not an unusual sight, you say? Correct, but in this case, I’m talking about the Raymond Weil Limited Edition Freelancer Chronograph Bi-Compax Limited Edition. The brand just introduced two chronographs that are inspired by a motorbike customized by the artisans of Meister Engineering. Another piece of fine engineering is the new metal bracelet on three versions of the Casio G-Shock GM-B2100 “CasiOak”. Good stuff for a Monday-morning watch talk in the coffee corner.

Vertex popped onto the microbrand scene back in 2017 with its M100, an updated version of the famous “Dirty Dozen” field watch supplied to the British Forces late in WWII. The next release of the truly English watch brand that was relaunched by the great-grandson of the original founder, Don Cochrane, was the MP45, an ambitious mono-pusher chronograph modeled after a watch commissioned in 1945. The next logical step for Vertex was a dive watch. And here it is — the M60 AquaLion (£2,375 excluding VAT). I saw and tried on the first two models from the London-based brand, and my first impression of this one is the same — solid.

watch talk

Coffee Corner Watch Talk featuring the Vertex M60 AquaLion

Vertex is a microbrand, but it presents itself in a much grander and different way. For example, the watch that restarted the Vertex brand, the M100, was only available via an exclusive invitation and referral program. And yes, the brand’s creations always have a slightly heavier price tag than similar-looking military re-edition watches, but Vertex watches always have something extra to offer. The packaging, for instance. The M60 AquaLion comes on a three-link steel bracelet and in an excellent water-resistant, multipurpose Pelican Personal Utility Ruck Case that is both waterproof and buoyant. Apart from a color-coordinated black and blue lining that looks the part, the case holds a black rubber and a blue ZULU dive strap.

Light up the night

I will talk about the fact that the AquaLion is based on the Vertex dive watches of the 1950s and ’60s. I’ll also explain that there are loads of modern upgrades without sacrificing the original concept. That, however, will be in my soon-to-come hands-on review. What I won’t keep from you now are the following essentials. The AquaLion measures 40 × 14mm and has a lug-to-lug length of 49mm. The case is water-resistant to 600 meters, and a Swiss chronometer-certified Sellita SW300-1 beats inside. And on the matte black dial, the molded Super-LumiNova X1 Grade hour markers and hands with a coating in the same stuff glow in the dark like there’s no tomorrow. Because the markings on the bezel also light up, in the dark, the AquaLion looks even more alive than in daylight.

Enough for now, though. A much more in-depth hands-on with the M60 AquaLion will come online soon, but if you want more information in the meantime, please go to Vertex’s official website.

Monday morning coffee watch talk

The full-metal Casio G-Shock GM-B2100 “CasiOak” is (finally) here

The “CasiOak” on a bracelet is here! Three of them are, actually. Casio has released a full-steel “CasiOak” along with rose gold and black ion-plated versions. The metal watch with its octagonal bezel is a fan favorite, and these new versions are very likely to expand that fan base even more. By matching a metal bracelet with a folding clasp to the 44.4 × 49.8 × 12.8mm case, the GM-B2100 gets a tougher, more high-end look.



The GM-B2100 is water resistant to 200 meters, and the combination of its rather slim case with a screwed case back is already sophisticated. Furthermore, the three-step surface-finishing process, which consists of high polishing and both circular and vertical brushing, creates a vibrant visual watch spectacle. It also very nicely contrasts with the dark, instrumental, and high-tech ana-digi dial. And with a weight of 165 grams, the luxury is also very tangible.

Price and availability of the new “CasiOaks”

Speaking of high-tech, the three GM-B2100 models feature Tough Solar charging and a Bluetooth Smartphone Link function for automatic time adjustment, time setting, and even finding your phone. The GM-B2100D-1A has a price of €549, while the black GM-B2100BD-1A and the rose-gold-colored GM-B2100GD-5A both cost €599 (including VAT). All three “CasiOaks” will be available starting on August 12th.

For more information, please visit the official G-Shock website.

Raymond Weil Freelancer

The Raymond Weil Freelancer Bronze Chronograph 7780

Being a freelancer has its benefits. You don’t have to sit at your desk when the weather is way too nice to be stuck inside. Instead, you could take your motorbike for a ride and do the work later. Raymond Weil’s Freelancer collection now offers a watch that puts its money where its mouth is, so to speak. The two new versions of the Freelancer Bronze Chronograph 7780 got their inspiration on the open road and from the custom motorbikes crafted by the Geneva-based artisans/mechanics of Meister Engineering.

Raymond Weil Freelancer

Raymond Weil ordered a special bike from Meister Engineering, and from its own atelier come two matching Freelancer chronographs. The bike is a reimagined standard motorbike that shows the distinctive Meister Engineering blend of creativity, style, and mechanical know-how. It displays the Raymond Weil name on the fuel tank in rose gold foil. This detail provided the inspiration for the texture of the 43.5 × 13.7mm bronze case and the two sub-registers on the dial.

Keeping track of your speed and your heart rate

Watch-related details on the motorcycle are the tachymeter (used for determining the speed at which you’re riding) and the pulsometer (used to see if the ride gets your heart rate up). These scales are engraved on the motorcycle tank cap, but unfortunately, they won’t be of much use there. However, you will also find them on the chronograph’s satin-finished ceramic bezel insert and flange. In coordination with the chronograph seconds hand, they can actually help you keep track of your speed and heart rate. The automatic caliber RW5030 inside is based on the Sellita caliber SW510, which is basically an ETA 7753 clone. It provides 56 hours of power reserve, a 30-minute chronograph, as well as time and date functions.

Raymond Weil Freelancer

Full bronze or bronze combined with titanium

The Raymond Weil Freelancer Bronze Chronograph 7780 is available in two variants. The first one, reference 7780-B1-20422, has a full-bronze case, a black dial with a gradient effect, and orange accents. It also shows counters in a warm bronze color and rose gold applied indexes filled with white Super-LumiNova. This version is limited to 300 pieces and has a price of £3,495. The non-limited reference 7780-TB3-20423 has a titanium and bronze case with a black ceramic bezel. This model goes for a cooler color scheme with gray sub-dials and light blue accents throughout. The price of this second, lighter Freelancer is £2,995.


For more information about both versions of the Freelancer Bronze Chronograph 7780, please visit Raymond Weil’s official website.

Find and follow me at Lex Stolk • Instagram. You could do that while you’re having your Monday-morning watch talk. Anyway, have a great and summery watch week!