This week has seen some very interesting emails pop through into the Fratello inbox. A new watch that gets me hot under the collar, a Speedmaster with genuine space-flown provenance, and brands adopting new technology to help beat the forgers and fraudsters.

Zenith Defy Skeleton Carbon

Zenith Defy Skeleton Carbon

This edition is named ‘The Party In My Pants Edition’. Why? Well, as the name of this edition suggests, there’s a party in my pants, and this watch is the sole reason. To my friends, it’s no secret that I am a fan of what Zenith has been doing recently, especially the Defy range. From the moment the brand relaunched the Defy series back in 2017, I’ve was hooked. The combination of the angular case shape and the super-cool skeleton dial (this was my preference over the Defy classic model) just worked for me.

…I am sure that there’s been some subconscious subterfuge.

Over the next few years, Zenith has continued to give the Defy range some love. They released iterations in futuristic ceramic cases: black, white, and blue. It’s like the brand was inside my head and just knew the sorts of things I wanted to see before I did. Now, with this week’s release, I am sure that there’s been some subconscious subterfuge.Zenith Defy Skeleton Carbon

I love carbon fiber and other advanced material watch cases. I have one carbon fiber watch in my collection, and it’s a badass material. It’s lightweight, and it looks great. It just makes sense that I’d love the Defy Skeleton in a carbon fiber case. You can’t argue with plain and simple logic. But Zenith had to go further. They haven’t rested on their laurels and just gone down the easy route and released the Defy Skeleton Carbon on a strap…no (although this is an option if you want to reduce the cost somewhat). They’ve only gone and made a full carbon fiber bracelet too.

I want this and I want it bad…

Now, I’ve never worn such a bracelet on the wrist before. I can’t say how comfortable or good it is from that point of view. I can, however, say that visually it is superb — I want this and I want it bad, but it’s a little out of my price range at CHF 19,900 for the full carbon model. So, all I can say to Zenith is thanks — thanks for creating a party in my pants that I can’t even attend.

Prices start from 11,900 CHF for the strap version. You can find out more information here.

Omega Speedmaster X-33

Omega Speedmaster X-33 – A watch that went to the stars!

At Fratello, we love all things Speedmaster. Speedmasters are our thing, there’s no getting away from that. While many of our community will always point to the mechanical iterations being the most loved members of this family, we’re an inclusive bunch of enthusiasts. We show equal love to all Speedmaster siblings. This includes the Omega X-33. In fact, one of our writers, Jorg, owns this very model, and he loves it. So do I. It’s big, it’s bold, and it does loads of cool stuff.

…this watch accompanied him on space shuttle Discovery to the international space station…

Now, as fans of Speedmasters, we naturally also have a love for space exploration. They go hand in hand. So when a Speedy with space heritage comes up for auction, we naturally get a little bit excited. Bukowski’s auction house is now accepting bids on an X-33 that belongs to Swedish physicist and astronaut Christer Fuglesang. This watch accompanied him on space shuttle Discovery to the international space station ISS in 2009 on mission STS-128.

Christer Fuglesang wearing his X-33 Speedmaster

NASA equipped all of its astronauts with this specific model of Speedmaster at that time. Typically, Nasa only loaned these watches to the astronauts, however they were offered the opportunity to purchase the watch for themselves after the mission. Fuglesang had his engraved with the mission ‘STS-128/17A’ and his name. This watch has some fantastic provenance and will likely exceed its estimate of €28.958 – €48.263. If you want to find out more or place a bid, you can visit the lot here.

Breitling's Digital Passport based on Blockchain

Blockchain makes an entrance in the watch world

Unfortunately, due to some unscrupulous folks out there in the world, ensuring our watches’ authenticity is often at the back of our mind, niggling away. It’s also a significant concern when dipping our toes in the pre-owned market. Enter blockchain technology.

Now, I will struggle to explain the technical nuances which define how the technology works. Still, a quick trip to Google describes it as follows: “blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.”

…verify authenticity more efficiently than relying on paperwork…

Essentially, for watches, blockchain means brands can create an e-warranty system of sorts and verify authenticity more efficiently than relying on paperwork (which can be forged) or the old fashioned method of visual inspections at a boutique.

Vacheron Constantin's Digital Passport based on Blockchain

Vacheron Constantin is the latest brand to adopt this technology and state that by the end of 2021, the brand’s will deliver all of their timepieces with a blockchain-based digital passport secured by Arianee technology. You can read more on this from the brand on their website, here.

Some of the Fratello team have already done this and found it to be remarkably easy…

Last month Breitling previously announced their adoption of the technology too. They take it one step further, and it can be used to create a personal timepiece portfolio on the Breitling website. Besides adding watches and personal data, you can transfer ownership, declare a watch as stolen, have reminders for service and repairs, etc. Some of the Fratello team have already done this and found it to be remarkably easy. You can find more on Breitling’s website here.

Blockchain seems to be starting to take off, and it’ll be interesting to see if many other brands follow suit. I will be watching to find out! What do you think of the technology? What do you think of the watches discussed above? Let me know if the comments!