As we are approaching not only the end of the year but also the first show in 2019 (SIHH), we are working hard on our schedule. Visiting brand presentations, organizing photo shoots and preparing interviews. It is not exactly a quiet or slow month as the daily dose of watches also needs to continue. Therefore, we would like to reach out to those who aspire to be a writer for Fratello. If you have good writing skills, know your stuff about watches and would like to join us, shoot us an email.

That said, let’s have a look at some of the things that happened last week. This is TWIW for the week of December 9 to 16.

Armin Strom

When I used to think of Armin Strom, I really thought of the person Armin Strom, with his moustache, and the skeletonized watches that he made. He was also responsible for some of the coolest skeletonized watches for Omega in the 1990s. When I think of Armin Strom today, I think of the (young) guys in Bienne who do an excellent job in finding the balance between the old craftsmanship of skeletonizing and creating modern looking haute horlogerie timepieces with clever mechanical innovations. Last week, they introduced their Armin Strom Dual Time Resonance in gold. In 18-carat white gold and rose gold, 8 pieces of each. These watches have two independent movements each, side-by-side, in an oval shaped case. As its name implies, they have the patented Resonance Clutch Spring that ensures an increased accuracy of the movement by averaging slight differences and minimising adverse effects of shocks on precision. Their own testing processes have revealed gains in precision of 15-20%. Besides the Resonance Clutch Spring, there’s the double movement that results in having a GMT watch. Then, there’s the power reserve indicator for each movement and the 24-hour indicator. I am looking forward to seeing these watches in the flesh.

More info via Armin Strom online.

Linde Werdelin Oktopus Deep Sea

Another independent brand that came with something new last week is Linde Werdelin. This – from origin – Danish brand has been a supporter of Fratello since our very early days and I am really fond of their design. One of the watches that didn’t receive an update for a long time, is their Oktopus. The last iteration was in 2015. Now, they introduced their Oktopus Deep Sea. A term that has been used by other brands as well, but apparently none of them are bothered by this. Inspired by the Oktopus Frogman that Linde Werdelin created for the Danish Frogman Corps (a private edition of 136 pieces for professional military use), the Deep Sea has a sandblasted titanium case, black ceramic bezel, highly legible dial and hands (using bespoke Super-LumiNova) and a water resistance of 300 meters. The case dimensions are 44mm x 46mm x 15.25mm and inside there’s the LW customised Dubois Dépraz caliber 14580 movement. Limited to 88 pieces only with a retail price of 6500 GBP (ex VAT).

Week in Watches

More information via Linde Werdelin online.

Oris Pre-Basel

Every year, Oris takes a number of watch journalists with them to Zermatt in Switzerland, to present them the collection for the next (Baselworld) year. Depending on the number of journalists per market (yes, brands still think of specific markets when it comes to [international] online journalism) they rotate the invitations a bit, so this year they invited us (again) and we were happy to join. It is no secret we are fond of Oris so we gladly accepted the invitation to see what will be up next year. Of course, we can’t reveal it here, but it looks promising for sure! I realize this paragraph has little to add when it comes to watch news, but it shows that we are also occupied with watches during the week without resulting in immediate publication. In this case, Gerard went to Switzerland for 3 days (including travelling) to join Oris for their novelty preview. Below, their recent Movember edition of which we will publish a hands-on review soon.

Week in Watches

Baselworld News

The Baselworld organization has been on an offensive to stress its importance for the watch industry ever since Swatch Group announced their exit. They certainly did some work to change their positioning a bit and make it more attractive for journalists and brands to (still) be there. Sadly, certain initiatives were and are still poorly addressed, like their “offer” to provide hotel spaces for better prices than before, which resulted in good laughter among those who work in and for the watch industry. See below (and yes, the number stands for the stars):

5* sup CHF 1 290
5* CHF 990
4* sup CHF 750
4* CHF 650
3* sup CHF 600
3* CHF 550
2* CHF 350
1* CHF 200

Added with:

  • No minimum length of stay
  • No price increase compared to 2018
  • No compulsion for additional consumption

Of course, Baselworld is not to blame for those prices, it’s the greed of the Swiss hotel owners, but don’t call it an offer. Please. As we did every year, we will gladly take care of our own accommodation.

But they are also doing some good thing in general: new spaces, better facilities (like improved WiFi) and focussing on networking facilities.

I am also very curious what Swatch Group brands are going to do instead of Basel. Rumours slowly start to get more concrete, and it seems certain brands will do their own show and others will combine and/or do more in the local markets. Pulling out Baselworld is one thing, but then you definitely need to come up with something good yourself.

And that’s it for TWIW for now.