New Watch Wednesday: MB&F, Girard-Perregaux, and Arnold & Son Do What They Do Best
Another week, another new batch of watches. This group is an unusual mix that would rarely be seen or considered together, but they present an interesting picture of modern watchmaking. There are creators MB&F, which are dreaming up true works of art that also happen to keep time. Traditional watchmakers such as Girard-Perregaux are trying to keep centuries-old crafts alive while keeping them from feeling stale. Then there are innovators like Arnold & Son, which push the bounds of what mechanical watchmaking can be in 2015.
All three put up strong efforts this week, creating watches I'd love to strap on (though certainly not at the same time).
MB&F MegaWind Final Edition
Of all the wild creations from MB&F, the HM3 "MegaWind" might be the best known and most accessible. The two domes (one of hours and one for minutes), the huge exposed rotor, and the unique profile are all instantly recognizable. It's also the slimmest and most wearable of MB&F's watches, if that kind of thing matters to you. Now it's coming to an end: The MegaWind Final Edition will be a limited release of 25 pieces, and they'll be the last HM3s to leave MB&F's Geneva workshop.
The Final Edition has a blacked-out gold and titanium case, and the numerals on the time-telling domes are luminous. There are also SuperLuminova marks on the track under the blackened gold rotor, so as it spins you get a strobe effect. It's so cool, you'll find yourself flicking your wrist any time the lights get low (ignore the strange looks from people around you, they just don't get it). This is the end of an era at MB&F, but I'm already looking forward to seeing the next HM creation.
If you're not already paying attention to Girard-Perregaux, you've been missing out. The Swiss watchmakers definitely don't get the same amount of attention as Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe, but the brand makes true in-house movements and packages them with elegant cases and dials. The 1966 dress chronograph (its model name, not vintage) is one of the great unsung modern watches, and this time-only 1966 captures the same feeling in a more straightforward rendition.
At 38mm, this new model is smaller than previous 1966 watches and benefits greatly from the downsizing. It looks like a classic dress watch for purists, instead of an attempt to appease all customers at once. The radial lines on the guilloché dial line up with the hour markers, which will appeal to those of us who fall into the type-A column (or those who just appreciate attention to detail). Inside the pink gold case is an automatic in-house movement with a 46 hour power reserve, and you can check out all the high-end finishing through the sapphire caseback.
Arnold & Son DSTB
Arnold & Son doesn't mince words when it comes to naming its watches. DSTB is short for Dial Side True Beat, a fitting name for a watch that shows off a true-beat seconds mechanism elevated above the dial. You're probably used to mechanical watches having a "sweep" seconds hand—a slight misnomer because it's not sweeping but ticking multiple times per second. A true-beat or dead-beat mechanism converts those multiple ticks into single, one-second pulses, letting the second hand tick like you'd see on a quartz watch. The DSTB lets you see the complication at work in the oversized seconds dial that floats above the main dial.
When the DSTB was released last year, it came t only in an elegant rose gold and grey color combination. This new version forgoes gold in favor of stainless steel and pairs it with a black dial that's more sleek than classic. It looks like a totally different watch, and the more modern color scheme fits the complication perfectly. It's a 250-piece limited edition, so there's still some exclusivity, but the new DSTB is one-third less expensive than the previous gold edition, opening the complication up to a new audience.