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January 2019

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Yesterday, a good friend of mine posted his concerns to Instagram about the way Bulova chose to flip both their middle fingers at their own collectors. And it is bad. Read the whole story here:

In January 2018, @reviewspeed bought what was supposed to be a special collector’s edition Bulova watch: The Bulova X Analog/Shift ‘666’ Devil Diver. Marketed as a true copy of the legendary Devil Diver from the 70s, it was going to be produced in an edition of 666 watches, with a special Analog/Shift edition of 30 watches. Deliveries were scheduled for September the same year.

In November 2018, the customers who had bought this special edition received a letter, from the Marketing VP of Bulova, stating that they had some “issues” with production. They had to drop a very essential feature, the day window, to ensure the watch would pass ISO 6425 and be a true divers watch.

Letter from Bulova to collectors regarding Devil Diver 666

By dropping the day window, and thus abandoning the idea of a true replication of the Devil Diver, Bulova stuck their customers with a lesser watch. A Sellita 220 movement was announced for the new limited edition at launch. My guess is that Bulova replaced this movement with an already ISO certified Sellita 200, and this may be the reason for the way in which this watch changed. I would also reckon that “production problems” may actually have been ISO problems with the Sellita 220.

What is even worse

Apart from this blunder, what is even worse as far as I am concerned, is that Bulova, with open eyes it would seem, conceals this fact, and even falsifies their own history in ways that are very obvious.

In their Assouline published book “Bulova – A History of Firsts” there is a picture on pages 166-167 referencing both the original Devil Diver, and the new reedition of the watch.

The original photo for the book was taken by the infamous @Atommore and used for the “2018 Gala and Charity Auction” hosted by Horological Society of New York.

Left: New limited edition. Right: Original 1972 edition
Page 166 and 167 from the book Bulova History of Firsts
Page 166-167 in Bulova – History of Firsts

Below you see a photo from the same shooting that was published in WatchTime.

From WatchTime article, Photo by Atom_more

So what is the problem here?

Well, there are several. First of all Bulova chose to misrepresent the remake of the watch by using their prototype with a day window. The book may have been published before the change was made, but the end result is that the watch that eventually hit the market looks different than the watch in the book. Second, and more problematic, is that they photoshopped new hands onto the original 1972 Devil Diver in the book. 

Left: 1972 version as seen in Bulova History of Firsts, after Photoshop. Right: Exact same watch in original picture before Photoshop.

Books, especially those published by the brand itself, represent the most accurate source of knowledge for serious vintage collectors. Why Bulova would choose to forge the history of such a significant watch is beyond me. They took a perfectly nice looking vintage watch with matching lume and changed it for the worse. The hands now stick out like a sore toe. It is time that Bulova starts taking pride in their collectors instead of giving them the shaft.

Get a grip Bulova!

“187 L.A. trademark, 
don’t come to the killing fields if you ain’t got no fucking 
heart!”


That was the band Downset back in 1994. – Yes, I am old.
187 is Police code for murder, and these lines were what first struck me when Audemars Piguet released their crazy named new watchline. Code 11.59.
And while everyone paid to not think themselves praise the watch, the rest have uttered everything from shock to disgust.
Well, do Audemars Piguet have a heart for making watches?

At first glance the watch just looked stupid. Looking at it from the front it was an uninteresting dial and a strange looking case. Bloggers and Instagrammers were soon to compare these designchoices with low-end watches and Kickstarter crap. They do look similar, check it out for yourselves.
The new inhouse movements looked quite promising thou.

While everyone else bashed the watch, I wanted to try it on before going crazy on it. I have now had time to study the watch and actally wearing it for a breif period of time.

Code 11.59 Audemars Piguet Chronograph wristshot

Code 11.59 – Hands On

Audemars Piguet somehow managed to make a beautifully crafted watch with a bizzare, almost schizofrenic, look to it.
It ended up with a radical and interesting watch case, and a generic and quite boring dial. Even up close. I just can’t stand those hour markers, and don’t get me started on the font. It destroys an otherwise great watch.
Talking about the simple watch and the chronographs now. The perpetual calendar is something very special.

Code 11.59 Audemars Piguet Chronograph
Code 11.59 Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar

I love how they shaped the case. It sits great on the wrist. Despite being a rather large watch, it clasps the wrist and feels unstrenuous. Audemars Piguet also hid a Royal Oak inside this watch. And as on the Royal Oak, the case on Code 11.59 is finished to perfection. The light bounces off the edges on it, just like on the Royal Oaks, the Offshores and the Concepts.
Yes, the case is radical, but so was the Royal Oak. No one liked that watch back in the 1970s. And not to talk about the more recent Concept line.

Code 11.59 Audemars Piguet

Do try it on for yourself. I recommend it. The watch is great. And I did not get paid to say that. Really!

Ending Note: It is my firm belief that Audemars Piguet will come with more and better dial design the coming months. I belive they know they fucked up.

It is a rear occasion these days that I write a local piece that mainly interest Norwegians. So you are warned, but it may interest you anyway.

It has been announced the last few months by the eminent Norwegian blog, Horae, that Urmaker Jørgensen lost their authorized dealership for both Rolex and Breitling. This AD have served the watch community for years by providing impeccable service, a positive attitude towards the community and most important, heavily discounted Rolex sports models. Losing both these brands is a sure path towards the demise of a once huge Norwegian watch dealer.
The official statement is that Rolex demands to much when ADs have to invest in rebuilding their store, and some ADs doesn’t have the muscle or will to carry that weight. Usually that is BS to conceal the correct reasons.

I am an outspoken part of the watch community here in Norway, and I need to comment on these news. I am not about dancing on someone’s grave, whomever it may be, but no one seem to understand the ins and outs of this story. And I may shed some light.
Well, here is my side of this story:

  1. As everyone knows Urmaker Jørgensen sold their Rolex watches at 8-10 % discount.
  2. Situated far outside of modern civilization the watches are being sold by email or telephone (Sorry Tromsø, it is the truth)
  3. I have knowledge about two occasions where Rolex watches have been sold and offered above retail. The watches had been discontinued from Rolex and prices were going up. He had kept one in the safe and the other came in the last shipment just after announcement. Both stories have been confirmed by Jørgensen himself to me, in an angry phone call after I tried to confront him in an open forum. Documentation exists of course. Receipts were made.

Rolex knows about all of this. And they do not approve anymore. They do not want to be sold at discount. They want their customers to be taken seriously, have a good shopping experience, and above all they do not want to be sold at mail order service. It is as simple as that.

Now what happened with Breitling is another issue. I am not sure of the technicalities. They do have a new CEO with a new strategy, and I do not believe that they want to be the head brand of a dealership anyway. And every major brand have heard about the three bullet points above.

I will be surprised if Urmaker Jørgensen survives this mess. It is sad. But it is all true.