The Casio Rangeman GPR-B1000 is a big watch for big adventures
The Casio Rangeman GPR-B1000 is comically large. That’s the first thing you notice about it. Based on the G-Shock design, this massive watch is 20.2mm thick and about 60mm in diameter, a true dinner plate of a watch. Inside the heavy case is a dense collection of features that will make your next outdoor adventure great.
GPR-B1000, which I took for an extended trip through Utah and Nevada, is an outdoor marvel. It has all of the standard hiking watch features including compass, barometer, altimeter, and solar charging, but the watch also has built-in GPS mapping, logging, and backtracking. This means you can set a destination and the watch will lead you and you can later use your GPS data to recreate your trek or even backtrack out of a sticky situation.
This is not a sports watch. It won’t track your runs or remind you to go to your yoga class. Instead it’s aimed at the backwoods hiker or off piste skier who wants to get from Point A to Point B without getting lost. The watch connects to a specialized app that lets you set the destinations, map your routes, and even change timezones when the phone wakes up after a flight. These odd features make this a traveler’s dream.
The watch design is also unique for Casio. Instead of a replaceable battery the device charges via sunlight or with an included wireless charger. It has a ceramic caseback – a first for Casio – and the charger fits on like a plastic parasite. It charges via micro USB.
It has a crown on the side that controls scrolling through various on-screen menus and the rest of the functions are accessed easily from dedicated buttons around the bezel. The watch is mud- and water-proof to 200 meters and it can survive in minus 20 degrees Celsius temperatures. It is also shock resistant.
The $800 GPR-B1000 is a beefy watch. It’s not for the faint of wrist and definitely requires a bit of dedication to wear. I loved it while hiking up and down canyons and mountains and it was an excellent travel companion. One of the coolest features is quite simply being able to trust that the timezone is correct as soon as you land in Europe from New York.
That said you should remember that this watch is for “Adventure Survival” as Casio puts it. It’s not a running watch and it’s not a fashion piece. At $800 it’s one of Casio’s most expensive G-Shocks and it’s also the most complex. If you’re an avid hiker, however, the endless battery, GPS, and trekking features make it a truly valuable asset.
The Horological Machine 9 puts a rocket on your wrist
If you’ve been keeping up with watchmaker MB&F you’ll be familiar with their Horological Machine series, watches that are similar in construction but wildly different when it comes to design. This watch, the HM9, is called the Flow and hearkens back to roadsters, jets and 1950s space ships.
The watch, limited to a run of 33 pieces, shows the time on a small forward-facing face in one of the cones. The other two cones contain dual balance wheels. The balance wheel is what causes the watch to tick and controls the energy released by the main spring. Interestingly, MB&F added two to this watch in an effort to ensure accuracy. “The twin balance wheels of the HM9 engine feed two sets of chronometric data to a central differential for an averaged reading,” they wrote. “The balances are individually impulsed and spatially separated to ensure that they beat at their own independent cadences of 2.5Hz (18,000bph) each. This is important to ensure a meaningful average, just as how a statistically robust mathematical average should be derived from discrete points of information.”
There are two versions, called the Road and Air, and they cost a mere $182,000 (tax not included). Considering nearly every piece of this is made by hand — from the case to the curved crystal to the intricate movement — you’re essentially paying a team of craftsman a yearly wage just to build your watch.
While it’s no Apple Watch, the MB&F HM9 is a unique and weird little timepiece. While it’s obviously not for everyone, with enough cash and a little luck you can easily join a fairly exclusive club of HM9 owners.
The Pansar Augmented watch hides it smarts behind an analog face
The Pansar Augmented is a Swedish smart watch that looks like a standard three-handed wristwatch. However, with the tap of a button, you can view multiple data points including weather, notifications, and even sales data from your CRM.
Pansar is a Swedish watch company that uses Swiss movements and hand assembled components to add a dash of luxury to your standard workhorse watch.
The watch is fully funded on Kickstarter. It costs $645 for early birds.
The watch mostly displays the time but when the data system is activated the hands move to show any data you’d like.
The world is full of interesting data: be it the quest for information on the perfect wave, keeping track on your stock value, or the number of followers you’ve acquired since yesterday. Pansar Augmented collects the data that matters to you and streams it conveniently to the hands of your watch. This is made possible because of the unique dual directional Swiss movement combined with the Pansar Augmented app.
The watch comes in three models: the Ocean Edition that shows “relevant data on weather, wind, and swell amongst others,” the Accelerator Edition that shows website visits or Instagram views, and the Quantifier Edition for the “analytical mind” that wants to track sales numbers.
It’s definitely a clever twist on the traditional smart watch vision and, thanks to some nice styling, these could be some nice pieces for folks who don’t want the distractions of a normal Apple Watch or Android Wear device.
Leak reveals a new Apple Watch Series 4 with an edge-to-edge display
In addition to a leak showing off photos of the new iPhone XS models, 9to5Mac also got a hold of a photo of the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4. The new Watch, which now sports an edge-to-edge display, is expected to be revealed on September 12, at the just-announced Apple press conference, along with the iPhone XS.
The photos of the forthcoming Apple Watch (which 9to5Mac notes are “not a render”) show off a watch that’s clearly different from the existing editions. The display now stretches to the edge of the watch face, confirming earlier rumors that said Apple was planning to give the Apple Watch its first big redesign since its launch in 2015.
Analysts have been predicting the new watch would sport a 15% larger display, offer extended battery life, and include upgraded health monitoring features.
Image credit: 9to5Mac
Apple is apparently taking advantage of the bigger screen area with a new watch face that packs in a lot more complications.
In the image 9to5Mac published (see above), there’s an analog face that’s practically cluttered with extra complications, including the temperature, stopwatch, weather, activity rings, date, music, calendar updates, and even a UVI index. These are both spread around the outside of the clock itself, and inside the clock, underneath the hands.
Arguably, it’s a bit much. But the image is likely showing off all the possible complications that could be added to a customizable face at the user’s discretion, rather than a suggestion that one should – well – add them all at once.
Of course, we’ve already begun debating the look, with some more enthusiastically in favor of the new face and all its accompanying accoutrement, and others – let’s say, more cautiously optimistic.
The photo also shows a new hole underneath the Digital Crown, which seems like an extra mic, the report notes.
Other changes, including whatever hardware upgrades and watchOS software features may arrive, aren’t yet known.
This three-axis tourbillon movement is a 3D printed marvel
The three-axis tourbillon is one of the most complex watch complications in the world. Originally based on a design by watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, this type of tourbillon – literally “whirlwind” – rotates the balance wheel of a watch in order to ensure that gravity doesn’t adversely affect any part of the watch. It’s a clever, complex, and essentially useless complication in an era of atomic clocks and nano materials but darn if it isn’t cool-looking.
Based on this original, simpler model, this new three-axis tourbillon is available for download here. It consists of 70 potentially fiddly parts and runs using a basic motor.
As you can see, the main component is the balance wheel which flips back and forth to drive the watch. The balance wheel is contained inside a sort of spike-shaped cage that rotates on multiple axes. The balance wheel controls the speed of the spin and often these devices are used as second hands on more complex – and more expensive – tourbillon watches. Tourbillons were originally intended to increase watch accuracy when they were riding in a vest pocket, the thinking being that gravity would pull down a watch’s balance wheel differently when it was vertical as compared to being horizontal. In this case, the wheel takes into account all possible positions leading to a delightful bit of horological overkill.
Bell & Ross creates a transparent tourbillon
It’s spring and that means it’s time for Basel, the definitive international watch show. Around this time every year all of your favorite brands – and brands you’ve never heard of – launch unique timepieces that cost more than a few dozen Honda Accords and look like something made by Doctor Manhattan during one of his less melancholy moments.
Today’s wild timepiece comes to use from Bell & Ross, makers of big square watches that look like aircraft dials. This new piece, called the BR-X1-Skeleton-Tourbillon-Sapphire, maintains the traditional B&R shape but is almost completely clear with a case made of sapphire and held together by pins and screws. The movement, which comes in three colors, is a complete hand-wound tourbillon system and is beautifully visible from all angles.
A tourbillon, for the uninitiated, is a system for rotating the watch’s balance wheel 360 degrees. This system, originally created by Breguet, ensured that a watch didn’t slow down when subjected to odd gravitational forces. Now, however, it’s a wildly expensive conversation starter.
This is a beautiful update to B&R’s original see-through watch and, while the vast majority of us will never own something like this, it’s nice to know that someone still cares about horological complexity paired with wild design. How much does it cost to own the watch equivalent of Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet? About $500,000. The piece, for those interested in picking one up, will be available online.
Omega takes us to the Dark Side with their new moonwatch
Omega has just announced a new version of their iconic Moonwatch, the chronograph that was worn most notably by Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon. Their new model, the Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8, features the traditional Moonwatch design with a few unique tweaks.
The has an exhibition back – you can see the movement through a glass crystal – as well as a skeletonized face. The bridges – the pieces that hold the gears in place – are laser etched with a representation of the lunar surface and blackened for effect. It contains a manual wind mechanical movement and, while there is no pricing yet, should come in at about $9,000.
The back of the case features an interesting quote. From the release:
“WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE” – the special words engraved on the caseback – were spoken by Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell on board the Apollo 8 mission at the start of the crew’s pioneering orbit to the dark side of the moon – a mysterious hemisphere never seen before by human eyes. Seconds before the spacecraft disappeared beyond the range of radio contact, Lovell spoke these final assuring words to ground control.
Why is this fancy and particularly expensive watch interesting? First, it’s a nice riff on the original Moonwatch, the first mechanical watch on the moon. Omega has been flogging the Moonwatch brand for decades and now they’re expanding to other space missions, including the Apollo 8. It’s a beautiful homage to the Golden Age of space exploration and it’s a bit more modern-looking than the original, austere black-and-white Speedmaster.