All posts in “rolex”

Chronext raises $34 million to bring nice watches to your bare wrist

There are a number of services that let you sell your used watches or simply purchase new watches but few have the funding war chest of Chronext. This online services lets you buy and sell fancy watches for a fraction of the price and, as evidenced by their performance and the performance of competitor Crown and Caliber, it looks like that market is heating up.

Created by Philipp Man and Ludwig Wurlitzer that startup has seen $60 million in transaction volume in 2017 and expects to see $130 million in 2018. They’ve raised a second $34 million round from Endeit Capital and Tengelmann Ventures and have already taken $16 million to start the business.

Whether you’re ready to spend $30,000 or $3,000, these guys have your back.

Man, the CEO, has a background at the Boston Consulting Group spent time at GlencoreXstrata before getting into watches full time. He wrote his dissertations on the luxury watch market. Wurlitzer, the CPO, has a background in the fine art and IT sectors. He developed the platform.

“CHRONEXT allows over 1,800 retailers, brands and consumers to do business globally. The company takes care of pre- and after-sale service, payment, authentication and also logistics,” said Man. “Despite being a marketplace, the customer always buys directly from CHRONEXT and thus has all the security of buying with a dedicated retailer while at the same time being able to tap into a global supply network. Every watch is authenticated by our own watchmakers.”

The founders created the company after experiencing the used book market. The used watch market is interesting in that imperfect information has been driven out of the system. Any seller with an Internet connection can easily confirm whether their Rolex or Omega is worth a few hundred or a few thousand but bad actors still abound. Fakes still pop up and some watches are too far gone to use. Services like Chronext ensure that the piece you’re buying works and is legitimate.

“Being heavily into watches and fascinated by free market dynamics in the trade of consumer products, we saw huge potential for creating a marketplace that allowed the secure and simple global trading of high quality timepieces,” said Man. “We created the first truly transactional luxury watch marketplace for both new and pre-owned watches as well as bringing together retailers, brands and consumers on one platform.”

The BOLDR Expedition Watch lets you get away

BOLDR is a small watch company with a distinct style. Selling primarily on Kickstarter, the company has gone through a number of design iterations to land on the <a target=”_blank” href=”“>Expedition, a watch designed to take you to the farthest reaches of the Earth and/or the copier down the hall.

The Expedition is reminiscent of some of the Hamilton Field Watches but it is improved immensely by color schemes that are designed to remind us of famous mountain ranges. The model I tested, the Fuji, featured a grey-on-grey design and orange hands and pips. The piece looks artfully faded, a style that comes from so-called “tropical” Rolex watches that spent decades in the heat and sun.

The watches range from the all-black Kilimanjaro to the surprisingly bright Eiger. Each have a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement and Superluminova lume on the hands and pips. Early birds will pay $395 for one of these and each includes an internal crown for countdown timing and direction-setting.

I found the watches to be quite well-made and, as I noted before, on par with anything Hamilton has been making in their Khaki Field line. While I’m not a huge fan of three-handed pieces, the design, the lume, and the entire color scheme make this a hit. It’s a bit small for my wrist – 41mm is just a bit too wee for my meaty appendages – but it’s a nice beater watch that can stand everyday use including the occasional hike.

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On the whole it’s rare for me to find a Kickstarter watch I truly like. This one hits on all the right notes – history, design, provenance, and materials – and the price for early birds is just about right. It’s also great that the team is shipping quickly and they’ve already surpassed their goal.

While this watch might not tell you your current GPS coordinates, calorie count, or speed, it’s nice to know that it will remain ticking long after your Apple Watch has rusted into a little hunk of steel and silicon.

Breitling’s Avenger Hurricane 45 watch uses dense composites to stay light

According to horological legend the first luxury watch made of steel – the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak caused great consternation when it launched in 1972. Up until then there were timekeepers – small, cheap watches like Timex and Seiko – and expensive pieces that you handed out at retirements from brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. To build a luxury watch in steel was an outrage but eventually steel surpassed watches made of precious metals.

Just wait until those steel naysayers hear about a luxury watch made of plastic.

The ultralight Avenger Hurricane 45 chronograph is the latest watch to use Breitling’s Breitlight polymer, essentially a scratch-proof amalgam that is lighter than titanium and stronger than steel. The watch itself contains a manufacture (read “custom”) chronograph movement and comes on a rubberized canvas strap. All of this means that this is one of the strongest and lightest watches you’ll ever wear.

The 45mm piece feels almost evanescent, especially when compared to similarly sized steel chronographs. While I didn’t run this thing over with a truck the polymer was scratch resistant and very comfortable and, because its made of plastic, it’s nice for folks with allergies to metal on the skin. It was a comfortable wear – not heavy at all – and the 45mm face was comfortable to wear and looked smaller than it was.

Why would you want a plastic watch? Breitling has taken pains to explain that this isn’t just a hunk of plastic squeezed into a mold and filled with a movement. This is a specialty material, one made to order by Breitling and produced in very small quantities. There are two other models that use the material, a 24-hour chronograph and the Colt Skyracer, a three hand model. Considering the last big material change in watches came when Chanel and others started using ceramic, plastic isn’t that much of a stretch.

How much is the pleasure of owning a one-of-a-kind plastic watch? Try $8,390, a price that reflects the manufacture movement, the chronograph certification (each Breitling is officially certified for accuracy, a fairly meaningless thing in a world of smartwatches but is still important when it comes to mechanicals), and the ultra light case. It just goes to show you that the definition of luxury changes every few years – or decades – and that todays timekeeper is tomorrows luxury item.

The Avenger Hurricane 45 is shipping now.