Sunday, April 28, 2013
Baselworld 2013 Dark Side Vs Black Shield - A Battle of Ceramic Proportions...
DarkSide Vs BlackShield - A Battle of Ceramic Proportions...
Looks like black ceramic chrono is still in vogue this year. Over the years we have seen many brands release their version of the black ceramic chronograph, from the very high end to the ultra-affordable. This year we see two more brands joining this already-crowded market place of ceramic cased chronographs.
We talked about the good points and bad points about ceramic cases here so that's the technical aspect out of the way. Let's talk about the watches.
The new Tudor is quite possibly my absolute favourite release from Baselworld 2013. Even better is the fact that it'll be relatively affordable, compared to some of the other offerings out there. Tudor is on a roll lately following their most recent re-relaunch of the brand back in 2010 when they released the brilliant Heritage chrono. this was followed up last year by two even more brilliant watches, the Black Bay and the Pelagos. And this year, we have the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield Chronograph. This is a continuation of the model based on their Ducati partnership, and I think what Rolex should've done for their anniversary Daytona. But you don't see me complaining. IF Rolex did do a ceramic Daytona, not only will I not be able to get one (assuming the price point of Rolex + Ceramic), I'll most certainly not even have access to one (it'll be extremely limited production and sought after and a queue longer than the one for Laduree macarons).
You know, I think Rolex has been incredibly smart in doing this, ensuring Tudor gets back on everyone's radar. Rather be seen as the poor man's Rolex, the brand now has the strength to stand on its on two... hands... ahem. See it doesn't matter what Rolex releases, people will buy them regardless. Tudor, on the other hand has been struggling and their current direction for Tudor could not have come sooner.
For me, this watch is essentially a Rolex Daytona in a ceramic case, and with a ETA7753 movement inside. It could do with perhaps slightly less writing on the dial, but that's kinda Rolex thing isn't it? My pick would actually be the black/vintage light tan version over the Black/red version. If they price this around the CHF5k mark, they have a major winner.
And for around twice the price, you get the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon ceramic chrono with the in-house movement. For some reason I can't help but feel they delayed the launch of this watch to distance themselves from the Transformer movie...
It's an amazing looking watch. The movement though is of slight concern as the Planet Ocean chrono before this has the same movement and it is very, very thick. A good friend who owns the Planet Ocean chrono said that once it's on the wrist, you don't notice it, but... hopefully the overall proportion and balance will be good, but this is something I need to see in person.
Other than that both models have excellent dial layout and symmetry. The Tudor is perhaps slightly less so due to the date window at 4.:30 but that doesn't really bother men. Omega has a bi-compax layout but with both hour and minute display on the 3:00 sub dial, and the date window at 6:00 makes for excellent dial symmetry and balance. Both have a tachymetre on the bezel (not that you'll use it much) and although you're not likely to confuse the two, I guess it's nice to know there's a stealthy ceramic sports watch for whatever your watch budget allows.