SINGAPORE - This is a regular series featuring the latest news in watches and all things horological.
Tag Heuer goes crypto
Never mind that the implosion of cryptocurrency has hogged headlines of late. Swiss luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer has taken yet another big digital step by accepting cryptocurrency payments for customers in the United States.
Working with BitPay - a Bitcoin payment service provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia - as a partner, the brand says it will accept 12 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Shiba Inu, for purchases of its timepieces and accessories.
More than 100 crypto wallets and exchanges, including BitPay, Coinbase, Exodus Wallet, Blockchain Wallet, MetaMask and Crypto.com, are also supported.
Each transaction is capped at US$10,000 (S$13,700), with no minimum spend.
Tag Heuer was one of the first luxury watch brands to adopt e-commerce for high-end mechanical and connected timepieces in 2015.
Hublot's purple Big Bang Unico
Taking a leaf from colour blocking, which has been popping up at fashion events all over the world, Hublot has launched a new Summer In The City campaign to celebrate bold, bright hues.
The Swiss luxury watchmaker has also released a new Summer edition of its iconic Big Bang Unico - in a glorious shade of purple.
The 42mm timepiece is fashioned from lightweight aluminium, flaunting a mix of satin and polished surfaces. It is anodised, not just to give it the head-turning lilac hue, but also a durable and scratch-resistant exterior.
The heart of the watch is the HUB1280 manufacture calibre, a chronograph movement with a column wheel which is visible through the dial and a power reserve of 72 hours.
The hands and the indices are also purple, enhanced with striking touches of luminescent white.
The Big Bang Unico Summer comes with two straps in the same soda-pop purple - one made from Hublot's signature rubber and the other a Velcro strap with matching stitching. Both come with Hublot's One Click interchangeable clasp system.
Limited to 200 pieces, the watch is priced at $30,800 and available at Hublot's online e-Boutique and boutiques in Marina Bay Sands and Ion Orchard.
The Hour Glass is the exclusive partner of Hublot in South-east Asia.
Breitling's limited-edition Navitimer Cosmonaute
Well known for its expertise in aviation timepieces, Breitling officially snagged the title of "first Swiss wristwatch in space" in 1962, when late American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited Earth three times wearing the Navitimer Cosmonaute during his Mercury-Atlas mission.
Also an aviator and a test pilot, Carpenter - well acquainted with the Navitimer during his flying days - had asked for a special version, one with a 24-hour dial so he could tell day from night in space.
His Aurora 7 space capsule was a little off course on its return to Earth and his Navitimer Cosmonaute was irreparably damaged by exposure to seawater for several hours. The watch remained unrestored in the Breitling archives until today.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of that mission, the watchmaker exhibited the watch to collectors, journalists and horological fans at a space-themed event in Zurich recently. It also launched a special release - limited to 362 pieces - of an updated Navitimer Cosmonaute.
Featuring a black dial and fitted with a black alligator strap or seven-row stainless steel bracelet, the reproduction is faithful to the original. But it also boasts a few new features, including a platinum bezel and a sapphire caseback showcasing the B02 chronograph movement, which has "Carpenter", "Aurora 7", "3 orbits around the Earth" and the names of the seven Mercury 7 astronauts engraved on the calibre bridges.
Also engraved on the caseback are the date of Carpenter's mission, "one of 362" and the phrase "First Swiss wristwatch in space".
Price: $15,850 for alligator strap and $16,350 for steel bracelet
IWC releases Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team watch
Partners since 2013, Swiss luxury watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team unveiled the first official team watch to mark the inaugural Miami Grand Prix earlier this month.
The Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team is quite the head-turner - thanks largely to the black dial with printing and luminescence in the striking colour officially known as Pantone Petronas Green.
It becomes even more attention-grabbing when fitted with a rubber strap in the same hue - one of two straps that come with the watch. The other is fashioned from black calfskin. The straps can be easily changed, thanks to the watch's integrated EasX-Change system.
Boasting a combination of blasted, satinised and polished surfaces, the 41mm case is aptly fashioned from titanium - a metal closely associated with motor racing, where it is used to engineer everything from bolts to bars to exhausts.
Powering the timepiece is the IWC-manufactured 69385 calibre movement, which has a 46-hour power reserve and a large automatic rotor and is water-resistant to 100m. Its workings are showcased through the watch's sapphire caseback.
Priced at $11,700, it is available for purchase online at IWC's website.
Austin Butler is new Cartier ambassador
Austin Butler is now at the Cannes Film Festival, lapping up the limelight as the lead actor in director Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, a biopic on the late rock 'n' roll legend.
The film, which also stars Tom Hanks, reportedly received a 10-minute ovation from the audience when it was screened at the Palais theatre on Wednesday night.
Definitely a star on the rise, the 30-year-old has just been named Cartier's latest ambassador, joining a glittery list that includes actors Timothee Chalamet and Rami Malek as well as model-actress Lily Collins.
The California native cut his acting teeth on Disney and Nickelodeon projects before hitting the big screen in movies such as Jim Jarmusch's zombie flick The Dead Don't Die (2019).
He made audiences sit up as the psychotic Tex Watson - a follower of cult leader Charles Manson - in Quentin Tarantino's epic Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (2019).
Elvis is poised to be his big breakthrough. For the role, Butler read and watched everything Elvis, also working with a movement coach to talk and sing like the music icon.
Earlier this week, Cartier unveiled two other new global ambassadors - Irish actor Paul Mescal, whose two latest movies Aftersun and God's Creatures also premiered this year at Cannes; and Jisoo, a member of popular K-pop girl group Blackpink.
Cortina releases limited-edition Blancpain Bathyscaphe
To celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, watch retailer Cortina Watch is releasing several special editions with luxury watchmakers including Patek Philippe, Franck Muller and Chopard.
Earlier this week, it dropped an exclusive edition of the three-hand Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe.
Limited to 50 pieces, the 43mm timepiece has a two-tone case in titanium and 18k Sedna gold - a gold, copper and palladium alloy.
The alloy is artfully used for the brushed ceramic bezel, crown, hands and hour indices, providing a striking contrast to the timepiece's black vertical brushed dial.
Powering it is the in-house calibre 1315, which has a five-day power reserve and a silicon balance spring to defy magnetic interference. Fitted with a canvas strap, this special edition retails for $20,700 and is available at Cortina Watch boutiques.
To mark the launch, Blancpain is also presenting a Fifty Fathoms exhibition at the main atrium of Paragon mall until June 5. Created in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms is one of the world's most iconic dive watches.