Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Replica Watches

It’s 4:15 am, and I’m being jolted awake by the blue ceramic TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 rcopy watch on my wrist, as it buzzes with a surprising degree of urgency. I stumble from bed in the dark, reaching for my bibs and jersey which have been slung over the back of a chair. A few feet away, pre-ground coffee from last night sits patiently in the pour-over filter, awaiting hot water. I’m light years from many of the experiences of a pro cyclist, but this is one we’re able to share: the bleary-eyed start of every day, the prelude to a double-life waged in the pursuit of the privilege to ride among an extreme minority of the sport’s most elite.

The rude morning wake-up calls, along with the constant pangs of hunger, persistent fatigue, and general malaise are all callsigns of a life in pro cycling that Nate King, brand manager at Above Category (essentially the Les Ambassadeurs of bike shops) once knew. King is casting off for one more light shakedown ride before shipping off to a 2.1 category stage race in Europe, and he’s invited me along.

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

As the tools by which feats of courage through speed are measured, mechanical watches are a natural partner with the many disciplines of man’s race against the clock. This has been exemplified through the years in the myriad of partnerships found between Swiss luxury watchmakers and Formula One, Moto GP, America’s Cup, and many others. However, the Connected Modular 45 marks TAG Heuer’s return to professional cycling, joining Assos of Switzerland as the third pillar in a trifecta of Swiss brands that have yielded a juggernaut in the pro cycling peloton: the BMC Racing Team.

As previously hinted, this is not TAG Heuer’s first foray into professional bike racing. The venerable Swiss brand’s now-iconic red, white, and green chevron graced jersey sleeves in pro cycling over 25 years ago in 1985 with Sean Kelly and the Heuer Skil SEM team. In the five seasons that followed, Heuer sponsored the American 7-Eleven cycling team directed by a young Jim Ochowicz, equipping the team stars like Bob Roll, Davis Phinney, and Andy Hampsten with the colorful, fiberglass-cased Formula 1 watches.

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

With Ochowicz now at the helm of BMC Racing, and avid cyclist and fan Jean-Claude Biver running the show at TAG Heuer, the timing for a new partnership was opportune. While time will determine the value of the relationship (Swiss newspaper Blick has previously hinted that this is the first step in Biver’s personal goal of TAG becoming the title sponsor of the BMC Team in future seasons), BMC team riders – and by extension, TAG Heuer, have already been a regular on podiums all over Europe and the United States thus far this season, making it highly likely that TAG Heuer will be a fixture in pro cycling for the foreseeable future.

Photo by Philippe Lopez (AFP Photo)

Now, TAG Heuer is far from the first sponsor in modern bike racing – perhaps most notably (and notoriously) Spanish watchmaker Festina was a mainstay in nineties-era pro cycling, even sponsoring its own factory team. However, it was this team who ultimately dragged its many sponsors from grace after the infamous Festina Affair of 1998, wherein nine of its riders and three team officials were arrested by police following the seizure of a staggering wealth of anabolic steroids, erythropoietin (EPO), and other doping products in the team’s possession. Unsurprisingly, Festina has had a long, damaged road to repair since, and thus left the sport in 2001, leaving the door open for other watch brands in professional cycling.

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

It’s worth mentioning that all this time, Swatch Group brand Tissot has served as bike racing’s “official timekeeper,” but without a specific team to amplify those efforts, the sponsorship has largely been confined to on-course banners, graphics on TV coverage, and various Tour de France-themed Tissot watches gifted to stage winners (not entirely unlike Omega’s partnership with the Olympics).

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

All things considered, blue rubber straps TAG Heuer fake watches’ return to sponsoring a professional bike racing team is a marked endorsement not only of the sport as a whole, but one also suggesting that its product is designed to supplement the many technological advantages already available to the BMC Racing Team, while enduring the rigors of the most difficult professional sporting event on the planet: the Tour de France.

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

Now, it’s naturally unfair to say that the Connected Modular 45 is as essential as grand tour tech like an SRM power meter or the data-greedy PC8 head units fitted to all BMC bikes, but the fact that BMC riders have been racing – and winning – with the Connected on their wrists all season, seems to suggest that the watch is, at the very least, not slowing them down. Which is why I had to have a closer look at any potential advantages or utility that the watch might have to offer me – a Cat 3 road racer light years away from ever going pro, and currently shivering under a thick blanket of fog some four hours earlier than my usual rollout. Even still, I open the Strava app on the Android-powered Connected Modular 45, clip in, and roll off.

Photo by Above Category

Photo by Above Category

As a dedicated smartwatch, the Connected Modular 45 is a far cry from the 3-handed quartz-powered Formula 1 – the last watch TAG Heuer equipped its cycling athletes with. Like any smartwatch, its aim (check out our first hands-on here) is to augment the availability of everyday communications and information in a manner that’s as seamless as possible – there when you need it, gone when you don’t. You can also be your own champion along with all these wonderful replica watches.

Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary Replica Watches Hands-On

Piaget combines its expertise in ultra-thin movements with its fearless use of color to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano model. The seven pieces in the new Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary series, introduced at the SIHH in January, range in size from 34mm to 43mm. One of the great things about the new models is that they are not necessarily gender-specific. I say not necessarily because while colorful alligator straps Piaget Altiplano Replica Watches specifically refers to the 34mm size as a ladies’ watch, I saw a man try it on at the presentation in Geneva, and it looked great. The dial is billed as pink, but it’s really more red, and red has long been a man’s timepiece color as well as a woman’s.                 

All images by Ariel Adams & James Stacey

The beauty of these watches is the dial treatment. Piaget chose primary colors in subtle graduated hues radiating out from the dial which, combined with the minimalist design, seems almost bold. As Piaget says, it is a style “stripped of anything superfluous,” and that it is. The blue sapphire crystal Piaget fake watches were originally named for the eponymous high-altitude plateau of the Andes Cordillera mountain range, with its stark landscape. There are lots of purists out there who do not want to see even a date window, and there are options for them here (as well as those who prefer the date window).

The primary colors are what make the series universally appealing to either gender. A lighter hue of red (pink) would be too feminine, as would a lighter blue or green.

The “men’s” 40mm manual-wound versions, in blue, grey or green, could easily be worn by a woman – in fact I prefer that size, even over the 38mm automatic, since the ultra-thin case makes it highly wearable. As a great classic, everyday watch, it would have been great to see at least one of the anniversary models in steel, though – maybe next year without the anniversary engraving on the case back? Note that some models have an exhibition case back while others have a closed case back.

The 34mm model contains the ultra-thin manual-wound Caliber 430P, which is 2.1mm thick. The case is 6.30mm thick, in white gold or red gold. There is also a diamond edition of the 34mm piece, in a 360-piece limited series. The next size up is the manual-wound 38mm model (also with the 430P, in a 6mm-thick case) but with a blue dial that is marked with a subtle cross-hair in a lighter blue color.

The Caliber 430P is an evolution of the 9P, the ultra-thin (2mm thick) manual-wound movement introduced by Piaget in 1957. Found in the 34mm and 38mm no date Piaget Altiplano watches, the manual wind 430P movement is 2.1mm thick and operates at 21,600 vph with a 43 hour power reserve.

The Piaget Altiplano 900P Ultra Thin

Just to tie together the hisotry of these ultra thin movements by Piaget, the 9P was followed up in 1960 with the 12P, an ultra-thin self-winding caliber measuring just 2.3mm. In 2014, to mark Piaget’s 140th anniversary, Piaget introduced the 900P, which marked the brand’s 14th world record for an ultra-thin caliber (at the time they were introduced). The 900P is a movement, dial plate, and base plate in one, with hands integrated on the same level as the movement components. It represents the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, at 3.65mm thick.

There are two automatic options in the anniversary collection and they are also ultra-thin. The 40mm model contains the Caliber 1203P, with an added date window and a case only 6.36mm thick. The movement itself is 3mm thick, and operates at 21,600 vph with a 44 hour power reserve.The 1203P movement was inspired by the Caliber 1205P, with a date and small seconds, which Piaget has been using since 2013. The 1203P still has a date window, which makes it a great everyday watch, but there is no seconds function. In fact, none of the anniversary pieces have seconds hands, which is a sacrifice you make when every extraneous millimeter is eliminated for the sake of a slim profile.

The widest watch in the anniversary collection is a 43mm version of the blue dial with light-blue cross-hairs. It is also automatic, with the Caliber 1200P (2.35mm thick), that was originally introduced in 2010 as a successor to the 12P. Unlike the 1203P in the 40mm model, it has no date window. It otherwise achieves the same 44 hour power reserve, though. It is decorated with bevelled bridges with circular Côtes de Genève stripes, a circular-grained mainplate, blued screws and an 18k gold, off-center micro-rotor engraved with the Piaget coat of arms. This model is in 18k white gold.

There are quite a few Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary watches discussed here, so I’ll recap them here. The 38mm white gold, manual wind ref. G0A42107 is a limited edition of 460 pieces and is priced at $17,900. The bigger 43mm white gold ref. G0A42105 is a limited edition of 360 pieces and is priced at $23,900. The 40mm models with a date window ref. G0A42051 (blue dial, 18k pink gold case), ref. G0A42050 (grey dial, 18k white gold case), all the shining replica watches will add your life with glory.

IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII Edition ‘Tribute To Mark XI’ Replica Watches

As one might expect from a manufacture that’s been around for more than a century and a half, IWC is known for several watch lines. One such example is a watch that recently received an update in the Arabic numerals IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI” copy watches (Ref. IW327007), which, for the sake of readability, can be simply referred to as the “Tribute to Mark XI.” In a year underscored by brands tapping into heritage offerings, the Tribute to Mark XI isn’t entirely surprising, but has been updated thoughtfully to meet the current tastes and needs of a watch collector.

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII has been around for a while, but the standard production variant is quite different and shares more design similarities to the B-Uhr style of pilot watch. The Tribute to Mark XI, is a limited edition watch which as you may have guessed is inspired by the IWC Mark XI from 1948. The number 1,948 is also how many pieces IWC will produce, making this watch uncommon but not rare. The style and aesthetics of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII “Tribute to Mark XI” is very similar to military and field watches from the early 20th century, most notably the “Dirty Dozen” watches.

The most significant visual giveaway that this watch is inspired by the Mark XI is the handset. The unique combination of hands has rarely, if ever, been seen outside the IWC Mark XI before. Like the ancestor, the Tribute to Mark XI comes with a matte black dial, painted Arabic numerals in white to maximize legibility, and a luminescent triangle at 12 o’clock in addition to luminous markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. While the lume is modern Super-LumiNova, it’s been colored to look like aged tritium, which I have always found to be warm and pleasing to the eye.

There is a date window at 3 o’clock, and thankfully, the date wheel is black with white text which helps it blend in with the dial while maintaining legibility. The date complication is a concession to modern consumer preferences as the original Mark XI was not equipped with one. Given that this is a modern pilot’s watch, it comes equipped with a soft-iron cage to protect the movement against magnetism, but in usual IWC fashion, there are no specific numbers. The crystal is also secured such that it will not be displaced by a sudden drop in air pressure, an expected feature in pilot watches as the air pressure drops dramatically the higher one goes.

The movement, which IWC calls the Caliber 35111 is essentially a Sellita 300-1, which itself is a copy of the ETA 2892 (a movement IWC does not have access to anymore as it is a part of Richemont and not Swatch who owns ETA). Pilot’s watches are designed to be robust, reliable, and easy to maintain, and this movement checks all three boxes. Like most modern movements, the Caliber 35111 beats at 28,800bph and offers a 42 hour power reserve. The movement is hidden under a stainless-steel screw down case back which is engraved with the words “Edition Tribute to Mark XI” and “One out of 1948” in addition to the usual markings.

Another concession to modern preferences is in the size of the watch, with the stainless steel case measuring 40mm wide and 10.8mm thick. The case is a classic design with curved, tapering lugs which are brushed on the top and bottom. The bezel on the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII “Tribute to Mark XI” is visually slimmer than the original Mark XI but suits the watch well. A simple fluted screw-down crown adds the finishing touch. With the screw-down crown and solid case back, one might expect the watch to be rated to at least 100m of water resistance, but the Tribute to Mark XI is only rated to 60m. While this does not affect the functionality of a pilot’s watch, it seems like a watch built with practicality and durability in mind should have a higher water resistance rating.

Like any other vintage-inspired piece, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII “Tribute to Mark XI” does not break new ground in terms of design or mechanical capabilities. It is simply a familiar, well-rounded offering for people who may enjoy the look of the original Mark XI but would prefer something manufactured to modern tolerances. The blue textile sraps IWC fake watches Tribute to Mark XI ships on a military green NATO strap and is available from July 2017, but with a catch. For the first three months, starting July 2017, the Tribute to Mark XI (Ref. IW327007) will only be available at Harrod’s in London for a retail price of £3,790 VAT included (~ $4,865). After that, any remaining stock of the watch will be available through all boutiques and authorized retailers for a price of $4,150. For those wondering, the price discrepancy is due to VAT that’s applicable for purchases in the UK and the exclusive retailer concept is a way for brands to support retailers who have been hit hard by the rise of e-commerce in recent years. Why not have a try with the shining replica watches?

Zenith Replica Watches Officially Customized By Bamford Watch Department

Bamford Watch Department has been providing aftermarket modification services for watches from various luxury brands since around 2003, and has often created a stir in doing so. Best-known for their customized Rolex watches that have included everything from colorful coatings to cartoon characters, these were always done as unaffiliated, third-party projects. Now, Bamford announces that they are officially sanctioned to go nuts on Zenith watches and have introduced the relationship with some examples of Bamford-customized two Arabic numerals Zenith Cronometro TIPO CP 2 copy wacthes and Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up fake watches. This is the first time for Bamford to be officially authorized by a Swiss watch brand and represents a big step for the British watch customizer.

Some Bamford-customized Rolex watches.

The brand’s less-than-official relationship with Rolex in particular has been the source of some controversy. Just see our article here with hands-on pictures of various customized Rolex watches by Bamford, as well as background on the company and its founder George Bamford. Rolex themselves and many others seem to think that their watches are “perfect” as they are. While we can surely agree that people can do whatever they want to an item that they purchased and own, there is a lot of potential debate on the nature of Bamford’s business that benefits from well-known luxury names – but it is also true that they offer some high-tech proprietary options and exclusivity, for which there is clearly a market and that is not available from the brand. Of course, subjective issues such as whether the customized watches are desirable improvements on the originals or if the final products are attractive to your tastes is another matter.

Rolex is known to be ultra-conservative in terms of designs (with notable exceptions here and there) and does not even offer its own watches with black-colored cases despite a thriving aftermarket that specializes in offering this. Colorful and “experimental” design choices are, however, not unknown to Zenith. We might have further predicted polarizing releases, bold styles, and more collaborations after the unstoppable Jean-Claude Biver took a more active role in the company himself that is part of the LVMH group where he is head of watchmaking. While Biver has named Julien Tornare Zenith’s new CEO, Tornare continues to report directly to Mr. Biver in his “renewal of Zenith” mission. Whether or not this particular relationship is a direct result of Biverian forces, it does seem to indicate movement and fresh thinking at the brand.

So, while not a huge leap for Zenith, the new partnership is a big deal for Bamford as it is the first time for them to be working directly with a Swiss brand in an authorized capacity – and working with Zenith can be seen to provide greater legitimacy to their customized watches from other brands too. Practically, the relationship means that Bamford will be getting watches, parts, and other supplies directly from Zenith and working closely with the manufacture. The watches will be sold through Bamford’s retail network as well as their website where one can also customize one’s own watches online.

The online customizer follows a formula and gives you the ability to instantly see how a design change will look, offering control over a range of aesthetic details that differ according to the model. One can even separately choose the color of the Zenith star above the logo. The customizing tool is mostly about different colors, but one can, for example, choose from among ten dial colors and then further match the date wheel (or not) and choose the date text color as well. Since a lot of the dial elements are printed (rather than separate applied components) it makes sense that these would be easy to change up with different colors, but Bamford does offer more options and control than a lot of similar tools out there. As an aside – and I’ve said this before – why on earth does Casio not offer something like this for G-Shocks? I mean, you can officially do it with a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors.

While the online tool is fun, working directly with individual clients is a big part of Bamford’s business, and for the right price, they will probably do their best to accommodate further requests or creative ideas. If you want Sponge Bob on your watch dial where his hands indicate the time à la Mickey Mouse – it doesn’t hurt to ask. That said, standard versions designed by Bamford are available as well, further functioning as examples of what is possible. So let’s take a look at the Zenith watches that Bamford has customized to illustrate their new relationship – again, they are based on the Zenith Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 and the Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up.

The Zenith Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 (that we saw hands-on here) has been customized by Bamford with a black coating for the steel case and different colored highlights on elements such as the hands and markers. The sandy black or asphalt-like texture of the dials and hands looks cool in Bamford’s pictures that mostly show models with green or “aqua blue” highlights. The base Cronometro Tipo CP-2 watch is 43mm wide (water resistant to 100 meters), runs the El Primero caliber 4069 automatic chronograph movement, and has a price of $7,700. You can see more details about the watch in the above linked-to article.

The Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up (hands-on) as shown here is given a similar treatment as the Cronometro Tipo CP-2 with the blue and green highlight colors. The original black alligator straps Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up fake watch has a similar interesting dial texture, but I think I actually prefer Bamford’s more modern interpretation – even though I am skeptical of how colored coatings age and show wear. The Ton-Up also uses the El Primero 4069, is 45mm wide and 100m water-resistant, and has a price of $7,100 for the version not modified by Bamford.

Bamford launched a new site in conjunction with the announcement of their official relationship with Zenith, and you can find more customized or customizable models there including El Primero and Zenith Heritage 146 Chronomaster watches – as well as other watch brands. Naturally, prices will vary depending on different models and customization options, so most will be “on request. All the shining replica watches will add your life with charming characters and great joy.

Colorful New Anonimo Nautilo NATO Replica Watches

It’s been a hot minute since we last heard from Anonimo, but the young Italian brand has been busy between the last few Baselworld cycles under new management – dramatic changes which have yielded a far more cohesive collection of watches that bode well for the brand’s future, especially given its somewhat tumultuous past. Just in time for summer, black dial Anonimo Nautilo NATO  copy watch – the cushion-cased Nautilo, gets a colorful dial remix, complete with a quartet of color-matched NATO strap options that should appeal to proclivities at poolside and seaside alike. Consider it a civilian twist on the Nautilo initially unveiled for Anonimo’s partnership with pro sailing’s Team SFS.
If you’ve been out of the Anonimo loop, we’ll catch you up real quick: the brand was co-founded by then-Panerai CEO Dino Zei and Federico Massacesi in 1997, shortly after Panerai was snapped up by Richemont and moved to Switzerland. Rather than relocate, the two remained in Florence, tapping into Zei’s past connections as a former naval officer to create aesthetically striking watches for various units in the Italian Navy. Those who remember this era of Anonimo are likely to remember the big, bronze cases and over-engineered (read: “Panerai-esque”) protective crown guards – a design language that was as polarizing as it was defining in the brand’s earliest days. See our visit to the Anonimo manufacture in Florence and more about their background here.

Now in its 20th year and under a new watchful Swiss ownership, things have settled down a bit, enabling the most current version of Anonimo to still pay homage to its earliest days in the interesting Militare collection, while retaining its maritime roots through the new small calendar Nautilo fake watches. While both collections usher in more cohesion than ever before, it’s the latter whose more classic aesthetic should appeal to both traditional dive and sport watch fans alike – especially as this particular series of Nautilo watches were designed with sailing in mind.

History aside, there’s a lot to like about the Nautilo watches – even if they’re a little safe by Anonimo’s standards, they’re still plenty distinctive, starting with the 12-4-8 applied bar indices, which are designed to yield a triangular, “A” shape inspired by the Matterhorn. Of course, this is the famous peak which straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy – the two countries who both share a vested interest in this brand’s evolution. There are other nods to this triangle – in the counterweight on the seconds hand (color-matched to the dial’s chapter ring, the first 15 minutes on the ceramic bezel, and the NATO strap on each Nautilo watch), and in the brand’s logo as well.

And while there’s nary a whiff of bronze in the latest Anonimo Nautilo NATO collection, those chasing Anonimo’s classic patina look will find reassurance that there are other options within both the Nautilo and the Militare to choose from. However, stainless steel seems to suit these four colors nicely, yielding a warmer, more cheerful, poolside demeanor rather than the somber, maritime aesthetic you ultimately get from a well-worn bronze watch.

Inside the 44mm brushed stainless steel and DLC-finished case (200m water-resistant) hums a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, characterized by a date aperture at 6:00, and a protected screw-down crown at 4:00. This ETA 2824 clone is widely distributed in watches at this price point and should yield reliable, albeit familiar timekeeping qualities throughout its 38-hour power reserve. The Anonimo Nautilo collection watches will each be available on either a fitted black rubber strap (the option of choice for Team SFS), shining replica watches  will light your lie.