As the saying goes, everything is original. However, when it comes to watches, some original models are too rare, either too expensive, hard to find, or even both. This type of watch is very popular and in short supply, and for commercial reasons, brands often choose to repeat it. Although it is inevitable that there are some commercial colors, the replica watch highlights the important moment in the history of the corresponding brand, and at the same time gives the customer the opportunity to have the product as authentic as possible.
The way watchmakers introduce replica models varies. In 1969, to celebrate the successful landing of Apollo 11 on the moon, OMEGA created a specially designed Speedmaster gold watch, and presented commemorative watches numbered 3 to 28 to NASA astronauts. For many Speedmaster collectors, this watch has become a true ‘holy grail’. This year, Omega decided to launch a replica style to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The replica watch is very similar to the original watch, but with modern improvements. The bezel is made of zirconia ceramic, and the case material is no longer gold, but Moonshine 18K gold specially developed by Omega. Of course, the movement has also been upgraded from the original, and replaced with the 3861 Zhizhen Observatory movement using the coaxial escapement.
When watchmaking brands launch replica watches, they are often accompanied by an upgrade of the movement. The Breitling Aviation Chronograph 806 1959 replica is a good example. In order to perfectly reproduce the original spirit, Breitling pays close attention to every detail. The size of the stainless steel case is no different from the original, and the curved acrylic surface is exactly the same. In order to improve the waterproof performance, Breitling made some concessions and ingeniously improved the case structure. The replica watch is also equipped with a manually wound chronograph movement, but the basic movement has been replaced by the modern Calibre01. Another difference between the new and the original is the Super-LumiNovd fluorescent number. Super-LumiNovd is a modern luminous material, but Breitling pays special attention to the color treatment to ensure that it can restore the appearance of early watches as much as possible. Some purists are opposed to this approach, but it is difficult to deny that it is more in line with the overall design.
Blancpain also chose to use many modern materials when replicating the Air Force Commander’s chronograph. Compared to Breitling and even Omega, Blancpain’s original Air Force Commander chronograph is really rare. According to records, the brand only provided 12 sample watches for the US Air Force at that time. Unlike Breitling, Breitling even faithfully restores the number of beads on the bezel, but Blancpain prefers creative freedom. The charm of the replica watch does not decrease, but by increasing the speed and the distance between the minute / second scale ring and the sub-dial, the readability of the dial is improved. As for the case back, Blancpain has taken a completely different approach. The original version has a sealed case back, and the replica watch fully reflects the beauty of the Calibre F388B movement. The propeller-shaped red gold oscillating weight completes the design. Some people may feel it is too late, but the replica is actually faithful to the original, and the subtle changes make the watch more interesting. Because the original Air Force Commander chronograph was too scarce, many of us may never see it, let alone wear it. So, do you appreciate replica watches, or do you prefer brands not to ‘do more’? This question is also a matter of opinion. (Photo / text watch home compiled by Xu Chaoyang)