Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Origination of the Foundation of a Timepiece - The Mainplate

Jean-Antoine Lépine (1720-1814) Father of the Modern Mechanical Watch
I have been blogging about watches for years and I have read thousands of other articles and posts.  I have blogged about, the mainspring, escapement, balance wheel, gear train, crystal, watch case, strap, buckle, indicators, hands, crown, lugs e.t.c, but I rarely concentrated on the basic structure and foundation of the watch: The Main plate. Of course watchmakers pay close attention to this component,  as the perfection of the main plate is the first step in creating the perfect watch and often its design is the most discerning company trademark.

Even though, some watch companies like Swatch has sought to do away with a mainplate by affixing everything onto the case, and some have used a chassis like structure for watch components, the main plate is still the basis for most watches, mechanical and quartz.

What is the Mainplate of A Watch? 
The Mainplate is the base or foundation of a movement to which various watch components are affixed.  Most often the mainplate is made from brass (an alloy of copper and zinc)  - a stable,  antimagnetic material that is malleable and can be worked cold. The mainplate begins as a smooth round disc, after which it is machined to accommodate components of the movement as well as the various movement bridges.Often the mainplate and bridges are signature to the manufacturer and with the keen eye of a watch expert, one can determine the origin of the manufacturer without additional clarification.   Precise crafting of the mainplate is essential to watch accuracy like the foundation of the house, whose very structure is based on the soundness of the foundation.  An imperfection of the mainplate results in an integral inaccuracy of all the other mechanisms of the watch no matter how perfect they are.   The main plate is often overlooked and underestimated since it is rather an inconspicuous part of the watch. 

The Evolution of The Mainplate

Granted the mainspring is the oldest component of  a watch dating back to the 1600's, since it was the first successful way to conserve and emit energy and yet the mainspring needs to be mounted onto the main plate. Directly prior to the evolution of the mainplate,  timekeeping was kept by means of pendulum clocks.

 The main plate seems to have almost erupted as being just obviously there with no more discussion on the matter.  I did ask a member of the esteemed Horological Society of New York- founded in 1866 -  and he suggested the circular main plate evolved out of necessity around the transition time from clocks to watches and from verge and foliot to stack-freed to fusee.  The 16th Century pocket watch incorporated with the stack-freed  utilized the empty space on the outside of the back plate in the pocket watch.   Thus still no indication of a mainplate.  However the more efficient fusee, used from the 15th century up until the 20th century,  does require  two plates to affix the mechanism.

A major break through in history of the main plate occurred in 1770. One of the greatest watchmakers of all times and Clockmaker to the King, French Jean-Antoine Lépine, designed a movement with a single plate. This construction was the first timepiece to transition from the hefty two plate movement, some of which reached great thicknesses of up to 38mm (now we are used to that kind of measurements in watch diameters not height or thickness)  to that of a single plate. He did away with the cumbersome fusee, a mainstay in timepieces since the mid 1500's, and  utilized the going barrel. In addition he individually pivoted the majority of the wheels in the train.    The revolutionary new Lépine calibre became the basis for all mechanical watch movements as we know them today. Thus we can say that Jean-Antoine Lépine is the father of the modern mechanical watch and  Breguet ,of course, fine tuned the mechanism. Countless movements have evolved from the Lépine calibre to such an extent that the origination of the main plate has dimmed through the passage of time.

I would love feedback on this discussion.


The National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors - www.nawcc.org

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

RJ ARRAW to the Core

RJ ARRAW 2018 
Romaine Jerome of moon rock fame has shortened its brand name to RJ and introduced a new core line ARRAW. For a time Romaine Jerome was hyper focusing on the nostalgic crowd who grew up in the eighties playing Pacman in smoke filled arcades or alone at home playing Tetris on their clunky Commodore 64; however, as the new now generation of money makers want watches, they are looking for watches that fit into their framework of style.

The new RJ ARRAW Collection is targeting a wider range of watch wearers while still maintaining the intrinsic Romaine Jerome look.  Romaine Jerome port hole signature bezel and iconic bumpers are smooth and untainted with rust or moon dust, but still undeniably distinct.  As with all Romaine Jerome creations ,whether it be Pokeman, Batman, Super Mario Bros or intergalactic space themes, the watch elements are of impeccable design and quality.

The RJ ARRAW Chronograph collection is powered by an  RJ2040 self-winding movement.  The bezel is pronounced and chunkier than RJ's other collections and frames a smooth galvanized dial, gradient painted and  lacquered to enhance the perception of depth.  Skeletonized hour and minute hands are applied with SuperLuminova providing time-display in the dark. A 30 minute counter at the 9 o' clock, 12 hour counter as well as a date window at the 6 o' clock and small seconds hand at the 3 o'clock make up the three and a bit sub dials. A Sapphire crystal covers the dial providing optimal scratch resistance and readability.  The dial is available in 45mm for men's watches and 42mm for the ladies, which is smaller than most of RJ's other collections.   This reduction in size is another move to target a larger customer base with preferences of slightly smaller sized dials.

The RJ Arraw Collection also caters to the ladies.  The only other ladies watches from the RJ brand are those emblazoned with Hello Kitty - so in the event there are ladies who want to wear an RJ watch without a Hello Kitty can now wear an ARRAW.  The ladies collection is quite extensive with numerous color and material options such as titanium, gold, ceramic with interchangeable rubber straps and matching steampunk piston pushers.

 There is a fine line between being buried into watch brand oblivion by trying to fit into the current popular trend - the downfall of many a watch brand - and being exclusively edgy enough to fit into the norm while maintaining a brand independence.  RJ has accomplished the latter feat remarkably and created an attractive collection of timepieces which I am sure will be on the wish list of many.

In conjunction with the new RJ brand unveiled at Baselworld 2018, the company has established its very own manufacturing company, RJ Forge.  To facilitate their manufacturing goals, RJ Watches SA will purchase Playing Moment SA (Nyon, Switzerland) - a company with pervasive watchmaking knowledge in component machining, finishing and assembly - not to mention a highly functional and fully equipped workshop with CNC machinery.  Playing Moment S.A. contributed a great deal in the creating the RJ ARRAW collection. In the future they will generate new product ideas contribute to RJ's research and development.

The new RJ brand name as well as the companies strategy change will increase sales and lend itself to a more mainstream watch brand  while still incorporating its spectral and  steampunk collections. This new venture will move the brand from the display cabinet to the conference room.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cecil Purnell and A Lucky Lady

She who owns a  high end joullarie timepiece is one lucky lucky lady.  To own a high end joullarie timpiece crafted by Cecil Purnell is one very very lucky lady thus it comes as no surprise that Cecil Purnell's highly exclusive and limited ladies collection is coined "Lucky Lady".

Glancing at the Lucky Lady Timepiece Collection fuels a passion which forms an immediate attraction to the watch. Actually not one watches, but all the watches in the collection, each as intriguing and exquisite as the next. The watches are rich in color, arresting blue, emerald green and fiery red. The red in particular strikes my fancy.  It is this color that caught my eye in the Hall of Gems at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. A red emerald cut diamond glowing as if a fire burns within. The watch is a piece of delicacy meant to be savored at every moment in time.

The Lucky Lady, unveiled in December 2012,  bares the signature La Croix case shape. As the name suggests, the dial is fashioned in the shape of a cross. An intriguing array of diamond paving, unique to each watch is set into  the bezel , lugs and crown.  The skeletonized dial is crafted in the shape of a rose in full bloom.  The dial is further accentuated by the warm hue of 5N18 rose gold. 5N18 is "red gold" as opposed to 4N18, which is a lighter pink gold or 3N18, which is a lightish pinkish yellow. 2N18 is yellow gold as in the 18k standard yellow gold one and 1N14 is a lighter yellow still as in the standard yellow for 14k gold.  The rich red of the gold surrounding and suspended above a translucent dial  ,which is colored by a highly complex plique-à-jour or "letting in daylight" enameling, reveals an in-house Cecil Purnell CP-V11 tourbillon caliber.

Names of movements  baring prefixes of the companies initials leads to supposition that the movement is in fact "in-house".  In-house means the moment was designed and manufactured by the company and not bought as an ebauche from a outside or unaffiliated company.  Some companies refer to a movement as 'in-house" even if the company bought an ebauche and modified it slightly. Cecil Purnell pretty much manufactures its movement from scratch and has gained quite a reputation for its tourbillon movements. It has gained the reputation as a micro-manufacturer crafting hundreds of intricate movement components.

  To craft a tourbillon, a watchmaker must be highly experienced in his craft.  A Tourbillon consists of a cage ,which turns at one complete revolution per minute , in which the balance wheel and escapement is placed. This rotation reduces the variation of effects gravity plays on the movement of a watch and increases a watch's precision.   Although this idea was quite receptive in 1795,  the tourbillon nowadays is more of a testament to competent watch making abilities.  I wouldn't quite say that a tourbillon is a complication, as it does not perform an extra function other than being aesthetically pleasing and arguably dispelling gravity
 The tourbillon movement powering the Lucky Lady is the highly efficient CP-V11.  Its rotating cage is placed between two bridges   

The Lucky Lady Timepiece is also available in emerald green and a dreamy blue.The red and blue models are produced each as a unique piece.  The green model is limited to just 10.  The idea of producing so few models is part of the vision of Cecil Purnell. Cecil Purnell scrutinizes every phase of watch construction from formulating the original idea to design and planning, from individual component construction to assembly and calibration.  Since Cecil Purnell is completely independent, the company has freedom of artistic expression.  The best watch making materials are used.  No corners are cut for cost savings techniques,  No big wig corporations frown on pricey expenditures.  If the watchmaker needs to spend an exorbitant amount of time crafting a component or beveling to perfection Yes the watches are quite pricey, but then again they are not meant for everyone (me included, in case you thought I was beginning to sound a tad too haughty)

Company History of  Cecil Purnell
Tourbillon Mirage
In 1918, the companies namesake, Cecil Purnell, became fascinated with Abraham Louis Bruguet's 1795 invention - the tourbillon.  His grandson, Jonathen Purnell caught his passion and began a company based on the quest of his grandfather. In 2006,   Jonathen Purnell partnered with watch industry expert Stéphane Valsamides and founded Cecil Purnell in the Alle (Jura) region of Switzeland.  The company only  manufactures tourbillon based movements and limits production to 50 watches a year. All CP watches are over 150,000 CHF.  Some by a little; some by a lot.

I must say the beginnings  were a bit iffy, with the a major bump prior to 2010 when the brand's credibility was at stake for using Chinese ebauche movements from the Liaoning Watch Factory. The way this story broke was quite interesting in itself, the Liaoning Watch Factory obviously proud they manufacture watch components to an exclusive Swiss company, posted a picture of  a Cecil Purnell branded balance assembly in their product listings. Of course the image was removed, but not before a whole lot of people got wind of it.  However, since 2010, with the introduction of its iconic in-house movement, the CP3000, Cecil Purnell has used wholly  in-house tourbillon movements for all its models - designed and manufactured in Switzeland. After this Saga ( which was not the watch industry's  first or I daresay the last  - remember last year's fiasco featuring Bremont's first "in-house" movement), Cecil Purnell is entirely transparent about the origins of their
movements and in a remarkably short  time has bounced back to quite an esteemed place in the horological hierarchy of haute horology.    I am sure Cecil Purnell would like to forget the pre-2010 days and only concentrate on its more recent milestones.

Cecil Purnel highly exclusive collections include:

Tourbillon Collection encompassing the Mirage Bold model  featuring a CP-V13 movement encased entirely in Sapphire Crystal.

Lacroix Collection featuring the signature case shape and either the CP-V11 or CP -V12 in-house movement. (CP-V12 is equipped with a big-date on dial side).

World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon
Pit-Lane Collection featuring a round Sapphire transparent dial and CP-V12 movement.

Complication Collection featuring highly complex movements framed within a classic round dial.
Movements in this collection include the:
Classique CP-V13 featuring a striking hour; CP-V14 equipped with a regulator and featuring a striking hour.  The prominent aspect to this fine watch is a Blue (adonized titanium) movement face.  Other pieces  in this collection include models sporting a CP-V15 movement  featuring a twin tourbillon; CP-V16 with a twin tourbillon GMT and big date; CP-V17 with a Bi-Axial Tourbillon and World Time with Horizon Indicator (unveiled at Baselworld 2015). 

And of course the exquisite Lucky Lady Collection. The Collection that has captivated my attention.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More Fur for Fendi My Way Collection

If you have a fur fascination, Fendi finds your way.  The Fendi My Way Collection ,unveiled in September of last year,will fill your fur fetish. Each diamond studded watch is accompanied by a removable soft fox fur plume, which slides over the strap surrounding the bezel. The fox fur plume is available in many colors and arrangements. At first I thought the idea of placing a wreath of fur around a perfectly good diamond encrusted watch was quite ridiculous, but then the idea grew on me.  I suppose that's the crux of fashion, to reveal a startling new way of donning attire or accessories and then letting the wave of appreciation, delight and salivation slowly rise and rise.  I have always been a great fan of Fendi designer,  Karl Lagerfeld, and I have been quoting him for years and years - actually every since I wrote a blog about him back in 2009 -
Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfield, and his view on luxury in tough times.

The Fendi May Way Collection timepiece ,without the trappings of fur, is quite nice in itself, but its is the fur that adds a wonderful dash of color and fun.  My favorite is the red timepiece.  The watch is rather plain baring a round yellow gold bezel; curved case inspired by an arena; matching yellow gold indices and hands above a sleek black dial. Fendi's signature marks the 12 'o'clock position in true Fendi flare.  The watch is strapped to the wrist via a Fendi Elite red textured calf skin strap.  The same leather used to fashion the Fendi 2Jours bag.  The strap is secured to the wrist with a yellow gold colored pin buckle baring the Fendi Logo.  The watch precisely tracks the time thanks to the highly competent yet unremarkable Swiss quartz movement.

All in all this fashion watch is quite respectable exuding a sense of fashion and good taste. Personally I don't really love it.

Slide the plume on, which Fendi refers to as the "Glamy", and the watch is suddenly transformed into something exotic  and daring.  The curve of the watch case is all at once accentuated  as it  cradles in a luscious bed of red fox fur. Suddenly I love it!  Frankly I think the fox fur plume is quite a brilliant idea and until Fendi unveiled the My Way Collection, I had never really seen anything quite like it.  Of course, there are the watches which have interchangeable watch and bezel straps, but nothing like a watch nestled in a fox fur plume.  The watch ,if you want, is also available in stainless steel, two tone and rose gold.  Water resistant to 50 meters without the plume of course.
Price: $850.00

In March 2015, the Fendi My Way Collection unveiled quite a few diamond studded versions: 4 new models in limited editions of 50 pieces each. These watches are accompanied by a luscious Arctic Fox Fur Glamy available in silvery blue, kiwi green and bright orange. ( image at the top of the post) The straps themselves have quite a bit more pizazz crafted from Elaphe snakeskin strap. The strap color matches the color of the Glamy.  The watch is available in a small which is paved in 421 diamonds or larger sporting 667 diamonds.  Again this version is quipped with a quartz movement.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Eterna Unveils the Grace Open Art Collection

Eterna Grace Open Art Collection

Eterna is creeping into a higher range of watches partly due to the fact that it has turned from a mere brand to a watch manufacturer.  By revealing a new mechanical ladies collection, Eterna is leveling out the playing field between man and ladies watches especially when it comes to mechanical movements.  Since the recovery of the quartz crisis and the Swiss watch industry in general, companies figured mechanical watches were too complicated for a women.  Quartz was just fine and much appreciated.  Within the past 10 years - and  I have to give a nod to Girard-Perregaux's Cat's Eye movement created in 2004 - women's mechanical watches have been increasing in number as well as complexity. Currently Jeager-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Collection are at the pinnacle of women's complex watches and  are paving the way for other brands to follow suit.
Frederique Constant Double Heart Beat Collection
Eterna's Grace Open Art Collection is very similar to
Frederique Constant  Double Heart Beat Collection  unveiled in 1994. Its aperture is shaped by a double heart through which the heart of the watch -  the balance wheel - is visible. 

Not only is Eterna creating a new mechanical watch collection for woman, but is emphasizing the fact by exposing the oscillations of the balance via a dramatic aperture at the 12 'o'clock position.  A gold crescent  paved with diamonds seems to capture the heart of the movement in secure embrace.  Surrounded by a bezel set with 57 Top Wesselton diamonds, the white mother of pearl dial plays with the light as it serves as a shimmering backdrop to the display of time. A yellow gold case protects an ETA calibre 2824-2 Open Art movement.  
ETA is mostly used by Swatch Group owned companies.  Eterna is not owned by Swatch Group-  so how is it that a new watch collection utilizes an ETA movement.  Well it may have to do with the fact that Eterna has quite a history with ETA movement; after all it was Eterna who founded ETA back in 1856 to make movements for itself and other Swiss companies.  So there you have it. 

The movement chosen to be honored by the Grace Open Art Collection is the most dependable movement out there.  The automatic 25 jewel movement is known as the workhorse of the ETA mechanical line.  Its precision has been tested over and over again in countless timepieces over many years. Eterna cannot go wrong with this movement and one cannot go wrong in purchasing a timepiece with precision performance. 

The case is secured on the wrist by a satin wristband.   This watch is also available in black mother of pearl.

12 Extraordinary Watches for Bird Lovers

e listed 10 of the most incredible timepieces depicting birds. I chose one brand for each bird; although, I could have written the blog entirely on Jaquet Droz minute or Bird repeaters. Perhaps for some other time.

Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater circa 2015 Cost $520,000

  The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater has to be one of the most publicized watches unveiled at Baselworld 2015 and for $520,000 this watch is designed particularly for the avid bird fan. Who else would spend a bundle to watch a mechanical mother bird feed here chick, another stretch its wings and another hatch from an egg. To fully appreciate this watch one must view the watch in action.

Van Cleef Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Nuit Oiseaux de Paradis SIHH 2015

The 2015 edition to  Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complication flock is this wonderful depiction of a Bird of Paradise.  The champlevé and cloisonné enamel creates a dial brilliant in color and form .  Blue hues, fiery oranges and  deep purple depict the vividness of an untainted forests where Birds of paradise alight among towering trees. The Bird of Paradise upon the dial displays shimmering tail feathers set with three round diamonds.  The movement powering this latest 38mm edition to Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complication collection, is a 24 hour movement which changes the scene from flower by day to a diamond moon at night.  This timepiece is limited to 22 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art L’éloge de la nature collection - Watches & Wonders 2014

Two cranes engraved upon a pink gold plate  fly over a choppy sea of guilloché ripples and translucent Grand Feu enamel. Two provide the wearer or watcher with the full effect of birds in flight, Vacheron Constantin utilized a automatic in-house 237 piece Calibre 2460 G4 movement, which displays the trailing hours and minutes as well as a jumping day and date via four apertures. The case is fashioned from 18k 5N pink gold and affixes to the wrist via an alligator leather strap.  The case back is fashioned from sapphire crystal where one may view the Hallmark of Geneva.

Angular Momentum - Flying  Bird circa 2009

 Now this watch is kind of creepy, reminds me of the last creature to escape from hellish destruction.The creature in fact is a sparrow which ,together with its foreboding backdrop, has been crafted with a Japanese Lacquering method known as Urushi. Urushi lacquer comes from the sap of a Urushi tree, which creates a natural plastic like substance. It is the Urushi Lacquer that creates the intense blackness covering the dial. 

Boucheron Hiniscus Tourbillon circa 2012

 Boucheron mechanical hand wound Hibiscus Tourbillon is  a delicate representation of a hummingbird in mid-flap alighting upon a diamond encrusted bezel attracted by a bright pink hibiscus.  Between bird and flower, a flying tourbillon incorporating a Swiss escapement lever rotates beneath fallen leaves. A flying tourbillon is only supported on one side creating the illusion that it rotating whilst suspended in mid air -  unsupported by any means. A white - almost hazy mother-of-pearl dial -like a sky masked with high cirrus clouds, sets a gentle backdrop for a scene  created from white gold, blue and pink sapphires and diamonds. A dial framed by delicate plant like swirls is placed at the 1 'o'clock position.  A gentle reminder of  Boucheron's flagship boutique at number 26  place Vendôme.

Cartier Ballon Bleu Floral Marquetry Parrot Watch - SIHH 2014

"Polly wants a cracker?" The parrot fluffing its feathers atop a signature Cartier Ballon Bleu dial is so realistic one expects it to emit a shrill squawk and pluck the cracker right out the hands of the giver. Amazingly the soft visage of feathers are crafted from real flower petals. From its face of feathers, a single emerald gleams at its eye against a shimmering backdrop of diamond paving.  Limited to 20 pieces.

MB&F / Boucheron HM3 JwlryMachineWatch - circa 2010

Without the additional owlish getup,  MB & F's HM3 closely resembles an owl or a frog. However, beneath the bejeweled clothes of Boucheron, the mechanical mastery turns into a spectacular spectacle of owlish delight.Clear sapphire crystal enable the clear display of hour and minute upon the cylinders of each eye. The eyes themselves are top with a purple cabochon and surrounded by a ring of diamonds. The owls claws and feather toughs are crafted from 18k white gold. Price $215,000
Chopard Emerald & Diamond Owl Watch- Currently Available

The eyes of an owl truly lend themselves to the face of a watch, especially when a dual timezone is on display.  Chopard ,with its love for the animal kingdom, chose to represent the great horned owl on a silver leather strap around the wrist. Graduated calibré-cut emerald surround two grey guilloché watch dial eyes within a diamond set owl face. Available at Chopard, this limited edition Owl Watch  will make your friends hoot with delight.

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Grand Tourbillon Crane Enamel Watch - circa 2013
Although many watch companies have taken pride in applying miniature enamel paintings to the dial, this timepiece is Jaeger-Lecoultre's first attempt at the enamel art.  The result ,of course, is exceptional. Cranes, a symbol of longevity, nestle amongst bamboos beneath a silver foil moon and white gold  guilloché decorated dial.  A bunch of bamboo stalks are meticulously painted on the sapphire crystal creating a unique depth to the dial. An almost weightless light weight titanium alloy tourbillon cage turning at one revolution per minute. The enamel artistry is framed by a bejeweled bezel and sweeping lugs of 94 baguette cut diamonds weighing in at 8 carats.   The power house of the watch  is the iconic Calibre 978 visible via a sapphire crystal case back.  Limited edition of 8 pieces.

Christian Audigier's Graceful Bird Watch- Currently Available
Since most these watches can run you in the thousands from some of the most prestigious watch brands, I like to post a more affordable bird watch to sway the chances of getting the title of a watch snob - Gasp! Anyway back to business.  I have been monitoring Christian Audigier's watch designs for some time.  The watches and movements are ok.  Nothing to cry home about or set up news crawlers atop Times Square, but they definitely fill a nice affordable watch niche.  The watches exude a youthful energy and pizzazz. The Graceful Bird Watch dial boasts tattoo flash inspired artwork and surrounded by Swarovski Crystal. In addition, Swarovski crystal graces each hour indice. The watch is presented on a gray rubber band featuring Christian Audiger's signature trademark.    Christian Audigier  is a high profile and very prolific French fashion designer residing in the US. Price $225.00

Piaget Limelight Garden Party Watch - SIHH 2011 (Ref. G0A36169)
Piaget's Limelight Garden Party Collection is a whimsical representation of a summer eve surrounded by the chatter of friends, the clink of glasses, the gentle chatter of garden birds and a gentle breeze ruffling leaves.  The diamond encrusted birds, diamond encrusted leaves and berries the birds eat, revolve around the dial in effortless motion. The birds an their habitat are a meticulous composition of 99 brilliant cut diamonds set upon an 18 carat white gold case baring 52 brilliant cut diamonds. The entire scene sparkles against a backdrop of pure Piaget black. The watch is powered by a Piaget 56P quartz movement and secured to the wrist by a black satin strap and secured by a diamond encrusted 18 carat white gold ardillon buckle.If one has a great infinity for birds, take note, this watch is part of a large garden party motif collection of brooches necklaces and earrings.

Harry Winston Premier Feather Watch - Circa 2012
"Birds of a feather flock together"  and Harry Winston has taken this proverb to an entirely new level by perfectly placing feathers upon a dial to create a kaledescope of design and color. Harry Winston always delivers with a flourish.  With the Premier Feather Watch, unveiled at the opening of the Shanghai Pavilion boutique, Harry Winston preens perfection like an exotic male bird showing off its fine plumage to the ladies.   Working with feathers requires exceptional talent and the job goes too ... Nelly Saunier who is one of the few experts who still  practice this rare skill. With an expert touch she hand picked (not hand plucked) each feather spending  7 hours carefully and exquisitely creating the dial. In days gone by feathers were used to decorate refineries most notably the headdress of nobles and aristocrats. The feathers were cut and placed in the perfect position in order to make the best use of the feather's natural  nanostructructually organized tissue to interact with light and achieve an intriguing iridescence. Each dial is intrinsically unique and  framed by 66 brilliant cut diamonds which flow onto Harry Winston signature lugs. he Premier Feather Watch is powered by a quartz movement and water resistant to 30m.
The timepiece is bound to the wrist by a satin strap and secured with an 18k white gold or rose gold buckle set with 29 brilliant cut diamonds. 
Only 8 pieces of these feathery watches will be produced making them much coveted collectors items especially by those who have an affinity to towards fowls.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jeanrichard Terrascope in Deepsea Blue

I have a weakness for blue dials.  Think Piaget Emperador, Ulysses Nardin, Blancpain and Jaeger LeCoultre Rendez-vouz blue. Now I have another stunning blue to add to the list - The Jeanrichard Terrascope timepiece.  The dial of the Terrascope is an intriguing blend of  blue hues accentuated by a textured look providing the illusion that one is looking upon the swirling seas of mother earth from a distant planet. Of course I have not come by this notion as a result of my overactive imagination (of which I am not denying), but rather by the name of the collection itself.
Terrascope in its literal sense means "Terra" - as in earth and "Scope" as in viewing instrument like microscope or telescope. It seems, again in its literal sense,  an instrument such as a terrescope would be of no use to us earthly folk, because as the name suggests ,and it being the antithesis of a telescope , the terrascope would be much more useful to inquisitive aliens. Jeanrichard other collections include the Aquascope and Aeroscope.  Jeanrichard refers to the Terrascope collection as "The accomplice of the explorers of the planet."

So how does the new blue  Jeanrichard Terrascope 39mm fare as an explorer's accomplice?  As far as blending in with an explorers get-up, the Terrascope signature structure sporting a round bezel and dial superimposed over a cushion shaped watch case exudes a look of rugged competence. This type of construction enables a unique modular case design. The advantage of the modular case - its exploded version depicted to the left - is its ability to integrate different materials and design elements into the timepiece without having to perform a complete overall.  In addition, since the watch is a partner in earths exploration, different explorers require different watch options, of which JeanRichard provides many.
Of course when one is exploring the earth, one is bound to happen upon a large body of water where getting quite wet is the only option of passage.   Thus the Terrascope is water resistant to 100 meters successfully implemented without a screw down crown.  Of course this is due to clever and optimal construction culminating from years of watchmaking experience.  JeanRichard is a sister company to Girard Perregaux, both now under the Kering Group,  and named after the great watchmaker Daniel JeanRichard - read his incredible story here.
The 39mm Terrascope sporting new subtle alteration of proportions adds underlying classic formality to a sporty watch.  Beneath the azure blue dial, rhodium coated hands and suspended indices, a self-winding JR60 movement beats at 28,800 vph visible via a sapphire crystal case-back.  The sapphire crystal case back is a new feature in this collection enabling the wearer to view the watch movement in action beneath the to and fro movement of the black oscillating weight.

The purpose of the oscillating weight or rotor in any watch enables automatic winding without winding at the crown. The rotor is designed to move back and forth during the swinging motion of ones arms while walking.  The movement of the rotor or oscillating weight winds the mainspring.  The mainspring stores the energy which is released at a constant rate - thanks to the  efficient mechanics of the balance spring and escapement.

The dial of the JeanRichard Terrsacope is actually a two part construction with a raised outer ring baring the minute track. The hands and hour markers are situated on the actual dial plate. The chiseled baton hour markers are tipped by Superluminova allowing for easy readout in the dark. Superluminova also coats the  JeanRichard Terrascope signature arrow hour hand and losangé minute hands.  Other dial functions include a  red tipped arrow seconds hand as well as a date aperture located at the 3 'o' clock position. 

 Quite a few striking female models have also been released with these new redesigned dimensions. Dusty Rose hues and shimmering diamond bezels to name but a few.

With its remarkable versatility;  dependable craftsmanship; astonishing range of color, gem and material combinations and affordable pricing ($2000-$5000 range - depending on materials and gems) and now more models sized at 39mm,  the JeanRichard Terrascope collection should be well taken in consideration when out to purchase a watch.