Friday, January 30, 2009

Hublot Big Bang does Valentine in Pink!

Hublot BIG BANG "Saint Valentin"
At first glance this gorgeous burst of color will surely make your loved ones heart melt. The seductive pink is a treat to ones heart and mind. The Hublot Big Bang Ladies Chronograph harmoniously blends the perfect shades of pink, from the 48 pink sapphire baguettes nestled on the bezel to the rose gold case; from the gentlest of pink on the alligator band to the pink rubber inserts on the crown and push pieces.
The size of the 41mm case size is a fashion statement as the larger case sizes in ladies watches is the current trend. The scratch resistant Sapphire crystal is treated onto the interior with anti-reflection. This watch is perfect for a summery day at the pool as the watch has a water resistance of 100m. The white dial compliments the pink accents.
A Mechanical Chronograph Timepiece with an automatic winding and an exceptionally precise Hublot HUB41 Calibre movement. Although this watch looks like a piece of cake, or rather the icing, it is anything but. With 278 components, 37 rubies and 42 hours power reserve, this watch is a perfect example of precision and beauty.

This watch will add another color to the already very colorful Ladies Big Bang Collection of aquamarine, orange an purple.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can a Luxury Mechanical Watch Remember?

And with this question lingering on the lips of Maurice Lacroix's specialized group of highly skilled watch makers, Atelier, a brand new complication was born: A mechanical watch that can remember. The Memoire 1. The Atelier achieved what had only previously been achieved in a quartz watch.
To glance at the watch one can see the timeless beauty and exceptional lines, but it is also clear that this timepiece has a greater agenda than tracking time. This watch has the world's first mechanical memory function. The watch case with its multi leveled dial portray a sense of exciting and mysterious depth. The white gold is stark against the alternating black on the dial. To add to the depth of this watch is the screw fitted bezel which has a laterally mounted scratch resistant sapphire crystal. The side viewing gives the impression of a show case window whereby every incredible motion of the watch is captured by the wearer. Through the bezel one can view the second hand which is linked to the minutes.
Integrated in the crown at the 3 'o'clock position is ,a one of a kind feature, the mode selection button.
How does the memory function operate? When one presses the mode selection button, the mode switches from "Time" to "Chrono". In an instant the watch's hand and the hour disc change positions. If their previous function was to display the current time, the hands and the hour disc is in place to measure time intervals. Now when one presses the mode selection button again, the hands switch back to displaying the current precise time. It is possible for one to switch the mode back and forth numerous times, and no information within either mode is lost. The timepiece in effect has remembered the information from the previous mode thus the Memoire 1 is able to show the elapsed time while still remembering the current time. The same two hands and hour disc is utilized for both the chrono and the time function. This is a groundbreaking complication.

Other noteworthy unique features of the Memoire 1:
  • A skeleton section is located with an aperture at the 6 'o'clock position which shows the movement behind the memory mechanism for the seconds.
  • The date is displayed on its individual inclined disc which is noticeable at first glance and does not detract from the other complicated mechanisms of the watch. I have seen so many dates that seem to clutter a dial that the placement of this date aperture is quite brilliant.
  • The transparent hour disc is not made from sapphire crystal as you might expect, through many tests and experiments the experts of Atelier decided Sapphire crystal was too weak for this particular function; instead, they used a mineral based material that had already been used in the car and cellphone industry. The material was treated to ensure its hardness and flexibility.
  • The second hand is blued and mounted on the outer edge of the minutes ring.
  • The minute hand is coated with a white luminous coating which glows blue in the dark.
  • A skeleton hand at the 3 'o' clock position marks the selected mode whether "Time" or "Chrono"
  • The memory function is powered by the ML 128 manufacture movement.
  • The Memoire 1 is comprised of 537 components.

This watch is an incredible achievement of the Atelier. It is a wonder what Atelier will come up with next.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Edox unveils its new Edox Grand Ocean Collection

Edox is celebrating its 125th birthday this year. It is one of the few existing watch companies that remain independent to this day. In 1961, Edox introduced the world's first wristwatch with a double case back and protective gaskets and seals, raising the global bar for shock protection and water resistance. The watch was aptly named the Delfin as it could weather the seas like a Dolphin. To commemorate the Delfin, Edox has introduced the Edox Grand Ocean Collection. The watches are all mechanical with a distinctly maritime theme.

The Edox Chronograph Grand Ocean Automatic is powered by the automatic rewind calibre Edox No. 012 movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. On the watches back ,like a sea vessels porthole, is a small round opening exactly above the balance wheel.
The name Edox, chosen by the talented watchmaker and founder of Edox, Christian Ruefli-Flury in 1884, signifying "the hour" in ancient Greece., is emblazoned at the 12 'o clock position. Above Edox is Edox's symbol, "the hourglass", which was chosen in 1900.
Another watch in Edox's Grand Collection is the the Grand Ocean Decentrique Date Automatic.If you wondering about the term "Decentrique" check out the off centered dial. This watch is a grand 45mm in diameter with a popular fusion of rubber, PVD, and rose gold coating. This watch as with all in the Grand Ocean Collection is water resistant up to 100mm. The waxing and waning of the Roman Numerals portray a marvelous sweeping look, giving the timepiece a sense of space greater than its 45mm. I have a couple of misgivings about the date indicator as I feel the +1 and -2 are unnecessary, unless of course they portray a maritime meaning completely above my head. A handsome sporty watch for a reasonable $2,800.
This Grand Ocean is the most balanced of the collection, although I am not to thrilled by the three day window. Most people have learned the days of the week by the time they have reached the Edox wearing stage; however, it does add to the charm. Enclosed within its 45mm rose gold coated case is the small highly reliable ETA calibre 2836. Now we know ETA ,owned by Swatch Group, stands for Elegance, Technology and Accuracy which sums up the movement of this Edox Grand Ocean.

A fine collection.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An SIHH 2009 Beauty! Cartier Rotonde Central Chronograph

The Cartier Rotonde Central Chronograph Watch is so Cartier and yet there is something quite different like a new flavor to an old recipe. The sword shaped hour and minute hands are partially hidden beneath a centrally placed chronograph sub dial which measures 30 minutes, with the use of a revolving disc that literally covers most of the hour and minute hand on the watch face. The chronograph is a breeze to read as all the 30 minutes are displayed on the disc. The watch hands are quite similar in size and thus when the hands are not displayed at the usual 10:10, confusion may result. Cartier has incorporated an intricate bi-level dial.

The 18K gold round case measures 42mm in diameter.The beaded crown adorned with the blue sapphire cabochon is placed in between sleek rectangular chronograph pushers. The movement is a new in house manually wound manufacturer calibre 9907MC which breathes life into the dial. The movement is made up of 272 pieces, each piece carefully crafted to ensure precision time keeping as well as incredible resilience and durability. The 9907MC also encompasses a unique vertical clutch mechanism which allows the chronograph to perform continuously without excessive strain to the mechanism. The balance frequency is 28,800 vibrations per hour, and a power reserve of 50 hours.

A gorgeous watch which blends horological innovation, creativity and functionality.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Concept in Time Display.

Do you like the 10:10 time display, liked it so much that you cringe every time the hand ticks to the next hour, well you might me in luck. Check out this new time display concept from Stas Aki. The hands stay and the numbers move. Why not? It could take some time getting used to. I love this concept, and I wonder how a watch like this could be pulled off in a mechanical version.

Watch from Stas Aki on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wow! Look what Cartier has done to the Tank.

Once in a while a watch stops me in my tracks as a result of its breathtaking beauty. This is one of them without a doubt. The Cartier Tank Americaine Tourbillon Volant Watch. It is a Tank, a Cartier Icon. Click here to read more on the Tank.

With mounting financial "butterflies in the stomach" uncertainty in the Luxury Watch Business, Cartier has improved on a much loved classic. The outcome a gem of a watch with its "Tourbillon Volant" or "Flying Tourbillon". A tourbillon is a complication originally created in 1795 by French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguetto to counter the effects of gravity on the movement of the watch. Cartier has placed everything that works in a Watch, so that the watches success is its birthright. The dazzling sapphire crystal cabochon accentuates the crown, and the 18k rose gold softens the look. The watch has a mechanically wound 9452MC movement with a flying Tourbillon complication and the Geneva Seal. The Power reserve is 50 hours.

This watch is quite large for a tank: 52mm tall and 36mm wide, but in this case the bigger the better. The heat-blued hands and the Roman Numeral Hour indicators are wonderfully Cartier.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Vulcain to present President Obama with Anniversary Heart Watch

Vulcain, a La Chaux-de-Fonds watch company since 1858, will continue its long standing tradition and award America's 44th , President Barack Obama, with its Anniversary Heart Watch. This Watch will be a custom made Anniversary Heart Model created to mark President's Obama inauguration, and the 150th Anniversary of Vulcain. To look at this watch is to see a watch fit for the President of the United States.

Within the timepiece's stately case is a 157 part Vulcain Cricket V-18, with a 15-20 second alarm complication. The alarm function is activated utilizing the top crown, and the distinctive alarm hand is located on the partially skeletonized dial, revealing portions of the moving gear trains that power the hands. With many skeletonized watches the readability of the hands is compromised by the constant movement; however, on this watch the beveled hour index markers are raised and the minute markers are located on the edge of the dial. The 42 mm wide case is attached to a Louisiana crocodile leather strap affixed with a buckle and deployment clasp.
The watch presented to President Obama will have a specially engraved case back. The watch will be available in steel or 18k rose gold, so it remains to be seen which one will be selected for presentation to President Obama. This watch will join Obama's Tag Heuer Series 1500 Divers Watch and the Chronograph watch -the Secret Service presented to him on August 4th, 2007 for his 46th birthday. To read more about President Obama's Watch click here

Vulcain's tradition began in 1953 when the White House Press Photographers' Association presented Harry S. Trumen (President from December 4th 1945 to January 1st, 1953) with a Vulcain Cricket. The Vulcain Cricket gained the reputation as the "President's Watch." Trumen loved the watch and donned it on many occasions. He particularly like the alarm-complication which reminded him of important engagements he had to attend.
U.S. President Eisenhower (January 20th , 1953 to January 20th, 1961) wore a Cricket before being elected president. President Lyndon Johnson presented the Cricket to more than 200 people. At a Geneva meeting for the United Nations President Johnson gave an order to buy up all the available Cricket's. The Cricket was more than a mere convenient accessory; it was a reliable companion. Bill Clinton received a Vulcain Cricket during his presidency.
What is it about the Vulcain Cricket?

As it is human nature to forget, this alarm function or reminder function was an important tool for man. It is interesting to note, the alarm function is older than the minute hand. Men's wristwatches became quite popular, thanks to Santos-Dumont, as peoples lives became more hectic in the fast paced modern world, they needed to be reminded of appointments. An alarm function was the perfect reminder; however, the wristwatch was quite small in comparable to a larger pocket watch and thus quite difficult to make an audible gong. An alarm function had three problems within a wristwatch case:
1) Audibility
2) Effecting Dust protection
3) Effecting Water resistance
... then in 1947, Vulcain presented the Vulcain Cricket. The Cricket was so loud it was impossible to miss the reminder. Robert Ditisheim turned to mother nature to resolve the alarm audibility dillema. Ever tried to fall asleep while a cricket is chirping its nightly song? Ever put the pillow over your ear to drown out the noise, but still heard its persistant resonance. AHH! Now that is the answer. If a tiny cricket could cause such a noise, than surely a wristwatch could do the same. Robert Ditsheim Incorporated a resonance-chamber like that of a cricket by fitting a two-part back to the watch case. The inner encloses the watch case and serves to generate the sound. A hammer strikes the watch-case which oscillates and produces the sound-waves. The outer case has a twofold function: First it permits the sound-generating inner-back to oscillate freely as it has no direct contact with the wearer's wrist. Second it forms a small space between the inner case back which serves as a resonance chamber. Although many Watch Companies have crafted mechanical minute repeaters, none is quite as loud as the Vulcain Cricket.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Watches for Valentines Day

Blancpain Women 'Saint-Valentin 2009' Time to be Romantic. Just in time for Valentines Day Blancpain has tenderly unveiled an exclusive edition of the 99 Flyback Chronographs. Crafted in soft pure colors of mother-of-pearl and white, Blancpain has succeeded in manufacturing the perfect watch for the perfect one. Rubies shaped as a heart frames the small seconds sub dial. As Blancpain has never produced a quartz movements (the company went into hibernation during the quartz sensation), the movement is a Blancpain F185 caliber with a a 40 hour power reserve.

Piaget Limelight Love Letter Timepiece

Where is the watch you say, well open the envelope and find out. Elegantly crafted from 18-Karat white gold, the rectangular case is an envelope. On the top triangular portion of the envelope flap, the eternal word "love" is engraved in romantic Victorian lettering. Lift the hinge lid accentuated with a cabochon ruby and the diamond set word "you" is displayed. The Watch is present behind the second hinge where its 56P quartz movement is working with precise determination. 130 round-brilliant cut demands adorn the watch. The Romantic look is completed with a finely grained satin strap and 18K white golf folding clasp. This watch will definitely draw an audible and quite jealous gasp from her friends.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Despite economy, Franck Muller goes ahead with WPHH 2009

Franck Muller Aeternitas Version II Perpetual Calendar

Tomorrow, January 18th Franck Muller will open the doors on its 12th World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie, coinciding with the SIHH which opens its doors on January 19th. Watch customers, journalist and enthusiasts from around the globe will be able to visit both events.
The WPHH promises to be a spectacular event hosted in the grand Franck Muller Watchland Park. Watchland is located a few minutes from Geneva where the air is pure and the gently sloping terrain on the banks of Lake Geneva is the Village of Genthod, an idyllic setting for a Watch Company. In 1995, Frank Muller moved his headquarters to "les Amandoliers" - a neo-Gothic style manor house designed by famous architect, Edmond Fatio, and built in 1905. The manor house accomodates some of Frank Muller workshops and administrative headquarters. Two new buildings complimenting Edmond Fatio's architectural style as well as two additional structures, terraced gardens are part of Frank Muller's expansive Watchland.
Nine Franck Muller brands will be displayed at this year's WPHH:
Franck Muller, Frank Muller Jewerly, Pierre Kunz, ECW, Rodolphe, Barthelay, Backes & Strauss, Martin Braun and Pierre Michel Golay.
In addition 2009 will be a first for Frank Muller Watchland as it introduces an entire range of new mechanical movements made entirely within the FM group, from an idea to the finished product. A sneak peak at the complications in question include the new automatic FM movement for the column wheel chronograph 3210 CC AT and the automatic movements 2210 & 2211.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Star studded Piaget gets sporty!

Piaget has manufactured breathtaking watches that glint with glitz and glamor, but that did not stop them from creating a unmistakable sporty watch. The sportiest watch Piaget has ever manufactured to date. The Piaget Polo 45 Flyback Chronograph Watch.

The Piaget Polo 45 Flyback Chronograph is part of Paiget iconic & timeless Polo Collection, launched in 1979. This watch shakes off the pink gold from which its more formal counterpart - the Piaget Polo Chronograph GOA 32029 -is crafted. The new adrenalin charged model is manufactured from super resilient titanium as well as steel.
The strap is rubber for a secure comfortable fit in times of strenuous activity, and if the activity happens to be near water, the Piaget Polo 45 is water resistant to 100 meters. Its movement is the Piaget 880P self winding chronograph movement, Piaget's first chronograph movement. The movement was born out of exceptional watchmaking experience. This watchmaking marvel is equipped with a 30 minute fly back chronograph. This movement is quite useful as you do not need to stop it to be reset. In addition, a clearly labeled second time zone sub dial ,beneath the 9 o' clock position, indicates the time in 24 hour time. In this sporty edition the sub dials are clearly labeled.
For long arduous journeys of endurance, this watch is crafted with two barrels providing 52 hours of power reserve.

With the introduction of this watch, Piaget has taken a giant leap into the World of Luxury Sports Watches.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How Hamilton Watch Company helps protect our Planet Earth.

Time is ticking on planet earth. Forest's are dwindling, trees being felled, deserts are encroaching on lush land at an alarming rate, extinction of plant, insect and animal life is rampant, some we have never even discovered. The world population is growing and our natural resources are shrinking.
Hamilton, an American Watch Company, in conjunction with Harrison Ford is contributing to conservation awareness.

In 2008, Hamilton unveiled a Khaki Conservation Watch with a highly precise Swiss automatic GMT movement which is viewable via the watches transparent case back which is embossed with the signature of a prolific American Actor, Harrison Ford, as well as the Conservation International Logo. The Khaki conservation is a 42 mm stainless steel watch and is part of the Hamilton Khaki Series. The watch time zones indicates locations of C1 projects - Conservation International projects in the worlds most volatile and threatened natural ecosystems from Suriname to South Africa, from Madagasgar to the Philippines. The watch has a rugged Safari look to it. Maybe it is the Beige new buck leather band which resembles the South African Karoo, a C1 hot spot, with its endless miles of beige bush and arid land.

Harison Ford, a long time Board member of Conservation International, expresses the urgency for conservation;

"Our health relies entirely on the vitality of our species on Earth. When we protect the places where the processes of life can flourish, we strengthen not only the future of medicine, agriculture and industry, but also the essential condition for peace and prosperity,"

A large portion of the proceeds for the sale of each watch , 4000 units were released, will go to the Conservation International Organization.
True to its mission the Watch is delivered in a corrugated recycled cardboard packaging.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The spirit of the Omega Speedmaster.

Since 1957, Omega Speedmaster has accompanied man on many missions from an inspiring six round trips to the moon, one Apollo-Soyuz test project to a future project aimed to take flight this year. A Speedmaster will take to the skies on board an entirely solar airplane. This solar impulse prototype with a wingspan like that of an airbus A340 and weighing only 1.5 tons will try to circumnavigate the earth solely utilizing solar energy to power of the aircraft. In great human accomplishments, Speedmaster is the timepiece to withstand the elements and witness the spirit of achievement.

It was with a Speedmaster strapped to his wrist ,Ralph Plaisted, a St. Paul, Minnesota insurance man and amateur explorer set out on Wednesday, February 21st, 1968 to be the first undisputed expedition to travel overland and stand on the North Pole. (Robert Peary claimed to be the first in 1909, although his claim is fraught with decades of skepticism). It took Ralph Plaisted and 3 fellow explorers, 44 days and 474 mile trek across the polar ice cap to arrive at the North Pole. They traveled by four gasoline powered snowmobiles with a horsepower of 16. The party spent a day at the Pole to allow a US Air force C135 weather reconnaissance plane to confirm their position and take pictures. It was Ralph Plaisted second attempt that was successful, his first in 1967, was a failure, as he was forced to turn back just 370 miles from the pole as a result of storms and open water.
His pioneering spirit was unstoppable and he tried again in 1968. Once asked why he would try the dangerous arctic journey a second time, Ralph Plaisted said,

" It's there and the challenge is ours. Even if we fail, we have more satisfaction than those who remain in the gray area - the warm house, the television set- of those who never try and can never know success or failure."

It is amazing to note that an Omega Speedmaster accompanied Ralph Plaisted on his frigid voyage to the North Pole. The Omega Speedmaster is still manufactured with the same attention to excellence. It is still in a class of its own. Each timepiece is manufactured over a 14 month period whereby all the 195 separate parts are carefully crafted. It takes 80 hand held operations to create the main plate for a single Speedmaster. Just like the pioneering spirit of those that surged forward and into the light, Omega Speedmaster has kept up with cutting-edge technology in terms of digitization and new man-made materials.
To own a Omega Speedmaster is to own a touch of humankind. It is with the Omega Speedmaster that man will finally step on the red dust of Mars and it is with the Omega Speedmaster that mankind's next greatest achievement will be documented in time.

Omega Speedmaster Date Chronograph Automatic Men's Watch

Omega Speedmasters are crafted for voyages of discovery and the strive to stretch man's survival to the limits. The hands and hour markers are luminous useful in the face of darkness. The movement is an automatic chronograph chronometer. To achieve the title of Chronometer, a watches movements has to undergo rigorous testing by the COSC (The Official Swiss Control Office for Chronometers) The movements are individually tested for 15 days, in 5 different positions at 3 different temperatures. The Watch has a power reserve of 44 hours to and scratch resistant sapphire crystal.

If ever you would like to embark on that voyage of a lifetime, take an Omega Speedmaster along, it will ensure your success.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cartier Carves its Roadster

The Cartier Roadster is the most elegant watch for men, and when you add a touch of walnut burl, well you have class. Frédéric de Narp, president and chief executive of Cartier North America says, "It comes to complete the aesthetic of the Roadster. You had the radiator, the dials, and the lights — and now you have the dashboard." He mentioned the inspiration for the watches crown had always been drawn from a automobiles radiator, and the curvature of the watches crystal on the headlights. The dashboard is now the gorgeous warm walnut burl hue of the dial and center bracelet links. This model comes in limited addition 18k rose gold (limited to 250 pieces) and 18k white gold (limited 150 pieces). Each wooden piece is painstakingly crafted by hand and receives 10 coats of lacquer, meaning the walnut burl is scratch and water resistance (up to 330 feet). The blend of gold and wood, of which both materials exist in its current form in nature, is extremely powerful. The watch exudes raw unbridled energy and power that speaks success.
Cartier Roadster Mens' Automatic Watch Two Tone Silver Dial

Cartier first introduced its highly popular Roadster collection in 2001, in stainless steel with interchangeable metal and alligator straps. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Watches worth a Dream!

To dream about owning a luxury watch or clock is not a new concept,although the reasons behind the wanting may have changed. In ancient times, the dream was to have an instrument that would keep track of time. Once that was done, the dream was to have a dependable precise infallible timepiece that would track time under harsh conditions. When that was achieved the dream was to have a personal timepiece that would portray ones sense of self. We have come a long way and its our wanting and our drive to create more beautiful and better time pieces. Every day another watch company unveils a heart stopping timepiece each a complete whole, each unique and each the stuff dreams are made of. Here are a few timepieces that have carved a spot in my memory to be willed to the forefront of my mind at any desired moment.

Roger Dubuis King Square Ladies' Tourbillon eludes to ballgowns and beautiful women. This watch has been awarded the ladies watch of the year by Salon Internacional Alta Relojera in Mexico. Although it has a definite whimsical nature to it, its clear bold shapes gives the sense that this women will not swoon at the slightest sign of trouble. This watch is in line with the large amount of Ladies Tourbillon watches that have been introduced into the market. With 13 rubies and 482 diamonds, this watch is a picture perfection creation. This watch reminds me of the movie, "The Matrix," and "Star Trek" all at the same time. It seems to resemble a futuristic spacecraft. The Hub Solo T Tourbillon and the Power reserve dial add to the look. Hublot however thinks it rather resembles cavier and has provided the watch with the title,"Black Cavier Bang." For One million Dollars it does not matter what it is called, it matters what it costs. Why so pricey? Well lets see. a) The hundreds of precision cut black diamonds totaling 34.5 total carats (322 on the case, 179 on the bezel, and 30 on the clasp). Now this is where the dreaming begins, this watch is limited to one piece. One will own the watch and all of us, well we will have to dream about it.
Bell & Ross BR01 Tourbillon Phantom with carbon fiber main plates and gold tourbillon carriage is a watch that may creep up in nightmares. The blackness of it is a bit terrifying, but awfully striking. Limited to 40 edition, keep dreaming.

Dreams do come true, you know. They did for the gentleman (in that old newspaper article above) who passed away before April 26, 1878 and they will work for you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ultra-thin Swiss Watch found in 400 year old tomb in China!

No matter how you wrap your head around this watch mystery it's a real puzzler. I have looked at a million different websites to gain some sort of perspective on this mystery, but I am still puzzled. If you have any insight, please help me out.

Read related article here

Last month, archaeologist were caught by surprise when they found a 100 year old tiny swiss watch in an ancient tomb that was sealed more than 400 years ago. They believed they were the first to visit the Ming dynasty grave in Shangsi, southern China, since its occupant's funeral. This discover occurred while the archaeologists were filming a documentary with two journalists from Shangsi town.

But inside they uncovered a distinctly tonneau-shaped miniature watch in the shape of a ring marked 'Swiss' thought to be just a century old. The mysterious timepiece was encrusted in mud and rock and had stopped at 10:06. Watches were not around at the time of the Ming Dynasty and Switzerland did not even exist as a country, an expert pointed out.

"When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, suddenly a piece of rock dropped off and hit the ground with metallic sound ," said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Museum.

"We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch," he added. The Ming Dynasty - or the Empire of the Great Ming - was the was ruling dynasty in China from 1368 to 1644.

The People's Daily reported the watch had stopped at 10:06 am, and the word "swiss" was engraved on the back.

Now there are several things I found weird about this story:
a) The watch was found in a undisturbed 400 year old tomb.
b) The watch is tonnneau-shaped. Tonneau shaped watches was unveiled by Cartier in 1906
c) The watch is extremely slim and if the watch is 100 years old its thin case can be compared to Concord's Delirium 1 which was unveiled in the 1979 - the flattest analog watch ever made at under 2mm.
d) The tiny size of the watch. It seems a ring watch but the clasp seems so small. It could have been a cuff link which was quite popular at one time.
e) The watch has the words "Swiss" on it rather than "Swiss Made"; however, there were many fakes made in that time so the word "Swiss" meant little.
f) The news articles all claimed the watch stopped at 10:06 AM. Why AM? It does not seem to be a 24 hour watch. Why not PM.?

So now I have asked loads of questions, I have a few scenarios. Not all are mine some I picked up from web pages, black back round with stars twinkling about them ,writing about time traveling objects and tiny holes in time and space whereby objects slip through into other dimension. I am sure you can come up with your own too. Please share!

a) This 400 year old tomb had previous visitors, and one such visitor was wearing a tiny ring watch on her baby finger.
b) This watch is not real but rather an advertisement gimmick used to promote the new torneau shape. This watch could have been placed on a store front mannequin. In the early 1900's there was no T.V or Internet to announce new styles, companies had to be inventive like creating small gimmicky models of their products.
c) This watch is actually a time traveler that fell through a doorway in the early 1900's and arrived 400 years earlier to rest beside a tomb.
d) This whole thing is a hoax, a clever marketing ploy for something or other.
Remember the You-Tube Cellphone popping popcorn sensation?

Well I suppose only time will tell!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfield, and his view on luxury in tough times.

Watch manufacturers keep unveiling divinely luxurious luxury watch, some dripping in diamonds, others made from cutting-edge materials and still others displaying complications that require years of intense craftsmanship. So what of the recession? It is true we are in the grips of a recession it was confirmed just the other day. Companies are handing out the pink slip, closing new endeavors and generally cutting back, but it was Karl Lagerfield, Chanel creative director that summed the recession and luxury items quite well.

In an interview with the BBC ,in regard to selling his $2000 handbags in an economic downturn, Karl Lagerfield sounded quite cheery,

The economic downturn was needed, he says, it had gone too far. "I see it like a cleaning up - it was too rotten anyway - so it had to be cleaned up...I see it like a healthy thing - horrible but healthy, like some miracle treatment of the world."

On responding to the BBC reporter who claimed that "luxury was not the real world and what was being sold were dreams".

"What is the real world?" he asks. "If you have no dreams, or if you don't try to improve real life of everybody, people would ask why they get up in the morning.
"You have to have a drive. My drive is the work I do.
"People have different kinds of dreams. After all, people need a handbag, there are cheaper handbags. But if you can buy a beautiful one and if that's your dream to buy, why not?"

Why are people who could never afford a handbag are so interested in your handbag?

"I can be interested in a $20m diamond I will never buy, without desiring the diamond. If you want only things you can afford, it's boring too."

Karl continued his 19 rings clinking as he spoke

"It's great to see things you may not buy - because you don't have the money - but it is very ugly to think they shouldn't exist because you can not buy them."
"People want to see something they may not be, but they should or could become," he says. The same as those handbags that cost thousands of dollars, then: dreams. "

* * *

I will conclude with some watches that dreams are made of, and maybe one day this watch will become your reality.

Girard-Perregaux Opera One Three Bridges Westminster Minute Repeater Tourbillon Men's Watch 1
Chopard's Ladies Diamond Quattro Tourbillon Watch - A Tourbillon rotating beneath rows and rows of diamonds, this watch seems to be a dream within a dream. At 500,000 Dollars it carries quite a price tag, but although we may not be able to buy it, we still can feast our eyes on its glittering splendor. 450 diamonds, baguette and pave cuts. Within the 42mm wide 18k white or rose gold case is the L.U.C. 4T manufacture made tourbillon movement. The movement is manually wound. The "Quatro" refers to four barrels within the movement with a total power reserve of 216 hours. Furthermore the Chopard L.U.C 4T is one of the only chronometer COSC certified tourbillon movement available.
Chopard utilizes the classic Happy Diamond Sport Watch case design. The gold Chopard cursive "C" signature creates the tourbillon bridge and within its gracful curves are the blued hands of the hours and minutes. The seconds are displayed by way of the tourbillon cage. The power reserve is elegantly discrete at the 12 'o' clock position of the dial with a solitude ruby placed at the empty position. The Chopard Ladies Diamond Tourbillon is a limited edition of just 50 pieces: 25 white gold and 25 rose gold.

Monday, January 5, 2009

SIHH 2009 opens in two weeks.

The 19th Salon International de la Haute Horogerie opens in Geneva from Monday January 19th to Friday January 23rd, but don't pack your bags just yet, the SIHH is reserved for guests of the exhibiting brands and professionals- by invitation only. The rest of us will have to be patient eagerly anticipating the new Timepieces crafted by exceptional Watch Brands.
Look out for new models from:
A.Lange and Sohne, Alfred Dunhill. Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, JeanRichard, Montblanc, Officine Panerei, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewerly Co., Roger Dubois, Vacheron Constantin and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Cartier is unveiling the Cartier Baignoire Grand Modele Watch a poetic addition to its Baignoire line first introduced in 1913. This Watch is in sync with its counterparts in Cartier Baignoire Collection with its oval face and pleasantly distorted numbers. This newer model has a larger sized case with a ultra-thin manually wound Piaget 430C movement. The Case is crafted from the increasingly popular rose gold with a silver dial. This luxurious timepiece is accentuated with Cartier's trademark in style: the blued hands, Roman numeral hands and a sapphire jewel cabochon set in the crown.

Amongst the Masters, a brand caught my eye - the Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewerly Co., a new joint venture between the Richemont Group (owns several of the world's leading companies in the field of luxury such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Panerai and Montblanc) and Polo Ralph Lauren who will join the brands showing at the SIHH and introduce its very first collection of Haute Horlogerie timepieces.

Another first at this years SIHH will be a cultural area displaying the achievements of the Fondation del la Haute Horlogerie. The FHH was established in 2005 in Geneva because of the rapid increase in watch making brands as well as the products that are created. Countless brands are releasing fine watch creations. FHH has taken on the role of providing information and guidance from the watch making specialists to the press as there has been an increasing interest from the media and the public.
The FHH is a modern Foundation which for the most part utilizes the Internet for the release of information.
In addition the FHH recognizes Luxury Watches have evolved from a "social aspiration" into a "cultural aspiration"
The FHH focuses its primary attention on information and training in Horology.

For the first time the SIHH will be held a full two months prior to BaselWorld 2009. Usually BaselWorld and SIHH overlapped making it easier for participants and the guests. BaselWorld 2009 will be held from March 26 to April 2, 2009 in Basel, Switzerland.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ulysse Nardin anchors itself in the World of Horology

Brief History of the role Ulysse Nardin played in the success of Marine Chronometers.

When ships were the only way to cross the seas and the voyage was treacherous, many lost their lives simply because they became lost. On October 22, 1707, four British Men 'O War sank just off the Cornish Coast, 2000 men were lost, because they did not know their longitude.

Finding a precise timekeeping instrument was a matter of life and death.

Man's struggle to determine longitude spanning four centuries, fueled the inventions of precise timekeepers. Timepieces which lost time, lost men at sea, as they were unable to calculate their location, and wandered among invisible lines of longitude, weaving in and out of degrees.

Click here to learn about the Longitude Act of 1714

Ulysse Nardin FREAK
Through decades and decades of intense research and experimentation, and through much trials and tribulations, marine chronometers were introduced. The precision and the resilience of a marine chronometer was of the utmost importance: A life line between a sea captain and the success of his voyage. The instrument had to be precise to the half a second, if not, death and destruction to the entire ship was possible. You see, at the equator, a single second off, correlates to an error of 463 meters. 463 could mean sailing in deep waters or being ripped to shreds on jagged coastal rocks.

In 1846, a young boy of 23 years old settled in Le Locle to create his own chronometers. His name - Ulysse Nardin, and he was a technical genius. He had a wealth of experience too as he had worked under the intense guidance of Federic-William Dubois, a renowned specialist in the manufacturing of marine chronometers and astronomic watches. Although, Ulysse Nardin worked on his marine chronometers 1000 miles above sea level, his heart was at sea, and his chronometers quickly became known as an instrument to depend on. In the 1800's when industry burgeoned and goods were being moved at an increasing rate around the globe, people realized the importance of keeping their fleets safe. More and more people purchased Ulysse Nadin's marine chronometers. The instruments were shipped from Basel down the river Rhine to the toll ships which sailed across the furious seas.

As life depended on the precision of the marine chronometers, the House of Ulysse Nardin regularly submitted their Marine Chronometers to the Neuchtel and Geneva Observatories where they were subjected to rigorous testing. Each Chronometer underwent 9 tests each lasting 7 days, where they were exposed to temperatures of 36,28,20,12 and 4 degrees, then again 12, 20,28, 36 degrees. These tests were designed to examine the resiliency of the chronometers in extreme conditions such as what the chronometers may experience in the harsh realities of time spent at sea.
Ulysse Nardin's Marine Chronometers excelled at the tests and their development of such fine and precise instruments were honored with the highest possible extinction throughout the world.
With these Marine Chronometers Sea Captains could rest assured that there sea vessel remained on course and the safety of all on board could be certain. Ulysse Nardin's Chronometers were installed in over 50 navies on 5 continents. In addition the company claimed over 4300 1st prizes and 18 gold medals at world fairs and international exhibitions.

As the world becomes increasingly advanced satellites have replaced the marine chronometer, the sextant and other navigation instruments; however Ulysse Nardin's timepieces are sought after by collectors and watch lovers alike. It is no wonder that the company sports the ships anchor as their logo. It could be said that when a ship was floundering within murky misty waters off the rocky coast of Africa, a Ulysse Nardin Chronometer would anchor the vessel in a moment of precise time and the vessel would continue its secure unhindered voyage along its precise predetermined longitude.

A Marine Chronometer is not the same term used for a Chronometer today -A "chronometer" in today's term is a high-precision watch capable of displaying the seconds and housing a movement that has been tested over several days, in different positions and at different temperatures, by an official neutral body (COSC).
Each movement is individually measured. Any watch with the denomination "chronometer" is provided with a certified movement by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute or the C.O.S.C. All of Ulysse Nardin's Timepieces which carry the title Chronometer have been tested by the C.O.S.C and given the title of Chronometer.

Ulysse Nardin timepieces are not only incredibly precise, but exquisite. The vivid colors are the result of perfected enameling techniques. A technique which Ulysse Nardin has brought back from the brink of extinction. The subject of enameling will be discussed at a later date.

Today Ulysse Nardin is at the forefront of discovering the ultimate watch component materials able to withstand friction, magnetic fields, temperature changes, humidity, pressure changes and shocks while increasing wear resistance and decreasing the need for lubrication. Ulysse Nardin also focuses on reducing the weight of the component while increasing efficiency and power reserve. Water, Dust and Vapor resistance is also plays a major role in research.

One of its major watch component breakthroughs was the DIAMonSIL Freak, which was the first watch of its kind equipped with a synthetic nanocrystal diamond escapement grown on a silicium raw part. The watch component is a technological breakthrough to be produced in abundance as part of in-house Caliber 118.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Feast your eyes on the Gérald Genta Octo Place de l’Etoile

The curtains part to unveil a glittering Gerald Genta timepiece in tribute to the Place de l'Etoile also known as Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris. An area surrounding the Arc de Triomphe (an arc which honors those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. Inscribed on the inside and on the top of the arc are all of the names of generals and wars fought. Beneath the arc is the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I) From the Place de l'Etoile twelve avenues fan out. Gerald Genta has reproduced a slice of these avenues displaying the prominent Avenue des Champs-Elysees as its focal point.

Gerald Genta has adopted a distinct three dimensional perspective of distance for its dial as Gerald Genta's jeweled Avenues become progressively smaller like a traveler driving down the avenues. Gerald Genta could have chosen a static birds eye view of the avenues, but this stance brings the entire scene to life. Gerald Genta has utilized the jumping hour time display which is placed at the 11 o'clock position to further enhance the feeling of depth. The retrograde minutes are indicated by a single black minute hand which is vivid and easy to read against the alternating background. The retrograde minutes are inscribed on the bezel in an 180 degree arc in lettering similar to lettering found on signs displaying street names. The diamond avenues consisting of 199 gems and its purple enameled motif extend from the dial and onto the bezel elongating the entire perspective.Gerald Genta has chosen a deep royal purple for its color contrast.
The entire case is crafted in warm rose gold and measures 39mm in diameter. The cobbled stones of streets embedded with history are reminiscent in the unique Aquilino texture of the watches strap. Aquilino is a water snake leather with a curious skin like paving stones.
This watch is indeed royalty and fit to honor Paris and the Place de l'Etoile.