Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fall in Love with Zenith Queen of Love

Zenith Queen of Love White Dial Satin Over Leather Women's Automatic Chronograph, Power Reserve Indicator Watch

Zenith is all out passion, whether red hot passion or macho fuel burning passion, you always feel its heat exuding from a Zenith Timepiece. If you have trouble with my meaning, check out the Zenith Queen of Love, a timepiece unbridled by the constraints of conformity. A heart aperture enables one to view the exceptionally crafted automatic movement beneath the dial. The timepiece is available in red or in slightly subdued hues of rose gold and brown. The straps of both timepieces are satin over leather providing a dressy appearance to the overall look.

A power reserve indicator indicates the amount of power left to run the movement. The movement is automatic thereby being powered by the swinging motion of ones arm via an oscillating weight .

When not in use, a watch winder is always useful to keep the power spring wound. I personally like the Swiss Kubik brand. It is a Swiss brand designed for optimum watch winding. There are cheaper watch winders of inferior quality out there, but their winding movements may be too harsh, thereby actually damaging the movement rather than protecting it.

A Zenith Automatic Timepiece deserves a Swiss Kubik Watch Winder.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Haldimann Horology H8 Sculptura Defies Gravity and Reason

No this watch does not tell the time, but if it did, it would ensure gravity bears no effect on it.
In the stark blackness of the dial flutters a tourbillon - an hypnotic complication invented in 1795 by French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, a century after Newton defined gravity. Breguet reasoned that as a result of the constant position of the vertical position of the pocket watch, the balance spring is confounded by the effect of gravity effecting the accuracy of the watch. This error could be compensated with a tourbillion whereby the escapement, balance wheel, and balance spring is placed in a rotating carriage which turns once per minute on its own axis.

However, the H8 Sculptura does not display the time and thus has no need for precision. In addition, a tourbillon was designed for a pocket watch and thus gravity does not effect (if it ever did) the movement of a wrist watch.
Haldimann has introduced the H8 Sculptura for what it is, a mechanical work of art, for which there is no functional timekeeping purpose. A pragmatist would argue, if a tourbillon has no effect on precision then what use is it?
I would say, a tourbillon is a complication only achieved by exceptional watch makers, a right of passage if you will dividing the serious watch collectors from the novices. It has survived for hundreds of years as a complication unto itself, and I think Haldimann is unveiling this watch to display the magic of the tourbillon, and only the tourbillon, in its entirety.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seiko Premier Kinetic Perpetual Watch: A Clever Quartz Mechanical Combination.

When one thinks of a Seiko, one thinks of a mass produced digital watch with a bunch of cool functions, but not the dressy impressive watch used to enthrall ones friends. So when I happened upon Seiko's latest achievement, Seiko Premier Kinetic Perpetual Calender, I immediately liked the style. First off, the material color combo is one of my favorites - rose gold toned steel (not actually rose gold, thus making this watch affordable), black dial and white numbers.
This watch is great for dressy occasions and fits nicely in the corporate world. A perfect watch to start a new management career, not outrageously expensive (about 980 Euros), but exuding a refined sense of style and a commitment to time management.
Seiko powers its timepiece utilizing its Seiko Kinetic Perpetual Auto Relay which is an expansion and improvement on the general idea of the quartz movement, as well as integrating a form of the traditional mechanical techniques. An "accumulator" stores energy created by a rotor in the back of the watch, a variation of a rechargeable battery - except the power is derived from motion rather than another source of electricity. This is a relatively new concept first introduced by Seiko in the 1990's; although extremely innovative it did not have the monumental impact dealt by the introduction of the quartz watches in the early 1970's.

The Kinetic Perpetual Auto Relay watch has the perpetual calendar complication which accounts for leap years and will need no adjustment till the year 2100 (better let your great grandchildren know). Mechanical watches with the perpetual calendar complication require an enormous amount of additional components and are usually exceedingly expensive some running into the hundreds of thousands. In addition, if one forgets to wind the watch or the power reserve is depleted, the watch stops. Perpetual Calender watches take some time to reset. Seiko has invented quite a clever idea. The watch can lie dormant for up to four years; the hands will not move, but the watch will still keep track of the date and time. As soon as it is picked up and placed on the wrist, the hands on the watch face and sub dials will swing into place and continue displaying the correct time. The is achieved via Seiko's Auto Relay System; part of the efficient Seiko Caliber 7D56 movement. 100 meter water resistant (seems to be the standard nowadays), black leather strap imprinted to achieve a crocodile skin texture, sapphire crystal.

Seiko is a company established in Japan in 1881 by K. Hattori. This time in Japan's history was a time of rapid westernization, as the Edo period had ended in 1868 and the Meiji period had begun. The Western influence took Japan by storm, as did the Western Societies obsession with
time and precision, the perfect environment to start a successful watch company: Seiko.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Basel Sneak Peak: Zenith El Primero Jumping Seconds

The power of Zenith Watches never fail to impress me and the El Primero Jumping Seconds (Foudroyante) chronograph watch is no exception. Beneath the sleek confident dial is cutting edge precision; the result of a rapid balance frequency -36,000 vibrations per hour- rendering the timepiece a master of efficient time keeping. The El Primero movement is in itself an icon of Zenith. First introduced in 1969 as being the first automatic chronograph movement and been noted in horology history as the "first chronograph caliber with automatic winding by an oscillating weight pivoting on a centrally-placed ball bearing mechanism."

With this new Timepiece ,which will debut at Basel World 2010, another first will inspire the watch world - the first automatic integrated chronograph with 1/10th second display or otherwise known as the foudroyante or jumping seconds function. In this function the division of a second is up for grabs, in this case the second is divided by 1/10th of a second. The red hand counterbalanced by the zenith star is the "foudroyante hand" which performs a complete rotation in 10 seconds rather than the traditional 60 seconds, thus the outer most edge of the dial is marked from 1 to 10 enabling one to read in 1/10ths of a second. This function increases precision and enhances readability.

Housed in a 43mm diameter stainless steel or 18k rose gold case (the choice is yours) is an ingenious elaboration of the chronograph mechanism. Utilizing the silicon in crucial components of the El Primero 4052 B Caliber automatic movement, Zenith reduced energy consumption and improved shock absorbency. The chronograph mechanism has a chronograph stop function which utilizes a hand-locking system bringing the hand to a precise stop. A brake lever positions the hand between two of a 100 teeth of the chronograph wheel. The speedy stop and start function of this timepiece requires an enormous amount of energy thus silicon is used. Silicon is three and a half times lighter than other traditional materials.

The Zenith El Primero Jumping Seconds is an attractive timepiece which exudes competency. The remarkable movement can be viewed via a scratch resistant sapphire crystal case-back. The hands and hour markers are coated with Superluminova enabling time display in the dark. Water resistant to 100 meters. Available with either a rubber-lined black or brown alligator strap.

Zenith is a company which accentuates extreme functionality and performance, and thus it comes at no surprise that the El Primero movement takes no less than 9 months of work, performed by 20 watchmakers each an expert in their craft, to complete. Every general El Primero movement ,from conception to completion, takes 5,500 operations of which 50 are general milling operations, 77 milling operations on the bridge side, separate operations for each individual part, 18 different metals.

Own a watch that beats to its own drum - 864,000 times a day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baselworld 2010 Sneak Peak - Bvlgari for Gerald Genta

The wait is finally over, at last we get a sneak peak at the new Bvlgari/ Gerald Genta combination. Up until January 2010, Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth have been independent brands operating beneath the Bulgari group; however, times have become tougher and Bulgari has been struggling financially, thus Bulgari decided to merge Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth to make them a Bvlgari brand. The Bvlgari brand name will appear on any future watches.
Our first sneak peak of this fusion is the Bvlgari for Gerald Genta Jump Hour Biretrograde Watch. Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta no longer have their original watch designers and all the marketing, sales, design, distribution and manufacture are all unified with Bvlgari.

The Bvlgari For Gerald Genta (should be Gerald Genta for Bvlgari) Jump Hour Biretrograde Watch is a handsome timepiece, but the name Bvlgari on a clearly Gerald Genta Octo timepiece renders me a tad uncomfortable. Name aside, the 43mm case sports jumping hours, retrograde minute indication and a retrograde calender. What's interesting about the watch is the bezel, which is comprised of satin-finished black ceramic and accentuated with seven bezel studs forming an arc over the retrograde minute display. The onyx-capped beaded winding crown serves as a nice touch. The watch is powered by a GG7722 caliber, self winding mechanical movement capable of a 45 hour power reserve and a balance frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The jumping hour and retrograde minute time display renders the timepiece extremely easy to read with a lovely retro design dial. Bvlgari's name is below the jumping hour towards the center of the dial, and Gerald Genta's logo together with "Cal 7722" is below the retrograde date.

I have a feeling in a couple years, Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth will be completely phased out, with just the distinctive case shapes and jumping hour/ retrograde displays remaining.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Swarovski Timepieces Keep Getting Better

Swarovski has infused its Octea Sports Collection with color, and I mean "Caution Road work ahead" color. Not that I did not like Swaroivski's white ladies sports Octea, but compared to this years Octea Sport Orange Watch, 2009 Collection looks quite subdued.
Okay lets get down to business, first and foremost lets not forget who Swarovski is. Swarovski dates back to 1895. Founded by Daniel Swarovski who completed a two year apprentice in his father's small factory, it went onto become one of the most revered crystal manufacturers of today. Then merge exceptional watch making techniques with over a century of crystal expertise and you have a unbelievable timepiece.
The Octea is exclusivly a women's collection, sporting a 39mm wide steel case rimmed with a rotating divers bezel containing Swarovski crystal. To expand on the diving image, the watch reminds me of clown fish hiding among sea anemone in a crystal clear coral reef.

Of course, the elegant swan logo is at the 12 'o'clock position and where as in past Octea models, she was silvery gray, now she is a vibrant orange. The Swan also occupies a prominent place in the crown as a cabochon. This Sporty Timepiece is powered by a Swiss Quartz movement and is available with an arresting orange strap or a metal bracelet.

The watch will run you between $800 or $900.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Splash of Swatch and a Touch of History

Swatch watches have always been awash with color, and these new beauties are no exception. Flexible and comfortable, Swatch is a watch within your comfort zone. These colors are perfect for spring, like a flower garden. Swatch watches are indeed an all time favorite ,especially to the younger generation, who crave color.
Swatch watches had on enormous impact on the Swiss Watch Industry. I am sure everyone is familiar with the Quartz scare which was prompted by the introduction of the Quartz movement. In the 1970's and 1980's, Quartz watches flooded the market. The incredible impact this development had on the watch industry brought manufacturing down from its high in 1970 ,where 1,620 Swiss Watch companies were employing 89,000 people, to 600 employing only 32,500 in 1985. Swiss Watchmakers can still recall the dark days of 1982 when Swiss banks lent more than $400 million to keep the industry afloat. Swiss Watchmakers needed to reclaim their industry from Japan in order to continue their watchmaking legacy. It was in this shaky time Nicolas G. Hayek, leader of the Swatch Group, made a crucial decision. He decided to release of the Swatch Watch.

The survival of the Swiss Watch Industry depended on the success of the Swatch Watch, and successful it was. The Swiss Watch Industry made an enormous come back, even bringing companies back from dormancy like Blancpain - now a Swatch Group Company.
The Swatch Group owns a whole slew of Watch Brands including Breguet, Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Hamilton, Tiffany & Co as well as ETA, a producer of mechanical and quartz watch movements.