Friday, December 30, 2011

Set your New Years Clock by The Midnight Ball Drop

Ten seconds to midnight and one million faces stand shoulder to shoulder in Times Square their gaze riveted on a 11,875 pound Waterford crystal ball atop a flag pole hovering above One Times Square.  As the crowd counts down the ball descends the pole with precision timing.  It reaches the bottom at the precise moment the hour rings in 2012. Happy New Year!
So why is the New Year marked by a ball traveling down a stick? What is the significance?  Wouldn't something a bit more grand do? I mean Paris illuminates the Eiffel Tower in a complex array of fireworks.  In London the Big Ben sounds and in Australia multi-colored star bursts and gigantic sparklers light up Sydney Harbor. In New York a ball slides down a flag pole. Seems like a bit of an anti-climax doesn't it?  As for having fireworks in Times Square - keep dreaming.  Not that the idea was never thought of.  In fact fireworks marked the original Longacre Square celebration welcoming 1904.  One Times Square was of course the spanking new headquarters of The New York Times and newspaper chief ,Adolf Och, wanted to bring in 1904 with a bang. In 1904 the entire triangle became Times Square after the newspaper.  Fireworks were placed on the roof of the new building and 200,000 people attended the show.  After four years the fireworks simply did not draw a large enough crowd and Adolf Och asked his electrician to construct a lit ball which would slide down a flag pole.  The ball was crafted from iron and wood (compared with the l2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles of today's geodesic sphere) illuminated with a hundred 25-watt bulbs (now lit by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED modules where each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs — 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color enabling a composite of more than 16 million colors and billions of patterns) and weighed in at 700 pounds (ours weighs in at 11,875 pounds)
  The ball (right inset) was lowered as the world sped towards 1908, but dropped one second after midnight... oops, but timekeeping has become a whole lot better. 
But what significance is the ball drop?
 In actual fact the ball dropping is a tradition fused to the very foundation in which man began to precisely track the time. The Chronometer, (not to be confused with today's chronometer which is a COSC certification ) was a vital instrument used by seamen to determine their longitude at sea by the precise tracking of time.

To know ones Longitude at sea, one must know the time at home port and at the same time knowing the time on ship. Once the time difference is known, the difference by degrees is known and thus the crucial longitude. The world spins on it axis 360 degrees in a 24 hour period thus in one hour it turns 15 degrees. If the navigator resets his ship's clock local at high noon, and refers to his clock representing time at the home port, every hour difference translates to 15 degrees from the home port. A precise watch was required to know the ships course and save it from potential destruction. On October 22, 1707, four British Men 'O War sank just off the Cornish Coast. 2000 men were lost. In 1714, The British Parliament , aggravated by this obviously needless catastrophe, passed the Longitude Act: A huge sum of money would be awarded to anyone who could invent a way to determine the precise longitude of a ship's location to within less than one degree.

By the 1800's, the chronometer was an essential sea vessel navigational instrument. To ensure the chronometer kept perfect time, a "time-ball", the first of many, was installed on top of England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. The ball would drop at one o'clock every afternoon, enabling captains of nearby ships to precisely set their chronometers (a vital navigational instrument). The "time-ball" was an instant success and an additional 150 public "time-balls" were installed around the world. In fact, a "time-ball" is still dropped at United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where, since 1845, a time-ball drops from a flagpole at noon each day.

Happy New Year to you all?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pre- SIHH 2012 Jaeger LeCoultre Evokes an Era on a Dial


In 1931 Jaeger LeCoultre released a TT 1931 Reverso with a bright red enamel dial. (The color was very much that of a Coca Cola advertisement). Today this particular model is highly coveted due to its bright dial hue and fetches high prices at Auction Houses. At the SIHH 2012, Jaeger LeCoultre will unveil a reintroduction of the colored dial; however, this time the red color is done in red lacquer rather than the original enamel. . The Jaeger LeCoultre Grand Reverso 1931 Rouge Dial is simple allowing the color to command the watch unless of course one wishes to play a game of polo. 

I mention polo, because the nature of the game and its potential harm on a watches' dial actually brought about the Reverso idea.
In 1931, British Officers stationed in Colonial India would play polo in their spare time; however, more often then not the crystal of the wrist watches would get damaged during the game.
Cesar de Trey, an influential businessman, who was a close associate of Jacques-David LeCoultre visited friends in India.
A polo player approached him, "Sir, I challenge you to create a timepiece that can survive a game of polo with its crystal intact."

This challenge founded the legend of the Reverso. A Patent for Reverso was filed on March 4, 1931: A watch capable of sliding in its base and of turning completely on its axis to turn the crystal inward.
Thus the SIHH 2012 Jaeger LeCoultre  Grand Reverso 1931 Rouge Dial pays tribute to the year the Reverso idea was born as well as the alluring colors of the watches dial.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Classy Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Heritage Automatic Chronograph

Classy Yes! Efficient - You bet! Tag Heuer is a company committed to timekeeping excellence and the Tag Heuer Carrera 16 Heritage Automatic Chronograph is an exemplary timepiece. 
The embossed chronograph hour counters at the 6 'o' clock and chronograph minutes at the 12 'o'clock position are distinctive to this collection .  The discrete running second at the 9 'o'clock position assists in maintaining an image of utter clarity on the Flinqué (Engraving by hand or by machine -guillochage-, often covered by a layer of enamel - definition source -"Worldtempus") dial.  To enhance the readability of the dial, an anti-reflective treatment is applied to the curved scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
The entire compilation of steel case, rose gold indicators and hands, white Flinqué effect dial,  choice of steel bracelet or blue, black or brown alligator strap creates an unequivocal look of composed elegance;  however, within the elegant case beats a mighty heart.  The movement of the Tag Heuer 16 Heritage Automatic Chronograph Calibre 16 is a decorated version of one of the most competent movements out there - the Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph beating at 28,000 vibrations per hour or 4 HZ. A 42 hour power reserve and 100m water resistance only add to the appeal of the watch.

 The Tag Heuer Carrera is closely associated to the world of automotive racing, where timing is crucial and precision is invaluable. Tag Heuer is the official timekeeper of Formula 1.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 Elevates a Movement and Redesigns a Face

Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 is a stunning reorganization of  dial and movement. This movement, unveiled at the beginning of this year, joins the dial on the watch face so neither takes precedence at first glance. The signature Millenary dial has been shrunk and placed beside the crown making space for the redesigned escapement and balance wheel at the 9'o'clock position. The Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 is an exclusively in-house movement comprising of 253 parts. Encapsulated in an Audemars Piguet signature Millenary Case, the movement is reconstructed so that vital components of the movement - balance, lever and escapement- face to the front, and are plainly visible at the 9 'o clock position. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity.
There is no need for a skeleton dial, as the dial and movement share the same elevation nor a see through case back as the movement is up front. Although the watch face accommodates the dial and movement, it remains remarkably uncluttered.  This feat in organization is made possible by its oval shape.  

The oval Calibre 4101 movement is nothing less than impeccable.  Crafted in the LeBrassus workshop, the movement has undergone extensive finishing.  The oval main plate is decorated on both sides with
Côtes de Genève on front and two different sizes of circular graining on the back to create a contrast and greater perception of depth. Viewing the bridge on the dial face, one can marvel at the fine horizontal  Côtes de Genève snailing and circular graining while on the back the bridges feature circular Côtes de Genève engravings. The oscillating weight or rotor is crafted in 22 carat gold and emblazoned with Audemar Piguet Family crest and the companies signature mark.

This model is available in two colors - a steel version treated with an anthracite galvanic achieves a look of quiet elegance. The rhodium plated and pink version (inset above) exudes a powerful mark of distinction.  Every component of the timepiece is polished until gleaming and all jewel sinks diamond polished to perfection.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

JeanRichard Highlands Big Life Watch Limited Edition to Save African Elephants

At the 2012 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), JeanRichard will unveil the Highlands Big Life Limited Edition Watch.  The Limited Edition (100 pieces) support a worthy cause.  In September 2010, photographer Nick Brandt founded the Big Life Foundation in order to curtail the escalation of elephant poaching effecting the Amboseli ecosystem (2 million acre region straddling the Tanzania/ Kenya border.)   Big Life Foundation's grass roots approach has greatly reduced poaching and many poachers have been stopped; however, due to the incredible surface area of this ecosystem and insatiable demand for illegal ivory, Big Life Foundation with its 120 or so rangers, 14 outpost and 13 vehicles, still have a long way to go.  
To assist in this monumental task, JeanRichard has teamed up with Nick Brandt to create awareness of Big Life Foundation and raise money for the cause.  JeanRichard has a long history of interest in Africa's natural environment.  In the 1990's, JeanRichard captured Africa's raw unmarked beauty with the aid of Peter Beard's images.  At the beginning of this year JeanRichard unveiled a rugged watch collection - the Jean Richard Highland Sand- which is available in a dusty khaki - the color of Highlands.  It is not enough for JeanRichard to merely appreciate the beauty of Africa, now JeanRichard is taking a step to protect the African Wild Life with this Limited Edition addition to the Highland Collection. 

 The green 'tent" color bezel and rugged fabric strap is the epitome of a Safari "must have".   The large 44.5mm case is crafted from resilient sand blasted steel.  The green bezel is bi-directional sporting 12 Arabic Numeral hour markers for keeping tabs on a second time zone. A black matt dial ensures no glare from the bright African sun and luminescent coated indices and dial hands ensure maximum read out in dark African nights.  "Big Life" is marked in  bold red clearly displaying the charitable cause.  The hardy fabric strap is fastened with a PVD coated folding buckle.  

Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal withstands abrasions from sand or stones... and do not despair if one runs out of batteries - the Big Life Limited Edition Watch is automatic and  can be  wound by the gentle swinging motion of the wrist.  The movement runs smoothly aided by  27 jewels and oscillates at a vph of 28,000.  The movement is visible via a scratch resistant Sapphire Crystal engraved with Nick Brandt's powerful image of an elephant thundering across the desolate African plain amidst clouds of dust.
The watch is designed to accompany the wild life enthusiast on many a Safari (word derived from "Traveler" in Swahili).
 In case the perfect camera shot requires complete stillness for a number of hours, the watch is capable of  a 48 hour power reserve.  If one must wallow into a watering hole (not advisable on account of crocodiles and hippos), the watch will remain water resistant up to 100 meters or 330 feet.  

Did You Know
JeanRichard stems from a young watchmaker born in 1665 - click here to learn more about this wondrous tale.

Friday, December 16, 2011

House of Graff MasterGraff Skeleton Watch

The MasterGraff Skeleton Watch is truly one of the most exquisite watches I have ever seen.  The bezel is shaped like the multi facets of a diamond playing with the rays of light and providing the illusion of iridescence from within. To achieve this look, 164 diamonds totaling over 21 carats were expertly place within a structure of rose gold. The entire structure must be in place  before the movement can be cased, after which no stone can be added and no stone removed.  Two scratch resistant sapphire crystals enclose the diamond case providing the illusion of a tourbillon  suspended in mid air like some beautiful space ship entering a lost glittering paradise. The hand wound mechanical movement is capable of a 72 hour power reserve, which only proves the remarkable efficiency of watchmaking skill, where 3 days of power reserve is discreetly stored in the barrel.
The 48mm multifaceted bezel and case is Graff's signature look - a look most fitting for a House of Diamonds.

Did You Know:
  • The London based House of Graff is one of the most prestigious diamond and gem suppliers in all the world. 
  • House of Graff was established by Leonard Graff, a DeBeers sight holder.  Leonard success is due to his strategy of "vertical integration". In vertical Integration companies in a supply chain are owned and controlled by a single owner.  Thus Leonard Graff, controls every facet of the diamond industry from wholesale to retail.  He purchased 51% stake in Safdico (South Africa Diamond Corp.), providing him with access to the first choice of uncut diamonds mined in Southern Africa. 
  • The House of Graff obtained the15th largest diamond ever discovered - the Lesotho Promise found in the Letseng Mine in Lesotho.  Lesotho is a small kingdom completed surrounded by South Africa. The Lesotho Promise, rated D in color, was studied for 3 months before being cut into 26 exquisite diamonds weighing in  total 223.35 carats. 
  •  All House of Graff gems have a laser inscribed girdle with the 'Graff' logo and GIA number.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vacheron Constantin First Watch to Meet New Geneva Seal Criteria

At the SIHH 2012, Vacheron Constantin will unveil the latest addition to the Patrimony Traditioneelle Collection with its very first watch to meet the new stringent Hallmark of Geneve criteria.
  The Patrimony Traditionnelle 14 day tourbillon is a mechanical watch power house harboring no less than four barrels mounted in pairs.  The additional barrels are crucial in maintaining a 14 day power reserve in a  timepiece with a tourbillon complication.   The Calibre 2260 is comprised of 213 pieces including two large bridges. The power reserve is clearly displayed below the 12 'o'clock position and the tourbillon beneath small seconds  at the 6'o'clock position creating an elegant balance.  The 5N pink gold dauphine hands are placed slightly above the Opaline silver toned dial. 

The timepiece is an elegant and sophisticated mark of precision excellence whereby all the components work in perfect unity.

Did You Know: 
  • SIHH (Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie Geneva) opens its door for the 20th year on 16th January running to January 20th, 2012. 
  • The tourbillon was invented in 1795 by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Bregeut. A tourbillon was said to counter the effects of gravity on a pocket watch. In a traditional tourbillon, the escapement and balance wheel rotates in a cage at one rotation per minute.
  • Power reserve complication is the amount of energy a watch is capable of storing -  ie the amount of mainspring power stored in the barrel - while the watch is motionless (automatic)  or unwound - indicated with the aid of a power reserve indicator in hours or days. 
  • New Requirements for Seal of Geneva - click here
  • The Patrimony Traditionnelle line was launched in 2007.
  • Vacheron Constantin was founded in Geneve Switzerland in 1755, by Jean-Marc Vacheron.
  • Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world with an uninterrupted history. (Blancpain was established in 1735 but went dormant in 1971 for 12 years during the quartz scare)
  • Vacheron Constantin is one of the finest watch manufacturers in the world  comparable in status to Patek Phillipe and Blancpain.
  • Vacheron Constantin is a brand of the Richemont Group.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Concord Releases Two new C2 Models

    Movado Group's Concord is really starting to gain ground since its complete collection overhaul a couple years back.  Originally, I had a few misgivings about the new collection wanting desperately for the company to hold onto their Delirium's. Saratoga's and La Scala's, but time is a changing and die hard Concord fans are automatically associating Concord with their C1 collection - launched in 2007.  Thus with the C1 collection firmly cemented in the horological world, and a stamp of approval for the new C2 Collection - unveiled  in September - Concord is full steam ahead adding 2 new chronograph models to its latest collection.
    The newest all-white model has crisp clean lines and a cutting edge 43mm stainless steel case.  The multi-layered silver and white dial is accentuated with gray directing the gaze to hand indicators and sub dials.  The date aperture at the 6 'o'clock is nestled at the bottom of the 12 hour chronograph counter. At the 9'o'clock ,demanding attention by its much darker hue, is the 30 minute chronograph counter.  Concord's signature seconds disc takes residence and recognition at the 3'o'clock position. Tubular attachments on the case attach directly to the strap without the need for lugs -creating a more streamlines look. Truthfully I would purchase this watch in an instant because it makes sense.  The sub dials are large enough to be read, but small enough so as not to crowd the dial.. The strap is vulcanized rubber, which is very comfortable and easy to clean. Partially skeletonized hands sweep across the dial without concealing the smaller sub dial hands.  A 2mm scratch resistant sapphire crystal ensures optimum protection to the dial and extra dial clarity.  The 43mm case is large but not over bearing. Noticed for its perfection.
      The C2 is also available in black with electric blue accents adding a techno iridescent charm to the dial. Contrasting white dial hands, Concord's white signature seconds disc and hour markers ensure nothing will go unnoticed.
    Both models are automatic with a 42 hour power reserve run by a highly efficient ETA movement. 
    A stainless steel folding clasp ensures the watch will remain securely on the wrist.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Gift Pick for the Professional & Adventurer.

    Movado Men's Luno $795.00
    You can never have too many wristwatches, and you can never go wrong giving a watch as a gift.  Imagine a gift without the nagging feeling of  "What if he doesn't like it.?"
    With a watch you will be certain your gift will be much appreciated.
    First you must know a little about your guy - the image he wants to portray and what he wants from his watch.
     If your guy needs to convey a professional attitude I always like the Movado Museum Collection.  The watch design is instantly recognizable and devoid of clutter.  The watch itself displays the epitome of organization and clear thought.  It was what Nathan George Horwitt - designer of the museum dial had in mind - a single dot.  He was a follower of the Bauhaus movement, designed a watch with no ornamentation besides for a gold dot at the 12 o'clock representing the sun at high noon. In 1959 the "dot at the top watch" was excepted into the Design Collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art becoming known as the "Museum Watch".

    $499.99 Save 75%
    For the rugged adventurer in your life always zipping off to one place or another -pouncing into a  Land-rover off to spot a family of mountain lions or to rock climb a precipice - you need a watch which is shock resistant, water resistance, hand indicator luminescence and preferably rubber strap (lightweight, less likely to slip, easy to clean).  There are a couple of really rugged timepieces:
    Invicta Men's Subaqua Chronograph Black Rubber - aside from the fact that it is 75% off at The Watchery, there are many advantages for the adventurer. This particular model has a great water resistancy - up to 1650 feet.  I always like to stress that if one is in a situation of high water pressure such as navigating water rapids, one needs a higher water resistance than if one is merely in a swimming pool.  The extreme force of water on the dial can compromise the water resistancy. In addition this watch has a chronograph and tachymeter.

    Price $4,410.00 Save 65%
    A great rugged mid range watch collection,  is the WYLER Geneve Men's Code R Automatic Chronograph.  Wyler Geneve specializes in shock absorbency- creator of the signature Incaflex balance wheel.  The Incaflex balance wheel is protected along its diameter by two curved elastic arms absorbing shock to the balance wheel. In addition the watch case is shock absorbing crafted from highly resilient and corrosion resistant titanium and black carbon fiber. The hands are silver tone and luminous enabling the adventurer for time read out in the dark.  Another great feature is the flexible black rubber strap allowing for maximum wrist mobility.  Scratch resistant Sapphire Crystal protects the Swiss made mechanical automatic chronograph movement.  I like mechanical watches on long adventures since the mainspring is wound by the swinging motion of ones arm. Since this is a mechanical timepiece, no batteries are needed, which is a good thing, since where is our adventurer going to get batteries in the Gobi desert. This watch is capable of a power reserve of 42 hours. The Wyler Men's Code R is equipped with  "ZULU" (Z) time (for aviation or military purposes) or GMT (Greenwich MeanTime).

    Stay tuned for more of my top watch holiday picks from The Watchery. 

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Pre-SIHH 2012 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak to Commemorate 40th Anniversary of its Design

    2102 marks the 40th year Anniversary of  the signature Audemars Piguet Royal Oak design. Many watch designs vanish after a couple of years  only to crop up in Antique shops and Estate Sales, but the Royal Oak designed by Gerald Genta, has remained a strong sale for Audemars Piguet attracting young and old alike. In commemoration of this milestone, Audemars Piguet will unveil the Audemars Piguet Open worked Extra-Thin Royal Oak Limited Edition 40th Anniversary.  The open worked dial exposes the remarkable versatility of the Royal Oak design in housing a movement as well as displaying supreme efficiency.
    The timepiece evokes a response of utter respect created by its formidable presence.
    The case is crafted from platinum - one of the rarest elements in the earth's crust - which neither tarnishes or wears out.  Due to its extreme rarity watch companies use platinum predominantly for limited edition watches such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 40th Anniversary Watch.  Platinum therefore is often the metal of choice for high end watch companies to commemorate important events in their companies history.
    The 39mm case is the same size as in 1972, but in this commemorative model, the  automatic mechanical Audemars Piguet skeletonized Caliber 5122 is on display too, and can be views via an open worked  dial face with a satiny anthracite finishing.  The oscillating weight is crafted in 22 carat gold with the inscription "AP Royal Oak 1972-2012”.  The open worked dial and case back is protected by scratch resistant glare proof sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 50 meters.

    The timepiece is limited to 40 pieces. 
    Click here to learn more about the history of the Royal Oak 

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Romain Jerome MoonFighter Pen Sure to Cure Sci-Fi Writers Block

    What do we have here? Is it a bird?  Is it a Plane?  No its a Romain Jerome Moon fighter  Pen set to launch your mind through blackened skies and fiery galaxies.  Romaine Jerome is well known for causing quite a stir
    with its DNA watches: Watches that contain steel from the titanic, bits of moon dust, ash from Icelandic Volcano Eyjafjallajokul rock from the "Rock of Monaco", fragments from Apollo XI and actual fibers from an International Space Station spacesuit.  Now it is a writers turn to use a Moon Fighter pen to venture far into the recesses of his mind and find a universe.  The pen is the descendant of a generation brought up with Star Wars, Back to the future and Space Invaders (yes Romaine Jerome has made a Space Invaders watch too) where good old science fiction commanded large boxy television screens and loud arcade game centers flickering with persistent aliens. 

    If one did not know the image above was that of a pen and the title did not mention Romain Jerome, but rather a finding of immense proportion in a large cavern deep within the bowels of the earth - some grandiose desire of a crazed scientist's obsession to discover an earth-like planet - the image would be quite feasible.   The pen is crafted to depict a much larger object - a space ship perhaps - and this, my friends, can cure writers block. In fact encapsulated within the "cockpit bubble" (Romain Jerome's term not mine) is actual moon dust.  The pen is crafted entirely in Switzerland and is available in three models depending, of course, on which terrain one means to explore - Heavy Metal, Black Metal and Vintage.  Each model is secured with 48 hand-applied rivets - permanent mechanical fasteners used widely in aircraft construction. The rivets enunciate the perception that the pen should really be a much larger object. When the pen is not the voyager of the mind, it is protected within a leather case and docked on a carbon finished "docking station".  The pen is available in fountain and roller ball.  Romain Jerome MoonFighter Pen is certainly a writer's pen.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Fortis Latest Art Watch Frisson Sends Shivers Up Ones Spine

    With a cold wind howling out my window, I sit down to blog about the coldest watch yet.  A watch whose name is Frisson or "shiver" in French.  The watch resembles some desperate attempt of a lone arctic explorer caught in a raging blizzard to track the time by penciling numbers on the dial and circling and re-circling the date aperture beneath an insistent layer of dial fog.
    Granted, the moisture build up on a dial or glasses lenses or a car window on a rainy day is an annoyance. But Rolf Sachs, German architect and industrialist, taken advantage of this and has come up with a watch which uses earths natural properties to create the desired foggy effect.
    You may recall Rolf Sachs stomach clenching, anxiety building mathematical equation Fortis IQ watch (right) with a perfect replication of the urgent chalkboard mathematical  markings most often seen at the end of an intense maths lecture.  For the Frisson watch, Rolf Sachs moves away from the mathematical department and heads over to the Department of Sciences, where he dabbles in the properties of relative humidity and the like.
    The mineral glass crystal is treated with a substance which causes a constant foggy build up on the inside of the dial.  The only way to view the time is by breathing on the dial or wiping a wet finger over its surface.  The science behind this and the fact the fog within the watch does not turn into water droplets alludes me, but I can say it works.
    This watch may be the target of many helpful mist removal tips, but once they perceive the icy theme of the entire timepiece, they may get the gist.  The strap is a transparent silicon resembling ice, of course.  The Frisson 25 jewel automatic Swiss movement is protected by a brushed stainless steel case. Beneath the frost, upon the dial, two pool-blue luminous coated hands are visible.  As with the Fortis IQ watch only 999 pieces are available.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Richard Mille Reveals RM37 and New In-House Movement for SIHH 2012

    Richard Mille in its 11th year of watchmaking has surpassed horological expectations by crafting innovative efficient timepieces. At their third SIHH 2012, Richard Mille will introduce a new crown mechanism patented specifically for Richard Mille movements. This new crown mechanism  adds  resiliency and longevity to the timepiece and maximizes its integrity by increasing resistance to outside influences.
      In developing this new crown mechanism Richard Mille focused on the structure of the crown and its components noting the crown as being a potential weak link. In a traditional movement, the crown is exposed outside the case - extending and attaching to the movement creating a vulnerable attachment point.  This is not the case in the RM 37. The Crown ,accented in grade 5 titanium, red or white gold sporting a double sea O-ring and surrounded by a collar in Alcryn (World’s Only Melt-Processible Rubber), is separated from the case.
    In most watches the stem is inserted by the watchmaker into the movement at the point of assembly, thus creating a weak point by direct connection to crown beyond the case and movement within the case.  This setup runs the risk of harming the movement in the event a sharp knock is sustained to the crown.  This can occur during a game of tennis , such as when the watch is worn by Richard Milles's ambassador -Rafael Nadel.
    The engineers at Richard Mille have devised a solution by separating crown from case - eradicating the stem and thus eliminating potential harm to the movement from a blow to the crown. 
    The case is crafted from  Grade 5 titanium. Grade 5 titanium is an alloy (6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% iron, 0.2%  Oxygen and the remaining percentage titanium) utilized extensively in Aerospace, Medical, Marine, and Chemical Processing - stronger than commercially pure titanium, maintaining its stiffness and thermal properties, heat treatable, strong & corrosion resistance. 

    The RM 37 movement is a brand new in-house automatic calibre CRMAI designed exclusively by Richard Mille movement designers in Les Breuleux, Switzerland. The skeletonized dial face explodes into life as the watch keeps time.  A large date aperture is highly distinct at the 12 '0'clock position flanked on both sides by red accents. Red highlights a function aperture at the 4 'o'clock position. The functions are chosen via a sleek pusher at the 4'o'clock position allowing for selection of winding (W), Neutral (N) or Hand Setting (W).  A second pusher at the 10'o'clock position allows for date change in differing month lengths; 29. 30, 31.  (A perpetual calender would not require this function since it takes into consideration the different lengths of months).

    As with all Richard Mille timepieces, the RM37 has met the highest possible specifications and undergone rigorous testing procedures to ensure an optimal level of resilience, longevity and timekeeping efficiency.  All the components are scrutinized individually as well as the components exact performance in contributing to the movement as a whole.  To reach this high degree of competency, the three main components of the case - bezel, case band and case back - require 44 different stamping operations.  To get some idea of the process involved in creating a timepiece of this caliber, Richard Mille has divulged some timing and operational aspects of the RM 38 watchmaking process.  For example, the machine tooling process requires 2 days of adjustment of the bezel; 2 days for case band and 2 days for case back. The empty case alone undergoes over 255 tooling operations and ,in its final stage, over five hours of glazing and polishing. A 5 axis machine assists in creating the distinctive Richard Mille shaped case. The "Richard Mille" engraving alone (and one rarely adds this aspect to the hours accrued during craftsmanship) on back and inside curves requires 45 hours. The tripartite case (bezel, case band and case back ) is water resistant to 50 meters as a result of  2 Nitril (Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) -predominantly used in the automotive and aeronautical industry) O-ring seals.  20

    spline screws (see inset left) in Grade 5 titanium and abrasion resistant washers in steel 316L secure the components.

    The CRMAI movement has other unique factors such as power reserve of 50 hours; a unique rotor with variable geometry;  free spring balance with variable inertia as well as the usage of spline screws throughout movement.  Richard Mille is forging a path in the world of watchmaking and is one of the leading innovative watchmakers of this generation.

     SIHH (Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie Geneva) opens its door for the 20th year on 16th January running to January 20th, 2012.  Although the show has a relatively few exhibitors, only 18 (compared with Basel World's 627 watch brand exhibitors), it has proven to be one of the most prestigious & exclusive watch shows of the year.  The show is invitation only extended to the select few professionals invited by the exhibiting brands. The watch brands will take this opportunity to unveil exceptional timepieces crafted to make their mark on the watch world.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Chopard Happy Mickey Collection

    Chopard Happy Mickey Collection

    Chopard floating gems glide between two sheets of Sapphire crystal  across Mickey Mouse.  Chopard's elegant display of whimsical fun is incorporated into its watches and jewelry.  Not only does Mickey Mouse grace the dial of Chopard's Happy Diamond collection, but Walt Disney's iconic creation hangs from pendants, bracelets  and earrings. Chopard has always been highly involved in the world of moving pictures and is official partner of the Cannes Film Festival.
    The Happy Mickey Collection is available in 30mm and 36mm in white gold and sporting diamonds and other colorful gems.

    Gerald Genta Octo Tourbillon Retrograde Hour Fantasy watch

    Of course Mickey Mouse is no stranger to the world of luxury watches, Gerald Genta (Company since melted into Bvlgari and  founder famed Gerald Genta passed on August 2011) had a large collection of Mickey Mouse Watches, which are still available and highly collectible. In the 1980's Gerald Genta obtained special licensing from The Walt Disney Company which resulted in a limited distribution of watches depicting the Walt Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge and Goofy.  The watches were crafted in 18k gold and cost between $3250-3650.  After seeing the overwhelming response to the Mickey Mouse theme timepiece, Gerald Genta continued to use the Mickey Mouse theme even incorporating the character into his Octo  Collections with complications.

    However it seems Mickey Mouse's Gerald Genta days are coming to an end, but its days by Chopard have only just begun.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    A Watch that Pays Your Bills by a Flick of the Wrist

    This is innovation at its best, a watch that actually pays your bills. Austrian company LAKS introduces the watch2pay. By a flick of a wrist over a MasterCard® PayPass ™ reader, your bill is paid and you're up and running.  Can you imagine never having to worry whether you have some change in your pocket?  Great watch for joggers who don't want coins jangling around as they run.
    Here is how it works.  Embedded in the watch2pay is a chip the size of a SIM card.  This chip is like a mini virtual change wallet working as a contactless card which requires topping up when funds run out.  There is no direct connection from the watch to ones bank account, thus it works like the EZpass (toll road pay system in the US).    This watch can actually pay for small purchases like supermarket groceries and Starbucks coffee merely by a flick of the wrist, and it is a great way to control a child's lunch money.
    Upon purchase of the card, one receives the "watch2pay";Standard sized MasterCard PayPass
    prepaid card – valid for 2 years and A MasterCard PayPass prepaid watch
    card – valid for 2 years.
    LAKS - the acronym for the CEO and president Lucas Alexander Karl Scheybal, a  family run operation established in 1986 is always ahead of the innovative game, adapting watches to the current technological climate. LAKS watches are not mere gimmicks meant to please for a few moments, but rather a high quality multi functional watch.  Scratch resistant Sapphire crystal protects the dial and hand brushed steel protects the high quality quartz movement. LAKS' is constantly involved in research and development. Its team of engineers focuses on developing the perfect watch adapted to a specific function.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Délices de Cartier May Dreams Come True

    Crystal chandeliers play prism to soft light illuminating silks and satins resting on elegant shoulders cascading to a polished marble floor.  Champagne glasses clink amidst soft laughter and  piano plays beyond rouge drapes.  Slender wrist rests upon broad shoulder encircled by a diamond encrusted Délices de Cartier  timepiece.  May Dreams Come True.

    The attraction of this collection is the intriguing twisted shape of the dial and sweeping bezel like the lines of a painter making his first sweeping brush strokes on a blank canvas. In fact the watch was designed by a student of fine arts, Arnaud Chastaingt, - see video below. Cartier signature Roman Numerals accommodates to the curving lines of the dial providing for a wonderful Alice in Wonderland distortion of perceptions.

    Délices de Cartier  in English means Delights of Cartier. Cartier initially obtained a "wordmark' for it in 2005 for its new fruity fragrance, which I must say is wildly popular (below).
    The Délices de Cartier timepiece, revealed at the SIHH 2011, resembles  a twisted candy hinting at something sweet and delicious within.
    Available in three different sizes: Small (31.53mm x 36.07mm), large (38.39mm x 43.81mm) and extra-large (49.18mm x 50.47mm).  My only personal grievance, which is highly subjective, is that the movement is quartz.  I understand the slim fluid look of the watch works better with quartz, but it still evokes a certain longing for a delight in the "candy" as well as the "wrapper."  It is always a delight though, when a watch company unveils a entirely new design evoking a passionate response which can only be the makings of a legacy.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Parmigiani Fleurier Pocket Watch Leda

    Perfectly fitting into ones palm, the $950,000 Parmigiana Pocket Watch Leda is a passionate depiction of Leda and the Swan. To understand this one-of-a-kind timepiece, one must surely know this tale from Greek Mythology. Leda, the wife of Tyndareus, King of Sparta was seduced by Zeus,  ruler of the Olympians of Mount Olympus.  He came to Leda in the form of a swan.  The swan fleeing an eagle,  fell out of the sky and into the protective  arms of Leda, where they lay. Two eggs resulting from this union bore two immortal children,  beautiful Helen of Sparta and Polydeuces, as well as the mortal children ,Castor and Clytemnestra, born from the union of Leda and her husband, King of Sparta,on that same night. This striking image of Leda and the Swan intertwined in a passionate embrace  has been reproduced by many great artists and sculptures.   16th century artists like  Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci captured the sensual languidness  of Leda and her Swan many years before depictions of humans in union were permitted.  
    Parmigiani Fleuerer is reawakening Greek Mythology by creating exquisite one-of-a-kind timepieces representing tales from the time of the Titans and Olympians. The powerful images evoked by these tales serves as the perfect manifestation of artistic expression.  Thus it is no wonder, Parmigiani Fleurer chose the passionate theme of Leda and Her Swan to grace the surface of the 65mm 18k rose gold unique timepiece. Engraved by hand, Leda and her Swan, lie against the backdrop of majestic Gold Greek Pillars rising in an onyx night sky. Turning the watch over, one seems to take a step back and view Leda and Her Swan within the temple flanked by trees at the edge of a rippling pond filled with water lilies.  The entire scene is reflected in the pond. Above the temple hover a constellation of stars, Gemini, which is said to be the result of Polydeuces' request to Zeus to immortalize he and his twin brother, Castor,  so that they may remain together forever.
    The unique number 2028 is engraved on the case back. The dial cover is opened via a push piece combined with a crown set baring genuine sapphire cabochon. The Greek key symbol rings the dial representing  infinity and unity.  This labyrinth type depiction adorned Greek Temples and was the most important symbol in Ancient Greece - a powerful reminder of Greece's formidable presence.  Beyond the "Greek Key" border,  upon the perfect blackness of the onyx dial, the 12 'o'clock position is indicated by the Greek Symbol for twelve  "ιβ" or iota + beta = 10 + 2.  The 8 day power reserve indicator occupies the 3 'o'clock position.  Parmigiani Fleurier oval trademark cartouche marks the 6'o'clock position.  Javelot shaped hands deeply rooted in Greek Mythology pay tribute to the "The Crown Games" or Olympics, where a Javelin was thrown as far as possible in display of strength and precision.
    The openings of both covers and movement are in an oval shape representing the eggs from which the children were born.
    The hand wound in-house calibre 24''' PF170 movement beats at a frequency of 18,000 vph. 29 jewels accentuate the exquisite two tone rose gilded and Rhodium plated hand engraved bridges inspired by Greek flora. The "Greek Key" - shaped from a continuous line surrounds the movement to form the egg shape.
     The pocket watch is delivered with an 18-carat rose gold pocket chain. 

    Micheal Parmigiani, founder of Parmigiani Fleurier (Fleurier being the place of its headquarters)  utilizes his integral knowledge of his restoration of mechanical marvels of the past and adapts them to his current timepieces. Many unknown watch makers whose names have been lost by the passage of time, are being honored by their ideas in Parmigiani incredible timepieces.

    Ref: Parmigiani Fleurier - Pocket Watch Leda   

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Breitling Chronospace Breitling Jet Team Limited Edition for the Pilot In You

    Sale Price at THE WATCHERY $3,650.00 (31% off)

    Take to the skies with a Breitling Chronospace Breitling Jet Team, you will be in good company.  After all the Breitling Jet Team, for who this watch is dedicated, is the largest civilian aerobatic team flying on jets. If you are fortunate enough, you may see the Breitling Sponsored jet team barreling across the sky in seven L-39C Albatross airplanes painted in monochrome black and gray,  equipped with white smoke generators. The pilots are ex French Air Force fighter pilots with the exception of the leader and founder Jacques Bothelin - a civilian aerobatic pilot. The Breitling Jet Team home base is Dijon, France.

    Just watching the heart stopping jaw dropping antics of the aerobatic team who reach speeds of 700km/h, one can be assured only the best equipment is used to maximize efficiency, endurance and functionality in extreme conditions.  The best equipment includes one of the latest professional instruments - a Breitling Chronospace Jet Team Limited to 1000 pieces.  The timepiece is clear and handsome depicting upon its 48mm stratus silver dial, one of the L-39C Albatross jets as well as the new Breitling Jet Team logo.  The Chronospace timepiece utilizes cutting edge electronics equipped with a full range of functions designed specifically for the needs of elite pilots like the extreme pilots of the Breitling Jet Team.  
    These functions include:
    • 1/100th of a second chronograph with split times
    •  alarm
    • dual timezone display with independent alarm
    • Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
    • analog and LCD 12/24 hour back lit countdown with a Night Vision Goggles (NVG)-compatible display back lighting system
    • Perpetual Calender which accounts for different month lenghths and leap years.
    • Battery end of life indicator
    The watch is powered by a Breitling Caliber 78 SuperQuartz (thermocompensated quartz) Movement.  The  SuperQuartz provides movements ten times that of a standard quartz, and is one of  the only electronic movement able to meet the requirements of the COSC making the timepiece a certified chronometer.

    The durable steel case weighs in at 200grams and has a water resistance of 5 bars/50 meters/165 feet. A bidirectional rotating pinion bezel, which is a slide rule. The slide rule is a mechanical calculator pilots use for dead reckoning as well as converting time, distance, speed, and temperature values, compass errors and calculating fuel use. Although GPS eliminates much need for mechanically calculating this information, most aircrafts are equipped with this device for back up purposes. In addition, flight schools require its students to know how to use the slide rule. The circular slide rule is activated by rotating the star shaped bezel.  There are Km/miles/nautical miles conversion scale on inner bezel.
    Scratch Resistant sapphire crystal treated with anti-glare on both sides ensures protection to the dial contributing to the maximum read out ability.
    A double case back is specially designed with a resonance chamber allowing for amplification of sound signals up to a level  of 90 decibels.
    The exquisite hand woven mesh stainless steel aero bracelet - up to 9 inches - adds a rugged elegance to the timepiece.
    This watch is available at the WATCHERY for a limited time only. 

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    The Rolex Oyster Worlds First Waterproof Watch Put to the Test

    Mercedes Gleitze Rolex Oyster
    Mercedes Gleitze
    In 1926, Rolex unveiled the "Oyster" which claimed to be the first "waterproof" and "dust-proof" watch.  The term "waterproof" has now been replaced by "water resistance", but back in the Roaring Twenties sweeping statements were all the rage.  Rolex had placed the movement in an hermetically (air tight) sealed case providing maximum protection and for further security added a screw-off front and case back and a screw down winding crown making the watch completely water tight.  However, just by saying a watch is waterproof does not vouch for its credibility until tested... and tested it was - around the neck of a typist. A typist who successfully swam across the English Channel in 10 challenging hours.
    Her name: Mercedes Gleitze The Date: October 7th, 1927.  When she first broached the subject of swimming the English Channel - an arm of the Atlantic Ocean separating Southern England and Northern France - her friends were quite doubtful to say the least, but Mercedes Gleitze - who was after all an excellent typist- was adamant.  She wasn't successful at first, not for the first seven times that is... and then at 2:55am on a the foggy morning of October 7th, 1927,  Mercedes Gleitze swam stroke by stroke across the English Channel with trainer ,Mr. G. H. Allan, in a row boat alongside her.  
    Unfortunately there was not much fanfare surrounding the victorious swim and not as much proof as the public wanted. Mercedes Gleitze was furious, and said if the people wanted proof, the people would get proof.  Thus on October 21st, 2 weeks after her swim of victory, she entered the water again.  What she did not realize, or maybe she did, was that two weeks in October meant two weeks closer to winter, and the water may have cooled down quite a bit.
    Rolex Oyster Famous Fish Bowl Add
      The controversy surrounding her swim caught the attention of Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, who had one of the best publicity ideas in horological history. He would put the "Waterproofness" of the Rolex Oyster to the test around the neck of the much publicized Mercedes Gleitze as she set out to cross the English Channel for the second time in two weeks. On October 21st, at  4:21am,  a large cheering crowd saw Mercedes Gleitze wade into the Channel.  She started off well in water that was a good 6 degrees lower than her victorious swim, smiling and acknowledging her onlookers, but by 1pm exhaustion and hypothermia began to set in.  She wanted to sleep. She begged to sleep.  By 2pm her condition worsened and at 2:45, 7 miles from the English  coastline, she was pulled onto the boat unable to complete her challenge. This could have been a great disappointment for Mercedes Gleitze, but Hans Wilsdorf would have none of that. The Rolex Oyster HAD been successful and maintained its mechanical integrity for ten long hours submerged in water. He had plans for Mercedes Gleitze.  With Hans Wilsdorf's assistance, she became a sports celebrity.
    Men's Daytona Paul Newman Special Edition
    After all she was the one who tested the Rolex Oyster for over 10 long wet cold hours in the English channel.   Mercedes Gleitze became one of the first athletes to endorse the Rolex brand or any brand for that matter.  She graced Rolex advertisements and thanks to her "engagement by mail " saga spent years in the limelight. Rolex still acknowledges Mercedes Gleitze and her role in the promulgation of the Rolex Oyster. The Rolex Oyster has become a testament of endurance used by athletes and adventurers.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Luxury Timepiece Means More than Ever

    So I have the new iPhone 4S, cool! I can now quell my solitude by speaking to a gadget that actually responds ,somewhat, to my gripes. Next year I will tire of speaking to my 4S, and want the iPhone 5, after all this sweet gadget is almost a  full centimeter longer and probably will make a better conversationalist.
    Cutting edge technology stokes the hungry desire for more.  We can never be satisfied - since satisfaction leaves us lugging a huge giant phone sporting a gray and white screen with a pull out antenna or worst we may still have "the beeper."  Finding new movies for that sturdy VHS player is downright impossible and our tape cassette is all 80's.  Thus we must keep up, we have no choice. 
    In addition, gadgets make an excellent holiday gift your loved one will enjoy for almost a year... if that.
    What?  Want a gift that lasts more than a year?  Maybe ten years or even more.  A gift your loved one will cherish for life - something that does not expire or look immensely outdated a year from now. Something your loved one will grow more and more attached to as the years go by and the world moves on.

    Well that something is a mechanical luxury watch.

    Patek Phillipe Annual Calender
    • A mechanical luxury watch works on a system which is centuries old.  A luxury watch is immuned to technological advancements.
    • A luxury watch maintains extreme credibility and admiral recognition, especially if it is a Chronometer like a Breitling  or has Geneva Seal like a Vacheron Constantin.
    • Batteries never run dry since automatic watches are powered by the simple act of wearing the watch.  The gentle swinging motion of ones hand while walking will prompt the oscillating weight to swing back and forth thereby transforming ones own energy to wind the watch.
    • One does not have to rely on an outside source of energy, since a luxury watch has the ability to actually store its own energy.  The more energy the watch is capable of storing depends on the power reserve of the watch.  Some watch have a power reserve of a week and some 48 or 72 hours. Some have separate power reserves for the complications and the time keeping.  A power reserve gauge is usually displayed prominently on the dial.
    • Functionally, a luxury watch keeps precision time, and mayhap be a chronograph too.  It may come equipped with a perpetual calender, which accounts for differing lengths of months and leap years too.  Let your grand kids know, since luxury watches are heirlooms, they will need to adjust the perpetual calender in the year 2100.  A Tachymeter scale enables the calculation of the speed of a vehicle.  A minute repeater will sound true and clear  and  wake one up. A sonnerie will chime the hours. A day/night indicator is truly a treasure when the light alludes one and the moon phase complication is an intriguing feature upon the dial. Universal time display keeps one in touch with time zones of great cities far across oceans and dual time zones enables one to keep track of the other important time zone in ones life. In addition, luminescence ensures maximum read out capability in dark dim places. A tourbillon is said to counteract the effects of gravity, and makes for a hypnotizing movement.
    • Luxury watches are water resistant to varying degrees, most often to a depth of 100 meters, but more (up to 4000 meters) for diving watches and less (usually 30-50 meters)  for haute joaillerie watches - ever drop your cellphone in water and stare unhappily at a blank white screen. 
    • The dial of a luxury watch is protected by scratch resistant sapphire crystal, which is harder than almost any material, besides, of course, diamond.  Rado timepieces are crafted from ceramic, which is a watches fountain of youth.  The watch is virtually timeless and ageless looking new year after year.
    • A luxury watch creates an image of success and determination.
    • A luxury watch is an investment.  Ever look at the price a Patek Phillipe fetches at a Sothebys  or Antiquorium Auction. No matter how souped up or apped up ones iPhone is, it depreciates at an alarming rate. 
    • A luxury watch serves as an accessory to ones wardrobe, dressing up or dressing down depending on the nature of the situation.  A fine bejeweled watch dripping with diamonds marks a slender wrist to bare shoulders to cascading black satin gown. A sports watch, large and colorful,  able to bare the brunt of powerful impacts, marks the real sportsmen. A finely crafted 18k red gold case, lugs and bezel affixed to a powerful wrist marks the one who sits at the head of the table leading and deciding. A gentle elegant yellow gold watch resting on a smooth young arm marks the loved one to a matching slightly larger yellow gold watch joined for eternity.
    Thus if you are looking for a gift this holiday season, purchase a luxury watch forever

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Roger Dubuis Debuts First Watch to Meet New Geneva Seal Requirements

    Roger Dubuis Excalibur Flying Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph will meet New Geneva Seal requirements.  Not only will the finishing be scrutinized, but the performance will be analyzed and the "casing-up" and 'watch-head" must adhere to the new requirements (see previous blog). Roger Dubuis Excalibur Flying Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph has taken the first leap in the uncharted territory of the new era of watchmaking, smoothing the way for other contenders and heightening awareness of the distinction of a Poinçon de Genève.

    Let us scrutinize Roger Dubuis Timepiece, granted on a very superficial level, but enough to gain our wide eyed appreciation and vigorous nod of approval. Capturing our immediate attention is the warm hue of the 45mm 18k pink gold case, notched bezel, lugs, crown and hands. The distinctive red chronograph hand points to a chronograph second scale from 0-60 just below the bezel.  A sub-dial at the 3 'o' clock position sports a 45-minute chronograph counter.  Our eyes get drawn to the 9 'o'clock position where a one minute flying tourbillon whirls in calculated frenzy. Tourbillon's are usually supported by a bridge above and below; however, in a flying tourbillon the entire complication is only supported on the bottom - giving it the illusion of "flying" without any support at all.
    Pulling our gaze away from the hypnotic magic of the flying tourbillon, our eyes rest on the Poinçon de Genève emblazoned platinum monoblock  micro-rotor at the 6 'o' clock position, which compactly winds the mainspring with the same efficiency as the larger rotor. This micro-rotor powers an in-house caliber RD580 automatic movement.  There after in one quick saccade our fixate on the chronograph pusher which extends from the bezel in elegant opulence.  This one push piece is capable of operating the start, stop and reset functions of the chronograph, rather than the usual two.  A hint of Roman Numerals form beneath sub dials and thanks to our incredible ability of closure, we have no difficulty discerning the numbers. 
    Turning the timepiece over, and running our fingers gently across the sapphire crystal case back, we marvel at the impeccable finishing and the Poinçon de Genève on the back end of the micro rotor as well. 

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Changes Coming to Hallmark of Geneva for 2012

    After 125 years since the legislative body of the Grand Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva established the Geneva Seal, the Foundation Council of TIMELAB – Geneva Laboratory of Horology and Microengineering that hosted the certification of the Geneva Seal since 2009-  is about to overhaul the current requirements for obtaining the "Hallmark of Geneva".

    For more details on the Seal of Geneva, please link to "What is a Geneva Seal"

    The Geneva Seal was established on November 6, 1886 with a mission to uphold the integrity of the watchmaking business - to guarantee the origin, craftsmanship, durability and expertise. The legislative body of the Grand Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva saw the Geneva Seal as a crucial step in a watchmaking market of the late 1800's threatened by the multitude of watch forgeries using the name Geneva.  Exactly 125 years later, the Poinçon de Genève, a well established and revered mark of extinction and quality, still defines excellence in movement.  However the time has come for the Poinçon de Genève to define overall excellence as well.
    In 2012 the timepiece shall be examined in its entirety. Stringent criteria for the approval of the movement and external components require the submission of 2D drawings; all components of the movement or any additional modules; an assembled movement and/or module and all the external components. This is the first step with which the components  meet the initial criteria for the Poinçon de Genève”. After a manufacturer has successfully obtained approval of the movement and external components, they must submit a complete reference kit of all components of the movement, any additional modules and the external components as well as a  reference movement/module. TIMELAB will then issue an approval report.
    Now the Certification Process can begin.  The components are scrutinized and tested to ascertain if the components initially approved in the first phase are identical to this submission.  Intensive inspections are conducted in areas of component inventory, movement assembly and assembled movement inventory.
    The criteria for the movements are assessed in a wide range of testing conditions specifically designed to maximize the validity of the assessments.

    Assessment investigates factors such as materials - interestingly any watch materials crafted from Polymers are not accepted - here you see where the new requirements are catching up with the technological advancements of the era ;  shaped parts and supplies; strip springs and jumper springs; base plates and plates for additional mechanisms and bridges; jeweling; wheel train; the escapement ; the stud and adjustment index and adjustment system.  After this intensive testing process, the components connecting the movement with the case and dial must adhere to the "Hallmark of Geneva" criteria - better known in horological circles as casing-up.
    Additionally, the seal of Geneva must be displayed prominently on one of the components of the movement. It is best if the company includes the serial number as well. The serial number is recorded an entered into a database.
    Finally it is time for the inspection of the complete watch, cased-up as the final end product. Factors such as water resistance, accuracy, functional test and power reserve are tested at this stage.
    To maintain the reliability of the original testing procedures, the  watch is constantly monitored by the personnel of TIMELAB, who may visit the watch company and the company provides complete access to all production facilities and equipment as well as any data.  TIMELAB may take the "watch-head" at any time back to their lab to perform any other tests.  In addition TIMELAB requires a yearly report of all testing  performed by the watch company, for a period of ten years.
    The new certification is available from June 1st, 2012 and all these criteria must be adhered to by June 1st, 2013.

    Vacheron Constantin November 2011 Newsletter

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    A Taste of Russia in an Unusual Timepiece

    Maxim Nazarov Timepiece - Unique

    Supremus — 60.03
    Internationally acclaimed watch designer and manufacturer  "Maxim Nazarov" wanted an  intriguing redesign of his Supremus timepiece collection (see left inset), as a unique piece.  Something crazy, something that would stand out among the vast ocean of watches.  He turned to Sergey Volkov, a talented watch designer based in the deeply historic town of Uglich, on the banks of the Volga River. The result is magnificent.  The center of the dial is a vortex of swirling mother-of-pearl partially obscured by a yellow gold decorative plate resembling an oscillating weight.  The decorative plate is the signature mark of a Maxim Nazarov Supremus timepiece; however, Sergey Volkov used his amazing talent and expertise to exquisitely  engrave the plate.

      The enigmatic blue hue of the bezel is actually titanium temperature blued. "Cognac" Diamonds on the lugs serve as an arresting contrast to the titanium case within which beats a ВОСТОК 2416 (Vostok) -
    Maxim Nazarov Supremus
    Precision 24 mm caliber mechanical movement sporting a central second hand, beating at a frequency of 19,800 vph and capable of a power reserve up to 31 hours.  The movement's bridges and dams are coated with nickel or chrome and the screws are coated with either nickel, gold, cobalt or heat blued. 
    The decorative plate serves to divide the 24 hour day into 4 equal 6 hour parts.  Reading the time is quite simple utilizing an original oblong blued skeletonized  hand situated in the center of the watch , consisting of two sides of different length which indicates the time on two semicircular scales. The longer side  points to the outer arc baring the numerals from 9 to 12 and the shorter end points to the inner arc baring the numbers from 12 to 6.

    Maxim Nazarov has been displaying his extraordinary timepieces in watch shows around the globe.  Most of his watches are limited edition as a result of the painstaking precision applied to,manufacturing the watch and sometimes the watch is limited to but one - like the Unique Piece crafted by the talented Sergey Volkov.                           

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    The Effect of War on Watches

    The demands of War has shaped the Watch Industry in countless ways. In the early, 1700's, tracking the inevitable passage of time was a matter of life and death. The intense need for an accurate timepiece was magnified on October 22, 1707, when four British Men 'O War sank just off the Cornish Coast and 2000 men were lost. This was not as a result of enemy fire, but rather human error. The fleet had no idea where they were, as they had no precise chronometer to decipher how far off the Longitude they were. The British Parliament , aggravated by this obviously needless catastrophe, passed the Longitude Act of 1714 whereby: A huge sum of money would be awarded to anyone who could invent a way to determine the precise longitude of a ship's location to within less than one degree. Click here learn more about the Longitude Act of 1714. John Harrison's marine chronometer was the first timepiece to successfully determine longitude at sea and in 1773, after much controversy, he was awarded his prize.
    A pocket watch belonging to Abraham Lincoln recently turned up a couple years back with an ancient engraving referencing the American Civil War.
    In 1880, German Emperor Wilhelm I visited the Berlin Trade Fair and spotted some prototype wristwatches designed by Constant Girard , he ordered 1000 for the German Imperial Navy wristwatches, and by 1880, 2000 had been produced and delivered. The cage protected the watch face in battle. Although, wristwatches were more handy than the popular pocket watches, they still did not hit the general market until Santos-Dumont ,a Brazilian aviator and popular icon, began wearing one. He approached Louis Cartier to fashion a watch so that he could keep both hands on the aircraft controls during flight. Being the trendsetter of the early 1900's, he popularized the wrist watch. Click here to learn more about Santos-Dumont

    During World War I, in the dark trenches, soldiers were not able to see their time pieces, and so luminescence was applied to the dial. Unfortunately, the luminescence used was comprised of highly radioactive Radium. While the lume was highly effective in reading the numbers of the dial in the dark, the young girls who had painted the lume on the dials, died from the results of the exposure.
    Click here to read their story - The Deadly Dials and Glowing Girls

    Many Watches were designed with protective grills such as the
    WWI British Air Force Military Watch depicted here.
    Watches on today's market, are fashioned after military vehicles. The Cartier Tank was created by Louis Cartier in 1917, and inspired by the new Renault tanks which Cartier saw in use on the Western Front. The first Cartier Tank was presented to General John Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force. The lines and proportions are similar to those of tanks found on First World War battlefields. The bracelet represents the Tanks treads.
    An entire company "U-Boat" is named after the German submarines from World War I and World War II. U-Boat is short for the German word "Unterseeboot" which literally means "undersea" boat.

    Bell and Ross fashion its watches after the dials on a military aircraft. On March 18th, 2009, Bell and Ross became the official supplier to the French Air Force. The French Air Force requested that Bell and Ross create a watch specifically designed to meet the timepiece requirements of fighter pilots - the BR 03 Type Aviation. In addition, in Basel World, Bell & Ross unveiled the Limited Edition BR 01 Airborne which bares the skull motif on the watches dial. The motif originated in World War II and is accompanied by US Airborne motto, "Death from Above". A reminder of the courageous military paratroopers who jumped into enemy territory. The skull symbolized their incredible bravery . The skull motif was used by the military on fighter jets and patches. It was a symbol of strength and defiance of defeat even in the face of death. Today the skull is a tribute to all those brave men and women in combat who serve to defend this country. On March 18th, 2009, Bell and Ross became the official supplier to the French Air Force.

    Many other brand Name Watch companies have become official suppliers for Army's. Breitling is the official supplier to the Royal Air Force, where the impeccable craftsmanship and exceptional endurance was tested in extreme atmospheric conditions.
    Ebel supplied the British Royal Air Force with watches from 1939-1945.
    Elgin (former watch company) issued this Canteen Watch to the U.S Navy during world war two. The crown flips off like the top of a canteen. (see inset)
    In 1938, Longines crafted “Anti-magnetique” for the Czech Air Force.

    Bremont, a British Luxury Watch Brand has taken history to a new dimension. Its EP120 pilot’s watch, depicted on the right, is made with parts from the famous RAF 1942 Spitfire Mk V fighter plane which shot down six enemy planes in a single day in World War II. Original parts of this plane has been featured in films such as the Battle of Britain. Pieces that were salvaged during the planes restoration have been incorporated into the EP120’s dial and movement.

    In war, tracking time is a matter of life and death.

    Today is Veterans Day. We salute all those who have put their lives on the line, and fought for this country.