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.