Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quantième Perpétuel au Grand Balancier Accounts for February 29th

Antoine Martin Quantieme Perpetual au Grand Blancier
If you are on  my side of the International Date Line, it is still February 29th, 2012 and that means one of two things. Since it is a leap year, the date on your mechanical watch requires adjusting or it does not.  If the date on your watch does not need adjusting chances are it is a perpetual calender.  A perpetual calender is a highly complex watch complication, which accounts for differing lengths of months and leap years.  Many of the high end perpetual calender timepieces needs no adjustment until the year 2100.  Only highly skilled watchmakers craft perpetual calender, as this particular complication requires many additional components and extreme watchmaking know how, thus it is quite astonishing the brand ,Antoine Martin, debuted only last year, should present a perpetual calender as its start-up collection.
The company's focus is on functional perfection provided by unique technologically advanced movements and signature designs. This watch has been something of the brands flagship design, proving Antoine Martin is a new brand breaking old barriers and making  innovative strides in the world of horology.
Martin Braun

Don't be fooled by the brand's age,  the skill and watchmaking experience is 30 years old.  Martin Braun, the brands founder, who needs no introduction to the world of horology,  is not only experienced in watchmaking, but highly talented.   Entrepreneur Antoine Meier is a critical part of the team.  The brands CEO, Bruno Jufer has an impressive resume from a number of high end watch companies such as Maurice Lacroix, Jaquet Drois, Zenith and Carl F. Bucherer.

Bruno Jufer
The Antoine Martin Quantieme Perpetual au Grand Blancier is already breaking world records by incorporating the largest balance wheel (17.55mm in diameter) in a wrist watch crafted from grade 5 titanium as well as a cutting edge silicon escapement increasing efficiency and requiring no lubrication.  The in-house caliber AM39.001 has 60 jewels, beats at 18,000 vph, comprises of 324 components and is equipped with a 6 day power reserve. The Bauhaus design is all form giving way to function with a large amount of elegance. 
Elegance increased by a clever combination of polishing and satin finishing on the 18k rose gold case  The case itself is comprised of 85 components, including a unique and useful AM and PM indicator, leap year indicator at the 12 'o'clock and a day of the month indicator straddled by two bold screws.  The different levels of the face incorporating a silvered dial and long sweeping hand indicators display resolute efficiency and functionality with uncanny elegance.
The 18k white or rose gold case as well as the steel version is fixed to the wrist by a genuine Alligator mississippiensis (Louisiana alligator) strap and matching 18k rose or white gold folding clasp.
This style is also available is a rugged steel black DLC case with a black rubber strap and DLC folding clasp.

The timepieces Antoine Martin has presented so far integrate all factors leading to a successful watch company. The Antoine Martin Quantieme Perpetual au Grand Blancier is crafted for the person who relish complicated watch movements as well as appreciating clear functional and efficient time display.  

Visit Antoine Martin's debut of its latest TOURBILLON QUANTIÈME PERPÉTUEL collection from March 8th to 15th, 2012 in Baselworld Hall 4.1 Booth A15.  This is a brand to be watched. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jet Set Watches Official Sponser of Miss South Africa

Being an expat  from South Africa my eyes an ears are always open to South African News. So I was truly excited to read about Jet Set Watches being the Official Sponsor of  Miss South Africa.
(When do you hear about South Africa being associated with watch news?)
Since I am not really familiar with Jet Set watches, a quick look at their collection confirmed these watches  are fun in the sun timepieces targeting the trendy young beach crowd with bold colors, glittering accents and large dials.
 The watches are really affordable, under $250.00... and you can get a closer look at the Jet Set Collections and the gorgeous Miss South Africa 2011.

At Basel World on March 9th - Hall of Emotions 5.0 Booth D23, Melinda Bam, 22 year old Miss South Africa 2011 winner, will be presenting Jet Set's latest watch - the WB30 watch.
Sun City

This unique watch was presented to Melinda ,on December 11th 2011, in Sun City, South Africa, at a gala event crowning her Miss South Africa.  The watch is one of Jet Set's more high end styles and is encrusted with 140 diamonds. Beyond the diamond bezel, a silicon band wraps around the stainless steel case adding a look of casual glamor - a trendy look  Jet Set has perfected.   The watch is water resistant to 330 meters thereby increasing its beach worthiness.
  • Jet Set is also the Official Watch of The Voice of  Holland - a Dutch Reality Singing Competition created by none other than Jon de Mol (of Big Brother fame).

Monday, February 27, 2012

ArtyA Evokes Passion in New Women's Watch

ArtyA's seemingly endless creativity has spilled over into a stunning woman's watch. The dial evokes the feeling of careless abandonment where beauty arises out of no where catching the onlookers by sudden surprise like a fiery sunset. The unique purple on the mother-of-pearl dial is from the spiky murex marine snail found only in  Essaouira, Morroco.  In ancient times the purple dye was so coveted that Cleopatra dyed the sails of her Royal barge purple. It is one of the most ancient dyes used as far back as 18th century BC as wall paint and pottery decorations. This color was associated with Ancient Roman Royalty.

Delicate gold leaves rest on the dial as though they had drifted on the wind and landed in a pool of water.  The art of beating gold into leaves was first mastered by the Egyptians in 1200 BC, thereby adding another ancient process to the dial of the watch. Surrounding a dial, which the Phoenicians would cherish, a steel case set with 735 diamond completes the look.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Harry Winston at the Oscars

As the glamorous and famous walk down the red carpet, tonight at the 84th Oscar Academy Awards,  amidst flashing camera bulbs and awestruck onlookers, one can be sure that glinting in the lights is jewelry from Harry Winston. One of the most reminiscent Oscar winning visions is that of Gwyneth Paltrow, 2011 Baume & Mercier's ambassador, accepting the 1999 Best Actress Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love." Above a pale pink dress glittered a 40 carat diamond Harry Winston necklace.

Harry Winston has been adding to the razzle dazzle on the red carpet since the 1943 Academy Awards when Harry Winston adorned Jennifer Jones, Best actress for "The song of Bernadette", in glamorous jewels. Each year, on the night of the Academy Awards, Harry Winston lends $200 million worth of exceptional jewelry. Harry Winston is known as jeweler to the stars and has outfitted numerous celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Halle Barry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Renee Zellweger, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, and Salma Hayek.

It is hard to believe Harry Winston came from humble beginnings. Son of Jacob Winston, a Ukrainian immigrant, Harry used his incredible wit and exceptional sense of fine gems to surge ahead. His father opened up a small jewelery store in which Harry worked as a boy. He was just 12 years old when he spied a two carat emerald in a pawn shop, recognizing the gem for what it was, he bought it for 25 c and sold it two days later for $800. Harry Winston became legendary in the jewelry business and a part of the legend of "The Hope Diamond". Towards the end of its long journey from hand to hand, the Hope Diamond was sold by Pierre Cartier to U.S. socialite, Evelyn Walsh McLean. After her death in 1947, her grandchildren sold the Hope Diamond,,in 1949, to Harry Winston. It is said the Hope Diamond cursed those who owned it, but Harry Winston never believed the curse, and died from a heart attack at 82 on December 28th, 1978. Harry died long after he had donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958 as a gift to the American People, sending it to its final destination via the U.S Mail in a plain brown bag. He probably figured it could take care of itself as it did keep popping up throughout history.

In 1989 Harry Winston successor, his son, Ronald, establishes Harry Winston's first series of watches, The Ultimate Timepieces. Currently Harry Winston has five main timepiece collections:
The Avenue Collection, The Ocean Collection, The Premier Collection, The Signature Collection, and The Ultimate Collection. Harry Winston has 80 years of jewelry making to apply to its watches, so that the bracelets and bezels are provided with the art of jewelry making, bearing the best possible gems, and the movement is crafted by hand. Harry Winston has introduced incredible complication crafted with the utmost perfection that has carved a niche in the world of watchmaking.

Finally I have posted the song, by Marylin Monroe, "Diamonds are a girls best friend," Listen close and Harry Winston will be mentioned.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Power of Movado - A Story of Recovery

His name is Ken, although he cannot say it. He was a co-worker until a couple of months ago. I saw him an hour before his stroke. He was dropping off a 12 pack of Bounty Towel at the office. He seemed a little tired and stressed. No hint of the huge blood clot building up in his brain. He smiled and bid me farewell. He was always inquiring how I felt or if I had eaten.

Ken was not at work the next day; he was fighting for his life.

Two months later, Ken was still in his coma.  He had overcome a potentially deadly infection and threads of response glimmered behind his closed eyes. A permanent employee had replaced a temporary employee who had replaced Ken. The permanent employee, a corporate fellow in a starched collar and pointed shoes, sorted through Ken's old desk with military precision. The last traces of Ken were being flung into a cardboard office box. I had offered to take the box to his wife.

I heard a clink of glass on the bottom of the filing cabinet beside Ken’s old desk, and the new employee withdrew a watch. I recognized it immediately. The leather black strap was soft and worn and a gold dot clung to the 12 ‘o’clock position amidst a black face. It was a Movado Museum Watch. The employee flung the Movado Watch among Ken's dog-eared odds and ends.

“Hey! That’s Kens,” I said with a protectiveness that surprised me.

I picked up the Watch and held it. I had seen Ken glancing at the Watch on so many occasions that ,to me, the Watch was an intimate extension of him. I felt the new employee had somehow invaded Ken's privacy. I was filled with a sudden urgency to return his Museum Watch. I felt he needed the Watch.

I called his wife, Susan.

“I found Ken’s Watch,” I said knowing how silly it sounded since he was in a coma and in no need of the time.

“Oh!” she said and hesitated. I could hear her throat clogging up. “Come see Ken,” she said after a moment.

“At the hospital?’ I said. Thinking to myself, “Obviously he's  at the hospital. Why did I say that?”

She gave me directions. I headed to the hospital immediately after work.

I tiptoed into Ken's room smelling hospital grade antiseptic. The room was dim. I stood by the doorway looking at his still form beneath Hospital blankets. Susan had fallen asleep by his side, her head on her folded arms, resting on the side of his bed. The room was still and I turned to leave.

“She’s asleep got to go.” I thought, feeling guilty but relieved.

 Then I felt the cool glass of the Movado Museum Watch against my palm. I squeezed it gently and tapped Susan on the shoulder. She sat up immediately, used to being on the alert.

She held my arm, “You came.” she said, and I cried and she cried.

I stretched out my hand and let the Movado Museum Watch lay flat against my palm. Susan took the watch from my hand and laid it against her cheek as fresh waves of tears rolled down her face. She carefully lifted Ken's wrist and around it she placed the Movado Museum Watch. I thought I saw his fingers move in response, but I was not sure.
Ken struggled up from his coma two weeks later, and it was two weeks after that he started looking at his Watch.
 Four months later, Ken cannot walk or talk or feed himself, but every once in a while, he looks at his Movado Museum Watch. A small action powering Susan’s hope that Ken will recover.
Susan believes, the Movado Watch links Ken to his old life, and plays a role in his recovery.

Friday, February 24, 2012

10 Ugly Watches! What Do You Think? Ugly or Not?

Corum Rolls Royce looks better on the hood of a car than on a wrist.  It kind of reminds me of awful draperies flapping behind a broken window of some deserted hotel 

Angular Momentum Time Explosion looks like it was kind of sweet before it went psycho and  chopped up its fellow collection mates and pasted their innards on its bezel like some sadistic trophy. 
Growl! This Leopard Print Rolex brings to mind unmentionable leopard print horrors roaming around Walmart's nightlife.

I love all Yvan Arpa's ,of Romain Jerome Titanic DNA fame, creations.  I really do and that is why I seriously contemplated against putting his Dinosaur Dung Watch on this list.  But I figured it is crafted from fossilized feces excreted by a plant eating specie ,give or take, a 100 million years ago and the strap is made from the skin of an American Cane Toad...and hey Dung is ugly and so is the skin of a toad.

 Any iced out bling bling Casio G-Shock makes me cringe.  Yes! I am aware of the hip hop trend... and I'm sure Lil Wayne will pull this watch off very nicely, but baby not around my wrist. 

Just because a timepiece cost 25 Million Dollars does not mean I have to like it.  The 201-carat Chopard watch looks more like a chicken cutlet breaded in diamonds. 

So that's where my old answering machine went.  Fancy that! No wait! This is the MY01 - Reverse Collection by Hong Kong Designer , Micheal Young. 

A bit more serious here.  What you see is a vintage timepiece from World War One with indices painted in highly radioactive Radium. Radium glows in the dark. It is not that these watches are ugly, but the tragic circumstances that took the young lives as a result of  painting the Radium on these dials.  Click here for the complete story of  "The Deadly Dials and the Glowing Girls"

Someone has being playing in the scrap yard again.  The Mandeville Dance Watches by Ulli Kempelmann look like they took one hell of a detour in a pretty bad neighborhood  before getting to the dance.  You kind of feel bad for these poor little dears, and your gut instinct is to patch them up as best as you could before sending them on their way with a new set of directions.

The Charriol Iron Watch is shaped like the end of a golfing iron for all golfing enthusiasts out there. I am not a golfer, so I suppose I shouldn't pass judgment on the watch, but there is something about the shape of the dial that makes me a bit squeamish. But beauty and ugly is in the eye of the beholder.  After all we are not mirrors reflecting what we see, but perceiving beings unconsciously making snap decisions on what we perceive.

I would love you to comment in agreement or not and add a mention of your most disturbing watch.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

De GRISOGONO Otturatore Timepiece Changes Face

Small Seconds Subdial
At BaselWorld this year one can get an eye to eye view of the new De Grisigono's Otturatore Timepiece Collection housing  four complications revealed one at a time via a rotating dial aperture.   The watch is pretty pricey costing 69,100 - 71,100 francs, but De Grisigono emphasizes the intensive research and development required to create the movement. I blogged about this watch back in 2009, when the watch was less square and edgy.  I am still deciding which model I prefer.

Moon Phase
I have to say it is a brilliant way of incorporating four complications without cluttering the dial.  Even the rotor is under wraps. 
The 18k rose or white gold case is an imposing 50mm tall, 45mm wide 16mm thick.  The pushers hold an immense presence commanding as much attention as the dial itself.  I would have thought if the complications and rotor were crafted with discretion, the pushers could have been a little less obvious.  The pushers run the show, however, initiating the 90° dial change in a few tenths of a millisecond, undetectable by the human eye.  The speed requires a two step procedure.  When one depresses the pusher another mechanism is activated which in turn moves the dial.  The pusher itself would not have enough power to move the dial at that speed, thus a second mechanism is incorporated.  The second mechanism is equipped with its own mainspring barrel, which draws energy from the lower pusher, which must be "pumped" a couple of times.
Date Aperture

The automatic DL 19-89 movement is an in house effort comprising of 574 components, 28 jewels and beating at 28,800 vph.  The clou de paris cobbled textured dial is available in silver,ruthenium, black or brown and serves as a worthy landscape for the aperture. Elegant “dauphine” style hands crafted in either 18K rose or white gold allow for a bold efficient time display.  A sapphire crystal case back allows one to view the complicated mechanism at work.  The watch is fixed with a comfortable alligator leather straps and secured to the wrist by a 18 k rose or white gold Signature De Grisigono folding clasp.  Although this watch has a 100 feet water resistance, for this price, I would hesitate to get it wet.
42 Hour Power Reserve

De Grisigono has always captured my attention ever since I first blogged about its Meccanico DG watch in 2008 and the Be Eight Collection and the "8 rules of femininity" later that year.  De Grisigono  watches are renowned for their uncanny distinction and exceptional craftsmanship. They were one of the first watch companies to use Galuchat as watch bands  De Grisigono was established in 1993 by famous diamond cutter and jeweler Fawaz Gruosi. Fawaz Gruosi leaped to fame when he
cut the world's largest black diamond, "Spirit of De Grisogono Diamond"  - 587 carats in the rough and 312.24 when cut.  It was set into a white gold ring and surrounded by 702 white diamonds - a total of 36.69 carats.  Fawaz Gruosi sold the ring to a private client. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tag Heuer, The Lady and The Races

Tag Heuer Formula 1 Lady Yin Yang

I always associated Tag Heuer with the clocking of asphalt pounding car races down to the 1/1000th of a second.  I suppose it was all that hype about the  Mikrogirder 2000 concept watch beating at frantic  7,200,000 vibrations per hour. However now Tag Heuer is riding in an entirely new direction with a tantalizing design so feminine in its glittering attire, one takes a double take at the manufacturer.  The Tag Heuer Formula 1 Lady Yin Yang is a scintillating beauty arising from the work bench of the same company which created the Monaco V4.  
Tag Heuer's spanking  new bejeweled watch and its collection counterparts almost seem like polar opposites. But as opposite they are, they are Yin and Yang -   intertwined and interconnected influencing each other within a greater whole.  It is exactly the Yin Yang motif depicted on the dial paved with 245 brilliant cut white and black diamonds.    The black diamonds depicting Yin and white diamonds depicting Yang. The black and white motif spill onto the bezel and trickle down the bracelet in 234 baguette cut diamonds.  Diamond tally of dial, bezel and bracelet is 7.34 carats including the baguette diamonds forming Tag Heuer's Signature Logo.

Although the watch is a diminutive 32mm case crafted from 136 grams of 18k white gold, its presence is powerful and attracts more attention than 2011's much larger 41mm Formula 1 Steel and Ceramic Models.  In the Formula 1 Yin Yang, Tag Heuer does not forgo its cutting edge  ceramic watchmaking material altogether, but places polished black ceramic on the bracelet flanked on either side by diamonds.

This is not the first time Tag Heuer has placed diamonds on its dial and bezel.  The Formula 1 Ladies Chronograph sports a total of 131 diamonds. However with this new model,  Tag Heuer has entered another realm of watch making.  A realm  straddling the fine line between haute jewelry and a timekeeping instrument.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Frank Muller's Largest Tourbillon Now in the Midst of Dazzling Diamonds

Frank Muller Giga Tourbillon Paved in Diomands

It seems quite fitting for the largest tourbillon ever to be incorporated into a wristwatch be surrounded by diamonds.  These dazzling Giga Tourbillons were unveiled  last month at the 2012 World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie (WPHH).
The Giga Tourbillon  Collection was first introduced in 2011.  The tourbillon, on these watches,  commands half the space on the dial and measures a whopping 20mm in diameter.  I first blogged  Frank Muller's Tourbillon Collection back in 2011.
This new glamorous 18K white cold Cintrée CurvexTM”-shaped Giga Tourbillon case is paved with 474 diamonds amounting to 9.57 cts. 280 White diamonds upon the dial surround the tourbillon like a cloud.
The tourbillon itself is a feat of engineering conjoined to a  manual wound FM 2100 caliber movement capable of a 10 day power reserve.    This type of technique enabling this amount of power reserve for such a large watch mechanism is quite rare and virtually unheard of beyond the beautiful grounds of Frank Muller's Watchland.    The Giga Tourbillon is actually fitted with two pairs of spring boxes, both 16mm in diameter. Most tourbillon's are fitted with only one or two.

In order not to mask the immense tourbillon on either side of the watch case, the watch is not fitted with a rotor, but rather  wound at the crown. The movement is equipped with  four barrels beating at a frequency of 18,000 vph and comprises of 29 jewels and 240 components.  Hand chamfering and circular graining adds to the impeccable finishing of the movement.

This watch is part of a host of other Giga Tourbillon diamond studded models housing a 693 diamond studded movement on bridge and plate. The watch is available in white gold, pink gold or PVD covered in black diamonds.

Wearing a Giga Tourbillon Watch will sure get you noticed big time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's a New Moon for Konstantin Chaykin Lunokhod Watch

Russian Watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin was so inspired by the 1970 success of  Russian Scientists, who created and landed  two unmanned lunar rovers on the moon, he named a collection of watches after the vehicles: Lunokhod.

When I asked, "What so inspired Konstantin Chaykin to use the name Lunokhod?"

He replied, "The main theme that inspired me was the proudness about the russian scientists that make a moon rover."

  Not only was it the success of this endeavor that prompted him to use the name Lunokhod, but also its uncanny play on words for a watch of this kind.

As Konstantin Chaykin explained, 
 "First I create the movement that rotate the 3d Moon in the watch. But its design was close to Moon rover form and I desired to call the watch Lunokhod. In Russian it looks like play of words - Lunok - Moon hod - movement. It seems to me like a good idea."

Embedded in the very center of  Russian Watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin's Lunokhod timepiece is the moon represented by a single pearl. The symbolism of moon as pearl is as old as time itself told around crackling fires in faraway lands.  An ancient Indian Myth claims pearls are dewdrops from heaven captured by shellfish at dawn in the phase of a  full moon. Looking up at the night sky a full moon softly bathing the world in its reflected light, one can imagine it as a large pearl The Lunokhod moon phases are indicated by a shutter, which slides across the pearl darkening its surface.

Surrounding the pearl are hour, minute and seconds retrograde time displays crafted in 18k yellow gold and curved like the indices on an ancient astrolobe.  One can almost imagine  Ptolomy donned in flowing robes peering at the timepiece and  generating complicated astronomical calculations.  The slim case is crafted from 18k yellow gold, which adds an ancient  elegance to its unique design.  The previous Lunokhod was a bit more sinister looking and had a more space age feel to it than the newer all gold model.  However the previous model used wootz steel, which is an ancient metal originating in India around 300 BC.  So coveted was this metal, it was given as a gift by King Porus ,ruler of an Ancient Civilization, to Alexander the Great.  Constantin Chaykin used this material as its texture simulated that of the moon. The moon in the previous model is not a pearl, but rather a textured silver.  A black rhodium plated silver hood which represents the moon phase change is probably used in both models. 

The hand wound mechanical movement is crafted entirely by Konstantin Chaykin  framing the prominent moon phase.

Konstantin Chaykin will release only 12 models of the Lunokhod in gold, priced at 110,000 Euros.
In a world where the art of mechanical watchmaking is increasing in leaps and bounds, Konstantin Chaykin has received quite a bit of notice.  His watches exude a strength of character and watchmaking skill only accomplished by the highly talented and exceptionally competent watchmaker.

The next Konstantin Chaykin timepiece to excite the watch world is his enigmatic, "Mystery Watch".  Mysterious because the dial hands are suspended in a transparent dial with out any conceivable support.  To be unveiled at BaselWorld 2012.
In time my Blog about  the Konstantin Chaykin Mystery Watch will reveal itself from its drafting board.

Whatever happened to Swatch Internet Time?

This was supposed to be the next BIG thing in time. Swatch Company had a grand idea, to eliminate time zones altogether, to make the entire world run at according to the same time. New york, London, Moscow, Sydney would all be one time. This is not a new idea, of course, Sanford Flemming, a Scottish born Canadian engineer and inventor suggested a single 24-hour clock for the entire world, located at the center of the Earth and not connected to any surface meridian. It was at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute on February 8, 1879 he proposed that standard time zones could be used locally, but they were subordinate to his single world time, which he called Cosmic Time. Although this idea was rejected, his 24 hour clock preposition was excepted with hearty gusto.   I suppose Cosmic time was somewhat of a predecessor of Swatch Internet Time. Click here for more information of Time Zones

Almost 120 years later, Swatch Internet Time was promoted om October 23rd, 1998 at a Junior Summit. The Summit was attended by Nicolas G. Hayek, President and CEO of the Swatch Group. IN 1999 many watches were produced by Swatch with Swatch Internet Time as well as the standard time. Swatch even convinced CNN to utilize this method of time display as well as many online games such as Phantasy Star Online. The identical time zones while playing an Internet game would enable Japanese, European and American players to mingle on the same server. In March 2001 Ericsson released the T20e, a cellphone with provided the option for Internet Time Display.

The Swatch Internet Time is based on the decimal measure of time, not the metric. Instead of dividing the day in 24 hours with one hour equalling 60 minutes, the Internet Time divides the day into 1000 .beats. Each .beat is 1 minute and 26.4 seconds. The Internet Time uses a New Meridian known as the Biel Meantime (BMT) which is the universal reference for Internet time based on the company's headquarters in Biel, Switzerland. The new Meridian (opposed to the Greenwich Meridian) runs through Swatch's office in Biel.

A day in Internet Time begins midnight BMT @000 Central European Winter/Standard time which is UTC + 1 hour. Noon would be @500 .beats.

Advantages of Swatch Internet Time:
1) It uses the Decimal System instead of 24 hours, 60 minutes and 60 seconds which is three different units as opposed to one unit .beats.
2) .beat time is a no brainer @004 beats + @200 .beats = @204 .beat, where as with standard time adding the three units hours, minutes and seconds may get complicated.
3) No time zones.

Disadvantages of Swatch Internet Time:
1) A new Meridian is added, the Biel Meridian which replaces the Greenwich Meridian.
2) Swatch incorrectly uses mean time - The Biel Time is not at exactly 15 degrees east longitude, which should have been the case if the BMT is 1 hour ahead of UTC/GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
3) The second is replaced by .beats, which is not actually a second. The second is known world over as being the basic unit of time, to add .beats would cause much confusion.
4) The Internet Time seems more like a clever marketing ploy as people will turn to the Swatch Headquarters in Biel when determining the time of day.
5) No regard is made for night or day, and the normal human activities. With utilizing the Swatch Internet system, time distances itself from humanity, turning civilization, slaves to our technology.

Although Swatch is still marketing the Swatch Internet Time on their company website, and one is able to download the time to ones computer, the Swatch Internet Time has failed to take hold. Time is not tangible and to change the way we track time is to change the way we think. The Hour, minute and Second Standard Time System has serves us up till now and will continue to track our time hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second. I suppose in another 100 years another suggestion of universal time may crop up, but it seems the world turning on its axis ,longitude by longitude, creating night and day and dark and light, wins every time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The New Longines Saint-Imier Collection

Strolling past the Longines Booth at BaselWorld 2012, one will notice an entirely new collection - The New Longines Saint-Imier Collection.  The collection pays homage to its birth place - Saint-Imier situated in a picturesque Canton of Bern in Switzerland.  Longines has not moved from Saint-Imier since its establishment in 1832 and now is the predominant factory in this largely agricultural region. The Longines Saint-Imier collection houses exclusively mechanical movements securely connecting this collection to the tradition of watchmaking.

The Collection is quite prolific consisting of no less than 18 models, all exceedingly elegant and efficient.   A quick yet intense glance at the Ladies Mechanical Timepiece assures me that the Longines watch will be an instant hit. The mother of pearl dial surrounded by an elegant 60 diamond studded bezel atop a steel case is a classic combination with a subtle sensuality. The varying lengths of pink gold and steel bracelet links surround a wrist in delicate embrace.  Beating within compact 26mm  case is the  Calibre L595 movement crafted  from the base ETA 2000/1 movement. Comprising of 20 jewels and beating at 28,800 vph, the automatic timepiece is equipped with a 40 hour power reserve. Superluminova coated pink hour and minute hands ensure optimal readout in the dark, and anti-reflective scratch resistant sapphire crystal ensure optimal read out under the glare of the sun.  12 Diamond hour markers add a glimmer of elegance hour after hour.

Chronograph Movements are all the rage among the ladies where elegance and note-worthy efficiency is highly respected. Mentioning efficiency in regard to this timepiece is of supreme relevance since this 39mm Chronograph is equipped with the L688 column-wheel chronograph movement exclusively developed and produced for Longines by ETA.  Since both companies are owned by The Swatch Group Ltd, ETA has taken great lengths to ensure that this exclusive movement is of exceptional quality. The column wheel component increases the timepiece's shock absorbant capability. The Calibre L688.2 self-winding mechanical movement is equipped with 27 jewels and beats at 28,800 vph with 54 hour power reserve.
 I always find it most fitting when Longines unveils a chronograph movement, since Longines is highly associated with equestrian sports and the chronograph function was first developed to determine exactly how long a horse race lasted. The Chronograph was actually invented in 1821 by Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec, at the command of horse racing enthusiast King Louis XVIII and patented in 1822, ten years before Auguste Agassiz founded Longines. 
The Silver Tone Dial of the  Longines Ladies Chronograph elegantly displays the 12 o’clock Arabic numeral marker and 8 applied hour markers.  12-hour, 30-minute and small seconds sub dials are located  at the  6, 3 and 9 o’clock respectively.  Boldly indicated beneath the 12 'o'clock position is the Longines winged hourglass - The Oldest Valid Trademark in the International Registry - click here for some fascinating information  

Longines pride of its collection The Longines Saint-Imier Retrograde Moon Phase Watch is a beauty to behold.  Its understated elegance coupled with a bold assertion of mechanical complications exude a potent mix of horological magnificence. The sleek stainless steel 44mm case houses a Calibre L707 (base movement ETA A07.L31)  mechanical automatic movement comprised of 25 jewels and beating at a frequency of 4 HZ equipped with a 48 hour power reserve. 
This timepiece features a traditional analog time display surrounded on all four sides by retrograde displays. The days of the week are placed just beneath the 12 'o'clock.  The date and the second time zone straddle either side of the dial and a retrograde small second indicator is located below the day night indicator.  A triple folding safety clasp ensures maximum protection for the flagship model of this collection. 
This collection will be on prominent display at Basel World 2012. 

Girard-Perregaux and The Quartz Scare

This newspaper advertisement from the Winnipeg Free Press, November 27th, 1972 and others like it almost brought the world of mechanical watch making to its knees. A Watch only less accurate than the sun itself is quite a statement. While reading this 40 year old article, I can sense the shudder that pervaded the Mechanical Watch World in the early 1970's when Quartz watches flooded the market, relatively cheaper and more accurate than their mechanical counterparts.

Girard-Perregaux Calibre 351 (1970's)
This thought was very much the same of many companies that became redundant due to modern technologies. Companies that made camera film for camera's, ribbons for typewriters, VHS , gas lanterns and carriages for horses.
The Mechanical Watch World thought their days were numbered, and truth be told the sales of Mechanical Watches plummeted. Less people learned the trade of Mechanical Watch Making as they saw no future in it. Companies like Blancpain became dormant shutting their doors and vowing emphatically never to produce a watch powered by quartz (To this day they still have not).
Other companies like Girard-Perregaux were not as gloomy, but on the contrary grabbed the Quartz Revolution by the horns, revamping its Research Development Department and becoming a major player in the Quartz Revolution.  In the early 1970's, the Girard-Perregaux Calibre 351, unveiled in 1969, was  mass produced and widely available.  It was relatively expensive, but the novelty of a watch, which required no winding and was only less accurate then the sun itself, boosted sales.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato (2010)
Today  Girard-Perreagux holds much pride in its Quartz Accomplishment. In January 2010,  the Girard-Perreaguax Laurateo (cost - $11,500) housing a GP 13500 quartz movement commemorated its 40 years in the quartz industry and the successful establishment of the quartz crystal's frequency of 32.768 hertz - a specification standard to all quartz calibers  today.
In fact Girard-Perregaux holds its quartz accomplishments in as great esteem as its iconic three gold bridges movement crafted over 100 years prior.  This year at the SIHH 2012, Girard-Perregaux joined these iconic milestones, separated by over 100 years, into a symbolic timepiece - the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon with 3 spinal blue bridges.  The Original Girard- Perregaux Triple Gold Bridges was patented in March 1884, but developed in the 1860's.
Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon 3 Bridges (2012)
 The newest Laureauto Tourbillon is limited to 10 pieces and houses a automatic mechanical Girard-Perregaux 9600-0004 movement, within a 42.6 mm titanium case.  An octagonal platinum bezel add  bright bands of luster achieved by alternating  brushed and polished finishes accentuating the translucent blue of the clear spinal bridges. Spinals , a precious gem from the Corundum family, is the perfect material to use since the gem  requires very little treatment as  in nature they are flawless and transparent.   The clarity of the stone is a blue hued window to a tourbillon suspended beneath the bridge above the 6'o'clock position as well as mechanical components beneath the other bridges.  The transparent case back reveals the excellent mechanics in motion.  A rugged titanium bracelet fastened the timepiece securely to ones wrist.

So it seems that as a result of the inexpensiveness, accuracy, and sheer numbers of Quartz Watches available, Mechanical Watches would vanish from the modern world. It seemed The Mechanical Watch World was on the brink of extinction ,when the novelty of the Quartz watches began to fade, and slowly Mechanical Watches made a come back. Mechanical Watches now filled a different role of times past. Mechanical Watches filled the role of class, quality and centuries old tradition. True they are less effected by adverse temperatures, and can last longer if maintained , but it is not a competition between the two that can be tabulated. The two types of watches are very different, and it is in their difference that each will attain their place in the Watch World. Gerard-Perregaux found a place for Mechanical and Quartz Watches to exist in a harmonious balance. Excepting both and detracting from none. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is The Time on My Haldimann Reduction H9?

I must say I wrote this blog with a smile on my face for a watch maker with guts and gall. 
If someone would ask me, "What watch has a movement, but tells no time?"  I would say it would have to be the Haldimann Reduction H9 watch.   Looking at the watch with its opaque scratch resistant sapphire crystal - to protect the "un-dial" perhaps - one may assume there is nothing beyond its blackened void, but bringing the un-watch up to ones ear and hearing the gentle ticking emanating from the case, assures us that there is more than meets the eye. The manually wound movement is actually a really nice functional  hand engraved caliber H.Zen-1 sporting a triple barrel flying tourbillon  The movement is of magnificent craftsmanship with no purpose. 

About 2 years ago I did stick up for the Haldimann H8 praising the lone tourbillon's wondrous sculpture in motion - see here, but the new H9 leaves me wondering of the actual purpose of the platinum encased timepiece. The company uses a kind of philosophical stance to its creation saying "time can thus be imagined, dreamed, or invented."  The quote is wide open to opinion.

 But back to the practicality of the un-timepiece -

"How does one read this watch?"  Well you don't - as I have explained it is an un-watch. So what exactly is its function?  Hmm - It is a conversation piece - which can make you look pretty stupid when you glance at it and say, "Oh No its late - I'd better be going."

For 150,000 francs one purchases a 39mm or 42mm solid platinum case surrounding an exceptional caliber H.Zen-1 with triple barrel flying tourbillon shrouded in a completely opaque sapphire crystal.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Roses are Red and Watches Are Too. Happy Valentines Day

Harry Winston Diane

MB & F and Boucheron HM3 The Jwlry Machine Watch 2010

Hublot Tutti Frutti St. Valentine Edition 2011

Louis Vuitton Heart Watch Valentines Day 2011

Hublot Big Bang Valentines Day 2010
Jacob & Co Rainbow Tourbillon 2010

Dior Christal Red Rubber Chronograph 2010