Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chopard's Masculine Side.

In just ten years, Chopard has been able to establish a powerful and definite masculine image for its mens watches and producing elegant male timepieces such as the Chopard Imperiale Chronograph. Chopard has managed to follow a path of success in both completely different directions. The feminine side of Chopard is in the ultra competent hands of Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele and Karl-Friedrich is active in establishing a successful male image. One of his responsibilities include developing a watch series to be presented at the yearly Mille Miglia (1000 mile car race) in Italy in which he is an enthusiastic participant. Karl quite aptly is a collector of watches and classic cars. He is also the supervisor of Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006.
This particular production init is able to develop watch movements entirely within its walls and currently produces a collection of precisn mechanical self-winding movements (equipped with a micro-rotor), and hand-wound movements (with four barrels), complications such as tourbillons or perpetual calenders as well as the cutting-edge chronograph movement which was presented last year. This year Chopard presented its L.U.C Regulator, the exceptional product of ten years of research and development.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Art Deco inspired Luxury Watches

In 1997 Concord unveiled its 18 gold La Scala collection, perfectly geometric- an art deco inspiration. Jaeger- LeCoultre's Reverso Grande Taille utilizes pure geometric shapes an art deco icon.

Art Deco swept through a changing era: old Victorian petticoats were flung away for a modern streamlined form. Women cut their hair, hemmed their skirts and skipped away from prohibitions. It was the roaring twenties. Lines were straight, mathematical and geometric. Products were made with the consumer in mind, aerodynamic cars and boats, sleek with sharp pristine angles. The heavy frills made way for clear lines. In the United States, Art Deco influenced building architecture (The Chrysler Building), cars, fashion, furniture, subway stations, jewelry and watches. Watches of the 1920's an 30's were mathematically geometric in design, and drew inspiration from modern clean cut shapes. Art Deco was more than just an art it was an entire movement lasting from 1925 to 1939, sandwiched between two world wars.

Art Deco was advertised in 1925 as the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderns (the International Exhibit of Decorative Arts and Modern Industries), in Paris, the worlds most influential artists and designers met to share their visions of design for the future. The event basked in international attention, it was "the event" promoting the evolution of design. Culminating from this movement was the Art Deco, then known as Style Moderne and in 1968 coined Art Deco. Today Art Deco is sometimes referred to as retro modern or vintage modern. "Retro" is a Latin Prefix meaning "backward" or in "past times", the modern of the then, the modern of the twenties. Whatever the term used, the look is still refreshingly edgy and undoubtedly modern.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Movado's Ambassador, Wynton Marsalis.

Since 1998, Wynton Marsalis has been an ambassador for Movado. He is said to be the best jazz musician and trumpeter of his generation. As I am writing this blog I am listening to his incredible trumpetering, and as always I am amazed at his incredible agility and talent. He knows the trumpet like no one I have ever seen. Not only is he one of the worlds top classical trumpeters, he is a brilliant composer, a tireless advocate for the arts, and a inspirational educator.

When we are greeted with great talent like Wynton Marsalis, it is only natural that we are curious. To be the best in a world of good is to reach the stars.
Wynton was born, on October 18, 1961, to Ellis and Doloris Marsalis in New Orleans where the sound of jazz envelopes the city. He was the second of six sons. One of his brothers is autistic. He was drawn to music from an early age, and he was good at it. Better than good. At 8 he began performing traditional New Orleans music, and incredibly when he was only 14 he was invited to perform for New Orleans Philharmonic. Throughout high school, he was a member of a number of bands including the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet. On weekends he played in a jazz band as well as a popular funk band, the Creators. He was music to the core. AT 17 he became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center. Even though he was very young, he was awarded with a prestigious award from the school, the Harvey Shapiro Award for an outstanding brass student.

In 1979 he moved to New York to study at Julliard, and he became playing in gigs in the Big Apple.
Talent like Wynton Marsalis cannot be kept under wraps for too long, and soon enough people were talking.
In 1980 he joined the Jazz Messengers where he had the opportunity to study under the master drummer and band leader, Art Blakey. Art Blakey taught him how to bring an intensity to each and every performance. In the following years, he was invited to perform with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweet Edison, Clark Terry and many other jazz greats.

Marsalis formed his own band, performing 120 concerts every year. He continued for 10 years perfecting his talent and determining how best to give his audience. In essence, in these years he gave a new vitality to jazz and rekindled the publics interest in jazz. It seems he had his work cut out for him, but during this time Marsalis spent as much time composing as playing. He created major compositions for the New York City Ballet, Twyla Tharp for the American Ballet Theater.
He also had an affinity for Classical Music and his debut recording of classical trumpet concertos won him a Grammy for "Best Classical Soloist with an Orchestra" He has performed with the New York Philharmonic and countless other orchestras.
Marsalis has won nine Grammy's , in 1983 winning a jazz and classical Grammy in the same year and doing the same in 1984. In 1997 he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music. He is a teacher and spokesman of music and has received honorary doctorates from universities through out the US.

On March 20,2001, Wynton Marsalis was named United Nations Messenger of Peace by Secratary General Kofi Annan.

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Wynton heeded the desperate calls of his fellow citizens and organized organized the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief concert (produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center) thereby raising and distributing over $3M to musicians and cultural organizations crushed by the hurricane. In addition, he headed an organization called the Bring Back New Orleans Cultural Commission. In which a plan was set in place to revitalize the city’s cultural base. Since Katrina, Wynton has been a constant advocate for Hurricane Katrina survivors, to bring hope an will as well finding resources to rebuild New Orleans culturally, socially and economically.

Wynton Marsalis has just released a new book , "“Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life,”.

Movado has chosen well. Very Well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Movado Elliptica Collection

In 2001 Movado unveiled a unique watch known as the Elliptica selection. A significant breakthrough design. The case is gracefully curved to fit the contours of ones wrist. The winding stem is at the 12 ‘o clock position. The numerals 3, 6, 9 and 12 are in the traditional spaces on the dial. The remaining numerals are lined up at the top and the bottom of the watch.

The Movado Elliptica embodies the essence of Movado, the simplicity in displaying time, as well as a curved case, reminiscent of Movado's revolutionary Polyplan Watch created in 1912. The 1912 Polyplan Watch was a design breakthrough, the entire watch movement was constructed on three separate planes to fit the curved case. Today's Elliptica utilizes the contoured case which provides the utmost watch wearing comfort.

A Lone Dot at the 12 'o' clock. Movado.

Who knew a single gold dot could attain such a remarkable presence in the world of watches. The dot represents the sun shining at noon and for Movado and its gold dot the sun has never set. The Movado Museum Watch. Since 1960, Movado has redesigned the cases and bands and even colors of the gold dot and its face, but the unwavering dot whether concave or flat remains in place. A gold dot at the 3 'o'clock position would be perceived as wrong and a gold dot at the 6 'o'clock position would be turned facing the other way. The dot shall remain as Nathan George Horwitt had designed it in 1947, at the 12 'o'clock position.Movado Aprezi ladies watch in 14 karat gold.
Movado Artiko Ladies Watch. A dazzling tribute to the Movado style.

The Movado Bareleto Ladies Watch is a gorgeous piece of jewelry that tells the Movado time.
The Movado Dolca Ladies Watch with a mother-of-pearl dial is a perfect gift for mothers day. I know mothers day is ways away, but a watch like this does not have to wait till mothers day. The exquisite bracelet is in perfect harmony with the watch face and the gold dot.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chopard Chronograph Mille Miglia Collection

One of Chopard's most popular collections is the Mille Miglia. The collection encompasses a large array of different styles. The watches are Automatic with a precision Chronograph and a Tachymeter. A Tachymeter is a scale on the bezel which gives the speed of a moving object, in conjunction with the second hand. A Tachymeter takes a value determined in less than a minute and converts it into miles per hour. Perfect if you needed to know your speed on a lengthy race like the Mille Miglia.
The Mille Miglia Collection is named after the Mille Miglia race or One Thousand Miles, originally an open-road endurance race which sped through some of Italy's most scenic landscapes, twenty four times from 1927 to 1957. The race was abruptly brought to an end when Alfonso de Portago blew a tire at high speed ,in a Ferrari, near Mantova. After the dust cleared Alfonso was killed and so were his navigator and 11 spectators. In 1982 the Mille Miglia endurance race was reinvented as a road rally rather than speeding cars on open roads. Now perfect timing is the essence, and competitors from around the world race their vintage cars dating from 1927 to 1957. It has become a meeting place for the rich and famous and passion driven individuals who wait all year to battle over 1,600 miles of exquisite Italian Roads. The Mille Miglia is widely known as "the most beautiful car race in the world" and Chopard , luxury watch brand, is the official timekeeper and one of the main sponsors.

In 1988 Chopard started its partnership with Mille Miglia and became the official time keeper. Chopard merged the world of car racing and timepieces with its powerful collection of sports watches, aptly labeled Mille Miglia. These precision sports watches are a representation of the world of car racing. The watches impart a integral sense of the road with its dials fashioned like the gauges of a race car. The black and red boldly stitched band, resemble the seats of the race cars.

The Watch Collections and the Name of Italy's One Thousand Mile race are perfectly synchronized in time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Longines Luxury Watch Company official timekeeper for CSIO 08 Barcelona

Longines is the official timekeeper and partner of the CSIO Barcelona, the final, which is underway from September 18th to September 21st. The CSIO is an International Show Jumping Event which is held in the most prestigious show venues on the international circuit:
La Baule (France), Aachen (Germany), Rome (Italy), St.Gallen (Switzerland), Rotterdam (Holland), Hickstead (Great Britain), Dublin (Ireland) and currently the finals in Barcelona (Spain).

Longines equistrian history dates back to 1926 where Longines participated in its first International Horse Show in Geneva Switzerland. In 2000 Longines started awarding
the Longines Prize for Elegance in equestrian sports. This year the Prize for Elegance will be awarded in Barcelona. A jury of seven journalists from the equestrian and sporting press coming from the seven countries where Longines is an official timekeeper, will elect the most elegant female and male rider having achieved the most points in the six previous events. The winners each will receive a check in the amount of 20,000 swiss francs, a trophy, and a set of Longine Luxury Watches.
Against the magnificent backdrop of the Barcelona CSIO, Longines is launching its new Watch Collection - The Admiral Watch from Longines Sports Collection.

The Admiral is elegant yet sporty. The bold dials, numbers and hands create a distinct look of intense motion and urgent adventure. This watch is designed for the organized adventurer who has the need for a second 24 hour time zone. Longines has created a watch that radiates life and movement. Longines has masterfully blended precision, elegance and sports culminating in a collection of unique trend-setting watches. Available in this series is 24hour watches, tachymeter and chronograph.

Longines has more than 125 years of sporting heritage as a Timekeeper for World Championship events.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What is the Geneva Seal?

I recently purchase a Patek Phillipe Luxury Watch with the Geneva Seal. What is the Geneva Seal?

Known as Poinçon de Genève in French or Genfer Siegel in German , the Geneva Seal is the quality seal of the City and Canton of Geneva. It is a certification exclusively reserved for mechanical wrist watch movements made in the City or Canton of Geneva. It is a mark of extreme excellence, quality, precision, endurance and horological expertise.

When was the Geneva Seal created?

November 6, 1886 an enabling statute was enacted, Loi sur controle facultatif des montres (law on the voluntary inspection of watches (from Geneva)) An office for the voluntary inspection of the watches from Geneva ,at the School of Horology, was established. The function of the office was to examine and mark watch movements. Today it is primarily concerned with the finishing and decoration of the watch movement. Presicion testing is available but optional in the inspection process. The enabling statute is constantly being revised, the most recently in 1993.

Why was the Geneva Seal created?

In the late 1800's forgeries were flooding the market. The Geneva Seal was created to protect the unsurpassed quality of Genevan timepieces.

Why would a Watch Manufacturer want the Geneva Seal?

The Geneva Seal is a extensively sought after stamp with movements requiring 40% more work than other movements.. The Seal is held in high regard in Haute Horlorerie circles. The Geneva Seal is extremely difficult to obtain, only an exclusive circle of manufacturing watchmakers are admitted to its use provided they fulfill three conditions.

What are the three conditions required for issuance of the Geneva Seal?

  1. Exclusively mechanical movements which at the very least must be assembled and adjusted within the borders of the Canton of Geneva.
  2. Each caliber is required to meet the Regulators' 12 technical and aesthetic criteria. These criteria define the movement design, and characteristics, production quality and finishing operations.
  3. The Luxury Watch Movements must be approved and Certified by the eight sworn members of the Commission of the Office for the optional inspection of Genevan watches of the Canton of Geneva, acting under the authority of the Department of Public Education.

What are the Regulator's 12 technical and aesthetic criteria?

Compliance with the standards outlined by the Office for the Optional Inspection of Genevan Watches must include the quality of all parts and components of the movement including those used in auxiliary mechanisms.

  1. All steel parts of the movement must display polished angles, sides parallel file strokes, visible face smoothed and polished. All screw heads must either be polished or circular grained. (This type of finishing reduces friction ensuring no metal filings effect the movement)
  2. Movements must be fitted on the going train with ruby jewels in polished holes. On the side of the bridge, the ruby jewels must be semi-mirror-polished. In addition their sinks must be polished. (This ensures that the lubricating oil will spread more evenly increasing the longevity of parts and components.)
  3. A sliding stud cap with a round head and neck must secure the balance spring. (This particular condition creates a huge challenge for the watchmaker; however, it does improve the centering of the balance spring and thus improving the adjustment.
  4. Fitted or split regulators utilizing a fastening system is required. (This condition prevents the shifting of the index assembly in the event of jarring and thus eradicating any impact on the adjustment of the movement)
  5. Geartrain wheels must be beveled on their upper and lower sides and feature polished sinks. If the wheels are 0.15 mm or less in thickness , one-sided (bridge side) bevelling is accepted. (Durableness is increased)
  6. Pinion shanks and faces must be polished. (Providing a marked reduction of friction within the movement and protect it against stray filings which may effect the longevity of the movement.)
  7. The escape wheel must be lightweight. Larger wheels must be no more than 0.16 mm thick and 0.13 mm for wheels less than 18 mm across. The locking faces must be polished.
  8. The ratchet wheel and crown wheel must be finished according to the prescribed models. (Only a select handful of watchmakers today are able to meet this condition.)
  9. The use of wire springs are prohibited.
  10. It is imperative that the lever's angle of travel must be contained by solid banking, excluding pins or studs.
  11. Shock absorbers on movements are acceptable.
  12. Regulating systems with a balance wheel with variable radius of rotation is acceptable.

Is the Geneva Seal the same as the Hallmark of Geneva?

The Seal of Geneva is the actual Seal of the Canton of Geneva which is seen punched into the movement of the watch. Hallmark is an official mark proving the quality and fitness of a product. Both names are referring to the same mark of approval.

Which companies have the Geneva Seal?

Only a select few companies submit all their movements to obtain the Geneva Seal. Vacheron Constatin and Pateck Phillipe are two examples. Other watch manufacturers submit a single collection or a single movement like Chopard's L.U.C collection and the much publicized Cartier's Calibre 9453 MC which obtained its first Geneva Seal.

Where is the Geneva Seal located?

The Geneva Seal is punched on the on the main plate and one of the bridges. The site varies according to the caliber.

Can my watch be called a Chronometer?

No! Unless the title Chronometer has been awarded by the C.O.S.C after the movement has undergone rigorous testing by the C.O.S.C.

Do all watches that display the word Geneva on its dial have the Geneva Seal?

Geneva Seals are specifically punched on the watches movement, having the name Geneva on the dial does not mean that the watch has the Geneva Seal. The name Geneva is governed by the "Bureau de controle des Montres de Geneve." The criteria for this are not nearly as demanding as the Geneva Seal. To display Geneva on the dial, a watch must be:
a) Swiss made and
b) Have at least one of the major operations in manufacturing, either in assembly of the movement or placing the movement within the watch case to be performed in the Canton of Geneva resulting in 50% of the total cost of production to be within the Canton of Geneva.

Some Watch Manufacturers like Vacheron Constantin display an additional Geneva Seal on its dial.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

With Wall Street Sliding how does this effect High End Luxury Items?

Wall Street is churning out stock horror stories quicker than one can imagine. The Dow is going Down as much as 450 points by the 4pm closing bell. Today Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, the biggest U.S. Securities firms, fell the most ever in New York trading following a government rescue of American International Group Inc. failed to ease the credit crisis. The cost to protect a default by the banks rose to a record. Goldman Sachs fell 26% and Morgan Stanley plummeted 44% leading financial stocks to the lowest level in five years. Ouch! Washington Mutual is putting itself up for auction (No! Not a good sign), Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc bankruptcy filings. Fannie Mae down from $90 a share last year to 0.43 cents... on and on.

Now while Wall Street is falling to its knees in despair or prayer and the economy is slumping, what is happening to the sale of High end luxury products like watches?
According to Bertram Kalisher, executive director of the American Watch Guild:
Regardless of the economy, the world demand for handmade watches remain strong. There is no inventory. The new wealthy - individuals coming to the US from Russia, the Middle East and China - are ramping up demand while supply cannot keep up because certain luxury goods, like expensive watches cannot be mass produced and there is a world shortage of watchmakers.
The American Watch Guild is an association of watch retailers, manufacturers and designers. The American Watch Guild promotes high end products of brands like Cartier, Breguet and Patek Phillipe prices ranging from $10,000 to $400,000.

Luxury Markets are noticing the same sales figures as 2007. US Luxury Companies are attracting rich Europeans who are comparing their Euro to the Dollar, which has fallen about 40% since January 2002 against the Euro. Europeans are spending money in the US market.

In addition, High End Luxury Watches are a symbol of wealth. More and more millioners and billioners are being created all over the world, and a High End Luxury Watch is a status symbol. The Luxury Watch business is global and not confined to a specific area like a luxury swimming pool contractors or luxury apartment rentals. The perfect Watch can be mailed to any worldly destination.

Although the Economy is slumping, Luxury Watches are not feeling the pinch as much as you might think.

Posted by Van Halem

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chopard Falls in Love with Black.

Ingenious really. Chopard's Happy Sport Chrono Mark II has gone "all black". It is a new watch for a changing world. Women are increasingly taking on the big guys, making their mark in a competitive world. Women's watches are catching up and creating an empowering look that portrays a strength. Sara Palin, John McCains pick for Vice president is a testament to the presence of a woman. Not all women are cut out for thin delicate watches with pale pinks and sunny golds. Chopard in creating this blacker than black sports chronograph watch provides the driven woman with a watch that speaks her mind. A stark contrast to the black bezel, band and dial is blinding white floating diamonds, which are sandwiched between two layers of thin clear crystal, a fixture on Happy Watches . Diamonds usually give a watch a sense of jewelery; however, with this watch the diamonds create a determined sporty edginess to the watch.

The Happy Sport Chrono Mark II is part of the exceptionally Happy Sports Collection, Chopard introduced in 1993. The Happy Sport Collection is a spin off from Chopard's Happy Collection, first introduced in 1976 which contains riveting designs and colors.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sonnerie vs Minute Repeater

Quite often Sonnerie will be labeled as a type of minute repeater, although the complications is quite different and should be regarded as a complication in its own right. A sonnerie is known as a clockwatch. Although both watches chime hours or quarter hours, the Minute Repeater chimes at will of the wearer.

The Sonnerie chimes automatically -like a tower clock- at the hour (petit sonnerie) or quarter hour (grande sonnerie). Sonnerie is French for "making sound" or "ring".

Both movements are extremely complex to create, and incorporate a large number of intricate parts. A complicated Sonnerie was built by Gerald Genta in the early nineties. Sonnerie's are quite rare compared with the quite prolific market of repeaters and minute repeaters. The Sonnerie requires a continuous power supply by the mainspring as it chimes automatically on the hour. The Repeaters are powered by a repeater slide and a spring mechanism, the Sonnerie requires a single strike train. In the past the watchclocks that striked at the hours and quarter required seperate strike trains for each (the hour strike train and the quarter), the end-product being a "triple train: clockwatch with three mainsprings.

Although these watches are quite rare, albeit rather pricey, they can be quite annoying striking on the quarter of an hour. However the watches are equipped with a rather clever "strike-silent, or Silence mode. Choosing to use the sonnerie complications means sliding the slide bolt on the case. The watch enters the sonnerie mode and chimes, clear and delicate, at the next hour or quarter. Some clockwatches are crafted with a repeater as well. The repetition function is powered by the second mainspring, and usually is operated by a button rather than the slide. The only setback in this case would be the use of the repeater will deplete the power reserve required by the sonnerie.

The Sonnerie is incredibly beneficial to those who cannot see and thus require the need for auditory time. I am curious if Sonnerie Luxury Watches will make a grander
appearance in the World of Horology.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blancpain debuts its new Fifty Fathom Collection at the Cannes International Boat Show.

Blancpain is marking its fourth consecutive appearance at the Cannes International Boat Show with the Release of a Fifty Fathoms Automatic limited to 20 pieces. Although resembling last years non-limited models in size, 45mm, caliber 1315 automatic winding featuring three main spring barrels. free sprung balance with gold regulation screws and five day power reserve, it does not have the black dial, bezel and strap. The new Cannes International Boat Show Limited Edition, is free, resembling a yacht streaming through white capped waves. The Watch has a stainless steel case, white dial, white sapphire bezel, and white sail cloth strap. The non-limited Fifty Fathoms is crafted with a anti magnetic shielding and solid case back, this Limited Edition incorporates a sapphire crystal case back displaying the exceptional craftsmanship of the Watches movement. The winding rotor is shaped like a ship's wheel, tying the watch to the show. The watch is delivered in a sporty orange waterproof case, perfect for a day on the water.

Blancpain and the Cannes International Boat Show has a strong connection. Last years show provided the stage for Blancpain's official worldwide launch of Blancpain's new Fifty Fathoms Collection. Fifty Fathoms was first introduced by Blancpain (under the name Rayville Inc), in 1953. It is regognized as the worlds first modern diving timepiece. Last year Blancpain brought thirty pieces to the show, offering them to the participants, the watches were sold at once.

Raymond Weil Breaks the Chains of Convention with the New Nabucco Cuore Caldo

Raymond Weil is releasing the New Nabucco Cuore Caldo, its very first split-second chronograph with power reserve indicator. The New Nabucco Cuore Caldo is limited, only 500 pieces will be available. Each timepiece will be numbered (001/500 to 500/500 on the case back).
The blend of 18k rose gold, polished steel, ultra light titanium and carbon fiber is unique and intensly appealing. The more common current trend is rose gold with carbon fiber; however, Raymond Weil has incorporated stainless steel which add a polished stylish look. It is a watch that stands out in the crowd, as a result of its rugged beauty.

The placement of the power reserve is slightly off center at the 6h30 and displayed within a 18k carrot gold "slice of pie" frame. In addition the 30-minute subdial at the 3 o' clock and 60 second subdial at 9 have been cleverly arranged thereby adding a mysterious geometry to the watch, which is pleasing to the eye. RAYMOND WEIL’s team of engineers and designers been able to playfully associate a power-reserve indicator at 6h30 with a 30-minute subdial at 3 o’clock and a 60-second subdial at 9.

Nabucco cuore caldo utilizes a ETA bi-compax 7750 mechanical movement with self-winding chronograph, as well as two other complications:

a split-second hand - the first time in Raymond Weil's history.
42-hour power-reserve indicator.

The titanium screw down case back with sapphire crystal exposes the fine mechanical movement with Côtes de Genève décor and circular-graining's.

The strap is vulcanized rubber with black leather inserts and a Raymond Weil steel folding clasp with double push pin security.

The Watch is available in the near future.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Geneva a center of Luxury Watch Making is home to the Large Hadron Collider.

At 3:15 am EST this morning, a beam of protons will be circulated through the Large Hadron Collider, an 18 mile tunnel, 300 feet beneath the Franco Swiss Border just outside Geneva, the headquarters of Raymond Weil and a center of expertise in the watchmaking industry.

The Large Hadron Collider will circulate two streams of protons in opposite directions, smashing them together at a rate similar to the speed of light. Scientists and physicists hope that in a few months, conditions will have reached the intensity as they were a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. To achieve collisions, a huge amount of electromagnets are needed to keep the protons on target.

Scientists believe this will be the most powerful particle accelerator in the entire world. They hope to find the secrets of the sub-atomic universe, such as a conversion of mass to energy, antimatter, dark matter, other dimensions, and the much publicized "Higgs boson" called by scientists the "God particle" which they theorize gave mass to all other particles. Professor Hawking has placed a $100 bet that scientists won't find the Higgs boson particle.

After 15 years of research and construction, 10,000 scientists, 60 different countries and approximately 7.7 billion dollars later, the Large Hadron Collider is set to be turned on.

Will a big Black Hole develop in the Large Hadron Collider and devour the earth? Scientists admit that microscopic black holes may develop but will rapidly evaporate. Although I am not much of a scientist, I must admit, I am a touch concerned.

The Rare Girard-Perregaux's Masterpiece, the Opera One Three Bridges Without a Dial

Girard-Perregaux has sculpted a watch so exquisite, movement so precise that a dial will only hide the complications. Visible to the eye are three gold bridges and the tourbillon, usually placed on the underside of the Watch. Gently surrounded by its richly hued rose gold case, this Watch is a symphony of three monumental watch making inventions crafted with intense precision by Girard Perregaux.

The Tourbillon, invented in 1795 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. A Tourbillon is a regulating device that compensate the effects of gravity on a mechanical watch. The Tourbillon was originally developed for a pocket watch that spent most of the time in a vertical position and then read in a horizontal position. In the vertical position the balance, balance spring and escapement undergo slight errors of rate with each oscillation as a result of gravity. Abraham-Louis Breguet placed the entire regulating mechanism in a cage which rotates on its own axis , generally once a minute in a variety of vertical positions . Jean Breguet's words regarding the Tourbillon regulator (as it was called) " With the aid of this invention, I have been able to compensate for the anomalies caused by shifts in the center of gravity of the escapement and obtain even friction on all pivots and bearings.

Today most do not buy the Tourbillon for its ability to compensate the force of gravity, but for its hypnotic artistry. The earliest and most artistically riveting adaption of the Tourbillon principle was crafted by Constant Girard Perregaux in 1867: the Tourbillon Sous Trois Points d'Or or Tourbillon Under 3 gold bridges crafted for his pocket chronometers. The Opera One Watch is crafted with this technique, its warm gold bold bridges wash the watch in a bold luster like still shapes beneath the waves.

It is a wonder that a perfect design like The Tourbillon Under 3 gold bridges was crafted in 1867 and then was dormant for 115 years. In 1982 the design was revived in pocket watches, after the company limped back from the effects of the quartz epidemic. The design was then adapted for wristwatches in 1991 to commemorate Girard Perregeaux 200th birthday. Only a limited amount of these watches are released by Girard-Perregaux as the tradition of perfection has not wavered in the last 200 years. Reviving the Tourbillon under three bridges was not an easy task, as engineers at Girard Perrregaux had to scrutinize original models of the three bridge watches, and then determine what precise tools were used to craft the pocket chronometers of 1867. The tools of then were unique to the cause, and thus in creating the wrist watch version of the three bridges, new tools were made and numerous hours of research were done in order to create a perfect miniature adaption of the original piece. However, the design engineers decided to invert the mechanism prior to installing it in a wristwatch case so that the perfect craftsmanship of the 3 gold bridges, and the tourbillon cage could be visible on the dial side of the watch.

In this watch the solid gold bridges, and tourbillon are prominently displayed through the dial. The simple yet perfect placement of the watch hands emphasize the exceptional beauty of the watch.

If the above is not enough to mark this watch as a unique masterpiece, this watch is crafted with a minute repeater. A minute repeater in itself is a complex complication which features a carillon striking work that imitates the bells that chime at Westminster Cathedral in London. On demand, this watch can sound the hours, minutes and even seconds in four different bells, enabling the combination of four different notes.

In addition this watch has a 72 hour power reserve.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Longitude Act of 1714. The desperate struggle for precision.

John Harrison's Marine Chronometer - H4

Timepieces don't really keep time; they just keep up with it, if they're able.
-Dava Sobel, "Longitude"time

Finding a precise timekeeping instrument was a matter of life and death.
Mans struggle to determine longitude spanning four centuries, fueled the inventions of precise timekeepers. Timepieces which lost time, lost men at sea, as they were unable to calculate their location and wandered among invisible lines of longitude weaving in and out of degrees.
The 1600's and 1700's were perilous. Fleets of ships' sent out by hungry sovereigns on world exploration and to trade silks and spices were unable to determine their location. Some found land, some were too late spilling their scurvy riddled sailers onto an unmarked shore, others wandered aimlessly 20 degrees off coarse, some sunk in dark unforgiving waters. 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.

Latitude, the parallel lines circling the earth, mapped by Ptolemy in AD150. The equator at zero-degrees , derived from astronomers observing the sun, moon and planets passing directly overhead and the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, assigned by the sun. Ships following the lines of latitude would guide the vessel by the length of the day or by the height of the sun or the heavenly stars that shone in the nights sky. Christopher Columbus"sailed the parallel" on his 1492 journey.

Lines of latitude are governed by nature - the sun, moon and stars; however, the lines of longitude move like waves on the waters edge. Lines of Longitude are changed by time. The longitude are lines that thread from the North Pole to the South Pole.

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 imperative to know the ships course and save it from potential destruction.

Sir Isaac Newton weighing in on the timekeepers approach to Longitude:

One method is by Watch to keep time exactly. But, by reason of the motion of the Ship, the variation of Heat and Cold, Wet and Dry, and the differences of gravity in different latitudes, such a watch hath not yet been made. And he implied - not likely to be either.

The Longitudes Act was passed to solve the puzzle of Longitude. Many great watchmakers, craftsman, astronomers and inventors dedicated their entire lives to come up with a solution. Galilao used the moons of Jupiter . Huygens, one of the first great horologists, crafted a marine timekeeper which used a pendulum; however the great rolling waves confounded its accuracy and changes in temperature and humidity thickened its oils. Huygens, then patented the spiral balance spring as alternative to the pendulum.

Discovering the Longitude, even with rewards of huge sums of money (20,000 Pounds translated into one million Dollars today) became synonymous with achieving the impossible, and the brunt of many jokes. Jeremy Thacker of Beverly, England developed a marine timekeeper which he coined the chronometer - a term adopted by horologists and still used today. The chronometer was placed in a vacuum, to protect the watch from atmospheric pressure and humidity, and had implemented a pair if winding rods to keep the machine going while being wound. However, he did not account for room temperature which exerted a huge influence on the accuracy of the watch. Although a success in its own right, the constant supervision needed to ensure the chronometer would maintain accurate time as well as the loss of six seconds a day was the chronometer undoing. The Board of Longitude did not approve his chronometer,
Sir Isaac Newton grew impatient , his Universal Law of Gravitation had gained much interest; however; determining longitude still remained a mystery. In 1721 Sir Isaac Newton wrote:

"A good watch may serve a recconing at Sea for some days and to know the time of a Celestial Observation: and for this end a good Jewel watch may suffice till a better sort of Watch can be found out. But when the Longitude at sea is once lost, it cannot be found again by any watch." Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727 and missed the Longitude prize that was awarded 40 years later to the self-educated maker of a large pocket watch...


Born: March 24, 1693
1713: Built first pendulum clock constructed entirely of wood.
1722: Built Tower Clock in Brocklesby Park running for 286 years. No oil is needed as the clock is carved from lignum vitae, a tropical hardwood that exudes its own grease.
1725-1727: Built two long-case grandfather clocks utilizing his own invention - the grasshopper escapement.
1730-1735 developing his first Chronometer the H1, at 75lbs it still works with daily winding at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The H1 set sail and returned with triumph of having kept impeccable time. Harrison on the other hand was not much pleased with his first attempt, and told the Longitude Board he needed to improve on the H1. Thus for the next two years he set about making the H2 which never set sail as he disregarded this watch too, as a result of a series of imperfections. Although the H2 had the backing of the Royal Society and had faired very well in tests of temperature, John Harrison became closeted in his workshop working on the H3,
For the next 20 years he concentrated on the watch, those that surrounded John Harrison could not understand what could be taking him so long. No one suggested he slept on the job. John Harrison never slept on the job he had created the H3 with 753 separate parts including a bi metallic strip which compensated for any temperature change as well as caged ball bearings - an anti friction device still used in almost every machine with moving parts. Although this edition had shrunk dramatically since the H1 it was still too large.

By chance Harrison met John Jeffreys, a freeman with The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, who in 1753 made Harrison a pocket watch. According to Harrison's specifications, Jeffrey fitted the watch with a tiny bi metallic strip to keep the watch precise in hot or cold weather. In addition, this watch kept ticking while being wound. Some horologists today consider the Jeffreys timepiece as the first true precision watch.

Harrison set to work on the H4 a much smaller version than the first two chronometers and resembling an over sized pocket watch. Harrison was awarded the prize, as the H4 kept time, three times more than the Longitude Act demanded. However, the Longitude Board kept changing the rules, and now Harrison ,who was already in his mid-seventies was required to build two more watches like the H4 , and an additional year of testing. Although this watch kept time it was too complex for ready reproductions and very expensive. Thus his watch was never widely used by navigators at that time.

Although in his life time, he did not see the real fruits of his labor, he did make a large contribution to the world of horology. After Harrison's success with the H4, marine timekeeping boomed in a nation surrounded by water. It is said as a result of Harrison's advancements in timekeeping, he spearheaded Britain on successful voyages with the aid of chronometers thereby leading to the creation of the British Empire.

Harrison successfully crafted a watch that kept time with precision even in less than perfect climates. Such precision Sir Isaac Newton had deemed impossible.

Adapted from "Longitude" by Dava Sobel

Friday, September 5, 2008

Girard- Perregaux Vintage 1945

Girard-Perregaux is intertwined in the history of watches. Upon researching the history of watchmaking from the time ships wandered aimlessly on the ocean looking at the stars for direction and a sundial for time to complications such as a Tourbillon under three bridges, Gerard- Perregaux name kept coming up page after page. It is no wonder as Girard-Perregaux was founded in 1791. Girard Perregaux was held in high regard by the Queen of England, Victoria and by the courts in Europe. Two centuries later, in 1991 Girard-Perregaux, celebrated its 200 birthday. With over 200 years of watchmaking experience, precision and craftsmanship, Girard Perregaux is one of the watchmaking leaders of all times.

Girard-Perregaux has a wealth of unique designs, like the 1945 line, reintroduced in 1995. The Vintage 1945. The Vintage 1945 is recognizable by its sleek curved rectangular case and retro design. Another feature of this collection is a unique placement of the column wheel chronograph movement - beneath the dial rather than beneath the usual placement, under the rotor.
The Vintage 1945 collection encompasses Luxury Watches with many different complications, such as the minute repeater, turbillon, perpetual calender and chronograph.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Watch Winders

What is a Watch Winder?
A Watch Winder is a device specifically designed for Automatic Watches. Watches which wind the mainspring via the natural motion of the wearers arm. If the automatic watch is not worn for a couple days, the power reserve will be depleted, and the watch will stop. To prevent this from happening, the wearer can place his Automatic Watch on the Watch Winder. The Watch Winder holds the Watch and moves it in circular pattern mimicking that part of the human motion required to power the mainspring.

I have a battery-operated Quartz Watch. Do I need a Watch Winder?No. The Watch Winder has been specifically designed for the Automatic Watch; however the Watch Winder works for "batteryless" Quartz Watches for example the Omega-matic, Seiko Kinetic and other innovative watches. These watches use the same weight/rotor principle to generate electric power to run the quartz movement.

I have a manual wind mechanical watch. Can I purchase a Watch Winder too?

Most Watch Winders are specifically designed for mechanical Watches, and up until recently no Watch Winders were available for Manual Wound Luxury Watches; however in Basel 2000, Orbita unveiled a Watch Winder for Manual Wound Watches. Utilizing small collets that grasp the crown of the watch, the Orbita Sempre Winder winds the Watch just like you would wind it with your fingers.

I own one Automatic Watch. Do I need a Watch Winder?No! If you only own one Automatic Watch, and wear it fairly often, then chances are you do not need a Watch Winder, unless of course you get one as a gift from Uncle Henry, and then you may need to display a desperate need for one on account of family peace.

I am an avid Automatic Watch Collector. Do I need a Watch Winder?I would have to say yes, unless of course you desire to walk around with multiple watches on each arm.

Is it true that the oils can coagulate and clog the watch movements once the watch has stopped?
No! Most oils used today are less viscous than earlier oils, and thus are not prone to coagulation.

Why do I need a Watch Winder?a) If you almost never wear the watch in question, wind it up every couple of weeks and then let it run down; however, if you have an Automatic Watch you wear quite frequently but not continuously, and you usually have no time to keep reseting the time, then the Watch Winder may be a worthy investent.
b)Another instant in which a Watch Winders may be of use to you is if your watch has a perpetual calender (a complex complication that accounts for the differing lengths of months and leap years), and thus keeping it on the Watch Winder will save you quite a bit of time in resetting the date and time.

Why are Watch Winders quite expensive?
As I was shopping around for Watch Winders, I realized that for a simple rotating Watch holder, the prices range from anywhere between $200 and $8000.
Aside from the companies emphasis on quality, precision and exceptional luxury watch care, a Watch Winder is an item that is produced in limited quantities. It is a specialty item that does not have sufficient demand to be mass produced. A Watch Winder is not like your toaster that is a fixture in all households.

1) Functional: These Winders wind one or more watches. The watches are held on the exterior of these gadgets. The more watches that are wound on this type of Winder greatly resemble a ferris wheel at your local County Fair. Watch Winders of this type are displayed on a table top or a high shelf.
2) Elegant: These Watch Winders are encased in wood or leather boxes, some come with tight fitting glass doors so that the collector can view his watches while knowing that his watches are protected in a dust free environment. Dust can do great harm to the watch mechanisms. Depending on the size, some of these Winders can be placed inside drawers.
3) Multi-functional: As with Luxury Watches where there is no limit to the amount of innovative possibilities possibilities, Watch Winders can be purchased with heaters that maintain body temperature, extra storage space, atomic clock synchronized time displays, Illumination, new innovative Watch Winding materials.

I found this really cheap "no-name" brand Watch Winder. Do I really need a quality Watch Winder?
Well here is food for thought before you make any rash decisions" A BAD WATCH WINDER IS WORSE THAN NO WINDER. A Watch Winder is specially designed to mimic the motion of the wearers arm. A cheap Watch Winder most probably creates a single repetitive motion that may be detrimental to the watch. In addition the coarse plastic and sharp edges used to create the cheap watches may damage the watch. In addition the noise of grinding gears may drive you bonkers. The more expensive Watch Winders have solved the noise issue, and have created near silent Watch Winders.

If you desire to purchase a Watch Winder, do your research and make sure that you are purchasing your Watch Winder form a credible company.

A Watch Winder is a wonderful investment in that it gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the automatic watches in your watch collection without the headache of constantly resetting the time. All the Automatic Watches in your collection will be readily available for wear.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bvlgari Luxury watches. A touch of Italian.

In the late 19th century a family of silversmiths, The Bulgari's, moved from their tiny Greek Village Epirus to Rome. Sotirio, the family founder. opened his first store in via Sistina Rome. In the early 20th century, his two sons Giorgio and Constantino, became fascinated with precious stones, watches and jewelry. Though they were remarkably skilled in creating jewerly masterpieces, they were still operating within the confined rules of theFrench Goldsmith School. In the mid 50's Bvlgari moved away from these strict French Goldsmith rules, and began creating exceptionally unique styles.
The inspiration was drawn from the very air they breathed and from the land they had descendant, from Greek and Roman classicism, Italian Renaissance and the19th Century Roman School of Goldsmiths.
In the 70's Bvlgari opened a store in New York, Geneva, Monte Carlo and Paris. Then in the 80's, Bvlari introduced the "Bvlgari Bvlgari Watch" an instant success and a pivotal m0ment in Bvlgari's place in Horology. Bvlgari Watches are a perfect blend of Italian design and Swiss craftsmanship.

Bvlgari incorporates a vast amount of knowledge and skill to develop the movement of each watch. The Watches with Grand Complications may take up to 10,000 hours for development and an additional 1000 hours for production, finishing and setting. As with the Blue Quadrato Ladies Watch, Bvlgari believes that the key element, of the case, is to convey the Italian style and design. Every single aspect of manufacturing a Bvlgari Luxury Watch ,from an idea to completion, is meticulously carried out with the tiniest detail in mind.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Breathtaking Ebel Luxury Watches

Ebel, a company capable of crafting a watch with the perfect balance of feminity and elegance. In July 1911, Eugene Blum and Alice Levy, husband and wife stepped into the world of Horology by registering their new company. The name they chose is the acronym for their names: Eugene Blum Et Levy and thus nestled in the hills of La Chaux de Fonds, became the Capital of Ebel.

Just one year later, in 1912, Ebel presented its first wristwatches. In 1914 Ebel won a gold medal at the Swiss National Exhibition for patented ring watches with pallet escapement and a hidden time setting. In 1929 Charles-Eugene, son of Eugene and Alice joined the company, and together with watchmaker Marcel Reuche, he organized a flawless production control system, which guaranteed unsurpassed quality. From 1939-1945 Ebel went into production for the British Royal Air Force. Through the years Ebel has received many awards for their innovative cutting-edge ideas.
In 1975 Eugene and Alice's son, Pierre-Alain Blum, gained full control over Ebel. Ebel catapulted into a new dimension of watch manufacturing, making Ebel what it is today: One of the top five Luxury Watch Brands on the market.

Concord's slim and delicate Delirium.

A century ago, in Bienne, Switzerland, two young swills craftsman had an ambition to create watches with thin sleek proportions... and so Concord was born.
Concord has been a pioneer in the watch industry. In 1915, Concord produced the first private-label luxury watches with diamonds and precious metals. Concord watches was once the official gift of U.S. Presidents to visiting heads of state. In 1979, Concord made leap in watch history when Concord unveiled its ultra-flat Swiss quartz movement with the Delirium. The Delirium was a mere 1.98 mm thin. The next year Concord broke its own record by the introduction of the Delirium IV with a remarkable reduction of just under 1mm. Concord still holds the record for the thinnest watch in the world.

In 2004 Concord commemorated the silver anniversary of the Original Delirium, and unveiled the new Delirium XXV Collection. This collection includes diamond encrusted 18K gold quartz as well as limited edition hand-winding mechanical timepieces.

The new Concord Delirium Collection is vast, catering to a wide range of unique tastes. The Concord Delirium Manual Wind is a watch with deliberate taste and style. The mechanical movements are mesmerizing as they can be viewed through the see through dial.

The new Concord Delirium includes this glittering Diamond encrusted Watch. Every diamond is carefully chosen to enhance the clear delicate beauty of the watch. This watch will compliment a woman on her evening out, mirroring her radiance.