Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bell and Ross Gets the Midas Touch.

As the legend has it, King Midus was granted his wish that everything he touched turned to gold. Bell and Ross seems to have gotten a bit of the Midas touch and has crafted a timepiece made out of 18k rose gold. The Bell & Ross BR01-92 Gold Ingot. The remarkable nature of this timepiece is that not only the 46mm wide case is made from gold, but the hour markers, hands and dial are made from gold too. The effect would have been quite bland , to much of a good thing; however, Bell and Ross has incorporated lovely pyramid texturing within the circle on the dial.
Typically the Bell and Ross screws are steel; however, on this model ,gold is the order of the day, and the 18k rose gold screws look wonderful.
The watch keeps perfect time with the aid of a Swiss ETA 2892A2 automatic mechanical movement. A gentle swing of ones hand will wind the watch.
I suppose it would have been a bit over the top to attach an 18k rose gold bracelet to the case, kind of like eating a whole box of chocolates at one sitting, and so I think the shiny black alligator strap works perfectly to enhance the watch cases bold gold look.
I am not sure where this Bell and Ross watch would look better, on my wrist or hung ,like a medal, around my neck.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tag Heuer adds diamonds to its Meridiist

Not quite a luxury watch, but it is truly a vision. I have blogged a couple times about the Tag Heuer Meridiist. The Meridiist mobile phone seemed to have caused quite a stir among phone and watch enthusiasts alike, especially since the Meridiist was the first phone made exclusively by a watch company. Ulysee Nardin followed suit with its intriguing cellphone.
Tag Heuer has now embedded diamonds in the Meridiist's sharp edges bringing chic to an entirely new level. This Meridiist Diamant will probably cost somewhere in the range of $15,000 to $30,000. The phone will be available in two glittering styles: The Meridiist Diamant adorned with 208 diamonds or a dazzling 1232 diamonds.

Placing glittering diamonds on modern technology is an interesting concept based on the sudden whims of those who have a few extra thousands to spare and who are not purchasing the phone as an investment. The Meridiist Diamant does make quite a spectacular gift from a gentleman to his lady friend.

The Meridiist Diamant is a fashion statement as cellphones are the latest part of our wardrobe. On the other hand I would much rather spend my money on a luxury watch and hang on to my Blackberry.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Corum Romvlvs Crafted like a Legend.

The Corum Romvlvs always reminds me of an ancient artifact uncovered in Rome. The watch gives much life to its namesake Romulus. It is said in Roman Methology, Romulus and Remus were twins born in 771 BC and founded Rome. Romulus served as Rome's first king. He slew his brother so that he could be the one to name Rome and rule the land. Romulus was a mighty king who added much territory to Rome.
The Corum Romvlvs is a luxury watch and one cannot help but notice the the power exuded by its stately countenance.
However, the absence of the hour markers on the dial happened quite by accident.
The year: 1958.
The place: The Basel Fair.
Corum's Objective: To demonstrate Corum's incredible quality, craftsmanship and unique creativity.
The atmosphere at Corum was tense, the dial hour markers ,that were supposed to be delivered earlier, had not yet arrived. A potential disaster was imminent, and Corum came up with a creative solution. If the dials had not arrived, the new models would have no dial hour markers. Instead the watches were fitted with plain gold dials.
In 1966, Corum left the dial blank, but engraved the hour markers on the bezel, a first in the world of horology, and the Corum Romvlvs was born.

At the Basel Fair of 1958, Corum demonstrated a quick thinking resilience and a disaster turned into a blessing in disguise. The Romvlvs was jolted into being by the frenzied quick thinking of Corum's creative minds.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is Azimuth taking a gamble?

Azimuth is taking a gamble in the form of a roulette table complete with a roulette wheel and table and placing it as the dial of a modified ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanical luxury watch. The Azimuth Roulette Watch is another brilliant concept watch that really works. The dice winding crown serves two purposes, one to set the watch and another to activate the spinning ball. Simply depress and release the winding crown and the white ball spins around the roulette wheel halting at any random slot. The entire miniature roulette wheel is enclosed in sapphire crystal.
The watch is large at 45mm x 34mm, produced from CNC cut 316L stainless steel; however, Azimuth's ergonomically design featuring a curved case back makes for comfortable wearing. y be (at 45mm x 34mm), this block of CNC cut 316L stainless steel case is ergonomically design to ensure a snug fit.
As one can see in the image of the case back the words, “BEAT THE CASINO!” are engraved adding some fun and adventure to the watch design.
Azimuth's founders, Christopher Long and Alvyn Lye, has succeeded again in crafting a timepiece that has the horological world buzzing.
The Roulette (as its so aptly named) is to be released in time for the opening of Singapore’s first and Asia’s grandest Casino towards end of 2009 where 5000 pieces will be available. I do not know about pricing yet, but I have a hunch one may need to hit the jackpot before one makes the purchase.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Does the Number of Watch Jewels make a difference?

In the 1950's The Waltham Watch Company of Waltham, Mass introduced a 100 jewel watch. Only 17 of the jewels were functional meaning those 17 jewel were placed between the gears of the watch to reduce friction, hold lubricant longer , reduce the amount of lubricant needed, increase temperature stability and reduce corrosion. (All reasons jewels are used in movements today) There were two cap jewels, two pivot jewels, an impulse jewel for the balance wheel, two pivot jewels, two pallet jewels for the pallet fork, and two pivot jewels each for the escape, fourth, third and center wheels. The remaining 83 jewels were simply placed at the edge of the automatic rotor (seen above). These jewels had absolutely no function and so created the watch with the most amount of non-functional jewels. Although there is a space for a 101th jewel on the automatic rotor, the space is vacant as 101 jewels does not sound as marketable as 100 jewels.
The Walthman Watch Company closed its doors in 1957 as a result of financial stress and less than perfect craftsmanship, it seems the 100 Jewel Watch was its last desperate attempt to make a sale. The company relied on the fact that many people believed the more jewels the more precise the watch movement. People may have believed the jewels were actually worth something.
In fact most jewels are synthetic costing very little and the jewels themselves are worth very little.
In the 1940's and 1950's many companies were upping there non-functional jewel count without increasing the complications. Between 1902 and 1965 it was "anything goes" in regard to the amount of jewels in a watch movement. In addition the amount of jewels were stated on the dial as a marketing ploy. Then in October 1965, the Swiss organization NIHS - Normes de I'industrie Horlogre Suisse, whose function was to develop the standards for the Swiss Watch Industry, published a standard (NIHS 94-10) in order to control the way in which the number of jewels in a movement are used in advertising and any sales related to horology and timekeepers. In 1974, the NIHS and ISO 1112 which was recently updated in ISO 1112:2009 specifies the technical definitions of functional and non-functional horological movement jewels. In addition it describes the different types of jewels used, and how this is to be marked on a timekeeping instrument or used in advertising. In this way the type of jewels used, the amount of jewels used and the way in which the jewels can be used to increase the jewel count of the watch is outlined.
Today the more jewels indicate more complications as there are more moving parts. The more jewels used, the less the wear and tear on the watch parts. Many watch companies use 21 jewels and some ETA movements use 25 jewels. The jewels themselves are valued at very little since most are synthetic; however, it is the well placed functionality in conjunction with superior craftsmanship of the watch part that attract watch enthusiasts and horology admirers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Largest Ruby in the world!

The 125West Ruby is one of the world's largest known ruby crystal weighing in at 8.2lbs and amounting to 18,696 Carats. The Ruby crystal is semi-translucent to opaque and contains rutile. If cut en cabochon, this may create a six ray star. When exposed to long-wave ultraviolet light, the ruby displays a strong red fluorescence. It measures 122.4mm x 112.3mm x 133.9mm.

If you have doubts this gem is certified by the Gemology Institute of America Report 15171991 dated May 24th, 2006. If carved this Ruby would be the largest ruby curvature in the world. If cut en cabochon, the 125West Ruby would be the largest cut and polished ruby gemstone in the world.
Rubies have a long history as part of the mechanics of a watch. In 1702, Nicolas Fatio (Facio) de Duillier, a Swiss mathematician who was born in Basel, Switzerland, and Pierre and Jacob Debaufre introduced Jewel Bearings in watches to reduce friction. The jewels were not widely used until the middle of the 19th century. Until the 20th Century these jewels were ground from tiny pieces of natural gems. The watches had garnet and quartz, but it was the luxury top quality watches that used sapphire, ruby and even diamonds.

In 1902, a process to grow artificial sapphire crystals was invented, thereby making the jewels cheaper. In most modern watches, synthetic rubies (left image) are used between the moving parts, especially in the escapement and have a major effect on the timekeeping accuracy. It was discovered the harder the material used as bearings, the lessor the friction. Thus the ultra hard slick surface has a lower coefficient of friction with metal. In addition Rubies increase the life of the bearings. Rubies is the second hardest material after diamond and seven times harder than topaz. The Ruby belongs to the Coronado group of minerals, its name stemming from the red color (Latin: Rubeus). Red corundum is always called by the name Ruby whereas any other colors of corundum are known as Sapphires. The only difference between synthetic sapphire and ruby is as a result of the different impurities that have been added to change the color. There is absolutely no difference in their properties as bearings. Rubies can be opaque, translucent or transparent.
The very best watches have a 21 jewel movement; some have slightly more and some less. Some ETA movements use a 25 jewel movement which is a question of style rather than functionality.
The question regarding the number of jewels in a watch is a interesting one, and I will blog about it in due course.
As always let me know what you think about any points I bring up in the blogs. I love to hear feedback.