Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is a Galuchat watch band?

I first started noticing Galuchat watch straps on De Grisogono timepieces. A sort of bubbly textured look. But what is it?
Also known as Shagreen, Galuchat is actually either sharkskin or stingray skin. The name comes from Jean-Claude Galuchat who was Louis XV's master leather artisan. He introduced this exotic leather to France in the 18th century where he was most noted for his sheaths. He fashioned shagreen for Louis XV and his court. He placed it on objects such as snuff boxes, wig cases, furniture, jewelry boxes and toilette items. It is said Madame de Pompadour was a great fan of Shagreen.
Jean-Claude Galuchat, although the most renowned for his use of shark skins, was not the first. Shark and sting ray skins were used as early as the 8th century. The Japanese Tachi, Katana and Wakizashi used the undyd untreated skins for sheaths and hilts of swords. The rough texture of the material provided the handle with extra grip as well as high resilience. In the China Qing dynasty, the polished Shagreen were used for composite bows. In the 19th century the material was used for book bindings and pocketbooks.
The name Shagreen actually refers to rough untamed skin. The leather was most often made from a horses back and most often dyed green. Today's Shagreen is made for Galuchat which is shark or sting ray skin. Shagreen is from the French word chagrin which means sorrow or Turkish sagri meaning "the back of a horse". As the leather was rough in texture the word was synonymous with displeasure or ill humor.
None the less, Galuchat still holds a unique quality. The uniqueness comes from round calcified papillae called "placoid scales". These placoid scales are otherwise known as Denticles and are small outgrowths which cover the skin of many cartilaginous fish such as sharks and sting rays. The denticles are similar in structure to teeth.
Most often the placoid scales are polished down until the denticles are rounded and pearl like.
De Grisogono has taken the natural texture of the Galuchat and enhanced it with exceptional colors and polishing, creating a timepiece where the strap commands as much attention as the watch.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Touch of Time.

Ten years ago Tissot pioneered a technological breakthrough in watchmaking: Tactile Timekeeping. During this time Tissot's Touch Collection has become increasingly popular with new innovative models . The watches integrate a touch screen crystal - the interactive cockpit of the timepiece which the capability of a large range of functions depending on the nature of the watch. The latest watch from Tissot is the Tissot SEA-Touch which is a high performance watch with a water resistance of up to 200 meters.
Just by lightly touching the innovative tactile crystal on any of the Tissot Touch Timepieces provides access to many useful functions specifically designed for a large range of customers:

Tissot T-Touch (Collection created in 1999)

Tissot T-Touch watches are stylish and expertly crafted. A large range of materials are utilized to provide the best look and superior resilience. Stainless Steel meets titanium or 18k gold or platinum. More sporty models include the combination of metal and black rubber or dynamic orange and white rubber. Black Carbon with mother-of-pearl dials prove Tissot's attention to style.
Tissot T-Tactile Silent-T Men's Watch Stainless Steel
The Tissot T-Touch Weather Watch displayed here has a host of functions including an Alarm, Altimeter, Chronograph, thermometer, barometer and meteo mode for weather trends. In addition the watch is super-lightweight with tactile scratch resistant sapphire crystal and a black carbon). With a light touch on the crystal above the required function, the superimposed hands move to that function and the requested information appears on the screen. Tissot T-Tactile Silent-T Men's Watch Stainless Steel

Tissot Touch Silen-T (Collection Created in 2003)
This watch is an example of cuting edge technology at its best. The Tissot Silen-T utilizes its Tissot tactile technology to provide timekeeping in the form of vibrations. This watch is perfect where one cannot obviously glance at ones watch, in the dark or if one is visually impaired. One simply touches the crown and then runs a finger clockwise around the crystal. The wearer then can feel the constant vibrations on the hour and intermittent vibrations for the minute. This is made possible by twelve raised indices on the bezel. A silent vibrating alarm can be activated and felt without ever having to look at the watch face.

Tissot Touch Navigator (Collection Created in 2004)

Tissot's idea for it's Navigator watch is not new, in 1853 Tissot had already designed a pocket watch capable of displaying multiple time zones. In 2004 Tissot created the Tissot Touch Navigator and then improved apon it with the Navigator 3000.

The Navigator 3000 is the perfect travel companion. Designed as a travel watch has the capability of a multitude of time zones. 150 programmed cities, and if your is not included, you can manually add your city. Incredibly the Tissot Navigator 3000 has only one button which activates the touch crystal. The Navigator 3000 can be operated in one of six languages: French English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The advantage of this watch is the ability to track multiple time zones at once. This function is referred to as the T-World Function which tracks your home time zone as well as four additional time zones. You have the ability to change your reference time zones according to your travels. Other features include a Chronograph, Countdown timer, Two programmable alarms, Calender, LCD back light, 50 meters water resistance and the ability to go into an energy saving mode.

Tissot T- Touch Expert (Collection created in 2008)

This is a watch for the rugged adventurer who is will scour the wilderness far from civilization. The watch is quite large with water resistance up to 100 meters. New adventure orientated functions include altitude difference meter, two alarms, perpetual calender, count down timer and back lights. The models are available in a host of colors and styles with carbon, black and white dials cases and rubber or leather straps or titanium or steel bracelets.

Tissot SEA-Touch (Collection Created 2009)

Tissot's latest creation, the SEA-touch is turning quite a few heads. As a result of cutting edge patented technology the rubber-protected pushers double protection to enable maximum protection down to extreme depths of 200 meters. Tissot SEA-touch complies with all the European Norm EN13319 criteria required for divers accessories including luminosity, shock resistance, anti magnetism, band solidity and the integration of a time control device. Divers are able to know the time in two time zones, the depth of the current dive, digital chronograph, thermometer, alarm, perpetual calender date, compass and divers logbook. All activated by a light touch on the crystal. Even in the dark depths of deep sea diving, divers are still able to consult their Tissot SEA-Touch by extremely luminescent material as well as a strong back light.

Tissot T-Touch timepieces are remarkably versatile which enable those to be more informed and productive in their daily endeavours.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Innovative Watch Designs.

How about a watch that writes and looks good too? This new innovation ,the Helix, adds a twist to the pen watch concept. The Helix is worn around ones wrist and when writing is required, you have a pen . This is quite useful for those people who are always digging around for a pen.

The watch has a fun young look which is a great accessory and quite practical too. The digital time is displayed in vibrant pink or blue.


Endless Time has come up with a cool watch design. To me the watch looks like a twisted hospital bracelet, but it does have some pretty innovative features. The watch is comprised of semi-transparent plastic which can lay flat when taken off the wrist. Magnets concealed in the band allow the watch to fit comfortably around the wrist. The twist in the middle represents an hourglass which is an ancient technique of time display. In addition the twist divides the hour and the minutes. I can imagine the wearer searching the watch for some type of battery cover, but this is the great thing about this watch. There is no battery. No knobs. No buttons. No need to reset the time or change the batteries. The watch receives satellite signals and displays the current time according to the relevant time zone. The watch is powered by the kinetic energy as a result of the movement of ones arm. This watch will make a great gift.
  • DIESEL DZ9044
The Diesel DZ9044 is the perfect watch for the secretive. You must be wondering how the time is displayed. Is there tiny miniature fires that light up on the hour warming ones wrist? Does the watch emit beeping sounds? Do the hands suddenly appear suspended above the dial? No, none of these things which ,if I say so myself, are quite intriguing concepts. Before I divulge the secret of this watch, I will tell you some of the watches extraordinary capabilities. The watch displays four different time zones at once.
Yes! The four time zones are displayed on the sides of the watch case leaving the front of the watch blank creating a fresh new look.
  • WITness

This watch is supposed to represent the eye where the inner circle is the hours and outer the minutes. The eye of man is the first hand WITness to the passage of time and a watch merely is the second hand display. This timepiece serves to fuse the concepts and have the eye display the time. By pressing the side buttons for 2 seconds the watch will be powered up and the time will be displayed after that it will automatically return to a stand by mode thereby saving 35% of its LED power and thus conserving energy. The bracelet is quite flexible with a secure locking system.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shipwrecked Watch Returns to Family after 128 years.

I love watch stories. I am attracted to them like bees to honey. Especially stories that are intertwined with a good dose of history, because history is time.

A pocket watch carefully crafted by North Wales watchmaker, Richard Thomas, lay on the bottom of the ocean amongst the shipwrecked remains of Barbara, a square-rigged barque which sunk during a violent storm off the Pembrokeshore coast in 1881. It lay there as the salty water washed across the engravings on the case, "Richard Prichard 1866 Abersoch North Wales.", for the next 117 years.

In 2000, Rich Hughes, a diver spotted the watch and brought it to the surface. He saw the engravings and began to research the watches origin. He had a start, the name of the watch owner, Richard Prichard, but he had to find out who he was and how did the watch end up amongst the shipwrecked remains of Barbara.

The watch was in excellent condition and extremely valuable. Richard Prichard was someone who could afford a timepiece of this nature. Possibly the Master and Commander of the ship. After much research, Mr Huges theory was correct, Richard Prichard had been the Captain of the Barbara, but had not been on the ship when it had sank. Mr Prichard had died under mysterious circumstances while on a voyage to load rice from Burma. He was buried at sea and Captain Jones replaced him as Captain of the ship. He had the watch in his possession probably meaning to return the watch to Mr Prichard's family. Captain Jones navigational skills were clearly lacking and this guided the ship into the Bristol Channel instead of St George's Channel leading to Liverpool. In the month of November 1881, a violent storm tossed the ship like a child's toy and unable to defend itself against the elements sank off the Village of Freshwater West, Prembrokeshire.

The crew was rescued except for Captain Jones who went down with the ship taking with him the silver watch. The watch was protected by sediments as it lay there in its murky grave.

The diver, Mr Hughes felt he must return the watch to Mr Prichard's descendants. Utilizing the Internet, he scanned old manuals and shipping records, but he could not find any clues. He handed the research over to amateur historian David Roberts. David Roberts noticed the inscription mentioned the village Abersoch, now a popular seaside resort, and visited two cemeteries in the area. He suddenly happened upon a gravestone that must have been Mr Prichard's father and later confirmed his findings by cross-checking birth, marriage and death records. He was able to trace the family tree as far back as 1788 and discovered Mr Prichard's father was once a sea captain as well. Going back along the family tree, he was able to go forward and discovered the family of Mr Prichard still resided in North Wales. A memory to Mr Prichard was mentioned on the grave of his parents and the grave of his wife and child.

The watch will never work again, but it has traced time merely by being in existence and surviving 117 years under the ocean. It took Mr Hughes almost ten years to find its rightful owner.

The watch will be given to a retired dentist Owen Cowell whose grandmother was Captain Prichard's cousin. He is the closest surviving relative. He is overjoyed that the watch has finally come home after so many years.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme W-Alarm Watch

With a name like Master Compressor Extreme W-Alarm Watch, you can be assured you are going to be in for something pretty impressive. The Jaeger-LeCoultre will only be available in Tourneau stores; however, Tourneau is the largest global watch retail chain which sells numerous watch brands. One only has to glance at the watch face for a moment to know this watch has a host of impressive functions.
World Timer: The time is indicated for many major cities such as Moscow, London and New York. In addition three natural destinations are displayed such as Galapagos adding an originality to the World Time feature.
Mechanical Alarm: The cut out window to the left of the dial displays the alarm time.
Time: The hour indicators are bold and easy to read, so that although the dial is displaying other features, the time display still shows the strongest presence.
Date: To the right of the dial at the 3 'o' clock position.

This watch is a superb example of functionality and beauty. It is truly an art of organization. As to be expected this watch is not up for the mass market but is available in two limited editions: 20 watches in 18k gold and titanium and another 50 watches comprised only of titanium. The 46.3mm wide case is the size of most of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Collection.
This watch is a perfect travel companion as it has a shock absorbent system which protects the movement from sudden jolts, as well as the world timer and the mechanical alarm feature. The crown also has a unique security lock. The final compliment to the watch is a leather and fabric strap which was designed for extreme comfort.

Wandering through airport terminals with Watches on my Mind.

Bvlgari BB23GLD Bvlgari-Bvlgari Black Dial Leather Women's Watch

The current time on my watch is 4:30pm. The current time in Spain - last stop before I hit the shores of the USA. My journey was marked with seeing close relatives for the first time in 15 years, and perusing watch boutiques at airport Duty- Free counters.
Cartier has a strong airport presence with Cartier Roadster Watches, Tanks, Pashas and the Santos Collections. Breitling, Omega, Bvlgari and Rolex are also quite prevalent. Swatch watches take up center stage and its position in the airport terminals are framed by towering pillers displaying the latest swatch models. Swatch Watches saved the watch industry and I have the utmost regard for them.

Cartier  Roadster Silver Dial White Gold and Leather Women's Watch 

As I was peering at the Breitling watches, I asked a lovely lady behind a watch counter if she had ever sold the Breitling Emergency watch at the airport. She looked at me with utter disdain.
"No!" she said shaking her head, "What if someone presses the emergency button in here, it would be mayham."
A sudden image of an emergency distress call specifically designed for civil aviation confusing air traffic control entered my mind. She had a point.
The Breitling Emergency broadcasts on the 151.5 MHz distress frequency. However, as of February 2009, the Cospas-Sarsat which operates a satellite constellation that relays distress alerts to search and rescue authorities through a worldwide ground communications network, stopped monitoring the 121.5/243 Mhz frequency's. Breitling has no plans to change the 121.5 MHz frequencies on its Breitling Emergencies as aviation will still monitor the 121.5 MHz frequency especially during a rescue attempt.
After perusing the terminals with my over sized carry on luggage banging against my legs, I sat down and decided to read a perfectly respectable paperback novel. Watches had left my mind for a moment that is until I glanced at a gentleman wearing a Longines Master Collection Retrograde. I closed my book and looked at the watch in all its glory.
With travel, one sees thousands of people and one notices their watches. In addition, watches are crucial during air travel. Cellphones cannot be turned on in the airplane and thus of no use when one wants to know the time.
A good watch is a great travel companion. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Omega Seamaster for the Ladies

One of the most popular watches, the Omega Seamaster now caters to the ladies. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph 600mm has a subtle softer look without removing its look of adventurous durability. The Planet Ocean dial has been scaled down from its 45.5mm wide to 37.5 mm wide to suit the smaller wrist of a women.

The watch is fitted with a helium escape valve which allows for maximum functionality needed by professional divers exploring great ocean depths for lengthy periods of time. In great depths divers often spend time in diving bells under pressure breathing a mixture of gases like trimax. This gas mixture contains helium. Helium molecules are tiny, the second smallest found in nature and are able to work their way around the gaskets and other seals and into the watch. This does not present a problem as long as the diver remains under pressure; however during resurfacing when decompression stops, a pressure difference builds up between the interior of the watch with the trapped helium and the environment. This pressure difference can cause the watch crystal to pop off. This is where the helium escape valve is required. The helium escape valve allows the extra helium molecules built up in the watch to escape and thus equalising the pressure between the watch interior and the environment.

The watch case is steel with a metal bracelet. The watch is resistant to 600 meters crafted specifically for divers. The chronograph pushers are available with either black or orange tips. In the orange versions the color is extended to parts of the rotating diver's bezel.

The watch has endured rigorous testing by the COSC and thus is a certified chronometer. The watch is powered by an Omega Co-Axial Calibre 3313 automatic mechanical movement.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yves Rossy: Hublot's Fusion Man

Hublot is a watch company at the edge of its game, creating adventurous bold timepieces. It is little wonder Hublot sponsors Yves Rossy. The picture above was taken many feet above the earth surface where only Mr Rossy, a former fighter pilot and current pilot, and his incredible flying machine rules the sky. The four German built model aircraft engines which provide 200lb thrust each, enable the 110lb foldable carbon wings and Rossy in his 120lb suit to ascend 200ft a minute. Flying at over 300km/h and at a dizzying height of 2000 meters Yves Rossy amazes the spectators.

On September 26th, 2008, Yves Rossy became the first man to fly across the English Chanel, from Calais, France to Dover, UK propelled by his 8ft feet wings and jet pack on his back he glided and steered using his body until he covered the distance of 35 kilometers in just 13 minutes.

The idea of flight is as old as time itself. Which man has not gazed into the heavens and spotted an eagle soaring on the wind and not wished it for himself? I was reminded of Icarus soaring through the clouds. As the legend has it, Icarus's father Daedalus fashioned for he and his son wings and wax to escape King Minos. He was warned not to go to close to the sun as the wax would melt. Icarus being carried away by the euphoria of flight did not heed to his fathers warning and flew close to the sun. The wax melted and his feathers fluttered away. Icarus kept flapping his wings, but without feathers he plummeted to the ground.

FusionMan a.k.a Yves Rossy is at home in the sky, and his exceptional passion and knowledge of flight propels him to push to the extreme. His flying machine is cutting edge technology utilizing materials and pushing the principles of aerodynamics like never before. Hublot's Big Bang watches fuses ancient and high tech materials creating a timepiece of incredible structure, durability and style.

Fusionman man is the perfect compliment to thew vision of Hublot where the adventure of horology has no end in sight. I have no doubt that both FusionMan and Hublot will continue to amaze us with adventures beyond our realm of imagination.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A lady loves Cartier!

Cartier Love Ladies' Watch 18K Rose Gold Silver Dial Diamond Bezel on Black Satin Strap 

With a delicate 23,5 mm dial, the Cartier Love Watch is for a lady of class and distinction. The trademark Cartier Love symbols are imprinted on the 18k rose gold bezel. The bezel thickness resembles a ring. A ring. A symbol of love. The blued hand indicators and Roman Numerals are distinctly Cartier. The timepiece is softened by a strap of smooth black satin.

The Love Collection includes exceptional rings and bracelets. Within the love collection are Love Music, Love Films, Love artists and a Love Charity.

Love Charity by Cartier supports Action against Hunger. With Cartier's committed support over the next three years, Action against Hunger is helping children in the Burmese State of North Rakhina. As a result of Cartier's contribution, 1000 children between the ages of 6 and 10 ,who are severely malnourished, will be cared for by Action against Hunger in their nutritional centers. There they will be provided with intense medical nutritional treatment and health education sessions. Cartier's Love Charity Bracelet helps support Action against Hunger and the constant effort with minority groups whose lives were devastated by Cyclone Nargis in May of2008.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Audemars Piguet spins a magical masterpiece.

Ever glance at something so beautiful, so arresting that your heart seems to leap out of your chest and your mouth drops in a gape of pure wonderment. Well that is what happened to me when I gazed at Audemars Piguet latest creation: the Audemars Piguet Millenary Calcedoine. I will go on to describe various aspects of the watch, but as per the Gestalt perspective, "the whole differs from the some of its parts" We cannot understand the magnificence of the watch when broken down into the description of its parts.

The price is high, but as Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel designer says, "I can be interested in a $20m diamond I will never buy, without desiring the diamond. If you want only things you can afford, it's boring too." The economy may be in a down turn, but can you imagine if companies like Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin stop producing masterpieces what will the world be then? What would we admire and praise? No! These companies must continue producing beautiful masterpieces.

I love the numbers on the dial, they seem to be vanishing like Alice down the rabbit hole, providing the watch with a whimsical touch. Orbits of 395 brilliant-cut diamonds shimmer on 18K pink gold. The in-house Audemars Piguet Calibre 2861 manually wound tourbillon movement is visible both through the front and back.

The luxury watch has a Galuchat strap -Galuchat, refers to sharkskin or stingray skin named after Louis XV’s master leather artisan, Jean-Claude Galuchat, who introduced this exotic material to France during the 18th century.

To the left of the watch face lies the tourbillon. The tourbillon ,was invented in 1795 by French watchmaker Abraham-Louis ,to reduce the effect gravity has on a pocket watch. The effects of gravity on a wristwatch is questionable as well as the actual effect of gravity on a watch movement; however, the tourbillon has become a respected complication coveted for its aesthetic appeal, mesmerising spins and intricate craftsmanship.
If you have a pretty penny to spend and an ultra-luxury watch to buy, place your name on the waiting list and wait. A watch like this cannot be rushed.