Thursday, March 29, 2012

ArtyA Captures a Spider

Some watch companies struggle for designs unveiling two or three new models a year. And then there is ArtA  just brimming with ideas creating intriguing one-of-a-kind watch designs.  
The ArtyA Spider 1/1 watch evokes the feeling of springtime.  Melting snow exposing last seasons fallen leaves across which a garden spider scurries to prepare for spring.  The "snow" is a unique "mix"; the "fallen leaves" are gold leaf pigments and the spider is of the garden variety  - no longer scurrying, but immortalized on the dial.
Within ArtYa signature "slashed' case, a highly competent automatic ETA movement powers the watch.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Pot of Gold at the End of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Rainbow

As Rolex watch aficionados were eagerly anticipating the release of the new model Sky Dweller and the  Submariner 114060M at BaselWorld 2012, they were treated to a timepiece which was hard to miss.  The New Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Rainbow.  The bezel is embedded with a rainbow array of Sapphire crystals. While some may think the watch is a tad to colorful, I can definitely see its mass appeal.  This timepiece has everything going for it.  Like those gorgeous, smart, rich, popular girls who sweep across college campuses watched with admiration and envy. 

So here is the 10 reasons why you would want the New Oyster Perpetual Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

a) A Rolex - luxury watch brand known by all.
No explanation required as to the quality of the watch.  Status symbol right on your wrist. 

b) The Watch is an Oyster Perpetual - Click to read story behind the watch.
Groundbreaking innovation of 1926 exponentially increasing water resistance, dust resistance and shock absorbancy of the timepiece. (The Watch was actually advertised in a fishbowl for dramatic effect.) Now almost 90 years down the line Rolex is experimenting with a Rolex Deepsea Challenge, which can remain water resistant to a depth of 12,000 meters or 40,000 feet.  This Oyster Perpetual Model is water resistant to 100 meters or 330 feet. 

c) The timepiece is equipped with a Perpetual Rotor.  The perpetual rotor is a highly efficient self-winding mechanism consisting of a half moon rotor, which is affixed to a central pivot, but which can pivot back and forth in response to the natural motion of the wearers wrist. Energy transmitted to the mainspring has a fifty hour power reserve.  

d) The watch is a Superlative Chronometer.  Superlative is a Rolex trademark to accentuate the distinction of a Chronometer.  Unlike the Chronometer used in nautical navigation of days gone by.  Chronometers today are a title of distinction and quality awarded to a watch movement, which has undergone stringent COSC testing performed over 15 days and nights.  Click here for more information about COSC.  This mark ensures the movement is capable of withstanding environmental influences while still maintaining perfect precision and working order. 

e)  If you are a professional race car driver or an enthusiast there of.  The Daytona Cosmograph is equipped with two critical  racing features.  Designed for the  professional race car driver in 1963, the Daytona Cosmograph is equipped with a chronograph and a tachymeter scale on the bezel enabling the driver to calculate elapsed time on the speedway and calculate average speed. This chronograph is accurate to a whopping 1/8th of a second with handy 30 minute counter placed at the 3 'o'clock and a 12 hour counter at the 9 'o'clock.  The small seconds hand is situated above the 3 'o'clock.  

f) If you happen to pass through a strong magnetic field - the oscillator of the timepiece is equipped with an innovative Paramagnetic blue PARACHROM hairspring which markedly increases the precision of the timepiece and increases its shock resistance up to 10 times more than that of a regular ferromagnetic alloy hairspring.

g) The security of a watch is only as good as the clasp that keeps it on the wrist. No worries losing this baby.  The watch is equipped with a folding Oysterlock Safety Clasp ensuring that one will not find a wrist empty of watch.

h) If the Rolex fits wear it and to increase this likelihood, a Rolex timepiece is equipped with a patented extension system known as the Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link. So don't despair if the bracelet is a touch to snug. 

i)And ladies - the watch is a perfect beauty. A rainbow of 36 baguette-cut  sapphires ring the bezel in perfectly matched shades of color.  Available in 18k yellow or white gold, the 40 mm case is flanked by diamond set lugs.  The crown guards are embedded with diamonds as well creating the look of pure luxury.
The black lacquer dial beams with yellow or white gold crystal counters where 8 diamonds in gold settings mark the hours between the 18 ct gold 15,30,45 and 60 numerals.

j) The final desirable appeal of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is the fact it will match every last piece of clothing in one wardrobe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CHANEL Première Flying Tourbillon a Distinction in Design

25 years ago Chanel launched its first line of watches, and they have celebrated this milestone with the Limited Edition CHANEL Première Flying Tourbillon
Equipped with a flying tourbillon - one of the most complicated and highly regarded watch mechanism - the Limited Edition timepiece represents a new age of timepieces made for women.  In most watch companies, woman's timepieces are mostly powered by quartz. 
It is thought that men are more of a mechanical mind and thus can appreciate the intricate craftsmanship required to create a mechanical masterpiece.
 Chanel always on the forefront of woman's fashion is making a stand for mechanical movement in woman's watches by unveiling a timepiece of incredible watchmaking expertise.  The movement is that of highly regarded Audemars Piguet (Renaud et Papi)SA.  This is not the first contribution, Audemars Piguet has had with Chanel.  In 2008, Chanel partnered with AP to create the J12 caliber 3125, a fusion of AP 3120 an innovative automatic winding system and a Chanel J12 ceramic case.

The unique 37mm diameter case shape is fashioned after the cap of the Chanel N °5 perfume bottle, which is inspired by one of Coco Chanel's most favourite places - place Vendôme. The place Vendôme also inspired Chanel's Première watch unveiled in 1987.

  The glossy black ceramic dial surrounds a Camélia Flying Tourbillon at the 6 'o'clock position. Coco Chanel loved the Camélia flower for its elegant simplicity and purity.  She decorated her apartment in the motif of this flower on Coromandel screens and in vases with rock crystal. In Asia the flower symbolized purity and longevity, and thus she placed it on many of her designs.  The top of the flying tourbillon cage displays the flower in geometric simplicity.  The flying tourbillon is only supported on one side creating the illusion that it rotating,  unsupported by any means.  Click here to read an in depth tourbillon article. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Edo Period Daimyo Clock of Unequal Hours

What if I told you to build a mechanical watch which would track unequal hours? Imagine the level of complication the mechanism would require.  After all even a Perpetual Calender, which accounts for the differing lengths of months, is a highly complex complication requiring  many additional components. So what about a timepiece that tracks uneven time periods. 

In the Japanese Edo Period (1603-1868), a variable hour system was used(dating back to the 9th century).  The day was divided into 12 segments  of unequal length. It seemed almost impossible to track unequal periods of time, but Japanese clock-makers devised a remarkable way to keep time in this way.  The history of Japanese advances in mechanical timekeeping is indeed fascinating.
In the 16th century, prior to the "isolation Edo period", where Japan was cut off from the rest of the world, Dutch or European Missionaries traveled to Japan with Western clocks. These clocks,  mostly lantern clock in design used the verge and foliate escapement - bars and weights.
In 1603 the Edo Period began - closing Japanese off from the rest of the world and any further European Horlogical advancements such as the invention of the anchor escapement.

Japan cherished perfection and entire families were committed to perfecting a single trade, such as saki producers, silk weavers, marquetry and metal workers. In this period  skilled clock maker worked many hours crafting clocks for those who could afford them. Daimyo -powerful territorial lords - commanded over their lands hiring Samurai warriors to keep order and  answering only to the shogun.  Daimyo, temples, wealthy merchants and possibly highest ranking samurai were the only ones who could afford this clock.  Thus the clock became known as the "daimyo clocks".  The high price tag ,easily equaling about 20 years of a normal person's wages was due to the specialized craftsmanship and hours of work that went into crafting a daimyo clock.  In fact these clocks were so well made, today they are found in much better condition than their Western counterparts from the same time period. The superb craftsmanship may be due to the threat looming over a watchmakers head if he crafted a clock of inferior quality making his Daimyo miss an important engagement. After the clock was completed, it was one person's sole responsibility to maintain it. 

Smaller clocks were available in the Edo period, but little is known about them.  In addition very few 'Daimyo clocks are found today, since the manner of timekeeping, which I will explain in due course,  was seen as a representation of the Edo time period.  During the Meiji period this timekeeping system was abolished  and hence these clocks were destroyed. The 'daimyo clocks' that survived were actually the ones that were brought out by foreigners.

In the Edo period, the day was divided according to the eastern zodiac into 12 unequal periods represented on the dial of the clock by juunishi-12 zodiac animals - and Kanji numerals.  This system notated daytime divisions rather than fixed periods of hours, minutes and seconds.  In Edo Timekeeping sunrise is "the hour of the rabbit" other wise known as "morning six" or the stars fade. Sunset is "the hour of the cock" or "evening six" when the stars appear. Day and  night were each divided into 6 segments of approximately two hours each - depending the season and the amount of daylight hours.

Sake Making in the Edo Period
Another remarkable difference to Western timekeeping, the numbers allotted to the passage of hours  go down.

For example if an individual awoke to six temple bells ringing announcing it is "morning six" ( hour of the rabbit), he would roll up his tatami ready for the day.
He would get to the field, his workbench or the toiling over sake vats  at "morning five" (hour of  the dragon).
He would work through "morning four"( hour of the snake)
 At  "morning nine"  (hour of the horse), he would break for noon.
 Back to toiling at  "morning eight" (hour of the sheep), and start heading home at "morning seven" (hour of the monkey)"
  The daytime period pertains to two groups of numbers "6,5,4 and 9,8,7.

The end  evening hours start at "evening 6" ( hour of the bird)

 One may go to sleep at "evening five" (hour of the dog) and sleep through "evening five, four, nine, eight and seven" ( hour of the boar, rat, ox and tiger) waking up to the wind rustling through the sakura trees as clock sounds out six bells announcing the start of a new day.

Western Clock with Verge and Foliate escapement
Expert Japanese Watchmakers resolved the issue of variable hour timekeeping by placing grooves on the foliot (horizontal pendulum) and adjusting the weights to after the period of oscillation in order to accelerate or decelerate the clock. In some Daimyo clocks the speed was changed via  two balances - one for night and one for day, which could be switched automatically. Another innovation was a movable dial face, whereby the placement of the zodiac characters and corresponding Kanji numerals could be moved according to the season. Another remarkable innovation used pillar clock weights positioned to  correspond to different months with each hour of the day.  All of these variations required constant manual adjustment, and the resulting timekeeping was lacking in precision.   However this timekeeping well suited the Edo period where periods of time varied.

On the 9th day of the 11th month of Meiji 5, "The Imperial Edict on Revising the Calender" ordered the end of the lunar calender and "variable-hour system".  Japan was now in the era of modernization in sync with the Western World.  9 years later in Tokyo, Japan, Seiko was founded by Kintarō Hattori.   
Sources: "The Spread of Timepieces in the Meiji Period" Uchida Hoshima,  Japan Review, 2002, 14: 173-192
Wikipedea: "Verge Escapement"
Wikipedea: " Edo Period"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Swatch Group & Tiffany & Co. Saga Continues.

Tiffany & Co. Cocktail Watch
Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. are going through a really bad break up. 
 It all started in September of 2011 when Swatch Group broke off cooperation agreement with Tiffany & Co. for  "breaches of its obligations and duties," and sued Tiffany & Co. for  3.8 billion Swiss francs in damage. Swatch Group claims they invested "millions to develop, distribute and sell Tiffany & Co. watches" but that the venture was undermined by "systematic efforts to block and delay development of the business" by Tiffany & Co.

Now Tiffany & Co. responded by filing a counterclaim for 541.9 million Swiss Francs.
Swatch responded by claiming that the counter-claim has no factual or legal basis and will be vigorously contested by Swatch Group and Tiffany Watch Co. Ltd.

So I told you it's messy - and I am sure we will hear a lot more about this case

It was supposed to be a match made in heaven.  Read Swatch Group  enthusiastic 2007 announcement: 

In December 2007 Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. announced a strategic alliance to further the development, production and worldwide distribution of Tiffany & Co. brand watches. Under the agreement, the new watch company, known as Tiffany Watch Co. Ltd and wholly owned by Swatch Group, will design and manufacture in Switzerland a complete range of high-end luxury watches.
The enormous prestige of the Tiffany & Co. brand and the Swatch Group’s watchmaking expertise and experience in the luxury segment form a powerful platform on which to build one of the world’s top luxury watchmakers.
Tiffany Watch Co. Ltd is a Swiss company. Its products are designed and manufactured in Switzerland and distributed selectively through Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. retail distribution networks, including monobrand Tiffany & Co. watch boutiques in certain markets outside the United States. 


   After this case came to light I scanned the selection of Tiffany & Co. timepieces and was quite startled at their obvious lack of luster.  No single watch design stood out as being unique or special.

After further contemplation, I realized there collection does not appear to be the  high-end luxury watches as expressed in the original Swatch 2007 statement.
As for the design, it is not like there is lack of talent in the world of watchmaking.  At Baselworld 2012, we were presented with incredible creations from hundreds of watchmakers, but Tiffany & Co. watches seem pale in comparison to most other watch companies out there.
I mean many watch blogs don't even bother blogging about their watches anymore.  Once in a while I do scan their website hoping for that signature watch.  A watch with a definite Tiffany & Co. signature. 

Recently I did notice a lovely Floral Diamond Cocktail watch available at Tiffany & Co. for a  $125,000. An astounding $100,000 plus over the price range of their other timepieces.  A platinum case and bracelet adorned with 1,015 brilliant cut diamonds weighing 14.51 carats.  A diamond flower - very pretty -  rests atop a hatch which opens to reveal the time.  The time powered by a quartz movement. As lovely as it is, it's still  missing a certain flavor.  The flavor that is Tiffany & Co.

   But something keeps nagging at me, Tiffany has had more to do with watches than one thinks. A lot more.   Tiffany has had connections with no other than horological king Patek Phillip since 1851. Maybe the passage of time has blurred this connection, but it is still solid.   In 2008, Patek Phillip opened a 3000 square foot exclusive salon within Tiffany & Co. flagship store on 5th Avenue in NYC. And this salon is not just a show case with a couple of watches, this salon presents some of the watchmaker's unique and most sought-after timepieces, a collection of all current models, an extensive library, individual customer consultation areas, and a studio for on-site repairs.

When Swatch Co. and Tiffany & Co. partnered up, I am sure  Swatch took into account Tiffany & Co's long time relationship with Patek Phillipe and thus its somewhat understanding of the watch industry. I mean that relationship has worked for a really long time. So why has Tiffany & Co and Swatch called it quits after a couple of years and Patek Phillip and Tiffany & Co manages to keep the old flame burning for generations?

 The partnership between Tiffany & Co and Patek Phillipe is intriguing to me. To better understand this connection Read "Bejeweled by Tiffany" 1837- 1987 by Clare Phillips of Tiffany & Co.

I will keep scanning Tiffany & Co. timepiece Collection hoping that one day, I will see the signature Tiffany & Co. timepiece, which will carve a notch into the long legacy of Tiffany & Co.  Since 1837

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 Watch Use Magnets to Display Time

Most watch makers steer far away from magnets.  After all magnets can confound the precision of a watch; however Christophe Claret embraces magnetism and uses its properties to display time.
The futuristic proportions of the titanium three dimensional curvex main plate compliment the innovative technologies of the movement.  The flying tourbillon is at a 30 ° angle for more visibility, which in itself is quite a technological feat, except this tourbillon is straddled on either side by magnetic fields.  Tiny hollow steel spheres   encased in hollow Sapphire crystal tubes travel unaided to indicate the time on a retrograde display.  The spheres are not attached to any mechanical component, but move as a result of magnetism. 

The XTREM name of the watch summarizes its  impact in horology.
X - Experimental
T - Time
R - Research 
E - Engineering 
M - Mechanism

I am truly intrigued with Christophe Claret's use of magnetism - a natural phenomenon - which watch makers work to avoid by creating anti-magnetic watches, but its seems Christophe Claret wants to tame environmental adversaries and use it for his own devices -  almost like capturing a bolt of lightening to illuminate a city.  What wonders that would do to the natural resources of the world. 
Capturing a lightening flash may be far off in the future, but Christophe Claret's use of magnetism is now. 

 The 4mm diameter spheres weighing only 0.100 grams are precisely coaxed up and down the 23mm cylindrical hollowed tube by a uniform magnetic field created by tiny magnets.  The tiny magnets are attached to thin, strong, woven silk thread the likes of which are used in the medical field. - SOFSILK
The hours and minutes are coated in Super-LumiNova as well as Super-LumiNova graduations within the sapphire tubes.  This enables visibility of the time in the dark. 
Christophe Claret utilized the expertise of professor Besson at  the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD), to ensure the magnets had absolutely no effects on the precision of the movement.  
The watch is hand wound - probably because an oscillating weight would be impossible due to the  magnetism.  However two barrels are used to store the energy - one  for the flying tourbillon (affixed with double ceramic bearings to increase resistance to shock) to ensure constant uniform timekeeping. The second barrel is dedicated to powering the  display gear train regulated by a unique escapement interacting with a timing gear train. A complex series of mechanical events  cause the movement of the magnets and consequently the attraction of the hollowed steel spheres.  The spheres themselves only react to magnetism and have no connection to any mechanical mechanisms. The timepiece is equipped with  more than 50 hour power reserve

The  movement is thoroughly tested and is provided with a certificate guaranteeing quality and precision.

The timepiece is available in three version , -  rose gold, white gold or platinum each accompanied by bead-blasted black PVD coated grade 5 titanium.  Only 8 pieces of each is available.  The cost of the white gold is 264,000 Swiss francs; rose gold is 268,000 Swiss Frans and Platinum is $288,000 Swiss Francs.


Sculpting Timepieces by French Artist André Chéca

André Chéca - Christophe Claret Movement - 2009
Although I haven't heard much from André Chéca since 2009, his watch designs are still raising an eyebrow or two.  As time moves on and new timepieces flood the market, André Chéca's designs remain conspicuous in their uniqueness.  As to their aesthetics, I feel no necessity for justification. Beauty is a personal perception.

My favorite timepiece is the  2009 furry green rock watch which looks like it has grown in an exotic garden rather than crafted in a workshop. But this watch is not a mere novelty with a cheap movement, on the contrary, the watch is actually of exceptional watch making quality and design utilizing first class materials.  The movement is the work of a highly regarded watchmaker – Christophe Claret.  The beautiful skeletonized dial incorporates a tourbillon requiring great watch making expertise. The inner bezel is paved with exquisite high quality hand picked diamonds. The green mossy looking watch case is oxidized bronze and the strap is green dyed mink fur. The watch - a unique piece - was displayed at 2009's Belles Montres.

Romain Jerome Titanic and Moon Series 2009
 Basel World 2009, Romain Jerome unveiled a curious looking timepiece  designed by André Chéca.  The timepiece was part of a new Titanic and Moon series which used unconventional materials to create one of a kind timepieces incorporating unique materials.  This timepiece actually comprises of salvaged oxidized steel from the Titanic as a material for some of the watch components.  The watch represents a battered artifact lodged at the bottom of the ocean discovered centuries later surrounded by remnants of a ship wreck.  Looking at this watch, one could imagine it recovered from a chest resting on the bottom of the ocean. The case is bronze André Chéca - This watch has Yvan Arpa of Artya written all over it - and indeed back in 2008, Yvan Arpa was the CEO of Romain Jerome. 

André Chéca Belles Montres 2008
André Chéca Kaar Ours 2009
In 2008, an André Chéca creation was unveiled at the Belles Montres international watch fair in Paris. The watch has André Chéca’s signature  beaten bezel, creating a look of decedent chocolate covered in gold foil paper.   The hands are overly bold pointing to large numbers beneath which the dial is decorated with a remarkable fish net pattern.

In the last watch - The Kaar Ours, André Chéca creates a timepiece, which seems to resemble the crude stone instruments used by cave dwellers in a by gone era or an ancient tablet. The “sculpture of time” is a  bronze casing which protects a hand chiseled movement visible via a sapphire crystal case back. The band is gulachet or stingray skin.  The movement is not set in stone, and is visible via a Sapphire crystal case back.

André Chéca (Born May 23rd, 1951)  studied the art of watchmaking at the Ecole d’Horlogerie de Marseille (1967-1970) graduating first in his class. He learned the art of engraving by hand. He sees his work as pieces of art, which serves the function of displaying the time. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ulysse Nardin Unveils In-House Caliber UN-118

When ships were the only way to cross the seas and the voyage was treacherous, many lost their lives simply because they became lost. On October 22, 1707, four British Men 'O War sank just off the Cornish Coast, 2000 men were lost, because they did not know their longitude.
Finding a precise timekeeping instrument was a matter of life and death. (read about the Longitude Act  of 1714)

In the current economical ebb and flow finding a perfect time keeping instrument has more to do with the success of a company than "Men 'O Wars" sinking off coastlines.  In today's treacherous sea of competition, finding the perfect timekeeping instrument will ensure companies stay afloat. Now you may be wondering why I am stressing sea terminology, I mean this is not a nautical blog, but when it comes to reviewing a Ulysee Nardin Watch, my mind immediately takes to the open sea.  - Read about the role Ulysse Nardin played in the success of Marine Chronometers.

Now Ulysee Nardin has embarked on another voyage with newly appointed Patrik Hoffman at the helm.  Ulysee Nardin, the first brand to introduce components made from artificial diamond grown on silicon or DIAMonSil, unveiled its groundbreaking in-house Caliber UN-118.  Aside for this movements model of timekeeping efficiency,  thanks to the constant innovation efforts of Ulysse Nardin and Sigatec (Sion, Switzerland), Caliber UN-118 can be produced on a large enough scale to power 70 percent of its watches.  Sigatec is one of the most technologically advanced companies in terms of nanotechnology with the capability of creating watch components in both Silicium and DIAMonSIL.

 Caliber UN-118, containing 248 pieces,  is a culmination of many years of research.  The Caliber UN-118  comprises of an in-house-produced and patented DIAMonSIL escapement and an in-house-produced oscillator, patented in 2007,  adjustable with four screws and affixed with a silicium 1.1.1 hairspring.

 The movement is a certified Chronometer (not to be confused with a seafarers instrument - difference explained below ) and is equipped with a  power reserve of 60 hours.

After many years of hearing about watch components comprising of Silicium and Diamond on Silicon, it is a true breakthrough to finally see this groundbreaking technology used prolifically.

Distinction Between Marine Chronometer and C.O.S.C. 

A Marine Chronometer is not the same term used for a Chronometer today -A "chronometer" in today's term is a high-precision watch capable of displaying the seconds and housing a movement that has been tested over several days, in different positions and at different temperatures, by an official neutral body (COSC).
Each movement is individually measured. Any watch with the denomination "chronometer" is provided with a certified movement by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute or the C.O.S.C. All of Ulysse Nardin's Timepieces which carry the title Chronometer have been tested by the C.O.S.C and given the title of Chronometer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Boucheron's Birds Surround Three Gold Bridges

Boucheron Cypris Tourbillon with three Gold Bridges - Baselworld 2012
Boucheron certainly knows how to create exceptional timepieces and Girard-Perregaux is a master in mechanical movements.  This collection is all Boucheron and all Girard-Perregaux. The three gold bridges require no introduction to the world of horology, and is the signature Girard-perregaux movement. Boucheron's obsession with the animal kingdom is quite another story deeming Cartier animal imagery quite tame. Boucheron gathers inspiration from the beauty of nature incorporating animals, from frogs to elephants to hummingbirds, into many of its timepieces.  The result is breathtaking and ingenious.  Precious gems perfectly matched for color and clarity adorn the creations bringing them to life in stone. Often rare gems, sometimes unique to a single geographic location, are used.

The Boucheron Cypris Tourbillon with three gold bridges is one of Boucheron's latest editions to its glittering flock. The elegant head of the bird, so beautiful in nature now has an equally magnificent image set in diamond, sapphire and spinal. The bright orange beak is cut from onyx and coral. Girard Perregaux's three gold bridges with tourbillon power the watch. Each creation took 10 months to complete with a staggering 1300 hours of work.

Boucheron Hera Tourbillon Watch- 2011
The Boucheron Hera Tourbillon Watch displays plumage of fascinating shades of blue achieved with a blue sapphire hue and the intriguing neon blue copper bearing Paraibas tourmalines.  The Paraibas tourmalines is found to date in Brazil, Nigeria and Mozambique.  The dial is framed by a bezel of 53 diamonds from where the exquisite plumage of the white gold bracelet extends.   271 diamonds, 868 blue sapphires, 426 purple sapphires, 310 Paraibas tourmalines and a single blue sapphire cabochon surround the wrist in feathery splendor.  The  Boucheron Hera Tourbillon watch is powered by an automatic mechanical Girard-Perregaux GP 9700.0A movement. The bridges beneath which suspends a tourbillon is surrounded by a plate paved with 160 Paraibas tourmalines and 18 diamonds. The movement beating at rate of 21.600 vph.

Boucheron Ladyhawke Tourbillon-2010

The Boucheron Ladyhawke Tourbillion unveiled in 2010 is my absolute favorite.  The falcon  has a certain raw ferocity about it, which I find quite appealing. 25 carats of 833 multicolored or "dirty diamonds" on white gold create the plumage.  Lifelike talons and a sharped curved beak  guard over the GP movement. A lone ruby red eye glares at trespassers daring them to cross the line. This piece ,capable of sending cold shivers down ones spine, displays a powerful representation of  high end jewelry and watch craftsmanship.

In the past Boucheron has teamed up with MB & F creating quite an interesting timepiece.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hublot Creates a Big Bang at Baselworld worth 5 Million Dollars

Wherever Hublot goes they make a BIG BANG and Baselworld 2012 is no exception.
The current Hublot buzz is due to a 5 Million Dollar Big Bang Hublot Creation (SOLD to the Hour Glass Singapore).
 So let me start by describing the Five Million Dollar Masterpiece (and masterpiece it must be)
A Five Million Dollar Timepiece demands plenty of diamond - and diamonds it has - no less than 1282 diamonds totaling 140 carats. 
 And these diamonds are no ordinary compilation of carbon.  These diamonds were collected from all over the world, matched for color and clarity eliminating any imperfections.  6 Emerald cut diamonds adorn the bracelet.  Each weighing over 3 carats - exceptional in clarity - VVS and color - G. Unlike many diamond encrusted timepieces where it seemed the diamonds an after-thought to increase the worth of the timepiece, the diamond cutters at  Hublot first created the design of the watch and then went searching for the perfect diamonds.

Each diamond was hand selected, sized, if required, and set into the dial, bezel, case and bracelet with painstaking precision required by Hublot's desire to create an "invisible setting".  Although the setting is there, it cannot be seen and thus the entire watch seems as if it is crafted from diamonds. This task demanded 17 people working exclusively for 14 months.  One of whom was a Master- Cutter from New York who worked on the largest diamond.

If you missed viewing the watch in Basel world and cannot make it to Singapore where it will be on display at Hublot boutique in Marina Bay Sands and then at Hublot's section at The Hour Glass boutiques, you can view the watch in this wonderful video by Hublot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

RSW Unveils The Classic, The Regulator and The Rugged

RSW, a Rama Watch SA Swiss brand,  situated on the shores of Lake Biel in the medieval town of Le Neuveville, manufacture watches with a twist remaining unique in a burgeoning horological market.

Basel World 2012 marks RSW's  introduction  of three new watch collections.  Each collection attracts a different taste.  The Classic.  The Regulator.  The Rugged.

Le Neuveville Collection - The Classic

This Collection pays tribute to RSW's home town's 700th anniversary by naming an entire collection after its name -  "Le Neuveville".  Le Neuveville was founded in 1312 by the bishop of Basle - Gerard de Vuippens.

The Le Neuveville Collection is a classic analog display sporting a vintage design. This formal dress watch is a handsome steel or steel coated with yellow PVD timepiece equipped with a signature RSW patented fold out crank crown.  Beneath the case a highly efficient automatic ETA 2824-2 movement ensures maximum timekeeping precision.  A quartz model powered by an ETA 955.112 movement  is also available - distinguishable from the mechanical model by a traditional crown. 
The dial is available in white, black and gray sun ray pattern.

RSW High King Collection - The Regulator

The Regulator Complication must have the hours indicated on a different sub dial. On this model the Roman Numeral Hours are indicated on a sub dial located at the 12 'o'clock position, while the long minutes are indicated by a single central hand. The seconds hand sub dial is located a the 6 'o'clock position.
A discrete date aperture resides at the 3 'o'clock position.

 The bezel is an enigmatic display of steel work adding a futuristic charm to the timepiece. The watch is powered by an excellent automatic RSW 1912 ETA based Dubois Dépraz 14070.

Look for the watch in different case and dial combinations.

Urban Contemporary Collection: Diving Camo Tool Limited Edition - The Rugged

So here is the watch that caught my attention in the first place.  It breathes ruggedness and adventure.  Actually I am quite drawn to it.  The angular lines resemble a rocky outcrop on the African Savannah, and RSW is taken the theme further by adding a camo dial motif. Aside from its tough appearance this watch is one hell of a diver. Take it down 980 feet and the automatic ETA 2824-2 movement will keep ticking . Depending on your wanderings and the adventurers you seek - whether by land or sea - you have a choice of Woodland Green or Oceanic Blue surrounded by a case of solid steel or PVD coated steel. Only 49 pieces are available in each combination.  And to ease your journey, the Diving Camo Tool Timepiece is accompanied by a very handy Camo-style Swiss army knife as well as a rubber and NATO strap.

Gevril Group is the US Agent of RSW Watches.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Can Investing in a Luxury Watch be Compared to Investing in a Luxury Car? Please Comment!

Patek Phillipe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002
Upon commenting on a fellow blogger's post about the HYT HI hydro mechanical , I -  questioning the longevity and depreciation of a watch containing fluid as part of the mechanism.

My Comment:
What about the longevity of the timepiece? Does the liquid make the watch more vulnerable to environmental changes? How volatile is the liquid in the tube?
I love this watch, but I have been wondering this for a long time, especially if someone is going to save up to buy this watch.  Does the liquid actually increase its worth on purchase, but depreciate  more rapidly as time goes by?
Reply to my  Comment:  
Buying a new watch as an investment is like buying a new car as an investment: retarded.

 I have a friend who paid for the weddings of his children with money received from selling three of his watches.  Watches he  purchased thirty years ago. The three watches in question were Rolexes - known for their excellent resale value - and superb movement with proven longevity.  He sold them in a flash for for a quite a bit of cash.
Excellent resale values also apply to watch manufacturers like Piaget, Harry Winston,  Patek Phillipe - who actually pushes the concept of longevity with its clever advertising slogan -"You never actually own a Patek Philippe; you merely take care of it for the next generation."- Vacheron Constantin and the new players like Richard Mille, Parmigiani Fleurier,  Greubel Forsey and a host of others.
The scenario may have been quite different if, thirty years ago,  he had invested in a luxury car  and then tried to sell it in the same condition he had bought it. The car would have cost him a fortune in up keep.  In addition the market for a vintage luxury car is much smaller than a watch.

 When one purchases a watch from say $2,000 upwards - and watches nowadays happily gallop into the million dollar range - does one purchase the watch like one would a fancy car - just for the ride - or does one purchase the watch as an investment, as one would purchase a Rembrandt or Picasso painting?
Is the investment of a car the same type of an investment as a watch? or Is the purchase  of specifically the HYT H1 hydro mechanical timepiece like the purchase of a sports car? Do some watch companies like Tag Heuer, Breitling, Corum and Omega evoke the automotive desire to purchase a watch,  whereas others like Patek Phillipe push the "painting" perspective?

Of course I am not referring to the timepieces which are purchased predominantly to keep time - that idea faded when quartz erupted on stage and I am not referring to the Honda's and Mazdas or Kias for that matter which are purchased or leased to ferry family members or haul home groceries from Walmart.  I am talking luxury cars and luxury watches, which are purchased without necessity, for  investments, gifts (emotional investment) or purely hedonistic motives.

Please feel free to comment - I eagerly await response to the Question...


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Presenting the Heaviest Watch on Earth by Artya

Okay watch enthusiasts,  I have my doubts about this being a wristwatch and you won't find it on the wrist of Rafael Nadel during a tennis match - it might effect his swing just a bit, but I have to give Yvan Arpa and Christian Pauchon at ArtyA credit for crafting one of the most original "wristwatches" out there. 
So I bet you must want to know the weight of this hefty horological masterpiece: 12 KILOS and a dial of concrete. 

ArtyA always manages to surprise and delight the watch community with new outrageous designs and new materials. When last did you see a watch dial crafted with concrete?   And always a favorite - the toad skin band.

ArtyA explains this watch as a symbol of time. Time is so fleeting - weigh it down a bit. 

ArtyA has done it again - and tomorrow as you enter Basel World Palace Booth P03 - check out all the wonderful watch designs that await you and all the new concrete dial designs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BaselWorld Doors Open March 8th, 2012 and HYT H1 Hydro Mechanical Watch is on Display

Ok! Whose a running to BaselWorld Hall Palace Booth P05 A?  Run through the palace entrance. Race past the huge CASIO exhibits (lots of G-shocks on display - I assume).  Take note of the Urwerk and MB & F on your left ( a definite stop on your way out).  Hurry past the large P03 hall - yes the Haldimann un-watch is keeping its un-time as well as numerous ArtyA creations! Zoom past the Ikepod Hour Glasses and De Bethune on your right! Come to a screaming halt outside your destination at Booth P05 A- the HYT H1 Hydro Mechanical Watch on Display. Bend over! Place your hands on your knees and take a deep breath.  You have arrived to view the most talked about watch on the web - The HYT H1 Hydro Mechanical Watch... and once you have taken a good look at the Watch - please do me a favor and tell me all about it.

And if Videos are your preferred source of information - I have provided that for you too.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Richard Mille's Constant Quest for the Ultimate Watchmaking Material

RM 050 Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Felipe Massa
Richard Mille is a company at the forefront of discovery and innovation in their relentlessness quest for the best watch making material.   Richard Mille scrutinizes every component and questions whether there is a better material in terms of lightweight, longevity, resiliency, shock absorbency,efficiency and of course dramatic effect.

Let us not forget the stunning Richard Mille RM 56 Felipe Massa Sapphire Watch unveiled at SIHH 2012 sporting a transparent and scratch resistant case carved from three blocks of Sapphire crystal or the super lightweight RM027 worn on the hand of Rafael Nadel weighing in at just 18 grams. (in this watch titanium and lithium alloy is used)

The Sapphire Watch - Limited Edition - 5 pieces
The new Richard Mille’s RM 050 Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Felipe Massa, Richard Mille has stepped over the boundary of cutting edge technology and entered a realm bordering on science fiction by incorporating carbon nanotube injected composite into the watch case. The introduction of this material results in a watch which is extraordinarily light weight.  The movement itself only weights 9.5 grams.  And light it must be since this is the watch to be worn around the wrist of Felipe Massa during Formula 1 races. Limited Edition - 10 pieces.

So what exactly are nanotubes?

Structure of nanotube
They are single walled Carbon cylindrical nanostructure resulting in highly unusual thermal conductivity , electrical and mechanical properties.  Nanotubes contribute to the field of nanotechnology, optics, electronics, material science, technology and now Horology.

The carbon atoms are arranged at exact intervals within its structure deeming it the toughest and stiffest material in terms of its tensile strength and elasticity. In layman's terms this means the material is 63 times stronger than steel.    Nanotube technology has been used in the construction of tennis rackets to increase lightweightedness, thus it is quite understandable that Richard Mille - so closely associated with the sports- and one of its greatest players - Rafael Nadel - utilize the same cutting edge material in its watches.
Rafael Nadel Wearing RM 027
  • Carbon Nanotubes is a relatively recent discovery made only in the 1990's.  It is a fullerene structure (a molecule comprised exclusively of carbon in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid or tube) and also includes Buckyballs. Although buckyballs sound more like the name of some Western bandit, they are the term used for Spherical fullerenes.  Delving more deeply into the aspects of nanotubes result in a vast knowledge of Quantum Chemistry, which I confess I know very little about.  However, I do know we are about to hear much more about this ground breaking material and its contribution to the world of Horology.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Frederique Constant and The Double Heart Beat Black Beauty

The Double Heart Beat Black Beauty is an exquisite addition to the Double Heart Beat Collection.  Frederique Constant passionate depiction of two hearts joined and beating is now surrounded by shimmering mother of pearl surrounded by a ring of diamonds.  Unveiled in 1994 when mechanical watches for women were a rarity, Frederique Constant wanted to show the world that its Double Heart Beat Watch was mechanical.   Thus they craft an aperture above the balance wheel which rotates clockwise and counter clockwise upon its axes in a large ruby jewel. The rotation is controlled by the hairspring, which  coils and uncoils unabated.  This is the heart of a mechanical watch framed in the Double Heart Beat by an open heart aperture...  and this heart actually feels for others.  $50 of every Double Heart Beat timepiece sold will be donated to the International Heart Foundation.
  • So far Frederique Constant has donated two checks totaling $125,000 to International Heart Foundation. A charity organization dedicated to diagnose and treat  children with congenital heart disease  in developing countries. 
  • 2009, Frederique Constant supported Paint a Smile - which brought happiness to kids in Beijing Children's Cardiology Department by painting the ward.

  • In 2010, Frederique Constant gave the American Heart Association a $50,000 check.
... and who says a watch with a heart cannot feel compassion.