Monday, July 30, 2012

Richard Mille's Mystery Olympic Sprinter

Richard Mille unveils an exquisite watch baring the yellow, black and green color scheme.  The sprinter who will be wearing this ultra light watch  during the race is still a mystery.

  The sprinter's name will be revealed just three days after the completion of the London Olympic 2012 as per Olympic regulations.  Although the colors suggest the flag of Jamaica  - ruling out Jamaican Usain Bolt as Hublot's Ambassador  - I think the colors could represent the Olympic garb worn by  a sprinter ... say South African Oscar Pistorius. (and I am over reaching here).

Oscar Pistorius otherwise known as "Blade Runner" - is the first double amputee to ever compete as a sprinter in the Olympic games.  He races on Cheetah Flex Foot Carbon Fiber Blade with track cleats fitted on the bottom.  After much debate as to whether he was able to run in the Beijing Olympics due to his unfair 'advantage", he secured a ticket to London for the  Olympics 2012 and has been admitted to the 400m and 4 X 400m relay.

Whether Oscar Pistorius is the sprinter who will wear this watch, I do not know, but if there is one thing Richard Mille and Oscar Pistorius have in common it is in the use of ultra lightweight innovative materials and design to beat world records.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hublot Ambassador Usain Bolt Prepares to Beat Personal World Record

Hublot King Power Usain Bolt Watch
Hublot Ambassador and Olympic Sprint Champion Jamaican Usain Bolt is prepping to beat his own personal record of 9.58 seconds in the 100 meter dash at the London Olympics.  The question as wot whether Usain Bolt could beat his own record and run  race in a mere 9.4 seconds was the object of a Dutch Mathematical Study.  The authors of a Tilburg University study revealed today that Usain Bolt could still shave off two tenths of a second and beat his record, but this was the absolutely lowest a world record could go.  
... and as to how they worked this out , one of the study authors, Sander Smeets explained
"The study used various mathematical and statistical models collated from the best times posted over 100m by the 1,034 best male athletes going back to 1991"
This newest number overrides his previous  "ultimate world record"of 9.51.  I suppose this newer study was necessary before Usain Bolt proved Sanders 1991 study wrong.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Rise of Concrete Watches

Concrete started with Artya just a couple months ago with the World's Heaviest Watch - little jibe at the "lightest watch race".
Artya also created a concrete dial collection, which I thought was a form of unique artistic expression, but never a watch material to be taken seriously.  I thought the concrete had its day and now it is full steam ahead into the realm of nanotechnology and carbon fiber.
Artya :Heaviest Watch on Earth"
Then a couple days ago Girard-Perregaux, innovative - Yes!, outright edgy - No!,  announced they were creating a watch with a concrete dial.  Read more about this on Christies Watch Blog " Longitude".
I scratched my head and figured Girard-Perregaux sought to dabble in something different. Excellent for publicity.
However there is even a later buzz in concrete watches - A Concrete Watch Collection by Dzimitry Samal.  The Collection will feature 8 different designs limited to 100 to 150 pieces each.  The bezel of the 42mm case timepiece is faceted and polished with slight casting imperfections unique to each model. The dial is protected by hardened mineral crystal.  The watches will range in price from $1,190 to $1,500 .

Dzimitry Samal, French designer known for his edgy eyeglasses, furniture and "structural" handbags and cellphone case covers - among other things,  gives as good an explanation for the use of concrete as you can get:

“Watchmaking, as I see is more than just a time measuring mechanism. It is the main male jewellery and should reflect the personality and strength of its owner. I chose concrete, a noble, modern, honest and robust material, the stuff our megapolis are made of. My watches tell the story of an alliance of French creativity and Swiss technical performance, innovating in a field that has never been explored in watchmaking before.My designs are sophisticated in their simplicity and plainly contemporary…” Dzmitry Samal

It seems Concrete is not done with horology yet - although I have an inkling its days are numbers due to its property constraints.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Omega Official Olympic Timekeeper Since LA 1932

Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 Limited Edition
Since the LA 1932 Olympics Omega has been keeping Olympic's time. Things have changed over the last 80 years from 30 stopwatches  in 1932 to the Quantum Timer of London Olympics 2012.  The Quantum Timer, its name almost suggests a leap into the past or future, is more efficient than its predecessors of past Olympics.  With this device Omega can integrate main and backup units into a single device eliminating errors and speeding up final results.  Omega has made incredible timekeeping innovations in swimming, and this year "The Open Water Gates" utilizing high definition cameras and transponder technology will make the swimming events increasingly accessible to the media and public.
Another great feature first introduced in the 1948 London Olympics is the athletics starting block which measures the runner's reaction time by force against the block not the visible movement.

Though the passage has time has improved Omega's timekeeping abilities by Quantum leaps, Omega honors its first Olympic timekeeping experience with a Limited Edition commemorative Olympic 1932 Pocket Watch. The chronograph pocket is a certified chronometer having passed the rigorous testing performed by the COSC. The manual winding chronograph movement is powered by a Caliber Omega 3889.  This high performance movement has an integrated rattrapante chronograph mechanism controlled by a double column wheel.  The movement is Rhodium-plated sporting circular graining and Geneva waves. (ref; Omega)
The pocket watch is capable of a 32 hour power reserve.  Beneath a domed anti-reflective, scratch resistant sapphire crystal, a snowy white dial lends a stark contrast to the bold black Arabic Numerals and striking red Omega insignia. Exquisite blued steel hands  A small seconds sub dial lays claim to the 6 'o'clock position, while a chronograph counter presides upon the 12 'o'clock.  The Limited Edition Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 is available in white gold, red gold or yellow gold and each flaunts the Omega logo fashioned from gold above its crown.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hublot's Big Bang Tribute to the 50th Costa Smeralda Consortium Anniversary

I had never heard of the glittering shores of  Costa Smeralda before Big Bang unveiled the Big Bang Costa Smeralda for her and the King Power Costa Smeralda for him  as a tribute to the 50th Costa Smeralda Consortium Anniversary.  After doing a bit of research and a lot of drooling, I am smitten.  Costa Smeralda, founded 50 years ago by  Prince Karim Aga Khan himself, with an abundance of pristine sandy beaches, an aquamarine sea, the world class Pevero Golf Club host to the Italian Open and the quaint village of Porto Cervo is truly a worthy location of mention and destination.

Hublot red and white color theme is a highly popular  combination dating back to their early Big Bag Models
Hublot timekeepers is not stranger to this picturesque location, dotted around the Pevero, Hublot Clocks grace the walls tracking time for celebrities and honorees, one gloriously relaxed minute at a time.

Both watches sport Hublot red and white color theme which is a highly popular combination dating back to Hublot's early Big Bang Models.  The white straps,  warm red gold and red accentuation represent a perfect summer timepiece worn best on the deck of a yacht. 

The Big Bang Costa Smeralda is accentuated with a diamond covered grill inspired by Hublot's the polo-themed watch - the Chukker Bang. ("Chuka" refers to a single period play in polo). The grill prevents damage to the dial during play. (If you remember - Jaeger LeCoultre entire Reverso Collection was inspired by the game of polo).

The King Power Costa Smeralda is more macho in appearance with a black dial center and sub dials; however a lightness of appearance is notable in the white straps and outer dial.  A perfect blend of irresistible masculinity and charming elegance.

Both watches display the red signature mark of Porto Cervo Marina.

The watches were presented on the eve of July 16th at an exclusive event organized by the dala Di Volpe Starwood Hotel.  The guests were treated to a  performance by Elton John.

As a side note Corum also paid tribute to Porto Cervo Marina in 2007 in Limited Edition of 100 - “Admiral’s Cup, Porto Cervo Marina“

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cartier ID Two Concept Watch Extreme Innovation

You can look, but you can't have.  Cartier introduced this Concept watch as a sort of icon for innovation in watch making materials, high efficiency,  accuracy, longevity, precision and a 32 day power reserve rather than a product to purchase. The mechanical watch of the future.

This Concept Watch is a Treasure trove of innovative watch concepts which function together in optimal efficiency.

1. Watch Case Material: 

Ceramyst(TM) - i.e. monobloc transparent polycrystalline ceramic - requires exceptional scientific  knowledge to manipulate.  Due to the incredible difficulty of working with this type of ceramic, the Cartier ID Concept watch is the first watch to use this type of case.  The highly brilliant horological team at Cartier Fine Watchmaking created this case in two parts creating an air tight vacuum interior.  The case back  is actually vacuum sealed to the case front To   fused together with the aid of nanoparticles. Nano particles are used around the crown as well. The seamless fluidlike appearance of the case is enhanced by the absence of screws.

2. Vacuum Sealed Inner Chamber.

I asked a  research friend of mine who is familiar with mechanics and such  about the difficulties in sealing the intricate movement within a vacuum.  By the sudden intensity of look accompanied by amazed astonishment it was apparent he was contemplating a mighty complex scenario.  He muttered something about the exorbitant amount of pressure required and the delicacy of the movement and then I am afraid he lost me... I kept nodding in agreement hoping he would not question me as to what was said. I would hate to look ignorant in the face of such brilliance .. or it sounded pretty brilliant anyway.

What is the advantages of placing a movement in a vacuum with 99.5% removal of particles per centimeter? 
The movement especially the escapement is not subjected to friction and thus dramatically increases the energy efficiency of the movement eliminating the need for lubrication.

3. Innovative Movement Materials

Bridges - Titanium bridges treated with DLC - Diamond Like Coating reduces friction; enhances resistance to wear and  increases hardness.

Escapement - Cartier utilizes "Carbon crystal" which requires no adjustment once placed in the case.
Balance Wheel and other components - Carbon Crystal treated with diamond coating to reduce friction and increase durability. 

Mainspring barrel - Amorphous diamond coating further reducing friction between mainspring and barrel.

Mainspring - Fiberglass.  Fiberglass is high in energy conservation, An alloy mainspring will lose 20% of energy in a 24 hour period where as a fiberglass mainspring will lose a mere 1%.
The use of fiberglass improves torque resulting in superior relation between stress and modulus of elasticity.

4. 32 Day Power Reserve 

I have never come across a mechanical watch with a power reserve of more than one month, makes one respect fiber glass a whole lot more.

5. Improvement of Gear Train Efficiency 

 Gear Train enhancements result in an increase in the efficiency of power transferred from escapement to hands.

  I have been talking about the Cartier ID Two Concept Watch quite a bit now... and often the response is....
 "Cartier made this watch?"
This is due to the fact that most people view Cartier as an excellent quality watch brand, but no where near Haute Horology or Horlogical Mechanical Machines.  When one thinks of Cartier, one does not think of tourbillons,  perpetual calenders, minute repeaters, sonneries,  they think of exceptional quality precision timepieces crafted in gold or steel, blued hands, Roman Numerals and perhaps diamonds. They think of wedding or anniversary gifts - a display of love and time.  Although this wonderful perception of Cartier will remain, among high end watch aficionado the perception of Cartier is in the process of change.  A change into the realm of innovative precision timekeeping, cutting edge efficiency, groundbreaking mechanical horological technology and extreme complications.

Fallen in love with this watch? To bad you never going to get your hands on it, but now that Cartier has wet your appetite for its high end energy efficient horological masterpiece, they have unveiled the
Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Carbon Crystal watch, with some (not all) of the neat Cartier ID two Concepts like the cutting edge Diamaze coating. This beauty has a real neat tourbillon doubling as a seconds hand.  The name is kind of galactic like a planet orbiting the sun. (Astro meaning Star).  Although this watch is available, unlike the Cartier ID Concept, it is limited to 50 pieces.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Harry Winston Premier Feather Watch

Premier Feather Watch - Peacock Feathers

Harry Winston always delivers with a flourish.  With the Premier Feather Watch, unveiled at the opening of the Shanghai Pavilion boutique, Harry Winston preens perfection like an exotic male bird showing off its fine plumage to the ladies.   Working with feathers requires exceptional talent and the job goes too ... Nelly Saunier who is one of the few experts who still  practice this rare skill. With an expert touch she hand picked (not hand plucked) each feather spending
Silver pheasant feathers
 7 hours carefully and exquisitely creating the dial. In days gone by feathers were used to decorate refineries most notably the headdress of nobles and aristocrats.

Lady Amherst pheasant feathers
 The birds from whence the feathers came were carefully reared for this purpose, and only the very best of their feathers were chosen for the dials.  The feathers were cut and placed in the perfect position in order to make the best use of the feather's natural  nanostructructually organized tissue to interact with light and achieve an intriguing iridescence. Each dial is intrinsically unique and  framed by 66 brilliant cut diamonds which flow onto Harry Winston signature lugs.

The delicate dials are protected by scratch resistant Sapphire crystal.  The Premier Feather Watch is powered by a quartz movement and water resistant to 30m.
The timepiece is bound to the wrist by a satin strap and secured with an 18k white gold or rose gold buckle set with 29 brilliant cut diamonds. 
Only 8 pieces of these feathery watches will be produced making them much coveted collectors items especially by those who have an affinity to towards fowls.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Audemars Piguet Millenary Onyx Tourbillon Watch Review

Audemars Piguet Millenary Onyx Tourbillon is a delicate interplay of watchmaking mastery.  The skeletonization is worked into pitch black onyx creating a mysterious allure like a talisman in some forgotten land.  The Onyx main plate and diamond encrusted rose gold rings exquisitely secures the moving parts of the Calibre 2861 Onyx movement. A double row of diamonds set into the bezel  encircle a diamond encrusted inner , off center dial. 
The timepiece totals 423 brilliant cut diamonds weighing in at 4.11 carats.
Maintaining the Millenary signature design, the off center ring of the dial surrounds engraved Arabic numerals of unequal size.  Skeletonized white gold hands track hour and minutes.  At the 9 'o'clock, a tourbillion rotates beneath a bridge counteracting the effect gravity plays on the movement. (If indeed Abraham Louis Breguet 1795 invention designed for a pocket watch is effective in a wrist watch is highly debatable, but make no mistake a wristwatch bearing a tourbillon is a treat for all to see.)

184 parts make up the movement including a Breguet balance spring. Manual finishing ensures a result of pure splendor free from even the minutest of imperfections.The movement is completely visible via a glare proofed and scratch resistant sapphire crystal and case back.  Since the movement is hand wound, no rotor is found on the underside of the movement thereby maximizing visual of the movement. A 72 hour power reserve reduces the need to wind the watch everyday.  Winding is performed with the aid of an elegant crown set with a translucent cabochon sapphire. Take heed near water, as this watch is only water resistant to 20 meters.
Teh Audemars Piguet Millenary Onyx Tourbillon is presented on a hand stitched black crocodile band and is affixed to the wrist by a secure diamond studded 18K pink gold  AP folding clasp.

Like the iconic Royal Oak, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Millenary Collection is highly versatile in its ability to accommodate a wide range of movements and complications. This is a factor in Audemars Piguet success - providing its customers with the comfort of familiarity and the delight of versatility. This secures a brand to the past and paves the way to its future.

This List Price for this watch is $476,100.00.  Affordable for few, desired by many.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Romain Jerome Salutes Lady Liberty

Romain Jerome DNA collection is an intriguing assortment of history's footprints, the latest of which is a piece of Lady Liberty herself incorporated into its Liberty DNA timepieces.
Romain Jerome collaborated  with Liberty-Ellis Foundation and Gold Leaf Corporation who assisted Romain Jerome in the acquisition of tiny amounts of Lady Liberty herself.
This is the best  horological representation of the Statue of Liberty I have ever seen. The dial is Verdigris - the green pigment associated with the oxidized bronze green hue of Lady Liberty.  The weathered texture completes the look . Embedded in the dial are actual pieces from the Statue of Liberty.  A bronze guard attached to a bronze bezel hovers over the dial representing Lady Liberty's Crown. The 46mm wide case is crafted in bronze, which will patina in time due to the natural exposure to the elements and eventually resemble the Statue of Liberty.
  Within the case a RH001-A automatic movement capable of a 42 hour power reserve tracks hours and minutes. The Liberty Torch and Flame are emblazoned on the case back signifying the Universal Symbol of Freedom and Democracy - just in time for the fourth of July.  America's Independence day.

The Liberty DNA timepiece presented on a brown alligator strap  is limited to 125 pieces and retails for $14,900.00.

Happy July 4th!