Monday, December 15, 2014

SIHH 2015 Audemars Piguet Creates the Perfect Chime

Audemars Piguet is set to drown out the show with a new improved Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research Episode 1 Watch.  Aside for the lengthy scientific title, this watch promises a minute repeater louder and clearer than any other mechanical watch. Of course the title does imply quite a bit of actual scientific research  including some cognitive and neuropsychology dealing with human perceptions (yay my degrees in psychology did not go to waste)  that went into this timepiece.   This type of attentiveness to the scientific approach, as opposed to trial and error, is becoming quite the thing in watchmaking.  The first company that really applied this principle with a huge success is  Greubel Forsey, after which the awards kept piling on.  One just has to look at the most recent being the first middle east awards in Dubai, where Greubel Forsey won the Best Technical Innovation Watch. 
So with a concept in hand, Audemars Piguet's highly reputable Le Brassus  Renaud & Papi Audemars enlisted the help of young innovative minds at the  EPFL polytechnic school of Lausanne (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) to assist in creating the perfect chime as perceived by the mind.
Now one must remember to emit a loud chime, quite a few factors come into play.  The watch case must serve as an amplifier of sorts.  The striking hammer must  bare down on thegongs with as much force as possible.  To create a great amplification and a large force within the small confines of a watch case is quite a challenge.  So before one even begins, the octagon Royal Oak case shape, designed by Gerald Genta, has the spacial capability to accommodate a great many complications.  A couple years ago, I went to a fascinating Royal Oak Exhibition, at Antiquorium in NYC; the great number and variety of Royal Oak timepieces on display was quite astounding.  It is quite one thing surveying a collection here, a collection there; a model here, a model there, but to actually view decades of Royal Oak timepieces laying side by side, emphasizes the versatility of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. 

How does Audemars Piguet succeed in creating the Perfect Chime?

After no less than eight years of intense research and development, the prototype of the  Audemars Piguet's
Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research must be downright amazing.  Within the 44mm titanium case, an in-house tourbillon, visible at the 6 'o'clock position,  ensures gravity will not exert unnecessary force upon the movement and column wheel chronograph, aided by a 30 minute counter at the 3 'o'clock,  ensures additional timing complications.  But it is the loud chime which compels Audemars Piguet to announce:
“the first chiming watch so acoustically considered as to become a sound concept in its own right.”
For this chime, Audemars applies a stringed instrument concept, which creates a loud and clear chime. Since January 19th, 2015 is still over a month away, Audemars Piguet is still mum about the actual nitty gritty of the mechanics.  So instead of boring you all with suppositions of the watch's acoustic mechanics, I will hold my ramblings at bay and wait until Audemars Piguet is ready to release more details. 

As a conclusion, I find this concept watch fitting into a unique niche portraying a sporty and resilient minute repeater as opposed to the more dressy timepieces in which this particular complications is most often found.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jaeger-LeCoultre to Hit SIHH 2015 with A Meteorite Dial

 Jaeger-LeCoultre is stepping outside the boundaries of traditional watch making material and bringing forth an ancient material - a dial comprised of a rare meteorite. Besides for the unworldly dial material, the actual concept of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar timepiece was introduced back in 2011. The perfect 39mm round face, sleek bold 18k gold or stainless steel, bezel, lugs and case, as well as the clear day/night indicator and  two date apertures ,not to mention the highly competent automatic Caliber 866,  all spell classic efficient elegance, yet the dial captured within the confines of classic convention is as mysterious as time itself. 
Companies that one expects to utilize this type of material is Romain Jerome, Artya and maybe even Omega - not so much Jaeger-LeCoultre.  Don't get me wrong, Jaeger LeCoultre has an intense fascination with the skies above, I mean their Rendez-Vous Celestial watches depict constellations , zodiacs and whimsical shooting stars, but actually utilizing a material that plummeted from a place far beyond our own to a place upon our wrist is highly intriguing. 

Scientist can determine the origin of the meteorite by examining the specific crystalline structure as well as the meteorite patterns.  The geometric pattern on the dial is known as a Widmanstätten pattern, which is a geometric pattern resulting from the formation of long nickel-iron crystals in octahedrite  iron meteorites. The pattern is recognizable by the octehedra, which in layman's terms is solid in three dimensions with eight faces. This particular meteorite found on the face of Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calender is from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which fell onto Swedish soil.  To work with any material with complex crystalline structures requires exceptional know how.     First the hard, fragile material must be thinly cut after which it is polished to expose the geometric patterns. Since each dial is fashioned from a different portion of the meteorite, the resulting pattern is unique to every timepiece.  

The meteorite dial serves as a compelling backdrop to the dial design.  Just beyond the bezel, the days of the month are clearly indicated by straight hand capped by blue or red arc. At the 6 'o'clock position, a  clear day night indicator doubles as a small seconds sub dial.  Below the 12 'o'clock position, a clear day aperture is located next to a matching month aperture.  Both the dial and case back is protected by a scratch resistant sapphire crystal. The transparent sapphire crystal on the case back allows one view of the Jaeger-LeCoultre in-house Calibre 866, blued screws, beveled angles, Geneva striping and the gold rotor inserts. 

The timepiece equipped with a 43 hour power reserve will be priced around the 10,000 Euro mark in stainless steel and 20,000 Euro mark in 18k gold.  Keep in mind this is not a perpetual calender , which accounts for differing lengths of months and leap years, but rather an ordinary calender, which must be adjusted every two months. In this regard the timepiece is still in the realms of relative affordability. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ka La Ladies Watch Kickstarter Campaign

Ka La Men's Watches have quite a unique display based on the ancient sun dial. Now the Hawaiian based designer  ,Mark Carson, has the gears in motion to run a Ladies Ka La line. 

All is explained in his Kickstarter Campaign!