Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cecil Purnell and A Lucky Lady

She who owns a  high end joullarie timepiece is one lucky lucky lady.  To own a high end joullarie timpiece crafted by Cecil Purnell is one very very lucky lady thus it comes as no surprise that Cecil Purnell's highly exclusive and limited ladies collection is coined "Lucky Lady".

Glancing at the Lucky Lady Timepiece Collection fuels a passion which forms an immediate attraction to the watch. Actually not one watches, but all the watches in the collection, each as intriguing and exquisite as the next. The watches are rich in color, arresting blue, emerald green and fiery red. The red in particular strikes my fancy.  It is this color that caught my eye in the Hall of Gems at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. A red emerald cut diamond glowing as if a fire burns within. The watch is a piece of delicacy meant to be savored at every moment in time.

The Lucky Lady, unveiled in December 2012,  bares the signature La Croix case shape. As the name suggests, the dial is fashioned in the shape of a cross. An intriguing array of diamond paving, unique to each watch is set into  the bezel , lugs and crown.  The skeletonized dial is crafted in the shape of a rose in full bloom.  The dial is further accentuated by the warm hue of 5N18 rose gold. 5N18 is "red gold" as opposed to 4N18, which is a lighter pink gold or 3N18, which is a lightish pinkish yellow. 2N18 is yellow gold as in the 18k standard yellow gold one and 1N14 is a lighter yellow still as in the standard yellow for 14k gold.  The rich red of the gold surrounding and suspended above a translucent dial  ,which is colored by a highly complex plique-à-jour or "letting in daylight" enameling, reveals an in-house Cecil Purnell CP-V11 tourbillon caliber.

Names of movements  baring prefixes of the companies initials leads to supposition that the movement is in fact "in-house".  In-house means the moment was designed and manufactured by the company and not bought as an ebauche from a outside or unaffiliated company.  Some companies refer to a movement as 'in-house" even if the company bought an ebauche and modified it slightly. Cecil Purnell pretty much manufactures its movement from scratch and has gained quite a reputation for its tourbillon movements. It has gained the reputation as a micro-manufacturer crafting hundreds of intricate movement components.

  To craft a tourbillon, a watchmaker must be highly experienced in his craft.  A Tourbillon consists of a cage ,which turns at one complete revolution per minute , in which the balance wheel and escapement is placed. This rotation reduces the variation of effects gravity plays on the movement of a watch and increases a watch's precision.   Although this idea was quite receptive in 1795,  the tourbillon nowadays is more of a testament to competent watch making abilities.  I wouldn't quite say that a tourbillon is a complication, as it does not perform an extra function other than being aesthetically pleasing and arguably dispelling gravity
 The tourbillon movement powering the Lucky Lady is the highly efficient CP-V11.  Its rotating cage is placed between two bridges   

The Lucky Lady Timepiece is also available in emerald green and a dreamy blue.The red and blue models are produced each as a unique piece.  The green model is limited to just 10.  The idea of producing so few models is part of the vision of Cecil Purnell. Cecil Purnell scrutinizes every phase of watch construction from formulating the original idea to design and planning, from individual component construction to assembly and calibration.  Since Cecil Purnell is completely independent, the company has freedom of artistic expression.  The best watch making materials are used.  No corners are cut for cost savings techniques,  No big wig corporations frown on pricey expenditures.  If the watchmaker needs to spend an exorbitant amount of time crafting a component or beveling to perfection Yes the watches are quite pricey, but then again they are not meant for everyone (me included, in case you thought I was beginning to sound a tad too haughty)

Company History of  Cecil Purnell
Tourbillon Mirage
In 1918, the companies namesake, Cecil Purnell, became fascinated with Abraham Louis Bruguet's 1795 invention - the tourbillon.  His grandson, Jonathen Purnell caught his passion and began a company based on the quest of his grandfather. In 2006,   Jonathen Purnell partnered with watch industry expert Stéphane Valsamides and founded Cecil Purnell in the Alle (Jura) region of Switzeland.  The company only  manufactures tourbillon based movements and limits production to 50 watches a year. All CP watches are over 150,000 CHF.  Some by a little; some by a lot.

I must say the beginnings  were a bit iffy, with the a major bump prior to 2010 when the brand's credibility was at stake for using Chinese ebauche movements from the Liaoning Watch Factory. The way this story broke was quite interesting in itself, the Liaoning Watch Factory obviously proud they manufacture watch components to an exclusive Swiss company, posted a picture of  a Cecil Purnell branded balance assembly in their product listings. Of course the image was removed, but not before a whole lot of people got wind of it.  However, since 2010, with the introduction of its iconic in-house movement, the CP3000, Cecil Purnell has used wholly  in-house tourbillon movements for all its models - designed and manufactured in Switzeland. After this Saga ( which was not the watch industry's  first or I daresay the last  - remember last year's fiasco featuring Bremont's first "in-house" movement), Cecil Purnell is entirely transparent about the origins of their
movements and in a remarkably short  time has bounced back to quite an esteemed place in the horological hierarchy of haute horology.    I am sure Cecil Purnell would like to forget the pre-2010 days and only concentrate on its more recent milestones.

Cecil Purnel highly exclusive collections include:

Tourbillon Collection encompassing the Mirage Bold model  featuring a CP-V13 movement encased entirely in Sapphire Crystal.

Lacroix Collection featuring the signature case shape and either the CP-V11 or CP -V12 in-house movement. (CP-V12 is equipped with a big-date on dial side).

World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon
Pit-Lane Collection featuring a round Sapphire transparent dial and CP-V12 movement.

Complication Collection featuring highly complex movements framed within a classic round dial.
Movements in this collection include the:
Classique CP-V13 featuring a striking hour; CP-V14 equipped with a regulator and featuring a striking hour.  The prominent aspect to this fine watch is a Blue (adonized titanium) movement face.  Other pieces  in this collection include models sporting a CP-V15 movement  featuring a twin tourbillon; CP-V16 with a twin tourbillon GMT and big date; CP-V17 with a Bi-Axial Tourbillon and World Time with Horizon Indicator (unveiled at Baselworld 2015). 

And of course the exquisite Lucky Lady Collection. The Collection that has captivated my attention.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More Fur for Fendi My Way Collection

If you have a fur fascination, Fendi finds your way.  The Fendi My Way Collection ,unveiled in September of last year,will fill your fur fetish. Each diamond studded watch is accompanied by a removable soft fox fur plume, which slides over the strap surrounding the bezel. The fox fur plume is available in many colors and arrangements. At first I thought the idea of placing a wreath of fur around a perfectly good diamond encrusted watch was quite ridiculous, but then the idea grew on me.  I suppose that's the crux of fashion, to reveal a startling new way of donning attire or accessories and then letting the wave of appreciation, delight and salivation slowly rise and rise.  I have always been a great fan of Fendi designer,  Karl Lagerfeld, and I have been quoting him for years and years - actually every since I wrote a blog about him back in 2009 -
Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfield, and his view on luxury in tough times.

The Fendi May Way Collection timepiece ,without the trappings of fur, is quite nice in itself, but its is the fur that adds a wonderful dash of color and fun.  My favorite is the red timepiece.  The watch is rather plain baring a round yellow gold bezel; curved case inspired by an arena; matching yellow gold indices and hands above a sleek black dial. Fendi's signature marks the 12 'o'clock position in true Fendi flare.  The watch is strapped to the wrist via a Fendi Elite red textured calf skin strap.  The same leather used to fashion the Fendi 2Jours bag.  The strap is secured to the wrist with a yellow gold colored pin buckle baring the Fendi Logo.  The watch precisely tracks the time thanks to the highly competent yet unremarkable Swiss quartz movement.

All in all this fashion watch is quite respectable exuding a sense of fashion and good taste. Personally I don't really love it.

Slide the plume on, which Fendi refers to as the "Glamy", and the watch is suddenly transformed into something exotic  and daring.  The curve of the watch case is all at once accentuated  as it  cradles in a luscious bed of red fox fur. Suddenly I love it!  Frankly I think the fox fur plume is quite a brilliant idea and until Fendi unveiled the My Way Collection, I had never really seen anything quite like it.  Of course, there are the watches which have interchangeable watch and bezel straps, but nothing like a watch nestled in a fox fur plume.  The watch ,if you want, is also available in stainless steel, two tone and rose gold.  Water resistant to 50 meters without the plume of course.
Price: $850.00

In March 2015, the Fendi My Way Collection unveiled quite a few diamond studded versions: 4 new models in limited editions of 50 pieces each. These watches are accompanied by a luscious Arctic Fox Fur Glamy available in silvery blue, kiwi green and bright orange. ( image at the top of the post) The straps themselves have quite a bit more pizazz crafted from Elaphe snakeskin strap. The strap color matches the color of the Glamy.  The watch is available in a small which is paved in 421 diamonds or larger sporting 667 diamonds.  Again this version is quipped with a quartz movement.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Eterna Unveils the Grace Open Art Collection

Eterna Grace Open Art Collection

Eterna is creeping into a higher range of watches partly due to the fact that it has turned from a mere brand to a watch manufacturer.  By revealing a new mechanical ladies collection, Eterna is leveling out the playing field between man and ladies watches especially when it comes to mechanical movements.  Since the recovery of the quartz crisis and the Swiss watch industry in general, companies figured mechanical watches were too complicated for a women.  Quartz was just fine and much appreciated.  Within the past 10 years - and  I have to give a nod to Girard-Perregaux's Cat's Eye movement created in 2004 - women's mechanical watches have been increasing in number as well as complexity. Currently Jeager-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Collection are at the pinnacle of women's complex watches and  are paving the way for other brands to follow suit.
Frederique Constant Double Heart Beat Collection
Eterna's Grace Open Art Collection is very similar to
Frederique Constant  Double Heart Beat Collection  unveiled in 1994. Its aperture is shaped by a double heart through which the heart of the watch -  the balance wheel - is visible. 

Not only is Eterna creating a new mechanical watch collection for woman, but is emphasizing the fact by exposing the oscillations of the balance via a dramatic aperture at the 12 'o'clock position.  A gold crescent  paved with diamonds seems to capture the heart of the movement in secure embrace.  Surrounded by a bezel set with 57 Top Wesselton diamonds, the white mother of pearl dial plays with the light as it serves as a shimmering backdrop to the display of time. A yellow gold case protects an ETA calibre 2824-2 Open Art movement.  
ETA is mostly used by Swatch Group owned companies.  Eterna is not owned by Swatch Group-  so how is it that a new watch collection utilizes an ETA movement.  Well it may have to do with the fact that Eterna has quite a history with ETA movement; after all it was Eterna who founded ETA back in 1856 to make movements for itself and other Swiss companies.  So there you have it. 

The movement chosen to be honored by the Grace Open Art Collection is the most dependable movement out there.  The automatic 25 jewel movement is known as the workhorse of the ETA mechanical line.  Its precision has been tested over and over again in countless timepieces over many years. Eterna cannot go wrong with this movement and one cannot go wrong in purchasing a timepiece with precision performance. 

The case is secured on the wrist by a satin wristband.   This watch is also available in black mother of pearl.

12 Extraordinary Watches for Bird Lovers

e listed 10 of the most incredible timepieces depicting birds. I chose one brand for each bird; although, I could have written the blog entirely on Jaquet Droz minute or Bird repeaters. Perhaps for some other time.

Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater circa 2015 Cost $520,000

  The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater has to be one of the most publicized watches unveiled at Baselworld 2015 and for $520,000 this watch is designed particularly for the avid bird fan. Who else would spend a bundle to watch a mechanical mother bird feed here chick, another stretch its wings and another hatch from an egg. To fully appreciate this watch one must view the watch in action.

Van Cleef Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Nuit Oiseaux de Paradis SIHH 2015

The 2015 edition to  Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complication flock is this wonderful depiction of a Bird of Paradise.  The champlevé and cloisonné enamel creates a dial brilliant in color and form .  Blue hues, fiery oranges and  deep purple depict the vividness of an untainted forests where Birds of paradise alight among towering trees. The Bird of Paradise upon the dial displays shimmering tail feathers set with three round diamonds.  The movement powering this latest 38mm edition to Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complication collection, is a 24 hour movement which changes the scene from flower by day to a diamond moon at night.  This timepiece is limited to 22 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art L’éloge de la nature collection - Watches & Wonders 2014

Two cranes engraved upon a pink gold plate  fly over a choppy sea of guilloché ripples and translucent Grand Feu enamel. Two provide the wearer or watcher with the full effect of birds in flight, Vacheron Constantin utilized a automatic in-house 237 piece Calibre 2460 G4 movement, which displays the trailing hours and minutes as well as a jumping day and date via four apertures. The case is fashioned from 18k 5N pink gold and affixes to the wrist via an alligator leather strap.  The case back is fashioned from sapphire crystal where one may view the Hallmark of Geneva.

Angular Momentum - Flying  Bird circa 2009

 Now this watch is kind of creepy, reminds me of the last creature to escape from hellish destruction.The creature in fact is a sparrow which ,together with its foreboding backdrop, has been crafted with a Japanese Lacquering method known as Urushi. Urushi lacquer comes from the sap of a Urushi tree, which creates a natural plastic like substance. It is the Urushi Lacquer that creates the intense blackness covering the dial. 

Boucheron Hiniscus Tourbillon circa 2012

 Boucheron mechanical hand wound Hibiscus Tourbillon is  a delicate representation of a hummingbird in mid-flap alighting upon a diamond encrusted bezel attracted by a bright pink hibiscus.  Between bird and flower, a flying tourbillon incorporating a Swiss escapement lever rotates beneath fallen leaves. A flying tourbillon is only supported on one side creating the illusion that it rotating whilst suspended in mid air -  unsupported by any means. A white - almost hazy mother-of-pearl dial -like a sky masked with high cirrus clouds, sets a gentle backdrop for a scene  created from white gold, blue and pink sapphires and diamonds. A dial framed by delicate plant like swirls is placed at the 1 'o'clock position.  A gentle reminder of  Boucheron's flagship boutique at number 26  place Vendôme.

Cartier Ballon Bleu Floral Marquetry Parrot Watch - SIHH 2014

"Polly wants a cracker?" The parrot fluffing its feathers atop a signature Cartier Ballon Bleu dial is so realistic one expects it to emit a shrill squawk and pluck the cracker right out the hands of the giver. Amazingly the soft visage of feathers are crafted from real flower petals. From its face of feathers, a single emerald gleams at its eye against a shimmering backdrop of diamond paving.  Limited to 20 pieces.

MB&F / Boucheron HM3 JwlryMachineWatch - circa 2010

Without the additional owlish getup,  MB & F's HM3 closely resembles an owl or a frog. However, beneath the bejeweled clothes of Boucheron, the mechanical mastery turns into a spectacular spectacle of owlish delight.Clear sapphire crystal enable the clear display of hour and minute upon the cylinders of each eye. The eyes themselves are top with a purple cabochon and surrounded by a ring of diamonds. The owls claws and feather toughs are crafted from 18k white gold. Price $215,000
Chopard Emerald & Diamond Owl Watch- Currently Available

The eyes of an owl truly lend themselves to the face of a watch, especially when a dual timezone is on display.  Chopard ,with its love for the animal kingdom, chose to represent the great horned owl on a silver leather strap around the wrist. Graduated calibré-cut emerald surround two grey guilloché watch dial eyes within a diamond set owl face. Available at Chopard, this limited edition Owl Watch  will make your friends hoot with delight.

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Grand Tourbillon Crane Enamel Watch - circa 2013
Although many watch companies have taken pride in applying miniature enamel paintings to the dial, this timepiece is Jaeger-Lecoultre's first attempt at the enamel art.  The result ,of course, is exceptional. Cranes, a symbol of longevity, nestle amongst bamboos beneath a silver foil moon and white gold  guilloché decorated dial.  A bunch of bamboo stalks are meticulously painted on the sapphire crystal creating a unique depth to the dial. An almost weightless light weight titanium alloy tourbillon cage turning at one revolution per minute. The enamel artistry is framed by a bejeweled bezel and sweeping lugs of 94 baguette cut diamonds weighing in at 8 carats.   The power house of the watch  is the iconic Calibre 978 visible via a sapphire crystal case back.  Limited edition of 8 pieces.

Christian Audigier's Graceful Bird Watch- Currently Available
Since most these watches can run you in the thousands from some of the most prestigious watch brands, I like to post a more affordable bird watch to sway the chances of getting the title of a watch snob - Gasp! Anyway back to business.  I have been monitoring Christian Audigier's watch designs for some time.  The watches and movements are ok.  Nothing to cry home about or set up news crawlers atop Times Square, but they definitely fill a nice affordable watch niche.  The watches exude a youthful energy and pizzazz. The Graceful Bird Watch dial boasts tattoo flash inspired artwork and surrounded by Swarovski Crystal. In addition, Swarovski crystal graces each hour indice. The watch is presented on a gray rubber band featuring Christian Audiger's signature trademark.    Christian Audigier  is a high profile and very prolific French fashion designer residing in the US. Price $225.00

Piaget Limelight Garden Party Watch - SIHH 2011 (Ref. G0A36169)
Piaget's Limelight Garden Party Collection is a whimsical representation of a summer eve surrounded by the chatter of friends, the clink of glasses, the gentle chatter of garden birds and a gentle breeze ruffling leaves.  The diamond encrusted birds, diamond encrusted leaves and berries the birds eat, revolve around the dial in effortless motion. The birds an their habitat are a meticulous composition of 99 brilliant cut diamonds set upon an 18 carat white gold case baring 52 brilliant cut diamonds. The entire scene sparkles against a backdrop of pure Piaget black. The watch is powered by a Piaget 56P quartz movement and secured to the wrist by a black satin strap and secured by a diamond encrusted 18 carat white gold ardillon buckle.If one has a great infinity for birds, take note, this watch is part of a large garden party motif collection of brooches necklaces and earrings.

Harry Winston Premier Feather Watch - Circa 2012
"Birds of a feather flock together"  and Harry Winston has taken this proverb to an entirely new level by perfectly placing feathers upon a dial to create a kaledescope of design and color. 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  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. 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. he 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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jeanrichard Terrascope in Deepsea Blue

I have a weakness for blue dials.  Think Piaget Emperador, Ulysses Nardin, Blancpain and Jaeger LeCoultre Rendez-vouz blue. Now I have another stunning blue to add to the list - The Jeanrichard Terrascope timepiece.  The dial of the Terrascope is an intriguing blend of  blue hues accentuated by a textured look providing the illusion that one is looking upon the swirling seas of mother earth from a distant planet. Of course I have not come by this notion as a result of my overactive imagination (of which I am not denying), but rather by the name of the collection itself.
Terrascope in its literal sense means "Terra" - as in earth and "Scope" as in viewing instrument like microscope or telescope. It seems, again in its literal sense,  an instrument such as a terrescope would be of no use to us earthly folk, because as the name suggests ,and it being the antithesis of a telescope , the terrascope would be much more useful to inquisitive aliens. Jeanrichard other collections include the Aquascope and Aeroscope.  Jeanrichard refers to the Terrascope collection as "The accomplice of the explorers of the planet."

So how does the new blue  Jeanrichard Terrascope 39mm fare as an explorer's accomplice?  As far as blending in with an explorers get-up, the Terrascope signature structure sporting a round bezel and dial superimposed over a cushion shaped watch case exudes a look of rugged competence. This type of construction enables a unique modular case design. The advantage of the modular case - its exploded version depicted to the left - is its ability to integrate different materials and design elements into the timepiece without having to perform a complete overall.  In addition, since the watch is a partner in earths exploration, different explorers require different watch options, of which JeanRichard provides many.
Of course when one is exploring the earth, one is bound to happen upon a large body of water where getting quite wet is the only option of passage.   Thus the Terrascope is water resistant to 100 meters successfully implemented without a screw down crown.  Of course this is due to clever and optimal construction culminating from years of watchmaking experience.  JeanRichard is a sister company to Girard Perregaux, both now under the Kering Group,  and named after the great watchmaker Daniel JeanRichard - read his incredible story here.
The 39mm Terrascope sporting new subtle alteration of proportions adds underlying classic formality to a sporty watch.  Beneath the azure blue dial, rhodium coated hands and suspended indices, a self-winding JR60 movement beats at 28,800 vph visible via a sapphire crystal case-back.  The sapphire crystal case back is a new feature in this collection enabling the wearer to view the watch movement in action beneath the to and fro movement of the black oscillating weight.

The purpose of the oscillating weight or rotor in any watch enables automatic winding without winding at the crown. The rotor is designed to move back and forth during the swinging motion of ones arms while walking.  The movement of the rotor or oscillating weight winds the mainspring.  The mainspring stores the energy which is released at a constant rate - thanks to the  efficient mechanics of the balance spring and escapement.

The dial of the JeanRichard Terrsacope is actually a two part construction with a raised outer ring baring the minute track. The hands and hour markers are situated on the actual dial plate. The chiseled baton hour markers are tipped by Superluminova allowing for easy readout in the dark. Superluminova also coats the  JeanRichard Terrascope signature arrow hour hand and losangé minute hands.  Other dial functions include a  red tipped arrow seconds hand as well as a date aperture located at the 3 'o' clock position. 

 Quite a few striking female models have also been released with these new redesigned dimensions. Dusty Rose hues and shimmering diamond bezels to name but a few.

With its remarkable versatility;  dependable craftsmanship; astonishing range of color, gem and material combinations and affordable pricing ($2000-$5000 range - depending on materials and gems) and now more models sized at 39mm,  the JeanRichard Terrascope collection should be well taken in consideration when out to purchase a watch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Countdown to Baselworld 2015

Jeanrichard Terrascope Blue
Baselworld, the worlds largest watch and jewelry show, is set to begin March 19th, 2015 and run through March 26th, 2015. 1,500 brands from 40 countries converge on 463,000 sqft multi floor pavilions.

  Entering the vast show halls may cause an overwhelming feeling of information overload.  To go to the show without a plan may cause one to fixate on one item or another and forgot completely what one came for.  Of course there always is the lovely element of surprise which can cause an unexpected and unpredictable turn of life changing events for a small vendor, a large buyer or a curious guest.

Thanks to modern technology, one has all the tools to come well prepared.  Baselworld provides a handy app which allows for optimal time efficiency - quite fitting for a show demonstrating the display of time. The app provides the hall and booth in which a particular brand is located; individual events and media info.  The app also provides daily news through out the show and any new Press Releases that become available. If one realizes time has been so well spent and have some hours to spare, the app provides Basel tourism and  transportation info. 

In addition, the Baselworld website  provides detailed floor plans displaying which brands are where.

Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Watch - Baselworld 2015

As is customary Hall 1.0  showcases the world's most popular global brands such as Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Patek Phillipe, Tissot, Hublot, Tag Heuer, Chopard, Longines, Rado Girard Perregauze, Corum e.t.c.  This hall provides a nice mix of really high end brands like Patek Phillipe and Girard Perregaux, mid range brands such as Omega, Breitling and Tag Heuer; popular fashion brands such as Chanel, Gucci and Calvin Klein and brands with captivating complications such as Jaquet Droz and Harry Winston.
Graff Butterfly Watch

Hall 1.1 holds captive the watch and jewelry enthusiasts, buyers, boutique owners, journalists and seekers with a admirable range of watch wares.  Bejeweled brands such as Graff, Jacob & Co. and Boucheron, Professional sporty brands such as Clerc, Edox and U-boat, brands which hold their own such as Vulcain and Romaine Jerome, and iconic Japanese brands, Citizen and Seiko. In addition, numerous jewelry  brands dot Hall 1.1 like Mikimoto - prolific with pearls - and Faberge - its fame hatched from iconic eggs.

Moving on to Hall 1.2, one is greeted with a host of brands displaying fun fashion wear like Follie Follie, Toy Watch, Kappa, Anne Klein and  Go Girls Only.  In Hall 1.2,  Invicta - no introduction needed- displays its massive macho dials.  This hall has quite a sporty presence with professional diving watches by DOXA.    Casio sporting its latest G-Shock ,no doubt, unveiling another cool feature like last years GPW1000  GPS and atomic radio time syncing.

An entirely new watch company: DOGFIGHT makes its debut in Hall 1.2 unveiling pilot watches in tribute to Ace fighter pilots.  Ace fighter pilots are those who have five or more victories against enemy pilots in aerial combat. The term became popular in World War I. A DOGFIGHT in military terms  is an aerial conflict where two or more fighter pilots engage in aerial conflict with the enemy - the first DOGFIGHTS occurred in World War I.  The chronograph watches are the product of WIN, Inc, based in the Republic of Korea.

International Brands

HYT H3 Watch

Hall 2.0; 2.1; 2.2 holds a vast amount of jewelry companies each booth divided by expertise and individuality.  Ball Watches and Eterna holds great representation in Hall 5.0 alongside luxury Italian jewelry corporation  - Damiani group. Personally, I think, aside for Hall 1.0; 1.1 and a quick gallop through 1.2, the Palace is the next step for a watch fanatic like me.  Here HYT proves that liquid can be held within the confines of a watch case - much to my original skepticism back in 2012.  HYT unveils the HYT H3 watch featuring a linear liquid indicator. The watch looks highly complex and a closer hands-on look will only increase ones horological amazement.  a timepiece displays its Skull Watch where one can look eye to skeletal eye orb in devilish red or true traditional HYT green. Set quite some time to celebrate with HYSEK,  the 10th anniversary of  ABYSS - its 44 mm flagship series Chronograph.

 MB & F unveils its HM3 finale - The MB&F HM3 MegaWind Final Edition Watch featuring its two signature glass domes of hours and minutes, an impressive luminescence as well as the dial side rotor.    The rugged construction of the final model looks every bit "Holorgical Machine" from the black PVD treated 18k gold to the blackened 22k gold and titanium rotor.  Only 25 pieces will be produced and thus the opportunity to see the final HM3 "Light in Darkness" must not be missed.

Hall 3.0 and 3.1 hold an expansive assortment of diamonds and jewels and Hall 4U displays the most cutting edge tools of the trade. Hall 4.0 and 4.1 are the National Pavilions.

Baselword is not only about the halls and the treasures within its walls, but its a social event where common and uncommon minds meet and mingle.  Basel Village is a little village within the city of Baselworld where fine dining and excellent ambiance create a magical atmosphere after the intense show days. 

 Baselworld 2015 is not to be missed.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Platinum Cartier Crash Squellete

Cartier is ramping up its watch play by utilizing all its wonderful resources to crush competition and focus as much horological attention on a new Heritage Series featuring Cartier's Crash Collection as part of Cartier's Fine Watchmaking Series. In recognition of a great collection, Cartier utilizes platinum as a watchmaking material, which is often the case when paying exclusive tribute to an iconic design. In skeletonizing the design, Cartier adds a unique twist to the timepieces ensemble.
I remember the moment I first laid eyes on an image of a Cartier Crash watch with its indented side and what the dial shape can only be likened to a slightly twisted version of  Edvard Munch's "The Scream". For a fleeting instant, I thought the watch must be a person's play at photoshop until I did a bit more research and came up with some fascinating details.

Cartier describes the Crash Collection as "Created in 1967 in the heart of Swinging London, the Crash watch captures the incredible energy of the city at that time. With its asymmetrical dial, it revolutionized the esthetic codes of watchmaking history. Consistently released in a very limited series, this legendary piece carries the prestige of its rare nature." - Source Cartier Website 

 The inspiration for this watch, though,  is a bit mysterious.  It has been blogged and reblogged by all the big watch blogs, that this watch was inspired by the tragic 1967 accident of the Vice President of Cartier London and that as his car was engulfed in flames, his Baignoire Allongée melted upon his arm as he died. It does seem quite a dramatic story; however, I cannot  verify these facts.

Although the above-depiction does look quite convincing, I still cannot find any proper source of the fiery car crash theory. Of course there is the view that this design was inspired by Salvador Dali's Soft Watch in particular his "Persistance of Memory , which also seems to have no grounds.  In any event Salvador Dali's depiction is that of Surrealism where as the Cartier Crash and what it implies is the epitome of Realism especially if the "Car Crash Theory" is true. My humble opinion anyway.

Of course if the dial shape is so twisted, the movement beneath must follow the same twisted form - and this is where my utmost admiration for Cartier's creativity come into play. With a purposeful lack of symmetry, Cartier has created a beautiful sculpture opposing the laws of nature where symmetry is coveted over lack thereof. The manual wound Caliber 9618 MC beating at 28,800 vph is equipped with a 3 day power reserve,  Just looking at the movement one can deduce that this is not a reworked movement.  This movement was constructed specifically for the Cartier Crash from jump street. The main plate and bridges take on a fascinating form with truly unusual arcs and carves accentuating the perfection and symmetry of the gear train and gear teeth. 

The high sheen of the platinum bezel does well to compliment the matt look of the skeletonized dial. The case size is roughly 28mm x 45mm depending, of course where one decides to take the measurements.

Cartier's signature blue sword-shape hands portray a heightened sense of balance within the bent dial form.  Roman Numerals are forged from the movement plate punctuated by 21 jewels.  Jewels are an essential addition to a watch movement utilized to reduce friction and increase the longevity of the bearings.  Another jewel - a blue cabochon - adds another traditional Cartier touch to the timepiece.

Now as the name Cartier Crash Skeleton does suggest a lack of control beyond the ability of a person,its careful component arrangement; the impeccable satin finishing; the chamfered and polished flanks of the Roman Numerals and the high sheen of the platinum suggests a control of impeccable performance achieved  by Fine Watchmaking at Cartier.  The retail price for this bent beauty is no less than 50,000 euros and a tad more for the editions exhibiting a diamond set-bezel.  Only 67 models of each edition will be produced - in recognition of the year the Cartier Crash came.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Luxury Watches That Actually Exist

by Cassandra Stevens

Watches are the quintessential piece of jewelry for men. Whether it’s a $10 Wal-Mart watch or a Rolex, a watch shows that a man values his and other people’s time. Time rules over all our earthly doings. Our work, play time, sleep, and so on is all scheduled to be at certain times of the day which makes us look at the time constantly. Why not give yourself something nice to look at on a daily basis? Something you would be proud to wear, something that’s unique. Not all of us can afford to buy an expensive time piece but we can dream, here are 5 watches to get your thoughts moving. Note: Many of these watches are extremely valuable and expensive. While not wearing them, I would recommend protecting them by storage in a luxury jewelry safe, which you can learn more about here.

Breitling Cockpit B50 Watch – $6,600+
Being a fighter pilot is already ridiculous enough, which would mean most pilots would need a ridiculous watch. This watch has both an analog and digital display. Its inner workings where developed specifically for the aviator, featuring a tachometer, a bidirectional compass scale bezel, a rechargeable battery, and a “chrono flight” mode that records flight times and memorizes  the time that you depart and arrive along with the date when these moments take place.

Rado Hyperchrome Touch Dual Timer Watch – $3,000+
This watch took something that the “smart watch” movement did and made it for the businessman. Every function of this watch is manipulated by touch. You can set the time for two different time zones just by touching the face and swap in between the two by using multiple fingers at the same time. Not only that, it’s gorgeous. The watches case is a grey high tech ceramic that’s tough to reproduce consistently.

MB &F  HM6 Space Pirate Watch - $230,000
This time piece makes you wish you were a space pirate. Its odd design is inspired by Japanese sci-fi cartoons from the 70’s and features a biomorphic design. Its titanium case houses 475 different components, 68 jewels and a complex network of gears, turbines, and rotors that keep the Hour and minute spheres moving underneath four of the watches 10 domes sapphire crystals. The strap itself seems basic but is actually made of premier calfskin. Most people will be too pre-occupied to notice it though because they will be staring at the spherical abomination on top your wrist.

Patek Philippe World Time Moon Watch - $48,000
Have you ever wondered what phase the moon is currently in? This watch will tell you. It features a moon phase display made of two thin glass disks, which combine to show a large image of the moon in its current phase. It also blends old and new by using the company’s world time mechanism that made its debut in the 1930’s. It also comes with a hand stitched alligator strap.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Goldfinger Watch - $115,000
Ever wanted to be more like James Bond? Then this watch is for you. This luxurious time piece was created to celebrate the films 50’s anniversary and features a Co-Axial calibre 8501 movement. It’s covered in 18k gold. From the bracelet, to the dial and hands themselves.   There’s also a 007 counter weight that perfectly honors the iconic film.

Cassandra Stevens writes for Casoro Custom Safes, she enjoys vintage jewelry and riding horses in her spare time.

Monday, January 19, 2015

SIHH 2015 Begins today and Marks its 25th year!

SIHH is off to a flying start, where 16 exhibiting maisons are showcasing new models for 2015. Unlike Baselworld, this convention is all about watches. Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie Geneve is run by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie established in Geneva as a result of a rapid increase in watch making brands and resulting products.   Countless brands are releasing fine watch creations and thus FHH has taken on the role of providing information and guidance to the public from watch making specialists.  The FHH is a modern Foundation which for the most part utilizes the Internet for the release of information.
In addition the FHH recognizes that Luxury Watches has evolved from a "social aspiration" into a "cultural aspiration"  The FHH focuses its primary attention on information and training in Horology.
Even after 25 years, there still is a remarkably few exhibitors.  These exhibitors, however, have quite the advantage in being part of an exhibition held so close to the beginning of the year.  Since the holiday season, and now for a couple more weeks, blog sites, and other social networking arenas are flooded with the information about new watches and novelties  unveiled at SIHH.  These 16 brands are now commanding their position in the world of horology - this year 2015.  The press kits are being sent in a flurry of Emails and watch write ups are entering a state of frenzy.

That said, who are the brands - even if you know next to nothing about watches - you are likely to have heard these names around:
A Lange & Sohne Saxonia Dual Time SIHH 2015

A Lange & Sohne - click here for their colorful 2015 debut especially a clever Datograph Perpetual Watch, a Saxonia Dual Time, Zeidwerk Minute Repeater
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research Episode 1 Watch SIHH 2015

Audemars Piguet - This year Audemars Piguet reveals the  perfect chime thanks to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research Episode 1 Watch

Baume & Mercier Clifton Big Date and Power Reserve SIHH 2015
Baume & Mercier - Releases some really elegant timepieces, which is suited at any boardroom anywhere including a really handsome Clifton Model featuring a Big Date and Power Reserve.  In addition its Hampton Collection is 20 years.  Time does speed along - does it not? 

Cartier Crash Skeleton SIHH 2015
Cartier - has crashed the party - not in anyway I or you imagine, but rather with its signature women's Cartier Skeleton Crash Watch.  Although the original inspiration for the idea is up for grabs - the resulting timepiece has always been quite a hit. 
Greubel Forsey QP à Equation Computeur Mécanique SIHH 2015

Greubel Forsey -  Writing about this rather young brand sends me reeling with inferiority  in the shadow of scientific geniuses. 
Now as they say the genre of steampunk is a mechanical alternate world - a place where mechanical accomplishments continued to evolve if the invention of electricity had never occured.  This ,my friends, is Greubel Forsey - who unveiled today the “Computeur Mécanique,”or a mechanical computer.  To all my steampunk friends out there - this is it! This is what happened if electricity was never invented and computers had never come to pass. A mind like Greubel and Forsey spearheading a mechanical revolution. Now enough of my excited caffeine frenzied rant.  Geubel Forsey's 7th invention has a bunch of patents and is a brilliant assembly of 25 sub movements with a  rotating, co-axial coded elements or its "brain" if you like which are arranged in programmable moveable sections.  The complexity of this timepiece goes beyond the usual complication and reaches a realm which has barely been touched by other watch brands.
IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar SIHH 2015

IWC Shaffhausen- heralding its "Year of the Portugieser" releases the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar boasting two firsts: an in-house movement equipped with an annual calender and a two barrel enabling a seven day power reserve.

Jaeger-LeCoultre - A brand which has risen and risen in mechanical complexity and  reached a pinnacle of horological perfection (one of my favorite brands as you can very well tell)... and to prove my "mechanical complexity point"  the curtain opens - or should I say the heavens open onto the Duometre Spherotourbillon sporting a brand new moon-phase indicator. 
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum SIHH 2015

Mont Blanc - of fine pens and even finer watches ,pens which are a useful tool when needed and a rather coveted tool in the post office, holds no fascination for me; however, Mont Blanc watches including a new model to their new 2014 line, holds the world on a wrist and that, my friend is fascination for me.
The Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum, holds the worlds view from the North Pole as Peary would have seen it - if he in fact reached that cold cold place and was able to view beyond the snowy covered emptiness. Mont Blanc's new collection depicts 24 cities beyond the bezel, displaying a 24 hour time zone.
Panerai Luminor Chrono Flyback Ceramica PAM00580 SIHH 2015

Panerai - a trendy Italian  brand who has perfected the black and brown look, releases Panerai Luminor Chrono Flyback Ceramica PAM00580.  The case is highly resilient being of a zirconium oxide base.  It apparently is five times harder than steel and resistant to scratches, corrosion and high temperatures.  Come to think of it, the Italian WWII frogmen would have loved this material for their Panerai watches, luckily for them Panerai was quite advanced with the use of Luminescence enabling them to make out the time while they dived in  murky and turbulent waters.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squellete SIHH 2015

Parmigiani Fleurier- how I love this brand. Parmigiani solidified my infatuation with watches and its strong ties to its history.  Although Parmigiani is current in their trends, the ties to vintage versions of itself ,to me, is so much more than a marketing ploy of other brands.  Possibly because the founder, Micheal Parmigiani spent so much time restoring mechanical watches from the much loved Sandoz family collection, and in this formed the bond that became Parmigiani.  Parmigiani's reveals a Squellete version to its 1950 Tonda Collection. a sapphire crystaled dial - The Squellete is exceptionally thin and quite complex and all can be seen via the transparent dial and case back including a micro rotor - small but visible on both sides.
Piaget Altiplano Chronograph

Piaget - A brand firmly fixed into haute -holorgerie has gone quite slender for the party while breaking two records in its wake. Read my blog on the Slim Piaget Altiplano Chronograph

Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph SIHH 2015

Ralph Lauren - quite new to the world of SIHH and quite new to the watch world has become an excepted watch brand. Being the only fashion watch brand at the SIHH, I think it does quite well for itself beyond the initial "fashion brand entering the real brand world" skeptism.  Of course it is a joint venture between Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewelry Co, and Richmont Group  - and since this is a mostly Richmont affair, Ralph Lauren is quite welcome.  On the other hand the venture could have gone the way of Tiffany and Swatch - but it did not and Ralph Lauren is doing quite well for itself and Richmont. So what's in store for 2015? A sporty, woodsy and seriously trendy Automotive Chronograph which gleans its inspiration from the dashboard of a 1938 Buggati.  Personally I love the elm burl, steel and black combination. Hat's off and awhistle blow to Ralph Lauren. 

Richard MIlle RM-33-01 SIHH 2015

Richard Mille - If slimmness is a Piaget Quality - What is Richard Milles Quality? ..... Got it? Got it? Give Up?   Lightness.  Richard Milles manufactures the lightest watches in the world without compromising the resilience or the precision of the timepiece.  How does the company achieve this remarkable feat?  - well in part by being at the forefront of metallurgy and innovation in watch making materials as well as not worrying about the resulting sales price of the end product.  So in light of this - What is at Richard Milles SIHH exhibition today?  RM-33-01.  A round watch! Richard Mille who is famous for their tonneau case shape has opted for quite a traditional setting.

Roger Dubuis - What does the  first brand to adhere to the new stringent requirements of the Geneva Seal reveal on this first day of the SIHH? One of the most beautiful watches in the world.  The Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch - somehow made more beautiful without the tourbillon.

Van Cleef & Arpels -For the SIHH 2015, Van Cleef & Arpels presents a timepiece without the artistic enameling so prolific among most of its timepieces, but rather nine new models from the iconic Cadenas Collection - Read more about the lock shaped watch in my recent Cadenas Blog.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Year Of  The Goat SIHH 2015
Vacheron Constantin - also fight the "whose the slimmest fight", but what always catches my attention is the new additions to their Métiers d’Art.  This year Vacheron Constantin  dedicates Métiers d’Art models to The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac the Year Of The Goat in 2015. Suffice to say, the Chinese market is huge and still largely untapped - although China has been quite instrumental in mechanical timekeeping. (How could one forget Sun-Song Heavenly Clockwork tower) and a collection dedicated to the Chinese New Year is a clever marketing strategy.  The watch is beautiful with quite a nice caliber 2460 G4 jumping hours movement featuring only four windows displaying the hours, minutes, date and days.  

So there you have it, an oh so brief run down displayed as we speak across 30,000 sq/m in Geneve - the original watchmaking capital of the world.