Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hands-on with the Rado R-One limited edition, inspired by the film Tron

Inspired by the film Tron: Legacy, the Rado R-One is the wristwatch to go with the light cycle from the film. The R-One is an all ceramic chronograph with blue luminous accents on the case. Rado is better known for retro styled watches in glossy black ceramic with gold accents - the R-One is totally different and plain cool.


Rado R-One

At 46.5 mm long and 34.6 mm wide, this is a large watch. And it is fitted with a matching rubber strap (which unfortunately doesn't glow) that has a ceramic and titanium clasp. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Introducing the: Zenith Aeronef Type 20 in DLC for Monaco retailer Zegg & Cerlati

Zenith recently announced a five piece limited edition of the Pilot Montre d'Aéronef Type 20 for Monte Carlo retailer Zegg & Cerlati. The case of this Monaco edition is titanium with black DLC coating (the regular, 250 piece version is just plain titanium), and the dial has orange accents as well as the Zegg & Cerlati logo - I wish they would do without the logo though.


Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aéronef type 20 Zegg & Cerlati

A brand that has been alternately neglected and on a pharmaceutical high, Zenith is now making a comeback with well priced and sensible watches, exemplified by the Captain Winsor Annual Calendar.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Hands-On With The Patek Philippe Ref. 5550P Advanced Research Perpetual Calendar - Patek's First Watch With The Full Silicon Treatment

Unveiled at Baselworld 2011, the Ref. 5550P Advanced Research is the fourth and final installment of the series of watches from Patek Philippe with silicon components. This is the first Patek equipped with all its parts - escape wheel, pallet fork, balance wheel and hairspring - in silicon.



Unlike the trio of preceding Advanced Research watches which were all annual calendars, the Ref. 5550P is a perpetual calendar. The Ref. 5550P uses the silicon parts Patek Philippe developed and used in the earlier annual calendar watches.

Using a modified cal. 240 QP, the 5550P has a GyromaxSi balance wheel with adjustable gold weights, Pulsomax escape wheel and pallet fork, as well as the Spiromax hairspring. All are made of silicon, and collectively termed 'Oscillomax'. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

News: Romain Jerome Octopus diver's watch

Romain Jerome has a somewhat chequered reputation thanks to its infamous Titanic DNA watches that are made from a steel alloy that contains steel from the wreck of the Titanic. The origin idea was from Yvan Arpa, who has gone on to similar exploits at ArtyA while dueling with his previous employer.

Romain Jerome Octopus in steel and red gold

That being said, Romain Jerome makes some serious timepieces, including a Titanic version of the Cabestan Vertical Winch Tourbillon, and also some attractive watches, like the new Octopus diver's watch.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

A Panerai Bronzo PAM382 patina, six months on

In March I posted photos of a newly acquired Panerai Bronzo PAM382. Those photos showed a watch that was only a month old, with the barest hint of a patina. The bronze case still retained its bright yellow shade.


Panerai Bronzo after six months of wear

Here are photos of that very watch, six months on. This Bronzo has been worn regularly, but carefully. Just casual wear, no extreme sports or saltwater, which we have seen the effects of on the infamous Chronopassion Bronzo.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Introducing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher (with specs and pricing)

Audemars Piguet just announced the new Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher limited edition at a press conference in Berlin. Michael Schumacher is not only a seven time Formula 1 world champion, but also a serious watch collector according to industry sources. 


From left: titanium ref. 26568IM, pink gold ref. 26568OM  and platinum ref. 26568PM

AP says Schumacher himself was "personally involved" with the design of this watch, which is certainly an upgrade from the Omega Speedmaster limited editions that were churned out year on year when he was world champion.


As is usual for ROO limited editions, this will be available in titanium, pink gold and platinum (refs. 26568IM, 26568OM and 26568PM respectively). And like previous  ROO editions, there are many design elements that subtly refer to the theme of the edition. Though the watch itself, the sum of the parts, is remarkably oversized and loud, the design elements are subtle.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

News: Panerai Radiomir 10 Days GMT limited editions in Pt, white or rose gold (with pricing)

Fresh off the press is the precious metal trio of Panerai Radiomir 10 Days GMT in platinum, white and rose gold, PAM495, PAM496 and PAM497 respectively. All are housed in the 45 mm Radiomir case with the P.2003 movement that has second time zone, power reserve and date functions. 


Applied Arabic numerals on the dial of the Radiomir 10 Days GMT in white gold (PAM496)

Unusually all three watches have sandwich dials, but with applied hour numerals, which is uncommon for Panerai.


News: Artya Werewolf Blood and Bullet for Halloween

ArtyA, the company that brought us the Bye-Bye Euro with a dial made from shredded notes, has just announced its Halloween special, the Artya Werewolf Blood and Bullet.

The press release announcing it is worth reproducing in its entirety:

Against werewolves of the Modern Age.

ArtyA’s latest unique piece combines a cut-up silver bullet; renowned for its ability to kill werewolves, and the blood of its victim.

The look is absolutely scary. The 47 mm case features a target sight engraved on the bezel and a high end automatic Swiss made movement.

The dial contains a handmade silver bullet that is forged, engraved and rubbed with garlic in Geneva during a full moon night. It also contains its victims’ blood.

The watch is created especially for Halloween, to protect us from the werewolves of modern times.

The self-deprecating humour is priceless. ArtyA watches are fairly inexpensive, and sell for CHF2400 to CHF3900 on their webstore.

- SJX

ArtyA Werewolf Blood and Bullet

Monday, 15 October 2012

Introducing two new Panerai Radiomir watches in composite, the PAM504 and PAM505 (with specs and price)

Panerai recently lifted the covers off two new Composite Radiomir watches, the Radiomir Composite 3 Days (PAM504) and the Radiomir Composite Black Seal 3 Days Automatic (PAM505). That makes it three new models Panerai has announced since SIHH in January, with the first being the Luminor Submersible Antimagnetic PAM389.

Panerai Radiomir Composite 3 Days PAM00504

Because they use the simpler Panerai calibres, both of these new Radiomir Composite watches are fairly reasonable priced at about EUR6500 before tax. The first of the pair is the Radiomir Composite 3 Days PAM504 is a time-only, Historic collection model.

Hands-on with the Speake-Marin Dong Son, a special edition for Vietnam

Made for the Speake-Marin retailer in Vietnam, the Dong Son features a solid rose gold dial depicting flying egrets and warrior figures. Unusually, instead of the usual hand engraving, the Dong Son dial is created by chemical etching.


Speake-Marin Dong Son

Because of the mechanical, rather than manual, technique, the resulting dial has a very precise surface with sharply formed edges.


News: Richard Mille's fancy cufflinks

Richard Mille recently announced its line of cufflinks. They are made from titanium, with brushed and bevelled surfaces, not unlike a watch. But these are no ordinary links, for the T-bars open and close via a pair of buttons on the cufflinks. Each cufflink thus comprises 38 components. And because they are Richard Mille the price will surely be extraordinary as well (think five figure Euro price); if you have to ask...

- SJX



News: Speake-Marin unveils the Resilience

The new Resilience from Peter Speake-Marin is part of the his entry level line (not unlike the Spirit Pioneer limited edition). Housed in the 38 or 42 mm steel Piccadilly case that the Serpent Calendar also uses, the Resilience is straight forward but nevertheless beautiful and retains the archetypal Speake-Marin look.


Peter Speake-Marin Resilience

The Resilience has a fired enamel dial, along with blued steel hands. Despite being entry level, all the components, especially the dial and hands, are very well made, as is the case with all Speake-Marin.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

News: Felix Baumgartner to jump from the edge of space wearing Zenith Stratos

Since Jean-Frederic Dufour embarked on his repositioning and revival of Zenith, the firm has engaged several ambassadors, adventurers and the like. While admirable, most of them are not especially famous. One of them, however, might soon be on the front pages all over the world. 

After being postponed several times, it seems like Zenith ambassador Felix Baumgartner will jump off a platform held aloft by a helium balloon on 14 October 2012. The balloon will be at 120,000 ft or 36,600 m, which will make it the highest skydive on record. Known as Red Bull Stratos, the project aims to further research into high altitude jumps and space suits (Wikipedia outlines the entire enterprise). 

Mr Baumgartner will be wearing a pressurised outfit not unlike a space suit, and also a Zenith El Primero Stratos Striking 10th on his wrist.

- SJX

Zenith El Primero Stratos Striking 10th
Tribute to Felix Baumgartner

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

News: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 40th Anniversary exhibition opens in Singapore

From today till Sunday, 14 October, 2012, the Royal Oak 40th Anniversary exhibition will be open to the public at the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in Singapore. It is worth a visit - the show covers every major model and evolutionary step of the Royal Oak, from the steel original of 1972 to the latest Offshore limited editions in modern materials.

Royal Oak c. 1972

Besides the watch displays, the gentleman who does the guillochage for the Royal Oak dials - not the Offshore dials which are stamped - is present to demonstrate and explain the technique.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

News: Daniel Craig's Omega Planet Ocean Skyfall sells for GBP157,250

The unique titanium Omega Planet Ocean (these are usually steel) worn by Daniel Craig in the upcoming James Bond film Skyfall just sold for GBP157,250, or about USD254,273. All proceeds from the sale go to ORBIS, a charity that works to reduce blindness in poor countries.

There is still one more chance to obtain a watch worn by Mr Craig - the Planet Ocean from Quantum of Solace is being sold at Christie's online auction that ends October 8. Those proceeds will go to Unicef.

For those who want a bit of 007 at a more affordable price, there is the Omega Planet Ocean Skyfall limited edition.

- SJX

Friday, 5 October 2012

Introducing the FP Journe Chronomètre Optimum, Featuring Remontoir and Double Escape Wheels (with specs and price)

This watch has been rumoured to have been in the works for some years and finally it is here, the FP Journe Souveraine Chronomètre Optimum. As the name suggests this watch is Journe's idea of the ideal chronometer. It is essentially a fusion of ideas from the Tourbillon Remontoir e'Egalite and the Chronometre Souverain - it has constant force mechanism along with twin barrels.

FP Journe Souveraine Chronomètre Optimum in platinum

Visible from the dial at 11 o'clock is the constant force mechanism, just as with the early generation, brass movement Journe tourbillons. And unlike in the tourbillon where it is steel, in the Chronomètre Optimum the remontoir spring is in titanium.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

News: Noble Crus wine fund valuation questioned - manager also runs Precious Time watch fund

Noble Crus, a wine fund with EUR109 million in assets, has been the subject of some discussion recently, after its valuation methodology was questioned in the Financial Times. Elite Advisers, the manager of Noble Crus, just published its response to the FT report.

What makes this interesting is that Elite Advisers also runs a watch fund, Precious Time, with just under EUR20 million under management (as at end August 2012). Unsurprisingly the bulk of the fund is in vintage Patek Philippe and Rolex.

Readers can sign up on the Elite Advisers website for more information on the watch fund.

- SJX

Investment grade?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

News: Girard-Perregaux presents Vintage 1945 with a concrete dial in tribute to Le Corbusier

To commemorate Le Corbusier, who was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in La Chaux-de-Fonds, also the home town of Girard-Perregaux, the brand has created a trio of watches in the square Vintage 1945 case.

Each of the trilogy is limited to five piece. And one of the trio has a concrete dial.

Girard-Perregaux Le Corbusier Vintage 1945 Marseilles with concrete dial