Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Hands-on with the Urwerk UR-210 (with live photos and pricing)

The Urwerk 103 was an Art Deco 1930s vision of the 21st century, and this, the recently unveiled Urwerk UR-210, is a 21st century vision of tomorrow. 

Compared to all preceding Urwerk watches the UR-210 has a more angular shape, one that is immediately reminiscent of a Lamborghini or the Tumbler from Batman (especially the black AlTiN version). 

Urwerk UR-210 in steel and titanium

The UR-210 is still obviously an Urwerk, but it is significantly different in terms of design style. Preceding Urwerk watches had more rounded shapes, akin to a space craft that comes in peace, rather than a menacing ship that has come to invade. Compare theUR-210 to the brand's next most recent wristwatch, the UR-110 Torpedo, for instance.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Pre-SIHH: Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Chronograph

Apologies for the hiatus, I was travelling. Now back to regular programming - Roger Dubuis has just announced the steel Excalibur 42 Chronograph as part of its SIHH 2013 preview. 

Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Chronograph

Shown here with a blue dial that will be available only at Roger Dubuis boutiques, the new 42 mm Excalibur chronograph uses the in-house cal. RD681 with micro-rotor. Naturally the movement is (new and updated) Geneva Seal certified, as well as COSC tested.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Introducing The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5293G For Tiffany & Co. New York

Patek Philippe recently announced a three limited edition watches to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Patek Philippe boutique inside the Tiffany & Co. store on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Patek Philippe 5396G Tiffany & Co.

The highlight is undoubtedly the 5396G annual calendar in white gold. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Hands-on with the charming Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish Repeaters, a High Complication with Automata for the Ladies (with live photos and pricing)

Van Cleef & Arpels is one of the most successful brands in Richemont, so much so that its CEO, Stanislas de Quercize, will be the next CEO of Cartier. VC&A has carved out a unique identity for itself, creating stunning jewellery with Art Nouveau leanings. In watchmaking, the company has created some of the most novel feminine complications of recent years.

Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Poetic Wish

Earlier this year VC&A unveiled the impressive and beautifully conceived Poetic Wish five minute repeating watches - which rank amongst the most notable watches of the year, across all categories and brands. 

News: Döttling Gyrowinder - 360 degree watch winder (with pricing)

Döttling, the German maker of winders ranging from the small to the enormous, has just announced the Gyrowinder, a 360 degree watch winder which works like a gyroscope.

Döttling Gyrowinder

Unlike typical winders that work on a single axis, the Gyrowinder approximates the motion of a wrist by turning in all directions.

Friday, 16 November 2012

News: Winners of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève 2012

The winners of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève have just been announced.

MB&F was arguably the biggest winner of the night, taking home two prizes for its Legacy Machine 1, the Men's Watch Prize and the Public Prize.

MB&F Legacy Machine 1

Thursday, 15 November 2012

News: Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite in platinum sells for EUR248,000

A few days ago a Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite in platinum, no. 20/50, sold for EUR248,000 at German auction house Dr Crott's sale in Frankfurt last week. That sum is equivalent to about USD316,000.

This continues to prove the growing desirability of the original Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite tourbillon. 

Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite in platinum

Monday, 12 November 2012

News: Apple forks over CHF20 million to Swiss Railways for use of clock face

Apple will pay SBB, Switzerland's national train operator, CHF20 million for the right to continue using the distinctive SBB clock face on its devices, according to Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger (article in German), citing sources close to the negotiations. 

Apple was already using the Swiss railway clock face in its iPads with iOS 6, without SBB's permission, much to the ire of the SBB. It took only three weeks from SBB's announcement for this settlement to be published.

Mondaine Vintage SBB with ETA 2801 hand-wind movement

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Qatari Sheikh Who Owns $11 Million Patek Graves Super-Complication Can't Afford To Pay Sotheby's

The owner of the Patek Philippe supercomplication pocket watch made for renowned collector Henry Graves, sold by Sotheby's in 1999 for a world-record US$11,002,500, has been revealed to be Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani, a cousin of the Emir of Qatar, amidst a lawsuit over unpaid bills at Sotheby's.

The Henry Graves super-complication

This was revealed in court documents because the Sheikh has pledged assets worth US$83 million to Sotheby's to cover debt stemming from failure to pay for lots won at auction. The Sheikh was formerly the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar.

Friday, 9 November 2012

News: Richemont six months results and management changes

Richemont just announced its results for the six months ended 30 September 2012 and they are superb.

Amongst the highlights:
  • Sales grew 21% at actual exchange rates to EUR5.1 billion
  • Operating margin grew to 27%
  • Highest rate of sales growth was in Europe, 23% at actual exchange rates
  • Highest growth rates were in own boutiques
  • Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels together posted 31% rise in profit and a 36.7% operating margin
  • Watch maisons posted 51% rise in operating profit and a 32.2% operating margin due to "Maisons’ pricing power and operating leverage in an environment where currency fluctuations were supportive."
  • Montblanc continues to underperform with a 10% rise in sales and a 2% drop in profit; most of its growth is driven by watches and currency effects

Thursday, 8 November 2012

News: SIHH 2013 will take place from Jan 21 to 25

The official announcement of SIHH 2013 was just published. The 23rd Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie will happen from January 21 to 25, 2013, at the Geneva Palexpo.

More than 12,000 visitors, of which 1200 will be journalists, are expected. I will be there to bring you the latest.

Alongside the exhibiting brands will be the Mastery of Time exhibition, which was in Mexico City, now in London and in Paris at month's end.

And with the purchase of Sowind by PPR, Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard are no longer part of the SIHH (which is definitely welcome news since all brands are short of space). The slimmed down list of exhibitors are:

A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Greubel Forsey, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Officine Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Ralph Lauren, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Introducing the Speake-Marin Spirit Mark 2 (with specs and pricing)

English watchmaking has a proud history of military timepieces - think marine chronometers and WWWs - so when Peter Speake-Marin presented his take on an entry level, sporty timepiece last year with the Spirit Pioneer, it was a nod to a long history.

With a retail price of CHF9800, the limited edition of 68 pieces swiftly sold out. This year the Peter is back with the Spirit Mark 2, which is literally bigger and better than the first one.

Speake-Marin Spirit Mark 2

The Spirit Mark 2 is 42 mm in diameter, while the Spirit Pioneer was 38 mm. This is an important improvement as the earlier Spirit Pioneer seemed a big small relative to its thickness (which was the case for the all of the first generation Piccadilly watches). These new case proportions of wider and slimmer are similar to what Peter has done for the rest of his watches like the enamel dial Resilience.

Record prices achieved at the George Daniels auction

The George Daniels auction by Sotheby's in London just concluded yesterday with spectacular results. Top of the tables was the double escapement "space traveller's" pocket watch with sidereal, mean solar time and chronograph which hammered for GBP1.33 million (about USD2.12 million).

Daniels Space Traveller's watch

And the Daniels Millennium wristwatches sold for between GBP85,000 to GBP145,000, while the tourbillon with chronograph wristwatch hammered for GBP385,250.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Hands-on with the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in platinum (with live photos and pricing)

Though it was the new Datograph Up and Down that got most of the attention at SIHH 2012, Lange's flagship complication for the year was actually the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in platinum. 

Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in platinum

This is a brilliant execution of the perpetual calendar; unlike the other Lange perpetuals all the displays here are arranged unconventionally but legibly and sensibly.

News: Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport in DLC for The Hour Glass

A new version of the Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport with a ADLC coated case will be made for the brand's retailer in S. E. Asia, The Hour Glass. Limited to 10 pieces, this Bugatti Super Sport has a white gold case with a dark grey coating, while the regular edition is just white gold.

Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport The Hour Glass inspired by the Veyron 

In addition to the coated case, the dial also differs from the normal version. Here the dial is a latticework that resembles the radiator grille of a car.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Pre-SIHH: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication in ceramic and titanium

AP recently announced one of the new models that will be launched officially at SIHH 2013, the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication in ceramic and titanium.

AP Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication

The 44 mm case is titanium, with a black ceramic bezel and rubber strap. Inside is the 648-part cal. 2885 with minute repeater, rattrapante chronograph and perpetual calendar functions.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hands-on with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Watch 1 in alacrite (with live photos)

Ten years ago for the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet unveiled the Royal Oak Concept Watch 1 (CW1). The design of the CW1 was a drastic evolution of the Royal Oak. Also novel was the case material, alacrite 602, a cobalt-based alloy; the bezel is titanium and the strap, kevlar.

AP Royal Oak Concept Watch

But the CW1 was also a dead end in the sense that the rest of the Royal Oak line did not evolve in the same direction. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak but the CW1 was never repeated.

The larger Royal Oaks in the form of the Offshore now look like the latest Michael Schumacher Offshore, while the classic Jumbo was just reintroduced looking almost exactly like the original 1972 Royal Oak. Alacrite was not used in any other Royal Oak model either.

Though AP did introduce two subsequent Royal Oak Concept watches, the Carbon Concept and Concept Tourbillon GMT, neither was quite as distinctive as the original CW1.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The first George Daniels Anniversary wristwatch by Roger Smith has been delievered

Roger W. Smith has just announced the delivery of the first Daniels 35th Anniversary wristwatch. Though it bears the Daniels name, this watch is made by Roger Smith, George Daniels' protege and the inheritor of his mantle.

The Daniels 35th Anniversary wristwatch
by Roger W. Smith

This series was first announced two years ago for the 35th anniversary of the co-axial escapement Daniels invented. A year after the passing of Dr Daniels - just three weeks after he approved Roger Smith's prototype of the Anniversary watch - the first of a 35 piece limited edition is ready.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hands-on with the Speake-Marin Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater

Peter Speake-Marin's Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater was recently nominated for the Complicated Watch category of the  2012 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève.

Speake-Marin Renaissance

Unveiled earlier this year, the Renaissance is Speake-Marin's most complicated timepiece. Housed in a 44 mm rose gold Piccadilly case, the movement is supplied by La Fabrique du Temps (who are also behind the Laurent Ferrier Micro-Rotor). Each piece is unique as the movement bridges are hand-engraved with different motifs.