Thursday, 31 January 2013

SIHH 2013: Jaeger-LeCoultre (with live photos)

As usual Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled a diverse array of watches, in varying shapes and complications; many of which are also competitively priced. This is the 180th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre (or more specifically the founding of Antoine LeCoultre’s workshop in Le Sentier) and so there are watches to mark this occasion. These new watches are part of the Master Grande Tradition line and sport a new case design for JLC, with rectangular, stepped lugs.

Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee

The 1833 Jubilee collection is a trio of platinum watches, the most complicated of which is the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee, the third instalment in the Gyrotourbillon series, probably JLC's most successful and highly regarded complication

SIHH 2013: Greubel Forsey (with live photos)

As is usual Greubel Forsey presented several beautifully conceived and finished timepieces. All of them are variations of existing movements, except for one. At SIHH GF unveiled the first timepiece from the brand that does not have a tourbillon.

Greubel Forsey Double Balancier 35°

Instead, the Double Balancier 35° has a pair of balance wheels, each inclined at 35 degrees. (This is the first officially launched GF watch with no tourbillon. GF made six watches with a similar concept for London retailer Marcus last year.)

SIHH 2013: IWC (with live photos)

Each year IWC has a specific theme for the particular collection that forms the focus of the SIHH range. Last year was naval aviationand pilot’s watches, and this year it is motorsport – a partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team – and the Ingenieur line. No major technical innovation was part of the new Ingenieur line, though several of the new Ingenieur models are much more attractive than their recent predecessors.

Let’s begin with the most straight forward new addition, the Ingenieur Automatic in steel. This harks back to the Ingenieur SL of the seventies.

SIHH 2013: Audemars Piguet (with live photos)

Audemars Piguet had a fairly restrained collection at SIHH 2013. The new watches launched were variations of existing models or movements, mainly Royal Oak Offshore models, rather than anything entirely novel. 

Alongside news of the 2013 collection was the appointment of François-Henry Bennahmias as CEO of AP. He was formerly head of AP North America, and since last year General Manager ad interim of AP. Mr Bennahmias has some changes in store with regards to brand direction, products and even pricing, though nothing has been announced officially - those will prove to be interesting.

But now on to the watches. The flagship product for 2013 is the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication. This is a grand complication in the traditional sense; it has minute repeater, perpetual calendar and split-seconds chronograph. Despite its rugged appearance and rubber strap, this is only water-resistant to 20 m, due to the minute repeater slide.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication in titanium

SIHH 2013: The reference, comprehensive photo report

I present my photo report of the watches shown at SIHH 2013, which I hope will serve as a reference for the new timepieces launched at the fair. I will cover notable individual watches in greater detail, with more photos, later on.

I cover majority of the watches launched at the fair, and also a handful of notable independents outside of SIHH. I will publish the brand reports individually as they are ready, but here are a few to start. The brands listed in italics are yet to be published.

A. Lange & Söhne

Audemars Piguet


Greubel Forsey







Richard Mille

Roger Dubuis

Vacheron Constantin

Van Cleef & Arpels


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

SIHH 2013: Panerai new collection overview

Here is a summary with key information on the Panerai novelties live from SIHH 2013. These are stock photos, I will post detailed photos later on. Three themes characterise the line-up: three new Submersible models, a new in-house chronograph calibre P.9100 and the Radiomir 1940 case in the regular collection.

The new PAM508 Submersible Ceramica

The highlight for me personally is the Submersible Ceramica PAM508. Also notable is a new Submersible Bronzo PAM507 with power reserve.

Friday, 18 January 2013

News: Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar boutique edition

As a preview of its Baselworld 2013 line-up, Zenith has just unveiled the boutique exclusive edition of its Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar. 

Based on the famous El Primero movement with the annual calendar module designed by Ludwig Oeschlin (identical to the module on the MIH watch), the Winsor annual calendar is one of the best value buys available today.

News: Omega antimagnetic movement resistant to >15,000 gauss

Omega has just announced an automatic movement that is resistant to magnetic fields of an unprecedented 15,000 gauss or more, which is equivalent to over 1,000,000 A/m. Typical antimagnetic wristwatches like the Rolex Milgauss (which gets its name from 1000 gauss) and IWC Ingenieur are resistant to 80,000 A/m.

Omega Aqua Terra Antimagnetic >15,000 gauss
According to Omega, this was achieved by using non-magnetic materials for some parts of the movement, presumably the escapement and balance assembly. Most antimagnetic watches use the simple solution of a soft iron cage surrounding the movement, which remains a stock calibre.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

News: Romain Gauthier Logical One with chain and fusée

Romain Gauthier has just unveiled his second wristwatch model, the Logical One. This has several unusual features, including a snail cam instead of a fusée, a chain with ruby links, push button winding and a barrel with sapphire inserts.

Romain Gauthier Logical One in platinum

News: Habring² Jumping Seconds Pilot's watch with optional antimagnetic escapement

Austrian independent watchmaker Habring2 now has a pilot's styled version of its signature dead seconds wristwatch available. Based on a Valjoux calibre, and available either as a manual wind or automatic, the movement is now made nearly all in-house by Habring2.

Habring2 Pilot's Jumping Seconds

In addition the case has a brushed finish, unlike all earlier models which have a polished finish. And the case is also available in titanium.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Teaser: De Bethune Chinese Zodiac based on the bronze heads of Yuan Ming Yuan

De Bethune and its retail partner in Asia, The Hour Glass, just unveiled a teaser for the upcoming Chinese Zodiac. The preview hints that the watches will be something in the vein of the stunning De Bethune DB25 IX Maya which had a hand-engraved gold dial. All I can say is that the Chinese Zodiac watches - there will be 12 of them naturally - will be spectacular.

The watch will be inspired by the water clock at the Qing dynasty Old Summer Palace, or Yuan Ming Yuan, in Beijing. This clock had 12 bronze heads representing each of the animals of the Chines Zodiac; each head would spout water in sequence, every hour, on the hour.

Monday, 14 January 2013

News: Swatch Group acquires Harry Winston for $750 million

The news has just broken that the Swatch Group has agreed to buy the watch and jewellery operations of Harry Winston for US$750 million, and will assume up to US$250 million of debt. 

This only covers the watch and jewellery retail business, which includes 535 employees worldwide and the Harry Winston manufacturing facility in Geneva. 

The sale does not include the mining division of the Toronto-based Harry Winston Diamond Corp, which will be renamed Dominion Diamond Corp after the sale. Dominion will then become a pure play mining concern and should eliminate some of the conglomerate discount on its shares.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Up close:: IWC Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia - the most complicated IWC timepiece ever

A little over a year ago IWC unveiled the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia, the most complicated timepiece it currently makes. And at CHF750,000, or about USD850,000, the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia is also the most expensive IWC.

 IWC Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia

Developed in-house by IWC with help from Jean-Francois Mojon of Chronode, the Sidérale Scafusia costs that much because of several complications (the Il Destriero Scafusia of 1993 may or may not be more complicated). Firstly, it displays sidereal time in the 12 o'clock sub-dial. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

News: Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Eric Giroud and Romain Jerome

Romain Jerome, the maker of rusted Titanic DNA watches that has been rehabilitated by Manuel Emch, just announced the presentation of a new product later this month in Geneva, during SIHH. 

Agenhor's Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (who created the beautiful Van Cleef & Arpels repeaters) and designer Eric Giroud are involved. I expect it will be exciting and cool. It is an indication of how much Mr Emch has improved the brand, so that I, and I am sure many others, are looking forward to what the trio has in store.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hands-On With The One Of A Kind Laurent Ferrier Galet Tourbillon Enamel Dial (With Original Pics And Price)

The Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral is a classically beautiful watch. Originally offered with either a white grand feu enamel or onyx dial, it has subsequently been presented with an ivory enamel dial, and also dark, slate grey

Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon piece unique in platinum

But all those dials, which are part of the regular production series, have Roman numerals. Several unique pieces have been made with Breguet numbers, and these are beautiful.

Introducing the Swatch Random Ghost, the return of the Jellyfish

The Swatch Jellyfish of 1983, a clear plastic watch with a handful of coloured movement components, is probably the most iconic Swatch watch ever. This year the Jellyfish returns as the Random Ghost.

Swatch Random Ghost SUOK111

Like its inspiration, the Random Ghost (ref. SUOK111) has a clear case and strap. Most of the 51 movement components are coloured, but selected at random for assembly, giving each watch a fairly unique look.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Photo essay: Rudis Sylva RS12 Grand Art Horloger Harmonious Oscillator

Rudis Sylva is a small independent brand that has one unusual product, the Harmonious Oscillator, most recently presented as the RS12 Grand Art Horloger.

Rudis Sylva RS12 Grand Art Horloger

The premise of the Harmonious Oscillator is simple: better timekeeping through resonance. But unlike the FP Journe Resonance which in theory operates through resonance in the small volume of air inside the watch case, the Rudis Sylva Harmonious Oscillator works on physical resonance.