Thursday, 31 October 2013

VIDEO: HYT CEO Vincent Perriard explains the H2 wristwatch

Created in collaboration with movement development powerhouse Renaud & Papi, the HYT H2 is the coolest product yet from hydro-mechanical horologists HYT.



Yesterday we went hands-on with the HYT H2, bringing you deep into the three-dimensional movement. Here we have HYT CEO, the dynamic Vincent Perriard, to explain the functions of the H2.

- SJX

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hands-on with the HYT H2, hydro-mechanical watchmaking by Renaud & Papi (with live photos and price)

At Baselworld 2013 HYT unveiled its second hydro-mechanical wristwatch, the H2. Created in collaboration with Renaud & Papi, the H2 continues HYT's novel approach to watchmaking with a liquid time display.


Unveiled in 2012, the HYT H1 was the world's first watch with a liquid time display. For the H2, HYT has adhered to the same formula: a mechanical wristwatch with the hours indicated by fluids inside a clear glass tube.

But the H2 is a more elaborate timepiece. Having been conceived with Renaud & Papi, the H2 movement, with its eight day power reserve, is more complicated and refined that of its smaller brother.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Explaining The History Of The NATO Strap

The colourful and convenient NATO strap is now commonplace, sometimes even doubling up as a fashion accessory. We unravel the origins of this legendary canvas band.


A selection of NATO straps with Admiralty grey in the centre

NATO straps have grown, and grown, in popularity. Not just amongst military watch geeks; NATO straps are now sold by clothing retailers and sometimes worn as bracelets sans watch (oh the horror). Watch brands have picked up on this and are generously offering canvas bands along with their watches, the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue and Blancpain Bathyscaphe being two recent examples.

One-piece straps for military watches which loop under the watch case have been around for a long time. Such fabric straps were used by both the US and British forces (giving rise to the nickname RAF strap, for the Royal Air Force), and were first used in the mid-twentieth century, maybe even earlier. But the two-piece strap now known as the NATO dates to the British MOD Def Stan 66-15 of 30 November 1973 (a slightly later addition to 66-15 is for a leather and canvas two-part band).


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Nomos goes upmarket with the new Lambda and Lux, featuring gold cases and upmarket movements (with specs and price)

Nomos has just announced the Lambda and Lux, a pair of watches available only in gold. Forming the new Nomos Gold Collection, the Lambda and Lux take Nomos into a whole new realm in finishing and pricing.


Nomos Lux (left) and Lambda

Concise designs and modest pricing has always been the hallmark of Nomos watches. Well made, but not lavishly so, Nomos watches are usually affordable. While the new Lambda and Lux still have the simple aesthetics typical of Nomos, they feature movements with elaborate decoration, gold cases - and corresponding prices. 

Both use in-house DUW calibres, which stands for “Deutsche Uhrenwerke NOMOS Glashütte”, the appellation given to the line of high-end Nomos movements. But the DUW movements are not new, rather they are based on the Wempe Chronometerwerke calibres built by Nomos for the German retailer, unveiled in 2006.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Hands-on with the Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT PAM502 and PAM503 - Panerai pays more attention to movement finishing (with live photos and price)

Unveiled at Watches&Wonders 2013, the Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT is the first chronograph of the 1940 range, and also features one of the most elaborately decorated movements found on a Panerai.



A cross between the Luminor and Radiomir case styles, the Radiomir 1940 key focus of Panerai's 2013 line-up. Panerai has now added a chronograph to the line, the Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT, available in Oro Rosso (red gold with the reference PAM00502) and Oro Bianco (white gold, PAM00503), equipped with the P.2004/10 movement.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hublot and Ferrari celebrate 30 years with the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Hong Kong

To mark the 30th anniversaries of the Hong Kong offices of both Ferrari and Hublot, the watchmaker has created a limited edition Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Hong Kong with a distinctive red ceramic bezel.



Since its inauguration last year, Hublot's partnership with Ferrari has produced a slew of limited edition timepieces, the latest of which is the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Hong Kong. It is fitted with a bright red ceramic bezel, which Hublot says is the first time a brightly coloured ceramic has been used in a timepiece.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hands-on with the Montblanc Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante - Montblanc's top-of-the-line complication (with live photos and price)

Montblanc unveiled its most complicated timepiece yet at Watches&Wonders 2013 - the ExoTourbillon Rattrapante, combining its novel ExoTourbillon with a traditional split-seconds mechanism.



Though Montblanc has not been a watchmaker for long - and it is still finding its footing in horology in terms of branding - the Hamburg pen maker has done created some impressive products. They range from the clever and modern Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours to the ultra-traditionalist and gorgeously finished Villeret 1858 watches. The new ExoTourbillon Rattrapante falls squarely into the latter category.

The special series of TimeWriter concept watches aside, the ExoTourbillon Rattrapante is the most complicated timepiece in the Montblanc Villeret 1858 line-up. It combines the ExoTourbillon with a split-seconds mechanism.


Hublot presents the Jay-Z timepieces in yellow gold or black ceramic (with details and price)

Hublot has just announced its collaboration with Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, to create two watches for the Shawn Carter Collection.



The result of the partnership between the entertainment entrepreneur and Hublot are the 
Shawn Carter by Hublot timepieces. Simple and almost formal, both use the same 45 mm Classic Fusion case. Though large, the Jay-Z watches have the simplistic but slim and skeletonised 2.9 mm Classico hand-wind movement inside.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hands-on with the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss, and a Brief History of Magnetism Resistance (with live photos and pricing)

At Baselworld 2013 Omega finally took the covers off the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss, a watch that is not only magnetism-resistant but more importantly a landmark in battling magnetism in wristwatches.


Equipped with the new Co-Axial Calibre 8508, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss is resistant to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss and more, equivalent to over 1,200,000 A/m or 1.5 T, giving it the highest level of magnetism resistant of any wristwatch today. The Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss is a breakthrough not so much for the technology used, but because it is widely available at a fairly accessible price, offering a hint of things to come.

Friday, 18 October 2013

F. P. Journe Introduces The Historical Anniversary Tourbillon T30 To Mark 30 Years Of Watchmaking (With Specs & Price)

F. P. Journe celebrates the 30th anniversary of his first timepiece in 2013 with the limited edition F. P. Journe Historical Anniversary Tourbillon, inspired by the very same pocket watch of 1983.



In 1983 François-Paul Journe completed his first timepiece, a tourbillon pocket watch inspired by the work of a great French horologist of another generation, Abraham-Louis Breguet. Thirty years on F. P. Journe has taken that first pocket watch and transformed it into a wristwatch, the F. P. Journe Historical Anniversary Tourbillon. 


Hands-on the IWC Portuguese Hand-Wound Eight Days (with live photos and pricing)

Unveiled at Watches&Wonders 2013, the Portuguese Hand-Wound Eight Days is a simple but practical watch with a week's power reserve and a date function.



A new entry-level-ish Portuguese wristwatch, the IWC Portuguese Hand-Wound Eight Days offers several features found in other Portuguese models, but never before in the same model. As the name implies, it is manual-wind, with an eight day power reserve and a date function.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Presenting the Zenith Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage - Zenith's most complicated watch combined with métiers d'art (with specs and price)

Zenith has just unveiled the Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage. This limited edition features a movement with a gyroscopic escapement and a chain and fusée, with lavish decoration in enamel, hand-engraving and miniature painting.



The most complicated timepiece from Zenith is the Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane, which boasts its patented a gyroscopic escapement as well as a chain and fusée constant force mechanism. 

Now Zenith has taken the Christophe Colomb Hurricane, layering on extravagant hand decoration depicting Christopher Columbus, to create the Grand Voyage.


Introducing The Cartier Tank MC Skeleton In Palladium (With Photos, Specs And Price)

Earlier this year Cartier unveiled the Tank MC, the newest addition to the century-old Tank family. Equipped with an in-house skeleton movement inside a palladium case, the Tank MC is Larger and wider than other Tank models.



Undoubtedly one of the definitive form watches, the Cartier has been going strong, in its myriad shapes and sizes, for nearly 100 years. Cartier made a major new addition to the Tank family in 2013 with the launch of the Tank MC (MC is short for Manufacture Cartier), a large, rectangular wristwatch designed for the male watch buyer. The Tank MC is available as an entry-level model with the in-house 1904 MC movement, and also as part of the high-end Fine Watchmaking line in the form of the Tank MC Skeleton.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Hands on with the C3H5N309 "Nitro" Experiment ZR012 Black (with live photos, video and pricing)

C3H5N309, better known as "Nitro", recently announced the Experiment ZR012 Black, the second wristwatch to result from the collaboration of MB&F and Urwerk. 



Last year the key people behind MB&F and Urwerk teamed up to form C3H5N309, which is the chemical symbol for explosive compound nitroglycerin. Nitro, as it has become known, created a stir not only because of its product, but also because its wristwatches were sold exclusively via the Nitro website. 

This year Nitro unveiled its second wristwatch, the Experiment ZR012 Black, which incidentally is available at an established brick and mortar retailer.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Hands-on with the Omega Speedmaster '57 Co-Axial Chronograph (with live photos and pricing)

Modelled on the early fifties Speedmasters, the Omega Speedmaster '57 made its début earlier this year at Baselworld 2013. It's the new entry-level Speedmaster equipped with the cal. 9300 Co-Axial movement, inside a more classically size case.



Omega introduced a slew of new chronographs at Basel, including the Dark Side of the Moon Speedmaster which got most of the headlines. Less fancy, but more compelling value-wise, is the new Speedmaster '57, which packages fifties Speedmaster styling with Omega's latest generation chronograph movement.


Friday, 11 October 2013

Key complication for FP Journe 30th anniversary wristwatch revealed

The third teaser for FP Journe's upcoming 30th anniversary timepiece has just been released, showing only a small portion of the watch but revealing much...


After two teasers, the first revealing the enamel dial and the second, the guilloche case, the third teaser is a look at the movement. It that the watch is a tourbillon with a bridge and a steel tourbillon cage. And the movement appears to be executed in a nineteenth century style with a frosted finish on the bridges and base plate, not unlike the period works of A. L. Breguet, whom Journe has cited as one of his greatest inspirations.

The rest will be revealed on 18 October.

- SJX

Introducing the Chanel J12 Moonphase (with specs and price)

Chanel recently unveiled the newest addition to its brilliant successful line of ceramic watches, the J12 Moonphase, a wristwatch with a simple but charming complication.



Though a moon phase is not a practical function (save for fishermen), it has a visual charm which is well suited for ladies' timepieces. The J12 Moonphase adds a thin, but appealing, layer of complexity onto a bestselling and fashionable timepiece.  


Monday, 7 October 2013

Presenting the first flying tourbillon from Hermès, the Arceau Lift (with specs and price)

Hermès unveils its first flying tourbillon timepiece, the Arceau Lift, inspired by the flagship store at 24, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.



As Hermès slowly but surely builds its watchmaking capability, it was a given that a tourbillon wristwatch would eventually be added to the collection. And so it has, with the Hermès Arceau Lift tourbillon, which is the brand's first flying tourbillon (Hermès had a bridged tourbillon with a Vaucher movement in its line-up several years ago).


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hands-on with the Harry Winston Opus 12 by Emmanuel Bouchet - a complication with 27 hands and 607 parts (with live photos, video and price)

Developed together with Emmanuel Bouchet, the Harry Winston Opus 12 faithfully adheres to the governing philosophy of most the Opus series - tell the time in the most unusual and complex manner possible. 


Unveiled at last year's Baselworld, the Opus 12 tells only the time, but is remarkably complex, and it looks the part. The fact that the Opus 12 has 27 hands is revealing. Conceptually, the Opus 12 is similar to the more recent Opus XIII, which likewise has plenty of hands and action.

The movement, conceived by Emmanuel Bouchet, co-founder of movement specialist Centagora, comprises 607 parts and 80 jewels, putting it in grand complication territory.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Hands-On With The Longines Single Push-Piece Chronograph - Affordable, Vintage And One-Button (With Live Photos And Price)

Created to mark its 180th anniversary, the Longines Single Push-Piece Chronograph is an affordable and attractive wristwatch with a strong vintage flavour.



Longines excels at remakes of vintage timepieces, including this Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary. Unveiled last year to mark the brand's 180th anniversary, with a good deal of that 180 years spent making top notch chronographs, this monopusher chronograph is a modest but well executed watch.


FP Journe unveils second teaser for its 30th anniversary wristwatch

FP Journe has just released the second teaser for its upcoming 30th anniversary wristwatch, showing part of the case and back.



A week after the first teaser for the wristwatch to mark FP Journe's first timepiece 30 years ago, the second hint from FP Journe reveals a bit more. It shows a case decorated with guilloche along with a hinged case back, in the style of a pocket watch. And it indicates the 30th anniversary watch will be a limited edition.

The watch will be revealed in full in two weeks, on 18 October.

- SJX

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jaeger-LeCoultre Newson Atmos and Memovox customised by Jony Ive and Marc Newson for (RED) charity

Jaeger-LeCoultre has created two unique timepieces, a Newson Atmos clock and a Memovox wristwatch, which will join more than 40 other unique objects to be auctioned for the (RED) charity in November.



Organised by musician Bono, together with Apple design guru Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson, the (RED) charity auction will raise funds for The Global Fund to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Over 40 items form a collection curated by Jony Ive and Newson, which will go under the hammer on 23 November 2013 in New York. 

Two unique timekeepers from Jaeger-LeCoultre are part of the (RED) collection. The first is a unique version of the Atmos 561 by industrial designer Marc Newson, the ice cube clock which has become something of a cult object since its launch in 2008. 


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Book review: Kari Voutilainen Horlogerie d’Art, by Theodore Diehl (with exclusive previews)

Finnish independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen is the subject of a newly published book. A wide ranging and beautifully illustrated tome, the book covers not just Voutilainen and his timepieces but the practice of watchmaking itself.


As one of the stars in the independent watchmaking firmament, it is only appropriate that Kari Voutilainen has a 272-page book dedicated to him and his brand of watchmaking. Written by Theodore Diehl, a watch lover who is also the spokesman at Richard Mille, Kari Voutilainen, Horlogerie d’Art is a patient and informative stroll through numerous watchmaking topics.

Hands-on with the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 Minute Repeater (with live photos and price)

Vacheron Constantin took the covers off the Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 minute repeater at Watches&Wonders 2013, revealing for the first time the thinnest minute repeater on the market today.



Named for the birth year of its founder, the new Vacheron Constantin Calibre 1731 measures only 3.90 mm. And as a complete watch, the Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 is only 8.09 mm thick, making it the thinnest minute repeater. 

Vacheron Constantin has a significant modern history with minute repeaters, thanks to the cal. 1755, unveiled in 1992. At 3.28 mm high, it was even thinner than the new cal. 1731. The cal. 1755 was one of the few in-house minute repeater movements offered by a major brand in the nineties, and well regarded by collectors.