Monday, 30 June 2014

Introducing The Arnold & Son TES, A Tourbillon With A Pocket Watch-Inspired Movement (With Specs and Pricing)

With design elements inspired by vintage pocket watches, the red gold Arnold & Son TES Tourbillon has an open-worked movement featuring a sapphire barrel bridge and guilloche base plate, along with a three day power reserve.

A resurrected name from 18th century English watchmaking, Arnold & Son looks to English pocket watches of the past for the new TES Tourbillon. The triangular cocks for the tourbillon and third wheel are shaped like those on old pocket watches while the base plate is decorated with guilloche reminiscent of pocket watch cases.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hands-On With a One-Of-A-Kind Kari Voutilainen Observatoire Featuring A Hand-Engraved Movement

Equipped with a wonderfully decorated Peseux 260 chronometer calibre, the Observatoire was the first serially produced timepiece from Kari Voutilainen. This particular specimen was made in 2009, and is possibly the only one with an engraved movement. 

Though Kari Voutilainen had made several minute repeaters using vintage ebauches earlier in his career, it was the Observatoire that made the Finn famous, even bringing about favourable comparisons with Philippe Dufour's SimplicityOriginally conceived as a series or six or 12 timepieces, the Observatoire eventually ended its run with some 50 produced. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

How Bronze Watch Cases Are Made At Gervasi & C.

Gervasi & C. is a precision engineering workshop located in Florence that manufactures specialised components for various industries, including bronze watch cases for Anonimo.

Florence has a long tradition of metal and iron-working, and craftsmanship in general, that still endures today with outfits like Gervasi & C. Located in the town of Incisa in Val d'Arno, a small town south of Florence, Gervasi & C. sits in a quiet industrial area, one of several such small, specialised enterprises in the district.

A mechanical and precision engineering workshop, Gervasi & Co. makes precision components out of metals like steel and titanium, as well as marine bronze. Founded and run by namesake founder Gianluca Gervasi, the company makes watch cases for Italian watchmaker Anonimo in several alloys, including marine bronze.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Up Close With The Urwerk UR-105M "Iron Knight" (With Live Photos And Price)

Earlier this year Urwerk unveiled the UR-105M, the successor to the landmark watch that put Urwerk on the horological map. Featuring the signature satellite disc display, the UR-105M adds a new case construction and additional features like cylindrical constant seconds to the brand's entry-level timepiece.

Back in 2003 the then obscure duo behind Urwerk, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, introduced the watch that made the brand famous, the UR-103. Though it featured a wandering hours type time display that had used before, even in pocket watches, the 103 was strikingly different because of its avant-garde case and form. The 103 immediately made Urwerk one of the pioneers of avant-garde independent watchmaker. And now the 103's successor has arrived, in the form of the UR-105M.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Hands-On With The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 Reissue (With Live Photos And Price)

A faithful remake of the Geophysic chronometer made for adventurers and explorers in the 1950s, the Geophysic 1958 sticks to the formula Jaeger-LeCoultre knows well: a moderately priced, vintage-style wristwatch powered by an in-house, self-winding movement.

In its price segment, Jaeger-LeCoultre has arguably been the most adept and competent at creating remakes of its vintage timepieces, with the Reverso 1931 being the best example of this success. The latest vintage reissue wristwatch from Jaeger-LeCoultre is the Geophysic 1958, based on a fifties chronometer originally created for the International Geophysical Year (IGY). A manual-wind chronometer with magnetic shield for the movement, the first Geophysic was intended for the explorers and scientists involved in the expeditions of the IGY.

Panerai's "The Face Of Time" Exhibition Opens In Singapore

"The Face of Time", an exhibition of Panerai's contemporary watches and in-house movements, has just opened in Singapore at the ION Orchard mall. Open to the public, the exhibition runs till 1 July 2014.

Dedicated to the current Panerai line-up of watches, "The Face of Time" is a compact exhibition that illustrates all of Panerai's case styles, namely the Radiomir, Radiomir 1940 and Luminor. And there is an emphasis on its in-house movements, unsurprising since Panerai is increasingly relying on proprietary movements, even for its entry-level models like those equipped with the P.5000 calibre

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Up Close With The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Ref. 116600 (with live photos and price)

Baselworld 2014 saw Rolex introduce the Sea-Dweller 4000, its classic saturation diver's timepiece. Though functionally identical to its predecessor, the Sea-Dweller Ref. 116600 is substantially improved in many respects, inside and out. As it arrives at retailers, here's an in-depth look at the new Sea-Dweller.

In a surprise revival of a classic, perhaps in response to plodding sales of the oversized Deep Sea, the Sea-Dweller returned to the Rolex catalogue at Baselworld 2014. The new Sea-Dweller 4000 (Ref. 116600) is essentially a Rolex classic rejuvenated.

Looking much like the models that came before, the new Sea-Dweller is rated to the same 4000 ft or 1220 m as tradition dictates. But the 2014 model is equipped with all the features that have become standard on all Rolex timepieces in the six years since the last Sea-Dweller was discontinued, like a ceramic bezel insert and Glidelock clasp. So despite being much the same, it is a better watch.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Hands-On With The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, The First Ever Moon Watch In Titanium (with live photos and price)

To mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first man on the moon, Omega introduced the first ever Speedmaster Moon Watch in titanium, with rose gold accents and an unusual laser etched PVD dial.

45 years after the Apollo 11 spaceflight that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - with Speedmasters on their wrists - on the Moon in 1969, Omega has created a titanium Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch for the mission's 45th anniversary.

Having marked practically every Moon landing-related anniversary since 1969 with a limited edition watch, Omega has a difficult task in making the next Moon Watch edition significant different. Surprisingly enough, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary is enjoyably different. 

Introducing Four Special Timepieces for Vacheron Constantin's Moscow Boutique

Vacheron Constantin has created four specials models with dark dials, including a one-of-a-kind Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 tourbillon with perpetual calendar in platinum, for the opening of its boutique in Moscow.

Vacheron Constantin has just unveiled four limited edition timepieces to mark the opening of its first boutique in Moscow, located at Berlin House. All are in white gold or platinum, ranging from the time-only Traditionelle Moscow Boutique to the unique Calibre 2253. In contrast to the regular production versions which typically have light coloured dials, these Moscow Boutique editions have black or dark grey dials. And they are further distinguished  by a pair of white gold cufflinks with a finish that matches the dial that accompanies each watch.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Introducing The G. Gerlach Tokkotai - A Polish Remake Of A Japanese Pilot's Watch For a Spanish Forum

A truly international creation, the Tokkotai is crowdsourced wristwatch. A replica of a Second World War Japanese air force pilot's watch, the Tokkotai project started on a Spanish watch forum, produced by a Polish firm, and sold to a global group of enthusiasts.

Proyecto Tokkotai began in March 2013 with the participants of Club Okies, a Spanish language watch forum, not unlike the Nautilus over at Czech forum Chronomag. The goal of Project Tokkotai was to make a replica the oversized wristwatch worn by Japanese navy pilots of Second World War.  A remarkably affordable timepiece, Project Tokkotai reached fruition within a year, demonstrating what can be achieved with a little imagination and much enthusiastic collaboration. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Introducing the HYT H1 Iceberg In Blue and White (with live photos and price)

Hydro-mechanical horologists HYT has just unveiled a new blue and white version of its H1. Limited to 50 pieces, the H1 Iceberg features a titanium case, and a blue fluid hour indicator.

Since its introduction in 2012, the HYT H1 has grown into a line-up of 15 variations. The first ever wristwatch with a fluid time display, the H1 is now in titanium with a white dial and blue fluid hour display.

Mechanically the H1 Iceberg is identical to the other H1 models, with a movement developed by Chronode and HYT. The calibre is essentially two distinct sections: a conventional mechanical movement with a 65 hour power reserve, plus a fluid display module with twin bellows that drive the liquid for the hour display.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Cartier Tradition Historical Timepieces Arrive In Singapore For The First Time

Primarily offered at its landmark stores like those in Paris and New York, historical Cartier timepieces are now available in Singapore as well, starting with an elegant, enamelled Tank Normale from 1963.

Based in Geneva and New York, Cartier Tradition is a specialist in vintage Cartier items. It acquires and restores timepieces, jewellery and objet d'art, working with clients who want to buy, or sell, a Cartier from before 1970. Vintage objects from Cartier Tradition are certified, meticulously researched in the company's archives, and typically offered for sale at its boutiques in Europe and the USA.

Most recently a Cartier Tradition wristwatch arrived in Singapore, a first for the country and one of the rare occasions a major brand retails its own vintage timepieces in Asia. The watch in question is a Cartier Tank Normale dating from 1963, midway through the the Tank's hundred year history. One of the earliest Tank designs, the Tank Normale is distinguished by its straight and angular flanks.

Record Profits For Rolex in 2013, And Other Intriguing Tidbits From An Interview With Its Chairman

Swiss newspaper Le Temps published an intriguing and rare interview with Bertrand Gros, the chairman of Rolex, lifting the veil every so slightly and shedding a tiny bit of light on Rolex, the world's largest luxury watch brand.

Rolex World Headquarters, Geneva
©Rolex/Cédric Widmer

Chairman of the Board of Directors at Rolex, Bertrand Gros recently granted Swiss daily Le Temps a rare interview, the first one ever in fact, that was published over the weekend. Though little of it was revelatory, some intriguing information emerged, including the fact that in Rolex enjoyed its best year ever - reaching an all time high in revenue - in 2013.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Introducing the Louis Vuitton Escale Worldtime, With the World in Hand-Painted Colour (with live photos and price)

As Louis Vuitton shifts its watchmaking efforts into high gear with its new factory, it promises a slew of new and unusual complications, the first of which is the Escale Worldtime, a clever and colourful implementation of the traditional travel watch.

Unveiled at Baselworld 2014, the Escale Worldtime is a visually striking, mechanically innovative, and also pricey, timepiece with a world time display. Featuring a hand-painted dial, the Escale Worldtime has a wandering hours display for the hours and minutes, and an easily adjustable world time function.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Audemars Piguet Unveils Plans For Spectacular, Spiral-Shaped Museum In Le Brassus

Danish architectural firm BIG has been commissioned by Audemars Piguet to design the watchmaker's new museum. With a form like the spiral of a hairspring, the museum will showcase the history of the oldest, family owned watchmaker in the fabled Vallée de Joux.

La Maison des Fondateurs, as the new Audemars Piguet museum will be known, was conceived by award winning Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). This will be the latest addition to the complex of buildings that began with the founding of Audemars Piguet in 1875.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Hands-On With Hamilton Khaki Pioneer Aluminium - Lightweight, Colourful and Affordable (with live photos and price)

Hamilton's latest addition to its line of vintage inspired, pilots' watches is the Khaki Pioneer Aluminium, featuring an anodised aluminium case that is scratch resistant, and available in four colours.

Taking inspiration from the chronographs Hamilton made for the British Royal Air Force in the seventies, the Khaki Pioneer Aluminium has the same asymmetric case. But instead of the conventional steel alloy, these new pilots' watches from Hamilton are machined from aluminium, which is treated to harden the surface - giving it a surface hardness five times that of regular steel - and also to give it colour.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Introducing the SevenFriday M-Series - Same Square Case, Now With a Wandering Hours Display (with specs and price)

SevenFriday, the young and affordable brand from Zurich, has just unveiled its second line of timepieces, which will hit stores later this month. The M-Series retains the brand's signature case shape, but with a wandering hours time display.

Set up only two years ago, SevenFriday has sold 19,000 of its distinctive, square-cased P-Seriers watches to date - an extraordinary accomplishment made possible by a distinctive design, low price and astute use of social media. Designed in Zurich but made in Asia, these cheap and cheerful watches have caught on in a big way. 

For its second line of watches SevenFriday - because the founder wants every day to be a Friday - sticks to the same formula. The M1 and M2 use the same case, but with the crown on the left, and the time is indicated by discs.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

INTERVIEW: Michele Sofisti, CEO of Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard

A 20 year veteran of the watch business, Michele Sofisti was appointed CEO of Sowind Group, which owns Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard, in 2011. In the three years since he has brought renewed focus to both brands by streamlining the collection and emphasising key models.

Unveiled at Baselworld 2014, the Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon

Born in the Italian mountain village of Bormio, Michele Sofisti has spent most of his life in watchmaking, having worked at the Swatch Group, LVMH and most recently, taking the helm at the Sowind Group and its two brands, Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard.

Mr Sofisti's career in the watch industry began when he was recruited by Jean-Claude Biver to join the Swatch Group, where he eventually rose to become president of its biggest brand, Omega, and later president of Swatch

His time at Omega was when its marketing machine was gearing up to take the form it has today, with a relentless emphasis on celebrity endorsements, like with James Bond, who was played by Pierce Brosnan back then. Mr Sofisti professes an enormous admiration for the late Nicolas Hayek, whom he characterises as a hands-on manager with a tremendous memory and attention to detail.