Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hands-On With The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Ref. 5990/1A (With Live Photos, Review And Price)

Freshly unveiled earlier this year, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time is the second iteration of the Geneva watchmaker's sports chronograph, replacing the ref. 5980/1A. Known as the Ref. 5990/1A, the new Nautilus has a dual time function combined with a chronograph, and a handsomely symmetrical dial.

Patek Philippe presented the second generation of its sports chronograph at Baselworld 2014 with the Nautilus Travel Time Ref. 5990/1A. Very similar to the Ref. 5980/1A it replaces, the main difference of the new Nautilus chronograph is an added dual time function, though it also has other less obvious changes.

Despite the differences in function and design, physically the 5990/1A feels the same as its predecessor, for good reason as it is almost exactly the same size. At 40.5 mm in diameter and 12.53 mm high, the new Nautilus is practically identical to the 5980/1A. Interestingly, the 5990/1A is 0.7 mm slimmer, surprising given that it has the added Travel Time function.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Introducing The Glycine Airman No. 1, A Remake Of The First 24 Hour Dual Time (With Live Photos And Price)

In 1953 Glycine created the Airman, the world's first 24 hour, twin time zone watch. Now Glycine has recreated the original as the Airman No. 1, in a remake so faithful it feels like a vintage timepiece.

Conceived for pilots of the then nascent transnational airlines, the Glycine Airman emerged from a conversation between Sam Glur, then the company's sales director, and the pilots on his flight from Bangkok to Calcutta, back in 1953.

The Airman was a dual time zone watch with a twist. Instead of the typical 12 hour scale, it indicated the time on a 24 hour dial. This not only showed the time in two time zones simultaneously, the 24 hour dial also easily distinguished between day and night in each time zone.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Introducing The MB&F MusicMachine 2 - Pop Culture And Swiss Craftsmanship In The Ultimate Desktop Toy (With Specs And Price)

Designed by MB&F and made by Reuge, the MusicMachine 2 is a music shaped like a spacecraft that plays tunes from Star Wars, Star Trek and the Rolling Stones - it's pop culture and Swiss craftsmanship rolled into the ultimate desktop toy.

Reminiscent of the starship Enterprise, the MusicMachine 2 (MM2) is the latest in MB&F's growing range of desktop objet d'art, coming not long after the Starfleet Machine clock. MB&F worked with noted music box producer, Reuge, to create the MM2. It combines the 150 year-old tradition of Reuge with MB&F carefully distilled pop culture style.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Hands-On With The Omega Speedmaster Mark II "Racing" (With Live Photos And Price)

Introduced at Baselworld 2014, the Omega Speedmaster Mark II is a remake of the 1970s chronograph of the same name. Aesthetically almost identical to the original, the new Mark II is nonetheless equipped with all the upgrades found in modern Omega watches, like the Si14 silicon hairspring.

Introduced in 1969, the first Omega Speedmaster Mark II is a typical watch of the seventies, with a chunky tonneau-shaped case. It was intended as the successor to the Speedmaster Moon Watch, but after the 1969 lunar landing, the Moon Watch gained immortality as a legend in watchmaking. At Baselworld 2014 the Speedmaster Mark II made its comeback, looking much the same as before, but with technical upgrades over the original. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Hands-On With The Corum Golden Bridge Dragon - A Golden Dragon Around A Golden Movement (With Live Photos And Price)

Long Corum's signature wristwatch, the Golden Bridge now has a gilded dragon snaking around the narrow baguette movement, seemingly intertwined but actually sitting a hair's breadth away from the calibre.

The Corum Golden Bridge revolves around a simple premise - an incredibly compact movement laid out in a linear manner and suspended in a wide watch case. This left lots of space around the movement, drawing attention to its fine shape. Now Corum has filled that space with a dragon, resplendent in hand-engraved rose gold.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Pre-W&W 2014: Introducing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph In Carbon Composite (With Specs And Price)

Audemars Piguet will soon unveil the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph at Watches&Wonders 2014. This combines an unusual chronograph-tourbillon movement featuring peripheral made by Renaud & Papi with a carbon composite case.

The most interesting aspect of the new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph is the calibre 2897 inside. Though not new, having been used in similar models before, the movement is still unusual. Beyond the fact that is is complicated - it combines with a chronograph and tourbillon - the 2897 movement is self-winding. But unlike conventional automatic movements which have full rotors that cover half the movement, this features a novel peripheral winding mechanism under the dial.

Monday, 18 August 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Introducing The Seiko Credor Eichi II - The Finest Three-Hand Watch Made In Japan, And Possibly The World (With Specs And Price)

Seiko has just announced the long anticipated Credor Eichi II, featuring a slim, 39 mm platinum case. A hand-wound, time-only wristwatch with a remarkably fine movement finish, the Eichi II is to mark the 40th anniversary of the Credor line and the 15th anniversary of the Spring Drive movement.

Envisioned to be an incredibly fine gentleman's wristwatch, Japan's equivalent of the Philippe Dufour Simplicity, the Seiko Credor Eichi was unveiled in 2008 and discontinued in 2012, after some two dozen were made. Now its successor has been unveiled, the Credor Eichi II (ref. GBLT999). 

Like the original, the Eichi II is an elegant, three-handed wristwatch with a platinum case. The movement inside is finished entirely by hand, to a standard that would put all but the very best to shame. Most importantly, the Eichi II is 39 mm in diameter, which makes it far more appealing than the 35 mm original.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

VIDEO: "Invenit et Fecit" - A Documentary On F.P. Journe

A documentary exploring the work and creations of François-Paul Journe, Invenit et Fecit recently made its premiere online. The half hour video is a peek into one of the most brilliant minds in modern watchmaking.

Taking its title from F.P. Journe's motto, Invenit et Fecit - "invented and made by" in English - is a look at both the timepieces and personality of François-Paul Journe. It includes lengthy but fascinating conversations with the man himself, as well as with several of his friends, who are inevitably dedicated F.P. Journe collectors.

Pre-W&W 2014: Introducing The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine (With Specs And Pricing)

At Watches&Wonders 2014 Vacheron Constantin will unveil the Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine, capable to displaying 37 time zones and the latest edition to its series of all-platinum limited editions.

Come September 29, the second edition of Watches&Wonders will open in Hong Kong. A scaled down, consumer-oriented version of trade fair SIHH in Geneva, it will see the same brands present new timepieces not seen in January during SIHH. Vacheron Constantin has revealed one of the new models to be launched at Watches&Wonders 2014, a limited edition Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine.

Hands-On With The H. Moser Venturer Small Seconds (With Live Photos And Price)

Announced at Baselworld 2014 as the first of a new line of timepieces with vintage-inspired styling, the Venturer Small Seconds is an elegant gentleman's wristwatch with all the signature H. Moser features like the concave flanks and modular escapement.

Since its beginnings H. Moser & Cie has made elegantly designed, yet sturdy and hefty timepieces, perhaps reflective of their origins in Schaffhausen, a town powered by hydroelectricity and the home of IWCH. Moser watches were not slim, but cleverly engineered and concise, an identity epitomised by the Perpetual 1. H. Moser watches were distinct from the sleeker and often fancier timepieces from the Geneva and Vallée de Joux regions.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Recommended Reading: "German Military Timepieces" By Konrad Knirim - A Scholarly Masterpiece On German Military Watches

One of the foremost experts on military timepieces, Konrad Knirim has written two masterpieces on the subject, the first covering German military watches and clocks. With over 1000 timepieces featured, German Military Timepieces: 150 Years Watches and Clocks of German Forces is the most comprehensive study of some of the most interesting military watches ever.

Having collecting military timepieces for nearly 30 years, Konrad Knirim writes about them with the enthusiasm of a collector and also the careful eye of a scholar - a rare combination in modern horological literature. First published in 2002, German Military Timepieces: 150 Years Watches and Clocks of German Forces was Knirim's first book (the second deals with British military watches) and covers, in exhausting detail, the timepieces used by the German military from the 19th century to the present day. In excess of 600 pages, it is an immense and extraordinary treatise that explains some of the most desirable and notable military timekeepers ever made.

Monday, 11 August 2014

EVENT: Breitling Chronomat 30 Years Exhibition In Singapore, Aug 14-18

Breitling will mark the 30th anniversary of its Chronomat with an exhibition in Singapore documenting the evolution of its signature timepiece, beginning with its origins as a chronograph made for the Frecce Tricolori. 

Breitling was one of the key innovators in creating the modern chronograph - Gaston Breitling invented the two button chronograph in 1934 - but fell on hard times during the quartz crisis. One watch that deserves much credit for reviving Breitling's fortunes is the Chronomat, becoming one of the most recognisable watches of the nineties. In fact, the Chronomat was arguably one of the pioneering luxury sports chronographs.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hands-On With The Kari Voutilainen Tourbillon-6, An Oversized Tourbillon With Dual Escape Wheels (With Live Photos And Price)

Equipped with an oversized tourbillon carriage and Voutilainen's proprietary double escape wheels, the Tourbillon-6 is Voutilainen's first serially produced tourbillon, made in a limited edition of just six pieces.

Kari Voutilainen had produced tourbillons in the past, in both wristwatch and pocket watch form, but those were all one-off commissions. Only at Baselworld 2014 did the Finn present his first serially produced tourbillon, the Voutilainen Tourbillon-6. Featuring an impressively large tourbillon, it is equipped with Voutilainen's own direct impulse escapement with dual escape wheels. And the movement decoration is of course sublime. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Introducing the Habring² Felix, Powered By A New In-House Movement (With Specs And Price)

The calibre A11, the first ever in-house movement from Habring², makes its debut inside the Felix, a time-only wristwatch. Priced affordably, the Felix is the base model in the new line of timepieces equipped with the new movement.

Well regarded for its affordable timepieces, Austrian independent watchmaker Habring² has finally completed its first in-house movement, the manually wound A11, with "A" referring to Austria and "11"  for the year the project was started. Designed by Habring², many of the constituent parts of the A11 are made in-house as well as by suppliers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. 

What is noteworthy is the fact that most of the key components of the movement are made by Habring². The escapement, including pallet fork and escape wheel, is made in-house, while terminal curve of the hairsprings are formed by hand in Habring²'s workshop.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

EDITORIAL: Will The Smart Watch Supplant The Swiss Watch?

Smart watches in headlines everywhere, as Apple is expected to launch the iWatch later this year. Many in the luxury watches business are asking what this means. Some regard the smart watch as irrelevant, while others quietly recall the quartz crisis of the seventies that decimated the Swiss watch industry. 

Not smart enough but we still love you

Tremendous anticipation awaits expected launch of the Apple Watch in September, even though it is hardly a pioneer. Pebble, the crowd funded smart watch launched in 2013, has sold some 400,000 units to date, not to mention fellow smart watch makers Samsung, Nike, Garmin and Sony. What does highly anticipated Apple Watch mean for the luxury watch business?

History is replete with examples of obsolete technologies being ousted by newer and better inventions. The automobile replaced the horse drawn carriage, and the iPod did the same to the Walkman.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Introducing The Rolex Deepsea D-Blue To Commemorate James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge Expedition

To commemorate its partnership with the Deepsea Challenge, filmmaker James Cameron's expedition to the Marianas Trench, Rolex has unveiled the Deepsea D-Blue wristwatch with a new graduated blue to black dial - all else about the watch remains the same.

Historically Rolex maintained a Henry Ford-like philosophy of "any colour so long as it's black" for its sports watches, leaving collectors to pursue watches with discoloured black dials. That has changed in recent years - witness the Milgauss Z Blue with an electric blue dial unveiled at Baselworld 2014. The Technicolor strategy continues with the new Rolex Deepsea D-Blue, featuring a blue to black graduated dial, created to mark the watchmaker's partnership with James Cameron and the Deepsea Challenge expedition.

Two years ago Cameron, the film director of Titanic and Avatar fame, reached the deepest point on the Earth's surface. His solo expedition inside the Deepsea Challenger submersible reached 10,908 metres (35,787 feet), a world record and something not attempted since 1960. During the dive Cameron had a Rolex Deepsea on his wrist, and mounted on the outside of the Submersible were three experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge wristwatches, enormous 51 mm watches rated to 12,000 m.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Hands-On With The MB&F LM101, The Legacy Machine For Less (With Live Photos And Price)

Conceived as the simplest and most accessible entry into the world of MB&F, the LM101 is equipped with the first movement developed in-house by the brand. With the Kari Voutilainen responsible for the finish and design of the movement, the LM101 calibre has obvious technical and visual appeal.

Created as a homage to the timepieces of the 19th century, the Legacy Machines from MB&F all share round cases, classical styling and lovingly finished movements, in stark contrast to the extraterrestrial Horological Machines MB&F is best known for.

While the earlier Legacy Machines featured complications - the LM1 is a dual time zone and the LM2 has twin balance wheels - the latest LM101 is a time-only watch. But the LM101 still retains the key design elements of the series, as well as a beautifully executed movement. And with a retail price that's a third less than the LM1, the new LM101 is the most affordably priced timepiece in the MB&F collection.