Monday, 31 August 2015

Breaking News: Nine Prominent Independent Watchmakers to Join SIHH 2016 in Geneva

Nine independent watch brands will be part of SIHH 2016, the trade fair dedicated to haute horlogerie that takes place in January in Geneva. This brings the event full circle back to its origins in 1991.

Rumours have swirled for some months now but it is finally official. Nine independent watchmakers, ranging from the avant-garde to the traditional, will exhibit at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, the annual watchmaking fair in Geneva. Long dominated by brands of luxury conglomerate Richemont, the addition of these eight independents, amongst them MB&F, Urwerk and Voutilainen, adds texture to the event that takes place from January 18 to 22, 2016.

A Look at the Tudor Heritage Black Bay One for Only Watch 2015

The first and only unique timepiece Tudor has ever made, the Heritage Black Bay One for Only Watch 2015 is a one-off creation for charity auction Only Watch 2015. Here's it is in the metal, courtesy of our friends at Tudor.

Only Watch is a charity auction that takes place in November 2015, and for the first time Tudor is taking part. Its contribution is a one of a kind dive watch, Heritage Black Bay One  ref. 7923/001. Based on Tudor's historically inspired dive watch, the Heritage Black Bay One has been tweaked to make it look even more vintage, with the look modelled on the rare Submariner ref. 7923 of 1954. Thanks to these fresh photos of the actual timepiece from Tudor, we get a sense of what the Black Bay One actually looks like.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

IWC Dedicates Latest Big Pilot to Swiss Air Force Aerobatic Team (with Price)

IWC has just announced the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition "Patrouille Suisse", a limited edition in sandblasted stainless steel that's named after the aerobatic team of the Swiss Air Force. 

Patrouille Suisse is the aerobatic team of the Swiss Air Force, flying F-5E Tiger IIs painted in red and white livery. Its relationship with IWC dates back to the mid-1990s, when the watchmaker created a limited edition Mark XII for Patrouille Suisse. The latest Patrouille Suisse edition is the Big Pilot "Patrouille Suisse", a variant of IWC's signature oversized aviator's watch featuring an unusual sandblasted case.

Newcomer Alexandre Meerson Introduces the D15 MK-1 GMT

A recent arrival to watchmaking, Alexandre Meerson debuts the D15 MK-1 GMT, a twin time zone wristwatch powered by a movement from Vaucher Manufacture.

The son of a watch designer active in the 1970s, Alexandre Meerson recently took up his father's mantle. Based in England, Meerson's latest creation is the D15 MK-1 GMT, a dual time zone wristwatch with a movement from Vaucher, the specialist that's the sister company of Parmigiani.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Hands-On with John F. Kennedy's Omega Wristwatch

An unassuming, rectangular wristwatch in the Omega Museum is one of its most historically important objects, having been the wristwatch of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. 

A famous Geneva watchmaker once ran a series of advertisements in the 1950s with the caption "Men who guide the destinies of the world wear Rolex watches". The same can be said of its peer up north in Bienne, for John F. Kennedy owned an Omega wristwatch that he wore at his inauguration. This very Omega.

Friday, 28 August 2015

IWC Introduces the Portofino Monopusher Chronograph, Yet Again (with Pricing)

Equipped with a newly developed eight day, single-button chronograph movement, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher chronograph makes its belated debut at Watches&Wonders 2015.

Two years ago at SIHH 2013 the Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher chronograph was in IWC's catalogue, but nothing was said of the watch and it was surreptitiously withdrawn (though it made an appearance early this year as a unique piece for charity). Perhaps to prove good things come to those to wait, IWC is officially introducing the Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher at Watches&Wonders 2015.

Panerai History Explained in Ten Vintage Wristwatches and Instruments

Rare vintage Panerai wristwatches and instruments that chart the evolution of the the brand from Radiomir to Luminor are on display at History and Legend in Singapore. We explain Panerai's storied maritime past with these exhibits.

Open from August 27 to September 6, 2015, History and Legend is an exhibition dedicated to Panerai history that includes 10 vintage wristwatches and instruments made for the commando frogmen of the Italian navy. The vintage exhibits span some 30 years, starting with the origins of the Panerai wristwatch with the Radiomir ref. 3646 in the 1930s to wrist compasses from the 1960s. These provide a tangible lineage for the modern Panerai timepieces, including all the Submersibles and also the Tourbillon GMT pocket watch.

Marc Newson Brings Industrial Design to Montblanc Fountain Pens

Designed by Apple's Marc Newson, the Montblanc M is a sleek writing instrument with a magnetic cap that ensures it aligns perfectly on the barrel.

Industrial designer Marc Newson has applied his talent to many objects, and not for the first time to a fountain pen. The Montblanc M is sleek, smooth and rounded, but with enough detail to make it interesting.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Watch Buyer's Guide To Singapore

An island nation that's a major player in the market for luxury watches, Singapore is a regional hub for the watch industry and also a tastemaker thanks to its enthusiastic adoption of high-end, independent brands. We give you a rundown of the Singapore watch scene.

Singapore is one of the world's major watch markets - in 2014 it was the eighth largest destination for Swiss watch exports - despite being an island nation with a population of just 5.5 million. The reason for its importance lies in two factors. One is Singapore's position as a regional hub, with watches transhipped via Singapore to nearby countries. And more importantly for high-end timepieces, Singapore is the destination for wealthy individuals in the region. The financial and medical services in Singapore are a big draw, as is its highly developed shopping infrastructure.

Sinn Teams Up With Specialists to Create "Made in Germany" Wristwatch

Sinn has just announced the Meisterbund I, a wristwatch with all its critical components made in Germany, a result of the brand's collaboration with fellow German suppliers SUG and UWD.

Meisterbund means alliance of masters, referring to the specialists that teamed up to create the Sinn Model 6200 Meisterbund I. Sinn designed the watch and made the dial, while the case was made by Sächsische Uhrentechnologie GmbH Glashütte (SUG). And Uhren-Werke-Dresden (UWD) was responsible for the movement. Consequently, all the key components of the Meisterbund I wristwatch - namely the case, dial, movement and hairspring - are made in Germany.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Hands-On with the First Ever Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with a Leap Year Indicator

Thirty years passed between the first perpetual calendar wristwatch, and the first one with a leap year indicator, made by Audemars Piguet in 1955. Here's a look at one double-signed example of the Audemars Piguet ref. 5516.

The perpetual calendar complication reached the wristwatch soon after it was popularised by troops during the First World War, albeit only in one of a kind timepieces. The first perpetual calendar wristwatch was a one-off timepiece made in 1925 by Patek Philippe, equipped with a movement made for a ladies' pendant watch. And four years later Breguet completed a perpetual calendar wristwatch with a wristwatch movement.

But those wristwatches only had the day, date, month and moon. Despite being de rigueur in modern perpetual calendar wristwatches, the leap year only arrived in the wristwatch in 1955, courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Montblanc Introduces Entry-Level, Sapphire Dial Perpetual Calendar (with Specs & Price)

An iteration of Montblanc's affordably priced perpetual calendar, the Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar Sapphire has a tinted sapphire dial that reveals the workings of the perpetual calendar mechanism.

Introduced last year, the Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar was the most affordable perpetual calendar - priced at US$12,800 in steel - from a major brand. For Watches&Wonders 2015 that takes place in Hong Kong next month, Montblanc has jazzed it up with a grey sapphire dial that shows off the gears and levers that keep the calendar perpetual.

Zenith Abandons Political Correctness, Celebrates Christopher Columbus & Colonialism

Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World is immortalised on the Zenith Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II wristwatch, completed with natives wearing feathers bearing fruit and a parrot.

The Zenith Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II is the second instalment in a series of watches dedicated to the Italian explorer. Like the first edition, the Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II is equipped with Zenith's unique gyroscopic escapement as well as chain and fusee constant force mechanism. On its back Columbus and the indigenous peoples of the New World are depicted in hand-engraved relief.

Monday, 24 August 2015

MARKET WATCH: A Trio of Finely Finished, Time-Only Wristwatches from Independents

A trio of time-only wristwatches by independent watchmakers - none of whom are Swiss notably - ranging from an appealingly priced McGonigle to a richly valued Roger Smith, starts off our new Market Watch series, covering notable watches for sale from around the web.

Watch listing service Crown & Calibre is offering a McGonigle Tuscar Banu, a time-only wristwatch made by a pair of Irish brothers. The movement is wonderfully finished, as an earlier published story illustrates. Only 20 pieces were made in red gold, featuring a grey tinted sapphire dial and a moment with German silver bridges. Complete with box and papers, it's available for US$27,500. I hesitate to call it a bargain, but it is attractively well-priced for the quality of the finishing.

Richard Mille introduces the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, Proving the Brain is the Most Important Sex Organ (Yes, Seriously)

At Watches&Wonders 2015 Richard Mille will unveil the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, a wristwatch with three rollers that display a random, sexy statement.

Whereas erotic watches of yore had automaton doings naughty things, the Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon dispenses with the explicit and instead features a trio of titanium rollers with text on each. A pusher at eight o'clock spins the rollers, which then stop randomly, creating a presumably titillating phrase. Richard Mille terms this complication the "oracle", which supposes it has predictive powers. [Addendum: In response to the flood of questions, yes, this is for real and it will be launched at Watches&Wonders 2015.]

Panerai Opens "History and Legend" Exhibition in Singapore

Officine Panerai delves into its past with the the History and Legend exhibition in Singapore, comprising to historical Panerai watches and for the first time, a full size model of the Italian navy human torpedo known as Siluro a Lenta Corsa (SLC).

Panerai's storied history as supplier of watches to Second World War Italian navy commandos will be on display starting August 26, 2015 with the opening of the "History and Legend" exhibition in Singapore. Timepieces spanning its history will be on show, including exceptionally rare vintage watches like the enormous GPF 2/56 dive watch made for the Egyptian navy in the 1950s known as the Egiziano.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Introducing the Klokers KLOK-01, the €349, Slide Rule-Inspired Wristwatch

Modelled on the slide rule, the Klokers KLOK-01 is a novel and affordable wristwatch that indicates the time on discs, combined with a patented removable strap, that is available on Kickstarter.

The Klokers KLOK-01 gets its inspiration from the slide rule, the mechanical calculator that reigned before the electronic calculator emerged in the 1970s. Featuring an array of scales that enabled multiplication, division and even roots and trigonometry, the slide rule was essentially an analogy computer. The KLOK-01 looks just like a circular slide rule, with three rotating discs for the hours, minutes and seconds. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Up Close with the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton (with Original Photos & Price)

Introduced as its entry-level skeleton watch, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is the brand's first open-worked timepiece without a tourbillon, offering the signature Roger Dubuis aesthetic but at a more accessible price.

Roger Dubuis' most distinctive watches are its skeleton tourbillons with star-shaped movement bridges; that very look is synonymous with the brand. Those watches, however, tend to be expensive; the recently introduced Excalibur Spider Double Tourbillon costs just under US$300,000. Conceived to solve those affordability woes is the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton, unveiled at SIHH 2015 and the first "Astral Skeleton" from Roger Dubuis without a tourbillon.

Action Star Donnie Yen Unveils the Million Dollar Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Golden Jubilee

Movie star Donnie Yen was in Singapore to open the Hublot pop-up store and unveil the yellow gold Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Golden Jubilee, a one of a kind creation set with 440 diamonds.

A unique piece created to mark Singapore's 50th anniversary, the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Golden Jubilee is a million dollar whopper in yellow gold, set with over 13 carats of baguette-cut diamonds. It was launched by Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen, best known for his roles Ip Man martial arts film series and the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, who was in Singapore to inaugurate the Hublot pop-up store.

Introducing the Sinn 103 A Sa B Pilot's Chronograph Limited Edition, Featuring a Galvanic Blue Dial (with Specs & Price)

Sinn bestows a metallic blue dial on its classic 103 pilot's chronograph with the 103 A Sa B limited edition, featuring a steel case equipped with the brand's patented dehumidifying technology.

The quintessential Sinn pilot's chronograph, the 103 has been in the catalogue since the 1960s when Helmut Sinn founded the company. It's functional and legibly, typically powered by the ever reliable Valjoux 7750 movement. Keeping the classic look but with the added flourish of an electroplated blue dial, the 103 A Sa B is limited edition of 500 pieces.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Sam Hines to Head Phillips' Watch Department as International Head of Watches

Putting an end to months of speculation, Phillips has just announced Sam Hines will becomes its International Head of Watches, overseeing the auctioneer's worldwide watch sales.

Based in Hong Kong, Hines was formerly International Co-Head of Watches at Christie's, having succeeded Aurel Bacs. Now Hines and Bacs are reunited, with Bacs as a Senior Consultant at Phillips

At Christie's Hines was responsible for several recording setting sales, including the US$5.8m hammer for a pair of Singing Bird Pistols, as well as the only Patek Philippe Star Calibre 2000 ever sold at auction, which brought in US$3.5m.

With Phillips having achieved sterling results at its first sale in May 2015 that included the Rolex Day-Date thematic auction, much will be expected for its upcoming sales in Geneva and Hong Kong, as well as the Only Watch charity auction.

Hands-On with the Hautlence Vortex "Concept d'Exception", Containing as Many Parts as a Grand Complication (with Original Photos & Price)

Featuring jumping hours on a chain linked to a rotating escapement, the Vortex puts the most complicated Hautlence movement inside a newly designed titanium case with sapphire crystals all round.

Established to develop new methods of showing the time, Hautlence first launched its flagship movement in the HL2.0 in 2010 (above left). The Vortex is an improvement on that, with a large, angular case that contains the tweaked movement that retains its signature features - a retrograde minutes, jumping hours and a escapement that rotates every hour.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Introducing the Valour Sopwith Aviator, Shaped Like a WWI Fighter Plane Rotary Engine (with Specs & Price)

Inspired by the nose engine of the legendary Sopwith Camel fighter aircraft, the Valour Sopwith Aviator is an English designed, Swiss made pilot's watch that resembles a rotary engine.

A single-seater biplane used by the British during the First World War, the Sopwith Camel was responsible for downing more enemy planes than any other Allied aircraft. The Sopwith Aviator from Valour Watch Company is a tribute to the Camel, with the case and dial modelled on the Clerget Type 9 rotary engine found on the early models of the fighter plane. 

Vacheron Constantin Opens Voyage & Ornaments Exhibition in Singapore

Voyage & Ornaments is a thematic exhibition dedicated to historic timepieces decorated with artisanal crafts, ranging from enamelling to engraving, that has just opened in Singapore.

The diversity of Vacheron Constantin's decorative timepieces across time and geography are demonstrated by the 14 vintage watches on display for Voyage & Ornaments in the Heritage Room of the Vacheron Constantin boutique at ION Orchard in Singapore. Arranged according to four themes - the East, Greece, Europe and skeletons - the timepieces illustrate the various techniques that have been used to adorn watches for centuries.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Introducing the Ultimate in Illumination, the Self-Positioning, $60,000 Anodos RAL 9000 Robotic Desk Lamp (with Video)

Possibly the most advanced lighting device ever, the RAL 9000 is a stainless steel, self-positioning LED lamp equipped with sensors, cameras and a motor, made by Japanese electronics firm Anodos.

A Tokyo-based manufacturer of high-end electronics (its offerings include a device that measures calories and alcoholic content of beverages), Anodos' latest creation is something watch geeks will appreciate. A perfect blend of Star Wars and magnificent engineering, the RAL 9000 is almost preposterous. A desk lamp with a mechanical arm, it's powered by motor and several servos that position the head. 

Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Chronograph, with an Upgraded & In-House Lemania (with Pricing)

Inspired by the vintage ref. 6087, the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 chronograph is amongst the first to feature the new calibre 1142, a heavily upgraded Lemania movement that Vacheron Constantin now makes in-house.

Chronographs were the main focus of Vacheron Constantin's line-up at SIHH 2015, particularly with the Harmony Chronograph and the new cal. 3300. But the Geneva watchmaker has saved something for Watches&Wonders 2015, slated to take place in September in Hong Kong. Powered by the cal. 1142, the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 is modelled on the ref. 6087, a rare vintage chronograph made for only a few years starting in the late 1950s.

Jaquet Droz Introduces the Grande Heure Minute Quantième, an Entry-Level, Steel Gentleman's Wristwatch (with Price)

Jaquet Droz has applied its minimalist design philosophy to a new price segment with the Grande Heure Minute Quantième its new entry level timepiece with steel case in two sizes, 39mm or 43mm.

Clean and functional in appearance, the Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Quantieme has only three hands and the date, with the only concession to decoration being the accentuated date window. Wide bevels on each side of the date display given the impression of peering through a keyhole. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Introducing the Louis Vuitton Tambour VVV - Volez, Voguez, Voyagez (with Specs & Price)

Inspired by an ad campaign from the 1960s unearthed from the Louis Vuitton archives, the Tambour VVV uses the triple V motif as the tricolour oversized central hand on the dial.

Short for “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez avec les valises Louis Vuitton” - meaning "Fly, Sail, Travel with Louis Vuitton suitcases" - a tagline from an advertisement used in the 1960s, the triple V motif is now a recurring theme in Louis Vuitton clothing and accessories designed by its Men's Artistic Director, Kim Jones. It now makes it debut in Louis Vuitton wristwatches with the Tambour VVV. A large triple V hand is the main element on the Tambour VVV line that includes a GMT, Chronograph and Spin Time GMT.

Explaining the Panerai Equation of Time 8 Days Calibre P.2002/E (with Original Photos & Price)

A departure from the typical Panerai formula, the Equation of Time 8 Days features an uncommon complication, with a linear scale indicating the difference between mean time and solar time.

Introduced at SIHH 2015, the Equation of Time 8 Days is an unusual Panerai. Instead of a complication typical for the brand like a chronograph or second time zone, the Equation of Time 8 Days - available either as a Radiomir 1940 (PAM516) or Luminor 1950 (PAM601) - shows the difference between mean solar time and apparent solar time. That's the difference between the conventional 24-hour day and the actual length of the day based on the Earth's orbit of the Sun, what you would see on a sundial in other words.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Explaining How Tudor's Fabric NATO Straps Are Made (with Video)

Inspired by the NATO strap and a key element of Tudor's emblematic Heritage watches, the fabric bands offered with Tudor's watches are not just a colourful accessory, but the products of traditional weaving techniques on Jacquard loom operated by hand.

Tudor was a somnolent brand that never quite got a firm identity of its own until it introduced the black and orange Heritage Chrono at Baselworld 2010. Modelled on the vintage Monte Carlo chronograph, the Heritage Chrono was accompanied by a fabric band inspired by the British military-spec canvas strap. That was the beginning of the successful Heritage line modelled on vintage watches that includes the bestselling Black Bay, but more importantly the fabric straps showed the world that Tudor finally understood what makes the watch aficionado tick.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Omega Introduces the Seamaster 300 SPECTRE Limited Edition for Upcoming James Bond Film (with Specs, Price)

Worn by James Bond in the latest instalment of the spy franchise, the very same Omega Seamaster 300 SPECTRE will also be available to the public in a 7007-piece limited edition.

James Bond's watch supplier since GoldenEye in 1995, Omega has just announced the Seamaster 300 SPECTRE limited edition. A variant of the Seamaster 300 with minor tweaks that will appeal to traditionalists, the Seamaster 300 SPECTRE will also be on Daniel Craig's wrist in the upcoming movie, making it the first time that the wristwatch used in the film is also available for sale.

The Verdict: An In-Depth, Critical Look at the Original 1994 Tourbillon Pour le Mérite from A. Lange & Söhne

Widely regarded as the most desirable wristwatch from A. Lange & Söhne, the original Tourbillon Pour le Mérite is also one of the brand's most historically important timepieces. But 20 years after its launch, what's the verdict on the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite as a watch? We take a detailed look at one to find out the answer. 

One of the four models the revived A. Lange & Söhne introduced on October 24, 1994, the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite was the first ever wristwatch with a chain and fusee mechanism. While the Lange 1 was arguably the most distinctive watch, the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite was the flagship of the collection, named after one of Germany's highest orders of merit. It was proof that the newly established firm could do as well as any Swiss watchmaker. 

As Lange ascended into the top ranks of high horology watchmakers over the last two decades, the Tourbillon Pour le Merite has naturally become a sought after and valuable collectible, selling for over three times its original retail price at auction, with unique variants going for even more. But the question has to be asked: how good is the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite, especially compared against contemporary watchmaking?

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Introducing the Richard Mille RM 022 Aerodyne Dual Time Zone Tourbillon Asia Edition

Conceived for Watches&Wonders 2015, the RM 022 Aerodyne Dual Time Zone Tourbillon Asia Edition is a facelift of Richard Mille's aerospace-inspired tourbillon, now featuring an NTPT Carbon and red gold case.

A limited edition of just eight watches for Richard Mille's boutiques in Asia, the RM 022 Aerodyne Asia Edition is a tourbillon with a second time zone display that's the highlight of the brand's line-up for Watches&Wonders 2015 in Hong Kong. The bezel and back of the case are made of North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) composite, a lightweight carbon fibre reinforced polymer with a distinctive woodgrain pattern. Sandwiched in between the NTPT Carbon plates is a red gold case band, echoed in the red gold hands and chapter ring.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Hands-On with the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1000m Cermet "Gold Ocean" SBDX016 (with Original Photos & Price)

Seiko has given its iconic "Tuna" diver's watch a radical new look with the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster "Gold Ocean" limited edition featuring a pink gold-coloured Cermet shroud.

Seiko introduced a slew of new dive watches at Baselworld 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of its first dive watch, including the top of the line Marinemaster Hi-Beat limited edition. The most striking additions in the new diver's line-up is Prospex Marinemaster 1000m Cermet (ref. SBDX016), labelled the "Gold Ocean for its impractically glossy, pink gold ceramic and metal composite shroud.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Up Close with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso 1931 Seconde Centrale (with Original Photos & Price)

Introduced at SIHH 2015, the white gold Grande Reverso 1931 Seconde Centrale is the first vintage-style Reverso 1931 with a self-winding movement, the calibre 966A.

First unveiled four years ago, the Grande Reverso 1931 is one of Jaeger-LeCoultre's most successful products, combining the classic swivelling case with dials modelled on vintage Reverso models, including the Rouge and tropical dial Chocolate. The latest addition to the 1931 line-up is the Grande Reverso 1931 Seconde Centrale, the first model with an automatic movement.

MB&F Introduces the Melchior Only Watch, a One of a Kind Robot Clock for Charity

Phillips has just announced the Melchior Only Watch, a unique edition of MB&F's robot clock with red shoulder plates, for the Only Watch charity auction in November 2015.

Joining fellow luminaries of independent watchmaking like F.P. Journe, Voutilainen and De Bethune, MB&F has created a one of a kind variant of the Melchior clock for Only Watch 2015. It's distinguished by its red should plates (the regular edition is in black or silver), made of anodised aluminium and modelled on the colours of the flag of Monaco, where Only Watch takes place.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Monday Lessons: Explaining the Ups and Downs of Constant Force Mechanisms in Mechanical Movements

The pursuit of constant force in a mechanical movement is as old as watchmaking, with many old solutions like the chain and fusee having been turned into new expressions of artisanal skill. But at the cutting edge true constant force escapements have emerged thanks to new materials.

A chain and fusee inside the Richard Lange Pour le Mérite

Arguably the most famous obstacle to good timekeeping is gravity and its effect on the balance, largely thanks to the proliferation of tourbillons and the enthusiastic efforts to sell them. But there exists another issue that has confronted watchmakers for just as long, though not quite as visually engaging as gravity and the tourbillon: the uneven power delivered by the mainspring. The power from by the mainspring is excessive at the beginning and insufficient at the end, with only the flat middle portion of the power optimally suited for good timekeeping.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hands-On with the Seiko 5 Military Red Dial Amazon Edition - Yes, the Online Bookseller (with Original Photos & Price)

One of the best value propositions the watch world, the Seiko 5 Military is now available with a red dial as a special edition for internet retailer Amazon.

Automatic and inspired by the Baumuster B dials of beobachtungsuhr (observation watches) used by Second World War German aviators, the Seiko 5 Military costs as little as US$50 - making it one of the all time great buys in mechanical watches. The Seiko 5 Military is now also available with an unusual red dial, a special edition that's, surprisingly enough, exclusive to Amazon (ref. SNKM95).

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Five Special Edition Watches For SG50 - Singapore's 50th Anniversary

Singapore celebrates its 50th year since independence on August 9, 2015, and several watchmakers have unveiled special editions for the event, known as SG50. 

Singapore declared independence from Malaya in 1965, starting a 50 year climb into the ranks of the richest countries in the world. SG50 is a major event in Singapore, which is also one of the key markets globally for fine timepieces. As a result several watchmakers have created special editions for Singapore's 50th national day.

North Korea Creates New Time Zone of GMT+8:30 Just for Itself

Starting August 15 North Korea will be in a time zone of its own, setting its clocks back by half an hour to create the time zone of GMT+8:30.

A train station in Pyongyang, North Korea
Credit Wong Maye-E/Associated Press

Now using the same time zone of GMT+9 as South Korea and Japan, North Korea will begin using its own time zone set a half hour earlier starting August 15, 2015, allowing it to break away from "wicked Japanese imperialists". Its move to a time zone eight and a half hours ahead of GMT will bring the number of time zones in the world to 41, and perhaps the addition of "PYNG" to the cities disc of world time watches.

Hublot Unveils Big Bang 10th Anniversary Pop-Up Store in Singapore for SG50, and the Red Dot Bang Limited Edition

Hublot marks the 10th anniversary of the Big Bang alongside Singapore's 50th year of independence with a pop-up store in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping district in the city state, together with a pair of limited edition chronographs.

Open from August 16, 2015, the Hublot pop-up store in Singapore is its largest ever, comprising some 1050 square metres. It's dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Big Bang, the wristwatch that revived the brand, and also SG50 - the 50 years since Singapore became independent in 1965. Making its debut alongside the opening of the pop-up store is the Red Dot Bang, a pair of limited editions created specially for the occasion.

Friday, 7 August 2015

U.S. Watch Sales Post Biggest Fall in Seven Years After Apple Watch Launch

Watch sales in the United States fell 14% in June 2015, the biggest drop in seven years, with low priced watches registering the most severe falls, according to Bloomberg.

Whether or not the Apple Watch is any good, it appears to taking market share away from traditional timepieces, particularly low priced, "fashion" watches, as reported by Bloomberg, citing market research firm NPD Group. Though Apple has not revealed how many watches it has sold, it appears more Apple Watches than traditional wristwatches were sold in June 2015.

Introducing the Atop World Time, a Clever and Practical Travel Watch for $120 (with Original Photos & Price)

Simultaneously clever and practical, the Atop World Time is an affordable travel watch set via an aluminium bezel that can also account for Summer Time, and is now available in a 100 piece limited edition for Singapore's 50th National Day.

Few inexpensive watches are clever, but the Atop Time Zone is both ingenious and practical. Established by a Taiwanese engineer and his wife, Atop has only one product - a convenient world time - in both wristwatch and travel clock form. The world time works on a simple principle: the hands are synchronised with a world time bezel showing cities representing the 24 time zones in the world. So turning the bezel anticlockwise moves the hour hand forwards in one hour increments.

Up Close with the Patek Philippe Ref. 5539G Minute Repeater Tourbillon (with Original Photos & Video)

Unassumingly plain with a black enamel dial and spade hands, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5539G is an entry level watch of sorts, being the simplest hand-wound minute repeating wristwatch in the collection.

Introduced two years ago at Baselworld 2013, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5539G is a minute repeater with tourbillon, an exceptionally complex and fine watch that is also unpretentious. It's the spiritual successor of the Ref. 3939 launched in 1992, equipped with the same calibre R TO 27 PS.

Seiko Opens Premium Boutique in Tokyo Dedicated to Grand Seiko, Credor & Galante

Focused exclusively on Seiko's high-end timepieces, the first ever Seiko Premium Boutique recently opened in Ginza, Tokyo's famous shopping district.

The Seiko Premium Boutique in Ginza is the first of its kind, a store solely for Seiko's top-end timepieces - Grand Seiko, Credor and Galante - and nothing else. Located a short walk away from the heart of Ginza where the Wako department store is located, the Seiko Premium Boutique carries the widest selection of Grand Seiko anywhere in the world.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A Detailed Look at the IWC Portugieser Automatic 7-Days, a New and Improved Classic (with Original Photos & Price)

A modern classic with practical feaftures, the IWC Portugieser Automatic 7-Days is now in its second generation, featuring a newly developed movement but retaining its distinctive aesthetics. And best of all, it still costs the same as before.

Self-winding with a week long power reserve, the IWC Portugieser Automatic has a date and power reserve display, making it an eminently practical timepiece. The second generation introduced at SIHH 2015 is visually unchanged from its predecessor, but is equipped with the newly developed calibre 52010. Functionally the movement is identical to the outgoing calibre 5000, but boasts significant improvements, including the winding pawls and wheel in black ceramic.

Hands-On with the Parmigiani Bugatti Type 370 Revelation - the Final Edition of the Original Sculptural Movement (with Original Photos & Price)

Introduced in 2005, the Parmigiani Bugatti Type 370 featured a surprising and original cylindrical movement. Having reached the end of its production, Parmigiani is ending the run with three unique pieces, including the Bugatti Type 370 Révélation.

The Parmigiani Bugatti Type 370 was unveiled in 2005, the year Urwerk created the Opus V for Harry Winston and well before MB&F presented its first wristwatch. With a transverse movement featuring its gears mounted vertically, the Bugatti Type 370 was one of the original sculptural movements. 

To mark the 10th anniversary of Parmigiani's partnership with Bugatti as well as celebrate the end of its production run, three unique pieces of the Bugatti Type 370 wristwatch have been created, one of which is the Bugatti Type 370 Révélation, with a case and dial inspired by the grille of the Bugatti Veyron.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Introducing the Omega Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph Rio 2016 Limited Edition (with Specs & Price)

Made to commemorate the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Seamaster Bullhead Rio 2016 adds a colour twist to Omega's distinctive 1970s chronograph, in a limited edition of 316 pieces.

As the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games, Omega counts down each year to the upcoming games in Brazil with a limited edition, with this year's edition being the Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph Rio 2016. A sequel to the Speedmaster Mark II Rio 2016 introduced last year, the Bullhead is based on the historic remake of a 1970s classic.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Audemars Piguet Unveils Royal Oak Floral Clock at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Modelled on the Royal Oak wristwatch, the Audemars Piguet Floral Clock is a gift to Singapore for its 50th year of independence, on display at Gardens by the Bay.

Seven metres, or some 23 feet, in diameter, the Audemars Piguet Floral Clock is the largest and only such clock in Singapore. Combining horology, landscaping and floriculture, the clock is a gift from the Swiss watchmaking to Singapore, which celebrates its Golden Jubilee in 2015.

Taking several weeks to construct (the process is detailed in photos at the end), the clock is a replica of the Royal Oak, with an octagonal bezel made of granite with weather resistant, stainless steel octagonal nuts. And each of the steel hour markers have embedded LED lights so indicate the time at night.

Bulgari Introduces the New Diagono Scuba, Powered by the In-House Solotempo Movement (with Specs, Prices)

Bulgari has unveiled the new Diagono Scuba, an evolution of its 1990s classic with the same recognisable style but larger and equipped with the BVL191 Solotempo calibre.

Introduced in 1994, the Bulgari Diagono Scuba was one of the first luxury dive watches with a laid-back charm that made it a hit, becoming one of the most fashionable of the decade. Now Bulgari has redesigned the Scuba, keeping its signature aesthetic while making significant improvements, including an in-house self-winding movement.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Russian Presidential Spokesman Causes Controversy with $620,000 Richard Mille Wristwatch at Wedding

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was photographed with a Richard Mille RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon at his recent wedding, sparking controversy in Russia.

Source: @mitvoltv on Instagram

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, recently wed Tatiana Navka, an Olympic figure skating gold medallist at a luxury hotel in the seaside resort city of Sochi. On his wrist during the event was a US$620,000 Richard Mille RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon, one of just 30 made.