Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Basel 2012 preview: Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer inspired by marine chronometer

After this year's successful Hamilton Pan Europ limited edition (I like mine a lot), Hamilton is debuting yet another vintage inspired watch at Baselworld 2012 in March.

The Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer limited edition is modelled on the marine chronometers Hamilton made for the US Navy in the forties. It can be worn on a leather strap, or housed in the accompanying Para rubber tree wood box as a table clock.

My epic SIHH 2012 report is out

My report on the SIHH 2012 novelties, comprising 11,072 words and 526 photos, has just been posted. As far as I know, there isn't anyone else doing such a comprehensive report. Do take a look.


Friday, 27 January 2012

A peek at Panerai novelties of SIHH 2012

Here's a peek at some of my photos of the Panerai novelties launched at SIHH 2012. 


Dial of the Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT in ceramic, PAM396

Power reserve indicator detail of the Luminor 1950 3 Days Power Reserve, PAM 423

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Reversos at SIHH 2012

SIHH 2012 saw some beautiful Reversos being launched, all the in highly successful 1931 case that was first seen last year. I especially love the 1931 in white gold with small seconds (last watch pictured).


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Some close-ups from SIHH 2012

As I work on processing the photos I took at SIHH 2012 (totalling 3450), here are a selection of ones already completed. My full report will be out soon.


AP  Royal Oak skeleton tourbillon

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A selection of live photos from SIHH 2012

Here are a few photos of watches from various brands that caught my eye. I still have several more brands to go. 


AP Royal Oak tourbillon skeleton in platinum

De Bethune with Mayan theme engraving

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Overview of Officine Panerai at SIHH 2012 in Geneva

Here's an overview of the novelties from Panerai with stock photos from the press kit. This covers most of them. 



Monday, 16 January 2012

SIHH 2012: The Cartier Fine Watchmaking collection

Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar
Cartier presents a varied and impressive line-up for its Fine Watchmaking collection at SIHH 2012. At the very top is the accomplished Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon that was already previewed before SIHH. But one of the stars of the 2012 line-up in my opinion is the Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar. A highly legible calendar thanks to its clever design, the annual calendar is practical and well priced. More on the rest of the 2012 collection, including the Grand Complication Skeleton Pocket Watch, in my comprehensive report on the Cartier forum I moderate.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Appealing to the fairer sex with Chanel's almost secret tourbillon

Unlike the just unveiled Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 3, the new Chanel Première Flying Tourbillon "beats away discreetly and almost secretly" according to the press release. That's because the tourbillon cage topped by a camelia flower that hides most of it. The rest of the watch is less discreet however, the case is white gold with 7.2 carats of diamonds and a glossy black ceramic dial.

Chanel Première Flying Tourbillon

Though the movement is by Renaud & Papi, a simple flying tourbillon like this would be tough to sell to a collector, most of whom are male and have been inundated with tourbillons in the last five years. But this tourbillon is targeted squarely at ladies, which changes things.

JLC Deep Sea chrono - A lack of creativity?

JLC Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph
In another of its numerous SIHH 2012 previews, Jaeger-LeCoultre has revealed the Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph containing the automatic 751G calibre. Visually it is very similar to last year's Memovox Deep Sea Alarm, which sold nicely.

The 40.5 mm Deep Sea chronograph is not a remake of a vintage watch like the Deep Sea Alarm was, but rather a vintage looking watch. Neither is it a limited edition.

Introducing the Rado True Thinline automatic, the Slimmest Mechanical Ceramic Watch in the World

But I recently tried on the Rado True Thinline automatic while picking up another watch and I was surprised. The True Thinline is a very slim watch, at only 7.8 mm high, available in white or black ceramic with a matching rubber strap. 

It's a simple watch and the movement inside is some ETA but it just works. And the fact that the True Thinline is priced reasonably with a retail of about US$2000 helps. And now Rado has just announced a True Thinline skeleton in white ceramic, to be lauched at Baselworld 2012. I'm looking forward to seeing this.


News: HYT H1

Here is a bit more information on the interesting hydro-mechanical HYT H1, seen here a few days ago. First the mechanics: the tube that displays the hours is actually filled with two immiscible liquids, one fluorescent green and the other clear. The meniscus separating the two is the hour indicator.


Once the green liquid hits six o'clock, it quickly flows backwards and starts again , like a retrograde hand. Pressure on each of the liquids is exerted by a pair of flexible alloy bellows at six o'clock.

Baselworld 2012: Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 3

Here is a preview of the remarkable looking Histoire de Tourbillon 3 Harry Winston will present at Baselworld 2012 in March. It has one double axis tourbillon at nine o'clock with one cage rotating once every 40 seconds and the other every 120 seconds. The second tourbillon tourbillon at six o'clock makes one revolution every 36 seconds, which HW says is most effective in the vertical position. Both tourbillons are linked by a differential, similar to the Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 2.

Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 3

Harry Winston doesn't reveal who made the movement but it is surely Greubel Forsey, or more specifically Complitime, the sister company of Greubel Forsey that does movement development for other firms.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Vincent Perriard returns with another hydro-mechanical watch

The short lived Concord C1 Quantum Gravity
The video below shows the HYT H1, which will be launched officially at Basel. Helmed by Vincent Perriard, formerly of Concord and Technomarine, HYT makes "hydro-mechanical watches". From the video it appears the hours are indicated by the green fluid while the minutes and seconds have hands.

This is not a new idea of course. It first used by Concord in its BNB-made C1 Quantum Gravity watch where it served as the power reserve. I don't know if the Quantum Gravity ever made it to production.


Introducing the Renaissance tourbillon repeater from Speake-Marin

Gentleman watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin just officially unveiled the Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater, a few months after the entry level Spirit Pioneer. I was fortunate enough to see the Renaissance last year and it has similar proportions to the Thalassa with the SM2 calibre. That is to say it is fairly wide but slim, measuring 44 mm by 11 mm, unlikely his earlier Piccadilly cases that were quite thick.

The movement was developed by Les Fabrique du Temps, the outfit recently bought by LVMH responsible for the Laurent Ferrier Galet Tourbillon. It features elaborately hand-engraved bridges and on the front the dial is skeletonised.


De Bethune's Resonique explained

This video illustrates De Bethune's recently announced Resonique regulator very well. Essentially it works via a rotating magnet that causes a high frequency oscillation of the resonator. The video shows the Resonique  from 0:49 onwards.


Sunday, 8 January 2012

De Bethune's 6.6 million bph regulator

De Bethune recently announced a prototype of a regulator running at 926 Hz, or 6.6 million bph, which it terms the "Résonique”. The brand is already accomplished in creating exotic in-house escapements, like the 36,000 bph silicon tourbillon in the DB28T, originally seen on the Dream Watch 3.

According to De Bethune the Resonique has no balance wheel or hairspring, and instead "is based on the successful synchronisation between an acoustic resonator and a magnetic escapement rotor within a mechanical watch". I have very little idea of what that means exactly. 

That, however, does remind me of the TAG Heuer Pendulum with its magnetic balance. Incidentally the TAG Heuer Mikrotimer 1/1000th chronograph has a second balance wheel that beats at 3.6 million bph, but it is still similar to a traditional escapement.

Details of the Resonique will be out on Jan 15, 2012.

Update: This video illustrates the principles of the Resonique quite well.


Friday, 6 January 2012

The wisdom of a watch commemorating a TV show?

Televsion much less of a cultural icon than film. It is more short lived and faddish. It's easy to name films from decades ago, but to do the same for television shows is much tougher. Which is why I'm ambivalent about the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso made for the TV series "Mad Men".

The Mad Men Reverso is essentially the Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 in steel, with the logo of the fictional advertising agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on the back. Strangely enough the 1931 is quite an ideal watch for a TV show set in the 1950s, and the Reverso is easy to personalise.

Up close with the overpriced but cool Richard Mille RM035

A couple of months ago I was loaned the Richard Mille RM035 Rafael Nadal Chronofiable for a review that was published in The Peak magazine. As I wrote in the review, the RM035 is far, far from haute horlogerie. After all in the realm of Richard Mille, price is inverse to weight.

The quality of finishing and watchmaking is inadequate for the price. Mechanically I struggle to see anything novel or interesting about the movement construction, except for the skeletonisation with the parts suspended by the lattice. As for finishing, the photos below tell the story, though it has to be said the watch pictured is a prototype.