Friday, 30 March 2012

Introducing the Chanel J12 in matte black ceramic

Introduced just over a decade ago, the Chanel J12 in glossy ceramic has been so incredibly successful it's one of the most widely faked watches in the world. 

Chanel J12 Matte Black 42 mm

Chanel makes its ceramic cases in-house, thanks to its ownership of La Chaux-de-Fonds case and buckle manufacturer G&F Chatelain, which counts amongst its clients MB&F and Bell & Ross.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tudor Pelagos 500 m diver - live photos

Besides the vintage-styled Black Bay, Tudor also unveiled the 500 m titanium Pelagos diver at Baselword 2012. Our compatriots at Watchonista have shared a couple of sharp pictures with us.

Tudor Pelagos
Photos courtesy Watchonista

Monday, 26 March 2012

Stanislas de Quercize Appointed Chief Executive of Cartier

Bernard Fornas
This has been rumoured for some time but finally the news is official, the current CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, Stanislas de Quercize, will become the next CEO of Cartier once Bernard Fornas retires later this year. Given Cartier's size and position, the Cartier CEO job is certainly one of the most influential in the industry. But also because Cartier is so large and established, I don't forsee any drastic changes after the change in management.

Many of the top jobs in Richemont watch brands and the group itself are occupied by Cartier alumni, by virtue of it being the biggest brand of the group. Mr Quercize is not new to Cartier, he was President of Cartier North America before assuming the top job at VC&A in 2005. 

Mr de Quercize has done an admirable job of growing VC&A into one of the largest brands in the Richemont stable so it is no surprise he is returning to run the largest brand. And given his track record Cartier's strong run - it is about half of Richemont revenue now - looks set to continue. 

Mr Fornas, who turns 65 this year, will continue to have a management role at Richemont, as is tradition for ex-Cartier senior executives; he will remain on the Group Management Committee.


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Hands-on with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Rouge (with live photos and pricing)

Last year's Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso 1931 was a big success and so the variants have multiplied, including enamelled versions launched at SIHH 2012 and even a limited edition for the TV show "Mad Men". One of the most striking versions is the Grande Reverso 1931 Rouge.

In the thirties JLC made the Reverso with various colourful dials, in addition to the more common black or white. The Reverso Rouge is a remake of a uncommon Reverso with a red dial.

The Reverso Rouge has a glossy red lacquered dial with painted silver markers. The dial is a muted red tone, oxblood in colour that will work equally as well as a man's or lady's watch.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Devon Works presents the Tread 2

Devon Works Tread 2
Devon Works, the American company that unveiled the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve-winning Tread 1 last year, has just presented the Tread 2. The premise remains the same - the watch displays the time on belts driven by gears with the whole mechanism powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can be recharged wirelessly.

But unlike the Tread 1 which had three belts, including one for constant seconds, the Tread 2 is simplified with only two belts showing hours and minutes. The belts on the Tread 2 are mounted perpendicular to each other, in contrast to the Tread 1 which had the belts at an angle. 

Inspired by American aerospace manufacturing, the belts are a mere 2/1000th of an inch thick and driven by miniature motors controlled by an IC loaded with Devon's proprietary software. According to Devon, the accuracy is +/- 0.5 seconds a day.

Introducing The Experimetal Rolex Deep Sea Challenge - The World's Deepest Diving Wristwatch

Two weeks after the new no-date Submariner was presented at Baselworld 2012, Rolex has just announced its Deepsea Challenge concept watch, made for National Geographic's Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron's Deepsea Challenger Expedition. Mr Cameron will take his custom-designed submersible to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth at 35,800 ft or 10,912 m.

The Rolex Deepsea Challenge, which appears to be a bulked-up Sea-Dweller Deepsea, is rated to 39,370 ft or 12,000 m, for good measure. According to Rolex Passion Report, the Deepsea Challenge is 51.4 mm wide and 28.5 mm high - and its sapphire crystal is 14.3 mm thick. Like the Sea-Dweller Deepsea, the Deepsea Challenge has a steel case middle and titanium case back.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Up Close With The Incredible Patina Of The Panerai PAM382 Bronzo "Chronopassion"

Yesterday I posted photos of the incredibly unique Panerai Submersible PAM 382 Bronzo, owned by Laurent Picciotto of haute horlogerie retailer Chronopassion in Paris. After ten days of beach wear the watch looks like it's an ancient artifact. Laurent kindly sent me additional photos of his unusual Bronzo and here they are.

Because bronze is a copper alloy, the surface copper oxidises, giving it the patina seen on the watch. The green bits are all the results of the oxidisation of the copper. The Statue of Liberty is clad in copper, hence its green colour.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Examining The Exceptional Patina Of A Panerai Bronzo PAM382

Laurent Picciotto, the inimitable owner of Paris retailer Chronopassion, kindly allowed me to post a photo of his Panerai Submersible PAM 382 Bronzo. According to Laurent, this is the result of a mere ten days of swimming and kite surfing in the Caribbean.

As you can see, the bronze alloy has developed an exceptional patina. Compare this well worn Bronzo with a month old Bronzo that has been worn regularly to the office, and the Bronzo prototype from 2011. The drastic differences in the alloy due to different environments are obvious.

Thanks to Laurent for sharing this photo. And for those heading to Paris, Chronopassion on 271 rue Saint-Honoré is well worth a visit. It is a smallish store but incredibly well stocked, especially with outstanding pieces from avant-garde independents.


Panerai PAM00382 Bronzo owned by Laurent Picciotto

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Panerai PAM382 Bronzo after a month

The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Bronzo PAM 382 is probably the most sought after Panerai limited edition of the last year (and probably even this year).

Panerai PAM382 Bronzo
Last year I covered the PAM00382 Bronzo prototype that had been travelling the world for some months. That Bronzo had acquired a substantial patina and looked much duller than when new.

In contrast, here is a newish Bronzo that has been worn regularly for about a month. Note how the bronze is has a strong colour, bright and reddish yellow.

A pair of Dufour grande sonnerie watches at Sotheby's

Philippe Dufour
Grande and Petite Sonnerie pocket watch
Sotheby's upcoming sale in Hong Kong on 4 April 2012 will see a pair of grande and petite sonnerie "clockwatches" by Philippe Dufour, the watchmaker behind the legendary Simplicity wristwatch, go under the hammer. Both of these watches are classical watchmaking at its very best.

One is an Audemars Piguet pocket watch, No. 1 of a series of five, in yellow gold (Lot 2310) made by Philippe Dufour for Audemars Piguet in 1982. This piece was retailed by English jewellery Asprey and is signed as such. 

Mr Dufour has mentioned the work he did for Audemars Piguet in interviews, saying that even though he made the watch his name was not on the dial, citing it as a reason he became an independent watchmaker.

The estimate for this is HKD1.0-1.5 million, which is USD128,800-193,200. I'm certain it will at least sell for the higher end of the estimate.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sinn U2 Meisterbund III for Japanese market

Japan often gets special editions made specifically its market due to the size and highly developed taste of Japanese watch buyers. Sinn has made a couple of interesting limited editions for Japan, the latest being the U2 Meisterbund III.

This is based on the regular U2 dive watch, but unlike the normal U2, the U2 Meisterbund III has no second time zone function, giving it a much cleaner dial.

Sinn U2 Meisterbund III
Photo courtesy Sinn Japan

Rated to 2000 m, the U2 Meisterbund III has a 44 mm case in submarine steel with a black PVD coated bezel hardened with the Tegiment process. It also has Sinn's Ar-Dehumidifying technology with a copper sulphate capsule in the case to absorb moisture.

Sinn U212 SDR - 47 mm of bomb-proof Submarine steel

Sinn U212 SDR
Sinn unveiled the impressive U212 SDR dive watch at Baselworld 2012. This is the (much) bigger version of the bestselling U1 diver.

The Sinn U212 SDR has a 47 mm submarine steel case with a bezel that has been hardened with Sinn's Tegiment process and black coated, hence the SDR label which stands for "schwarzem drehring", or black bezel in English.

This watch is equipped to deal with extreme environments. It can function between -45 °C and +80 °C because of the proprietary Sinn lubrication used for the ETA 2892 calibre.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Introducing the Chopard LUC 8HF with an Ultra-High Frequency 8 Hz or 57,600 bph Escapement

Ultra high-frequency escapements are slowing gaining ground, though it remains to be seen how their long term reliability will be. Chopard is the latest to join the likes of De Bethune's Resonique

The LUC 8HF utilises the COSC chronometer certified L.U.C 01.06-L movement with a balance wheel that beats at 8 Hz or 57,600 bph, twice the speed of most movements which run at 28,800 bph. This high frequency implies better stability and more precise timekeeping, at least in theory.

The LUC 8HF has some notable features. It manages a respectable 60 hour power reserve with a single barrel. And the escape wheel and pallet are in silicon. For that Chopard developed a new method of attaching steel to silicon, on which is patent is pending.

Full moon for Chopard at Baselworld 2012

Chopard presented a pair of LUC moon phase watches at Baselworld 2012. The first is the face-lifted Lunar One perpetual calendar in a largish 43 mm rose gold case, which like all Chopard cases is cast at Chopard's own foundry.

This is just one of the few LUC watches that have been redesigned since Guy Bove, IWC's ex-chief designer took over at Chopard.

The new Lunar One is styled similarly to the LUC Triple Certification "3C" tourbillon, and unfortunately it suffers from the same problem - a superb movement presented in a less than compelling case.

While the L.U.C 96QP movement is superbly finished (revamped Geneva Seal certified naturally), and it's an instantaneous perpetual to boot, the new Lunar One is still visually lacking in my opinion. 

Hublot bling at Basel 2012

To continue on yesterday's theme of unashamed bling. You know the old saying that goes, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it?" Well the Hublot $5 Million Big Bang at Baselworld 2012 solves that problem nicely.

It has 1281 diamonds, including over 100 carats of baguettes and six square emerald cut stones of three carats each. That's about 120 carats of diamonds I reckon.

According to Hublot, 12 cutters spent seven months polishing the diamonds, followed by five setters placing the stones, all done by Atelier Bunter in Geneva. The skill and effort involved in creating this is impresive.

Naming the watch after its price is a smart move, given that this sort of watch would appeal to buyers for whom price, rather than value, is paramount.

Incidentally Singapore retailer The Hour Glass purchased this watch.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Rolex bling at Baselworld 2012 including the Rainbow Daytona (with pricing)

For a detour beyond technically minded horology, look no further than Rolex. Beyond the usual so-called professional watches like the ceramic Submariner no-date, or even the new Sky-Dweller annual calendar, Rolex always has lots of bling, in the peculiar Rolex style, to show at Baselworld. And so it was this year.

Rolex Daytona Rainbow

Before you judge these watches, remember that they all have entirely in-house movements with free-sprung, adjustable mass balance and proprietary alloy hairspring formed into a Breguet overcoil. While that is entiely true, I write it semi-seriously; the aesthetic is for a very specific clientele.

The flagship is probably the Daytona Cosmograph "Rainbow" (ref. 116598 RBOW). That's because bezel is set with baguette-cut sapphires forming a rainbow pattern (no kidding).

Chopard presents first skeleton LUC automatic - the striking Skeletec

Chopard LUC Skeletec in rose gold
Chopard has unveiled the first skeleton watch from the L.U.C. range at Baselworld 2012, the LUC XP Skeletec. XP stands for "extra plat", or extra thin; the 39.5 mm case is a mere 7.13 mm thick.

The LUC cal. 96.17-S has been skeletonised in a contemporary fashion with geometric shapes, rather than the traditional Baroque, engraved openworking.

Horizontal Geneva stripes work well with the circular motif of the skeleton base plate; the open bridges on the back are grained and black coated with striking effect.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Introducing The Nomos Zürich, Now Available In Metallic Blue And Brown (With Specs And Price)

Glashütte-based Nomos, best known for its monochromatic and austere Tangente, has unveiled two attractive dial colours for its Zürich wristwatch, originally designed by the late Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein.

Omega launches DeVille Chronograph with the impressive 9300 calibre

Omega's Co-Axial calibre 9300/9301 is impressive and illustrative of the company's push into higher end but industrialised movements.

It is a chronograph with column wheel, the Co-Axial escapement invented by George Daniels and the free-sprung Si14 silicon balance wheel.

And it has an hour hand that can be adjusted independently without affecting the setting of the minute and seconds hands. Also, the hour and minute chronograph hands are co-axial on the sub-dial at three. Plus Omega delivers it with a four year warranty.

Omega launches the Spacemaster Z-33 multi-function pilot's watch

Omega Spacemaster Z-33
Strangely enough one of the most interesting Omega products at Baselworld 2012 is a quartz watch. The Spacemaster Z-33 multi-function pilot's watch is the successor to the discontinued X-33 (Omega is running out of letters). 

Highly regarded amongst pilots, the X-33 was an official watch of NASA as well as the US airforce; versions with squadron logos come up on the secondary market occasionally.

The Z-33 uses the new cal. 5666 with lots of bells and whistles. It has all the usual features of a multi-function digital: date, UTC and dual time zone, alarm, perpetual calendar, chronograph and countdown. And it also has programmable pilot functions to log up to ten flights and visualise those logs with date-hour indications.

Omega Reissues the First Speedmaster Moon Watch

Omega has just remade the first Speedmaster worn in space (so not technically a moon watch) and presented it at Baselworld 2012. This is a reissue of the watch astronaut Wally Schirra had on during the Mercury Atlas 8 mission in October 1962, which he bought for himself. 

This year is the 50th anniversary of that mission, hence the Speedmaster "First Omega in Space" limited edition (ref. 311.

Mr Schirra's watch was a mere Speedmaster, as it came before "Professional" was added to the Speedmaster moniker. That happened in 1966 after NASA officially selected the Speedmaster as its space watch.

Explained: HYT H1 hydro-mechanical wristwatch

This was announced in January and previewed here, and now at Baselworld 2012 it has finally be officially launched. Using liquids to indicate the time, the hydro-mechanical HYT H1 is one of the most interesting watches of the fair so far.

HYT H1 in 5N rose gold
The idea behind it is simple. The clear tube running along the circumfrence of the dial has two immiscible liquids inside, one clear and the other a fluorescent green.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Up Close With The Incredible Philippe Dufour Simplicity

All the attention is on Baselworld 2012, but for those who wants a diversion, here is something Simplistic for your enjoyment. Arguably the best finished contemporary wristwatch in the world, the Philippe Dufour Simplicity.

The Simplicity is functionally, and visually, a distilled vision of mid-twentieth century Vallée de Joux watchmaking. But turn it over, and have your breath taken away.

Tudor Pelagos self adjustment clasp explained

The following video illustrates the self adjusting mechanism in the clasp of the newly launched Tudor Pelagos 500 m diver in titanium, essentially a pair of springs that allow the clasp to expand and contract as the wearer descends and ascends in the water. The change in pressure due to the changing depth causes the neoprene wetsuit to expand and contract, so the bracelet will adjust to ensure a snug fit always. A very clever mechanism.


Speake-Marin unveils the Serpent Calendar

Speake-Marin Serpent Calendar
42 mm in rose gold
At Baselworld 2012, Peter Speake-Marin has just unveiled his third new model in as many months, following the Renaissance Tourbillon Repeater and the entry level, sporty Spirit Pioneer

The Serpent Calendar derives its name from the snake-shaped calendar hand, which along with all the other hands is blued steel. While classical in style, the watch is distinctively Speake-Marin with its recognisable Piccadilly case, and even more so with the serpent hand.

Unlike the previous iteration of the successful Serpent Calendar in the Piccadilly line, this version is a slim 12 mm high, thanks to the new Eros 1 calibre as well as the multi-level, white lacquer dial (as opposed to fired enamel which is thicker).

Friday, 9 March 2012

More on the Hamilton Navy Pioneer limited edition

Previewed here before Baselworld 2012, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer is a homage to the marine chronometers of Hamilton's history. It can be worn on a strap or displayed in a box like those which house marine chronometers. Like the 2011 Pan Europ limited edition, the Navy Pioneer looks like it's going to be a well priced, attractive buy.

This video shows details the features of the watch.


Video illustrating the Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch

There has been quite a lot of buzz about the Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch, which automatically syncs with four GPS satellite daily, which was just launched at Baselworld 2012. This video illustrates its capabilities quite well.


Qlocktwo launches a watch

Qlocktwo, designed by Biegert & Funk, makes a clever, minimalist clock that requires reading the time - literally. They have just unveiled the Qlocktwo W at Baselworld 2012. This is the wristwatch version of the Qlocktwo clock and works exactly the same way.

The Qlocktwo W

Press the button at three o'clock and the dial lights up to tell the time. But press the pusher twice and the calendar day is displayed; press it three times and the seconds are indicated.

Introducing The Rolex Datejust II 41mm In Steel For The First Time

Though watches like the Sky-Dweller annual calendar and Sub no-date are more interesting, the most important model launched by Rolex at Baselworld 2012 is probably the Oyster Perpetual Datejust II ref. 116300, a 41 mm Datejust in steel.

Rolex Datejust II 116300

I would not be surprised at all if Rolex sells more of these than all the new 2012 sports models combined.

The Datejust is the Rolex staple and a well recognised status symbol the world over. At 36 mm the Datejust I was getting decidedly old fashioned, even amongst old fashioned people.

Hublot presents the Antikythera watch

Hublot has just announced at Baselworld 2012 it will make four of the Antikythera watch, first announced a few months ago. 

One will go to the Athens Museum to be shown besides the original Antikythera mechanism and another will be sold to benefit the Athens Museum. The third will be exhibited at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, and the last piece will be retained by Hublot.

The movement is based on the 2000 year old mechanical device found off Greece in 1901, that shows the calendar as well as the position of cosmic bodies. In addition the watch tells the time, and has a flying tourbillon.


Introducing The Hublot Big Bang Ferrari, In Scratch Resistant Magic Gold

Hublot CEO Jean-Claude Biver is a genius at branding; he knows how to leverage more famous brands, like Manchester United, to spread his mantra. Late last year Hublot announced its appointment as Ferrari's sole watchmaking partner - for both Ferrari and the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team - and now the new Hublot Big Bang Ferrari has been unveiled at Baselworld 2012.

The Big Bang Ferrari gets its various design cues from different parts of the Ferrari automobile. Hublot says this is the first evolution of the Big Bang, from the original 44 mm case this is 45.5 mm in diameter. It looks a lot like the Big Bang King Power to me, but then again what do I know? The movement is the in-house HUB 1241 UNICO flyback chronograph movement.

Seiko Brightz Ananta chronographs with hand-painted urushi dials

Seiko Ananta Kumadori Chronogaph
Limited Edition SRQ015
Seiko adds two urushi dial chronographs to its line-up this year at Baselworld 2012. Both are part of the Ananta range of mid-priced, sporty watches. They still have in-house mechanical movements, but are a step below Grand Seiko in quality (and price). 

The first is the Ananta Kumadori Chronogaph (SRQ015). The red swirls on the chronograph subdials are inspired by Kumadori, the exaggerated and colourful make up worn by Kabuki theatre actors.

These red rings are hand-painted urushi lacquer, as is the deep, glossy black base of the dial. This is done by Isshu Tamura, a noted lacquer artisan.

Urushi is a natural lacquer obtained from the sap of the urushi tree. It provides very deep and rich colours that are impervious to fading and wear, even fire, though it can fade when exposed directly to UV light.

JLC to auction Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph prototype No. 1 for charity

JLC Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph
Jaeger-LeCoultre will auction prototype no. 1 of the Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph online in a few days. All the proceeds from the sale of this watch will go to the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The auction will run from  March 12, 2012 at 12.00 C.E.T. to March 15, 2012 at 12.05 C.E.T, on the official auction website.

Pre-registration has to be done on the JLC website in order to bid for the watch.


Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Introducing The Specially Adjusted, Ultra-Precise Grand Seiko High Beat Special Edition (With Specs And Price)

In addition to the 10th anniversary Grand Seiko GMT limited editions, Seiko has just unveiled a special edition of the Grand Seiko High Beat 36,000 bph at Baselworld 2012.

Harking back to the painstaking adjusted chronometers of old that competing in timing contests, the Grand Seiko High Beat Special Edition features specially adjusted calibres.

Of course Seiko has a successful history in chronometer trials. One reason the Swiss chronometer trials were discontinued in the seventies was the fact that Seiko was winning many of the the top prizes. In fact, Seiko made Grand Seiko VFA (Very Fine Adjusted) watches in the seventies that were specially adjusted for exceptional chronometry.

Each of the 9S55 movements used in this edition has the hairspring individually selected and adjusted by the most experienced watchmakers at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Morioka. This results in exceptional chronometric performance - even superior to the already excellent Grand Seiko standards for the regular line.

Introducing the Grand Seiko GMT 10th anniversary editions (with specs and pricing)

The Grand Seiko GMT marks its 10th anniversary this year. The first two Grand Seiko GMT models were the SBGM001 and SBGM003 (I own the latter). Fittingly the two limited editions to mark this occasion, the SBGM029 and SBGM031, are the upgraded versions of the SBGM001 and SBGM003 respectively.

Both of the limited editions have blue dials and rotors. Grand Seiko watches are bastions of conservative Japanese design, but the blue dial and gold GMT hands give them a bit of flair.

Longines celebrates its 180th annivesary with monopusher chronograph

Longines celebrates its 180th anniversary at Baselworld 2012 with a monopusher chronograph styled like early 20th century wristwatches with wire lugs. Surprisingly it is a mere 40 mm in diameter. The dial is white, but not enamel.

The movement is an automatic calibre with column wheel, I suspect it's the Valjoux 7750 with column wheel ETA makes exclusively for Longines. Overall a nice looking watch but a far cry from the high-end chronograph Longines made in the 20th century.

This watch, officially termed the 'Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary Limited Edition', is limited to 180 pieces in rose gold.


A well designed world timer from Breitling, the Transocean Unitime

Baselworld 2012 has seen several interesting travel watches emerge. The now famous Rolex Sky-Dweller with annual calendar and the clever Chapter Three Reveal from Maîtres du Temps. But for those who want something a bit more down to Earth (no pun intended since Breitling makes "pilot's" watches), the Breitling Transocean Unitime looks like a good option.

The slightly vintage styled Unitime has a straightforward world time mechanism. The dial has one disc with 24 cities for the 24 time zones, and another inner disc with 24 hours to indicate the second time zone. Because there are two discs, the time in any time zone on the cities disc can be read off the 24 hour disc.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ikepod Horizon in titanium designed by graffiti artist KAWS has bite

Ikepod has collaborated with contemporary artist KAWS to create the Horizon by KAWS. Born Brian Donnelly, KAWS was originally a street artist (he did graffiti) who is now known for his pop art, including reinterpretations of cartoons like Mickey Mouse and the Simpsons. His creates sculptures, paintings and various consumer goods like clothing and accessories, all emblazoned with his pop art motifs. 

Ikepod unveils blue mini hourglass

Standing at just 15 cm high, the mini hourglass from Ikepod is a 10 minute timer. Originally only available in clear glass, the mini hourglass was made in a unique piece with a clear red coating for Only Watch 2011.

At Baselworld 2012 Ikepod presents the mini hourglass with a clear blue coating. This small hourglass, just like its larger brother, is blown by hand at Glaskeller in Basel, Switzerland.

Of course this is not the first time Marc Newson has used blue glass for a timepiece, the Atmos perpetual calendar was the same colour.

Though it is a simple object, the design of the hourglass and the Atmos clocks, demonstrate Marc Newson's genius as a designer of shapes and materials.


Celsius unveils new carbon fibre mobile phone with tourbillon

Celsius, the French maker of ultra-expensive mobile phones, has just presented the second version of its LeDIX tourbillon phone at Baselworld 2012. The LeDIX Furtif is made of matte carbon fibre reinforced polymer with six inserts in either pink gold, platinum or black, with each being limited to eight pieces.

Introducing The Rolex Yacht-Master Ref. 116622 In Steel & Platinum With A Blue Dial

I actually find the new Yacht-Master ref. 116622 in Rolesium (referring to the combination of steel and platinum) just unveiled at Baselworld 2012, more interesting than the new no-date Submariner ref. 114060. I already have a no-date Sub, and now the Yacht-Master finally has the improved bracelet, plus I like the blue dial. 

Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium
ref. 116622

This new Yacht-Master is essentially an upgraded version of the current ref. 16622 Yacht-Master Rolesium with a silver dial that is actually platinum.

This Yacht-Master has a metallic blue dial with Chromalight luminous material on the indices and hands, giving them a pale blue glow in the dark. Furthermore this Yacht-Master has a solid link bracelet with the spring-loaded Oysterlock clasp.

Introducing The New Rolex Submariner "No-Date" Ref. 114060

After many eons the classic Rolex no-date Submariner has been upgraded. The new Rolex Sub presented at Baselworld 2012 is the ref. 114060, which replaces the 14060M which was the last 20th century holdout in the Rolex sports collection, after last year's new Explorer II ref. 216570.

Rolex Submariner 114060

It has all the features of the other Rolex Submariners - Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel and the chunkier 40 mm case. Also the bracelet now has solid links, and the spring-loaded Oysterlock clasp as well as Glidelock diver's extension system. And the hands, dial indices and bezel pip have the blue glowing Chromalight luminous material. The movement remains the same cal. 3130 as the 14060M.

Baselworld 2012: Introducing The Rolex Sky-Dweller, The Very First Annual Calendar With GMT

Finally the Rolex Sky-Dweller is revealed at Baselworld 2012, a few days after the teaser on the Rolex website. The Sky-Dweller is an Oyster Perpetual with Rolex's patented SAROS annual calendar, second time zone and a clever bezel function selection known as "Ring Command".

Rolex Sky-Dweller
in white gold (ref. 326939)

Reaction to the design of the watch has been mixed. My initial thoughts were negative but the movement is really very clever, and the design is well, classic Rolex taken into the 21st century. I don't love it but I quite like it. I'm sure everyone's just waiting for a sports version of this.

And now the details. The ingenious annual calendar - requiring adjustment once a year at the end of February - comprises only two gear ratios and four wheels added to the traditional Rolex date mechanism.

Introducing The Patek Philippe Ref. 5204P Split Seconds Chronograph With Perpetual Calendar

Replacing the long in tooth ref. 5004, the new platinum cased 5204P is a split seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar, based on Patek Philippe's in-house CH 29 movement. 

In contrast to the elegant and beautiful 5940J perpetual calendar also launched at Baselworld 2012, the new 5204P rattrapante is a not particularly handsome. The luminous dial and hands are inappropriate for suc a watch in my opinion. They are, unfortunately, ugly. The fact that the dial is solid gold doesn't help its aesthetics.

MB&F launches rose gold HM4 Thunderbolt

Originally presented in titanium, the Horological Machine No. 4 Thunderbolt is now available in rose gold and titanium. Just unveiled at Baselworld 2012, the HM4 RT ("rose titanium") is a limited edition of 18 pieces. This is the second limited edition series of HM4 after the WWII fighter-inspired Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble.

I somehow prefer the original titanium look of the HM4, but I'm sure this will find its clients.