Friday, 28 December 2012

A Visit With Hajime Asaoka, Independent Watchmaking In Tokyo

Hajime Asaoka is a Japanese independent watchmaker who only recently began making timepieces. Entirely self-taught, he works out of a converted apartment in Tokyo which is equipped to make nearly all of the components required for his timepieces.

Best known for his manual-wind wristwatch with a 16 mm balance wheel, Asaoka recently he unveiled his collaboration with contemporary artist Takashi Murakami. A few weeks ago I managed to visit Asaoka-san at his atelier.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Introducing the Seiko Presage 100th Anniversary fired enamel dial (with specs and price)

A few weeks ago Seiko announced a pair of limited edition watches for the 100th anniversary of the first Seiko wristwatch, the Laurel. These Presage limited editions have fired enamel dials in white with a red XII, in a nod to the 1913 Laurel wristwatch. Think of this as a Credor Eichi on a budget.

Seiko Presage limited edition with the Laurel of 1913

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

SIHH 2013: Ballon Bleu de Cartier Tourbillon Double Jumping Time Zones (live photos and prices)

The most notable of the SIHH 2013 watches previewed by Cartier so far is without a doubt the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Tourbillon Double Jumping Time Zones. As the name implies, this is a flying tourbillon with twin, jump hour time zones.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier Tourbillon Double Jumping Time Zones in rose gold

SIHH 2013: Rotonde de Cartier Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (live pics and pricing)

An addition to Cartier's Fine Watchmaking range for SIHH 2013 is the Rotonde de Cartier Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Using the 1904CH MC in-house movement with the addition of a perpetual calendar module, the new Rotonde fills a niche that was empty till now.

Rotonde de Cartier Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in white gold

Monday, 24 December 2012

SIHH 2013: Introducing the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph, equipped with Cartier's new in-house chronograph movement (live pics and pricing)

Next year Cartier will finally take the covers off the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph, the new entry level, in-house chronograph for Cartier, equipped with the new 1904CH MC automatic movement.

The Calibre de Cartier Chronograph is the brand's first in-house chronograph in the entry level price segment. In contrast to its predecessors like the Santos 100 which used ETA calibres, the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph utilises the 1904CH MC movement.

SIHH 2013: Introducing The Cartier Crash On Bracelet

Next year at SIHH, Cartier will unveil its iconic Crash with a tear drop-link bracelet. Previously only available with a strap, the new Crash will be available in two guises. Either with a diamond set bezel (150 diamonds totalling 2.15 carats), or with diamonds on the bezel as well as bracelet (471 diamonds totalling 4.27 carats).

Both versions will be available in white or pink gold. In each metal, the diamond set bezel Crash is limited to 267 pieces and the fully set Crash is limited to 67 pieces.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

News: Blancier Grand Cru Nespresso capsule watch

Blancier is a small brand that sells watches assembled from off the shelf parts that come from Asian suppliers. There are countless other outfits doing the same online. Their latest product, however, is unusual - the dial is a flattened Nespresso capsule.

News: IWC Big Pilot Perpetual red gold with gold dial

IWC has just announced a new variant of its Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar. This has a red gold case with a matching gold dial. The specs are identical to the regular Big Pilot perpetual calendar: 46.2 mm diameter and 15.8 mm height.

IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition

SIHH 2013: Thinnest automatic repeater in the world - Piaget Emperador Coussin Minute Repeater (with live pictures and pricing)

At SIHH in January Piaget will become the latest Richemont brand to boast of an in-house minute repeater. It will officially unveil the Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater. At 9.4 mm high, this is the thinnest minute repeater today. 

Also, the cushion-shaped case is also water-resistant to 30 m, which is unusual for a minute repeater with a slide. This is the second striking watch from Piaget, the first being a grande et petite sonnerie developed by FP Journe for Piaget in the nineties.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater

Inside is the in-house 1290P calibre, which stands at only 4.8 mm high - that is remarkably slim. Built on the 1200P ultra thin movement, the minute repeater movement is a micro-rotor automatic, with a 40 hour power reserve.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Introducing The Hajime Asaoka X Takashi Murakami "Death Takes No Bridges" Tourbillon

Japanese independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka has just announced his collaboration with contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, the result of which is the Asaoka × Murakami "Death takes no bribes" Tourbillon, a fusion of contemporary art and Japanese haute horlogerie.

Asaoka × Murakami Tourbillon

The Asaoka × Murakami tourbillon wristwatch was designed by Mr Murakami but made almost entirely by Mr Asaoka in his Tokyo atelier. This is a beautiful blend of top level watchmaking and funky contemporary art.

Friday, 14 December 2012

SIHH 2013: Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours

For 2013 Montblanc has another addition to the successful Nicolas Rieussec line of chronographs. The Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours with the MB R220 calibre features a novel day and night indicator at 12 o'clock.

Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours

In the aperture at noon is the wandering hours, but what makes this unusual is the integrated day and night display. The hours is comprised of two discs, the top one with the hour numerals cut out, and a lower disc that is shaded half in black and the other half in light blue.

News: Urwerk 202 to star in Jackie Chan's latest movie

Jackie Chan, as well as four of his co-stars, will sport the Urwerk 202 AlTiN in his upcoming film, CZ12, or Chinese Zodiac. The 202 is of course the predecessor of the recently unveiled UR-210.

Here are photos of Mr Chan with the 202, taken during the Beijing launch of the film.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Introducing the Döttling Guardian, bulletproof portable watch case

Döttling, the German maker of over the top watch storage, now offers a practically indestructible portable watch case.

The Döttling Guardian in its natural environ ment

The inner core of the Guardian is made from carbide, covered with aramide carbon fabric and polycarbonate. And the lid is actually a miniature safe door with a three digit key lock.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

News: Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio PAM530

Panerai has announced several new models since SIHH in January, most notably a pair of composite Radiomirs and the Luminor Submersible Amagnetic. It has just unveiled yet another new model for the year, the Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio PAM530.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio PAM00530

Hands-on with the Lange Grand Lange 1 Lumen (live photos and price)

Yesterday Lange unveiled the Grand Lange 1 Lumen limited edition. Similar in style to the Zeitwerk Luminous Phantom, which was a smash hit, the Grand Lange 1 Lumen retains the iconic Lange 1 style but looks thorough modern. Here are live photos of the prototype.

Grande Lange 1 Lumen

Compared to the Zeitwerk Phantom, which had an almost black tinted dial, the Grand Lange 1 Lumen has a grey tint, which easily reveals the date mechanism underneath.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Introducing the new Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk and Chrono Hawk sport watches

Girard-Perregaux has revamped the Sea Hawk diver's watch. Water-resistant to 1000 m, the Sea Hawk has a 44 steel case with a helium escape valve. The bezel, case ring and crown are coated in rubber. The retail price is USD11,350.

GP Sea Hawk

Also new is the Chrono Hawk. It has identical specs as the Sea Hawk - 44 mm case, 1000 m water resistant and so on - but with the addition of a 30-minute chronograph. 

SIHH 2013: Grand Lange 1 "Lumen" with luminous big date

The first of Lange's new collection which will be presented at SIHH 2013 has just been unveiled. Obviously taking inspiration from the successful Zeitwerk Luminous "Phantom", the Grand Lange 1 "Lumen" features a tinted sapphire dial, revealing the trademark Lange oversized date mechanism.

Grand Lange 1 Lumen

Because the dial is transparent, the date mechanism is now luminous, and it glows through the tinted sapphire dial.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hands-on with the MB&F HM5 "On the Road Again" (with live pictures and pricing)

MB&F has just unveiled its latest horological machine: inspired by sports cars of the seventies and the brand's new entry level machine, the Horological Machine No. 5, in zirconium.

Being a child of the seventies, Maximilian Büsser's fifth Horological Machine takes inspiration from two objects from the seventies - sports cars like the Lamborghini Miura and the Amida Digitrend. 

The MB&F HM5 is many things: a driver's watch, a jump hour, a sports watch. But above all the HM5 is a tribute to the automobile. However, rather than having a steering wheel rotor and brake caliper pushers like all other car-themed watches, HM5 has been cleverly conceived in its entirety as an automotive watch.

News: Hermes palladium pocket watch "In The Pocket"

Based on a wristwatch Jacqueline Hermès wore as a child in 1912, the new Hermes In The Pocket is a pocket watch with a leather band that transforms it into a wristwatch.

Hermes In The Pocket

Housed in a 40 mm palladium case - which grows to 49 mm when in the leather holder - the In The Pocket contains the H1837 movement, developed by Vaucher for Hermes and first seen in the Dressage H1837 launched at Basel this year.