Friday, 31 May 2013

Introducing The Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002G - A Grander, Grand Complication

Patek Philippe has just made its most complicated wristwatch even more complicated - the new Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 6002G is ornately engraved, all over, and fitted with an equally ornate enamel dial.

The Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 5002 is Patek Philippe's most complicated watch. Now it has undergone a major facelift. Christened the ref. 6002G, the new Sky Moon Tourbillon in white gold is a timepiece of Baroque sensibility that is heavily subscribed to the much-more-is-much-better school of watch design. Princes and potentates who find classic Patek Philippe watches too simple will certainly love this.

News: Lange at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este - a classic watch for a classic car

With his Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic winning the "Best of Show" prize at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2013, Ralph Lauren took home a unique Lange 1 Time Zone.

For the second year running, Lange is a partner of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, a prestigious annual competition for classic cars held at Lake Como. As with last year, Lange contributed a unique Lange 1 Time Zone in white gold to be given to the winner of the "Best of Show" prize. 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

News: Hublot Red’n’Black Skeleton Tourbillon Only Watch 2013

A unique piece created for Only Watch 2013, the Hublot Red’n’Black Skeleton Tourbillon is the first wristwatch to have a red ceramic component, in this case the bezel.

The bright red ceramic bezel of the Red’n’Black Skeleton Tourbillon has the same property as its common black or white cousins, namely scratch resistance. Red is a thematic colour for Only Watch - the Patek Philippe ref. 5004T is similarly coloured - being the state colour of the Monegasque flag.

Hands-on with the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon Technique black titanium - the first and only titanium GF (live photos and price)

Earlier this year Greubel Forsey unveiled its first ever titanium watch, the Double Tourbillon Technique DLC treated titanium case. 

Greubel Forsey specialises in exotic and expensive tourbillons, all of which are available only in precious metals, until now. The new Double Tourbillon Technique has a glossy, black DLC coated titanium case, matched with a stitched rubber strap. It is a striking departure from the typical Greubel Forsey style.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

News: Urwerk EMC - user-adjustable mechanical movement with electronic time monitoring (with explanation and specs)

Urwerk has just taken the covers off its latest creation, the EMC. The EMC combines a mechanical movement with an electronic sensor and integrated circuit, both of which monitor the rate of the watch. The wearer can then adjust the movement as necessary to ensure good timekeeping.

Urwerk EMC

Urwerk watches have always had some sort of feature which allows some interaction with the wearer. The UR-210 for example has an activity indicator that shows the difference between power reserve generated and consumed. The new Urwerk EMC takes that idea to an entirely new level, thanks to a novel combination of mechanical watchmaking and electronics.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

News: Seiko Marinemaster SBDB008 - the first Spring Drive Tuna (with price and specs)

Seiko will soon unveil its first Spring Dive "Tuna" dive watch, the Prospex Marinemaster SBDB008. Water resistant to 600 m, the SBDB008 has a titanium case with gold coated components.

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SBDB008

Seiko's shrouded dive watches, nicknamed "Tuna" for their resemblance to tuna cans, now include for the first time a Spring Drive model. The new Marinemaster SBDB008 is a 600 m dive watch with the cal. 5R65 Spring Drive movement which has a 72 hour autonomy, power reserve indicator and date.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Up close: Christophe Claret Kantharos - a complicated, simple chronograph (live photos and pricing)

Unveiled at Baselworld 2013, the Kantharos is Christophe Claret's entry level model, though it is far from simple. The in-house movement has a monopusher chronograph with a cathedral gong sonnerie, and a constant force escapement.

Christophe Claret is one of the pioneer movement specialists in watchmaking, having been a manufacturer of complicated movements for nearly thirty years. For most of that time, its clients have been other watch brands - officially the company says it has supplied movements to over 20 brands - but since 2009 Christophe Claret has made watches under its own name. Most of those watches have been costly complications like repeaters and tourbillons.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Up close: Cartier Clock Prisme - prism clock with 8 day power reserve

A clock dial on the front, in the traditional Cartier aesthetic, but there's actually nothing there. From the back the clock is completely transparent, thanks to a nifty optical illusion. 

Cartier Clock Prisme

Though best known for its lavish Mystery clocks, Cartier has also been creating prism clocks for decades. Invented by Gaston Cusin, a colleague of mystery clock creator Maurice Couet, the prism clock was patented in 1937. Like the Mystery clock, the Prism clock's relies on a simple but clever sleight of hand to amuse the viewer.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

EXPLAINED: Seiko 9F Quartz Movements - Definitive Proof That High-End Quartz Exists

A high-end quartz movement would seem to be an oxymoron. But it does exist in the form of the Seiko 9F calibre, a supremely sophisticated quartz chronometer rated to +/- 10 seconds a year. Used primarily in Grand Seiko watches, the 9F is possibly the best quartz movement in the world.

Seiko Astron of 1969 - the world's first quartz wristwatch and its movement alongside

Found solely in Grand Seiko watches and a handful of limited editions (like the recent antimagnetic Grand Seiko), the Seiko 9F family of quartz movements was introduced in 1993, with the goal of the being the best quartz movement possible, not merely in terms of timekeeping, but also in the display of time.

News: Patek Philippe Ref. 5004T Only Watch 2013 - unique rattrapante chronograph and perpetual in titanium

For the Only Watch 2013 charity auction, Patek Philippe has created a unique ref. 5004T in titaninum, with a carbon fibre pattern dial and strap. This is the first, and only, ref. 5004 in titanium.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5004T

Now discontinued, the Patek Philippe ref. 5004 was the brand's flagship split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar from 1995 to 2011, until it was replaced by the ref. 5204P. One watches to be sold for a good cause at Only Watch 2013 in September will be a unique, titanium ref. 5004T.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

News: Richemont posts full year results - up, up and away?

Richemont has just announced its results for the year ended 31 March 2013, showing strong performance despite the slowing sales in Asia; notably its watch and jewellery brands did well. Chairman Johann Rupert will take a 12 month sabbatical from September 2013.

Regardless of the economy, Richemont seems to be able to make money, and more and more of it each year. Mr Rupert sounds cautiously optimistic as usual.

Some notables figures from its full year results:

- Revenue up 14% to EUR10.15 billion (up 9% on a constant currency basis)
- Gross profit up 15%
- Operating profit up 18%
- Net profit up 30%

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Hands-on with the AP Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph (live photos and price)

Unveiled at SIHH 2013, the Audemars Piguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph is a traditional looking but at 47 mm, a distinctly modern watch.

Audemars Piguet high complications all come from its subsidiary, AP Renaud & Papi (APRP). APRP is a formidable complications specialist, and the Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph is arguably one of the less complicated complications it has developed; also unveiled at SIHH was the even more complicated Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Hands-on With The Spectacular Patek Philippe 5016R Grand Complication (With Live Photos)

Equipped with minute repeater, tourbillon and perpetual calendar, the ref. 5016R Grand Complications was the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch until the introduction of the Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 5002. 

Patek Philippe ref. 5016R

Production ran from 1993 to 2010 or 2011, and in that 17 or so years around 200 were produced. In its time it was a special timepiece, amongst a handful that were so complicated. Today the 5016 is not nearly as unique in the sphere of high complications, but it still remains an amazing watch.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

News: Hoptroff No. 10 - the world's first portable atomic clock

London-based Hoptroff has announced its No. 10 pocket watch, which will be equipped with a Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC), a miniaturised atomic clock.

Hoptroff No. 10

Made by Hoptroff, a London-based maker of electronic watches, the Hoptroff No. 10 is a an enormous pocket watch measuring 82 mm wide and 25 mm thick. It will keep time to 1.5 seconds every one thousand years, thanks to the the Symmetricom SA.45s Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) inside. 

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Up close: Richard Mille RM026-01 Panda Tourbillon (live photos)

Richard Mille's latest iteration of its ladies tourbillon is the RM026-01 Panda, with a diamond-set giant panda sitting on the dial, complete with bamboo in solid yellow gold.

Though better known its is ultra-light, ultra-geek and ultra-expensive men's tourbillons, Richard Mille has used the same case and movement to create ladies' watches, with some success. The newest bejewelled ladies' timepiece is the RM026-01 Panda Tourbillon.

Baselworld 2013: Blancpain Bathyscaphe - entry level sports watch

Blancpain recently presented the Bathyscaphe, the brand's new entry level sports timepiece. Available in titanium or steel, the Bathyscaphe has a ceramic bezel, silicon hairspring and 120 hour power reserve.

With design elements that echo Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms and Bathyscaphe dive watches of the fifties, the new Blancpain dive watch is obviously called the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. The Bathyscaphe is also the brand's new entry level sports model, fitting in below the Fifty Fathoms Automatic in the Blancpain line-up.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Watch of the Day: Seiko Snow Monster (and explaining the Seiko Thailand limited editions)

For several years now Seiko has made an several limited editions for the Thai market. Several models have been used as the base for the edition, but the most common is the Seiko Monster. There have been yellow, red, blue and green Monsters, most recently the multi-coloured Zamba Monster, as well as the Watch of the Day, the Snow Monster.

Seiko Snow Monster

The ordinary Seiko Monster is a US$250 watch, and even the second generation, upgraded Monster is only a little bit more. In contrast, the 2555-piece edition Snow Monster retailed for about THB20,000, or about US$700. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Baselworld 2013: Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel - is more better?

The Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel has both a tourbillon and a carrousel. Both are link by a differential, and rotate on the same plane.

At Baselworld 2013 Blancpain unveiled an oddity, the Tourbillon Carrousel. Its name stems from the fact that it has a tourbillon and a carrousel (or karussel), with the rate of each averaged out by a differential.

Baselworld 2013: Christophe Claret Kantharos - monopusher chronograph with cathedral gong and constant force

Christophe Claret continues to develop its own line of timepieces with the unveiling of the Kantharos, a monopusher chronograph equipped with a constant force mechanism, as well as a gong that chimes when the stopwatch is used.

Christophe Claret was once the go-to guy for complicated movements like minute repeaters, but as the number of movement specialists have multiplied and brands move development in-house, Christophe Claret has begun to concentrate on retailing watches under its own brand name. The latest is the Kantharos, an elaborate chronograph made in-house by Claret. While the Kantharos is technically interesting, it seems to be a hodge podge of unrelated functions.

Baselworld 2013: Hautlence Destination dual time - new entry level model (specs and price)

Hautlence announces their new entry level model, a dual time zone watch in the brand's signature cushion case, equipped with a Soprod movement.

Hautlence Destination 01

Based in Neuchâtel, Hautlence (an anagram of Neuchâtel,), which was not too long ago acquired by former Audemars Piguet CEO Georges-Henri Meylan, now has a more affordably priced and simpler timepiece. The Destination is a dual time watch with the second time zone display at six o'clock, and just above it the day and night indicator. At 12 o'clock sits the oversized date.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Breaking news: Jerome Lambert to take over as Montblanc CEO

Richemont has just announced breaking news. From July 1 Jerome Lambert, currently CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, will succeed Lutz Bethge as CEO of Montblanc.

Mr Lambert remain on the Richemont Group Management Committee, as well as taking up the CEO position at Montblanc. The Group Management Committee, which comprises all the executive directors of Richemont, certain brand CEOs as well as some group functional heads, essentially all the bigwigs of the group.

Daniel Riedo, Industrial Director of JLC, will assume the CEO position at the manufacture upon Mr Lambert's departure. Prior to joining JLC, Mr Riedo was with Rolex and Tudor.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Baselworld 2013: Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Auto Chrono

Inspired by the seventies 6BB chronographs Hamilton supplied to the RAF, the new  Khaki Pilot Pioneer Auto Chrono is a solid interpretation of the original.

In the seventies several companies, Hamilton and CWC amongst them, supplied chronographs to the British Royal Air Force (RAF), marked "6BB" on the back for the RAF (or "0552" for the Royal Navy). These were distinguished by the asymmetrical case, due to the crown and pusher guards on the right side of the case. 

Baselworld 2013: Bulgari Bulgari reboot - with in-house movement automatic and El Primero chronograph (with specs and price)

The Bulgari Bulgari, the brand's most recognisable timepiece, has been revamped and upgraded for Baselworld 2013. The automatic now uses an in-house movement, the cal. BVL 191, while the new Bulgari Bulgari Chronograph has the Zenith El Primero inside.

Bulgari Bulgari Chronograph

First announced here last week, the Bulgari Bulgari line has received a significant facelift for Baselworld 2013. The bezel is slimmer and more rounded, as are the lugs. And the hands and indices have become more substantial. 

Up close: Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Dragon Extraordinary Dials (live photos and price)

The Extraordinary Dials timepieces of Van Cleef & Arpels demonstrate various techniques of lavish dial decoration, most recently depicting dragons in a set of four watches.

Van Cleef & Arpels (VC&A) unveiled a set of four Midnight timepieces at SIHH 2013, each depicting one of the dragons of the Chinese zodiac in the typical lavish style of VC&A.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hands-on with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Skeleton (live photos and price)

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin SQ embodies JLC's capabilities in fine watchmaking, engraving, enamelling - in its iconic Reverso case.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin SQ is a slim, open-worked Reverso ("SQ" stands for squelette or skeleton) with its movement framed by a blue enamel border. This is the most extravagant watch in the Grande Reverso family, whose best known member is the 1931 Reverso.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Baselworld 2013: Urban Jurgensen Montre observatoire émail - detent escapement and enamel dial

Urban Jürgensen & Sønner have announced an enamel dial limited edition of the P8 chronometer with detent escapement, the Montre observatoire émail.

Urban Jürgensen & Sønner (UJS), a Danish watchmaking name now made in Switzerland, last year unveiled its timepiece with an first in-house calibre, the P8 chronometer. Originally available with a guilloche dial which was the UJS trademark, the P8 is now also offered with a beautiful white grand feu enamel dial as the Montre observatoire émail.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Baselworld 2013: H. Moser Nomad - dual time simplified (with specs and price)

The latest from H. Moser & Cie. is the Nomad dual time, an elegant and simple take on the traditional GMT timepiece. All it has is a second time zone hand, which can disappear, and a small day and night indicator.

Moser Nomad in rose gold

Like the Perpetual 1, H. Moser's flagship timepiece, the new Nomad dual time takes a complication and simplifies it. The Nomad has nothing extraneous - the red home hand which can be hidden under the hour hand, and a small round day and night indicator at 12 o'clock. Though the Nomad is not quite as sparse as the two-handed Jaquet Droz Grande Heure GMT, which takes the idea of simplicity to the extreme. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Baselworld 2013: Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aéronef Type 20 Tourbillon (live photos and price)

Just launched at Baselworld 2013, Zenith's top of the line Pilot watch is the Montre d'Aéronef Type 20 Tourbillon. Based on the El Primero movement, this has a flying tourbillon in between 11 and 12 o'clock. 

The Montre d'Aéronef Type 20 Tourbillon has the same styling as the rest of the Type 20 pilot's watches - large Arabic numerals and cathedral hands, matched with an oversized onion crown.