Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Lange design and the secret of the Lange 1

In its modern incarnation Lange is just under 20 years old but it has already established a recognisable aesthetic identity. Its most distinctive timepiece still remains the Lange 1, the face which launched the brand.

Grand Lange 1 Lumen

Lange just issued a press release outlining its design principles, including the design sketches you see here. It mentions how the dial design of the Lange 1, with its distinctive off-centre and separate indications, adheres to the proportions of the Golden Ratio (the first time I am hearing of this).

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Video: The IWC orchestra conducted by Kurt Klaus for Swiss National Day (video)

IWC has just released a video of its orchestra, naturally made up of in-house musicians, to mark Swiss National Day which falls on August 1.

Comprised of watchmakers who trained for months, the IWC orchestra, conducted by Kurt Klaus, the brand's watchmaking institutional memory, plays the Swiss national anthem on miniature instruments. This was conceived for the upcoming Swiss National Day on August 1.


Monday, 29 July 2013

Hands-on with the Seiko Prospex Spring Drive 600 m SBDB008 "Tuna" (live photos and price)

The first Seiko "Tuna" to be equipped with a Spring Drive movement, the SBDB008 the most sophisticated model of Seiko's trademark "Tuna" dive watches.

Seiko's best known range of sports watches are distinguished by their outer cases, secured onto the inner case with four screws, resulting in a tuna can-like shape, which gave rise to the "Tuna" nickname. It began with the automatic Professional 600 m ref. 6159-7010 of 1975, designed by Seiko engineer Ikuo Tokunaga for saturation divers. That was followed by numerous subsequent models with both mechanical and quartz movements. The latest, and greatest, evolution of the Tuna is the Prospex Spring Drive 600 m SBDB008.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Hands-on with Omega Constellation Sedna - the Connie "pie pan" dial returns (live photos and price)

Made from a proprietary, fade-proof gold alloy, the limited edition Constellation Sedna is a revival of the classic Constellation "pie pan", the most distinctive and beautiful Constellation dial of all time.

Omega Constellation Sedna "pie pan" dial

Early Omega Constellation watches of the fifties, including the first model of 1952, are nicknamed "pie pans", due to the shape of the dial. Of the dozens of Constellation dial styles over the decades, the pie pens are without a doubt the most charming and recognisable, especially the versions with arrowhead markers. Made from Omega's new in-house rose gold alloy, the Constellation Sedna pays tribute to those "pie pan" Connies, right down to the arrowhead markers.

Friday, 26 July 2013

News: Swatch Fall Winter Collection 2013 - NATO-inspired straps and faux tortoiseshell

Swatch has just unveiled its 2013 Fall Winter collection. All quartz but some interesting.

Swatch Fall Winter Ivy League

I typically don't feature quartz Swatch watches (I made exceptions for the iconic Jellyfish and the poulet de Genève), but the two lines from the Fall Winter 2013 collection caught my eye. The first is the Ivy League, which is fitted with striped canvas straps, obviously inspired by the recent proliferation of NATO-style straps on all sorts of watches.  

Thursday, 25 July 2013

News: Seiko x Giugiaro 30th Anniversary Spirit limited edition

To mark the 30th anniversary of Seiko's collaboration with Giorgetto Giugiaro, a series of limited edition Seiko x Giugiaro Design Speedmaster watches has been issued, including a remake of the original Giugiaro "Bishop" chronograph.

Though best known as a car designer, he was named Car Designer of the Century in 1999, Giorgetto Giugiaro started working with Seiko in 1983. He penned several timepieces, the most famous of which is the Seiko Giugiaro Speedmaster, which is now a cult classic of sorts. Instantly recognisable with its asymmetrical case and red accents, the Giugiaro Speedmaster was also worn by the android Bishop in the 1986 film Aliens. This year Seiko has unveiled six limited edition Seiko x Giugiaro Design chronographs to mark the 30 years since 1983.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Hands-On With The Grand Seiko 44GS Historical Reissue And Perhaps The Best Grand Seiko Case (live photos and price)

A remake of the 1967 44GS, created in a limited edition to mark Seiko's centenary, the Grand Seiko SBGW047 has an incredibly well crafted case, possibly the best of Grand Seiko.

In 1967 Seiko Instruments Inc, or Daini Seikosha as it was then known, unveiled the 44GS. Named after the cal. 4420 inside, the 44GS had a larger and more angular case than previous Grand Seiko watches, creating a recognisable Grand Seiko aesthetic which endures to today. For its 100th Anniversary, Seiko has recreated the 44GS, right down to the most minute of details, as a limited edition.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Introducing the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days 44 mm PAM510 and PAM511, equipped with the entry level, in-house 8 days P.5000 (with specs and price)

Panerai has just taken the covers off the PAM510 and PAM511, a pair of timepieces with the new P.5000 8 days movement, positioned as the brand's entry timepiece with an in-house movement.

In addition to the Submersible heavy SIHH collection, another new model for 2013 is the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days 44 mm. Model numbers are PAM510 in steel and PAM511 in Oro Rosso or red gold, both of which have the same 44 mm Luminor case. This pair of manual wind watches join the Luminor 1950 PAM523 launched just a few months ago, which is the new entry level in-house automatic.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Hands-on with the Seiko Monster 100th Anniversary SRP455K1 and SRP461K1 (with live photos and price)

For its 100th anniversary Seiko has created a series of four, blue themed limited edition sports watches, amongst them the Monster SRP455K1.

Launched just last month, the 100th anniversary sports limited editions includes the Monster SRP455K1. This is a second generation Monster with the hacking 4R36 movement. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Lange Datograph reference - versions, dates and unique pieces

The Lange Datograph is an important timepiece and deserves study. This reference article attempts to document as many of the Datograph variants as possible, including unique and jewelled pieces.

Detail of the Lange Datograph movement

The Lange Datograph was launched in 1999 to critical acclaim, immediately becoming the modern, high-end chronograph because of the incredible L951.1 movement inside. First launched in platinum with a black dial, that version of the Datograph has become the quintessential Lange chronograph, although many more variants of the watch were created subsequently. Last year the first generation Datograph was replaced by the Datograph Up/Down, which retained many of the key elements of the original.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Comparison: Grand Seiko 44GS reissue SBGW047 and Grand Seiko 130th Anniversary SBGW033 (with live photos)

Comparing Seiko's most recent vintage Grand Seiko reissues, this year's 44GS remake SBGW047 and the 130th Anniversary SBGW033 from two years ago.

In 2011, to mark its 130 anniversary as a company, Seiko created a limited edition reissue of the first Grand Seiko model, shown here in steel. And just a few months ago at Baselworld Seiko announced its second historical limited edition, a remake of the 44GS of the late sixties, part of the line-up to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its first wristwatch. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Hands-On With The Corum Ti-Bridge Automatic Dual Winder (With Live Photos And Price)

The Ti-Bridge is the 21st century take on Corum's classic Golden Bridge. For the first time, a compact automatic winding system has been devised for the Ti-Bridge.

Fitted with a tiny baguette movement suspended in the case, the Corum Golden Bridge has always been about the beautiful of a movement's architecture, and so it is with the Ti-Bridge. The Ti-Bridge Dual Winder uses the same tiny baguette movement, installed horizontally and supported by titanium struts. But now it has an self-winding mechanism, added to the bottom of the baguette movement.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

News: Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Colours - with matching cufflinks

Romain Jerome's infamous Titanic-DNA line has been enlivened by the addition of the Jerome Steampunk Chrono Colours, along with matching cufflinks.

Romain Jerome was once derided but has recently turned over a new leaf with technically interesting timepieces like the aptly named Spacecraft. Unfortunately the Steampunk Chrono Colours is essentially the Steampunk Chrono with a dash of colour, the old trick employed by watch companies to turn watches into outfit-matching fashion accessories.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

News: Kim Dotcom's Devon Works Tread 1 on show at Museum of Modern Art in Vienna

Controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's Tread 1 is on show at Vienna's MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art.

Artist Simon Denny has put together an installation titled "The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom", on show at MUMOK until mid October. Amongst the boy's toys on show is a Devon Works Tread 1.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Face-off: Comparing the Blancpain Bathyscaphe and Fifty Fathoms

The Blancpain Bathyscaphe is the Fifty Fathom's smaller brother. One of the readers of our sire suggested we compare the two, so here we stack them up for a face-off.

Just launched at Baselworld 2013, the Blancpain Bathyscaphe joins the Fifty Fathoms dive watch in the brand's sport watch line-up, which is also called the Fifty Fathoms. In fact the Bathyscaphe is also labelled "Fifty Fathoms" on the dial, indicating it's provenance.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

News: Chopard LUC Tourbillon Only Watch 2013 - movement decorated with Fleurisanne engraving

For Only Watch 2013, Chopard has created a unique LUC Tourbillon in platinum with gold movement bridges featuring a form of relief engraving native to Fleurier, known as Fleurisanne.

Chopard is once again supporting Only Watch, and for the 2013 event it has created a unique LUC Tourbillon. The Chopard LUC Tourbillon Only Watch 2013 has a hand-engraved, solid gold dial decorated with the coat of arms of Monaco in the centre, surrounded by the double helix of DNA; Monte Carlo is the venue of Only Watch, and the event is to raise funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Monday, 8 July 2013

News: Omega Co-Axial Exhibition in Singapore - August 23 to September 1

In August 2013 Omega will stage the Co-Axial Exhibition in Singapore, which will detail its innovations and showcase timepieces Omega acquired from the George Daniels estate.

Omega De Ville Co-Axial no. 000/999 given to George Daniels in 1999

The Co-Axial Exhibition will present Omega's best known development (which it acquired from the late George Daniels), the Co-Axial escapement which is progressively being introduced in every mechanical Omega model. Omega's innovations in other areas of watchmaking, like the Liquidmetal ceramic dials and Ceragold bezels of gold covered in ceramic, will also be explained amongst the exhibits.

News: Vacheron Constantin Chronomètre Royal 1907 Kidz Horizon - unique piece with blue grand feu enamel dial for charity

Vacheron Constantin has created a unique Chronomètre Royal 1907 with a blue enamel dial, which will be auctioned in August 2013, with proceeds going to Kidz Horizon Appeal.

For several years now a unique watch created specially for the event is auctioned at the annual Kidz Horizon Charity Ball, with all proceeds going to the charity which helps chronically or terminally ill children. This year Vacheron Constantin has created a unique Chronomètre Royal 1907 with a deep blue, grand feu enamel dial and a platinum case.

Introducing the SevenFriday P3/2 Riviera - with case ring in Canadian walnut (with specs and price)

SevenFriday recently announced the P3/2 Riviera. The signature cushion case is ringed in Canadian walnut, a nod to the wood decking of classic boats.

Founded only last year by Daniel Niederer, formerly an executive with SA Desco and DKSH, SevenFriday is a small Zurich based maker of funky and affordable timepieces which have sold very well in a brief period of time. The brand's first limited edition timepiece is the P3/2 Riviera with a wood case ring, which Niederer has nicknamed "Woody".

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Up close: Omega Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT

Launched at Baselworld 2013, the latest generation of the Omega Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT is the best looking yet. And it has all the qualities which distinguish recent Omega watches, namely an impressive in-house movement as well as a superb dial and hand quality.

Omega has made great strides in product design and quality in recent years, and its line-up at Baselworld 2013 demonstrated this; the unsurprising collector favourite was the Speedmaster "Dark Side of the Moon" in black ceramic, and the antimagnetic Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss is a major techical accomplishment. Not receiving much press is the new Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT, which is a shame.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

News: Corum Ti-Bridge for Only Watch 2013 - unique engraved titanium and red gold case

Corum has created a unique version of the Ti-Bridge for Only Watch 2013. Each side of the case features red gold inserts engraved with a motif reflecting the theme of Only Watch.

Amongst the watches in the upcoming Only Watch charity auction will be a unique Corum Ti-Bridge 3-Day Power Reserve. The key feature which distinguishes this from the regular model is are the hand-decorated red gold inserts screwed into each flank of the case. 

Up close: Blancpain Bathyscaphe - a vintage style diver at a new price point (lots of live photos and price)

Blancpain's new Bathyscaphe is an extension of the Fifty Fathoms line, but at a more accessible price point. Like its cousins it is inspired by vintage Blancpain dive watches.

Titanium Bathyscaphe on nylon strap

Sold alongside the Fifty Fathoms in the fifties for around a decade, the Bathyscaphe was the Fifty Fathom's smaller brother, literally, with a smaller size case. Today that distinction remains, with the newly introduced Bathyscaphe being smaller in diameter, and also more accessibly priced.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Hands-On With The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Auto Chrono (live photos and price)

At Baselworld earlier this year Hamilton unveiled its latest vintage remake, the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Auto Chrono, inspired by the chronographs it supplied the RAF in the seventies.

Hamilton has enjoyed an good run with its vintage inspired timepieces, including last year's Khaki Navy Pioneer which could be converted into a desk clock. This year Hamilton has taken inspiration from the 6BB chronographs it (along with other companies like CWC) supplied to Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) in the seventies, with their distinctive, asymmetrical cases. While not identical to the original, the new Khaki Pilot Pioneer Auto Chrono is a well executed remake.

Monday, 1 July 2013

News: Richard Mille Yohan Blake Tourbillon Only Watch 2013 - actual watch worn by Blake at Olympics

Only Watch 2013 will see the Richard Mille Yohan Blake Tourbillon go under the hammer to fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Richard Mille, which was recently revealed to be in talks to be acquired by Kering, will contribute the prototype of the Yohan Blake Tourbillon to Only Watch 2013. This is the actual watch worn by Blake at the London 2012 Olympics, the first time a sprinter ran a competition with a watch on his wrist, providing tremendous publicity for Richard Mille.