Friday, 29 November 2013

Pre-SIHH 2014: Introducing the Luminor 1950 Left-handed 3 Days PAM557 (with specs and price)

The first watch revealed from Panerai's SIHH 2014 line is the Luminor 1950 Left-handed 3 Days PAM557, equipped with the in-house P.3000 movement.



The Luminor 1950 Left-handed 3 Days PAM00557 has a 47 mm steel case and a Plexiglas crystal, making it essentially a destro (or left-handed) version of the Panerai PAM372. Though most Panerai watches have the crown on the right, some of the thirties originals made for the Italian navy were made with the crown on the left for left-handed marine commandos. 


Comparing the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss and the Rolex Milgauss 116400GV (with live photos)

At Baselworld 2013 Omega unveiled the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss, a landmark in magnetism resistant watchmaking. We see how it compares to the most famous antimagnetic watch of all, the Rolex Milgauss.



Launched earlier this year at Baselworld, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss is a breakthrough in the battle against the malign influence of magnetism in watches. Instead of using the traditional solution of a soft iron cage to insulate the movement against magnetism, Omega used non-magnetic materials for vital components of the movement, like the hairspring and escapement.

This pits the Omega against the Rolex Milgauss. There are other antimagnetic watches available (IWC, Panerai and Seiko are notable candidates), each with their own merits, but the Milgauss is certainly the most well known.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

VIDEO: A guide to the tourbillon by IWC

IWC has just premièred the first in a series of short videos explaining important complications in watchmaking. The first is dedicated to the tourbillon.



Presented by the curator of the IWC museum, David Seyffer, the video outlines the tourbillon of IWC. Short but informative, it looks at the flying tourbillon developed by IWC specifically, and not about the complication in general.

- SJX

Interview: Edouard Meylan, the CEO of H. Moser & Cie., on turning around the brand

Since taking the helm at H. Moser & Cie. earlier this year, Edouard Meylan has embarked on reorganising and revitalising what was a well regarded but loss-making independent watchmaker. Here he talks about the company's turnaround, and his plans for the future. 


The H. Moser Nomad dual time launched at Baselworld 2013

A year ago H. Moser & Cie. was acquired by MELB Holding, a holding company run by Georges-Henri Meylan, formerly the CEO of Audemars Piguet, and Bill Muirhead, who had the top finance job at Breguet before the Swatch Group takeover. MELB Holding also owns Hautlence, another independent brand in financial distress.

H. Moser is a respected maker of innovative, concise timepieces, most notably the Perpetual 1, but was struggling financially. Founded in 2006 with the backing of Swiss dental implant heir Thomas Straumann, H. Moser was not particularly profitable for Straumann. Bloomberg reported in February this year that H. Moser had cost Straumann over SFr100 million, or about US$110 million. MELB Holding now has majority control of H. Moser, with Straumann retaining a minority stake.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Unique Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Newson sells for US$425,000, and Memovox for US$365,000, at (RED) auction

Sotheby's brought the hammer down on the 43 lots at the (RED) charity auction yesterday, raising US$12.9 million for charity. Amongst the top lots were the Jaeger-LeCoultre Newson Atmos and Memovox Deep Sea.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea with red dial - only three made

Curated by Apple design guru Jony Ive and industrial design superstar Marc Newson, the (RED) auction was the brainchild of Bono, and intended to benefit The Global Fund. Most of the 43 lots on sale were unique or special items, individually selected by Ive and Newson. They including two timepieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre, which has previously collaborated with Newson in creating a series of Atmos clocks. 


A stay at Hotel L'Orologio, the watch-themed boutique hotel of Florence

Owned by a watch collector, the Hotel L'Orologio is a boutique hotel in Florence, Italy. Inspired by watch collecting, with horological objects scattered throughout the hotel, especially of the owner's three favourite brands, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin.



Sitting just across from the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and a stone's throw from the main railway station of Florence, the Hotel L'Orologio is a luxe, boutique hotel owned by Italian clothing retailer Sandro Fratini. 

His passion is watch collecting, and the Hotel L'O' is an embodiment of that. Specifically, the Hotel L'Orologio is a reflection of a love for twentieth century wristwatches from the most eminent brands like Patek Philippe and Rolex.


Friday, 22 November 2013

Hands-on with the Zenith El Primero Lightweight, the world's lightest automatic chronograph (with live photos and price)

The title of the light automatic chronograph in the world now belongs to Zenith, with its new El Primero Lightweight. Cased in aluminium and carbon fibre, the major components of the El Primero movement are all titanium.



Zenith recently announced its entry into the world of ultra-light sports watches, the El Primero Lightweight. The use of aluminium, carbon fibre and titanium has shaved off the ounces, giving the watch head a weight of 42.68 g.

Despite its diameter of 45 mm, the case is feather light. It is composed primarily of two materials: ceramised aluminium and carbon fibre (or more accurately carbon fibre reinforced polymer). 


How It's Made: The Ceramic Case Of The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon

With the distinction of being the first Speedmaster with a ceramic case, the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon is actually all - case, bezel, pushers, crown, dial and even the buckle - ceramic.


The particular type of ceramic used for the Dark Side of the Moon is zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). Though the case is ceramic, it is finished just like a metal alloy case, with both polished and brushed surfaces.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A look at some notable timepieces from Christie's "Important Watches" sale in Hong Kong

Christie's "Important Watches" auction will take place at month's end in Hong Kong. A enormous offering of over 500 lots, the sale includes several notable timepieces, new and old, as well as establishment and independent.


Patek Philippe ref. 3970P with salmon dial and Breguet numbers

A impressive line-up of timepieces has been put together for the upcoming Christie's "Important Watches" sale on 27 November in Hong Kong. The range is diverse, with plenty of the usual suspects. But a couple of timepieces stand out, including the Patek Philippe refs. 3970 and 5050 with Breguet numerals. Also notable is a pair of pocket watches from Thomas Engels, a little known independent watchmaker.


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pre-SIHH 2014: Cartier introduces new Tortue for ladies with manufacture movement

At SIHH 2014 Cartier will unveil the latest version of its classic Tortue model in two sizes for ladies, both equipped with manufacture movements.


Tortue Medium Model in rose gold

The Tortue, which is French for "tortoise", has been a key case form for Cartier since its introduction in 1912. It has been refreshed over the years, and the latest revamp streamlines and slims down the design, making it both formal and feminine.


Pre-SIHH 2014: Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Collection Excellence Platine (with specs and price)

Vacheron Constantin has just taken the covers off the first watch in its SIHH 2014 line-up, the Malte Tourbillon Collection Excellence Platine, featuring a platinum case and dial.



A few months ago Vacheron Constantin announced the Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon Collection Excellence Platine. Joining that in the Collection Excellence Platine is the Malte Tourbillon.

The new Malte Tourbillon Collection Excellence Platine has all the hallmarks of the Collection Excellence Platine, namely the case, dial, buckle and even strap stitching are all made of 950 platinum.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Vintage Rolex Specialist Eric Ku Explains Record-Breaking Christie's Record-Breaking Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" Auction

The Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" auction at Christie's in Geneva last week set several new records, including a million dollars for a Paul Newman Daytona. Vintage Rolex dealer Eric Ku explains the reasons behind the prices for some of the sale highlights.


An amazing US$13.2 million was raised at the Christie's Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" sale on 11 November - from the sale of just 50 watches. Record prices were set for various Daytona watches spanning the model's 50 year history.

For those unversed in the intricacies of Rolex Daytonas these stratospheric prices are mystifying. So we got Eric Ku, the proprietor of 10 Past Ten, a specialist in vintage Rolex watches, to explain a couple of special watches from the auction.

Announcing an exhibition of 100 tourbilllon wristwatches in Singapore

Singapore retailer Sincere Fine Watches will showcase 100 tourbillon wristwatches from 21 brands in Singapore from end November till February 2014.



100 tourbillon timepieces will be on show at Sincere Fine Watches' Ngee Ann City store in Singapore starting 29 November 2013. With a retail value of over S$30 million (~US$24 million), the watches come from 21 brands spanning the horological alphabet, from A. Lange & Söhne to Zenith.

Amongst the timepieces on show are several which we have covered in-depth, including the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Jubilee, the Audemars Piguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph and the Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon.

The exhibition is open to the public daily and will run till 12 February 2014. The store is located at:

391 Orchard Road 
#01-12 Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872

- SJX

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Less is more - a look at a compact and exceptional collection of watches

A gentleman collector shares his special collection of modern timepieces, with a heavy emphasis on the top-end of contemporary watchmaking, while explaining his approach to collecting.



Almost modest in its size - the collection numbers just 20 watches - this collection was assembled by a businessman in his forties whose latest acquisition is the Richard Mille RM055 Bubba Watson. 

For him, clarity and focus in collecting is important. That is why the collection is manageable, but comprised of special and even spectacular timepieces, like the Richard Mille RM009 Alusic or the Lange Pour le Mérite Tourbillon. The collection even includes the 33 mm Patek Philippe ref. 5959P rattrapante, a watch so costly and so esoteric that it immediately marks out the owner as a discerning collector.


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Hands-on with the Cartier Astrotourbillon Carbon Crystal, the first production timepiece with lubrication-free escapement (with live photos and price)

Using the innovations developed for the ID One concept watch, the Astrotourbillon Carbon Crystal is the first production timepiece from Cartier equipped with a lubrication-free escapement.


In 2009 Cartier unveiled the ID One, the first timepiece in its ID series of concept watches which experiment with technologies that might be the future of watchmaking. The ID One was entirely lubrication- and regulation-free thanks to the use of materials new to watchmaking, but it was a concept watch and never commercialised. 

Some of the innovative materials, however, used in the ID One have made their way into the Astrotourbillon Carbon Crystal. The result is the first, and so far only, production Cartier timepiece with a lubrication free escapement. Launched last year, the Astotourbillon Carbon Crystal is only just being delivered.

Presenting the winners of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2013

The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2013 concluded yesterday with 15 prizes awarded to a diverse array of timepieces, with a surprisingly heavy inclination towards independent watchmakers.



Perhaps the closest the watch world has to the Oscars, the prize presentation ceremony of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2013 took place a few hours ago at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. 

Girard-Perregaux took home the top award of the evening, the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix, for its Constant Escapement. Notably, independent watchmakers featured prominently amongst the winners, including Vianney Halter for the Innovation Prize.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Detailed Look at the Omega Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph Limited Edition, a Revived 1970s Classic (with Original Photos & Price)

Getting its name from the distinctive position of the crown and pushers, the seventies-era Omega chronograph has been reissued as the Seamaster Bullhead limited edition, retaining all of its vintage charm with a modern twist.



Unveiled in 1969, the original Omega Bullhead chronograph was a creature of the seventies, from the chunky cushion-shaped case to the position of the crown and pushers. The originals are amongst the rarest and most pricey Omega chronographs.

Omega has taken the key elements of the original Bullhead, sprinkled on some modern watchmaking amenities, to create the Seamaster Bullhead limited edition.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Steel Lange Double Split sells for US$501,769

The unique Lange Double Split in steel just hammered for an astounding US$501,769 at Christie's "Important Watches" sale in Geneva.


Lange Double Split in steel
Photo credit Christie's

The day after the records set at the Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" auction, Christie's set yet more records with its "Important Watches" sale in Geneva. The two auctions together raised almost US$44 million, making this the most lucrative series of auctions ever. 

The Lange Double Split in steel, the only one of its kind ever made, hammered for SFr461,000, which works out to US$501,769. That sets a record for a Lange watch. The result is an even richer price than the unique 36 mm Pour le Mérite tourbillon sold by Dr Crott last year.

The rest of the "Important Watches" results are available from Christie's, including a hammer price of US$2.16 million for a pink gold Patek Philippe ref. 2499.

- SJX

Monday, 11 November 2013

Ever wondered what it's like to commission a unique timepiece from Vacheron Constantin's Atelier Cabinotiers?

A member of The Hour Lounge shares his journey in commissioning a unique Toledo 1952 from the Atelier Cabinotiers of Vacheron Constantin.


A unique Vacheron Constantin Toledo 1952
Photo credit Liger, The Hour Lounge

Atelier Cabinotiers is the department of Vacheron Constantin which creates unique timepieces at the behest of clients, including the Vladimir ultra-complication unveiled in 2011. Liger, a member of The Hour Lounge, the official but lively Vacheron Constantin forum, has just told the tale of the unique, blue dial Toledo 1952 triple calendar wristwatch he commissioned.

Taking a year and a half from initial idea to final product, he explains the specific details of his timepiece, as well as the process of creating the unique timepiece. One of the notable tidbits from his tale is the fact that Vacheron Constantin creates two examples of every component requires for a custom or bespoke timepiece, which not only creates a spare part but also allows the client to choose the example he prefers.

- SJX

Spectacular results at Christie's Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" auction in Geneva, including a million dollar Paul Newman

Created to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Rolex chronograph, Christie's Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" auction just concluded in Geneva with eye-popping results for all the watches on offer.


The million dollar Daytona

Curated by Aurel Bacs of Christie's and Pucci Papaleo, an Italian Daytona specialist, the Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" sale just concluded at Christie's in Geneva. The sale comprised 50 watches, including specimens from throughout the model's 50 year history, including recent models like the Daytona Rainbow and this year's platinum Daytona.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Unique Lange Double Split in steel to go under the hammer tomorrow (with live photos)

At Christie's Geneva auction tomorrow a one-of-a-kind Lange Double Split in steel, created as a prototype by Lange, will go under the hammer, and possibly set a new auction record.



According to Christie's, Lange management considered the idea of Double Split with less weighty case, as at the time the watch was only available in platinum. A prototype in steel was thus created. The idea, however, was scrapped, and this remains the only steel Double Split ever made.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Hands-on with the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst (with live photos and pricing)

Lange recently unveiled the third in its boutique-exclusive Handwerkskunst series, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst, featuring a specially decorated dial and movement, as well as a hand-painted date display.



The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst sticks to the established Handwerkskunst formula: an engraved dial as well as special decoration on the movement. But it has an additional decorative touch used for the first time on a Lange, all the numerals of the oversized date are hand-painted.

While the original Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is a serious looking timepiece with the brand's characteristic Teutonic style, the Handwerkskunst version is ornate and expensive looking.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Introducing the MB&F HM5 RT in rose gold and titanium (with specs and price)

MB&F has just unveiled the HM5 RT. This driver's style watch still has the same clever jump hour mechanism, but it's now in brushed rose gold with a titanium movement chassis.



First launched a year ago in zirconium, the HM5 is now available as the HM5 RT in rose gold and titanium. It is virtually identical to the first HM5, save for the precious metal case. While the original look retro, this looks luxe.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Greubel Forsey unveils the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain with natural titanium movement (with specs and pricing)

The Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain is now available with a base plate and bridges in frosted titanium in its natural colour, giving it a restrained tone while retaining the characteristic Greubel Forsey details.



Originally presented with a striking blue PVD titanium movement in platinum, the colours of the Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain have now been dialled back. The base plate and bridge on the front are now frosted but left uncoated, leaving them in the natural grey tone of titanium.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Hands-on with the million-dollar Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Sphérotourbillon high jewellery (with live photos and price)

Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled several spectacular high jewellery timepieces at Watches&Wonders, including the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon high jewellery limited edition, set with a stunning 22 carats of baguette diamonds with a sprinkling of sapphires.



First unveiled at last year's SIHH, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon is the successor to the seminal Gyrotourbillon, the high complication which put JLC on the map as a maker of high complications. JLC recently presented a high jewellery limited edition Spherotourbillon in white gold, entirely decorated in diamonds and blue sapphires.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hands-on with the Chopard LUC Engine One H tourbillon, the coolest LUC timepiece ever (with live photos and pricing)

Just unveiled at Baselworld 2013, the Chopard LUC Engine One H tourbillon is inspired by automobiles, and undoubtedly the coolest LUC watch ever.



Cool is an adjective rarely applied to Chopard LUC watches. They are typically fine, well-finished, and often staid, even boring. The LUC Engine One H tourbillon is a striking departure from the norm and it thoroughly deserves the title.

Two years ago Chopard tried its hand at a cool, car-inspired watch, resulting in the Engine One. Fortunately, Chopard tried once again, and this time they succeeded. The Engine One H uses the same movement as its predecessor, but rotated counter-clockwise. This gives the Engine One H is a more distinctive character, as well as greater wrist presence.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Unique IWC Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince" in platinum to be sold for charity

A unique IWC Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince" will be sold by Sotheby's in Geneva, with going to funding construction of a school in Cambodia.



IWC has created a one-of-a-kind Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince" in platinum for charity. The regular version of this watch is available in rose gold as a limited edition.

The Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince" was created to mark the 70th anniversary of "The Little Prince", the tale penned by author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 


Friday, 1 November 2013

An astounding collection of contemporary horology - the collector responds

Two months ago we featured an astounding collection of contemporary horology put together by a gentleman collector. The assembly represents some of the most important timepieces of the last decade.



The response to the collector profile was tremendous, with readers from every corner of the world. Many of you had questions for the gentleman whose collection was profiled. The questions posed were condensed and then put to him. Here are his responses.