Monday, 31 March 2014

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Rolex Daytona Platinum with Diamond Bezel and Dial 116576 TBR (with specs and price)

The new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona has everything that makes a Rolex expensive - a platinum case with a matching platinum bracelet, a baguette diamond bezel and diamond pave dial.

Last year Rolex unveiled the first ever Daytona in platinum, complete with a beautifully crafted platinum bracelet. This year at Baselworld 2014 Rolex presents the same, but with diamonds set on the bezel and dial. For those who thought last year's Daytona was not enough, the new Daytona with diamonds (ref. 116576 TBR) should do the trick.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Grand Seiko 1964 Self-Dater Remake in Spring Drive and High-Precision Quartz (with specs and price)

Distinguished by its wide and flat lugs, the Grand Seiko "Self-Dater" of 1964 provides the template for five new Grand Seiko models in 2014, including both Spring Drive and high-precision 9F quartz models.

Introduced in 1964, the Grand Seiko 57GS, nicknamed "Self-Dater", was the first Grand Seiko with a date function. Its most striking design element was the broad and flat lugs, making it appear larger than its smallish 36.5 mm. With that as an inspiration, Seiko has unveiled five new Grand Seiko models at Baselworld 2014, all based on the 1964 Self-Dater.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Omega De Ville Trésor, Retro Fifties Elegance with an Antimagnetic, Co-Axial Movement (with specs and pricing)

Inspired by the fifties model of the same name, the Omega De Ville Trésor is a slim, vintage style wristwatch featuring a non-magnetic, Master Co-Axial movement that is, unusually for a modern Omega, manually wound.

The Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is not the only new Omega at Baselworld 2014 that looks to the past. With the aesthetics of mid-twentieth century wristwatches, the Omega De Ville Trésor is an elegant 40 mm wide, with a thin bezel, hobnail guilloche dial and a box-shaped sapphire crystal.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control, in Black Ceramic and Running at 57,600 bph (with specs and price)

Chopard has given its ultra-high frequency movement a striking, modern look, with a black ceramic case and red accents, available as the 250-piece limited edition L.U.C 8HF Power Control.

Chopard was amongst the first brands to create a serially produced, ultra-high beat movement when it presented the L.U.C 8HF back in 2012. Running at 8 Hz or 57,600 beats per hour (bph), the L.U.C Calibre 01.09-L movement returns at Baselworld 2014, inside the L.U.C 8HF Power Control.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Seiko Prospex Air Diver "Monster" in Black PVD, SRP581 and SRP583 (with specs and price)

As Seiko brings its Prospex line global in 2014, it has introduced new Prospex "Monster" Air Diver watches featuring black PVD coated cases and 4R36 automatic movements.

For the first time Seiko will distribute its Prospex line outside of Japan starting in 2014, and one of the new models for this global push is the Prospex Air Diver 200 m "Monster". The Prospex Monster has the same specs as the other Monster watches powered by the 4R36 movement, but it features new case colours as well as the redesigned Prospex logo on the dial.

Baselworld 2014: Presenting the Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT "Tuna" Diver (with specs and pricing)

Seiko has unveiled the Prospex Kinetic GMT Diver, featuring an updated "tuna" shrouded case and an electro-mechanical Kinetic movement with second time zone. This model is amongst the first new Prospex watches which will now be available worldwide.

An abbreviation of "professional specification", the Seiko Prospex line of sports watches for rigorous activities on land, in the air as well as under water. Prospex gets a new logo and goes global in 2014 - previously available only in Japan, the Prospex line will now be sold worldwide. One of the key new Prospex models presented at Baselworld 2014 is the Kinetic GMT "Tuna" Diver.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Baselworld 2014: Presenting the Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon, the Most Complex Tourbillon Ever from GP (with specs and pricing)

Girard-Perregaux, a brand famous for its tourbillons, has revealed its most complicated tourbillon ever, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon, with 140-part tourbillon rotating on three axes under a sapphire bubble.

Maker of the iconic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, Girard-Perregaux has gone a step, or rather an axis, further with its new Tri-Axial Tourbillon, which we previewed here before Baselworld 2014. Already having a double axis tourbillon in its line-up, a triple axis tourbillon was the predictable and necessary next step, given Girard-Perregaux's strong association with the complication.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Moon Watch Apollo 11 45th Anniversary in Titanium and Rose Gold (with specs and pricing)

For the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969, Omega has created a limited edition Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch in titanium and rose gold, with a laser etched black PVD dial.

The first men to land on the moon famously did so with the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch on their wrists. It's 45 years since the lunar landing naturally at Baselworld 2014 Omega unveiled a limited edition to commemorate the Apollo 11 mission. 

Joining the dozens of Speedmaster limited editions created over the years, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition has features unusual for a Speedmaster Moonwatch: a titanium and Sedna gold case fitted to a NATO strap.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Revamped Rolex Cellini Collection, New Designs and New Movements

Just introduced at Baselworld, the new Cellini collection features an entirely new design with fluted bezels and guilloche dials. The line-up offers three new models, ranging from a time-only to a dual time with day and night indicator.

Conceived as a more formal wristwatch than the all conquering Rolex Oyster, the diverse and perhaps confusing Cellini has been in existence for as long as anyone can remember, but never did catch on. Baselworld 2014 sees the unveiling a new Cellini line, featuring classical but distinctive designs as well as several new movements.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre CH 80 Chronograph - Vintage Style Chrono with New In-House Movement for Under $6000 (with specs and price)

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre CH 80 Chronograph is the first timepiece to feature the brand's first in-house chronograph movement, the CH 80 which boasts a column wheel, vertical clutch and 80 hour power reserve.

Baselworld 2014 sees TAG Heuer unveil its first in-house chronograph movement, the CH 80. Named after the town of Chevenez in the Jura where it is made, with the 80 a reference to its power reserve, the CH 80 is a key step in TAG Heuer's plan of complete vertical integration. The CH 80 makes it debut in the Carrera Calibre CH 80 Chronograph, a vintage style driver's chronograph inspired by the original "panda" dial Carrera watches of the sixties.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Baselworld 2014: Introducing New Dials for the Rolex Sky-Dweller Annual Calendar, Including White Gold with a Black Dial

Rolex is filling out the Sky-Dweller collection with new variants, including one in white gold with a black dial, the most modern looking version of the Rolex annual calendar yet.

Two years ago Rolex unveiled its most complicated watch yet, the Sky-Dweller, an extremely impressive and cleverly engineered annual calendar with second time zone function. A breeze to operate and adjust, the Sky-Dweller has a function selector bezel that allows everything to be done via the crown. 

But the first three Sky-Dweller timepieces were large, shiny in a somewhat outdated ostentatious style. At Baselworld 2014 Rolex added three new Sky-Dweller variants to the line-up, fortunately including one in white gold with a black dial (ref. 326139) on a black alligator strap.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT, the First 36,000 bph GS GMT (with specs and pricing)

Seiko has just announced the first high beat Grand Seiko GMT, equipped with the newly developed 9S86 automatic movement running at 36,000 bph, inside the larger, 44GS type case.

The flagship product of the Grand Seiko line-up at Baselworld 2014, the new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT is the most complicated mechanical (as opposed to Spring Drive) Grand Seiko timepiece yet. It features the new 9S86 movement, which combines a second time zone function with the high beat escapement, combined with the 44GS style case unveiled last year.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing The Hermès Dressage L'heure masquée, A Dual Time Zone With A Secret Hour Hand (with specs and price)

The latest from Hermès is the Dressage L'heure masquée, a novel timepiece with a secret hour hand as well as second time zone, both of which are revealed on demand, powered by the proprietary H1925 movement.

Three years ago Hermès presented the Arceau Le Temps suspendu, a watch that suspended time until the wearer demanded it. This year at Baselworld 2014 Hermes has introduced a watch with a similarly whimsical time display, the Dressage L'heure masquée. Both the hour hand and GMT display remain hidden until the crown is pressed, before disappearing when the pusher is released.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Remaking a Classic with the Latest Tech (with specs and pricing)

Omega has just unveiled a reissue of the Seamaster 300, its first modern dive watch. Faithful to the fifties original in style, the new Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial has all the latest in Omega innovations, including a anti-magnetic movement as well as a ceramic bezel and dial.

In 1957 Omega presented the Seamaster 300 CK2913, its first professional dive watch and one collectors regard as a true classic. Omega has remade - and re-engineered - that classic and presented it at Baselworld 2014 as the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial. 

The new Seamaster 300 is not just an aesthetic exercise in revisiting the past. Though it sticks to the classic design of the original, including the straight lugs, arrow hands and Arabic numerals, it is equipped with the newest in Omega watchmaking.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Entry Level Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Now with New Metallic Dial Colours (with specs and pricing)

Rolex has unveiled a series of metallic finish dials for its no-frills Oyster Perpetual watches, giving an otherwise conservative and almost old-fashioned timepiece striking new colours.

The Oyster Perpetual is the base model in the Rolex Oyster line-up, which includes watches like the Sea-Dweller and Milgauss. Being the entry level timepieces, the Oyster Perpetual tells only the time, and features only the Rolex basics like the Oyster case and an in-house automatic movement. 

But the Oyster Perpetual has just been given a facelift, with striking new dial options in bright metallic finishes in colours like the purple "Red Grape" (pictured above).

Baselworld 2014: Presenting the TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Tourbillon, the World's First Belt-Driven Tourbillon (with specs and pricing)

Created for the tenth anniversary of the TAG Heuer V4, the Monaco V4 Tourbillon in black titanium is the first belt-driven tourbillon. Wound by linear weight, the V4 Tourbillon also features four barrels mounted on ball bearings.

Ten years ago TAG Heuer presented the world's first belt-driven watch, the Monaco V4. It had tiny belts to transmit the torque from the barrel, instead of conventional gears. It took six years to get to a working, commercially available wristwatch, but TAG Heuer has now integrated a tourbillon into the movement, creating the world's first belt-driven tourbillon, the Monaco V4 Tourbillon.

Baselworld 2014: Explaining the Syloxi Hairspring Inside the Datejust Pearlmaster 34, the First Rolex Equipped with a Silicon Balance Spring

Rolex has finally unveiled its first timepiece equipped with a silicon hairspring, the Datejust Pearlmaster. Developed in-house, the Syloxi hairspring is the first commercial use of the material after several decades of research.

Rolex, along with the Swatch Group and Patek Philippe, was one of the backers of the research into silicon's use in watchmaking conducted by Centre Suisse d'Electronique et Microtechnique (CSEM), the cantonal research and development lab in Neuchâtel. Both the Swatch Group and Patek Philippe have embraced silicon, with Omega using it on a large scale, and Patek Philippe easing into it. Rolex has stayed away - until now.

At Baselworld 2014 it unveiled the diamond-set Datejust Pearlmaster, equipped with the cal. 2236 which features a Syloxi silicon hairspring. This otherwise ordinary looking jewelled timepiece might be the most important watch Rolex presented at the fair.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the gorgeous Jaquet Droz Paillonné Enamel Timepieces, Including a Pocket Watch (with specs and pricing)

Jaquet Droz has once again turned to paillonné enamelling for this trio of limited edition timepieces, all of which had deep blue grand feu enamel dials decorated with minuscule gold foil baked into the enamel.

Paillonné enamelling is a technique of applying layers of translucent enamel over tiny pieces of gold or silver, known as paillons. Jaquet Droz has used this technique to create incredibly beautiful timepieces on past occasions, with the claim that the nineteenth gold paillons used were extremely rare and almost entirely gone. 

Nonetheless there are apparently enough paillons remaining for the trio of Paillonné Enamel watches just presented at Baselworld 2014, comprising a Grande Seconde, Petite Heure Minute as well as a pocket watch.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Chopard L.U.C 1963 Chronograph Featuring a New, In-House Movement with Geneva Seal (with specs and pricing)

Chopard has finally revealed its first, in-house and manual L.U.C 1963 Chronograph, equipped with the newly developed L.U.C 03.07-L movement which boasts a flyback function, column wheel and Geneva Seal.

Last month we brought you an exclusive scoop, revealing the new L.U.C 03.07-L, the first hand-wound chronograph movement from Chopard. Now at Baselworld 2014 Chopard has finally revealed the first watch to be equipped with this movement, the L.U.C 1963 Chronograph.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges in Skeletonised, PVD-Coated Titanium (with specs and pricing)

Girard-Perregaux has taken its iconic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges and given it a radical makeover, both visually and mechanically. The Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges retains the signature movement layout, but features open-worked titanium bridges and micro-rotor automatic winding.

One of the most distinctive tourbillon wristwatches ever made, the Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges is an icon. Just unveiled at Baselworld 2014, the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges sticks to the same formula, with several key tweaks and improvements.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A (with specs and price)

Patek Philippe has just unveiled the second generation of the Nautilus chronograph, the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A, featuring both dual time zone function, day and night indicators, as well as a chronograph.

A combination of the outgoing Nautilus chronograph and Aquanaut Travel Time, the new Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A combines both a stopwatch and a dual time zone display. The second new chronograph model Patek Philippe introduced at Baselworld 2014 (the first being the steel ref. 5960/1A), the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph replaces the current steel Nautilus chronograph ref. 5960/1A, which was introduced in 2007. 

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Tudor Heritage Black Bay in Dark Blue (with specs and price)

Tudor has just unveiled the second Heritage Black Bay in dark, muted colours, in stark contrast to the original model. The new Black Bay features a midnight blue bezel and black dial with silver indices.

While the original Tudor Heritage Black Bay was all gilt and faux patina, the Black Bay in blue (ref. 79220B) is the complete opposite. While keeping the exact same design, Tudor has taken most of the colours out, giving the new Black Bay a nearly monochromatic look. The result is a serious-looking and understated dive watch. 

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Longines Heritage 1935, a Remake of its Iconic Czech Air Force Watch

A remake of a watch Longines made for the Czech Air Force in the thirties, the Heritage 1935 retains all the signature elements of the original, including the distinctive cushion case and cathedral hands.

Starting in 1935, until the mid-forties, Longines supplied distinctive, carré-shaped watches for the Czech Air Force. Though Longines was not the only supplier of these oversized wristwatches to the Czech Air Force - Eterna and Lemania were two others - Longines produced the best known, and arguably the most attractive, version of the timepiece.

Just unveiled at Baselworld 2014, the Longines Heritage 1935 is a reissue of the Czech Air Force wristwatch. It joins the string of vintage military-inspired timepieces Longines has launched in recent years. 

Baselworld 2014: Rolex Brings Back the "Pepsi" GMT-Master II, Exclusively in White Gold (with specs and price)

After years of anticipation Rolex has finally revealed the GMT-Master II with a Cerachrom bezel in red and blue, with a white gold case and bracelet, returning the classic "Pepsi" GMT-Master to the fold.

Red and blue has long been the quintessential bezel for the Rolex GMT-Master, especially since the 1955 original was in those colours. With the discontinuation of the aluminium insert bezel models in 2005, the two-tone GMT bezel was gone. 

But last year's blue and black GMT-Master II in steel - the first ever two-colour ceramic bezel - raised hopes that the "Pepsi" bezel would be revived, and those hopes have been fulfilled with the premiere of the new GMT-Master II (Ref. 116719 BLRO) in white gold at Baselworld 2014.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Patek Philippe Ref. 5960/1A in Steel with a Matching Bracelet (with specs and price)

Patek Philippe has replaced all the precious metal Refs. 5960 models - the chronographs with annual calendar - with a single new reference, the 5960/1A-001 in stainless steel with a matching steel bracelet. 

The Ref. 5960 made its debut in 2006 in platinum as the 5960P, followed by additional models in rose gold as the 5960R, with various dials. Those have all been discontinued, replaced instead with the ref. 5960/1A in steel. 

It is worth noting that the sweeping removal of several references and the substitution of a lower priced 5960 would hint at an upcoming launch of a replacement model in precious metal.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Rolex Milgauss with an Electric Blue Dial and Green Sapphire Crystal (with specs and price)

Rolex has just taken the covers off the latest version of the Milgauss, combining an electric blue, metallic finish dial with a green tinted crystal and orange accents.

Launched in 2007 with either a black or white dial, the Milgauss was nonetheless the most colourful steel Rolex sports watch. Rolex has gone even further with the new Milgauss Z Blue (ref. 116400 GV), just presented at Baselworld 2014. Termed the Z Blue for the zirconium used in its coating, the blue dial of the new Milgauss is bright, electric blue. 

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Tudor Heritage Ranger, the Entry-Level, Vintage-Inspired Heritage Timepiece (with specs and pricing)

The latest addition to Tudor's Heritage line of retro-inspired timepieces is the Heritage Ranger, which takes after the original of the same name. Entry-level and simply styled, the Heritage Ranger is a remake of the classic explorer's watch.

Tudor had a series of hits in recent years with watches inspired by its vintage timepieces, most notably with the Black Bay and Heritage Chronograph. Where the Black Bay is a diver's watch and the Heritage Chrono a driver's timepiece, the new Heritage Ranger is the modern take on the explorer's watch.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000, Back in a 40 mm Case and Rated to 1220 m/4000 ft (with specs and pricing)

Rolex has just announced the Sea-Dweller 4000, a return to its classic dive watch of old. Featuring a 40 mm case, the new Sea-Dweller 4000 has a helium escape valve and is rated to 1220 m or 4000 ft.

First introduced in 1967 as one of the pioneering deep sea dive watches, Rolex discontinued the Sea-Dweller in 2008, replacing it with the massive, over-engineered Deep Sea. After a six year hiatus, the Sea-Dweller 4000 (Ref. 116600) returns at Baselworld 2014 in much the same form as before. Traditionalists will rejoice.

The new Sea-Dweller has a 40 mm case in 904L steel, the same diameter as the original but slightly chunkier. It has the same 1220 m or 4000 ft depth rating as its predecessor, but the new Sea-Dweller has all the bells and whistles now standard for Rolex watches.

Baselworld 2014: Anonimo returns with the Militare Alpini in Bronze, Including a Bronze Dial (with specs and price)

Florentine brand Anonimo has just unveiled its new line of bronze case watches, the Militare Alpini. Comprising a chronograph and a power reserve model, the Militare Alpini is also available with an unusual bronze dial.

Baselworld 2014 will see the revived Anonimo present its new line of timepieces, all of which are equipped with the brand's trademark crown at 12 o'clock. Inspired by the alpine regiments of the Italian armed forces, the flagship Militare Alpini collection features bronze cases, including two versions with unusual aged bronze dials. 

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Speake-Marin Veshelda - Telling the Time with Only One Hand (with specs and pricing)

Speake-Marin revives its signature one-handed timepiece with the Veshelda, featuring a languid, single hand that tells the time to the nearest five minutes - not a timepiece for someone in a hurry.

One of Speake-Marin's earliest wristwatches was the unusual, one-handed Shimoda. That was discontinued, but the concept has been brought back at Baselworld 2014 with the newly unveiled Veshelda. It has a single, blued steel hand which travels round the dial once every 12 hours, indicating the time on a five minute scale.

Baselworld 2014: Zenith Unveils the Second Generation El Primero Lightweight Chronograph in Carbon Fibre (with specs and pricing)

At Baselworld Zenith will introduce the second generation of the El Primero Lightweight, an ultra-light chronograph featuring a carbon fibre case and titanium movement, equipped with its signature 36,000 bph El Primero movement.

Zenith launched the first El Primero Lightweight late last year, claiming the title of the world's lightest automatic chronograph. Freshly launched at Baselworld 2014, the second generation El Primero Lightweight is largely similar to the original in materials and weight, with a few key differences in function and aesthetics.

Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu Chronometer - Equipped with the Largest Sapphire Watch Case Ever (with specs and pricing)

Zenith's enormous Pilot Type 20 chronometer now boasts the largest sapphire crystal watch case ever, combined with a grand feu enamel dial, and a hand-engraved bezel, lugs and crown in white gold.

Launched in 2012, the Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aéronef Type 20 was powered by a new old stock observatory chronometer movement and measured a whopping 57.5 mm in diameter. Now Zenith has taken the last remaining 5011K movements and put them in a 60 mm case made of clear sapphire crystal, resulting in the resulting Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu limited edition.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

VIDEO: Girard-Perregaux Unveils the Tri-Axial Tourbillon

As Baselworld 2014 approaches Girard-Perregaux has just released a teaser video for its new Tri-Axial Tourbillon, the first such tourbillon from the brand synonymous with the iconic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges.

In a couple of days Girard-Perregaux will officially unveil its first Tri-Axial Tourbillon at Baselworld 2014. Shown in the teaser video below, the watch features both a triple axis tourbillon and a power reserve indicator, along with an off-centre time display at two o'clock. Having already developing a double-axis tourbillon, this is the first triple-axis tourbillon from Girard-Perregaux.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Pre-Basel 2014: Introducing the H. Moser Venturer - Vintage-Inspired, In-House and a Silicon Escapement (with specs and pricing)

H. Moser will soon launch the Venturer collection, a new line of timepieces with a vintage inspired look. The first of the new range is the Venturer Small Seconds, equipped with the newly developed cal. HMC 327 which is the first Moser movement to feature a silicon anchor and escape wheel.

Since its inception H. Moser has essentially relied on a single aesthetic across all its timepieces. But with the revamp of the company led by the new ownersBaselworld 2014 will see H. Moser presenting the Venturer, a new line of timepieces which carry the characteristic H. Moser aesthetic but with a slightly vintage look - think domed crystals and convex dials. The first of the new line-up is the Venturer Small Seconds, a time-only wristwatch powered by a new movement.

Pre-Basel 2014: Introducing the Arnold & Son CTB, the First Chronograph with Dead-Beat Seconds (with specs and pricing)

Adding to the line of timepieces equipped with a dead-beat seconds mechanism, Arnold & Son will present the CTB at Baselworld 2014, which combines both a chronograph and a dead seconds.

At Baselworld 2014 Arnold & Son will officially unveil Chronograph True-Beat (CTB), the world's first chronograph combined with a dead seconds mechanism. Both the elapsed seconds hand of the chronograph and the dead-beat seconds are co-axial in the centre of the dial. The dead-seconds runs continuously, functioning as the constant seconds, while the chronograph can be started on demand.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

$14,000 Flea Market Find Turns Out to be Fabergé Imperial Easter Egg Worth Millions

A golden egg purchased at a flea market in the American Midwest turned out to be a long lost Imperial Easter Egg, containing a Vacheron Constantin timepiece, made by the fabled jeweller Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family. 

In the same week the news broke of singer John Mayer suing a watch dealer over alleged fake timepieces, it was revealed at an anonymous man in America had bought a jewelled, gold egg at an estate sale for US$14,000, hoping to make a small profit from the scrap value of its gold and jewels. 

As it turned out, the object was the lost Third Imperial Easter Egg by Carl Fabergé, the court jeweller to the last Tsars of Russia, with a value estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

Pre-Basel 2014: Introducing the Pita Barcelona Roadster Bullhead Chronograph (with specs and pricing)

Pita Barcelona has just unveiled images of the Roadster, a bullhead racing chronograph. Inspired by the instrument panel of car, the Roadster has a stock lightweight aluminium-lithium alloy case, but various other options are available for customisation.

Based in Barcelona, Spain, Pita Barcelona is helmed by Aniceto Jiménez Pita, a self-taught watchmaker who is a member of the AHCI. At Baselworld 2014 Pita will present the Roadster, a bullhead chronograph. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

EDITORIAL: Why it's no surprise John Mayer is suing over $656,000 of questionable vintage Rolex

Having spent over US$5 million with watch dealer Bob Maron, John Mayer is now suing Maron, best known for having Charlie Sheen as a client, over US$656,000 in what Mayer says are fake Rolex watches.

Am I worth a lot of money?

John Mayer, the American musician who collects watches and sometimes shares photos of them on his Instagram account, has recently made headlines along with watch dealer Robert Maron. Having been a client of Maron's since 2007, Mayer had spent about US$5 million with Maron.

Mayer, in a complaint filed in a California court, alleges that US$656,000 of vintage Rolex watches he bought from Maron were counterfeit or had counterfeit parts. He discovered this after sending the watches back to Rolex, which rendered the counterfeit verdict.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Pre-Basel 2014: Introducing the Andersen Geneve Grande Jour et Nuit Edition 2014 (with specs and pricing)

Andersen Geneve has used its last remaining extra-thin Frederic Piguet cal. 15 movements for the Grande Jour et Nuit Edition 2014, the final run of the brand's signature complication which indicates the time on a 24 hour scale.

Svend Andersen, who co-founded the AHCI in 1985 with Vincent Calabrese, first created the Jour et Nuit (day and night) for Cartier in 1998, as a limited edition Pasha wristwatch. With the Frederic Piguet cal. 15, a large, ultra-slim high pocket watch calibre, as a base movement, the simple yet elegant Jour et Nuit display has since become one of Andersen's signature complications. Now with only 50 movements remaining, the Andersen Jour et Nuit will take its final run.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Hands-On With The Ralph Lauren RL67 Safari Chronometer, An Entry-Level, COSC-Certified Explorer's Watch (With Live Photos And Price)

Ralph Lauren's entry level timepiece is the RL67 Safari Chronometer, an attractive COSC certified automatic in a gunmetal case paired with a distressed canvas strap.

Ralph Lauren is not a brand associated with better watchmaking, and not one instinctively accepted as such. But Ralph Lauren is making good efforts at making good watches, thanks in no small part to its watchmaking arm being a joint venture with Richemont. 

Most of its timepiece are equipped with movements from Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC and Piaget. That makes them pricey, but starting last year Ralph Lauren began to focus on more accessible products, namely with the RL67 Safari Chronometer.

Introducing the Habring² Doppel 3 split-second chronograph for a Swiss watch forum (with specs and price)

Habring² has created a five piece limited edition of its Doppel 3 rattrapante for Swiss watch website Horlogerie-Suisse featuring blued steel leaf hands.

Arguably the best value proposition amongst modern split-seconds chronographs, the Habring² Doppel 3 is an improvement upon the design invented by Richard Habring while he was at IWC. Based on the Valjoux 7750, the Doppel 3 is a simple and robust rattrapante mechanism.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Introducing the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition - In-House, 10 Days of Power Reserve and Under $7000 (with specs and pricing)

Oris has just announced the Calibre 110, its first in-house movement in 35 years. Boasting a 10 day power reserve, the 110 Years Limited Edition is hand-wound, featuring a patented non-linear power reserve and a very accessible price.

Well regarded as a maker of modestly priced timepieces, Oris has largely used ETA and then Sellita movements in its watches, with added complications modules developed in-house - until now. The 10 day power reserve Calibre 110 is the first completely new movement by Oris since 1981 when it stopped development of in-house calibres. This new calibre is found inside the 110 Years Limited Edition, to mark the brand's anniversary since its founding in 1904.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Hands-On with the Cartier Tank MC Chronograph, the First Tank with an In-House Chronograph Movement (with live photos and pricing)

Introduced just earlier this year, the Cartier Tank MC Chronograph is the first Tank chronograph with an in-house calibre, the recently developed 1904-CH MC movement. Larger and more imposing than earlier Tank models, the Tank MC Chronograph is the newest wristwatch to join Cartier's small range of entry-level men's chronograph watches.

Last year Cartier unveiled the Tank MC, a new version of its classic Tank wristwatch. Wider and heftier than earlier Tank models, the Tank MC was designed expressly for men. It joined the long line of Tank models which have helped give the Tank its extraordinary longevity. 

Now the Tank MC Chronograph joins the collection. Equipped with the in-house 1904-CH MC movement first used in the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph, the new Tank MC Chronograph becomes the new, entry-level chronograph with an in-house movement.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Mae Keane, who painted radium on watch dials, passes away

Mae Keane, the last of the "radium girls" in America, dies at 107. She, like many other young ladies in the early twentieth century watch industry, applied radium to watch dials, shaping the point of the brush between her lips.

Mae Keane, the last radium girl
Hartford Courant
Working for the Waterbury Clock Company in the early twenties, Mae Keane was one of the "radium girls", young ladies who illuminated watch dials and suffered for it.

Mrs Keane painted radium - which glowed in the dark because it was radioactive -  onto the numerals on watch dials. Discovered only at the turn of the century by Marie Curie, radium was newly popular as a method to make watch dials legible in the dark.

Because the dials were tiny and the numerals tinier still, the radium had to be applied in tiny quantities with a finely tipped brush. The technique for shaping the point of the brush was to put the bristle between one's lips, which would eventually prove fatal for most of the ladies in the profession. 

Many of them died from radiation poisoning after a few years, or lost their teeth, like Mrs Keane. Though Mrs Keane was American, the same happened in the Swiss watch industry in the early twentieth century.

Fortunately Mrs Keane, not liking the work, did not stay long in the job, and she passed away recently at the age of 107. Her full obituary can be seen in The New York Times.

Pre-Basel 2014: Introducing the Arnold & Son Dial Side True Beat with an exposed dead seconds mechanism (with specs and pricing)

At Baselworld 2014 Arnold & Son will present the  Dial Side True Beat, an automatic with dead seconds mechanism visible on the dial, revealing the mechanics behind the ticking seconds.

Arnold & Son continues its string of pre-Baselworld 2014 releases with the Dial Side True Beat (DSTB). Developed in-house - its sister company is movement specialist La Joux-Perret - the DSTB movement is self-winding with a dead beat seconds. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Pre-Basel 2014: MCT returns with the Sequential Two S200, powered by a new, in-house automatic (with specs and pricing)

Independent watchmaker MCT has just announced Sequential Two S200, featuring the brand's trademark louvre time display powered by a newly developed automatic movement.

MCT went quiet for a while after its co-founder and technical head Denis Giguet left in 2011, but it has now unveiled the Sequential Two S200. Inside is a brand new automatic movement with a micro-rotor developed in-house by MCT, which stands for Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps.

Pre-Basel 2014: Introducing the Hublot Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (with specs and pricing)

Hublot has just unveiled the official watch of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono, equipped with a new movement based on the UNICO calibre.

A newly developed movement appears for the first time in the Hublot Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono. Just launched by Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, the Soccer Bang is the official watch at the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil, taking place in June 2014. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Richard Mille Unveils the Two Tonne Quebec Clock

Completed after six years, the two tonne Richard Mille Quebec clock was presented for the first time in the Swiss town of Porrentruy, before it heads to its permanent home in Quebec.

Created as a gift for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City from Richard Mille and the Canton of Jura, the Richard Mille Quebec Clock is made of the same materials as wristwatches - brass, stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, ceramic and ruby - except it is much, much larger.

Weighing nearly two tonnes and stands 3.5 m high, the Quebec Clock displays the time in two places, Quebec and the Jura, as well as the equation of time. And it also features digital perpetual calendar.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Introducing the Habring² new entry-level sports watches, the Time Pilot range (with specs and pricing)

Taking inspiration from its award-winning Pilot watch, Habring² has added three new Pilot-style watches to its line-up, with choices of automatic or hand-wind movements and two new dial options.

Having carved out a niche for itself with affordable and novel timepieces, Habring² took the "Petite Aiguille" prize, given to the best watch under 7500 Swiss francs, at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2013, with its Jumping Seconds Pilot's watch. Now Habring² has added three more watches to the Pilot line, characterised by its clean legible dials and brushed steel cases. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Hands-on with the Vulcain Nautical Seventies Limited Edition Cricket Alarm for Divers (with live photos and pricing)

Last year Vulcain unveiled the Nautical Seventies, a reissue of its cushion-case Super-Compressor dive wristwatch equipped with its distinctive, in-house Cricket alarm movement.

Vulcain's remake of its diving alarm from the seventies is strikingly similar to the original. With its large, cushion-shaped case and the colourful dial, the Vulcain Nautical Seventies is typical of watches in that era. But unlike similar twin-crowned Super-Compressor dive watches of the period, the Vulcain had an additional function, a loud buzzing alarm.