Saturday, 30 January 2016

SIHH 2016 Personal Perspectives: Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet stuck to its guns at SIHH 2016, but nonetheless put out a diverse line-up. Here's a personal take on the offerings from Audemars Piguet, including original photos and prices.

Despite being heavily centred on the inescapable Royal Oak, the line-up Audemars Piguet presented at SIHH 2016 was varied and interesting, with the exceptionally sonorous Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie being one of the highlights of the fair. The 2016 offerings from Audemars Piguet continues the strategy - capping production, models and distribution - that has put the brand in a strong position despite the slowdown in the luxury watch business.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Louis Vuitton Introduces Skeleton Tourbillon Wristwatch with Geneva Seal

Equipped with a new skeletonised calibre, the Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève is the first Louis Vuitton wristwatch to bear the Geneva quality hallmark.

Since it acquired independent watchmaker La Fabrique du Temps and installed the team at an expansive facility in Geneva, Louis Vuitton has been steadily growing its line of watches. While it just unveiled the entry-level LV Fifty Five earlier this month, the Parisian trunk maker  has just revealed its ambitions at the other end of the spectrum with the Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

SIHH 2016 Personal Perspectives: A. Lange & Söhne

A. Lange & Söhne put on a good show at SIHH 2016, with a small but well segmented line-up that included the outstanding Richard Lange Jumping SecondsHere's a personal take on the offerings from Lange, including original photos and prices.

A. Lange & Söhne's line-up at SIHH 2016 stuck was business as usual: at the top of the collection a vastly expensive, highly complicated watch (the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon), followed by timepieces that are progressively more affordable. At the affordable end the Saxonia Moon Phase is a likeable watch, but the real star of the range is the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds.

Monday, 25 January 2016

SIHH 2016: Personal Perspective and Highlights from the Independent Watchmakers

With SIHH 2016 having just closed its doors, it's now time to take stock of what happened during the weeklong Geneva fair. Here's a roundup of what took place at the inaugural Carre des Horlogers, the area dedicated to independent watchmakers at SIHH 2016.

Nine independent watchmaker were part of SIHH for the first time, exhibiting in their own area of the hall known as the Carre des Horlogers, or "square of watchmakers". Contrary to naysayers' expectations, the independents were given prominent billing, with the carre sitting near the entrance to the fair, nearby Greubel Forsey and Richard Mille, the two giants of independent watchmaking that have been part of SIHH for several years. There was no shortage of traffic to the square during SIHH 2016, and the independents inside were mostly pleased with the turnout.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Bulgari Reimagines a Classic with the Serpenti Incantati

Shaped like a snake around the wrist, the Bulgari's signature ladies' wristwatch has been given a subtle twist with the Serpenti Incantati. Here's a preview before it makes its debut at Baselworld 2016, including prices.

One of the most distinctive ladies' timepieces ever, the original Bulgari Serpenti is an elegantly simple idea - a snake encircling the wrist as a bracelet, with a watch movement in the snake's head. Soon to be launched at Baselworld 2016, the Serpenti Incantati - translating as "enchanted snakes" - transforms the serpentine form into something more subtle, shrinking it to go around the face of the watch.

Introducing the Bulgari Octo Ultranero in Black DLC

Bulgari has given its Octo an all-black makeover with the Ultranero, featuring a black DLC coating on the case with pink gold accents. It'll be unveiled at Baselworld 2016, but here's a sneak peek at the Ultranero line-up, including prices.

Angular and octagonal, the Octo is a distinctive case shape Bulgari inherited from Gerald Genta, the independent watchmaker it acquired in 1999. Bulgari has now made the Octo its own. Slated to be officially launched at Baselworld 2016, the latest iteration of the Octo is the Ultranero in black diamond-like carbon (DLC).

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

H. Moser Introduces the Venturer XL & H. Moser Endeavour Concept Funky Blue

H. Moser & Cie. adds two blue timepieces to its collection at SIHH 2016, the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Funky Blue and Venturer Small Seconds XL - specs and prices follow.

In contrast to the pocket-watch inspired Perpetual Calendar Heritage, the pair of new timepieces unveiled by H. Moser & Cie. at SIHH 2016 hew close to its traditional style. Both the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Funky Blue and Venturer Small Seconds XL share the typical Moser design, as well as metallic blue fumé dials.

SIHH 2016: Introducing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie - a Super Minute Repeater

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is a minute repeater that lives up to its name - it is an exceptionally loud, clear and satisfying bright striking wristwatch - thanks to three patents for its construction.

When Audemars Piguet unveiled the Royal Oak Concept RD#1 minute repeater last year, it was all cloak and dagger, since the patents related to its concept were still pending. Now that the patents have been granted, the prototype has become a reality in the form of the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie that was just introduced at SIHH 2016.

SIHH 2016: Panerai Introduces the Luminor 8 Days Set PAM786 Slytech Remake

A pair of remakes based on the Pre-Vendome Slytech watches of the 1990s, the Luminor 8 Days Set PAM00786 is made up of a Luminor Black Seal "Destro" and Luminor Daylight.

Just two years after the last two-piece Slytech reissue set, Panerai has once again turned to its most desirable timepieces of the 1990s for inspiration. Based on timepieces made for actor Sylvester Stallone - hence the Slytech nickname - the Luminor 8 Days Set PAM786 consists of two wristwatches, including an unusual white dial Luminor with blue hour markers and hands.

SIHH 2016: Hands-On with the Cartier Astromysterieux Central, Mystery Tourbillon

With an intriguing visual simplicity that belies its complex construction, the Astromysterieux is a mystery movement with a central carrousel tourbillon - a concept that had its genesis almost 20 years ago. Here's the low-down on the watch, including original photos and pricing.

Cartier has just taken the covers off the Rotonde de Cartier Astromysterieux, the flagship complication of its offerings at SIHH 2016. Constructed in an ingenious manner, the entire Astromysterieux movement - which the first of its kind, a central, mystery, flying tourbillon - floats in the centre of the case, seemingly unconnected to the dial around it. Though it tells only the time, the Astromysterieux is powered by an exceptionally complex movement, most of which is elegantly hidden. 

SIHH 2016: Hands-On with the Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Boreal in Stainless Steel

A functional travel watch with a top class movement, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller is now available in stainless steel with a vintage-style "sector" dial. Here's a look, complete with original photos and price.

In the brief six years since its founding Laurent Ferrier has deftly created a distinctive brand identity, focused on subtle and elegant design, as well as lavishly finished movements. Just unveiled at SIHH 2016, the new Galet Traveller Boreal is a striking departure from the usual Laurent Ferrier look, yet quickly recognisable as a product of the brand.

Monday, 18 January 2016

SIHH 2016: An Overview of the Entire A. Lange & Söhne Line-Up (with Specs & Prices)

A. Lange & Söhne just introduced seven new models at SIHH 2016, including the flagship Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. Here's an overview of all seven, including specs and prices.

The doors of SIHH 2016 have just opened and here's a first look at what A. Lange & Söhne has lined up. Seven new wristwatches have been unveiled, including three equipped with new movements. Highlights are the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon and Richard Lange Jumping Seconds (with a constant force escapement too).

Update January 27, 2016: See the A. Lange & Söhne 2016 novelties up close in our summary right here

SIHH 2016: All the New IWC Pilot's Watches, From Mark XVIII to “Le Petit Prince”

SIHH 2016 is all about the pilot's watch for IWC, having introduced several entirely new models, along with facelifts for all the rest. Here's an overview of the new range, including prices.

IWC already gave us a flavour of what it had in store for SIHH 2016 with the Big Pilot's Heritage Watch announced earlier in January. The rest of the new Pilot's watch collection goes in the same direction, featuring a more traditional look. Highlights from the line-up include the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph, Mark XVIII, and the ladies' Pilot's Watch Automatic 36, as well as the option of NATO-style canvas or Santoni leather straps.

Update February 6, 2016: You can find our live photos of the 2016 pilot's watches right here.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

H. Moser & Cie. Introduces the Pocket Watch-Inspired Perpetual Calendar Heritage

H. Moser & Cie. marks the tenth anniversary of its signature perpetual calendar with a limited edition modelled on an enamelled, 19th century pocket watch.

One of the nine newcomers to SIHH 2016H. Moser & Cie. turned to its past for inspiration, resulting in the Perpetual Calendar Heritage limited edition that resembles a pocket watch for the wrist. Fitted with hinged, enamelled lids on the front and back, the Perpetual Calendar Heritage is a striking departure from the signature H. Moser & Cie. aesthetic that emphasises clean lines and functionality.

Richemont Third Quarter Results Continue Downward Trend

Richemont's recently released results for its third quarter demonstrates the persistent weak demand for watches, especially in Asia and at independent retailers.

With SIHH 2016 just around the corner, Richemont has announced subdued third quarter results, setting the tone for the trade fair that takes place in Geneva next week.

Revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 was down four percent at constant exchange rates, with the Asia-Pacific posting the biggest decline amongst regions, down by nine percent. Sales in Hong Kong and Macau were "significantly lower".

Friday, 15 January 2016

Introducing the Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Chronograph

Big, bold and black, the new Chronomat 44 Blacksteel is the latest DLC-coated chronograph from Breitling, powered by its in-house Calibre 01 movement. Here's all you need to know, including pricing.

Stainless steel treated with diamond-like carbon (DLC), a hardwearing black coating, Blacksteel is used for the watch cases on several Breitling wristwatches, with the latest addition to the range being the Chronomat 44 Blacksteel, a sports chronograph in black and red livery.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Hands-On with the Tiffany & Co. CT60 Annual Calendar Limited Edition

Tiffany & Co. has given its CT60 calendar wristwatch a subtle but major upgrade, endowing it with an annual calendar complication, while keeping the same styling and case.

Tiffany & Co. unveiled its flagship CT60 line of mechanical wristwatches earlier this year, the key thrust in its quest to become a watchmaker as well as jeweller.  The CT60 is fashionably retro in style, being modelled on a wristwatch once owned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and now in Tiffany's museum. But the CT60 comprised mainly simple movements, until the top of the line calendar model received a subtle upgrade, becoming the CT60 Annual Calendar.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Hands-On with the Ophion OPH 960, an Affordable Five-Day Power Reserve Gent's Watch

Ophion's first wristwatch is the OPH 960, featuring a retro 1960s look and a five-day Technotime movement, all for under US$1500. Here's a quick review of the OPH 960, with original photos and price.

Madrid-based watchmaking startup Ophion made its debt with the OPH 960, an affordable gent's wristwatch powered by a hand-wound, five day power reserve movement. Priced at €1305 (about US$1430), the OPH 960 is a fuss-free timepiece with an attractively detailed dial.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Up Close with the F.P. Journe T10 Ten Years Anniversary Tourbillon Prototype 00/10

One of the rarest recent F.P. Journe timepieces, the T10 Anniversary Tourbillon was a limited edition of just 10 pieces. Here's a look at the very first one, number 00/10.

When F.P. Journe marked the 30th anniversary of his first timepiece, he created the 99-piece T30 limited edition that was essentially a wristwatch version of his original tourbillon pocket watch. But that wasn't all. He also unveiled the T10 Anniversary Tourbillon, a run of just 10 pieces that was superficially similar to the T30, but actually very different.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Hands-On with the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés

Featuring elaborate, hand-made dials, the Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés are inspired by medieval manuscripts and rendering in gold and enamel. We go up close with the trio, complete with photos and pricing.

Vacheron Constantin equips many of its most elaborately decorated Métiers d’Art timepieces with movements featuring unconventional time displays. The Chinese zodiac limited editions, for example, show the time and calendar in four apertures. On the other hand, the Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés is more subtle, with a wandering hour indication that leaves most of the dial empty, turning it into a canvas for the artisanal crafts, or métiers d’art

Friday, 8 January 2016

MB&F Unveils the LM101 Limited Edition in Platinum

The latest iteration of the entry-level MB&F Legacy Machine has just been revealed: the LM101 in platinum with the trademark pale blue dial, limited to just 33 pieces. You'll find specs and price below.

Originally unveiled as the most affordable MB&F "machine" - a title it has since ceded to the HMX - the LM101 is now available in platinum. And like all other platinum Legacy Machines, the newest LM101 has a striking blue dial. It will be officially unveiled at SIHH 2016, where MB&F will be an exhibitor, along with eight other independent watchmakers, for the very first time.

Introducing the LV Fifty Five, the New, Entry-Level Louis Vuitton Wristwatch

Inspired by the look of 19th century Louis Vuitton aluminium steamer trunks, the LV Fifty Five is heavy on the styling cues of 1980s timepieces, with a sleek, slim case and integrated bracelet. Here's a look at the line-up, with original photos and pricing.

Conceived as its entry-level mechanical wristwatch, the LV Fifty Five has a sleek, thin case 
that is almost retro, being inspired by timepieces of the not too distant 1980s and 1990sAnother inspiration are the aluminium trunks made by Louis Vuitton in the 19th century, while its name is a play on the initials "LV", which mean 55 in Roman numerals.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Hands-On with the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle World Time Gold Map

Vacheron Constantin's patented world time now has a more contemporary look with the new Traditionnelle World Time featuring a gold world map. Here's a look at this watch for the well heeled traveller, with photos and pricing.

The world is widely known to have 24 time zones, but it actually has a total of 37, thanks to exotic places and nationalistic governments. Vacheron Constantin is one of the handful of watchmakers that caters to these extra time zones, with the Traditionnelle World Time. Originally available with a coloured world map on the dial, the Traditionnelle World Time recently received a facelift with a new dial featuring a gilded map in alternately brushed and frosted gold.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Introducing the Apple Watch Sport Chinese New Year Limited Edition

Apple has just announced a pair of limited edition smartwatches with red bands to mark Chinese New Year, available only for one month starting January 15, 2016. Here's all you need to know, complete with prices.

Select markets in Asia will soon be able to order the Apple Watch Sport limited edition for Chinese New Year, featuring an elastomer band in red, a colour traditionally associated with the occasion. The red band will only be available with the Chinese New Year edition.

Predictions for the Watch World in 2016 (Part 2)

The final instalment of the two-parter on my predictions for 2016 is all about the independents, outlining the whittling down of the field, but also green shoots with affordable, crowdsourced brands.

Gone with the wind

While part one of my take on the upcoming year covered the big watch brands, part two, on the other hand, will be about the independents, a segment that will become a lot less crowded in the coming year. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Lange & Söhne for the Ladies - Hands-On with the Little Lange 1 Mother-of-Pearl

Conceived as a ladies' watch, the Little Lange 1 nonetheless retains all the technical and aesthetic qualities that made its male counterpart an icon. We take a look at the latest Little Lange 1, featuring a blue mother of pearl dial, complete with photos and price.

Iconic is a term oft overused, but the Lange 1 is justifiably described as such. It's immediately recognisable, essentially the face of A. Lange & Söhne. By and large a men's watch, the Little Lange 1 has been offered as a ladies' timepieces in various guises, most recently with a blue lacquered mother of pearl dial.

Monday, 4 January 2016

IWC Introduces the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch Historical Remake (Plus a Whole Range of New Pilot's Watches)

IWC will unveil an all-new line of pilot's watches at SIHH 2016, led by the new Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 and 55, a pair of limited editions modelled on the oversized aviator's watches of the Second World War.

IWC's contemporary aviator's watches are inspired by the beobachtungsuhr, or observation watches, it supplied to airmen of the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Those pilot's watches get a makeover this year - acquiring a more conservative look that traditionalists will appreciate - with the new model range making its debut at SIHH 2016. The line-up starts with the entry-level Mark XVIII, and also includes a pair of historical remakes in titanium, the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 and 55.

Predictions for the Watch World in 2016 (Part 1)

The fine watch industry is entering the new year with caution and some pessimism, giving the tepid demand for its products. This two part story will explain what I think will happen in 2016. 

Taking it at a leisurely pace now

Last year was generally a slow one for the business of luxury watches. Demand is largely stagnant, with the biggest markets in Asia faring badly. So what does 2016 hold for the watch business? The two part story will detail your correspondent's thoughts, with the first part covering the mainstream watch brands and pricing, while the second will deal with independent watchmaking.