Monday, 5 October 2015

The Entry-Level A. Lange & Söhne Chronograph Just Got Much Better (with Original Photos, Review and Price)

An appealingly facelifted version of the entry-level Lange chronograph, the 1815 Chronograph boutique edition features a pulsometer scale on a pleasing white and blue dial.

Just introduced at the Watches&Wonders 2015 fair in Hong Kong, the 1815 Chronograph boutique edition is a fine-looking variant of the entry-level chronograph from A. Lange & Söhne. Dignified but still novel in blue and white, the dial features a pulsometer scale, something found only on the boutique edition. All in all, it's a significant improvement over the regular edition.

Explaining China's Importance to the Luxury Watch Industry

China was the driving force behind the rapid growth in the luxury watch industry, until it wasn't. Consumption is just half the story, for the Middle Kingdom is also an important producer of watches and components. Originally published in Chronos Japan, this editorial explains the importance of China in watchmaking. 

A recognised fact in luxury watchmaking is the immense importance of the Chinese consumer. In 2014, a quarter of Swiss watch exports went to China (6.3% of the total) and Hong Kong (18.5%), according to statistics from trade body The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS). This growth is relatively recent: Swiss watch exports to China grew from Sfr45 million to SFr1.4 billion in the 14 years to 2014.

Throw in the 100 million Chinese tourists who went overseas last year – many of whom love buying luxury goods because of the steep taxes in China - and the proportion of luxury timepieces purchased by buyers from China is immense. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Up Close with the Exceptional and Unique Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A "Only Watch" in Stainless Steel

Literally a million dollar timepiece, the Patek Philippe ref. 5016A grand complication made for charity auction Only Watch is a one of a kind timepiece distinguished by a dark blue enamel dial as well as a stainless steel case.

At the time of its introduction in 1993, the Patek Philippe reference 5016 was the brand's most complicated wristwatch. Featuring a minute repeater, tourbillon and retrograde perpetual calendar, the reference 5016 was made in tiny quantities. Some 200 to 300 were made before it was discontinued in 2011. But that was not the last of the model, as Patek Philippe just resurrected it as the reference 5016A, an exceptionally valuable, one-off piece in stainless steel - for a good cause.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Hands-On with the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Chronograph (with Original Photos & Price)

A remake of a rare and desirable vintage timepiece, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Chronograph is equipped with a heavily upgraded calibre based on the classic Lemania movement. And it'll only be made in limited numbers.

Vacheron Constantin has had a good years with its chronographs, most notably with the new calibre 3300 in the Harmony Chronograph. But traditionalists will probably appreciate the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Chronograph a little more, since it's essentially a replica of a rare vintage timepiece. And the Cornes de Vache is also equipped with a movement that is essentially decades old, but one that has been heavily upgraded.

F.P. Journe Marks the End of 38mm Cases with a Special, 5-Piece Set in Stainless Steel (with Pricing)

F.P. Journe is saying farewell to its classic, 38mm case with a set of stainless steel watches made up of five signature models - all with a diameter of 38mm in a limited edition of just 38 sets.

When F.P. Journe presented his first tourbillon wristwatch in 1991, it had a 38mm case. Though large at the time, modern tastes dictated larger sizes and a 40mm case was devised in 2001. Eventually a 42mm case joined the offerings, most recently with the new Octa Lune. Now the original, 38mm size has come to an end, an occasion F.P. Journe is commemorating with a five-piece set comprising his most iconic timepieces, each in a 38mm, stainless steel case.

Vacheron Constantin Introduces One-of-a-Kind Perpetual Calendar Regulator

Now an annual tradition at Watches&Wonders, Vacheron Constantin unveils a unique timepiece that will never be repeated, the Maître Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator. 

Last year at Watches&Wonders Vacheron Constantin took the covers off the Maître Cabinotier Astronomica, a multi-million dollar wristwatch with 15 complications. Now at Watches&Wonders 2015 (which also happens to be the stage to showcase the most complicated watch ever) Vacheron Constantin has once again revealed a unique creation, the Maître Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator that combines a regulator-style time display with a concisely laid out perpetual calendar.

Glashütte Original Adds a Dose of Colour to the Remake of an East German Classic

Combining the retro style of an East German horological classic with boldly coloured dials, the new Glashütte Original Sixties Iconic Collection is exclusive to the brand's boutiques. 

Modelled on a classic of East German watchmaking, the Glashütte Original Senator Sixties takes after the Spezimatic wristwatch made by state-owned VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). The Senator Sixties stays true to the aesthetic of the original, has the quality of a modern high-end timepiece, instead of a 1960s product of Communism. Originally available in the conservative colours of black, blue or silver, the Senator Sixties is now livened up with five new dial variants featured vividly coloured galvanic coating.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Introducing the De Bethune DB27 D Polo Edition in Hardened Steel (with Pricing)

Conceived for polo players, the De Bethune DB27 D Polo Edition is made of DLC-coated hardened steel, a material resilient enough to withstand the rigours of a polo game.

While the DB27 Titan Hawk is De Bethune's entry level timepiece, the DB27 D Polo Edition is a decidedly more elaborate variant. Limited to just 10 pieces, it was made to mark the 2015 De Bethune Princely Polo Cup, a tournament held in Liechtenstein. The key feature of the DB27 D Polo Edition is the case, made from diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated steel boasting exceptional surface hardness. 

Lange Facelifts the Entry-Level Saxonia with a Dark Grey Dial (with Pricing)

The most affordable A. Lange & Söhne wristwatch just got a bit more interesting with the addition of two variants with grey dials exclusive to its boutiques.

Starting at well under US$20,000, the Saxonia is the entry-level Lange timepiece, equipped with the hand-wound L941.1 movement. And till now, the Saxonia was availably only with a conventional and modest silver dial in a smallish 35mm case. Now the entry-level Saxonia is offered in a larger, 37mm case with a dark grey dial that's just been introduced at Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong.

Introducing the Panerai Luminor 1950 Titanium DLC Special Editions PAM617 "Logo" and PAM629 "California" (with Pricing)

Panerai has just announced a pair of Luminor 1950 wristwatches in DLC-coated titanium - the PAM617 with a "logo" dial and the first ever Luminor with a "California" dial - each limited to 300 pieces.

Only just unveiled at Watches&Wonders 2015, the Panerai Luminor 1950 PAM617 and PAM629 are a pair of Special Editions (which mean limited edition in Panerai-speak) featuring titanium cases coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC). Both are heavy on vintage Panerai style but with a decidedly modern twist, 
continuing Panerai's recent inclination of iterating elements from vintage Panerai watches in novel combinations. The PAM629, for instance, is the first Luminor model with a California dial.

Lange Brings Back Honey Gold with 1815 Limited Edition (with Pricing)

An extra-hard yellow gold alloy exclusive to A. Lange & Söhne, honey gold makes a comeback with the 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” limited edition.

With 2015 the bicentenary of the birth of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, founder of the eponymous German watchmaker, A. Lange & Söhne has introduced not one, but two 1815 limited editions. The first anniversary edition was in platinum and introduced in February, and the second is a very similar 1815 in honey gold that just made its debut at Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Inspired by the Dark Knight, Introducing the Romain Jerome Spacecraft Batman (with Pricing)

Romain Jerome and DC Comics join forces to unveil the Spacecraft Batman, a wristwatch inspired by the "Tumbler" Batmobile. 

Made entirely from black-coated titanium, the Spacecraft Batman is the second Dark Knight-inspired wristwatch from Romain Jerome. It indicates the time via a horizontal jumping hour on the front, with the minutes shown on the top of the case.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Ten Highlights From Phillips "The Geneva Watch Auction: Two", Including Roger Moore's Submariner from "Live and Let Die"

Phillips' The Geneva Watch Auction: Two takes place in November 2015, with a compact but impressive line-up of watches slated to go under the hammer, including the Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 with a buzzsaw bezel worn by Roger Moore.

The up and comer in the world of international watch auctions, Phillips is holding its second Geneva watch auction November 7 and 8, 2015, alongside the Only Watch charity sale. Led by Sam Hines and Aurel Bacs, the auctioneer will offer some 200 lots at the The Geneva Watch Auction: Two, including James Bond's Rolex, an Hermes Paul Newman Daytona, and a stainless steel Patek Philippe Ref. 1436 split-seconds chronograph. Here are 10 highlights from the sale, the second after the successful inaugural Geneva sale in May 2015.

Hands-On with the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time, the Entry-Level Anniversary Limited Edition

The entry-level timepiece in the Vacheron Constantin 260th Anniversary line-up, the Harmony Dual Time is an easy to use travel watch with a finely constructed movement.

Vacheron Constantin marked its 260th anniversary this year with the most complicated watch ever, and also the cushion-shaped Harmony collection. That encompasses the exquisite US$369,200 Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph, but also the more affordable Harmony Dual Time seen here.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

VIDEO: In Conversation with Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen

IWC chief executive Georges Kern discusses a variety of topics with candour and clarity, speaking on subjects as diverse as IWC's evolution into a "warmer" brand as well as pricing in the era of volatile exchange rates.

Having led IWC to exceptional success since he took the helm in 2002 - IWC is now the largest, pure play watch brand in the Richemont luxury conglomerate - Georges Kern is the subject of our first video interview. 

Jaquet Droz Introduces the Petite Heure Minute with an Eggshell Mosaic Dial

Jaquet Droz brings the art of eggshell mosaic to watchmaking with the Petite Heure Minute Mosaic Elephant, a limited edition of just eight watches.

Inspired by the eggshell mosaic technique found in Vietnamese lacquerware, the dial of the Petite Heure Minute Mosaic Elephant is comprised of some 2000 tiny pieces of quail eggshell. In the tradition of elaborately decorated dials characteristic of Jaquet Droz, the dial entirely created with minuscule fragments of eggshell, depicting an elephant against an expanse of paddy fields.

Hands-On with the Manufacture Royale 1770 Voltige - Elevating the Balance Wheel and Escapement

Independent watchmaker Manufacture Royale recently introduced its entry-level timepiece, the 1770 Voltige, featuring a self-winding movement that has an oversized balance wheel, along with the escapement, on the dial.

A time-only wristwatch with an unusual movement, the 1770 Voltige is the simplest watch to emerge so far from Manufacture Royale. French for aerobatics, Voltige refers to the balance wheel and escapement that are elevated into prominence on the dial. Extra-large with a diameter of 14mm, the balance is thin and made from a lightweight alloy, beating at a serene 21,600 beats per hour.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Panerai Unveils Radiomir 1940 42mm with New P.1000 Movement That Just Might Be a Ladies' Watch (with Pricing)

Slated to be officially introduced at Watches&Wonders 2015, the Radiomir 1940 3 Days is 42mm, and equipped with the P.1000 movement featuring a zero-reset stop seconds.

A year ago Panerai brought us the Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days Acciaio PAM587, a replica of the transitional model that formed the bridge between the Radiomir and Luminor wristwatches. Now at Watches&Wonders 2015, the Radiomir 1940 will be introduced in a completely new guise with the Radiomir 1940 3 Days 42mm, offered in steel (PAM574) or red gold (PAM575).

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Up Close With The Cartier Rêves de Panthères, a Charming "Feminine Complication" (With Original Photos & Price)

A dazzling, diamond-set wristwatch with a charming day and night time display, the Rêves de Panthères is one of Cartier's latest "feminine complications". 

Rêves de Panthères, "Dreams of Panthers", is a charming ladies' wristwatch that combines Cartier's signature panther motif with a day and night complication. Instead of an hour hand, half of the dial is occupied by a disc that indicates the hours.

Chopard Revives Ferdinand Berthoud, Introduces Tourbillon with Chain and Fusée (with Pricing)

A tourbillon with a chain and fusée constant force transmission, the FB 1 Chronometer is the first wristwatch from Ferdinand Berthoud, a grand old name in watchmaking that has been resurrected by Chopard.

A long dormant name in watchmaking, Ferdinand Berthoud is now back in business, thanks to Chopard. Conceived as a specialist manufacturer of top of the line complications, Ferdinand Berthoud makes it debut with the FB 1 Chronometer, a wristwatch powered by a newly developed movement featuring a tourbillon regulator as well as a chain and fusee constant force mechanism.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Trio of Patek Philippe Dome Clocks Sell for Record Price, Raising S$2.45 million for Charity

Three one of a kind cloisonné enamel Dome Clocks created by Patek Philippe for Singapore's Golden Jubilee have just sold for a total of S$2.45 million, with one going for S$1 million, setting the world record price for its category.

The million dollar Dome Clock

Unveiled just three weeks ago, the Patek Philippe Dome Clocks made for Singapore's 50th anniversary, collectively known as SG50, were just sold at a dinner auction overseen by Christie's on the evening of September 23, 2015. The trio raised a total of S$2.45 million (equivalent to US$1.72 million), with one record price being set with the first clock that went for S$750,00, only to be broken moment later when the last of the clocks sold for S$1 million - to a buyer who immediately donated it to the National Museum of Singapore.

The Genesis of a Legend - Hands-On with the Philippe Dufour Simplicity Prototype No. 000

Now a holy grail of independent watchmaking for many, the Philippe Dufour Simplicity is rightly regarded as the wristwatch with the most exquisite movement decoration in modern times. This is a look at the first Simplicity ever made, the prototype numbered "000" that's now always on Dufour's wrist.

Philippe Dufour introduced the Simplicity in the year 2000, but it had been in the works for several years before that. This very watch is the first ever Simplicity, the prototype of a series that would eventually number just over 200 produced. Now worn almost daily for 15 years, Simplicity No. 000 has the charm of a well worn but precious timepiece.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

How Good is Jaeger-LeCoultre's First Ever Ladies' Minute Repeater?

Complicated ladies' watches designed from the ground up are uncommon, but the Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater is exactly that.

Complicated watchmaking is still a world dominated by men, which is what makes the Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater rare. It's a minute repeater freshly conceived for the female client, instead of being a smaller version of a men's watch. Moreover, rather than using a movement from a men's minute repeater wristwatch, the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater is equipped with a new movement designed to fit into a smaller case (albeit a very thick one).

Introducing the Lumisidus Planetary Gear Watch Winder

Lumisidus makes only one product, a watch winder that functions like a planetary gear, with watches orbiting around the central axis.

German winder maker Lumisidus unveiled its first watch winder in 2015, the Lumisidus 11. Able to accommodate 11 watches, the winder works like a planetary gear: a rotating central cylinder turns each of the other cylinders, which orbit around the central axis. The motion is smooth, silent and leisurely.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Review: 36 Hours with the SevenFriday V-Series V1/01 and V2/01 (In-Depth Review + Pics)

Featuring a completely new case shape and an unusual method of displaying the time., the SevenFriday V-Series is the latest from the quirky-but-cool maker of affordable timepieces.

SevenFriday's formula for success, and it has been exceptionally successful, has been to combine funky, unconventional design with an elaborate dial, But thanks to low-cost manufacturing, SevenFriday watches are affordable, priced at about US$1000. Put simply, their key appeal is that they don't look like other watches in the price range.

The V-Series is a wholly new look, but it sticks to the same fundamentals that made the preceding P-Series and M-Series bestsellers. Big and bold, the V-Series has lots of wrist presence, though the time display is unexpectedly confounding. Importantly, most of the expense has gone into the dial, which makes it look more expensive than similarly priced watches. Consequently the satisfaction to price ratio is high.