Sunday, 27 July 2014

COMPARISON: Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Refs. 16600 vs. 116600 (With Live Photos)

After a six year absence Rolex brought back the Sea-Dweller 4000 at Baselworld 2014. The brand's classic saturation diver's watch, the Sea-Dweller was last seen in the collection in 2008. So how does the new Sea-Dweller 4000 compare with its predecessor?

An iconic diver's watch, the Rolex Sea-Dweller left the line-up in 2008. But to much surprise, it made a surprise comeback at Baselworld 2014 with the unveiling of the Sea-Dweller 4000 ref. 116600. This returned the Sea-Dweller to the catalogue where it had been present for over 40 years.

First introduced in 1967, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has an illustrious history. It was created for the divers of deep sea diving specialist COMEX, and the first watch to have a helium escape valve. So the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 was mourned when it was discontinued and replaced by the very much larger Deepsea. 

Happy 90th Birthday To Walter Lange

Walter Lange, great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, celebrates his 90th birthday this year, exactly 20 years after the family firm he helped revived has become the flag bearer for German high horology.

Walter Lange

29 July is Walter Lange's 90th birthday, and an eventful 90 years it has been. He survived the Second World War, lost the family business to the Soviets, and then reestablished it in grand style with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Though he no longer has ownership in the firm, Walter Lange is the spiritual father of the brand as it is today and still attends company events.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The MB&F Starfleet Machine Clock Has Landed - An Extraterrestrial Timekeeper At An Earthly Price (With Specs And Price)

Created by clockmaker L'Epee 1839, the MB&F Starfleet Machine is landing in stores right now. Inspired by Deep Space Nine and featuring a 40-day power reserve, the Starfleet Machine is a limited edition of 175 pieces, for a reasonably accessible price.

Baselworld 2014 saw MB&F unveil one of its most striking timekeepers yet, the Starfleet Machine clock. Inspired by sci-fi like the rest of MB&F's creations, the Starfleet Machine is a 40-day power reserve table clock made by high-end clockmaker L'Epee 1839.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Luxury Watch Storage With The Stockinger Imperial Black Safe (With Specs and Price)

German safe maker Stockinger just unveiled the Imperial Black, a half-tonne safe with built-in watch winders, for the most precious of timekeepers.

Based in Munich, Stockinger makes only one product - luxury, bespoke safes - in various sizes and lavish finishes. But despite the lavish materials, workmanship and cost, Stockinger's safes are generally discreet looking, with impressive details revealed up close.

The firm's output is only several dozen safes each year, and its latest creation is the Imperial Black, clad entirely in black lacquer with a striking red border. Applied in several layers with glossy finish, the lacquered finish on the safe is similar to that on high-end automobiles.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Introducing The Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon, Featuring Precision Manufacturing and Ball Bear Pivots (With Specs and Price)

Born of a desire to create a tourbillon chronometer made with cutting edge manufacturing but hand-finished the traditional way, the Project T is the latest timepiece from Japanese independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka.

Self-taught and based in Tokyo, Hajime Asaoka started his career as an industrial designer but his penchant for fine watchmaking led him to create his own timepieces. Working from a small workshop in Tokyo - we visited in 2012 - Asaoka crafts timepieces with a unique blend of technology and tradition. The culmination of that vision is the Project T, a tourbillon wristwatch with Japan's leading tooling and machining specialists.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Introducing The F.P. Journe Octa Sport In Titanium (With Specs and Price)

F.P. Journe now offers his ultra-light sports watches, for the first time, in titanium, starting with the Octa Sport, featuring a power reserve and big date. And for maximum lightness the movement and dial are made of aluminium. 

In 2011 F.P. Journe presented his first sports watches made of hardened aluminium. They were incredibly lightweight - the chronograph was just 55 g with bracelet - and a stark departure from the typical timepieces of the brand. Now the lineSport includes the Octa Sport in titanium.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Sneak Peek At The New H. Moser Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time (With Pricing)

Come September H. Moser & Cie. will unveil its most complicated timepiece yet, the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time. Here's a sneak peek at the brand's first ever tourbillon.

The tourbillon module

Powered by the new HMC 802 movement, the new H. Moser tourbillon will be self-winding with a full rotor, and will also feature a second time zone display. As is the case with all the brand's movements, the tourbillon assembly will be interchangeable. The purpose of these interchangeable escapement modules is to allow them to be swapped out during servicing for a freshly lubricated and regulated module, speeding up the servicing turnaround.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Introducing the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication High Jewellery (With Specs & Price)

Jaeger-LeCoultre has added yet another multi-complication to its high jewellery range with the new Grande Tradition Grande Complication Haute Joaillerie. It features a tourbillon, minute repeater, zodiacal calendar, along with nearly 300 baguette-cut diamonds.

Adding a large dose of baguette-cut diamonds - which tend to be more masculine than brilliant-cut stones - to existing grand complications is something that Jaeger-LeCoultre has done frequently and well, with the Spherotourbillon being a sparkling example. Joining that parade of gemstones is the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Hands-On With The Hautlence Destination 02 Dual Time (With Live Photos And Price)

Featuring Hautlence's signature cushion case, the Destination is a dual time zone featuring an elaborately and expensively constructed dial. Launched last year and just about to hit stores, the Destination is the new entry level model in the brand's line-up.

Hautlence made it names with the HL01 retrograde minutes and jump hour wristwatch that was the brand's first timepiece. For its new entry level timepiece, Hautlence - an anagram of Neuchâtel where it is based - has taken the signature cushion case of the HL01 and combined it with an Soprod twin time zone movement, to create the Destination.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Introducing Three New F.P. Journe Timepieces With Solid Gold Dials (With Specs and Pricing)

F.P. Journe bestowed gold dials on three models in the collection: the Chronomètre Souverain, Octa Lune and Octa Réserve. Offered at a modest premium over the current models, the new timepieces feature dials in solid 18k gold with mirror-finished Arabic numerals. 

F.P. Journe started using 18k rose gold for the bridges and base plates of all his movements in 2004. Now the watch dials of three models - the Chronomètre Souverain, the Octa Réserve and the Octa Lune - are made of the same precious metal. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Introducing The Omega Speedmaster Mark II "Rio 2016" For The Olympic Games (With Specs And Price)

Created to mark the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, the Omega Speedmaster Mark II "Rio 2016" is based on the Mark II reissue, with actual gold, sterling silver and bronze alloy rings around each chronograph register in a nod to the medals awarded at the games.

From the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games, the Omega Speedmaster Mark II" Rio 2016" is a subtle twist on the Speedmaster Mark II remake unveiled at Baselworld 2014. Technically identical to the regular production model, the Rio 2016 edition has tricolour sub-dial rings to signify Olympic medals. These rings around the sub-dial are not just coated, they are actually made of 18k yellow gold, .925 sterling silver and bronze respectively.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Swatch Sistem51 Available In Singapore Starting July 25 (With Pricing)

Singapore will finally be able to get its hands on the Swatch Sistem51 on July 25, when the landmark low-cost automatic will be available at the Swatch boutique in Orchard Gateway. 

Introduced last year at Baselworld with much fanfare, the Swatch Sistem51 is the first ever Swiss made mechanical watch that is entirely produced by machine. Its 51 part movement is secured by a central screw and requires no regulation, instead the balance is poised by laser before assembly. 

But production issues delayed its availability, with Switzerland being the first market to get it in December 2013. Later this month Singapore will become the handful of countries to have the Sistem51 available in stores.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Hands-On The Blancpain Carrousel Moon Phase (With Live Photos and Pricing)

A classically styled timepiece with an unusual combination of complications, the Blancpain Villeret Carrousel Moon Phase features a device that averages out gravitional errors in the balance wheel - but is not a tourbillon - as well as a classic moon phase with a face, on a white grand feu enamel dial.

Blancpain first introduced a wristwatch carrousel in 2008, before combining both a carrousel and a tourbillon last year. Continuing on the theme, Baselworld 2014 saw the introduction of the Villeret Carrousel Moon Phase, a wristwatch featuring a moon phase and a carrousel, along with a symmetrical grand feu enamel dial. Though visually similar to a tourbillon, a carrousel is an entirely different animal.

While both the carrousel and tourbillon ostensibly average out gravitional errors in the balance wheel, the mechanics behind each are different.

Omega "A Century Of Fine Ladies Timepieces" Opens In Singapore

"A Century Of Fine Ladies Timepieces", an exhibition dedicated to Omega's female wristwatches, has just opened in Singapore. This showcase of over 20 watches will run until mid July.

As one of the few pioneers in producing small watch movements for female wristwatches - in the thirties more than a third of its calibres were for ladies' watches - Omega has a long history of producing timepieces for the fairer sex. A selection of these watches, dating from the twenties to the present day, is on show at ION Orchard in Singapore.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Introducing The Edox Hydro Sub North Pole - An Affordable, Retro Dive Watch (With Specs and Price)

A vintage remake with a twist, the Edox Hydro Sub North Pole is rated to 500 m and equipped with a distinctive orange crown protector. And it will be the official timepiece in an expedition to free dive under the North Pole in 2015.

Based on the first Hydro Sub of 1965, the new Hydro Sub North Pole is not just another reissue. Though it has a cushion-shaped case like the original, the Hydro Sub North Pole features a distinctive, orange protector for the crown. The crown cover slides upwards to reveal the crown for winding and setting, and can be locked in position over the crown to protect it.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Introducing The Richard Mille RM030 Le Mans Classic In White ATZ Ceramic

For the Le Mans Classic 2014 its official timekeeper Richard Mille has created a limited edition RM030 automatic featuring a power reserve and 24-hour indicator, inside a white aluminium-toughened zirconia ceramic case.

Held every two years, the Le Mans Classic is a classic car event where pre-1979 automobiles that have competed at Le Mans are once again allowed around the track. Title sponsor and official timekeeper Richard Mille has created a limited edition timepiece for the 2014 event, creating another version of its RM030 automatic, this time in green and white to match the official colours of the Le Mans Classic.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Introducing The Arnold & Son TES, A Tourbillon With A Pocket Watch-Inspired Movement (With Specs and Pricing)

With design elements inspired by vintage pocket watches, the red gold Arnold & Son TES Tourbillon has an open-worked movement featuring a sapphire barrel bridge and guilloche base plate, along with a three day power reserve.

A resurrected name from 18th century English watchmaking, Arnold & Son looks to English pocket watches of the past for the new TES Tourbillon. The triangular cocks for the tourbillon and third wheel are shaped like those on old pocket watches while the base plate is decorated with guilloche reminiscent of pocket watch cases.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hands-On With a One-Of-A-Kind Kari Voutilainen Observatoire Featuring A Hand-Engraved Movement

Equipped with a wonderfully decorated Peseux 260 chronometer calibre, the Observatoire was the first serially produced timepiece from Kari Voutilainen. This particular specimen was made in 2009, and is possibly the only one with an engraved movement. 

Though Kari Voutilainen had made several minute repeaters using vintage ebauches earlier in his career, it was the Observatoire that made the Finn famous, even bringing about favourable comparisons with Philippe Dufour's SimplicityOriginally conceived as a series or six or 12 timepieces, the Observatoire eventually ended its run with some 50 produced. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

How Bronze Watch Cases Are Made At Gervasi & C.

Gervasi & C. is a precision engineering workshop located in Florence that manufactures specialised components for various industries, including bronze watch cases for Anonimo.

Florence has a long tradition of metal and iron-working, and craftsmanship in general, that still endures today with outfits like Gervasi & C. Located in the town of Incisa in Val d'Arno, a small town south of Florence, Gervasi & C. sits in a quiet industrial area, one of several such small, specialised enterprises in the district.

A mechanical and precision engineering workshop, Gervasi & Co. makes precision components out of metals like steel and titanium, as well as marine bronze. Founded and run by namesake founder Gianluca Gervasi, the company makes watch cases for Italian watchmaker Anonimo in several alloys, including marine bronze.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Up Close With The Urwerk UR-105M "Iron Knight" (With Live Photos And Price)

Earlier this year Urwerk unveiled the UR-105M, the successor to the landmark watch that put Urwerk on the horological map. Featuring the signature satellite disc display, the UR-105M adds a new case construction and additional features like cylindrical constant seconds to the brand's entry-level timepiece.

Back in 2003 the then obscure duo behind Urwerk, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, introduced the watch that made the brand famous, the UR-103. Though it featured a wandering hours type time display that had used before, even in pocket watches, the 103 was strikingly different because of its avant-garde case and form. The 103 immediately made Urwerk one of the pioneers of avant-garde independent watchmaker. And now the 103's successor has arrived, in the form of the UR-105M.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Hands-On With The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 Reissue (With Live Photos And Price)

A faithful remake of the Geophysic chronometer made for adventurers and explorers in the fifites, the Geophysic 1958 sticks to the formula Jaeger-LeCoultre knows well: a moderately priced, vintage-style wristwatch powered by an in-house, self-winding movement.

In its price segment, Jaeger-LeCoultre has arguably been the most adept and competent at creating remakes of its vintage timepieces, with the Reverso 1931 being the best example of this success. The latest vintage reissue wristwatch from Jaeger-LeCoultre is the Geophysic 1958, based on a fifties chronometer originally created for the International Geophysical Year (IGY). A manual-wind chronometer with magnetic shield for the movement, the first Geophysic was intended for the explorers and scientists involved in the expeditions of the IGY.

Panerai's "The Face Of Time" Exhibition Opens In Singapore

"The Face of Time", an exhibition of Panerai's contemporary watches and in-house movements, has just opened in Singapore at the ION Orchard mall. Open to the public, the exhibition runs till 1 July 2014.

Dedicated to the current Panerai line-up of watches, "The Face of Time" is a compact exhibition that illustrates all of Panerai's case styles, namely the Radiomir, Radiomir 1940 and Luminor. And there is an emphasis on its in-house movements, unsurprising since Panerai is increasingly relying on proprietary movements, even for its entry-level models like those equipped with the P.5000 calibre

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Up Close With The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Ref. 116600 (with live photos and price)

Baselworld 2014 saw Rolex introduce the Sea-Dweller 4000, its classic saturation diver's timepiece. Though functionally identical to its predecessor, the Sea-Dweller Ref. 116600 is substantially improved in many respects, inside and out. As it arrives at retailers, here's an in-depth look at the new Sea-Dweller.

In a surprise revival of a classic, perhaps in response to plodding sales of the oversized Deep Sea, the Sea-Dweller returned to the Rolex catalogue at Baselworld 2014. The new Sea-Dweller 4000 (Ref. 116600) is essentially a Rolex classic rejuvenated.

Looking much like the models that came before, the new Sea-Dweller is rated to the same 4000 ft or 1220 m as tradition dictates. But the 2014 model is equipped with all the features that have become standard on all Rolex timepieces in the six years since the last Sea-Dweller was discontinued, like a ceramic bezel insert and Glidelock clasp. So despite being much the same, it is a better watch.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Hands-On With The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, The First Ever Moon Watch In Titanium (with live photos and price)

To mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first man on the moon, Omega introduced the first ever Speedmaster Moon Watch in titanium, with rose gold accents and an unusual laser etched PVD dial.

45 years after the Apollo 11 spaceflight that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - with Speedmasters on their wrists - on the Moon in 1969, Omega has created a titanium Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch for the mission's 45th anniversary.

Having marked practically every Moon landing-related anniversary since 1969 with a limited edition watch, Omega has a difficult task in making the next Moon Watch edition significant different. Surprisingly enough, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary is enjoyably different. 

Introducing Four Special Timepieces for Vacheron Constantin's Moscow Boutique

Vacheron Constantin has created four specials models with dark dials, including a one-of-a-kind Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 tourbillon with perpetual calendar in platinum, for the opening of its boutique in Moscow.

Vacheron Constantin has just unveiled four limited edition timepieces to mark the opening of its first boutique in Moscow, located at Berlin House. All are in white gold or platinum, ranging from the time-only Traditionelle Moscow Boutique to the unique Calibre 2253. In contrast to the regular production versions which typically have light coloured dials, these Moscow Boutique editions have black or dark grey dials. And they are further distinguished  by a pair of white gold cufflinks with a finish that matches the dial that accompanies each watch.