Monday, 18 August 2014

Introducing The Seiko Credor Eichi II - The Finest Three-Hand Watch Made In Japan, And Possibly The World (With Specs And Price)

Seiko has just announced the long anticipated Credor Eichi II, featuring a slim, 39 mm platinum case. A hand-wound, time-only wristwatch with a remarkably fine movement finish, the Eichi II is to mark the 40th anniversary of the Credor line and the 15th anniversary of the Spring Drive movement.

Envisioned to be an incredibly fine gentleman's wristwatch, Japan's equivalent of the Philippe Dufour Simplicity, the Seiko Credor Eichi was unveiled in 2008 and discontinued in 2012, after some two dozen were made. Now its successor has been unveiled, the Credor Eichi II (ref. GBLT999). 

Like the original, the Eichi II is an elegant, three-handed wristwatch with a platinum case. The movement inside is finished entirely by hand, to a standard that would put all but the very best to shame. Most importantly, the Eichi II is 39 mm in diameter, which makes it far more appealing than the 35 mm original.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

VIDEO: "Invenit et Fecit" - A Documentary On F.P. Journe

A documentary exploring the work and creations of François-Paul Journe, Invenit et Fecit recently made its premiere online. The half hour video is a peek into one of the most brilliant minds in modern watchmaking.

Taking its title from F.P. Journe's motto, Invenit et Fecit - "invented and made by" in English - is a look at both the timepieces and personality of François-Paul Journe. It includes lengthy but fascinating conversations with the man himself, as well as with several of his friends, who are inevitably dedicated F.P. Journe collectors.

Pre-W&W 2014: Introducing The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine (With Specs And Pricing)

At Watches&Wonders 2014 Vacheron Constantin will unveil the Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine, capable to displaying 37 time zones and the latest edition to its series of all-platinum limited editions.

Come September 29, the second edition of Watches&Wonders will open in Hong Kong. A scaled down, consumer-oriented version of trade fair SIHH in Geneva, it will see the same brands present new timepieces not seen in January during SIHH. Vacheron Constantin has revealed one of the new models to be launched at Watches&Wonders 2014, a limited edition Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine.

Hands-On With The H. Moser Venturer Small Seconds (With Live Photos And Price)

Announced at Baselworld 2014 as the first of a new line of timepieces with vintage-inspired styling, the Venturer Small Seconds is an elegant gentleman's wristwatch with all the signature H. Moser features like the concave flanks and modular escapement.

Since its beginnings H. Moser & Cie has made elegantly designed, yet sturdy and hefty timepieces, perhaps reflective of their origins in Schaffhausen, a town powered by hydroelectricity and the home of IWCH. Moser watches were not slim, but cleverly engineered and concise, an identity epitomised by the Perpetual 1. H. Moser watches were distinct from the sleeker and often fancier timepieces from the Geneva and Vallée de Joux regions.

At Baselworld this year, however, H. Moser unveiled the Venturer Small Seconds, a timepiece that felt a lot more like a product from further down south. It is reasonably slim, equipped with a domed crystal, and convex dial to match. The overall feel is one that relies heavily on mid-twentieth century wristwatches. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Recommended Reading: "German Military Timepieces" By Konrad Knirim - A Scholarly Masterpiece On German Military Watches

One of the foremost experts on military timepieces, Konrad Knirim has written two masterpieces on the subject, the first covering German military watches and clocks. With over 1000 timepieces featured, German Military Timepieces: 150 Years Watches and Clocks of German Forces is the most comprehensive study of some of the most interesting military watches ever.

Having collecting military timepieces for nearly 30 years, Konrad Knirim writes about them with the enthusiasm of a collector and also the careful eye of a scholar - a rare combination in modern horological literature. First published in 2002, German Military Timepieces: 150 Years Watches and Clocks of German Forces was Knirim's first book (the second deals with British military watches) and covers, in exhausting detail, the timepieces used by the German military from the 19th century to the present day. In excess of 600 pages, it is an immense and extraordinary treatise that explains some of the most desirable and notable military timekeepers ever made.

Monday, 11 August 2014

EVENT: Breitling Chronomat 30 Years Exhibition In Singapore, Aug 14-18

Breitling will mark the 30th anniversary of its Chronomat with an exhibition in Singapore documenting the evolution of its signature timepiece, beginning with its origins as a chronograph made for the Frecce Tricolori. 

Breitling was one of the key innovators in creating the modern chronograph - Gaston Breitling invented the two button chronograph in 1934 - but fell on hard times during the quartz crisis. One watch that deserves much credit for reviving Breitling's fortunes is the Chronomat, becoming one of the most recognisable watches of the nineties. In fact, the Chronomat was arguably one of the pioneering luxury sports chronographs.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hands-On With The Kari Voutilainen Tourbillon-6, An Oversized Tourbillon With Dual Escape Wheels (With Live Photos And Price)

Equipped with an oversized tourbillon carriage and Voutilainen's proprietary double escape wheels, the Tourbillon-6 is Voutilainen's first serially produced tourbillon, made in a limited edition of just six pieces.

Kari Voutilainen had produced tourbillons in the past, in both wristwatch and pocket watch form, but those were all one-off commissions. Only at Baselworld 2014 did the Finn present his first serially produced tourbillon, the Voutilainen Tourbillon-6. Featuring an impressively large tourbillon, it is equipped with Voutilainen's own direct impulse escapement with dual escape wheels. And the movement decoration is of course sublime. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Introducing the Habring² Felix, Powered By Its First In-House Movement (With Specs And Price)

The calibre A11, the first ever in-house movement from Habring², makes its debut inside the Felix, a time-only wristwatch. Priced affordably, the Felix is the base model in the new line of timepieces equipped with the new movement.

Well regarded for its affordable timepieces, Austrian independent watchmaker Habring² has finally completed its first in-house movement, the manually wound A11, with "A" referring to Austria and "11"  for the year the project was started. Designed by Habring², many of the constituent parts of the A11 are made in-house as well as by suppliers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. 

What is noteworthy is the fact that most of the key components of the movement are made by Habring². The escapement, including pallet fork and escape wheel, is made in-house, while terminal curve of the hairsprings are formed by hand in Habring²'s workshop.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

EDITORIAL: Will The Smart Watch Supplant The Swiss Watch?

Smart watches in headlines everywhere, as Apple is expected to launch the iWatch later this year. Many in the luxury watches business are asking what this means. Some regard the smart watch as irrelevant, while others quietly recall the quartz crisis of the seventies that decimated the Swiss watch industry. 

Not smart enough but we still love you

Tremendous anticipation awaits Apple's expected launch of the iWatch in October, even though it is hardly a pioneer. Pebble, the crowd funded smart watch launched in 2013, has sold some 400,000 units to date, not to mention Samsung, Nike, Garmin and Sony. What does this mean for the luxury watch business?

History is replete with examples of obsolete technologies being ousted by newer and better inventions. The automobile replaced the horse drawn carriage, and the iPod did the same to the Walkman.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Introducing The Rolex Deepsea D-Blue To Commemorate James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge Expedition

To commemorate its partnership with the Deepsea Challenge, filmmaker James Cameron's expedition to the Marianas Trench, Rolex has unveiled the Deepsea D-Blue wristwatch with a new graduated blue to black dial - all else about the watch remains the same.

Historically Rolex maintained a Henry Ford-like philosophy of "any colour so long as it's black" for its sports watches, leaving collectors to pursue watches with discoloured black dials. That has changed in recent years - witness the Milgauss Z Blue with an electric blue dial unveiled at Baselworld 2014. The Technicolor strategy continues with the new Rolex Deepsea D-Blue, featuring a blue to black graduated dial, created to mark the watchmaker's partnership with James Cameron and the Deepsea Challenge expedition.

Two years ago Cameron, the film director of Titanic and Avatar fame, reached the deepest point on the Earth's surface. His solo expedition inside the Deepsea Challenger submersible reached 10,908 metres (35,787 feet), a world record and something not attempted since 1960. During the dive Cameron had a Rolex Deepsea on his wrist, and mounted on the outside of the Submersible were three experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge wristwatches, enormous 51 mm watches rated to 12,000 m.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Hands-On With The MB&F LM101, The Legacy Machine For Less (With Live Photos And Price)

Conceived as the simplest and most accessible entry into the world of MB&F, the LM101 is equipped with the first movement developed in-house by the brand. With the Kari Voutilainen responsible for the finish and design of the movement, the LM101 calibre has obvious technical and visual appeal.

Created as a homage to the timepieces of the 19th century, the Legacy Machines from MB&F all share round cases, classical styling and lovingly finished movements, in stark contrast to the extraterrestrial Horological Machines MB&F is best known for.

While the earlier Legacy Machines featured complications - the LM1 is a dual time zone and the LM2 has twin balance wheels - the latest LM101 is a time-only watch. But the LM101 still retains the key design elements of the series, as well as a beautifully executed movement. And with a retail price that's a third less than the LM1, the new LM101 is the most affordably priced timepiece in the MB&F collection.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Montblanc Opens "The Spirit of Meisterstück" Exhibition in Singapore

For the 90th anniversary of Montblanc's Meisterstück fountain pen, the brand will stage "The Spirit of Meisterstück" events around the world, including in Singapore from August 1 to 4. The exhibition encompasses all of Montblanc's product lines, including timepieces, pens and leather goods.

"The Spirit of Meisterstück" will be a showcase of the 90th anniversary collection of products, but also a live demonstration of the various artisanal skills involved in creating them. 

Breaking News: Ulysse-Nardin Acquired By Kering

French luxury conglomerate Kering has just announced its acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Ulysse-Nardin from the Schnyder family, beefing up its watchmaking division.

The news is just out that Ulysse-Nardin has been acquired in its entirety by Kering, owner of Gucci and Bottega Veneta. According to the Kering announcement, Ulysse-Nardin will join Kering's watchmaking division, currently comprised of Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard.  The division will be run by Albert Bensoussan, formerly of Louis Vuitton watches, but Ulysse-Nardin willl retain existing management. 

Amongst the big luxury groups Kering, which used to be known as PPR, has the smallest watchmaking business. Though Ulysse-Nardin is a mid-sized company it brings along a good deal of technical know-how and cachet.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Introducing The Pascal Coyon Chronometer, A Modestly Priced, Finely Finished Classical Timekeeper (With Specs And Price)

An independent watchmaker based in southwest France, Pascal Coyon recently presented his Chronometer, a large, hand-wound wristwatch inspired by early 20th century pocket watch movements. Finished in a classical manner, the Chronometer is affordably priced at under US$6000.

Pascal Coyon is a watch and clock repairer in Bayonne, a mid-sized city in southwest France close to the border with Spain. But Coyon is no ordinary neighbourhood horologist, for he has created his very own Chronometer, a classically styled and finished wristwatch.

Taking 16 months from concept to prototype, the development process of the Chronometer was document on Coyon's Facebook profile with photos of the work in progress, garnering significant attention from watch enthusiasts. Recently, the final prototypes for the Chronometer were completed.

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.