Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Audemars Piguet Unveils Royal Oak Floral Clock at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Modelled on the Royal Oak wristwatch, the Audemars Piguet Floral Clock is a gift to Singapore for its 50th year of independence, on display at Gardens by the Bay.

Seven metres, or some 23 feet, in diameter, the Audemars Piguet Floral Clock is the largest and only such clock in Singapore. Combining horology, landscaping and floriculture, the clock is a gift from the Swiss watchmaking to Singapore, which celebrates its Golden Jubilee in 2015.

Taking several weeks to construct (the process is detailed in photos at the end), the clock is a replica of the Royal Oak, with an octagonal bezel made of granite with weather resistant, stainless steel octagonal nuts. And each of the steel hour markers have embedded LED lights so indicate the time at night.

Bulgari Introduces the New Diagono Scuba, Powered by the In-House Solotempo Movement (with Specs, Prices)

Bulgari has unveiled the new Diagono Scuba, an evolution of its 1990s classic with the same recognisable style but larger and equipped with the BVL191 Solotempo calibre.

Introduced in 1994, the Bulgari Diagono Scuba was one of the first luxury dive watches with a laid-back charm that made it a hit, becoming one of the most fashionable of the decade. Now Bulgari has redesigned the Scuba, keeping its signature aesthetic while making significant improvements, including an in-house self-winding movement.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Russian Presidential Spokesman Causes Controversy with $620,000 Richard Mille Wristwatch at Wedding

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was photographed with a Richard Mille RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon at his recent wedding, sparking controversy in Russia.

Source: @mitvoltv on Instagram

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, recently wed Tatiana Navka, an Olympic figure skating gold medallist at a luxury hotel in the seaside resort city of Sochi. On his wrist during the event was a US$620,000 Richard Mille RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon, one of just 30 made.

A Detailed Look at the Breguet Classique Skeleton Minute Repeater Ref. 7637/1 (with Original Photos & Price)

A classical minute repeater with a clear sapphire dial, the Classique Skeleton Minute Repeater Ref. 7637/1 is elaborately decorated and typically Breguet in style.

Pomme hands, guilloche dial and a fluted case band are the key ingredients for the quintessential Breguet aesthetic, one inspired by the brand's historical pocket watches. The Classique Skeleton Minute Repeater Ref. 7637/1 adds a twist to the distinctive Breguet aesthetic, in the place of the guilloche dial it has a clear sapphire disc that reveals the racks and snails of the minute repeater mechanism. Though the sapphire dial is a contemporary look, the watch is still nonetheless reassuringly old school, both mechanically and aesthetically.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

EDITORIAL: Why Fonts and Typefaces Matter in Watch Design

Typography is a minor but critical component of watch design that is often neglected; but the right font can work strikingly well, creating a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.

Fonts and typefaces are important. They can make or break a logo, or even tell a story. The same applies to typography on watch dials. In
 fact, good typography is usually a necessary, but not sufficient, factor in a good design. But sometimes not enough attention is paid to it.

But when done correctly, typography can make all the difference in the world. Take for instance the recently introduced Slim d'Hermes. Because the Slim d'Hermes is a simple, time-only wristwatch, the devil really is in the details, which in this case is mainly about the typeface. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Up Close with the Greubel Forsey GMT Single Edition, in Platinum with a Rose Gold Dial (with Original Photos & Price)

The latest iteration of perhaps the ultimate travel watch is the Greubel Forsey GMT Single Edition, a 22-piece limited edition in platinum with a frosted rose gold dial.

Few watches are as expensive as those of Greubel Forsey, but at the same time, few watches are as elaborately conceived and meticulously finished. Even a relatively simple function like the dual time zone is taken to a whole new level in the Greubel Forsey GMT, most recently introduced at SIHH 2015 in a limited edition guise known as the GMT Platinum Single Edition.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Introducing the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon, a Self-Winding, Ultra-Thin, Flying Tourbillon (with Specs, Pricing)

The world's thinnest automatic flying tourbillon, the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon  also boasts the lightest tourbillon cage ever, and is offered with a variety of dial finishes, including white or black jade.

Just 3.4mm high, the calibre PF517 inside the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon is the slimmest automatic flying tourbillon on the market. Developed and made by Parmigiani, the PF517 movement has several features typical of extra-thin calibres, including a micro-rotor and a flying, instead of a standard, tourbillon.

Introducing Hungarian Watchmaker Aaron Becsei and the Bexei Dignitas (with Original Photos & Price)

Made from scratch by hand, the Bexei Dignitas Pure is the work of Aaron Becsei, an independent watchmaker whose unique brand of work combines a Gothic aesthetic with elaborate movement finishing.  

Based in Hungary, Bexei Watches is essentially Aaron Becsei, who crafts his timepieces quite literally from scratch. Having completed a triple axis tourbillon in 2008, Becsei's simpler offering is the Dignitas, a hand-wound, time-only wristwatch with a unique aesthetic and a compellingly beautiful movement.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hands-On with the Corum Coin Watch, Made From a Real Indian Head $10 Gold Piece (with Original Photos & Price)

Corum revives one of its classics with the Coin Watch Indian Head, with a genuine American Indian Head eagle ten dollar coin decorated with enamel.

Coins have long been used as watches, sliced in half with the movement in between. But most early coin watches used the coins to contain the movement. Corum's innovation in 1965 was to use the coin as the dial, with the rear half of the coin as the case back. Now that idea has been revived with the Heritage Coin Watch Indian Head, containing a rare ten-dollar gold piece designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Up Close with the Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton in Pink Gold (with Original Photos & Price)

One of the hallmarks of Cartier's Fine Watchmaking line is the diverse collection of skeleton watches, the latest of which is the Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton in pink gold, with a movement suspended in clear sapphire. 

Originally introduced in white gold, the pink gold version of the Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton made its debut at SIHH 2015. Less about complex mechanics than the visuals of the skeleton construction, the new Cartier Sapphire Skeleton has the same skeletonised movement with a sapphire crystal base plate, but combined with the warmer tone of pink gold.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Introducing the One of a Kind De Grisogono New Retro Black Stripes Only Watch 2015

Famed for its liberal use of black diamonds, De Grisogono has created a one-off version of its vintage-inspired New Retro for Only Watch 2015, with the subtle touch of black diamonds on the reverse of the rose gold case.

A departure from the flamboyant watches De Grisogono made its name with, the New Retro is inspired by a vintage cigarette case from the 1950s belonging to founder Fawaz Gruosi. With rounded edges and an oblong form, it is also reminiscent of travel clocks from the period. A unique version christened the New Retro Black Stripes has been created for charity auction Only Watch 2015, with four rows of black diamonds hidden on the case back that distinguish it from the ordinary version.

Hands-On with the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter, Modelled on the Carrera 30 of the 1960s (with Photos & Price)

Based on the vintage Heuer Carrera 30, the Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter is the newest addition to TAG Heuer's line of chronographs inspired by historic motorsports watches.

With a rich history of motorsports chronographs to mine, TAG Heuer's latest vintage-inspired chronograph looks to the Carrera 30 (a reference to its 30-minute register) of the 1960s. Pleasingly retro with a box-shaped sapphire crystal, the Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter chronograph features a seldom-seen telemetric scale on the dial. It joins the Monaco Calibre 11 as the key vintage-inspired models in the Baselworld 2015 line-up.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Florilège, with Cloisonné Enamel by Anita Porchet (with Price)

Decorated with floral motifs from a 19th century botanical text, the latest trio of Vacheron Constantin's Métiers d’Art Florilège feature dials hand made by noted enamel artisan Anita Porchet. 

Decorated with guilloche and cloisonné enamel by noted enameller Anita Porchet, the 2015 edition of the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Florilège is based on plates from The Temple of Flora, published in 1799 by by Robert John Thornton, an English botanist. Three different species of flower are depicted on each of the three models: the Curved Renealmia, the Rose centifolia, and the tulip, with each dial engraved on a rose engine than enamelled by hand.

A Detailed Look at an Early F.P. Journe Tourbillon Remontoir d’Égalité

One of F.P. Journe's signature complications, the Tourbillon Remontoir d'Egalite is one of the most notable modern tourbillon wristwatches. The early F.P. Journe tourbillons are timepieces have charm and character, evident in the rough edges and idiosyncrasies.

Introduced in late 1999, the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Remontoir d'Egalite was the first ever wristwatch tourbillon with a constant force mechanism. In production for just under five years, from 1999 to 2004, with about 350 produced, including the 99-piece ruthenium limited edition. There are four distinct generations of the watch, each of which differs from the other in its details, despite being similar visually. This is a third generation watch with the desirable "shiny" gilt dial.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A Watch Nerd's Review of the Apple Watch

Probably the most widely reviewed watch on the planet right now, the Apple Watch has been the subject of many debates about its functionality. Its quality from a watch nerd's perspective has yet to be evaluated, until now. And the results are overwhelmingly favourable for Apple.

The Apple Watch is reassuringly well made, especially considering its price, which starts at US$349 for the basic Sport model. Compared to timepieces from mainstream watch brands that cost the same, the Apple Watch wins hands-down in terms of tangible build quality. The watch industry is generally sanguine about the impact Apple Watch will have on their business, but they should take a leaf from Apple's playbook on how to build a well-made watch at a low price.

Bulgari Introduces the Limited Edition Lucea High Jewelry, Set with Over 400 Baguette-Cut Precious Stones (with Pricing)

Bulgari has added a massive dose of sparkle to its flagship ladies wristwatch, the Lucea, with various stone settings, including diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

Unveiled just last year, the Lucea is Bulgari's new signature women's watch, distinguished by a prominent crown and a bracelet inspired by its trademark Serpenti bracelet watch. The Lucea High Jewellery adds lavish precious stone setting to the mix, with each of the three versions set with over 400 baguette-cut gemstones.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Akrivia Introduces the Tourbillon Regulator, Powered by a Hand-Finished, Symmetrical In-House Movement

The latest creation by new independent watchmaker Akrivia, the Tourbillon Regulator features a proprietary movement designed to be symmetrical, and finished by hand.

A recent addition to the ranks of independent watchmakers, Akrivia was founded by Rexhep Rexhepi, who hails from Albania. Based in Geneva, Akrivia makes and finishes watches the traditional way. The Tourbillon Regulator is the newest addition to its collection, powered by the in-house AK-04 movement.

Introducing the Million Dollar Roger Dubuis Excalibur Star of Infinity, a Skeleton Double Tourbillon Set with Over 300 Diamonds (with Price)

For Watches&Wonders 2015, Roger Dubuis dresses up its flagship Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon with nearly 15 carats of baguette diamonds, even on the movement.


Continuing with the skeleton movement theme established at SIHH 2015, one of the highlights from Roger Dubuis at Watches&Wonders in September will be the Excalibur Star of Infinity. Set with 312 diamonds, including 34 on the star-shaped barrel bridge on the movement, the Excalibur Star of Infinity is equipped with the RD01SQ, a hand-wound skeleton movement with twin tourbillon regulators.

Friday, 24 July 2015

EDITORIAL: The Long and Short of Ever Lengthening Power Reserves

Slowly but surely, mechanical timepieces have seen their power reserves lengthen, especially in the last decade. Once considered a special feature but now increasingly common, longer autonomy is a simple but exceptionally convenient feature.

One of the most accomplished long power reserve movements, the IWC calibre 5000

In days long past, wristwatches usually had a power reserve of two days, give or take. Most people only had one watch, worn day in and day out, so a short power reserve was never a concern. And because back then wristwatches were small with correspondingly small movements, long power reserves were difficult to achieve since there wasn’t space in the movement for a large enough mainspring.

Hublot Introduces the Classic Fusion House of Mandela to Honour Nelson Mandela

Hublot has unveiled a pair of limited edition Classic Fusion wristwatches created in collaboration with the late Nelson Mandela's foundation, with a portion of the proceeds from their sale going to the charity.

The House of Mandela, a charitable foundation set up by the former South African leader, worked with Hublot to develop the limited edition Classic Fusion. Limited to 95 pieces, the Classic Fusion House of Mandela is available as a 45mm men's watch or in a 42mm case set with 1.15 carats of diamonds for the ladies.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Introducing the Montblanc Star Classique Singapore Special Edition SG50 (with Pricing)

Made to mark Singapore's 50th anniversary, the Montblanc Star Classique Singapore Special Edition is a limited edition of 50 pieces, with part of the proceeds from its sale going to charity.

A slim, 39mm wristwatch, the Montblanc Star Classique Singapore Special Edition has a mother of pearl dial, with the city state's lion emblem on the seconds sub-dial, alongside a tiny "SG50". SG50 refers to Singapore's 50th anniversary in 2015, marking 50 years since independence in 1965. 

Hands-On with the Corum Heritage Bubble, a Revival of the Millennial Sensation (With Original Photos & Price)

Named after the shape of its enormous crystal, the Corum Bubble was a runaway hit in the early 2000s, becoming a bestseller for a few, heady years. Now the Bubble has made a comeback.

Almost exactly like the original but slightly larger, the Corum Heritage Bubble has the same exaggerated sapphire crystal, so thick it distorts the dial. The shape is immediately familiar, having been ingrained into the popular mindset given how fashionable the original Bubble was 15 years ago.

Up Close with the New Lange Datograph Up/Down in Pink Gold (with Original Photos & Price)

Unveiled just earlier this year, the pink gold Lange Datograph Up/Down offers a striking contrast with its black dial, along with the exemplary L951 movement.

As chronographs go, the Datograph from A. Lange & Söhne is one of the greats. Not because it's innovative or cutting edge, but because the movement is gorgeous. First introduced in platinum, the Lange Datograph Up/Down was introduced in pink gold at SIHH 2015. Aside from the case metal, everything else remains the same.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Linde Werdelin Introduces the Oktopus Frogman, Developed Together with Denmark's Naval Special Forces

Developed for members of the frogmen corps of the Royal Danish Navy, the Oktopus Frogman is a pared down, no-nonsense version of Linde Werdelin's diver's watch.

Danish sports watch maker Linde Werdelin has developed a titanium dive watch for the members of Frømandskorpset, the Danish Frogman Corps. An elite force of combat divers, the Frogman Corps helped develop and test the Oktopus Frogman, available exclusively to current and former members of the corps.

A Detailed Look at the Franck Muller Vanguard Gravity, an Exceptionally Large, Architectural Tourbillon (with Original Photos & Price)

Equipped with an oversized tourbillon that fills up more than half of the dial, the Franck Muller Vanguard Gravity is a reminder of why visual impact is so important in a tourbillon. 

Despite pretensions to the contrary, tourbillons are largely aesthetic, rather than functional. That being the case, a tourbillon should be visually impressive, even dramatic, a tiny spectacle on the dial. The Franck Muller Vanguard manages that by sheer dint of size, with a tourbillon bridge that is some 21mm in diameter, completing dominating the dial.