Friday, 28 August 2015

Panerai History Explained in Ten Vintage Wristwatches and Instruments

Rare vintage Panerai wristwatches and instruments that chart the evolution of the the brand from Radiomir to Luminor are on display at History and Legend in Singapore. We explain Panerai's storied maritime past with these exhibits.

Open from August 27 to September 6, 2015, History and Legend is an exhibition dedicated to Panerai history that includes 10 vintage wristwatches and instruments made for the commando frogmen of the Italian navy. The vintage exhibits span some 30 years, starting with the origins of the Panerai wristwatch with the Radiomir ref. 3646 in the 1930s to wrist compasses from the 1960s. These provide a tangible lineage for the modern Panerai timepieces, including all the Submersibles and also the Tourbillon GMT pocket watch.

Marc Newson Brings Industrial Design to Montblanc Fountain Pens

Designed by Apple's Marc Newson, the Montblanc M is a sleek writing instrument with a magnetic cap that ensures it aligns perfectly on the barrel.

Industrial designer Marc Newson has applied his talent to many objects, and not for the first time to a fountain pen. The Montblanc M is sleek, smooth and rounded, but with enough detail to make it interesting.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Watch Buyer's Guide To Singapore

An island nation that's a major player in the market for luxury watches, Singapore is a regional hub for the watch industry and also a tastemaker thanks to its enthusiastic adoption of high-end, independent brands. We give you a rundown of the Singapore watch scene.

Singapore is one of the world's major watch markets - in 2014 it was the eighth largest destination for Swiss watch exports - despite being an island nation with a population of just 5.5 million. The reason for its importance lies in two factors. One is Singapore's position as a regional hub, with watches transhipped via Singapore to nearby countries. And more importantly for high-end timepieces, Singapore is the destination for wealthy individuals in the region. The financial and medical services in Singapore are a big draw, as is its highly developed shopping infrastructure.

Sinn Teams Up With Specialists to Create "Made in Germany" Wristwatch

Sinn has just announced the Meisterbund I, a wristwatch with all its critical components made in Germany, a result of the brand's collaboration with fellow German suppliers SUG and UWD.

Meisterbund means alliance of masters, referring to the specialists that teamed up to create the Sinn Model 6200 Meisterbund I. Sinn designed the watch and made the dial, while the case was made by Sächsische Uhrentechnologie GmbH Glashütte (SUG). And Uhren-Werke-Dresden (UWD) was responsible for the movement. Consequently, all the key components of the Meisterbund I wristwatch - namely the case, dial, movement and hairspring - are made in Germany.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Hands-On with the First Ever Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with a Leap Year Indicator

Thirty years passed between the first perpetual calendar wristwatch, and the first one with a leap year indicator, made by Audemars Piguet in 1955. Here's a look at one double-signed example of the Audemars Piguet ref. 5516.

The perpetual calendar complication reached the wristwatch soon after it was popularised by troops during the First World War, albeit only in one of a kind timepieces. The first perpetual calendar wristwatch was a one-off timepiece made in 1925 by Patek Philippe, equipped with a movement made for a ladies' pendant watch. And four years later Breguet completed a perpetual calendar wristwatch with a wristwatch movement.

But those wristwatches only had the day, date, month and moon. Despite being de rigueur in modern perpetual calendar wristwatches, the leap year only arrived in the wristwatch in 1955, courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Montblanc Introduces Entry-Level, Sapphire Dial Perpetual Calendar (with Specs & Price)

An iteration of Montblanc's affordably priced perpetual calendar, the Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar Sapphire has a tinted sapphire dial that reveals the workings of the perpetual calendar mechanism.

Introduced last year, the Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar was the most affordable perpetual calendar - priced at US$12,800 in steel - from a major brand. For Watches&Wonders 2015 that takes place in Hong Kong next month, Montblanc has jazzed it up with a grey sapphire dial that shows off the gears and levers that keep the calendar perpetual.

Zenith Abandons Political Correctness, Celebrates Christopher Columbus & Colonialism

Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World is immortalised on the Zenith Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II wristwatch, completed with natives wearing feathers bearing fruit and a parrot.

The Zenith Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II is the second instalment in a series of watches dedicated to the Italian explorer. Like the first edition, the Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II is equipped with Zenith's unique gyroscopic escapement as well as chain and fusee constant force mechanism. On its back Columbus and the indigenous peoples of the New World are depicted in hand-engraved relief.

Monday, 24 August 2015

MARKET WATCH: A Trio of Finely Finished, Time-Only Wristwatches from Independents

A trio of time-only wristwatches by independent watchmakers - none of whom are Swiss notably - ranging from an appealingly priced McGonigle to a richly valued Roger Smith, starts off our new Market Watch series, covering notable watches for sale from around the web.

Watch listing service Crown & Calibre is offering a McGonigle Tuscar Banu, a time-only wristwatch made by a pair of Irish brothers. The movement is wonderfully finished, as an earlier published story illustrates. Only 20 pieces were made in red gold, featuring a grey tinted sapphire dial and a moment with German silver bridges. Complete with box and papers, it's available for US$27,500. I hesitate to call it a bargain, but it is attractively well-priced for the quality of the finishing.

Richard Mille introduces the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, Proving the Brain is the Most Important Sex Organ (Yes, Seriously)

At Watches&Wonders 2015 Richard Mille will unveil the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, a wristwatch with three rollers that display a random, sexy statement.

Whereas erotic watches of yore had automaton doings naughty things, the Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon dispenses with the explicit and instead features a trio of titanium rollers with text on each. A pusher at eight o'clock spins the rollers, which then stop randomly, creating a presumably titillating phrase. Richard Mille terms this complication the "oracle", which supposes it has predictive powers. [Addendum: In response to the flood of questions, yes, this is for real and it will be launched at Watches&Wonders 2015.]

Panerai Opens "History and Legend" Exhibition in Singapore

Officine Panerai delves into its past with the the History and Legend exhibition in Singapore, comprising to historical Panerai watches and for the first time, a full size model of the Italian navy human torpedo known as Siluro a Lenta Corsa (SLC).

Panerai's storied history as supplier of watches to Second World War Italian navy commandos will be on display starting August 26, 2015 with the opening of the "History and Legend" exhibition in Singapore. Timepieces spanning its history will be on show, including exceptionally rare vintage watches like the enormous GPF 2/56 dive watch made for the Egyptian navy in the 1950s known as the Egiziano.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Introducing the Klokers KLOK-01, the US$199, Slide Rule-Inspired Wristwatch

Modelled on the slide rule, the Klokers KLOK-01 is a novel and affordable wristwatch that indicates the time on discs, combined with a patented removable strap, that will available on Kickstarter come September 2015.

The Klokers KLOK-01 gets its inspiration from the slide rule, the mechanical calculator that reigned before the electronic calculator emerged in the 1970s. Featuring an array of scales that enabled multiplication, division and even roots and trigonometry, the slide rule was essentially an analogy computer. The KLOK-01 looks just like a circular slide rule, with three rotating discs for the hours, minutes and seconds. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Up Close with the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton (with Original Photos & Price)

Introduced as its entry-level skeleton watch, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is the brand's first open-worked timepiece without a tourbillon, offering the signature Roger Dubuis aesthetic but at a more accessible price.

Roger Dubuis' most distinctive watches are its skeleton tourbillons with star-shaped movement bridges; that very look is synonymous with the brand. Those watches, however, tend to be expensive; the recently introduced Excalibur Spider Double Tourbillon costs just under US$300,000. Conceived to solve those affordability woes is the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton, unveiled at SIHH 2015 and the first "Astral Skeleton" from Roger Dubuis without a tourbillon.

Action Star Donnie Yen Unveils the Million Dollar Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Golden Jubilee

Movie star Donnie Yen was in Singapore to open the Hublot pop-up store and unveil the yellow gold Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Golden Jubilee, a one of a kind creation set with 440 diamonds.

A unique piece created to mark Singapore's 50th anniversary, the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Golden Jubilee is a million dollar whopper in yellow gold, set with over 13 carats of baguette-cut diamonds. It was launched by Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen, best known for his roles Ip Man martial arts film series and the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, who was in Singapore to inaugurate the Hublot pop-up store.

Introducing the Sinn 103 A Sa B Pilot's Chronograph Limited Edition, Featuring a Galvanic Blue Dial (with Specs & Price)

Sinn bestows a metallic blue dial on its classic 103 pilot's chronograph with the 103 A Sa B limited edition, featuring a steel case equipped with the brand's patented dehumidifying technology.

The quintessential Sinn pilot's chronograph, the 103 has been in the catalogue since the 1960s when Helmut Sinn founded the company. It's functional and legibly, typically powered by the ever reliable Valjoux 7750 movement. Keeping the classic look but with the added flourish of an electroplated blue dial, the 103 A Sa B is limited edition of 500 pieces.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Sam Hines to Head Phillips' Watch Department as International Head of Watches

Putting an end to months of speculation, Phillips has just announced Sam Hines will becomes its International Head of Watches, overseeing the auctioneer's worldwide watch sales.

Based in Hong Kong, Hines was formerly International Co-Head of Watches at Christie's, having succeeded Aurel Bacs. Now Hines and Bacs are reunited, with Bacs as a Senior Consultant at Phillips

At Christie's Hines was responsible for several recording setting sales, including the US$5.8m hammer for a pair of Singing Bird Pistols, as well as the only Patek Philippe Star Calibre 2000 ever sold at auction, which brought in US$3.5m.

With Phillips having achieved sterling results at its first sale in May 2015 that included the Rolex Day-Date thematic auction, much will be expected for its upcoming sales in Geneva and Hong Kong, as well as the Only Watch charity auction.

Hands-On with the Hautlence Vortex "Concept d'Exception", Containing as Many Parts as a Grand Complication (with Original Photos & Price)

Featuring jumping hours on a chain linked to a rotating escapement, the Vortex puts the most complicated Hautlence movement inside a newly designed titanium case with sapphire crystals all round.

Established to develop new methods of showing the time, Hautlence first launched its flagship movement in the HL2.0 in 2010 (above left). The Vortex is an improvement on that, with a large, angular case that contains the tweaked movement that retains its signature features - a retrograde minutes, jumping hours and a escapement that rotates every hour.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Introducing the Valour Sopwith Aviator, Shaped Like a WWI Fighter Plane Rotary Engine (with Specs & Price)

Inspired by the nose engine of the legendary Sopwith Camel fighter aircraft, the Valour Sopwith Aviator is an English designed, Swiss made pilot's watch that resembles a rotary engine.

A single-seater biplane used by the British during the First World War, the Sopwith Camel was responsible for downing more enemy planes than any other Allied aircraft. The Sopwith Aviator from Valour Watch Company is a tribute to the Camel, with the case and dial modelled on the Clerget Type 9 rotary engine found on the early models of the fighter plane. 

Vacheron Constantin Opens Voyage & Ornaments Exhibition in Singapore

Voyage & Ornaments is a thematic exhibition dedicated to historic timepieces decorated with artisanal crafts, ranging from enamelling to engraving, that has just opened in Singapore.

The diversity of Vacheron Constantin's decorative timepieces across time and geography are demonstrated by the 14 vintage watches on display for Voyage & Ornaments in the Heritage Room of the Vacheron Constantin boutique at ION Orchard in Singapore. Arranged according to four themes - the East, Greece, Europe and skeletons - the timepieces illustrate the various techniques that have been used to adorn watches for centuries.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Introducing the Ultimate in Illumination, the Self-Positioning, $60,000 Anodos RAL 9000 Robotic Desk Lamp (with Video)

Possibly the most advanced lighting device ever, the RAL 9000 is a stainless steel, self-positioning LED lamp equipped with sensors, cameras and a motor, made by Japanese electronics firm Anodos.

A Tokyo-based manufacturer of high-end electronics (its offerings include a device that measures calories and alcoholic content of beverages), Anodos' latest creation is something watch geeks will appreciate. A perfect blend of Star Wars and magnificent engineering, the RAL 9000 is almost preposterous. A desk lamp with a mechanical arm, it's powered by motor and several servos that position the head. 

Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Chronograph, with an Upgraded & In-House Lemania (with Pricing)

Inspired by the vintage ref. 6087, the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 chronograph is amongst the first to feature the new calibre 1142, a heavily upgraded Lemania movement that Vacheron Constantin now makes in-house.

Chronographs were the main focus of Vacheron Constantin's line-up at SIHH 2015, particularly with the Harmony Chronograph and the new cal. 3300. But the Geneva watchmaker has saved something for Watches&Wonders 2015, slated to take place in September in Hong Kong. Powered by the cal. 1142, the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 is modelled on the ref. 6087, a rare vintage chronograph made for only a few years starting in the late 1950s.

Jaquet Droz Introduces the Grande Heure Minute Quantième, an Entry-Level, Steel Gentleman's Wristwatch (with Price)

Jaquet Droz has applied its minimalist design philosophy to a new price segment with the Grande Heure Minute Quantième its new entry level timepiece with steel case in two sizes, 39mm or 43mm.

Clean and functional in appearance, the Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Quantieme has only three hands and the date, with the only concession to decoration being the accentuated date window. Wide bevels on each side of the date display given the impression of peering through a keyhole. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Introducing the Louis Vuitton Tambour VVV - Volez, Voguez, Voyagez (with Specs & Price)

Inspired by an ad campaign from the 1960s unearthed from the Louis Vuitton archives, the Tambour VVV uses the triple V motif as the tricolour oversized central hand on the dial.

Short for “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez avec les valises Louis Vuitton” - meaning "Fly, Sail, Travel with Louis Vuitton suitcases" - a tagline from an advertisement used in the 1960s, the triple V motif is now a recurring theme in Louis Vuitton clothing and accessories designed by its Men's Artistic Director, Kim Jones. It now makes it debut in Louis Vuitton wristwatches with the Tambour VVV. A large triple V hand is the main element on the Tambour VVV line that includes a GMT, Chronograph and Spin Time GMT.

Explaining the Panerai Equation of Time 8 Days Calibre P.2002/E (with Original Photos & Price)

A departure from the typical Panerai formula, the Equation of Time 8 Days features an uncommon complication, with a linear scale indicating the difference between mean time and solar time.

Introduced at SIHH 2015, the Equation of Time 8 Days is an unusual Panerai. Instead of a complication typical for the brand like a chronograph or second time zone, the Equation of Time 8 Days - available either as a Radiomir 1940 (PAM516) or Luminor 1950 (PAM601) - shows the difference between mean solar time and apparent solar time. That's the difference between the conventional 24-hour day and the actual length of the day based on the Earth's orbit of the Sun, what you would see on a sundial in other words.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Explaining How Tudor's Fabric NATO Straps Are Made (with Video)

Inspired by the NATO strap and a key element of Tudor's emblematic Heritage watches, the fabric bands offered with Tudor's watches are not just a colourful accessory, but the products of traditional weaving techniques on Jacquard loom operated by hand.

Tudor was a somnolent brand that never quite got a firm identity of its own until it introduced the black and orange Heritage Chrono at Baselworld 2010. Modelled on the vintage Monte Carlo chronograph, the Heritage Chrono was accompanied by a fabric band inspired by the British military-spec canvas strap. That was the beginning of the successful Heritage line modelled on vintage watches that includes the bestselling Black Bay, but more importantly the fabric straps showed the world that Tudor finally understood what makes the watch aficionado tick.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Omega Introduces the Seamaster 300 SPECTRE Limited Edition for Upcoming James Bond Film (with Specs, Price)

Worn by James Bond in the latest instalment of the spy franchise, the very same Omega Seamaster 300 SPECTRE will also be available to the public in a 7007-piece limited edition.

James Bond's watch supplier since GoldenEye in 1995, Omega has just announced the Seamaster 300 SPECTRE limited edition. A variant of the Seamaster 300 with minor tweaks that will appeal to traditionalists, the Seamaster 300 SPECTRE will also be on Daniel Craig's wrist in the upcoming movie, making it the first time that the wristwatch used in the film is also available for sale.