Saturday, 30 May 2015

Hands-On With The Patek Philippe Ref. 5905P Annual Calendar Chronograph (With Original Photos & Price)

Patek Philippe introduced the second generation of its chronograph with annual calendar at Baselworld 2015, christening it the Ref. 5905P.



Arguably the most practical complicated watch from Patek Philippe, the chronograph with annual calendar entered the catalogue in 2006 as the Ref. 5960. That has evolved into the new Ref. 5905P that is similar to its predecessor but still substantially different.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Highlights From Richemont's 2015 Results

Richemont, the world's largest luxury watchmaking group, recently announced its results for the year ended March 2015, posting numbers that are reflective of the headwinds faced by the industry.

Richemont is a luxury conglomerate focused almost solely on high-end timepieces, unlike its peer the Swatch Group, which has a larger stable of entry-level brands. 

Echoing the entrenched slowdown in the luxury watch business, Richemont's results were "resilient", despite the "generally volatile economic environment". The results for the year to March 2015 were driven by two well known factors: the slowdown in China and Hong Kong, and the strength of the Swiss franc. Despite those headwinds, on an operating basis the group's profit did not change drastically, increasing 10%. But because of losses on currency-linked instruments Richemont's net profit fell some 35%. 


Speake-Marin Unveils Its First Ladies' Timepiece, The Shenandoah (With Specs & Price)

For the first time Speake-Marin has created a ladies' wristwatch with the Shenandoah, featuring an oval case with a fuss-free quartz movement inside.



Named after a classic sailboat (just like the one-handed Veshelda), the Shenandoah is Speake-Marin's first watch dedicated to ladies. The Shenandoah is oval in form with no lugs, and available in a variety of metals and dial variants, including a dual time zone model.



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Introducing The Richard Mille RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal Tourbillon - Yours For $770,000

Richard Mille has just debuted his latest ultra-light and ultra-expensive timepiece, the RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal, a tourbillon wristwatch inside a carbon fibre-quartz composite case.



On Rafael Nadal's wrist during the ongoing French Open at Roland Garros is the Richard Mille RM 27-02, an ultra-light wristwatch that's the newest in a line of timepieces made for the tennis champion, succeeding the RM 27-01. In typical Richard Mille style, the RM 27-02 has a skeleton movement, but for the first time built on an unusual one-piece base plate and case band, while the case is made of an exotic carbon-quartz composite combining NTPT carbon and TPT Quartz.

Monday, 25 May 2015

John Mayer Drops US$650,000 "Fake Rolex" Lawsuit Against Bob Maron

Musician John Mayer has dropped his lawsuit against Robert Maron, a Los Angeles-based watch dealer, filed in 2012 over vintage Rolex watches Mayer bought from Maron.

John Mayer
Source: Instagram @johnmayer

Two years ago singer-songwriter John Mayer went to court over US$650,000 of allegedly fake vintage Rolex watches he bought from Bob Maron, a watch dealer best known for his friendship with Charlie Sheen. Mayer sued Maron after having spent about US$5 million on watches from the latter. Just a few days ago, that ended with a whimper instead of a bang, as celebrity news site TMZ reported that Mayer had dropped the suit against Maron, also one of the executive producers of Sheen's sitcom Anger Management.


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Up Close With The De Bethune DB25T Zodiac (With Original Photos & Price)

Introduced earlier in 2015, the DB25T Zodiac is the latest variant of De Bethune's tourbillon wristwatch with deadbeat seconds, featuring a dial with an elaborate zodiac themed decoration.



The De Bethune DB25T Zodiac is based on the DB25T of 2012, a hand-wound wristwatch powered by a wonderfully elaborate movement with a tourbillon regulator and deadbeat seconds. The Zodiac suffix refers to the new dial, decorated with a dozen solid gold medallions hand-engraved with the 12 signs of the zodiac. 


Saturday, 23 May 2015

EXPLAINED: Restoring a 1950s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 6074

A well worn and treasured Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref. 6074 is brought back to life by Henrik Korpela, principal of independent Swiss watchmaking school KHWCC. Korpela himself explains the process of restoring the family heirloom, all the while maintaining its character, in enlightening detail.



Part of an ongoing series of technical articles by Henrik Korpela, founder of KHWCC, an independent watch school, this story details the restoration of a yellow gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date ref. 6074 dating from the 1950s. Inherited by the owner from his late father, the watch was well used in the six decades since it left the factory. Despite obvious scars, it remained intact (as an Oyster case should), requiring a sympathetic restoration that would make it functional while retaining the history written all over the watch.


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Introducing The IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” (With Price)

IWC debuts a starry day of the week indicator on the new Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince”, the latest limited edition named after Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's famous novel.



The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” is similar to past variants of the brand's signature split-seconds chronograph, with a minor twist. Seven stars around the centre of the dial indicate the day of the week, but not in the way you would expect.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Up Close With The HYT H3, Equipped With A Jumping Hour And Linear Fluid Display (With Original Photos & Price)

HYT continues its unique brand of watchmaking with the H3, developed together with Renaud & Papi and equipped with a linear fluid display, jump hour and retrograde seconds.



The third and most complicated timepiece from HYT to date, the H3 tells the time linearly. Both the hours and minutes are indicated on a straight line, just about the only simple aspect of the display.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Hands-On With The Edox Hydro Sub North Pole, The First Watch To Free Dive Under The North Pole (With Original Photos & Price)

When champion free diver Christian Redl plunged into the waters of the North Pole in a record setting free dive in April 2015, he had on his wrist the Edox Hydro Sub North Pole.



Modelled on an Edox dive watch with the same name from the late sixties, the Hydro Sub North Pole has one striking feature: a large sliding crown protector made of orange anodised aluminium. The case is 46mm in diameter and asymmetric to accommodate the crown protector, which slides upwards to reveal the crown.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Up Close With The Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R Chronograph with Perpetual Calendar, Now In Rose Gold (Original Photos & Price)

Introduced for the first time in rose gold at Baselworld 2015, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R is another addition to the firm's lineage of perpetual calendar-chronographs.



The signature complication of Patek Philippe over decades, successively the refs. 1518, 2499, 3970, 5970 and now the ref. 5270, the fifth generation of the perpetual calendar-chronograph is finally coming into its own after several false starts (most notably the 6 o'clock "chin"). Recently introduced at Baselworld 2015, the ref. 5270R takes a conservative approach, with the classic combination of a silver-opaline dial and warm rose gold case - and no chin.



Saturday, 16 May 2015

AUCTION WATCH: Ten Picks From Christie's Upcoming Hong Kong Watch Sale

Christie's "Important Watches" auction takes place in Hong Kong on June 3, 2015, with over 500 lots slated to go under the hammer. Here are 10 highlights from the sale.



As is typical for watch auctions in Hong Kong, the catalogue is dominated by modern wristwatches, as opposed to the large number of vintage pieces offered in Geneva. Fortunately for those seeking value modern wristwatches often offer tremendous bang for the buck, like the De Bethune mono-pusher chronograph with an estimate starting at US$13,000. I've picked out 10 notable watches from the upcoming sale, ranging from strong value buys to the headliners like the platinum Harry Winston Opus 3.


Up Close With The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Éclipses Ingres "The Source" Miniature Enamel

Equipped with a rolling shutter over the dial, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Éclipses reveals a hand-painted grand feu enamel miniature under louvres that can be retracted by a roller on the case.



The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso offers a natural canvas for decoration with empty case back, which is why JLC offers a wide range of personalisation options, including hand-engraving. But once upon a time JLC offered a line of unusual Reverso watches with enamelled dials hidden by a rolling shutter, the Reverso à Éclipses.



Thursday, 14 May 2015

Up Close With The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,007 Gauss SPECTRE (With Original Photos & Price)

Omega will once again supply James Bond's wristwatch in the upcoming film Spectre due out in November 2015, but in the meantime Omega introduced the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,007 Gauss SPECTRE at Baselworld 2015.



The Omega marketing machine generally rolls along slowly and conservatively, leaping into action each time a global event Omega sponsors takes place. This includes the Olympic Games, anything to do with NASA and the Moon, and of course, James Bond. 

Come November 2015 Daniel Craig will return as James Bond in Spectre, with an Omega on his wrist, probably a Seamaster 300. However Omega  already introduced the first Spectre watch at Baselworld: the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,007 Gauss SPECTRE.


Unique F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain With A Purple Dial Raises SFr650,000 For Charity

A total of SFr705,000 was raised for Swiss charity Action Innocence through the sale of two unique F.P. Journe watches, including a Tourbillon Souverain fitted with an unusual purple dial.



Created to raise funds for Action Innocence, a pair of unique F.P. Journe watches sold for a total of SFr705,000, that's about US$770,000, at an auction a day ago. The bulk of the money came from the SFr650,000 raised by a one of a kind Tourbillon Souverain with a purple dial finished with a crosshatch decoration. 



Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Explaining The Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 - Ingenious And Innovative Chronography (Original Photos & Price)

Just introduced at Baselworld 2015, the Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 is equipped with movement that features a novel and genuinely interesting construction, including a chronograph that essentially powers itself.



Breguet marked at 10th anniversary of the Tradition at Baselworld with two significant complications, a minute repeater and the Tradition Chronographe Indépendant. The Tradition chronograph takes an existing idea in watchmaking - a separate power source and oscillator for the chronograph - but executes it in a wholly new and ingenious manner.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Introducing The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” In Red Gold (With Specs & Price)

The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch "Le Petit Prince", named after the book authored Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is now available with a red gold case in a limited edition of 250 pieces.



IWC has made the Saint-Exupéry editions an annual affair, with the latest being the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” in red gold, joining the currently available model in steel. Possibly one of the last IWC Big Pilots without a "9", the latest “Le Petit Prince” edition combines a 47mm red gold case with a metallic finish midnight blue dial.


Monday, 11 May 2015

Up Close With The Slim d'Hermes - Simple, Original And Affordable (With Original Photos & Price)

An entirely new design right down to the fonts, the Slim d’Hermès is all about simplicity combined with striking details, that together create an unostentatious yet distinctive wristwatch.



Hermes watches usually tend towards distinctive yet simple forms, like the Dressage or Arceau. Recently unveiled at Baselworld 2015, the Slim d'Hermes is clean and concise, but with well conceived details that give it a recognisable look, much like the creations of F.P. Journe.


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Retailers In Hong Kong Band Together To Demand Price Concessions From Watch Brands

Watch retailers in Hong Kong, the world's largest market for luxury watches, are collectively demanding price concessions from watchmakers, in the face of tepid demand and rapidly growing inventory. 



Beginning in late 2013 the demand for fine timepieces has slumped, with Swiss watch exports growing just 1.9% in 2014. Watch retailers in Hong Kong has been hit particularly hard, with the leading cause being the dramatic drop in Mainland Chinese buyers, and more recently the strong Swiss franc. In response 11 of the biggest watch retailers in the territory have signed a letter demanding price concessions from watch brands.


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Introducing The Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table II, Populated By Miniature Sculptures (Specs & Price)

With 12 tiny knights for each hour around a black jade dial, the Knights of the Round Table II is inspired by Arthurian legend. 



Drawing on the myth of the Knights of the Round Table, the new Excalibur wristwatch from Roger Dubuis features 12 tiny figures on the dial, standing around a table of black jade. Standing just 6.5mm high, each knight is a different, with individual faces and outfits.


Friday, 8 May 2015

Breitling Pays Tribute To History With The Navitimer AOPA Limited Edition (With Specs & Price)

The Navitimer AOPA Limited Edition is a remake of Breitling's most famous aviator's wristwatch, a tribute to the slide rule chronograph of the 1950s designed for the largest aviation association in the world.



Breitling designed the Navitimer in collaboration with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), which made the Navitimer its official watch in 1952. Since then the Navitimer has become an iconic aviator's timepiece, with its distinctive slide rule bezel a reminder of aviation before electronics. Made to mark the 75th anniversary of the AOPA in 2014, the new Navitimer AOPA is a 500-piece limited edition that commemorates the original of the 1950s.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Introducing The Arnold & Son Time Pyramid Guilloché (With Specs & Price)

Arnold & Son has given its signature skeleton watch a solid gold guilloche case back that forms a decorative backdrop for the unusual pyramid-shaped movement. 



A red gold case back, decorated with guilloche on both sides, highlights the unusual skeleton movement of the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid Guilloché. Originally introduced two years ago, the Time Pyramid is a skeleton watch with the movement modelled on 19th century English skeleton clocks.


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

IWC Joins The Smart Watch Race With IWC Connect (Plus A Teaser For The New Big Pilot?)

IWC has announced has just announced its entrant into the smart watch segment, IWC Connect, a smart strap attachment with an activity tracker and wireless connectivity.



The Swiss watch industry continues to pile into smart watches, with the latest being IWC Connect. It's not a smart watch, rather a small device embedded into the watch strap, giving a mechanical watch the functionality of a smart watch, just like the smart watch band from Montblanc, a sister company of IWC in the Richemont group. Familial rivalry perhaps?


Hands-On With The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Chronograph, An Affordable Remake Of The 1133B "Steve McQueen"

At Baselworld 2015 TAG Heuer introduced the Monaco Calibre 11 once again. It's a remake of the vintage Monaco ref. 1133B "Steve McQueen" but priced a third less than the model it replaces.



The most distinctive TAG Heuer wristwatch is arguably the Monaco, with its square form and block hands instantly recognisable as a timepiece from the seventies. And unlike many of its peers from that decade it has not lost its charm, especially since Steve McQueen wore the iconic blue dialled ref. 1133 in the film Le Mans. TAG Heuer has remade the ref. 1133B on several occasions, but at Baselworld 2015 it introduced the most affordable iteration of the Monaco Steve McQueen to date.


Monday, 4 May 2015

Up Close With The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 "Skin-Diver" Chronograph (With Original Photos & Price)

Longines' latest historical remake is the Heritage Diver 1967, modelled on the Skin-Diver chronograph, one of the brand's most distinctive diver's stopwatches.



The typical formula Longines applies to its Heritage line of reissues is simple: take a signature design from its archives, throw in an automatic movement with a date function, and presto. A simple strategy but one that works well, especially when the resulting watches are honesty products and accessibly priced. The Heritage Diver 1967 is exactly that.