Monday, 22 September 2014

REVIEW: Loupe System - The Quest For A Perfect Loupe

Conceived by a watch collector for fellow enthusiasts, Loupe System is a 6x magnification loupe. Here our contributor Eric Ho reviews the base model in the Loupe System line-up, the Model 01, and compares it to the competition from he likes of Leica, Zeiss and Nikon. 

Age and eyesight have an inversely proportional relationship well demonstrated over time. Presbyopia hit me at the moment I turned 40, and the first years of adjustment were trial and error experiments with various eyewear, mobile phone, and computer font configurations. The usual eyesight constraints were made worse by an addiction to all things miniature and their accompanying details.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Hands-On With The Patek Philippe 5940G, A Tastefully Detailed Perpetual Calendar (With Live Photos And Price)

One of the Baselworld 2014 introductions, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5940G is a cushion-shaped perpetual calendar in white gold with a tastefully executed dial, powered by the calibre 240 Q.

First introduced in yellow gold as the 5940J two years ago, Patek Philippe added the white gold ref. 5940G to the collection this year. The case is carré-shaped (French for square) with the perpetual calendar laid out in the 3-6-9 format typical of the calibre 240 Q. 
Even though the 5940G has little novelty in design or mechanism, it is a very attractive timepiece. 

One-Of-A-Kind Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra For 50th Anniversary Of Goldfinger Sells For $114,000

To mark the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film Goldfinger, Omega created a unique Seamaster Aqua Terra in yellow gold which sold for 70,000 pounds sterling, all of which went to British charity NSPCC.

50 years ago Goldfinger was released, becoming one of the most memorable in the James Bond series. To mark the anniversary Christie's and film studio Eon Productions held an online-only sale of objects created for the occasion on 17 September , including a one-of-a-kind Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra made almost entirely of 18k yellow gold.

Friday, 19 September 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Introducing The Zenith El Primero 410 Singapore Edition, In Blue With A Vintage-Style Logo (With Live Photos, Specs And Price)

To mark the opening of its first boutique in Singapore, Zenith has created a limited edition of its signature triple calendar chronograph, the El Primero 410, featuring a deep blue dial with the retro-style italic dial script. Here's an exclusive first look at the watch in the metal.

A rendition of Zenith's classic triple calendar-chronograph with a subtle twist, the the El Primero 410 Singapore Edition is a 45-piece limited edition made for Zenith's first store in Singapore. The Singapore Edition has two unique features, the more obvious being the striking deep blue dial, a darker shade of blue than found in other Zenith timepieces. 

A more subtle detail is the "El Primero" in italic script, exactly the same style as found on vintage Zenith chronographs. The El Primero 410 Singapore Edition is the only timepiece in the Zenith collection now with this retro-style logo.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Introducing The MB&F HM5 CarbonMacrolon, The First Ever Machine In Carbon Nanotube Polycarbonate (With Specs And Price)

MB&F has finally unveiled its first timepiece in an exotic material, the HM5 CarbonMacrolon in polycarbonate resin reinforced with carbon nanotubes, a dense and hard material that looks and feels like steel.

Though MB&F has made black coated timepieces in the past, they were made of traditional alloys like titanium and gold. Now for the first time the brand has turned to alternative materials of the sort popular with its peers with the HM5 CarbonMacrolon.

Inspired by the seventies Lamborghini Miura and styled as the driver's watch of the future, the HM5 is now available in polycarbonate, a hard plastic also known as Makrolon and used to layer bulletproof glass, strengthened with carbon nanotubes.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Hands-On With The Longines Heritage 1935, Compared With The Czech Air Force Original (With Live Photos And Price)

Modelled on the wristwatch made for the Czech Air Force in the thirties, the Longines Heritage 1935 is the latest addition to the brand's successful line of reissue timepieces. The Heritage has all the key characteristics of the original, with some prominent differences.

Longines, as it is wont to do, unveiled a remake of its Czech Air Force wristwatch at Baselworld 2014. Like the original, the Heritage 1935 is a large, cushion-shaped timepiece with a typical pilot's watch dial. 

Though little known outside military watch collecting circles, the Longines Czech Air Force is one of the most distinctive pilot's watches ever made. Supplied to Czech aviators from 1935 to the mid-forties, the timepiece was 41 mm in diameter, enormous for the time. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Introducing The H. Moser Endeavour Dual Time Special Edition - A Monochromatic Travel Timepiece Sold Only In Hong Kong

Created for the brand's Hong Kong retailer, the H. Moser Endeavour Dual Time Special Edition has an unusual monochromatic aesthetic, with a DLC-coated titanium case and matte ruthenium-plated dial.

H. Moser & Cie. timepieces are typically spare, offering the bare minimum but functional. Based on the Nomad, the new Endeavour Dual Time Special Edition strips even the colour from the timepiece, leaving behind a starkly simple timepiece.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Introducing The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu Byblos Limited Edition, In Tantalum With An Open-Worked Dial

Created for the opening of the tenth F.P. Journe boutique worldwide in Lebanon, the Chronomètre Bleu Byblos features an open-worked dial revealing the guilloche base plate, inside a tantalum case.

Notably for a small scale independent watchmaker with an annual output is 700 to 800 watches, F.P. Journe has 10 boutiques worldwide, with the most recent opening in Beirut, Lebanon. To mark the opening of its first boutique in the Middle East, F.P. Journe has created the Chronomètre Bleu Byblos.

Hublot Pop-Up Store Opens Singapore 16-22 September 2014

Hublot Nation, a pop-up store dedicated to all things Hublot, is open from September 16 to 22. The exhibition includes timepieces like the Big Bang Ferrari White Ceramic and even accessories like pens and cufflinks. 

Timed to coincide with the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on the weekend of 20 September, the Hublot pop-up store includes the premiere of the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Firmament, with a dial made of osmium, an extremely rare metal. Other highlights include the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Skull, with a case in ceramised aluminium.

Hublot Nation runs from September 16 to 22 at Atrium 2 of Paragon Shopping Mall on Orchard Road. It is open to the public daily from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Explaining The Panerai P.9000 Automatic Movement - We Take It Apart And Put It All Back Together

As part of a Panerai watchmaking class, we took apart and then successfully reassembled the Panerai P.9000 automatic movement. The experience was revealing - both in terms of the skill required by a true watchmaker, but also in the details and construction of the calibre P.9000.

The calibre P.9000 is the Panerai's workhorse movement - self-winding with twin barrels and a three day power reserve. It serves as the base for several other complications, including a GMT and chronograph. Variants of the base calibre including the P.90001 to 9003, as well as the P.9100 chronograph.

At 13 3/4 lignes wide and 7.9 mm high, it is a large and thick movement, with similar dimensions to the Valjoux 7750 chronograph calibre. In fact, it is intended as a replacement for the 7750-based OP III that was once the movement inside most automatic Panerai watches.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

What The Watch Industry Thinks Of The Apple Watch

Unveiled two days ago to a global media frenzy, the Apple Watch is now the most discussed wristwatch in the world right now. What will it do to mechanical watchmaking? We ask the watchmakers themselves. 

Much has been said about the Apple Watch, but little from the watchmakers who craft pricey mechanical timepieces. So we asked an array of luminaries in mechanical watchmaking what they thought. 

Representing a diverse cross section of the industry, ranging from independent watchmakers like Max Busser and Stephen Forsey, to retailers like Michael Tay, to brand chiefs like Wilhelm Schmid of Lange and Zenith's Aldo Magada. Here are opinions from the key players at every level of modern fine watchmaking.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Explaining The Apple Watch From A Watch Nerd's Perspective

Apple has just announced its long awaited Apple Watch, a sleek, oblong touchscreen smart watch that functions as an extension of the iPhone. It's available in three metals, with the big surprise being models yellow or rose gold. 

Finally the Apple smart watch is here. Not the iWatch as many expected, but the more prosaic Apple Watch. It's loaded with features, including the usual like mail and messages, but also health apps and a mobile wallet. And most intriguingly, Apple also introduced versions in hardened, 18k gold.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Introducing The Nomos Zurich World-Timer True Blue, Featuring In-House Escapement (With Specs And Price)

Featuring a new, galvanised blue dial, the Nomos Zurich World-Timer True Blue boasts the in-house, Nomos Swing System escapement - all for the same price as the existing Zürich Weltzeit.

Nomos announced the Swing System, its in-house escapement, at Baselworld 2014, one of the key steps in its vertical integration. Now the Nomos Swing System been put in an automatic watch for the first time - it was previously used only in manual wind movements - inside the new Zürich Weltzeit nachtblau ("World-Timer Night Blue").

The Zürich Weltzeit shows local time on the main hands, and home time on a disc at three o'clock, just beside a red home icon. A button at two o'clock advances the local time and cities disc by one hour intervals.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

NEWS: Phillips Auctioneers To Introduce Watch Sales As Part Of Ambitious Expansion

Auctioneers Phillips, a distant third in the contemporary art market, will soon start watch sales as part of ambitious expansion plans led by new management and funded by Mercury Group, the largest luxury retailer in Russia. Talk in the industry is that Christie's watch department alumnus will soon join Phillips.

Acquired by Mercury Group in 2008, Phillips auctioneers is now gearing up to take on market leaders Christie's and Sotheby's in art, and also watches. Edward Dolman, formerly the chairman and chief executive at Christie's, took on the same roles at Phillips in July. In a story outlining Phillips' expansion plans, The New York Times quoted Mr Dolman saying that “class-leading” watch auctions will soon be part of Phillips' repertoire, confirming what many in the watch industry have believed for some time.

Earlier this year, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie magazine wondered out loud - echoing what many in the business were saying - if Aurel Bacs, the charismatic former head of watches at Christie's, is returning to Phillips. Bacs was Phillips' head of watches until he decamped for Christie's in 2003.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Hands-On With The Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono, A Convertible Bullhead Pilot's Watch (With Live Photos And Price)

A convertible bullhead pilot's chronograph created in collaboration with the Swiss alpine rescue service, the Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono Limited Edition can be turned into a desk or aircraft clock with a simple twist. 

Secured with a twist and lock mechanism like those found in SLR camera lenses, the Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono is actually a convertible wristwatch. The movement is housed inside a removable case, which can also fit into a desk display stand or the dashboard of a helicopter or airplane.

Friday, 5 September 2014

CONTEST: Pit Your Reaction Speed Against F1 Driver Kevin Magnussen And Win A Pair Of Paddock Tickets To The Singapore Grand Prix

In the lead up to the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix TAG Heuer is running a contest where any member of the public can test their reaction speeds on a Batak machine. The top three contestants then go head to head with Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen on 18 September, with a prize of a pair of $9300 paddock tickets.

The 2014 Formula One Night Race in Singapore takes place from 19 to 21 September and TAG Heuer has installed a Batak machine in its Wisma Atria boutique to find the fastest pair of hands in Singapore. 

Used to develop Formula One drivers' hand-eye coordination and reaction times, a Batak machine comprises several LEDs on a steel frame that light up at random, with the player having to strike each LED as quickly as possible. A large LED screen in the centre counts each hit.

Introducing the H. Moser Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time, With Double Hairspring And Modular Tourbillon (With Specs And Price)

H. Moser & Cie has just unveiled its first ever tourbillon, the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time, equipped with a new in-house movement that features not just the Straumann double hairspring but also boasts the world's first modular tourbillon.

The first glimpse of the new Venturer line from H. Moser & Cie was at Baselworld 2014, and now that includes the brand's most complicated watch ever: the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time. Self-winding with a GMT function, the Venturer tourbillon is more notable for its interchangeable, modular tourbillon, which also features the Straumann Double Hairspring.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Introducing The Longines Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph (With Pricing)

Based on a vintage timepiece made for Swissair pilots in the fifties, the Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph combines both a 24 hour dial and a monopusher chronograph function, for an unusual vintage-style pilot's timepiece.

In the Longines museum sits an oversized watch created for the navigators of Swissair in the fifties. Featuring an unusual 24 hour dial, only a few dozen were made, but Longines created a reissue in 2011. Now Longines has combined that distinctive dial with its single button chronograph movement in the Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph. Longines excels at affordable, attractive vintage-inspired timepieces, and this is yet another.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Hands-On With The Ralph Lauren Black Safari Flying Tourbillon (With Live Photos And Price)

Powered by a movement made by La Fabrique du Temps, the Ralph Lauren Black Safari Flying Tourbillon has a black finished case and a burl wood dial inlay, an aesthetic inspired by a Bugatti 57SC coupe from the designer's legendary car collection.

Ralph Lauren is not a name synonymous with watches. Despite their technical and aesthetic merits, the brand's horological endeavours have met with a tepid response. Putting the branding aside, Ralph Lauren watches are well made and designed, with most equipped with respectable calibres from Richemont brands like IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre.

For its latest complication Ralph Lauren once again relies on outside expertise. The he Black Safari Flying Tourbillon has inside the RL167 movement, a self-winding, flying tourbillon movement made by La Fabrique du Temps. Now owned by LVMH, they are the outfit that brought you the wonderful timepieces of Laurent Ferrier.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Introducing The Luminox SXC GMT In Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polycarbonate, For Under US$600 (With Specs And Price)

Created in collaboration with commercial space flight provider Xcor, the Luminox SXC PC Carbon GMT is a dual time zone wristwatch with tritium tube illumination and a carbon composite case.

Luminox, best known as the maker of affordable timepieces created in partnership with the US Navy Seals, will supply the official timepieces to the passengers and pilots on the Lynx space shuttle built by XCOR, a manufacturer of spacecraft for commercial space flight. Cased in carbon reinforced polycarbonate, the SXC PC Carbon GMT is a quartz, dual time wristwatch.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Pre-W&W 2014: Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Day-Date and Power Reserve Collection Excellence Platine (With Specs And Price)

With a platinum case, dial and buckle, the Traditionnelle Day-Date and Power Reserve Collection Excellence Platine combines the precious alloy with useful petit complications, in a 100 piece limited edition.

Soon to be launched at Watches&Wonders 2014 in Hong Kong, dubbed the mini-SIHH in Asia, the Traditionnelle Day-Date and Power Reserve Collection Excellence Platine (CEP) will be the second CEP timepiece Vacheron Constantin will present at the fair, the other being the World Time Collection Excellence Platine

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hands-On With The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Ref. 5990/1A (With Live Photos, Review And Price)

Freshly unveiled earlier this year, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time is the second iteration of the Geneva watchmaker's sports chronograph, replacing the ref. 5980/1A. Known as the Ref. 5990/1A, the new Nautilus has a dual time function combined with a chronograph, and a handsomely symmetrical dial.

Patek Philippe presented the second generation of its sports chronograph at Baselworld 2014 with the Nautilus Travel Time Ref. 5990/1A. Very similar to the Ref. 5980/1A it replaces, the main difference of the new Nautilus chronograph is an added dual time function, though it also has other less obvious changes.

Despite the differences in function and design, physically the 5990/1A feels the same as its predecessor, for good reason as it is almost exactly the same size. At 40.5 mm in diameter and 12.53 mm high, the new Nautilus is practically identical to the 5980/1A. Interestingly, the 5990/1A is 0.7 mm slimmer, surprising given that it has the added Travel Time function.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Introducing The Glycine Airman No. 1, A Remake Of The First 24 Hour Dual Time (With Live Photos And Price)

In 1953 Glycine created the Airman, the world's first 24 hour, twin time zone watch. Now Glycine has recreated the original as the Airman No. 1, in a remake so faithful it feels like a vintage timepiece.

Conceived for pilots of the then nascent transnational airlines, the Glycine Airman emerged from a conversation between Sam Glur, then the company's sales director, and the pilots on his flight from Bangkok to Calcutta, back in 1953.

The Airman was a dual time zone watch with a twist. Instead of the typical 12 hour scale, it indicated the time on a 24 hour dial. This not only showed the time in two time zones simultaneously, the 24 hour dial also easily distinguished between day and night in each time zone.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Introducing The MB&F MusicMachine 2 - Pop Culture And Swiss Craftsmanship In The Ultimate Desktop Toy (With Specs And Price)

Designed by MB&F and made by Reuge, the MusicMachine 2 is a music shaped like a spacecraft that plays tunes from Star Wars, Star Trek and the Rolling Stones - it's pop culture and Swiss craftsmanship rolled into the ultimate desktop toy.

Reminiscent of the starship Enterprise, the MusicMachine 2 (MM2) is the latest in MB&F's growing range of desktop objet d'art, coming not long after the Starfleet Machine clock. MB&F worked with noted music box producer, Reuge, to create the MM2. It combines the 150 year-old tradition of Reuge with MB&F carefully distilled pop culture style.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Hands-On With The Omega Speedmaster Mark II "Racing" (With Live Photos And Price)

Introduced at Baselworld 2014, the Omega Speedmaster Mark II is a remake of the 1970s chronograph of the same name. Aesthetically almost identical to the original, the new Mark II is nonetheless equipped with all the upgrades found in modern Omega watches, like the Si14 silicon hairspring.

Introduced in 1969, the first Omega Speedmaster Mark II is a typical watch of the seventies, with a chunky tonneau-shaped case. It was intended as the successor to the Speedmaster Moon Watch, but after the 1969 lunar landing, the Moon Watch gained immortality as a legend in watchmaking. At Baselworld 2014 the Speedmaster Mark II made its comeback, looking much the same as before, but with technical upgrades over the original.