Saturday, 20 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon With An Open-Worked Case (With Specs And Price)

Roger Dubuis's quintessential skeleton flying tourbillon is now paired with an open-worked titanium case, bringing to the minimalist yet theatrical aesthetic of the movement out into the watch case.

With its star-shaped bridge and linear architecture, the Roger Dubuis skeleton tourbillon is instantly recognisable. Though it has evolved over the last few years, the Excalibur tourbillon has remained largely the same, until now. The Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon is very large but also light: the oversized, 45 mm case has been skeletonised, with much of the material removed.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

IWC Unveils Portuguese Hand-Wound Special Edition For Revolution Magazine (With Specs And Pricing)

IWC has remade its Jubilee Portuguese in a limited edition for the 10th anniversary of Revolution, a Singapore-based watch magazine, perhaps pointing the way to what its flagship product for the 75th anniversary of the Portuguese wristwatch coming next year.

In 1993 IWC celebrated its 125th anniversary with the Portuguese Jubilee ref. 5441, a watch much desired by IWC fans today. For the 10th anniversary of Revolution, IWC has remade the Jubilee in a 10-piece limited edition that is nearly identical, but not exactly so. 

Perhaps this reissue is a hint as to what is to come at SIHH 2015, which also happens to be the 75th year of the Portuguese, arguably IWC's most important product line. It makes little commercial sense for a company like IWC to make such a small run of watches, so fans of the classic Portuguese will probably like what's in store for SIHH next month.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Greubel Forsey Unveils The GMT Black In ADLC Titanium (With Pricing)

Greubel Forsey will offer its GMT, the travel watch with an inclined tourbillon for the private jet set, in black ADLC coated titanium. 

Last year Greubel Forsey took the covers off its first ever titanium watch, the Double Tourbillon Technique Black, which kept of all the brand's signature aesthetic and technical features but in a more subdued style. The same treatment has been applied to the GMT Black, a wristwatch that has a dual time zone function and the brand's patented 24 second tourbillon.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Panerai Luminor 1950 Sealand Year of the Goat PAM848 (With Specs And Price)

Panerai continues its series of annual Sealand editions dedicated to the Chinese Zodiac with the Luminor 1950 Sealand Year of the Goat (PAM00848), featuring a hunter case decorated with gold-inlaid hand-engraving.

Fitted with distinctive flip covers over the dial, the hunter cases of Panerai Luminor Sealand watches are a perfect canvas for engraving. To be officially unveiled at SIHH, the 2015 edition of the Luminor 1950 Sealand is dedicated to the Year of the Goat, the seventh in an annual edition for each year's Chinese Zodiac and also the first in the Luminor 1950 case.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton - The First Open-Worked, Time-Only Wristwatch (With Specs And Price)

Roger Dubuis' signature timepiece has long been its skeleton tourbillons with their distinctive star-shaped bridges. Now Roger Dubuis has applied that same look to its time-only automatic in the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton, offering the same aesthetic at a lower price.

One of the key tactics in Roger Dubuis' product strategy is to create more accessible products in more manageable sizes. The new Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is exactly that. With a skeleton movement featuring the brand's signature star-shaped bridge, the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton looks like the brand's trademark skeleton tourbillon, but costs only half as much.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

REPORT: Vintage Rolex Asylum First Anniversary GTG - A Band Of Brothers

Vintage Rolex Asylum (VRA) is a club for collectors of vintage Rolex watches set up just recently in Jakarta, Indonesia. The VRA first anniversary get-together just happened earlier this week and I was fortunate to take part. Here's a quick report on what transpired.

Enthusiasm for vintage Rolex watches is a phenomenon that is sweeping the world. One hotspot for that is Indonesia, an archipelago with a population of over 250 million people. VRA was established in the capital, Jakarta, almost exactly a year ago and now counts in its ranks nearly 40 members. Its first official gathering took place on 11 December, with its members, and their watches, out in full force. I was there as a guest, and here's what happened.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Up Close With The Patek Philippe Ref. 5207P, A Spectacular Grand Complication

One of the most complicated timepieces Patek Philippe makes, the Ref. 5207P combines a minute repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar as well as a tourbillon, inside a platinum case with hand-engraving on its flanks. The Ref. 5207P really is a grand complication.

Patek Philippe's grand complications are arguably the best from any major watch brand, demonstrating superlative movement construction and finishing. One of the the Geneva watchmaker's grandest complications is the Ref. 5207P. Equipped with a tourbillon, instantaneous perpetual calendar and a minute repeater, the Ref. 5207P is essentially an upgrade version of what was long Patek Philippe's flagship wristwatch, the Ref. 5016.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Rolex Develops Chronograph And Speedometer For Bloodhound SSC, The World's Fastest Car

Rolex has developed a pair of dashboard instruments for the Bloodhound SSC, a rocket-shaped car powered by jet and rocket engines that give it astounding 135,000 horsepower, conceived to break the world land speed record in 2015, and cross the 1000 mph mark the year after.  

In the works since 2008, the Bloodhound SSC is a super car powered by a Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine and a rocket booster that is being built to break the world land speed record of 763 mph next year. And more impressively it aims to crack the 1000 mph mark in 2016. Timekeeping for this project is provided by Rolex, which has designed a speedometer and chronograph for the dashboard of the Bloodhound.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Vacheron Constantin Marks The Chinese Zodiac Year Of The Goat (With Specs And Price)

Next month at SIHH Vacheron Constantin will officially unveil the Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac dedicated to the Year Of The Goat in 2015. With a hand-enamelled and engraved dial, the timepiece features window displays for the time and calendar.

Each year Vacheron Constantin creates a limited edition to commemorate the year's animal of the Chinese Zodiac - 2015 is the Year of the Goat. The Métiers d’Art Year Of The Goat is powered by the calibre 2460 G4, a self-winding movement that displays the time and calendar on four windows on the edge of the dial, creating a canvas for elaborate dial decor in enamel and engraving.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton - A Floating, Orbital Tourbillon (With Specs And Pricing)

Cartier has made one of its most distinctive tourbillons even more striking by skeletonising the movement, leaving the 9461 MC movement suspended inside the case as the tourbillon cage travels around it once a minute.

Cartier's signature tourbillon is the Astrotourbillon (Cartier picked this watch as the base for its first commercially available concept timepiece), a central carousel tourbillon that goes around the dial one a minute. That visual effect has now been amplified in the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton that will be unveiled at SIHH 2015. With the tourbillon carriage seemingly gliding around the dial in empty space, past the three slim supports that hold the movement in place, the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton resembles a tiny space station trapped inside a watch case.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Omega And Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology Announce New Watch Testing And Certification Standard

Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) have jointly developed a new testing and certification process for timepieces, that includes functional testing under massive magnetic fields. Clearly aimed at the dominant COSC standard, the new certification will be applied to Master Co-Axial watches in 2015, though other watch brands are welcome to partake.

Earlier this year Omega its new Master Co-Axial movements with magnetism resistance of over 15,000 Gauss. But the lax standards of COSC, the biggest player in the watch certification sphere, has driven Omega to collaborate with METAS to create a new testing standard. Though Omega and METAS developed the standard together, METAS is an independent government body, and the certification will be open to other watch brands.

Introducing The MB&F LM1 In Platinum, A 33-Piece Limited Edition With A Electric Blue Dial (With Specs And Price)

The MB&F Legacy Machines combine retro-steampunk aesthetics with lovingly finished movements, and now the very first watch of the series, the LM1, is available in platinum with a bright blue dial in a limited edition of just 33 pieces.

Last year MB&F presented the second Legacy Machine with twin balance wheels, including a limited edition in platinum of just 18 pieces. Despite costing over US$200,000, the electric blue dial of the platinum LM2 proved popular and sold out quickly. Now MB&F has applied the same formula to the first watch in the Legacy Machine series, the dual time zone LM1 in a limited edition of 33 pieces, priced at half its more expensive cousin.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar With Meteorite Dial, Costing Just A Little Bit More (With Specs And Price)

Jaeger-LeCoultre has given its signature Master Calendar some extraterrestrial flair with a dial made of a thin slice of meteorite - all for an attractively small extra cost compared to the regular model.

SIHH 2015 will see Jaeger-LeCoultre present several calendar and astronomical themed timepieces, one of which is the new Master Calendar with meteorite dial. Launched two years ago with a conventional silvered dial, the Master Calendar has the traditional triple calendar layout with three windows and a date pointer. That is now made a little more interesting with a dial made from meteorite discovered in Sweden that originated much farther afield, from the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Introducing The Wilhelm Rieber Flying Tourbillon Wristwatch With Spring Detent Escapement

German independent watchmaker Wilhelm Rieber has just completed the world's first flying tourbillon wristwatch with a spring detent escapement, a wonderful example of watchmaking made even more remarkable by the fact that Rieber works alone.

Wilhelm Rieber is a German watchmaker who makes watches the traditional way. His latest timepiece is remarkable in itself - the world's first flying tourbillon with a spring detent escapement. That's made all the more impressive by the fact that he makes all his watches himself.

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Facelifted Lange Saxonia Hand-Wind, Automatic And Dual Time

Lange will show the facelifted Saxonia collection at SIHH 2015, having tweaked the dials and cases of its entry-level collection of timepieces. The cases are slightly smaller, and the details a little more detailed.

SIHH 2015 will see the launch of three new timepieces from A. Lange & Söhne's most affordable line-up: the Saxonia, Saxonia Automatik and Saxonia Dual Time. All are facelifted versions of existing models, visually similar and mechanically identical to the existing models but with minor improvements in the size and design.

A Very Detailed Look At The Patek Philippe Ref. 5271P - Platinum, Diamonds, Perpetual Calendar And Chronograph (With Photos And Pricing)

Patek Philippe often pairs platinum cases with diamond settings, especially on its grand complications, the newest of which is the Ref. 5271P, a platinum chronograph with perpetual calendar set with nearly five carats of baguette diamonds.

Historically Patek Philippe has often paired its platinum timepieces with diamonds, usually with black dials. The models available in this glittery decor range from basic Calatrava watches to top of the line grand complications. One of the most impressive is the platinum perpetual calendar chronograph with diamonds, part of the collection since the eighties with the Ref. 3970. The latest, and possibly greatest, iteration of this chronograph (Patek Philippe has a remarkable history in fine chronograph wristwatches) is the Ref. 5271P, a flashy and impressive watch without being coarse or louche.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Up Close With The Rotonde De Cartier Reversed Tourbillon (With Photos, Specs And Pricing)

At SIHH 2015 Cartier will unveil a new version of its inverted tourbillon that reveals most of the movement on the dial, this time with a sun-ray guilloche dial made of 18k solid gold.

Cartier's head of movement development, Carole Forestier, is one of the few female technical directors at a watchmaker. And perhaps because of her gender, the movements she has conceived, like for the new Crash Skeleton, are often as much technical creations as they are aesthetic. The Rotonde De Cartier Reversed Tourbillon exemplifies that dichotomy, being a haute horlogerie complication that has been constructed for visual impact.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Timepieces From AP, Blancpain, JLC And Zenith Raise S$96,000 For Charity

Over the weekend four timepieces from Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Zenith were auctioned in Singapore. All sold for well above the retail prices, raising nearly S$100,000 for the Community Chest. 

On 30 November Singapore charity the Community Chest held its annual fundraising dinner (full disclosure: I was a member of the event's organising committee), which included an auction of items donated for the event. Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Zenith generously contributed timepieces for the charity auction. The four timepieces raised S$96,000, with all selling at above the recommended retail prices.

Pre-SIHH 2015: Piaget Introduces The Altiplano Chronograph - The Thinnest Chronograph On The Market (With Specs And Price)

Piaget continues to excel in creating ultra-thin movements with the new Altiplano Chronograph, equipped with a flyback as well as second time zone function. Standing just 8.24 mm high, case and all, the Altiplano Chronograph is the thinnest available.

For several years now Piaget has endeavoured to create one ultra-thin watch after another, last year's Altiplano 900P is the thinnest watch on the market. Next year at SIHH 2015 Piaget will officially unveil the Altiplano Chronograph. Just 8.24 mm high - the movement inside is only 4.65 mm thick - the Altiplano Chronograph is the thinnest chronograph on the market.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Introducing The Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Goat”, With A Hand-Painted Japanese Lacquer Dial (With Specs And Price)

Next year Chopard will officially introduce the L.U.C XP Urushi "Year of the Goat" special edition featuring a maki-e dial to mark the Chinese Zodiac sign for 2015.

A striking but little known sub-collection within Chopard's L.U.C line of timepiece is the Urushi collection, with dials decorated in maki-e, or Japanese lacquer. Each year Chopard brings out a special edition with the appropriate animal of the Chinese Zodiac, with the goat making its appearance in 2015 for the Year of the Wood Goat, which starts 19 February 2015 and ends on 7 February 2016.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Introducing The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-Phases, Featuring A Clear Sapphire Dial (With Pricing)

Girard-Perregaux has given its popular Vintage 1945 model a smoked sapphire dial, revealing the mechanics of the oversized date and moon phase of the in-house calibre 3300.

One of Girard-Perregaux's signature timepieces, the Vintage 1945 has for the first time a clear sapphire dial, tinted a light grey, that allows a look into the movement. The dial side of the calibre 3300 inside the Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-Phases is almost entirely exposed, showing off the striped base plate and the gears that drive the big date and moon phase.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Hands-On With The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Carbon (With Photos And Price)

Featuring a tourbillon, chronograph and unusual peripheral winding rotor, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Carbon combines the sporty Offshore and the ingenuity of movement specialist Renaud & Papi.

Though the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore line is usually about sporty aesthetics, there are exceptions, like the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Carbon. Oversized and chunky with a carbon composite case, it looks like the typical Offshore but the movement is special.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Piaget Black Tie Vintage Inspiration, A Remake Of The Beta 21 Wristwatch Owned By Andy Warhol (With Specs And Price)

Piaget has recreated the look of its chunky Beta 21 wristwatch of the seventies with the new Black Tie Vintage Inspiration that takes the same shape but with an extra-slim, mechanical movement.

Andy Warhol famously owned a Piaget wristwatch with the Beta 21 quartz movement, inside a stepped case in a shape typical of the seventies. Piaget has remade that distinctive ovoid case with stepped edges as the limited edition Black Tie Vintage Inspiration that will make its official debut at SIHH 2015.

Introducing The Cartier Crash Skeleton In Platinum - Reimagining A Legendary Wristwatch (With Photos, Specs And Pricing)

Cartier has taken its legendary Crash wristwatch, born of a car crash in sixties London, and equipped it with a skeleton movement inside an enlarged, platinum case. The first of a new line of reimagined historical timepieces, the Crash Skeleton is a limited edition of just 67 pieces.

At SIHH 2015 the most gorgeous iteration of the iconic asymmetric Cartier will make it debut. The Crash Skeleton is identical to the classic Crash wristwatch, the Crash Skeleton is slightly larger than the original, while the 9618 MC movement inside has been skeletonised in an appropriately Dali-esque manner to match the case.

Legend has it the original Crash was inspired by a ruined timepiece retrieved from a car crash involving an executive at Cartier London. The impact and heat of the Crash turned what had been an Maxi Oval wristwatch into something straight out of a Salvador Dali painting.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Pre-SIHH 2015: Introducing The Richard Mille RM 33-01 Extra-Thin Automatic

Richard Mille will unveil the RM 33-01 at SIHH 2015 in January. A facelifted version of his round, extra-thin automatic, the RM 33-01 has a slightly sportier case and dial, along with the addition of a subsidiary seconds dial.

A slightly redesigned version of the original RM 33, the new RM 33-01 is still a round, slim automatic wristwatch, but with some variation. Though the case remains round, its details have changed. The lugs are more pronounced and angular, while the dial has italicised hour numerals inspired by a speedometer.