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EdgyGuyJide

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  1. The 5172G is a new evolution of the 5170 and offers an interesting and everyday-friendly mix of casual and dressy Patek styling. Shown with a matte dark blue dial and a matching leather strap, this old-school-yet-sporty chronograph replaces the longstanding 5170 with a larger case but retains the lovely CH 29-533 PS movement within. Details like the triple-stepped lugs, syringe hands, and ref. 1463-inspired pushers balance nicely with more modern elements like the luminous Arabic numerals and clean lines, and the overall dial and hand design is inspired by a unique version of the 1463 that was made for Briggs Cunningham (how cool is that?). If you want all of the details and specs, click here, if you want to see the new 5172G in the metal, just scroll down.
  2. If you are tired of hearing me drone on and on and on about the Rolex RBOW, well too bad. I'm still in love with it and am happy to report that the trend is not going anywhere. At SIHH I saw many rainbow-themed watches roll out from Audemars Piguet, Parmigiani, and Richard Mille (if you count the Marshmallow as "rainbow-esque"), and Baselworld is proving to be no different. Rolex is back with a new rainbow this year, and it's a Day-Date no less! It's like they took all my favorite things and wrapped them into one neat little multi-colored package. Day-Date, check. Diamonds, check. Rainbow, check check. If this isn't a double rainbow, I don't know what is. The Rainbow Day-Date 36 is available in white gold (seen here), as well as rose and yellow gold. Pricing is $124,250 for the version you see here.
  3. MR BÜSSER AND WOMEN Just a few days before the start of spring, the Geneva-based watchmakers, well known for their ultra-complex devices generally made for men, have released their first women’s watch. “I never have any idea what a woman wants.” Despite this confession, Maximilian Büsser, the founder of MB&F, has given free rein to his feminine side by designing a real watchmaking artwork, filled with energy and elegance. Far from the brand’s ultra-complex, masculine Machines, the new LM FlyingT provides a wealth of delicacy and emotions. “This model embodies everything I love in my wife, everything I love in my daughters, everything I loved in my mum“, says Maximilian Büsser. This new arrival in the women’s world is a sure-fire success. You only need to see the watch at work to feel the excitement. The LM FlyingT is designed like a living mechanical sculpture with a column structure housing a one-minute flying tourbillon and a diamond floating in the air like a prima ballerina. The complex architecture is under a protective, curved sapphire glass dome, like a maternal bubble. Maximilian Büsser’s aim was to make the watch as a gift, so only its owner can see the time. The black or white lacquered sub-dial displaying the hours and minutes with two blued or silver serpentine hands is literally invisible to anyone else, since it is tilted at 50° and located at 7 o’clock. This women’s watch by MB&F is powered by a dynamic self-winding movement running at a gentle frequency of 2.5hz and providing a very impressive 100 hours of power reserve. It is housed in a 38.5mm-wide case made of white gold and coated in gems – 120 brilliant-cut or 124 baguette-cut diamonds, depending on the model you choose. There are three different versions of the LM FlyingT, with the dials coated in deep black lacquer, 390 brilliant-cut diamonds or 134 baguette-cut diamonds. Price: 108,000 CHF exc. VAT (black lacquer dial) – 135,000 CHF exc. VAT (diamonds on case and dial) – 298,000 CHF exc. VAT (baguette-cut diamonds on case and dial) mb&f.com
  4. THE MATTERHORN ON YOUR WRIST The watchmakers from La Chaux-de-Fonds pay homage to their native land in this limited edition with a dial made from rock taken from the Matterhorn, the Alpine peak that is one of the symbols of Switzerland. Nature was always at the heart of the work of Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721-1790). Two of the specialities that made his reputation were singing birds and the use of rocks and minerals as ornamental gems. And gemstones can still be found on the dials of some watches by Jaquet Droz, the brand based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, as for example in the limited edition Grande Seconde Moon Swiss Serpentinite. Just 88 models are available, exclusively reserved for the Swiss market. The dial features a disc made of serpentinite, a metamorphic rock with a yellowish or dark green colour, and a look and feel a little like a snake’s scales. The rock was taken from the abrupt slopes of the Matterhorn. This pyramid-shaped summit rises to an altitude of 4,478m. It is not only the 12th highest mountain in the Alps, but is also a symbol of Switzerland. The serpentinite decorating the dial on the Grande Seconde Moon Swiss Serpentinite produces an effect of depth due to the many veins running across it. On this uneven surface, two sub-dials circled with silver form the outline of a figure 8 – the other Jaquet Droz symbol – with the two loops of different sizes: the hours and minutes are displayed with two lancine-type hands near 12 o’clock, while the seconds are at 6 o’clock. A large sub-dial contains two other complications, a date with a hand tipped in red and a moon phase decorated with white-gold stars. These features are powered by a self-winding calibre, the JD2660QL3, which is housed in a 43mm-wide steel case and generates a power reserve of 68 hours. Price: 18,800 CHF
  5. The iconic Autavia returned to the TAG Heuer collections in 2017. It again takes centre stage this year with a three-hand version featuring a smoky blue dial and a new Isograph hairspring. The Autavia watch, first launched in 1962, was always more discreet than its younger brother, the Carrera. Its name combines two worlds and two industries, AUTomobile and AVIAtion, borrowing stylistic elements from both. In 2016, for the big comeback of the legendary watch, the brand from Le Locle launched a contest, asking watch fans to choose between 16 older models. The 50,000 people taking part voted to re-release the Autavia Rindt in 2017. This was a chronograph worn by the Austrian racing driver Jochen Rindt (1942-1970). The black watch with white sub-dials was joined in October 2017 by a limited edition unveiled for the 85th birthday of Jack Heuer, the founder’s great-grandson and honorary president of the brand. For Baselworld 2019, TAG Heuer again launched a new Autavia. Although it is a similar shape to the previous models, the new watch stands out in different ways. It is not a chronograph but a three-handed watch with a date, to start with. Next, it does without the usual colours in the collection (black, white and silver), but comes in an attractive, delicately sanded blue with a Sfumato effect – that is, with a light colour in the centre that grows darker towards the outside of the dial. The large Arabic numerals for the hours are coated in white Super-LumiNova®, and there are silver, lume-coated hands for the hours, minutes and seconds. The date is at 6 o’clock. The 42mm-wide steel case is topped with a bezel featuring a blue ceramic ring. Inside is the calibre 5, an automatic movement certified as a chronometer and including the Isograph hairspring made of a carbon composite, a new element developed in-house. It can resist gravity, shocks and magnetic fields. The Autavia by TAG Heuer is equipped with a brown calf’s leather strap and a steel tang buckle. Price: 3,500 CHF
  6. A GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission, which saw man walk on the Moon for the first time, the Biel/Bienne watchmaker has taken inspiration from an older model to create a truly dazzling limited edition! On 21 July 1969, the whole world was riveted to the television to witness a historic event: the American astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) became the first man to walk on the Moon’s surface. He was joined 19 minutes later by his fellow crew member Edwin “Buzz“ Aldrin (1930). NASA had given official approval to the Speedmaster by Omega four years earlier, and the watch was a part of the extraordinary adventure. A few months later, at a gala dinner, the astronauts in the NASA space programme were given a yellow-gold Speedmaster encircled by a burgundy bezel. This was the reference BA145.022, with 1,014 watches made between 1969 and 1973. Now, half a century after the first steps taken by Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon, Omega has unveiled the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. Like its predecessor, the new watch is limited to 1,014 pieces and combines yellow gold and a touch of burgundy. This time, however, it is forged from a special alloy called Moonshinetm gold, which stands out through its blond colour and its resistance to discoloration. The material is used on the 42mm-wide case, the vertically brushed dial and the 5-link bracelet. The bezel is again coloured burgundy and is made of ceramic. It features a tachymetric scale made of Ceragoldtm. On the dial are black onyx facetted indices. The same colour is used on the lacquered watch hands. Powered by the hand-wound calibre Master Chronometer 3861, providing a power reserve of 50 hours, the hours and minutes are displayed in the centre, while the seconds can be seen in a sub-dial at 9 o’clock. The chronograph features are on display in two totalisers at 3 and 6 o’clock. Price: 32,000 CHF
  7. RAW MATERIAL After a bronze version, the brand has released a limited edition of its Pilot watch combining a silver dial and case. The model has all the assets needed to become a collector’s item. 11111 Pilot’s watches are simple and robust, and share features that make them easy to identify. One of these is the guarantee of maximum visibility in all lighting conditions, usually through a simple display of the time elements. The Arabic numerals are often in XL size, as are the watch hands. All these elements are generally lume-coated. Finally, to make it easier to set the time and wind the watch, pilot’s models frequently come with a large-sized crown. All these features can be found on the Pilot Type 20 Extra Silver. And to highlight a personality inspired by past models worn by pilots, Zenith has opted for a silver dial. The dial also stands out because of a pattern recalling the riveted metal on a plane fuselage. It is housed in a 45mm-wide case that is unusual in also being made of silver, a material that is not often used in contemporary watchmaking. The watch hands are powered by the calibre Elite 679. The self-winding movement supplies 50 hours of power reserve once fully wound. The 250 Pilot Type 20 Extra Silver watch is equipped with a vintage-look brown leather strap. It includes a leather flap, similar to the ones found on leather flight helmets until the mid-20th century. Price: €7,900 zenith.com
  8. HOWLING AT THE MOON The Hermès wolf was originally designed for a silk scarf. It has now arrived on the dial of the Arceau model to make its trademark howl and celebrate the beauty of artistry and craftsmanship. The substantial animal ranks at Hermès have now been joined by a wolf howling in the moonlight. The wolf was created in 2016 by a young designer from London, Alice Shirley (born 1984), who has worked with Hermès since 2012. The wild canine was originally designed for a silk scarf, but has arrived this year on the dial of a watch made by the Parisian brand, the Arceau Awooooo, which was launched at the 2019 SIHH. Far removed from childhood fears, fairy tales or horror films, the Hermès wolf has nothing very scary about it. In fact, with its nose raised to the moon and its fur blending in with the night sky, it is totally inoffensive and even inspires respect. The thick fur combines several colours – brown, yellow and blue – and is made using enamel miniature painting on a white-gold disc. The wolf stands out against a black background scattered with tiny white stars. In the centre of the miniature painting, two silvered, leaf-shaped hands display the hours and minutes with the power supplied by the calibre H1837. The self-winding movement runs at the standard frequency of 28,800 an hour (4Hz) and provides 50 hours of power reserve. The calibre is housed in the famous 41mm-wide white-gold Arceau case with asymmetrical lugs. The Arceau Awooooo model is a very exclusive edition with only eight pieces made. The watch comes with a graphite alligator-leather strap and a white-gold tang buckle.
  9. In recent years, one area in which Panerai's sought to distinguish itself is in the use of novel materials, both for aesthetic reasons, and to provide real materials advantages in technical watchmaking. This is an imperative inherited from Panerai's roots, as a watchmaker, in making practical tool watches for challenging real world applications, and from its heritage as an engineering company that made naval instruments in addition to watches for a number of different purposes, but Panerai today is innovating in materials that its original watchmakers and designers never dreamed of. Brainstorming and concept development happen in a collaborative atmosphere at Panerai's in-house workshop, the Laborotorio di Idee, or "laboratory of ideas." The Laborotori di Idee operates in a workshop fashion, and very closely with the design department in Milan, to evaluate new materials and methods, and to develop design inspiration in order to bring such new assets to fully mature and realized form as Panerai wristwatches. Despite the high-tech nature of many of the materials and processes the staff at the Laborotorio di Idee work with, the team uses a surprisingly, and charmingly, low-tech method for graphically tracking projects: a LEGO task board, which allows each team member to track both their own progress through evolving projects, and well as the progress of each project overall. It's very much a "there are no bad ideas" environment and although not every first concept makes its way into production, an openness to new ideas is essential for the Laborotorio to do its work, so an atmosphere of relaxed give-and-take is deliberately fostered. In some cases, materials at Panerai are used mostly for aesthetic reasons, although in every case they must still pass the acid test for utility and reliability under real life conditions. Bronze, for instance, is hardly a new material, and it has a long history of use in marine environments thanks to its ability to develop a surface patina that resists deeper corrosion. At Panerai, though it's primarily a material whose appeal lies in the unique patina each watch develops over time, the fact that it's a practical material in a marine environment is a big part of its attraction as well. Panerai has also developed the ability to create a full range of complicated watches, ranging from simple complications such as chronographs, to what traditionally were considered "high complications," including astronomical complications, rattrapante chronographs, and even minute repeaters. One of Panerai's best-kept secrets is its tourbillon, which was first introduced in the caliber P2005. This is a unique tourbillon configuration in which the carriage rotates in a plane at right angles to the movement plate. This combined with the angled placement of the tourbillon within the movement, provides many of the chronometric advantages of a multi-axis tourbillon, but with much higher reliability and robustness. In the materials science department, Panerai makes extensive use of its Carbotech composite. Carbotech is manufactured by laminating thin sheets of carbon fiber under high pressure and controlled temperatures, with a special polymer (PEEK, or Polyether Ether Ketone, which is an engineering polymer that has high resistance to chemical and mechanical stress; it's an ideal partner to carbon fiber). The resulting material is much lighter than traditional case steels, as well as essentially impervious to corrosion, unaffected by magnetism, and hypoallergenic – its visually striking banded striations give it very handsome aesthetics as well. A more recent innovation is BMG-Tech. BMG stands for Bulk Metallic Glass, and while glass doesn't sound like anything from which you'd even remotely want to make a watch case, BMG-Tech is in fact a very sophisticated form of metal alloy. The term "glass" refers to its internal crystalline structure – glass as a material is unlike many solids in that it has no regularly repeating crystalline lattice, but is instead "amorphous" in its atomic microstructure. BMG-Tech is created by injecting the molten alloy (titanium, nickel, aluminum, zirconium, and copper) into a mold and then cooling it so rapidly that a regular crystal structure doesn't have time to form. The absence of a crystal structure in the metal means that the structural weaknesses typically found in cast metals (especially at boundaries between different crystal grains) aren't present, and you end up with an alloy that's light, very high in strength, and also much tougher than many industrial ceramics. It's an ideal material for technical dive watches, which is why Panerai uses it in the Submersible line. The Panerai BMG-Tech Submersible. And finally, in 2016 Panerai introduced a most interesting new watch – the Panerai Luminor "Lo Scienziato" Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio (Ref. PAM00578) with an exotic new materials process. The case for this watch was created using a technique known as DMLS, or Direct Metal Laser Sintering. In simple terms, this is a 3D printing process, but unlike most 3D printing, it's not done with thermoplastic resins. Instead, the watch case is built up out of powdered titanium, which is sintered together (sintering refers to using heat to bond powdered metals together without using such high temperatures that they're completely liquified) in layers only 0.02mm thick. Panerai's Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio. The fact that the fabrication process can be so precisely controlled, allowed Panerai to make a case of unprecedented in lightness, by skeletonizing the internal structure of the case without sacrificing strength and durability. In 2016 it was the very first watch ever created with a case produced by metal 3D printing, but the flexibility and creative possibilities of the process mean that there are many potential uses in the future. Watchmaking at Panerai has evolved far from its roots in simple, steel-cased, waterproof watches for combat divers. But the brand hopes to keep that pioneering spirit alive even as it evolves into a future defined by cutting edge materials and methods. It's a testimony to the versatility of the original designs that no matter the actual implementation, the basic strengths of the original Radiomir and Luminor designs are as robust as ever, many decades after they were first strapped to the wrists of divers and slipped below the surface of the sea.
  10. I've had a recurring fascination, for as long as I can remember, with the idea of a watch that would for all intents and purposes run forever, with perfect accuracy, more or less without human intervention. (In theory, anyway; in practice, I'll take "for the remainder of my natural span of years," of which I notice that there are fewer than there used to be.) This of course runs counter to the nature of watches as machines – half the fun of owning a good watch is caring for it properly, after all – and for most of the history of watchmaking, a forever watch wasn't even a remote possibility; regular servicing and regular replacement of parts like mainsprings were all part of the game. In recent decades, however, technology has started to catch up to the fantasy of indefinite autonomy, and while the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Tough is not a forever watch by any means, it comes much, much closer than any mechanical timepiece, as well as being remarkably – well, tough; just what it says on the tin, as they say. The Eco-Drive Tough has had several incarnations (I still remember the Super Tough with great fondness, despite – or perhaps because of – its ursine heft) but the basic philosophy has always been the same: an analog watch, powered by light, in a very sturdy case, designed and engineered to tolerate abuse up to and including physical conditions that might well prove fatal to the owner. In this respect, it's aligned somewhat with the G-Shock, but the G-Shock wears its toughness on its sleeve in a way the Eco-Drive Tough does not, and it's also a multi-function LCD timepiece, which means that it has certain advantages right out of the box in terms of shock resistance. A solid-state timepiece with no moving parts other than the actuating and setting buttons leaves less to chance than an analogue quartz watch, at least from a reliability standpoint. A 10,000 Year Clock If you're interested in a forever watch, how about a 10,000 year clock? Find out about a clock being installed in the desert that its designers hope will run longer than human civilization has existed: The Clock Of The Long Now. So what attributes ought a watch to have, if it's going to be a candidate for something you could count on even if the time machine which has taken you back to an era When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, should suffer an unfixable fault? Well, you certainly would not want it to be mechanical were there any better alternative; mechanical watches require regular servicing in order to last a lifetime, and while you certainly can run a well made mechanical watch past its service interval – sometimes well past its service interval – without noticing any immediately obvious issues in timekeeping, in general it's not a good idea. Even the best made watch, after running for twenty years without attention, is apt to be on its last legs in terms of wear and tear (there are some exceptions – George Daniels, in his autobiography, mentions running some of his own timepieces for over a decade with little to no change in rate and with little, if any, sign of wear but we should probably not take the performance of a hand-made masterpiece by one of the greatest watchmakers of the 20th century, as a sign of what to expect from mechanical watches in general – though the thought of evading velociraptors with a Space Traveler Daniels pocket watch tucked into one's waistcoat pocket, has an undeniable, rather H. G. Wells appeal). However, the Eco-Drive Tough shares with the G-Shock all the charm of a watch built to a singular purpose – perhaps even more so. What the Eco-Drive Tough lacks in versatility with respect to a multifunction LCD wristwatch like the G-Shock, it gains back in a classic clarity with spiritual roots in the great simple aviation and field watches of the 20th century. And of course, simplicity has a virtue all its own in the context of a field watch – as the owner of several multifunction LCD watches, I can attest to the fact that operation really does generally become instinctive after a while, but there are certainly more complex models which you will be hard-pressed to operate without recourse to the manual). The design is simplicity itself: a steel case with monocoque construction (the movement's inserted on the dial side) 42mm in diameter, and 10.75mm thick; the exterior of the case is clad in Duratect, which is Citizen's proprietary titanium alloy and which is about 5 times more scratch resistant than standard stainless steels. The crystal is synthetic sapphire. The case exudes solidity; the screw-down crown is protected by crown guards; water resistance is 200 meters and resistance to magnetism is 4800 A/m (amperes per meter). The rechargeable cell inside the watch is a potential point of concern if you're looking for a timepiece that will run indefinitely without any need for a watchmaker's attention, but the manual for the Eco-Drive Tough says, bluntly, that "the energy cell should last for the life of the watch," which given its simple and robust construction, should be a boringly long time. The Eco-Drive Tough is available on either a ballistic Cordura strap or on a bracelet, but I think this watch works better on the strap, which feels like it was, like the movement, designed to last "for the lifetime of the watch." It's just as robustly constructed as the case and extremely comfortable. The watch case itself as well as the strap don't offer anything at all in terms of cosmetics (unless you consider the minimal engraving on the case-back cosmetic) but they certainly seem to overdeliver where it counts, in terms of durability, and of course, as every fan of field watches knows, pursuing an engineering goal with a focused sense of purpose can give you an aesthetic that's all the more pure for not having been an explicit goal at all. Nighttime visibility is excellent, thanks to the Super-LumiNova on the hands and dial markers. Super-LumiNova was actually developed by Nemoto, a Japanese company, as a replacement for tritium-based phosphorescent paints in 1993 and it's manufactured under license in Switzerland by Tritec AG. Is this a real "forever" watch? It's not, but it comes closer probably than many, perhaps most, modern watches. It's not a multifunction LCD watch, so the circuitry is quite simple; the mechanical forces from the stepper motor that drives the hands are probably low enough that mechanical wear is a non-issue for all practical intents and purposes; the power cell is said by Citizen to be good "for the life of the watch," which is a little bit like saying that a human heart is guaranteed for the life of its owner, but I take Citizen's point (the oldest Eco-Drive watch I own is probably twenty years old and still going strong – an Eco-Drive Skyhawk, if anyone's curious). The two places I'd think wear and tear would probably be most noticeable and potentially problematic, are the spring bars and the LumiNova on the hands and dials. SLN has been around for close to thirty years, and in general it seems to be quite durable and chemically stable but exposure to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight typically does cause chemical deterioration of the binders in paints over time – it seems reasonable to assume that repeated exposure to strong sunlight might have a deleterious effect on the lume, but to what degree I don't know. Spring bars seem to work just fine in general and heaven knows, they hold millions of watches on millions (billions?) of wrists every day but even after all this time I still can't bring myself to trust them completely. As I wrote several years ago, they can't be serviced, can't be cleaned (except for however much cleaning you get out of rinsing your watch under running fresh water, which probably isn't much) and yet they do seem to just keep on keepin' on. Still, in a marooned-time-traveler scenario, it could be a cause for concern. Those two caveats aside, though, it really does seem like a hell of a lot of watch. There is something about its absolute simplicity and rejection of any unnecessary flourishes that is positively refreshing, and despite its ruggedness, the Eco-Drive Promaster Tough seems commendably unconcerned with impressing anyone with anything. It's a watch that shows just how far the basic technology of portable timekeeping has come, and this version of the Tough has an excellent chance of becoming as much of a cult watch as previous iterations. There are very few watches at any price that I'd feel comfortable taking on a one-way trip through an Einstein-Rosen wormhole, but this is one of them, and especially at $340 bucks (on a strap) I think it's a hell of a Value Proposition.
  11. One of the things you've gotta talk about when talking about watches, is the cost of getting into the game. A lot of us get interested in watches well in advance of actually being able to afford most of them – I happened to be in graduate school when I got bitten by the watch bug; we'd just had our first kid and we didn't have a proverbial pot to piss in, but what we did have was a computer and internet access, which meant fast and easy access to a whole universe of things both desirable and completely unaffordable. Though I started out mostly interested in history and the physics of precision timekeeping, it wasn't long before I began hankering for something modern. It's interesting to think about what one's first "good" watch really was, because "good" and "expensive" definitely don't stand in direct relationship to each other, and though the insane spike in prices for both vintage and new watches over the last ten or so years tends to obscure that fact, it doesn't mean that there aren't wonderful watches out there for the asking – some of which you can almost literally acquire with change recovered from in between the sofa cushions. I remember being very fond of a Casio G-Shock that I got in 1986 – it has shed its band and the outer resin case is long gone, but I still have it – and the beauty of such watches is that even if fortune smiles upon you as you move through life, and you find a bit more gold clinking in your purse and can afford something more expensive, and more conventionally fine, you will never regret that first purchase. My own early experience with the Casio G-Shock, far from being something I try to forget, has instead inculcated in me a lifelong love of G-Shocks in particular, and Casio in general, for letting me have a rollicking good time horologically at a period in my life when buying a bag of dried beans required thoughtful evaluation of my carefully husbanded financial assets. Another utterly fantastic wristwatch made by Casio, is this one: the AE1200WH-1A World Timer. I have been admiring it in a desultory fashion for many years, and the other night, fueled by free-floating melancholy and a judicious titration of Russian Standard, I decided to splurge on one. I don't know exactly when this watch was introduced, but the technology is certainly contemporaneous with the G-Shock – 10 year lithium battery, LCD display, reliable quartz timing package and the ability to display the time in all 31 time zones around the world. Its design appears to be derived from, or at least related to, the Casio F-91W, which came out in 1991 and is also still in production; both watches are in the Classic Collection. There is also a countdown timer, stopwatch, five daily alarms, and on-demand backlight, as well as an analog LCD display that always shows home time, and, for a wonder, even displays running seconds. The really delicious feature of the watch is the world map display – this is found right above the main digital display of the time, and the current local time zone is in black. If you're on the road, selecting the local time zone is an absolute piece of cake; you just go to World Time mode with the Mode button (unlike many digital watches, operation of the AE1200WH-1A is very intuitive and once you get a basic sense of how to make your way around the four control buttons, you won't be screwed if you lose the manual) and then use the button labeled Search to select the right time zone. This allows you, if you are curious, to observe some interesting things about how time zones are organized, such as the fact that all of China observes a single time zone (UTC + 8:00). Like all really great tool watches – the classic Mark series pilot's watches, for example – the AE1200WH-1A gives every indication of not having been designed, per se, at all, but like the Mark series, its pragmatism in design and execution manages to transcend simple functionality, and achieve an aesthetic all its own. This is watchmaking at its most straightforward and unpretentious; there is none of the smug sanctimony of so much modern watchmaking, where even at the entry level, it is becoming distressingly easy to find the sort of sophomorically clichéd design cues reserved in former times for things much more expensive. The plastic case and mineral glass crystal, as it turns out, reward closer scrutiny with a surprisingly rich display of somewhat muted but strangely elegant geometry, and while the AE1200WH-1A doesn't have the broad-shouldered tough-guy vibe of the G-Shock, it has another kind of retro-tech appeal that while not apparent at first glance, becomes more pronounced and more enjoyable the longer you wear the watch. I suspect that the AE1200WH-1A and its ilk may create a lot more real joy in the world than all the Paul Newman Daytonas put together. For me this was something of a nostalgia buy – we have reached a point in the history of watchmaking where, thanks to the advent of the smartwatch, it is now possible to view an autonomously regulated LCD-and-battery watch with the same reverence for precise but outmoded timekeeping technology that I used to reserve for Shortt-Synchronome precision regulators. I can't put this watch on without vivid memories of a time in horology when this sort of tech represented absolutely the last word in practical and functional timekeeping technology, long before terms like "tropical dial" and "ghost bezel" had arisen, to trouble the world. Besides, as mid-life crisis purchases go (although you don't have to be wracked with todesangst to buy one, several of my younger H. colleagues bought one after seeing mine) this is one heck of a lot cheaper than a sports car – a cheery, guilt free, surprisingly beautiful and moving $24.95 Value Proposition.
  12. TWO TIMES AND A SINGLE MOVEMENT With this limited edition model with a chronograph rattrapante movement, the split function reaches the summits with Montblanc. A real trailblazer! Since Montblanc incorporated the technical skills of Minerva, the brand has excelled in producing monopusher chronographs. Last year, we saw a limited edition sports watch of this type in the 1858 collection, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph. At the SIHH 2019, a new version of the model was introduced, the 1858 Split Second Chronograph. While preserving its main technical asset – the split-time measurements using a single button on the crown – the watch innovates with its rattrapante (“catch-up”) function. Two central chronograph hands are included. They are activated by a press on the crown. A touch on the pusher at 2 o’clock stops one of them, while the other continues. It is stopped by another press on the crown. This mechanism means it is easy to time two different events starting at the same time. On the black dial is a layout previously seen on the Chronograph Vintage in 2010, among others, in the style of the legendary Minerva chronographs. Along with the running seconds dial at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute totaliser at 3 o’clock, two scales catch the eye. One is a telemeter scale, measuring your distance from an audible event, and the other is a spiral-shaped tachymetric scale, giving information about the speed of a moving body. All these features are housed in a 44mm-wide bronze case that will take on an attractive patina over time. The 100 pieces in this limited edition are driven by the hand-wound MB16.31 movement (50 hours of power reserve). Price: 32,500 EUR
  13. MB&F has long been a cult favorite among watch enthusiasts. Max Büsser’s creative and imaginative designs paired with excellent watchmaking leave lasting impressions on anyone who has the honor of seeing the watches in person. Even if you are a traditionalist, such as myself, you can’t help but fall in love with these quirky and unique timepieces. Ever since the founding of MB&F back in 2004, all of the watches have been "made" for men (without any explicit branding, so to speak) until now. MB&F has created their first dedicated women’s piece – the Legacy Time Machine FlyingT (the T is short for Tourbillon). The Legacy Machine FlyingT is the first dedicated ladies' watch from MB&F. The LM FlyingT comes in a round, white gold case with an exaggerated domed crystal. This is the third flying tourbillon produced by MB&F with the HM6 Space Pirate and HM7 Aquapod preceeding it. The LM101, which has a flying balanec wheel, is aesthetically similar but the ladies' LM FlyingT features the flying tourbillon cage and movement stacked in the center of the dial with a single diamond stone at the top that moves with the tourbillon’s rotation. The movement beats at a rate of 2.5 Hz (18,000vph). The dial? A small plate placed at a 50-degree angle so that only the wearer can read it. Which I can only guess is a throwback to one of my favorite vintage designs – the Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas. The watch itself comes in three variations that are all white gold and set with diamonds: one with a black lacquer dial plate; one with a dial plate and case fully set with brilliant-cut diamonds; and one with a dial plate and case both fully set with baguette-cut diamonds. The case measures 38.5mm and is 20mm thick (due to the domed crystal). The watch features an automatic flying tourbillon stacked in the center of the timepiece; the additional height allows the use of a Breguet overcoil. Initial Thoughts If you know me at all, you know I love gem-set watches. You might also know that I love to wear simple men’s watches. However, once in a while I am moved by a ladies' watches, and this is one of those instances. And what a watch it is! I have long-admired Max Büsser’s work; he is incredibly talented, creative, and really warm in person (check out his interview on HODINKEE Radio). So it comes as no shock to me that he applied the same innovative principles to his first ladies' watch as his other horological pieces. The LM FlyingT is everything you could want in a complicated ladies' watch. First and most importantly, you can actually wear it. You may laugh, but I have tried on many ladies' watches that you can't really wear. Secondly, it’s actually complicated with a flying tourbillon centered in the middle of the dial (as I mentioned, similar to the Legacy Machines and the flying balance wheel). Third, it has many thoughtful details that separate it from the pack, like the rotor, handset, and tilted dial. It is clear that MB&F thought long and hard about this watch and how they wanted to make their debut into the ladies' market. Also did you see the red gold sun rotor? And the serpentine blued gold handset (or as I like to call them, squiggle hands)? It's all in the details for this gorgeous watch. Besides that, I can imagine there are a few guys out there who would gladly wear this watch (cough, Jack). The watch starts at $115,000 for the black lacquer version, $145,000 for the pavé-diamond-set version, and $315,000 for the baguette-diamond-set version. The sun-form rotor in red gold – one of the many thoughtful details of this watch. The Basics Brand: MB&F Model: Legacy Machine FlyingT Diameter: 38.5mm Thickness: 20mm Case Material: White gold Dial Color: Black lacquer or diamond-set Indexes: NA Lume: NA Water Resistance: NA Strap/Bracelet: Leather strap This example features a pavé-set diamond dial with black lacquer dial at a 50-degree angle, allowing only the wearer to tell the time. The Movement Caliber: Automatic Flying Tourbillon Functions: Time only Power Reserve: 100 hours Winding: Automatic Frequency: 2.5Hz (18,000vph) Jewels: 30 Additional Details: 280 components Pricing & Availability Price: $115,000 for the lacquer version, $145,000 for the pavé diamond version, and $315,000 for the baguette diamond version. Limited Edition: No
  14. One of the few quibbles Grand Seiko fans in particular, and watch enthusiasts in general, have with Grand Seiko watches is the relative thickness of the watches. To some degree, this is a consequence of Grand Seiko's decision to go with quite robust construction for their movements, but the desire for Grand Seiko quality and value in a more slim watch had in general remained unsatisfied, until the recent introduction of four new watches in the Elegance collection, which use a newly introduced hand-wound caliber. The new movement is the caliber 9S63, which is configured with a power reserve at 3:00 and a sub-seconds dial at 9:00. This yields wristwatches with a 39mm diameter and a height of 11.6mm, versus a bit over 13mm for a typical Grand Seiko time-and-date automatic. The new hand-wound caliber 9S63. The four watches were announced as limited editions, ranging in price from a $7400 steel model with a "Mt. Iwate" pattern dial, and three models in gold – one with a white dial, and two with dials decorated with maki-e Japanese lacquer. Maki-e is a lacquerware technique in which gold powder is used to create additional images or patterns on the lacquer. In the metal, the steel model's very striking – it doesn't have the up-close feeling of subtle luxuriousness of the lacquer-dial models but it's an extremely handsome watch in its own right; the "Mt. Iwate" pattern has some of the captivating, world-of-nature vibe of the Spring Drive Snowflake, with some of the vivid iridescence of the peacock-dial Hi-Beat GMT. The model in gold, with a white dial, is almost a different watch completely (which you'd expect given the very different dial treatment and the yellow gold case). Of the three models, this is the one that feels the most classic in its execution; it wouldn't look out of place sitting next to some of the great mid-century time-only watches produced by Patek, Vacheron, and Audemars Piguet (the domed crystal and flatter-than-usual case has a lot to do with this as well). The opulence of gold is always an interesting thing to add to the Grand Seiko mix – the sheer level of attention to detail that Grand Seiko lavishes on the elements of each watch already make steel look like pure unobtanium, and in combination with gold you get a very definite, if also very discreet, lushness. The red urushi lacquer model with maki-e dial is extremely subtle in person. There's a pattern of striations in the lacquer that appears and disappears as the light changes, and it gives the dial a wonderful depth and feel of complexity without becoming lost in its own details, and as is characteristic of urushi lacquerware, the color shifts as the light changes. The maki-e Arabic numerals and markers give the same feel – their texture feels slightly organic and in both the black lacquer and red lacquer models, there's a sense of something organic under the dial which offers a marked contrast to the crisply flawless polish of the hands and case. Though a difference of a couple of millimeters doesn't seem like much on paper, any watch enthusiast will tell you that it can make an enormous difference on the wrist. The new "Slim" models are of course not extra-flat watches – there are some extra flat movements in the Credor family, although as far as I know they've never been offered in a Grand Seiko case and appear to be mostly, if not entirely, Japan domestic market products. However, they do wear noticeably differently from the thicker automatic Grand Seiko models, and more so than you might think from the size difference alone as the "Slim" models have pretty highly domed crystals. The only hand-wound Grand Seiko that I've had a chance to spend any time with is SBGW231, which has no complications and no date, and is 37mm in diameter and 11.6mm thick. While the thickness of that watch is the same as the "Slim" limited editions, the latter do feel somewhat flatter on the wrist (possibly thanks to a different aspect ratio). Overall these four new models feel like a very refreshing and quite different update to the existing Grand Seiko families.
  15. ART AND MATTER Can you improve on a watch that already has an outstanding technical personality and a wonderful style? You just need to see this limited series to see it’s possible. In the A. Lange & Söhne collections, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is an exceptional model that connoisseurs have been in love with since 2016. The dial elements include a large perpetual date and moon phases that will be accurate for 122.6 years, along with the power-reserve display and a tourbillon with a stop-seconds mechanism. The watch can also measure split times with a chronograph flyback function and a precisely jumping minute counter. All these data are shown on a dial housed in a 41.5mm-wide case made of white gold. The high standards of the German watchmakers are the guarantee of a harmonious layout and excellent readability. The version unveiled at the 2019 SIHH in Geneva has a different design and a new dial colour. Frills have no place in the German brand’s work and nor has banality. Elsewhere, the dial would probably be described as a pink salmon colour. Here the perfect use of solid pink gold shows off all the nobility of the material. The timepiece touches on the sublime. While the case stands out with its attractions, the components in the hand-made calibre L952.2 also catch the eye with their design and varied surfaces. Once fully wound, the complex hand-wound movement made up of 729 pieces provides 50 hours of power reserve. The limited edition of 100 pieces comes with a hand-sewn, dark brown alligator leather strap with a tang buckle. Price: 285,000 EUR
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