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EdgyGuyJide

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  1. For the two weeks since Phillips announced that it would be selling a Rolex Submariner reference 5513 given by Steve McQueen to his stunt man Loren Janes, the watch world has been buzzing. It's not uncommon for watches with rich provenance to come up at auction, to cause lots of excitement, and to hammer for big money. Last year we saw Paul Newman's Paul Newman sell for $17.8 million at Phillips, breaking nearly every watch-related world record in its wake. Before that there was the Bao Dai, and long before that there was Steve McQueen's other Rolex Submariner that sold for $234,000 in 2009. But with those watches the stories were pretty straightforward. For provenance to matter, it needs to be reliable and everyone needs to be on the same page. With the Loren Janes Submariner though, a number of people have called the official Phillips story into question, most notably questioning the lineage of the watch on the block and whether or not Steve McQueen actually wore the watch himself for years before giving it to Janes. When there started to be smoke, we went looking for the fire. After lots of phone calls, emails, and text messages, it was looking like most of the commotion was nothing more than speculation. However, after reaching out to Steve McQueen's son Chad McQueen, our call was returned by a lawyer for the McQueen Estate who, in an official statement, said that the family disputes the provenance as stated. While not quite fire, that's pretty darn close. What We Know Before we get into the controversy, let's start with the story that Phillips is telling and that we shared with you on June 4 when news of this watch being auctioned first broke. According to this version of things, the watch in question was born in 1964 as a reference 5513, likely with a gilt two-line dial. The watch was supposedly purchased by Steve McQueen some time in the 1960s, worn by McQueen for years, and then gifted to Loren Janes some time in the 1970s. Janes was McQueen's stuntman in 19 of McQueen's 27 films. Janes was also a renowned Hollywood stuntman in other classics such as Beverly Hills Cop, Hook, and Robin Hood Men In Tights. Loren Janes wearing presumably the Submariner up for auction at Phillips. (Photo: Courtesy Jake's Rolex World) In 2016, a wild fire called the Sand Fire swept through Janes's Los Angeles neighborhood, destroying his home. He lost all of his possessions, including his collection of memorabilia from his time in Hollywood. According to this Forbes article, collector Michael Eisenberg read about the fire and the destruction of Janes's home in the L.A. Times and then reached out Janes's family, urging them to look for the watch in the rubble (he likely heard about it in this 2011 story in the Wall Street Journal). You might remember Eisenberg from the HODINKEE Magazine Vol. 1 cover story, where he was one of pursuers of the Paul Newman Daytona prior to it being consigned to Phillips. Eisenberg is a well-known Hollywood memorabilia collector and is constantly on the hunt. At his behest, Janes's daughter Erika did go back to the site of the fire to search for the watch in the ashes. By this account, she was successful. The watch was in rough shape (to put it lightly) and was promptly sent to Geary's in Los Angeles and then on to Rolex for repair. There are two letters that accompany the watch at Phillips. One from Loren Janes, dated February 22, 2017, confirming it as a gift from McQueen. Janes passed away from complications related to Alzheimer's Disease just a few months later on June 24, 2017. The second letter is from Rolex, addressed to the Janes family, thanking them for submitting their father's watch for restoration and expressing what an honor it was to service it. A photograph of the watch after the Janes house fire. (Photo: Courtesy Jake's Rolex World) As the watch exists today, it has a matte, four-line 5512 dial, despite being a 5513 from the mid-1960s. Clearly this is a replacement, but that's only natural given the condition of the watch after the fire. The watch also has a new bezel (with the pearl intact), new hands, and a new bracelet, and it also received a thorough polishing. The watch is being sold with a period-correct 5513 dial and hand set that are not original so any future owner could switch them back should they so desire. This is where things end, according to Phillips. But, as we mentioned, some people have raised concerns that this might not be the full story. So, what is? What We Don't Know A look at the watch's caseback after the fire. (Photo: Courtesy Jake's Rolex World) The two biggest questions seem to be: 1) Is the watch currently in the same state it was in when Rolex finished restoring it or has it been tampered with since? 2) Was this Steve McQueen's watch that he later gifted to a friend or was this a watch purchased separately for Janes? The letters from Janes and Rolex are used as two critical supporting documents for the provenance of the watch. However, neither seems fully reliable for confirming the full story. Rolex's letter does not contain enough detail about the state of the watch to give us a true sense of what was done to it, and Janes's letter was written only four months before he passed away due to Alzheimer's complications. A letter from Loren Janes. A letter from Rolex. In an attempt to answer the first question, we were able to gain access to the photographs provided to the Janes family by Rolex after the watch's restoration. In them the watch looks very similar to the state it's in today, though we cannot tell for certain due to the quality of the photos. These photographs are not published here because we do not have the rights to do so, however in our estimation they confirm that the watch is being sold in the condition it was in upon leaving the Rolex Service Center. The watch as it exists today (Photo: Courtesy Phillips) We don't know exactly what year the watch was gifted to Janes or if McQueen ever wore this watch prior to giving it to him. Given the timeline of events that Phillips provides, with the watch dating to years before it was given to Janes, it would only make sense that it lived some kind of life with McQueen. But without an independent confirmation of these dates in some kind of sales record or photographic evidence, it's impossible to know for sure. Jake Ehrlich has also been investigating the situation at his blog Jake's Rolex World. In addition to contacting the auction house, consignor, and McQueen family, Ehrlich also reached out to a number of people in the Hollywood stunt community to try to verify whether or not McQueen and Janes worked together on particular films in order to solidify a timeline of their friendship. At the time, many of the stunt roles were uncredited, making this harder to pin down than you'd think. What is clear, regardless of the exact timeline, is that Janes and McQueen did work together and did know one another quite well. Our Conclusions To be honest, at this point we don't know what the full story is. Through our investigating we have come up against a number of key players who do not want to provide any additional information to what is already out there. We have reached out to Phillips for comment, and various representatives of the company have either declined to comment or not responded to our requests. We have also made attempts to contact Eisenberg, who has not returned our calls. Additionally, Rolex has not responded to any requests for comment or clarification, though that's not surprising at all. The only person who has responded clearly is the lawyer for the McQueen Estate, who sent us this official statement: "The McQueen estate disputes the provenance attributed to the Submariner Rolex watch we understand will be offered for sale by Phillips." We asked for further clarification and were told that this is all they would like to say on the matter for now. The caseback of the watch as it exists today. (Photo: Courtesy Phillips) So where does this leave us? It seems like the watch was almost certainly a gift from McQueen to Janes and that the watch was restored to its current state by Rolex after it miraculously survived a house fire in 2016. However, there is no proof that Steve McQueen himself ever wore this watch, which is a major part of its supposed allure. The McQueen Estate contesting the provenance adds to feelings of unease here, though without knowing their particular complaints we cannot draw any final conclusions or even know what exactly they are contesting about the watch's history. Stay tuned, as we will continue to pursue this story and will update you as we learn more. This story is surely not over yet.
  2. The split-seconds, or rattrapante chronograph, was traditionally considered one of the most challenging complications to create, thanks not only to its complexity, but also to the degree of skill necessary to assemble and adjust the classic split-seconds mechanism. The term "grand complication" traditionally referred to a watch than combined the rattrapante with two other extremely challenging complications: the perpetual calendar and the minute repeater. In 1993, however, IWC presented its Doppelchronograph, with a modern version of the split-seconds complication, designed by Richard Habring, which replaced the delicate, traditional column-wheel-controlled mechanism with a far more robust cam-controlled mechanism, built into the Valjoux/ETA 7750. It was a runaway success for IWC, and when the patent expired in 2012, Habring was able to introduce his own, updated version of his complication: the Habring² Doppel 2.0. The latest Habring² version of this cam-operated split-seconds complication was introduced earlier this year: the Habring² Doppel-Felix. The Doppel Felix uses the caliber A11R, which is a rattrapante version of the caliber A11 that Habring² introduced in 2014. While the A11R shares some of the architecture of the Valjoux 7750 (as the A11 did some of the 7760) there many significant differences between the Habring² A11R and the 7750; most components are manufactured at Habring² and those which are not, are sourced from German suppliers. Balance springs, for example, are made by Carl Haas GMBH, which is headquartered in southern German, in Schramberg. The Habrings (Habring² is operated jointly by husband-and-wife duo Richard and Maria Habring) explain the evolution of the A11 caliber: "A11 is the short form for 'Austria 2011'. (It was) the first watch movement developed in Austria, starting in 2011, right after we received a letter from ETA that we’re out ... it took us three years to develop the A11, till we launched it in our Felix in 2014. The A11 is not really a copy of the base calibre of the 7760 since there are some modifications necessary for our small series production/assembly compared with the industrialized 7750. We do not get any supply of ETA anymore, since 2017, not even spares for the movements they sold us in the past (before 2011). (This is) one major reason why the A11 had to be pretty similar to the formerly used components of the 7750: To be able to repair our own watches without ETA." "In the following years after 2014 we modified all our existing functional modules ... to allow the A11 to slip underneath, instead of the non-available ETA components. The chronograph movements (about 20% of our production in the past years) have been the last, starting with Doppel-Felix late 2017 and currently the Chronograph COS. The A11 base as used in Doppel-Felix is 100% in-house (produced with the help of a number of small family owned companies) though it still shares the design principles with Edmond Capt’s 7750/7760. " Diagram of the A11, showing the compatibility of the train layout with Habring²modules. The next evolution of the Doppelchronograph at Habring² was the monopusher Doppel 3. "The monopusher design happened in 2013 kind of accidentally after we intended to produce 20 of the Doppel 2.0 in 2012, after the IWC patent expired. When the watch won our first GPHG ... it was already sold out, so we had to think about a successor. This was the start for Doppel 3 with monopusher chrono, instead of the 79230-like configuration with three pushers. About the split-second cam design, we intended to use exactly the first version ... while IWC still uses a modified later version which is easier to assemble in an industrial environment." Right out of the box, the first impression one has of the Habring² Doppel-Felix is of strong, clear design, and high quality execution; a movement can be the greatest thing since the Breguet Marie Antoinette, but the dial and hands are what you're going to be looking at all day, and in those departments the Doppel-Felix really over-delivers. There are two variations available – with a date complication, which is very well integrated into the overall design; or with a tachymeter scale. The date display is beautifully handled, with the frame for the date a nicely Germanic contrast to the customary crescent often found in Swiss watchmaking. The quality of the markers and hands is excellent; everything's extremely cleanly executed and while I've found some of Habring²'s designs a bit sparse, both versions of the Doppel-Felix strike a great balance between clarity and engaging visual detail. With this degree of care taken with the cosmetics, you'd expect a similar degree of fastidiousness in the movement, and you'd be right. The Habring² Caliber A11R The caliber A11R follows the same basic principles as Habring's original design for IWC. For a refresher, check out our story the IWC caliber 79230, which details both the functioning of the split-seconds module, as well as how the base Valjoux 7750 caliber was modified to accept it. To briefly recap, a split-seconds chronograph has the chronograph seconds hand, and the split hand, mounted on the same axis. With the chronograph running, the two hands advance together but when the split button is pressed, a pair of pincers grab the split hand wheel, freezing it in place, while the chronograph seconds hand continues to advance. Press the split button again, and the split hand wheel is freed; a heart-cam mechanism realigns the split hand with the seconds hand, and the two continue to run together until the chronograph is stopped. The Habring² caliber A11R. As with the dial side, the first impression is one of extremely high quality, and very meticulous attention to detail. The movement is extremely handsome, and radiates a sense of logic in design and mechanical integrity. The two cam systems are blued steel, with the ruby pins on the split-seconds hand contrasting beautifully with the steelwork and perlage finished bridges. The steelwork is especially impressive – brushed and polished, with functional surfaces like the beak of the split-seconds lever mirror polished. Structurally, the major differences between the A11R and the 79260 calibers are twofold: the former is hand-wound, and a monopusher chronograph design, while the latter is automatic and uses two pushers for start, stop, and reset, with a separate split seconds pusher. The A11R introduces a number of other changes as well. Say the Habrings, "The Doppel-Felix now brought everything together: The inhouse A11, the monopusher cam of Doppel 3, the split-second cam system of Doppel 2.0/3; the new inhouse date module. While the common ETA-chrono-components are usually just polished, we wanted to express that those our components are newly produced, so we decided to put the finishing on a new level, like IWC had it in the past on the absolute top models: Grand Complication (1990) and Il Destriero (1993)." The split-seconds cam and actuating lever. The chronograph cam and actuating lever for start, stop, and reset; right, the split-seconds wheel. You'll notice that the split-seconds cam has two circular cutouts with screws inside – those allow adjustment of the banking of the split-seconds arms (that is, how closely they fall on the split-seconds wheel) and are one of the refinements Richard Habring's made to his original design. In operation the mechanism is straightforward. The chronograph, before starting. Before the chronograph is started, the pincers for the split-seconds mechanism are held free of contact with the split-seconds wheel (center) by the ruby pins on the split-seconds cam, at 3:00. Just below the chronograph cam, at 11:00, you can see the self-centering return to zero hammer, which is sitting on the heart-pieces of the chronograph center seconds hand, and the minute recorder, preventing them from moving. The chronograph running, with the split hand and center seconds hand running together. When you start the chronograph, the chronograph gear train engages with the main going train (via a tilting pinion system, as in the 7750). As you can see, the split-seconds wheel is now turning (as is the chronograph seconds wheel, which is below it) and the reset hammer has been lifted off the heart pieces of the chronograph seconds hand and minute recorder, allowing them to turn. The chronograph with the hands split. Finally, pressing the split-seconds button changes the position of the split-seconds cam. The pincers fall onto the split seconds wheel, holding it in position, while the chronograph seconds hand continues to run. The whole mechanism is constructed in an extremely straightforward fashion; by a watchmaker, for watchmakers, you might say, and it shows every sign of having been optimized for longevity and reliability. It's one of those movements where one almost feels one can follow the designer's train of thought – everything is laid out with great clarity and between the intelligence of the design and the quality of the execution, there appears to be nothing to go wrong. The Habrings told us, "The basic mission of Habring² is to provide reliable daily companions for reasonable money. It’s not (the) highest watchmaking art but a lot of handwork involved, much more classical horological art than the industry offers. This handwork is basically the reason why we are able to compete with the big names as we’re saving the bucks by not spending them in industrialization/automatization. So for example, the operating levers for chrono/split are manually assembled too after they get finished by hand." The Habring² Doppel-Felix comes in the two dial color variations shown, and each color can be had with either the date complication, or the tachymeter scale; the stainless steel case is 42mm in diameter, and water resistant to 5 bar/50 meters. The no date version is €7,750 (approximately $9,150) and the date version is €8,250 (approximately $9,740). I felt both exhilarated and a little depressed after spending time with these watches – the former, because I find it incredible that such high quality in every respect (and I do mean every respect, including dial furniture, casework, and movement construction and design) is available at this price; and the latter because Habring² has been around for a while, they have a strong following, and I feel like I'm shamefully late to the party. That such phenomenal work can be had, in this day and age, for considerably less than $10,000 seems impossible and yet there they are. It takes a certain kind of stubbornness to do watchmaking of this quality for this price, but as long as Habring² is happy to do it, we ought to be happy that they're there – a most astonishing and welcome Value Proposition.
  3. EdgyGuyJide

    AQUARACER LADY CALIBRE 9 AUTOMATIC

    SPORTING PARTNERSHIP The Aquaracer by TAG Heuer, an essential player in the world of sports watches, welcomes four new women’s models to the collection, all featuring an automatic movement. First launched in 2003, the Aquaracer is now a firm fixture in the world of contemporary sports watches and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. TAG Heuer has seized on this occasion to release four new women’s versions of a watch cut out for action on land and sea. The new models have a similar look to the other members of the Aquaracer family, particularly the angular revolving bezel made up of 12 segments set off by six polished rectangular lugs and a 60-minute diving scale. The steel case is 32mm wide and features a crown and screwed back. The back is decorated with a deep-sea diver’s mask, an engraving to highlight the seafaring character of the Aquaracer and the fact that it is watertight down to 300m. This metal setting contains the calibre 9, a self-winding mechanical movement running at 28,800 vibrations an hour and providing a power reserve of about 40 hours. This reliable mechanism powers the hour, minute and central seconds, as well as the date. The dial is made of black or white mother-of-pearl and is encircled by a slender minute track and criss-crossed by horizontal lines, like a marinière shirt, with silver, luminous stick-shaped hands turning above the rhodium or diamond hour markers, depending on the version chosen. The second hand has a phosphorescent red tip, recalling the shape of a harpoon. At 3 o’clock, the date is displayed in black against a white background and the counter is crowned by a magnifying glass for easier reading. Rounding off the dynamic identity of the Aquaracer, TAG Heuer has supplied it with a strap made up of three rows of steel links and a folding clasp with two safety buttons. Price: 1,900 CHF (mother-of-pearl dial) – 2’450 CHF (mother-of-pearl and diamond dial) tagheuer.com
  4. Anyone who's been watching Bulgari for the last few years knows that the company's kind of set the watchmaking industry on its ear. It's one of the world's best known jewelry houses, and it's been offering watches for decades, so you'd naturally expect strong design statements (and you'd be right) but the last thing anyone might have expected from Bulgari would be for it to become, in a fairly short period of time, one of the most forward-thinking, forward-looking, genuinely innovative watchmaking houses around, with a slew of world records to its name, as well as a portfolio positively bristling with everything from high-jewelry exotica, to some of the most interesting complications anyone's making right now (and sometimes some or all of those things in the same watch). Two of its most interesting watches are from this year: the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, and the Octo Finissimo Carbon Minute Repeater. Both boast best-in-class numbers, in terms of offering a slim profile – the Tourbillon Automatic is overall, only 3.95mm thick and that's the entire watch, not just the movement. When it debuted at Baselworld this year, it broke several records; perhaps the most significant was that of thinnest self-winding tourbillon ever made – that record had been held by Audemars Piguet since 1986. Also arriving on our shores, is the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon. Like its tourbillon sibling, it's the thinnest of its kind – just 6.86mm thick. Carbon fiber was an interesting choice for this latest version of the watch, which debuted in 2016 – the best sound from minute repeaters generally comes from materials that are both relatively light and stiff, to optimize transmission of sound with as little loss of energy as possible. Volume isn't everything, of course, and different metals contribute different sound profiles, each one of which can be appreciated in its own right, but carbon fiber (which has in recent years been used in musical instruments as well) has a number of advantages and produces a unique tone, as well as excellent volume. Both watches will be at the Bulgari flagship on 57th and 5th Avenue in New York from June 15th through the 17th and if you have a chance to get up there and see them, I highly recommend taking a gander in person. They're both highly characteristic designs from Bulgari, as well as extremely interesting from a purely technical perspective, and very much worth getting acquainted with whether you're in the market for such a watch or not – they've set a benchmark against which many high end watchmakers will measure themselves in years to come. For more on Bulgari's horological excursions, and for more on the recently re-opened flagship, visit Bulgari.com.
  5. Last night at Christie's in New York City, the watch you see here sold for over $1 million, becoming the most expensive Submariner ever sold at auction and the very first to enter seven-figure territory. When I first realized this, I was a bit surprised. With Daytonas routinely hammering for prices like this, it's hard to believe that the iconic Sub had never reached these heights. But it's true. Here are some thoughts on why this watch fetched such a sum and a little context for the high-end vintage Submariner market more broadly. I would not have guessed at first glance that this would become a record-setter. Just looking at this watch, you can probably tell that it's not your run-of-the-mill Submariner. I mean, it's not even your run-of-the-mill big crown (and yes, we're now saying things like "run-of-the-mill big crown). First off, it has an Explorer dial, something super rare to see on a 6538. Then, if you look closer, you'll notice that the depth rating is both meters-first, reading "200/660" with no actual units present, and it's printed in red instead of white or gilt. Right here we've got the makings of a perfect storm Submariner. And, oh yeah, it doesn't have a bezel. Yep, you read that right. The watch comes from the original owner and supposedly he popped the bezel off years ago when working as a painter because paint would get between the bezel and the crystal and prevent it from rotating. He never put it back on before passing away in 2017 and his son (the consignor) left the watch this way. When I first saw this watch and its $500,000-1,000,000 estimate, my instinctive reaction was "Seriously? For a watch with no bezel on a too-small NATO strap?" But we all know that's now how things work and there's an important lesson to be learned here about where the value in a watch actually sits. This watch is coming fresh to the market from the family of an original owner who has a pretty strong story about having acquired the watch as an actual tool and then wearing it every day for decades. That always helps things along. Then there's the sheer rarity of the dial configuration and the condition of that dial, which is outstanding. The scratches you see are in the crystal and the dial, as far as I could tell at last week's preview, was in great shape. Finally, there's the honesty of the case, which doesn't look so sharp that you'd be concerned about tampering but also hasn't been ground down into a blob. It retains its original lines and looks like a worn-in watch. The red, meters-first depth rating makes this exceptional, even for an Explorer dial. What I'm really interested to see is whether or not this watch ends up popping back up on the private market in the next year or two, fitted with a perfectly faded bezel and a tight, period-correct bracelet. To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me at all, and it will probably be given a nickname to go along with the increased price – the Aquaman or the King of the Seas or some such nonsense. That might sound jaded, but it's just the way the top tier of the market has been going lately, and I'm sure some die-hard will be happy enough to add it to their collection. However, it will be interesting to see if this watch will ignite a new type of collecting. One that goes beyond rarity into more nuanced territory. The case is in good, honest condition, without appearing too sharp for a watch that was actually worn. So, at this point, you might be experiencing a bit of déjà vu. That's because just last year, I wrote something not entirely dissimilar about another Submariner, which then set the world record price at $628,572. Now, that was a very different watch, and it achieved that price for very different reasons (primarily rarity and novelty), but if you bring something undiscovered to auction and tell a good story about it, records are up for grabs. That this watch nearly doubled the record price for a Submariner just 13 months later (and just eight months after this minty 6200 sold for $579,000) is a testament to the strength of the market overall and the interest Christie's was able to drum up in this watch. This is now the most expensive Submariner in the world.
  6. A DIVE INTO URBAN STYLE With this model equipped with a new automatic calibre, the brand has made a timepiece with an impeccable finish and useful features for daily life. For many years, diver’s watches have been a feature both of our underwater leisure activities and our daily life on dry land. For some, they are a fashion accessory, for others they are practical tools, and for all they are now something essential! Blancpain had the good idea of making a diver’s watch that is even more useful by adding an annual calendar to one of its star models, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. So, on the slate grey dial, three sub-dials now complete the traditional display of hours and minutes. The first is at 2 o’clock, showing the day, the second at 3 o’clock for the date and the third at 4 o’clock for the month. The calendar takes into account the varying number of days in each month, but needs to be reset by hand in late February. The sub-dials are easy to read, even when the stick-shaped hands are above them. The watch is housed in a 43mm-wide polished steel case that is watertight down to 300m. This timepiece is a real diving tool, with all the elements needed to guarantee safety during your underwater adventures. A robust unidirectional bezel with a ceramic insert and Liquidmetal® markings let you know the time remaining underwater. The model is worn with a choice of sail-canvas, metal or NATO straps. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel provides a generous autonomy of 72 hours with the help of an automatic movement, the calibre 6054.P, a new version of the 1150. Price: 24,450 EUR (sail-canvas) – 26,850 EUR (steel) blancpain.com
  7. For its first earnest entry into the watch space, Leica is releasing a pair of new watches designed from the ground, the time-and-date L1 and the GMT-equipped L2. The camera maker has clearly done its homework and these watches are much more than just off-the-shelf components branded with a well-respected logo. Let's dig in. The origins of this project go back to around 2012, when, according to Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Board of Leica Camera, they first started exploring the idea of creating a watch. The project went through many iterations and after speaking with people at brands ranging from Hanhart to Chronoswiss to A. Lange & Söhne they started to get a sense of just how ambitious an undertaking this was and how many people would need to be involved to bring the watches to life. From the side you can see the ruby set into the L1's crown (a nod to the red dot) and the dedicated pusher for advancing the date. On the design side, Leica opted to work with Achim Heine, a German product designer who has developed multiple cameras and other optical devices for Leica over the last two decades. He drew inspiration from Leica's cameras without going too overboard. For instance, there's a round ruby set into each watch's crown, evoking the famous red dot logo, and the power reserve indicator is similar to a gauge found on the Leicameter light meter made for the M3 rangefinder. The L1 and L2 watches are both the same medium-to-large size at 41mm in diameter and 14mm thick, and the cases are brushed stainless steel, giving them a relatively understated appearance. I'd say that looking at the watches they definitely feel like Leica products without being caricatures of the cameras themselves. But what about the movements? You know, the actual watchmaking. For this Leica is partnering with Lehmann Präzision, a company based in the Black Forest that makes both high-precision machinery (used in the watchmaking industry) and its own line of watches under the name Lehmann Schramberg, though the latter aren't very well known outside of Germany. This allows Leica to keep the manufacturing in Germany and to get a movement that isn't something you'll find in countless ébauche-based watches. This last point is something that the company is emphatic was a top priority. On the left is a power reserve indicator inspired by an early light meter. When the watch is running, the aperture appears white... And when you push the crown to set the time, the aperture appears red. The base caliber for the two watches is the L1 (with the L2 adding a GMT function and day/night indicator) and it has one key feature that really sets it apart: a crown that you push to reset the seconds to zero and enter a time-setting mode. This means you never pull out the crown or fiddle with multiple positions. You simply push it in, set the watch, and push it again to set it in motion – it operates with a column wheel, in much the same way as the start/stop mechanism of a chronograph, with two discrete positions. The date is adjusted with a separate, dedicated pusher, and the GMT model uses a second crown to rotate the inner bezel used to mark the second timezone. While the movements are made by Lehmann, finishing, casing, and final assembly are executed at Ernst Leitz Werkstätten on the Leitz Park campus in Wetzlar, Germany (just next door to the Leica factory). The finish on the movement is somewhat industrial, in keeping with the general vibe of the watches, but it's not careless – you're not seeing raw edges or unfinished plates, it's just not meant to be a flashy or showy caliber. The camera maker has no intention of setting up a full watch assembly and sees the partnership with Lehmann as a long-term one. There will also be versions of the L1 and L2 with red dials. There are two things worth noting here as asides. The first is that if you think you've seen Leica watches before that's because you probably have. Since the 1980s the brand has flirted with licensing partnerships in the space and most recently, in 2014, the brand worked with watchmaker Valbray on a limited edition celebrating the camera maker's 100th anniversary. This however was not designed or made by Leica and was a one-time endeavor. Second, these two watches are positioned as the beginning of a new product category for Leica and it seems that the company has every intention of growing the collection. During the watch's unveiling, Dr. Kaufmann specifically mentioned models in rose gold coming later this year, an alarm watch called the L3 that is already in the works (hopefully launching in 2019), and models targeted at women that will be made in partnership with an Italian jewelry brand. The L1 looks totally at home next to one of Leica's rangefinder cameras. Initial Thoughts I have to say, when I first heard that Leica was making a watch I was a little afraid. And I'm saying this as a Leica shooter who loves his camera more than almost any other object he owns, having aspired to own one since my earliest days shooting Tri-X on my grandfather's old Minolta. There were two things that gave me pause: 1) Any time a respected brand ventures outside its core competency there is risk of compromise or missing the mark. 2) Watches are a tough thing to make and even many companies who have been creating them for over a century still struggle on a regular basis. I'm happy to report though that after spending a bit of time with the watches today at Leica's headquarters in Wetzlar, I can relax. The watches are, on their own merits and totally independently from the name on the dial, handsome and well-made. Phew. While it wears nicely for a watch of its size, at 41mm across and 14mm thick, this isn't a svelte dress watch by any means. From a design perspective, the watches fit in perfectly with the cameras and the language that Leica has cultivated over the decades. Setting the ruby into the crown to reference the iconic red dot in a way that has some history in watchmaking is cool, as is the format of the power reserve indicator. Both the L1 and L2 calibers are mechanically interesting and in practice the push-to-set crown is extremely easy to use and an elegant alternative to the usual mechanism. Partnering with Lehmann to create a movement that actual watch buyers will be interested in was a smart move when, in all honesty, they probably could have put any old ébauche in there with few complaints. It shows that the company is taking this seriously and doesn't just view these watches as diffusion products or lifestyle accessories. The L2 adds a GMT complication with an inner rotating bezel and a day/night indicator. Now, as with any watches, there are some things that in an ideal world I'd like to see a little different. At 41mm across and 14mm thick, these feel a little large to be real daily wearers in my book. Especially when you consider the understated and portable nature of the M cameras, it would have been nice to see something under 40mm and sub-12mm, though I understand that movement constraints and market research probably prove that 41x14 is the right move despite my preferences. The GMT configuration, with an inner rotating bezel took me a minute to understand – at first I didn't see it at all – but it's a pretty low-key way to get more information onto the dial without adding clutter. Overall, I think this is a heck of a freshman offering from Leica. The watches are well-made, nicely designed, and horologically interesting, all while being both distinctly German and distinctly Leica too. I'm curious what all of you think – let me know in the comments below! The Basics Brand: Leica Model: L1 & L2 Diameter: 41mm Thickness: 14mm Case Material: Stainless steel with brushed finishes Dial Color: Black or red Indexes: Applied batons Lume: None Water Resistance: 50 meters Strap/Bracelet: Diamond-embossed black calf leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle The caliber are made for Leica by Lehmann Präzision and are an exclusive design. Finishing is nice, if on the industrial side of things stylistically. The Movement Caliber: L1 & L2 Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve indicator, setting indicator (L2 adds a second timezone via an internal rotating bezel and day/night indicator) Power Reserve: 60 hours Winding: Manually-wound Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph) Jewels: 25 Additional Details: Date is set using a dedicated pusher at two o'clock. Time setting is activated by pushing the crown to change modes rather than by pulling the crown – when activated, the seconds hand also resets to zero. Leica is seeking chronometer certification, but hasn't yet decided whether to pursue this in Germany or Switzerland. The L1 and L2 are just the start of Leica's newest product category. Pricing & Availability Price: Pricing not yet announced, but will start under €10,000 for the L1 Availability: Later this year at 10 Leica boutiques worldwide and a handful of domestic (German) jewelers Limited Edition: Not limited editions, but production will be constrained to around 400 pieces total for the first year.
  8. While I’ve never really had any interest in wearing anything other than steel watches, over the past little while I have started to become gold curious. Am I a gold watch guy? Can trying a few examples change my opinion? How will it change me? I'm going to do a little series of stories over the coming weeks in which yours truly, a self-professed steel watch enthusiast, attempts to warm up to the distinct appeal of gold watches. We'll start with something entry-level. A beach, a patio, a sunny rooftop. Get to it. For my first foray into these precious waters, I selected a watch that I really liked at Baselworld this past March, hoping to stack the deck in my favor. Enter the Mido Commander Shade in a plated gold finish shared by its rather perfectly-suited Milanese mesh strap. At 37mm wide and not quite 11mm thick, the Commander Shade wears well, with the gold adding a nostalgic sort of flair to its already very vintage-inspired design. Like I mentioned in my original hands-on, it’s strange and funky, and it makes me smile. After spending more than a week with it on wrist, the appeal has only grown, and I think it may be the gold getting in my brain. Maybe I am a gold watch guy. From the wrist shot to the macro, the Commander Shade definitely captures the appeal of a time long past. The dial features an awkward but adorable mix of four fonts, a day/date display, and applied markers on a two-tone graduated smoked ground that is silver at the center and a pinkish dark grey at its edges. Transitioning between silver/grey to more of a silver/taupe depending on the light, the Commander Shade’s dial threads the design needle between fast and loose and funky fun. This is a watch that makes me want to tan without sunscreen, smoke cigarettes with abandon, and maybe unironically celebrate a friend’s birthday party at an elaborate Tiki bar. It’s pure charm, and I want to wear it bowling. Confident and bold, the Commander Shade is effortlessly cool. Fitted to an excellent matching gold-tone mesh bracelet. The Mido Commander Shade is casual, fun, and effortlessly cool. This watch is a good illustration of my appreciation for things that possess a distinct style. And while you could definitely label this Mido as having a style that is "Grandpa adjacent," is that really a bad metric? Who's to say your Grandpa didn’t have game? (Even Don Draper presumably became a grandpa, though it’s unlikely he became a strong presence at family get-togethers.) While I am far from an expert on style, I think most people can identify a strong look when they see it and while trendy can certainly help (in this case, the trend of vintage-inspired watches), I think the gold Commander Shade has a very distinctive look and, to my eyes, a defined stylishness. 50's style perseveres with an added bit of levity from the gold-tone finish. The key here isn’t necessarily to be on-trend (though gold is definitely rising in popularity), but rather to consider, maybe even outside the confines of deep watch enthusiasm, how the style of a watch might match or even influence your personal style. For me, that’s never been gold; not on watches, jewelry, sunglasses, or otherwise. I’ve always considered it old man flair – maybe I was wrong, or maybe I’m getting old. 37mm wide and almost unnoticeable on wrist. Get your brightest shirt and see what happens. After wearing the Commander Shade for a couple days, I found myself wondering where one could acquire a Hawaiian shirt, and, if I could pull it off. Like a vintage-inspired gold watch, a Hawaiian shirt is less directly referential than it is pointedly nostalgic. I’m not saying I want a bungalow with plastic flamingos on the lawn, but if I had such a home, a modern cookie-cutter car would not look right in the driveway, would it? A perfect watch for the summer, or just for a change of pace from your usual steel sport watches. Look, I get it if gold watches aren’t for you, I do, but I would encourage you to explore outside the confines of your usual collecting aesthetic. Have some fun. Watch appreciation (and the coverage therein) is often a bit too serious, often pedantic, and at times myopic. So get outside your comfort zone, work on that tan, and think about buying a dumb shirt just to pair it with a really fun watch. The Mido Commander Shade, in gold or steel, is a watch I really genuinely enjoy. It wears well, looks great, and should fit well as the wildcard in a wide range of collections, especially those that don't typically go gold.
  9. EdgyGuyJide

    AQUARACER LADY CALIBRE 9 AUTOMATIC

    The Aquaracer by TAG Heuer, an essential player in the world of sports watches, welcomes four new women’s models to the collection, all featuring an automatic movement. First launched in 2003, the Aquaracer is now a firm fixture in the world of contemporary sports watches and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. TAG Heuer has seized on this occasion to release four new women’s versions of a watch cut out for action on land and sea. The new models have a similar look to the other members of the Aquaracer family, particularly the angular revolving bezel made up of 12 segments set off by six polished rectangular lugs and a 60-minute diving scale. The steel case is 32mm wide and features a crown and screwed back. The back is decorated with a deep-sea diver’s mask, an engraving to highlight the seafaring character of the Aquaracer and the fact that it is watertight down to 300m. This metal setting contains the calibre 9, a self-winding mechanical movement running at 28,800 vibrations an hour and providing a power reserve of about 40 hours. This reliable mechanism powers the hour, minute and central seconds, as well as the date. The dial is made of black or white mother-of-pearl and is encircled by a slender minute track and criss-crossed by horizontal lines, like a marinière shirt, with silver, luminous stick-shaped hands turning above the rhodium or diamond hour markers, depending on the version chosen. The second hand has a phosphorescent red tip, recalling the shape of a harpoon. At 3 o’clock, the date is displayed in black against a white background and the counter is crowned by a magnifying glass for easier reading. Rounding off the dynamic identity of the Aquaracer, TAG Heuer has supplied it with a strap made up of three rows of steel links and a folding clasp with two safety buttons. Price: 1,900 CHF (mother-of-pearl dial) – 2’450 CHF (mother-of-pearl and diamond dial) tagheuer.com
  10. Creating affordable complications is nothing new for Montblanc. For the last few years now it's even been one of the watchmaker's signature moves. Today we're getting a refreshed take on a perpetual calendar first released in 2014 with the Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire. This watch is a pretty straightforward 40mm stainless steel perpetual with an automatic movement, but with a twist: the dial is smoked sapphire so you get a good look at what's going on underneath. Stylistically it's a nice balance of traditional and modern, and the blue accents at a lot of richness to the dark sapphire. Importantly the price is still well under $14,000, making this one of the more affordable perpetuals on the market today. Initial Thoughts I've got to say, this is a really smart move from Montblanc and a thoughtful execution. One of the complaints often associated with perpetual calendars is that the actual QP works are what's called cadrature, which means they sit just under the dial far out of view of an open caseback. By using a sapphire dial, Montblanc is letting its customers get a good look at the complex mechanism at work. I'm also glad that the brand opted to go for a more restrained 40mm diameter, which at a sub-10mm thickness is extremely wearable for most people. I haven't see one in the metal yet, so I can't truly weigh in on how the watch looks and wears, but this one has a lot of potential based on this early look. Stay tuned for more, we'll be getting our hands on one of these shortly. The Basics Brand: Montblanc Model: Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire Reference Number: 118513 Diameter: 40mm Thickness: 9.6mm Case Material: Stainless steel Dial Color: Smoked sapphire with blue discs Indexes: Arabic numerals and applied batons Lume: None Water Resistance: 30 meters Strap/Bracelet: Blue alligator strap with stainless steel folding clasp The Movement Caliber: Montblanc Caliber MB 29.15 Functions: Hours, minutes seconds, perpetual calendar showing month, day of the week, date, phase of the moon, and leap year cycle Diameter: 25.6mm Power Reserve: 42 hours Winding: Automatic with micro-rotor Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph) Jewels: 25 Additional Details: Pricing & Availability Price: $13,400 Availability: July 2018 at Montblanc boutiques and Montblanc.com
  11. BIOLUMINESCENCE In 2017, the HM7 opened a new chapter in the history of the young Genevan brand. Its original design is back this year in a new combination of materials and colours. Coming to you directly from the fertile imagination of Maximilian Büsser and his friends, the Horological Machine n°7 takes us into a dream-like world, like something out of Jules Verne. This timepiece, known as the HM7 Aquapod, with its organic design inspired by a jellyfish hood, really comes to life through a concentric mechanism with a central tourbillon at the top. The complex architecture is protected by a case that is just as complex, made up of two sapphire glass spheres joined together by a titanium block. Like on most MB&F watches, the time elements are read in an original way. Here, there are two symmetric rings and a coloured marker to show and the hours and minutes. Two symmetrical crowns provide balance to the aesthetic design. One is used to wind up the watch, the other to set the time. The dial is encircled by a coloured bezel, which is green in this limited edition of 50 pieces. The Aquapod does not actually live on zooplankton or move using tentacles, but has a self-winding calibre. A titanium and platinum rotor made up of 12 excrescences, like the mandibles of an underwater animal, capture energy that is then redistributed vertically. Don’t hesitate to plunge the HM7 into darkness to admire an original light show. The omnipresent green lume coating the numerals, hour markers and the long segments of the rotor, as well as the three AGT Ultra panels placed around the mechanism, help transform it into a captivating luminous creature. The timepiece is at home under the water with a case that is watertight down to 50 metres, and is also attractive on the wrist in the open air with a comfortable strap made of moulded rubber. Price: 108,000 CHF mb&f.com
  12. EdgyGuyJide

    L.U.C XP ESPRIT DE FLEURIER PEONY

    A BLACK AND WHITE BOUQUET True to the traditions of the land of its birth, Chopard pays homage to its Swiss roots by creating a bouquet of stylised black and white peonies and highlighting two regional arts, paper-cutting, inspired by such techniques as poya, and Fleurier engraving. For the past few years, Chopard has placed its romantic soul on the dial of its watches, an intense feeling shown in an artistically interpreted bouquet of peony flowers. The limited edition L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony is no exception to this exclusive rule since each of the eight precious pieces combines two craft techniques from the tradition of Switzerland, the brand’s birthplace: paper-cutting, inspired by poya techniques, and Fleurier engraving. “Poya“ is the word used for taking the cows up to the mountain pastures and, by extension, to any depiction linked to this pastoral event, particularly since the early 19th century. Paper-cutting has been a part of this artistic tradition since the 1980s, generally using black paper and leaving only shades and outlines of the figures. The technique inspired the artisans at Chopard to draw the silhouette of peony flowers, a motif providing a strong contrast once placed against the golden dial coated with white “Grand Feu” enamel on the L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony. To leave the beauty of this floral composition undisturbed, only the hours and minutes are shown, with the help of a couple of golden hands in “dauphine-fusée” style. The transparent 35mm-wide case back is made of rose gold and is covered in diamonds, revealing the Fleurier engraving style used on the calibre L.U.C 96.23-L. This art, born in the town of Fleurier, Switzerland, where Chopard is based, helps create interlacing peony flowers in relief on the gilded movement. The calibre features the Twin technology – two superimposed barrels helping to provide 65 hours of power reserve – and a micro-rotor.
  13. It was easily one of the two most talked about new watches at Baselworld 2018. Finally, there is once again a Pepsi-bezel GMT-Master in steel. (The other most talked about watch, of course, was Tudor's Black Bay GMT.) Here it was at long last: the Pepsi GMT in its purest form, in steel, as God and Hans Wilsdorf intended. The degree to which the watch evoked emotion among Rolex enthusiasts is understandable – the distinctive red and blue bezel has been the signature element of the GMT-Master ever since the release of the very first model, reference 6542, in 1955, although it's not clear who was the first to call it a "Pepsi" bezel. It's entirely possible, though, that someone made the connection in 1955; the Pepsi logo has gone through many changes since the soda was introduced as "Brad's Drink" in 1893 (the name was changed to Pepsi just a few years later) but it's incorporated red, white, and blue since 1950. The reference 16710 GMT-Master II. The last Pepsi GMT reference in steel, with an anodized aluminum bezel, was the reference 16710, although in 2014, we got a white gold Pepsi GMT. This had the interesting effect of satisfying the initial desire amongst Rolex fans for the return of the Pepsi but also, it fanned the flames of yearning for a steel Pepsi even higher. Now, there is nothing wrong with white gold, but of course a lot of folks feel that precious metal Rolex watches are a bit of a sideshow to Rolex watches as durable, accurate, and reliable technical watches, and a steel Pepsi GMT-Master II has been sorely missed. The new model is everything everyone's been wishing for in a Pepsi GMT-Master, but of course, with some updates from the last aluminum-bezel version – some obvious, and some less immediately obvious. We looked at the major differences between the last steel Pepsi and the new white gold model back in 2015, but it's worth reviewing one more time in the context of the new steel model, especially as there are technical updates to the new steel Pepsi over the white gold version. First of all, of course the new model has the Cerachrom Pepsi bezel that debuted on the white gold model in 2014, which offers quite a bit technically vs. the aluminum bezel – it's for all intents and purposes scratchproof, and the colors won't fade over time. It's wider than the old bezel and doesn't have its mid-20th century anachronistic charm – the anodized aluminum bezel, after all, has been around since 1959 – but as with most of the changes Rolex makes to existing models, it's unquestionably a better choice from a technical materials standpoint. However, even bigger news is that the new steel Pepsi uses the latest version of the GMT movement: caliber 3285, which replaces the cal. 3186 used in the last aluminum bezel version (and which is still in use in other GMT-Master II watches, including the white gold Pepsi ref. 116719BLRO). The caliber 3285 uses the combination of the Chronergy escapement and Parachrom balance spring which was first rolled out in the Day-Date in 2015. Among the advantages of the Chronergy escapement are an improved lever geometry and skeletonized escape wheel for better efficiency, as well as the use of a non-magnetic nickel-phosphorus alloy for both parts. In addition to better resistance to magnetism, the greater efficiency of the escapement produces a significantly longer power reserve: while the 3186 has a 48 hour running time, the 3285 offers 70 hours. In terms of accuracy, however, both movements are controlled to the same standard: ± 2 seconds per day, so unless you're in the habit of leaving your watch on the nightstand over the weekend you will probably not notice any difference between the two movements in actual use. The Chronergy escapement, first seen in 2015. Of course, the other big difference between the new steel GMT-Master II and previous models – and one which will be for owners far more noticeable than the movement – is the Jubilee bracelet. (This is the first appearance of a Jubilee on a Cerachrom bezel GMT-Master II, although of course, it can be found as a period-correct bracelet on many vintage models). The Jubilee bracelet is an interesting piece of Rolex history on its own, even apart from the GMT-Master/GMT-Master II watches. It was introduced by Rolex in 1945, on the Datejust (1945 was the 40th anniversary of the founding of the company in 1905 as Wilsdorf and Davis; a 40th wedding anniversary is the Ruby Jubilee). The Jubilee bracelet was also the very first in-house Rolex bracelet, the company having formerly relied on Gay Frères (the company was finally acquired by Rolex in 1998; you can find out more about the history of Rolex bracelets in our complete history of the Oyster bracelet). The Jubilee bracelet on a Pepsi-bezel GMT (or on any GMT, probably) is the single most divisive element of the watch. Like all modern Rolex bracelets, it's a beautifully engineered piece of gear, with best-in-class fit and finish. However, it's also a bit more ornamental than an Oyster bracelet, and it would seem that the relative sobriety of the GMT-Master II ought to call for the more austere look of the Oyster. It's not really a comfort issue – the Jubilee bracelet should theoretically offer better conformance to the shape of the wrist, thanks to the smaller links but as anyone who's worn a modern Oyster bracelet will tell you, they take a back seat to no one in terms of ease of adjustment and general wearability. So why offer the steel Pepsi GMT II on a Jubilee bracelet only – and moreover, one that cannot be swapped out for an Oyster bracelet? Generally speaking trying to mind-read with Rolex is like trying to intrude, unbidden, into the inner thoughts of a Cerebro-equipped Dr. Xavier, but the most obvious possible reason is to visually distinguish the steel model from the white gold model. The two would otherwise be rather difficult to tell apart (at least, for anyone other than a seasoned white-gold spotter) but the Jubilee bracelet is an instant indication that what you've got on is the steel version. As the steel version may very well be much harder to find than the white gold, this is apt to make the Jubilee bracelet an attractive choice for prospective owners, who will likely be pleased as Punch to be able to instantly signal that they've got such a relatively exclusive Rolex. Though in the abstract one might prefer the Oyster bracelet as more, so to speak, ideologically pure, I have very sincere doubts as to whether the Jubilee will hurt sales of the steel Pepsi GMT II one iota. One of the most interesting aspects of Rolex, at this particular point in the company's history, is that while vintage Rolex is a highly profitable commercial juggernaut for the auction houses and vintage watch dealers (for various reasons, which I won't go into here) Rolex is now making, from a technical perspective, by far the best watches it has ever made (at its price point, it's making some of the best watches, from a technical perspective, that anyone is making). Vintage Rolex is certainly a sentimental favorite but from a practical standpoint, unless you are deeply wedded to the best and most authentic possible expression of a mid-century aesthetic, there is no choice at all between vintage and modern. As a matter of fact, even if you are deeply wedded to the mid-century aesthetic, modern Rolex watches aren't very far from their roots. Now naturally people buy vintage Rolex for different reasons than modern (somewhat; some of the reasons are surprisingly similar, probably much more so than partisans on either side would want to admit) and there is a certain depth of feeling, to put it mildly, about the scarcity of some modern Rolex watches. There is however a certain depth of feeling, increasingly, about the growing price/value ratio for vintage Rolex watches and if you want something that just works and looks good doing it, you can one-and-done more easily with modern Rolex than with an awful lot of other brands.
  14. Following their dive-ready Aqua Compressor line, Farer has launched a new model with an entirely different perspective for their design. Their new 37mm Hand-Wound line is comprised of three dial variations of a smaller sized watch that effectively threads the needle between a smaller men’s watch and a sporty ladies’ piece. Carrying a similar design language to that which we’ve seen from previous Farer models, this 37mm collection utilizes the brand’s aesthetic in a distinctive new format. Small, but not too small on my 7 in. wrist. Cushion cased and 8.3mm thick. Comfortable, with a defined presence that should suit a wide variety of wrists. While it’s no stretch to call a 37mm watch “small” these days, the 37mm Farer hits that size by opting for a truly minimal case. Its fully polished steel cushion case is 8.3mm thick with a slightly domed sapphire crystal and a display caseback. The very thin surrounding bezel sits atop a case shape that is all but invisible when viewed in front profile. Thus, the vast bulk of the Stanhope’s presence comes from its dial design and its wide leather strap (proportionally speaking, the strap is only 20mm at the lugs). One of three dial options, the white-dialed Stanhope is offered alongside the blue sunray Hudon and the engine-turned silver/green Landsell versions. Each version offers a distinct look but share that wide dial, sub seconds, no date, and a strong application of color and dial finishing. For the Stanhope, the dial is has a subtle piqué finish, a dark blue dial surround and matching sub-seconds display, and applied steel markers with blue accents. The detail is remarkable for such a small dial and even the outer minute track on the dark blue surround is drawn with a scale in powder blue and red, colors also shared by the sub second indication. The hour and minute hands are lumed (as are small dots at each hour) and offer strong contrast and legibility. A piqué dial finish with a nicely balanced and fun use of red and blue accents. As you might have guessed from the sub seconds at six, the Farer 37mm Hand-Wound uses a manual ETA 7001, which is a simple but long-standing movement with 17 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve and a rate of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph). Easily wound and set by the small crown at three, I like the especially analog nature of this Farer. Also, while the movement is not fancy, who doesn’t like an unobstructed view of a hand-wound movement? A display caseback offers a view of the manual ETA 7001 within. Available on a variety of straps, this loaner from Farer came fitted to one of the optional Barenia Leather straps, in a sort of warm reddish brown called “chestnut.” There are several Barenia colors available, along with a handful of perforated leather straps, or for $10 more, you can option a Milanese mesh that should work really well with the short lugs and svelte case shape. The strap is immediately comfortable and is fitted with quick-release spring bars, so changing the strap requires little more than a fingernail and a few seconds of lightly suppressing my coffee shakes. On wrist, the 37mm Hand-Wound wears flat, small, and very light. Being 39.5mm lug to lug and just 46 grams on with the leather strap, it's like a small NOMOS Club but with much less lug to lug length. While the double domed sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective treatment, reflections are still common and are generally inherent to domed crystals. Admittedly, the strange proportions and very dial-heavy design of the 37mm did not hit me well when I first pulled the watch from its packaging. It felt like too much strap and dial for too little case. After wearing the 37mm for a couple of days, I can report it has grown on me. It has a certain bold charm that belies its smaller size and it wears really well on my 7-in. wrist. The flat back and short lugs mean that comfort is very strap-dependent and the included leather strap is comfortable and will likely only become more so over time. In some ways, the 37mm almost reminds me of a tiny Radiomir crossed with a NOMOS – with its thin case, open dial, and short lugs. Obviously, the Stanhope bears only slight resemblance to either a Panerai or a NOMOS, but the thought crossed my mind over the course of my time with the watch. Color and texture, even on a very small dial. Pricing for the Farer 37mm Hand-Wound line starts at $1,160 on a rubber strap, with the Barenia leather options at $1,175, and $1,185 when fitted with the mesh bracelet. For a Swiss made watch with a five-year warranty and with a trio of distinctive dial designs, I think Farer has done very well with the easy wearing and detailed design of the 37mm, and the Stanhope makes good use of a bright and textured dial, a splash of color, and a classic layout.
  15. EdgyGuyJide

    BR 01 LAUGHING SKULL

    Almost ten years after its first Memento Mori watch, the Parisian brand returns with a skull this time featuring unusual animation, bringing a smile to the Jolly Roger. Introduced at the Couture Show in Las Vegas, which took place from 31 May to 4 June, the limited edition BR 01 Laughing Skull has joined the collection of skull watches launched by Bell & Ross in 2009. This was the year that the Parisian brand, in defiance of fashion, designed its first watch displaying its famous skull on the dial. Later, several other models were produced with a tourbillon (2011), a bronze case (2015) or an engraved and lacquered case (2016). The BR 01 Laughing Skull, however, has a little twist helping it to stand out from its predecessors: here the Jolly Roger comes to life. It opens and closes its jaw in a silent grin when the user winds the watch with the crown. The animation is close to automata art and is driven by the calibre BR-CAL.206, specially developed for this type of timepiece. The hand-wound automatic calibre generates a power reserve of 48 hours and has the curved features of a human skull. The movement is housed in a large-size steel case (46mm), decorated with a Clou de Paris guilloché pattern, and can be seen through the opening on the back of the watch. The open-work dial features the metallic Jolly Roger design made using the stamping technique. The forehead reveals the escapement, accentuating the living aspect of the grinning skull. In the nose area, two sword-shaped hands coated in black Super-LumiNova® display the hours and minutes. 500 pieces of this new watch by Bell & Ross have been made. It is also available with a bezel set with diamonds or a case covered in jewels, two models each limited to 99 pieces. Price: 9,900 CHF (steel version) – 16,000 CHF (jewelled bezel) – 27,000 CHF (jewelled case and bezel)
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