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EdgyGuyJide

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  1. Almost three years ago to the day, Jack wrote a Value Proposition story about what might be the value watch to end all value watches: the Seiko SKX007 diver. For well under $200, you get a tough-as-nails dive watch with classic styling and some real history. There’s nothing to argue with, really. Unless you’re me, of course. I’ve always loved the SKX007, I really have. But, I’ve never been able to wear one. At 42mm across, it’s just too damn big for my Lilliputian wrist, both looking and feeling out of place. Until recently, I thought it was a lost cause, assuming that I would have to wander the Earth without a bang-for-your-buck Seiko diver at my side. Luckily, thanks to a tip from my colleague James Stacey, my prayers were answered and a solution was found: Meet the Seiko SKX013, the mini badass Seiko diver. At first glance, without a wrist for scale, you might not even realize that you’re not looking at the SKX007. The SKX013 really is a dead-ringer for its big brother, in most respects. However, the watch has a smaller case that measures 37mm across and 13mm top to bottom. This makes it a full 5mm smaller in diameter (although thickness is the same). That’s a serious difference right there. As you look closer, you will notice a few difference between the watches. The proportions aren’t exactly the same, since the same movement is used in both (the automatic caliber 7S26). If I’m being honest with myself, the SKX007’s proportions are better than those of the SKX013. The smaller size means that it reads as thicker and you also lose some of the negative space on the dial. The day/date displays even cut into the rehaut a little – if this were a $5,000 watch that would drive me crazy, but here I’m willing to accept it as a compromise. What is exactly the same between the two watches is the build quality. The SKX013 is water resistant to 200 meters, the screw-down crown at four o’clock has the hefty crown guards on either side, the crystal is Seiko’s proprietary Hardlex material, and the bezel has deep, even clicks. I threw this model on a NATO during the last weekends of summer and it held up without a single mark through trips to the beach and the park, exactly as you’d expect. Now, the watch Jack showed you years ago was mounted on one of Seiko’s famous Jubilee-style bracelets. They’re a bit chintzy, but that’s actually why many people love them. I probably would have gotten my SKX013 on a similar bracelet, but, to be honest, the 013 is a little harder to find in stock in the U.S. than is the 007, so I had the choice of getting the watch without the bracelet or waiting a month. My impatience got the best of me and I purchased the watch on a rubber dive strap instead. I of course ordered it via Amazon, which is a veritable treasure trove of inexpensive Seiko watches that can be on your doorstep in under 48 hours. The SKX013 is also a tad more expensive than the SKX007, though that's relative. I paid $256 for mine, and they seem to trade for anywhere between $225 and $275. The dive strap was, shall we say, not for me. It was stiff, kind of bulky, and just didn’t feel great on the wrist. I’ve been alternating wearing the watch on a simple grey NATO, which is probably the way to go 99% of the time, and a black stitched calfskin strap from the HODINKEE Shop that cost more than the watch itself. It probably negates the value proposition here a bit, but it looks damn good. At 13mm, the SKX013 isn’t necessarily what I’d describe as a thick watch, but it’s not slim either. It sits nice and low to the wrist, and there are no comfort issues, but as the weather has started to cool off, I do find it snags on sweater and jacket sleeves a bit more than I wish it did. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but rather just something to be aware of if you’re going to make this a part of your collection. I bought the SKX013 mostly as an experiment, to see if I would actually enjoy wearing one of those Seiko diver’s I’d so long admired from afar. I’m happy to report that I do, and I have been – this thing has gotten way more wrist time than expected and is now a regular part of my warm-weather watch rotation. As Jack originally remarked of this watch’s big brother, the SKX013 “ultimately manages to be so appealing on its own merits that the almost incredulity-inducing price is the least important aspect of the watch.” Well said, Jack. Well said.
  2. What just seven days time can mean in the contemporary watch market is nothing short of astonishing. Each and every day, something new – but also old – surfaces that's capable of inspiring not only debate, but genuine scholarship, and a good dose of collectors' excitement too. This all makes one wonder what still remains out there, yet to be discovered. On this week's hunt, we managed to uncover several scarce pieces, including a Breitling Unitime, Mathey-Tissot's take on the Type XX chronograph, a gilt dial Zodiac, and a full-set Speedmaster. Also of note is an especially early chronograph, representing a collaborative effort between Universal Genève and Gallet, with quite a backstory. We won’t bother teasing you any further – let’s get right down to it! Zodiac Autographic Power Reserve Ref. 685 We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: A great watch doesn’t have to break the bank. In a world of record-breaking chronographs and dazzling auction catalogs, there are still deals to be had on rarities, you've just gotta poke around. Some of the best finds come from some of the most unlikely places. Our first watch for the week isn’t exactly a barn find, as it is indeed coming from a well-known dealer, but if this isn’t a deal, I’m not sure what is. What you’re looking at is a Zodiac branded watch called the “Autographic” that dates back to the 1950s. It features both a striking, black gilt dial and the always-welcome power reserve indicator to track the 36 hours of running time. I especially like the presence of matching gilt, luminous hands, which only intensify the unconventional nature of the early 33mm timepiece. To be clear, we’re not talking about an extremely well-known or sought-after watch, but at the price point, it’s hard to think of a better way to go in search of something outside the realm of the usual suspects that’s legitimately interesting. Justin Vrakas of Watch Steez is selling this Zodiac for just $1,100, and we’re not sure it’ll last long. Find more pictures and details here. Mathey-Tissot Type XX Chronograph The Type XX is arguably one of the purest expressions of what a military tool watch should be. Highly legible, easily operable, reliable, and tough as nails. It also happens to be pretty easy on the eyes, too, as the photos will surely indicate. Most will know the Type XX as a Breguet timepiece produced for French forces, but there was a point in time when Mathey-Tissot was subcontracted to produce the famed chronograph for the American market. Like its Breguet brethren, the Mathey Tissot is powered by a Valjoux 22X caliber — in this case the Cal. 222, which not only affords it reliable accurate service, but flyback chronograph functionality, which can come in handy when timing multiple things in succession. As a semi-related side note, flybacks also happen to be wildly useful when barbecuing – the more you know! If a Type XX has been on your list for some time, this isn’t a bad option to consider, seeing as the dial and hands on this example are flawless, and all contained within a likely unpolished stainless steel case. This is a top tier example by all means, and it seems to be priced to sell, too. Shuck The Oyster has this Type XX currently listed for €13,900. Click here for the full scoop on this military chronograph. Breitling Unitime Ref. 2610 Often collectors will discuss what they consider to be the most truly functional complication, and while some compelling arguments can be made, there’s really no one right answer. At the end of the day, everyone is looking for something different in a watch, to serve them duly in their own, individual daily happenings. As someone who travels often, GMT watches have always been a favorite and a mainstay within my own collection. Even earlier executions of the complication that aren’t what one would describe as wildly easy to use are a delight, and remind us of an earlier era, in which similarly complication watches would be relied upon as necessary tools. While we could surely find a fine specimen of Rolex’s famed GMT-Master to feature, let’s wade a bit through the waters of horological obscurity, and take a look at a GMT watch from Breitling’s catalog. This is what’s known as the Unitime, or the ref. 2610, more specifically, and it’s without question one of my favorite GMT watches. Between the checkerboard outer 24-hour track, applied luminous markers, and uniquely marked rotating bezel, there’s a lot to love with this watch. The example in question is not exactly mint, but everything would appear to be original, and not tampered with, which is exactly what we like to see. It also happens to be the only example of the watch available on the market at the moment to our knowledge, so as the old adage goes, "beggars can’t be choosers." The Keystone in Beverly Hills, California, is selling this rare Breitling for $6,500. Find more details here. 1964 Omega Speedmaster 'Ed White' With Box And Papers Should you happen to be someone who vocally knows a thing or two about watches, it’s not uncommon to find yourself becoming the go-to source for those in search of watch related opinions and recommendations. I’ll often help friends and family track down that next horological object of desire, and upon doing so successfully, I always insist that you store away the box and papers for safe keeping. If there’s an easy, basic thing to be learned from the market over the past few years, it’s that holding on to your watch’s accessories isn’t an altogether bad idea. Unless you live some shrewdly minimalistic, only-the-essentials lifestyle, just tuck those boxes away in a cupboard, and thank us later. Proof of the importance of holding on to such articles comes to us in the form of a Speedmaster, this week, which as you’d expect includes all the original boxes, manuals, certificates, and warranty papers you could ever ask for. The watch itself is quite the stunner too, and one of the rarest variants of the Ref. 105.003, given its -63 designation. This uncommon variant of the NASA and Ed White associated chronograph also still has its original 7912 Omega bracelet, which is both clean and fully linked. Worth noting is the fact that on the warranty papers, the watch was said to have been retailed by the “Navy Exchange,” which presumably means the watch has naval provenance, which is surely an added bonus to an already handsome timepiece. That aside, the completionist inside you just can’t deny how cool it is to see a watch like this with all the original fixings. Lunar Oyster currently has this watch listed for $22,500. Click here to see the full listing. 1939 Gallet X Universal Genève Multichron 12 When you think of a chronograph equipped timepiece, an image of one with three registers is usually what will come into the minds of most. Its popularity and prevalence is explained simply by the idea that the three-register chronograph is more functional than one with just two registers, as more data can be conveyed with the passing of time. While scrolling through eBay, I came across a piece of particular note and supposed historical significance, which is said to the one of the very first of its kind. According to the seller, who is apparently a scholar of both Universal Geneve and Gallet, this example of the Universal Geneve/Martel Cal. 281 Compax equipped Multichron 12 is said to be one of the very first triple-register chronographs to have ever been produced, and the first ever example of the Multichron 12, after extensive research of serial, reference, and movement numbering systems from both brands. I personally haven’t seen enough documentation to fully back up these claims, though it’s without question an exceptionally early chronograph, and a nice piece, all in all. In that it does only measure 30.3 mm across, the appeal with this watch is more so its sheer age, and association with some of the most prestigious names in horology, which is why it might be best enjoyed off the wrist by a Gallet or Universal Geneve aficionado. On the other hand, this would make an undoubtedly impressive addition to a lady's collection, where it might fit better on the wrist. Wherever it ends up, this looks to be a seriously impressive and important piece. This Gallet is listed on eBay, with a bid of just over $900 at the time of publishing, and four days remaining in the sale.
  3. EdgyGuyJide

    ARCEAU ROBE DU SOIR HERMÈS

    LEATHER MOSAIC The “Robe du Soir” silk-scarf pattern arrives on the rose gold Arceau dial with a mosaic of tiny leather fragments. A magical work of craftsmanship! Mosaics have existed since Antiquity, for around 6,000 years, and are basically made up of terracotta or stone fragments put together to form tiling or a pattern. Over time, the practical technique became a refined and elegant form of decorative art. It has also been miniaturised, sometimes using less common materials like in the Arceau Robe du Soir model, a beautiful watch available in just 12 pieces, which celebrates a new form of art on the dial: the leather mosaic. Is it any wonder? Not really, since leather-making was Hermès’ original business and elegance its leading feature. To make the miniature format of the Robe du Soir silk-scarf pattern, designed by the very talented Florence Manlik, the artisans from the Parisian firm painstakingly cut out tiny square fragments from full-grain calf leather. In all, 2,200 minute fragments form the colourful profile of a harnessed horse’s head against an electric blue background. The animal with a brown coat and beige mask is dressed in striking colours such as bright red and deep turquoise. At the centre of this profusion of colour are a pair of gilded, leaf-shaped hands unobtrusively moving around the hours and minutes. The hands are driven by the H1837 calibre, a self-winding movement made in-house by Hermès and providing 50 hours of power reserve. The leather mosaic is shown to advantage in an Arceau case with asymmetrical lugs. It is 41mm-wide, made of rose gold and attached to the wrist with an electric blue Swift calf leather strap, rounded off with a tang buckle. Price: CHF 52,000 hermes.com
  4. After success with complicated watches featuring tourbillons, dead-beats, and remontoires, Dutch manufacture Grönefeld has introduced its simplest, least complicated watch to date. The 1941 Principia features a 226-part movement that is powered by a uni-directional winding mechanism weighted by a 22k solid gold full-sized rotor. This is the first automatic watch made by the independent watchmakers and it is named after their father's birth year and Sir Isaac Newton's studies on the "Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica." The watches themselves boast the high-end finishing that we expect from the Grönefelds and also allow the buyer to pick and choose the type of dial they want (light blue, turquoise, salmon, or cream lacquer) with an assortment of straps. The case, which is shared with the manually wound, far more complex 1941 Remontoire, houses an entirely new caliber that lacks a dead-beat, remontoire, or tourbillon, making this the most approachable of all Grönefeld products yet. Initial Thoughts This is a strong follow up to the award-winning 1941 Remontoire first introduced three years ago. The 1941 Remontoire has been praised by many enthusiasts as one of the most impressive movements to be produced in modern watchmaking, not to mention it is among the most complex time-only watches ever produced. Our team has a special love for Bart and Tim Grönefeld, and earlier this month, the HODINKEE Shop launched a limited edition version of the remontoire with a special, closed, salmon-colored dial – the only examples of that model with such a dial and updated movement that lowered the remontoire governor deeper into the movement. The 1941 Principia has the same aesthetic appeal and allows the buyer to choose what they like, all while enjoying a brand new automatic movement with the same high-end hand-finishing that the brothers are known for. You don't get a remontoire anymore, but with a price about 15,000 euro below the original 1941, Grönefeld hopes the Principia will open up a door to a whole new set of buyers. Consider this a competitor to the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor, for example. The Basics Brand: Grönefeld Model: 1941 Principia Diameter: 39.5mm Thickness: 10.5mm Case Material: Red gold, white gold, or stainless steel Dial Color: Solid sterling silver 925 in turquoise, light blue, or salmon; cream lacquered dial Indexes: Roman numerals, indexes Water Resistance: 3 atmospheres, 30 meters, 100 feet Strap/Bracelet: Selection of colors in a variety of leathers The Movement Caliber: 1941 Principia Functions: Time only Diameter: 32mm Thickness: 5.5mm Power Reserve: 56 hours Winding: Automatic Frequency: 21.6 vibrations/hour Jewels: 31 Pricing & Availability Price: EUR 29,950 for the stainless steel, EUR 37,300 for the red gold, and EUR 38,750 for the white gold. Availability: Now Limited Edition: No
  5. Today we've got a pair of announcements from Uniform Wares. The first is a major evolution of their core M-Line (the brand's most distinctive collection). The new "M-P" watches come in three familiar sizes – 37mm, 40mm, and 42mm – and now have ETA "PreciDrive" movements, which are higher-frequency quartz movements that offer better accuracy. In fact, ETA themselves say that these movements are 10 times more accurate than their standard offerings, so it's no small upgrade. In addition to the movement changes, the three models have been given small design updates, including new dial colors and finishes, as well as subtle tweaks to the cases to make the watches more comfortable and elegant on the wrist. Beyond the watches themselves though, there's also a new strap – and for me this news is just as exciting (if not even more so). The strap is made in collaboration with another London-based outfit, called Betatype, that typically works in the medical and aerospace industries. It's somewhere between a NATO and something like Apple's Milanese Mesh in terms of its profile and how it folds back on itself, but it's something else entirely. The titanium mesh feels almost like fabric, it's so light and pliable, and its made through a crazy sintering/fusion process out of titanium powder. The coolest part though is that the links are asymmetrical, so there's an integrated tab that slides right over the strap and locks it in place, almost like super strong velcro. The entire thing weighs just 10.5 grams and is one continuous piece. Initial Thoughts Uniforms Wares knows what its good at and keeps pushing itself to do that thing better and better. The company's basic designs are still very much in line with what they've been doing all along, but the parts come from higher-quality suppliers, the finishes on the dials and application of the markers are more artful, and the movements are as good as Swiss quartz movements can get. It takes an immense amount of discipline to evolve a product line this way, rather than, say, dropping something flashy or purposefully different just to attract attention, and the results speak for themselves. The attention to detail is second to none too – these are watches that look better the more you scrutinize them, rather than the opposite. If you've been holding off on buying a Uniform Wares watch, you now have fewer excuses than ever to not take the plunge. It might sounds strange to get super excited about a watch strap, but this new titanium strap is seriously cool stuff, people. It weighs next to nothing, feels super soft on the wrist, is infinitely adjustable, and looks awesome. You can't really ask for much more than that, but this one also comes with the cool materials-science backstory too. I'm already scheming about what other watches of mine I might be able to put this on (vintage 1016, anyone?) and to me it takes the already great M-Line watches to the next level. Everything about it feels like Uniform Wares at its best. The Basics Brand: Uniform Wares Models: M37-P (time-only), M40-P (time and date), M42-P (chronograph) Diameter: 37mm (M37-P), 40mm (M40-P), 42mm (M42-P) Thickness: 9mm (M37-P), 10mm (M40-P), 10.3mm (M42-P) Case Material: Stainless steel, some with smoke and black PVD coatings Dial Colors: Various options including matte white, matte cool grey, radially brushed steel, sunray, and bead blasted black Indexes: Batons and Arabic numerals Lume: None Water Resistance: 50 meters Strap/Bracelet: Napa leather, nitrile rubber, or titanium mesh strap The Movement Caliber: ETA PreciDrive F03.401 (M37-P), F05.411 (M40-P), 251.474 (M42-P) Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds (M37-P); hours, minutes, seconds, date (M40-P), hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date(M42-P) Diameter: 7 3/4 lignes (M37-P), 10 1/2 lignes (M40-P), 10 1/2 lignes (M42-P) Jewels: 3 (M37-P), 3 (M40-P), 23 (M42-P) Additional Details: Runs at +/- 10 seconds per year (10x the precision of a standard quartz movement) Pricing & Availability Price: $400-$700 (M37-P), $550-$850(M40-P), $950-$1,200 (M42-P) Availability: M37-P and M40-P available now; M42-P available February 2019
  6. EdgyGuyJide

    UR-111C URWERK

    STOCKING UP ON SENSATIONS Each new creation by Urwerk shows how watches can do without traditional hands for displaying the passing of time. A new example is the UR-111C, a limited edition of just 25 pieces. Displaying time information in an original and attractive way has been the trademark of Urwerk since the company was first set up by Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner. The firm regularly devises original mechanisms housed in watch cases with an original design. The latest models apply the brand’s principles to the letter. The series of cogs and complex, interconnected mechanisms provide the UR-111C with a dual display of the minutes. The aim is not only aesthetic. It also provides optimum readability. On the façade, you see two revolving cones for the hours and minutes, both shown digitally. Their position means data can be read very easily from all angles. Between these two elements, an oblique indication of the linear minutes offers a second way to read them. Showing the brand’s usual technical skill, this feature comes with a retrograde effect. A yellow line moves along a graduated scale and leaps back to its starting point when it has completed its journey. Another innovation can be seen in the display of the seconds with the help of two skeletoned discs, each weighing 0.025g. The revolving movement provides a striking visual effect, assisted by a network of optical rays placed 1/10th of a millimetre above it. This optical transmitter enlarges the image without distorting it. All these mechanisms are contained in a self-winding calibre with a stop-second system and in a steel case coated with gunmetal (42x46x15mm) in avant-garde style. Price: 130,000 CHF exc. VAT
  7. EdgyGuyJide

    Hands-On The Méraud Bonaire Diver

    In a recent piece I wrote about “microbrand” watches, I, along with some of the respondents for the article, threw some shade at the steady proliferation of overnight watch brands on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. While I am largely comfortable ignoring the vast cavalcade of crowdfunded watches and their “new way of thinking” direct-to-consumer sales models, the platform does not automatically preclude the possibility of offering a strong product at a great price (aka my jam). It’s a question of signal to noise, so please allow me to be your filter with a closer look at Méraud Watches and their newly-launched Bonaire diver. The Marine Blue Méraud Bonaire with its lovely sunburst dial and matching blue leather strap. 39mm wide and just 48mm lug to lug, the Bonaire's proportions make for an easy-wearing diver. Simple and well made, the Bonaire has a solid steel caseback. For the brand’s inaugural model, Méraud has created a simple but rather beautiful small diver's watch that should suit a wide sense of style and most wrists. Aimed directly at vintage dive watch enthusiasts, the Bonaire is 39mm wide, 12.5mm thick, and 48mm lug to lug. The steel case is widest at the bezel, with a grippy crown and lovely (yet simple) lugs. The bezel features a sapphire insert over lumed markings, and the dateless dial is sparse and beautifully balanced with long hands, an especially delicate seconds hand, and larger triangle markers for 3, 6, and 9, with a matching Arabic 12 o’clock marker. Available in three versions, Onyx Black, Marine Blue, and Graphite Grey, Méraud loaned me samples of all three and I had plenty of time to pore over the details. While the three models are very similar, there are a few small differences along with the color of the dial. The blue and grey models have C3 Super-LuminNova (white with a greenish glow) over dials with a subtle sunburst finish that can be seen in highlight. In contrast, the black Bonaire uses a faux aged Super-LumiNova over a black dial with no sunburst effect. Balanced and legible with minimal dial text, look at the way light falls across the Onyx Black Bonaire diver. With minimal dial text and no date, the Bonaire kinda feels like a vintage watch. It’s an effect aided by the 39mm sizing and the truly old-school bezel design. There is a clarity to the design and the build that doesn’t feel vintage, partly from the anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and partly from how the light hits the dial and lends a sort of brightness to the entire watch. That clarity is functional too, with the Bonaire offering strong legibility in a near-dressy dive watch design that still manages a screw-down crown and 200m water resistance. Take a closer look at the applied numerals, the curved cap of the crown, and the fun font used for the numerals on the bezel – while I have something of a weak spot for the blue Bonaire, all three versions are very pretty watches. Bonaire is an island in the Dutch Caribbean that is officially part of the Netherlands and, as my pal Jason Heaton can attest, offers some truly amazing diving. Founded by a watch enthusiast named Stijn, Méraud Watch Co. is based in Ghent, Belgium, and their goal was to create a 60s-inspired dive watch with a distinctive look and a value-minded approach. Conforming to the form-follows-function thinking of the 1960s, and the expansion of diving as a sport, the Bonaire has a classic style and I think they've managed to nail the sizing. 39mm is just so sweet on wrist. In a market still full of 42-44mm divers, this almost austere 39mm creation feels like a dive watch for guys and gals used to wearing more dressy pieces. I have a seven-inch wrist and the Bonaire fits perfectly. Oddly enough, in photos or even in hand, the 12.5mm thickness can almost feel too thick for the width, but on wrist the Bonaire feels great, neither too small nor too big. With short lugs and a solid steel caseback, the Bonaire sits nicely and works with a wide variety of straps, including a NATO. Blue on blue, the Marine Blue Bonaire is crisp and legible with a distinct vintage charm. The enthusiast-driven philosophy does not stop with the design either, as the Bonaire features a Swiss-made STP1-11 automatic movement. A true dateless movement, there is no phantom date position on the crown. Sourced via Fossil, the STP1-11 is the brand’s ETA 2824 competitor and ticks at 4 Hz, with hand-winding, hacking, and a power reserve of 44 hours. While I’ve never reviewed a watch with this movement the timekeeping appeared entirely acceptable and the functionality felt identical to an ETA that had been modified for a no-date application. While the Kickstarter bundle offers a trio of straps (including a rubber tropic strap and a NATO, along with an optional steel bracelet), my review units were on pre-production French leather straps. These straps were lovely and suit Bonaire very well, so as you’d imagine, I swapped in a $20 NATO within minutes (gotta move how I move). On the leather, a simple NATO, or even a mesh steel bracelet I had lying around, the Bonaire simply sings. Applied markers and long hands surrounded by a lumed sapphire bezel insert. While it’s certainly true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think this is just a great looking watch. Look at the bevels on the lugs, the way light falls on the dial, the goofy magnification of the bezel numerals in the sapphire insert. While I enjoyed all three models of the Bonaire, I really loved the Marine Blue on a NATO or a tan leather strap. Who doesn't love lug holes? The green-glowing C3 Super-LumiNova of the Graphite Grey Bonaire. Bright and a bit romantic, the Onyx Black Bonaire makes a strong case for the most laid-back of the Bonaire trio. The lowkey sunburst of the dial, the sharp contrast of the bright hands and markers, and the excellent proportions are all evidence of a thoughtful design process. Even small details like relatively glare-free crystal, the pleasing click of the bezel, or the bright lume application all suggest a strong value statement for a watch that, at its most expensive, is still under $1,000. Thanks to the special way that Kickstarter works, Méraud has priced the Bonaire following a tiered system. To keep it as simple as possible, especially for those of you who read about the Bonaire long after the Kickstarter campaign has ended, the retail price of the Bonaire is €849. That’s about $980 (at time of publishing) and includes all three straps and a strap changing tool. The first 100 backers willing to take the plunge will get in for €635 (~$730) and the standard Kickstarter price will be €655 (~$760). All Kickstarter editions will also include a numbered caseback. Onyx Black, Graphite Grey, and Marine Blue: the Méraud Bonaire trio. At a max of $980, the Méraud seems a complete winner and I really enjoyed my time with the Bonaire trio. Success in the microbrand space demands a special blend of size, specs, and design, and the Méraud Bonaire seems to have found a compelling mix of all three. At 39mm wide with a Swiss no-date automatic movement, 200m water resistance, three strap options, and a lovely and balanced design that makes the most of the new vintage trend without being too pushy, the Méraud Bonaire is a solid first offering from a promising new brand.
  8. This is the second iteration of Montblanc's ambitiously-named Summit smartwatch, which was first released in March 2017. At that time, Montblanc's then-CEO (and now Richemont COO) Jérôme Lambert told me that the idea for Montblanc to get into the smartwatch game dated all the way back to 2013. That would make this project five years old now, and it really does feel like the product is now hitting the same level of refinement that you'd find in, say, their pens or mechanical watches. The Summit 2 is very much in the same vein as the original Summit, but it now has a smaller case more in line with what you'd find in a typical modern sports watch (at 42mm), though it is getting a hair thicker in the process. There are also a handful of different case materials and finishes and 11 different straps, letting customers create exactly what they want to suit their style. Importantly though, the changes aren't just surface-level. There's more RAM (which means the watch will be more responsive), more onboard storage (so you can keep that guilty-pleasure playlist synched), and this is the first smartwatch on the market to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor, meaning it should be one of the fastest available. Other upgrades include the addition of an NFC chip for making contactless payments, the integration of the Google Assistant, and a new Montblanc-exclusive app called "Timeshifter" that's meant to help you combat jet lag. With prices starting at just a hair under $1,000 (a little over with tax), the Summit 2 is definitely a "luxury" smartwatch, competing with the likes of the TAG Heuer Connected Watch or even the top-of-the-line Apple Watch Series 4 models more than other Wear OS smartwatches. It's a space that's still not particularly well defined, but Montblanc is making a valiant effort to do just that. Initial Thoughts When I first saw the Summit, I thought there was a lot to like. The watch tackled the smartwatch genre with some actual watchmaking spirit intact, the build quality, fit, and finish of the device was great, and the software tried to add some real value on top of the Android Wear platform. My biggest gripe though was the size – at 46mm across, the watch was just too damn big. Luckily, Montblanc has solved that problem, and I think this is going to eliminate a major barrier-to-entry for a lot of people. The options for customization are smart and offer a ton of different looks, and the brand's e-comm-focused retail strategy for the product seems on-point too. One of the things that people often complain about with smartwatches is the lack of always-on displays. That's not a problem here: the Summit 2 still gets a full day of battery life if you opt to have the display show the time continuously. The Basics Brand: Montblanc Model: Summit 2 Smartwatch Diameter: 42mm Thickness: 14.3mm Case Material: Stainless steel (with or without DLC finish) or titanium Display: 1.2 inch AMOLED display with curved sapphire crystal Water Resistance: 50 meters Strap/Bracelet: Leather, rubber, nylon, and steel mesh strap options Tech Specs Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 (includes secondary low-power processor for time-only mode) RAM: 1 GB Storage: 8 GB Sensors: Heart rate, GPS, barometer Battery Life: Full day of normal use Additional Details: In time-only mode, Montblanc is quoting a full week of battery life; NFC Chip for contactless payments; Pricing & Availability Price: From $995 Availability: Now, via montblanc.com and Montblanc boutiques
  9. THE TOURBILLON WITHIN REACH To celebrate the Geneva-based brand’s 30th anniversary with panache, Frédérique Constant have released an automatic tourbillon with a perpetual calendar. We take a look at four new models embodying the spirit of affordable luxury. In three decades, the Geneva-based brand Frédérique Constant has slowly but surely traced out its route, forging an excellent reputation in the world of watchmaking. Widely acclaimed for its high-quality watches at affordable prices, the brand attracted attention in 2004 with its first in-house calibre, the famous Heart Beat, designed in its workshops in Plan-les-Ouates, in the canton of Geneva. In 2008, the firm went on to unveil its first in-house tourbillon. And now, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the company has launched four new models, including a pink gold version in just 30 pieces, and all equipped with an automatic tourbillon and a perpetual date. It is simply named the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture. The quartet of watches are driven by the calibre FC-975, running at the standard 28,800 vibrations an hour and providing 38 hours of power reserve. On the dial, the hours and minutes are in the centre, the seconds on the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, the day at 9 o’clock, the date at 3 o’clock and the month, together with leap years, at 12 o’clock. The calibre is housed in a 42mm-wide case made of polished steel, pink gold-plated steel or pink gold, depending on the version chosen, and is partially visible through the sapphire crystal on the back of the watch. Along with the types and colours of metal, Frédérique Constant has provided two different faces to its Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture. Two of the four versions have a silvered dial with the centre decorated in a Clous de Paris pattern and the three calendar sub-dials in blue. The hour rim features Roman numerals with black transfers, while a pair of leaf-shaped hands, also coloured black, move above them. On the two other versions, the layout is the same, but the dial is open-worked to reveal the grained base plate. The opening where the tourbillon is displayed has been slightly enlarged on the skeletoned dials. But you need eyes like a hawk to notice this particular detail! Price: 14,495 CHF (steel) – 19,995 CHF (pink gold-plated steel) – 20,995 CHF (steel, skeletoned dial) – 29,995 CHF (pink gold, skeletoned dial)
  10. The Seiko Credor Eichi watches are, in many respects, unique among high-end timepieces. They show only the hours, minutes, and seconds, and when the first version was released, in 2008, it was already a watch that was all about essentials; it was from outset powered by Seiko's Spring Drive technology (in the very first version, this was Spring Drive caliber 7R08). The original Eichi has a Noritake porcelain dial, a platinum case, and heat blued hands; it also includes an indication for the power reserve, with the pivot anchored at the outer end of the 10:00 hour marker. The dial markers and logo are a very deep blue and applied by hand, which seems very hard to believe at first – they're extremely finely done – until you look very closely and see the almost invisible, virtually microscopic variations in line width and edge consistency that testify to manual application. I think it is very Japanese to associate quiet movement with the way things move in nature. – YOSHIFUSA NAKAZAWA, MASTER WATCHMAKER, SHIZUKU-ISHI WATCH STUDIO, MORIOKA For many connoisseurs the original Eichi was a revelation, in a number of respects. First, it showcased the ability of the Spring Drive movement to create certain kinds of visual effects and emotional responses not easily duplicated by any other type of existing wristwatch technology. Second, it proved that the degree of sophistication in movement finishing mastered by the craftsman in Morioka was at least the equal of any to be found anywhere else in the world – and in some respects, arguably superior to much of what is being produced in countries more readily associated with fine watchmaking, and fine watch finishing. The original Credor Eichi, with "secret" Arabics at 2, 4, and 7 o'clock. But perhaps most importantly, the first Eichi demonstrated Seiko's ability to produce a product that was, and is, distinctively and indisputably Japanese, while at the same time offering such clarity in design and inspiration as to have a truly universal appeal. During our trip to Japan last year to document the production of Spring Drive watches at the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, Seiko's Yoshifusa Nakazawa remarked, "I think it is very Japanese to associate quiet movement with the way things move in nature." The observation is completely apt, and yet it's exactly the very specifically Japanese characteristics of the Eichi watches that makes them so attractive to keen-eyed connoisseurs around the world, and they can now be found on a very small number of wrists (annual production is very low) from Manhattan to Silicon Valley to Singapore and beyond. The original Eichi caliber 7R08A. The next version of the Eichi, the Eichi II, was first released in 2014, and in terms of minimalism it went the original Eichi one better, in reducing the presentation of time to its essentials. The Seiko Credor Eichi II, in platinum. Spring Drive caliber 7R14, with power reserve on the back of the movement. In the Eichi II, the power reserve hand has been relocated, to the back of the movement, and the Credor logo has been significantly simplified. Also gone are the "secret" Arabic numbers found on the dial of the original Eichi. The result is an extremely spare watch in which every element seems indispensable to the overall effect – there is nothing extraneous for any element of the watch to hide behind and as a result, the degree of almost supernatural fineness in every element is even more in the foreground. The rose gold version of the watch shares the same overall limpid simplicity of the platinum Eichi II, as well as the almost forbiddingly uniform excellence of fit and finish in every detail. I handle hundreds of watches over the course of a year and I don't know how many thousands – probably tens of thousands – I've examined closely over the last twenty years, and I can think of very, very few that can withstand the sort of very close scrutiny through which the Eichi watches pass with flying colors – there is simply no part of the watch that doesn't just withstand, but also richly reward, very close examination. The general lines of the two watches are essentially identical; in addition to the rose gold case, the most noticeable difference is the color of the dial markers. In the platinum version they're a very deep, rich blue; in the rose gold version, they're a very dark charcoal – almost straight black, but with an almost subliminal hint of warmth that echoes the embers-warm hue of the case. In the platinum version, the blued steel hands have rather a wintry feel – beauty is there, but it's the beauty of flowing water beneath a layer of ice on a winter's day, surrounded by trackless snow. The blued steel takes on a rather different character in conjunction with rose gold, however – think cornflowers in the glow of an afternoon summer sun. In certain respects the use of gold makes this a somewhat more conventionally luxurious watch than the platinum model, which has a kind of austerity – almost severity – that I think expresses the philosophy of Eichi extremely well; in rose gold some of that cool reserve is lost, but the upside is a somewhat more immediately approachable watch. The movement continues to be one of the most beautifully conceived and executed in the world. Spring Drive as a foundation for a very high-end luxury wristwatch is a very interesting and even provocative choice and of course, it's essential to the character of Eichi as well, in which the smooth, silent, gliding motion of the seconds hand (tipped with a crescent moon, virtually the only overtly decorative flourish on the dial side of the watch) is a visual expression of the continuous flow of time. It's worth remembering that Spring Drive is significantly different from both standard quartz and conventional mechanical watches – a point easy to forget but central to understanding the appeal of Eichi. To review just a few essentials, the watch is powered by a mainspring – there is no battery nor system for storing electricity – and has a standard gear train right up to where the escape wheel, lever, and balance would be in a conventional watch. Instead of these components, you'll find the "glide wheel" which rotates inside an electromagnet. The glide wheel acts as the rotor of an electrical generator and the energy provided is used to control the power of the electromagnet, acting as a braking force on the glide wheel; regulation is via a quartz oscillator. The Eichi watches, along with the Credor chiming timepieces, are along with the Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8-Day watches, among just a tiny handful of watches using hand-wound Spring Drive movements, and provide a very intimate relationship with the mechanism. The movement is, as close as anything produced by human hands could be, flawless, and while some of even the most expensive luxury watches from even some of the most historically exalted houses can be disappointing nowadays, especially under a loupe, the Eichi Spring Drive calibers are inexhaustibly delightful to examine under any magnification you like. There are few products from any individual or company that can approach the level of quality found in Eichi watches, and thanks to Spring Drive, none that offer its unique combination of mechanical solutions and sheer physical beauty. On the wrist, the Eichi II in rose gold is a study in the harmonious reconciliation of contrasts – the obsessive dedication to quality as an end in itself with great physical beauty; the combination of what is for watchmaking, a most exotic technology with a highly traditional approach to realizing a wristwatch design; the inevitable sense of urgency about the passage of time which travels along with any wristwatch, mingled with the serenity of the visible motion. The original Eichi was a breathtaking debut of a kind of watchmaking never before seen, and seemed impossible to improve on but I feel taking everything into account, that the Eichi II models manage to take what was already an exceedingly refined wristwatch and make it something that transcends its own refinement. At its price point – $42,000 in rose gold – it is in the interesting position of having both a great deal of competition, and no competition at all. The world of luxury watches offers much nowadays that represents compromise, and especially in the context of just how little value you can get for a five figure watch these days, $42,000 for the Eichi II seems a bargain. For a closer look at Spring Drive technology, check out our in-depth coverage of the Credor Eichi II in platinum from 2017. The Seiko Credor Eichi II: case, rose gold, 39.5mm x 10.3mm. Water resistance 3 bar, antimagnetic to 4,800 A/m (amperes per meter) or about 60 gauss. Movement, Spring Drive caliber 7R14, hand wound; accuracy +/- 15 sec/month. 60-hour power reserve, running in 41 jewels; fitted with "torque recovery system." Price, $42,000.
  11. While Mido's Multifort line of modern and stylish watches has been a long-standing part of their collection, the new Multifort Chronometer offers an evolution above that of the brand's standard automatic. Featuring an upgraded movement, the Multifort Chronometer is the first Mido watch to use the Caliber 80 Si, a COSC-certified automatic calibre that also features an 80-hour power reserve and some other notable enhancements over the standard equipment from ETA or Sellita. Given the everyday-ready style and value proposed by the Multifort, this upgrade to the Chronometer movement is a smart one that maintains general practicality and adds some nerdy enthusiast credibility. Initial Thoughts The new Multifort Chronometer is available in a handful of versions, all of which use a 42mm case that is 11.8mm thick with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal up front and a display case back on the flip side. Dial options include black, a white-silver, or a full black with off-white accents, and you can have the case in two-tone (rose gold coloring), steel, or a satin PVD black finish. The dials are wide, with a day and date display at three and the vertical banding common to the Multifort design. While I rather dig the look of the black/black model (and its fully black day/date window treatment), the style is really nothing new and the main story here is the inclusion of the Caliber 80 Si movement. Based on ETA's C07.821 movement, this current generation caliber has a lot to offer at this price point (thanks to the family connection between Swatch, ETA, and Mido). Ticking at 4 Hz, the Caliber 80 Si has the aforementioned 80-hour power reserve along with a silicon balance-spring, an ELINFLEX mainspring, upgraded finishing, and that COSC certification. Starting around $1,250 depending on the version and your choice of strap or bracelet, the Mido Multifort Chronometer has a lot to offer anyone who digs the look and cares about the specifics of the movements they wear. With a solid power reserve, some additional protection from magnetism via silicone, and the assurance of COSC performance, the new Multifort Chronometer is only about $250 more than a standard Multifort Automatic and offers a strong value for the caliber-minded among us. The Basics Brand: Mido Model: Multifort Chronometer Diameter: 42mm Thickness: 11.79mm Case Material: Steel Dial Color: Black or Silver Indexes: Applied Lume: Yes, indexes and hands Water Resistance: 100m Strap/Bracelet: leather, textile, or bracelet Three versions of the Mido Multifort Chronometer. The Movement Caliber: Mido Caliber 80 Si (ETA C07.821 base) Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date Diameter: 25.6mm Thickness: 5.22mm Power Reserve: ~80 hours Winding: Automatic Frequency: 21,600 vph Jewels: 25 Chronometer Certified: Yes, COSC Additional Details: ELINFLEX mainspring and silicon balance-spring. Pricing & Availability Price: $1,250 (leather), $1,290 (steel bracelet), $1,440 (two tone with gold plating) Availability: Fall 2018
  12. EdgyGuyJide

    RADIOMIR 1940 3 DAYS PANERAI

    NUANCES OF BLUE Inspired by the shades of blue seen in the sea and the sky, the Italian brand has transferred this beautiful colour to the dial of five new Radiomir 1940 3 Days models, only available in its network of stores. The many different models in the Panerai collections can be confusing. But if you look closer and pay attention, the coherence is obvious. And suddenly everything seems simpler! The five new Radiomir 1940 3 Days watches available for purchase in the network of the brand’s stores have several things in common: the colour of the dials in Sfumato-effect blue, the curved shape of the Arabic numerals interspersed with slender hour markers, the wide hands coated with lume, and of course, the cushion-shaped case with diameters varying between 42 and 47mm, and including the classic 45mm. The richness of this quintet of timepieces has an advantage: you will definitely find the watch of your dreams, both in terms of look and features. Because here there is something for everyone, from the most basic elements (hours and minutes in the centre, second hand at 9 o’clock) to the most complete (second time zone, day/night and power reserve indicators), from robust steel to elegant pink gold. Each case is watertight down to 100m (excepting the pink gold PAM 00934, which can only be immersed to 5ATM) and is decorated on the back by an undulating pattern like a cloud; an effect achieved by a metal plate placed on the sapphire glass and giving a glimpse of the mechanism. And talking of the mechanism, while three of the four movements driving the Radiomir 1940 3 Days are automatic (P.4000, P.4001 and P.4002), the PAM 00932 model is hand-wound. But all of them have a power reserve (with an indicator at 4.30 on the PAM 00946) of three days, or 72 hours, the minimum required by Panerai. Price: 9,000 CHF (PAM 00932) – 10,100 CHF (PAM00933) – 11,400 CHF (PAM 00945) – 11,800 CHF (PAM 00946) – 22,400 CHF (PAM 00934)
  13. We're back at it this week with another stacked selection, including several rare and important pioneering dive watches. From Tudor we've got one of the nicest Big Crowns to have surfaced in recent memory, and from Breitling, the dive watch that started it all for them. For those that choose to stay on land, we've also included a few dressier pieces as well, with an Omega originally sold in Portugal, an uncommon Universal Genève, and a simple Movado in remarkable condition. Buyer Beware is back too, with a shady-at-best chronograph. 1940s Movado Calatrava In True New Old Stock Condition You can tell a lot about a manufacture by the looks of their time-only calibers, and from your first glance at the hand-wound caliber 75, you can instantly tell that Movado wasn’t messing around in the 1940s. The movement stuns from architectural and aesthetic standpoints, and it is quite an efficient mechanism, too. While on the hunt for watches this week, I came across a time only Calatrava-style piece from Movado that just so happened to be powered by the aforementioned caliber. Oh, and it’s actually new old stock, with the box and hangtags all included. In the past we’ve discussed how the term "New Old Stock" gets thrown around all too often, but yet again, we’ve chanced upon a watch worthy of the title. This was a watch most likely intended to be sold via a Madrid-based watch retailer called Calvo, as one of the included original hang tags bears that name, but for some reason the watch looks to have never been worn. In addition to the case's sharply defined lines, the brushed finished on the caseback doesn't show a single mark or scuff on it. Whether you’re a scholarly collector looking to admire a never-worn watch, or someone who simply wants to wear a great looking, 35mm time-only piece with a legendary Movado caliber inside. A seller on eBay based in Boston, Massachusetts, is selling this Movado for $2,499 (a notable number in the watch world). You can also make an offer. Universal Genève Ref. 100110 In 18k Rose Gold Our next watch the week is something of an unusual abstract design. If you’re not a die-hard Universal Genève obsessive, this is going to be a bit of an acquired taste. As the saying goes, not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice. I think this watch is very much the same. During the 1950s, Universal Geneve produced what’s admittedly a bit of an oddball of a watch, but one worthy of your consideration, no less. This is the ref. 100110, which features a borderline medallion-esque bezel, which is much larger than the minuscule black and gold dial itself. Even more unconventional is the fact that the date window sits below the dial, and has its own aperture in the bezel. Everything on this watch checks out, as you’d expect, given that Universal Genève didn’t produce all that many pieces. Given the rarity, and the fact that we can’t remember the last time one of these came up for sale, it’s advisable that you chase this one down while you’ve got a shot (if it's to your taste, that is). This watch is available from Heritage Auctions and bidding on this watch starts at $1,500, plus buyer’s premium. The live auction takes place on October 24. Breitling SuperOcean Ref. 1004 With Original Bracelet As someone who appreciates vintage dive watches, both obscure and mainstream, I’ve always been fascinated with the numerous bezel designs that came out of the late 1950s and '60s. No vintage dive watch bezel discussion would be complete without mentioning Breitling’s famed SuperOcean either. The SuperOcean family might mean one thing in the world of modern Breitling, but this piece comes from the back catalo – in fact, it's the reference that launched the line back in 1957. This was essentially Breitling’s answer to the dive watch frenzy that the watch world was experiencing in the wake of the Fifty Fathoms, Submariner, Seamaster 300, and Deep Sea Alarm, among others. Fit with a concave bezel crafted out of Bakelite, this watch has a very bold look, with dagger-shaped luminous markers on the dial too. That slick bezel also serves to protect the domed acrylic crystal and all the radium found on the original black dial underneath. The bezel on this example is perfectly intact, and the dial and hands look honest and original. But what’s really outstanding is the presence of the original mesh bracelet, which is now both extremely hard to find and a signature trait of the SuperOcean line at large. You can’t ask for much more, can you? European Watch Company in Boston is selling this example of the ref. 1004 for $22,500. Tudor Big Crown Submariner Ref. 7924 Big Crowns are in many ways the pinnacles of Submariner collecting. Anyone who has had the distinct pleasure of wearing an example for even mere moments will know why too. Not only do the watches themselves embody early dive watch perfection, but they are legitimately rare watches too. You don’t see them surfacing for sale every other day. Often imitated, but never duplicated, there are many a questionable Big Crown circulating today, making truly honest examples beyond sought after. Heritage Auctions out of New York currently has this stunning example of the ref. 7924, which is of course the second Submariner reference to have ever been produced by Tudor, for just a single year in 1958. Coming directly from the family of the original owner, this is an honest, fresh-to-market piece, and an impressively preserved one, at that. Everything on the watch is original, and in terrific shape, looking exactly as you’d expect a well-kept watch of this era to appear. What’s worth noting is that the watch doesn’t necessarily look too perfect, with spot-on custard colored lume, which is a good thing, as this further speaks to the originality of the piece and the fact that it hasn’t been modified to yield a higher price at auction. All in all, it’s a world class example of one of the most iconic watches of all time. We’ll excitedly be following the bidding on this one, for sure. Heritage Auction has the pieces listed as part of their October 24 auction, and bidding starts at $40,000 plus buyer’s premium. Omega Ref. 3950 With Portuguese Provenance Beginning in 1951, Omega started production of a new, square shaped timepiece known as the ref. 3950, which they would produce for just three short years, ceasing in 1954. The watch was powered by the watchmaker’s already established and revered automatic caliber 342 movement, but it could be said that the true appeal was the ornate, 30.5mm rose gold case featuring an unusual lug shape and a square-ish profile. This has long been one of my favorite time-only pieces from Omega, and with good reason. On the wrist it just has incredible presence that's hard to describe here. While not exactly an easy watch to pull off, the ref. 3950 has loads of style, and it shows. While on the hunt, I was instantly drawn to this beyond clean example, which even includes the original certificate from Portugal, along with the corresponding import hallmarks on its case. The dial on this particular watch is pretty much perfect, which can be said with a decent amount of confidence since the seller has conveniently photographed the dial outside of the case. Though its not necessarily your run-of-the-mill vintage Omega, the Portuguese import hallmarks and included papers are impossibly cool, and help tell the watch’s story while reflecting the policies of their original intended market. Gary Haftel of Exposing Time is selling this example of the ref. 3950 on Instagram for $8,000. Buyer Beware: Hermès Military Monopusher Chronograph Picking up where we left off last week, it could be said that as far as dials with retailer signatures go, few are more highly coveted than those signed by the Parisian luxury goods house Hermès. They just about never pop up for sale, and when they do, they certainly don’t go unnoticed (nor do they go for cheap). Having said all this, the watch in question here is not the real deal. Allow me to walk you through a series of red flags. Let’s start with the case. As the seller does state, it’s chrome plated with a stainless steel caseback. This would be fine on plenty of watches, but not one signed Hermès. The few known vintage chronographs retailed by Hermès came from top quality watchmakers including Rolex and Universal Geèeve, and were, as you’d expect, produced in either stainless steel or precious metals. We’re talking about Hermès here, after all – chrome-plate doesn't exactly fit. Next up, direct your attention towards the Hermès signature itself, along with the dial as a whole. For a watch supposedly manufactured in the 1930s, the typeface is far too modern, and the inclusion of the word “Paris” is unusual. It’s also the only Hermès signature on the entire watch.
  14. The Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers department is where some of the firm's most elevated watchmaking happens, and where the company's top watchmakers and artisans are occupied with two basic activities: taking commissions and requests for one-of-a-kind and bespoke pieces (one of the most famous of which is the caliber 57260, which we covered in-depth on its launch, and which contains, by Vacheron's count, 57 complications, several of which are unique to the watch) and also with coming up with new ideas, both for mechanisms and designs. Ahead of SIHH 2019, Vacheron Constantin has announced two new Les Cabinotiers unique pieces, one of which you see here: the Grand Complication Phoenix, which takes as its mechanical engine one of Vacheron's most complicated movements. The movement is Vacheron's caliber 2755, which in addition to showing the time also includes a minute repeater, a tourbillon, and a perpetual calendar. In addition, there are a number of astronomical indications, including the Equation of Time, sunrise and sunset times, a sky chart with sidereal hours and minutes (sidereal time, you'll recall, is based on a day defined by the transit of a star rather than of the Sun) the age and phase of the Moon, the signs of the zodiac, and the seasons. The regular production version of the caliber 2755 (if you can speak of anything so highly complex and finely made as "regular") is in the Traditionnelle Collection and as the name might lead you to think, it's indeed very traditional in appearance – in terms of its design, the Traditionnelle Caliber 2755 is drawn from the same playbook as watches as diverse as the Graves Patek Super-Complication, the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication, and of course, from Vacheron's own history, the highly complicated pocket watch the firm completed for Egypt's King Farouk in 1946. On the reasonable notion that someone desiring such a complex mechanism might under some circumstances also prefer a case whose ornamentation was equal to the complexity of the movement, Les Cabinotiers have created the Grand Complication Phoenix, with a case deeply and richly engraved with a phoenix motif. Initial Thoughts There are probably as many personal philosophies with respect to how to handle the design of a highly complex watch as there are potential clients (or maybe more; to say that the Caliber 2755 requires rather more gold than my own purse currently holds is to say nothing at all but I'm still happy to offer opinions). There is certainly a good deal to be said for austerity – after all, a highly complex watch already has so much going on visually, that any additional ornamentation runs the risk of being too much of a good thing. In this instance, however, I'm inclined to go with the notion that more is more, not less. A complete suite of astronomical complications (in which I'd include the perpetual calendar, which after all needs to exist because the period of the Earth's rotation on its axis and the period of its orbit around the Sun are an irrational ratio) is already putting a capital P in Poetic and the fact that in this case, a more or less complete inventory of the night sky as seen from Earth, plus the ups and downs of the Sun and changing face of the Moon, are also traveling along with a minute repeater, does rather make for a mechanism that calls out for something equally poetically evocative to call home. The legend of the phoenix is a very ancient one, and seems to have originated in Ancient Egypt; in the 5th century BC, Herodotus wrote with some skepticism about what was already apparently a very old story. In its original form the phoenix seems to have been a solar deity, concerned with creation and regeneration and as such, it's a most appropriate motif for a watch that contains such a complete set of astronomical indications. (The mythical bird known in China as the fenghuang has some similarities to the phoenix as well – it's sometimes referred to as the Chinese phoenix, although there are significant differences as well between the legends of the fenghuang and phoenix, which arose independently). The engraving is extremely richly detailed, with the phoenix depicted in very deep bas-relief engraving on the pink gold case. A very dramatic, statement-piece wristwatch, it's a magnificent example of traditional decorative case engraving (one of the hallmarks of high-end Swiss and Genevan watchmaking) wedded to extremely challenging complicated watchmaking. The Basics Brand: Vacheron Constantin Model: Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix Reference Number: 9700C/003R-B187 Diameter: 47mm Thickness: 19.10mm Case Material: 18k pink gold Dial Color: Slate grey opaline Indexes: Applied pink gold hour markers Strap/Bracelet: Brown alligator strap The Movement Caliber: 2755 BOSS Functions: hours, minutes, seconds via one-minute tourbillon; Equation of Time, perpetual calendar, star chart, sidereal time, zodiac, age and phase of the Moon, sunrise and sunset Diameter: 33.9mm Thickness: 12.15mm Power Reserve: 58 hours Winding: Hand-wound; ebony-wood winding box provided Frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph) Jewels: 40 Pricing & Availability Price: Not available but presumably appropriate to the complexity and elaborateness of decoration of the watch Limited Edition: Unique piece See more at VacheronConstantin.com.
  15. THE TASTE OF VICTORY As the streets of Monaco are transformed into a motor-racing track, Chopard has produced two limited-edition chronographs with a level of elegance that all gentlemen drivers are sure to love. Since 2002, Chopard has sponsored the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco. The event is organised every two years in tandem with the legendary Formula 1 race and is now a highlight in the calendar for all fans of classic sports cars. This is a chance to admire perfectly preserved vintage cars racing in a unique atmosphere. The brand was the partner and official timekeeper for the 11th race in May and launched a watch epitomising the spirit of the race. Two versions of the Grand Prix De Monaco Historique 2018 Race Edition chronograph are available. 100 watches have been made of the model combining rose gold, steel and titanium. The other watch comes in 250 pieces and is made of steel and titanium. The various materials elegantly embellish the 44.5mm-wide case, the crown, bezel and the piston-shaped monopushers. The chronograph hands, the central second hand and the hands in the two blue totalisers at 12 and 6 o’clock are coloured orange, providing visual dynamism. The same colour can be seen on the topstitching of the blue leather or NATO strap. The bezel and the tachymetric scale combine the two colours to give the watch a real sports feel. The watch design might evoke the past, but the calibre inside driving the time elements and the date display at 3 o’clock is very contemporary. The self-winding movement is also certified by the COSC, guaranteeing accuracy. Price: 6,800 EUR (steel and titanium) – 10,300 EUR (pink gold, steel and titanium) chopard.com
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