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Everything posted by EdgyGuyJide

  1. Those keeping a watchful eye on my byline (and perhaps my Instagram) will know that I have become somewhat obsessed with the sheer fun and bravado of gold watches, especially those in yellow gold and of the vintage persuasion. While my chances of ownership could be represented by a number rapidly approaching zero (there are so many cameras I'm yet to own), when given the chance to preview some of the highlight lots for Christie's upcoming Geneva Rare Watches Auction, you know I couldn't help but put together a list of my favorite gold options. From pocket watches given new life to two-tone numbers with pop provenance and some solid gold from the Crown, these are just a few picks from an impressive offering slated to hit the block later this month. Rolex Oyster Chronograph Ref. 3525 – Once Part Of The Andy Warhol Collection Dating back to 1943, this lovely 35mm steel chronograph has a two-tone treatment in pink gold for the crown, bezel, center links, and the side elements of its riveted stretch bracelet. Originally owned by pop art icon Andy Warhol, this ref. 3525 is a gorgeous example of an incredibly collectible pre-Daytona chronograph with a lovely silver-tone dial and rose gold accents. Pre-auction estimates put this piece of chronographic art at a cool $195,000- $300,000. Vacheron Constantin Five Minute Repeating Single Button Chronograph (That Used To Be A Pocket Watch!) Two lifetimes of history cased in 37.5mm of 18k yellow gold, this gorgeous Vacheron has a heart that dates back to 1899, when the movement was originally installed in a pocket watch. Fast forward to 1956 when Vacheron re-cased the same movement in a period dress watch with a lovely two-tone dial (with a salmon center, no less). Undeniably special, the movement in question is Vacheron Constantin's RA 14, making possible a repeater slide on the left case flank and a monopusher chronograph pusher fitted into the crown at three. With supporting paperwork from Vacheron, this subtle but very complex piece carries an estimate of $195,000 - $400,000. Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph One of my favorite Patek Philippe chronographs, this third series 2499 dates to 1977 and it's just head-shakingly good. At 37.6mm wide in 18k yellow gold, this hand-wound chronograph also boasts a full perpetual calendar and moon phase. Originally born in 1950, the 2499 matured across four series, with the third series being identifiable for its baton markers, pump pushers, and the lack of a tachymeter scale. With an estimate of $490,000 to $790,000, this 2499 may not be as rare as some of its siblings, but it's still a remarkably special watch. Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Ref. 6241 In 14k Yellow Gold Did you think I'd do this list without a gold Paul Newman Daytona on a riveted expanding bracelet? Shame. While I'm not generally a chronograph guy, I do love an early Daytona and none more so than those in solid gold. This mega cool example is a reference 6241 that dates back to 1969 and has a 37.5mm case and a bracelet that ensures near endless smile-value. While this example had its bracelet un-pinned (likely to keep non-landowners like myself from trying it on), I have had the pleasure of wearing a vintage gold Daytona, and for me they are an absolute grail. I know it's little more than a cliche, but I love this watch and choose to ignore its $350,000 to $540,000 estimate. Patek Philippe Pocket Watch Once Owned By Jean-Adrien Philippe (Co-founder Of The Brand) Talk about provenance, this pocket watch dates back to 1888 and was once owned by Jean-Adrien Philippe, aka the "Philippe" in Patek Philippe. At 50mm wide in 18k pink gold, this classic looking pocket watch sports a keyless lever and a complex two-train dead-beat center seconds complication. With an intricate "JAP" engraving on the outer case back, the initial hinged cover opens to show an inner case back signed "Jean Adrien Philippe, 5 Janvier 1894." If you ask nicely, someone might pop open the inner case back, offering a view of the Cal 19 hand-wound movement within. This piece of horological history has a pre-auction estimate of $50,000 to $100,000. Rolex Perpetual 'Padellone' Ref. 8171 It's hard to say with this auction, but I may have saved my favorite lot for last. Just look at it. This is a 1950 Rolex ref. 8171 triple calendar with moonphase. It's 38mm wide with a paper-like white dial and a sub-seconds register over a lovely moon phase display. Fitted to this period-correct high tan Rolex leather strap, it just calls to me. On wrist, this 8171 is a very special mix of casual, elegant, and entirely over-the-top. Beautifully proportioned and entirely low-key, this 8171 is the epitome of my idea of "grandpa charm." Nothing this cool is cheap, and this 8171 carries an estimate of $250,000 to $540,000.
  2. When I say the phrase "it's auction season," your mind probably goes straight to the catalogs of Phillips, Christie's, Sotheby's, and the like. But it's important to remember that those aren't the only sellers in the game and that digging through the online listings of lesser-known houses can sometimes yield some pretty fun results. Case in point: this is a stainless steel Rolex Datejust once owned by legendary actor Marlon Brando, and it's engraved with a nod to his most storied role on the back. Are there some unanswered questions? Sure. But is it still a cool little watch worth taking a look at? Absolutely. First up, the watch itself: What you're looking at is a pretty standard steel Datejust with an engine-turned stainless steel bezel. This style pre-dates those DJs with a fluted white gold bezel, and this example dates to the late 1960s or early '70s. Condition looks pretty good, with the dial's lume plots intact, the open-sixes and open-nines date wheel, and no obvious re-finishing to worry about. There's no steel bracelet paired with the watch, but that's easily fixable later if you want one. The auction listing says that the watch is 31mm across, which is definitely not the case – make of that information what you will. The important thing with this watch, though, is the provenance. According to the Beverley Hills–based GWS Auctions, this watch was given to Marlon Brando after he won the 1973 Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Brando famously declined that award, though the film won two other Oscars that year (Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay) while being nominated for an additional eight awards. The engraving reads "Vito's/MB," so you've got both the character and the actor represented. The watch comes to GWS from an owner who says they acquired the watch from The Godfather costume designer Patricia Norris, to whom Brando gifted the watch in 1976 after they had developed a friendship. There is a letter of authenticity from the current owner, confirming they bought it from Norris's family after her death, though there is not any letter confirming how the watch got to her. When provenance is the main contributor of value to a watch, establishing the chain of possession is important – without any paperwork confirming that Brando owned the watch or gave it to Norris, you do have to take a small leap of faith here, but unless prices go totally crazy it shouldn't be too big a jump. This watch is Lot 10 in GWS Auctions' Archives of Hollywood & Music auction, with live bidding opening at 10:00 AM PST on May 11. At time of publishing, the pre-bidding is at $2,600.
  3. For the most part, when flipping through auction catalogs you're greeted by variations on themes. Sure, this season's top Submariner might be a little nicer than last season's (or not) or the dial on that Patek Philippe ref. 2526 is double-signed and paired with a stellar bracelet. Those watches are great, believe me, but sometimes I find myself searching for something new. I want something fresh to sink my teeth into. This go-around, Phillips delivered big time, offering up two watches by 20th century master George Daniels, just two lots apart from one another, in the same auction. On the more extreme end is the one and only Daniels Grand Complication Pocket Watch, which has only been seen once before at auction, and on the ever-so-slightly tamer side of things is one of just 35 Co-Axial Anniversary wristwatches. If you like independent watchmaking, crazy historical horology, or even just things you probably haven't seen before, you should be excited. Like, very excited. Let's take a look at each one. Grand Complication Pocket Watch George Daniels pocket watches are arguably the horological masterpieces of the 20th century. Personally, despite the practical constraints, I'm inclined to say that they are. Among the Daniels watches, there are two that stand out from the rest: the Space Traveller and the Grand Complication (technically three, since two Space Travellers were made). What we've got here is the latter and it's...well, grand. When you first look at the Grand Complication, the main dial is pretty straightforward. You've got a large time display with a dramatic sub-seconds register at the bottom; an instantaneous jumping perpetual calendar that includes a retrograde date display on a silver track that swoops from eight o'clock to four o'clock; nested month and leap year indicators at 10 o'clock; a day of the week indicator at two o'clock; a moonphase at 12 o'clock; and, most unusually, a Centigrade thermometer arching across the top of the seconds sub-dial. It's all right there, easily spelled out on the stunningly finished dial with its guilloché and engine turning. Looking at the side you'll notice a repeater slide too. No big deal. When you turn the watch over, you'll find a little window giving you a glimpse at a few more important indicators. With the keyless works facing up, you've got the equation of time at left, the annual calendar at the top, and the power reserve on the right. At the bottom, you get a glimpse of the one-minute tourbillon, which has a co-axial escapement at its heart. You might assume that all Daniels pocket watches have a co-axial escapement, but you'd be wrong. In fact, more than half of his pocket watches used detent escapements or double wheel chronometer escapements. Opening the caseback of the pocket watch gives you a better look at the gilt movement and the large tourbillon. Everything here is typically English, looking nothing like a high-end watch you find from the Vallée de Joux. Finished in 1987, this watch was made in the signature Daniels way, which means he did absolutely everything himself. The hands, the dial, the movement components, and even the chain were all made by Daniels. The only two components he didn't make himself on the Isle of Man are the crystal and the hairspring. Not bad. This watch was kept and worn by Daniels during his lifetime. It only came up for public sale as part of the Daniels estate collection at Sotheby's London in 2012. I was actually in the room for that sale and can safely say it's one of the more memorable horological events I've had the pleasure of attending. The Grand Complication sold for £914,850, which was over $1.4 million at the time. Phillips is not giving an estimate for the watch this time around, and I honestly have no idea where it will land. I could equally see it selling for a comparable $1.5 million or $10 million. It really depends who is in the room and who's hunting for something special. The George Daniels Grand Complication is lot 34 in the sale and you can see the full listing here. Co-Axial Anniversary Wristwatch George Daniels didn't make many watches during his career. He only completed 27 of his entirely hand-made watches, and less than a handful of those were wristwatches. Toward the end of his life, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of inventing the co-axial escapement, he teamed up with his protégé, Roger W. Smith, to make a limited series of 35 wristwatches. They were co-designed by Daniels and Smith and then made by Smith's workshop to Daniels' specifications. So, sure, this isn't technically a full-blown, 100% George Daniels watch, but as a co-production by Daniels and Smith some would consider it just as compelling (if not even more so). The Co-Axial Anniversary watch has a 40mm yellow gold case in a traditional, reserved style. The dial is decorated with true hand-done guilloché in a mix of overlapping patterns punctuated by gold chapter rings for the hours/minutes, seconds, power reserve, and date. It looks like only a Daniels or Smith can look. The details are wonderfully executed, but with just enough slight imperfection so as to give it that wabi sabi vibe that tells you it was actually made by hand and not "made by hand." The movement is similarly fashioned, with old-school frosted finishes that recall the golden era of British watchmaking and, of course, a co-axial escapement. Phillips has this Daniels Anniversary watch listed with an estimate of $181,000-363,000. Last time one sold at auction was at Bonhams in 2016, where it fetched approximately $293,000 (converted from Pounds Sterling, since the auction was in London). And, in fact, it was this exact piece that changed hands back then. If you're skeptical, check out the serial number engraved right onto one of the bridges – this watch is No. 24 out of a series of 35. With prices for high-end, small-batch independent watches steadily rising over the last few years, it's hard to imagine this watch hammering close to the top of its estimate range, if not a bit above it. Remember, there are only 35 of these and the people who own them tend to be some of the more die-hard collectors around. I don't think we're going to start seeing one pop up per auction season or anything like that, so if you want one your opportunities to make ownership a reality are few and far between.
  4. What is Breguet known for? For the majority of readers of this site, this question will probably bring a few answers to mind: Certainly, it's known for its eponymous founder, one the greatest watchmakers of all time and probably the single best known practitioner of the horological arts. It's also known for its classical designs, some of which have been adapted from historically interesting pocket watches in order to function as wristwatch designs. It's known for its complications – chief among them the tourbillon, which A.L Breguet himself invented. And it's known for its dials – most often of the hand guilloché type, made by artisans in-house in the Vallé de Joux on antique rose engines. (I've never seen a place, in Switzerland or elsewhere, where so many of these machines are in use.) Less frequently talked about but equally impressive in the Breguet catalog are its grand feu enamel dials. Today, we're going hands-on with a watch equipped with one such dial made in a beautiful blue tone. The Classique 5711 Grand Feu Blue Enamel came out earlier this year, but it's quite possible you missed this release; Breguet did not participate in Baselworld, and this reference was rolled out in a soft launch back in February. It's a 38mm white gold automatic dress watch with a finely fluted case and a crown signed with the Breguet "B." While this specific take on the Classique 5177 with its dial in blue enamel is new, the reference itself has been around for over a decade and is a mainstay of the Breguet catalog. With its straight, narrow lugs, minimalist aesthetic, and its use of open-tipped Breguet hands, which Breguet calls "moon-tipped," the 5177 is easily among Breguet's best-known modern watches. While certainly not an uncommon quality for a Breguet dress watch, there is a restrained, conservative aesthetic at play here that I for one find calming and reassuring. The dial seems to be where this aesthetic is most deeply felt, starting with its rich blue color, which was inspired by the blued steel watch hands typically found on the 5177. That color has effectively been transposed to the dial itself, and rhodium-plated steel Breguet hands have been employed to provide visual contrast and optimize legibility. Similar to traditionally blued steel watch hands, this watch's dial is achieved through the application of heat, in this case extreme heat. The unique grain of a grand feu enamel is achieved by subjecting the enamel powder to kiln firings in excess of 800 degrees Celsius; during these firings, the pigments have to remain constant. Moreover, the enamel itself mustn't warp or crack. This of course can and often does happen, and dials with errors have to be discarded. I think our photographs here capture the essence of this special dial quite well, but a grand feu enamel dial, with all its nuance, really is one of those things that you have to see in person to fully grasp. Near the six o'clock position, there is a "secret signature" etched into the dial. Such signatures have been a feature of certain Breguet timepieces since 1795, when it was created by A.-L. Breguet himself. You can't see it just by casually looking at the dial, of course. If you could, it wouldn't be a secret. You have to closely inspect it and tilt it the light just the right way. There is a rigid adherence to design language that marks many Breguet dress watches. Beyond the dial, with its open-tipped hands and its Breguet numerals, there is the already familiar 5177 case. The two most prominent aspects of this design are its fluted caseband and its lugs, which lend an antique look to the watch, as if recalling a pocket watch whose lugs might have been fused on as an afterthought. And indeed, these lugs are not part of a single block of metal with the case. They've been welded on to it to achieve a look that is right in line with the Breguet Classique range. The caliber 777Q is a modern take on classic watchmaking. It's nicely decorated and finished in the traditional manner that marks Breguet watches, but it has some modern updates in the form of silicon components, including for the hairspring, the escape wheel, and the lever. These lend an amagnetic quality to the watch as a whole and also help the movement to run more smoothly with less lubrication. Breguet was an early adopter of silicon technology, and the company has fully committed to its use. There is a dichotomy at play when you see an enamel or a guilloché dial sitting atop a movement with silicon components, but Breguet, for its part, embraces it. Caliber 777Q runs at a standard frequency of 4 Hz and has a power reserve of 55 hours. The rotor here is in white gold, and it has a nice wave pattern that makes up for the lack of guilloché decoration on the dial. I had the chance to try the Classique 5177 on for a few minutes during a visit to New York's Breguet boutique, and I found that it wore quite comfortably. If you've never tried on a 5177, the lugs have what you might expect would be a fairly rigid, unergonomic structure to them. You might be a bit surprised by the watch's comfort; it felt great on my seven-inch wrist. The Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel ticks all the boxes that lovers of Breguet design codes want and expect, but with a bit of a twist on what has been done by Breguet in the past. The retail price is $23,700.
  5. EYEFUL OF BLUE Exclusively available in the brand’s boutiques, this stylish limited edition revisits a classic which stands out for both its technical and aesthetic qualities. A Blancpain must-have, the Perpetual Calendar from the Villeret collection is unveiled in a new guise this year with a refined limited edition combining a 40.3 mm platinum case with a sublime midnight blue dial The ultimate in classic watchmaking, this complete calendar simultaneously displays the date, the day of the week, the month and leap year information in a rare easy-to-read format. The main advantage of these skillfully displayed indications is that there is no need to correct them until the next century. In this purely aesthetic advancement, the time information is located in the traditional positions at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock. These are completed with a moon phase at 6 o’clock. Despite these complications, adjustment is not difficult. The brand has patented an easy adjustment system using correctors beneath the horns which make it possible to move the hands of the calendar by simply pressing the small levers located on the back of the case. All the information of this sophisticated calendar including the central second hand and the delicate leaf-shaped hour and minute hands are powered by the 5954 caliber which is revealed through the sapphire case back. This self-winding movement provides an ample power reserve of 72 hours. The 88 pieces of this exclusive edition each come with an alligator strap in the same shade as the dial and a folding buckle. Price: 61,870 CHF blancpain.com
  6. THE OBJECT OF EVERYONE’S DESIRE If you haven’t experienced raptures of the deep, opt for a less perilous intoxication with this limited edition which has a unique composition: three rare and sophisticated materials. Unveiled in 1993, the Seamaster Diver 300M stands out through its ability to explore the underwater depths. Its helium valve, easy-to-read luminescent hands and index markers, 300-meter water-resistant case, unidirectional bezel and screw-in crown make this a true divers’ watch. During its launch, Omega used a material with a blue-gray tone rarer than gold: tantalum. Harder than steel and extremely resistant to corrosion, it is however difficult to work, and can be a true ordeal for some! Cast aside despite its attributes, this metal was reintroduced into production in this 2500-piece limited edition Seamaster Diver 300M Titanium Tantalum. The bezel is therefore in tantalum and tops a case back made this time of titanium. SednaTM gold, an alloy combining gold, copper, and palladium, has also been added to reinforce this pleasing aesthetic identity. Inside the 42 mm case is a decidedly contemporary caliber. The self-winding Master Chronometer 8806 movement is hailed for its performance (a power reserve of 55 hours) and meets the demanding criteria established by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). It is also capable of resisting magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss without impairing its function. Turning the timepiece over reveals its oscillating weight through the sapphire case back. The Seamaster Diver 300M Titanium Tantalum comes with a strap combining the three materials. Price: 12,200 EUR omegawatches.com
  7. AN INDELIBLE MARK 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when Man first set foot on the moon, wearing a Speedmaster. Half a century later, the Bienne watchmaker is paying homage to the courage of the three space explorers by offering a 6969-piece limited edition. On 21 July 1969, three American astronauts soared into the night sky as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to set foot on the moon, 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong, his Speedmaster strapped around the sleeve of his white suite. Approved by NASA in 1965, the Omega watch has now become legendary. Half a century after this moonwalk, the watchmaker is commemorating the anniversary with the release of the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, a model produced in only 6969 pieces. This new watch has a 42 mm steel case with a bezel in MoonshineTM Gold – an alloy that has a paler hue and a higher resistance to discoloration compared to traditional yellow gold – covering a black ceramic ring and a CeragoldTM MoonshineTM tachymeter scale. The back of this robust case has been blackened and then laser-engraved with a footprint of the astronaut, accompanied by Armstrong’s famous quote inscribed in gold: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind“. On the black dial dominated by a dark gray grained disk, the faceted index markers, including the number 11 in Arabic numerals symbolizing the Apollo mission, and the hour and minute hands are in MoonshineTM gold. The running seconds are displayed on a subdial at 9 o’clock forged from the same material then darkened before being laser-engraved with the silhouette of an astronaut descending from the module, in a scene captured some moments before setting foot on the moon 50 years ago. The chronograph function information is found in the center for the seconds, at 3 o’clock for the minutes and at 6 o’clock for the hours. The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is powered by the self-winding Master Chronometer 3861 caliber which offers a power reserve of 50 hours. Price: CHF 9,600 omegawatches.com
  8. UPSIDE DOWN At the latest edition of Baselworld, the surprises kept on coming. This offering from Kari Voutilainen stands out through its unique reversed structure. The line dividing art and craftsmanship is sometimes very fine in watchmaking. Revealing the Voutilainen 28 Ti watch leads us to this position with no clear limit. With the dial-less time information, the beauty lies in the mechanics. Two Breguet stylized hands pass over a tiered composition. An impressive 13.60 mm balance wheel regulates its elegant and steady rhythm. In symmetry, the highly polished pinions and wheels placed on platinum reinforce the unique aesthetics of the watch. All this combined produces a visual harmony that is hard to take your eyes off. Each element plays a role in this artwork produced by hand by experienced craftsmen in the Finnish watchmaker’s studios based in Switzerland. But as if by magic, there is a further sense of mystery. For this, you have to turn over the watch to reveal it through the sapphire case back. A small second and a semicircular power reserve indicator can be seen in an arrangement giving pride of place once more to the mechanism. In the 39 mm titanium dial beats a manual-winding movement, composed of 299 elements, with a reversed architecture inspired by the remarkable series of 2011 which came from Voutilainen’s fertile imagination, the Vingt-8. Once wound, this precise caliber offers a generous power reserve of 65 hours. To complete this creation made entirely by hand, the 28 Ti comes with a comfortable crocodile strap. Price: 86,000 CHF
  9. ONE WATCH PER DECADE On the 50th anniversary of the Monaco chronograph, TAG Heuer has decided to mark each decade of its iconic model by unveiling a new limited edition. Here we focus on the first of its five watches. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of TAG Heuer‘s ultimate watch: the Monaco model. Launched simultaneously in New York and Geneva on March 3, 1969, this square automatic chronograph was swiftly adopted by Swiss racing driver Jo Siffert (1936-1971) then worn by the American actor Steve McQueen (1930-1980) in the film Le Mans (1971). Extending the festivities throughout the year, the brand has decided to celebrate this half century by releasing five timely series each inspired by a decade of the famous watch. The new Monaco 1969-1979 Limited Edition model available in only 169 pieces is the first of this anniversary series. Unveiled in Monaco on May 24, the time piece is powered by a modernized version of its original automatic movement, the 11 caliber. This engine, which offers a power reserve of 40 hours, is located in the famous square steel case (39 x 39 mm) and is water resistant up to 100 m with a crown at 9 o’clock and pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. The khaki green dial is finished with vertical Geneva stripes and accompanied by a minute counter interspersed at five-minute intervals with yellow batons and mahogany. The hour index markers are silver, polished and faceted. In the center, the metallic and luminescent hour and minute hands are tipped with an arrow in brownish red, a warm shade which is also picked up in the second hand of the chronograph. Two dark gray counters with a sunray effect display the small seconds, highlighted in yellow at 3 o’clock, and the minutes of the chronograph at 9 o’clock. To complete it, the date is displayed at 6 o’clock. This Monaco 1969-1979 Limited Edition comes with an aged brown perforated calfskin strap and a steel folding buckle. Price: 6,400 CHF www.tagheuer.com
  10. OFF TO A GOOD START During the Voiles de Saint-Barth sailing competition, Pierre Casiraghi, patron of the event and Richard Mille ambassador, wore on his wrist this practical series made for sailing the Seven Seas. Let us explain. During a regatta, crossing the line first is essential to take advantage of downwind conditions before your competitors and take control of the race. To assist sailors, Richard Mille has drawn on its expertise acquired on land by developing the RM 60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph. In addition to its capacity to measure short time lapses with ease thanks to its flyback function and its automatic caliber, the watchmakers knew how to meet the needs of sport lovers no matter where they find themselves on the planet. A rotating bezel placed on the 50 mm titanium case provides a multitude of indications including a wind rose orientating the four points of the compass. Two colored scales, in yellow and green, provide important information at the start. One displays degrees up to 360, the other displays 24 hours. To use this feature, you need to know the local time and the position of the sun. To calculate your position, you must then move the UTC indicator in the direction of the sun using the pusher at 9 o’clock. The second step involves turning the bezel until the UTC hand is in line with the local time marked on the outer ring of the bezel. Once complete, the North, South, East and West graduations on the bezel will be aligned with the four points of the compass. This function works with ease in both the north and south hemispheres. The RM 60-01 Regatta also features a countdown timer at 9 o’clock in the form of a 60-minute graduated skeletonized disc. This totaliser displays the minutes elapsed and the minutes remaining. Ready to tack? Price: EUR 161,500 richardmille.com
  11. MECHANICAL RIFF This tattooed rebel spirit creation celebrates 10 years since the Swiss manufacturer opened its first boutique in the world in Paris. Switch on the guitars! It is now almost 10 years since Hublot opened its first store at 271, Rue Saint-Honoré. This choice did not happen by chance. For some years, Laurent Picciotto was working just a stone’s throw away in his den, Chronopassion, as a distributor of quirky and charismatic watches. The manufacturer called on his energy to open its boutique. Then, it was only natural for Hublot to ask him to design a commemorative limited edition. Passionate about fine watchmaking and a talented musician, Laurent Picciotto is also known for his rock ‘n’ roll spirit and his passion for guitars. He loves this instrument so much that he has invested in the Wild Customs venture which brings together highly skilled luthiers. Their craft for personalization was sought for decorating the Classic Fusion Wild Customs. As with a previous model, the Classic Fuente, the engraving is given pride of place. The timepiece mixes the Art Deco style of the Empire State Building with a rock ‘n’ roll spirit through the use of mini skulls. The second hand in the shape of a lightning bolt is also a glimpse into the electric universe that Laurent Picciotto holds dear to his heart. Its color is a nod to the characteristic surfgreen of the legendary Stratocasters. The limited edition is available in two materials, one in black brushed titanium, and the other in bronze. The 45 mm case of both versions houses a self-winding movement (with a power reserve of 42 hours). Price: EUR 14,400 (titanium) – EUR 16,500 (bronze) www.hublot.com
  12. FOR A GREENER WORLD In homage to Minerva’s prestigious past, the 1858 collection welcomes a new limited-edition traveler’s watch ideal for crossing the globe. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles in search of adventure. Simply place the khaki green 1858 Geosphere by Montblanc on your wrist for a breath of fresh air. The dial is colored green. More than just a trend, this shade symbolizes the link with nature and is combined with bronze to give this traveler’s watch an accentuated vintage look. The 42 mm bronze case has a polished and satin finish. Its bidirectional bronze and green ceramic bezel is characterized by the engraved compass points. The two hemispheres from the original model are also included. Both stylish and practical, they show world time at a glance using a scale with the 24 time zones and day/night display. While the North turns counterclockwise, the South moves in the same direction as the hour and minute hands. The second time zone at 9 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock complete the time information. All these functions are powered by the MB29.25 caliber. This mechanical self-winding movement provides 42 hours of power once wound. It is also protected by a bronze-coated titanium case back engraved with the inscription Spirit of Mountain Exploration. Limited to 1858 pieces, this new version of the 1858 Geosphere is accompanied by a robust khaki NATO strap to follow you in your quest for exploration. To check their reliability and precision, they have all undergone the Montblanc Laboratory 500 Hours Test. Price: EUR 5,900
  13. DOUBLE IMPACT Switch to color and make a statement! That is the suggestion of this fully independent brand with its new series of chronographs in sharp lines. The Abyss collection has taken us to a sporty, technological and masculine realm since 2005. In 2014, hints of color gave the timepieces an extra splurge of dynamism. Continuing this contemporary approach, Hysek is enhancing its catalog with two new versions of its Abyss 44 mm Chronograph. The first combines a predominantly black color scheme with hints of yellow on the chronograph and small second counters. Its strap bears a double colored line with calf leather inlay in a sports car inspired color scheme. The same solar shades are used in the inner bezel to illuminate the center of the dial. The second version offers a completely different color scheme in predominantly purple. This style gives the watch an elegant yet quirky charm. Like the collection’s previous creations, the hour circle contains four Arabic numerals covered in luminescent material. The two models also have a bezel encrusted with a sapphire disc. The 44 mm titanium case houses a self-winding movement comprising 170 components. Once wound, this caliber regulated to vibrate at a frequency of 28 800 oscillations per hour displays the time, date and a short timer with a power reserve of 42 hours. To guarantee uncompromising comfort to the wearer, the rotating lugs mold to the wrist perfectly. The alligator strap is fastened with a folding buckle. Price: CHF 8,185 (black – yellow) – CHF 8,725 (purple) hysek.com
  14. A MUSICAL SCORE IN MAJOR MODE From the SIHH in Geneva until October, a 25-piece limited edition is being unveiled on the 24th of every month to celebrate a quarter of a century of manufacture. A philharmonic orchestra cannot function without talented musicians and a strict conductor who can lead them to perfection. Since 24 October 1994, the official date of its renaissance with the launch of the Lange 1, A. Lange & Söhne has performed this role by using a collection of mechanical features to set the benchmark in fine watchmaking. To mark a quarter of a century, the German company is unveiling various limited edition models this year. One of these is the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar “25th Anniversary” topped with a solid silver dial. Like the original 2012 model, the time information, which is blue in this model, is displayed off center. This unique layout ensures optimum readability combined with an outsize date, the mechanical and stylistic signature feature of the manufacturer. It also conveniently tells the months on the rotating outer ring of the dial and the day of the week with a retrograde marker at 10 o’clock. A small window at 6 o’clock provides leap year information. The moon phases are displayed at 7 o’clock with precision for 122.6 years. This arrangement is masterfully directed by the L08.01 caliber (with a power reserve of 50 hours). The complex self-winding movement comprising 624 components uniquely incorporates a tourbillon visible through the sapphire case back of the 41.9 mm white gold case. Turning the watch over, the owner also discovers the oscillating gold rotor. Each piece is numbered and engraved from 01/25 to 25/25 and comes with a blue alligator strap with a folding buckle. Price: EUR 324,500
  15. Z IS FOR ZAGATO With this limited edition, Chopard is celebrating 100 years of one of the most creative designers of race cars to win the legendary Mille Miglia rally between Brescia and Rome. To mark Zagato’s centenary, Chopard is paying vibrant homage to this family business which also shares a passion for cars. This takes the shape of a 100-piece limited edition with curves and finery as elegant as those designed by the legendary Italian coachbuilder. The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph 100th Anniversary Edition comes with an intense red lacquered dial, the signature color of the Milan-based studio, covered with a design using the Z of the company logo. The time information components are laid out in the traditional manner inherent to the collection’s timepieces. The faceted, rhodium-plated, baton-shaped hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova® and point to the markers arranged on the outer ring. Two counters, together with the red-tipped central second hand provide an easy-to-read short timer. A small second at 3 o’clock and a date window at 4:30 complete the set. A tachymeter scale adds a vintage touch to the creation. The 42 mm steel case contains a self-winding movement equipped with a stop-second function. The caliber is regulated to vibrate at a frequency of 28 000 oscillations per hour and offers a power reserve of 42 hours. As with all the watches in production, its chronometer is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Another interesting feature is the cuff strap in black calf leather. Price: EUR 6,330 chopard.com
  16. While this is a watch that you almost certainly didn't expect to see from Laurent Ferrier, the Tourbillon Grand Sport is all about celebrating a trio of anniversaries that are integral to the creation and perspective of the brand. So forget what you know about LF – this watch is LF through and through. The three crucial events this piece celebrates are the 1979 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which Laurent Ferrier and brand co-founder François Servanin placed third overall; the 2009 founding of Laurent Ferrier as a brand; and the 2009 conception of the brand's first tourbillon, which has become its calling card. Yeah, there's a lot wrapped up in this one. The watch itself is a 44mm stainless steel number with a new case shape that sits somewhere between tonneau and cushion, still with LF's signature curves and onion crown. In case you weren't sure about the "sport" in the name, it's mounted on a rubber strap and it has a dial punctuated by bright flashes of orange Super-LumiNova, so you can read it in any conditions. The dial is a smoked brown color that fades from almost silver at the center, to a dark warm brown at the edges. Turning the watch over, you'll find a caliber LF 619.01 finished in a striking ruthenium color (similar to a certain other Laurent Ferrier LE...) and with the brand's double spiral tourbillon mechanism down at the bottom. It's totally superlative and a nice balance between traditional watchmaking and modern aesthetics. The Tourbillon Grand Sport is a limited edition of just 12 pieces and the brand is saying that they won't be making anything quite like this in the future, so it's truly limited. Initial Thoughts All right, let's get this out of the way up front: Yes, the Tourbillon Grand Sport does have a bit of a Nautilus/Aquanaut look to it, but can you really be all that surprised that the man who spent more than 35 years in product develop at Patek Philippe would gravitate towards these kinds of shapes when making his first sport watch? If that bothers you, there's not really any way to argue, but I personally don't think that's a disqualifying factor for this watch. The shape of the case, in fact, is what I find most striking about the Tourbillon Grand Sport. The shape is kind of beguiling. It's not round, it's not square, it's not a pure cushion – it's something all its own. LF is a brand that tends to get the details right and I like the way the sharp edges of the lugs contrast with the smooth curves of the bezel, especially up around the corners. The balance is on-point. Likewise, the gradient of the dial and the way the color plays off the rubber strap is extremely elegant. I might have opted for a less dominating color for the lume, given my druthers, but that's very much a personal choice. At 44mm this guy is large, and I'd also have loved to see it closer to 40mm, but it wears rather well and much more like a 42mm watch than a typical 44mm round watch. My favorite thing though? The pure "eff you" quotient that you get by putting a superlatively finished, tourbillon-equipped movement like this in a sport watch. The obvious way to go would be the typical automatic micro-rotor caliber, but no, LF went all-out here in a way that I can fully get behind. The Basics Brand: Laurent Ferrier Model: Tourbillon Grand Sport Reference Number: LCF041 Diameter: 44mm Case Material: Stainless steel Dial Color: Brown gradient with nickel opaline finish at the center Indexes: Applied white gold daggers Lume: Yes, orange Super-LumiNova on hands and hour markers Water Resistance: 100 meters Strap/Bracelet: Taupe rubber strap with stainless steel folding clasp The Movement Caliber: LF 619.01 Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, double-spiral tourbillon Diameter: 31.6mm Thickness: 5.57mm Power Reserve: 80 hours Winding: Manually wound Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph) Jewels: 23 Total Components: 188 Chronometer Certified at the Besançon Observatory Additional Details: Special ruthenium treatment to plates and bridges Pricing & Availability Price: $185,000 Availability: From June 2019 Limited Edition: 12 numbered pieces
  17. Originally previewed earlier this year (hence the snow in a few of the photos), Oris has announced the official launch of the first non-limited Divers Sixty-Five chronograph. Essentially a mix of the format previously established by the bronze Carl Brashear chronograph of 2018 crossed with the general look and feel of the 40mm steel and bronze Diver Sixty-Five, the new Diver Sixty-Five Chronograph is 43mm in steel with bronze and rose gold accents. The Brashear limited editions (one chronograph, one time/date diver) have proven to be hot tickets within the Oris mind share so it was really just a matter of time until the brand decided to offer a non-limited expression of the design. Following closely to the bronze/steel three-hand Divers Sixty-Five, the Chrono has a bronze bezel with a black aluminum insert surrounding a no-date two-register chronograph layout. With a gilt application over a black dial, the Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph is legible and offers 100m water resistance (the same as the original Divers Sixty-Five, which I have personally used while diving). Initial Thoughts Thanks to its twin register layout and lack of the date display, the Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph is nicely balanced and home to a large handset, lumed markers, and even lume-tipped sub-dial hands (not common). While 43mm is quite an increase in size over the proportion of the standard Divers Sixty-Five, the larger dial leaves room for the chronograph display and I found the Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph to sit nicely on wrist and feel sporty without being overstated, especially with the added bubble effect of that very domed crystal. Available on the leather strap (as seen in the photos) or on Oris' easy-wearing rivet-style steel bracelet, the Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph starts at $4,000 and uses a Sellita-sourced Swiss automatic chronograph movement. As the latest entry to the Divers Sixty-Five line up (and the first series-produced chronograph) this new Chronograph is a handsome, nicely made, and a strong take on the format previously established by the Brashear LE. The Basics Brand: Oris Model: Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph Reference Number: 01 771 7744 4354 Diameter: 43mm Case Material: Steel with a bronze bezel Dial Color: Black Indexes: Applied, rose gold PVD Lume: Super-LumiNova on hands and markers Water Resistance: 100 meters Strap/Bracelet: Brown leather strap or steel bracelet The Movement Caliber: Oris 771 (Sellita 510 base) Functions: Hours, minutes, sub-seconds, central chronograph seconds, 30-minute chronograph totalizer Diameter: 30mm Power Reserve: 48 hours Winding: Automatic Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph) Jewels: 27 Pricing & Availability Price: $4,000 (leather strap), $4,250 (steel bracelet) Availability: May 2019
  18. A MIX & MATCH EXPLOSION Watchmaker Hublot and artist Marc Ferrero have joined forces for a new artistic endeavor: telling a story on a watch dial. A fusion between two worlds giving rise to two very colorful limited editions. When two talented masters of the art of fusion in their respective fields collide, it cannot fail to be astounding, explosive and, above all, a great success, as is the case with this pair of Big Bang One Click Marc Ferrero designs from Hublot. The French artist who skillfully combines different techniques and artistic trends for the storytelling art movement which he created, has left his creative stamp on the dials of two watches decorated with bright graphics. Launched at the start of the year, both series are limited to 50 pieces and come in two different shades: pink red and turquoise blue. The black lacquered dials tell a story interpreted by a piece by Marc Ferrero, Lipstick. Dominating the dial is the face of a woman, eyes hidden behind large sunglasses, a lipstick placed against her mouth as if the act of painting her lips is frozen in time. Surrounding this, there are different depictions of emotions experienced by a woman throughout her day according to the role that she plays: mother, wife, friend, business woman, etc. Three rhodium-plated hands display the hours, minutes and seconds. The timekeeping is regulated by the HUB1710 caliber which offers a power reserve of approximately 50 hours. The automatic-winding movement is housed in a 39 mm steel case and topped with a bezel decorated with 42 blue topazes or red spinels, depending on the version. The Big Bang One Click Marc Ferrero comes with two easy-to-change straps matching the dial: one made of rubber covered with calf leather cut to form patterns and the other made of alligator with tonal stitching. Price: 16,400 CHF www.hublot.com
  19. W atches have long served as gifts given to mark important occasions. In the past it was standard practice to inscribe the caseback with a name or even a short note. From parents to children, wives to husbands, watches made a great gift because they were both personal and essential. Folks needed a watch to stay on time, and what better way to remember an occasion than to actually use the object tied to it? But in the early days of WWII, a batch of American watches were given as gifts to Soviet soldiers for a different sort of occasion: to help win a war. On December 14, 1941 former ambassador to the Soviet Union Joseph E. Davies proclaimed to a crowded Boston Arena, “We must never forget that we have been the beneficiaries of their agonies. When they fight for their homes they fight for ours.” Mr. Davies was referring to the immense suffering Soviet troops faced as they fought off an encroaching Nazi army. For some context, this was just seven days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which marked the entry of the United States into World War II. A letter to NYC governor Herbert H. Lehman from Allen Wardwell of the Russian War Relief. Roughly six months earlier, three million German troops marched into the Soviet Union with the support of 3,000 tanks on the ground and the Luftwaffe in the air. The front spanned nearly 2,000 miles from the North Cape all the way to the Black Sea. The Soviet Invasion is widely accepted as Hitler’s most significant blunder, as its failure caused Germany to fight a two-front war. While the Germans grossly underestimated Soviet forces, Operation Barbarossa inflicted incredible damage to the Soviet Union. Perhaps the greatest ally to the Soviet Forces was the extremely harsh Russian winter, as the German troops found it absolutely debilitating. But it wasn’t just the cold that came to the Soviet Union’s aid. In the United States, a New York-based foundation bolstered the efforts of the unflinching Soviets. Known as the Russian War Relief, the organization was set up in July 1941 (before the U.S. entered the war) and officially incorporated in September. Their mission was to supply Soviet troops with every bit of equipment possible in order to help them in the fight against the Nazis. They raised funding from New York’s business elite, they recruited new members from Ivy League campuses, and they ran a sizable PR campaign to drum up support. And the Russian War Relief even custom-ordered watches to keep Soviet forces on time from a crop of America’s prominent watchmakers, Waltham, Elgin, and Hamilton. These special-purpose watches were built to the U.S. Army Ordnance Department’s general specifications, meaning they were rated to be used for basic timekeeping in military functions, although not necessarily combat. Watches carrying the A-11 specification are a cut above the Russian War Relief–ordered watches. The watches are inscribed with an encouraging note to Soviet soldiers: "To the Heroic People of the USSR – Russian War Relief USA,” with the latter half of the inscription being a transliteration into Cyrillic characters from English. There was a healthy amount of skepticism from the Western Allies towards the Stalin-led Soviet Union at the time, but the need to work together became obvious as Hitler’s Germany grew more powerful. American policymakers handled Soviet cooperation with a sort of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach. It wasn’t necessarily an alliance formed from shared values, brotherhood, or kinship, but rather it was an alliance born out of sheer necessity. The only way to stop Germany was to band together. Winston Churchill shared the sentiment with typical English wit: "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons." The Lend-Lease act, passed in March 1941, was purportedly the legislative vehicle that allowed the Russian War Relief organization to deliver these watches to the Soviet troops. It was a legislative instrument that allowed the United States to remain distant from the combat side of war while still taking a stance through supplying fighting forces with equipment. Of course there was a fair amount of opposition to the bill, with some senators noting that it would allow the President to carry out proxy wars all over the world without ever putting men in the trenches. It’s possible that the Russian War Relief simply organized the delivery of the watches to troops outside the lend-lease act. While a production order for the watches does exist, there is no mention of the lend-lease act. After the war was over, it was actively discouraged in Russia to discuss the aid the U.S. had given to the Soviet forces, so there's no documentation on that side to help. With that in mind, it raises the question of whether or not the Soviet forces were allowed to keep these watches or if it was considered taboo to own a watch honoring a partnership that was forbidden to discuss. The particular example you see here is incredibly weathered, and the inscription on the caseback has been significantly worn down, potentially hinting at a lifetime of use. After all, it may have gone through the war strapped to the wrist of a soldier on the Eastern front. The war ended with the defeat of the Nazis, and the Russian War Relief dissolved as America entered peacetime. Pins, posters, and records at the New York Public Library are all that's left of the organization, but every now and then a confusing watch pops up from an American watchmaker with Cyrillic writing on the back. The relationship that developed between Russia and America in the post-war years is another chapter in history entirely, but the watch serves as a reminder of the time our nations came together to fight a greater evil. The Russian War Relief gave the Soviet soldiers a vital timekeeping tool for warfare; the Soviet soldiers gave all they could in the fight against the Nazis.
  20. It’s been a good week in the world of vintage watches (if I do say so myself), and I think you’ll agree. eBay proved to be a great source over the past few days, with finds including a top quality Gallet Multichron and a Multi-Centerchrono from Mido. As you’d expect from eBay, the photos are hilariously bad, but the watches certainly are not. In addition, we’ve got an accessibly priced piece from Doxa featuring a striking set of lugs, and a top tier Rolex Explorer, complete with a gilt, chapter-ring dial. If conventional watchmaking isn’t exactly your bag, then direct your attention towards the Swatch that resembles a pepper. Long story. You’ll find out below. Let’s get down to it, shall we? Gallet Multichron 30M It wouldn’t be Bring A Loupe without some ultra-low-quality eBay listing photos, and if that’s what does it for you, you’re in luck. While doing my usual scour of the auction site, I came across a seller with luck as good as their inability to take a half-decent photo. According to the listing, this watch was purchased in an estate sale with two others, one of which you’ll hear about later. I have no idea what was paid for these watches, but my guess is the seller in question got quite a deal. Should you not be sure of what you’re looking at, allow me to fill you in. This is a Gallet Multichron 30M, which as Gallet fanatics will be quick to inform, was regarded as the first waterproof chronograph, with its “clamshell” compression case construction. This design was patented by Schmitz Freres & Co in 1936, and acquired by Gallet just one year later. With that said, other brands aside from Gallet did implement the clamshell case design. As one would expect, the gilt dial variants of this watch intended for military use are among the most desirable, though this example is certainly no slouch by any stretch. The main attraction here is the two-tone dial you’ll find fitted beneath the crystal, which looks to be perfect. This is another one of those instances in which one must look past the cracked crystal, and analyze the dial from all of the seller’s provided angles. Look closely, and you’ll notice that what might appear to be flaws on the dial are actually the shadows of flaws in the crystal, which could and should be replaced upon taking delivery of the watch. Another thing you’ll likely want to replace is the crown, which is not original to the watch. Finding a suitable replacement shouldn’t be too hard. An eBay seller based out of Summerfield, Florida, has this Gallet listed in an auction that ends on Sunday evening. At the time of publishing, the high bid stands at $2,175 Click here for the full listing. Doxa Anti-Magnetic I’ve got a theory that life’s too short for new cars in boring colors. With well preserved classics, I’ll give you a pass, but when it comes to the latest and greatest, live it up a little, spec your ride in speeding ticket red, and thank me later. This same anti-dullness manifesto can be applied to watch collecting, but with respect to case design. Iconic Oysters are great, and they're iconic for a very good reason, but every now and then you need a little something something to spice things up. This is where the oddities, anomalies, and curiosities enter the picture. Best of all, such watches are typically rather affordable, given their often limited appeal. While browsing the website of a Los Angeles dealer, I came across a Doxa fitted inside an attractively unconventional case, that won’t entirely break the bank. Usually, this tier of vintage Doxa is admittedly rather uninteresting, and not something I’d bat an eye at, but this example is the exception to the rule. The “fancy” style lugs on its 34mm stainless steel case elevate it to another level of interesting, and while I haven’t had this watch on my wrist, I’d wager that the lugs make it feel a tad larger than your average 34mm timepiece. You can never go wrong with a great time-only watch, and with these lugs, at this price point, there’s a lot to get behind here. Swap out the strap with something a little more exciting, and you’ll have a seriously cool piece on your hands. Wanna Buy a Watch has this Doxa listed on their site for $1,500. Get the full scoop here. Mido Multi-Centerchrono Just like in the world of fashion, vintage watches seem to become popular in waves, with flocks of collectors acquiring specific models en masse. Similarly, after the greatest though perhaps not latest has been decided upon, tastes seemingly shift elsewhere. This is a trend I’ve watched come and go with a number of models, though was perhaps most short lived in the case of the Mido Multi-Centerchrono. Just a few years back, after a few noteworthy collectors began posting photos online of the central chronograph, I witnessed an influx of examples hit the market. In 2019, they’re not discussed as much as they might’ve been just three years ago, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. It’s still an absolute knockout of a watch, and one to get familiar with if you’re not already. What initially attracted me to the Multi-Centerchrono are three things which likely sold the rest on this mildly deceptive chronograph. This includes the fact that elapsed minutes are tracked centrally, eliminating the need for a separate subdial, in addition to the multi-scale dial, and François Borgel case. Patek savvy readers might recognize the engraved pushers on this watch, as they are the same as what you’ll find on the far more costly ref. 1463 chronographs which Patek Philippe produced way back when. Pretty neat, huh? Upon seeing the aforementioned wave of Multi-Centerchronos hit the market, many were found in less than stellar condition, though that’s not how I’d describe this eBay find. Despite the seller’s genuinely awful photos — which I strangely get a kick out of after finding many of my best eBay scores listed with photos I’d bet were taken on a Motorola Razr — it would appear that the dial remains untouched and in great shape. Note the red, 24-hour indicators found at the centre of the dial. It’s pretty common to see that these have faded away, but that’s far from the case with this one. The scales that surround the dial are prone to smudging while being worked on, as well, but as the photos would indicate, they’re still clearly visible. All in all, a top quality example. The previously mentioned eBay seller has this Mido listed in an auction that also ends on Sunday evening. The high bid currently stands at $1,802. Find the full listing here. Swatch “One More Time” Trio by Alfred Hofkunst My guess is that when you clicked on this article, you expected to see many things, but a set of food-inspired Swatch watches was by no means one of them. Well, guess what? We’re about to break down a trio of pieces from Swatch that resemble a cucumber, a red bell pepper, and a sunny side up egg with a side of bacon. In the eternal words of one Homer J. Simpson – “Mmm…bacon.” Before I get carried away with too many references, let’s take a closer look at what this set is all about. Swatch has put out some decently out-there limited edition pieces over the years, but this 1991 release might just outdo the rest. Titled “One More Time,” this set was designed by the Austrian-Swiss painter, set designer, and graphic artist Alfred Hofkunst, best known for his drawings, paintings, and lithographs depicting greenery, water, and landscape abstractions. Each piece is fitted with a uniquely shaped leather strap, and has its own title. These include Guhrke, the cucumber, Verduhra, the red bell pepper, and Bonjuhr, the egg and bacon combo. This is likely the first and last time you’ll see words “egg and bacon combo” appear on HODINKEE, so take note. My favorite of the bunch is without question Verduhra, as it’s in my opinion the most outrageous of the bunch, and about as close as you can get to wearing sculptural pop art without securing a Koons ballon dog with bungee cords to your wrist. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next owner of this set chooses to keep the watches in their sealed protective plastics, but I’d encourage wearing them, largely because I’d like to know that there’s someone out there telling the time with a pepper. The full set of three pieces is being offered by 1000 Objekte, a Zürich-based, independent auction house that exclusively sells the collection of Peter Grünbaum. Bidding starts at CHF 350. Check it out right here. 1960 Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016 With Gilt Dial It’s noticeably easier to track down a standard, matte dial sports Oyster versus an older gilt variant for a number of reasons. First off, such dials have stood the test of time far better than their older, glossy gilt cousins, simply because of the increased proneness of gilt dials to crazing, spotting, and surface wear. With that said, finding the gilt dial that suits your tastes is akin to finding a glass slipper that fits just right. You might remember that just last week, I took the opportunity to share with you what a fake Explorer dial looks like, and the cautionary “tells” to look out for while on the hunt. Having gotten that one out of the way, I thought we’d turn the page, so to speak, and highlight what a truly outstanding, and unquestionably genuine gilt Explorer dial looks like. There are few notable gilt dial Explorers which are publicly listed on the market right now, and this is likely the best one online. What makes this particular example special is the chapter ring which traces the perimeter of its dial, and from which the minute marking hashes stem. As far as I’m concerned, this detail should be an absolute must if in search of a gilt dial Explorer, but that’s just my opinion. I can live with or without the presence of an “exclamation point,” but the chapter ring really does add an extra level of dimension that you won’t find on later watches. Though the case on this piece has been polished in the past, its lugs remain thick and even, indicating it was polished with care. The dial itself is in great shape too, with its glossy surface maintained, and evenly aged applications of luminous compound. A gilt Explorer is about as good as it gets in the realm of vintage Rolex understated cool, and with an example this, there’s little to not like. Michael Morgan of Iconic Watch Company has this example of the famed Explorer listed for $29,900. More details and photos can be found here. Buyer Beware: Breguet Chronograph I don’t like to see anyone get scammed, especially when it’s for a handsome sum to the tune of $36,000. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to point out an outright fake currently listed online, which a friend (and HODINKEE contributor) by the name of PH Zhou was kind enough to bring to my attention. If Breguet chronographs are works of Old Masters art, this is a candy-fueled child’s crayon drawing. No offense to your kids or my toddler readers. This isn’t a Breguet in any sense. This is a basic, low grade vintage chronograph, that someone refinished with Breguet branding, did a cheap laser engraving job on the caseback and bridge, and listed online for thirty six thousand dollars. If this was $360.
  21. THE DIVING TURTLE As the watchmaker gets ready to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its DS concept, it is re-releasing a model inspired by a piece from the end of the 1960s regulated by the powerful Powermatic 80 caliber In just a few months, it will be 60 years since Certina adopted the turtle, a symbol of robustness and longevity, as its emblem in 1959, the same year it developed the famous DS concept (standing for Double Security) which guarantees the superior shock resistance and water resistance up to 200 meters of its automatic watches. These two key strengths still stand today as demonstrated by the new DS PH200M model inspired by a piece from 1967. This re-release is based on the esthetic codes of its predecessor such as the design of the dial. Protected by a domed hesalite crystal and coated with a scratchguard treatment, the dial is matte black, a deep stealthy shade which makes the thin red cross connecting the compass points stand out as well as the white luminescent markers. In the center, two dagger-shaped hands coated with Super-LumiNova® display the hours and minutes. These are accompanied by a glossy red second hand with a phosphorescent arrow on the tip. The date is displayed in black on a white background in a window at 3 o’clock. The polished steel case of this Certina measures almost 43 mm in diameter. It is equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel and a black aluminum ring featuring a triangular marker and a minute counter composed of figures and markers. Both the case back, engraved with the turtle logo, and the crown are screw-in. The metal case houses the robust Powermatic 80 caliber developed by ETA, a mechanical automatic-winding movement which powers the timekeeping functions and offers, as its name suggests, a power reserve of 80 hours. The DS PH200M model comes with two easy-to-change straps without the need for any tools: a steel mesh bracelet or a petroleum blue NATO which emphasizes the vintage appeal of the watch. Price: 745 CHF
  22. STYLE AND GOOD TASTE With the second version of the Vintage, Anonimo reminds us that a watch can be both a useful tool and an essential wardrobe accessory. First unveiled shortly before Baselworld 2019 with a seductive blue sunray dial, the Nautilo Vintage diver’s watch by Anonimo is available with a chocolate-colored casing. A subtle smoky gradient gives the dial a character which is at once retro and elegant. The watch hands, coated with Super-Luminova®, point to a precision minute track set with index markers likewise painted with this luminescent material. A date window nested at 6 o’clock displays the calendar’s numbers. This very subdued composition is framed by a one-way rotating graduated bezel fitted with a ceramic insert in the same color as the dial. The 42 mm cushion-shaped satin-finish steel case makes the timepiece sophisticated enough to be worn both on land and in the water. The case, waterproof to a depth of 200 m, perfectly protects the Swiss Made automatic mechanical movement, especially with its screw-back and screw-down crown. The Sellita SW 200-1 caliber ensures that the time is shown for at least 38 hours after rewinding. To ensure comfort for the wearer in all circumstances, the Nautilo Vintage Chocolat is paired with a leather watch band with an Ardillon buckle. A practical system provides the option of easily swapping the connection. With personalization in mind, a deployment clasp can also be fitted by request. Price: EUR 2,190 www.anonimo.com
  23. WRIST FLOWER POWER This new and extremely colorful limited edition from the watchmaker based in La Chaux-de-Fonds pays homage to the sacred art of Grand Feu enamel enhancing its mechanical capabilities. It represents a supercharged watch which gives you the urge to live life to the full. As the popular saying goes, “everything comes in threes” and Schwarz Etienne follows this to the letter since its new watch named Ode to the 70’s is the third installment of the series which began in 2016. The first part, Ode à la semaine, paid homage to the stars, the second, Ode au printemps, released the following year, paid homage to nature, while this third creation is very different. And above all colorful. Very colorful. Just looking at it takes you straight back to the age of Flower Power, the famous hippie slogan from the 1960s and 1970s extolling a pacifist ideology. Ode to the 70’s is a delight for the eyes with its a brightly-colored face: yellow, orange, red, pink, green and blue. In addition to this color scheme, Schwarz Etienne wanted to showcase the sacred art of Grand Feu enameling and has done so using two techniques: cloisonné, where the contours of the pattern are traced with very thin gold wire, and champlevé, which involves carving out the cells. After that, in the style of coloring-in for children but on a much more complex and delicate scale, each section of the design is filled with colored enamel then kiln-fired several times. The only part not to be enameled is the micro-rotor in the shape of a Peace & Love symbol at 9 o’clock, which is lacquered instead. This vibrant work of art keeps the time with two luminescent delta-shaped hands showing the hours and minutes, a knurled wheel for winding (the ratchet) partially visible at 5 o’clock and, most importantly, the flying tourbillon at 1 o’clock. These functions are regulated by the self-winding TSE 121.000 caliber which offers a power reserve of 70 hours located at the heart of the 44 mm white gold case. This 23-piece limited edition is worn on a light blue denim strap decorated with small paint splatters in different colors lined with bright red alligator, which is fastened using a white gold folding buckle. Price: CHF 118,500 excluding VAT
  24. Whe Zeitwerk, in its varying incarnations seems so fundamental a part of the identity of A. Lange & Söhne that it's hard to believe that it was launched fairly recently, in 2009. The Zeitwerk is part of a quite small class of wristwatches which in addition to having a jumping hours display (which is already uncommon) also have a jumping minutes display as well, and which includes such timepieces as Vianny Halter's Opus 3 for Harry Winston, the IWC Pallweber (in both pocket and wristwatch incarnations) and F. P. Journe's Vagabondage, models II and III. The Zeitwerk has also been a platform for striking complications, up to and including the minute repeater, and has gotten the Handwerkskunst treatment as well. The newest Zeitwerk is relatively simple in comparison to the striking watches, at least at first glance – a date is a date is a date, one might say; a bit ho-hum for something as elevated as the Zeitwerk is, even by the standards of Lange's other watches. But there are several new and interesting features under the hood which make the latest Zeitwerk more than just the addition of a simple complication. When I first heard of the Zeitwerk date, I thought (as many did) that it might somehow include a jumping digital indication of the date – perhaps an addition of the big date function seen in the Lange 1 to the Zeitwerk's dial, but instead we got something a little more diffident, in the form of a frosted glass date-ring on the dial's circumference. The current date is highlighted in red, and the red color of the date is the first addition of color to the dial since the the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst got some red in the power reserve indication (unless you want to count the gold dial bridge, in the Striking Time, and in the Decimal Strike Honeygold). Those two flashes of red stand out like a cardinal in a pine forest at dusk – a welcome chromatic flourish in what is otherwise a very monochromatic experience. The Zeitwerk Date, in addition to the date complication itself, has two pushers on the case – the one at 8:00 functions as a date corrector, and the one at 4:00 is for adjusting the hour display; the minutes are set by the crown. An interesting feature of the design is that the pushers trigger the display change in the date, and in the hour window, after they're fully depressed and then released – pressing the pushers all the way in arms the switching mechanism, which is then activated once you take pressure off the pusher. This has a couple of advantages – first, it means that you can't partly advance the date or hour by mistake, and in the case of the hour window, it means you don't have to advance the minutes indication one minute at a time to switch the hour, which would be extremely tedious (and probably wear-inducing to boot). Lange being Lange, the indications all switch quite smartly, and rapidly, at the top of each hour. This includes the date, by the way. I mostly know the Zeitwerk from pictures, but of course it's a watch whose main visual interest is kinetic, and it's a pleasure to see everything switch over at midnight – date included – with a very faintly audible mechanical snick. It all happens so smoothly that it's easy to forget how difficult it is to pull this sort of thing off reliably and smoothly – the wheels on which the numerals are printed represent considerably more inertia than a pair of hands, and powering the jump without negatively affecting balance amplitude – and therefore, accuracy and precision – is a real problem. Lange addresses this by use of a remontore d'egalite, which winds a secondary, smaller spring on the third wheel once per minute (a remontoir uses the energy of the mainspring to wind another spring, on one of the train wheel gears, in order to provide constant energy to the balance). In addition to providing unvarying torque, the remontoir also acts as a switching device, trigging the jump of the minute, hour, and date indications. The remontoir in this version of the Zeitwerk is situated more or less in the same position as in the original model, however in the Zeitwerk date, it's configured differently. In the original Zeitwerk, with a 36 hour power reserve, the central part of the bridge makes about a 45 degree turn before terminating near the mainspring barrel (which has a Maltese cross stopworks, intended to prevent the watch from running at such a low power reserve that the remontoir would no longer be able to wind the remontoir spring). The remontoir bridge of the original 2009 Zeitwerk, in Lange caliber L043.1 Lange caliber L043.8, in the Zeitwerk Date. In the Zeitwerk Date, the remontoir bridge is now laid out in a very elegant looking straight line, and the crosspiece no longer has the rather decorative, anchor-like configuration of the original movement. The Maltese cross stopworks have also been eliminated from the mainspring barrel. The overall look is clear and clean – less complex visually than the original Lange caliber, with a more modern, and a bit more of a pragmatic feel. Whether or not you prefer the aesthetics of the old or the new will probably depend on how you feel about the elements of Lange movement design which are deliberately slightly ornate and archaic. An interesting example of how Lange's movement design philosophy has evolved in the last decade can also be found in the Lange 1, whose movement layout saw a major update in 2015. Much of the movement was re-engineered and the result was a much cleaner design, but the nostalgist in me – for no particularly logical reason – misses the slight air of blinkered Teutonic fussiness that was part of the charm of the original Lange 1. On the one hand, the newer layout of the Zeitwerk has greater visual clarity and organization on its side; on the other hand, the older version has a certain baroque charm which the cleaner design sacrifices to some extent (I felt the same way about the original, and newer versions of the Datograph). In the hand and on the wrist, irrespective of variations in movement design and engineering, the Zeitwerk remains a Lange through and through. There's a quality of density to Lange watches – even the most simple – which doesn't have so much to do with actual mass as it does with the sense of being in the presence of a machine that elevates machine-ness to an aesthetic virtue. One of the big joys of owning a mechanical watch – or at least, one of the potential joys – is the sense of physical connection it's possible to feel with the mechanism. There's a kind of kinesthetic identification with a mechanism of gears and oscillators that, in a Lange, is really dialed up thanks to the overbuilt feel of, well, everything – the case, the movement, and especially how every interaction with the watch gives the impression of having been extremely carefully thought through in order to produce an optimum, and very sensually satisfying, experience for the user. One of the criticisms sometimes leveled against Lange is that their watches can seem austere to the point of sterility. Like just about everything having to do with watches at this level, this is to some extent a matter of personal taste (one man's forbidding austerity is another man's bracing clarity). The Zeitwerk, however, offers a wonderful balance – it's got all the almost humorlessly obsessive quality we love in much of Lange's watchmaking, but against that is set the uncomplicated, child-like, almost goofy pleasure of watching the indications switch. The best part is seeing the date switch over at midnight along with the hour and minutes – not only do you have the fun of seeing all four indications switch simultaneously, you get the added frisson of having stayed up past your bedtime.
  25. While we've seen the concept of an auction catalog "cover lot" upended a bit over the last few years as online catalogs have supplanted the physical paper tomes for many collectors, we still see the big players each make a seasonal push to have one major talking point heading into each auction. For the upcoming Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: Nine, that watch is undoubtedly the Vacheron Constantin that you see here. So what is it exactly that you're looking at right now? The answer's complicated. It was a little over a month ago that Phillips announced it would be selling this watch and I gave you a pretty in-depth report on the background, context, and watch then. However, since then, I've had a chance to chat with the folks at Phillips and see the watch in the metal, giving me a slightly better understanding of what this watch is, why it's meaningful, and how it came to be up for public auction. The short version of the story is this: In 1935, a collector named Francisco Martinez Llano ordered a custom minute repeater with retrograde calendar complication from Vacheron Constantin through Madrid retailer Brooking. In early 1940 the watch was delivered to him in South America and it remained with the family ever since. The only outside evidence of this watch was a lone black-and-white photograph found in a book published in 1992. Last year, Phillips Watches' Aurel Bacs found the watch and worked with Vacheron Constantin to have it brought back to working order and properly documented. Now it's hitting the auction block. (If you want to know more, check out that original story liked to above.) Seeing this watch in the metal was like stepping into a horological time machine. Everything about this watch screams of days long forgotten. The shape of the case, the claw-shaped lugs, the crown set at 12 o'clock, and the charming mix of fonts and numeral styles on the dial – they all speak to a particular and idiosyncratic way of making watches by hand that would be hard to replicate today (and that assumes any watchmaker, let alone one of Vacheron's stature, would want to replicate them too). As Phillips noted in the original press release, the condition of the case is unreal too. Everything is crisp, original finishes appear to be intact, and there aren't really any visible traces of a polishing wheel. From the monogram on the back to the shape of the repeater slide, everything looks just like it probably did in January 1940 when Llano took delivery of the extremely unusual keeper. Now, you're probably wondering why a watch in "original" condition has such a bright, clean dial. That's because the dial currently mounted on the watch is a replacement created by Vacheron Constantin to the original spec during the restoration process. The original radium dial is also included, and looking at it you can probably guess why Phillips and Vacheron would want to fit it with something a little more pristine before showing off their find. One additional thing to note here is that the lone black-and-white photo of this watch actually shows it with a different dial and handset. According to VC's records, the watch was delivered with two options, the dressier version with pomme-style hands and no lume seen in the photo and this slightly sportier version with large luminous numerals and ladder-style hands. Now, I'll admit, this is kind of a weird scenario. Typically, we here at HODINKEE wouldn't be too keen on highlighting watches with replacement dials, unusual provenance, and not-so-straightforward documentation. However, considering that Vacheron themselves are involved and have the paper trail on their end to confirm things like the two-dial delivery, the retailer signature, and more, I think any potential buyers can feel extremely secure when it comes time to raise their paddles. But now for the important part: wearing this watch. On the wrist, this thing is a dream. The tonneau case works particularly well with a crown at 12 o'clock; without the crown protruding from the right side of the case, you can really appreciate the streamlined, somewhat Deco lines. The slide does stick out a bit, but it's very subtle and doesn't affect comfort or the overall look of the watch, in my opinion. It's sort of the ultimate stealth signifier too. If you know, you know, and seeing a slide tells you that someone has something pretty darn serious on. Legibility is great, and despite the relatively densely packed text on the dial (the retailer signature, long brand signature, and retrograde numerals do take up quite a bit of space) the watch doesn't look cluttered or clumsy. I seriously hope that whoever buys this watch wears it. It would be a real shame to let something like this spend another few decades in a safe. Ultimately, with a watch like this, there are two ways things could have shaken out: The watch could have turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime find that represents a very unique period in watchmaking history or ended up a strange curiosity with a questionable history that should best be approached with caution. And, while it would be totally fair to see it as some combination of the two, it looks like Vacheron Constantin has the paperwork to back things up, having dotted all their i's and crossed all their t's. I think the sort of collector who is going to be raising his or her paddle for this in Geneva next month is part of a self-selecting group. You need to be pretty astute to understand why this watch is special and you need to have already experienced quite a number of things to arrive at this point of interest in the first place. And, if you're there, then you have to ask yourself which boxes are checked and which are left with question marks. Mileage on that last part could vary person-to-person, but I don't see any indicatoon I'm extremely curious to see what kind of interest is generated in this watch and what the fervor is like come auction weekend. I'm sure we'll get the usual bit of theatrics and spectacle that we're used to from Phillips, and it's bound to make for a very interesting final outcome when the hammer drops. Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: Nine is taking place in Geneva on Saturday, May 11, 2019. This Vacheron Constantin is lot 109 and it carries an estimate of CHF 400,000 to 800,000.
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