Thursday, January 28, 2010

First Ever Geneva Time Exhibition a Great Success

Times are tough; the recession has caused companies to look for more ways to cut costs.This is why Geneva Time Exhibition dubbed "The Independent Watchmakers Fair" has played an important role for the smaller watch companies. Less known than the SIHH, the Geneva Time Exhibition ,which ran from January 17th to January 22nd, at the International Conference Center in Geneva, created a platform where smaller watch companies could pool limited resources and showcase their new watches. 38 watch brands were involved including Alain Silberstein, Clerc, HD3, Aspen, B.R.M, Louis Moinet, Kubik (makers of watch winders) and many others.

The event was well publicized and convenient being that it coincided with the SIHH event. 500 journalists attended GTE documenting exciting innovative timepieces crafted by talented watchmakers who used the Exhibition to make their presence known in the world of watchmaking. In addition a surprisingly large number of orders were made at the show, an encouraging sign of gradual recovery from the recession.

Sotheby's, BMW, Laurent Perrier and Arasa Morelli were the official partners of this event. Florence Noël, Dominique Franchino, Paola Orlando, the founders of GTE were ecstatic with the results and success of this Fair, and have decided to take their fair global - first stop ,India, later this year at the launch of Mumbai Time Exhibition.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Girard-Perregaux Goes Quartz

Girard-Perregaux, in a startling move, has unveiled a Quartz powered watch. The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Quartz Watch houses a GP13500 quartz movement. To avid watch collectors who treasure mechanical movements and balk at quartz movements, the unveiling of this watch by high end Swiss manufacturer Girard-Perregaux, must provide them with some mental turmoil and a little bit of betrayal. I mean one can't forget the enormous impact Seiko Quartz Watch had on the mechanical watch industry back in 1969. That period of time was coined, "The Quartz Scare" whereby the entire mechanical watch industry buckled to their knees while precise and cheap battery powered watches flooded the market. Companies went bankrupt and others like Blancpain went dormant for a time.

On the other hand, the introduction of quartz powered watches was a huge technological advancement in timekeeping, and soon a host of functions were added to the watches.
Girard-Perregaux has unveiled the high end Laureato Quartz as a tribute to its advancements in the 1970's and the accomplishment of Girard-Perregaux's electronics specialist, Georges Vuffrey. It was Girard-Perregaux who established the quartz crystal's frequency of 32.768 hertz, a specification standard to all quartz calibers until today, and this is the frequency used in Girard-Perregaux newest addition.

A grid pattern covers the blue dial enhanced by red accents provided by the center seconds hand and date wheel. The back of the stainless steel case is transparent sapphire crystal displaying the quartz movement; not often seen in quartz movements. Girard-Perregaux has applied its expert craftsmanship and finishing to this watch so much so that the entire movement is covered with Cotes de Geneve patterns, a gilt-finished battery cover emblazoned with GP and symbol as well as a large amount of perfectly finished blued screws. A stunning integrated stainless steel bracelet fits smoothly around the wrist.
Although the reference to Quartz may bring to mind inferior quality meant for the masses, this superbly crafted luxury timepiece will be released in a very limited edition of 40.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Dreamy De Bethune DB025 Watch

As soon as I laid eyes on this magnificent watch by De Bethune's new DB025 line, the movie Avatar suddenly came to mind. Must be the incredible iridescent blue of the watch dial and powerful skeletonized watch hands sweeping across a celestial landscape. There is something so out worldly and vast about the dial like one is looking at the nights sky from a remote mountain top. Instantaneously ones attention is drawn to the moon representing the moon phase beneath the 12 'o'clock position. Encased in the hardened non-magnetic 44.6 mm steel case , available in 18k white or rose gold, the DB025 is a timepiece on the cutting edge of watch technology sporting a manual wound movement which requires no adjustment. In addition, De Bethune has implemented a silicon balance wheel which is a more resilient material. The watch has a 6 day power reserve with a power reserve indicator discretely placed at the side rear of the case.

De Bethune makes exclusive high end watches which are quite costly, but then again what price would you pay for a little bit of heaven.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Parmigiani Unveils The Captains' Watch for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Its only 139 days until FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa, and Parmigiani is making tribute to the spirit of sportsmanship. Soccer is the most popular sports in the world. Each team is led by a Captain who evokes a sense of team spirit especially when moral is low. A good Captian is critical to the sucess of a team, and the greatest soccer success will be winning the FIFA World Cup. This past week at SIHH, Parmigiani unveiled the "The Captain's Watch", a watch dedicated to the Captain of teams from 13 selected countries. These countries are: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, and United States. Each Captain will be able to design their ideal 18 carat white gold Pershing chronograph model, evoking the spirit of their nation and adding their own personal touch. Only ten watches representing each country will be released at 60,000 CHF. In addition, a percentage of the profit shall go to the charity selected by each Captain.

Three of these watches were unveiled at the SIHH crafted in close collaboration with the Captain of the teams: Fabio Cannavaro - Captain of the Italian Team; John Terry - Captain of the English Team; Carlos Bocanegra - Captain of the United States Team.

For the other ten, well, we will just have to wait and see... the suspense...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Corum Founder Dies at 95: Remembering his Life's Work

René Bannwart dies at 95 and thus the first Chapter of Corum comes to a close. René Bannwartis remembered for his unique creativity and design. Born in Zurich, he first worked at Pateck Phillipe and Omega before he and his Uncle Gaston Ries founded Corum in 1955. Working as a team, René Bannwart and his uncle rejuvenated his uncle's 1924 watch making workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds under the now world renowned brand Corum.
The name Corum stems from the word “quorum” which means “the minimum number of persons present, required to enable a meeting, to hold discussions and take valid decisions”.
Corum symbol - the key- emblazons every watch, a testament to opening new doors of creativity, innovation, watch design and possibilities. There is always a new door to open and the mystery of time can never be completely unraveled.

In 1956, Corum unveiled its first watches, which were quickly recognized by watch manufacturers for their distinctive creativity. Through the decades Corum has delighted and continues to delight watch enthusiasts and buyers with originality and craftsmanship.

Take a look at some of Corum's original masterpieces:1958 - Corum's "Chinese Hat" with an oblong, almost pyramid shaped bezel looking very much like the hats worn by the people of China.

1960- Admirals Cup watch, originally square, the first water resistant watch ever made which only obtained its contemporary 12 sided case in the 1983. Nautical pennants corresponding to the international maritime code were added and served as hour markers on the twelve-sided bezel. In 1992 the introduction of "The Admiral Tides" incorporated a Corum movement CO-277, which displayed information such as the lunar cycle, the strength and time of the tides, estimation of water levels as well as the strength of the currents.

1964- the "Coin Watch" sporting a genuine $20 Double Eagle Coin worn by U.S presidents and prominent figures looking very much like the Coin Watches.

1965 - Buckingham Model, large in size and extremely coveted. Due to the versatility of this collections shape and size, Corum has taken watch design to the extreme creating watches covered in jewels and others sporting skulls.

1966 - “Romvlvs” watch its hour markers engraved on the bezel not on the dial. The creation of this watch was born from a delivery mishap to a Basel World Fair and the creative quick thinking of René Bannwart1970- Corum introduced dials paved with real bird feathers, below find glowing words from the "San Antonio Express and News" dated December 10, 1972 in regard to Corum's Feather Watch.

In fashion — a beautiful 18 Karat gold watch with a feather dial! A n y o n e on your gift list would be delighted to receive a' new watch, especially an elegant jewel to wear all the time. . The feather dials, designed by Rene B a n n w a r t , are u n i q u e to Corum watches, and the unisex fashion is becoming ,the rage. The dials are made from rainbow - colored peacock or from brown - t o n e d pheasant feathers, which are sealed to.the gold' case. Each watch face is different, since two feathers are never the same in nature. Only feathers which birds have shed are selected, an interesting note that p r o v e s ecology even reaches into the fashion watch business.
1976 - “Rolls-Royce” watch intrigued watch buyers with its resemblance to the grill of a Rolls- Royce automobile, collection resulting from a collaboration between Corum and Rolls-Royce.

1980 - One of the most popular watch collections of today was born, "Corum's Golden Bridge" An incredible innovative movement visible via a sapphire case.
1986 - "Meteorite Model" with a dial cut from a genuine meteorite.1997 - Corum unveils the the “Tabogan” watch, which contains a mechanism allowing the watch to convert to a small stand up travel clock. Corum Bubble XL Chronograph (Regular Strap) Women's Watch Pink Dial on Pink Strap Diamond

2000 - The hugely popular Bubble Watch which still in hot demand and available at THE WATCHERY for 75% off the list price. The watch gets its name from the "Bubble" that sits above the dial. The "Bubble" is actually 11 mm thick sapphire crystal. The "Bubble Watch" is the perfect Valentines Day Gift.
Corum Trapeze Ladies' Watch Watch Stainless Steel White Dial Diamond Bezel on Pink Leather Strap 

2001 - “Trapèze” named after its elegant shape adding a whispering grace and creating timeless style.2005 - “Classical Vanitas” debuted with exceptional marquetry-work applied to watch dials. Stone stone and marble fragments are cut to fit together as an intricate mosaic. The collection depicted above, displays a skull motif. A motif which Corum often uses over a wide range of collections. (Corum's watches are always a Halloween treat). This particular model depicted above was unveiled in 2006 of which five versions were manufactured with a limited edition of 50.

2005 - Golden Bridge was reinvented.

2007 - Rebirth of the Romvlvs

2008- Admiral’s Cup Tourbillon 48 and Romvlvs Perpetual Calendar

2009- the Ti- Bridge housing the new CO 007 caliber. (I blogged about this watch with much relish - click here to read more)

2010 marks a new chapter for Corum. Corum will continue inspiring the watch world with outstanding timepieces which ,I have no doubt, will all be infused with the creative genius of its founder René Bannwart.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Omega Delivers Dazzle

When one thinks of Omega, one thinks of incredible timekeeping geared for sports. One thinks of Space Exploration, Olympics, James Bond, Speedmaster, Seamaster and Omega's co-axial escapements. One thinks of glittering glamor associated with watch companies such as Piaget, Harry Winston and Van Cleef and Arpels. Now its Omega's turn to dazzle with the introduction of the shimmering Omega Constellation Baguette Watch.
Okay you can close your mouth now. It is a beauty isn't it. Omega seems to have reached out into celestial space and brought a star down to earth. This watch is one of a kind with no word whether Omega will produce another. Each and every diamond covering the watch is carefully selected and hand cut specifically for this watch. No less than 459 large Wesselton diamonds pave the dial, case and bracelet. The demands on the dial minimize the closer they get towards a shining star resting on a sky blue, violet and turquoise mother of pearl disc hovering above the 6 'o'clock position. This arrangement creates an intriguing perception of depth. Hidden behind the "invisible mount" of baguette and trapeze cut diamonds is an 18k white gold case and bracelet. Hidden beneath the case is an Omega Caliber 8421 automatic Co-Axial escapement mechanical movement.

Monday, January 18, 2010

SIHH 2010 Gets Underway In Geneva

Its showtime as SIHH 2010 opens the curtains on a truly spectacular watch show. However, this year the SIHH feels like a stroll through shop lined piazzas baring exquisite facades and elegant display windows. The feel is a far cry from the usual large exhibition hall dotted with booths. Geneva is the perfect place to relay the atmosphere of elegant shopping, something hard to accomplish in Basel. SIHH is invitation only where high end collectors, buyers, media personnel and select others view the newest collections from 19 different companies.

SIHH is still very much a Richemont affair with 12 of the 19 brands taking part in the show is owned by Richement. These are A. Lange & Sohne, Alfred Dunhill, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Montblanc,Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubois, Vacheron Constantin & Van Cleef & Arpels as well as the joint venture between Richemont and Ralph Lauren.

The other 5 luxury brands are Audemars Piguet, JeanRichard, Girard Perregaux, Parmigiani, Greubel Forsey and Richard Mille.

SIHH is critical for the watch industry especially for Richemont. Top retailers place orders and Richemont ,as well as other companies, can get a feel in regard to the watch climate of the coming year. It stands to reason given the global recession, watch retailers will be a bit more conservative in their spending this year. In addition, there will be no huge birthday bash for the 20th anniversary of SIHH. Still the "show must go on" and what a show it is.

Watch companies have produced some remarkable pieces, many taking advantage of the advancement in metallurgy and interesting combination of materials such as Audemars Piguet Millenary Carbon One Tourbillon Chronograph crafted from forged carbon (case), ceramic (bezel, crown, pushers) and blackened steel. This year thin is in with Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Ralph Lauren all opting for the ultra slim.
Many brands are reviving old models spruced up for today's competitive market - Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox first unveiled in the 1950's is now equipped with a Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956, large variable inertia balance and a rotor mounted on ceramic ball bearings reducing the need for lubrication and maintenance.

The SIHH sets the standard for the World of Horology in 2010 and after seeing these exquisite collections, I must say, the standard is high. Very high.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hublot Big Bang Red for Valentine

Feel the love with Hublot Big Bang Red. Hublot unveils a snowy white 38mm ceramic case to this years Valentine Model replacing the rose gold of previous models. The bezel is stainless steel paved with 126 diamonds (0.87 ct.) and punctuated with 6 H-shaped sunken, polished and blocked titanium screws. The hands of the Big Bang red are Rhodium faceted and diamond-set with white luminous markings enabling time display in the dark.
The band is a crimson alligator leather complimenting the dial and top of the crown in the same vibrant red. The bezel lug and lateral inserts are both crafted from red composite resin. The dial is protected by a scratch resistant Sapphire crystal crafted with interior/exterior anti-reflective treatment.
Movement is quartz and watch is water resistant to 100m. This watch, quartz and all, has a definite attraction. The white ceramic contrasting with alluring red creates an elegant look.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Many Faces of MB&F's HM2

The HM2 or Horological Machine No. 2 is the brain child of MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends). The HM2 is quite a remarkable timepiece. Aesthetically, the design is highly recognizable enabling different artists and watch manufacturers to add their touch to the timepiece without retracting from its original guise.
This micro machine is truly one of a kind; comprising of 450 components (including 44 jewels), the HM2 is the world's only automatic timepiece offering instantaneous Jumping Hour, Concentric Retrograde Minutes, Retrograde Date and Bi-Hemisphere Moon-Phase . The actual movement is a Jean Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor in designed functionality and regulated and powered by a Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear train. The Double Hakken automatic winding rotor ensures that power to the timepiece is generated by the gentle swinging motion of ones arm.The sub dials are clear and easy to read; the left indicates a retrograde date as well as a Bi-Hemisphere Moon Phase and the right dial displays jumping hours and concentric retrograde minutes. The timepieces are available in a either 18K white gold/titanium; 18K Red Gold Titanium (HM2-18K) or ceramic/red gold (HM2-CR) or Ceramic/titanium (HM2-CTi) all in varying limited editions
June of 2009, the HM2 caught a lovely blued gold butterfly (below) who is trapped in a barbed wire snare which surrounding the entire movement.

Although the butterfly will be trapped for eternity (thanks to the superb craftsmanship of the HM2) it went to a worthy cause. The watch signed by American artist Sage Vaughn was auctioned of at Only Watch to benefit research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The entire upper face of the watch , the rectangular case and the projecting portholes, is crafted in sapphire crystal.
In October, out of a collaboration between Alain Silberstein and MB&F emerged the HM2.2 "Black Box" limited edition of just 8 pieces. Alain Silberstein's signature colors and fun shapes don the subdials and indicators whilst the movement is all MB&F. The watch case is crafted from black PVD coated titanium and silicium.

The HM2-CTi combines Titanium and Ceramic, both materials harboring extreme resilience and versatility.

MB&F's latest micro machine reveals the movement beneath the watch case. The MB&F HM2-SV (Sapphire Vision), provides an in depth look at the movement of the dial aided by a sapphire crystal plate. Two domed sapphire crystals protect the dials. The exquisite blue components lend a futuristic appearance to the HM2-SV.

MB&F's team work in unison to blend artistry, technology, metallurgy and superb watch craftsmanship.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Dark Timepiece By RSW

The masters have called it by the name of Moonflower, a timepiece that seemed to have floated out of the night sky and gently landed in a field of corn. It is hard to believe such a thing could have been created on our earth, in our time. The builders of the Moonflower looks to the future for inspiration, and have created a true horological vision. RSW is a brand of Rama Watch SA. RSW has cemented a stronghold in the watchmaking world today by creating truly unique and contemporary watch designs.

The Moonflower is crafted from black PVD steel. It is a sensual woman's timepiece powered by an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. The hours, minutes and seconds are displayed on a series of discs. The watches are available sporting either a black, gray or white dial with pink gold PVD numerals. One can have diamonds if one wishes in settings of 42 or 62 diamonds. And, of course, a watch must be protected thus sapphire crystal prevents any scratches. A rubber strap fastened via deployment buckle ensures a comfortable wear.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Feel the Love with Blancpain Saint Valentin 2010

Although the year has just begun, I am always eager to present the Valentine Watches. For Valentine 2010 Blancpain plans to unveil the Saint Valentin 2010. The watch is shaped in a unique infinite symbol. The shape of the watch is a first for Blancpain, a company who usually opts for the more traditional case shapes. Over 500 diamonds and pink sapphires pave the bezel which frames a delicate mother-of-pearl dial. The 12 'o'clock marker is exquisitely cut heart shaped diamond.

The elegance of this watch is in the movement too. Blancpain is reintroducing the worlds smallest self-winding movement, Its "Lady Bird" Calibre 615 with a forty hour power reserve. The movement will be visible via a Sapphire Crystal case back.
The Saint Valentin 2010 timepiece is presented with two satin straps, one in black and the other white.

The inset is a lovely water color depiction of the watch, which will be available in a limited addition of 14.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Scientific Approach of Greubel Forsey

Greubel Forsey has made great strides in the realms of complicated watches by inventing and reinventing new ways of complicated time display. Last year the Quadruple Tourbillon (image above) was awarded "Best Complicated Watch" at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie Asia. Two other great achievements include the 24 Second Inclined Tourbillon and the Double Tourbillon 30°
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey success is partly due to their methodical scientific approach to the process of watch making. Striving for perfection can potentially lead watch manufacturers on an endless quest, without a specific goal in sight. This prompted Greubel Forsey's introduction of its innovation platform - Experimental Watch Technology or EWT. This empirical approach utilizes experimentation and resulting data to determine the performance of the watch whilst manipulating different variables and verifying the unknown. This approach is time consuming, but extremely effective, and provides Greubel Forsey with a definite edge in watch technology.
EWT has provided Greubel Forsey with the tools to formulate new inventions, two of which are currently in the works: The Binomial, and a cutting edge isochronically stable material used to craft the balance and the spring as well as a spherical Equality Differential harboring its own energy reserve that can offer a constant force to the oscillators.
However, scientific approach cannot vouch for the undeniable aesthetic designs and superb finishing of their timepieces. That aspect is acquired by creative minds and exceptional experience.

I look forward to Greubel Forsey first appearance at this years SIHH commencing on January 17th.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Piaget and Vacheron Constantin Opts for Ultra Slim.

Vacheron Constantin, a prestigious watch company, brings back its thinnest watches, and they are not alone, Piaget will be also be unveiling its ultra thin timepiece at the SIHH 2010.
Does this mean thin is back in?
Thin was all the rage back in the 1950's and 1960's where thin meant exceptionally refined craftsmanship where precise mechanical craftsmanship was able to operate to perfection in an extremely confined space. In 1955 Vacheron Constantin unveiled its ultra thin timepiece - 120 parts within a watch case as thin as a coin making this watch the thinnest watch in the world. The hand wound mechanical watch requiring expertise beyond the norm. In 1968 Vacheron Constantin unveiled another ultra- fine model.
Today Vacheron Constantin has revived its quest for slimness. The result is two remarkable creations inspired by its earlier collections.
The Historique Ultra-fine 1955 timepiece is the worlds thinnest hand wound watch to date. Measuring in at just 4.10mm thick, this watch is powered by a slim 1.64 mm mechanical hand wound 1003 movement. The watch will be unveiled for its 55th anniversary and will be available in 18 carat gold emblazoned with the Hallmark of Geneva.
The Historique Ultra- fine 1968 will return with an ultra-thin mechanical self-winding 1120 with decorated oscillating weight and baring the Hallmark of Geneva.At SIHH Piaget will unveil its ultra-thin Piaget Altiplano celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1960 Calibre 12P, the thinnest automatic mechanical movement of its time. Piaget will present the self-winding Calibre 1208P, an historic milestone in itself. At a mere 2.35mm, the Calibre 1208P is the thinnest self-winding movement available today.
The Piaget Atiplano will encase the Calibre 1208P in its new 43mm case size, and measuring in at 5.25mm thick, the Atilplano will break a record as being the thinnest watch in its category.

It seems over the last century Vacheron Constantin and Piaget have done a bit of competing in regard to ultra-thin movements. In 1955 Vacheron Constantin boasts the ultra-thin movement only to be broken two years later by Piaget's 2 mm thick hand-wound movement thus keeping up the constant strive for excellence.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tag Heuer Celebrates 150 Years of Watch Making

Tag Heuer is celebrating its 150th anniversary and what could be more fitting to its celebration than the re release of its 1974 classic Silverstone Chronograph. Tag Heuer is closely linked to the race track even implementing elements of a car engine in its Monaco V4. Thus the Silverstone Chronograph, whose very shape is inspired by the British circuit of the same name, is the perfect Collection to represent Tag Heuer's energy, split second precision and craftsmanship. The 1974 Silverstone was the first automatic chronograph movement immediately recognizable by the rounded corners of the watch case inspired by the Silverstone race track - home of British Motorsport.
The 2010 Silverstone will be available sporting either a blue or brown dial and coordinating perforated alligator watch strap, and a limited edition of 1,500 pieces at $6,500 a piece.

Tag Heuer has also renewed its long time partnership with the McLaren Racing team. At twenty five years this renewal is one of the longest standing partnerships in motor sport's history.