Tag Archives: timepiece

Rare Patek Philippe Calatrava Sets Groundbreaking Record in Heritage Auctions

May 1 in New York City, a record was set in the Watches & Fine Timepieces Auction in horological history. Star watch of interest: Rare Patek Philippe Calatrava – sold for $642,500, the highest sale for a Ref. 2526 of any precious metal.

“An extraordinary watch, which makes it extremely appealing to the most serious collectors” Heritage Auctions Director of Timepieces Jim Wolf on the rare vintage Patek Philippe Calatrava

Launched in 1953, the Ref. 2526 houses Patek Philippe’s first ever self-winding calibre 12-600AT, a Calatrava with the first series enamel dial, retailed by “Tiffany & Co., was widely recognised by watch connoisseurs of the era as the finest automatic movement ever made. It looks like today, even in modern context, the perfection of this Patek Philippe Calatrava, coupled with extreme rarity (very limited references exist) is enough to let this vintage Patek Philippe Calatrava set new groundbreaking records at a recent Heritage auction. Amongst those references, Ref. 2526 is probably one of the most collectable due to the fact that it is the only example with both Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. signatures known to exist.

Heritage was proud to present this highly important timepiece to the collector’s community. According to Heritage Auctions Director of Timepieces Jim Wolf, the rare Patek Philippe Calatrava is “an extraordinary watch, which makes it extremely appealing to the most serious collectors”. Thus, it was to no surprise that it attain particularly strong results from the 556-lot auction. Fresh to the market and presented without cosmetic alterations to the dial, case, crystal or original platinum bracelet, the timepiece includes its Extract from the Archives, stating the date of manufacture as 1954, and date of sale September 29, 1955.

Rare Patek Philippe with dual Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. signatures on the dial known to exist.

Though it made headlines at the Heritage Auctions with a world record, this Patek Philippe 2526 wasn’t the only rare bid featured in the highly curated auction. Other competitive rare timepieces from the Geneva manufacture were the Ref. 5970J-001 and Ref. 3417. At conclusion, the auction had 93.2 percent of all lots sold and closed with a total sale of US$3,715,166.

See below for other top lots:

  • Patek Philippe, Ref. 5070G-001, Unused Double Sealed, White Gold Chronograph, Circa 2008: $71,875
  • Patek Philippe, Ref. 3800/3P, Platinum Nautilus, 38 mm, Circa 1992: $68,750
  • Rolex, Ref: 4467, “Ovettone” Pre-DateJust, Luminous Dial and Hands, Circa 1947: $50,000
  • Rolex, 18k YG Ref. 1675, GMT-Master, From The Private Collection Of Hollywood Actor James “Jimmy” Darren, circa 1972: $40,000
  • Rolex Ref. 228206 Platinum Day-Date 40 President: $37,500
  • Patek Philippe, Ref: 5059J-001,18k Gold Retrograde Perpetual Calendar, Circa 2005: $37,500
  • Rolex Ref. 218206 Platinum & Diamond Day-Date II President: $37,500

Roger Dubuis: Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™

Roger Dubuis: A World of Extremes

The latest example of the Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™ is the result of what happens when visionary engineers meet incredible watchmakers. What reveals is an iconic and deliberately extravagant wristwatch that captures boldly the adventurous nature of a manufacture that has always been determined to stay several laps ahead of the pack.

The news came hot on the wheels when Geneva-based Swiss watchmaker, Roger Dubuis entered yet into another exclusive collaboration with Pirelli, a renowned pioneer in technical and industrial innovations and sole supplier of premium tyres as well as linking with a landmark motorsports victory, to take exciting high-octane exploits to a whole new horizon.

The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™, inspired by Pirelli’s legendary Sottozero™ winter tyres, is a new, contemporary Haute Horlogerie unveiled by Roger Dubuis. Expressed through the exquisite design and complicated watch mechanism underneath the cases, with the iconic supercar Maison for its daring vision, breathtaking technology and R&D expertise combined, have resulted in the latest creation of the titanium-studded Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™ wristwatch.

Roger Dubuis Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon

The iconic Roger Dubuis skeleton double flying tourbillon with differential takes centerstage. Framed within a white ceramic bezel contrasting well with the watch’s blue markings and offset by the titanium and sapphire crystal case, the timepiece offers a beautiful view of the new RD105SQ hand-wound caliber, signature blue Astral Skeleton and multi-coloured power reserve indicator.

The 47mm, Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™ uses the new RD105SQ hand-wound caliber with speedometre-like seconds counters enhanced with automobile-inspired pointers rim the emblematic flying tourbillons at 5 and 7 o’clock respectively and has a 52-hour power reserve. The embodiment of this bold and audacious looking wristwatch is a cool nod to racing-car cockpit fuel gauges.

Limited to only eight pieces, the boutique exclusive model watch features the strap made of rubber inlays from certified Pirelli tyres and an interior reproducing the profile of a Pirelli Cinturato™ intermediate tyre. Characterised by the same elegant tread pattern with an asymmetric design as seen on the premium tyres, the Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™ is set with dozens of titanium studs emulating the nails in its namesake designed for better grip under icy conditions.

Roger Dubuis has been at the forefront of contemporary Haute Horlogerie since 1995 and most of its audacious creations of the 21st century, embody substantial expertise expressed through the finest watchmaking mechanisms combined with powerful and daring designs. Boldness and extravagance are the brand’s signatures, and determination its driving force.

Moreover, stamped with the Poinçon de Genève, the timepiece is manufactured to the most demanding and strictest criteria for quality and craftsmanship. The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Sottozero™ by Roger Dubuis is distributed worldwide through an exclusive sales network and boutiques. Lucky owners of this 8‑piece limited edition will enjoy the privilege of being invited to high‑end local Pirelli events.

For more details on the latest watch collection by Roger Dubuis, please visit the official website here.

Tony Stark Urwerk UR-110RG for Auction

Urwerk UR-110RG | Images courtesy of Urwerk/Jimmy Rich

Tony Stark Urwerk UR-110RG for Auction

Released for the first time through a big screen debut in “Spiderman: Homecoming”, this Urwerk UR-110RG was once worn by Robert Downey Jr. in a film and will be one of the major highlights of the Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN, taking place on May 12-13, in Geneva.

Organised by Philip auction, public will get an opportunity to acquire the superhero’s watch, featured in one of the most popular movies of the past decade, in order to help raise funds for Manusodany, a non-profit organisation which helps fund development projects for disadvantaged individuals of Haiti. Accompanied by the original box and papers as it is with all Urwerk watches sold at auction, the buyer of this watch will also receive a complementary service on the watch.

This fine and rare watch model was described by Urwerk’s CEO, Felix Baumgartner as “one of those unexpected stories that make life such a thrill… with my team, we often give our watches nicknames. Blade Runner and Godzilla are both names we use internally for some of our watches but nothing really stuck to the UR-110 until we received this unbelievable proposition.

“Our UR-110 on the wrist of Tony Stark! A character that is eccentric and passionate about science, and totally cool. That’s exactly the kind of person we wanted for this watch, but he’s the one who found us.”

The UR-110RG is made in very limited numbers and the brand has been long admired for their innovative, avant-garde designs inspired by space travel, illustrated by the revolving satellite complication with wandering hour modules mounted on planetary gears. In fact, the UR-110RG Titanium was an award-winning piece, which took home the Best Design prize at the 2011 edition of the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève.

Shown regularly on Tony Stark’s wrist, and in one particular scene, the UR-110 is used as a functional gadget for Iron Man.

According to the Swiss watchmaker, one of the major challenges posed by this complication is “working out the optimal architecture for supporting the central carousel and the rotating hour modules. We finally opted for a technical solution that is radically different from any of our other creations: instead of ball bearings, a fixed axis runs the full height of the watch, providing maximum rigidity and minimum play. The whole complication is perfectly balanced on this axis.”

The UR-110 continues urwerk’s radical tradition of telling the time using orbiting satellite complications with time telling on the right-hand side.

Encased within a black coated Grade 5 titanium case, with red gold bezel and water resistant up to 3 ATM, the UR-110RG features a UR-9.01 self-winding Calibre with 46 jewels, unidirectional winding rotor coupled to twin turbines system, small seconds on a sub dial and day and night indicator marked by a rotating disk with dark Super-LumiNova® on marker for the night and white for the day and a striped mix for dusk/dawn.

Running on a power reserve of 39 hours, the watch presents a brilliant new take on the revolving satellite complication with wandering hour modules and it features also two-position winding crown with integrated protection.

Please visit the official websites of Philips Auction and urwerk for more details on the watch.

(Source: Philips Auction)

BaselWorld 2018: TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford

TAG Heuer Monaco Heritage

Since the launch of the new Monaco flagship in 1970s, TAG Heuer has kept on reinvigorating itself to come up with timepieces that embody both bold and innovative designs with a recognisable identity in line with the brand’s pioneering spirit.

Taking reference from the iconic Monaco designed racing watch, which was the world’s first squared-case, water resistant automatic chronograph that had a role in various major motorsports as well as a timeless classic worn by the legendary Steve McQueen and remained associated with the film Le Mans to this day. Today, the new Monaco Bamford embodied an entirely new design language.

As the ultimate blend of TAG Heuer’s watchmaking technique with the expertise from Bamford Watch Department, a leader in luxury watch customisation designs exclusive, the revamped version of the TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford, features a 39 mm square dial framed around a robust carbon case with a left-crown, including George Bamford’s imprint that is engraved on the dial, and the bottom of the box is signed “Monaco Bamford.”

The full black dial is further accentuated by the aqua blue chronometers and the luminescent indexes of the chronograph counters as well as the date window at 6 o’clock, which nod to TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford’s unprecedented reinterpretation of “taking the dare,” to be different.

Also, the iconic Tag Heuer Monaco has been redesigned to be lightweight and long-lasting with an avant-garde touch – fitted with a luxurious black alligator leather strap and showcasing the usual steel case made of the highly popular watchmaking material, carbon.


Hermès: Arceau Tyger Tyger Timepiece

After given the carte blanche, artist Henri d’Origny embarked on a creative journey to produce an extravagant and one-of-a-kind timepiece with miniature painting for Hermès. Inspired by the silk scarf created by illustrator and designer Alice Shirley, the Arceau Tyger Tyger motif was transferred from silk to metal by renowned enameller, Anita Porchet, who is a frequent collaborator of Hermes.

The Arceau Tyger Tyger is a limited edition watch, referenced from the inspired asymmetric case which made its debut in 1978. It features a 41mm white-gold case with sapphire crystal and case back, with anti-glare treatment and is water resistant to 30m.

Powered by mechanical self-winding, Hermès ultra-thin H1937 movement, the limited edition motif at only 12 examples has a power reserve of 50 hours and is available in large-size. Finally, the watch is completed with a matt indigo alligator strap equipped with a 17 mm pin buckle in 750 white gold.

Hermès: Arceau Tyger Tyger

The dial features a miniature enamel painting paired with cloisonné enamel techniques that was taken on exceptional luminosity by dint of patience, talent and successive firings in the kiln, meticulousness, eyes for details and a pair of sturdy hands to bring alive the design of the “Tyger Tyger” motif as vividly as it is lavishly appealing to the discerning.

This is when the cloisonné enamel technique truly comes into play – the design process involved creating the lush vegetation surrounding the tiger as seen in the miniature painting. The shimmering chiaroscuro of a full moon night sparkles with joy and grandiosity and the majestic feline takes shape with the placing of tiny gold wires marking off the surfaces to be enamelled. After which, the enamel is then applied with a layer of glossy finish to complete the miniature painting.

When Hermes decided to call upon the artist to design exclusive timepieces for watch collectors and aficionados, Hermes puts it beautifully in words of the works of their artist representatives: “stemming from skills orchestrated by the deft hands of artists, miniature paintings encounter other nimble fingers: those of the watchmaking artisans of the Manufacture Hermès, who create the movements, cases and straps of these four limited series representing vibrant tributes to creative talent.”

Because for Hermès, rather than measuring, ordering, and seeking to control it, Hermès revels in constantly reinventing, explores time with designs that can arouse emotions, open up interludes and create spaces for spontaneity and recreation.

Case designed by Henri d’Origny (1978), featuring 750 white gold with round case of 41 mm in diameter and 21 mm lug width, and sapphire crystal and case-back with anti-glare treatment and water-resistant up to 3 bar

Dial in 750 white gold enamel features miniature painting with applied cloisonné enamel techniques to create the “Tyger Tyger” motif designed by Alice Shirley

Movement Manufacture Hermès ultra-thin H1937 movement Mechanical self-winding, Swiss made with “Sprinkling of Hs” motif and circular-grained and snailed mainplate satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight

Functions Hours and minutes

Strap Matt indigo alligator equipped with a 17 mm pin buckle in 750 white gold (≈ 5.34 g)

For more information on Arceau Tyger Tyger for Hermès, please visit http://singapore.hermes.com.

Romain Jerome Unveils Limited edition Skylab Batman in 75 pieces

Latest Skylab Batman limited edition timepiece in 75 pieces

Riding on the feverish theme “The Dark Knight” which the show has garnered favourable responses since its launch in 2008, the box office has seen more than USD 1 billion in movie sales worldwide.

From film series to collectibles and now bringing generational icons back onto the watch, Swiss watchmaker for RJ-Romain Jerome in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, has unveiled the latest limited edition timepiece in three models: Skylab Batman, Batman DNA and Batman DNA Gotham City and each comes in 75 pieces.

“The Dark Knight” returns again in caped crusader, the manual winding movement is framed in a 48 mm case with power reserve of 48 hours. Except that this time, the new Skylab Batman timepiece is crafted with a different facade; the centre of the dial features the iconic Batman, seemingly overlooking Gotham City when darkness comes, just as the bat signal would illuminate in luminescent blue in the night.

In this new edition, RJ shows a different perspective on Batman to echo the aesthetic details and function, synonymous with applique, showing his more elegant side.

The architectural mechanism juxtapose with the three-layered straight lines skeletonised Batman logo, set against the Gotham City map metallised on the back sapphire crystal glass. The Batman edition timepiece is completed with an alligator strap in black, fitted to the steel folding clasps.

Now you can tell time subtly even in the night with the soft and luminescent blue bat signal lighting up in the dark.

The prices of these Limited edition models have not been revealed at the moment.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter in two of its transformations

Montblanc Timewalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter: Transformable watch shown at SIHH 2017 Day 3

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter in two of its transformations

With Day 3 at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) wrapped up, we find ourselves overwhelmed as usual. The WOW team has by now seen (and, not for nothing, photographed) all the novelties from all the major players exhibiting at the Palexpo. At this moment, we are hard pressed to choose just one watch to highlight…

For example, there is an amazing Richard Mille vying to be the lightest watch in the world; an amazingly complicated Grand Sonnerie, 10 years in the making, at Vacheron Constantin; a lubrication-free watch from Officine Panerai that has a 50-year warranty; and an outrageous and out-of-this-world diamond-encrusted wonder from Audemars Piguet. Believe it or not, the list goes on but for today, our penultimate day inside the halls of the Palexpo, I want to look at something fun, which we discovered at Montblanc, with the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter in action

A 50mm wrist titan, this watch can be transformed into a pocket watch, a table clock and a dashboard clock. It can also be worn in many different ways, making it possibly the most flexible wristwatch at this size (the watch is cased in grade 2 titanium so it isn’t actually as hefty as it sounds). The case turns from 0 to 180 degrees, or from 3 to 9 o’clock, which means the knurled crown can be positioned from 3 to 9 o’clock.

It was inspired by the original Minerva Rally Timer from the 1930s and is reportedly in exactly the same size today. Even the movement, the manual winding manufacture MB M16.29, is inspired by the original Minerva calibre 17.29. It is worth noting that Montblanc and Minerva are today the same, with Richemont announcing that both firms are now totally integrated.

Of course, Montblanc has a couple of star pieces from the fair, one of which graces the current issue of WOW, and another of which is a superlative chronograph with three balance springs, also in the TimeWalker collection but more on this later. For now, the specifications.


Case: 50mm titanium

Dial: Black, with Arabic numerals and SuperLuminova treated indexes

Movement: Manual winding calibre MB M16.29 with monopusher chronograph

Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph

Limited edition of 100

Quartz dive watch: Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 Series could be the world’s lightest

Reportedly weighing in at up to 105 grams, the cased-in-carbon Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 Series is a diver’s watch, water resistant to 300 meters. Yes, it is under 100 grams in some versions, which is remarkable for what is a 46mm tough ticker. We have not done any comparative tests but this might well be the world’s lightest diver’s watch (quartz category). Ok there is no such award or category but if there were, Luminox would have a winner on its hands. Ok, so it is not completely cased in carbon. It has a steel caseback protecting its reliable quartz Ronda 715 HH6 heart but the carbon compound process used to create the (rest of the) case looks impressive. Steel is also used for the crown.

Manual winding watch: Credor Eichi II by Seiko is refined and subtle

The Credor Eichi II is a three-hand time-only watch that you can safely tell friends and colleagues is a Seiko because it is. Well, Credor is the part of the Seiko Group that creates haute horlogerie timepieces and the Eichi II is a superlative example of what the brand does. The dial is hand-painted porcelain (no ordinary white dial this) and the case is platinum and both are as beautiful as they are invisible to the casual observer. Needless to say, the finish on the movement is nothing short of breathtaking but it is the use of Seiko’s proprietary Spring Drive that elevates this watch to another level. The glide of the seconds hand is pure poetry.

Omega limited edition: #SpeedyTuesday Sells Out in 4 Hours

A couple of days ago, we received news of a new limited edition Omega Speedmaster – the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday Limited Edition more informally known as #SpeedyTuesday – was going to be available for pre-order in an exclusive Instagram push. While respecting the embargo on it, we pushed out the news as soon as possible that Tuesday (hence #SpeedyTuesday), via the social media magnet otherwise known as Instagram. Yes, the hashtag forms the actual name of this limited-to-2,012-pieces watch. Well, needless to say, plenty of watch journalists did the same and my own Facebook feed – dominated as it is by my obsession with timepieces – exploded. For one shining moment, Omega trumped Trump…

Now, watches aren’t interesting to most people, not in the way a supercar is. At least at Luxuo, we know this for a fact. Happily, the social media canvassing we witnessed for this watch was deeply gratifying. Sadly, it did not in fact actually rival news about the US President-Elect. It might not even compare against Mitch McConnell’s social media presence (that’s #mitchmcconnell for those who care).

Amazingly, Omega has confirmed that a mere hours – 4 hours, 15 minutes and 43 seconds to be precise – after the postings began, the watch had sold out. If this was a supercar, we would have expected the watch to have sold out well before any public news broke. Once again, this is a watch and not a tongue-twisty affair with more components that the Large Hadron Collider. This is the improbably named #SpeedyTuesday, proving that yes, Tuesday can indeed be speedy!

It is, frankly, unprecedented, as far as we know and it is difficult to underestimate how important this is, especially given the challenging retail climate we find ourselves in. The WOW Features Editor Jamie Tan tells me that Sennheiser accomplished something similar with its HD6XX on Massdrop but when it comes to watches, we are unaware of any other examples of such an unqualified success. Now, full disclosure here, as the editor of WOW, I’m positively beside myself; I might have even been moved to tears. Yes, I did not manage to pre-order the #SpeedyTuesday so color me #sad.

Automatic watch for travellers: Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT Power Reserve is unveiled before SIHH 2017

Multiple time zone watches can be the bane of watch designers everywhere. Unlike the chronograph, which has found a relatively stable user-interface and a comfortably homogenous display system, the multi-time zone watch exists in so many variations that one can never quite tell what it is, except on closer inspection. For example, believe it or not, there are countless people who have no clue how to use a mechanical worldtimer. The fault, arguably, lies not with the public but with the watchmakers. The Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT Power Reserve attempts to address this.

Revealed as a teaser for the full 2017 assortment ahead of the SIHH, this watch uses the real estate on its blue dial to good effect. It starts with having “GMT” on the dial at 12 o’clock, right below the 24-hour indicator, which might be too obvious for some but it certainly makes the watch easy to understand and use. At the same time, the 24-hour GMT display is admirably quirky, consisting of a single hand to track the time on a dual-arc subdial. One only needs a single hand for the GMT anyway and that double-track display makes optimal use of the allocated space. The lack of numerals here though might put some off, given that reading the time this way is not intuitive.Baume-Mercier_BM05_10316_Porter_1465667

As far as proportions go, it is all smiles here. The GMT display matches up nicely with the power reserve arc at 6 o’clock. The date at 3 o’clock, with a rounded rectangular window framed by a sharp-edged rectangular white border, is a good effort at drawing attention to the aperture but again will likely divide opinions.

Chugging along beneath all this functional discourse on the dial is the automatic Soprod 9035 calibre with some custom finishes, including Cotes de Geneve on the rotor. The power reserve here is 42 hours, which is not too shabby given that this is an automatic. Frequent travellers who often find themselves on long-haul flights would do well to recall that the watch won’t wind itself if the wearer is motionless for long stretches.

At 43mm, this is by no means a particularly discreet watch, which makes the aforementioned dial layout quite vital. What looks best in a smaller watch often appears outlandish when blown up so it is no surprise that Baume & Mercier have opted for a watch that could be mistaken for a chronograph at a distance. The look of the chronograph is, after all, a proven proposition.


Movement Automatic Soprod 9035 with GMT,

Power Reserve 42-hour

Case 43mm stainless steel

Water Resistant Up to 50 meters

Strap Black alligator leather

IWC Da Vinci watches: Two new editions join the automatic collection for SIHH 2017

Some watch collections are legendary by design, with brands doing everything in their power to push the message. Others, like the IWC Da Vinci collection sort of stumble into the status, sometimes years after the saga began. Here, in advance of the 2017 edition of the SIHH, IWC showcases four different editions of the brand new Da Vinci and you might be forgiven for wondering why all the fuss over another round watch, even if two happen to be proper high complications: the in-house chronograph perpetual calendar and the tourbillon retrograde.iwc-da-vinci-moonphase-automatic-36-pre-sihh-2017

Before jetting off to an examination of the history of this remarkable collection, alongside the technical features of the high complications, we begin for 2017 with the Da Vinci Automatic 36 and the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 (both seen above). Helpfully, the names here tell you all you need to know about the watches, briefly. One is a 36mm time-and-date automatic and the other is also 36mm, without date but with a moon phase indication in addition. The moon phase model will put you in mind immediately of the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37, which is one mm larger. Indeed, the calibre here is the same calibre 35800. Likewise, the Automatic 36 uses the same calibre 35111 beating within the Portofino Automatic 37, even though the date is positioned here at 6 o’clock.

As far as look and feel go though, the new Da Vinci models are unabashed throwbacks to the 1980s, with larger bezels, discreetly recessed inner dials, swiveling or articulated lugs (they move to ensure a better fit), bulbous crowns, slim (gold-plated) lance-shaped hands, Arabic numerals, and silver-plated dials. These elements are common to both the Automatic and Moon Phase models (neither has multiple crowns!) and we assume will hold true for the haute horlogerie pieces (perhaps with proper gold hands although there is some speculation that there will be a steel version of the chronograph perpetual calendar).iwc-da-vinci-automatic-36-pre-sihh-2017-caseback

IWC tells us that all Da Vinci models come with Santoni straps, standard, and both the Automatic and Moon Phase models appear to feature a Flower of Life engraving on their casebacks (above). This design is meant as a visual (and visceral) tribute to Leonardo da Vinci, whom the collection is named after. On that Moon Phase model, it joins the Portofino Moon Phase as the only ladies models to feature this complication in the IWC range. For IWC, the moon phase indicator rarely appears without other accompanying complications so this distinguishes the ladies’ models.iwc-da-vinci-moonphase-diamond-set-pre-sihh-2017

There are a variety of different iterations on just these basic novelties, including plain stainless steel, diamond-set (54 on the bezel) stainless steel (above) and 18k red gold (no diamonds for the Moon Phase 36). In addition, the Automatic 36 is also available with a steel bracelet and an 18k red gold bracelet.

Graham Chronofighter Target Denim

New trigger system adaptation: Graham Chronofighter Target Denim celebrates the world of fashion

The Chronofighter is one of Graham’s core collections and arguably the brand’s most emblematic, thanks to the unique “trigger” system that controls the chronographs’ start/stop functions. It’s been well received and Graham has, in response, created several variations on the theme. These range from elegant women’s watches to technical diving watches to vintage-styled pilot watches, each with its own adaptation to the trigger system’s design.

The latest timepiece to join the line-up has veered off in an entirely different direction this time, and entered the world of fashion. Enter the Chronofighter Target Denim. This new watch will appeal to the sartorially inclined with its form, which melds serious tool watch design elements with street fashion chic. Purpose-driven design is readily apparent in the bold lines and surfaces of the case, alongside the choice of technical materials: scratch-resistant ceramic for the bezel, and black carbon for the trigger. Meanwhile, the playful aspects of the watch are seen in the blue-tinted dial, which complements its eponymous denim strap.

As usual, Graham has put a heavy premium on the wearer’s ease of access to the watch’s functions. Reading the time is a cinch despite the choice of a smoked dial, which exposes the movement underneath it, as the white dial markings and bold hands create a high contrast with the background. The brand has also eschewed the 12-hour totaliser for the chronograph; in exchange for a shorter limit for the measurement of elapsed time, the 30-minute totaliser has been magnified to dominate the bottom half of the dial for better legibility. Measurement of intervals up to 30 minutes long aside, the chronograph can also be used with the telemeter scale – printed on the outer edge of the chapter ring – to measure the distance to an (audible) event based on the speed of sound.

Apart from this reference in blue, two other colourways of the Chronofighter Target Denim are available. One has a green-tinted dial paired with a khaki canvas strap, while the other has a grey-tinted dial and an anthracite canvas strap.

Movement: Self-winding Graham G1747 chronograph movement with 48-hour power reserve
Case: 47mm in steel and carbon; water resistant to 100m
Strap: Blue denim strap with steel ardillon buckle


Dive watch review: Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime delivers better readability in low light

A divers’ watch with worldtimer function is a novel idea, as seen here in the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime. As far as we know, this is the only divers’ watch to feature such a function; Ball itself notes that this is the first diver worldtime day date watch. Ball introduced this winning combination in 2010 and no brand has followed it down this path, or shall we say down to this depth. The new watch features an updated design and an updated movement too.


Movement Automatic Ball RR1501 with worldtimer, day, date; 38-hour power reserve
Case 45mm stainless steel; water resistant to 300 metres
Strap Stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap

What is preserved here is an intuitive way to read off time, especially in low-light settings because that is where a Ball watch excels. This refers to the self-powered H3 gas tubes that are the watchmaker’s claim to fame. Given that legibility is a key differentiating factor in every Ball watch collection, the brand has paid special attention here. As we have mentioned before, multiple time zone watches are frequently difficult to read, compared with chronographs. Ball’s commitment here is part and parcel of its spin-off company, Patrick’s Labs, which is effectively the watchmaker’s research and development arm.

Complicating matters here, in particular, is the bidirectional rotating inner bezel. As it stands, this is one of the few divers’ watches that includes a bidirectional inner bezel as opposed to the usual unidirectional external bezel. If one looks at the previous versions of this model, the information on the dial appears to be where the changes reside. Adding weight to this is the calibre Ball RR1501, which is unchanged from the previous edition. Both font and markers have been updated, while water resistance is now listed below the logo at 12 o’clock instead of at 6 o’clock. The worldtime disc has been overhauled, with extraneous information excised; as before, it continues to rotate counter-clockwise.


Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon: A look inside this new luxury chiming watch debuting at SIHH 2017

Chiming watches remain the most charming of all mechanical timepieces, mostly because they are discreet pleasures. After all, with a minute repeater for example, the beauty is in what it sounds like and the wearer is likely the only person who knows for sure. Visually, these rarefied watches that sound out the time often look like time-only pieces, with only the sliding piece on the case giving away the game. Skeletonising offers, to date, the best chance to transform a minute repeater into a feast for the eye as well as the ear. For 2017, the Cartier manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds clearly thinks it can do better.

With this striking timepiece, the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon, the Cartier watchmakers have created a mechanical wristwatch that has never existed in any form, anywhere. This is the first time a mysterious flying double tourbillon has joined forces with a minute repeater (which is skeletonized to boot). In fact, to our knowledge, this is the first time a mysterious indication of time has been seen alongside a skeletonised minute repeater.

Now, Carole Forestier-Kasapi and her team are no strangers to repeaters and Cartier is certainly the only major brand to associate itself with the mysterious watch – a tradition dating back to the clocks of Louis Cartier in 1902. Creating a cohesive watch out of old traditions and new know-how is where Cartier excels and where the brand often adds value to watchmaking as a whole. To put it another way, Cartier may not innovate by tradition but it certainly makes innovation in watchmaking seem like a proud tradition, a beautiful one at that.

calibre 9407 MC

Calibre 9407 MC

“We don’t have a long experience in fine watchmaking. We wanted to do things differently. This fact probably makes our watches appealing to the client. And our watches are beautiful! You know, just because we make technical watches doesn’t mean the watches have to be ugly. We have always had very good designers in the house of Cartier and this is one of our strengths,” said Forestier-Kasapi.

She was speaking at that time, in 2012, about the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon, powered by calibre 9402 MC. When you see the numbering in the new model, calibre 9407 MC, the provenance is clear, which you might have guessed from those dial-side hammers and gongs. Having said that, looking back at the various forms the Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon have taken at Cartier, there are clear differences here, made obvious by the open-worked movement and the position of the repeater push piece at 4 o’clock.

Triple Threat Pre-SIHH Novelties

We should say at the outset that Cartier never does anything by halfway measures so the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon is only one of three novelties to be revealed prior to SIHH 2017. The others are the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour and the Panthere Joueuse de Cartier, which are certainly winning propositions in their own right but we’ll have to address those in another issue, possibly when we look at the SIHH novelties in full or in a shoot sometime next year.

Minute Repeater Mechanism

Minute Repeater Mechanism

Turning back to the multi-complication of the pre-SIHH releases, Cartier definitely wants to window to show off this new watch before the onslaught of novelties begins. Truly, the virtues of the watch are obvious even as the mysterious mechanism remains fully, well, mysterious. Casual observers have already noted how well the calibre 9407 MC preserves the secrets of the mysterious flying double tourbillon, which it does. The visual pleasure of watching the tourbillon make a circuit in one minute, and then the entire assembly rotate in five minutes is delectable, as we have already seen with the Rotonde Mysterious Double Tourbillon in 2013.

The repeater portion of this calibre, which occupies the remaining 61% of calibre 9407 MC, is another matter. Doing a multi-complication is great and everything but does it compromise the quality of the delicate chiming mechanism? First of all, the many watchmakers we have spoken to over the years typically agree that adding a tourbillon to a movement with a minute repeater causes no problems overall and does not detract from the quality of the sound. In this particular instance, Cartier notes that the space for the double tourbillon is actually smaller than it was in the Rotonde Mysterious Double Tourbillon 9454 MC. This reduction of 1mm to 15.5mm was done to accommodate the repeater gongs.

Perfecting the Pitch

Ultimately, chiming watches must be judged on aural pleasure and that is entirely subjective. What we can highlight here is that Cartier has boiled down the essence of a successful minute repeater into four dimensions: intensity, tonality, tone and deadening. Those familiar with watches that strike the time will know a few more terms: volume, rhythm, harmony, pitch, duration, paired sounds and ready sounds… Happily, the Cartier manufacture’s approach with the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon is refreshingly approachable.

On that note (no pun intended), it is important to bear in mind that this is a 45mm watch in grade 5 titanium while the gongs are in the usual steel as per Cartier’s other repeaters. The manufacture’s own notes suggest that titanium was chosen to reduce the case-gongs mass ratio for better acoustic transparency. As you might have guessed, the entire 45mm case acts as a resonance chamber for calibre 9407 MC. Cartier makes no other assertion on the choice of material for the case, in terms of its suitability for sounding the time in a sonorous fashion.

The Mysterious Cage

The Mysterious Cage

The manufacture does take some pains to establish that it has tried its best to improve the transmission of vibrations from movement to case by creating no less than six points that the movement connects with the case. Four of these are via screws linking the movement and the case while two are screws that link the gongs themselves to the case (at 6 o’clock, in the middle of the hammers). If you are familiar with other Cartier repeaters, you might also recognize that the gongs present a square profile to the hammers at the point of contact, to increase the surface area that the hammers can work with. Cartier reports that this improves the vibration velocity.

The low-pitched gong (tourbillon-side) sounds the hours and is calibrated to strike in B (5th octave). The high-pitched minutes gong is set to D (6th octave), by way of contrast. Low-pitch and high-pitch notes are separated by 10 dB, which seems like a good split. Interestingly, the intensity of the notes has been clocked at 66dB, as opposed to the 68dB of the previous Cartier repeaters. You will of course appreciate the quality of the sound is more important here than the actual intensity, given that the difference is a mere 2dB. That quality is assured here – as in all Cartier repeaters – by the use of a flying inertial governor instead of the more traditional recoil anchor. The governor has been moved from its position in 9402 MC, in single axis with the tourbillon and gongs to a spot just below the mysterious double tourbillons.

As for the actual quality of the sound, for the moment we only have the specifications from Cartier to go on but we might update on the actual sound quality online from SIHH 2017 itself. See you there.


Movement Manual winding calibre 9407 MC, with mysterious double flying tourbillon and minute repeater; 84 hours power reserve

Case 45mm grade 5 titanium

Strap Black “Gomma” alligator

Franck Muller Gravity Tourbillon Skeleton: Specifications, colours and the beautiful mechanism of the luxury watch

Gravity and timekeeping make strange but fetching bedfellows as shown here in the Franck Muller Gravity Tourbillon Skeleton. For a start, let’s get the strange part out of the way. Gravity is a force that certainly affects space-time and it is very cool in that way. Unfortunately, how it does this is very poorly understood by most people, largely because it is counter-intuitive. Since Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon, the world of mechanical timekeeping has had a special relationship with this fundamental force.

On the one hand, it made admirable strides in illustrating how a mechanical system could correct for errors in rate caused by gravity’s effect on the hairspring. On the other hand, it also gave the impression that gravity was an avowed enemy of timekeeping but this is certainly not the case.

The Franck Muller Gravity Tourbillon Skeleton zooms in on the poetic side of gravity, leaning on the fact that gravity effectively causes space-time to curve. This is reflected to amazing effect in the gentle slope of the tourbillon carriage and bridges. The implication of this design is that gravity is causing deformations around the escapement, without causing any visible effects. This is extraordinarily beautiful. Adding to this are the matching blue accents in the carriage and the bridges, alongside the now-familiar curves of the Vanguard case. It helps of course that the tourbillon is quite large, with the carriage itself having a diameter of 21.2mm; the balance wheel is likewise quite large at 14mm and is set noticeably off-centre, calling further attention to the entire assembly.


Returning to that striking blue colour for a moment and the contrast with the black elements, the manual-winding calibre CS-03.SQT largely uses anodized aluminium so there is a wide range of colour possibilities here, from orange to yellow, to blue and more. Franck Muller says personalization is certainly a possibility here. As for that black, it is the result of a PVD treatment but the movement can also feature 5N or rhodium plating.


Movement Manual-winding CS-03.SQT with tourbillon; 5-day power reserve

Case 38.4mm x 39.6mm PVD-treated titanium, steel, rose gold or white gold; water resistant to 30 meters

Strap Rubber and nylon

Review Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase

Review: Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase

The story of Glashütte Original this year is all about Calibre 36 and it is certainly true that it is the beginning of a new story for the Saxon watchmaker. The Senator Excellence is at the heart of it but BaselWorld this year also showed us a hint of where the watchmaker intends to take this tale. Behold the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase, a chapter devoted to complexity made simple.

Well, to begin with, those familiar with moon phases will know all the usual stuff: it will be accurate for 122 years before it needs to be adjusted. Stellar stuff that is but the simplicity we seek lies in the operation of this adjustment. Again, those familiar with the moon phase, or own a watch with this charming complication, will know that there is a circumstance that will require manual intervention. If the watch stops for a prolonged period, it will need to be reset and, when it comes to the moon phase, that can be tedious. Not so for the Panorama Date Moon Phase.

From winding the watch to the setting of time, from changing the date to setting the moon phase, everything can be managed via the crown. When one pulls the crown out to position one, Calibre 36-04, can be wound. Position two allows the setting of both date and moon phase indicator, tied as they are to each other. Finally, position three allows the setting of time. Of course, the fact that the power reserve is rated to 100 hours also helps keep the pressure off. That, to keep it brief, takes care of the main message of simplicity.

Review Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase

On the other hand, it is not only practically speaking that the watch offers advantages. A watch is something one wears and interacts with almost intuitively. Using a pusher to correct the moon phase gives one a feeling of being disconnected from this most personal of treasures. Glashütte Original corrects that defect with the Panorama Date Moon Phase.

Of course, this implies there is a great deal of complexity involved with what the Swatch Group-owned firm is doing with the automatic Calibre 36-04. Like Calibre 36, we know for certain it is using a silicium hairspring, a free-spring balance and a movement architecture aimed at solving technical issues down the line, including making servicing easier. All of these moves bring the German manufacture in-line with the practices of its parent group and have been a long time coming.

What hasn’t changed is the Glashütte Original look and feel, as seen in the double disc date display – pleasantly oversized as usual – and the off-kilter positioning of both the date and the moon phase indicator. Combined with the central hands and sweep seconds, the result is an admirably well-balanced 40mm watch.

Review Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase


  • Dimensions: 40mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, moon phase
  • Power Reserve: 100 hours
  • Movement: Automatic Calibre 36-04 with date and moon phase
  • Material: Stainless steel or rose gold
  • Water resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: Louisiana alligator or bracelet (stainless steel version)

SIHH 2017 Preview: Officine Panerai introduces PAM685 and PAM687

Watches tell the story of time, interpreting it in deliberate ways and delivering it in innumerable styles. While the 12 chapters on the dial (typically) stay the same, everything else depends on the name and logo on said dial. Of the various authors, if we can call them that, Officine Panerai offers among the most compelling narratives. In 2017, the most resolutely Swiss of Italian brands draws attention to its most primal story, which in the case of PAM685 is writ large on the bezel.

Properly called the Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio PAM685 and PAM687, these Special Editions are modeled on 1930s prototypes for the Italian navy. According to Panerai, those prototypes featured 12-side bezels with the words Officine Panerai – Brevettato (Panerai Workshop – Patented) engraved. Both PAM685 and PAM687 recall this early chapter in the story of Panerai with admirable clarity, as you can see in the pictures here.

Briefly, this is the mythical tale of the Panerai reference 3646, a sort of proving ground watch for what Panerai eventually supplied to the Italian Navy. In recreating this look, Panerai has put together two elements in a way never before seen in the contemporary Panerai watch: engraving and the 12-sided bezel. To our knowledge, this is the only time Panerai has introduced engraved wording on a 12-sided bezel. This same bezel is also used on the caseback, which features a sapphire crystal window to admire the manual-winding calibre P.3000.


Officine Panerai PAM685 and PAM687 have the same view via the caseback, that of the P.3000 calibre

Panerai says reference 3646 (in something very much like this form) was probably used by naval authorities during the test period for the watches, which means anything from 1935 to 1938.

It is thus important to note that Panerai has merely recreated the look of the prototypes; PAM685 and PAM687 are perfectly water resistant (though only to 30 meters), have solidly dependable in-house P.3000 movements and do not feature radioactive materials (SuperLuminova is used instead). Yes, Panerai did not select the name Radiomir by accident as the originals did indeed feature radium, a toxic radioactive element.

As you may have guessed, these time-only Special Editions are in fact limited propositions and both feature 47mm Radiomir cases in stainless steel, complete with wire lugs. The only difference between the two versions is the dial color. PAM685 sports a black dial while PAM687 features a faded brown dial that Panerai calls “tropical”. Of course, both dials are in the typical sandwich construction favored by Panerai.




  • Dimensions: 47mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Manual winding calibre P.3000
  • Case: 316L steel
  • Water resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Untreated leather with large prong buckle


Corum Heritage Diphylleia

Review: Corum Heritage Diphylleia

Corum’s creations for women span a wide range and appeal to an equally diverse group of female watch lovers. From the display of feather marquetry in the Heritage Artisans Feather watch to the play of D color diamonds on the high jewelry version of the Golden Bridge, there’s something for everyone whatever her preferences.

The brand explored the feminine side of watchmaking earlier this year with the Heritage Diphylleia, where a flower has been sculpted out of a watch. The diphylleia that inspired the timepiece is also known as the skeleton flower, and has a unique property – its petals acquire a lace-like translucency when they are wet. The Heritage Diphylleia alludes to this effect with a bezel that’s set with 22 diamonds totalling 5.3 carats, and an inner flange of mother-of-pearl. Together, these two elements sparkle and shimmer, not unlike a dew covered diphylleia in the early morning.Corum Heritage Diphylleia

On the watchmaking front, the Heritage Diphylleia features a skeletonised movement, which has its plates and bridges engraved with a floral motif. Besides keeping the theme consistent, the openworked movement also offers views through the timepiece to enhance the perception of lightness and airiness. This watch is available in both rose gold and white gold, but in extremely limited runs of just eight and 18 pieces respectively.

This article was first published in World of Watches: Jewellery.

Review: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold

Review: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold

Upon hearing the words frosted gold, as we have here with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold, one cannot help but recall the festive season. It almost sounds like some tasty treat, like the legendary Frosted Malted of old. Well the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold is quite a delectable horological treat, a present to itself in a way to honor the 40th anniversary of the first lady’s model of the Royal Oak. The Royal Oak proper itself celebrated its 40th in 2012, which here in Singapore was a memorably grand affair at the old KTM train station at Tanjong Pagar. The women’s model got a suitably glitzy party at the international level but more on that another time.

Savvy watch collectors will think of a movement decoration technique used by the likes of Greubel Forsey and Kari Voutilainen upon reading the words frosted gold – superlative stuff that is best appreciated in person or via an extreme close-up. As it happens, this is related to the Royal Oak Frosted Gold because the gold in question indeed owes its frosted look to an age-old jewelry finishing style called the Florentine technique. According to Audemars Piguet, this technique derives from an ancient method of hammering gold, which we take to mean using a tiny hammer to bang out the wonderful little indentations seen here.

Bucci’s workshops use a diamond-tipped tool to create the tiny indentations, giving the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold its luster. It took many months of collaborative work between the Audemars Piguet manufacture and the Bucci workshop to port this technique over from jewelry to watchmaking. For the manufacture, the key was how to integrate the new technique with the Royal Oak’s signature combination of brushed and polished surfaces. It must be said that the results speak for themselves. You look at the pictures and you just want to reach out and touch the watch, which is an unqualified win for this new model.


Audemars Piguet is taking this opportunity shine the spotlight once more on the original designer for this model, Jacqueline Dimier. While the Royal Oak was famously created by the late Gerald Genta, Dimier took on the challenge of adapting the design for the feminine version. A major name in design in her own right, she was the in-house head of design for Audemars Piguet until 1999. The brand is relishing the opportunity to talk up Dimier again during the 40th anniversary and pay tribute with the Royal Oak Frosted Gold.

As far as the innards are concerned, Audemars Piguet has gone with safety and stability, which will disappoint some aficionados. In particular, the decision to use the quartz calibre 2713 for the 33mm version has drawn some flak from Internet commentators. This is exacerbated by manufacture’s decision to use the solidly dependable automatic calibre 3120 for the 37mm version. Arguably, if women favor the larger mechanical version, there might be a strong enough draw for the manufacture to consider it for the 33mm as well, if it can find an automatic solution. The answer will reveal itself in time…


  • Dimensions: 37mm and 33mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date; hours, minutes, date (33mm version)
  • Movements: Automatic calibre 3120; quartz calibre 2713 (33mm version)
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours (37mm version)
  • Materials: Rose gold and white gold
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: Rose gold and white gold bracelet