Tag Archives: timepiece

Review: Breguet Classique 7147 Watch

In its press notes for the Breguet Classique 7147, the Swiss watchmaker calls the watch a ‘must-have’, a term criminally abused in fashion but blessedly uncommon in watchmaking parlance. Nevertheless, it is strange to refer to some kinds of things as must-haves. Take real estate for example. No one ever calls a house a must-have even though shelter is an actual bona fide must-have.

Don’t get us wrong here because Breguet watches obviously have a powerful appeal, particularly – we would argue – in gold. On the other hand, just as one would never call the Bugatti Chiron a must-have, a watch like the Breguet Classique 7147 should not be thought of in this way. To some, the Chiron will look a dream come to roaring mechanical life but others will see a nightmare of absurdity. Indeed, part of the appeal of the car is in this very divisiveness.

Fine watchmaking has a strong divisive streak and Breguet makes some lovely examples, one of which is the Classique 7147. Proposed by the Swatch Group-owned watchmaker as a dress watch, it is certain to upend the expectations, and upset the constitutions, of some gentlemen. By tradition, a dress watch is meant to be a paragon of subtle appeal. In contemporary times, this often translates as ‘boring’, which unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with the word ‘classic’. Typically, the dress watch sits quietly on the wrist, hidden under the sleeve, a pleasure exclusively for the wearer. The Classique 7147 sure does like a bit of attention though.

The Classique 7147 is far from properly classical, what with its off-kilter small seconds subdial, its 40mm diameter and bold decorative touches. These decorations include an engine-turned hobnail motif in the center of the dial and an angled cross weave guilloche pattern on the subdial. Roman numerals and blued steel Breguet hands complete the look.

breguet-classique-5140

By way of comparison, look at the Breguet Classique 5140, which sports a clean and pure dial, although some variations have added more decidedly ‘Breguet’ touches (as the version above does). No, we have not made a mistake, this is not the new 7147. The similarity in the look, right down to that quirky small seconds subdial, is to be expected as the 7147 replaces the 5140, which has been around in one shape or another since at least 2008.

One of the key differences between these two references is actually more subtle though and can’t really be illustrated well. The Classique 7147 is just 6.1mm thick, making it appropriately slim for a dress (it has to fit comfortably under shirt sleeves) and distinctly thinner than the 5140 (the current Breguet catalogue lists it as 10.8mm thick). This of course is a function of the movement within, calibre 502.3SD, which is just 2.4mm thick. The Classique 7147 has an exhibition caseback through which the movement can shine, which is another change from the 5140.

Specs

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding calibre 502.3SD with pallet fork and balance spring in silicon
  • Material: 18k rose gold and 18k white gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Leather
Chanel J12 watch Baselworld

Chanel J12 XS: Tough Chick

The first watch designed by Chanel with a masculine touch goes through a complete makeover and is now smaller, girlier and the most desirable it has ever been. This story is from the perspective of our friends at L’Officiel Singapore; we have previously adopted the WOW Singapore review of the same watch.

The year 2003 was no ordinary one for Chanel. It finally made its debut at BaselWorld (the industry’s biggest watch fair where top manufacturers gather annually in Switzerland to show off their latest horological feats), 16 years after the Parisian house unveiled its first timepiece, the Première. But the year was also a dismal one for the people of the world who were fiercely battling the Sars epidemic. “In fact, China realized that it had many more cases than what was officially announced,” Chanel’s International Watch Director Nicolas Beau recalls. “It was two days before the show and a lot of Chinese would be coming in. Everybody panicked. Some even wanted to go home.”

Chanel J12 watch Baselworld

Black high-tech ceramic and 18k white gold with baguette-cut diamonds, black onyw, matte leather and patent calfskin

But when BaselWorld concluded that year, people weren’t talking about Sars as much as Chanel’s J12, which was presented at the fair in a new white high-tech ceramic version (trumping the reception of its black predecessor launched back in 2000). “Suddenly we realized how powerful this creation was,” Beau adds. “The J12 introduced a new color and a new spirit to quite a traditional-looking watch. And because it’s a traditional-looking watch, it would be boring if we made it in steel. Ours in ceramic told people something different.”

The J12, which was Chanel’s first automatic timepiece, is a fascinating work of art. Seven years of research and development contribute to the allure of the watch, most of which lies within its high-tech ceramic case. Made entirely from scratch at the brand’s G&F Chatelain Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the material is lighter and hardier than gold and steel, resistant to thermal and chemical shocks, and very comfortable to wear, absorbing and maintaining the skin’s temperature when worn. “We have discovered many new things since we started making ceramics in 2000,” Beau reveals. “We can even incorporate the material into mechanical movements now.”

That isn’t the only novelty. The J12 was also the first timepiece which Chanel designed with a surprising yet compellingly masculine approach. The house’s late artistic director Jacques Helleu had these goals in mind for the watch: it had to look timeless, be indestructible and remind him of “masterpieces in the world of automobiles”. As Beau points out: “We created a strong full-black watch with the original J12 and then followed up with an even stronger J12 in white. Today, both have become very key colors in the watch market.”

In October, Chanel gave the J12 its most exciting update yet (leading to both this and the previously published piece). Named the Chanel J12 XS, the new petite 19mm model is still beguiling with a case in either black or white high-tech ceramic, but it now exudes vibes that are way more girly than macho. There are four permanent boutique styles: the first two have slim patent calfskin straps that are worn over larger matte calfskin cuffs. The third is attached onto a pair of supple lambskin gloves, while the fourth features a patent calfskin cuff in multiple rows that’s quite rock ‘n’ roll.

Chanel J12 watch Baselworld

Black high-tech ceramic and steel with patent calfskin, lambskin and diamonds

The making of the J12 XS also involved France’s most brilliant craftsmen such as glove makers from the House of Causse and couture embroiderers from Maison Lesage (the latter is behind the most artistic dials of Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé timepiece range). To make the new model even more desirable, there are also six sequinned styles which are hand-embroidered by Maison Lesage to resemble the natural patterns found on exotic python, alligator and shark leather.

For those with more exquisite taste, there are also four unique and extremely wearable high jewelry models. One comes with a large solid cuff (they are unlike the boutique-exclusive Chanel J12 XS watch cuffs, which are supple) while two come with smaller, solid cuffs. All three are decorated with diamond-set white gold trims. Finally, there is a cheeky time-telling ring that is set with 24 baguette-cut diamonds around a white gold flange.

“The J12 introduced a new colour and a new spirit to quite a traditional-looking watch. And because it’s a traditional-looking watch, it would be boring if we made it in steel. Ours in ceramic told people something different.” declared Nicolas Beau, Chanel’s international watch director.

This story was first published in l‘Officiel Singapore

Review: Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition

Review: Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special

The Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition makes a strong statement on the wrist – not just because of that 44mm girth. Wrist appeal is something ephemeral that goes beyond dimensions and weight. Of course, given that this is a big and heavy watch, ephemeral might sound like entirely the wrong word to use but bear with us. While you are more likely to hear this watch described as a visceral pleasure, that misses the charm of the piece.

First of all, only Breitling could make a 44mm watch seem perfectly natural and reasonable, especially in the year of the massive Avenger Hurricane. Bear in mind, the Chronomat 44 still bears distinctive yellow markings and has that delightfully overstuffed-with-information feel that all Breitlings have. Actually, this yellow dial is new for the model even if the colors are trademark for the brand and, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that the square chronograph counters have been replaced with more typical round ones. This might appear familiar to you because Breitling actually released another version of the Chronomat earlier this year, prior to BaselWorld in fact.

Like that watch, this Special Edition sports the in-house Calibre 01 movement and an exhibition caseback to show it off. The rotor of the self-winding movement has also been given the all-black treatment, like the case. Finishing the aesthetic touches here is the two-tone rubber TwinPro rubber strap, which goes all-black too, except for lining in the same yellow as the dial. It is these little touches that speak to the ephemeral appeal we keep coming back to. Even that information-packed dial is part of this appeal, and indeed one of the key elements of what makes even smaller Breitling watches so easily identifiable even at a distance. A watch with this much going on must be a Breitling (or at least be Breitling-inspired).

Review: Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition

As this is a special edition, the ephemeral story goes on, continuing on the unidrectional bezel. Here we find rubber inlaid numerals that remind us of the strap. It can be argued that this, like the rider tabs on that bezel, are part of the visceral appeal because they have utility – the tabs can be used to both mark time and to improve how the bezel handles. The thought process that went into these details though speaks better to that ephemeral part because there is amazing continuity between, bezel, case, dial, movement and strap.

On that visceral side of things though, the polished DLC-treated case is water resistant to 200 meters. The screw-lock crown and chronograph pushers help in keeping things dry. The watch is clearly aimed at both people who like pilot’s watches (Breitling’s bread-and-butter) and diver’s watches. After all, it has a strong technical look and is very much a tool watch. Backing up that look is Calibre 01, a COSC-certified chronograph movement with a 70 hour power reserve.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 01 COSC-certified
    Material: DLC-treated steel
  • Water resistance: 200 meters
    Strap: Rubber TwinPro

This article was first published in World of Watches.

Review: Bell & Ross Instrument de Marine

With a square case, exposed screws, a round dial, and oversized hands and numerals, the Bell & Ross BR 01 is one of the most instantly recognisable watches today. Modelled after flight instruments on the dashboard of a contemporary fighter jet, the watch has evolved from this core aesthetic to take on a vintage guise as seen with the Vintage BR line and an edgy, hyper-realistic form à la the BR-X1. More than 10 years has passed since Bell & Ross introduced the BR 01, but it still hasn’t run out of ways to reinvent the watch.

The new Instrument de Marine line posits the question: What if Bell & Ross had been founded 200 years earlier, when the aircraft had not yet been invented? At an era when sea travel was the most state-of-the-art, it isn’t too farfetched at all to imagine that deck instruments on board a ship would provide the inspiration. And of all the navigational objects associated with seafaring, the marine chronometer is the most symbolic one.g27-04-br-x1-t-marine-base-tout_lo-jlk

Time is a key factor in sea travel and thus marine chronometers – the most accurate timekeepers of their time – were indispensible tools to guide a vessel to its intended destination. Invented by the English clockmaker, John Harrison, marine chronometers were often mounted on gimbals, which kept them consistently in the horizontal position, unperturbed by the rocking motion of the vessel. As they were relied upon to be extremely accurate, not only do marine chronometers need to be precise, they also had to display the time clearly. Every second counts when navigating the high seas; a one-second error in time reading could lead a ship astray by as much as five kilometres.

This is why the seconds indication in a marine chronometer is always clearly displayed.

BR 01 Instrument de Marine embraces the baroque style aesthetics of this bygone era. For the first time, this normally contemporary timepiece comes with classical Roman numerals and blued steel poire-shaped hands on a white lacquer dial. Not only that, its entire case recalls the design of those square wooden boxes, in which the round marine chronometers are housed for safekeeping. Finding this to be a perfect visual metaphor, this round timepiece in a square case, Bell & Ross constructed the case of the BR 01 Instrument de Marine with an interesting mix of materials, some harking back to the olden times, and others modern and high performance oriented: Indian rosewood (used for the hulls and masts of ships, as well as the wooden case for marine chronometers), bronze (a reminder of the brass fittings on board a ship), rose gold (pairing beautifully with the rosewood), and grade 5 titanium (resilient and lightweight).

Echoing the aesthetical direction of the BR 01 are two additional pieces that embrace the maritime theme without relinquishing their technical flair – the BR X1 Skeleton Chronograph and the BR X1 Tourbillon Chronograph. Both pieces feature an openworked dial but instead of bronze, rose gold is used for the tourbillon model, and all three timepieces feature sapphire case backs that expose the movement mechanisms. The delightful melange of colours and textures brought about by this intoxicating mix of materials makes the collection stand far out, but perhaps the most alluring factor about these watches is their individual potential to change over time, gaining a unique patina.

Specifications

BR 01 Instrument de Marine
Movement Manual-winding Calibre BR-CAL.203 with 56-hour power reserve
Case 46mm in precious wood, titanium, and bronze; water resistant to 100m
Strap Brown alligator leather with bronze pin buckle

BR-X1 SKELETON CHRONOGRAPH Instrument de Marine
Movement Self-winding Calibre BR-CAL.313 skeletonised chronograph with 46-hour power reserve
Case 45mm in precious wood and bronze; water resistant to 100m
Strap Brown alligator leather with bronze pin buckle

BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph Instrument de Marine
Movement Manual-winding Calibre BR-CAL.283 skeletonised flying tourbillon with four-day power reserve
Case 45mm in rose gold and precious wood, water resistant to 100m
Strap Brown alligator leather with rose gold pin buckle

This article was first published in World of Watches.

Review: Graham Chronofighter Superlight Carbon

The way our eyes make sense of the world can sometimes throw us off. In fact, wasn’t it Aristotle who said that “our senses can be trusted, but they can easily be fooled”? When we look at a large object, particularly one that is powerful and sporty like the Graham Chronofighter, our minds subconsciously predict that it will feel substantial on the wrist – all that heft must be made of something, right? In most cases, we wouldn’t be wrong, unless we’re looking at the Chronofighter Superlight Carbon Skeleton.

Its colossal frame measures a whopping 47mm across, and that does not include the added measurements brought on by the Graham signature fast-action start-stop trigger and reset pusher, which is unique to the Chronofighter collection. Taken altogether, it would dwarf a good majority of today’s sports watches, but aficionados need not feel parried by its menacing presence, because the Chronofighter Superlight Carbon Skeleton is oversized, not overweight.

Made of superlight black carbon composite, the watch only looks big; it actually weighs less than 100g all in. The trigger had been fashioned out of 3K carbon, as was the bezel, but also crucial in keeping this timepiece within the featherweight class is the black skeletonised dial, which trims the nett weight down even further. Exposing the chronograph gear wheels and part of the going train, including the balance, this openworked construct melds perfectly with the technical appeal of the watch, and continues on the back where a smoked sapphire crystal exposes the movement completely.

Predominantly black, this timepiece, however, isn’t one to blend into the shadows. The trigger and bezel interact with light to showcase the textured nuances of 3K carbon while the reset pusher and strap feature a clous de Paris pattern that, while invigorating to behold, is not purely aesthetic, as it offers better traction when handling the watch. Its dial is a cornucopia of layers and apertures, wheels and hands, all combined in one smexy package.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 47mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 46mm
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre G1790 skeleton
    Material: 47mm in black carbon composite
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
    Strap Integrated black rubber with black carbon pin buckle and additional black fabric strap

This article was first published at World of Watches.

Review: Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer

For the past 20 years, Glashütte Original has dabbled at various points with blue colorways for its watches. The latest timepiece to receive this treatment is the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer, the seemingly simple watch with a power reserve indicator and large date display.

The Senator Chronometer is a chronometer, though it isn’t certified by COSC like Swiss-made watches. Instead, its certification comes from COSC’s German counterpart, the Glashütte Observatory, which tests each watch to the German equivalent standard of DIN 8319. The precision requirements of DIN 8319 are identical to COSC’s, but its tests are only done on complete watches (sans straps).

The new reference of the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer (which we first looked at at BaselWorld, where there are more images) features a blue dial produced by Glashütte Original’s dial manufacture in Pforzheim, and details abound, if one knows where to look. The “base” layer of the dial is created with multiple layers of lacquer, and has a finely grained texture, while markings such as the railway track chapter ring and hour indexes are products of engraving followed by galvanization.

Note how the white markings are all sunken ever so slightly vis-à-vis the dial surface as a result of the manufacturing process. Meanwhile, the power reserve indicator and small seconds counter are more deeply recessed, as is the border within the large date aperture. To match the dial’s color, the timepiece’s strap is navy blue alligator, with a deployant buckle of white gold, which complements the case.

Large date and power reserve indicator aside, the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer has a few technical tricks up its sleeve that greatly simplify its use. The little aperture within the power reserve indicator is the first – it’s a day/night indicator, which makes setting the date a cinch. The second technical feature concerns time setting; when the crown is pulled out to adjust the time, the hacking small seconds hand resets to zero, while the minutes hand jumps to the next minute and moves only in increments of one minute, to ensure a dead accurate setting of time.

This article was first published at World of Watches.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Kaleidoscope Prestige

Review: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Kaleidoscope Prestige

When a watch collector says he’s going to take one of his watches out for a spin, it just means he’s going out with that watch. Unless the watch in question is the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Kaleidoscope Prestige, in which case it means that he is going to retrieve the watch out from its storage area – presumably a high-security safe embedded into the wall – and play with the mechanism.

One look at this breath-taking masterpiece is all it takes to realise that it is no ordinary watch. Beautifully decorated, it features a delicate fluted bezel and wisps of hand-engraving on the blackened gold dial emulating tall grass being blown askew by the wind. More importantly, the centrepiece carved out of rose gold into the shape of a rosette demonstrates the immense handcraftsmanship mastered at the Fleurier manufacture. This is also the part that gives the watch the name Kaleidoscope.

The rosette is openworked and hand-bevelled in a series of artisanal operations and required 80 hours of handcrafting. Through the openworking, a lower disc made from mother-of-pearl marquetry can be seen. Once the repeater is activated, this disc begins to rotate, interacting with the rosette, which is fixed to produce a dazzling optical effect not unlike that of a kaleidoscope. Thus when the repeater is chiming, not only would the wearer be thrilled by the sound of hammers striking gongs, he would also be mesmerised by the spiralling visual effects on the dial.

Entirely decorated with Côtes de Genève, the movement Calibre PF358 can be seen through the sapphire case back. This is also where the wearer can admire its striking mechanism. In particular, the gongs in this movement are cathedral gongs, which encircle the movement twice for greater acoustic quality: clearer chimes with finer resonance at the end. In addition, the case had been forged with the intention to produce the best acoustics, and so the sound waves oscillate at optimal frequencies inside the case.

Specifications

Dimensions: 45mm
Functions: Hours, minutes, minute repeater with entertainment kaleidascope
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement Manual-winding Calibre PF358 with minute repeater using cathedral gongs
Material: 45mm in rose gold
Water Resistance: 10 meters
Strap: Black Hermès alligator leather with rose gold ardillon buckle

This article was first published in World of Watches.

Review: Rolex Air-King 2016

It’s tough being the Rolex Air-King. Despite its illustrious heritage, most people only think about the GMT-Master II when they’re looking for a Rolex aviation watch. Some might bring up the Sky-Dweller but only if hard pressed, and only the truest of Rolex aficionados will remember the Air-King.

You could hardly blame them, though. The GMT-Master II is a pretty hard act to follow, especially after all that fervour surrounding the red-and-blue Pepsi Cerachrom bezel. On hindsight, it appears to be a wise decision for Rolex to only offer it in white gold, because had it been available in steel, their phone lines are going to be burning hotter than the furnaces used to sinter the Cerachrom bezels. But we digress.

The Air-King harks back to the 1930s, a period considered to be the Golden Age of aviation (as mentioned in our previous story on this watch). This was the era of stupendous advancements in flight technology and pioneering achievements in air travel. As a matter of fact, the notion of long-distance flying was realized at this point. English aviator Charles Douglas Barnard was one of the early conquerors of the skies, having set a number of flight records. Of the Rolex Oyster, he said, “The peculiar qualities of this Rolex watch render it eminently suitable for flying purposes and I propose to use it on all my long-distance flights in the future.”

In 1933, Oyster watches accompanied the Houston Expedition as it made the first-ever flight over Mount Everest at an altitude exceeding 10,000m (33,000 feet) in extreme weather conditions. In 1934, Owen Cathcart-Jones and Ken Waller made a return voyage from London to Melbourne (Australia) in record time with a twin-engine De Havilland Comet, using a Rolex Oyster as their on-board chronometer. It is in remembrance of these victorious accounts, and the Oyster’s role in the aviation history, that Rolex revived the Air-King.

air-king_116900_005

Bearing slight resemblance to the Rolex Explorer, the Air-King enjoys more than 70 years of continuous production, making it one of the longest running Rolex models to date. Introduced in 1945 via ref. 4925, it was made expressly for the RAF pilots involved in the Battle of Britain. Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, personally started a dedicated line of Oysters called the “Air series” for this very purpose, and of all the watches in the Air series (Air-Lion, Air-Tiger, Air-King, and Air-Giant), only the Air-King remains in production.

The simplicity and practicality of the Rolex Air-King remains prevalent in the new ref. 116900. Even though it is a flying Oyster, it guarantees water resistance to 100m, with a case middle machined out of a solid block of steel. Incidentally, Rolex uses only the best steel, which is 904L grade. Like an actual oyster, there is no way you could force open the fluted case back because it has been hermetically screwed down with a special tool, thus ensuring that only Rolex watchmakers can access the movement.

What makes ref. 116900 stand out from the earlier Air-Kings is indisputably its numerals, where the hours are indicated by 3, 6, 9, and the traditional inverted triangle placeholder at 12 o’clock. The numerals for the minutes fill in the space between the hours at five-minute intervals, which is a source of debate for a number of watch aficionados. What is more unanimously appreciated, however, are the Mercedes-style hour hand and the touches of green on the sweeping seconds hand, as well as the Rolex insignia. In striking contrast to these modern aesthetics, the Air-King lettering on the dial takes after the antecedents, which is surely a much cherished design element for all owners of this timeless icon.

 

This article was first published at World of Watches.

Review: Zenith Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot

The name Georges Favre-Jacot may not be associated with a prominent invention, but it is no less instrumental to watchmaking tradition; his contribution to modern watchmaking is omnipresent. Without Favre-Jacot, there might not even be the concept of a manufacture, where a company makes its watches from start to finish. Before Favre-Jacot, watchmaking was a cottage industry where dials were made by dial makers, cases by case makers, movements by movement makers, and so on.

Revolutionary in his own way, Favre-Jacot had the vision to unite all of the key watchmaking processes under one roof. So when he had the opportunity to start his own company, he brought representatives from all the different crafts to the manufacture named Zenith.

Accordingly, the timepiece that Zenith wants to make as a tribute to its founder has also got to be revolutionary. The Academy line carries the manufacture’s most illustrious complications, from the very unique Christophe Colomb gyroscopic balance to more traditional examples like the tourbillon, the perpetual calendar, as well as the minute repeater. Thus, this is also the collection that most befits a tribute piece to its founder.

Zenith introduced the Academy Georges Favre-Jacot on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. It was a stunning timepiece that features a large chain-and-fusée mechanism on the dial side. The follow-up model to this inspirational creation is the Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot, which appears like a completely different watch.

49-2520-480598-r576-1

Where its predecessor was classical in aesthetic, with a silver-toned dial decorated with grained texture and facetted gold indexes, the Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot is undeniably ultramodern, boasting cutting-edge materials and a sexy all-black aesthetic. Its movement, too, was given a sleek industrial style design and finish. The decision to do away with a traditional dial is an especially judicious one, because then the wearer may fully appreciate the robust chain-and-fusée mechanism as well as the tourbillon – both invented hundreds of years ago but looking resolutely contemporary, no futuristic, in this timepiece. This is the first time that Zenith has combined the tourbillon with the chain and fusée.

Shrouded in darkness, its movement is the Calibre 4805, which can be clearly seen on both sides of the case. Given Zenith’s distinctive expertise with high frequency balances, it is only natural that Calibre 4805 oscillates at 36,000vph. Indeed, only Zenith is capable of making tourbillons that oscillate at 36,000vph.

While it is certainly a pleasure to observe, the tourbillon is not the only highlight because what defines the Georges Favre-Jacot from other Academy models is the chain and fusée. Of course, this means that Calibre 4805 is a hand-wound movement. Winding the barrels thus becomes even more pleasurable in this watch because every turn of the crown turns the barrel, which also turns the fusée as they are connected by the chain. When the mainspring is fully wound, the chain is coiled mainly around the fusée. As power gradually depletes from the mainspring, the chain also gradually uncoils, releasing power with increasing torque to provide constant force to the balance.

One of the most exciting timepieces to emerge from the Zenith manufacture, the Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot is also a rare find – only 150 pieces will be made.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 4805 tourbillon with chain and fusee
  • Material: Black ceramic
  • Water resistance: 50m
  • Strap: Black rubber with black PVD-coated titanium triple folding clasp

This article was first published at World of Watches.

Review: Patek Philippe World Timer Ref. 5230

One of the most agonising dilemmas, and also the most pleasurable conundrums, a watch collector could ever face is having to choose a Patek Philippe complication, especially if it is to be one’s first complicated Patek Philippe watch – that it wouldn’t be the last is another matter for the very fortunate individuals. Just when your heart says it should be an annual calendar piece, your brain tells you it can only be a chronograph model. Then there’s the world timer, which you’ve set your eyes on since forever…

Don’t bother asking Siri. Unless you want to send her straight into shut down mode – or a complete system meltdown. And don’t type this question into Google unless you want to break the Internet, which is far, far worse. OK, we jest. But it’s not like we have a solution and we have been debating for years. Just know this: there is no right or wrong choice. There is only the timely choice, like this Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5230. Let us explain.

New for 2016, Ref. 5230 is poised to replace all existing world timers at Patek Philippe. This means that it is the latest and most updated version of the watch. Doubtlessly, the manufacture constantly updates all of its timepieces, but for the world timer, this is especially germane, seeing as the world is also constantly changing. In particular, indication of the world’s time zones would see all kinds of fluctuations every now and then. Some zones are now defined by new cities: Dubai instead of Riyadh, for instance, and Brisbane instead of Noumea (capital city of New Caledonia).

In 2014, Moscow switched from UTC +4 to UTC +3. As such, Ref. 5230 is the perfect platform to reflect all these changes, although, the world time display isn’t the only part of the watch to be updated. Patek Philippe took the opportunity to rework the case, dial, and hands, giving the watch a refreshing new look that, however, isn’t too far from its original mien.

While it comes with the traditional Calatrava case, its lugs and bezel deserve special mention. Winglet-style lugs lend it an old-school vibe and the narrow, polished bezel distinguishes it from the earlier world timers. Unlike Ref. 5131, this watch does not have the “Patek Philippe” and “Geneve” engravings on the bezel – for every one collector who would be pleased with this touch of refinement, another will bemoan the loss of a small but treasured detail.

The hands are another part of the watch that got an update. Before, the gold hours hand is ring-shaped. Now, it reflects the contours of the Southern Cross constellation. The minutes hand, too, changed from Dauphine to a lozenge shape. Both hands mark their individual paths around the dial, which features a hand-guillochéd center featuring an elaborate vieux panier basket weave pattern. This center portion of the Patek Philippe world timer is always a source of delight for watch connoisseurs, as it typically showcases exquisite guillochage in various styles (grain d’orge, sunburst, etc) or cloisonné enamel featuring, appropriately, a world map.

Otherwise, the core aesthetics remain unchanged, with a cities ring encircling the dial and the 24-hour ring with day/night indication. Local time refers to time in the city indicated by the red arrow tip at 12 o’clock, while the remaining 23 time zones can be deciphered at a glance. Control the 24-hour ring by pushing the button at 10 o’clock, which is synchronised with the hours hand. The minutes hand, however, can be adjusted freely by manipulating the crown – especially handy when you’re travelling to cities with half- or quarter-hour deviations.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 38.5mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, world time with 24 time zones
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 240 with 24 time zones and micro-rotor providing 48-hour power reserve
  • Material: White or rose gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather in black or chocolate brown with fold-over clasp

 

This article was first published in World of Watches.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch: Golden Age

The Royal Oak is enshrined within the annals of horology as the timepiece that proved the efficacy of steel in a high-end luxury sports watch. In fact, the watch was only offered in steel in the initial years of its production, since the material was central to the Royal Oak’s very identity. References in gold were eventually introduced in 1977, and all three colours of gold alloys have since been used, depending on the specific watch model.

Yellow gold has, however, been absent from the Royal Oak collection for a while… until this year, that is. Audemars Piguet’s reintroduction of this color variant may seem strange, given its (arguable) status as the less fashion forward alternative to its pink and white cousins, but the manufacture’s penchant for going against the grain is well known – it was this very quality that spawned the Royal Oak, after all.audemar-piguet-royal-oak-caseback

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is one of the models to receive the line extension in yellow gold. The top surfaces of the bezel, lugs, and bracelet links are all vertically brushed, and give way to high-polish slanted surfaces before returning to vertically brushed flanks. This combination of different finishes cleverly highlights the facetted case and bracelet; the rounded octagonal bezel, a mainstay of the Royal Oak’s design, is especially prominent given the surface treatment. A cool blue dial bearing the manufacture’s signature Grande Tapisserie guilloché balances the warmth of the case and bracelet. Upon it, three sub-dials present the information from the perpetual calendar, while the fourth at six o’clock bears an astronomical moon phase display, which requires a correction just once every 125 years and 317 days. The week is indicated by a centrally mounted white hand, which points to the markings on the flange.

Powering the watch is Audemars Piguet’s Calibre 5134, a slightly larger version of the ultra-thin 2120 calibre aimed at providing a better fit for the 41mm case. At just 4.31mm thick, however, the new movement manages to keep the watch case’s height to a reasonable 9.5mm.

Breguet Heritage Grande Date 5410: Fine Lines

There are only very few tonneau-shaped watches on the market that are actually popular with watch collectors, and the Breguet Héritage is one of them. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that its tonneau- or barrel-shaped case is curved on not just one but two axes, thus ensuring a perfect fit to the wrist. While the majority of Breguet buyers idolize the Tradition and just as many desire the Classique, to simply pass over on the Héritage would be a grave mistake, for this elegant watch with a generous mien has much to offer.

In the Breguet Héritage Grande Date 5410, the watchmaking firm utilized the ample dial space judiciously, deploying no fewer than three different types of guilloché decoration. Since its inception, Breguet’s watches feature one guilloché pattern for each dial area with the intention of segmenting it for greater clarity. Such is the inimitable dedication to quality as defined by the master.

The watch’s small seconds sub-dial occupies its own zone at six o’clock and is decorated by a sunburst guilloché. Its blued steel hand contrasts elegantly against the silvered background, just like the larger blued steel Breguet-style hours and minutes hands do. Emanating from the central pinion is another style of guilloché to mark out the 12 hour segments. Decorated with alternating scalloped sunburst guilloché, it allows the grande date windows to overlap. Both the hours and minutes, as well as the seconds, occupy a circular recessed area set apart by a chapter ring with dotted minute markers from the tonneau-shaped upper area decorated with yet another guilloché pattern, and blue stylised Roman numerals. Here, a figurative moiré pattern adds just enough visual drama to end things on a high note.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 45mm x 32mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, grande date
  • Power Reserve: 65 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 516GG
  • Material: White or rose gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Alligator leather with white or rose gold deployant buckle

This story was first published in World of Watches.

Review: Franck Muller Vanguard Grande Date

Tonneau-shaped watches are usually behind round or rectangle watches on the popularity scale, but there are some exceptions, the Franck Muller Vanguard being one of them. An offshoot of the classical Cintrée Curvex, this relatively new collection represents a younger, more dynamic Franck Muller as it features robust dimensions, bold aesthetics, strong curves, and bright colors – hence the name Vanguard. Its larger than average size also requires a big personality to pull off, although being large also brings along other advantages, namely, more space to show off what’s inside the watch.

New for 2016, the Vanguard Grande Date has much to share and with a fully openworked dial, hides nothing. This is exactly the kind of watch you’d want to be wearing on an idle weekend afternoon, a glass of wine in one hand and loupe on the other. Through the sapphire crystal, you could easily make out the shape of the movement, which follows exactly that of the case. Not that this has any practical function, but it is always nice to know that the movement is dedicated to the watch.

Its Côtes de Genève finishing provides a neat backdrop to the layers of bridges and skeletonised wheels on top. Both chronograph counters are see-through, as is the grande date display, which is especially alluring with a stepped wheel for the individual digits of the date. All of the components have been hand-beveled or circular-grained or decorated with Côtes de Genève. The Vanguard Grande Date is available in four material variations: titanium, stainless steel, rose gold, and carbon.

Specs

Dimensions: 44mm x 53.7mm

Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, grande date, chronograph

Power Reserve: 46 hours

Movement: Self-winding Calibre FM 7002V1GGDTC3

Case: Stainless steel, titanium, rose gold, or carbon

Water Resistance: 30 meters

Strap: Rubber-lined leather or nylon with deployant buckle

This article was first published in WOW.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary Watches Ref. 5711/1P

Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary Watches

The 1970s were a time of upheaval, especially for the traditional Swiss watch industry, resulting in some modern classics such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus. We are looking today at two new limited edition models that remind us once more of the genius of the late Gerald Genta (he designed the original 1976 Nautilus, reportedly on a napkin) but first we need to set the stage, as it were.

As the Patek Philippe Nautilus celebrates its 40th birthday this year, it is indeed odd that we find ourselves again in a period of unparalleled change. In a strange way, this reminds us that a watch like the Nautilus is resilient in the face of the inexorable march of time. In 1976, when Ref. 3700/1A debuted – the very first Nautilus model – it seemed an unthinkable decision on the part of Swiss watchmaking institution like Patek Philippe. Today, the family-owned company’s decision is celebrated.

The audacious design – typical for Genta – and the fact that it was a sports watch were both somewhat astonishing but this does not really explain why the watch was so important. The Nautilus was cased in steel and that material choice earned the watch its legendary status. For the 40th anniversary, the Geneva-based manufacture has once more made heads turn as both limited edition models for 2016 are in precious materials. Granted, sporty watches in precious materials are not uncommon at all, but honoring a watch that was famous for being made in steel with precious metal models is quite cheeky. Speaking of cheek, the old ads for the Nautilus were all cheek (and they illustrate that Patek Philippe has been casing Nautilus watches in precious metals for some time).

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This brings us to the watches proper, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Edition and the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5976/1G 40th Anniversary Limited Edition. Both retain the signature “hinges” at 9 and 3 o’clock, and have the same eye-catching octagonal bezel as the original. It is enough, we think, to leave it at that for the salient similarities and move on to each of the watches in a little more detail.

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We’ll address the watches by the reference numbers, as is traditional, as we dive deeper. Ref. 5711/1P most closely mirrors the original Ref. 3700/1A but it is of course cased in platinum with a matching bracelet, which (we imagine) makes it quite a load on the wrist. It is a 40mm time-only watch, with sweep seconds and date, as far as the functions go. There is quite a bit more precious about Ref. 5711/1P than the platinum case and bracelet here. The dial is in 18k gold and so are the hands and the hour makers too, though the markers are set with baguette-cut diamonds. There is one final diamond, set into the bezel at 6 o’clock, which is par for the course when it comes to Patek Philippe’s platinum models. You will already have noticed the embossed words, possibly the most controversial element here. The embossed wording also appears on Ref. 5976/1G. Limited as it is to just 700 pieces, Ref. 5711/1P clearly doesn’t have to appeal to everyone of course.

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Ref. 5976/1G is of course a chronograph, which you will recognize from Patek Philippe’s signature numbering, even if the configuration and pushers don’t clue you in. This model is cased in 18k white gold and it is significantly larger than Ref. 5711/1P. Indeed, at 44mm this is might be one of the largest Patek Philippe watches we have ever covered (neither of these pieces were at BaselWorld, as we reported on so we haven’t seen them up close). Things are a bit less precious here as the dial is in brass (which is a common practice in watchmaking), though the hour markers and hands are all in 18k gold. Unlike Ref. 5711/1P, Ref. 5976/1G uses princess and baguette-cut diamonds. This watch is limited to 1,300 pieces so getting it will be a little easier than scoring the simpler Ref. 5711/1P but not by much.

Specs

  • Ref. 5711/1P
  • Dimensions: 40mm (corner to corner); 44.5mm (end-to-end width, including crown)
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 324 S C
  • Case: Platinum 950
  • Water Resistance: 120 meters
  • Strap: Link bracelet platinum 950, foldover clasp
  • Ref. 5976/1G
  • Dimensions: 44mm (corner to corner); 49.25mm (end-to-end width, incuding crown)
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 55 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre CH 28-520 C
  • Case: 18k white gold
  • Water Resistance: 120 meters
  • Strap: Link bracelet 18k white gold, foldover clasp
MB&F Horological Machine 8

MB&F Horological Machine 8 Can-Am: Racing Time

With the Horological Machine 8 Can-Am, Swiss watchmaker MB&F continues its tradition of delighting watch collectors with thoroughly idiosyncratic creations. Now, those in the know will be thinking, shouldn’t it be the HM7 and actually that is right. MB&F is vaulting over the HM7 but we’ll let Max Busser (the MB in MB&F) explain it.

“We had a choice between producing the HM7 or the HM8 this year and because the HM8 is inspired by the Can-Am racing (which started 50 years ago) we decided to go with the HM8. Of course, changing the number would have been easy but the ‘8’ here is the result of ‘5 + 3’ (HM5 and HM3) so we kept it.” Ok, that’s a great explanation but it unfortunately requires an explanation, especially because if you count the HMX, the HM8 is then properly the eight Horological Machine from MB&F! Thanks for giving us a reason to write more words on this MB&F! In case you’re wondering, Busser was speaking at a presentation for the MB&F HM8 in Singapore for watch retailer The Hour Glass.

First of all, some watches reveal their charms easily in photographs; the MB&F HM8 is not one of them. In a world of round watches competing for attention with variations large and small, the HM8 is in a class of its own. For example, it is both sumptuously curvy yet somehow just as angular; having just seen it in person, I can say it is the most remarkably flat watch I have seen in recent memory and this is important but we’ll come back to that.

When you look at the watch, you’ll think at once of the HM3 and the HMX (and maybe the Bugatti watches created by Parmigiani-Fleurier), which is exactly what MB&F wants. This brings us back to that Can-Am bit and the HM3, which is important because like everything MB&F does, this is connected to Busser’s childhood. The Canadian-American Challenge Cup peaked long ago and has been defunct since 1987 (look it up). Like most American racing, it was completely bonkers but the cars were highly distinctive in their curvilinear designs – the roll cage inspired the bars on the watch.

MB&F Horological Machine 8

As for the HM3 bit, well that concerns the battle axe motif that has been consistently used by MB&F since the first Horological Machine – well except for the spoilsport HMX. The HM3 put this motif front and center, not only dial side (so to speak) so it was always visible but you could also feel it whirling when you moved. Looking at the time and feeling the motion of the rotor makes one feel connected to one’s timepiece, is how Busser put it. Well, this connection is back in the HM8, where the massive sapphire crystal over the movement is so transparent that at some angles, you can’t even tell that there is something covering the display of the rotor. Another nod to the open-top racers of Can-Am perhaps…

How is the battleaxe motif and that race car design related? Well, Busser wanted to be a car designer and the battleaxe was the weapon of his favorite cartoon hero. He has grown up to be neither a car designer nor a superhero but he nonetheless gets to express these passions in his professional work. It is really that simple.

Before we get to specifications, you should reacquaint yourself with the HM5 and the HMX too because the watch basically works in the same way, in terms of how the indication of time works. Neither of these watches had the rotor on the front of the watch though (not to be confused with the indicator-side in the case of the HM8). The HMX didn’t even express its rotor in the battleaxe form. Once again, MB&F makes it difficult to express exactly how this all comes together so our advice is to go look for the watch. Happily, the MB&F HM8 isn’t a limited proposition, as much of the firm’s output is, so if it retails where you live, you might be able to find the real thing to take a look.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 49 x 51.5 x 19mm
  • Functions: Bi-directional jumping hours, trailing minutes (these are displayed via dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms and integrated magnifying lens)
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic Sowind gear train with in-house jumping hour and trailing minutes module
  • Material: 18k white gold and titanium; 18k red gold and titanium
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Hand-stitched alligator strap in marine blue (white gold case) and dark brown (red gold case), folding buckle in matching material
Singapore Rendezvous deLaCour Reflet Tourbillon

SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS Welcomes Watchmaker deLaCour

Within the universe of prestigious timepieces, deLaCour emerges as a unique and independent brand, a reality that will be on show at the upcoming SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS. From October 20-23, you can discover this reality of watchmaking “since tomorrow” at SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS with deLaCour, the Official Timepiece Partner of the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS.

Embracing all the prestige, precision and finesse synonymous with the Swiss standard of excellence in crafting luxury timepieces, deLaCour transcends classical convention with distinctive and very clever collections.

In 2003, deLaCour unveiled its first collection, the Bichrono, an innovative dual time-zone watch with twin chonographs. It was powered by two independent chronograph movements set in a stunning oversized tonneau shaped case.

This debut was followed by other high complication timepieces, the Bitourbillon and the Birepetition.

Detailed view of the case middle of the deLaCour Reflet tourbillon

Detailed view of the case middle of the deLaCour Reflet tourbillon

The words “Since tomorrow”, define the Geneva-based watchmaker’s conception of creativity: with constant innovation, the history of the brand is written in the future.

Along with its complications, deLaCour presents five collections: City, Leap, Saqra, Reflect and the Promess.

deLaCour has expanded its global presence, including in Southeast Asia with a boutique in Singapore and another one in Indonesia.

For the first time in Asia, the Reflect Tourbillon will be presented during the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS.

The new case is the latest creation, combining avant-gardism and tradition. The concept is based on the design of the iconic elliptical shape, however comes with a more rectangular shape and softened corners.

The tourbillon was developed with strict specifications and the expertise of a recognized team of Swiss watch manufacturers.

Alfred Terzibachian, co-founder and CEO of deLaCour Genève, along with the deLaCour Asia Pacific Team based in Singapore, will be delighted to present selective and exceptional timepieces from the collections.

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Slim d’Hermès Email Grand Feu: Daily Beater

Slim d’Hermès Email Grand Feu: Daily Beater

When you look at the Slim d’Hermès Email Grand Feu, you’re looking at both fire and ice. Fire, because the enamel dial is fired in a kiln at 830°C, which is why watches with such dials are called ‘grand feu’ (great heat, literally). The ice bit is more metaphorical is it refers to the precision of crafting the in-house H1950 ultra-thin automatic movement as well as the font. Yes, graphic designer Philippe Apeloig specially crafted the font of the Arabic numerals for this watch. Take a good long look at the dial, see how those gorgeous baton hands work with the Grand Feu dial and the font, and let it grow on you.

We first saw this watch at the La Montre Hermès stand at BaselWorld this year, where by all accounts it was an unqualified success, but the appeal of it really hit home for us when we experienced the Slim d’Hermès exhibition in Singapore a couple of months ago, where the font sprang to life. The beauty of the lines might be hard to appreciate on such a small canvas as a watch dial but it is something you feel, over time. This is important because Hermès says this exquisite watch is designed to be a daily beater.

Firing of the dials. © Sandro Campardo

Firing of the dials. © Sandro Campardo

Returning to that canvas for a moment, you can’t understand the distinctive appeal of Grand Feu enamel in pictures. Ultimately, you have to see it in person. When you do that, recall that this is a three-part structure that is largely built manually, and that the beauty of the dial depends entirely on how long the artisan who fires the kilns keeps the dial exposed to heat. The resulting glaze you see here is permanent and requires no polishing – from the moment it emerges from the kiln for the final time till the end of time, its properties will not change. This of course contrasts with simple lacquer, which changes over time; a white dial like this one would slowly acquire a yellow tint.

Slim d’Hermès Email Grand Feu: Daily Beater

Specs

  • Dimensions: 39.5mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic (micro-rotor), calibre H1950
  • Material: Rose gold (5N 750)
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Matt Havana alligator
5 Watches Bridging Art and Time

5 Watches Bridging Art and Time

The confluence between and art and time is obvious and fine watchmaking brands have certainly noticed. As we have written previously (we’ll get to it), this connection can feel forced when brands push the commercial angle too hard. Contemporary art and fine timepieces are both collectible and are regarded by auction houses and institutions such as Knight Frank as so-called investments of passion.

As Jerome De Witt, the founder of DeWitt, once told us, watches are not works of art because art is not produced for commercial reasons. Wise words and worth remembering but there are still valid links between timekeeping and art, even if there no houses of fine art the way there are houses of fine watchmaking! You might think that it is only high art and very expensive watches, perhaps limited to unique pieces, that truly share a stage but that is not quite right.

We were reminded of this when watchmaker Arbutus (whose timepieces are quite accessible) revealed a collaboration with artists for charity in Singapore. Each of these watches had hand-painted dials, making each one unique, and had a very modest price tag of S$1,800. Credit Arbutus Singapore distributor Crystal Time for this bold move.

Arbutus Of Passion and Imagination Limited Edition timepiece collection, by Lovage

Arbutus Of Passion and Imagination Limited Edition timepiece collection, by Lovage

In truth, art and mechanical timekeeping share a certain quality, the ability to transcend time itself, that is evident in the above example. On higher ground, it is also evident in the marketing campaign of the most rarefied of watchmaking names, Patek Philippe. If you’re not familiar with this campaign, well, Google it! The point is that timepieces, like art, survive makers and owners alike.

Here at Luxuo, we love watches and we also love art. With this in mind, we put together a selection of watches that tie watchmaking and art together in forms both pleasing and challenging. While we split it into five watches, there are actually six below. If you want to quibble, the inclusion of Arbutus above takes well beyond six!

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Hermès Arceau Tigre Watch

On the metiers d’art front this year, Hermès has unveiled the stunning Hermès Arceau Tigre, created in partnership with the husband-and-wife team of Olivier and Dominique Vaucher. The timepiece marks the first time the shaded enamel (enamel ombrant) technique is used in watchmaking, and sports the motif of a tiger in the likeness of an illustration by Robert Dallet, an artist with whom Hermès collaborated in the 1980s.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Vincent van Gogh with a Reverso watch featuring an enamel miniature of "Self-Portrait as a Painter."

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse Vincent Van Gogh

Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre and its iconic Reverso model pay tribute to another unmistakable star, this one from the world of art: Vincent Van Gogh. As you can see, the watch features a miniature enamel reproduction of Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait as a Painter, painstakingly crafted by the manufacture’s artisans. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse features a shutter mechanism that can be opened to reveal the miniature reproduction.

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MB&F LM1 Silberstein Watch

When you think about a timepiece like the MB&F LM1 Silberstein, concerns about instant gratification are rendered meaningless. The appeal here is so personal – and it really does grow on you – that we can’t imagine conventional marketing methods working well. Silberstein is a designer famed for bringing playful geometric designs to watchmaking, including three-dimensional elements such as pushers and crowns in square, triangular and round shapes.

5 Watches Bridging Art and Time Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Watches

Parmigiani Fleurier has chosen to turn to the Land of the Rising Sun for ideas to create the two latest unique pieces in its Toric Quaestor line. The first piece features a scene dominated by the branches of a great pine tree, which is a symbol of power, vitality, and immortality in Japanese culture. The second features the dry, level landscapes of Japanese rock gardens, often simply called Zen gardens. All manner of traditional artisanal crafts were applied in the creation of these timepieces.

Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo

Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo Watch

The Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo tourbillon wristwatch (top and above) marries fine watchmaking and graffiti, which is both amazing and unthinkable! Artists like Cyril ‘Kongo’ Phan are modern-day equivalents of muralists such as Diego Rivera so learning that one such artist managed to work on a canvas the size of a (large) stamp is remarkable. The entire mechanical movement has been decorated by Kongo, using specially developed paints and airbrushes.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Vincent van Gogh with a Reverso watch featuring an enamel miniature of "Self-Portrait as a Painter."

Jaeger-LeCoultre Vincent Van Gogh: 2nd Edition

Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre and its iconic Reverso model pay tribute to another unmistakable star, this one from the world of art: Vincent Van Gogh. This is actually the second special edition Reverso created as an homage to the Dutch master, and this time features one of his famous self-portraits. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, you may recall, is the famous reversible watch with two faces, thanks to a swiveling case that it first introduced in 1931 for polo-playing British army officers.

For this Reverso à Éclipse, Jaeger-LeCoultre has partnered up with Gassan jewelers (the brand’s retail partner in the Netherlands) and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to celebrate the post-impressionist painter. As you can see, the watch features a miniature enamel reproduction of Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait as a Painter, painstakingly crafted by the manufacture’s artisans. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse features a shutter mechanism that can be opened to reveal the miniature reproduction.

All these clever moves, from that enchanting shutter to the swiveling case and the métiers d’arts enameling technique, are accomplished by Jaeger-LeCoultre at its Le Sentier manufacture. Like Van Gogh and any other artist, the work of the manufacture arises from its own intrinsic values and characteristics. We suppose that is why watchmaking firms such as Jaeger-LeCoultre keep returning to artist tributes – the manufacture featured Van Gogh’s insanely famous Sunflowers (well, one of them, there are a few!) in a 2015 edition.

This current edition is limited to just four examples, all of which are cased in platinum and feature the in-house manual-winding calibre 849 at its timekeeping heart. The watch can be admired at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, if you don’t manage to make the shortlist on this!

Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna: Pale Blue Watch

Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna: Pale Blue Watch

German watchmaker Glashütte Original knows a thing or two about beautiful dials, as illustrated here by the Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna watch. This boutique edition sports a blue mother-of-pearl dial, showing off once more the manufacture’s affinity for this color. More importantly, it shows how useful it can be to have one’s own dialmaker, as Glashütte Original does.

On the face of it, this model – exclusive to Glashütte Original’s own boutiques – has the same features as any other Panomatic Luna. Hour, minutes, seconds, Panorama date and moon phase indicator are all accounted for and in the off-centered style favored by the manufacture. As with other models in the same series, the watch is powered by the automatic Calibre 90-12.

Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna: Pale Blue Watch

To understand the particular beauty of this boutique edition of the PanoMatic Luna, one has to look at the pale blue dial, which shimmers with an uncanny incandescence. The work of the dialmakers at Pforzheim, Germany, this execution is what sets this model apart from all other versions in the collection. We look forward to seeing this variation in person (it was not at BaselWorld). Whoever the artisans responsible for the spate of beautiful blue dials (Senator Chronometer) and generally rich colors (Senator Sixties Iconic Collection) here, we salute them.

The perfect companion piece to this Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna watch is the Louisiana alligator strap, in a matching pale blue. The effect is delicate and suitably feminine without being overt. Well we suppose the 83 diamonds decorating the case and the dial take care of that part!

Specs

  • Dimensions: 39.4mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, oversized date, moon phase indicator
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic Calibre 90-12
  • Material: Stainless steel case set with 64 diamonds on the bezel, 18 diamonds on hour indexes and one 3mm diamond set on the crown (total carats: 1.09)
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Louisiana Alligator, pale blue

Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna: Pale Blue Watch

Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna: Pale Blue Watch