Tag Archives: timepiece

Review: Junghans Meister Pilot Watch

In 1946, Junghans developed its first wrist-worn chronograph using its manual-winding J88 movement. The timepiece entered the service of the German armed forces and became available to civilians only about one and a half decades later. Unfortunately it did not become as well-known to the masses as some of its counterparts from the same era.

For the collector who was too young to acquire this watch first hand, and too impatient to wait for a pre-owned one to resurface, Junghans has launched a reissue version. Here’s the Junghans Meister Pilot – a 43.3mm self-winding chronograph that measures elapsed time of up to 30 minutes with its Dubois Depraz module. The new watch’s mechanical beating heart may be a modern one, but its design harks back to days of yore in numerous ways. Note, for example, how the bi-directional rotating bezel has 12 concave notches for better grip, just like the original

This Meister Pilot is water resistant up to 100m, thanks to the use of a screw-down case back, which is decorated with a compass rose engraving. It also uses a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides for clarity. A riveted leather strap seals the vintage pilot look

Specs

  • Dimensions: 43.3mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 38 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre J880.4
  • Material: Steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Black leather with steel buckle

 

Story Credits

Text by Ruckdee Chotjinda

This article was originally published in World of Watches Magazine

Review: Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks

At first glance, the Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks seems like little more than a reworked Superocean Heritage Chronographe 46, just blacked out and fitted with the Breitling 01 movement, as its dial layout suggests. The truth is, however, far from this. The watch actually represents a new chapter for Breitling’s product development strategy, and contains exciting changes under its hood courtesy of the brand’s Chronoworks department.

Set up just two years ago with around five people, Chronoworks was conceived to be Breitling’s Skunkworks department – a small, nimble team that tests cutting-edge developments before implementing them in serial production. The first such creation to be unveiled is the Breitling Caliber 01 Chronoworks, a hot-rodded version of the brand’s in-house Breitling 01 movement, and the engine within the watch presented here. You may recall reading abut Chronoworks in our BaselWorld coverage during the fair.

The “base” Breitling 01 calibre is actually no slouch in and of itself. Vertical clutched and column wheel actuated, it also comes with a 70-hour power reserve and is COSC-certified to boot. Chronoworks has, however, tweaked the movement for an increased going time of 100 hours by making the gear train more efficient, while also making specific improvements to its construction and precision.

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The most obvious place to begin such work is the escapement, by far the most active part of a movement. By replacing the pallet fork and escape wheel with silicon ones, Chronoworks reduced the two components’ masses and corresponding inertia, and hence, the energy needed to move them. At the same time, silicon’s low coefficient of friction inherent to the lever escapement has been reduced for a more efficient escapement, and the locking/unlocking of the pallet fork is now done without banking pins for greater reliability.

In addition, Chronoworks has replaced three wheels – the fourth wheel driving the seconds hand, the centre wheel driving the minute hand, and the third wheel connecting them – with new silicon ones, again to reduce their masses and friction. The wheels’ geometries have been changed too, to make them more rigid and minimize any flexing that saps energy from the gear train.

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For the balance assembly, Chronoworks opted to substitute the original index regulation system with a variable inertia system. Regulation is admittedly more tedious now, since the weighted screws on the balance wheel now affect both its rate and poise, but the significant advantage of such a system is its greater positional accuracy, as the hairspring breathes concentrically in all positions. In a throwback to temperature compensated balance wheels of the past, the Breitling Caliber 01 Chronoworks has a balance wheel comprising “spokes” of brass and “rims” of nickel, which work together to maintain a constant inertia regardless of the temperature.

The final significant change to the movement lies in the chronograph coupling. A vertical clutch system typically uses a “friction spring” to reduce any play between the wheels connecting the base movement with the chronograph wheel. By nature of its design, this component saps some energy from the movement. Therefore, Chronoworks reduced this by equipping the wheels with elastic teeth instead, which improved the efficiency of this sub-system.

Chronoworks’s debut development for Breitling is limited to a 100-piece run for the Superocean Heritage Chronoworks.

  • Specs
    Dimensions: 46mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 100 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Breitling Caliber 01 Chronoworks chronograph movement with 100-hour power reserve
    Case: Black ceramic
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
    Strap: Black rubber with Milanese bracelet texture

This article was originally published in World of Watches Magazine

Review: Monsieur de Chanel Timepiece

Some of us have to look up the Internet to check if Chanel makes clothes for men but even those of us who do, need no introduction to the label. It is, without doubt, a fashion behemoth with brand recognition stretching as far across the globe as there are paved roads. When a fashion label with such clout and experience dips its fingers into watchmaking, it brings with it tremendous knowledge and sense about making beautiful things that consumers desire, even if watchmaking is a specialized field not traditionally within its area of expertize. But though relatively late to the party, Chanel is by now no stranger to watchmaking, having demonstrated serious intent from 2000, with the launch of its J12 watch, now an icon in its own right, in a bewildering range of colors, beloved of women, and men.

For 2016, it has created a new timepiece from a clean slate, specifically for men. The Monsieur de Chanel is fitted with Chanel’s first in-house movement, aptly named Calibre 1, designed, developed, tested, and assembled in-house. According to Chanel, Calibre 1 was five years in the making, and it looks a stunner for it. Offering jumping hour, retrograde minutes, and a flying tourbillon visible from the case back, the movement is a handsome play of matte and glossy black from ADLC coating of its circular skeletonized bridges. Two barrels coupled in series supply the manual-winding movement with a healthy three-day power reserve. A lion’s head seal on the movement marks the Calibre 1 as an in-house creation.

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On the dial side, the Monsieur de Chanel looks to be yet another icon in the making for Chanel. Time display is neat, ordered, and symmetrical to say the least, and there’s wonderful clarity to the elegance. Five-minute markers in bold allow instant reading of the time, as the gold minute hand sweeps across the 240-degree spread of the retrograde minute scale, while the instant jumping hour resides in an octagonal window meant to evoke the layout of Place Vendome. We like the blocky typography, too. It is not dissonant with the overlapping circles of the time display and case shape, but in its restrained way, brings an element of retro-tech definition and purpose to the aesthetic.

Besides securing patents for the jumping hour and retrograde minutes display, and bi-directional setting for the minutes, Chanel also created a new alloy for the case – beige gold.

The Monsieur de Chanel is produced in a limited run in 2016, of 150 numbered pieces each in beige gold and white gold.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 40mm
  • Functions: Jumping hours, retrograde minutes, small seconds
  • Power Reserve: Three days
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 1 with flying tourbillon
    Material: Beige or white gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
    Strap: Black alligator leather with gold folding buckle

 

This article was originally published in World of Watches Magazine

Review: Luminox Specs Ops Challenge

Luminox and the US Navy SEALs have formalized their relationship this year and the brand is now an official licensee of the special operations unit. The ties between the two go beyond just active Navy SEAL operators though; Luminox has also partnered with retired Navy SEALs to offer the Special Operations Challenge (Spec Ops Challenge), which gives civilians a chance to experience Navy SEALs training for a day. The new Spec Ops Challenge watches were created to commemorate this collaboration, and comes in two versions based on the Navy SEAL Colormark 3050 and Authorised for Navy Use (ANU) 4220 models respectively.

The Spec Ops Challenge watch here is based on the Navy SEAL Colormark 3050 and, like every other Luminox timepiece, uses tritium-filled glass tubes that emit a constant glow to display the time in the dark. The watch retains the original’s carbon-reinforced polycarbonate case, and thus its corresponding lightness, durability, and stealthy matte black finish. Its highly legible dial and bezel designs have also been kept largely intact, save for the large Spec Ops Challenge logo at six o’clock. Each Spec Ops Challenge watch ships with a polyurethane strap and an additional NATO fabric strap.

As a sign of the deepening relationship between Luminox and the Navy SEALs, part of the proceeds from the sale of each Spec Ops Challenge watch will go towards the Navy SEAL Foundation, which provides financial and other forms of support for the servicement and families of the Naval Special Warfare community.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, date
  • Power Reserve: NA
  • Movement: Swiss quartz
    Case: Carbon-reinforced polycarbonate
  • Water resistantce: 200 meters
    Strap: Black Polyurethane strap with steel buckle, and black textile NATO strap with steel rings and buckle

This article was originally published in World of Watches Magazine

Review: Ernest Borel Jules Borel Watch

Ernest Borel celebrates the 160th anniversary of its founding this year, and has released a limited edition timepiece in its Jules Borel collection to celebrate the milestone. The choice was an easy one – Jules Borel was the brand’s founder, and his namesake collection consists of dressy watches with a touch of luxe that a timepiece such as this will fit in with perfectly.

The commemorative watch begins with a rose gold-plated steel case 40mm across – perfect for the modern wearer – with matching hands and indexes. The applique hour markers themselves are studded with a diamond each to further distinguish the timepiece, while the silver dial has a scalloped sunburst guilloche pattern for added flair. The three sub-dials at three, six, and nine o’clock have circular grained patterns instead for contrast, and feature a retrograde date, power reserve, and day indicator respectively.

The watch’s celebratory aspect is expressed in various ways. The most obvious is the “160th Anniversary” text on the flange at six o’clock. Flip the timepiece over, and an etched drawing of the Ernest Borel Factory reveals itself. Etching aside, the case back also has an aperture to allow its wearer to observe the balance wheel in motion.

Only 888 pieces of this anniversary timepiece will be produced. Each will be delivered with an individually numbered case and certificate.

  • Specs
    Dimensions: 40mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, retrograde date, day of the week, power reserve indicator
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 9094
    Case: Rose gold-plated steel
  • Water resistance: 50 meters
    Strap: Brown alligator with matching deployant buckle

This article was originally published in World of Watches magazine

Review: Breitling Navitimer 01 Watch

The Navitimer is the granddaddy of pilot’s chronographs and not just a field watch that pilots took into their cockpits. When it was first introduced in the early 1950s, it bagged a first by featuring a circular slide rule actuated by its rotating bezel, specially intended for pilots (another Breitling, the Chronomat, was earlier with a circular slide rule by a decade, but it was purposed for mathematics and engineering).

In an era before the calculator and other electronic/satellite aids, a few twirls of the Navitimer’s bezel allowed pilots to make quick calculations relating to speed, distance, fuel consumption, and unit conversions that gave them critical information about where they were, and how long more the plane would keep flying. Student pilots today are still taught to use the E6B slide rule. For the rest of us with our feet on the ground, the slide rule is perfect for currency conversions while shopping overseas.

And it’s a testament to its design longevity that the 60-year-old Navitimer looks as suave today as it did, at birth. Also, Breitling has not been slack in keeping this precious piece of its heritage current. In 2010, the Navitimer 01 was launched with Breitling’s first manufacture movement: the calibre B01 that it had debuted the year before. Having a manufacture movement is not just about prestige, it also gives the company the opportunity to specify and engineer higher technical parameters, especially considering that the standard ETA chronograph movement still used by a great number of brands across all price segments dates back to the 1970s.

For Breitling, the B01 is designed for large-scale production as well as easy regulation and maintenance. Already, it has formed the foundation stone for two more of Breitling’s manufacture movements, the B04 (with GMT) and B05 (world time). For the wearer, the Navitimer can now be had with a modern, robust chronograph movement with column wheel and vertical clutch, that’s a COSC-certified chronometer with a substantial power reserve of 70 hours.

Navitimer 01 Limited Edition

This latest iteration is the same watch in a different color combination, shedding black dial and silvered counters for dark gray dial and black counters. It’s a delicious match-up that is darkly glamorous, while giving no quarter to purpose and legibility. In a limited edition of 1,000 pieces.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 43mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding calibre B01 chronograph
    Material: Steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
    Strap: Black calf leather with steel deployant buckle

This article was originally published in World of Watches magazine

Bell & Ross Enters Into Automobiles With AeroGT

It may seem quite surprising to see the highly esteemed watch company Bell & Ross take a sudden dip into the automobile world with their crazily designed half-aeroplane half-car AeroGT. Still, this isn’t the first time they’ve done that. They came up with the B-Rocket motorbike back in 2014 and this one, even earlier. Combined with the creation of this concept, the company is also releasing a pair of timepieces merges its watchmaking skills with motoring inspirations.

You can check out more on Men’s Folio.

Fortis Classic Cosmonauts Chronograph Ceramic

Fortis has been the Russian space program’s watch partner for more than 20 years, and seen its watches involved in over 50 missions. This year, the brand has taken the Official Cosmonauts watch and given it a jolt by using ceramic for its bezel. The result is the Classic Cosmonauts Chronograph Ceramic, with the “p.m.” version shown here. This isn’t just a classier and more understated reference, it also echoes the darkness associated with deep space.

The Classic Cosmonauts Chronograph Ceramic p.m. speaks a design language that is familiar to fans of the brand, including a no-frills stainless steel case and a highly legible dial with raised hour indexes coated with Super-LumiNova. The Valjoux 7750 chronograph caliber, which has proven its reliability in zero gravity, is used here to measure elapsed times of up to 12 hours. The pushers here have been improved over previous versions of the watch – they are now of the screw-down variety.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours. minutes, small seconds, chronograph, day, date
  • Power Reserve: 44 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding chronograph ETA Valjoux 7750
    Material: Stainless steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
    Strap: Black leather with pin buckle

 

This article was originally published in World of Watches Magazine

Porsche, Chopard Honor Le Mans With Limited Editions

The Le Mans 24-hour race is possibly the ultimate on-track test for drivers out there – forcing them to undergo intense non-stop racing in order to challenge the endurance of both man and machine. Speaking on non-stop, Porsche has been enjoying a non-stop winning spree here for a long time already, enjoying a record-breaking 18th victory at this year’s race. Coupled with that win, though, Porsche and their official timing partner Chopard are announcing limited editions inspired by endurance racing. One of this is the limited edition called the Porsche 911 Endurance Racing Edition, and the other is the Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Black Edition.

The Porsche 911 Endurance Racing Edition

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Since 1964, the Porsche 911 has always kept its basic outline and engine position, proving that it maintained an enduring appeal and stature from the very start. Even then, the special exclusive arm of Porsche aimed to create a model that can enjoy the best possible track performance on the road. In other words, the goal was always to create a race car that was also road-legal. A sneak peek was offered at Le Mans but it will be properly showcased at next weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Taking the Carrera S as a starting point for further modification, it keeps the stock 3-liter flat-six twin turbo powerplant. This gives it 420hp as well as a 191mph top speed; power and the acceleration are improved via a revised chassis.

The model rides 20mm lower than standard, and comes with the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and Active Suspension Management systems. With this, power is always going to the wheel with the most traction, and wheels can be pushed up or down to either ensure contact with the road, or cancel out excessive force. It also introduces rear-wheel steering as standard. This provides quite a bit of flexibility in the various scenarios encountered on the road.

There’s also the Sports Chrono package, allowing the owner to time laps, perform racing starts, and even have a ‘boost function’ at their command. This function is entitled the “Sports Response” and will push out everything the engine’s got in one 20-second blast upon activation.

The interior will be fitted with black leather and subtle red accents, as well as carbon fiber. For the sake of the driver, there are quite a few comforts such as a sliding sunroof and parking sensors. Even more of a joy for serious drivers though, is the inclusion of seven-speed manual transmission as standard.

The Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Black Edition

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As the official timing partner for Porsche, Chopard aims to celebrate their legacy of speed with their own Superfast watch collection. The Black Edition is a 100-piece limited series exclusively available at their boutiques. It combines the aesthetic codes of the new Porsche prototype with the special precision for which the watch company is well known.

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A sleek 45mm diameter case made of titanium houses the Chopard Calibre 03.05M. This mechanism was desgined like an authentic engine and features a self-winding chronograph movement delivering a substantial 60-hour power reserve. It also features a flyback function. To further improve on its endurance, the case has also been bead-blasted and blackened by a DLC (diamond-like carbon) treatment – ensuring scratch-resistance. It is water resistant to 100 meters so you can go swimming with it quite safely.

This standout chronograph is designed mainly for the passionate racer in mind, even coming with a black rubber strap inspired by slick competition racing tires. No doubt Chopard Co-President Karl-Frederich Scheufele’s own love of racing played a part in the development of the Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Black Edition.

Here’s a video that describes the relationship.

Twins Effect: Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7

Just when you thought it wouldn’t be possible for jeweler and watchmaker Harry Winston to surpass its previous tourbillon wristwatches, the American house continues to push – and break – the limits of traditional watchmaking theory with its seventh edition: the Histoire de Tourbillon 7. The Swatch Group-owned brand drew a lot of attention with this timepiece at BaselWorld 2016 and we definitely think it is one of the star pieces of the year.

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The Histoire de Tourbillon model – as the name suggests – is a timepiece series focused on tourbillons. Harry Winston has explored several variations on this theme; last year’s iteration saw a tri-axial tourbillon and previously, a double tourbillon. This year, the watchmaker explores the bi-axial tourbillon – with a twist in that there’s now two, both identical. Since the bi-axial tourbillons are both identical, let’s look at how one works. First of all, the term bi-axial tourbillon simply means that there are two cages here instead of the usual one and that both rotate on different axes. There is still just one balance, hairspring, pallet fork and escape wheel.

In the case of the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7, the cage that houses the balance wheel – angled at 30 degrees – completes a rotation in 45 seconds. This assembly is in turn housed in a second cage that completes a rotation in 75 seconds. The two identical bi-axial tourbillons are then regulated by a spherical differential to create an average. Theoretically, if two tourbillons are better than one, the differential would result in the averaging out of two exceptional time keeping mechanisms working double-time to eliminate errors of rate. At the bottom of the dial, a power reserve indicator in roll form fills the little gap left by the dual tourbillons and hour and minute section.

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Facade-wise, the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7’s 18k white gold case houses a rectangular dial with an anodized aluminum design. Its 50mm diameter and 17mm thickness means this watch is a big fella but that is the trade-off for having angled bi-axial tourbillons in action. The horological masterpiece requires hundreds of hours of delicate artisanal expertise of hundreds of hours. In a limited edition of 20, the watch is available in either a red or anthracite version.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 50mm
  • Functions: Off-center hours and minutes, display of power reserve on roll
  • Power Reserve: 55 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding calibre HW4502, bottom plate in satin-finish and stippled titanium, bridges in titanium, double Côtes de Genève, tourbillon bridges polished and beveled by hand
  • Material: 18K white gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Alligator leather

High Times: Rolex Air-King Watch

Swiss watchmaker Rolex made waves this year at BaselWorld 2016 with the Cosmograph Daytona but we will not be letting the Rolex Air-King slip by without a discussion. On the face of it – and what a face it is – the Air-King is deceptively humdrum. The watch doesn’t have use any special materials and it is not using the siloxi hairspring here. Nevertheless, the Air-King is notable for its sensory-overload dial, which might be the busiest the brand has ever introduced.

As usual, the devil is in the details for Rolex so even such matters as the fonts and hands used are worth scrutinizing. The new Oyster Perpetual Air-King comes with a black dial as standard, a surprise for fans of this model which typically was available with a choice of white or black dials. The action on this standard dial is thick, with a Chromalight triangle marker at 12 o’clock, white gold applied Arabic numerals at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. The rest of the markers are in a graduated 5-minute scale, from 5 minutes to 55 minutes, making for a hodgepodge of numeral styles. Finally, the text Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified is spelled out on the dial, as you can see above.

Other very obvious changes include a new size, with the 2016 model coming in at 40mm. Considering that the older models were a mere 34mm, this change is immediately obvious, even if it might get lost amidst all the upsizing ongoing in many of the models. Instead of the old baton hands, Rolex introduces white gold so-called Mercedes hands to aesthetic changes are meant to more closely evoke Rolex’s aviation heritage, which of course is reflected in the GMT Master series too. For the Air-King, the inspiration comes from the watches supplied to the aviators on the first flight above Mount Everest in the 1930s and the first London-Melbourne flight. In other words, that luminous triangle at 12 o’clock is not merely a casual link to the world of aviation of some Johnny-come-lately watch firm. Now, the first Rolex Air-King watches appeared in the 1950s, with the distinctive “Air-King” lettering still displayed on the dial so don’t get confused about the specific heritage of this model.

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As always with aviation-minded watches, the movement is impervious to magnetic perturbations…well the automatic calibre 3131 (common to the Milgauss) uses the parachrom hairspring which is antimagnetic, to be a little clearer. The new Air-King joins all current models in being exceedingly precise, to the tune of +2/-2 seconds per day, a performance that is guaranteed by Rolex for five years. Finally, the solid links in the Oyster bracelet all sport a uniform brushed finish for a proper tool watch look. The old Rolex Air-King, you might recall, had polished bits in the bracelet.

The Air-King of 2016 will have a long climb ahead of it to reach the heights some other watchmaking brands occupy. Looking at the unusual aesthetic choices Rolex has made here, adopting both the vintage look of tool watches of the past and the busy style popularized more recently, it may be that the brand is looking at a totally different audience segment. We think though that the aesthetics will see refinements in the years to come so try to remember all the details in this starter model because the clock has well and truly been reset for the Rolex Air-King.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 40mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours
  • Movement: Automatic Rolex calibre 3131
  • Material: 904L steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Oyster bracelet, flat three-piece links

 

Harry Winston Countdown to a Cure Midnight amfAR

american jeweler and watchmaker Harry Winston collaborates with amfAR for a good cause yet again, this time with a limited edition timepiece – the Harry Winston Countdown to a Cure Midnight amfAR.

Available in a limited edition of 20 each for men and women, the watch made an appearance at Seventh Annual Inspiration Gala in New York as part of the brand’s well-loved Midnight Collection. The men’s version, a 42mm 18k white gold watch sees a multi-hued seconds track running around a navy blue dial. The women gets a more souped up variation, with an arc of diamonds and precious gems – sapphires, garnets and rubies – lining the same blue dial from 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock. Brilliant-cut diamonds also mark the watch’s 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, giving the 32mm gold timepiece a grand total of 12 diamonds and 19 gemstones.

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“We are proud to introduce the new Countdown to a Cure Timepiece and further strengthen our commitment to amfAR. It is our hope that through our continued partnership, amfAR will be able to advance its efforts to end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, giving millions of individuals around the world a more brilliant and healthy future,” Nayla Hayek, CEO of Harry Winston, Inc. commented.

The black tie gala also featured a menswear fashion show, with celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Zayn Malik and Victoria Justice in attendance.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 42mm, 32mm (women’s)
  • Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds, date at 6 o’clock; hours, minutes (women’s)
  • Movement: Automatic, Caliber HW2003; Quartz, Caliber HW 1042 (women’s)
  • Material: 18k white gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Blue alligator leather

 

Ladies First: Breguet Tradition Dame 7038

Fine watches aren’t just reserved for gentlemen. Swiss watchmaker Breguet thought so too and hence created the Breguet Tradition Dame 7038. Like many of its other watches in the Tradition series, this watch is a horological masterpiece both technically and aesthetically.

Breguet knows that it is the littlest things that count. With the movement components arranged symmetrically on either side of the mainplate, this ultra-modern watch is a graphic work of art. The watch features a central barrel, which powers the hands of the dial at 12 o’clock, as well as a barrel wheel and intermediate wheels that form a delicate arc from 4 to 8 o’clock. Breguet might have a tradition of more than two centuries but it is a pioneer of horological technology. The Swiss company applies the hand-chamfered pare-chute to the bridge of the Tradition Dame 7038, a feature designed by Breguet himself in the 1790s to protect the delicate balance pivots in case of impact. At 10 o’clock, a discreet retrograde seconds is engraved upon the frosted finishing of the movement. Powered by the numbered and signed movement calibre 505SR (visible through the sapphire-crystal caseback), the watch shares the same movement as its older brother, the Tradition 7097.

And because it’s a timepiece for the most discerning of ladies, its bezel is encrusted with lots of brilliant-cut diamonds – all 68 of them, to be precise. Housed in a 37mm 18-carat white gold case, the watch sits elegantly on most women’s wrists, the Tahitian mother of pearl dial furthers this aesthetic, lending visual interest to the otherwise metallic face. On the barrel, an exquisite floral engraving completes the dial.

Specs:

Dimensions: 37mm

Functions: Hours, Minutes, Retrograde second

Power Reserve: 50 hours

Movement: Self-winding movement, numbered and signed movement, calibre 505SR.

Material: 18-carat white gold with delicately fluted case band. Bezel set with 68 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.895 carats).

Water Resistance: 30 meters

Strap: leather

Blackwater: HYT H2 Alinghi Watch

Hot on the heels of the HYT H4 Alinghi wristwatch, the H2 Alinghi sees the Swiss watchmaking company and sailing syndicate work together to create yet another horological masterpiece. For those who don’t recognize Alinghi as the champion sailors in this equation, HYT is the Swiss watchmaker. Just saying.

This is a watch of many firsts, like the HYT H2 Tradition. Unlike that watch, the central seconds hand function is no different to the standard H2 model (it jumps slightly at the 30 minute mark, as you can guess from the image above and below). Aesthetics-wise, the H2 Alinghi also retains its distinctive HYT flavor, including the oversized 48.8mm case diameter but goes through many upgrades. The watch now boasts a full untreated titanium case (HYT calls it as-cast titanium), giving it a sporty feel that’s only appropriate for a collaboration with a professional sports team. As the only watchmaking brand that integrates a liquid module into its mechanical movement, the new watch will feature a new black liquid.

Fans of the brand will be familiar with its development process – every colored formulation is painstakingly derived after years of research and the current shade was only revealed to the world earlier this year. The bezel rider tab is now also an elegant rounded shape (HYT says this is to better integrate the Alinghi logo), and succeeds in making the design ‘pop’ when on the wrist (as seen below). Lastly, HYT makes its hour markers stand out more by applying a twin satin/blasted effect on its flange. If you’re familiar with HYT, we think you’ll agree this is the clearest the hour markers have ever been. Mounted on the new ultra-resistant technical strap, the watch embodies both house’s codes of combining modernity with technology.

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Unfortunately, not all HYT fans will get their hands on this horological feat, which is only to be expected. Only 25 of what looks to be HYT’s most legible timepiece will be produced, so you’ll have to hurry to get your hands on (and in) it. The watch will be available from June 2016.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 48.8mm
  • Functions: Retrograde hours, minutes, power reserve indicator, thermal indicator, crown position indicator
  • Power Reserve: 192 hours (eight days)
  • Movement: Manual-winding HYT calibre with liquid module
  • Material: Titanium with polished, micro blasted and satin finishes
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: dark charcoal grey fabric with a black stitching, titanium deployant buckle.

Mobile Charm: Chopard Happy Diamonds Turns 40

Forty years ago, watchmaker and jeweler Chopard debuted its first Happy Diamonds timepiece, creating what would become an icon in the world of watch and jewelry. The word ‘icon’ is frequently abused but even rival jewelers will agree that the Happy Diamonds concept was a game-changer. The original design, created for men and later introduced for women, won the coveted Golden Rose of Baden-Baden back in 1976 and featured diamonds that moved freely. Today, the Happy Diamonds series is immediately recognizable as a Chopard innovation.

Inspired be the sparkle of water droplets as they burst from a waterfall in the famed German Black Forest, Chopard designer Ronald Kurowski came up with a design that allowed the diamonds to whirl above the dial and recreate that magical effect he saw. His realization that “Diamonds are happier when they’re free”, has allowed the brand to create a range of watches, necklaces, pendants, rings and earrings over the years.

The original Happy Diamonds timepieces by Chopard in 1976.

The original Happy Diamonds timepieces by Chopard in 1976.

Using the original cushion shape, the contemporary Happy Diamonds watch is a ladies’ timepiece that is sure to sparkle in any watch collection. Similar to the original timepiece, the updated design features 15 mobile prong-set diamonds, which in all honesty are the stars of the show here, that come in two different sizes.The diamonds are kept away from the hour and minute hands, thanks to two central rings that are (surprise, surprise) set with diamonds.

While the original design featured a black dial, the revisited Happy Diamonds watch boasts a white mother-of-pearl backdrop. Like the original, the timepiece uses a 18k white gold case but now adds a bezel that features prong-set diamonds accentuating the curves of the watch. More diamonds are featured on the crown, because, well, why not. The final element that allows the timepiece to sit comfortably on your wrist, is the black brushed canvas trap, ensuring that the Happy Diamonds can spread the joy, day or night.

The cushion-shaped Happy Diamonds timepiece is limited to 150 pieces and is sold exclusively at Chopard boutiques.

Monaco Grand Prix on Chinese Time with TAG Heuer

As if it wasn’t a star-studded enough event, TAG Heuer invited two Chinese superstars, rock-pop singer G.E.M. and actor Li Yifeng, to attend the prestigious Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix this year.

Both personalities boast millions of followers in their home country, and accompanied by the Chinese media, had the privilege of not only watching the race, but also to be greeted by the Ambassador of Monaco to China, Catherine Fautrier at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco for a private tour.

Monaco Formula One Grand Prix

As the world’s second largest economy, China passed the symbolic threshold of 300 billionaires this year, the average wealth of the 1,000 richest Chinese starting at $1.04 billion. Monaco has been keen on strengthening diplomatic relations, as seen from the appointment of ambassadors from both sides in 2006 and the construction of a Monaco pavilion within the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Earlier this year, Monaco reciprocated with the first-ever Chinese Festival in Monaco.

TAG Heuer and the F1 Grand Prix have had a long history, and great success. Stellar drivers such as Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton are but a few TAG Heuer ambassadors who have taken the chequered flag. This year, the Swiss watch firm continues its legacy with Formula 1 by unveiling three new TAG Heuer watches at a world-exclusive launch in Monaco:

Red Bull Watch

CAZ1018.FC8213 THF1 SPECIAL EDITION RED BULL TEXTILE STRAP - PACKSHOT 2016

Bearing the team’s colors – midnight blue and red – the steel quartz chronograph reflects the DNA of TAG Heuer’s association with Formula 1 with a bezel sporting a tachymeter scale in matte blue aluminum. The special edition is available in two versions: a stainless steel bracelet or textile strap with red stitching, inspired by the racing car’s seat belts. Like every motor racing watch worth its salt, the quartz chronograph movement is accurate to a tenth of a second, and is displayed on the counter at 6 o’clock. Meanwhile, the symbolic black and white chequered flag of Formula 1 is engraved at the back of the case, together with the prestigious Red Bull Racing Team logo.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 43 mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, date, 1/10 second counter, chronograph hour counter, chronograph minute counter, running seconds counter
  • Movement: Ronda 5040D – Quartz chronograph
  • Water resistance: 200 meters
  • Strap: Triple-row brushed steel bracelet with brushed steel clasp, dual safety mechanism and extension for the motor races, or blue strap made from technical textile with red stitching.
Tag Heuer Connected in 18K Rose Gold

Barenia brun - or rose - chrono noir

Bearing the name of a luxury watchmaker with more than a century of history while innovating with smartwatches is no easy feat, but you’d be hard pressed to find fault with the latest upgrade for this smartwatch offering. For this special edition, Tag Heuer swapped the usual titanium for a more luxurious rose gold one. The latest lithium battery powers the water-resistant device and a sapphire crystal touchscreen ensures it stays scratch-free. While the watch comes with the same two-year standard warranty TAG Heuer offers its usual Connected Watches, customers have the option of exchanging the smartwatch for a mechanical watch should they decide to go old school.

Aquaracer 300M

WAY201A.BA0927 AQRC CALIBRE 5 BLACK CERAMIC - PR VIEW 2016

A sports chronograph first designed to meet the extreme requirements of professional water sportsmen, the Aquaracer is now an icon of TAG Heuer’s and has been reiterated countless times, each looking to better its predecessor. Aesthetic changes include engraved silver lacquer numerals on the ceramic bezel, as well as a bigger case, enlarged from 41mm to 43mm. Inside, the Calibre 5 automatic mechanical movement powers the timepiece with the promise of accuracy and reliability, and coupled with its 300m water-resistance, makes this robust timepiece the perfect companion for all kinds of extreme conditions.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 43 mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
  • Movement: TAG Heuer Automatic Calibre 5
  • Power Reserve: 38 hours
  • Water resistance: 300 meters
  • Strap: 3-row polished and satin-finished steel, with polished steel deployant buckle, safety push-buttons and diving extension

 

 

Cuba Libre: Zenith Chronomaster Cohiba Edition

What do Cuban cigar producer Cohiba and Swiss watchmaker Zenith have in common, you may ask. For one, both have hundreds of years of expertise, collectively, in the delicate art of crafting beautiful objects by hand. Obviously, both brands have a long history of providing exclusive products for those seeking only the best. The timing of this release is indeed fortuitous given the historic recent reversal in the long-standing deep freeze in US-Cuba relations. Regardless, this might be just the ticker to celebrate this moment in time.

While Zenith has over 150 years under its belt, it is Cohiba that is celebrating a milestone. For half a century the cigar producer has been providing cigar connoisseurs with the finest that Cuba has to offer (well, not cigar aficionados in the USA, unless they were buying the Dominican variant, which is no relation to the real deal). To commemorate the occasion, Cohiba has teamed up with Zenith for a limited edition timepiece. The exclusive “anniversary” El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Cohiba Edition is an ode to the ultimate cigar with its dial and motifs. Like the cigar, the timepiece is fitted with a Havana brown dial that also has two vertical lines running across the middle. One is a bright yellow and another with the distinctive Cohiba emblem.Zenith-Cohiba-red-steel

The dial also features the logos of both Zenith and Cohiba while the profile of famous aboriginal Taino chief — Cohiba’s emblem and the original inhabitants of Cuba — sits between the two. The dial also boasts something inimitably Zenith, especially in the contemporary era of the brand. The heart of timepiece’s El Primero 4061 chronograph movement, is visible at the 11 o’clock position, thanks to the signature dial cut-out. At 36,000 vibrations per hour, it allows for a 1/10th of a second display while also housing a COSC precision-certified chronometer and integrated column-wheel construction. The 282-part movement is completed by a silicon lever and escape wheel, which you can admire dial-side (look for the purple elements).

On the case is a fluted crown and two round push-pieces (for the chronograph function) while the time is indicated by luminescent hands. Only 50 pieces are available in rose gold while 500 pieces are available in steel. Each timepiece is presented in a wooden box, colored like the legendary Habanos cigar.Zenith-Cohiba-Box

  • Specs
  • Dimensions: 42 mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours
  • Movement: Automatic El Primero 4061 movement; integrated chronograph with
  • Material: Red Gold, Stainless Steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

 

Rough Stuff: 3 Watches for Paintball

Some families do it as a bonding exercise, but paintball is really naked, armed combat, without the live ammo. For the white-collar urbanite, that could mean a near lifetime’s worth of knocks and tumbles, compressed within the time slot printed on the receipt. Not just gamers are put through the wringer, the watch too has to stand up to like abuse; noodle-necks need not apply.

Luminox Navy SEAL Colormark Nova

Luminox---Mood-Yellow-EK4199

There are watches engineered to resist hellish environments, and there’s the Luminox that offers this with outstanding dial legibility under all lighting conditions, courtesy of the tritium gas vials on the hands and markers. Luminous paint glows for hours after exposure to light; tritium gas doesn’t stop glowing for around 25 years. Even harder to resist is that Luminox now makes the Colormark Nova in five colors.

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN049

RLS1503-03_SUN049

Seiko’s Kinetic movement unites many advantages of mechanical and quartz movement – powered by a rotor like an automatic, it has a six-month power reserve, with quartz-watch precision of around 15 seconds’ deviation in a month. And the Prospex Kinetic GMT is the kinetic that Seiko has specifically created for land sports.

Tudor North FlagWOW160126(Character)-015

In terms of design, performance, and price, this is an utterly sensible timepiece from Tudor that has been solidifying its own niche as maker of very sound, tool watches. The North Flag offers everything one needs to know, clearly displayed, including power reserve, in a hardy steel case with steel-ceramic bezel, and a manufacture movement with a 70-hour power reserve.

Story Credits

This story was first published in World of Watches.

Focus: Freywille 65th Anniversary

Celebrations are a big deal for Viennese label Freywille. Its trademark fire-enamel jewelry – which take more than 100 stages and up to two years to hand-make – is not just about paying homage to an age-old decorative technique, but the acclaimed artists and cities that have shaped the course of both art and design. Previous collections have been dedicated to late French, Austrian and Czech painters – Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha, respectively – and also embraced the vibrant cultures of Africa and Russia.

It comes as no surprise, then, that for Freywille’s 65th anniversary this year, the brand would cast the spotlight on yet another famed art practitioner or popular destination. It chose the latter and delved this time into the tombs of the pharaoh Tutankhamun and the 12th-dynasty Egyptian princess Chnumet for inspiration. The pieces look anything but, pardon the pun, grave. Beautiful, unique treasures recovered from these tombs, which include an enamel diadem – the oldest of its kind – and semi-precious trinkets embellished with turquoise, lapis lazuli and carnelian, are reinterpreted as miniature paintings on a slick range of gold bangles, earrings, rings and even a timepiece.

This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Ballroom Watch: Dior VIII Grand Bal

The Dior VIII Grand Bal wristwatch evokes the allure of the French house in more ways than one. For starters, the timepiece is named after Monsieur Christian Dior’s favorite number, eight. Then comes the unrivalled attention to artistic detail which the ticker is given (it has been painstakingly decorated in remarkable marquetries of vibrant-coloured feathers, mother-of-pearl and gems, for instance). And, finally, if you still can’t picture it, just know that the Swiss-made watch, like many of Dior’s creations, is one of luxury’s most captivating and memorable.

But the beauty of the Dior VIII Grand Bal is rather unusual. While most automatic watches are equipped with a rotor – a heavy, semi-circular metal disc which swivels freely with movements of the arm to wind the calibre – at the back, Dior has cleverly adapted the moving part as a decorative yet fully-functioning element on the timepiece’s dial. And as the oscillating weight rotates, it recalls the dramatic twirls of an elegant ball gown.

Not just any ball gown, though, but pleated petticoats and a dress from Dior’s Spring/Summer 2015 haute couture collection. The former is exquisitely translated as rotors in lacquered pink or yellow gold with white mother-of-pearl and diamond accents, while the single rotor in the latter, in white gold, is gently applied with soft feathers and finished with tsavorite garnets and sapphires. In a first for Dior, these precious mechanical rotors now come housed in steel models of the Dior VIII Grand Bal which are more accessible than its predecessors in gold, but no less brilliant in appearance.

This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.