Monthly Archives: July 2017

The Baselworld Watch

1.Rolex Cellini Moonphase

Rolex generated considerable buzz with its burly Sea-Dweller and Yacht-Master II sports watches. But this dress watch may have stolen the show. The company’s first moonphase model since the 1950s is a looker, but will also delight amateur astronomers. Rendered in 18-karat Everose, the watch will accurately track the lunar cycle for 122 years. Better still, the full moon appliqué  is fashioned from actual meteorite.

2. Citizen Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000M

At first glance, a light-powered watch that can be used 1000 metres underwater may not make much sense. It’s dark in those inky depths. But the lack of a battery means the hardened “Super Titanium” case never needs to be opened, making it virtually leakproof. Functionally speaking, it is a bathyscaphe for the wrist.

 3. Longines Heritage 1945

Benjamin Clymer, who runs the influential watch site Hodinkee, called the Heritage 1945 one of his favourites, and no wonder: It is based on a watch that he owns. Longines spotted the elegant dress watch, which dates back to the 1940s, on his Instagram feed and reverse-engineered it, down to his aftermarket tan strap. Little surprise, Clymer found the result “stunning.”

4. 1960 Grand Seiko

Seiko is known for producing watches for the masses, but its premium Grand Seiko line holds its own among the fine Swiss houses. To celebrate Grand Seiko’s formal split into a separate brand, the company introduced an exquisite reissue of its understated first model, featuring a domed crystal and wedge-cut hour markers. This retro charmer is available in gold, platinum and stainless steel, in limited editions of 1960 each, naturally.

5. Zenith Defy El Primero 21

Zenith, a legacy brand currently undergoing a dramatic reinvention under its new chief executive, Jean-Claude Biver, made a statement with this sexy new riff on its classic El Primero. This model features a titanium case, a skeleton dial and a high-frequency chronograph accurate to one-hundredths of a second. As with Hublot, another brand overseen by Biver, the new Zenith is about dressing to impress.

6.TAG Heuer Autavia

Classic Autavias from the 1960s often fetch five-figure sums on the vintage market. So imagine the delight when TAG Heuer updated the coveted 1962 racing chronograph, featuring a reverse panda dial and brawny black bezel. The new version has been modernised, with a larger 42-mm case and a date window. But it still channels the spirit of Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt and other racing legends.

7.Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph

Rolex’s lower-priced sister brand continues to deliver bang for the buck. With its fixed stainless-steel tachymeter, the new Chrono feels both sporty and vintage. The big news for watch geeks is the new MT5813 movement in collaboration with – brace yourself – Breitling. Cooperation, even with rivals, is very Swiss, they say. Maybe that’s how they stay neutral.

8. Movado Connect

Two years ago, the dawn of the smartwatch era was the talk of Baselworld. Now the smartwatch simply is. Movado is closing the gap between a stylish watch and a wrist computer with this sleek model, featuring Google’s Android Wear 2.0 platform and five customisable versions of its minimalist Museum dial.

The Smartwatch

We’ll see more luxury brands break up the smartwatch duopoly between Apple and Samsung,” said John Guy, an analyst at MainFirst Bank AG. “It not only provides consumers with a luxury option, where the aesthetic is more in harmony with technology, but it also provides a springboard for younger consumers to move into traditional Swiss watches at a later stage.”

Within two years, Apple has become the world’s second-bestselling watch brand, outranked only by Rolex, disrupting sales of low-end makers and convincing LVMH that it needs to offer alternatives or risk falling behind. While low-end Swiss manufacturers such as Swatch Group AG’s namesake brand have introduced intelligent timepieces, exclusive makers like Rolex and Patek Philippe have largely steered clear for fear of sullying their image.

Breitling, TAG

Midrange Swiss labels like Breitling and LVMH’s TAG Heuer, specialising in sports watches, were among the first to recognise the disruptive potential of fitness bands that can monitor heart rates and track the wearer’s activities. Now fashion brands are getting into wearable devices. Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss each revealed models using Google’s Android platform at this year’s Baselworld watch expo in Switzerland, while Hermes started making leather straps for Apple Watches in 2015.

LVMH rival Richemont also recently dived into the market, offering a smartwatch under the Montblanc brand. Its $1500 price tag, like those of connected timepieces from Swiss brands such as Mondaine, is well below that of Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Horizon. Last year Apple discontinued its line of 18-karat gold Apple Watches, which sold for approx. $22,260 moving toward the fitness market and adding health functions.

LVMH, which is France’s biggest company by market value, has tried to speed up the embrace of technology in recent years – bringing in former Apple Music executive Ian Rogers as chief digital officer in 2015 and launching two multibrand e-commerce sites this year for its fashion and beverage brands.

Last year, LVMH bought Rimowa, a German suitcase maker whose products include luggage with electronic tags that let their owners know their whereabouts via Bluetooth. Louis Vuitton introduced 800-euro ($1510) iPhone cases inspired by its monogrammed trunks last fall.

LVMH got about nine per cent of sales last year from watches and jewellery. Louis Vuitton’s traditional watches are produced in Switzerland. The smartwatch’s case is assembled in that country and the watch uses technology developed in Silicon Valley, the company said in a statement that does not say where the inner workings are made.

 Targeting Travellers

Swatch Group, whose brands run the gamut from inexpensive pieces to six-figure Breguets, is developing an alternative to the Apple and Google operating systems for a planned Tissot smartwatch whose launch has been delayed. Louis Vuitton is relying on Android, as well as technology from Qualcomm Inc.

Louis Vuitton is targeting well-to-do travellers with the new watch, which will offer flight information and city guides for seven destinations, the company said in a statement. It’s modelled after the mechanical Tambour line and is the first Android Wear smartwatch that functions in China.

The Tambour Horizon, which is round in contrast to the Apple Watch’s rectangular shape, is 42 millimetres (1.7 inches) in diameter, making it smaller than its rivals. Like the competition, it also sends notifications of text messages, emails and phone calls.

 

The Watch favoured by world elites

Watches and clocks is on a first-name basis with Patek Philippe & Co., the Geneva house founded in 1839. These fanatics will require little persuasion to see “The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York 2017,” a clumsy title that is in direct opposition to the elegance of the timepieces on display.

The show – open through July 23 at the Bellini-and-prosciutto pleasure dome known as Cipriani 42nd Street in New York – is rife with horological delights. It is free for the public to enter. It is expensive for emirs, oligarchs, and tycoons to buy the current Patek models on display, such as the New York 2017 Special Edition Ref. 5531, which combines a minute repeater and a world-time mechanism behind a dial that celebrates the Manhattan skyline at its cloisonné-enamel centre. But someone’s got to do it.

Looking back in time

The real treat here, however, is the older stuff, gathered largely from the house’s museum in Geneva, designed in 1919. Other timepieces come from such institutions as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, and a few were made available from private collections. The meticulous toil of Patek’s artisans has ensured that even visitors who don’t especially care about watchmaking in itself will nonetheless thrill to witness its results.

Look, for instance, to the U.S. Historical Room, featuring a svelte chronograph (Ref. 130J), measuring only 35 millimetres in diameter, owned by Joe DiMaggio. The Kennedy Clock owned by the 35th president is also here. There’s even some from people who never hooked up with Marilyn Monroe.

Other famous Patek owners represented include red-white-and-blue bloods such as jazz titan Duke Ellington, who owned a split-seconds chronograph; early Coca-Cola exec Asa Griggs Chandler, whose rectangular gold watch with Art Deco engraving is a mere 26 millimetres wide; and General George S. Patton, whose parents gave him a pocket watch when he was merely “Lieut. George S. Patton,” as the engraving on its gold case demonstrates.

Pocket de résistance

Many of the stars of the show are pocket watches. While the U.S. room houses an extraordinary collection of complicated pocket watches commissioned by the banker Henry Graves, Jr., elsewhere you will find such gorgeous, double-faced, super complicated models as the Calibre 89, first introduced in 1989 and making its first venture outside the Patek Philippe Museum.

But the headliner here is the Grandmaster Chime, a stunning chunk of applied artistry with 1356 parts, some of which are devoted to its five chiming functions, inside its hand-engraved case. Patek has paired this double-faced wristwatch, which made its debut in 2014, with a virtual reality installation that lets visitors immerse themselves in its working.

A separate listening booth allows you to experience the acoustic perfection of its chime. According to the exhibition catalog – which is, at $26, a steal – the Grandmaster Chime includes a “date repeater controlled by the perpetual calendar that indicates the date acoustically, as well as an alarm that when activated also strikes the time of day.” It might be necessary to put VR goggles on your face to get your head around that idea, at which point the bravura display of craft will ring your bell.

There’s even a moment of unintended contemporary relevance. Visitors should spare a moment to chuckle at the wall text describing Kennedy’s desk clock, given to him by the mayor of West Berlin

 

Automatic mechanical Watches

Automatic mechanical watches, or those that rely on gears and mechanics to operate, have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years after a boom of quartz watches.Also known as self-winding or perpetual, automatic watches wind themselves using an internal moving weight that winds or rotates when the wearer moves their arm, transferring energy to a power reserve and keeping the watch working.These watches require no batteries and can be considered “clean energy,” powered by humans. While they do not require daily winding, it is a good idea to wind an automatic watch every so often to ensure that they keep accurate time and enjoy a long life.

Winding your Watch
  1. Keep your arm moving.

     The automatic watch is built with an oscillating metal weight, or rotor, that tracks movement. The oscillating rotor is attached to gears inside the watch that are in turn attached to the mainspring. When the rotor moves, it moves the gears which, in turn, winds the mainspring. This stores energy in the mainspring so that the watch continues ticking. If the watch is not being moved in regular, everyday motion, the mainspring’s energy winds down. If you wear your watch and keep your arm in regular movement, this should be enough to keep the rotor moving and winding up the mainspring. This doesn’t mean, however, that your arm needs to be in constant motion. Automatic watches are built to respond to average, everyday movement in order to keep them working.

    • Typically, automatic watches store energy for up to 48 hours so that they continue working without needing additional winding.
    • People who are not very active, such as elderly people or those confined to bed, may need to wind their automatic watches with more frequency. If you are sick and laid up in bed, your watch may wind down since it’s not getting regular everyday movement.
    • Avoid wearing watch when playing sports that require continuous hand or arm movement, such as tennis, squash or basketball. This will interfere with the automatic winding mechanisms, which are built for regular, everyday arm movement.
  2. Take the watch off your wrist. While an automatic watch is intended to restore its energy by the rotor winding the mainspring through the motion of your arm, it does also require periodic manual winding to keep the mainspring tight. In order to ensure that the crown is not overly strained when you pull it out and wind it, you should take it off your wrist. Then you will be able to have the right leverage and angle to carefully pull the crown out.
    • If the watch is waterproof, the crown may be screwed down to provide added waterproofing. You may need to unscrew this crown by turning carefully 4 to 5 times. When you wind the watch, you will push down on the crown at the same time, which will screw it back into place. 
      Locate the crown. The crown is the little dial knob usually on the right side of the watch. This knob can be pulled out to set the time and date on the watch. It does not need to be pulled out, however, in order to engage the winding mechanism. The crown usually has three positions or settings that engage certain functions. The first position is when it is pushed all the way in and the watch operates normally. The second position is when the crown is pulled out halfway; this is the position for setting the time or date (depending on your watch). The third position is when the crown is pulled out all the way; this is the position for setting the time or date (depending on your watch)
  3. Turn the crown clockwise. Gripping the crown with your forefinger and thumb, twist it gently in a clockwise manner (moving it from bottom to top towards the 12 on the watch face if you are looking directly at the watch). Turn it approximately 30-40 times or until the second hand starts moving in order to fully wind the watch. Winding keeps the mainspring tight and at full energy reserve, which is also supplemented by keeping your watch in motion.
    • Contrary to popular belief, you cannot typically over-wind an automatic watch. Modern automatic watches are constructed to protect against this possibility. You should still be very gentle when turning the crown and stop winding when you feel resistance.
  4. Always set the time by moving forward. When winding your watch, you may accidentally move the watch hands if you pull the crown out at all. If this happens, reset the time by moving the watch hands forward in time to reach the correct time again. Your watch is built to move its hands forward, not backward, so it is better to keep the gears and interior mechanisms working in their intended manner
  5. Make sure the crown is pushed all the way in. Gently push on the crown to ensure that it is pushed all the way back in. If you have a waterproof watch, you may need to double check to make sure that the crown has been screwed into place. Pinch the crown with your forefinger and thumb and tighten it while pushing it in
  6. Compare your watch’s timekeeping with another watch. If your watch has been properly wound, it should keep time that is consistent with other timepieces. If you think the watch is still not performing up to standard, you might ask a watch repair shop to test your watch on a timing machine. This instrument will measure its timekeeping and speed in order to determine if it is slow or fast.
  7. Wind the watch fully if it hasn’t been worn in a while. Automatic watches rely upon motion to keep working, and they may run down if they have been sitting in their box or in a drawer for more than a few days. Turning the crown on a watch 30-40 times will wind it fully and ensure it is ready to wear. Turn the crown until the second hand starts moving so you know that the watch has started keeping time. You will also likely need to reset the time and date.