Friday, 28 December 2007

A brief history of watchmaking - Oriental timepieces

Apart from novelty, the design of Oriental timepieces was more than a challenge to the traditional elegance of Swiss counterparts. Citizen, with its gems and jewellery affiliation, could turn towards machine-made, elegant dress watches. Concentrating on the medium-high price ranges, Citizen and Seiko approached jeweller retailers where the public shopped for advice as well as quality and design.

The new Oriental watch kings learned to alter design quickly, to keep catching trends, recognising that the watch was becoming, like cigarette lighters, a possibly disposable item, or that people would run to owning several different types to match outfits or lifestyle. Casio, for example, changes its designs every six months - some with minor changes only and others with totally new designs. Citizen has something like 3,000 different watches in its Japanese headquarters, explaining that what is popular in one country may not be well received in another.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

A brief history of watchmaking - Japanese invasion

The Citizen Watch Company, which had produced its first pocket watch in 1924 and became established innovators in horology, marketed Japan's first electronic wristwatch, the X-8, in 1966. The century-old family-owned firm of Seiko, which made its first watch at the turn of the 20th century, marketed its first quartz watch internationally in the late Sixties. Japanese companies, like Casio, owned by the Kashio family, sensibly turned their skills to also producing the distinctively elegant or delightfully innovative watches that combined computer knowledge with functions.

By the Seventies, with the explosion of electronic knowledge, refinements and economical production, plus marketing developments with advertisements appearing in leading magazines, Oriental electronic watches had found a foothold universally.

Stores have since filed with watches that play games, tinkle melodies, give times from East to West, produce calculations, light up at a touch, can be inserted into pens, rulers, briefcases and with increased scientific knowledge of water-proofing can reach a water depth of more than most people could even swim. Divers, joggers, runners, cyclists and businessmen are individually catered for in the diversity of function watches can now be made to supply.

Seiko produced the first TV watch, and the first personal data watch (the RC4000) to send or receive information to or from a computer. With an accoustic coupler it can even communicate with another watch via the telephone. Another irony occurred when the sun helped to tell the time again in solar-powered watches.

Friday, 16 November 2007

A brief history of watchmaking - Swiss bliss

Watchmaking requires careful craftsmanship and remained for a very long time just a commodity for the very rich. Poor Swiss farmers who worked in France picked up the principles of watchmaking there and took the ideas back to the valleys of Jura, labouring through slack winter months on their mechanics.

They developed uniform methods for watch production and brought out the first cheap watches, knocking the bottom out of the market for other watchmakers. Their skilful precision developed to such a point that other nations turned nowhere else for timepieces. Soon they made timepieces not only for ordinary civilians and military, but for the crowned heads of the world, creating individual, bejewelled mechanical masterpieces.

Many great Swiss watchmaking companies were established from the 18th century up to the early 20th century - Blancpain, Omega, Patek Philippe, Baume et Mercier, Tissot, Vacheron et Constantin, Rolex, Rotary, and Longines. Two-and-a-half centuries ago, Geneva alone boasted 800 master-watchmakers, employing 4,000 journeymen and apprentices. They remained healthily competitive amongst themselves. Innovation followed innovation.

The Vacheron Constantin watch of 1830 remains one of the thinnest mechanical watches ever made and has an elaborately engraved visible movement. Rolex proved that a wristwatch could be as accurate as a pocketwatch, thus giving them credibility as timepieces. With its world famous Rolex Oyster, the firm created the first waterproof watch, which made headlines when it crossed the Channel on the arm of a swimmer in 1927. Omega, known for its durable products, was the first to put a watch on the moon.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet

Some 125 years ago, in the beautiful Vallee de Joux of Switzerland, Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet, drawn to one another by a common passion for the complex intricacies of watchmaking, started their own workshop. They hand-made watches in the best Swiss tradition producing the first automatic Tourbillon. But most worthy of note is their Grande Complication, a chronograph with perpetual calendar, minute, quarterly and hourly chimes and moon phase. With 416 delicate parts, each Grande Complication takes eight to 12 months to complete.

The Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar automatic wristwatch is mechanically programmed to account for leap years until the year 2100. Like Blancpain, Audemars Piguet also incorporates the Tourbillon movement in the heart of its extra-thin watches. In the creation of the ethereal skeleton watches, Audemars Piguet tests the complexities of precision watchmaking to the hilt.

As watchmakers, the firm is also touched by the sheer poetry of jewel ornamentation. Audemars Piguet watches are stunning examples of the fine balance between technology and gemology. Diamonds, sapphires and rubies are worked into their Baroque models of garnet crystal and bezel set with diamonds on 18k gold. The Riviera "Dome" watch is set with 391 diamonds and 77 rubies, while the dial is set with 72 diamonds.

Even men's watches are not relegated to the masculine mode of severe design, albeit in gold. The Reverie Bamboo for men is a gem of watch with handcrafted case integrated into a bracelet of woven gold stems, burnished with diamond paste and set with 457 diamonds with the dial of 296 diamonds.

In 1970, Audemar Piguet was commissioned to create a luxury sports watch of no equal. Its brief was to turn steel into precious metal. The result after months of painstaking research was the Royal Oak, a Perpetual Calendar in platinum, ultra-thin skeleton movement and mechanically programmed to indicate the day, date, month, chronometric time and moon phases. It astonished the world with its breaktaking originality, function and beauty. It also comes in a luxury yellow gold model set with 662 diamonds.

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Bvlgari Story

The Bvlgari family descends from ancient Greek silversmiths. FOunder of the family business, Sotirio Bvlgari was born in 1858 in the small village of Epirus, Kalarites in Greece. He began by making silver objects thus renewing the ancient local art of engraving. He emigrated to Italy at the age of 21, settling in Rome where in 1884 he opened the first Bvlgari shop in Via Sistina. By 1905, he had moved upmarket to the famous Via Condoti.

His two sons, Constantino and Giorgio were privy to the family secret of silver craftsmanship but they became interested in gemstones. Giorgio spent much time in France searching and perfecting a Bvlgari style in gold and silver. COnstantino assembled his knowledge and research to produce the book Argentieri, Orafi e Gemmari d'Italia, which has become the most authoritative work on Italian gold and silver-smithing.

By the end of World War II, the Bvlgari name became more prominent as a jeweller with a unique style. By 1960, Bvlgari had shops in New York, Geneva and Monte Carlo. By 1980, the Bvlgari style was available - at a price - in London, Milan, St. Moritz, Munich, Hong Kong, Singapore, Osaka and Tokyo.

Just what is the Bvlgari style?

Permeating the entire production line of watches, pens, lighters and bibelots are unmistakable Bvlgari hallmarks:

The tubogas, a technique of workmanship used in the 1800s and introduced by Bvlgari into jewellery making. Gold or steel are bent and wound like a spring to hug the wrist or neck.

The parenthesis theme, consisting of different combinations and aesthetic variations.

The jewels are made with ancient coins where the coin becomes a natural part of the gold chain.

The most important are pearl jewels where pearls alternate with gold briolletes and boules of coral and turquoise, carre cut stones applied to rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and brooches, the tubino theme, the doppio cuore, gancio and alveare motifs.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Juvenia

The Fabrique Juvenia, one of the oldest watch factories, was founded at St. Imier. In 1880, when the workshops had insufficient space, Juvenia moved to its present site at La Chaux-de-Fonds.

In 1907, Juvenia introduced its first wristwatch and started manufacturing its own movements in 1908, but gave up this production in 1925.

In 1920, Juvenia started producing wall clocks, created the automatic wristwatch in 1937 and introduced, in 1938, the famous Mystere line - a fancy transparent watch with a coloured centre on the face crystal - which is still treasured today.

In 1942, Juvenia introduced the first flat movements, thus, the flat pocket watches which were well known and popular worldwide.

Today, Juvenia exclusively produces limited series, using mainly 18k gold or a combination of gold and stainless steel. Several watches are also fitted with gold dials and diamonds with precious stones.

All Juvenia timepieces have extra flat quartz or special sophisticated mechanical movements. One of Juvenia's specialities is the limited edition super-flat skeleton watches where the mechanical movements are also entirely made in solid gold and each piece is numbered individually. The company is also famous for its 18k gold coin timepieces.

Juvenia watches which are distinctly designed is easily recognised by watch connoisseurs and are available in more than 50 countries supported by network of after-sales service centres.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Blancpain

When Jacques Blancpain initialled his first watch in 1735, he set the seal of excellence for watchmaking craftsmanship and his consummate skills have been passed down faithfully over the centuries. The tradition that was born in the Jura region of the Swiss Alps more than 250 years ago is still carried on meticulously with each Blancpain maker responsible for his own watches.

Neither are they enamoured of mass production; each minute repeater takes an average of three months to complete, with delivery time often exceeding three years. Such is the hallmark of Blancpain quality that time, paradoxically, is of little consequence in the creation of an individual watch.

As the oldest watch name in the world and one that thumbs its nose at quartz movements, Blancpain does not produce collections - only one model for men and one for ladies. And there will never be "simple" movements, only those which are masterpieces of the art of watchmaking. The ultra-thin automatic movement, the moon-phase calendar, the perpetual calendar and the minute repeater.

The Blancpain watch chimes the hour, quarter-hour and minute when required. It has more than 30 rubies and almost 300 separate parts, some finer than a human hair and all worked by hand. For all this complexity, the watch movement is only 3.2mm thick and 21mm in diameter.

A visitor, if there should be one so privileged, will not see a factory or production workshop. There are only rooms in which several watchmakers give their undivided attention to their creations at work benches.

Blancpain offers exclusively one case shape in two different sizes. True to its tradition, all component parts are made by hand. Whether a conventional leather strap or foldaway leather clasp, each bracelet is hand-sewn.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Corum Memotime

Corum's Memotime is a whole collection of timepieces dedicated to saving the sea. Since its birth in 1993, Memotime has sponsored numerous projects of various nature in the world that tries to conserve what actually takes up 80 percent of planet Earth. One example is the Jonathan Project, a clinical study on the interactions between a child and dolphins. As a watch brand that carries a universal message linked to conservation of the seas, it was perfectly natural that Memotime should design a watch for those seeking to discover the ineffable beauty of the sea. The Memotime diving watch is 100 percent Swiss-made, in solid stainless steel or steel bi-colour, water-resistant to 100 metres, with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, stainless steel screw back-case and screw-in crown, and uni-directional rotatable rider. Large models are available with automatic or quartz movements while small ones come in quartz version only. Every timepiece in the Save the Sea collection is stamped with the "Corum Design" signature, with fully recyclable parts and features the slogan "Save the Sea" in nautical pennants.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Glossary of terms (N-Z)

Oyster Case
Rolex watch with water-resistant case.

Pave
Literally "paved with", dial with precious stones.

Perpetual Calendar
Calendar mechanism with display, which automatically corrects for long and short months and leap years.

Platinum
Precious silver-white metal heavier than gold and used for cases and bracelets in expensive models.

Quarter Repeater
Repeating mechanism that sounds hours and quarter hours.

Quartz
Rock crystal of silicon dioxide that can be made to oscillate by electronic switching. Maintains constant frequency. Mostly synthetic crystals are used today.

Rolled Gold
Very thin sheet of gold is pressed onto another metal, usually double thickness.

Roman Numerals
Besides Arabic, the most common numerals on watch dials. IIII instead of IV.

Rotor
In automatic watches, the rotor winds the mainspring. In quartz, it is a permanent rotating magnet in the step-switch motor.

Ruby
This is in fact, corundum, a synthetic stone and used to reduce wear on certain pivots.

Sapphire
Glasses or crystals, scratch-proof and usually synthetic

Shock-resistant
A watch is classified shock-resistant when dropped onto a hardwood surface from a height of one metre and it doesn't stop, or its daily rate does not change by more than 60 seconds.

Signed Movement
The maker's signature on movement.

Skeleton Watch
The dial of a skeleton has a separate ring with interior cut away, leaving only numerals and exposing the wheels and mechanism of the movement. Back plate is also cut away and fitted with glass.

Split-second Chronograph
Watch with a sweep second hand, independent of chronograph hand.

Stem
The shaft connecting winding mechanism and crown on outside of case.

Subsidiary Dials
Smaller auxiliary dials showing elapsed minutes and running seconds.

Swiss-made
A Swiss Federal government ordinance dating to 23 December 1971. Decrees that: (1) this expression can only be featured on a watch and used in connection with its marketing, only if at least 50% of the components, by value, excluding costs of assembly, are of Swiss manufacture; (2) it was assembled in Switzerland and was started and regulated by its manufacturer in Switzerland and; (3) is continuously subject to the legal obligation of technical inspection in Switzerland.

Tachometer
Speedometer or revolution recorder on bezel.

Tank Case
Original patent design by Cartier but today, it is used commonly to refer to a retangular case.

Tonneau
Case shape with wide centre and flat tapered ends.

Tourbillon
Breguet invention for nullifying vertical position errors by means of a revolving platform which goes through all such positions, so that they neutralise each other.

Tritium
Luminous paint for dials, hands and numerals.

Tuning Fork
A transistor continually switching between two small magnets to regulate smooth running, oscillating 360 times per second. The high frequency gives great precision in time-keeping. Bulova Accutron made the device famous but quartz ousted its popularity.

Water-resistant
The expression "waterproof" is illegal in America. Sold as water-resistant, watches must be able to withstand water pressure at a depth of one metre for 30 minutes and thereafter for 90 seconds at 20 metres.

World-time Watch
A watch that depicts current time in any chosen city or zone.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Glossary of terms (A-M)

Analogue
Time indication by hands and dial. The word means "corresponding" and was originally an electronic term, adopted by the watchmaking industry after the invention of quartz.

Antimagnetic
Refers to any watch with parts protected from all but the strongest magnetism. Quartz is inert to this force.

Applied Numerals
Raised metal characters attached to the watch dial.

Automatic
A mechanical watch with a mainspring that is wound by the wearer's movements via a rotor. Invented by Abraham-Louis Perrelet in the 18th century.

Auxiliary Dial
Small dial showing seconds only, up to one minute, usually at the six o'clock position.

Back Winder
A flat crown set into the case back for setting time and winding.

Baguette
Rectangular movement, with a length at least three times its width. A feature of Art Deco watches.

Balance
The running regulator of mechanical watches. It oscillates on its axis of rotation, the hair-spring making it swing to and fro as in "tick-tock".

Barrel
A circular box housing the mainspring, with teeth attached at the edge drive gears.

Baton numberals
Undecorated non-numeral markers of hours, minutes and seconds.

Bezel
Metal surround frame in which watch glass (crystal) is fitted.

Button
Generally known as crown or winder.

Cabochon Crown
Crown set with a jewel.

Calibre
Denotes type, whether lady's or man's, automatic, etc, and once used to denote the diameter of a watch movement. From the Latin "qua libra?" (of what weight?).

Case
The housing of movement, dial and glass.

Chronograph
A watch that has an independent stopwatch for short interval timing. Common types are one-button, two-button or 12-hour with moonphase and split-second.

Chronometer
Ordinary watch that has passed stringent precision and reliability tests in an official observatory.

Complicated Watch
Refers to functions unrelated to the time of day - calendars, chronographs, moonphases, perpetual and repeaters.

Crystal
Glass, plastic, sapphire or quartz crystal dial cover fitted into bezel.

Deployment Buckle
Two strips of hinged metal (curved to the wrist shape) on the watchband. Upon closing, one folds over the other to cover it. Reputedly invented by Cartier.

Dial
Face of a watch showing all details.

Duoplan or Duodial
Doctor's watch with a separate auxiliary seconds dial from the hours and minutes. For taking quick pulse reading.

Integral Bracelet
Strap designed as a natural extension of watch case.

Jewels
Used as bearings at points of greatest friction in movements. Usually between 15 and 18 but are not indicative of quality or value of watch. Before, natural rubies and sapphires were used, but they are mostly synthetic today.

Lug
Part of watch case to which band or bracelet may be attached.

Mainspring
Principal spring in watch, a flat spring coiled in a barrel.

Mean Time
Average length of all solar days in one year, usual time shown by watches.

Minute Repeater
Chiming of the hours, quarters and minutes.

Month Aperture
Pierced window in a mechanical digital displaying the month.

Moonphase
Watch displaying phase of moon through 29 and a half days.

Movement
Complete mechanism of watch. 120 to 600 parts may be incorporated.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

How to spot a fake Cartier

Copies are usually much lighter because of the materials used, e.g. gold-plated brass, nickel, chromium.

Cartier watches are set with sapphire-quality, scratchproof glass, copies usually have mineral or organic glass.

Every Cartier watch has a cabochon stone on the winder, an individual serial number, the Cartier signature on the dial, on the back and on the deployant buckle which is in the shape of a C.

Most Cartier watches have blue steel sword-shaped hands and Roman numerals with a tiny Cartier signature on the X and the VII.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

How to spot a fake brand

  • Poor quality.

  • Improper markings.

  • Absence of an accompanying guarantee card which has been properly executed by an authorised dealer in the case of jewellery and leather goods.

  • Items that don't fit the image - Cartier toothbrushes, Dunhill compact discs.

  • The best advice is to purchase from the boutique; avoid street markets and be suspicious of huge discounts.
  • Tuesday, 25 September 2007

    Breitling Emergency

    Adventurous types who like to get outdoors and away from the maddening crowds may be interested in the Emergency watch, made by Breitling Montres SA of Grenchen, Switzerland. According to Breitling, the Emergency is the world's first chronograph watch with a built-in miniature transmitter. Its purpose is to help rescue personnel find individuals - hikers, mountain climbers, windsurfers, sky divers - who get lost on land or sea.

    Monday, 24 September 2007

    Patek Philippe's Gondolo

    Launched at the renowned annual European Watch, Clock and Jewellery Fair, or better known as Basel Fair 1995, Patek Philippe's Gondolo models are inspired by great impressions of the Art Deco period of the 20th century. The tonneau shaped wristwatch for men (Reference 5030) shows the Gondolo style in its purest form. It displays an 18K yellow gold case curving smoothly into a brown, crocodile-leather strap. Its silvered opaline dial has Breguet hands and 11 applied Breguet numerals made of yellow gold, and an exterior minute scale in gold pearls.

    Sunday, 23 September 2007

    Alfred Dunhill Londinium GMT

    International datelines, time differences and accuracy are all essential considerations for today's business travellers and the Alfred Dunhill Londinium GMT watch is designed to meet these requirements. Characterised by a Swiss automatic chronometer-rated movement visible through a sapphire case-back, a 24-hour uni-directional rotating bezel, as well as a date calendar at the 6 o'clock position, the bracelet models feature a push-button clasp for complete security while the leather strap models are fitted with a comfortable single-sided porte-feuille clasp.

    Saturday, 22 September 2007

    House of Mauboussin

    The House of Mauboussin created its initial watch in the 19th century, marrying the art of the jeweller with the skill of the watchmaker. A Mauboussin jewellery watch is unique, like the certified chronometer which has 156 grams of white gold set with 557 round diamonds (5.02 carats), 48 baguette diamonds (6.27 carats) and 176 cabochon sapphires, including an arabesque cut. Richly decorated in gold or precious stones and diamonds, Mauboussin watches retain their refinement and studied poise.

    Friday, 21 September 2007

    Corum Admiral's Cup "Anniversary"

    To mark the 40th anniversary of its founding (1955 - 1995), Corum brought out three versions of the Admiral's Cup "Anniversary" watch - in yellow, pink or white gold. The series comprises 100 of each and all the pieces are numbered. The words "Corum" and "Anniversary", as well as the number of the piece, are engraved on the bezel. A different maritime scene for each version has been hand-engraved on the solid gold dial, which bears nautical flags in stove-enamelled colours. The case has a transparent back that is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal cover through which the mechanical movement is visible. The Admiral's Cup "Anniversary" is water-resistant to a depth of 30 metres and is available with a leather strap or a solid gold bracelet.

    Thursday, 20 September 2007

    Raymond Weil Integrated Parsifal

    The "Integrated Parsifal" by Raymond Weil features an 18K gold bezel, protected crown, ivory dial, gold-plated Roman numerals and a square steel case. The curved and tapered bracelet, made of 18K gold and steel links, blends perfectly with the design of the case. This quartz movement watch is water-resistant to 30 metres and the glass is made of sapphire crystal.

    Wednesday, 19 September 2007

    Chronoswiss Regulateur Automatique

    Chronoswiss, the dynamic Munich watch factory, provided a very aesthetic companion for the classical silver regulator dial of its "Regulateur Automatique". This companion has a refined, matt-black surface with white print. The delicate bomb-shaped steel hands are dyed white. This colour contrast makes it very easy to read. The best proof of this thesis is the fact that all professional aviator watches are equipped with black, non-reflecting dials.

    Tuesday, 18 September 2007

    Titoni Cosmo 2000 Multifunction

    After the successful introduction of the Cosmo 2000 line, Titoni presents the automatic Cosmo 2000 Multifunction model. This watch stands out for its sporty-classical styling and provides special functions, such as a second adjustable time zone and a power reserve indicator.

    Monday, 17 September 2007

    MCM 102

    Ever since they were launched, MCM watches have stood out through their original structural form. Round or rectangular, the easily recognisable watches are characterised by an aesthetic bias towards flowing, supple forms. The MCM 102 follows the same design concept. The pronounced overall curving is emphasized by the long lugs. By fitting snugly against the case, deep between the lugs, the bracelet contributes to the general harmony of the piece and stresses the exceptional banana shape of the watch. The concave lateral band of the case makes the watch slimmer, and is closed by a screwed case-back ensuring water-tightness to a depth of 30 metres.

    Sunday, 16 September 2007

    TAG Heuer Challenge S/el

    The TAG Heuer Challenge S/el limited edition sports watch is the result of a close collaboration when TAG Heuer and Chris Dickson agreed on a partnership for the 1995 America's Cup. Individually crafted from pure stainless steel, equipped with a high quality leather strap, the S/el watch represents the technical ingenuity, attention to detail, and the prestige of America's Cup yachts.

    A total of 1,000 TAG Heuer Challenge timepieces are available both in lady's and man's sizes. Each watch is numbered on the case and comes in a choice of two sophisticated colour combinations: a refined slate grey dial with a black leather strap, or a silver dial with a fine blue leather strap.

    Friday, 14 September 2007

    Omega: The Choice Of Champions

    Omega, the Swiss brand with a time-honoured tradition in the timing of the world's top sports events and in man's conquest of space (the one and only watch worn on the moon), became involved in golf with the launch of its international advertising campaign which features top players such as Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer.

    These "winning personalities" are chosen as they symbolise the accomplished and upcoming men of the nineties. The game of golf is closely linked to the notions of accuracy and refinement, gentility and luxury, much like Omega watches. It is also their quick decisions on and off the course that have made them the stars they are.

    When faced with a difficult ball, they have to decide how to play it and which club to use. Not just once, but constantly throughout all 18 holes. Being consistently reliable, on target, and making the right decisions have made them the golf champions that they are. They trust their judgment and have selected an Omega watch as their partner in play.

    The same goes to successful people in other fields, such as Cindy Crawford, Michael Schumacher, June Anderson and Bryn Terfel.

    Omega's message, "Outstanding personalities trust their judgment", is addressed to enthusiasts of the Swiss brand all over the world. Beyond this circle of convinced brand supporters, Omega is reaching out more specifically to a target public of young cosmopolitan consumers who can identify with super talents in fashion, sports and classical music.

    In short, the Omega collection offers "profiled" models for "profiled" people.

    The De Ville, in particular, is a classical and elegant watch that has won numerous design awards. Most notable are the six Diamonds International Awards, two City of Geneva Prizes and seven Golden Rose of Baden Baden Awards.

    Tuesday, 11 September 2007

    Nomos & Graf

    For those with discerning tastes, there is a small but high-quality mechanical watch range. Called Nomos (which means order or law in Greek), it aims to show that simplicity can be designed to be strikingly powerful. Based on four basic models, three circular watches named Tangente, Ludwig and Orion, and a square watch, called Tetra, the Nomos designs originate from designs made in the 1930s. Plain cases, small bezels and an exemplary clear layout of the dials are special design features of this watch brand. Depending on the model, movement parts are either gold-plated or rhodium-plated, carrying a cotes de Geneva finish on all surfaces or a vague de Geneva finish on the base plate. Despite the small bezel, the cases are water-resistant up to 30m. The leather straps come from Kaufmann, one of the most noted manufacturers of watch straps.

    Monday, 10 September 2007

    Holborn

    Jurgen Heinz's first big break in the watch industry was a range of handcrafted watches inspired by his love for golf. Called the Holborn collection, its distinctive characteristics is its dimpled bezel. With the ingenious blending of 18K gold with steel or solid gold, each watchcase is individually crafted out of a solid steel or gold block, and each dimple drilled manually. The watchcase is then combined with high value, handcrafted leather straps or hand-woven Milanese gold bracelets. Holborn is an excellent alternative to those who appreciate exclusivity and particularly those who would love a chance to go against the grain.

    Sunday, 9 September 2007

    Vacheron Constantin Complications

    A staggering amount of patience and work were put into each piece in this collection. The Vacheron Kallista required more than 6,000 hours of work and the competence of a team of the most gifted jewellers in the world. Behind its glittering, diamond-studded dial, bezel and strap, it bears the profiles of a man and a woman in close union.

    Saturday, 8 September 2007

    Jurgen Heinz

    Inspired by his great love for music, a young German designer in the watchmaking village of Pforzheim came up with the Jurgen Heinz collection. An admirable feat for someone who had risen from a trainee artisan to a high profile watch manufacturer, who created a stir in his booths in the 1994 and 1995 International Watch Fairs in Basel. His distinctive design features five different movements in steel and steel/gold.

    Friday, 7 September 2007

    Alfred Dunhill 1930 Octagonal Steel Centenary Watch

    A classic addition to the range fitted with mechanical, hand-wound movement and water-resistant to 30 metres. Grey dial with sunburst finish and sapphire crystal.

    Thursday, 6 September 2007

    Baume et Mercier Dual Time-Zone Hampton

    Curved rectangular polished steel case of the Hampton is water-resistant to 30m. Sapphire crystal protects two dials, on matte white or silvertone/coppertone dial and two ultra-thin quartz movement.

    Wednesday, 5 September 2007

    Patek Philippe Army Officer Campaign Watch

    Patek Philippe Army Officer's Campaign Watch Man's wristwatch in 18-carat gold or platinum with a mechanical movement and a small seconds hand. Bassine-style case with Louis XV winding crown. Breguet numerals and hands on porcelain-white dial marked with a railway track minute scale. The hinged back cover opens to reveal the dust cover, which is engraved with the movement number and a text commemorating Patek Philippe's 150th anniversary. Special period style gold screw pins hold the strap to the case, and the gold buckle to the strap.

    Tuesday, 4 September 2007

    Piaget Tanagra

    Although Piaget's bread and butter line is the Dancer watches, the Tanagra collection remains the most collectible. The hallmark of the company is integrating watchmaking with jewellery design. Always in 18-carat gold, enigmatic white or warm yellow. It's a dazzling range, on leather, with diamonds on bezel, case and bracelet. The diamond-studded models also come with matching jewellery.

    Monday, 3 September 2007

    TAG-Heuer 6000 Senna Limited Edition

    A rare and prestigious sports watch in three sizes that were issued in remembrance of Formula One World Champion, Ayrton Senna. Only 1000 of each size were made, crafted from stainless steel with the TAG-Heuer logo on the bezel and dial with addition of the Senna "S" on the lower case.

    Sunday, 2 September 2007

    Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Joaillerie

    The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso dating back to 1931 has remained an Art Deco classic. Today, in a new volte-face, the Reverso makes an entrance in its most captivating role - adorned in a splendour of diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Another model, on an ostrich strap, displays a silver dial with hand-turned guilloche finish, and an 18-carat gold case set with two columns of 26 diamonds.

    Saturday, 1 September 2007

    Cartier Santos & Tank

    The name has been synonymous with superb quality and style for more than a century and a generic for beautiful jewellery. The Cartier Santos that originated in 1904 has remained basically unchanged till today, except for different strap options. The classic Tank, designed for the US army, echoes military history. Both are supreme examples of collectibles.

    Friday, 31 August 2007

    Breitling Wings

    Part of the Nightflight collection, this is the first choice of top sportsmen. Bearing sport-oriented elegance with a screw-locked back, sapphire crystal, it is water-resistant to 100 metres. Available in 18-carat gold with leather, sharkskin or alligator strap or Pilot metal bracelet.

    Thursday, 30 August 2007

    Corum Golden Bridge

    A masterpiece, with 18-carat gold mechanical movement. A successful assembly of the mobile parts and wheels of a miniature movement in linear composition with transparent stone case. Available with leather or gold strap or as a pendant.

    Wednesday, 29 August 2007

    Oris Regulator Tonneau

    Minutes are shown from the dial centre, with its mechanical movement housed in stainless steel PVD gold-plated case. It is water-resistant to 30 metres with luminous indices protected by spherical-cut mineral crystal.

    Tuesday, 28 August 2007

    Chopard Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

    Automatic movement with power reserve of 43 hours, guilloche dial and displays of day, date, month, year, seasons and moonphases. Water-resistant up to 50 metres.

    Monday, 27 August 2007

    Maurice Lacroix Calypso Collection

    Square case retains Calypso-style but is more streamlined. With Swiss quartz movement in a stainless steel case, it is water-resistant to 100 metres. Lady's version has mother-of-pearl dial.

    Sunday, 26 August 2007

    Omega Seamaster Professional Lady Diver's Watch

    In 18-carat gold and steel for women with quartz movement, blue dial, skeleton hands with tritium, anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and water-resistant to 300 metres.

    Saturday, 25 August 2007

    John Lassale Stainless Steel Chrono "GS"

    A steel version of the successful 18-carat gold model chronograph for men, the GS is named after the Geneva Seahawks American football team. A true sports watch with mechanical automatic movement, sapphire crystal and water-resistant to 30 metres.

    Friday, 24 August 2007

    Zenith Chrono-Master

    A collection of six automatic pieces in gold or steel with numbered certificates from the Swiss Chronometer Institute. It contains the El Primero movement with 31 rubies, day, month and moon phase displays, water-resistant to 30 metres with see-through case back.

    Thursday, 23 August 2007

    Bvlgari Trika

    The name means braid in ancient Greek, representative of its unusual braided workmanship. The Bvlgari Trika is the latest in its range of jewellery watches, with a square case and rounded edges. Its crystal is sapphire and convex with a bracelet of extraordinary flexibility and softness - a breakaway from the first Bvlgari watches with rigid bracelets. The dial is a gold circle with pave diamonds. Trika comes in four versions including one in 18-carat gold with diamonds covering its entire surface. All versions have a classic Girard-Perregaux quartz movement.

    Wednesday, 22 August 2007

    Blancpain Moonphase

    More than any other watch manufacturer, Blancpain has resisted the temptation to produce a quartz watch, expressing their maxim thus: "There has never been a quartz Blancpain and there never will be." The contemporary Blancpain Moonphase carries the stamp of craftsmanship laid down more than two centuries ago and has remained unchanged in concept. Each piece is hand-made by one watchmaker who puts his stamp on it.

    Tuesday, 21 August 2007

    Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

    The Royal Oak was created in 1972 in honour of the three Royal Navy battleships named for Charles II's hiding place when he was defeated in battle by Oliver Cromwell. The Quantieme Perpetual produced in 1984 is much sought after.

    Monday, 20 August 2007

    Jaeger-LeCoultre's Reverso

    With its reversible watch face, Jaeger-LeCoultre's Reverso was the first true sports watch. Born in 1931, it proved to be the perfect solution for those in search for a time piece that was both functional as a sports and dress watch. Mounted on a solid base plate, the watch face can be rotated 180 degrees by a catch. To make Reverso a personalised momento, engraving of the owner's name, an important date or family crest can be done on the bland inner face. Each watch case is skillfully machined from a block of 18k gold and hand-polished.

    Sunday, 19 August 2007

    Piaget

    Piaget has the distinction of being the leaders in jewelled timepieces of meticulous workmanship that is still practised at the same factory in La Cote-aux-Fees in the Swiss Jura Mountains since its inception a century ago. In the 1950s, Piaget invented the ultra-flat watch, a technological feat that has never been matched. Only 2.33mm thick, it is the flattest in the world then.

    Piaget's workmen are skilled in their creation of watches with mother-of-pearl coral, lapis azuli, malachite and onyx faces and in the most unexpected shapes. Each is a superb mosaic of light, making brilliant use of reflections from exotic cat's eye, jade and opal.

    While other traditional Swiss watchmakers shuddered at the advent of quartz, Piaget showed its forward-thinking philosophy by taming this crystal. The first watchmaker to offer haute-jewellery watches with a quartz movement, it was an audacious move that proved its spirit of innovation and understanding of the modern market.

    Piaget's Aura Black Tie watch for men is a stunning creation in 18k gold and completely studded with 135 diamonds requiring 2,300 hours to make.

    Piaget is also well-armed for the 21st century. Its Memorised Complication is a unique feature in the world of watchmaking - a memory that is able to record the passage of time and programmed until the year 2100. Even when it is not ticking, the watch continues to register the passage of time. This has been incorporated into two of Piaget's best-selling collections - the Tanagra and Dancer watches.

    Saturday, 18 August 2007

    Baume et Mercier Forum

    Established in 1830, Baume et Mercier became a sister company of Piaget in the 1960s. Among the few pioneers of traditional Swiss watchmakers, its metier is in classic timepieces and sports watches with the Forum in particular offering astonishing features. Easily distinguished by its 18k gold bezel engraved with four Roman numerals, it comes in two versions, polished or set with diamonds and both water-resistant to a depth of 30 metres.

    Cartier Santos

    Named after the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, this watch takes 300 separate operations to assemble the watchcase and bracelet, with an accuracy to 100th of a millimetre. Ornamented with precision screws and offering a luxurious degree of technical perfection, Santos has seven interpretations, each a variation of form, the materials and the technical features. An engraved identification number and Cartier's signature is the Santos' lifetime pedigree.

    Thursday, 16 August 2007

    Sarcar Magic Moon

    The mysterious and beguiling Magic Moon from Sarcar has a cluster of sparkling patterns that turn in harmony at the slightest movement of the wrist. Drawing its inspiraton from the Chinese yin-yang symbol, the upper design can also be of a heart, an animal, the emblem of the wearer's favourite sport or initials. It is available in gold, white gold or in steel/gold.

    Wednesday, 15 August 2007

    Thorr

    Thorr, which wears the name of the Norse god of Thunder and power, combines sophisticated technology and avant-garde design. Its face emits light according to the ambient light and its base is made of special metallised crystal locked by a screwed-on water-resistant ring making it water-resistant to a depth of 100 metres. Its features are complemented by the functions of a chronograph and is available in three sizes, all with a green dial.

    Tuesday, 14 August 2007

    Vacheron Constantin Les Complications

    Les Complications is Vacheron Constantin's way of putting time as its most complex on display in its grandest finery. A masterpiece of mechanical wizardry, its arabesques are revealed by two limpid sapphire windows. The perpetual calendar with moonphase is equipped with ingenious correctors that allow instant updating of the various functions. This limited edition is numbered individually and available in 18-carat gold and 950 platinum.

    Monday, 13 August 2007

    Patek Philippe La Flamme

    The original designs were based on the drawings of an anonymous 19th century craftsman. Drawn by the beauty and distinction of the drawings, Patek Philippe expanded on them and produced the La Flamme collection, a line of 18-carat gold ladies' watches.

    The La Flamme collection consists of four models, each with a quartz movement and with humidity protection. The simplest watch comprises the exclusive La Flamme (flame-patterned) 18-carat gold link bracelet and twisted-gold hands on a white dial.

    Sunday, 12 August 2007

    Alfred Dunhill Millennium

    Combining the latest quartz technology and precision craftsmanship for over 60 years, Alfred Dunhill created the Millennium in 1982. Functional and elegant, Millennium’s smooth rounded lines of hand-finished case is complemented by a flawless gold-plated, stainless steel bezel.

    The hand-worked white enamel, black or champagne dials are highlighted by meticulously applied Roman numerals or exquisite Top Wesselton VVS diamonds.

    Gold & Gold

    Gerald Genta's creations are perfect illustrations of the traditional link between the twin art of the jeweller and watch-maker and Gold & Gold is no exception. With traditional watch-making movement, Gold & Gold is designed to have separate dials indicating the day, date, month and phases of the moon. The gold moon lying on a lapis lazuli literally moves accordingly to the 28-day cycle, which shows the cycle of the moon. A leap year is indicated automatically on the watch by a blue marker on the month dial.

    Saturday, 11 August 2007

    Da Vinci

    In pursuit for the ideals of scientific truth and beauty, the International Watch Co. created Da Vinci, the first mechanical wristwatch to measure, automatically, the time in seconds, minutes and hours, as well as the position of the moon and the date - weekday, month and year. It is programmed to run for 513 years without adjustments.

    Ebel Voyager

    Inspired by the basic philosophy of combining high technology with fine design and the best materials, Ebel’s Voyager is an ingenious innovation that enables the wearer to tell the time of any part of the world. The local time is indicated by standard hands and world time by a 24-hour dial ring, coupled with a rotating bezel inscribed with the names of major cities, which moves counter-clockwise in perfect synchronisation.

    Friday, 10 August 2007

    The Movado Museum Watch

    It captivated the world with its sleek simplicity - a single gold dot floating on a black numberless face at 12 o’clock position. The single dot symbolises infinity and perpetual movement, a notion of the ancient sundial and the need to see time go round in orbit.

    Created by Nathan George Howitt in 1947, the Movado Museum Watch is not only a pure expression of the Bauhaus concept of designing, but also the only watch to be on permanent display at the New York Museum of Modern Art, since the 1950s.

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