White rubber strap with titanium AP folding clasp
Major auctioneer Christie's is currently running their first ever "online-only auction," "The Essential Watch Collection" These days, we're all accustomed to researching watches online, and then, very likely also buying them online. Major auctioneers have for a long time been trying to get a piece of the "eBay pie," and the plan is to approach the sale of vintage watches online by offering a curated, safe environment where watches are vetted by professionals and available through a trusted source.
The whole lot is spectacular, but the "base" model automatic version gets the nod for the best in show. With a nod to historical models, the sensibly sized diver gets treated to a new steel bezel with an internally rotating dive calculation ring, which is also now operable by rotating the bezel in both directions – IWC calls it "Safe Dive." Also improved over the previous generation is the strap system, which now has a quick release system that is much more appropriately suited for changing straps. My biggest complaint on the last generation was how poorly it wore on dry land. With the revised lugs and strap removal system, this is no longer an issue.
What makes his story special is that it tells how one man can dream, draw, engineer, manufacture, assemble, decorate and finish a haute horlogerie timepiece all by himself, a watch that will match any other out there when it comes to quality of execution. I went on to discover how such a seemingly impossible achievement is actually practiced day-after-day in a tiny, yet modern workshop, by a watchmaker who is so much more than what could merely be described as "passionate." Bear with me and I will tell you all about it. Photography and the quality of the images enjoy an unusually important role in this article as the finer details that separate a high-end watch and what we are looking at today can only be inspected once we take a closer look… But first, to be able to understand and appreciate what we will be shortly discussing, we should first take a few steps back and briefly summarize how watches are produced today.
Wrapped inside the carbon and ceramised aluminum case structure we find the 4052 W El Primero Striking 10th movement, an automatic chronograph movement running at 36,000 vph with a skeleton of titanium and a heart of silicon. Offering a total weight loss of 25% over a standard El Primero movement, the 4052 W weighs just 15.45g and uses a silicon lever, escape wheel, and double chronograph wheel. Additionally, the mainplate and five bridges have been crafted from titanium instead of brass to aid in the shedding of additional weight. The result is a lightweight version of an already excellent chronograph movement that perfectly suits the spirit and goals set forth by the advanced case design.
I think this feature is amazing and would be exceedingly handy if you were fortunate enough to call this ALS your daily-wearer. The L921.4 is comprised of 378 parts including 45 jewels and offers bi-directional winding via its micro rotor to a total power reserve of 46 hours. Available only in pink gold, the Saxonia Automatic Outsize Date is limited to 25 units and will be sold exclusively through A. Lange & Söhne's international boutiques.
To begin with, Horometrie SA is the legal entity of Richard Mille and the company responsible for the brand's activities. As far as the conception of new designs and ideas is concerned, it is Richard Mille and his team of designers and engineers at the brand that conceive new designs and ideas. Things get more complicated when it comes to the realization of those concepts. A key player in that is Valgine SA, a third party supplier and private label watch company that works with a great number of different brands as a "silent partner," supplying parts or even finished products, labeled with the customer brand's name. Given that the owner of Valgine, Dominique Guenat, is also a long-time friend of Richard's, it comes as no surprise that Valgine is an important shareholder and supplier for the brand, so much so that the Valgine logo is seen at several places around the Richard Mille premises.
During our meeting with Zenith we noticed this lovely watch in a tray and it was our strong desire to inspect it further and photograph it. The media representative at Zenith for the United States was deeply not inclined to show it to us because it was destined exclusively for Zenith boutiques and as of now there are no Zenith boutiques in the United States. Their logic being, that we should not see the watch in light of that fact and that it might irritate our readers. While we respected their desire to protect our audience from undue watch frustration, we fervently rejected the assumption that writing about an internationally available boutique-only timepiece was in any way a poor notion for aBlogtoWatch. Again, this was based purely on the incorrect assumption that it would not be relevant to our readers. And you know what? Even if aBlogtoWatch readers did come 100% from United States I still think we have a duty to bring cool watches to their attention. Lest we not forget that a little thing called the internet has made it possible for people to purchase things not normally sold in their home towns. Anyhow, let's get to this nice timepiece shall we?
For those of you who are in the Chicagoland area and are interested in attending, you can get in touch with the organizers at this email address. They do control the membership notification list a little bit, just so they can protect the watch collections showing up (to actually join up, though, it is pretty simple - just an email asking to be on the list). For the Commonwealth Crew, the notices are sent out a few weeks before the upcoming meeting, and then the final details for where and when hit about a week or so prior. I am really glad I was able to get to the July meeting, and hopefully will be a fairly regular attendee, with the next occasion coming up in early August.
The Infantry Mechanical's steel case measures 40 mm wide and 10.5 mm thick, making it an attractive size for most wrists, including those normally covered by a shirt cuff. Lug to lug is an easily managed 46.5 mm but the lug spacing is a rather odd 23mm. The 23mm lug width not only gives the Infantry Mechanical a rather wide stance, but also makes it more difficult to find straps. There are abundant strap options at 20, 22 and 24mm, but 23 is a fairly odd size. That said, the Infantry Mechanical includes a mesh-style bracelet and 22mm straps worked pretty well, with only a small gap between the strap and the lugs.
Another piece of good news is that I am very into meteorite dials. Not all of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier watches have meteorite dials, but this ref. AF43029 model does. It is offered in that typical gray color, which means a limited amount of acid color in comparison to some of the colored meteorite dials available out there. The crystalline metallic structure is interesting to look at and of course the fact that it was cut from a rock that fell from space adds a pleasant emotional element to the design. Who doesn't want at least something they can wear made of alien rock?
2014 sees the release of yet another new Sporting collection watch from Ralph Lauren. This time it isn't a tourbillon or something with a safari-themed dial, but instead something a bit more affordable and mainstream. This is the Sporting Classic Chronometer, and it offers a very elegantly simple version of the Sporting model in a polished steel case.
You see, despite the company's some 170 years of history in making exceptionally accurate marine chronometers and its unique anchor logo, Ulysse Nardin is hardly one of the first names that spring to mind when we think of nautical themed Swiss brands. The reason for that is that more recently we have been overwhelmed by the array of beautiful and highly complicated – and as such, more dressy and fragile – watches which the brand has been releasing, truly sublime pieces, like the 4-Gong Sonnerie or the "Stranger" Music box watch.
For some of us, much of our fascination with super high-end timepieces comes from the ludicrous amount of money that they command. Whether the price is justifiable or not is an altogether different topic that has been well discussed and debated, but there can be no denying that Patek Philippe watches are amongst the most expensive. Here is a list of 17 of the most expensive and rare watches from Patek Philippe.
Scratch that, you can't put your hand in pretty much any pocket while wearing a Chapter One. This is perhaps one of the largest watches I've ever had the pleasure of putting on my wrist. In fact, the follow-up version to the original Chapter One was the Chapter One Round (debuted here). The idea behind the new "Round" case was to make the Chapter One a bit more wearable. Did it succeed? A bit yeah, but not intensely so. The Chapter Two watch is much more wearable, but the Chapter One still remains a watch for "well-sized" wrists. I am not going to joke around about gorilla wrists or anything like that. You are born with whatever size wrists you have. I happen to have small ones myself, and a lot of people can't wear a Chapter One without looking a bit silly. Then again, some people with larger wrists look silly wearing smaller watches. In a way, the price and size of the Chapter One watch together just make it THAT much more exclusive when it comes to being able to both afford and wear one.
Citizen's main competitor in the market is probably the Seiko Astron, which was originally released in 2012. Both Seiko and Citizen are looking to appeal to a more sophisticated person who wants to use their watch as a regular travel item or for daily wear. Each is impressive and while the Astron is able to indicate the time zone (it does not automatically adjust for DST), it is currently a much larger watch than the Satellite Wave F100. Though each is very nice in their own right.
The Blancpain L-Evolution Chronographe Flyback Grande Date is more-or-less self explanatory. It contains an in-house made Blancpain caliber 68F5 automatic movement with a 12 hour flyback chronograph, big date complication, and of course, the time. The movement is sweet looking, finished in dark tones with a sporty strip of carbon fiber on the automatic rotor. However, it only has a 40 hour power reserve, which falls a bit short of Blancpain's longer 5-8 day long power reserves on other models. Having said that, this isn't uncommon for chronograph movements.