In fact, lots of enterprising people are going to crowd-funding sites to fund all types of products in droves now, because they appear to be extremely low risk ways of getting products funded. The dream is to get pre-orders for a watch so that you know there is a market for it. The logic goes that if the first batch is funded by interested people who've never seen the product, then you can produce more that additional people will want to buy after you sell your first run.
Speaking of watch design awards, the Red Dot organization apparently has created a new category (# 16) exclusively for watches. The Red Dot award is no stranger to the watch industry as it has awarded a lot of timepieces awards in the past - but it looks like watches finally get their own category in the area of Red Dot product design awards. What else is a winner in the Red Dot watch design awards this year? I'll just list off a few starting with the only other smartwatch watch, the Sony SmartWatch3. Maurice Lacroix got one for both the Pontos Date and Pontos S Supercharged watches. Armin Strom's beautiful Skeleton Pure Water received an award, and MB&F actually received another one for their HM5 CarbonMacrolon.
Welcome to the second installment in our Movement Hands-On series, an irregular series of articles where we scrutinize and analyze unique and interesting calibers. In part one, we took a close look at the highly unusual movement of the MB&F HM6 Space Pirate here, and today, we continue with the work of another - although in some important ways very different - independent watchmaker.
The case is in red gold and titanium aluminide; and while the tourbillon – because of the delicacy of that function – is sort of excluded from these remarks, the sportier appearance of the digital perpetual and the implied high-tech nature of titanium aluminide makes the rather soft 18k red gold bezel seem a bit out of place. The fact that IWC first offered this watch with a case entirely in titanium (as we showed you in our hands-on here) further supports that point – gold, in general, is often more of a contrasting than a complementing choice for modern design elements.
The HUB6016 is manually wound with 115 hours of power reserve (about 4.8 days, which Hublot rounds up to 5 days). There is a new style of power reserve indicator on the dial near 9 o'clock. It isn't meant to be the world's most covert power reserve indicator, but it uses a turning disc versus a hand. I do like it when a manually wound movement has a power reserve indicator, especially when they have a longer time in between winding periods. The movement operates at 3Hz (21.600 bph) and is produced from 175 parts.
With the Piaget Altiplano Chronograph, Piaget has reconfirmed its status as a major player in the ultra-slim market. These days, it is a more niche sector than it has been in the past but still attracts plenty of interest. It is good to see other brands making an effort to steal Piaget's crown. For example, the Arnold & Son UTTE currently holds the world record for the slimmest Tourbillon, but the Breguet Classique Extra-Thin Automatic 5377, showcased at last year's Baselworld, will take its place when released. With the increasing ubiquity of new and curious complications, the ultra-slim market could be due a renaissance. It seems natural that improvements should follow a simple evolutionary process: conception – complication – refinement. Once a complication has been mastered, what more can one do but make it smaller and simpler?
Part of the monitoring process involves access to the wearer's phone calls, e-mails, text messages, spending habits, travel, and personal conversations. Urwerk understands that this level of access can make certain customers feel extremely uncomfortable and bring up a slew of privacy and security concerns. Many of Urwerk's customers make up the world's financial and political elite, so exposure to such information would be sensitive, to say the least. Urwerk understands that security and privacy are extremely important issues. In response to this, they have created a totally secure network that each Urwerk HIS watch uses to communicate with a dedicated cloud-based virtual server. All the data moving back and forth between the Urwerk HIS watch and the cloud-based server is encrypted, and the data that the Urwerk HIS watch collects from the internet is done via secure and encrypted TOR protocols. That means the user's personal information as well as the information that the Urwerk HIS chooses to access is private and encrypted.
One of the coolest parts of the Heuer Globetrotter idea is that each exhibition around the world will feature, in addition to TAG Heuer Museum collection watches, pieces loaned by collectors local to the exhibiting city. That really gives each event more character and a personal touch, and something that you could not get simply by, say, visiting the TAG Heuer Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. TAG Heuer is being reinvigorated under Jean-Claude Biver and fighting for hearts and minds on two fronts – one being millennials who apparently want hip DJ watches, and the other being its traditional fan base and Heuer collectors. The Heuer Globetrotter is a fresh and clever concept to appeal to the latter.
What also makes the Rolex Sky-Dweller unique is the case size. At 42mm wide, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is among just a few "larger" Rolex watches, with the Explorer II 42mm and, once again, the Yachtmaster II. If you are used to 42mm wide watches, expect the Rolex Sky-Dweller to wear rather big given the widely spaced lugs. It wears a lot more like a 44mm wide watch, for sure. Of course, it comes with an Oyster-style case with has that distinctive popular Rolex look and 100 meters of water resistance.
I call these out not as hits against the watch, nor it's rather well-done croc-embossed leather strap – it is just something to be aware of, whether you have smaller wrists and perhaps want to avoid this, or have larger wrists and are in search of something that fits you well. One additional thing to be aware of with the strap is that it was a tad squeaky in the 25mm lugs. This is somewhat of pet peeve of mine, and I was surprised to see it on this watch; with the odd (and large) lug width, replacement would not be a simple route to go, either.
Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and in spite of the success of these projects and the funds that they raised, there are those who criticize Bremont’s limited edition pieces, dubbing them “frivolous and expensive novelties” that have somehow betrayed the brand’s core values. In my opinion, that’s just plain backwards. Would these same critics take Rolex to the mat for short-run specialty such as the Deepsea D-Blue and in turn write off the rest of their collection? No, no they wouldn’t.
Last year in 2014, Jacob & Co. debuted a very interesting watch with an extravagant movement they called the Astronomia Tourbillon (debuted here). I didn't get a chance to personally see the piece when they debuted it, and I am not sure if the original Astronomia Tourbillon case style (check the link above) was even actually delivered, since according to these new 2015 Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon pictures, there is a totally new case design. The sheer complexity of the movement in the watch requires a lot of tweaking to make it work and years of effort. For 2015, however, it looks like the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon is back with a new case design as well as a very much "Jacob & Co." version called the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Baguette that comes with a lot of diamonds.
The quartz-based Grand Seiko SBGX models are resistant to 40,000 A/m, which I am assuming is 500 Gauss. I am not sure why the two models have different ratings, but I am guessing it has something to do with the movements and perhaps the thickness of the cases. I am pretty sure that both are equally suited to resist the effect of magnetic fields most people may encounter on a regular or even occasional basis.
Citizen is offering a lot of value here, and I know that a lot of people who simply can't stomach the idea of spending ,000 to well over ,000 on a complex looking mechanical dress watch are going to flock to timepieces like the Citizen Signature Grand Classic 9184. Citizen is clever to supplement its mechanical sport watches with more classic/formal watches like this Citizen Signature Grand Classic 9184 because competitors like Seiko don't really offer less expensive mechanical dress watches (which are mostly in the Grand Seiko line).
Seiko Kinetic Direct Drive begins with the core Seiko Kinetic platform, which is a quartz movement that has an automatic rotor used to generate power for the movement. While Seiko Solar watches use light to power batteries through a photovoltaic cell in the dial, Seiko Kinetic (sometime called "auto-quartz") use the same principle as automatic mechanical watches to generate power. Only, instead of winding a spring, the rotors generate power that goes into a rechargeable battery.
Technically, the Eterna Caliber 39 is hugely impressive because – as you surely have heard from engineers before – it is incomparably more difficult to make something simple than complicated. The fact that such movement components can be replaced as a whole with such ease is an incredible achievement – something that many brands will surely appreciate.
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu watch ref. 04.2420.5011/17.C714 is hands-down one of the oddest timepieces I had the pleasure of seeing at Baselworld 2014. aBlogtoWatch first debuted the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu watch here. I suggest checking out that article for a bit more background on the watch - which is necessary reading to understand exactly what this timepiece is all about. In hand-engraved 18k white gold and sapphire crystal, this massive pilot-style watch was an even more exclusive take on the surprising hit limited edition Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here) watch from 2012.
Seiko hasn't exactly stopped making Kinetic movement based watches, but their designs have evolved. At the time of their launch, the watches that contained Kinetic movements were very futuristic looking. Just look at the rich assortment of designs in the Seiko Arctura collection from the late 1990s and early 2000s. Of course, many of these models only left Japan in limited quantities. Don't forget that, for a long time, a Seiko Kinetic watch was the height of cool and the height of technology.
The Ball Fireman Night Train SG50 can be best described as a Ball Fireman Night Train DLC with a custom dial. We will go into details of the dial later, but what a dial it is! The case comes in a very modern size of 45mm, offers a water resistance rating of 100 meters, and has a very nice DLC (diamond-like carbon) finish, which makes the watch case more resistant to scratches and wear. The finishing is done so well that it almost looks as if it has a ceramic case.