The first smartwatch to take the world by storm was debuted by Apple in September of 2014. While the Apple Watch won't even be released until sometime in 2015, global interest in Apple's smartwatch device has made it the top article on aBlogtoWatch in 2014.
aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes New York a unique place to buy watches?
Starting several years ago, the media started reporting on the fact that various intelligence agencies around the world were using wearing a Casio F-91W as one of several factors to help determine if an individual should be suspected as a possible terrorist agent. This was partially due to the fact that infamous terrorist Osama Bin Laden was known to wear one for a while, and intelligence existed to suggest that terrorist training camps were either supplying Casio F-91W watches to its recruits or suggesting that they buy them. In a less sinister sense, the Casio F-91W has remained popular because of its huge reliability, durability, and functionality for an extremely good price, as evidenced by this tongue in cheek fan article here on 10 reasons why you should love the Casio F-91W. Of course Casio isn't too happy about some of the more negative associations with its brand and many of the militant groups that buys its watches. Of course Casio does not sell to these groups directly at all.
Today, the concept of a brand ambassador (no matter the industry) is rather straight forward and typically a business transaction whereby one company wants to leverage the popularity of a particular well-known individual. It wasn't (and to a small degree still isn't) always that way, and people like Jackie Stewart represent an older, more involved approach, where an ambassador is really an integral part of the company in the way a consultant is. Rolex doesn't even refer to their ambassadors by that name, but rather as "Testimonee," as though the term were a proper noun.
Last, but certainly not least, they gave things a fresh finish. The 41mm case carries a butter-smooth satin finish, topped by a bezel full of that new-car shine. That's courtesy of engraved numbers filled with luminous enamel paint (so they shouldn't wear off like an anodized bezel), set into a hardened aluminum inlay that is coated the same way aluminum parts on the M-16 rifle are. Oh, yeah, and it's all topped by sapphire, so the sheen matches that of the main crystal. So, aside from another subtle military reference, you've got some assurance of the bezel being able to stand up to hard wear.
Of course, we don't know per se if Marc Newson is involved in an Apple smartwatch that may or may not come out soon (UPDATE: while Apple hasn't said so yet, it is very likely his design DNA is in the Apple Watch) - even though we know for sure he has been hired by Apple as a designer. In any event, it is highly likely that, if not now, then in the near future, Newson will play an integral role in the design of an Apple "iWatch" and other future products. I further suspect that Apple will invest more in "the internet of things" and have a range of household devices designed to play a part of an Apple curated smart (automated) home. A smartwatch device would more than likely be a part of that Apple ecosystem of interconnected devices.
You won't hear me complain often that a watch is mechanical, and in theory I appreciate these automatic watches. I do however feel that TAG Heuer had a great thing going with an more accessibly-priced entry level range that focused on quartz offerings at a price of under ,000. If you wanted to get into something more high-end and mechanical you had the Link, Aquaracer, Monaco, and of course, Carrera families to do so. While the Formula 1 collection is still technically entry-level for the brand, and there are quartz versions available, I think the consumer is left wit a lot of confusing choices.
Seen above, is the other state of the dial, all set to serve the secondary function of the watch: the monopusher chronograph. Once the swift, 5-seconds process of transformation is over, the Montblanc Metamorphosis II shows a greatly different face: a sportier, more modern design that is meant to go with the perceived sporty nature of the chronograph. Roman numerals on the hours sub-dial are swapped for Arabic ones, while the one at six o'clock is new as well: the date dial has been replaced with a 30-minute counter for the elapsed minutes of the chronograph. Furthermore, the areas surrounding the two sub-dials are now in dark grey, making for a more easily recognizable aesthetic.
The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph, a watch I am very fond of, gets some new additions for SIHH 2015, including a version of the Datograph in 18k rose gold as well as this A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual which adds a perpetual calendar to the chronograph, date, and power reserve complications. When I last visited the newer 41mm wide sized version of this German beauty, I reviewed the platinum A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down here.
Derek greets us warmly and asks “do you guys like espresso?” followed shortly thereafter by, “perhaps afterwards we can sit down and have an Armagnac during the interview”.
Many traditional pilot watches have dials where the indicators are placed in what I consider to be a more logical position. That means there is an inner track for the hour markers that matches the length of the hour hand, and there is an outer track for the minutes that matches the length of the minute hand. It can look strange, but you can't argue that it doesn't logically make more sense. Of course, when hands are the wrong size these dials look terrible, but when the hands line up with at least something in a logical way, then you get a rather fine "tool style" dial that I for one rather appreciate.
Elegance is a fascinating concept to me, as it is so deeply ingrained in not only the high-end watch world, but the luxury world overall. Elegance is what keeps people interested in so many of these old cars. The funny thing is that people love the history, design, and stories of famous classic cars, but many are actually quite terrible to drive. None of that seems to matter much because the world's fascination with automobiles combines an appreciation for art, engineering, and freedom as concepts. For many people, getting a car was their ticket to freedom when they were young, and having a cool car was their ticket to more social freedom and to a large degree was connected to more financial freedom. Driving a car can feel freeing, and owning the right car frees you to be yourself on the road. These are all powerful emotions, and present at all levels of car appreciation. But here in the Monterey area in August each year, you can experience an apex of automotive mania in quality and price.
The case back will feature an 18k gold power reserve bridge that illustrates the Austrian base jumper, his capsule, and the Earth. These three elements are surrounded by statistics data of his fall, including its height and the fastest speed that he achieved – 28,969 meters and 1,357 km/h, respectively. The watch will be cased in DLC coated platinum, a highly unusual combination that we have very scarcely seen before in high-end watchmaking.
Of course, there are still two major issues with the Apple Watch replacing your wallet. First, is the fact that if the battery runs out on your Apple Watch or iPhone, then you effectively have nothing. Second, is your ID. As far as I know, there is no digital equivalent or copy of an official identification card such as a driver's license or passport. Once such unique identifiers become safely digital, then it might be possible to kiss your traditional wallet goodbye. I know I'd like that because my wallet averages about two inches thick - and I hate carrying it around... as much as I seem to like filling it up with pieces of paper and plastic.
How Does The Quality Of The Apple Watch Compare With Traditional Luxury Watches?
In honor of that connection, as well as the launch of Porsche's next generation race car, Chopard was using the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas to show off a new limited edition piece. The Chopard Superfast Chono Porsche 919 Edition is a special version of Chopard's Superfast chronograph that draws inspiration from the Porsche 919 Hybrid. This 45mm wide chronograph uses a 15.2 mm thick steel case with a rubber clad crown and pushers. The bezel is affixed with eight PVD black screws and offers a tachymeter scale befitting its racing inspiration. The dial design of this 12-hour chronograph is inspired by the Porsche Intelligent Design language of the 919. The nine o'clock sub dial carries the 919's name, and the dial features many red elements that reflect the red badging used for the LMP1 category. The case back is engraved with "Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport" and the watch is fitted to a tire-tread rubber strap with a stainless steel folding clasp.
While the luxury watch fair Watches & Wonders is running at full throttle in Hong Kong, one needs to take a step back to understand how markets in China and other places around the world are affecting the watch market and causing it to adapt and evolve. Even in Hong Kong, strong pro-democracy protests have been under way, in what some refer to as "the worst unrest since the territory's 1997 handover from Britain," according to Reuters. At the same time, news released from TAG Heuer (the largest watch company in the LVMH luxury conglomerate) announced earlier this week it is cutting jobs in its watch manufacturing facilities. We believe that this news is strongly linked to the slowing demand from the "Asian watch capital," and China overall.
Urwerk watches, for the most part, all use the Star Wheel concept in a system they call "satellite hours." While Urwerk adds a modern interpretation that is more complicated and three-dimensional, the concept remains the same. With that said, while Urwerk's timepieces are very cool and undoubtedly modern in their appearance , they do leave out those people interested in more traditional style designs. So thanks to Arnold & Son, there is something new in this department with the Golden Wheel. In the watch we have a return to the transparent sapphire crystals that each have four hour markers printed on them. The entire system moves and the current hour is read at the 12 o'clock point on the case along the minute track. Under the indicator for the current hour is a base of mother-of-pearl which adds decor as well as legibility to reading the current time.
We have come to know MeisterSinger as the maker of more uniquely styled single-hand watches, famous for their arguably strange-looking, and yet surprisingly legible dials. The new Meistersinger Circularis brings no updates whatsoever to that easily recognizable face, but rather, it redefines what is behind it: a new and unique movement with twin in-series mainspring barrels and 5 days of power reserve.
aBlogtoWatch first discussed the Ressence Type 1 watch here where our David spend a healthy amount of time discussing the construction of the case and movement, as well as the collection overall. We were jazzed about the Type 1 then, and after getting some hands-on with it, we feel that it is a very solid "entry-level" Ressence. The problem, of course, is that in the world of exclusive limited production timepieces, entry level still often means out of reach for most consumers.
Outside of a few exceptions from brands such as Montblanc and Cartier, men and women whose budgets are ,000 will not find too many new watches that we really recommend taking a serious look at. This, of course, is the most difficult market segment to get right, and brands are loathe in uncertain economies to dedicate massive production and marketing costs to enticing more “mainstream” consumers with fresh watches to get excited about. Instead, they rely on existing products to continue selling which focusing on the richest demographic who has increasing amounts of disposable income and is vastly less price sensitive. What does this mean? Well, the difference in price between ,000 and ,500 can certainly influence a lot of sales, whereas the difference between a 0,000 and 0,000 price makes less of a difference to consumers at that level. We, thus, see SIHH brands focusing as much on the ultra-elite consumer as possible. If you like diamonds, precious metals, and highly complicated timepieces then SIHH certainly has something for you.