Watchuseek Blog

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tempvs Compvtare Ocean Friendly Watches

The ability to adequately understand the Tempvs Compvtare (Tempus Computare) watches is proof of one's need to understand the story behind watches. The brand's first timepiece is the Shark Watcher, with an upcoming Sea Shepherd model coming soon. A simple view of the watch reveals a competent diver's chronograph timepiece with a unique placement of the lume and an edgy (literally) style. Aside from the attractive bright style, the watch contains two important messages.

First is a more simple message for the watch industry and to the consumer. Tempus Computare watches are totally Swiss made and assembled. In an era where independent brands have difficulty getting off the ground (not that it was ever easy) it is especially noteworthy that Tempus Computare has been able to succeed with a totally Swiss product, when so many others rely on Asian parts. Handling the watch does reveal a distinct increase in quality compared to many other independent brand diver watches. The message here is really about quality and dedication to the preservation of independent, Swiss made watches.

The design of the watch implies its connection with sharks. Looking at the side of the watch you see a shark silhouette like shape while the caseback of the watch is engraved with (among other things) a shark figurine. Why sharks? Well aside from the majestic beauty of the world's oldest great predators, the Shark Watcher timepiece is part of an effort to help protect the creatures. The second, and most important message of the Tempus Computare Shark Watcher is that the oceans' sharks are being hunted down and need protection. Further still, the watches are ecologically friendly use no animal skins and rely of reclaimed steel (a form of recycling where steel from derelict items such as boats are reused for the watch cases).

A full one-third of the net profits from each sold Shark Watcher timepiece is donated to a host of charities and causes that are directly working to protect sharks. Fisherman mostly from Asia brutally harvest endangered or limited population sharks in violation of many international laws or treaties. Without proper protection, these important parts of our natural ocean eco-system are on a path to extinction. In addition to the severe consequences this would have on the environment, it would be a particular shame given the fact that sharks evolved millions of years ago, making them one of our oldest surviving species. Tempus Computare feels so dedicated to this cause that such a donation is strictly connected to the Shark Watcher and future eco-themed watches.

At 47mm wide in polished or PVD black steel the Shark Watcher makes a bold presence on the wrist. It has a distinctive rotating bezel with a combo of sharp angles and smooth edges - as well as applied luminat. The watch case has sharp lugs that have blue luminant filled triangles on their ends. More lume is placed on the ends of the crown and chronograph pusher, which are themsleves functionally rendered and easy to operate. Matching blue lume is used on the dials of the wat ch for the hour and mintues indicators, chronograph subdials, and for the unique split, mirror image hands. Over the dial is a thick sapphire crystal, while the watch case is water resistant to 200 meteres.

Style of the watch is polarizing but fun. It is a functional look with added style and grace that make it unique among competitor diver watches. Inside the Shark Watcher is a Swiss automatic mechanical Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement. The good looks of the watch help overshadow is stern message about environmental preservation. In the end, if getting a Shark Watcher timepiece from Tempvs Compvtare helps you save one shark, isn't it worth it? Price is between $9.400 - $11,400 not including VAT. Coming soon is the Tempvs Compvtare Sea Shepherd watch to supposrt the popular whale protection group. Similar in theme, the Sea Shepherd is coated with black DLC, has yellow luminant and trim in a different type and comes with a Sea Shepherd skull on the dial with a trident hour hand, and shepherd's staff for the mintue hand. The Tempvs Compvtare Sea Watcher timepiece is available now while the Sea Shepherd will be available in the near future.

By Ariel Adams

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DMH Jumping Hour

DMH stands for Dingemans Mechanische Horloges (Dingemans mechanical watches) and it is very likely that you've never heard of it before. With only 12 timepieces per year, owner Fred Dingemans creates customized timepieces in his workshop in a (very) quiet village in The Netherlands, using his own tooling and machinery.

Fred Dingemans' mission is to create mechanical timepieces, as much by his own hands as possible, involving the customer as much as possible and with a maximum of 12 watches a year. As you can see on the watch (two pictures below), it has some unconventional methods for mounting a dial and case, creating a water-resistant crown with a lock and so on. For example, the satinized stainless steel casing (316L steel) and the crown system is all made in-house.

If the customer wishes, he can have the crown placed on a different location (for people who wear their watch on the right wrist), choose his own dial color and have influence on the type of hands used. The latter wasn't really necessary when Fred Dingemans got his most recent assignment, to create his first Jumping Hours DMH timepiece.

Fred Dingemans uses (a.o.) TD mechanical movements in most cases, but other mechanical movements are - depending on availability - used as well. The Jumping Hour is the first timepiece created by DMH with an open dial. The result is stunning in our opinion, it reveals a bit of the mechanical movement and the jumping hour mechanism is clearly visible.

As you can see the Shell Cordovan strap suits the watch perfectly, a no-nonsense rugged strap for a rugged watch. The strap features a DMH signed buckle, also created and engraved by Fred.

Besides watches, Fred also takes care after his (mostly vintage) machinery all by himself. He sees his watches are purely functional, where design is less important. Although we applaud to these thoughts, the unique DMH design isn't bad at all in our opinion.

DMH timepieces have - of course - a waiting list, but you will surely forget about that quickly once you will receive the final product. As a customer, you will be involved in all stages of building the DMH timepiece. Giving and receiving feedback on your soon-to-be watch must be one of the most interesting activities during the process.

Prices start around 1000 EUR for a DMH timepiece. Contact DMH for more information.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kees Engelbarts Mokume Gane Dragon Watches

One of European watch making's greatest artists is Kees Engelbarts (Dutch born) who has mastered the technique of Mokume Gane - a traditional Japanese artistic technique that literally means wood grain metal. The technique utilizes an incredible level of effort and hand engraving to achieve such pictured results. You see metals such as platinum, gold, and silver, as well as chemically colored steel used together in the creation of his mostly piece unique works.

As the level of effort in each of these watches is so high, Kees Engelbarts only makes a few pieces each year. Earlier in his career Engelbarts was called upon to work on watches for other brands - decorating movements, and creating his beautiful dials. He still does work for a limited number of brands, but most of his efforts are involved in his own brand, as well as the related Cornelius & Cie watch brand whose Chronosome watch is based on Kees Engelbarts flagship creation (pictured at the top) "The Dragon Gate Legend" watch. A few notable brands that have had piece unique timepieces with Kees Engelbarts iconic efforts are Harry Winston and Peter Speake-Marin.

Kees Engelbarts prefers to include NOS (new old stock) watch movements in his timepieces. A. Schild movements are popularly found in his creations. Movements from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are acquired, highly finished and decorated in his watches. Sometimes he uses even older movements such as the 1935 A. Schild Calibre AS 690 movement found in The Dragon Gate Legend watch. Each of his watches have sapphire crystal caseback that provide views to his beautifully hand engraved movement work.

One of Kees Engelbarts preferred subjects are dragons. Many of his watches and engraving work display the fascinating mythical beasts that most always appear proper on a watch dial. Multifaceted in his approach, you will find Dragons images in both Oriental and European styles. Such variety is a clear message that Kees Engelbarts is interested in representing the iconic beast as it has been captured in many different cultures. Note that the pictured watches are but some of his many dragon-themed creations. He also enjoys engraving other powerful mythical or real beasts such as unicorns, horses, and tigers.

For example, The Dragon Gate Legend watch depicts a Chinese style Dragon and a legend where a carp fish turns into a dragon through a tough swim upstream. The allegorical story is a message about the necessity for drive and effort in life. The large Ref. 0667 piece unique watch features a 49mm wide 18k rose gold case, movement with 8 days of power reserve, and a solid gold dial with silver as part of the special engraving work. Kees Engelbarts used uncommon cayman alligator leather for the strap.

Other watches in the Kees Engelbarts family share similar design aesthetics and comparable levels of detail and decoration. Both manually wound and automatic movements are employed by Kees Engelbarts, who also provides all the after service work on the watches. Given the extremely complex efforts and time involved in the luxury watches - as well as the fact that most of his pieces are one-of-kind watches, prices are predictably high (and via request only). Kees Engelbarts also performs custom work for those who have specific desires, as well as the means to afford them. For most people, Kees Engelbarts watches remain untouchable pieces of art that epitomize a beautiful yet masculine engraving and decorative design aesthetic.

By Ariel Adams

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Philip Stein - Feel the difference....

According to some newspaper and magazine articles, wealth is out and well being is considered to be in for 2010. Philip Stein timepieces are meant for those who are interested in their well being as well as in nice watches.

Philip Stein offers two types of technologies with respect to their timepieces – Electromagnetic Frequency technology utilizing electromagnetic fields, introduced in 2003, and Natural Frequency Technology, introduced in 2008.

The main difference between the Electromagnetic Frequency and Natural Frequency technology is the delivery system of these frequencies. While one utilizes electro-magnetic frequencies, which are delivered through a dual chip system, the Natural Frequency technology is delivered to wearers through a metal disk inside the watch that has been infused with key frequencies in a proprietary process. When worn on the wrist, the watch exposes frequencies and information to the biofield of the person wearing it. The biofield, which is the Master energy field that regulates the body’s functions, informs the body to relax, and in doing so, the person becomes more resistant and resilient to stress.

According to Philip Stein, when you are wearing one of their frequency watches, you are more in harmony with natural earth, centered and grounded… all of which creates a better and healthier “you”.

Both technologies work within the same beneficial key frequency of 7-9 hertz, which encompasses the chief resonant frequency of the natural earth and is a frequency that is harmonious and grounding to life. Philip Stein reports on their website that consumers of their watches have stated that these watches helped them for better sleep, less stress, clearer focus and better concentration.

The Philip Stein timepieces start around 400 USD and go up to 18.275 USD. A number of famous people, like Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Alexander ('George' from Seinfeld) are wearing (and supporting) Philip Stein timepieces.

Philip Stein timepieces use ETA and/or Ronda (quartz) movements and besides the normal hour, minute, seconds and date feature also offer chronograph watches. Dials can be customized with respect to its material (mother of pearl for example) and with diamonds.

A cool feature of Philip Stein is that they offer a wide range of customization of their watches when you order one and the variety of straps you can order on-line. Just type in the serial number of your watch or watch type, and you will get an overview of watch straps you can choose from.

Does it work? Well, I will leave that one up to you. There seems to be a large number of people that say (via testimonials and in forums) that these watches help them in their well being and advice other people to try them as well. The entry level models of these watches are friendly priced, so you can always give it a shot.

Perrelet Turbine Watch Collection Recap

It was almost a make or break design for luxury watch maker Perrelet. A new sporty watch with a turbine styled dial was hoped to hail in a strong level of acceptance for the brand that was treading its way into the United States. While the brand would have been fine if the Turbine collection was a flop, it would have lost that valuable "good first impression" it needed with US watch lovers. A second look at a brand in the US once it has already been dismissed is a tough, and expensive marketing endeavor. Future plans for the brand include making its own movements and competing head-on with the already mainstream luxury watch brands in the US. Perrelet had the product and the quality, but not the notoriety yet.

Earlier in the year I was one of the first people to break news about the Perrelet Turbine watch. The relatively wild design has an obviousness to it. "Why hasn't anyone done that before" was a perception I recall having. For years before that Perrelet was known for its double rotor designs. A system where the automatic rotor in the rear of the watch was connected to another rotor in the front of the watch. The idea was to showcase what Perrelet debuted long ago - the first automatic watch.

The concept of extending the front rotor into something more whimsical wasn't too difficult from a technical standpoint. Some clever designer eventually obliged the idea that a spinning rotor could be part of a jet engine style turbine look on a watch face. A mass of concept art and meetings likely resulting in enticing images, and the project was green-lighted. When the final production ready images were completed more than a few people at Perrelet knew they struck gold with the Turbine watch - but would finicky US watch buyers agree? It has been true for a long time that one could make that argument that European and Asia watch consumers are more forgiving when it comes to "freshness." Avant garde design in the US - no matter how novel or genius - can fail without cause.

Thus it was that the Perrelet Turbine watch needed a positive reaction in the US for the brand to establish a sure footing in the important market. Bloggers such as my self were relied upon to break the news and offer our educated insight into the new collection. In June of 2009 I got to see prototype models of the watch. Functional pre-production mock-ups that communicated what the watch would be like. Three initial models were made available. An all DLC black model, one in black with a red trim behind the turbine rotor blades, and a steel version. Each very well made and on sporty rubber straps.

Watches like this haven't been done before. The reaction on the Internet was impressive. Even before real life images of the Perrelet Turbine watches were posted by the likes of me, plenty of new fans pledged their vows to buy the new watch collection once it was available. This would be months from the time of their announcement. Feedback was looking good for Perrelet, and the watch looked to be slated for success.

Perrelet Turbine watches are luxury timepieces through and through. Priced at about $5,000 to $5,850- these are unlikely to be someone's "first luxury sport watch." Also, due to high demand and new ways to internally make parts, the prices of these Turbine watches are actually lower then initially reported last year when the watches were announced. Still, part of the allure of the item is the straight forward nature of its operation. Maybe luxury sport watches require an entire debriefing to understand what they do, and why you should be impressed with them. Perrelet managed to make these concepts self evident with the Double Rotor Turbine collection watches.

At 44mm wide, the watches are a good sporty size. The watches all start with a smoothly tapered titanium case meant to look like a jet engine structure. To suggest a seamless look, Perrelet designed the crown to be flush with the case. There is a little handle the folds out, and then pull out to operate the watch. A strong point of the design is that the hands aren't too difficult to see - meaning that you don't need to sacrifice comfort for style.

It is easy to appreciate the Perrelet P-181 automatic movement. It is visible through the sapphire caseback window with a level of decoration you'd not expect from a sport watch. One area that I can easily say Perrelet excels at, is attention to detail and decoration. The Turbine collection features two watches that Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coating. The trendy application of a very hard, and very scratch resistant black coating makes a good deal of sense when trying to protect an expensive investment against wear and tear. This materials is quickly supplanting PVD as the black application of choice. Only high-end makers like Perrelet have a good grasp of how to work with the coating still. Don't expect to see DLC in too many lower end watches for a few years.

Once the Perrelet Turbine watch became commercially available it was clear to Perrelet that they had a hit. My understanding is that the watch now leads their US sales, and it is a welcome chore for them to keep up with demand. US watch lovers are charmed with the luxury, the novelty, and the clear "gee whiz" nature of the innovative watch that feels so obvious in design. It goes to show that with a good design, something that hasn't been quite done before can still feel natural. The Perrelet Turbine watches are a good example of how a watch brand can penetrate a market with a single good item. Better yet, is that Perrelet has a whole collection of impressive timepieces to show off now that they have more attention.

By Ariel Adams

Featured watch brands

Casio Edifice

Blog archive

RSS feeds

Watchuseek sponsors