Watchuseek Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Show your green credentials: The Girard Perregaux World Wide Time Control Chronograph at Christie’s Green Auction

Sowind Watch Group got right behind a worthy cause last night by donating a special edition Girard-Perregaux watch which will be auctioned over the coming days by Christies.

The inaugural Green Auction held on Earth Day in 2010 raised US$2.4 million (€1.7 million). Last night Christie's auction house staged its Green Auction to benefit the environment, with proceeds earmarked for not-for-profit environmental organisations including:

Conservation International – this international association empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature.

Natural Resources Defence Council – this American environmental action group combines the grassroots power of 1.3 million members.

Oceana – which focuses solely on ocean conservation, protecting marine ecosystems and endangered species.

Some of the world's top international collectors, philanthropists, celebrities and designers were present at the 2011 Christie's Green Auction, Bid to Save the Earth, on March 29, 2011 at Rockefeller Center in New York. The night was a fiesta of entertainment, Christie's green auction and a green fashion show debuted Fall 2011 creations and accessories by renowned designers across the world. All proceeds from the event will be used to benefit the second annual 'Bid to Save the Earth' collaboration aimed at protecting the future of the Earth.

Besides this, Christie's has also merged with luxury charity auction site, to put over 200 auction packages to raise funds through April 7, 2011.

Girard-Perregaux joined this collective action by donating a unique timepiece, the WW.TC Chronograph for Green Auction.

Stefano Macaluso, President of the Sowind Group, owner of Girard-Perregaux said: “We are pleased to create an exclusive watch for the Green Auction. At Girard-Perregaux, we are fully aware of the ecological issues at hand and feel it is important to incorporate environmental responsibility in our business philosophy.

The exclusive GP033C0 in-house movement combines chronograph and date functions with world time indication. Its finishes, which can be seen through the sapphire case-back, include circular graining on the main plate, Côtes de Genève on the bridges and oscillating weight, as well as blued steel screws.

Also, to honour the Green Auction, it comes complete with the 24-hour ring decorated with a striking green and white contrast. Bidding for the watch will end on April 7th.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pimp my Panerai: The Kindler & Thorpe Panerai Luminor 114 Limited Edition of one

Take one ordinary Panerai 114, leave it in the talented hands of the boys at Kindler & Thorpe and just look what they do with it. This exquisite engraving is by master English engraver Marcus Hunt who spent 30 hours developing this work of art on a watch.

The stainless steel casing depicts the Roman God Neptune, Son of Saturn, and brother of Jupiter and Pluto. Like Poseidon, Neptune was also worshipped by the Romans as a God of horses. This watch is guaranteed as a world-wide, strictly limited edition of just one piece. The long side of the stainless steel case features a grotesque of Neptune supported by two Victorian influenced Dolphins.

Either side of the crown we have a profile (to the left) of Neptune, Poseidon and (to the right) his son, Triton.

The bezel features Neptune’s tridents and stylised conch shells (Triton) which are known as Triton's Trumpet. The supporting acanthus scroll is influenced by Ancient Greek architecture.

About Kindler & Thorpe

Kindler & Thorpe (motto: ‘Never own anything that is not the envy of everyone you meet’) have positioned themselves as the world’s leading specialists in beautifully engraved horological artistry. They only practice their handicraft on the leading names in prestige watches such as Rolex, Patek Philppe, Audmars Piguet, IWC and Hublot, so if you had plans to pop in and sex up your Seiko Orange Monster, forget it.

They usually work on brand new factory sealed models as donor watches. Each one is carefully selected for suitability and is then passed on to their engraver of choice so that work can commence.

No two watches are the same, each is a unique one off work of art, and each is hand finished. The inspiration for engraving watches in this way stems from similar master engraving undertaken on some of the world’s most exclusive shotguns.

Influences include elite Georgian, Victorian, and Bavarian architecture as well as British Heraldry dating back to the 5th century. Not surprisingly, Kindler & Thorpe engraved watches become treasured family heirlooms and continue to steadily rise in value over the passing years.

Each of their new additions to the exclusive fold are published on the website so that should be the first port of call to check availability. Every Kindler & Thorpe watch is guaranteed for 5 years and each piece is archived, ensuring that your name goes down in history as the proud owner.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the blink of an eye: Tag Heuer revolutionises the possibilities of time measurement with the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph.

The world’s first-ever mechanical chronograph to
measure and display 1/1,000th of a second –
making it 125 times more accurate than most existing mechanical chronographs and 10 times faster than the Heuer Carrera MIKROGRAPH 1/100th

TAG Heuer have just announced via a multi-social media blitzing press conference complete with live feeds to Facebook and Twitter, the launch of the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 Chronograph — the world’s first mechanical chronograph able to measure and display time measurements of 1/1,000th of a second. That’s one-thousandth, which is currently 125 times more accurate than any mechanical chronograph on the market and 10 times faster than TAG Heuer’s Carrera MIKROGRAPH 1/100th Second watch, which was first presented in Geneva in January of this year.

So within the space of two months Team Tag Heuer have produced not one but two ground breaking watches adding to their already impressive pedigree of patented world firsts starting with the MIKROGRAPH in 1916, the first-ever 1/100th of a second mechanical stopwatch. Introduced by Charles-August Heuer, the MIKROGRAPH 1/50th and 1/100th, are two patented stopwatches beating respectively at 180,000 and 360,000 beats per hour.

To put it into context in 1/1,000th of a second a Formula One race car at full throttle travels about ten centimetres – perhaps the length of a finger but it can mean the difference between second place and a World Championship.

And even though it’s a tiny fraction of time, a lot can happen in 1/1000th of a second:

  • Usain Bolt ran 1.2 centimetres while establishing his new 100m world record of 9.58 seconds
  • A cheetah at top speed travels 3 centimetres
  • The Maglev train between Pudong International Airport and Shanghai travels 14 centimeters
  • An Airbus 380 between Zurich and Singapore flies 24 centimetres
  • A supersonic airplane breaking Mach 1 flies 33 centimetres
  • An M16 bullet flies 97 centimetres
  • Apollo 10 travelled 10 metres while establishing the fastest-ever speed for a manned craft in 1969
  • The Earth rotates 29.8 metres around the Sun
  • A fast neutron travels 10 kilometres
  • And light travels 300 kilometres

It should be stressed that the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 is only a concept watch at this stage and the watch being presented at Baselworld 2011 is a one off, so refinements and revisions will be made before it goes on sale in the middle of this year. The team estimate that they have compressed five months of work into just twelve days to get the concept watch ready for Basel. Terrible for the eye bags, but just think of the overtime.

Incredibly, the first time that TAG Heuer knew that the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 would work in reality rather than on paper was on 11 March 2011, just 12 days ago.

When it does go on sale the watch will be limited to just 150 pieces, each encased in a beautiful rose gold case, so you’re going to need split second timing to get your hands on one.

Inside the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000

TAG Heuer has broadened its research into what is known as spiral-based regulating systems. The result is an escapement developed together with Atokalpa and vibrating at the mind-blowing speed of 3,600,000 beats-per-hour — more than 3 times faster than the pistons of an F1 engine cranked to maximum speed. The speed and high-frequency of the MIKROTIMER are mind-blowing- 500hz beating at 3.6 million beats per hour- 10 times faster than the MIKROGRAPH and 100-times faster than an El Primero. And that means that the central chrono hand completes a full rotation 10-times every second.

The flying central hand of the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 makes an astounding 10 rotations per second, indicating 1/1000th of a second and 1/100th of a second on a scale on the external part of the dial, which has 100 graduations over 360°. A second, smaller central hand indicates minutes (TAG Heuer Patent pending) and 1/12th of a minute on a 150-second scale. A counter at 6 o'clock displays 1/10th of a second, calibrated to 5 seconds.

At a glance reading

This unique dial-scale display system allows direct, instantaneous reading of minutes, seconds and 1/1,000th, making this the only mechanical chronograph for sporting events like the Formula 1, where 1,000-of-a-second accuracy is essential. It puts the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 right up there among the most intricate “Grande Complication” ever developed in mechanical watchmaking.

With a black Titanium Carbide coated case with titanium horns and the black ruthenium-treated movement inside, the MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 is still very much in the Concept Stage. As was the case with the Monaco V4, further development will be needed to ensure the same over-time reliability and precision demanded of all Tag Heuer watches.

Looks like there’s going to be plenty more late nights for Team Tag Heuer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LONGIO MYTHOS: the world's first Hetian white jade tourbillon wrist watch

'Gold is estimable but jade is priceless'

Mention the word China in relation to watches and most people think of replicas of famous Swiss watch brands. But as the Chinese economy rapidly develops, highly skilled watchmaking manufactures are beginning to evolve, developing watches that are as creative and beautifully crafted as Swiss timepieces.

One such marque is LONGIO. Established in 1996, they manufacture parts, high quality luxury timepieces and tourbillons and have developed a solid reputation for the quality of their craftsmanship.

Now LONGIO has become the first manufacture to produce a wristwatch made of pure Chinese Hotan (or Hetian) white jade - known as one of the most precious jades of all. Hetian Jade is produced in Xinjiang province, from Shache to Tashenku'ergan and from Hetian to Yuzhen.

For over 7000 years jade has served as a symbol of identity, only nobles and high court officials were allowed to wear it. Using this top quality jade, the watch case and bracelet are carved completely by hand by masters of the jade guild.

A stunning piece of Chinese art

The elegant dial of the LONGIO MYTHOS is composed of pure black enamel which features a highly detailed 18K gold Phoenix, which was also crafted by hand under a microscope. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix (called Feng Huang) is the symbol of high virtue and grace, of power and prosperity. It represents the union of yin and yang. A window in the dial allows a view of the Swiss made tourbillon that is used in the LONGIO MYTHOS.

LONGIO sets itself apart from the plethora of other Chinese manufacturers to concentrate on quality over quantity, creativity and craftsmanship over container loads of mass produced product.

With the MYTHOS, LONGIO believes it has created a powerful link between mythology and the mastery of timekeeping with another one of a kind horological creation.

LONGIO Founder Sunny Mi

LONGIO’S creative head and owner is Mr. Sunny Mi. His deep understanding of horology and engineering was what led him to found the manufacture. He evolved the company from a sole OEM producer to a watch manufacture with its own identity developing unique timepieces that express his stated aim to become the leading watch producer in China. Sunny Mi will be at Baselworld 2011, Hall 2 Booth C40 from Wednesday March 24th to debut the LONGIO MYTHOS.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gronefeld Revives the Deadbeat

In the Netherlands in the little town of Oldenzaal you can find talented watchmaking brothers, Bart and Tim Grönefeld. They aren’t just two guys toiling in the backwaters of a small country. These guys trained and then headed up departments at the renowned complications house Renaud & Papi.

After 8 years of immersion training by the best, the brothers returned to their hometown and entered into the family business, where their grand-grandfather began his watchmaking career in 1912. Tim and Bart serviced timepieces but the challenge wasn’t enough. In 2008 they presented the exquisite yet very pricey GTM-06 Tourbillon Minute Repeater. Unfortunately the over 200K price tag scared off buyers due to the economy.

The Grönefelds knew that only a rarefied few could afford a tourbillon minute repeater so they decided to come up with something technically interesting yet affordable, relatively speaking. Hence, the completely in-house developed new movement, featuring a deadbeat seconds. No, deadbeat seconds, called secondes morte in French, won’t kill you. Clocks were the first to use this escapement. So what exactly does it mean? Instead of moving in a sweep, an emblematic sign of a mechanical movement, the seconds advance in true one-second steps. This is not easy to achieve, requiring an independent gear train, which also has its own power supply.

In homage to pendulum clocks that enabled accuracy to the seconds, the brothers christened the watch One Hertz. A hertz, which means one cycle per second, is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon.

Though pocket watches have featured independent deadbeat seconds in the past, the One Hertz is the first wristwatch featuring independent deadbeat seconds. To highlight the inclusion of the mechanism, the seconds indicator takes up a large portion of the dial, with the hours and minutes offset at 2 o’clock. Mounted on pillars in the raised sapphire seconds dial is the power reserve indicator. The setting/winding mechanism operates by pushing the crown rather than pulling it out.

Flip over the watch and you can witness the brothers are all around players: from movement design and construction to finishing. Bart and Tim put a lot of thought not just into the movement layout and how the light would play over the hand-beveled bridges, but also into color contrasts. The red rubies and gold wheels and balance pop against the micro-blasted stainless steel movement. The brothers weren’t sure how the stainless steel would look, but as you can see, the choice was a good one. If you’re into movement aesthetics, this is a real jewel.

Now the One Hertz is ready to be shown off at Basel next week. The “One Hertz 1912” in steel is offered in a limited edition of 12, while the “One Hertz Dune” is in red gold in an edition of 20. The steel model is 40K. I’m not sure of the retail price of the red gold, but add at least 10-15K onto the price. Either one is a real jewel.

"One Hertz" Technical Specifications


Indications: Hours and minutes in subdial at 2 o’clock, large seconds at 7 o’clock, power reserve, setting-winding indicator at 3 o’clock.

Winding-Setting mechanism: Push function crown for winding or setting.

Power reserve mechanism: Classic Breguet style by means of a cone moving up and down on the threaded barrel arbour.

Case and Dial

Case 1912: stainless steel, limited edition of 12 pieces, security screws, polished bezel and centre band with hand-finished straight graining.

Case Dune: 18ct 5N rose gold, limited edition of 20 pieces, gold security screws, polished bezel and centre band with hand-finished straight graining.

Case dimensions: 43 mm x 12.5 mm

Sapphire crystals: top domed with antireflective treatment both sides, display back with antireflective treatment inside.

Water resistance: 3atm/30m/100 feet.

Crown: Stainless steel or rose gold with engraved “G" logo

Dial: hour and minutes subdial, raised seconds sapphire subdial (transparent over the hour and minute subdial), power reserve indicator, setting-winding indicator, Grönefeld logo and model name on individual screwed down nameplates

Hands: Hours and minutes, long thin counter-poised seconds, power-reserve and setting-winding.

Strap and buckle: Hand-sewn matte black, alligator leather with stainless steel or rose gold engraved tang buckle to match case

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chronoswiss Revisits the Pacific

Whether it’s the economy and a wistful yearning for simpler times or it’s just that artistic zeitgeist that percolates the same idea in several creative venues, brands have released modern versions of their vintage watches. Some examples include the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Aronde 1954, IWC Portofino and Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute to the Deep Sea Alarm and Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931. Chronoswiss also digs into its archives and decided to reissue the sporty Pacific, which was originally launched in the 1990’s.

With the Pacific, Chronoswiss takes inspiration from the largest ocean and the pioneering and innovative spirit of Captain James Cook, who bucked all naysayers and proved that the marine chronometer could determine longitude and therefore keep a boat from wandering off course or into danger’s path.

When Chronoswiss named the Pacific, they took the connotation seriously, imbuing the watch with all the qualities and functionality its namesake implies, such as water resistance to 100m, high legibility and a handy day and date window at 3 o’clock. Back in the 1990’s Chronoswiss issued the Pacific as a trio and following this same model, is introducing the three-handed Pacific, Grand Pacific and a Pacific Chronograph. Additionally, the new Pacific offers a high, slightly domed sapphire crystal, which is ground inside and out, a characteristic found on high quality watches in the 1950’s and 60’s.

While a lot of watches look the same and require a closer look at the dial to identify the company, German-based Chronoswiss set out specific DNA codes and those remain true in the Pacific including the screw-mounted strap bars, vertical polishing on the case and a modern rendering of the onion-style crown. Giving the Pacific an extra stylistic touch the crown can only be identified from the side. Known for their meticulous case construction, Chronoswiss doesn’t cut corners here, this one with a polished finish and constructed of 25 parts.

Dials of all three models have sunburst finishes. The Pacific offers silver plated, galvanized black or brown applied markers, the Grand Pacific silver plated galvanized black, applied markers, while the Pacific Chronograph comes with galvanized black, applied markers. What makes the chronograph really pop are the luminescent green-colored accents on the chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph hands, underneath the pump pushers and as an option on the stitching of the black crocodile skin strap.

An ETA 2892-A2 powers the three-hand Pacific and Grand Pacific and for the chronograph Chronoswiss chose the ETA 7750. Through the exhibition back, you can view the high level of finish: the skeletonized and rhodium-plated rotor and bridges with côtes de Genève, polished pallet fork, escape wheel and screws and plates with perlage.
Chronoswiss has created a worthy tribute to the original Pacific, a modern interpretation that is rugged enough to accompany you out in the field yet elegant enough under your suit sleeve (yes it will fit) at the office.

Prices EURO:
CH2883 Pacific (40mm) €2490 on strap, €2850 on steel bracelet
CH2883 B Grand Pacific (43mm) €2790 on strap, €3150 on steel bracelet
CH7583 Pacific Chronograph (43mm) €3590 on strap, €3950 on steel bracelet
Prices GBP:
CH2883 Pacific (40mm) £2320 on strap, £2655 on steel bracelet
CH2883 B  Grand Pacific (43mm) £2595 on strap, £2935 on steel bracelet
CH7583 Pacific Chronograph (43mm) £3340 on strap, £3680 on steel bracelet
Prices USD:
CH2883 Pacific (40mm) - Prices TBC
CH2883 B Grand Pacific (43mm) $3800 + tax on strap, bracelet price TBC
CH7583 Pacific Chronograph (43mm) $4800 + tax on strap, bracelet price TBC

Pictures that tell of our times: Maurice Lacroix, Official Watch Partner of World Press Photo Awards Ceremony

Martin Bachmann, CEO Maurice Lacroix and Michiel Munneke, MD, World Press Photo

Zurich, March 2011
: Maurice Lacroix is the official watch partner of the prestigious World Press Photo Awards Ceremony, which this year takes place in Amsterdam on 7th May. Besides the presentation of watches to the first prize winners of each category, the three-year partnership deal also includes the annual “Follow Your Convictions” grant, worth €20,000, initiated by Maurice Lacroix and to be presented during the Awards Ceremony.

Martin Bachmann, CEO Maurice Lacroix, says of this new collaboration, “The partnership with World Press Photo, which has been the world’s most prestigious photo contest since 1955, perfectly encapsulates the message behind our ‘Follow your convictions’ philosophy. Photographs tell authentic stories, capture true events or evoke contemporary themes. And the unifying factor in all this is the ability of photographers around the world to follow their convictions. It is their work alone that allows such an emotionally charged record of the times we live in to emerge.”

Michiel Munneke, Managing Director of World Press Photo, says “I am excited about our cooperation. We share common values like excellence and authenticity. Maurice Lacroix creates a range of watches all characterized by designs reflecting the personalities of the designers. They push the boundaries of conventional design. Taking risks simply because they believe in it. The concept of ‘following your convictions’ perfectly applies to photojournalists. Commitment, dedication and staying true to what you really believe in, is what makes them cover the world for us. I am very pleased Maurice Lacroix is joining us in celebrating excellence in photojournalism by supporting our annual Awards Ceremony and enabling one award-winning photographer to following his or her convictions with a grant.”

The awards ceremony is preceded by a two-day programme of lectures, discussions and screenings of photography. The exhibition of prize-winning photography will be shown at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam from 22 April to 19 June and will subsequently visit over 100 locations around the world.

About World Press Photo

World Press Photo is an independent, non-profit organisation committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism and documentary photography worldwide. It strives to generate wide public interest and appreciation for the work of photographers and for the free exchange of information. From its office in Amsterdam it organises an annual contest, exhibitions, educational programs and a variety of publications. Since 1955, more then 2100 World Press Photo exhibitions have taken place in 450 cities in 115 countries around the globe.

About Maurice Lacroix

Since the launch of its first watch model in 1975, Maurice Lacroix has become a much sought-after brand. With its own workshops producing complex components for mechanical calibres, Maurice Lacroix joined the exclusive league of Swiss Watch Manufactures at the end of 2006. Thanks to continued innovative development in both technical fields and design, Maurice Lacroix has registered several patents and trademarks. Maurice Lacroix is one of the few independent watchmakers and employs more than 200 people worldwide, the majority of whom are based at the international head office in Zurich and the production facilities in Saignelégier and Montfaucon in Switzerland.

World Press Photo Awards: Some winning photographs

Many of the winning photographs for 2010 are from the work of travelling reporters and photographers brilliantly capturing in a single moment the hustle, bustle, unrest, strife and sheer trauma of life in war torn and disaster prone countries within the developing world. The winning picture by South African photographer Jodi Bieber shows exactly why the struggle to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban must continue.

Daily Life singles, first prize:
Omar Feisal from Somalia shows us a man carrying a shark through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, 23 September 2010

Daily Life stories, first prize:
Martin Roemers from the Netherlands won with his series Metropolis, about life in megacities

General News singles, first prize:
Riccardo Venturi from Italy shows us Old Iron Market burning in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 18 January 2010

Spot News stories, second prize:
Corentin Fohlen, a Fedephoto photographer based in France, won the category with this picture of anti-government riots in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2010

People in the News stories, first prize:
Daniel Berehulak won with his series in Pakistan. Flood victims scramble for food from a Pakistan army helicopter during relief operations in Dadu, Pakistan as they battle the downwash on 13 September 2010

World Press Photo Awards Picture of the Year 2010

The winning photograph this year will be seared on your memory for its graphic, disturbing imagery. Jodi Bieber, a South African photographer for Time magazine, won with this picture taken of Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan. Aisha's story began when she fled back to her family after complaining of violent treatment from her husband. The Taliban arrived one night demanding that she face justice and Aisha's brother-in-law held her down while her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Aisha was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the US military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to the US, where she now lives.

Jury chair David Burnett said about the photo: 'This could become one of those pictures – and we have maybe just 10 in our lifetime – where if somebody says "you know, that picture of a girl" you know exactly which one they're talking about'

Friday, March 18, 2011

Help from Hublot for Japan earthquake: They'll match every donation made to the Japanese Red Cross

t was a week ago today that the devastation of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan shocked and saddened all of us. As the people of Japan try to come to terms with such overwhelming tragedy and loss we can but search for ways in which to offer a helping hand. One way in which we can help immediately is to support the Japanese Red Cross.

Hublot have created a dedicated page on their website for the Hublot Community in order to centralise fundraising efforts. Here you can join in raising funds for the Japanese Red Cross. In addition to your generosity Hublot guarantee to match every donation made therefore doubling our collective aid.

To simplify the procedure while maintaining the highest levels of security and confidentiality, Hublot have elected to join forces with Google Donation for the management of this charitable effort. Rest assured, your personal data will not be used for any purpose other than to support this cause and the people of Japan. Join us!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Czech it out: W&F Atelier participates in ‘The Art of Watchmaking’ exhibition, February 5th – March 29th 2011, Old Town Hall, Prague

The Prague Astronomical Clock is one of the best known astronomical clocking mechanisms in all Europe. The clock is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors constantly check their watches, eagerly waiting for the top of the hour when the bells sound and the figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures appear. The clock is also an object of interest for many historians, technicians and other scientists keen to find out more information about its intriguing history, because the first mention of the Prague Astronomical Clock dates back to the year 1410!

Throughout consecutive centuries, the Prague Astronomical Clock has been upgraded several times. Today, visitors can admire three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; 'The Walk of the Apostles', a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.

In 2010, Prague celebrated the 600th anniversary of the first mention of the Prague Astronomical Clock. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, an exhibition of clocks and wristwatches is currently being exhibited at the Old Town Hall, Prague.

The Art of Watchmaking exhibition

The exhibition is being held in the historical heart of Prague, where many of Prague's most important historical acts and events took place. The exhibition is devoted to the evolution of watchmaking in the Czech Republic and in Europe as a whole. It comprises three expositions – the first presents the history and legends of the Prague Astronomical Clock. The other two expositions present the evolution of Czech watch making together with well-known Swiss and German brands.

Contemporary Czech independent watchmakers W&F Atelier

Czech watchmakers W&F Watches are exhibiting “Watchsculptures Pure”, models 101.1 and 102.1. They are the first watches W&F Atelier have released following two years of intense development and were introduced to the public at the end of last year. The collection is strictly limited to 27 and 17 watches respectively.

Collection “Watchsculptures Pure” combines an originally designed avant-garde case with hand-made dials and hands composed from several tiny parts.

Of course many reputable brands offer unique limited editions of watches with hand-made components, but the price tag tends to be extremely high. The aim of W&F Atelier is to create watches which are both beautiful and affordable so that a wider number of lovers of high quality elegant mechanical watches can enjoy a unique quality timepiece. Since their introduction ‘Watchsculptures Pure’ has made an immediate impact with watch-fans and the wider public, as can be witnessed in both the Czech and foreign media.

About the Atelier

W&F Atelier (W&F stands for Weichert & Friends) was founded by designer and watchmaker Martin Weichert as a form of active protest against mass produced wristwatches made without passion or spirit. His aim is to unite the artistic minimalism with innovative watch construction and traditional hand-made production inspired by the watchmakers of the 18th and 19th century. The hand-made production of enamel dials and the traditional method for blueing guarantee that no two W&F watches will be exactly the same.

The vast majority of brands make watch hands from one piece of material, whereas hands produced by W&F Atelier are composed from a number of parts, each manufactured with the highest accuracy. That is why the hands are rugged three-dimensional objects – nothing less than sculptures. Other important technical innovations include floating seating for the movement, a system for holding the strap, plus a dial illumination system based on reflected light. If you can make it to the exhibition be sure to stop by the W&F stand.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Something to sing about: Elton and Chopard raise US$4 million for the Sir Elton John AIDS Foundation

David and Sir Elton pose for pictures before the party

If we’re a couple of days late with this piece of news it's because Elton has been so busy lately he just didn’t have time to call us and let us know about it. The 19th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party hosted as always by Sir Elton John and David Furnish raised nearly $4 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS. The gala, which has become an Oscar Awards institution, took place on Sunday, February 27, at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and was co-sponsored by Chopard and Jo & Raffy Manoukian.

Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Sir Elton John and David Furnish

The bash was attended by a liberal sprinkling of celebrities including Sir Ben Kingsley, Heidi Klum & Seal, Jamie Foxx, Steven Tyler, Sharon Stone, Matthew Morrison, Baz Luhrmann, Emma Stone, Smokey Robinson, Quincy Jones, Kelly & Sharon Osbourne, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Richie & Serena Williams, Tori Spelling and many others.

Guests arrived at the Academy Awards Viewing Party for cocktails followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the 83rd Academy Awards® telecast. The dinner was followed by a lively auction conducted by Jamie Nivens of Sotheby's. Auction items included a five-night stay in Sir Elton John and David Furnish's private Venice residence, which sold for $150,000; and a Taylor Swift concert package including tickets and a meet-and-greet with the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, which sold for $50,0000; in-home cooking class with Chef Ludo Lefebvre, which sold for $20,000. Florence + The Machine took the stage to perform several songs including her hit "The Dog Days are Over". Elton John joined Florence Welch on-stage to perform "Tiny Dancer" and "You Got the Love".

Chopard has built an international reputation for luxurious jewellery designs and impeccably crafted high-precision timepieces spanning 150 years. The Scheufele family, who purchased the company in 1963, continues to foster the brand’s pursuit of quality, creativity, independence, and human respect.

The Scheufele family also regards serving noble causes as a natural duty. At the personal invitation of Sir Elton John, Chopard has supported the Elton John AIDS Foundation for the past ten years. Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Co-President and Artistic Director, designed a watch collection in collaboration with Sir Elton John; a testament to their friendship, the watch collection reflects the artist's extravagant personality as well as his tremendous generosity.

The Chopard Elton John watch collection features a range of original chronograph watches crafted in 18ct gold. The timepieces are richly set with diamonds and a variety of other precious stones and have enjoyed tremendous success – a good thing too because a percentage of the sales goes towards the Sir Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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