Watchuseek Blog

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Magnetic charm: Christophe Claret X-TREM-1

It’s as if Christophe Claret and his team of horology boffins deliberately set out to create a watch, which at its core, uses the arch enemy of horological mechanisms – magnetism.

Christophe Claret’s determination to continue pushing the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking and integrating scientific fields of research never previously applied in horology remains undimmed.

The new X-TREM collection we are told, will be exceptional in all ways. X-TREM-1 features a tourbillon timepiece and uses magnetic fields to create the illusion of hour and minute indicators simply floating through the air.

Christophe Claret has achieved that by creating a system where two small steel spheres – hollowed to make them lighter – encased within two sapphire tubes placed to the right and left of the caseband, are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables.

The cables are made from an extremely thin and strong woven silk thread more commonly seen in reparative surgery. The resistance of the thread has been tested in the Manufacture Claret on an accelerated-wear simulator corresponding to six years of operation.

The spheres have no mechanical connection with the movement, with each one floating inside the two tubes and creating outstanding horological magic.

“We developed this technology with the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Yverdon-les-Bains, and a team headed by Professor Besson. What’s more, the magnetic fields have been focused so that they have no effect whatsoever on the mechanisms – apart from the task assigned to them, which is to help display the time in a quite incredible and original way.” Christophe Claret

The “floating” sphere display system of the X-TREM-1 is not the only technical feat involved. The entire construction and finishing of this timepiece meets the extreme demands expected if the watch is to bear the Christophe Claret marque.

Ultra-light titanium was used for the three-dimensional curvex mainplate and the bridges. The case is composed of titanium and white or red gold, or platinum, and produced in a limited series of eight per model.

The flying tourbillon is fitted with double ceramic bearings to enhance its shock-resistance. It is inclined at a 30-degree angle in order to make it even more clearly visible to the wearer.

The hand-wound watch draws its energy from two barrels without disturbing the rate of the tourbillon, and thus the accuracy of the watch.

Christophe Claret is never happier than when he is developing a new watch project that has never been attempted.  The brand is resolutely dedicated to technological innovation to offer innovative and ingenious new ways of reading the time.

With the unveiling of the X-TREM-1 timepiece, Christophe Claret proves once again that watchmakers are some of the most incredible engineers on the planet.

The magic of the  new X-TREM-1 will be displayed at Baselworld in just a few days time. Meanwhile the video below gives an idea of the achievement.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Starring role: Navy SEALs wear Jaeger-LeCoutre watches in new thriller ‘Act of Valor’

Get your popcorn primed and ready because Act of Valor, the new action film by Relativity Media which opened in US theatres on February 24th and currently tops the box office, stars active-duty Navy SEALs, alongside actors Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle and Nester Serrano.

While most guys will be admiring the high adrenaline stunts and edge-of-the-seat action, the eyes of watch lovers will immediately be drawn to the wrists of real-life SEALs sporting Jaeger-LeCoultre professional divers watches, officially known as a Master Compressor Diving Automatic Navy SEALs watch.


Originally developed in 2010 under a trademark agreement with the U.S. Navy, the 42mm model is engineered to withstand extremely harsh conditions and features on its dial a new form of Super-LumiNova that is particularly visible underwater or in the dark.

The high contrast dial features no subdials to distract the Navy SEAL while on a covert mission. It’s also water resistant to 300 metres.

The timepieces also contain an in-house Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic 899 calibre movement with 43 hours of power reserve. As with all Jaeger-LeCoultre Master watch movements, the watch bears the "1000 Hours Control" seal; an in-house testing for quality, durability, and accuracy.


Produced and directed by former Baja 1000 champion Mike “Mouse” McCoy and former stuntman Scott Waugh, and written by Kurt Johnstad (300), Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism. Inspired by true events, the film combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the minute battlefield technology and heart-pumping emotion in a real action adventure movie.

Of course during the movie you don’t have to do anything more dangerous than reach for your ice cold Big Gulp, but if you’re wearing a Jaeger-Le Coultre Master Compressor, you’ll still be able to tell the time at just a glance.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Magic Gold: all set for solid gold business at Baselworld 2012

Magic Gold, was announced to the world in December 2011, but we decided to wait until closer to Baselworld to feature it, as the first collection of Magic Gold watches will be launched at Baselworld 2012.

Magic Gold, a revolutionary new gold alloy that is both ultra-strong and resistant to oxidation, was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), and it’s set to revolutionise the world of watchmaking and jewellery.

Working closely with Hublot for three years, a team headed by Andreas Mortensen, Professor at the EPFL, successfully created a "fusion" between 24-carat gold and ceramic (boron powder).

Virtually non-corrosive, this new metal is the first gold in the world to be scratchproof, thereby eliminating the traditional weakness of gold and its alloys.

The hardness of metals is measured by the Vickers scale. While “normal” 18-carat gold registers 400 Vickers, Hublot’s Magic Gold apparently obtains a hardness approaching 1,000 Vickers (most hardened steels measure 600 Vickers) and so this gold alloy is tougher and more scratch resistant than 316L stainless steel.

This new alloy can only be scratched by diamond, laser or electro-erosion and as a result Hublot claim it to be the hardest alloy in the world.

The creation of Magic Gold required the installation of a high-tech foundry on the premises of the Nyon based manufactory.

The 18-carat Magic Gold, like all other 18-carat alloys, is composed of 750 parts per thousand of pure gold. It can therefore be stamped AU 750.

Magic Gold is big news not only for the watch industry, but also for various industrial fields, since it can also be applied to materials other than gold including platinum, silver and aluminium. Biver is in talks with Ferrari for the production of aluminium engine parts.

The Hublot Chairman wants Magic Gold to have its own distinct colour that allows it to be readily identifiable at a glance.

Look out for the first timepieces including the Hublot Magic Gold Big Bang at Baselworld 2012. And the price? Expect premium pricing for some time to come while Hublot recoups on three expensive years of research and development.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bond on a budget: Christopher Ward C60 Automatic Trident Pro

Skyfall, the new Bond movie, due to be released in October 2012 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the hugely popular franchise, has seen significant production budget cuts.

Instead of Bermuda, Bahamas, Biarritz or the pick of other exotic locales, the cast and crew of the latest Bond movie are still reeling from the decision to base at least some of the movie in Britain’s less than exotic Bognor Regis. Bognor is an East Anglia seaside resort which prompted an ailing King George V, when asked if he would like to recuperate there, to exclaim ‘Bugger Bognor’.

 It is perhaps with these gasp inducing budget cuts in mind that the increasingly popular British designed and Swiss made luxury watch brand Christopher Ward decided to release its own budget version of the ‘Big Crown' Rolex Submariner with a striped NATO style strap.

 The C60 Trident Pro Automatic – a watch that takes its inspiration from the Royal Navy Commander’s most iconic watch, which Sean Connery, dressed in a white tuxedo, first consults 2 minutes and 42 seconds into Goldfinger.

Christopher Ward took great care to analyse which of Bond’s many watches best captured the spy’s personality and character.

Taking its design cues from the Rolex Submariner as well as its even more famous ancestor, the 1954 Rolex GMT Master, which appeared just as Ian Fleming was writing his first Bond books, they arrived at the C60 Trident Pro Automatic.

In all aspects it's a watch true to Christopher Ward’s mission to deliver quality Swiss assembled watches for a fraction of the price of the top Swiss brands.

The C60 Trident Pro Automatic, powered by the famous Sellita SW200-1 movement is designed to take a lot of the rough and tumble typical of a Bond movie, even if it is in the less than typical surrounds of Bognor Regis.

 Budget Bond: Will Daniel Craig swap his Omega Planet Ocean for a CW C60 Trident Pro?

The distinctive NATO strap is thought to be an accurate approximation of what would be worn by a Commander in the Royal Navy at the time – particularly if a spot of covert diving was on the agenda.

Despite the budget cuts on Skyfall, it’s likely the movie will, as always, deliver in terms of pace, thrills and quality. And at just $550, the CW60 Trident Pro will do just the same.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LONGIO brings its artistry to Baselworld

 Timepieces are messengers of time and also surpass the meaning of time keeping. LONGIO treasure a wristwatch as a beautiful work of art as well as an art of time.  
        Mi Changhong, founder and chief designer, LONGIO Watch Company

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 evolves, 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.

LONGIO will be displaying three of their rarest watches at Baselworld next month with a series known as MCH's Art of Time. There are three watches in the collection, Mythos, National Beauty and Saluzi, each designed by  Mi Changhong, the founder and chief designer for LONGIO Watch Company, express Chinese legend through highly intricate fingertip craftwork.

MCH's Art of Time - LONGIO Mythos

LONGIO has become the world's 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 2500 years jade has served as a symbol of identity, and only nobles and high court officials were allowed to wear it. Using this top quality white jade, the watch case and bracelet are carved completely by hand by masters of the jade guild.

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

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

MCH's Art of Time - LONGIO National Beauty

Limited to just 18 pieces, ‘National Beauty’ portrays hand crafted gold Peony flowers, which have the reputation of being  of “national beauty and heavenly fragrance” and “the king of flowers”.

The Peony is regarded as the symbol of luck, wealth, prosperity and happiness.

LONGIO’s National Beauty timepieces feature an 18K golden red carved blooming peony on the black enamel dial, perfectly combining Chinese flower art with gold carving, enamel and other Chinese handicrafts.

MCH's Art of Time - LONGIO Saluzi

Again limited to just 18 pieces, Saluzi as the legend goes, was the war horse of Li Shimin, Emperor Taizong of Tang when he was fighting with Wang Shicong in Mangshan Mountain, Luoyang.

Li Shi Min’s brave General, General QiuHanggong, who was accompanying the Emperor, fired arrows at the enemy cavalry to keep them at bay and once back at camp proceeded to pull the arrows from the wounded Saluzi so as to save him.

Saluzi timepieces use 22K golden miniature engraving technology to portray the emotive moment when senior general Qiu Xinggong extracted the arrow from the injured Saluzi.

The watch features a rare and precious antique movement designed personally by the famous German watch creator Dürrstein in 1890.  The watchcase is made of precious 18K gold.

Baselworld 2012: Hall2.0 Stand:C40

Monday, February 20, 2012

Accurate to the next 88 years: Seiko Premier SNP023 Perpetual Calendar

You can pay extremely serious money for a good quality mechanical perpetual calendar watch, or you can pay as little as $550 and get yourself the kinetic quartz powered Seiko Premier SNP023 accurate to within +/- 15 seconds a month. 

Once set, the calendar automatically adjusts for odd and even months including leap year February’s right up to February 28, 2100, long after you’ve gone and the grand children are left to worry about it. There’s even a window to indicate the number of years since the last leap year.

The stainless steel case measures 41mm and the watch is powered by an automatic kinetic power generator – which, as with all kinetic watches, stores energy through the motion of your wrist. When the watch senses 24 hours of inactivity it puts itself into suspended animation (sleep mode) to conserve energy. 

The date remains accurate while the watch is asleep and you can wake it up with just a couple of  shakes. It then automatically resets itself to the correct time even though the watch has remained dormant for anything up to four years. 

You can quickly check the amount of charge left with an energy depletion indicator. There’s also a device which stops the watch from overcharging.

The dial features classic Roman numerals, at 6 o’ clock there are 12 month and 24 hour subdials, the latter of which is handy for the time when Iran has progressed its nuclear program to the point where you are in a nuclear fall-out shelter and have no idea whether it’s night or day.
The Seiko Premier SNP023 is generously proportioned with a large fluted crown and an easy to read oversized dual date windows. 

The watch comes on a dark brown leather watch strap with a quick release push-button deployment clasp. 
With scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and water resistance to 100 metres, there are plenty of Swiss brands that would be more than tempted to stick a $2000+ price tag on a watch of this quality, so it’s a lot of watch for the money.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Racing towards Baselworld: Tissot Heritage PR516

With Baselworld coming up fast in the rear view mirror, Tissot is introducing the Heritage PR516 - a racy motor sports inspired automatic model featuring the same dial markings as the iconic and much-loved Seastar PR 516 GL from the late 1960s.

Tissot Heritage PR516 features a sophisticated Swiss-made movement, contained in a stylish stainless steel case - and quite probably a choice of PVD gold - with a punched steel bracelet that is both modern yet with a wonderful 70s-style echo of the past. 

The theme of motor racing is evident in the aerodynamic shape and slightly curved 40mm case with a unique sapphire backing. The three prongs are designed to resemble the steering wheel on a vintage 70s sports car. 

In all its variations, the new Heritage Tissot PR 516 is a guarantee of accuracy, elegance and performance.

The PVD gold version will boast a leather racing strap like the original or the steel bracelet option. Expect the price to be nudging the rear bumper of $1000.

Swiss made automatic movement
Scratchproof sapphire crystal
Stainless steel case 316L with transparent back
Version in yellow gold PVD coating
Silver dial, black or blue
Water resistant to 10 bar (100 m / 330 feet)
Leather strap or stainless steel 316L

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pre-Basel Breitling for Bentley GMT V8 Chronograph

A powerful new Bentley calls for a worthy new Breitling. Breitling for Bentley are celebrating the launch of the Continental GT V8 with its powerful new 4.0 V8 engine.

They have created a 250-piece limited series of the Bentley GMT chronograph.

The sleekness of the new timepiece is highlighted by the mobile bezel created in a metallic red shade, contrasting with the black dial.

The Bentley GMT offers a clever multiple timezone display. It's equipped with an additional red triangle-tipped hour hand which completes one rotation every 24 hours.

The pushpiece housed in the left side of the case adjusts this hand forward in one-hour increments in order to display the second timezone – while distinguishing between day and night hours.

Thanks to a rotating inner bezel bearing the names of the 24 cities, the user can also instantly read off the time in all the world’s timezones.

The case, in stainless steel, measures a wrist obscuring 49mm. It has an AR-coated sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 100 metres.

The watch is powered by the Swiss automatic Breitling calibre 47B with 39 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 48 hours.

It's COSC-certified as a chronometer which offers another technical feature exclusive to the Breitling for Bentley collection: a “30-second chronograph” with a sweep seconds hand making one full turn of the dial in half a minute, enabling readings accurate to the nearest 1/8th of a second.

The Breitling for Bentley GMT “V8″ is a limited edition of 250 pieces and the asking price is  $10,590, exactly 1/10th the price of the new Bentley.

The 'pre-Basel' part of the equation means this unmissable watch will be putting in an appearance at Baselworld next month.


Breitling Calibre 47B, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC
High-frequency, selfwinding (28,800 vibrations per hour)
38 jewels
1/8th second chronograph
6-hour, 15-minute and 30-second totalisers
24-hour 2nd timezone display
Steel case: 49mm diameter
Water-resistance: 100m
Screw-locked crown
Rotating pinion bezel displaying the 24 timezones

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Michel Jordi Limited Edition ‘Icons of the World’ collection

Noted Swiss watchmaker Michel Jordi has paid tribute to some of the world’s most legendary places in a new series of novelty watches. One collection, eight places, each issued in a limited edition of three. Jordi calls it Icons of the World.

Launched at GTE-2012, Michel Jordi introduced the line-up consisting of eight models. These include:

•    China’s Great Wall
•    India's Taj Mahal
•    Japan's Mount Fuji
•    Brazil’s Mount Sugarloaf
•    Switzerland’s Interlaken with the mountains of the Eiger
•    Switzerland’s Jungfrau, with its fountain Jet d'Eau
•    America’s Statue of Liberty
•    Russia’s Kremlin

Each novelty is released in a limited edition of only 3 pieces. In co-operation with Jean-François Mojon, (winner of the “best watchmaker in 2010″ from the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix), and with the design developed by Christophe Moines, Jordi has created an unusual gong-striking mechanism.

Instead of the usual vibrations of the caseback, a hammer strikes the gong at a low frequency of just 2Hz, reminiscent of the cadence of the ringing of a mountain chapel bell.

The watch features a sapphire crystal lens and the cylinder-shaped crown features a deconstructed Swiss flag.

And the reason the watch is called Icons of the World becomes apparent where the day/night indicator reveals at 10 o’clock the place or monument famous to each country.

The 46mm case, in titanium and red gold certainly makes the watch a stand out piece.


Movement:  Hand-wound, double barrel with one reserved for the gong-striking
mechanism, 28,800 vib/h, 45 jewels, 65-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day/night indicator and 24-hour alarm with
day/night and on/off indicators
Case:  Titanium and 18K red gold, 46 mm
Lens: Cambered sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 100 m / 10 ATM
Dial: Openworked 18K white gold
Hours, minutes and seconds on an openworked and off-centred counter
Alarm day/night indicator at 2 o’clock
Standard time day/night indicator at 10 o’clock revealing an iconic place or
Alarm hour and minute counters at 4 o’clock and on/off indicator at 6 o’clock
Strap: Black leather with steel folding clasp

Monday, February 13, 2012

IWC Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Chronograph

No aircraft I have ever flown has given me such a strong sensation of sitting in the cockpit of a technological masterpiece as the Spitfire.” 
Air Marshal Cliff Spink

This stunning new watch from IWC has it all. Elegance, technological brilliance and a high performance drive inspired by the Spitfire, one of the legendary aircraft of World War II.

The Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is the first Pilot’s Watch launched by IWC Schaffhausen to feature a perpetual calendar, a digital date and month display, and an innovative stopwatch display. The IWC-manufactured 89800 calibre provides a suitable drive.

Inspired by cockpit instrumentation

The multiple displays and complications on the dial of the Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month are of course less than the 79 instruments found in the Spitfire’s cockpit, but they still represent an unusually large number for a pilot’s watch.

This is the first IWC Pilot’s Watch to feature a digital display showing the date and month in large numerals. It was inspired by the Spitfire's cockpit instrumentation which showed vital data, such as altitude, in figures. In the case of a mechanical watch it takes a sophisticated wheel train to translate the day and month into the digital format seen on the dial.

Quick-action switch provides power when needed

This latest version of the Spitfire chronograph watch features an additional small window at 6 o’clock which displays the 4-yearly leap year cycle digitally. In 2012 this will include a leap day on the 29th of February. Because of the three digital displays, up to five different discs may need to be advanced synchronously without having a noticeable influence on the watch’s accuracy.

The energy required to do this is generated by a quick action switch. Every night, when the date display moves forward, it taps a little of the energy, stores it and then discharges it precisely at the end of the month when the date and month discs advance, and at the end of the year when the leap year disc also needs to be advanced.

Perpetual calendar set until 2100

The perpetual calendar can be set using the crown and is pre-programmed until the year intervention until 2100.

The Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month also has another special feature to the Pilot’s Watch. While stopped times up to 60 seconds are shown conventionally by the central chronograph hand, the hours and minutes recorded by the stopwatch can be read off on the totaliser at 12 o’clock.

Flyback function


The flyback function enables the chronograph to be reset to zero without having to be stopped first. This function has its origins in the aviation of the 1930s and 1940s when a pilot might have to fly certain curved radii by time or abandon a manoeuvre and start a new one immediately.

The designers integrated a double-pawl automatic winding mechanism into the IWC-manufactured 89800 calibre. The movement consists of 474 individual parts with a power reserve of 68 hours. The sapphire-glass back provides a glimpse to the inner workings complete with the rotor in the shape of a Spitfire silhouette.

The 46mm watch case is made from 18-carat red gold and the push buttons feature elaborate surface machining. The slate-coloured metallic dial contrasts with the warm gold of the case and the brown tone of the leather strap.

Hands, numerals and the gold-plated appliqués are coated with luminescent material allowing for excellent legibility by day or night.


Mechanical chronograph movement, stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds, hour and minute counters combined in a totaliser at 12 o’clock, flyback function, small hacking seconds, perpetual calendar, large double-digit displays for both the day and month, leap year display, screw-in crown, glass secured against displacement by drop in air pressure, see-through sapphire-glass back, rotor in the shape of a Spitfire

Calibre: 89800
Frequency: 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 52
Power reserve: 68 hours
Winding: Automatic

Materials: case in 18-carat red gold, slate-coloured dial,
brown alligator leather strap, folding clasp in
18-carat red gold
Glass sapphire, convex, antireflective coating
on both sides
Water-resistant 6 bar
Diameter 46 mm
Case height 17.5 mm

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blue sensations: Grieb & Benziger’s $1.5m Singapore watch sale

 Click for larger image
German watch restoring experts Grieb & Benzinger undoubtedly picked the right  venue to preview over $1.5m worth of one of a kind platinum watches. After all, Singapore is one of the few places on the planet which actually has people that can afford them.

In an exclusive preview, a select clientele from Rolls-Royce Motorcars and Revolution Magazine had the opportunity to glimpse two world firsts.

The first, the Blue Danube, a skeletonised minute repeater split-seconds chronograph, the second, the Blue Whirlwind, a unique tourbillon minute repeater.

As for the third watch, the Blue Sensation is the only split-seconds skeletonised regulator chronograph on the market.

Each of these one of a kind watches is based on a rare Patek Philippe calibre, fully disassembled, modified and recreated in the signature style of Grieb & Benzinger.

Their creation and restoration took over twelve months to create solid platinum cases with a combined total value of US$ 1,500,000.

Highlights among these unique watches are the refined guilloché, hand-skeletonisation and hand-engraving as well as the skeletonised Sterling silver dials with original Breguet frosted finish.

Blue Danube 

This watch is a 43mm solid platinum skeletonised minute repeater split-seconds chronograph powered by a base movement that was made in about 1890 and fully restored.  120 years old, the restoration involved more than 400 components. The watch retails for US$450,000.

Blue Whirlwind

Probably named for the damage it will do to your bank account. This watch is a tourbillon minute repeater based on the Patek Philippe Calibre R TO 27 PS. This same movement recently sold within a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe Tourbillon Minute Repeater in stainless steel, which was donated to the Only Watch charity auction in Monaco in September 2011. The hammer fell at 1.4 million Euros. This is the world’s first watch powered by a visible tourbillon movement by Patek Philippe. In addition, a wheel visible on the back replaces the original gold drive wheel for the tourbillon. Value: US$850,000.

Blue Sensation

The Blue Sensation is the only split-seconds skeletonised regulator chronograph on the market with a calibre that was manufactured in 1890 and then fully restored and technically modified.

With a 49mm diameter and a total weight of 230 grams, this luxurious watch retails at a relatively affordable US$ 260,000.

Whichever wealthy guest managed to bag one of these watches, they can rest assured they own a unique timepiece.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Beyond reach: Arnold & Son Grand Tourbillon Perpetual Equation

Beyond Reach is a series which looks at watches most mere mortals simply couldn’t justify on top of the weekly grocery bill.

They represent a range of incredible watches aimed at those elite few basking serenely in the luxury super yacht league or still taking outrageous bonuses as the heads of beleaguered European banks.

Most of the watches we will show will be out of reach even if you do have sufficient funds to afford them as they are usually part of extremely small limited edition watches spoken for before they even leave the manufacture. At this level of haute horology, it’s not only about how much you have got, but how much the watch manufacture values you to allow you to acquire one of the precious few pieces.

The development of the tourbillon

The tourbillon was created to compensate for the detrimental effects of gravity on watch movements, and to this day it remains one of the most challenging horological accomplishments.

The greatest challenge for a watchmaker regulating a watch is getting a similar result from the escapement no matter the position in which it is suspended. This has been made infinitely easier with accurate timing machines which give instantaneous timing results, where as in Abraham Louis Breguet’s time all that watchmakers had was another watch from which to regulate, so results were not exact and it could take weeks to get them.

Due to the complexities of developing a tourbillon, and, in modern day tourbillons, the precious metals used in making them, the tourbillon is one of the most valued features of collectors’ watches and premium timepieces.

Of course nowadays there are $50 quartz watches with equal accuracy, but for connoisseurs it has never been about just telling the time. It’s the quality of the craftsmanship in getting there that really counts.

Rarity of the Grand Tourbillon Perpetual Equation

The only way you will track an Arnold & Son Grand Tourbillon Perpetual down now is to keep your ear pressed close to the door of an authorised dealer who may know of a collector keen to sell, as only 10 in white gold and 10 in red gold of this piece were made.

While John Arnold didn’t invent the tourbillon – that distinction went to his good friend Abraham Louis Breguet – he did directly contribute significant ideas to its development, even though the launch of the tourbillion was some two years after Arnold’s death.

So while many brands may offer a tourbillion, the watchmaker John Arnold was instrumental its development.

In the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Perpetual, the tourbillon is beautifully highlighted through a generous opening in the lower part of the dial.

The tourbillon carriage with its three-arm propeller-shaped hand is complemented by an impressive array of additional functions. Above it, on either side of the grid-patterned dial section the day of the week and month are displayed in neat apertures. There’s also a dedicated arrow-type pointer which sweeps over the elegant retrograde date display appearing on the top of the dial.

Technical wizardry

The same hand-wound automatic calibre A1768 movement, with a 68 hour power reserve, also drives moon-phase and leap-year indications visible through the open back. All the perpetual calendar displays can be independently set by means of two pushpieces at 2 and 10 o’clock and two recessed correctors at 4 and 8 o’ clock, or adjusted simultaneously by the corrector at 9 o’ clock all housed in a 46mm case.

The dial also features a perpetual equation of time window, protected by a sapphire crystal and permanently displaying the difference between the time in space (sidereal time) and the time on earth (civil time). And for those who prefer to keep track of the stars in a more symbolic way, a zodiac calendar may appear in the same position.

The Grand Tourbillon Perpetual is a fine example of horological expertise realised by a brand that remains true to the pioneering spirit of one of the great British Masters.

And the asking price? Somewhere in the region of $350,000.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GRAHAM Oversize Chronofighter Referee: timing the RBS 6 Nations Cup for fourth consecutive year.

With the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship well under way, GRAHAM is the Official Timekeeper of the 6 Nations Championship for the fourth consecutive year.

GRAHAM provides all RBS 6 Nations referees with the Oversize Chronofighter Referee chronographs.

The Chronofighter Oversize Referee is perfectly suited to the tough and intense atmosphere of this legendary tournament which involves six of the best northern hemisphere rugby nations.

The watch features the 6 squads’ colours in the second counter at 3 o’clock. The official logo is also on the case back. As the watch is worn by referees in all matches, GRAHAM developed a specific titanium light-weight case with rubber coated parts. The watch is light to wear and safe.

The white dial emphasises the 30 double-graduated minutes counter at 6 o’clock.

The movement is a modified Valgrange that displays 3 counters. The minute counter shows an internal 40 minutes graduation which accurately times the halves of each match.

The referee can control the match time and operate the watch smoothly using the left drive lever mechanism, something unique to the brand. In fact it is so intuitive to use that referees don’t even need to look at it.

For 2012, the watch, limited to just 250 pieces, comes with a blue hypoallergenic strap combining precision, readability and advanced materials in one stunning watch. Price is likely to be around $8,700.


Functions: Chronograph, (seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours counters) Date at 9 o' clock. Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 47 mm titanium
Movement: Calibre G1735, automatic tri-compax chronograph, 25 jewels, 28’800 A/h (4Hz), Incabloc shock absorber,
Power reserve: 48 hours
Lens: Domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both faces
Caseback: See-through sapphire with RBS 6 Nations’ logo,
Strap: Integrated blue rubber
Water resistance: 100m

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bell & Ross BR-03 90 Grande Date and Réserve de Marche

Described by French/Swiss watch manufacture Bell & Ross as an aviation watch designed for the needs of professionals, the BR03-90 is American designed and equipped with a Swiss-made mechanical automatic movement.

Featuring the classic clean look inspired by the BR01-92, this watch is the first in the BR03 range to feature both a ‘big date’ view and a large visible power reserve, positioned at 6 o’clock.

The power reserve indicator from the Soprod 9090 movement reads like a fuel gauge on an aircraft instrument panel. The 42mm polished and satin-finished case is 100 metres water resistant.

Beneath the sapphire crystal, the galvanic matte black dial combined features photoluminescent index, numerals and hands to deliver excellent visibility in all conditions.

The power reserve indicator is the most prominent dial element. Other useful features include a date display positioned at the 12 o’clock mark, matte galvanic black dial, satin-brushed steel and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating.

Rubber and heavy canvas straps are included, and the retail price is US$4,800 but it can be snapped up for $1000 less with some careful web surfing.


•    Case: Diameter 42 mm Satin-Brushed Steel
•    Glass: Crystal Sapphire with Anti-Reflective Treatment
•    Dial: Matte Galvanic Black with Photo-Luninescent Coating
•    Hands: Photo-Luninescent Coating 
Movement: Automatic Mechanical
•    Strap: Black Rubber with Heavy Duty Synthetic Fabric
•    Buckle: Pin Buckle. Satin-Brushed Steel

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Zenith concentrate: El Primero Chronomaster 1969 chronograph

The new El Primero Chronomaster 1969 chronograph, like Campbell’s soup, is a concentrated blend of all that is good about Zenith.

This revised classic bears the historical colours of the first El Primero chronograph and, for the first time, the dial opening reveals the beating heart of the movement – the signature of the Manufacture Zenith.

Pure Zenith

In 1969, the El Primero cut a distinctive dash with its multi-hued dial featuring three counters in different colours and a red sweep seconds chronograph hand for enhanced readability.

Now these same colours are echoed on the new El Primero Chronomaster 1969 chronograph: the two 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 6 o’clock respectively feature the same colours as the original 1969 El Primero model: midnight blue for the former and anthracite for the latter.

The dial opening reveals an exceptional movement, another Zenith innovation, and for the first time this is linked with the colour codes of the original 1969 chronograph.

The cutaway provides fascinating glimpses of what is now arguably regarded as “the world’s best series-produced movement.”

Zenith movement design engineers and watchmakers rethought the construction of the calibre and shifted the regulating organ – and its 10 vibrations per second – to 10 o’clock, on the periphery of the movement.

New El Primero movement 

The Chronomaster 1969 houses a new automatic chronograph movement developed and produced in-house, the El Primero Calibre 4061.

Like all El Primero movements, it beats at a frequency of 10 vibrations per second (or 36,000 vibrations per hour) and can thereby measure 1/10ths of a second. With an approximately 50-hour power reserve it comprises 282 parts and meticulous finishes.

The new El Primero displays the hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, as well as the chronograph function with a central sweep seconds hand along with 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 6 o’clock respectively.

It comes with a 42 mm-diameter steel case that is water-resistant to 100 metres and equipped with vintage-style round pushbuttons. As for the strap, the new El Primero comes on a black alligator leather band complete with steel buckle.


El Primero 4061, automatic
Calibre : 13¼ ``` (Diameter: 30 mm)
Thickness : 6.60 mm
Components : 282
Jewels : 31
Frequency : 36,000 VpH – (5 Hz)
Power reserve : min. 50 hours
Finishings : Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” pattern.

Hours and minutes in the centre Small seconds at 9 o’clock 2-counter chronograph Central chronograph hand
30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
12-hour counter at 6 o’clock
Case, dial & hands
Material: Stainless steel
Diameter: 42 mm
Diameter opening: 37.10 mm
Crystal: Box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflection treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 10 ATM
Dial: Silver sunray with 2 coloured counters
Hour-markers: Rhodium with SuperLuminova SLN C1, faceted
Hands: Rhodium with SuperLuminova SLN C1, faceted

Strap & buckles
Alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining black alligator leather
Ref.: 27.00.2118.496
Stainless steel buckles Stainless steel pin buckle
Ref.: 27.01.0018.008
Stainless steel triple folding clasp (optional)
Ref.: 27.03.0138.940

Featured watch brands

Casio Edifice

Blog archive

RSS feeds

Watchuseek sponsors