Watchuseek Blog

Friday, August 31, 2012

One new size, two new faces: Milus Tirion Triretrograde

As Madonna will no doubt confirm, the key to success is to keep reinventing yourself, and the Tirion TriRetrograde has managed to do just that very successfully. The Milus Tirion Triretrograde  is is now available in a 42-mm case, with two dials expressingwhich express highly differing and individual styles.

Originally launched in 2008, the Tirion TriRetrograde has an original mechanism with a triple retrograde seconds display shared by three twenty-second sections. The automatic mechanical movement was created by expert engineers.

The Triretrograde works in a number of different guises; in the fully open-worked Skeleton models it’s graceful. In the black steel and gold it is powerful and with coloured flanges – red, blue, brown, or silver – it’s contemporary and dynamic.

The new 42- millimetre version, has been designed to align itself with he larger to accompany the 45- and 47-millimetre models, and it’s not just about size. The Tirion 42 is a new model with two distinct dials.

In the "Clous de Paris" version the white dial features a delicate guilloché decor in the traditional Swiss watchmaking tradition. Showing the passage of the hours, minutes and seconds are blued openworked hands layered with luminescent paint. Blued Roman numerals and applique indices alternate on the silvery flange.

The skeleton model, features a charcoal flange frames against a sandy grey backdrop. Small blued screws hold the silvery bridges, while the open-worked hour and minute hands are enhanced with a luminescent coating.
Both models have a domed sapphire crystal and a transparent case back allowing glimpse of  the high-precision Swiss movement.

The TriRetrograde mechanism

Exclusive to Milus, the 3838 TriRetrograde mechanism displays the seconds on three separate arcs at 6, 9 and 3 o'clock. The three hands travel twenty seconds successively, each "passing the torch" to the next one and returning at lightning speed to its point of departure, making the passage of time a playful and fascinating spectacle.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A legend revived: Thomas Mercer Chronometers

 Click image for larger view

One by one the leading British watch, clock and chronometer makers are being brought back to life. Graham Watches, John Arnold (a keen competitor of Thomas Mercer in those far off days), and now Thomas Mercer itself. 

Thomas Mercer is synonymous in the best in navigation. Thomas Mercer Ltd made chronometers, clocks, instruments and measuring equipment in London and St. Albans, from 1858 until 1984, when dial gauges were being replaced by electronic measuring devices and chronometers by GPS. For 126 years, Thomas Mercer and his successors had, between them, made over 30,000 chronometers of all types. Now restored to its former glory, this proud British company is based in Richmond upon Thames. 

September 2012 will see the revival of this legendary chronometer brand. At the Monaco Yacht Show, Thomas Mercer Ltd will unveil the new Thomas Mercer Chronometer designed by the world-renowned superyacht designer Andrew Winch.

The timepiece will be equipped with the mechanism TM0801, whose totally new design features 8-day power reserve, chain and fusee and spring detente escapement, and will be mounted on the quintessential gimballed suspension.

Propelled by this exciting collaboration between two illustrious British names, which combines the style and beauty of a Winch design with the precision and expertise of Thomas Mercer, the marine chronometer is evolving into a revolutionary design object desired and anticipated by the owners of the world’s finest yachts.

How the legend began

Thomas Mercer Ltd enjoys an illustrious history, but it very nearly never got off the ground. In 1854, having decided that the English watch and clock industry held no future for him, 32 year old Mercer took a coach to London and bought himself a one-way ticket to America. 

While awaiting passage, he saw a marine chronometer in the shop window of John Fletcher, one of the most important chronometer makers of the day. He walked in and asked for work, and was accepted as a watch springer and finisher. 

During this period, the Greenwich premium trials were being held, to enable the Royal Navy to find makers capable of supplying and servicing chronometers that could be relied on to perform accurately and consistently under the extremes of temperature and motion encountered at sea. High prices were paid for chronometers that passed these trials. Two years later, Mercer left Fletcher's service to set up on his own as a chronometer maker at New North Road, London.

Mercer became involved in the British Horological Institute, in 1874 he set up a factory behind his house at 14–15 Prospect Road St Albans. Each Friday he travelled the 20 miles to collect finished parts from his specialist outworkers in Clerkenwell and called into the Horological Institute. 

At the time of his death he had been responsible for the manufacture of over 5,000 chronometers, sold to the Royal Navy and to the navies of the world.

What is a marine chronometer?

A marine chronometer is a clock which is precise enough to be used as a portable time standard; it can therefore be used to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation. When first developed in the eighteenth century it was a major technical achievement, as accurate knowledge of the time over a long sea voyage is necessary for navigation, lacking electronic or communications aids. The first true chronometer was the life work of one man, John Harrison, spanning 31 years of persistent trial and error that revolutionised naval (and later aerial) navigation as the Age of Discovery and helped Colonialism to reach new heights. Without the Marine Chronometer there would have been no British Empire.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Effortlessly elegant: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar

Few watch brands manage to produce such effortlessly elegant creations as Vacheron Constantin, and this year is no exception. VC have just released two new models in the Overseas collection, their sporting and technical line.

The first of these is the Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar model, with its 18-carat pink gold case it features a masterful blend of sophistication and technical Haute Horlogerie.

Limited to 80 pieces, the watch boasts a chronograph and a perpetual calendar – two of the complications most favoured by watch connoisseurs.

The bezel is inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s Maltese Cross emblem, along with the hour-markers, crown, screw-lock pushers, as well as the case-back enhanced by a raised medallion depicting the famous three-mast Amerigo Vespucci ship.

As with all men’s Overseas models,  its 18-carat pink gold 42 mm-diameter case is guaranteed water-resistant to 15 bar (approximately 150 metres) and houses a soft iron cage protecting the mechanical movement from magnetic fields of up to 25,000 A/m.

Again like the other timepieces in this collection, the hands and hour-markers are accented with white luminescent substance to ensure perfect readability even in the dark.

The watch is powered by a Calibre 1136 QP with 228 parts: a mechanical self-winding movement with around a 40- hour power reserve which beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour. In addition to the hours, minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock, the movement powers the chronograph functions – sweep seconds-hand, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock – as well as those of the perpetual calendar – day of the week, date, 48-month counter with leap years as well as a moon-phase display.

The Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar comes on two choices of strap: one in vulcanised brown rubber and the other in brown alligator leather. 

The watch is presented in  a luxurious case equipped with a rotating mechanism that enables the watch – when not worn – to be kept perpetually wound so as to ensure that the perpetual calendar is properly adjusted.  

We’ll feature the second of the new VC’s, the Overseas Chronograph, tomorrow.


Reference: 1136 QP
Energy: automatic
Thickness (mm): 7.90
Diameter (mm): 28.00 (11''' ¼)
Number of parts: 228
Number of jewels: 37
Frequency: 3 Hz (21'600 v.p.h.)
Power-reserve (hours): 40 approx.
Indication: hours, minutes, small second, perpetual calendar (hand-type calendar, day of the week, month, leap year, moon phases), chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Insert coin: Romain Jerome PAC-MAN Fever Limited Edition series

Love or hate Romain Jerome’s unusual take on watches, no one could ever accuse him of taking the tried and trusted route to haute horology. His latest offering to the watch world is a limited series of 80 watches inspired by the cult of PAC-MAN™. 

Developed in association with NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., Romain Jerome has brought the famous yellow chomping character back to life with four series of 20 pieces paying tribute to what is still a hugely popular video game.
PAC-MAN followed the huge success of SPACE INVADERS and reached an even larger audience including a large percentage of female players.

When the game was first launched in the United States, its popularity soon overtook that of Japan, resulting in an unprecedented craze called "PAC-MAN FEVER". With over 300,000 arcade game units sold all over the world, PAC-MAN remains among the most popular arcade and video games of all time. 

The Romain Jerome ‘PAC-MAN Fever’ series 

The PAC-MAN watches are housed in the same 46mm case as the earlier RJ Space Invaders watches. The four ball-and socket joints at the corners of the case are functional and designed like the legs of the lunar landing module in American lunar expeditions. Boasting a highly sophisticated construction, and mounted on axles anchored in the case, these ball-and-socket joints hold the lugs of the rubber straps and their mobility make the watch easily adaptable to all wrist sizes. 

On the back of the watch, a disc made of Moon SilverRJ – a low-oxidation silver fused with moon rocks – reproduces the surface of the Moon. Each of the three dial levels is engraved with a pixillated matrix. The lower two levels are bead-blasted, while the upper level features straight-grained edges.

The characters and fruits adorning the dial stem were machined piece by piece, applied by hand and gem-set, and then lacquered, either  with different colours or with black superluminova 'green emission', thereby recreating actual game sequences.

In June 2005, the Guinness Book of Records awarded PAC-MAN the record for being the "most successful coin-operated game machine". 

The four versions are described as the ultimate in ‘geek chic’ will be available exclusively available at Colette, in Paris, from September 3 to 8. The pixelated characters will be on show at all RJ-Romain Jerome points of sale from September 10th.

Standby for overnight queues in Paris.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Biver and Bolt: Jean Claude gifts Usain a new King Power Unico All Carbon watch

Another day, another top celebrity meet and greet for Mr. Jean-Claude Biver, Hublot Chairman, this time at his own home. He and Mr. Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot CEO, gathered to welcome living legend and brand ambassador, Usain Bolt, at an informal party near Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

The afternoon began with a rare taste of Switzerland - a private helicopter ride over Switzerland’s famous Alps to enjoy the stunning Swiss landscape. 

Landing at Mr. Biver’s private residence, Usain was greeted by the Hublot family who hosted him to celebrate not only his amazing achievements at the recent games in London, but also the sprinter’s 26th birthday. 

Bolt was presented with a special cake made by Swiss Chef Benoit Viollier from the Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville in Crissier/Lausanne.

To top off the celebration, Hublot also presented Bolt with a unique present - a King Power Unico All Carbon, with a customized case-back, as a gift for his London victories. There are no pictures provided of Usain's customised King Power, but this is the model in question, and it's significantly over $26,000 worth of birthday present.

In true ‘Lightning Bolt’ style, Usain showed off his three gold medals to the Hublot friends & family in attendance. 

“I had a great time with the Hublot team and I was really touched by their gifts and warm welcoming. It is an honoor to be part of this family, who always support and believe in me” Usain Bolt.
“We were thrilled to host legendary sprinter Usain Bolt today and to celebrate his 26th birthday. Jean-Claude Biver, Chairman and Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot.

After the party the champion had to dash back by helicopter to get down to work on the running track! And it paid off too because the ultimate showman picked up in Lausanne where he left off in London, playing air guitar on his blocks before cruising to victory in the 200m!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Under the hammer: Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Have you booked your ticket to Hong Kong for tomorrow’s auction of Important Modern and Vintage timepieces? Better shift into high gear.

Antiquorum Auctioneers, the world's premier watch auctioneer, is conducting the auction tomorrow, August 25th, at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and if you’re not there you will miss out on some true tourbillion rarities.

Collectors will have the opportunity to bid on no less than 211 exceptional modern and vintage timepieces. Some of the highlights include:

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2
Estimate: HKD 1,200,000 - 1,600,000

A Jaeger LeCoultre, Ref.233.64.20, "Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2" in platinum. Made in a limited edition of 75 pieces circa 2009, this extraordinary watch is a large reversible platinum wristwatch with visible Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 174 with inclined two-cage multi-axis spherical tourbillon, 50 hour power reserve and 24-hour indication.

Harry Winston Ocean Tourbillon 110 Hours
Estimate: HKD 400,000 - 600,000

The watch up for auction is No. 34/80, produced in a limited edition of 80 pieces in 2006. This fine and rare, large 18K white gold wristwatch with visible one-minute tourbillon, 110 hours power-reserve and comes complete with an 18K white gold Harry Winston buckle. It is accompanied by a Harry Winston box and guarantee.

DeWitt "Academia One Minute Tourbillon Mysterieux,"

Estimate: HKD: 300,000 - 400,000

No. 23/50 is under the hammer, made in a limited edition of 50 pieces circa 2006. This is a very fine and oversized, one minute tourbillon wristwatch in 18K pink gold with an 18K pink gold DeWitt double deployant clasp.

Breguet Tourbillon in white gold, Ref.3357
Estimate: HKD 200,000 - 300,000

Not to be missed is the Breguet Tourbillon in white gold, Ref.3357, Brevet du 7 Messidor An 9.Tourbillon No. 2800. Made in the ‘90's, this fine and rare white gold wristwatch with visible one-minute tourbillon regulator comes on an 18K white gold Breguet deployant clasp.

Omega, De Ville-Central Tourbillon
Estimate: HKD 200,000 - 250,000

Collectors will no doubt be competing for the Omega, De Ville-Central Tourbillon wristwatch in 18K yellow gold, No. 11. Launched in 1994, this is the world's first automatic wristwatch with central tourbillon regulator made in honour of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Omega. This example is a rare, diamond chronometer wristwatch with visible central one-minute flying tourbillon regulator and Omega 18K yellow gold deployant clasp. It is accompanied by an Omega box.

Auction: Saturday, August 25, 2012
Session: lots 1-211 at 11 a.m.
Venue: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
1st floor, 5 Connaught Road Central
Hong Kong

Thursday, August 23, 2012

One giant leap, four world records: Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Chronograph

Zenith Ambassador Felix Baumgartner is set to break the sound barrier with the human body.

Wearing the all-new El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th chronograph, Zenith Ambassador Felix Baumgartner is taking the plunge in the summer of 2012: the Austrian will jump out of a capsule suspended from a balloon in the stratosphere at an altitude of over 120,000 feet / 36.5 kilometres, nearly four times higher than passenger planes typically fly. It’s a mission to the very edge of space.

Sponsored by Red Bull Stratos and Zenith, the project will attempt to smash four world records:

•          The highest manned balloon flight

•          The highest freefall

•          The longest freefall time

•          and, a world first -breaking the sound barrier with the human body.

The ultimate airborne challenge 

 Should Felix Baumgartner succeed in breaking the sound barrier while descending to earth, it will be a Zenith firmly clasped around his wrist, and the first watch in history to cross the sound barrier in a near space environment.

Zenith “trials by fire have included the El Primero that crossed the Atlantic fixed to the landing gear of a Boeing 707 in 1970, on a flight from Paris to New York.

Subjected to drastic changes in temperature, pressure and terrible jolting, it maintained its regular cadence of 36,000 vibrations per hour and required no adjustment, having remained accurate to the nearest second – apart from the inevitable time zone difference.

This mission in the stratosphere will test the reliability of Zenith watches under the most extreme conditions: temperature, low pressure, speed, friction, and impacts.

 “We have often been forerunners in unexplored domains and we have accompanied people in there most incredible projects. It is this ability to come up with new ideas, and then push through with new technical developments before anyone else that is most fascinating at Zenith." Zenith CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour

Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Chronograph

As the heir to the Rainbow Flyback model developed for the French Air Force in 1997, the Stratos is equipped with the world’s most accurate automatic chronograph movement – the legendary El Primero – as well as the Striking 10th and Flyback functions. Watches and cockpit flight instruments are subjected to abrupt variations in pressure, intense vibrations and violent accelerations – from 9G to 11G. With its robust construction, the El Primero Stratos will be right there with Felix Baumgartner as he tests the edge of the human envelope. 

Win a chance to meet Felix Baumgartner!

From July 30 to August 30, 2012 Zenith is organising a contest offering the winner an exclusive chance to meet Felix Baumgartner. Participants may also win a special Red Bull Stratos bag.

For your chance to win, simply estimate the correct time taken by an El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th watch to fall from an altitude of 36,500 metres. See the Zenith microsite for further details.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oktopus in blue: Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Double Date Titanium Blue

We featured the Oktopus II Double Date way back in early March and we told you then that you would have to wait until Autumn 2012 to get your hands on one. 

Now the watches are starting to roll out, and in the process they are whipping up another feeding frenzy among all the watch journals and watch blogs. Watch bloggers tend to get more excited over the launch of a new LW than they ever do over a carefully stage managed new Hublot variation. 

The new addition to the Oktopus family is the stunning Oktopus II Double Date Titanium Blue, which is arguably the best looking of them all.

The new Oktopus II “Titanium Blue” will join the ‘Titanium Yellow’ and ‘Rose Gold’ models in the Oktopus family.  The Titanium Blue perfectly embodies the diving and water theme of the watch, and is a great alternative to LW fans who prefer something more subtle than the Titanium Yellow.

These then are the essential ingredients of the Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Double Date

5-part case

The Oktopus II Double Date’s innovative five part case construction ensures absolute water resistance as well as excellent protection against seawater corrosion. The four case parts at three, six, nine and twelve o’clock, are built separately from the movement chamber and are used to attach the strap as well as to hold the attachable instrument.

The construction was inspired by the air-tight pressure chamber used for diving simulations when testing both the Oktopus II and the Reef. All the screws comprise of laminated tension discs to tighten and reinforce the construction.

The mechanism is perfectly protected as it is housed inside a special chamber that is totally sealed and separated from the other four parts of the case.

Robust 15.25mm x 46mm case

The case is a robust 15.25mm thick by 46mm, which makes for easy and assured handling while under water.

“To guarantee this we have chosen anticorrosive materials such as gold, titanium and ceramic, the last employed for the first time on our timepieces,”
explains Morten Linde.

Cutting-edge precision

As Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin went on to explain, the new Oktopus II had been crafted with such precision that it would not be possible to create it just 10 years ago. The watch is water resistant up to 300 metres.

2-layer dial

The dial of the Oktopus II is built in two layers. The upper level is cut out in a stencil, it bears the LW logo and indexes 3, 6 and 9 in superluminova, together with the big calendar wheels, the dial reveals the icon of an octopus.

The lower dial is made with a circular Cote de Genève dial to give the effect of water ripples. Two circular wheels indicate the date through the unmissable double date aperture at 12 o’clock.

Custom-made movement

The Oktopus II is powered by a Dubois Depraz Calibre 14580 self-winding movement specially made for Linde Werdelin and provides 44 hour of power-reserve.


Oktopus II – Double Date Titanium Blue in titanium and ceramic with blue accents retails at around $9,128.00.

Oktopus II – Double Date Titanium Yellow in titanium, titanium DLC and ceramic with yellow accents retails at around  $9,751.00.

Oktopus II – Double Date Rose Gold in rose gold and titanium retails at around  $19,150.00, all exclusive of VAT.

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