Watchuseek Blog

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pequignet Watches - French Designed, Swiss Made

The savvy watch collector tends to stay away from the more commonplace brands and seek out something a little different.  One watch brand that offers a degree of individuality is Pequignet Watches.  The brand has recently been added to the range at UK online retailer The Watch Hut.

The French brand offers something different for watch fans, something that is distinctly Gallic in its style, but draws on the engineering talents found on the Swiss side of the border to deliver high quality watches. The design is what draws the buyer to the watch.  Whilst many brands go for broke, with pieces verging on Haute Couture, Pequignet offers a more classic look than its contemporaries.

Pequignet concentrates on giving its watches a longer lasting quality in its designs that exude the elegance and spirit of their home nation. This illusion of timelessness is amongst the reasons why the brand has been consistently popular ever since its launch. 

The brand, which is available at The Watch Hut and other top retailers, offers a number of watches, but for fans the top end of the genre is where the more impressive movements can be seen.  The company has become a true ‘manufacture’; the result of these investments has been the Calibre Royal.

The company set out with a blank page in the designers’ book and a desire to make a simple honest movement that made the best use of modern technologies.  Around five years ago the team brought in experience from some of the finest horological minds in neighbouring Swiss canton of Jura to work on the new mechanism.  Amongst the team where watchmaker Ludovic Perez and engineer Hoy Van Tran.

These watches have been built with serviceability in mind. For instance the whole escarpment and balance can be removed for servicing without taking apart the rest of the mechanism.  It also offers a variable inertia screw to make set up easier and more reliable. With production set to reach 3000 pieces a year this may become a key point of efficiency for the company.

California retro cool: New Britain watches

There’s absolutely no shortage of watch brands, but there is a shortage of good quality mechanical watches at the sub $5000 mark. This is something that New Britain watches has sought to redress with a new collection of watches that take design and technical cues from Swiss watches worth a great deal more.

An American brand, the inspiration behind the watches is 1950s California cool; the freedom of the open road, a Black Lightning motorcycle powering its way full pelt across the salt flats, and generally the aura of retro stuff that the History Channel’s 'American Pickers' would find awesomely desirable.

New Britain's watchmakers have not merely opted for order by numbers cases and casually slapped in un-retouched movements. The watches are hand assembled in Switzerland. The Unitas 6498/1, the movement, used in similarly priced watches, and in Panerai watches too, are finished to an extremely high level. The bridges have been sand-blasted and there are bevelled edges with a high-polish finish and high polished screws too.  The movements are then manually wound and tuned to COSC standards, The see-through caseback also allows a glimpse of the inner workings.

Quality is present through and through; we are told the chunky 45mm cases are made of a single block of AISI316L high grade steel, there’s a retro coin-edged bevel, and the dials are reminiscent of vintage motorbike speedometers.

Each of the three watches in the collection are mounted on hand-sewn brown leather straps with hypoallergenic lining.

And the price? A California cool $3,200.00

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