Watchuseek Blog

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Commanding presence: Mido Commander II

The Mido Commander, one of the stand out models in the Mido portfolio, has been given a new look design without losing any of its distinctive character.  Perhaps one of the unsung heroes of the Swatch Group, Mido nonetheless still produce some very handsome watches.

With an anthracite sunray satinated finish, the Commander II still bears the inscription “datoday”, signifying the day and date aperture. Through their shape the applied indexes are said to evoke the latticework of the Eiffel Tower – though it has to be said, it’s very subtle. 

They are treated with white Super-LumiNova, as are the hour and minute hands, making it easy to tell the time even at night. The crown remains integrated in the case, which has evolved from a one-piece design to a three-part structure.

The automatic movement is an ETA 2836-2 with a 38 hour power reserve. The 40 mm timepiece is mounted on a satin-finished 316L stainless steel bracelet and is also available with a silver or black dial. Price is around $980.00

About Mido

Founded in 1918 by George Schaeren, the Mido brand began life making a range of art deco inspired watches that featured innovative designs and unique shapes. Schaeren was quite an innovator himself and by 1920 he came up with the ingenious idea of producing a range of wristwatches that were shaped like the radiator design found on such cars as Lancia, Bugatti and Hispano-Suiza, which he sold to the members of respective automobile clubs and associations as a form of membership card.

The sales psychology and marketing behind the idea was brilliant. Only very wealthy people could really afford to buy cars in the 1920’s, which meant that Schaeren could target these same people to buy one of his watches, which of course would have its own hefty price tag attached. Mido watches proved to be very popular with drivers as  the watches enabled them to show others that they owned a Lancias, Bugatti or Hispano-Suizas without having to be behind the wheel of the car itself.

Today Mido is a member of the Swatch Group, a stablemate of other mid-range Swiss brands including Tissot and Certina.


Movement: Mechanical automatic, ETA 2836-2 calibre, 111/2 lines, 28,800 vib/h, 25 jewels, minimum 38-hour power reserve, "Côtes de Genève" motif
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day and date
Case: 316L stainless steel, 40 mm, Sapphire crystal, Engraved series number on the back
Water-resistant to: 50 m (5 bar/5 ATM/165 ft)
Dial: Anthracite, silver-toned or black with sunburst satin finish
Hands: coated with Superluminova, Applied hour-markers
Day and date window at 3 o'clock
Bracelet/Strap:Satin-finish 316L stainless steel with steel folding clasp 

Visit the Mido website

Cheek to cheek: Hamilton Jazzmaster Face2Face

House of Swatch brand the hitoric American watchmaker Hamilton has released a new novelty in time for Baselworld 2013. Called the Hamilton Jazzmaster Face2Face, the 53mm watch can be flipped open to showcase two completely independent watch dials.

The Jazzmaster Face2Face comes equipped with not one but two Swiss automatic movements, the first movement powered by an ETA 2094 is paired with a semi-transparent dial that showcases the date disc and a chronograph function with central indicators. 

The simpler movement is equipped with an ETA 2671 movement that depicts only time. The watch comes with a sapphire crystal case at the front and back to allow both dials and movements to be clearly visible.

The watch works via a unique rotating case presenting two quite different faces. One a chronograph, the other an elegant three-hander.

The link between the two faces are the skeletonised rotors of each automatic movement, fully visible in the oval-shaped case. Each individual watch incorporates two wearing options, to suit the mood or the occasion.  Of course the two faces can each be set to different times zones. 

The Jazzmaster Face2Face comes on a black leather strap with blue stitching, the watch is released in an auspiciously  limited edition of 888 pieces that will retail for a price of USD $6,550. 

Visit the Hamilton website

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

80 hour power: Tissot Powermatic 80 Luxury Automatic

When you’re a mid-priced Swiss brand, what it is to have the world’s largest manufacturer of Swiss watch movements as your stable mate. Tissot have stolen a first in co-operation with partners and co Swatch Group members ETA to develop a new collection of watches called the Powermatic80 series with a previously unattainable power reserve of - you guessed it – 80 hours.  Most comparable movements offer power reserves around 42 hours.

The new movement greatly reduces the consumption of energy required by the movment , with the oscillation frequency reduced from 4 Hz to 3 Hz (21,600 vph), a high-performance synthetic material was used in the escapement to reduce friction. Also, the diameter of the barrel-arbor’s core has been reduced, enabling the mainspring to be stretched, thereby increasing the power reserve. The balance has also been regulated so that it increases the precision.

The new movement, officially designated ETA/Tissot C07.111, is 25.6 mm in diameter and 4.6 mm thick, with a total of 143 components including 23 jewels. 

Despite the new technology, its performance functions remain traditional, with centre-mounted hours and minutes and a date indication at 3 o’clock.

The Tissot Luxury Automatic Gent models are made from 316L stainless steel cases, 41 mm in diameter and weigh 155 grams, with all the usual trimmings of sapphire crystals, see-through casebacks, and 50-meter water resistance.

The watches come with either a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet, both with push-button butterfly clasps. Two references are available with 12 Top Wesselton diamonds. Prices will range from $1,075 to $1,550.

Ladies watches in a smaller 33mm case are also available, they include a choice of 11 Top Wesselton diamonds, one with a mother-of-pearl dial and 56 Top Wesselton diamonds. 

Also available are two-tone models  with yellow-gold or rose-gold PVD. Prices will range from $1,225 to $1,575.

Visit the Tissot website

An exclusive club: ARMIN Strom Tourbillon Water

Biel-based ARMIN Strom went on a tour with a tourbillon watch  - or four of them to be exact - last October, but now the Tourbillon Water reaches the market with just 50 pieces available for an extremely limited edition watch.

The Manufacture joins the highly exclusive club of horologers that develop and produce their own tourbillon movements. The tourbillon of the new ATC11 calibre is distinguished by a lever worked in 18ct white gold and an assembly that places the balance wheel and seconds pinion on the same axis.

A hallmark of the Tourbillon Collection is the exposed, intricate inner mechanics. The brand has promoted modern forms of skeletonising, with designs integrated from the early stages of the calibre before being entirely crafted by hand in the Manufacture.

The ARMIN Tourbillon Collection, based on the elements Earth, Fire, Water and Air, is said to pay testament to the Manufacture’s full spectrum of watchmaking skills.

Tourbillon Tour


From 25th October to 15th November 2012, the Swiss brand owners jetted off on a world tour to present the Brand’s new ATC11 tourbillon movement. At presentations in Interlaken, Dubai, Singapore and Los Angeles, four different timepieces were unveiled, each exceptionally decorated and enclosed within a ‘Coffret Tourbillon’,  limited to four editions.

Visit the ARMIN Strom website

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

They make it look so easy: Girard-Perregaux 1966 Small Seconds

Sometimes simple is best. Girard-Perregaux have understood this completely with the release of the new 1966 Small Seconds collection.

Since its creation, the models of Girard-Perregaux’s 1966 collection have had a timeless appeal because the design is so confidently classical. This year, new touches have been added such as a date window at 3 o’clock thoughfully blanced by a small seconds display at 9 o’clock. But behind the disarming simplicity lies the assurance of GP’s technical mastery.

The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Small Second and Date watch is available in two versions of the dial, one in silvered opaline and the other in a rich cognac with the sheen of a sun-brushed finish.

The meticulous and subtle finishing draws on all the specialist expertise of the brand’s watchmakers and craftsmen. The watch features a pink gold 41mm case, curved dial and a slightly spherical sapphire glass. The diamond-polished sloping bezel enhances these editions, which have delicately faceted hour markers to reflect the light, as well as  slightly recessed small seconds subdial.

The applied hour-markers which hem the dial have faceted ends to mark the slope.

The case’s sapphire glass on the case back opens onto the automatic mechanical calibre GP01890-0003, designed in the Manufacture’s R&D department, entirely made and assembled in its workshops. With its 54 hours power reserve, it winds itself with the help of its pink gold rotor.

Visit the Girard-Perregaux website

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pre-Baselworld 2013: Omega Ladymatic

OMEGA, like many high-end brands, are switching their full and uncompromising gaze onto women’s watches this season. Several luxurious new collections have been created as brands have taken on board that women are becoming increasingly interested in watches.

The fashion-forward design of the Ladymatic collection, paired with the innovative OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8520 within each of its timepieces, has become even more exquisite with the newest models featuring bold, attractive dials.   

Known for its captivating look, the Ladymatic has been a prestigious example of the brand’s style and invention since its launch in 2010.

These striking OMEGA Ladymatic timepieces have a 34 mm polished stainless steel case with white, black or rose ceramic between the decorative wave and inner casebody. Each is presented on either a matching satin-brushed leather strap or a polished stainless steel bracelet.

The dials, with their enchanting Supernova pattern, are made even more brilliant with 11 diamond-set indexes in facetted 18K white gold diamond-shaped holders, and there is a date window at the 3 o’clock position. The polished alpha-shaped minute, hour and seconds hands are crafted from 18K white gold and the minute and hour hands are coated with white Super-LumiNova. A domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides protects the evocative dials.  

The “Brilliant Omega Cut” diamond found on the screw-in crown is complemented by the wearer’s choice of a dazzling bezel with diamonds arranged in a snow-set pattern, or the pure and elegant polished stainless steel bezel. 

The polished caseback of each stylish piece features a sapphire crystal, offering a clear view of the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8520 within. The Co-Axial escapement combined with OMEGA’s exclusive Si14 silicon balance spring offer such reliability that these officially certified chronometers are offered with a full four-year warranty.

Visit the Omega website

Friday, February 22, 2013

Power point: Carl F. Bucherer Manero Power Reserve

Baselworld 2013 is rapidly approaching and that means brands both large and exclusive are unveiling some of the watches that will be putting in an appearance.

Watchmaker Carl F. Bucherer has just unveiled the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Power Reserve. The watch comes in a 42.5mm stainless steel case with a brushed dual-tone dial.

The watch has a pair of central indicators and stainless steel hour markers, with a large date aperture located at the 11 o’clock position will instantly draw your attention. True to the name of the watch, the manufacture has also equipped the watch with an integrated power reserve indicator located between 2 and 3 o’clock.

Power reserve indicator

The power reserve indication is a classic design element steeped in tradition. Originally used in marine chronometers, this indication soon became established in wristwatches too. The idea behind it is to indicate the current state of tension of the mainspring and or how long the watch will continue to run. As the power runs down, the hand moves into an area that is shaded red. Also visible at a glance are the day of the week at 9 o’clock, the particularly large big date at 11 o’clock, and the integrated small seconds at 6 o’clock.

Calibre CFB A1011 movement

For the first time in the Manero model, the watch is powered by the high-precision CFB A1011 Manufacture calibre, a blend of high functionality and sophisticated technology with a 55 hour power reserve. A special feature of the movement is the peripheral, bidirectional oscillating weight that supplies the automatic gear train with power. The patented dynamic shock absorber known as “Dynamic Shock Absorption” (DSA) provides maximum efficiency and reliability.

The silver-coloured dial is divided into an outer ring and an inner ring. While all the functions are located in the light-coloured inner circle, the darker outer circle is segmented by silver index markers. 

The watch is 42.5 mm with a depth of 12.54 mm and comes on a brown alligator-skin strap or stainless steel bracelet.

Visit the Carl F. Bucherer website

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Radiant blue: Christopher Ward C9 Harrison Automatic LE watch

Christopher Ward has just unveiled a stunning radiant blue 100-piece limited edition C9 Harrison Automatic which pays tribute to the British horologist John Harrison. 

John Harrison solved the “longitude problem” by creating a chronometer of much greater accuracy than ever before. Until he created his H4 ‘marine watch’ in 1761, navigating the oceans and sailing ‘into the blue’ often involved great danger and uncertainty. The accuracy of the C9 Harrison Automatic would have amazed the great man.

The timeless C9 Harrison Automatic with radiant blue galvanic dial and blue alligator strap features a Sellita SW200-1 movement and is likely to be highly sought after by Christopher Ward enthusuasts, of which there are many. The watch itself is a classic three hander with the date at 3 o’clock.

Christopher Ward was founded in 2005 and is the first luxury watchmaker to sell directly to its customers online.  By cutting out the middleman and with no retail overheads, the company offers great value, even though some of their watch lines are starting to creep up in price. This particular model is priced at £599 – approximately US$909.00. However, a limited edition Swiss made watch still represent excellent ‘vfm’ at that price.

C9 Harrison Automatic Chronograph


In addition to the standard automatic is a pricier chronograph model, a limited edition of just 250 pieces. The watch runs on a Valjoux 7750 movement and is priced at £975 - or £812.50 for overseas markets.

About John Harrison

 John Harrison (1693 – 1776) was a self-educated English carpenter and later a clockmaker. He invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought device in solving the problem of establishing the East-West position or longitude of a ship at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long distance sea travel in the Age of Sail. The problem was considered so tough to solve that the British Parliament offered a prize of £20,000 (comparable to £2.87 million in modern currency) for the solution. 

Harrison was voted as one of the top 100 Britons of all time in a BBC poll a few years ago.

Visit the Christopher Ward website

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pilots on parade: TW Steel Pilot Collection 2013

Dutch brand TW Steel, who consider themselves market leaders in the affordable oversized watch genre, has just launched a brand new 24-piece collection of pilot watches, bringing the traditional style of aviation watches up to date with flashes of unusual colours not normally associated with a traditional pilot’s watch. 

The collection features three-hand and chronograph models each powered by Miyota movements, in oversize 45mm and 48mm cases. Finishes include rose gold PVD and sandblasted titanium PVD with a range of dial colours. 

TW Steel chief designer Ton Cobelens said the collection was made in reaction to the success and demand of its previous Pilot collections. The collection will be available to UK retailers nationwide next month.

TW Steel, which stands for ‘The Watch In Steel’ is enjoying its 7th year in business having established the brand in 2005. From the moment the brand was launched it proved a huge hit in Holland and has since made a significant impact in Europe, North and South America and Asia.

Visit the TW Steel website

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Seen on screen: Bruce Willis wears Hamilton Viewmaster in new Die Hard outing

Still feeling perhaps a little stupid following his disastrous One Show appearance on BBC 1 in the UK a couple of weeks ago, (watch it here) in which the action star Bruce Willis appeared vague, bumbling and incoherent, his alter ego John McClane is nonetheless raking in good box office takings in his new movie A Good Day to Die Hard.

Watchuseek cinema goers will no doubt quickly home in on the timepiece that Willis wears in the film, a Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic. Not to be outdone, Actor Jai Courtney, who plays McClane’s estranged son, sports a Hamilton Khaki X-Patrol.

Hamilton have enjoyed starring roles in more movies than most watch brands including legendary movies such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Men in Black, the previous Die Hard movie and 2007′s Live Free or Die Hard, in which Willis, as McClane, also wore one. Then there are around 395 other appearances in movies over the decades.

In the latest adventures of ageing cop John McClane, the tough New York City cop travels to Moscow to come to the aid of his son, Jack, who has landed himself in a spot of trouble by working for the CIA. The pair of them dodge more bullets and leap off more buildings than there are moving parts in most watches as they battle the Russian underworld and try to prevent a terrorist initiated nuclear war. 

It's subtle product placement on the part of Hamilton, which they know will not be lost on watch lovers, despite the distractions of a non-stop wreck-fest of cars and buildings which occurs regularly and spectacularly throughout the movie. 

Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic


The Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic has a 44-mm stainless steel case, and is  water-resistant to 100 metres. It comes with either a black or silver-coloured dial on a choice of  either a brown, stitched leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet, and is powered by the ever faithful ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. The cost is around $795.

Hamilton Khaki X-Patrol

The slightly smaller Hamilton Khaki X-Patrol features a 42-mm stainless steel case, water-resistant to 100 metres. It has a black or silver-coloured dial and is available with either a black stitched leather or black rubber strap or a steel bracelet. The watch is powered by Hamilton’s H-21 chronograph movement and retails for $1,695.

Visit the Hamilton website

Absolute precision: Arnold & Son Instrument Collection

In January we featured the John Arnold & Son Royal Collection. The new Instrument collection is a series of important watches inspired by the timepieces produced during the second part of John Arnold’s life and later, following his death, by his son, John Roger. 

The manufacture, now run in the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry in La Chaux de Fonds, has gone to exacting trouble to re-create some of the greatest creations of one the greatest horologists; a friend and contemporary of A.L. Breguet. And they have achieved it with all the restrictions imposed by the considerably reduced working space of a wristwatch.

The Instrument Collection reflects a period when the Arnolds dedicated themselves exclusively to the quest for absolute precision and a solution to the problem of determining longitude accurately and reliably on the high seas. So successful were they, and of such high quality were their products, that within the space of a few years they had established themselves as suppliers of choice to the Royal Navy and to some of the most distinguished mariners and explorers of their day. Ultimately, they helped ensure that Britannia really did rule the waves.

All watches from the Instrument Collection host brand new manufacture movements, which have been developed, designed and manufactured entirely at the brand’s workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

The design of these new movements clearly shows the influence of the pocket watches and marine chronometers developed and crafted by John Arnold and his son.

Typical of the Instrument Collection’s design is the off-centre position of the hours and minutes indication. The second hand takes centre stage and dominates the dial, thus perfectly showcasing the down-to-the-second precision needed by marine navigators to determine longitude. This dial layout also creates space for the display of other complications without one overlapping the others, making the dial much more legible.

We feel such tireless devotion and craftsmanship on the part of the manufacture should surely entitle them the opportunity to explain the fruits of their work in full. 

DBS Equation Sidereal 


The Instrument DBS Equation Sidereal is a tribute to two watches (Nos. 1 and 2) made by John Roger Arnold that showed mean solar and sidereal time on two separate subdials. The movements of these two watches, made between 1796 and 1799, represented the state of the art in the micromechanics of their time.

The initials DBS stand for the watch’s two major complications, “double balance” and “sidereal time”. It features the newly developed manufacture A&S1311 calibre. 

The DBS Equation Sidereal has a perfectly symmetrical arrangement of the bridges, barrels and gear trains. 

The symmetry is continued on the dial side, where the two adjacent balance cocks create a harmonious circle. 

Sidereal time is displayed on the left sub-dial and mean solar time on the right. In addition, a subdial at 12 o’clock indicates the equation of both times on a 24-hour basis, which allows the user to measure the difference between mean solar time and sidereal time and to ascertain whether the time in both zones is a.m. or p.m.

Creating a precise sidereal time display is a tall order. Simply adding a second gear train to a standard movement showing mean solar time is not a viable solution because a mean sidereal day is about 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.091 seconds, which is not a round fraction of the 24 hours in a mean solar day. This means it is virtually impossible to obtain the correct rotation speed using gears. 

To guarantee the kind of precision demanded by Arnold & Son, the only choice was to create a movement with the correct rotation speed from the start: in other words a movement specifically for sidereal time. The answer was a totally new movement with a double barrel/gear train and double balance/escapement running at different speeds that enables the watch to display mean solar time and mean sidereal time simultaneously. 

This technical solution has the additional advantage that neither of the two indications saps energy from the other. Watches with a double balance and escapement are extremely rare and have almost disappeared, so it is with some pride that Arnold & Son have revived the tradition.

DBG Equation GMT


The Instrument DBS GMT embodies the perfect traveller’s watch. The initials stand for the watch’s two major complications, “double balance” and “GMT”. It features the newly developed manufacture A&S1209 calibre.

The Instrument DBG Equation GMT features two separate time displays, each driven by its own barrel and gear train with its own escapement and balance. 

This highly unusual technical specification permits the two displays to be set independently of each other. Although it is a standard feature of watches displaying two or more time zones for the hour hands to be set to different times, being able to set the minute hand as well opens up other possibilities. 

It means, for instance, that the display can be set to show the precise time in zones that differ from Greenwich Mean Time by a fraction of an hour, such as a quarter or a half. In addition, a subdial at 12 o’clock shows the equation of the two time zones on a 24-hour basis. This enables the wearer to see the time difference between the two zones and also to ascertain whether it is day or night in the second zone. Both time zones share a common permanent seconds in the shape of the long slender hand emanating from the centre of the dial, which is a hallmark feature of the new Arnold & Son’s Instrument collection



With the unmistakable design cues that define the Instrument Collection, the TBR is a masterpiece of reduced simplicity. The initials stand for the watch’s two complications, true beat and retrograde. While the time is displayed in an off-centre subdial– a hallmark of the entire Instrument Collection – the two complications occupy the middle of the dial and command the front of the stage.

Dominating the face of the watch is the central true beat – or dead beat – seconds. The true beat seconds – a hark-back to the precision required by navigators on the high seas – is a rarely found complication these days, and its combination with an automatic winding system calls for enormous technical expertise. 

In the TBR it was made possible by a worldwide patented system comprising a sophisticated double wheel, an oscillating pinion and a pallet mechanism. This complex solution calls for virtually microscopic precision (to tolerances of a micron, or one thousandth of a millimetre) and the key parts are made using state-of-the-art LIGA fabrication technology. LIGA is a German acronym that stands for Lithographie, Galvanoformung, Abformung – lithography, electroplating and moulding – and describes the sequence of processes used to produce metal parts made of nickel and nickel phosphorus.

The “R” of TBR – retrograde – is a description of the watch’s second complication, the date display. A slim, undulating hand advances a day at a time until it reaches 31. At midnight on the 31st, the hand springs back (hence retrograde) smartly to 1, in other words to the first of the next month, and the process commences all over again.

The TBR’s retrograde mechanism is extremely sophisticated and features patented dents sans jeu (literally, teeth without play – or gaps), which ensure that the date hand advances cleanly and precisely. These components can only be produced using the complex LIGA fabrication technology described above. Also worth noting is the fact that the retrograde date can be set using the crown, which is considerably more demanding than having an additional pushpiece.

Visit the Arnold & Son website

Monday, February 18, 2013

Priceless heirloom: Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Gold Bridge – The Inheritor

Girard-Perregaux has the capability to produce watches which are every bit as elegant and self assured as the best pieces from the likes of Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe.

A good case in point is the magic and mastery of Girard-Perregaux’s new Tourbillon with Gold Bridge.

The tourbillon mechanism is a combination of the Manufacture’s expertise, tooled with the precision required by the Maison’s GP 09600 self-winding mechanical movement.

The watch comes in two strictly limited editions – in both white and pink gold. Its 40 mm diameter houses a silvered dial with sunburst-motif that harks back to the classic watches of the time. Four applied hour markers give aesthetic balance while the leaf-shaped hour and minutes hands fly elegantly over the dial. The tourbillon sits majestically at 6 o’clock. 

Opulently yet tastefully decorated, the carriage is mounted with gold adjusting screws, and is chamfered and polished by hand, as are the escapement and pallet bridges.

The watch features a tourbillon bridge fashioned in an unusual shape called “bassiné”, with rounded arms. The craftsman files the ends with regular movements to give them a soft, semi-cylindrical form, before finishing the work with traditional tools such as buffs, stones, diamond paste and boxwood sticks.

Underpinning it all is the rich history of the Tourbillon with Gold Bridge.  The interior of the case houses the famous Girard-Perregaux calibre GP 09600 with design and decoration inspired by the pocket tourbillons of the nineteenth century.

This new Tourbillon with Gold Bridge dedicates its beauty and technical excellence to the Girard-Perregaux heritage and takes its rightful place among Haute Horlogerie’s finest creations.

Visit the Girard-Perregaux website

New faces: The Girard-Perregaux New Face of Tradition Tour 2013

When Girard-Perregaux came up with the novel idea of sending young and promising watchmakers on a globetrotting tour to showcase the skill and ingenuity that goes into the making of high-end watches, the exhibitions met with outstanding interest and success.

Heartened by the huge interest generated by the tour, the New Face of Tradition project will continue to amaze in 2013!

Girard-Perregaux is proud to present a new group of its Young Watchmakers, showcasing their talents not only in their famed Manufacture but also in their passions beyond watchmaking.

“Since 1791, Girard-Perregaux has been continuously reinventing itself while staying true to tradition. The Manufacture has written some of the most fascinating pages in the history of Swiss watchmaking, but behind its exceptional timepieces lives the passion of the Girard-Perregaux watchmakers. We wanted to showcase their talent, inventiveness and creativity. This is the meaning of the Young Watchmakers Tour.” François-Henri Pinault, CEO of PPR

The digital journal hosted at will present throughout the year what makes Jerome, Anne, Julien, Grégory, François, Lise and Paul-Henry tick. For example, which one is the handball player? What kind of video games does a watchmaker play? Like watchmaking, is patience a virtue required  at poker? And where on the planet will they travel to showcase their Art?

Last year, the Young Watchmakers' Tour visited New York City before heading to Beijing, Paris and Miami, where they were always met with enthusiasm and curiosity.

The skilled work of Girard-Perregaux’s young craftsmen on “Haute Horlogerie” pieces deserved an exceptional décor to begin the year. The majestic Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps, has been the stage to host this first trip with one of their watchmakers assembling a three gold Bridges Tourbillon at that height. A case of haute Haute Horlogerie.

Visit the Girard-Perregaux website

Friday, February 15, 2013

Courage and generosity: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Round Table

Why didn’t anyone think of this one before? Round table, round watch, 12 knights, the format lends itself perfectly for a haute horologist to explore one of the richest legends in all folklore.

The watch draws inspiration from the exploits of King Arthur’s knights, the high end Geneva Manufacture has created a series of 88 exceptional pieces distinguished by their boldness and steeped in history. 

Twelve knights of the round table armed with their faithful swords, have been cast in gold to form a perfect circle around a stunning dial in grand feu enamel.

Underneath the ‘table’ is housed the RD821 movement. Fittingly, from a manufacture who creates what are regarded among connoisseurs as grail watches, with this new model he pays tribute to those that went in a quest for the Holy Grail.

Roger Dubuis designers took as their guide the reproduction of the Round Table made for Henry VIII and placed in the Grand Hall of his castle at Winchester. 

What makes the legend so popular is that the adventures of the kingdom of Camelot are universal. King Arthur valiantly defends his realm from his enemies. The best, the noblest and the purest of men were at his side in combat, companions whose strength of arm was equalled only by their strength of character.

As the legend goes, the noble knights were an adventurous lot, a latter day 'A Team', righting wrongs, protecting the weak, and humbling the proud.

The pursuit of excellence

The watch is produced in a limited series of 88 pieces, with its 45 mm case in pink gold the watch respects the design codes of the Excalibur collection: over-sized case, fluted bezel, robust crown guard and triple-horn strap attachments.

With its dynamic shape and sharp angles, the watch has a dial to match its strong, symbolic design. Twelve figures representing the legendary Knights of the Round Table with their swords form a circle replacing traditional hour markers.

Each figure is a three-dimensional casting in gold with its details carved by hand. The miniaturization was the work of skilled passionate craftsmen, who produced 12 individually different knights, only 7 mm tall. The precision is best admired through a loupe. In the centre of the scene is a dial in precious grand feu enamel. 

On the back of the watch, the solemn oath, together with a lacquered coat of arms, is engraved in a circle as a tribute to the bravery of the Knights of the Round Table.

Among its list of technical achievements is the latest generation of the automatic-winding mechanical movement, the RD821 that displays the hours and minutes. And the movement and the complete watch are stamped with the prestigious Geneva Seal.

No prices yet but you can guess we are talking a ransom of Arthurian proportions.

Visit the Roger Dubuis website

Jean-Christophe Babin leaves TAG Heuer to head up Bulgari

 Jean-Christophe Babin

It’s official. Jean Christophe Babin, instrumental in turning around the fortunes of TAG Heuer and turning it into one of the most fanatically followed brands in watchdom over the past 12 years, is leaving the Neuchâtel-based brand to take over at Bulgari, with a brief to inject the same level of passion, skill and enterprise into the LVMH owned brand.

The 51 year-old Babin will take over the helm of the luxury watch and jewellery brand following the departure of Michael Burke for Louis Vuitton, who in turn replaces the CEO there who resigned for health reasons. It is an unexpected reshuffle as it was only a few months after taking the helm of the prestigious Italian house.

The new appointment reflects the immense faith placed in both Michael Burke and Jean Christophe Babin. Babin inherited leadership of a once legendary brand that had seen better days. He managed to entice the great grandson of the founder back into the fold and together they succeeded in building the brand back to health and credibility.

In 2013, TAG Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Carrera, the racing-inspired Chronograph that forms a key part of the TAG Heuer range today.

Upon joining TAG Heuer directly from Henkel (after stints at Procter & Gamble and the Boston Consulting Group), Jean-Christophe Babin frankly admitted that he knew nothing about watchmaking. He learned quickly and along the way introduced a new approach, some superb new watches thanks to extensive R&D and a powerful entrepreneurial spirit. 

He leaves TAG Heuer in great shape and it will be fascinating to see who is appointed to take his place.

Visit the LVMH website

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Paris store opening: Vacheron Constantin celebrates with new LE 1972 Prestige

 Vacheron Constantin, 2 Rue de la Paix, Paris

As a truly auspicious opening to Vacheron Constantin’s  first store in Paris, at 2 Rue de la Paix, the legendary Swiss brand has released two new versions of it iconic asymmetrical model, the 1972 Prestige. 

The VC 1972 Prestige collection has been making an impression for over four decades. Today, there is a new men’s version inspired by the original. Like the 1972 creation, the most recent arrival displays the balanced asymmetry that strictly follows the proportions of the golden section. Made of white gold, the new 1972 Prestige also houses a precious ultra-thin mechanical movement. A model of sophistication and elegance, this new icon bears the Poinçon de Genève.

On June 23, 1972, in the reception rooms of the Ritz Hotel not far from 2 Rue de la Paix, the Comité de France bestowed the coveted Prestige de la France award to Vacheron Constantin in tribute to the brand’s expertise, acquired through a desire to achieve authenticity, technical perfection, and elegance.

Vacheron Constantin is the first watchmaking manufacture to have been honoured with this award. In celebration of this honour, the Geneva company developed the Prestige 1972. The watch was made in an extremely limited series, and the back was engraved with the Prestige de la France coat of arms. 

Since that time, Vacheron Constantin has continued to offer this asymmetrical shape in various sizes and proportions, sometimes in ladies’ watches and sometimes in men’s, and it has developed into the highly desirable1972 collection.

The 1972 Prestige comes in two versions, both in white gold and measuring 25 mm by 47 mm and just 8.72 mm in height. The sleek silhouette of the watch is further enhanced by the polished white gold case. 

The watch houses a precious calibre 1003 ultra-thin mechanical movement, in fact it’s the world’s thinnest mechanical hand wound movement. 

The version to celebrate the Rue de la Paix store opening is available in an extremely limited edition of just 40 pieces.


•    Dimensions: diameter 21.10 mm (9’’’ ¼ ) – thickness 1.64 mm
•    Jewels: 18
•    Number of components: 117
•    Frequency: 2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
•    Power reserve: approx. 31 hours
•    Case 18K white gold – “Prestige de la France” engraved on caseback
•    Dimensions: 25mm x 47mm - thickness: 8.72mm
•    Water resistance: 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Automatic Fossil: Fossil Swiss Line watches

For the second time in less than a month a popular American mid-range brand, usually known for youth oriented quartz watches, has ventured into the realms of Swiss made automatic watches to create a more upmarket image. 

We reported recently on California skate and surfer brand Nixon, which has released an automatic watch.

Now Texas based Fossil, which was founded in 1984 by Greek American Tom Kartsotis, introduces what they call the Fossil Swiss Line.

It’s a range of classically styled 3-hander day date and chronograph watches. These are elegantly designed, and at 38mm, modestly sized watches. They feature some traditional hallmarks of Swiss quality including a sapphire lens both on the front and with a show window on the caseback. The watches are powered by a Swiss-made 26 jewel STP-1-11 with a 46-hour power reserve. Dials are decorated with numerals and rectangular indexes. The watches come on a full-grain leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet.

The Swiss Line range from Fossil reflects an increasing desire among young upwardly mobile men for higher end watches. The watches will be available globally at Fossil stores and also online. The watches will be priced at around US$1,000 to $1,500, which is certainly a lot for a Fossil.

Fossil owner Kartsotis founded the brand following a suggestion from his older brother that there was money to be made from importing mid-range watches to the States. Today he is among the top 50 wealthiest Greek Americans in the States with a net worth of $400 million, and no doubt the earnest hope is that this new range will swell the company coffers.

Visit the Fossil website

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Definitely maybe: Apple working on curved glass iOS wristwatch

It’s all under wraps, those in a position to know say they don't know, but nonetheless it seems that Apple may be developing a curved glass iOS wristwatch, making decades old science fiction become reality.

They have the technology. Well at least Corning glassware certainly does. Following the successful introduction of Gorilla Glass for the iPhones, they have now developed a bendable glass product known as Willow Glass. This highly flexible glass can be bent at will without shattering, and the company's chief technology officer Pete Bocko even went so far as to spell out the kind of application this could have: "if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass," he said. 

Now there’s a big give away.

If produced, the iWatch would run on the same iOS platform as iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. If the company does release such a product, what would it look like? Would it include Siri, the voice assistant? Would it have a version of Apple’s map software, offering real-time directions to people walking down the street? Could it receive text messages? Could it monitor a user’s health or daily activity? And how much will it cost?

To add fuel to the fire at the prospect of an Apple iWatch, late last year the Chinese gadget site Tech.163 reported that the company had begun development of a watch featuring Bluetooth and a 1.5-inch display.

Forrester smartphones analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said “Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area. Over the long term wearable computing is inevitable for Apple; devices are diversifying and the human body is a rich canvas for the computer. But I’m not sure how close we are to a new piece of Apple hardware that is worn on the body.”

Incidentally, the device pictured is not a prototype of the watch; it’s a wearable iPhone 5 with curved glass designed by Federico Ciccarese, who designed the iPad mini.

Meanwhile, as for the Apple iOS watch, well, only time will tell.

Do you love her? Show it with the Chopard Happy Sport Medium

With Valentine’s Day now just two days away, it’s time to think of a happy medium between what you can afford and how much you love your partner. For most, at around $14,500, the Chopard Happy Sport Medium, a sports/luxury watch celebrating its 20th anniversary, might be a price tag too far. Nonetheless it is an icon, considered at the time of its introduction as a union of opposites between diamonds and steel.

Building on its twin expertise in the field of watchmaking and jewellery, Chopard decided to endow the sports watch with a distinctive and innovative personality. This pioneering move embodied a new and more relaxed approach, in tune with an era in which people love to combine ultra-exclusive items with free-spirited casual wear, as can be seen in the current trend for skinny jeans matched with tuxedos.  

With its gem-set case, its seven moving diamonds spinning beneath two sapphire crystals and its fuchsia pink alligator leather strap, the Happy Sport Medium is by any measure a refined accessory, designed to partner equally well with a leather jacket or an evening gown.


Case Size: 36mm
Gender: Ladies
Movement: Quartz
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date
Watch Materials: Stainless Steel & Diamonds
Case Back: Solid
Crown: Pull Out
Dial Colour: White

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