Watchuseek Blog

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pure lines, pure tradition: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle Small Seconds

Patrimony Traditionelle is a particularly compelling range from Vacheron Constantin which pays tribute to the Manufacture during the period from the 1930s to the 1950s.

The Patrimony Traditionelle Small Seconds displays typically VC pure lines and harmonious proportions. With a slender bezel, a fluted screw-down caseback with an inset sapphire crystal, 18-carat white gold applied hour-markers, dauphine hands and a dial in several shades, this new timepiece meets the requirements of the Poinçon de Genève or Hallmark of Geneva.

Validation for this certification which is no longer confined to the movement alone, but must also take account of the finished watch.

The 950 platinum case frames a slate grey dial. The 18-carat white gold hour-markers, punctuated by a painted white minute circle against a black background, create a look of elegant simplicity, also reflected in the elegantly traditional sweep of the hands.

The watch is powered by the hand-wound Vacheron Constantin 4400 movement which beats at a rate of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour) and displays the hours, minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock. The movement has a 65-hour power reserve. Points of perfection to note include the main flat surfaces of the movement which are adorned with a meticulous “Côtes de Genève” motif, their angles are also bevelled and hand-polished, as are the screw heads.

While a slender 38mm slender profile, the exhibition caseback is fitted with a sapphire crystal in order to admire the 4400 movement.  

Adding the finishing touch to this model, Vacheron Constantin has fitted its new Patrimony Traditionnelle small seconds with a black Mississipiensis alligator leather strap fastened by a 950 platinum pin buckle.

Visit the Vacheron Constantin website

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Calendar complete: Montblanc Star Quantième Complet

Montblanc introduced this new impeccably designed classical timepiece at SIHH 2013. It’s called the Montblanc Star Quantième Complet, and it’s a new addition to its Star Collection of luxury watches.

As the name implies (Quantième being French for “calendar”), the watch functions as a “complete” or “full” calendar. This means it’s more versatile than a basic calendar watch which displays only the date but not as complicated (or as costly) as a full-fledged perpetual calendar.
The idea behind the watch is to give consumers a choice that falls between the two options. 

The Montblanc Star Quantième Complet displays the date, day of the week, month and moon-phase in addition to the current time. The date is indicated by a centrally-mounted hand that ends in a red crescent and sweeps along a wreath of 31 digits around the dial’s periphery.

In traditional Montblanc styling, the day of the week and the month are positioned just below 12 o’clock, while the moon-phase display is located in the lower half of the dial, just above the 6 o’clock position.

The Montblanc logo is inscribed in black at 12 o’clock, and the dial features crisp black Roman numerals. Between the wreath of hour numerals and the outer ring of 31 days is a 60-minute ring with a segmented numeric scale. Some may object to the use of both Roman and Arabic numerals on the same dial.

The baton shaped hour and minute hands are in blued steel while a slender, straight hand with a counterweight, indicates the seconds. 

The 42-mm watch is in rose gold but will also be available in stainless steel.
As one would expect there is a sapphire window in the screwed caseback. This displays the Calibre MB 4810/912, a mechanical movement with a power storage capacity which lasts around 42 hours.

The watch can be wound manually via the large onion crown, which is topped by the Montblanc star emblem in mother-of-pearl. Buttons built into the flank of the case are operated by a corrector tool that comes with the watch to set the date, day, month, and moon-phase displays. 

The watch comes on a brown alligator leather strap with a rose gold buckle. You can't get your hands on one just yet, it will only be available as from August.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bulgari assets seized by police in tax evasion investigation

Trouble could be brewing for LVMH owned brand Bulgari. Police in Italy have seized assets from the luxury Italian jewellers and watchmakers worth €46 million (£39.7m) as part of an investigation into possible tax evasion. Bulgari has been stripped of properties, including its flagship store in Rome, bank assets and company stakes.

The police investigation centres around the Bulgari family members Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, chief executive Francesco Trapani and the luxury group's lawyer Maurizio Valentini, although no arrests have been made.

The four men are accused of making fraudulent declarations about €3 billion (2.6bn) of revenues by using foreign subsidiaries. The period into which the police are looking runs from 2006 to 2011, which falls before the acquisition of the Italian watch and jewellery brand by luxury group LVMH.

Bulgari is reported to have said that it “is extremely surprised” by the allegations and that it "will take all actions necessary to clarify its position”.

“The investigations have brought to light a true ‘escape strategy’ to avoid Italian taxes and in particular tougher rules that were introduced from January 1 2006 related to the taxation of dividends,” the police said in a statement.

Bulgari is not the first luxury goods group to come into the sights of the Italian tax police.

Italian police in November confiscated €65m of assets, including a 15th century castle, from the Marzotto family and its business associates over suspected tax evasion connected to the 2007 sale of the Valentino luxury brand.

TAG Heuer CEO, the highly regarded Jean-Christophe Babin, is due to take the helm at Bulgari in the next few months.

Visit the Bulgari website

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Emperors: DeWitt hails a new ruling class in international ad campaign

In what is undoubtedly an exercise in elitist one-up-manship, the owner of DeWitt timepieces, Jerome Napoleon DeWitt, speaks of his aristocratic heritage. Mr. de Witt, the creator of DeWitt watches is the descendant of emperors and kings in Europe, including such illustrious ancestors as the Emperor Napoleon, King Jerome of Westphalia, and King Leopold II of Belgium.

In a new international advertising campaign, DeWitt is draws on these rich origins to allude the new emperors of today and tomorrow; men and women all over the world who have achieved and enjoy all the trappings of success.

To acquire and own a Dewitt watch is to enter into this exclusive and privileged world, reserved to those in search of ultimate perfection and consummate luxury, in other words, the world of the new emperors.

The brand offers a reinterpretation of its ancestor’s illustrious hand-in-waistcoat gesture through two understated and elegant visuals, highlighting two of its emblematic collections: the Twenty-8-Eight and Golden Afternoon watches.

The tagline “Revolutionary by Tradition” underlines the brand’s philosophy. Passion, tradition, creativity, integrity and watchmaking excellence: the values promoted by DeWitt, in a bold vision: Haute Horlogerie that is noble and authentic.

Visit the DeWitt website

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Radical engineering: CARBON8 Timepieces

Watchuseek readers know what they like, that’s why they come here. They want to show the watches they love, and talk about the watches that are new to them. So when a new brand is brazen enough to introduce itself to this website, it better be ready for some honest, and sometimes brutal opinions. It better have something new to show too, or suffer the worst fate of all, to die of indifference.

And so we present for your consideration, Carbon8. In fact the brand has been around since March 2010. The duo behind Carbon8 originally hail not from Switzerland or Germany, but from Hungary.

Founder and owner Janos Palinkos wanted to inject some passionate new sporting design into watches, creating a look that is sexy, quality and eye catching. His quest is for dynamic and contemporary design, nothing retro, just pedal to the metal to the future.

The target audience is admirers of luxury sports cars and fine timepieces. The watches rely on some well proven sporting materials such as carbon fibre and hardened stainless steel, but they also try for new things such as a 0.4mm thickness mineral crystal dial and the open movement forming the C8 logo, produced in-house.

The watches run on reliable modified ETA movements and there is undeniably plenty of flair and imagination going on in some of the designs. Classy photography for the most part too. The brand offers a collection for men and also for women.

Let’s take a look at the watches.

For him: Carbon8 Open Engine

A sporty watch with an eye-catching design,  the Open Engines watches are the leader of the pack in terms of the Carbon8 collection. These timepieces always get special attention from the watchmakers at the Carbon8 workshop. The movement is based on an ETA6497 with 42 hours of pwer reserve. It’s a large 47mm watch with the logo emblazoned on the mainplate.


Movement: CC No.1S hand winding mechanical (base: ETA 6497), open movement with C8 logo, mainplate
with black coating.
Power reserve: min.42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small second
Vibration: 18.000 v.p.h
Jewel: 17 jewels
Case: only in solid 18 carat gold
Dial: numbers and indexes are made of carbon fiber. The plate on the dial is made of 18 carat white gold.
Bracelet: regular or exotic leather strap
Water resistance: 100 meters (330 feet)
Crown: screwed in, two gaskets
Back: glass back, two gaskets
Diameter: 47 mm

For her: Carbon8 RS GS41


A new ladies model from the Carbon8 workshop for 2013. This timepiece has combined the sporty spirit of the Racing Spirit collection and some advanced technical solutions, such as the 0.4 mm thick mineral crystal dial, or the blackened mainplate. The watch is 41mm which is plenty of watch for most ladies’ wrists. Again the movement is a modified ETA 6497. The plate and shield on the dial are made of 18ct white gold.


Movement: CC No.2 manual winding mechanical (base: ETA 6497)
Power reserve: min.42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small second
Vibration: 18.000 v.p.h
Jewel: 17 jewels
Case: stainless steel or solid 18 carat gold
Dial: numbers and indexes are made of carbon fibre.
Bracelet: regular or exotic leather strap
Water resistance: 100 metres (330 feet)
Crown: screwed in, two gaskets
Back: glass back, two gaskets
Diameter: 41mm

For him: Carbon8 RS CH


The large 47mm dial is made of natural carbon fibre, and the model has a sporty, dashboard-style appeal. Beign a chronograph they have opted for an ETA 7750 chronograph movement with 42 hours power reserve. The watch comes in a a choice of stainless steel or 18 carat gold.


Movement: CC No.3 automatic winding mechanical (base: ETA 7750)
Power reserve: min.42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small second
Vibration: 28.800 v.p.h
Jewel: 25 jewels
Case: stainless steel or solid 18 carat gold
Dial: genuine carbon fiber, numbers and indexes are also made of carbon fiber. The plate and the shield on
the dial are made of 18 carat white gold.
Bracelet: regular or exotic leather strap
Water resistance: 100 meters (330 feet)
Crown: screwed in, two gaskets
Back: glass back, two gaskets
Diameter: 47 mm

Rally Pack


Perhaps the most unusual and different design of the collection. It’s a 47mm stopwatch which you can wear on your wrist and read the watch at high speeds at just a glance. These optional instruments has been tested by racing car drivers in cooperation with the Carbon8 manufacture. This writst attachable stop watch can be attached to any Carbon8 timepiece.


Movement: Hand winding mechanical stopwatch
Functions: 60 seconds main dial and 30 minutes subdial
Jewel: 17 jewels
Case: stainless steel or solid 18 carat gold
Crown: star-, stop- and zero function
Back: glass back
Diameter: 47 mm

Visit the CARBON8 website

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Up periscope: The launch of Ballast Watches

Ballast is a new brand in what it acknowledges is a post-watch reliant age, where it’s just as easy to time check your i-phone or your computer as it is to glance at your watch. Indeed, a significant number of people under the age of 30 just don’t get the need for a watch at all.

So rather than try to anticipate the future, Ballast Watches main focus is on celebrating the past, but not just any past. Their whole styling and ethos celebrates the legendary era of the submarine. As a result, their watch collection is heavy duty military inspired, with an industrial strength stencil logo. 

The awe inspiring technology and ‘run silent, run deep’ capability of the submarine changed the nature of war, and ultimately succeeded in bringing peace in what was a very edgy and frosty cold war. Their devastating nuclear arsenals were just too great to unleash upon the world. 

Long before nuclear weapons were carried by submarines deep beneath the seas, the infamous German U-Boat came within a couple of weeks of bringing down Britain’s supply chain across the Atlantic. The German’s probably didn’t know how close they came to victory. As Winston Churchill remarked, “Of all the branches of men in the forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners.” 

A match of man and machine

And so it is this courageous and steely match of man and machine that Ballast celebrates. The brand’s time instruments are designed to meet the extreme needs of those rare individuals who live life to the fullest and consistently strive for excellence.

“We are proud to launch the Ballast brand for those who know and appreciate well-crafted and innovative timepieces,” said Ballast President, Drew Deters. “Each watch is inspired by the legacy of extraordinary submarines and the unique features bring that story to life.”

Ballast design codes

The watches have been ruggedly designed to meet four criteria, legibility, precision, functionality and water resistance. Ballast watches are made from chunks of 316L stainless steel with sturdy screw-lock crowns and Swiss automatic movements. 

The idea behind the design of the watches is to be rugged enough for a demanding day of adventure (with or without a submarine) and then to look suave and cool in the evening.

Several styles 

 There are no less that 58 styles in total, and that’s just at the start. These include 49 for men, and 9 for women. The watches come on a either stainless steel or thick, premium leather straps. 

The men’s watches come in a choice of classic three handers, or chronographs or watches with power reserve indicators with either quartz or Swiss automatic movements, while the women’s range is classically chic – or for when the mood calls, vibrantly bold.

Ballast has also launched a major website – the 1903 referring to the launch of the first industrialised submarine.

Complete with nautical film shorts, the website showcases the watches  with graphics of intricate gears and hardware in order to evoke the heritage that inspired the collection – the launch of said submarine.

Ballast Watches are already on the market, with prices ranging from $350 to $595, so you won’t have to dive too deeply into your savings to afford one.

Visit the Ballast1903 website

Monday, March 11, 2013

This is your Captain speaking: Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger and JeanRichard fly united

While JeanRichard, the stable mate to the much better known Girard Perregaux, is not exactly making a forced landing on the Hudson, as did heroic Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger in 2009, they are attempting to steer the brand in a brave new direction.

With that in mind, and armed with a brand new strategy (or should that be a new brand strategy), Swiss watchmaker JeanRichard is proud to announce its partnership with Captain Sully, introducing two new collections, 1681 and Terrascope, that stay true to the brand’s philosophy of powerful design and reliable performance.

JeanRichard’s Philosophy of Life truly speaks to me,” Captain Sully said. “The beauty of the watches, the passions of its artisans and managers, and even more importantly their idea of working together on projects that are close to my heart and spirit made me happy to join the JeanRichard flight.”

Captain Sullenberger's Hudson River landing, 2009 

Captain Sully famously and safely landed a disabled US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 after it struck a flock of geese, thereby saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew members on board.

Sully is not only an individual with profoundly admirable qualities under pressure, as we saw in 2009 with his emergency landing on the Hudson,” Bruno Grande, COO of JeanRichard, said. “He is also one who has taken advantage of the opportunities presented and channeled his energy towards the improvement and encouragement of aviation safety and safety in other arenas. We are very proud to have him as a part of the JeanRichard family and look forward to continued success together.

Terrascope and 1681 Ronde New York launch 

At an impressive presentation at the Standard Hotel in New York last week, JeanRichard announced the launch of its 1681 Ronde collection, a round, vintage-look timepiece with the brand’s in-house calibre JR100. They also unveiled  the sporty Terrascope model and a new version of the 1681 in the brand’s signature cushion-shaped case.

We want to separate JeanRichard — from a product standpoint as well as a strategy standpoint — from Girard-Perregaux” Grande explained, “in a way that gives both brands real legitimacy. In the past, JR was too close to GP, making tourbillons, minute repeaters, perpetual calendars and using only manufacture movements. We will not be making as many complications as before and using only one in-house movement [the JR1000] — and prices will start around $2,500.

New strategic changes will see a more streamlined collection of “four pillars” — the 1681, representing the heritage and craftsmanship of Daniel JeanRichard and using only manufacture movements,” plus three additional collections, more in a sport watch vein, representing the elements: air, earth, and water. 

The “earth” pillar is the new Terrascope (shown below); “water” will be a revamped version of the brand’s existing Aquascope divers’ watch; while “air” will be an all-new model called the Aeroscope. These new watches will make their debuts at Baselworld 2013. 

The Aquascope and Terrascope both use a Sellita base movement, while the Aeroscope will have a chronograph movement developed with Dubois Dépraz.

The partnership with Capt. Sullenberger, according to Grande, was a natural fit for the new JeanRichard active-lifestyle motto, “The Philosophy of Life.” 

Rather than pursue other types of celebrities such as actors and athletes, the company sought a more “down-to-earth” spokesman. “In Sully, we found an ordinary man who did an extraordinary thing,” Grande said.

This spring, Sullenberger will visit Baselworld as a guest of JeanRichard, for the launch of its new Aeroscope and Aquascope watches. 

The 1681 Ronde Collection

While there are similarities between the two models, the Terrascope has sharper more defined edges than the rounded and elegant 1681 range although the indices are the same.

In the 1681 watch, the rhodium-plated dial features a date display at 3 o’clock that sagely surveys the rotation of the pink gold-plated hands. The hands glide over an hour-circle made up of baton indexes and Arabic numerals that are also plated with pink gold. It has perfect readability thanks to the touches of superluminova on the hour and minute hands. The brand’s characteristic cushion-shaped case is here clad in pink gold. Its generous dimensions – 46mm across between 9 and 3 o’clock – are designed to allow the time indications all the space that they require. This timepiece is available with a thick mahogany-coloured alligator strap, of which the round-scaled skin of the lining and the light-coloured double-thread stitching accentuate the model’s original, vintage character.

The Terrascope Collection

The steel-coloured hour and minute hands are sporty in style and highlighted with superluminova. The applied indexes hollowed out into a U-shape have alternating polished and shot-blast finishes that emphasise the volumes concerned and are prolonged with a block of luminescent material. The date display is positioned at 3 o’clock and the central second hand has a red arrow streak. These are features which reveal a timepiece that is very much its own master.

The style of the new Terrascope watch continues with its steel bracelet whose polished and satin finishes accentuate its sporty feel. It is also available with a blue bracelet for a totally monochrome look. Te watch is powered by the self-winding JR60 calibre provides the accuracy required of a watch that will accompany your day-to-day life, with the new JEANRICHARD logo engraved on its case back. The signature of a whole philosophy: that of a life that is relished every day with undiminished eagerness.

Visit the JeanRichard website

Charriol celebrate 30th anniversary with new COLVMBVS models

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, CHARRIOL, the eponymously named Geneva-based watch company owned by Philippe Charriol, is pursuing a new strategic direction.

With an expanded sales network, enhanced digital communications,  and the opening of several ‘fifth-generation’ boutiques, these significant changes demonstrate CHARRIOL’s commitment to greater elegance and expertise.
A new website will also be unveiled, it’s currently primed and waiting for launch day at BaselWorld 2013.

The brand is also introducing several new product lines, within the premium and entry-level collections. Two notable collections include ‘AEL’ (meaning ‘Angel’, in Celtic), a women’s watch that boasts pure lines and an uncluttered, elegant allure. AEL will be aimed at younger fans of the brand.
2013 also sees a range of novelties for the premium lines, including the COLVMBVS range. We will feature the ladies COLVMBVS models tomorrow.

New models include the COLVMBVS™ Power Reserve and COLVMBVS™ Grande Date GMT.

A trio of new COLVMBVS™ timepieces 

Three ambitious new additions to the men’s range of COLVMBVS ™ have now been added to this collection first created in 1988. 

The new COLVMBVS  Grande Date GMT will be joined later by 2 more COLVMBVS  models, each with complicated movements. Available in 300, 30 and 3 pieces respectively, these models offer male customers a trio of elegant and powerful timepieces imbued with a spirit of adventure.


First to launch is the COLVMBVS Grande Date. In keeping with the trend for larger watches, the three new styles of COLVMBVS ™ timepieces measure 46mm. Nautically themed, the case displays an intricate, interlocking triangular design, which recalls the pointed markings of a compass rose.
The watch runs on a Grande Date Technotime 651 movement with a GMT module and features a decorated oscillating weight, visible through the sapphire case back, and engraved in honour of the noted explorer.

The watch is limited to just 300 units, in stainless steel with black crocodile strap, the GMT variant also features a trio of finishings including a guilloché sunray motif, sun-brushed central dial, and circular brushed seconds counter.
The Grande Date display is indicated via a system of double-discs. Final flourishes on this superb piece include the smart sub-dial, CHARRIOL logo, blue tapered indexes and delicate seconds-hand accented with the CHARRIOL ‘C’ insignia.


Movement: Mechanical, automatic, calibre Technotime 651 with GMT module, decorated oscillating weight
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date and second time zone

Watch case: Stainless steel 316L, 46mm diameter Engraved case side with interlocking triangular design, recalling the pointed markings of a compass rose Sapphire back case with engraved Christopher Columbus profile

Dial: Silver sun-brushed and circular-brushed, Second time zone in guilloché sunray sub-dial at 6 o’clock, Double-discs Grande Date displayed at 12 0’clock

Bracelet: Black crocodile leather with stainless steel deploying buckle

Visit the Philippe Charriol website

Friday, March 8, 2013

SWATCH 30 year special: SWATCH Est. 1983

It’s a momentous month for the mighty Swatch Group. It was in March 1983, 30 years ago, that they launched just 12 Swatch watches upon an unsuspecting world. It’s the brand that went on to save the entire Swiss watch industry, and become the bestselling watch brand in the world.

It was the launch quite literally of the watch that changed the world.

Looking back now, they seem unlikely heroes, but events soon revealed that they were the avant-garde, the shock troops of a Swatch watch revolution.

Today, after three decades of wit, audacious innovation, playful provocation and a whole lot of fun, Swatch has every reason to celebrate. Those first 12 watches from 1983 have been followed by millions, and now there is one that brings it all back to mind — the impossible, incredible story of Swatch: SWATCH Est. 1983 (SUOZ161). 

The New Gent, SWATCH Est. 1983 features a transparent plastic case and strap and a skeleton dial offering a clear view of the movement within. Key components are highlighted in gold; on one, a golden driving wheel, the word CELEBRATE appears twice, in black. And printed in gold on a broad silver band are all the intervening years, from 1983 to 2013.


Each year brings back memories of one or another fantastic Swatch watch: a POP, Scuba 200, heavy-metal Irony, colourful Gent, seductive Skin or high-tech Touch — not to mention those amazing creations by artists, athletes, and fashion designers.

Italian artist Lorenzi Petrantoni has also created a special edition artwork for Swatch, looking at events which took place in 1983. This was an era when Vanessa Williams became the first African American to win a Miss America beauty contest. Michael Jackson's Thriller album sold 50 million copies. The space shuttle Challenger made its inaugural flight and Swatch issued a million watches in its first year.

Despite all the celebrations,  the 30th Edition SWATCH is priced at just €60.

Visit the SWATCH website 

The Mystery and the Masterpiece: Two spellbinding watches from Maurice Lacroix

Maurice Lacroix has made some seriously creditable watches in recent years, including the famous Roue Carrée model, which received wide critical industry and consumer acclaim and has been extrapolated across several different versions. There are now two new watches from Maurice Lacroix, one of which, the Masterpiece Seconde Mysterieuse introduces a new way of telling the time. 

 Masterpiece Seconde Mystérieuse 

This watch has created an innovative way of measuring the passage of time. 
Continuing in the same vein of avant-garde creative freedom, the Swiss-based brand presents the Masterpiece Seconde Mystérieuse watch.

Maurice Lacroix claim that this marks a new first in the history of watchmaking.

Mystérieuse (Mysterious) features a grey disc which dominates the skeletonised inner workings of the movement. The seconds indication, the skeletonisation, and the off-centred hours are each trademark features of the brand. 

The watch is powered by the ML215 calibre – a new Maurice Lacroix Manufacture movement and the twelfth to be entirely developed in-house. The mysterious hand marks out a linear reading of the seconds, in alternating horizontal and vertical 15-second cycles.

The blued hand turning on its axis, as though in full levitation, produces the captivating optical illusion. The mechanical mystery behind this impressive feat remains unsolved.

The hours are displayed at 2 o'clock and are also indicated by metallic blued hands, while the rest of the dial is skeletonised around the movement bridges, in a geometrical style available in two versions, coated in either rhodium or ruthenium.

The self-winding movement is visible through the sapphire-crystal back of the 43 mm diameter steel case. The Masterpiece Seconde Mystérieuse is available in two limited series of 125 pieces each.

Masterpiece Date


 One date, three hands, and a way to mark the passing hours in a way that is both elegant and surprisingly natural. The eminently classic appeal of this prestigious watch is heightened by its date indication. Its Roman numerals are designed with an elegance and simplicity that completely satisfy rigorous aesthetic demands.

The date, positioned at 3 o'clock, is an attractive focal point with faceted hands following their course on a dial adorned with delicate, vertical guilloche work. The Masterpiece Date is a 38mm steel case watch with a satin and polished finish.

Great attention has been given to the decoration of the ML155 movement, with the refinement of its circular graining and its Cotes de Geneve details, clearly visible through the sapphire case back. With its simplicity and Swiss quality, this exclusive model will delight all connoisseurs of fine watchmaking.

Visit the Maurice Lacroix website

Thursday, March 7, 2013

When 2.0 becomes 3.0: Habring² Doppel 3.0

When Maria & Richard Habring presented their Doppel 2.0 in the spring of 2012 they had no idea of the response the model would trigger from the press and consumers. The Doppel 2.0 was so well received by the aficionados of reliable and affordable Haute Horlogerie that the intentionally strict limitation of just 20 units was gone in a flash. The ultimate achievement for the young brand and therefore the highlight of 2012 was winning the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the international Watch Oscars, in the "sports watch" category.

It came as a great surprise for the protagonists, even though some jury members commented the victory as "well earned" and "about time". It is the first time in the history of the award that it has travelled across the Swiss border to the neighbouring alpine country.

Jury, press and, last but not least, the customers have made a clear decision, and Maria & Richard Habring do not want to object. Have intensely fathomed out the options they have decided to integrate the Doppel in the company's existing small range. The Doppel 2.0 has therefore found a successor:

The Doppel 3

Whilst the Doppel 2.0 was the logical further development of the original Doppel from the year 1992, the Doppel 3 takes things a step further. The Doppel 3 is even closer to its roots, namely the sports stopwatches of the 1960s. The dials in silver, grey and black with silver coloured sub-dials and red appliqués are even easier to read. The Doppel 3 is also a step further than its immediate predecessors with regard to technology. Reduced to just one button for the chronographs start-stop-zero functions, it bridges the gap to the pocket watches with timing functions and rattrapante that were the benchmark in the pre-electronic age.

Of course, the A08MR-MONO calibre has all the hallmarks of the small manufacturer in addition to the ingenious proprietary split-seconds mechanism. Chronometer precise measurement and superior reliability are the result of small-scale serial production and assembly. The Doppel 3 will be shipped starting in the early summer at a price of €6.750. The quantity will be in line with the limited edition of Doppel 2.0, namely 20 units per year. 

In addition to the Doppel 3 the split-seconds function will be included in the Habring² modular system with immediate effect. It is now available on request, for instance in combination with the recently introduced centre-based minute counter (3.1) or the full calendar.

Visit the  Habring² website

Jumping to a new beat: Habring² Jumping Seconds

Habring is a well regarded Austrian brand run by husband and wife team Richard and Maria Kristina Habring, hence the name Habring².

Jumping Seconds

In the world of complications, the small complication stands for the core values of Habring²; reliable everyday technology with a certain something. The many used Chezard calibres from the 1950s when the Jumping Seconds models were introduced back in 2005, but this was replaced with the in-house development of the calibre A07, based on the predecessor ETA-Valgranges, which formed the backbone of the range.

The standard of the Habring² introduction line since 2009, the so-called "Time", will in future apply to the jump seconds hand. Namely: the in-house manufacture of mainplate and bridges. The previous calibres A07 and A07M will become the A09S and A09MS, recognisable by - among others - the new finish.

The modularity of the A09S and A09MS will remain unchanged. Alongside manual and automatic winding, the calibres also offer a classic date display, power reserve display, second time zone, moon phase display or even a calendar.

All of these displays are available for retrofitting to existing Habring² watches. Even the inclusion of a tourbillon visible on the rear is possible.

New Jumping Seconds Moon Phase

Meanwhile the moon phase display with an enlarged moon at 6 o'clock is completely new. The visual appearance has also changed: the new black dial with its characteristic illuminated numbers coupled with a fully satinised stainless steel case is reminiscent of the pilots' watches of the 40s and 50s. Even though the magnetic field protection required in those days is no longer necessary, it is available on request. This is made possible by a development that will be incorporated in the Habring² manufacture movement coming in 2014.

The components of the anti-magnetic escapement designed in accordance with the Swiss anchor escapement will be made of non-ferrous metals. They render conventional magnetic field screening unnecessary and therefore allow an untarnished view of the movement through the standard sapphire crystal back.

Visit the Habring² site

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Red Rapide: Christopher Ward C7 Chronograph MKII

Britain has its Racing Green, Italy has its Rosso Coros – or Racing Red.

Christopher Ward  has just unveiled its Limited Edition C7 IRR Rapide MK II in that exact colour -  Italian Racing Red. It combines the style of 1950s motor racing watches with the colour that sums up Italy’s passion for motor-racing.  The colour was first used in the Coliseum by Gaius Appuleius, the most successful charioteer and, in real terms, the best paid athlete of all time.  Racing Red was formerly adopted by Italy in the 1920s by the forerunner of the FIA. The distinctive red has since become synonymous with marques such as Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Ferrari – all of which have raced in rosso corsa ever since.

Just the colour of the C7 IRR Rapide MK II in Italian Racing Red is enough to make a Ferrari spring to mind. Add the distinctive design of the three chronograph eyes, inspired by fuel gauges and rev counters, and you can almost hear the roar of the engines!  Every detail adds to the sense of motor racing heritage – even the reverse of the watch has an exclusive steering wheel design engraved on the back plate.

The watch is powered by a Ronda 3540.D quartz chronograph movement, the C7 IRR Rapide MK II has 1/10th second split timing, a tachymeter bezel and SuperLuminova™ indices and hands. With a 42mm case, the watch is also water resistant to 100m and comes with a choice of a "Toro Bravo" leather deployment strap ($605), a stainless steel bracelet ($682) or a black rubber strap $605.00.

With only 500 of the Limited Edition of the C7 IRR Rapide MK IIs in Italian Racing Red, there could be a Ferrari like race to get hold of one when the watch comes on sale in mid March. 

Visit the Christopher Ward website

Friday, March 1, 2013

Future perfect: Hublot Classic Fusion Skeleton Tourbillon Black Ceramic

Hublot Chairman Jean-Claude Biver has recently expressed his dissatisfaction with the Swiss watch industry’s current obsession to re-create the past with overly imitative retro styled watches. 

He wants every Hublot to look to the future, or if looking backwards, to improve upon the past. The brand is too young to have a vast back catalogue to rely on, and that’s the way Biver likes it. It’s clear from the design ethos at Hublot that there is little nostalgia for watch styles of the past. It’s all about embracing the future and incorporating traditional watch making skills with timelessness.

With this in mind, appearing at Baselworld 2013 will be a new black ceramic skeleton tourbillon watch with a slimmer, more classic profile, but which features an all-black design in line with Hublot's graphic codes. 

 Classic Fusion Black Ceramic Skeleton Tourbillon

It’s called the Classic Fusion Black Ceramic Skeleton Tourbillon, one of Hublot's major new arrivals for the start of 2013.

The watch is contemporary but with a timeless elegance drawn from traditional watchmaking skills. The watch features  a satin-finished and polished black ceramic case and a graphic black  skeleton tourbillon movement, designed, developed and produced in the workshops of the Hublot Manufacture with an impressive 120 hour power reserve.

The closest to revisiting the back catalogue can be found in the hands. They are similar in design to those on the very first Hublot watches: a reference to the history of the brand.

This limited edition series comprises just 99 numbered pieces perfectly designed to represent the principle of fusing tradition and modernity.

Visit the Hublot website

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