My wrist shot for a Tangente (35mm)
Above all, trade-seekers should demand full names of references who agree to be contacted. For watch owners pursuing a trade, the references are the most important part of the research process. Recent, numerous, accessible, and satisfied trading partners are the best safeguard for an informed trade-seeker. Don’t just request a dealer’s references – contact them.
Looking forward to buying that hot new watch as soon as possible? Interested in getting your hands on a hard-to-get limited production timepiece? Retailers tend to keep track of what their customers like and also keep waiting lists. They can also make specific requests from a brand headquarters when one of their customers makes it clear they want a particular model ASAP. This doesn't just apply to when an impatient customer wants a new model, but also in instances when limited production or limited edition models are going to be very difficult to get. Brands like Patek Philippe are famously picky with who they sell their "Grand Complication" models to - and in many instances, they must "know" who their customers are. Other brands simply want to reward their frequent customers that they sell directly to or via authorized dealers. So if you are in the market for a hard-to-get new watch or want to be among the first to get something right out of production, you'll want to purchase watches the official way.
If you look carefully at the dial above, you will see that besides the two skeletonized hands in white (indicating hours) and orange (indicating minutes), there are two other smaller hands shaped as pointy arrows in blue and purple. The first one indicates the current depth in meters and the other moves along but remains at the greatest depth achieved.
Regardless of the wear scenario, this is a comfortable and well-fitting watch on my 7.25" wrist. I enjoyed the clean styling, and appreciated the well-applied lume (it is no Seiko Monster, but it certainly does quite nicely). While the all-black scheme is a bit darker than I normally prefer for my wrist, I thought the Torgoen T32 worked well as a daily wear piece, as it is unassuming.
So what is the Genequand System? Basically, it replaces the traditional Swiss lever escapement and balance wheel with a system that uses a lot of silicon and some interesting techniques. In a nutshell, due to the flexible nature of silicon and something they called "Flextech," they are able to use the precise and predictable (and lubrication free) elastic nature of silicon to produce micro-movements that vastly reduce the actual movement necessary to have a traditional, mechanical regulation system. Look at the video and you can see that the Genequand system (likely to be given a better name in the future) has a balance wheel that moves considerably less (in regard to its oscillation) than a traditional balance wheel.Read more ›
With the 42mm case, we have a mix of details. The rounded, polished bezel sets nicely around the sapphire, and provides a contrast to the brushed sides of case. The lugs were of particular interest to me. Rather than being a simple curve, or even straight lugs, there is a bit of step in there. This makes for something that is more visually interesting than plain lugs, and gives things a bit of an architectural feel.
One of the oddest parts of this watch has nothing to do with the design but rather the name. There are times that IWC has referred to the Portuguese as the Portugieser internally - but I don't recall actually seeing it as being part of the official name of any of their products. For whatever reason, IWC has decided to call this watch the "Portugieser Annual Calendar," versus the more logical "Portuguese Annual Calendar," which would fit more into the rest of the naming of the Portuguese collection. I am sure there is a reason for this, but it is currently a bit of a mystery. Personally, I believe this might be perhaps a mistake, and eventually, the watch will be corrected to be called the Portuguese Annual Calendar - we will see.
As with its predecessors, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1948 takes its design cues from a historical model, and features a distinctive script just beneath the Jaeger-LeCoultre signature, proclaiming, “Fabriqué en Suisse” (Made In Switzerland), same as the original. I cannot stress just how beautiful the dial layout is on this timepiece; the textured dial, deco elements, outer track detailing, and blued steel markers are simply superb, and the subsidiary seconds register adds a nice symmetry to the dial, as on the Chocolate.
What does that mean the other registers are tracking? The one over at 3 o'clock is the running seconds; no surprises there, as on just about any watch intended for professional use there has to be an indication that the watch is indeed running. It is the one at 6 o'clock that's unexpected: it is actually how you set the alarm. Given that it has a 12-hour scale, you can set this no more than 12 hours in advance. Once set, though, you'll get a digital chirp going off at the appointed time. It was a nice feature, and works as advertised, although in a noisy setting, it is near impossible to hear. In an office or at home, however, it works just fine. Regardless, it is not something we see that often in an analog watch, and it is all made possible by a Swiss-parts version of the Ronda 5130.D.Read more ›
So what functions does that Jaeger-LeCoultre Extreme Lab 2 have? One of the cooler things which is hard to see is that you can adjust the time while the chronograph is in operation - which is pretty cool. The chronograph complication uses a fancy vertical clutch as well as a column wheel, and indicates the elapsed minutes via a big date-style digital counter. This is just SO cool, and it makes using the chronograph very interesting and visually impressive. Jaeger-LeCoultre designed the Jaeger-LeCoultre Extreme Lab 2 to have a chronograph that counts up to 24 hours, versus the much more common 12 hours of most full chronographs. A disc in the chronograph hours counter near 9 o'clock serves as the running seconds indicator for the time.
The Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara is no exception and of course the polished marble case is going to be the most impressive material used. Having said that, I don't think it stops there. Giuliano Mazzuoli does a pretty nice job for the rest of the watch parts, including the dial and hour markers, as well as the strap and crown. There is a highly refined aura to the overall look and feel which combines an almost Bauhaus sense of minimalism with an indisputably Italian sense of panache. Take, for example, the material used for the dials, which is ceramic.Read more ›
To provide enough space for the multiple rotations, Girard-Perregaux integrated a domed lens in the sapphire crystal above the mechanism. To view the mechanism in its entirety and from as many angles as possible, Girard-Perregaux created anti-reflective toric crystal window on the side of the manual winding watch below the 9 o'clock position. A sapphire crystal case back enables the view from behind.
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To be honest, I don't know all of the changes, but most people won't be able to tell, which means the Diver might be a better option for many looking for something with sporty performance to match sport looks in a high-end watch. The Cartier Calibre Diver has a solid versus exhibition caseback, a screw-down crown, and just one extra millimeter of case thickness. That is all to go from 30 to 300 meters of water resistance. The original Calibre has a 10mm thick case and the Calibre Diver is just about 11mm in thickness. Many brands even refer to 11mm as an "ultra thin watch."
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It is also in this department where I could experience more noticeable changes from last year. On this occasion, watchmakers from Chopard, Montblanc, TAG Heuer, and Zenith were all present, while Jaeger-LeCoultre had set up a "Sound Lab," which provided an approximately 40 minute long introduction to the world of chiming watches. In this separated booth seating six, different devices like microscopes, a projector, and of course, a knowledgeable watchmaker were ready to lead the pre-registered guests through the countless intricacies of chiming watches. I still feel bad that I could never find the spare time to sit through an entire session – there was just too much to see and do.
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Today, the Omega Seamaster 300M collection is relatively basic and exists just under the Seamaster Planet Ocean in terms of price. The movements are not fully in-house, but rather combine custom Omega parts with stock ETA movements. Frankly, the movements are very good and the value is there too, but you can't turn them over and admire them like you can the very pretty in-house made Omega calibers. While most Omega Seamaster 300M watches today are three-hand automatics, there are some chronograph versions (such as the Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph ETNZ Limited Edition, and its non-limited edition variants), and now for 2014, a Chronograph GMT Co-Axial.
2. IWC Aquatimer Deep Three Depth Gauge Watch Hands-OnRead more ›
Here is where things get a bit more complicated, and I want to preface that statement with some introductory thoughts. This isn't the first or last time I am going to talk about smartwatches, and in each instance, I try to add some wisdom about the segment in general. No one is more bullish about smartwatches than I, but I am extremely realistic about where we are when it comes to the technology. I will say that, while the functionality of the Michael Bastian MB Chronowing isn't perfect, there really isn't much out there that is all that better. So in a sense, I feel like the Michael Bastian MB Chronowing is more-or-less really good at what it does within a technology segment that is still very much in its infancy. Like infants, while items like the Chronowing look like a smartwatch and offer the basics of smartwatch connected functionality, it just isn't mature enough for the performance to be what it will be when it is more grown up.
aBlogtoWatch: Was there a specific piece that blew your mind on that trip?
There has been an obvious attempt to align the Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot watch with the current range with the case shape. The Academy watches have a pretty unadventurous silhouette, but it is modern enough without being crass in any way at all – although at 45 millimeters wide, it certainly is relatively large. The problem with the styling of this watch for me, lies in the half-hearted dial design and the seemingly non-existent relationship of the hands. The majority of fusée-driven wristwatches I have seen all fall neatly into the second critical category – their design is eminently consistent with itself.Read more ›