Revolving Satellite Calendar.
Revolving Satellite Calendar.
Tissot begins with a Swiss ETA Unitas 6497 manually wound mechanical movement. This movement is often chosen when skeletonization is called for as you can really scrape out a lot of its guts to see how it all works. It even helps the basic movement look extremely beautiful when artfully skeletonized and engraved. What Tissot did here is clever. Offer a fully skeletonized watch, but one that is also still legible. The dial of the piece is more or less in tact when it comes to having all of the hour and minute indicators. Coming with a black or silver dial, Tissot uses sporty looking Roman numerals and a full scale of minutes as well as even the 24 hour time. Cut into the dial is an opening that looks like an upside down mushroom. This window does not interfere with telling the time, and gives you a view right into the movement.
Set in the Moon Invader case, the Space Invaders watch will come in two styles, with a really interesting dial. It took a ton of work to find a process that could cut a multi-level dial that looks as though it is made out of pixels. It looks cool in the images, but in person the dial has a rich depth to it and is quite impressive. But of course, first you need to be OK with a fancy video game screen shot on your wrist.
Case: 46 mm
I previously discussed the Sporting Watch with Elm Burl Wood dial here. Now however I have the full hands-on experience and get to show this watch off. Of course the first thing I noticed was the wood on the dial - and is much nicer than the faux plastic wood in that old Buick you once had. It looks very nice and will never appear to be anything but real polished and treated wood. Unlike Mr. Lauren, I don't get to drive around in vintage (or new) Bugattis, but wearing this watch made me feel just one step closer to being... his valet driver.
• 18-carat pink gold
• Diameter: 42 mm
• Thickness: 14.1 mm (including the sapphire crystal)
• Polished and satin-brushed finish
This piece of rare game goes for an awful lot of coin. It has an interesting history, as well, starting out as the Gerald Genta Arena Metasonic Sonnerie watch. When Bulgari engulfed the Gerald Genta brand (head nod to Genta who just passed away), they kept this piece and made a few style changes to the dial and case (very minor), the movement remained the same with the price still hovering around ,000,000. Bulgari also changed the name of the watch from Metasonic to Magsonic and dropped the Arena part of the name.
The men's models come with light or dark cases and in chronograph or three-hand models. These are called the Harry Winston Ocean Sport Chronograph or Ocean Sport Automatic watches. They are 44mm wide in satin finished Zalium cases. According to Harry Winston certain sections of the case are DLC coated. With sapphire crystals over the dial the cases are 200 meters water resistant. They look to have diver style bezels, but the bezels don't appear to be the types that rotate.
This is it folks, this is the Patek Philippe watch (of today) that you are going to want. Brand new for 2011, and likely hard as hell to get for the foreseeable future, this is the Reference 5270 perpetual calendar chronograph watch (5720G). In white gold the case is Western-wearable at 41mm wide and looks spectacular. Really happy to see a Patek Philippe with all the right stuff that isn't under 40mm. Look how nice it looks on the wrist. I got jealous of my own wrist just wearing it. Patek did something interesting with the gold hands and applied hour markers by making them black. Against the white hold case and opaline silvered solid gold dial they look spectacular with outstanding visual contrast. Everything on the dial is easy to read and very aesthetically pleasing. According to Patek Philippe, even though the 5270 is a classic model, it does represent the brand looking at design in a more contemporary manner.
Yes, fashionable. Like Cartier's lower-end (still not very low end), Chopard Mille Miglia watches are fashion timepieces. That doesn't mean they are bad, but don't confuse them for haute horlogerie. The watches are meant to function well yes, but moreover, be beautiful and look cool. Playing with colors, materials, etc... Chopard has made the Mille Miglia collection a real men's accessory item. Again, that isn't at all bad in my opinion, but you don't want to confuse these watches with the interesting Chopard L.U.C watches with in-house movements and more high-end character. Though to many, these watch at prices of about ,000 and up for the gold versions are pretty high-end already.
I have no clue what Alpina was thinking when their designer approved the hands on this Startimer Classic Automatic Chronograph watch. More like TinyTimer. This is exactly the type of crap that pisses me off. This watch makes me want to yell obscenities. Everything else about this watch is fine if you are going for that retro chronograph watch look - but those hands, what the hell is up with those stupid tiny hands? This isn't just a mistake, this is horological abuse.
While not without its quirks, this is probably the best watch Prometheus has made to date. The impressive feature list, hardy design, and Swiss movement make it a serious winner for the price. How much is it? That all depends on whether you are in Europe or outside of Europe because of the VAT. In Europe the Manta Ray is priced at 4.93, and outside of Europe without the VAT it goes down to a super attractive 8.70. You can get them online via Prometheus' website.
You'll notice that the collection has two distinct dial types. One is more practical with a machine guilloche engraved dial and Roman numerals. Notice the slick looking black oxidized hands. Of course there is the "heart-beat" window showing the escapement (which runs at a rate of 28,800 bph). The second dial is a semi-skeletonized version with mostly cotes de Geneve stripes and some exposed gears. This version of the Heart Beat Manufacture Dual Time Automatic does look cooler but is going to be must harder to read in the long term. While there is a dedicated ring of indicators around the periphery of the dial, the hour markers are not distinct enough from the minute markers, and the hands are too short to reach them. Plus, the hour hand in the second time zone dial goes right over the exposed gear which hampers its legibility. Much of these issues could have been resolved by simply improving the size and design of the hands.
I love the creativity of stuff like this and am happy that Fiona Krüger is striving to make it a reality. On her website (link above) you can see more images as well as concept art while designing the Memento Mori watch. Fiona Krüger is also not sure about the price at this time, but I hope it will be relatively affordable.
Where the movement gets a bit quirky is with the winding system. While the time movement is automatically wound by the rotor, the chronograph movement must be hand-wound. I guess it just requires a lot more torque. Reading the dial is pretty simple, and even with all the numbers it does not feel cluttered.
We can leave a talk about China for another time, right now my focus (I know, it hasn't been at all clear up to this point) is Chantilly, France and the Column Wheel Chronograph watch. Longines has been supporting equestrian events more and more, and recently became the official timekeeping sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. Their newest horse racing sponsorship is the support of the very historic Prix de Diane race in Chantilly, France (just outside of Paris). Chantilly is an extremely historic place with a palace that is considered second only to Versailles in importance and impressiveness in France. I have to admit, the palace was pretty cool. Somewhere along the line, one of the princes living there decided to build a palace for horses in the form of what is likely the most impressive of stables in the world. So, horse raising and racing has been common in Chantilly for a very long time.
(Pardon the partial shadow)
Quality is great. Say all you want about Chopard, but they make a good looking, well put together watch. The Monaco Historique Time Attack MF is in a really well polished steel case that is 42.5mm wide and 14.5mm thick (ideal size for the case and design). It has a perfectly domed AR coated sapphire crystal, and that nicely engraved caseback. All I would improve is the 50 meters of water resistance. There is another steering wheel engraving on the crown, and the pushers feel good to the touch. Very few areas on the case are really sharp, but it doesn't look rounded either. For me the watch is perfectly comfortable with its elegantly curved lugs and beautiful bracelet. The watch came on a port-holed leather strap or this great looking metal bracelet.
The overall design of the watch is based on the brand's classic piece called the Pierre Arpels watch - but this is a more modern and interesting version of that look. The case is 40mm wide, but feels large given it's high profile. Still, a medium-sized watch when seen in context. The case is water-resistant to 30 meters and has a sapphire crystal.
Listening to the sonnerie is as fun as it is to watch it work. The chimes are complex as the hammers work in unison. Though they seem quite fast for anyone trying to decipher them to calculate the time. Perhaps you might see one of these in your lifetime, but I imagine if you aren't in the industry that might be hard. Seeing this watch was a rare treat and I think it is pretty cool. Price is around 0,000.