You have to understand that this isn't merely a red tinted or colored sapphire crystal, the actual crystal itself has that red color to it. On the edges of the crystal you can see the rich red tone, and the dial itself is hued in red a bit as a result of the red lens. Of course, the hands and hour markers that are already red have enhanced colors due to the red sapphire crystal.
The 1901 movement has some decoration on it, including forms of Geneva stripes, the blued screws and polished bridges. Very nice for the price, and I think most people who like the watch will be OK with the choice of movement. Back to the dial, I like that Techne placed different hands for the subsidiary seconds dial and the chronograph minutes dial.
The one problem I did have with this winder was being able to use it with watch without a bracelet. I first tried to put in a 46 mm Glycine Stratoforte that's on a rubber dive strap. I like rubber dive straps as they tend to be longer than normal straps. I guess that's so they can be worn over a wet suit, but for me they're a perfect length. However, the end if the strap sticks out a bit, and when the holder is in the winder the strap rubs against the winder. The watch certainly doesn't freely swing back and forth and I couldn't use it. [Ed. note - it may be true that the largest of watch bracelet or strap lengths aren't adept for this type of winder. In fact, such large straps would likely be an issue for most winders. This won't be a problem for the majority of owners though.]
I don't have many issues with the watch, but I have a few quips about the rubber strap. One thing I do like is Cartier's use of quick release on the case for the straps. You can easily remove the straps (or bracelet) without any tools from the case. That is a good touch, and the system on this watch works well. Actually, the strap release mechanism was developed and patented by IWC, which is the system used here I believe. IWC is a sister Richemont Group watch brand along with Cartier, and IWC licensed this technology to Cartier. I included a nice closeup image of the strap release mechanism. The strap is fine, but the clasp is where the issue is. First, the system of tucking in strap excess to hide it is good in theory. However it uses a basic tension system here with nothing really securing it. What this means is that the strap will loosen over time, or if pulled on. Forcing you to "tighten" it. The straps tuck in on both sides of the clasp to ensure you can position the clasp at the bottom of your wrist. Wearing the watch, I found that I needed to occasionally adjust it for a good fit. It is easy enough to do, but isn't a perfect system for a luxury watch. This isn't an issue of course with a metal bracelet, but at least with the strap you can afford yourself a more precise fit. Next, the excess rubber strap creeps out from under the strap. Not a big deal, but you will see it coming out a bit from time to time. Last, I wish Cartier would develop locking clasps. They use tension clasps on most of their watches. These simply use a bit of pressure to 'snap" a clasp closed and into place. A jolt can undo the clasp, or wear and tear over time can make them fit less securely. Rolex on the other hand is know for nicely engineered locking clasps and bracelets. Cartier should really look into developing such things for themselves. I am not an expert on every Cartier deployment clasp out there, but they need some (or more) locking clasps on their watches. The exposed clasp itself is quite simple. Looks like a letter "C" with a vertical line through it. No Cartier name (unless the "C" is for Cartier), and it is relatively minimalist (though nicely polished).
4. Repeated over and over, "I can't believe they are buying it. I can't believe they are buying it..."
As you would expect, the movement is also solar (any light actually) powered ("Tough Solar"), and atomic clock radio controlled. Actually, being an analog watch might be of benefit to power generation. You can see that most of the dial is a photo-receptive solar panel - larger than the smaller ring used in the all digital screen models. Like other high-end pathfinder models, the watch can receive signals from your local atomic clock to sync to the correct time perfectly each day. This is actually one of the most complex functions in these phones, but you can set it to auto receive each night. I recommend looking through the instructions if you wish to fiddle with the "RC" (radio controlled) functions.
I am taking credit for these watches. I met with Time & Gems a while ago when seeing their progress with DLC and PVD treatments on Rolex watch modifications, and suggested that they give a two tone "Rolesor" watch this type of treatment. Black and gold is a very nice combo, (especially yellow gold and black), and to be honest, I don't think I've ever seen a Rolex mod that did this (though I could be wrong). So what Time & Gems did is black DLC coat the steel portions of these watches, and leave the gold parts of the watch and the dials alone. DLC is a very hard coating and is becoming favored to PVD at many brands. Time & Gems seems to confused the term DLC and PVD - and they seem to use them both. You can read more about the watch on their blog here. So unless I am missing something, these watches are DLC coated, not PVD. Pardon their confusion.
Winding the movement is very smooth. MB&F really likes winding the movement to be as smooth as can be. They actually prefer smoothness over efficiency. So they add an extra gear (at least in other models) to make the winding nice - though it can also reduce efficiency. That is not much of an issue here as the HM3 movement is an automatic.
Read more about the Van Cleef & Arpels Pont des Amoureux watch on my article at Haute Living here.
Vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air King Precision SS Full Size Automatic 1975
,225.00 (49 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3h 32m
The romance of flight, the mystique of secret flight, the durability of extensive testing. Each of these concepts is a major part of the Bremont U-2 watch - new limited edition made specially for pilots of the U-2 spy plane. This review is really a review of two watches - the U-2 as well as the Bremont Martin Baker watches (that I wrote about previously here). Bremont shouldn't require any introduction at this point as I have been gushing about their pieces frequently. I was happy to report on the sexy look of their Supermarine watches here, and now for something more flight oriented.
You can see that the strap is connected to a polished metal cradle. Without this segment the LUC Louis Ulysee is a pocket watch (not sure if it comes with a chain). Not only can you insert the watch into the cradle to make it a wrist watch, but this process is supposed to be incredible easy and fast. Alas. all you need to do is slide the watch into the cradle, and tighten the lock on the back of the watch. This should also create a snug, wiggle free fit. For added security you can loop a small buckle through the crown guard attaching it to the cradle in another way. The strap it self is in alligator.
Of course I am reminded of the "bumble bee" forged carbon Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watch. Maybe it is just because of that bold yellow flange ring. Tutima is an excellent dial maker, not only in design, but quality. For the price, there are few brands that make dials so crisp and rich. Only brands like Sinn are competition for this style. The dial is matte black with white lume hour indicators and hands, with proper minute markers. I first thought that the hands were too short, and they sort of appear that way, but they aren't when trying to use the watch. Tutima might benefit from lengthening them just a tad bit, but there is no lack of easy reading here. The placement of the Arabic hour numerals on the flange ring is great. There are few other watches so keen on telling you the time. I have to praise the SuperLumiNova lume application for being so bright. Tutima properly has the day and date on black colored discs to match the dial. The handsome deep-set dial is further benefited from a properly AR coated sapphire crystal over the face.
I first mentioned these two new Linde Werdelin SpidoLite watches here (check there for basic specs as well). Lately I was able to check out these watches hands-on myself. Note that these are pre-production prototypes (that have obviously been handled heavily). Now, I first became personally acquainted with the SpidoLite watch here when I reviewed one. This was the standard titanium version with its highly skeletonized case and Svend Andersen refinished vintage 1970s automatic movement. I thought that was about all the collection had to offer in its concrete colored appeal, but then Linde Werdelin stepped in with these models. Guess what? I'm going for gold here. Love that version - and it looks great with the high contrast black dial, again with gold hands on it. Actually the 18k rose gold version is being tested with two different types of polishes. One is entirely bead-blasted, and the other (my favorite) has polished edging. I think Linde Werdelin did a good job with the colors.
The functions of the watch are laid out nicely, and I like the design of the applied gold ring or semi rings in the dial. The dial itself comes in silver or black, and I hear is a pain in the ass to engrave. Louis Moinet had to located the right supplier that could do the signature "Louis Moinet sunburst" design on the dial (and automatic rotor). It looks really good, and I am glad that Louis Moinet went to the effort of finding someone who could do it. The hands are all really thin and mean to look like Jules Verne era industrial gauges. The thin arrow hour and minute hands appear clear as day in some lighting situations, and blend in with the face in other situations. This is a quirk with the dial that makes it less that legible in certain lighting situations, but it still always look so good. From an artistic standpoint the dial is beautiful. Though like the issue with the hands, there are some other readability problems. The dial has no lume, and the small gold dots on the minute scale look like that are supposed to be hour indicators, but actually aren't. They are placed between the hours. The minute indicators double as hour indicators. This can be a bit confusing to the eye sometimes. What really does help legibility is the properly sized hands in terms of length, and the dial is still very useful given all that is going on. Even with these quirks, the dial provides so much visual pleasure (not to mention compliments) that it is hard to resist wearing it often.
As a memory of this times long past, TX has designed (and keeps to updated and enhance) the World Time Airport Lounge watch. In addition to the dial with its retro-flair, the watch has a highly curved sapphire crystal over the dial that is meant to remind you of vintage watches that has domed acrylic crystals. Good thing that TX went with a sapphire crystal. The case is 42mm wide and wears a bit large - which is good. I think the size is proper as it is a modern watch in dimensions. The steel case clearly wants to resemble some more expensive watch cases. TX gave it brushed finishing in the middle with polished beveled edges on the lugs and a polished bezel. The chronograph pushers are polished as well and have an interesting black insert ring that looks nice. The watch crown has that deeply engraved TX logo that I always appreciate. With 100 meters of water resistance, along with some interesting details, the quality of the case is OK for the price of the watch.