The original Calibre 321 was the first movement ever used in the Omega Speedmaster in 1957. Most famously, it was used in a variety of space-bound models including the Speedmaster ST 105.003 (the model tested and qualified by NASA and worn by astronaut Ed White during the first American spacewalk) and the Speedmaster ST 105.012 (the first watch worn on the moon on the 21st of July, 1969).
The Calibre 321 is still recognised as one of the best example of lateral clutch, column wheel controlled chronograph and it was used as a base movement by Breguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin in a variety of chronographs.
After extensive research and reconstruction in a dedicated workshop, the Calibre 321 has now been reborn in-line with its original specifications. Historical research were made to guarantee the highest accuracy. Digital scanning technology was used to see inside the true Speedmaster ST 105.003 timepiece that astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan wore on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
As a result, even the most unique and iconic parts of the Calibre 321 have been reborn in respect to their authentic specifications.
The 42 mm brushed and polished asymmetrical case, crafted from a special platinum alloy with the use of gold (Pt950Au20), features a transparent sapphire-crystal caseback to display the reconstructed movement.
Matched to a black leather strap with a platinum buckle, the new model is enhanced by a black ceramic bezel with the Speedmaster’s famous tachymeter scale in white enamel.
The step dial is formed from onyx while white gold is used for the indexes and hands (except for the central chronograph seconds hand). The three subdials were obtained from real slices of moon meteorite.
The price of the new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum ref. 311-93-42-30-99-001 has not yet been announced. Come back later to find it. Read more about Calibre 321 and the Speedmaster chronograph in our article "The Omega Speedmaster history". omegawatches.com
The Omega Speedmaster's history goes back to 1957 when it was introduced as a sports and racing chronograph, complementing Omega's position as the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games.
The "Speedmaster" name was chosen for its tachymeter scale bezel and following the Omega convention used for other models like the Seamaster - initially the Speedmaster was part of the Seamaster line - and the Railmaster.
But it was with the first manned space missions and, in particular, with the 1969 lunar landing that the Speedmaster became so popular worldwide and was nicknamed the "Moonwatch".
In our in-depth article, you can read about the different tests performed by NASA to select the best chronograph for their missions and its importance for the astronauts.
In 2006 De Bethune presented a revolutionary chronograph, the DB21 Maxichrono. Envisioned by Denis Flageollet, master watchmaker and co-founder of the manufacture, this watch had the peculiarity of mounting all its five hands on a single central axis with just one push button to operate the chronograph functions, a real technical feat.
13 years later, De Bethune reinterpreted the original model presenting the DB21 Maxichrono Réédition.
The three-dimensional dial was designed on different levels to enhance legibility. From the centre to the periphery: silver-toned central hours counter, hours ring in titanium with blued markers, silver-toned minutes ring with minutes counter transfer-printed red numerals, silver-toned 1/10th of second graduated outer ring for seconds counter.
For the hands, De Bethune used polished steel for hours and minutes, thermally-blued steel for chronograph hours and seconds, and a red indicator for the chronograph minutes.
Everything is controlled by a single pusher at 6 o'clock, easily accessible while the watch is on the wrist.
Thus eliminating multiple counters, the DB21 Maxichrono Réédition offers the possibility to measure longer times, up to 24 hours in a row (whereas the usual chronographs are limited to 9 to 12 hours, and 30 to 45 minutes) and with tenth-of-a-second accuracy.
Housed in a 44.4 mm case fitted with the famous patented De Bethune floating lugs and crafted from Grade 5 titanium, this new edition is powered by the 5 Hz (36,000 vibrations per hour) DB2030 calibre.
This groundbreaking hand-wound movement is equipped with the De Bethune absolute clutch, a patented system resulting from more than seven years of research and development. This mechanism makes the most of the advantages of the horizontal and vertical clutch systems while eliminating their faults. It thus benefits from a marked reduction in the friction that affects the movement both when the chronograph is running and when it is functioning without the chronograph engaged.
The absolute clutch operates in a system engaging the two traditional clutch methods to allow the different chronograph counters to function semi-autonomously: - The chronograph seconds are governed by the new absolute clutch system; - The minutes counter is controlled by a shifting pinion; - The hours counter is engaged by a horizontal clutch.
Three different types of clutch behind three semi-independent systems controlled by three column-wheels thus govern the different chronograph elapsed-time counters.
A limited edition of just 10 pieces, the De Bethune DB21 Maxichrono Réédition has a price of Swiss Francs 155,000. debethune.com
With its 18 brands, a workforce of approximately 36,800 persons at the end of June, and close to 150 production facilities in Switzerland, the Swatch Group is a giant of the watchmaking world, a fully verticalized company, from production to distribution, that is present in all market segments.
The Group just announced the key figures of the first six months of 2019.
Net sales decreased by 3.7% to CHF 4,078 million at current exchange rates (-4.4% at constant rates). The operating result decreased by -13.0% to CHF 547 million compared to the previous year. Operating margin was 13.4% (previous year: 14.7%). Net income totaled CHF 415 million (-11.3% compared to the previous year) or 10.2% of net sales (previous year: 11.0%).
After the slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2018, sales in the first half of 2019 achieved very good levels, despite negative currency effects of CHF 29 million. In Mainland China, Japan and the USA, growth was very positive in all price segments. Sales in Hong Kong, an important sales market with attractive margins, suffered from political turbulence. This resulted in a double-digit decline in sales.
Sales in the Group’s own retail and e-commerce keeps recording positive growth.
In this first half of 2019, actions were taken against grey market dealers, especially in Europe, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America, even though this resulted in a short-term negative impact on sales in the triple-digit millions. The Swatch Group believes that, in the long term, this will lead to positive effects in the major markets.
Inventories increased slightly from the beginning of the year by 2.6% to approximately CHF 7.1 billion. The increase occurred in finished products and can be attributed to suspension of deliveries to grey market dealers.
The Swatch Group anticipates strong growth in the second half of 2019 due to continuing solid demand in the most important markets. The Group expects positive sales growth for the entire year in comparison to the previous year. swatchgroup.com
This year, MB&F is returning to red gold combining it with a deep blue dial plate whose eye-catching hue is obtained via the process of chemical vapour deposition (CVD).
On display under a domed sapphire crystal cupola, the dial of the Legacy Machine No.2 Red Gold Blue is an example of perfect symmetry. The white stretched lacquer sub dial at 12 o'clock, with its blued gold hour and minute hands, is visually balanced by the large, raised differential at 6 o'clock. And, from left to right, the two flying balances and their escapements are identical mirror images, right down to the position of the stud holders pinning their balance springs.
The planetary differential has three roles: 1) transferring power to each of the regulators, 2) receiving the individual timing rates from each balance, and 3) transmitting the average rate of the two regulators to the gear train, where it finally manifests itself as the displayed time.
The movement of Legacy Machine No.2 was developed to MB&F’s specifications by award-winning watchmaker Jean- François Mojon (Best Watchmaker at the 2010 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève) and his team at Chronode. Another independent master watchmaker, Kari Voutilainen, ensured that the movement’s aesthetic style was consistent with high-quality traditional timepieces of the 19th century.
The names of the two men responsible for the movement are hand engraved on the back. The two balances slow beat at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour or 2,5 Hz with an autonomy of 45 hours.
The MB&F Legacy Machine No.2 Red Gold Blue is limited to just 12 pieces with a price of Swiss Francs 148,000 plus VAT. mbandf.com
Armin Strom has just announced the Masterpiece 2 Minute Repeater Resonance, the world’s first and only resonance chiming wristwatch.
Two is certainly the key number of this masterpiece: two complications, resonance and minute repeater; two vertically-stacked independent movements; two forms of resonance (oscillators and sound propagation); two independent mainsprings in one barrel; and two development teams: Armin Strom for the resonance part and Swiss specialist Le Cercle des Horlogers for the repeater.
Created to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the transformation of Armin Strom in pure manufacture, the Minute Repeater Resonance will be limited to just 10 exclusive pieces.
As typical of the resonance timepieces by the Swiss brand, all the key elements of the mechanism, including the minute repeater hammers, are visible on the dial side for the joy of the wearer. In order to achieve this result - a big technical challenge - the movements are inverted with the pinions driving the repeater hammers and hour and minutes transversing the two vertically stacked calibers.
When the minute repeater is activated by using the slider on the left side of the case band, the two hand-polished hammers at 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock strike the two three-dimensionally curved gongs that encircle the hour/minute transparent subdial.
At 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock, the two independent regulators - one for each of the two movements - visually balance the two hammers.
The Armin Strom’s patented Resonance Clutch Spring - the result of several years of research and development - is visible between the two balances oscillating at a frequency of 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph).
The resonance physical phenomenon (you can read more about resonance here) not only improves the accuracy (Armin Strom’s laboratory testing has revealed gains in precision of 15-20%) but it also contributes to conserve energy, making it possible to achieve 96 hours of autonomy, also thanks to an innovative single barrel with two independent mainsprings inside, each driving its own movement.
Skeletonized bridges and plates allow visual access through the sapphire crystal dial deep into the movement. All components are finished to the highest level with the beautiful golden balance cocks that support the two oscillating balances standing out for their warm tones and tremblage hand-engraving.
The 47.7 mm case was crafted from Grade 5 titanium for technical reasons. In fact, thanks to its resistance, its lightness and its low density, this metal offers the best possible chiming characteristics. Additionally, it contributes to makes the watch more comfortable on the wrist thanks to its lightness. The gongs are attached to the case in order to enhance sound amplification.
A specially developed security system maximizes ease-of-use by protecting the minute repeater from accidental damage by blocking operation during time-setting and winding.
Armin Strom informed that after these 10 pieces in Grade 5 titanium, there will be no more editions for this model. Matched to a dark grey alligator strap with a stainless-steel steel double-folding clasp, the Armin Strom Masterpiece 2 Minute Repeater Resonance has a price of Swiss Francs 380,000. arminstrom.com
Part of the Tradition collection, the Captain Cook by Rado takes its names from the 18th century British explorer Captain James Cook and reinterprets a past collection from the 1960s.
The vintage look, quite faithful to the original, is matched to up-to-date features to raise accuracy, reliability and robustness to the modern standards.
The attractive Tradition Captain Cook Green comes in a 42 mm stainless steel case enhanced by a rotating bezel in high-tech green ceramic framing a green sunray dial with oversized indexes treated with white Super-LumiNova and chunky arrow-shaped hands.
The watch is powered by the 4 Hz ETA C07.611 automatic movement with date at 3 o’clock and up to 80 hours power reserve. The screw-down case back is decorated with three stamped seahorses.
Water resistant to 200 metres / 660 feet, the Rado Tradition Captain Cook Green (ref. R32505313) is available with a brown leather strap or with a refined steel bracelet, both featuring a deployant clasp. The price is Euro 2,020 / US$ 2,000. rado.com
The 1966 Blue Moon by Girard-Perregaux combines the understated style of the 1966 model with modern blue and black tones.
The 40 mm case, in black DLC stainless steel, frames a gradient blue dial with baton-type hour markers and leaf-type hands, curved like the AR-coated sapphire crystal.
At 6 o'clock, the moon phase aperture is encircled by a pointer-type date display with the date 31 highlighted in red.
The movement of choice is the Girard-Perregaux in-house caliber GP03300-0115 beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour and guaranteeing a power reserve of 46 hours. It features circular-grained, chamfered and mirror-polished mainplate and bridges, with blued screws and a rotor adorned with Côtes de Genève decoration.
Water resistant to 30 meters / 100 feet, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Blue Moon is matched to a rubberised, matte black alligator leather strap with a black DLC steel buckle. The price is Swiss Francs 8,950. girard-perregaux.com
Jaquet Droz started using the plique-à-jour enamel technique for some of its creations in 2018. This 1500-year-old technique involve creating an enamel composition made, not from a single piece, but from multiple joined pieces, separated by a thread of gold. Reminiscent of stained glass, it requires extreme dexterity when firing the enamels, as each passage in the oven risks altering the colour as well the integrity of the enameled sections.
The plique-à-jour enamel (or smalta clara in Latin) allows for the creation of partitioned decorations in infinite color variations, which are literally bathed in light.
The Petite Heure Minute “Smalta Clara Hummingbird” uses the smallest Jaquet Droz movement - the self-winding Calibre 6150 beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour with a power reserve of 38 hours - in order to leave more space to the striking dial where the hummingbird takes central stage.
Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art created two versions of this model. In the first, pink and light blue tones echo a mother-of-pearl dial within a 35 mm red gold case set with 100 diamonds (0.89 carat). In the second, the hummingbird is adorned with green and turquoise feathers over a shaded blue background. The mother-of-pearl dial, displaying two hands in blue steel, is housed within a white gold case that is also set with 100 diamonds.
Each model is equipped with an oscillating weight in either gold or platinum engraved by hand featuring the hummingbird. The two models, limited to just eight pieces each, come on satin straps that match the dominant tones of each creation.
The price of the Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird (ref. J005503501 in red gold or ref. J005504501 in white gold) is Swiss Francs 52,000 plus local taxes. jaquetdroz.com
Panerai presented four new Radiomir models, all featuring matt green dials and available exclusively at the brand's boutiques.
Also referred to as military green, this colour hue reinforces the historic identity of the brand, bringing to mind the period when Panerai became the sole supplier of wristwatches to the Royal Italian Navy in the 1940s.
Three models come with cases 45 mm in diameter, made of AISI 316L steel, and one model with a black sandblasted ceramic case and a larger diameter of 48 mm.
In these watches, the non-reflective green colour is matched to the beige shade of the luminescence and the Italian tanned natural leather strap. With their marked convexity, the sapphire crystals enhance the character of the watches.
The Radiomir 45 mm PAM00995 is fitted with the P.4000 calibre, Panerai’s thinnest automatic movement, and it has two hands and a small seconds hand.
Supplying additional information such as second time zone, AM/PM indication and the power reserve displayed on the back, the P. 4001 is the movement equipping the Radiomir GMT 45 mm PAM00998.
This mechanism was subsequently modified in the P. 4002 version, which shows the power reserve indicator on the dial, a feature unique to the Radiomir GMT Power Reserve 45 mm PAM00999.
Each of the above mentioned automatic movements feature a bi-directional off-centred micro-rotor in tungsten alloy and beat at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour) with a power reserve of 3 days.
Of the new editions, the only one to have a hand-wound mechanical movement is the Radiomir 48 mm PAM00997, which is fitted with 3 Hz (21,600 vph) P.3000 calibre indicating hours, minutes and small seconds. This movement also offers 3 days of power reserve.
Prices are as follows: Radiomir 45 mm PAM00995 - Euro 10,900 Radiomir GMT 45 mm PAM00998 - Euro 11,700 Radiomir GMT Power Reserve 45 mm PAM00999 - Euro 11,900 Radiomir 48 mm PAM00997 - Euro 12,900
Water-resistant to 10 bar (a depth of about 100 metres / 330 feet) and presented in a box of satin-finished green cherry wood, the new Radiomir watches are supplied with a spare strap as well as the original one. In beige for the steel versions or black for the ceramic version, with two loops and functional reinforcing inserts in each of the holes in the green leather lining. panerai.com