Loading...

Follow SJX | Singapore Watch Blog on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Anyone who followed Formula 1 in the 1990s to the early 2000s would remember Rubens Barrichello as effective driver. Though the Brazilian did not win any championships, he notched up 11 wins and 68 podium finishes.

Like many fellow Formula 1 drivers, Mr Barrichello likes watches and was once an Audemars Piguet ambassador; the Royal Oak Offshore Rubens Barrichello II of 2006 was one of the hottest watches of the era. 

Unsurprisingly, Mr Barrichello is apparently a fan of the Rolex Daytona – arguably the auto racing watch – explaining his collaboration with Artisans de Genève, a Swiss outfit that specialises in customising Rolex watches. They gave his Rolex Daytona a makeover to create “La Barrichello”, a strikingly and heavily modified Cosmograph Daytona with an open-worked movement.

Notably, Artisans de Genève just last year performed a similar custom job on a Daytona belonging to Juan-Pablo Montoya, another F1 driver who was active in the sport at the same time as Mr Barrichello. Both drivers’ skeletonised watches are novel in a good way; much of Artisans de Genève’s other creations are modern Daytonas modified to look like vintage “Paul Newman” Daytonas, which is arguably less interesting.

Creative differences

“La Barrichello” started out as the all-steel Daytona ref. 116520, which is the preceding generation of Daytona that was first introduced in 2000 before being replaced by the ref. 116500LN (distinguished by its ceramic bezel) in 2016.

Mr Barrichello wanted his Daytona to look “mechanical” – a familiar look for F1-inspired watches – resulting in a watch that’s Daytona meets Richard Mille meets Hublot. It has an open dial that reveals the skeletonised base plate that in turn shows off bits of the cal. 4130 movement that are otherwise hidden, including the mainspring and chronograph wheels.

Though the original, stock Daytona ref. 116520 has a steel bezel, this is fitted with a black ceramic bezel produced by Artisans de Genève. Though it’s reminiscent of the bezel found on the current Rolex model, it features entirely different markings the same material, sees different markings from the updated bezel of the ref. 116500LN. The tachymetric scale, for instance, is graduated to “500”, instead of “400” as on the Rolex bezel.

The entirety of the case has a matte, brushed finish, in contrast to the alternating brushed and polished surfaces of the stock Daytona. At the same time, the pushers and crown have been coated in black amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC).

Minimalist dial

The dial of the watch is thoroughly skeletonised, leaving only the chapter rings for the seconds, minute track, and chronograph registers. Notably, the 12-hour counter has been enlarged, giving the dial an asymmetrical layout that is reminiscent of vintage chronographs (one if which Longines recently remade as the Avigation BigEye Chronograph).

And because the dial has disappeared, the branding has been printed on the underside of the sapphire crystal, a move that might get Artisans de Genève in trouble with the legal department at Rolex.

Rebuilding the 4130

But more notable than the nips and tucks to the dial and case is the reworking of the Rolex cal. 4130 chronograph movement. According to Artisans de Genève, the movement was disassembled and then certain components singled out to be skeletonised and bevelled by hand.

In addition, the rotor is produced by Artisans de Genève, first cast in 21k gold then open-worked to resemble a wheel rim, before being bevelled by hand and coated in ADLC.

In total, 260 hours are required to customise each watch, according to Artisans de Genève. Despite all the work done, “La Barrichello” retains the 100m water resistance and 72 hours of power reserve of the stock Daytona.

Key facts

Diameter: 40mm
Height: 12mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: Self-winding cal. 4130 with 21ct gold rotor
Frequency: 28,800bph, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Customised rubber strap

Pricing and availability

The Artisans de Genève Rolex Daytona “La Barrichello” is a one-off and not for sale. For other timepieces customised by the workshop, visit the brand’s website here.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Watch collectors who were around in the late 1990s and early 2000s would remember Ventura. It specialised in – literally – design watches. All its timepieces were created by noted industrial designers, including Flemming Bo Hansen and more frequently, Hannes Wettstein, who also designed the Nomos Zurich.

The house style was sleek, pared back, slightly Scandinavian, but also distinguished by unusual materials – Ventura made liberal use of surfaced hardened titanium (Titanox) and steel (Durinox), a great novelty at the time.

The Ventura V-Matic Ego remake

But the brand made a pivot into high-end, self-winding electronic watches in the early 2000s, which unsurprisingly ended in Ventura going bust. Now Ventura is being resurrected by its former owner, UK-based watch importer Zeon Ltd (that’s in turn owned by a Hong Kong watch manufacturer), in partnership with Stephan Hürlemann, the designer who took over Wettstein’s studio after his death.

I liked very much what Ventura was doing back in the day – the combination of design and materials was unique – but the original watches were surprisingly expensive, particularly by the standards of the time. The new remakes manage to reproduce the original design in a similar alloy, at a notably affordable price.

Designer watches for less

The revived Ventura sticks to a tried and tested sales formula: direct to the consumer via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, making the new Ventura watches notably affordable, starting at US$900. (Intriguingly, today’s Ventura is not the only offshoot of the original company. Pierre Nobs, one of the cofounders of the original Ventura in 1989, recently set up Bolido in partnership with a Swiss designer Simon Husslein.)

The first watch in the line-up is the V-matic Ego, an three-hand automatic with date. Stark and symmetrical, the original was one of the most recognisable Ventura watches, and the remake smartly manages to be almost an exact copy.

It has a 41mm case in the distinct style of the original, with inward sloping sides, short lugs and a practical, knurled crown.

Most importantly, the case is made of hardened titanium, just like the original. According to a Ventura representative, the case is not produced by the same specialist as the original, but it is of the same specification.

Inside is an ETA 2892, the low-cost workhorse movement that does its job well, and will run for 42 hours on a full wind.

The ETA 2892-A2 with a black-coated rotor bearing the Ventura logo

A thoughtful date

The new V-Matic Ego faithfully sticks to the original design, from the open-worked hands to the square hour markers. But crucially, and this is important, the watch retains Wettstein’s clever “dot” date display. The tens of the date numeral are represented by a dot, allowing for larger numerals and better legibility, while making the date display less cluttered.

The date reads “22”

As it was with the original, two dials are offered: a grained silver with blue hands and indices, or a stark black and white.

Both are available with either a leather strap, or hardened titanium bracelet for not very much more, making it a compelling upgrade. And the folding clasp for the leather strap is also a reproduction of that found on the original.

Key facts

Diameter: 41mm
Material: Hardened titanium
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Automatic ETA 2892-A2
Frequency: 28,800bph, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Black leather with folding clasp, or titanium link bracelet

Price and availability

The V-Matic Ego remake will be launched on Kickstarter on July 9, 2019. It’ll be priced at US$900 on a leather strap and US$1000 on the bracelet. After the Kickstarter campaign concludes, the official retail prices will be US$1350 and US$1500 respectively.

You can sign up on venturawatches.com for a launch notification.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Every year Chanel debuts a handful of timekeeping objects that are sleekly monochromatic yet lavishly constructed of precious materials like gold and rock crystal. They are beautiful, expensive, and the sort of object that would look at home in a US$100m penthouse. And because there are enough such penthouses to go around, these objets d’art inevitably find owners every year.

Last year’s collection of objects included the Monsieur de Chanel Chronosphere, a clock within a glass globe supported by blackened-bronze lions, which was a five-piece limited edition. But the collection also included the one of a kind Monsieur de Chanel Pocket Watch suspended in a jewelled stand, an object that is simultaneously discreet and extravagant.

Photo – Chanel

Although the pocket watch and its stand retail for almost US$800,000, it is discreet to a fault.  All of the materials within are precious, but the entire object is almost monochromatic.

The pocket watch can be removed and carried, but is more likely to function as the ultimate desk clock.

Standing about 25cm, or 10in, high, the stand is polished 18k white gold and panelled in glossy obsidian, a black, volcanic rock. And while it does not look the part, the sculpted lion is also 18k gold, but coated entirely in smooth, black Hyceram, a composite of ceramic and polymer.

The diamonds within the stand are substantial, but subtle – the lion’s paw rests on a 18k gold sphere covered in baguette diamonds.

The big cat is one of the emblems of Chanel, having been the Zodiac sign of its founder Coco Chanel. Other symbols associated with the brand are repeated throughout the watch and stand, including the octagonal links of the watch chain that are shaped like the cap on the Chanel No. 9 perfume bottle.

The watch itself can be carried if one is so inclined; it is hefty but not overweight. But it looks best hanging in the stand.

The watch case is 18k white gold, and set with 57 baguette-cut diamonds on its band totalling 7.12 carats. That’s a substantial amount of diamonds – in comparison, the average wristwatch bezel accommodates about 2.5 carats of gemstones. But being only set on the case band, the gemstones aren’t obvious from the front, giving the watch a surprisingly low-key appearance.

Like the lion, the watch chain is in 18k white gold but coated in black Hyceram, making its surface wear-resistant.

Photo – Chanel

And inside is the Caliber 2.2, a skeletonised, hand-wound movement developed with the aid of Romain Gauthier, an independent watchmaker in which Chanel owns a minority stake. Besides aiding with movement design, Romain Gauthier is also responsible for producing components like the gears and balance wheels for Chanel’s top of the line, in-house movements.

As it is with Chanel’s other in-house movements – the Caliber 1 being the most complicated – the Caliber 2.2 has its bridges open-worked to form repeating circles, while the bridges are frosted and coated with amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC), giving them a sparkly, dark grey finish.

Notably, the movement is derived from the Caliber 2, which is found inside the Première Camélia Skeleton wristwatch for ladies. Designed with a more masculine aesthetic, the new variant of the movement found inside the pocket watch might signal a time-only wristwatch for men in the future.

Concluding thoughts

The pocket watch is unquestionably gorgeous, and it is impressive both visually and tangibly.

It also costs a bit less than US$800,000. Is it worth that much? Probably not, but how else can you decorate a nine-figure apartment?

Key facts

Material: 18k white gold watch case set with 57 diamonds, stand in 18k white gold and obsidian, lion in 18k white gold coated in Hyceram

Movement: Hand-wound Caliber 2.2
Frequency: 28,800bph, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: 18k white gold chain coated in Hyceram

Price and availability

The Monsieur de Chanel pocket watch is a one of a kind creation, priced at €690,000 including 19% VAT. That’s equivalent to US$773,000.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Austrian watchmaker Habring² is well-regarded for its affordable, cleverly engineered watches, particularly the Doppel rattrapante. Now Habring² takes the Doppel a step further: the Perpetual Doppel combines the mono-pusher, split seconds chronograph with a perpetual calendar, while still keeping it affordable as such things go.

Constructed atop its proprietary A11 movement (itself derived from the robust Valjoux 7750), the Perpetual Doppel is unusual in using a complications module not made by Habring², which typically designs its own complications. Instead, the watch uses the tried and tested perpetual calendar module produced by Dubois-Depraz, a complications specialist that also supplies the module to other makers of affordable perpetual calendars.

This makes the Perpetual Doppel the most complicated serially produced Habring² watch, though the brand has produced one-off repeaters and tourbillons in the past.

The Perpetual Doppel is generously sized at 43mm in diameter to spread out the calendar displays as much as possible to maximise legibility. But despite the added height of the perpetual calendar, the case manages to stay just 12mm high.

Readability is also helped by the red gold-gilded hour numerals and red gold-plated hands that contrast with the brushed, silvered dial. And the chronograph has two central seconds hands for the split-seconds function, along with a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock for elapsed minutes.

The Habring² classic

Inside is the A11P, comprised of Habring²’s signature split-seconds movement combined with the Dubois-Depraz module. The split-seconds mechanism was originally designed by Habring² co-founder Richard Habring while he was working for IWC, and now that the patents for it have expired, Habring² has produced an improved version of the original.

Fully wound, the watch delivers approximately 45 hours of power reserve and is attractively finished, even taking into account its accessible pricing. And the chronograph cam is in blued steel, now a Habring² trademark. Unusually, the balance spring is not Swiss made, instead it comes from German wire manufacturer Carl Haas.

Key facts

Diameter: 43mm
Height: 12mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Hand-wound cal. A11P
Frequency: 28,800bph, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Black leather

Pricing and availability

Although not a limited edition, the Perpetual Doppel will only be produced upon request; several have already been delivered to fans of the brand. It’s priced at 21,500 Euros, which is about US$24,300. The watch is available either direct from Habring² or any of its retailers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Made in Spain and powered by rebuilt vintage Omega movements, Atelier de Chronométrie’s watches recall Swiss watches of the 1930s and 1940s. Having launched variants in steel, and even one with a revolving cloisonné enamel dial, Atelier de Chronométrie (AdC) has just unveiled a pair of watches created for Shellman, a respected watch retailer in Tokyo.

Founded by vintage watch dealer Santi Martinez, his wife Montse Gimeno, as well as watchmaker Moebius Rassmann, AdC specialises in timepieces that look and feel vintage, save for the movements inside that are artfully designed and wonderfully finished. Its tasteful watches are a perfect fit for Shellman, the small but influential outfit located in the posh Ginza district of Tokyo.

Established in 1971 by Yoshi Isogai, Shellman is highly regarded for its top quality vintage watches and was one of the first retailers of Philippe Dufour anywhere in the world. Alongside Dufour, Shellman is also the retailer of independent labels like Beat Haldimann, Svend Andersen, and now, Atelier de Chronométrie.

The Atelier de Chronométrie #6 is a 35mm watch in 18k grey gold, with a two-tone sector dial and blued steel leaf hands.  The case design is inspired by 1930s gentleman’s wristwatches, explaining the single-stepped bezel with a flat front and the narrow case band.

Inside is a movement that started life as a 1950s Omega cal. 266, but entirely revamped by AdC. Twenty-six components of the movement are hand-made from scratch, while every component is decorated by hand to a high degree. The parts made by AdC include the bridges and cocks, which are made of ARCAP, a hard alloy made up of nickel, copper and zinc, as well as the free-sprung balance wheel that has two adjustable masses made of 18k gold.

Admittedly the #6 wristwatch is fairly similar to earlier AdC watches, which is where the Atelier de Chronométrie #7 stands out. Though it has design elements found in other AdC timepieces, the #7 is the first time they have been combined in this manner.

The #7 is in old school 18k yellow gold, and slightly larger at 37mm in diameter. The dial is black “gilt” with applied Breguet numerals matched with solid yellow gold hands.

The movement is identical to that in the #6, but because several components are hand-made and also finished by hand, the aesthetic is intentionally varied. The shape of the barrel bridge, for instance, is different, as is the finishing on the crown and barrel ratchet wheels.

Note the gold chaton for the jewel within the black-polished steel cap on the escape wheel cock

Key facts AdC #6

Diameter: 35mm
Material: 18k grey gold
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Hand-wound and based on Omega cal. 266
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Calfskin with hand-made 18k grey gold buckle

Key facts AdC #7

Diameter:37.5mm
Material: 18k yellow gold
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Hand-wound and based on Omega cal. 266
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Calfskin with hand-made 18k yellow gold buckle

Price and availability

The AdC #6 and #7 are available only at Shellman in Tokyo, but similar models are available direct from Atelier de Chronometrie, starting at €38,000 in stainless steel.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

After a couple of quiet years, Hautlence unveiled its most striking complication earlier this year: a spherical jumping hour with retrograde minutes.

It’s a return to form for a brand that first took flight during the explosion of avant-garde watchmaking in the mid-noughties’, alongside peers like MB&F and Urwerk. Then still led by its founders, who named the company after an anagram of its hometown Neuchâtel, the brand capitalised on the growing desire for exciting, alternative watchmaking.

Its first calibre, the HL04, was presented in 2004 and combined a disc-based jumping hours and retrograde minutes inside a cushion-shaped case; the television screen-case has now become the brand’s signature form.

The HL Sphere is descended from the HL04, radically transforming the jumping hours into a three-dimensional, ball-shaped display.

Hautlence first experimented with the spherical display when it rolled out the battery-powered HL Kinetic clock at Baselworld last year. The table clock was made up of two transparent columns each housing a sphere – one for the hours and the other for the minutes.

As it is with the watch, each sphere of the clock is a jumping indicator, performing a rapid rotation – on a non-linear track for maximum visual impact – once an hour for the hour sphere, and once every five minutes for the minutes.

The Hautlence HL Kinetic table clock. Photo – Hautlence

From desk to wrist

The spherical jumping hours was miniaturised for the HL Sphere wristwatch, and combined with a 180° retrograde minute display, harking back to the minutes indicator on the HL04.

Unlike other jumping hour displays that are one-dimensional and linear, the jumping hour sphere is a sight to behold. With each jump, the sphere rotates on itself along three axes to arrive at the next hour.


The rapid and non-linear rotation creates impression that it is a random jump. In principle it evokes the whimsical randomness of the Franck Muller Crazy Hours, a fashionable watch of the 2000s, but here Hautlence has executed it with several more degrees of mechanical complexity.

Despite its seemingly random motion, the sphere moves in a fixed sequence dictated by four conical gears within that meshed with two crossed spindles each inclined at 21 degrees. Each hour is laser-engraved into the titanium sphere, then filled in with white lacquer.

The conical gears that make up the spherical hours

The sphere itself is made up of two blue PVD-treated titanium halves, with the hour numerals engraved on the surface and then filled with white lacquer for legibility.

The sphere is mounted on a single pivot, creating the impression that it is floating within the movement. It is connected to the movement on the right side of the case, which contains most of the HTL 501-1 movement, the eighth movement developed by Hautlence since its founding.

With the dial made of tinted sapphire crystal and open around the retrograde minutes, most of the mechanics of the display are visible. The rack and spring for the jumping hours can be seen at 12 and one o’clock. And just below that is the snail cam for the retrograde minutes – the cam sends the minute hand back to zero – but it is mostly hidden.

Form and finish

The hand-wound HTL 501-1 has a clean look typical of many contemporary movements. The bridges are ruthenium plated, giving them a medium grey finish, and vertically brushed. They contrast against the frosted surface of the base plate, which is visible on the periphery  of the bridges. And the bridges have attractive polished, bevelled edges, albeit ones finished by machines.

Because the movement is actually compact, occupying only half the case, the balance wheel sits in a corner at the upper left-hand corner. A small detail on the balance bridge is revealing – the curved regulator index was developed by independent watchmaker Andreas Strehler for H. Moser & Cie., the sister company of Hautlence.

And through an aperture on the balance bridge the mainspring is visible. It occupies almost a quarter of the real estate within the case, explaining the surprisingly long 72 hours of power reserve, especially given the energy required for the once-an-hour-jumps of both the hour and minute displays.

Top rated TV

The signature TV-shaped case – an old-fashioned cathode-ray tube screen and definitely not a flatscreen –  is multi-faceted, with contrasting polished bevels and satin-brushed sides. And the sapphire crystal has bevelled edges and corners, framing the dial nicely.

Like most of Hautlence’s television-cased watches, the HL Sphere has generous wrist presence at 39mm by 46mm, standing 12mm high. The height of the watch is further amplified by the sapphire dome that accommodates the hour sphere.

Concluding thoughts

Though the HL Sphere has exactly the same basic complications as the HL04 from 15 years ago, it is dramatically different in the metal. The innovative kinetic display is a lot of fun to watch, and notably novel, which is a feat in itself given the proliferation of avant-garde time indicators.

The only downside is the price, which at about US$100,000 is a steep ask, putting it in the same league as more established independent watchmakers like MB&F and Urwerk.

Key Facts

Diameter: 39mm
Length: 46mm
Height: 12mm
Material: 18k white gold
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Hand-wound, cal. HTL 501-1
Frequency: 21,600bph, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Navy blue alligator with folding buckle

Price and availability

The Hautlence HL Sphere (ref. H1501-0200) is limited to 28 pieces, priced at 99,000 Swiss francs, or 150,000 Singapore dollars, and will be available by end June.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In late 2017, Hamilton hit a home run with an outstanding vintage-inspired watch for under US$500 – the Khaki Field Mechanical. It was modelled on a no-frills watch issued to the US army personnel during the Second World War. This year, the brand expanded the collection to include three new iterations powered by an upgraded movement.

While Hamilton’s Khaki line of watches has been around for over two decades, it was only last year that the brand introduced a hand-wound model, and one faithful to the original mil-spec watch. Not only is the Khaki Field Mechanical one of the most affordable hand-wound watches on the market, it also makes no concessions design-wise; the watch has a true-to-original dial without a date, a compact, 38mm case, and now, a new movement with an extended power reserve.

Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm in the olive green PVD case

A faithful remake

As with last year’s model, the new Khaki Field Mechanical is inspired by a watch produced for the US military from 1969 to the 1980s. Officially known as the FAPD 5101 or Type 1 Navigator, it was also nicknamed the “GI” after American troops,  and was notable for its hacking function, where the seconds hand stops when the crown is pulled out.

Several American watchmakers produced the FAPD 5101 for the American forces, including Benrus, Westclox, Belforte, and Timex, but perhaps the most notable of all was Hamilton, who delivered about a million of them to the US military. Many of these watches also saw service during the Vietnam War. Meant to be cheap and expendable, they were produced with either plastic or metal cases.

The FAPD 5101 had a sterile black dial with triangle hour markers, along with 12- and 24-hour scales – a look that conformed to the MIL-W-46374 standard set forth by the US Department of Defence in 1964; that specification, in turn, evolved from the MIL-W-3818B of 1962. Subsequently, many improvements and tweaks were made but the basic design persisted. Up until the advent of quartz watches, they typically had a hand-wound, 17-jewel, centre seconds movement with a hacking function.

This year’s Khaki Field Mechanical is available in a stainless steel case with a white or black dial, as well as a stainless steel case treated with an olive green PVD coating with a matching green dial.

Both case types have a sandblasted matte finish and are topped by sapphire crystals. The diameter is 38mm, an agreeable, even small, size today but is comparatively large to the small and unobtrusive originals.

The dials of the new watches remain identical to the earlier version, featuring twin hour tracks and triangular markers. The hands and triangle markers are coated with sand-coloured Super-Luminova, which presents a rather unusual combination on the white dial as retro remakes are rarely executed with white dials.

The most attractive version is undeniably the one with the green PVD-coated case as it offers a less technical, and consequently less common look. In fact, it brings to mind the aged bronze, but with a stable, unchanging appearance that forgoes the dramatic oxidisation of bronze.

An upgraded movement

But the major improvement lies under the hood. While the 2018 models were powered by a stock ETA 2801-2 with a 42-hour power reserve, the latest edition is powered by the cal. H-50 – a movement that first made its appearance in the extra-large Khaki Field Mechanical 50mm last year.

Made exclusively for Hamilton by ETA, the H-50 is essentially the same movement but with an upgraded 80-hour power reserve.

That was was accomplished by reducing the consumption of energy, while enlarging the power source. The frequency of the balance, for instance, was slowed from 4Hz to 3Hz, or from 28,800 beats per hour (bph) to 21,600bph. And the core of the barrel arbor was reduced, which enabled the mainspring to be lengthened, thereby increasing the power reserve.

It is also worth noting that Hamilton is one of the few brands that is producing an affordable, hand-wound watch on a large scale.

Concluding thoughts

The Khaki Field Mechanical is an extremely compelling reissue in terms of not just aesthetics and dimensions, but also the build quality and specs, which are almost unrivalled in its price segment, at least for a “Swiss made” watch.

Key facts

Diameter: 38mm
Height: 9.5mm
Material: Natural stainless steel or “Earth” coloured PVD-coated stainless steel.
Water resistance: 50m

Movement: Hand-wound H-50 (modified ETA 2801-2)
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 80 hours

Strap: NATO or leather strap for the white and black dials, and only NATO for the green dial.

Price and availability

The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm is already available in stores worldwide. Prices are as follows:

Stainless steel case with a black dial and NATO strap – 475 Swiss francs, or 690 Singapore dollars
Stainless steel case with a black, or white dial on leather strap – 515 Swiss francs, or 750 Singapore dollars
“Earth” coloured PVD case on NATO strap – 545 Swiss francs, or 790 Singapore dollars
“Earth” coloured PVD case on leather strap – 585 Swiss francs, or 850 Singapore dollars

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Singapore-based retailer The Hour Glass celebrates its 40th anniversary for a full year starting in mid 2019, with a slew of commemorative editions planned to mark the occasion.

The first of the limited editions announced is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-winding Chronograph The Hour Glass Commemorative Edition – a mouthful of a name but limited to just 20 watches.

In platinum and dressed in the retailer’s signature green and yellow colours, the limited edition is one of the few Audemars Piguet models entirely in the precious metal, making it an exceptionally weighty, and fairly pricey, watch. Audemars Piguet has used platinum accents for the Royal Oak Chronograph, but never in its entirety.

The watch, however, does have the same look as the standard models, with larger registers for the chronograph counters, and a smaller constant seconds at six o’clock. The hour markers and hands are also wider and shorter than on previous generations of the Royal Oak Chronograph.

Executed in an unusual forest green, the tapisserie guilloche dial features contrasting bright yellow gold counters, while the hands and markers are solid gold.

The new Royal Oak Chronograph is powered by the same movement found in the standard model, which is the self-winding calibre 2385, actually a Frederic Piguet cal. 1185. The movement is an integrated chronograph that has both a column wheel and vertical clutch.

Notably, this is not the first limited edition Royal Oak produced for The Hour Glass. That distinctive goes to the 50-piece Royal Oak Extra-Thin “Jumbo” in yellow gold from 2015.

Key facts

Diameter: 41mm
Height: 11mm
Material: Platinum
Water resistance: 50m

Movement: Automatic cal. 2385
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Platinum bracelet and additional green alligator leather strap

Price and availability

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph, The Hour Glass Commemorative Edition (ref. 26332PT.OO.1220PT.01) is limited to just 20 pieces and is priced at 173,400 Singapore dollars, which is about US$126,500. It is exclusively retailed at The Hour Glass and is already in stores.

Over the course of the year, The Hour Glass will announce more commemorative editions, created in collaboration with Chopard, De Bethune, Franck Muller, MB&F, Urwerk, Ulysse Nardin, Nomos, Sinn, TAG Heuer, and Longines.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sotheby’s upcoming sale of pocket watches and clocks includes several well known watches, most notably the George Daniels Space Traveller I. But the sale also includes a less known English masterpiece, produced almost a century before.

The S. Smith & Son watch no. 309-2 is one of the most complicated English watches ever made, featuring a grande and petite sonnerie with trip minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and split-seconds chronograph, with everything displayed on a gorgeous tri-colour enamel dial.

But it is representative of the fading years of English watchmaking, as the country’s watchmakers were going out with one last hurrah and producing some of the most complex watches ever made.

The golden age fading away

By the early 20th century, English watchmaking had been eclipsed by rivals in the United States and Switzerland. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the English once produced the world’s greatest watches. John Harrison’s invention of the accurate marine chronometer helped the Royal Navy rule the waves, which in turn made the British Empire possible.

But by the time the 20th century arrived, watchmaking in England was declining. Across the Atlantic the Americans were producing watches en masse on an unprecedented scale.

In the early 20th century, the Elgin Watch Company was the world’s biggest watch manufacturer with an annual production of some two million watches, though that would mark the peak of Elgin and American watchmaking as a whole.

At the same time Switzerland was growing its watch industry in both size and quality, a development that would make it the world’s biggest watch exporter by the mid 20th century.

In response, English watchmakers went upmarket, and focused on the most complicated watches. In those fading years of English watchmaking, a handful of firms, namely Smith, Frodsham, Dent and Player, produced watches that ranked amongst the greatest in the world in both quality and complexity.

In fact, English watchmakers were producing grand complication watches – albeit with the help of specialist suppliers in Switzerland – in the early 1900s, well before the Swiss did, about a decade later.

Money can buy everything

In fact, many prominent individuals of the day – men who could have bought anything they wanted – chose to buy English watches.

Banker J. Pierpont Morgan, found of the eponymous bank, owned the most complicated English watch ever made, produced by J. Player & Son of Coventry in 1909. Having last been seen in the 1970s, it is a double-faced pocket watch with grande and petite sonnerie, tourbillon, and numerous astronomical indications including the zodiac, declination of the Sun.

Better known as a watch collector, James Ward Packard, the American automobile tycoon, avidly collected highly complicated watches – though not in competition with banker Henry Graves as widely believed – and commissioned several grand complications from both Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin.

The Patek Philippe pocket watch he received in 1916 (with movement number 174’129) had 16 complications, and in 1927 he received another masterpiece by Patek Philippe (with movement number 198’023) that had 10 complications.

The double-faced Patek Philippe pocket watch delivered to Packard in 1927

But Packard bought the best, not just from Switzerland, which is why he also commissioned one of the most complicated English watches ever, produced by Edward Dent of London. It was delivered in 1902, well before any of the major Swiss pocket watches Packard owned.

Signed “E. Dent”, Packard’s grand complication watch was a whopping 72mm in diameter, and features a tourbillon, perpetual calendar with leap year, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph, and power reserve indicator.

The E. Dent grand complication once owned by Packard, pictured on the cover of the June 2000 issue of the AWCI magazine. Photo – American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI)

Packard’s Dent pocket watch then brings us to the S. Smith & Son that Sotheby’s is selling. Both the Dent and this Smith share a similar dial layout, as well as certain elements of the movement, most likely because both movements were produced by London movement maker Nicole Nielsen.

While Packard Dent was sold almost three decades ago, the Smith will soon go under the hammer, at the first sale of several to dispose of the gargantuan watch collection of the late Erivan Haub, a German supermarket billionaire.

When the Smith was last sold at Antiquorum Geneva in 2004, it fetched a whopping 487,500 Swiss francs, then equivalent to US$372,000, making it one of the most expensive English watches ever sold. The same watch today has an estimate of US$220,000-340,000, which might still prove to be a tough sell given how out of fashion pocket watches are.

But examine the Smith up close, and it is easy to see why it is regarded as a triumph of English watchmaking, a last hurrah as the golden age came to a close.

A lot of watch, literally

Beautifully preserved, especially since it is now 116 years old, the Smith is a titanic timepiece, with a diameter of 77mm and a thickness of 31.5mm. More object than portable timekeeper, its dimensions are reminiscent of the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 or “Henry Graves”.

According to horological historian Terence Camerer Cuss, writing in The English Watch: 1585-1970, the dial is made up of 10 separate pieces, mostly fired enamel but with several chapter rings in solid gold. It is signed on the back by Willis, a defunct dial maker based in Smithfield, London, an area best known today for its meat market.

While the reason for the unusual, turquoise enamel chapter ring for date has been lost to time, Sotheby’s speculates that it was done to make the date for legible; perhaps the watch was originally produced for an astronomer. The Sotheby’s catalogue points out that the dial bears similarities to astronomical watches produced by 19th century German watchmaker Jacob Auch.

Even as the reason for its design have been forgotten, the dial remains gorgeous. All of the markings on the dial were evidently painted by hand, and executed with style and finesse that is almost impossible to find on watch dials today.

The same goes for the hands, which are either gold or blued steel, and beautifully shaped. Although the dial has 11 hands, nearly all of them are different, with only the three calendar points on the sub-dials being of the same design.

Nicole, Nielsen & Co.

The movement was likely produced by Nicole Nielsen, a movement maker that supplied numerous English firms besides Smith.

It was set up in the mid 1800s by a pair of Swiss transplants to London, Nicole and Capt. Both came from the Vallee de Joux – from the village of Le Solliat in fact, today Philippe Dufour’s hometown – where they started their first workshop. After Danish watchmaker Nielsen joined the firm, its name was changed to Nicole Nielsen & Co.

Most of its movements were built using ebauches, or movement blanks, imported from Switzerland, as was probably the case for this Smith. According to Mr Camerer Cuss, the striking and chronograph mechanisms are probably Swiss, although the split, bimetallic balance wheel as well as the balance cock with diamond endstone and micrometer regulator index are typically English.

The finishing was also done in England, hence the distinctive style, with gilt frosted bridges and an engraved balance cock – elements that were adopted by the watchmakers of Glashütte in the 19th century and are now regarded as typical German watchmaking.

The S. Smith & Son grand complication has an estimate of £170,000-260,000, or about US$220,000-340,000, and it will be sold at the Masterworks of Time auction on July 2, 2019 in London.

Many thanks to Richard Stenning and Philip Whyte for their help in researching this article.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In a surprise deal only just announced, auction house Sotheby’s has just been acquired by Patrick Drahi, a billionaire who controls French telecoms and media group Altice.

Mr Drahi’s offer of US$57 a share for Sotheby’s common stock is a 61% premium to Sotheby’s last closing price on Friday, June 14, and values the company at US$3.7 billion.

The news is perhaps a relief to some shareholders of Sotheby’s, who have seen its stock price almost halve in the past year, despite efforts by chief executive Tad Smith to turn things around.

Patrick Drahi. Photo – Wikipedia Commons

Having been a public company for almost 31 years – with the late American shopping mall magnate Alfred Taubman as a controlling shareholder for more than half of that – Sotheby’s will return to private hands.

This means that both the world’s biggest auction houses are now owned by art collectors – Sotheby’s by Mr Drahi and Christie’s by Francois Pinault, the billionaire who controls Kering, which owns Gucci.

The change of ownership might mean that Sotheby’s gains more leeway to aggressively pursue consignments, dialling up the competition between Sotheby’s and Christie’s, which compete to be the world’s biggest auctioneer.

Sotheby’s has grown its watch sales substantially, almost doubling in fact, since Sam Hines took over as worldwide head of its watch department in 2018, but the business is small enough to be negligible in the grander scheme of things. Watches are a tiny part of Sotheby’s business, with the US$100m or so of watch auction turnover being less than 2% of the US$5.3 billion Sotheby’s reported in 2018.

The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, and expected to close in the last quarter of 2019.

Source: Sotheby’s 

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview