A Seiko Watch for HOW MUCH?

It was the determination to excel that brought about the birth of Grand Seiko in 1960.

Image Credit: : aBlogtoWatch

During its development and ever since, the idea that drove the designers and engineers was that Grand Seiko should be the ‘ideal’ watch with standards of precision, durability and beauty that would lead the world.

The release of the first Grand Seiko in 1960

From the start the idea was simple, but its realization was fraught with challenges. The idea was to build a watch that would be as precise, durable, easy to wear and beautiful as humanly possible. While Seiko’s Crown and other mechanical watches of the 1950’s were constantly improving and increasingly popular, the team assembled to create Grand Seiko knew that, given time and resource, they needed, and could, go further.

The first Grand Seiko was a major advance. The new caliber 3180 was accurate to within +12 to -3 seconds a day and offered a power reserve of 45 hours. It was the first watch in Japan to be compliant with the standard of excellence of the Bureaux Officiels de Contrôle de la Marche des Montres.

The Grand Seiko Self-dater, 1964

Image credit: grand-seiko.com

The 1960 Grand Seiko was a great success, but the design team was determined to scale new heights in pursuit of their goal of creating the ‘ideal’ watch. Just four years from the creation of the first Grand Seiko, the Grand Seiko Self-Dater was introduced. The emphasis was on practicality. It had a calendar function and improved water resistance up to 50 meters, and was designed to be as practical in the office as it was beautiful in the evening.

The 1960’s. A decade of change.

The establishment of the Grand Seiko design philosophy

Released in 1967, 44GS had the highest level of accuracy of any manually wound 5 beat watch in the world. In just a few short years, Grand Seiko had made extraordinary strides towards its goal. The design of 44GS included many aspects that have been passed on to today’s Grand Seiko watches.

44GS established the look that Grand Seiko has continued to this day. It was a complex design idea, with rules about proportion, finish, angles and every other design aspect. Indeed, there were three basic principles and no fewer than nine elements required to achieve them. No other watch has had such an influence on the character of Grand Seiko and all subsequent Grand Seiko models have share the same unique brilliance and charm as 44GS because they have all expressed the Grand Seiko Style.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GRAND SEIKO DESIGN

The rapid development of Grand Seiko’s mechanical watches

Throughout the decade, the Grand Seiko collection grew and new calibers were continually introduced with a rapidity. In 1967, Grand Seiko unveiled the 62GS, the first automatic Grand Seiko, followed in 1968, by the automatic 10 beat 61GS and the manual 10 beat 45GS.

Driven by the demands of the age and the new possibilities that technology presented, watch accuracy became a global obsession and competition at chronometer trials intensified.

image credit: aBlogtoWatch

Having won every Chronometer competition in Japan, Grand Seiko’s team looked overseas for new challenges and the Swiss observatory chronometry trials graciously admitted our entries in 1964. In the years that followed, the rankings steadily improved, at both the Neuchâtel and Geneva ‘concours’. In 1968, our movement were awarded the overall prize as the best mechanical watches in the Geneva observatory competition and the world saw that the movements that would find their way into Grand Seiko were among the very best in the world.

These results were no accident. Thanks to ever improving watchmaking skills, the invention of new alloys and components and a passion to create the ‘ideal’ watch, Seiko and, more specifically, the Grand Seiko team made a definitive and lasting contribution to the raising of global standards of mechanical watchmaking. Thanks to its unique Spron alloys, the torque and durability of its mainsprings were enhanced and made possible the increase of the balance wheel oscillation rate to 10 beats per second to significantly increase the accuracy of its watches. The challenge of a viable hi-beat watch was met. A series of specially adjusted watches further raised the bar and set new standards of precision over time by being less susceptible to changes in position and other external influences.

The level of accuracy was astonishing, with a variation of less than ±2 seconds per day or ±1 minute per month. Having pursued the goal of accuracy to the very limit of what was possible at the time, the Grand Seiko team gave its ultra-high-precision models the “Grand Seiko Very Fine Adjusted” name. The 61GS V.F.A. and the 45GS V.F.A became legends.

The development of Grand Seiko quartz

Grand Seiko’s first quartz watch


Image credit : Grand Seiko

In 1988, the first Grand Seiko quartz watch, the 95GS was born. It far exceeded the performance of all regular quartz watches with its accuracy of ±10 seconds per year. The secret, as ever with Grand Seiko, was the ability to manufacture every component in-house. Using quartz crystals grown in its own facilities and in its own way, the Grand Seiko team was able to select only those oscillators that exhibited superior performance in temperature resistance, humidity resistance and shock resistance, to produce movements with the highest possible accuracy.

The pursuit of the ideal quartz watch.

Grand Seiko creates the ultimate quartz watch

While the first Grand Seiko quartz watch was exceptional, it did not quench the enthusiasm of the Grand Seiko team to go further and create the ‘ideal’ quartz watch. In 1993, Just five years after the arrival of the first Grand Seiko quartz watch, Caliber 9F83 was completed. This quartz watch incorporated four key innovations, the Backlash Auto-Adjust Mechanism, the Twin Pulse Control System, the Instant Date Change Mechanism, and the Super Sealed Cabin. It sought to embody what Grand Seiko considered to be the essential qualities of a wrist watch, namely: accuracy, beauty, legibility, durability and ease of use. Grand Seiko spared no efforts in the details, making this the pinnacle of quartz watchmaking.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 9F QUARTZ MOVEMENT

The development continued. In 1997 Seiko unveiled the 9F6 series, with a superior level of case design that made Grand Seiko quartz watches even more comfortable to wear.

2003 saw the creation of new quartz watch series whose resistance to magnetism was a remarkable 40,000 A/m. This series utilized an advanced exterior design and new casing techniques that allowed its ±10 seconds per year precision to be unaffected by proximity to computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

Source: grand-seiko.com

So how much will one set you back?

Prices range quite a bit for used, older, and new pieces. But the range is somewhere between $2000 and $47,000 at the time of this post.

The Value Proposition The Seiko SKX013 Dive Watch

A smaller take on one of the best budget watches of all time.

lmost three years ago to the day, Jack wrote a Value Proposition story about what might be the value watch to end all value watches: the Seiko SKX007 diver. For well under $200, you get a tough-as-nails dive watch with classic styling and some real history. There’s nothing to argue with, really. Unless you’re me, of course. 

I’ve always loved the SKX007, I really have. But, I’ve never been able to wear one. At 42mm across, it’s just too damn big for my Lilliputian wrist, both looking and feeling out of place. Until recently, I thought it was a lost cause, assuming that I would have to wander the Earth without a bang-for-your-buck Seiko diver at my side. Luckily, thanks to a tip from my colleague James Stacey, my prayers were answered and a solution was found: Meet the Seiko SKX013, the mini badass Seiko diver.

At first glance, without a wrist for scale, you might not even realize that you’re not looking at the SKX007. The SKX013 really is a dead-ringer for its big brother, in most respects. However, the watch has a smaller case that measures 37mm across and 13mm top to bottom. This makes it a full 5mm smaller in diameter (although thickness is the same). That’s a serious difference right there. 

As you look closer, you will notice a few difference between the watches. The proportions aren’t exactly the same, since the same movement is used in both (the automatic caliber 7S26). If I’m being honest with myself, the SKX007’s proportions are better than those of the SKX013. The smaller size means that it reads as thicker and you also lose some of the negative space on the dial. The day/date displays even cut into the rehaut a little – if this were a $5,000 watch that would drive me crazy, but here I’m willing to accept it as a compromise.

What is exactly the same between the two watches is the build quality. The SKX013 is water resistant to 200 meters, the screw-down crown at four o’clock has the hefty crown guards on either side, the crystal is Seiko’s proprietary Hardlex material, and the bezel has deep, even clicks. I threw this model on a NATO during the last weekends of summer and it held up without a single mark through trips to the beach and the park, exactly as you’d expect.

Now, the watch Jack showed you years ago was mounted on one of Seiko’s famous Jubilee-style bracelets. They’re a bit chintzy, but that’s actually why many people love them. I probably would have gotten my SKX013 on a similar bracelet, but, to be honest, the 013 is a little harder to find in stock in the U.S. than is the 007, so I had the choice of getting the watch without the bracelet or waiting a month. My impatience got the best of me and I purchased the watch on a rubber dive strap instead. I of course ordered it via Amazon, which is a veritable treasure trove of inexpensive Seiko watches that can be on your doorstep in under 48 hours. The SKX013 is also a tad more expensive than the SKX007, though that’s relative. I paid $256 for mine, and they seem to trade for anywhere between $225 and $275.

The dive strap was, shall we say, not for me. It was stiff, kind of bulky, and just didn’t feel great on the wrist. I’ve been alternating wearing the watch on a simple grey NATO, which is probably the way to go 99% of the time, and a black stitched calfskin strap from the HODINKEE Shop that cost more than the watch itself. It probably negates the value proposition here a bit, but it looks damn good. 

At 13mm, the SKX013 isn’t necessarily what I’d describe as a thick watch, but it’s not slim either. It sits nice and low to the wrist, and there are no comfort issues, but as the weather has started to cool off, I do find it snags on sweater and jacket sleeves a bit more than I wish it did. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but rather just something to be aware of if you’re going to make this a part of your collection.

I bought the SKX013 mostly as an experiment, to see if I would actually enjoy wearing one of those Seiko diver’s I’d so long admired from afar. I’m happy to report that I do, and I have been – this thing has gotten way more wrist time than expected and is now a regular part of my warm-weather watch rotation. As Jack originally remarked of this watch’s big brother, the SKX013 “ultimately manages to be so appealing on its own merits that the almost incredulity-inducing price is the least important aspect of the watch.” Well said, Jack. Well said.

Source: hodinkee.com ; STEPHEN PULVIRENT

Which Watch Would You Wear?

We take a look at some incredibly complicated time pieces. Which one suits you?

aBlogtoWatch

This stunning piece debuted in
2015 from Jacob & Co. The sheer complexity is jaw-dropping (as is the price). Known as the Astronomia Tourbillon
Baguette, this watch dazzles as the Earth and Moon rotate and spin accurately in time. It’s an extraordinary work of art and engineering. It can be yours for a shade over $1M.

Hublot

In keeping with the baguette theme, we offer the heavily embellished Hublot Big Bang Tourbillion. It certainly is eye-catching. While we tend to favor the less obvious Big Bang Iterations

aBlogtoWatch

The ultimate in complications is the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002.  
The Sky Moon Tourbillon Watch is one of the most famous names in the modern Patek catalog. The over $1 million watch is rare, beautiful, and exotic, even by Patek Philippe standards. One of the watches just set a record of $1.2M at auction, by far the highest any watch has gone for at auction in this economy. Some are now listed over $2M.

World’s Best

Bringing back the baguettes is the Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie.
Limited to 30 pieces and features a flying tourbillon, manual winding movement, a Platinum 950 case, crown set with 8 diamonds / 1 sapphire 43mm case, and bezel set with 48 baguette diamonds and 137 baguette sapphires. It is water-resistant up to 30 m with a platinum bracelet set with diamonds. Wow!

HANDS-ON ORIS DIVERS SIXTY-FIVE GREEN DIAL REVIEW

Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

Rumor has it that Oris is performing well this year in terms of sales. It is not that strange, as they hit home run last year with the Oris Divers Sixty-Five in 40mm. Another important aspect is of course the price segment in which Oris operates. Where a lot of Swatch Group and Richemont Group brands left the < 2000 Euro market, Oris does offer a lot of bang for the buck still. This year, they not only showed us the new 42mm versions of the Divers Sixty-Five, they now also introduced the Divers Sixty-Five green dial version, in 42mm.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

Oris Divers Sixty-Five – Milking It?

Oris has a couple of Divers Sixty-Five models in their collection today, only within 1.5 years after the initial introduction. In total 25 versions, including the Carl Brashear watch in bronze. Is that a bad thing? Well, you have to understand that there aren’t really 25 different versions. The differences are in size (40mm or 42mm), dial color (several) and strap variations. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five green dial is available on this leather strap as we have it here, but also on NATO, tropic strap and (rivet) stainless steel bracelet. That makes four versions of the Oris Divers Sixty-Five green dial alone. During purchase, you have to chose one of the strap option for the green model. That is, after you decided you want to go forward with the green dial and not a blue dial or silver dial. The black dial is only available in 40mm. Only blue dials come in both 40mm and 42mm, where the 40mm version has the ‘original’ dial design as the 1960s model.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

The More The Merrier

So people want options. Or able to make a choice. If we compare that to premium car brands, that’s why BMW, Mercedes and Audi today for example, have a full range of cars from small cars to large sedans and a couple of SUVs in between in several sizes. Let’s also not forget the coupé models that are crossed with a SUV. Does it make sense for the purist? Probably not. But do purists dictate the market? Again, probably not.

Hands-On With the Green Dial Version

Although we had a look at the new 42mm range earlier this year, covered in this article, Oris presented this Divers Sixty-Five green dial version to us early October. Immediately after, Oris in The Netherlands gave us the watch to have a closer look.

The watch is identical to the other 42mm versions we discussed earlier, so I won’t go into details here. The Oris caliber 733 movement is based on the solid Sellita SW200-1 automatic, the date window on the dial has the same trapezoidal shape and basically the case is identical as well. That pretty much sums it up for everything except for the dial color.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

Turns Almost Black

I always wonder for how long I like dials to be different from the usual black, silver, white or even gold color. Blue holds up longer than I thought to be honest (I remember I wasn’t too sure in 2000 when buying a blue dialed Omega Seamaster Professional 300M), I still like it. Green is perhaps a bit more difficult. On the other hands, under some conditions and from some angles, the green dial on this Oris Divers Sixty-Five almost turns black. It is this dark green tone, which is only ‘really’ green when in direct sunlight or under spot lights. During the day, when wearing in the office or in the house, with no direct light on it, it simply wears as a dark (or even black) dial.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

Leather Strap

As written above, this Oris Divers Sixty-Five green dial watch, reference  01 733 7720 4057-07 5 21 02 comes with the brown leather strap. It looks a bit like one of those vintage straps that we see so often in our Watch Strap Review topics. It is a quality strap, suede leather and comes with the neat little stitching. To be honest, I actually prefer this configuration for this green dial Oris Divers Sixty-Five watch. It gives a nice contrast to the green dial. Another cool option is the bracelet (and getting a separate ‘spare’ strap), with its rivets.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

Some Thoughts

The idea of being able to choose from a wide variety of Oris Divers Sixty-Five watches is nice. To be brutally honest, I would probably go for the original one myself, that is the original ‘re-edition’. Just because it comes closest to the original 1960s watch. Besides that 40mm watch, this green dial 42mm version and the bronze Carl Brashear models would be next in line. I think they are well done and nicely designed. I do think that Oris needs to be careful not to overdo it, there are limitations when producing several variants of a certain watch. Let’s just not hope they come with a DLC or PVD black version next year.

Pricing

This watch has a list price of 1850 Euro, on leather strap. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five green dial on bracelet retails for 200 Euro more, 2050 Euro. To be honest, I would be doing that and get a nice vintage leather strap for it on the side. The bracelet is very comfortable, well-made and has the nice rivets (they are not riveted all the way down to the clasp, which is a bit of a pity). Let’s hope Oris will keep the prices sane next year as well, and that they come up with some original new angles for one of their heritage pieces. Oris has a good game going on with the Sixty-Five models!

For more detailed information, visit the official Oris website.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial
Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial
orisdiverssixty-fivegreen-5
Oris Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial

Source: fratellowatches.com ; 

ROBERT-JAN BROER

Introducing The NOMOS Club Campus Neomatik, Club Campus Neomatik 39, And Club Campus 39 Midnight Blue


NOMOS releases its first range of watches featuring a bracelet.

Quick Take

From the time it was announced two years ago, the Club Campus line from NOMOS has been about finding younger mechanical watch buyers, and in particular, recent graduates. Today we have three new references in the line to introduce. All of these new releases come with the self-winding NOMOS Caliber DUW 3001, a first for the Club Campus line. The DUW 3001 is a sturdy yet thin caliber that has already proven itself in several of the brand’s lines. With prices roughly twice that of the first Club Campuses, which still feature NOMOS’s hand-wound Alpha caliber, these new automatics are a higher-end offering with the same familiar case shape and California-style dial. Two of the new additions to Club Campus also have NOMOS’s first ever stainless steel bracelets. And as with the first Club Campus watches from two years ago, these new models have closed stainless steel backs rather than open views of the movements inside. The idea here was to leave room for engraving and personalization.


The new stainless steel bracelet is a major part of this release.
Initial Thoughts

Bringing its higher-end automatic movement, which also come with an proprietary escapement called the Swing System, feels like a logical progression for NOMOS’s Club Campus.  Nomos has been rolling its in house automatic movements into more and more of its collections in recent years. The simple hand-wound versions of the Club are still there to provide a value-oriented way to get into to the company’s catalog. But what really caught my eye is that two of these new watches are the first models from NOMOS to feature bracelets. I’m looking at press photos as I write this post and, I haven’t had the opportunity yet to see these watches in the metal, but these bracelets definitely look the part of a NOMOS bracelet, which is to say they are thin, appear to be well made, and have a “designy” look to them. They also come with a tool-free removal system, which should make transitioning from the bracelet to your favorite strap a simple enough undertaking. I’m interested to see how they look in person and whether other collections might soon have a bracelet as an option.

The Basics

Brand: NOMOS
Models:  Club Campus Neomatik, Club Campus Neomatik 39, Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue
Reference Numbers: Club Campus Neomatik: 748; Club Campus Neomatik 39: 765, Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue: 767

Diameter: Club Campus Neomatik: 37mm stainless steel; Club Campus neomatik 39: 39.5mm; Club Campus 39 Midnight Blue: 39.5mm
Thickness: Club Campus Neomatik 8.3mm; Club Campus Neomatik 39: 8.4mm; Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue: 8.4mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Club Campus Neomatik: galvanized, white silver- plated Arabic and Roman numerals and indexes with silver Super-LumiNova; Club Campus Neomatik 39: galvanized, white silver-plated
Arabic and Roman numerals and indexes with dark blue Super-LumiNova; Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue: midnight blue Arabic and Roman numerals and indexes with light blue Super-LumiNova
Lume: Yes, on hands and hour markers
Water Resistance: 200 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelets on all but the Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue, which comes on a blue-black textile strap


The caseback is left mostly open in order to accommodate custom engravings.
The Movement

Caliber: DUW 3001
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Diameter: 28.8mm
Thickness: 3.2mm
Power Reserve: 43 hours
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600vph)
Jewels: 27


What each of the three watches looks like in the dark.
Pricing & Availability

Price: Club Campus Neomatik: €2,240; Club Campus Neomatik 39: €2,380; Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue: €2,340
Availability: Available for order now. Delivering in two months.

Source: hodinkee.com ; JON BUES

SIHH 2019: Richard Mille’s Candy Land, The New Avant-Garde Bonbon Collection

Mille’s new candy-hued Bonbon collection with inventive complications is good enough to eat. 

Last September, when Richard Mille announced that he would no longer be exhibiting at SIHH after the 2019 fair, it sent a shockwave throughout the watch industry. The landscape of watch shows had already been shaken by the news, released in late July, that the Swatch group was withdrawing from Baselworld.

In his withdrawl statement, Mr. Mille said that the trade fair model no longer worked for his company. And that makes sense. There is such a high demand for the brand’s technologically advanced timepieces that the company doesn’t particularly need to court watch retailers and press. The company deemed that there are more effective ways to introduce its latest innovations to the world.

DROOL-WORTHY

Richard Mille’s inventive collections, including the new Bonbon, have always drawn a lot of attention, whether or not they’ve been introduced at a watch show.

On the opening day of SIHH, Richard Mille unveiled a joyous new 10-piece series of watches: The Bonbon Collection. He’s certainly going out with a bang. 

The line is pure wrist candy (pun intended). Each model is meant to resemble something sugary-sweet and to revive childhood memories.

The line also draws from Richard Mille’s nostalgia for his boyhood. We didn’t know he had such a sweet tooth. The new watches are based on three of the brand’s iconic models, the RM 07-03, RM 16-01 and RM 37-01, and are taking them over the rainbow.

“The idea was to revisit the existing collections while playing with color,” says Cécile Guenat, jewelry designer and the artistic director for the collection. “This allowed me to bring out a pop-inspired sense of fun.”

LOVE IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT

Richard Mille has a well-earned reputation as a disrupter in the watch world, and marches to the beat of his own drummer when it comes to design.  As whimsical and fancy-free as the Bonbon collection looks, its fanciful decoration is as technologically advanced as its mechanics. Cécile Guenat was the first woman to design a watch for Richard Mille, the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman. And her ideas for the Bonbon collection allowed the whole RM team to unleash its creativity.

“In all, we developed a palette of 60 colors for this collection,” says Guenat.

The brand’s vast experience with tinted ceramics and layering materials helped realize Guenat’s vision. The brand incorporated Carbon TPT, Quartz TPT and 3D finishes that look like real sugar glazing and miniature lollipop-shaped hour markers, to name a few.

SUGAR AND SPICE

While its colors are unabashedly vibrant, Guenat designed the Bonbon collection to be unisex. The younger male attendees at SIHH seemed to have no problem with wanting to wear one of Richard Mille’s candy-colored confections.

The collection is broken into two groups. The six-piece Fruits series consists of the RM 16-01 in Lemon and Strawberry, the RM 07-03 in Blueberry and Litchi, and the RM 37-01 in Kiwi and Cerise. The Sweets line has the mouth-watering RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, RM 37-01 Lollipop, and RM 16-01 Liquorice.

A couple of fun facts (because everything about this collection is fun): the RM 16-01’s liquorice shape is achieved by stamping out the form, then coating it with black chrome. And the colour of the Fruits collection comes from a special, painstakingly applied acrylic paint to lend the miniature candies a realistic texture.

Source: watchonista.com ; BY RHONDA RICHE ; Photography by Liam O’Donnell & Pierre Vogel

Introducing The Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain

The smallest GF yet is an exercise in doing a simple thing in an extreme way.

Quick Take

Greubel Forsey watches are known for being expertly engineered, superlatively finished, and generally compromise-free. That they tend to have multiple tourbillons and/or other complications is somewhat incidental, as the brand’s identity is much more about a particular style of watchmaking and a pure commitment to quality than any particular function or mechanism. The watch we have here, the Balancier Contemporain is proof of just that. The brand set out to accomplish three main goals with this watch: 1) Create a more moderately sized watch without sacrificing proportions or three-dimensionality, 2) Prominently show off their in-house balance wheel, and 3) Maintain the aesthetic traits and finishing styles that distinguish their timepieces. I’d say they achieved all three with room to spare.

First off the Balancier Contemporain measures in at 39.6mm, making it the smallest Greubel Forsey yet. This watch shows just the time and power reserve and the bottom third of the dial displays an oversized balance bridge and that special balance wheel. It has a large diameter of 12.6mm for optimal stability and the poising weights are recessed to minimize air friction. It’s anything but typical. Finally, throughout the movement you’ll find grained surfaces, black polishing, broad chamfers, and other traits you’re used to in Greubel’s watches. Like I said, mission accomplished.

This watch is only available in a white gold case for now, and it’s a limited edition of just 33 pieces. In addition to the main edition, there’s a parallel limited edition version that’s set with baguette-cut diamonds. This piece is slightly larger to accommodate all the stone, measuring in at 41.6mm across. It is also limited to 33 pieces.

Initial Thoughts

As soon as I saw this watch, the Signature 1 immediately came to mind. That watch was released in 2016 and measures 41.3mm across, which made it the smallest Greubel Forsey until now. That watch was also the first GF with a sub-$200,000 price tag, and it must have been a successful venture for the brand to follow it up with something like this.

Jack has often said that the true definition of luxury is that “it takes as long as it takes and costs as much as it costs,” and I think Greubel Forsey is the perfect example of that philosophy. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are two hyper-intelligent guys who have a vision for what high-end watchmaking can look like and they’re not particularly interested in bowing to commercial pressures or making watches that don’t adhere to that vision. I applaud them for that. They’re real artisans and masters of craft. That said, I love that they’re trying to create products that offer different incarnations of that vision and that possibly open it up to new audiences (whether for reasons of wrist size or of wallet size). If this watch is half as amazing on the wrist as the Signature 1 is, I think we’ll have nothing but cause for celebration.

The Basics

Brand: Greubel Forsey
Model: Balancier Contemporain

Diameter: 39.6mm
Thickness: 12.21mm
Case Material: White gold
Dial Color: Multi-level gold dial with black lacquered hour and minute rings and rhodium-plating
Indexes: Arabic numerals
Lume: None
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator strap with white gold pin buckle

The Movement

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator
Diameter: 32.4mm
Thickness: 9.2mm
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Winding: Manually-wound
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Jewels: 33
Total Components: 255
Additional Details: Powered by two fast-rotating, series-coupled barrels, and fitted with Greubel Forsey’s in-house variable-inertia balance (which stops when you pull out the crown)


Pricing & Availability

Price: CHF 195,000 (price upon request for the diamond model) 
Limited Edition: 33 pieces each (with and without diamonds)

For more click here.

Source: hodinkee.com; STEPHEN PULVIRENT

Omega Resumes Production Of The Caliber 321, The Speedmaster Movement That Went To The Moon

After a decades-long hiatus, one of the most renowned movements of all time is coming back.

This is probably the single most exciting piece of movement-related information I’ve seen in over 20 years of reading and writing about watches. As every watch fan knows, the movement that was used in the Speedmaster Professionals that were sourced by NASA for the Apollo missions was the caliber 321 – a remarkably tough, beautifully built classic lateral clutch chronograph movement that represents one of the most important high water marks in modern chronograph design. No less a luminary than Roger Smith recently sang the praises of the 321 in Talking Watches (and he’s a guy who may be presumed to know something about movements). As every watch fan probably also knows, it’s been many decades since the movement went out of production and for as long as I can remember, Omega and Speedmaster fans (myself included) have wistfully been hoping for the movement to make a comeback. We’d always assumed, of course, that there was about as much chance of that happening as the return of the passenger pigeon, but Omega has just announced that the 321 will be going back into production. 

Omega says:

If you ask most watch fans to name a famous movement they’d like to see reborn, you’re bound to hear them mention the OMEGA Calibre 321. This robust and elegant chronograph movement has been a favourite since the 1940s and is still highly sought-after by watch collectors around the world. Now, more than 50 years after the last Calibre 321 was produced, OMEGA is bringing the iconic movement back.

Known for its beautifully intricate design, the original Calibre 321 was the first movement ever used in the OMEGA Speedmaster in 1957. It had, in fact, been previously used in some of OMEGA’s other chronographs, namely those in the Seamaster collection. It stands out for its use of a monobloc column-wheel, a feature that is machined from a single piece and which adds technical value. Generally, column-wheel movements require very careful precision in design and build, making them popular with watch collectors.

In addition to its construction, the original Calibre 321 also earned a very notable place in history. It was used in a variety of models including the Speedmaster ST 105.003 (the model first 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).

Reintroducing a movement with such an important reputation must therefore be done with the utmost exactness.  For the Calibre 321 project, OMEGA utilised a dedicated team of experts who worked efficiently over two years and in total secrecy to bring the movement to life. The small group was composed of researchers, developers and historians, as well as the finest craftsmen and experienced watchmakers. To protect the project’s exclusive details, the team even worked under the codename “Alaska 11”, in line with the names that OMEGA used for its secret Speedmaster designs for NASA in the 1960s and 70s.

Using the 2nd generation Calibre 321 as a reference, the OMEGA team compiled extensive historical research and original plans to reconstruct the movement as accurately as possible. Going even further, they also used “tomography” technology (digital scanning method) 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. Cernan was the last man to walk on the lunar surface and his Speedmaster is now housed at the OMEGA Museum in Bienne. Its Calibre 321 provided the perfect design criteria for OMEGA to follow.

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As a result, even the most unique and iconic parts of the Calibre 321 have been reborn in respect to their authentic specifications.  The movement wonderfully corresponds to the “moon period” of OMEGA’s history, with a construction that completely respects the designs from the past.

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA, said, “It’s amazing that so many people are passionate about the Calibre 321. We produced the last one in 1968 and fans have never stopped talking about it. That shows how special it is. We’re very excited to finally meet their wishes and have gone to great efforts to bring the movement back.”

The new movements will now go into production at OMEGA’s HQ site in Bienne. Uniquely, all aspects of creation will be undertaken within a dedicated Calibre 321 workshop. For each movement, the assembly, as well as the watch head and bracelet assembly will be performed by the same watchmaker. Watch fans can expect more developments and news in the coming months.

It probably won’t escape your notice that 2019 is also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission which put astronauts on the Moon for the first time in history … no prizes for guessing what I’m hoping for (and probably lots of you guys and gals too). 

Source Credit:
JACK FORSTER ; hodinkee.com

Louis Moinet unveils the World’s First Chronograph dating back to 1816

Until now the earliest patent for a chronograph dates back to 1844, and was filed by Adolphe Nicole. Another watchmaker, named Nicolas Rieussec, name barer of the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec collection, created his chronograph for the French king in 1821. 

Louis Moinet now claims that their ancestor, Louis Moinet (1768 – 1853), created the first chronograph ever! And more over it had a beat rate of 216,000 vibrations per hour or 30 Hertz, meaning it could measure as precise as 1/60th of a second!! Seriously, think about it, normal (modern) mechanical watches have a beat rate of 18,000 vph up to 36,000 vph.

To put things even more in perspective, it wasn’t until 1916, exactly one century later, that Heuer created a chronograph reaching a frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour.

Louis Moinet’s chronograph, which dates back to 1816, features several registers for measuring the time. Top left is a 60-minute indicator, top right is the 60 seconds and at the lower side of the dial is a 24-hour register. At the center of the stage is a thin hand indicating the 1/60th of a second. The chronograph is equipped with two buttons for stopping, starting and resetting. According Louis Moinet it has a power reserve of approximately 30 hours, although this has not been tested, in order to avoid damaging the movement.

The movement comprises of several full plates between four pillars. It is powered by a barrel and fusee (chain and fusee is a constant force mechanism, like in the A. Lange & Söhne Pour le Mérite collection and the recently released Romain Gauthier Logical One). Some more specifications:

  • Ruby and steel cylinder escapement
  • Foliot balance with platinum adjustment weights
  • 30-tooth escape-wheel
  • Flat balance spring with seven coils
  • Six pierced ruby bearings with endstones making a total of 13 jewels with the ruby cylinder
  • Made in gilt and frosted brass

And all that vibrating at 216,000 vibrations per hour!

Source: monochrome-watches.comFrank Geelen

A New Level of Crystal Clarity: Hublot Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon

A growing, albeit still relatively small, number of luxury watchmakers have embraced the challenges of using sapphire as a material not only for the crystals covering their watches’ dials, but for entire cases as well, but it is Hublot that is clearly (you should pardon the pun) leading the charge. At Baselworld 2018, the Swiss brand known for its bold forays into unconventional materials and envelope-pushing technology took the still-exclusive category to a new level with the introduction of the Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon, which boasts not only a crystal-clear case but a see-through skeletonized movement as well.

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In addition to the transparent sapphire case and crystal, the resin dial, and the matching translucent strap made of structured lined rubber, the Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon also boasts a painstakingly skeletonized version of Hublot’s in-house HUB6016 manual-winding tourbillon movement — yes, the same five-day-power-reserve caliber we’ve seen in previous Hublot tourbillon models like the Big Bang Tourbillon Power Reserve 5 Days Titanium, but here with one big difference: the components, except for a few metal gears, are also see-through, constructed of high-tech polycarbonate materials. At center stage is the bridge supporting the tourbillon cage, which, like the majority of the exterior parts, is made from a strip of nigh-indestructible sapphire. The effect is somewhat mesmerizing, with the clear mechanical parts seemingly floating inside the case while the tourbillon performs its balletic motions.

Like its predecessor from 2016, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire, this watch’s 45-mm case is milled from blocks of solid sapphire, a material nearly as hard and as scratch-resistant as diamond and, consequently, extremely difficult to machine. The few non-sapphire elements in the case include the six H-shaped titanium screws that hold fast the bezel to the case body, the metal crown, and elements of the lugs and buckle, which is also titanium. The hands on the dial are rhodium-plated brass, and both they and the large Arabic hour numerals have been treated with Super-LumiNova.

As one would expect, the case is thick — 14.26 mm — and offers only modest water resistance, at 30 meters. The movement has been stripped down to a relatively sparse 175 components, including 25 jewels, and beats at 21,600 vph. The movement’s touted five-day power reserve (actually 115 hours, which translates to 4.79 days, but really, who’s counting at this point?) is displayed on the dial as well; again, transparency in all areas is the watchword here.

The Hublot Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon is limited to 99 pieces and priced at $148,000.

Source: watchtime.comMark Bernardo

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