Think high-end watches, and names like Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, or F.P Journe might come to mind. There can be no denying that these are some of the finest maisons around. But, the apex of haute horology, I think, belongs to independent watchmakers like Philippe Dufour, Roger Smith and Aaron Becsei. If the last name is unfamiliar to you, I don’t blame you. Though not as prominent, Becsei’s work is no less impressive. Becsei is the man behind Bexei watches and hails from Hungary. He makes every watch by hand and by himself, so production is limited to just a dozen or so pieces a year. Here, we take a look at a movement that Becsei has been working on.
To measure it, we use this machine that works by reading and timing the vibrations of the escapement. It’s like a heart rate monitor. Each swing of the balance wheel is one beat. A Rolex 3135 caliber runs at 28,800 beats or vibrations per hour. Each mechanical watch runs at a specific frequency according to its make up.
The 'Magnesium' in the title comes from the case middle material. Light and strong, magnesium is uncommon in watchmaking, but incredibly well suited to the rigours of a wristwatch. That beautiful bezel is crafted from ceramic this time around - a great choice to reduce wear and glare. There is also a ceramic 'cap' on the crown (which, along with the case back, is PVD-coated steel). The final material worth mentioning is PEEK, a revolutionary, space-grade polymer that is so highly regarded in terms of temperature resistance and structural resilience it has been used instead of metal in Space Shuttle design. PEEK stands for PolyEtherEtherKetone, which is neither as catchy nor as cute as its acronymic title. PEEK is also used for the buckle that fastens the vulcanized rubber strap to your wrist.
Grand Seiko is finally starting to really hit its stride with watch collectors around the world. I recall some years ago wondering, "When are more people going to simply love Grand Seiko for its value and quality?" Then, a few years ago, Grand Seiko officially came to the US (and other parts of the world outside of Japan and select parts of Asia), and what many educated watch lovers knew about Japan's high-end timepieces became known to a lot more people. I can't say that Grand Seiko sales have really impacted the sale of Swiss watches, but many collectors formerly interested in only European watches have been adding Seiko's top timepieces to their collections. For 2015, there are some very attractive new Grand Seiko 62GS watches that are inspired by Seiko's first Grand Seiko automatic watch from 1967 that included the caliber 62GS automatic movement.
No word on the pricing at this point, but we will know more next week. Having said that, it is safe to say that the Tudor North Flag will cost more than current Tudor sport watches because of the movement but a bit less than Rolex watches. So I am guessing somewhere in the ,000 - ,000 range that will still make them a good value for a handsome adventure-style timepiece. tudorwatch.com
Jacob & Co. has a nice long history working with the Swiss movement maker Concepto, but it is another firm they worked with for the movement of the Astronomia. For this collection Jacob & Co. worked with Studio7h38 in Switzerland who is responsible for the wild-looking mechanical movement inside of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon. Look closely at it, and the mechanism is deeply impressive, but it isn’t finished like a Greubel Forsey. Well, nothing is really finished like that, so it isn’t a fair comparison. The movement is a tiny industrial mechanical mechanism, and I don’t even know how to describe its complications. Let’s start with the triple axis tourbillon that exists as one of the four arms on the movement.
The 300 meter water resistance is backed up by another dive watch feature, a uni-directional bezel, that features minute markings all around it. It took a bit of getting used to and while sometimes I wonder what it would look like with minute markings only between the 1 and 3 o'clock positions and then markings every 5 minutes, I found that I like its symmetry and that it is different from most other dive watches in this way.
You have to love a place with its own "watch dog" (not "watchdog"). In this case, "Mason Dixon" whose mom is Carissa Dixon (Scott Heisler's daughter). As Carissa's husband is a watchmaker for Audemars Piguet it is no surprise that Mason Dixon favors AP on his wrist - make that his paw. In fact, his photo appeared on AP's Facebook page a while back.
Time Warp Creations is a watch maker you've probably never heard of, but starting soon, the California-based company will be producing some incredibly odd timepieces, such as this Zymosis Lockdown watch. If this all looks very science-fiction comic book weird, then you are spot on with what Time Warp Creations was going for. TWC produces a series of comic book style products, and "luxury watches for geeks" are among what they offer. Their "flagship" product is the Time Warp Creations Zymosis Lockdown which is a rather intense looking watch inspired by the science fiction genre of zombie apocalypses - and it happens to come in four color variations.