When I went through their catalog to see what made sense for review, I kept an eye towards what I had not necessarily seen before. Over time, I have reviewed quite a few straps, and they generally are simpler affairs, providing clean lines and styling; while here, I wanted to mix things up a bit.
It is really about time Corum returned the popular Bubble watch - a timepiece collection that originally came out in the year 2000 and served a major modern role in the brand's history. Eventually, the Corum Bubble watch collection was discontinued, probably because Corum started to go a bit nuts with some silly limited edition models - that, looking back today, are pretty darn cool. You may recall back in 2008, when aBlogtoWatch featured a collection of limited edition Corum Bubble watches that were extremely fitting for Halloween. For Baselworld 2015, the Corum Bubble is back, and I finally have reason to pay attention to the brand again.
While I think it is a better fit to a larger watch (and why we had it come in a 24mm width), you can get it in 18, 20, 22, 24, or 26mm widths. Just know what you are getting into. While the leather is decently comfortable, the thicker layers that sit on top of each other (and you then fold through the buckles) makes for a very bulky proposition.
They say you should never meet your heroes, and in regards to the often eccentric characters of horology, the adage may be wiser still. But when it comes to the man behind the Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down watch, it's worth throwing caution to the wind. We met Ludovic a few weeks ago and went hands-on with the top-of-the-range model that sports a mother of pearl dial, making it a stylish watch that grabs your attention - only to later reveal that its beauty is more than skin deep.
So, what functions does that movement have? Of course, there is the time and the perpetual calendar functionality. There is also a quick second time zone feature, which is nice. You can even have one time on the main dial and a second time zone indicated in the digital screen. For the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, the digital screen is larger than ever, but still really crisp. It is also a negative LCD screen, meaning the screen itself is black and designed to blend in as well as possible with the main face. This is part of that slick design sense you get with a Swiss watch.
What I've since learned is just how deeply Apple invested into researching the traditional watch world and innovating in dozens of places that have nothing to do with with the Apple Watch's functionality or software. I'm talking about things like the tool-less steel bracelet, the magnetic straps, the metals and materials themselves, and the way you change straps. Apple has more-or-less said "we don't know why the watch industry didn't do many of these things first." That not only implies that Apple exerted substantial time and resources when developing the Apple Watch, but also that they have been closely researching the traditional watch industry - a fact that Ive and other top Apple executives have stressed for a while.
The 2015 Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch is a one-of-a-kind timepiece produced with Italian businessman, fashion label owner, and Formula 1 personality Flavio Briatore. It turns out that the watch was done with him, rather than for him, as an item with his Billionaire brand logo on it. As a manifestation of sheer luxury and excess, timepieces like this often live in a vacuum, with us learning about them, but having only guesses as to the type of people who own and buy them. This is one of the rare instances where the type of person who likes this type of timepiece participated with the brand who made it and publicly exclaimed "yes, I had them make me that watch." Finally, we can start to shed light on the all to common question of "who wears this stuff?" Italian business people like Mr. Briatore are who.
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Baselworld 2015 came and went seemingly faster than previous Baselworld watch trade shows. Maybe that is because team aBlogtoWatch met with so many brands, hour after hour, for a solid week. By our records, we formally met with about 85 watch brands in the hopes of capturing as wide a scope of what is new in the watch world as possible. That includes meetings with the big boy luxury watch makers such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, TAG Heuer, Breitling, and many more that represent most of the world’s high-end watch makers, as well as meetings with more mainstream producers of timepieces such as Bulova, Citizen, Seiko, Casio, and Victorinox Swiss Army. More so, we took the time to learn what smaller independent watch makers were doing to innovate and add variety to the world of not only mechanical timepieces, but also some interesting new electronic and smartwatches.
The Linde Werdelin concept pre-dated Halda's by about five years, but both are the product of Northern European design (While UK-based, Linde Werdelin was started by a pair of Danes) and share a common vision of how adventure-lovers with a taste for luxury can enjoy their watches. The irony, of course, is that no matter how attractive or durable these high-end electronic instruments are going to be, they are never going to best those produced by major companies invested in making wearable computers. Of course, that point is a bit arguable with the Halda Space Discovery, because its "intended" use is for space flight, and there isn't exactly enough people flying in space right now for a company to produce wrist instruments exclusively for astronaut types. So in that sense, Halda joins companies like Breitling and Omega that continue to produce quartz-based electronic timepieces for space flight.
Then again, other smartwatches out there are just as complex, if not more so. Apple will no doubt continue to refine the Apple Watch over time with software updates as well as in subsequent versions. The Apple Watch isn't just an experiment, but, in my opinion, a permanent step in Apple's desire to dominate the wearable device space. Apple also seemed to miss an opportunity off the bat of making it easy for people to purchase several Apple Watches and use them together for one synchronized experience. Each Apple Watch is paired to your iPhone (which is where you download apps and control some of its functions). Each iPhone can only be paired with one Apple Watch at a time - which means you can't have an Apple Watch Sport for exercise and an Apple Watch on a steel bracelet for more formal attire. Apple says people should just swap out straps, but I think they are missing the real value of having a diverse set of fashionable products. Anyone who loves watches doesn't just have one, and I truly hope that in due course, Apple makes it comfortable to own more than one Apple Watch without having to own more than one iPhone.
Thompson and Sarpaneva first met last year at SalonQP in London, and the two quickly decided to work on a new project together. That project became the Sarpaneva Korona K0 Northern Lights, named after that fabulous looking natural light display in the sky that is predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions - such as those from which the various parties involved in the Sarpaneva Korona K0 Northern Lights watch hail.
The last time we visited a mechanical Citizen was with the Signature Grand Touring Sport (hands-on here). The Signature Grand Touring Sport had a three-hand automatic, and in the Citizen Signature Grand Classic, we have a brand new automatic movement with the caliber 9184. Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback on the rear of the steel case, the 9184 automatic movement operates at 4Hz with a 40 hour power reserve and offers the time, synchronized 24-hour hand (that acts as an AM/PM indicator), and my favorite complication, a power reserve indicator. It is a bit rare to find power reserve indicators on automatic watches, but you have one here at a pretty nice price.
The "Hi-Beat" Grand Seiko 62GS watches come in 40mm-wide steel cases with the in-house made caliber 9S85 automatic movements with 55 hours of power reserve and visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. The super-meticulously detailed dials have the industry's best dauphine-style hands and precision diamond-cut and polished hour markers. For these steel Grand Seiko 62GS watches, we have the SBGH037 with a silver dial and blue seconds hand as well as the SBGH039 with the lovely brownish red dial that I am very fond of.