As November comes to an end, we check out Omega’s new and very unique-looking Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph and Jaquet Droz’s very blingy ‘Ultra Lux’ Bird Repeater watch. Speaking of Jaquet Droz, we also spent an evening with one of their enamelist to see how their dials are painted. With bronze watches all the rage, we also find out how you can quicken the patina process. Finally, we find out how custom watch straps are made.
Is there room in your collection for a refined dive watch that whispers in your ear with a Cousteau-like French accent? Maybe. If you find yourself split between wanting to show a little status but also wanting to stay causal with a sport watch, the Calibre Diver is a particularly satisfying addition to a range of high-end dive watches with in-house made movements such as the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain 50 Fathoms. Priced starting from ,200. ~Ariel Adams
Note that these Visconti Abyssus Scuba 3000m Dive watches are all early prototypes. That means finishing is not final, nor are all of the design elements. The caseback, for example, will not remain plain, and further improvements will be made when the Abussus collection is available for sale. Even with the prototypes, the concept is impressive. Is this a classic watch meant to be worn with your favorite suit or shorts on the weekend while hanging out at the yacht club? Not really. I have to emphasize that timepieces of this nature are unabashedly high-end toys which leverage their luxury status as means of offering highly risky designs that would not work well in any mass-produced manner.
To begin with, the unscrewing of the crown happened in the same direction as the winding of the mainspring. To secure it again, the crown was to be turned the other way around, against the winding ratchet. Once the watch was fully wound and the crown was set in its secured position, it could not be unscrewed again until the mainspring wound down to some extent. Furthermore, the black component marked with number 16 on the image above is the sealing which the crown (once screwed onto the case) would push against, to actually create the seal. However, this sealing–owing to the limited manufacturing abilities of the time–could not have been made of more durable materials, so it was leather, cork or felt. Since it was installed on the outside of the case, it would quickly lose its isolating properties, making frequent replacements necessary. Without getting much too nerdy, let's briefly look at what–and who–made this already great idea perfect.
The movement is the Swiss-Made caliber RJ004-M, and it is produced exclusively for Romain Jerome by the watch movement maker Lajoux-Perret. You can always tell a Lajoux-Perret movement by the tentacle-looking curved spring arms on the rear of the movement. They do a pretty good job, and almost all Romain Jerome timepieces that I can think of these days contain Lajoux-Perret movements.
Welcome back to an original aBlogtoWatch feature, "My First Grail Watch." In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we're talking with Francois-Paul Journe, who heads up his eponymous brand, F.P. Journe. Coincidentally, he's just celebrated 30 years with the company, so our interview could not have occurred at a better time.
As much as we don't like to admit that fashion trends play a part in what fine timepieces we wear, they do. Many people credit celebrities for helping to popularize large sport watches that eventually led to the popularity of other large watches being made. It was in the late 1990s that actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore and Sylvester Stallone wearing a Panerai Luminor began to capture media attention with these larger-than-average (at the time) watches. The public seemed to quickly warm to the idea of wearing larger sport watches with a bold personality, especially because on larger or bulkier guys they looked much better than smaller watches.
Hands: blued hands, hours and minutes hands with white Super-LumiNova®
So moving forward when you see "Master Co-Axial" on an Omega watch you will know what it means. Of course the watch is also a COSC certified Chronometer. Inside the watch is a new movement known as the Calibre 8400 and it is in-house made by Omega. Essentially it is the same movement as the 8500, but without the date. Don't forget the use of silicon parts (such as for the hairspring) and all the anti-magnetic stuff. Those who love the look of a classic dive watch should be more than happy about the clean looking dial unmarred by a date window.
Four of the pushers have the special safety lever. Basically, you need to slide the little lever with your finger before the pusher will engage. It is a few smooth action and it works well. Why is there a need for them? Small labels on the rear of the case are placed near each of the pusher locations. They are actually instructions letting you know what the pushers do. When I discussed the Chapter One upon its debut, I mentioned how much I loved this feature. A 0 Casio has its buttons labeled, but most 0,000 watches don't. I never liked that and felt that more timepieces needed to be more user friendly given their prices. So when the almost half million dollar Maitres du Temps Chapter One came out with this as a feature... I was thrilled. But it still pisses me off that you need to spend half a million for it.
Now, discussing what this escapement does will certainly demonstrate why creating a new design is among the greatest challenges in horology–in advance let's suffice it to say that it requires an ingenious idea that was planned to perfection and then backed up with the necessary state-of-the-art manufacturing abilities.
For the most part, the pre-owned watch industry gets shrouded with a veil of semi-legitimacy by the larger watch industry. There are some good and bad reasons for that. Basically, anything outside of the normal "authorized dealer" channels are vilified. Sadly, that is an over-inclusive mentality that causes a lot of legitimate and quality ways of buying a pre-owned watch to be shunned by consumers. What I did was talk to people who have a good reputation as sellers of pre-owned and vintage watches, who also engage in the practice of wanting to buy your watch.
Now, you need to vote (by liking the photos). So, take a few minutes to see some fantastic watch photos from fellow readers and vote for your favorites! You can either use Instagram on your phone and search for hashtag #anconatmattbaily or use Statigram here (you'll still need to log in with your Instagram account) to vote for the best pictures. You may vote as many times as you like. You may also upload a last-minute image if you haven't entered yet (only one entry per account, or all the pictures you upload are disqualified. Those who don't follow the rules won't win). Thanks again for all the people who participated and Matt Baily for these cool watches that we really enjoy.
For some, the lack of a running seconds hand and its subdial might be a sorely lacked feature, or even a deal breaker. Yet, picking on this piece for such things would mean missing the point behind its creation. Losing the seconds hand and swapping the proven safety and luxury of a sapphire glass to an arguably inferior Plexiglas material clearly suggests that this model is not about pursuing the (rightful) expectations of modern watch lovers. Instead, it is about offering a new-ish piece that brings the wearer closer to the original creations of Panerai from some five decades ago; and much like the 372, the 557 also does rather well at that.
3. Wait until the giveaway is over on May 31, 2014 for the winner to be chosen at random.
Ralph Lauren offers the Slim Classique in two sizes, either in 18k rose or white gold. There is a smaller 38mm wide version, but this is the 42mm wide version. I would venture to say that a woman as well as a man could wear this, but that isn't because it is a feminine timepiece. The design is very true to the name, being so wonderfully composed in a classic sense as though it borrowed one of the world's best pocket watch dials. It is like Cartier and Breguet got together.
Perhaps the most exciting new Ball watch from Baselworld 2014 was not yet complete, but we did get to play with a prototype. It is the Engineer II Magneto S watch, and it offers a distinct approach to offering a modern anti-magnetic timepiece. In a nutshell, here is how it works. The bezel of the watch actually operates an iris-style shield that opens and closes over the movement. Ball calls this new system "A-PROOF" and it is being debuted here in the Engineer II Magneto watch.
Honestly, there is a long list of previous TAG Heuer Carrera collection timepieces that came before this one that allowed for this model to become possible. It wouldn't be practical to list them all but let's just say that it includes TAG Heuer's advanced new in-house made automatic movement, and the black and white "panda" color tones are based on the original models which still look great today. While I don't dislike the red, the colors are going to be controversial as they really separate this timepiece from the cleaner looking historic Carrera models. I have a feeling TAG Heuer will–at some point–produce a version of the TAG Heuer Calibre CH 80 without the red trim.
Now, the company has announced that the next run of 16 watches will be in titanium. As befits the watch, the titanium case will be bead-blasted and polished. The 4N MVT-01/D01 is by no means a petite watch, so we reckon also that the titanium version of this watch will be much more comfortable to wear.
To Enter You Must:
Still on the subject of best-bang-for-the-buck watches, if you absolutely must have one that is Swiss Made, Frederique Constant is a brand not to be overlooked. Here we have the very classically designed Manufacture Slimline Moonphase watch, which, as its name suggests, features an in-house movement and a moonphase complication. The watch was introduced last year and new for year is a special edition rose-plated version with a blue dial (not unlike the one you see here that was actually built by Ariel himself) that will be limited to just 400 pieces.
How Kering will eventually integrate Ulysse Nardin into its present portfolio and what exact roles it will assign to it we do not yet know, but we are confident in that Ulysse Nardin will remain – and likely develop – as a strong, vertically integrated manufacturer. The deal, at this point, is also waiting for the approval of Swiss competition authorities and so the Kering Group said it expects to be able to seal the deal "during the second half of 2014". What is for certain, however, is that the brand's management will remain in place, with Patrick Hoffmann (whom Ariel interviewed last year at Baselworld) remaining as CEO of the company. ulysse-nardin.com