Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jaeger Does the "Cannes-Cannes" with new boutique

High-end Swiss watch manufacture Jaeger-le Coultre steps intothe fanfare of the 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival to create some of its own with the opening of its new boutique.
The new "jewel box" will shocase new brands as well as newly introduced models like the Master Compressor Diving Pro Geogrpahic - pictured above.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Sign of Future Times?

This is omething that I have been toying with for some time. Watch this space for more developments

Breaking Into and Succeeding as a Wrist Watch Designer
How to Start a Watch Line
How to Start a Fashion Designer Watch Line

It is predicted that we will continue to see a strong demand for fashion watches. Meanwhile, the demand for mechanical watches, while not likely to disappear entirely, is expected to decline. A huge factor in future watch design is the availability of nanotechnology, “the ability to build components molecule by molecule.”

This is the dream you probably had in mind when you first picked up this book: starting your own distinctive line of fashion watches and watching it soar through the roof. If you ever had fantasies of your name riding around on the wrists of hundreds of thousands of people, of your very name becoming synonymous with fashion, of it being the reason people want the watches it describes—then this is the scenario you want to get into.

It’s not so far-fetched a goal—at least, creating your own line of designer watches isn’t, anyway. A lot of the fame you might be hoping for, you’ll just have to let take care of itself. Meanwhile, you’ll take care of the watches. Depending on how you want to do that, it can be relatively inexpensive, especially if you’re mainly concerned with new designs for the exterior of the watch. Many companies in the United States and overseas sell ready-made, interchangeable components that simply need to be assembled inside the case that you design, costing you very little indeed.

Ready-made movements, which can be customized, can cost anywhere between $25 and $75, depending on make, model, and size. There is also the option of importing mass-produced components from places like China and Hong Kong, if you’re going to be working on a large enough scale. On the other hand, not everyone wants to do things that way.

Some would argue that overseas outsourcing is in fact contributing to the demise of the industry and putting honest craftsmen out of business. So you may prefer to manufacture and assemble everything within the confines of your own business. That will be a bit more expensive for you, but it will result in watches that you can proudly sell at a higher-end price. The choice is yours.

Briefly, one other outsourcing option you have is that of contract manufacturing and private labeling, wherein you contract another company to manufacture your goods for you. Private labeling tends to imply ready-made generic components ready to be packaged and branded under your label, though some customization is negotiable; while contract manufacturing connotes a deeper level of customization, up to and including building the entire product from scratch according to your specifications.

But the two terms are often used interchangeably in many industries. Many of the large watch companies perform this service for smaller designers; as some watchmakers did with existing designer lines, they might work with a designer to create a new line of fashion watches, and then will manufacturing and distribution the watch as part of your, the licensee’s, line.

Also, by having "Made in Swiss" stamp, you can increase your mark-up by 300%. With a bit of creativity, by having approximately 50% of the components bought elsewhere, such as from China or Hong Kong, you may be able to use "Made in Swiss" stamp legally and ethically. (How you can do it is included in this eGuide. This is a trade secret that we cover in this publication.)

Good news for a watchmaker and designer.

A bill was introduced to the U. S. House of Representatives on March 30, 2006, which, should it pass, will provide, for the first time, copyright protection for fashion design—which the fashion industry has been seeking since the 1920s.

We should thank the Council of Fashion Designers of America for this proposed amendment to Chapter 13 of the Copyright Act, which currently only protects the industrial design of vessel hulls, such as luxury racing sailboats and the like. Should H.R. 5055, a.k.a. “the Design Piracy Prohibition Act,” pass, the Copyright Act will be amended to protect "the appearance as a whole of an article of apparel, including its ornamentation" for three years from the date on which the design in question was published or made available to the public.

("Apparel" is defined to include "an article of men’s, women’s, or children’s clothing, including undergarments, outerwear, gloves, accessories --including wrist waches--, footwear, and headgear; handbags, purses and tote bags; belts; and eyeglass frames.")

Now if you're wondering whether you can start this business and make a decent living out of it, the answer is definitely yes. Now consider these possibilities in making and/or selling:

Ladies' watches
Men's watches
Teenagers' watches
Kids' watches
Sports watches
Dress watches
Casual watches
Diamond and gemstone watches
Quartz technology
Mechanical technology
Teslar technology

State of the Industry

The value of Swiss watch exports reached 10 billion dollars in 2005, which this report tells us is the best result in Switzerland’s history.

Those figures include 24.3 million finished watches, which represents a slight (3.3%) decrease over 2004. Finished watch exports grew in value, however, by 12%.

More than one watch in two of those were steel, though the strongest percentage increase was in 18-carat gold watches. Mechanical watches saw a value increase of 16.7% while electronic watches only grew in value by 5.1%. In terms of units, however, mechanical watches saw an 8.8% increase while electronics saw a dip of 5%.

Of the total Swiss exports, 42.9% went to Asia, 33% to Europe, and 22% to America. The report lists the United States as the Swiss watch industry’s leading market, and it enjoyed strong growth in both 2004 and 2005.

Just for comparison, Hong Kong exported or re-exported horological goods worth 6 billion dollars (an increase of just 1%), mostly to the United States, China, Japan, and Switzerland. China’s exports were 2 billion dollars (down by 4%). Japan saw the biggest decline in exports: a 9% decline to a 951 million dollar value.

Now, how much money can you make?

With all the above choices, your income potential is literally unlimited. Anywhere from $35,000 to millions of dollars annually is attainable, depending on various factors. More than ever before, a watch is more than a time keeping instrument, it is an important fashion statement that people change all the time.

Need we say more?
This eGuide provides insightful information, advices and tips for anyone who is contemplating to start a watch line or design firm. Numerous hard-to-find resources are included to help you locate pertinent information.

Do you know?

Watchmaking is a rare trade skill, which many large corporations are seeking desparately. (Being a watchmaker is probably one of the professions that are highly sought after without much competition.)

Rolex has contributed $1 million to a university with a watchmaking major (full scholarships are provided to students accepted in this program). (Which colleges offer such scholarship opportunities are included in this publication.)

It's easier than ever to get a job in watch making and designing.

Many watches "Made in Swiss" have approximately 50% inexpensive non-Swiss components, but this special label justifies the 300% mark-up.

Editor-in-Chief Jennie S. Bev, co-author Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little have talked to watch designers and line owners to provide you with the best and the most comprehensive self-study guidebook filled with insider information, tips and advice for breaking into and succeeding in this lucrative but lesser-known business.

About the Authors

Jennie S. Bev is THE fashion, image and fun careers expert, whose reputation has been acknowledged by prestigious media internationally. She has been profiled and mentioned in Entrepreneur, Teen People, Canadian Business, Home Business, Dong (France), San Francisco Chronicle, The Independent, Daily Southtown, The Arizona Republic, Femina (Asia) and Dewi (Asia).

Editor-in-Chief Jennie S. Bev was named 2003 EPPIE Award finalist in Non-Fiction How To category for excellence in electronic publishing. She has published over 40 books and 900 articles in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany and Southeast Asia. She is also a college professor based in San Francisco Bay Area.

Co-author Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little is an accomplished author, freelance writer, and web designer from the New Orleans area. She graduated from Metairie Park Country Day School and went from there to the University of Washington to pursue B.A. in English.

Her fiction and essays have been published in a diverse handful of literary and New Age magazines, including PanGaia. An aspiring novelist, she has been an annual participant in National Novel-Writing Month since 2002. She now resides in Colorado

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The [Lucky] Devil Wears Prada....on His Wrist

They've co-branded LG phones, and other utilitarian items, now Prada is teaming up with high-end Swiss watchmaker IWC, which markets its watches to men exclusively (sorry, ladies) on a new co-branded watch, and, as you can see from the photo, its looking quite good.
Why should Meryl Streep have all the fun?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And now....."The Chairman"

Have to admit, my first reaction on seeing th image of this was...... "huh?" but venerable Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, in partnership with SCI Innovations, clealry believe that this unique hybrid (high-end watch and smartphone) will fly. Its dubbed The Chairman (we're not sure why) but the following, from watch blog The Watchery (www.thewatchery.blogspot.com) explains some of the workings

"The Chairman" utilizes environmentally- friendly kinetic technology inspired by the winding mechanism of an automatic mechanical watch. I am not sure how this will work as the phone is not strapped to ones wrist, but the mechanics I am sure are fascinating. The phone will be able to operate on any of the global communications networks. The aesthetics of the phone is as intriguing as the inner workings, the partial view in the above image only wets our appetite for more. The phone has an exhibition window in which the guilloche engraved energy-driven kinetic rotor is revealed.
The Ulysse Nardin Smart Phone is a limited edition of 1846 smart phones, the date

The Pull of Gravity: Discord over Concord

The following is a letter from Concord Presdient Vincent Perriard in response to our friend Areil from watch Blog Ablogtoread.com and his disparaging of the Concord C1 line (partricualrly the Gravity and Quantum gravity models) I posted pic of C1 Gravity. You decide

Dear Ariel,

I have reviewed your comments. Not only the one from the C1 "birth" in 2007, but also the one on the C1 Gravity and then the latest one on the C1 QuantumGravity.

I have to say that I kind of appreciate your very straight forward point of view and the "fairness" of your comments when you have chat with some other watch collectors in disagreement with you.

I have - obviously - to disagree with your unfair comments about C1.

First of all, when MGI appointed me and my team, we all came from serious watch companies (JLC, Audemars Piguet, Swatch Group, to name just a few). We have decided to base the company back to Bienne/Switzerland, where the company was borne more than 100 years ago. MGI has let this new group of people to re-think the brand, inside/out. The motto was "let's make the best watch regardless of marketing positioning, regardless of price".

We have been really lucky to come with the first design of C1 because we have created a big watch yet a watch that fits the wrist so well. It's unique. We have removed the logs (that always attach the bracelet or the strap). With the C1, we could "afford" a big watch thanks to this unique attachment system. This is really what made C1 a hit when we launched it in the market in January 2008.

Our plan was to work with the best. Coming from (so called) "Manufacture", we did not want to lie to our clients by re-creating a fake Manufacture. So we took a simple angle: be honest and straight with everything we would do in the future. Let me give you some examples: the dials are manufactured by METALEM (who create the dials of JLC, AP, Patek, etc...); the case is coming from GUILLOD GUNTER (who creates the cases for the most reputable companies); etc.

As for the movement, we have - inside our group - 2 manufactured movements that we couldn't use at the beginning (i.e. Ebel movements). Why? Because of the really short time frame we had between the design and when we wanted to launch the C1 collection. So we have decided to go with the best "truck" (this is the name "insiders" give to this movement) of the industry, the ETA VALGRANGE A07. We are currently working on our own movements that will come soon (in preparation).

When you mention (in a very negative way) our partnership with BNB; let me be very straight with you: what's wrong? We have ALWAYS (from day 1) put BNB as a close partner of the C1 Gravity. We want ALWAYS to work with the best of the best. BNB is manufacturing for De Witt, Hublot, HD3, Hermes, Romain Jerome, etc... And when we met first, we knew we needed to work together. A question of personalities! And we have done this crazy work to show the industry our capacity to be creative, disruptive.... And guess what: we have won the best design of 2008 at the Grand Prix de Genève. I am sorry that you were not part of the Jury... but 35 specialists and watch lovers (the best of the best from around 10 different countries) have voted for this incredible timepiece.

Now, coming to your words about the QuantumGravity. You are doing 2 major mistakes: Concord has develop a REAL (I can send you the pictures and emails of my people) team of engineers and designers that are really behind the birth of this product. The movement is manufactured by our partner BNB. This team has a name: C LAB SERIES team. I would be deligthed to introduce them. The second mistake is your total lake of knowledge when it comes to watchmaking. They are less than 10 companies in the world able to do a Double Axe Tourbillon. There is not a single company in the world doing / providing a watch with a vertical, fluorescent, liquid Power Reserve. The objective with our C LAB SERIES team is push limits of watchmaking to new levels. As much as Jules Audemars or Edward Piguet have done more than 125 years ago. It seems that you forget that tradition has to start at some point. I am sure if you were living in 1875, you would have given the same bad comments to Jules Audemars et Edward Piguet! Don't you think?

I would be really glad, in a constructive spirit, to hear from you dear Ariel."

With my kindest regards,

Vincent Perriard
President of Concord

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A 'Tempting' Option from Germany

From a ablogtoread.com, comes this reminder that very attractive high-end watches don't only come withthe line "Swiss Made"
The Cameo from Germany-based Temption looks great


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Luna- Tick: the Moonrock watch from Louis Moinet

back to watches, and this one's unique - from my friend at ablogtoread.com (great watch blog) - check this out:

The watch features two 'firsts.' Most obvious is the unique chronograph pusher system that uses fold out levers to operate the chronograph. This helps prevent starting and stopping it accidentally. Second is the use of the Moon rock - in the way that it is used. Though I will add more images as I get them, you can't quite the see moon rock in these pictures. Notice the protruding section near 9 o'clock on the watch? The Moon rock is visible through the side of the watch there. Don't worry, the lunar rock is authenticated - and is of the rarest types of extraterrestrial materials found on Earth (much rarer than meteorites).

Friday, February 20, 2009

LG goes for 'transparency'

We're still on a phone kick (don't worry, watches return soon) and the latest in a seemingly endless stream of phone innovations is LG' crystal keypad.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The World's Fastest Phone?

the German automaker has branched off into merchandizing with its Porsche Design division, which has just launched their latest offering: the new P'9522 mobile phone.

Featuring the latest technologies packed into a slick package, the P'9522 includes a 5 mexapixel camera with flash, GPS module, stereo MP3 player, WiFi, quad-band antennas for use around the world (save Japan and Korea), and a biometric fingerprint reader for security. While Porsche Design's previous P'9521 was a flip-phone, the features of the new P'9522 are packed into a solid block of aluminum with a scratch-resistant glass touchscreen face. While €600 (approx. $774) may seem like a lot of cash for a cell phone, it's just half the price of the P'9521, available from Porsche Design retail stores and its online shop. Porsche is staging a traveling photography exhibit featuring the phone

Monday, February 16, 2009

New 8 MP cameraphone form Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson Shows Off 8.1 Megapixel Cameraphone

­Sony Ericsson has announced the launch of an 8.1 mega-pixel cameraphone under their Walkman brand - the W995. The phone will also be the first in a range including a "Media Go" platform which the company says makes it easier to sync content between phone and computer.

Click to enlarge

Sony Ericsson W995
"With Media Go there's no need to worry about format, resolution and 'frame per second' anymore." said Alexandre Cardon, Global Marketing Business Manager at Sony Ericsson. "No longer will the video you transferred from your PC to your phone play in low resolution or bad quality. With Media Go and the W995 the experience is as good on your phone as it was on your PC."

The phone also comes with an 8GB Memory Stick, and supports both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The W995 Walkman supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 and UTMS/HSPA 900/2100. W995 will be available in selected markets from Q2. Prices to be announced.

Media Go will be available for all markets from the W995 launch in 15 different languages.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

House & Land (and car) The 10 most expensive wristwatches thus far

Which are the world's most expensive watches in 2009? So, we decided to take all the luxury watchmakers' catalogues that we have received and browse them in order to find the most expensive timepieces that you can buy today.
In compiling the top 10 most expensive watches of 2009 list, our team had a pretty hard job. Since we are more fascinated with mechanical men's watches than with the ladies' watches dripping with jewels, we decided to give the priority to the timepieces that represent unique masterpieces in the watchmaking industry.

Most of you agree that a watch is a watch. It's purpose is just to tell time. But, for some people a watch is much more. It symbolises one's social and financial status. Most of these watches are more expensive than a car or even a house. Yes, the watches can be very expensive, so read on to learn more about the most expensive watches of 2009.

1. Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002 P

Price: $1.49 million (1,06 million EUR)

The most expensive modern wristwatch

A platinum Patek Philippe tourbillon watch became the most expensive modern wristwatch to be sold at auction when it fetched HK$11.75 million ($1.49 million) in Hong Kong on April 10, 2008.

The "Ref. 5002 P Sky Moon Tourbillon" wristwatch with a double dial is considered the most complicated wristwatch ever produced by the renowned Swiss watchmaker. Only two such watches are made every year, one in platinum and one in rose gold. The watch, made in 2003, was bought by an Asian private buyer at the Sotheby's auction.

The previous auction record for a modern wristwatch was a Vacheron Constantin Tour de l'Ile, ranked 2nd on this list, which was sold by the auction house Antiquorum for $1.4 million in Geneva in 2005.

The Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002 is the most complicated wristwatch ever produced by Patek Philippe and also the workshop's first double-face wristwatch. Its movement consists of 686 parts, some of which are microscopically small. This rare and exceptional timepiece features mechanical movement that must be manually wound, a minute repeater with tourbillon escapement, chime with two “cathedral“ gongs activated by a slide piece in the case, perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand, hours and minutes of mean solar time, day, month, leap year by hands and moon age. The platinum case measures 42.8 mm.

2. Vacheron Constantin Tour de l'Ile

Price: $1.4 million (994,000 EUR)

World's most complex watch ever made

Of all the wristwatches imagined and produced by Vacheron Constantin to celebrate its 250th anniversary, the Tour de l’Ile is a study in superlatives. Calling this a “Grande Complication” model is a dramatic understatement: it is, in fact, the world’s most complex watch ever made, with its original combination of 16 complications that can be read off on a double-face display. Its design-engineers have developed a calibre smoothly integrating a series of grand horological complications and astronomical indications in order to make it a genuine wristwatch that is perfectly suited to and comfortable on the wrist.

It took the Vacheron Constantin design-engineers and the watchmakers over 10,000 hours of research and development to create this sheer masterpiece of horological technique, named in reference to one of the historical sites of the venerable firm, located next to the current Maison Vacheron Constantin on the Quai de l’Ile. An additional statistic provides an instant glimpse of the density of this exceptional calibre: no less than 834 parts are housed within a case measuring 47 mm in diameter.

The gold case with its hand-soldered lugs, which maintains beautiful and harmonious proportions despite its substantial content, is now distinguished by a symmetrical double protuberance on either side of the bezel. This miniature horological marvel, which will go down in the history of the wristwatch and of watchmaking in general, is produced in a strictly limited edition of just 7.

3. Hublot One Million $ Black Caviar Bang

Price: $1 million (727,000 EUR)

The quintessence of “invisible visibility” in a uniform range of black tones

Swiss manufacturer of luxury watches Hublot has recently introduced one million dollar watch Black Caviar Bang. This watch's setting is very complex. The difficulty resides in the unusual lines of the Big Bang case – round but with sharp angles. The white gold, one-piece construction of the case does not reveal one grain of gold, and the diamonds, cut in mysterious ways, seem to hold together as if by magic. The only visible feature is the black and deep tones of the diamonds, shining in their harmonious alignment.

This unique piece, which houses a Tourbillon, symbolises the fusion between watchmaking and jewellery, tradition and technology, glittering and invisibility. The vibration which emanates from it gives rise to an emotion tinged with fascination.

Creating this exceptional watch demanded over 2000 hours of meticulous work, from design to final adjustment, without forgetting the research and development, programming of the machines, choice of tools, diamond cutting, optical checking of each part, and setting and casing.

The case, in 18kt white gold, is covered with 322 black diamonds (25 carats). The crystal is an AR-coated sapphire, as is the display back. The bezel, done in 18kt white gold, is covered with 179 black diamonds (6 carats). Movement is the Hublot caliber HUB Solo T, a 1 minute Tourbillon Volant, manual-wind with special black finishing. The watch has 24 jewels, beats at 21,600 bph and has a power reserve of 120 hours. The bracelet is rubber with an 18kt white gold closure covered with 30 black diamonds (3.5 carats). The watch is manufactured in limited edition of just one piece.

4. Louis Moinet Magistralis

Price: $868,000 (631,000 EUR)

One of a kind watch with real pieces of the Moon

Swiss watchmaker Louis Moinet has recently presented a watch with real pieces of the Moon! These pieces are from a lunar meteorite that was ejected from the Moon 2,000 years ago. The meteorite has been authenticated by the University of California. Moonstone is an extremely rare material that is even more expensive than gold and platinum combined.

The movement of Magistralis was created a hundred years ago. Designed in the Vallée de Joux, it was made in Geneva and bears the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. It beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour and features a (double-bladed) self-compensating balance and a flame-blued Breguet balance spring.

The case is made of 5N and 3N 18-carat rose gold. Its brand-signature design stands out especially for its crown guard (patent pending) and its chronograph button guard at 12 o’clock. The perpetual calendar function displays the day, date and month over four years.

Magistralis is an extraordinary watch representing the expert craftsmanship of the time-honoured art of Haute Horlogerie. It is one of a kind, unlike any other, and will never be repeated.

5. Blancpain 1735, Grande Complication

Price: $800,000 (582,000 EUR)

Six masterpieces merged in a single construction

Blancpain's expert watchmakers devised a daunting challenge: merging their six earlier masterpieces into a single construction. For no other reason than the secret pleasure of outdoing themselves. Despite countless doubts and dead ends, talent and preservance ultimately got them there. After six years, against all odds, fulfillment was at finally hand. In homage to the year of foundation of the House of Blancpain, they called the new watch 1735. Almost magical in its intricacy, its movement's original design comprises an impressive 740 parts and components.

A truly inspired achievement, the Blancpain 1735's horological wizardry provides a rare and altogether convincing demonstration that, at least for the best watchmakers, impossibility is only relative.

The 1735 is the fruit of a year of loving labor by a single watchmaker. With its 740 individual hand-finished components, the 1735 remains the world's most complicated automatic winding wristwatch produced in a series. The platinum case measures 42 mm, the strap is croco leather. Movement is the automatic Caliber 1735, with 950 platinum rotor and a power reserve of 80 hours.

6. Breguet pocket watch 1907BA/12

Price: $734,000 (540,000 EUR)

The most expensive pocket watch

Breguet is one of the oldest and most respected names in the watchmaking industry, the company being around for more than 225 years and being credited for the invention of one of the most famous watch complication, the tourbillon.

Although it's now a part of the Swatch group of companies, the Swiss watchmaker keeps coming up with all sorts of extremely special timepieces, some of them instantly becoming a collector's item, due both to their high (sometimes enormous) price tags, as well as their one-of-a-kind features.

Breguet Classique "Grande Complication" pocket-watch in 18-carat yellow gold features grand strike and tourbillon, hand-engraved and hand-wound movement with 2-way rotating crown, off-centred chapter ring, centre minute hand, silvered gold dial, hand-engraved on a rose-engine and sapphire caseback.

Breguet's Grand Complications pay tribute to the two-century-old equivalence between Breguet watchmaking and advanced mechanical science. Building a grand complication confronts watchmakers with a maze of technical difficulties that challenge not only their skills but also their powers of invention. Thinking and working in four dimensions, generations of Breguet watchmakers have demonstrated the summit of their art in repeaters, perpetual calendars and tourbillon watches. Breguet protects its latest developments in perpetual calendars with two patents.

7. Audemars Piguet Grande Complication

Price: $526,000 (395,000 EUR)

Audemars Piguet most expensive timepiece

Audemars Piguet is another manufacturer of expensive Swiss watches. Tradition, excellence, daring: it is based on these three fundamental values that Manufacture Audemars Piguet perpetuates the art of Haute Horlogerie. At each stage of its history, it has proved capable of adopting the latest avant-garde technologies and of placing them in the service of hand craftsmanship, thereby creating exceptional timepieces.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication is a selfwinding watch that features perpetual calendar indicationg the day, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years.

It also features minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat white gold case and bracelet, transparent sapphire caseback. Water-resistant to 20 metres. Limited production.

Reference No: 25865BC.0.1105BC.01

8. Ulysse Nardin Genghis Khan

Price: $490,000 (351,000 EUR)

World's first wristwatch featuring a Westminster chime

In 2002 Ulysse Nardin proudly presented a watch beyond all considerations of practicability, a piece of art more than a mere timepiece; the Genghis Khan, world's first wristwatch featuring a Westminster chime with minute repeater, automatons and tourbillon.

A dial made of massive onyx features four figures, meticulously chased from gold. The figures show Mongolian warriors, thus explaining the watch's strange name, which remembers the founder of the largest empire in humankind's history, Genghis Khan (born 1155, or 1162, or 1167; died 1227). Each time the Westminster chimes or the repeater is engaged, the figures are fighting with their characteristically curved swords or trying to catch a small ring with a spear, while riding a impressively crafted horse.

The visible one minute Tourbillon is integrated into the aventurine dial. Opaque or translucent, containing crystals that were engendered by fire in molten glass, aventurine scintillates, subtyl flecked with all possible shades of red, yellow and grey. Forged by human hands, often compared to the philoshopher's stone, aventurine contains the secrets of the master jeweler's aclhemy.

All this is encased in 18k gold of 42 mm diameter, and in spite of its repeater activation slider it is watertight down to 30 meters.

9. Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Westminster

Price: $334,000 (239,000 EUR)

The watch with a musical movement

Less known Swiss watch manufacturer Parmigiani Fleurier has created a fairly large number of high-end, hand-made timepieces over the years. One of the extraordinary models Parmigiani has launched recently is the Toric Westminster model, designed to reproduce on a much smaller scale the movement and chime of the famous Westminster Abbey clock.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Westminster watch is equipped with a minute repeater that strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on four gongs to the tune of the Westminster chimes.

Furthermore, Toric Westminster features the GMT function with rapid correction by push-button indicates a 24-hour second time zone and the prestigious tourbillon that smoothes out position errors of the escapement.

It's also quite interesting to note the fact that the design of the bridges and the finishing carried out conveys the beauty of the movement. Although the design and functions are the first to draw the customer's attention, the interior of the Toric Westminster is equally important.

Toric Westminster mechanism, codenamed PF255.01, features no less than 42 jewels, has a diameter of 27 mm, works at a frequency of 21.600 vibrations per hour and offers users an overall power reserve of min 75 hours.

10. Girard-Perregaux Opera Three

Price: $316,000 (226,000 EUR)

Ultra-miniaturized music box

Girard-Perregaux is one of the few authentic Swiss watch manufactures. For over two centuries now, Girard-Perregaux has been renown for its many remarkable creations, among them the emblematic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges. From the research and development stage right through to the final adjustments made by master watchmakers, Girard-Perregaux continues to enrich its heritage through its Haute Horlogerie collection.

Opera Three model was launched way back in 2003 and it is a device that actually incorporates an ultra-miniaturized music box.

This Girard-Perregaux Haute Horlogerie Opera Three watch in platinum features a 43 mm case with an elegant silver dial shown here on a black alligator strap. The Girard-Perregaux Haute Horlogerie Opera Three also features a mechanical manual wound movement with an hourstriker complication and the ability to play two separate melodies, a power reserve indicator and sub seconds.

It's important to mention that the device works at a frequency of 28.800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), and provides a power reserve of minimum 50 hours.

The Opera Three watch is able to sound the passing hours with a melody. The movement’s miniature carillon is composed of a keyboard with 20 blades and a drum whose surface has around 150 hand-mounted pins. A selector allows a choice between two different tunes. A lever can disconnect the sound or allow it to play upon demand.

The music played can be personalized to taste. The Opera Three watch from Girard-Perregaux is yet another one of those ultra-expensive timepieces that almost break the half-a-million barrier.


IWC Grande Complication Ref. IW927016

Price: $230,000 (165,000 EUR)

One of the world's most demanding wristwatches

IWC Grande Complication Ref. IW927016 consists of total of 659 mechanical parts, 71 of them jewels, twelve patents and 21 functions and displays, including a perpetual calendar for the next 500 years, together with perpetual moon phase display made of polished goldstone representing a star-stubbed night sky. Working inside the case are a chronograph and a highly complex minute repeater activated through an all-or-nothing piece slide.

This wonderful invention chimes out the time in crystal-clear tones, which are activated by the slide on the left-hand side of the case. Two tiny, precision-made hammers are released and chime the time in hours, quarters and minutes on two gongs. The striking mechanism is a technical tour de force. Initially, the chimes were inaudible outside the solid platinum case, so the glass was freely suspended on a platinum membrane to enable it to amplify the vibrations produced by the gongs via the sound transmission pin.

The case, too, finished in solid platinum with a fineness of 95 percent or 18 ct. rose gold, is first-class. Despite the complex design of the case, the Grande Complication is unaffected by superficial water splashes. Production limited to 20 watches per year.

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual

Price: $152,000 (110,000 EUR)

A unique timepiece for the moment and for eternity

In the Datograph Perpetual, Lange combines two classic complications - the chronograph (for short time measurements) and the perpetual calendar - in one landmark watch that is also enriched with many of the manufactory's acclaimed new-era attributes.

This masterpiece by Lange is the first wristwatch that incorporates a chronograph and a perpetual calendar. It no doubt represents the most classic combination of complications, capturing the moment, the present, and eternity. Additionally, it is endowed with all of the features that make Lange timepieces so distinctive. It owes its harmonious personality to the subtly offset symmetry of the solid-silver dial.

The Datograph Perpetual can stop times of up to 30 minutes with an accuracy of one-fifth of a second.

The movement is the automatic Caliber L952.1. The platinum case measures 41mm. When fully wound, the spring barrel of the Datograph Perpetual has a power reserve of 36 hours. The accuracy of the watch originates from a glucydur balance with eccentric poising weights, a Lange balance spring, and with a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour. The watch consists of 556 individaul parts that must be assembled and adjusted to interact flawlessly in a time-consuming process.

'Watch' TV

Watch enthusiasts can now get vidoes, a la You Tube through The Time TV
go over to thetimetv.com and see what's ticking in the world of high-end watches

And now.... the Tondagraph

Combining the hypnotic beauty of the Tourbillon with the technical function of the Chronograph, the Tondagraph model (Calibre PF 354) joins the highly exclusive world of Parmigiani Fleurier's Haute Horlogerie collections. Testifying to a level of excellence that must never be lacking in the craftsman's hand, all Haute Horlogerie models are the fruit of tens of trades essential for creating an in-house manufactured piece. While the chamfering of the two Tourbillon bridges alone requires 20 hours' work to achieve the requisite finish quality, the cage as a whole will require nearly 40 hours. As proof, the light glides over the components with an incomparable shine. The entire mechanism is visible via the back of the watch, enabling the connoisseur to admire both its faces fully.

The style of dial, marked by its "Côtes de Genève" design, blends perfectly into Parmigiani's aesthetic line. In the middle of the dial, the double ellipse formed by the outline of the Tourbillon cage and of the 30 minute chronograph counter is now one of the brand's outstanding codes. The two-level graduated tachometer can be used for measuring speeds of 3000 km/h, supplementing the chronograph's indications.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The (Israeli) Commando's Watch

Watch lovers each have "holy grail" watches. These are prized pieces that are rare and desirable to the watch lover. They are sometimes new watches, old watches, expensive watches, or just plain rare watches. Here is an interesting one from Eterna, in the best condition I have ever seen. This is the Eterna Super KonTiki, which is a diver's watch at heart. Eterna is a laudable brand that just made a reappearance in the US after not being officially sold in the US for some time. I am glad to see them back. Back to the Super KonTiki at issue.

In the 1970s, Eterna started to supply the elite forces of the Israeli military with Eterna watches, most of them being this style of Super KonTiki. Most of those special forces were part of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) commando unit. This is the same group that was known for going on covert missions all over the world seeking out WWII war criminals, and performing missions on terrorist enemies (recall the movie Munich).

You know this watch is part of the original government issued watches because it is complete with the engraved serial number and Hebrew lettering on the caseback.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

'Caviar for the Wrist'

Our first post for the New Year comes with a bang courtesy of Hublot

In keeping with its sleek, innovative watch styling, Hublot opened an equally eye-catching boutique on Geneva’s Rue Céard in December. The store's front two windows feature LCD lights that illuminate the timepieces from below to give the appearance that they are floating in front of blue background. Upon entering the boutique, customers can get a sense of Hublot’s storied past through historical footage projected like a watermark onto large transparent glass surfaces throughout the store.

The opening of the boutique is timed with the release of the company’s latest creation: the One Million $ Black Caviar Bang tourbillion watch, a striking gold model with 322 black diamonds invisibly set to conceal any sign of metal. The $1 million watch, which takes more than 2,000 hours of labor to create, is available by special order only
Fossil"s Frank Gehry Watch

typical of Gehry - didn't know he had ventured into watches. Can a fragranceb efar behind?