ABTW: What is Denver best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?
ABTW: What is Denver best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?
Despite all that has been said, it actually is a timely retirement for the HM3. While major brands can keep on producing the exact same model – with or without minor updates and different versions – for several decades, for a small brand that wants to maintain its exclusivity, that option is out of the picture. Discontinuing the HM3 is not just because the last 7 or so years saw around 400 HM3 calibers made for the 19 different variations, but also because MB&F needs to cut back on the number of movements it is presently producing. With the HM3, HM5, HM6, LM1, LM2 and LM101 they have been making six extremely different movements – keeping such a diverse production efficient and after sales services under control requires some rationalization.
At 42mm wide, the Frédérique Constant Manufacture Heart Beat FC-945 case is both wearable and comfortable, also being 11.6mm thick. It never feels too large, but it has that substantial feeling many people like from mechanical watches. Because quartz watches have small, rather lightweight movements, you rarely get this sort of feeling from them. Of course, this particular version comes in the solid 18k rose gold case, which is rare for Frédérique Constant given their typically sub ,000 price point. Don't forget, of course, that Frédérique Constant also produces a few Tourbillons in their Manufacture collection that top out the brand at about ,000 in 18k rose gold. Still, a very reasonable price for a Swiss tourbillon.
The dials/movement plates are in 18k gold as well, and meant to match the case material of the watch. This adds a new harmonious looks to the MB&F LM101 Frost that did not exist with the previous models. It changes the nature of the watch, and these are certainly a bit more "blingy," being gold on gold. I wouldn't call them gaudy, though, as they take on a more traditional look which calls attention more in the sense of visual fascination versus pure status items. I think the MB&F LM101 Frost watches add an interesting look to the brand, even though they aren't what I would call "traditionally MB&F designs." In my opinion, the popularity of the Legacy Machine watches added a new tangential personality to the MB&F brand which is distinct and in some ways separate from its Horological Machine (HM) personality.
Nixon isn't the first brand to offer Star Wars watches, but among "good watches" there aren't too many official ones. Back in 2009, we wrote about the Star Wars watches by Marc Ecko (that I actually think were never released), and in 2012 Seiko produced a collection of Star Wars watches – which was probably the most ambitious wristwatch-Star Wars collaboration yet.
There are two separate designs, each with two color options. I think the most striking of the two is the “day and night” dial, which has a sun motif on the left and a moon and stars scene on the right. It's certainly unique how the 'active' portion of the dial is indicated by either the sun or moon coming to life, but is, in my opinion, a little basic. Both circular apertures reveal a colored disc when it is their turn to tell the time: the sun becomes yellow; the moon becomes white. As effective as this is, it is hardly going to set the horological world alight. Sure, it's different to have effectively two dials each doing half the job of a normal dial, but the question is "why bother?"
ABTW: Given that definition, what was your first grail watch, and what did you like about it?
Although the supply of master engravers and enamel painters is not as substantial as it once was, there are still young enthusiasts in the field of watchmaking that understand the value and emotions evoked by a well decorated dial and movement. Artur Akmaev, a talented young artist from Russia has taken this passion for art and design and turned it into some beautifully handcrafted time pieces.
I've been clear in the past on my appreciation for most Chopard racing-style watches. I like the bold looks, legible dials, use of color, and crisp detailing. Here, you have a slightly updated design theme for the 2015 Chopard Mille Miglia GTS collection that includes updated numerals for the 12 and 6 o'clock hour markers, as well as other tweaks. We also see a thin bezel design with minute indicators on it that offers a more retro look. While the bezel design is nice, Chopard continues to use aluminum for the insert - which many other brands at this price point have moved on to more durable materials, such as ceramic.
A good deal of thought has gone into the shape and positioning of these images so as to make the most of the circular frame in which they sit. Each one is beautifully realized in Grand Feu enamel and highlighted with the Genevan technique of miniature painting. Great pains have been taken to ensure the images on the duplex dial appear as close to the originals as possible. The enameled image sits on a gold dial, bordered by a colorful frieze. In the background of the lower-level, raised gold words – a tribute to nature and life – remind us of this watch's origin.
Of course, there is the dressier-leaning guy who wants a daily wear but gets bored of "simple watches." This Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive Moonphase is good for him. There is also the "gadget watch lover," who is inspired by functionality and feels best wearing a high-functionality watch with a cool movement. This is a good watch for that person as well. For me, I say that if you work in an office environment and want a cool watch with an interesting movement that won't break the bank, the Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive Moonphase is a good option.
I know it sounds fussy, but magnetism is one of the main issues we deal with. People don’t realize how much it affects your watch and how often it happens. These components are made of steel. Take a balance spring, for example. It doesn’t take a strong magnetic field to make those coils attract each other. This shortens the amplitude and speeds up the watch.
When it comes to the primary function of a watch, telling time, Apple wants to provide a seemingly endless variety of dials – Apple wants you to be able to change the faces all the time. This variety of watch faces will be key for personalization and artistic value, as users can add and remove elements on the face.
Speaking of centuries' worth of history, a certain Jardon & Stedmann in fact found a solution for this issue as early as 1800, when they designed and manufactured a pocket watch of oval shape that had a unique set of hands that would track the shape of the dial. An ingenious solution that requires around a hundred different components, and hands that were as light as we can make them today with state-of-the-art technology. We visited a selection of manufacturing facilities of Parmigiani in 2013, and in their restoration department, we saw and filmed the original pocket watch from some 200 years ago. Parmigiani restored it in 1997, and as they told us, it was this pocket watch that inspired them to design the Ovale Pantographe – watch the first half of the video above to see the original in action!
Going back to the dial side of the Christophe Claret Allegro, we see see the rest of the movement's complications. Under 12 o'clock is a big date window (the first time I've seen one in a Christophe Claret watch) along with two subdials. The left subdial operates as a subsidiary seconds dial, while the right subdial is a second time zone as represented by an additional hour hand going along a 12-hour scale. A small window in the second time zone dial operates as a day/night indicator, so that the wearer knows if it is AM or PM in the other time zone. The pushers on the side of the case adjacent to the crown either adjust the date or advance the second time zone hand by one hour. In total, the rather complicated movement inside of the Christophe Claret Allegro contains 520 parts (very complicated).
In addition to the artistically dense filigree engraving on the case, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is large for a Patek Philippe – some even claim totally unwearable, at 47.4mm wide. Now that size isn't inherently too large for many other watches, but the very large lug structures make the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175's case very long. Nevertheless, given all the complications inside, it is impressively thin at just 16.1mm. I think the right people (hopefully a few of them will be among the six owners) will be able to strap this baby on and appropriately wear it – with proper regal attire. While nothing about the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 says "elegant" or "contemporary and tasteful," it does look like a timepiece European royalty in the middle ages might have worn. Assuming characters in medieval fantasy universes such as Middle Earth (from Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) or Westeros (from Game of Thrones) wore watches, their kings and high lords would probably all wear something that resembles the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175.
Another theory why Rolex doesn't spend more time showcasing modern products in The Spirit of Datejust video is because they plan on releasing something new in the Datejust watch collection for 2015. Rolex is extremely secure about its new product news but they have been known to drop hints about new products, in advance of debuts at the watch trade show Baselworld. Will there be an update to the Datejust, or a new model added?
Speaking of entry-level, the lowest price watch in this group is also one of the most attractive, with its simple vintage military styling inspired by 1940s Bulova watches. I am talking about the Bulova Accutron II Military 96B229. The 42m wide (10.8mm thick) steel case looks to be thematically like an original Rolex Oyster watch from 1926 - only bigger with its cushion shape and coined-edge bezel. Water resistant to 100 meters, the Military is matched to a green fabric strap and is easily the most mainstream and fashionable of the bunch. The black and white dial has just a hint of red and looks to be really legible (even though it appears that the minute and hour hands are a bit too similar in size). I like that the date window has been integrated into 6 o'clock with a matching color disc!
To do this, Apple has been engaging with what it feels are the world's top fashion resources. Last November (2014), the Apple Watch Edition in 18k gold appeared on the wrist of Liu Wen on the Chinese version of Vogue Magazine. The Apple Watch Sport is seen on the wrist of Candice Swanepoel on the March cover of Self magazine.
ABTW: Do you serve mostly locals or tourists, or is it a good mix? Also, what percentage of your customers would you call "knowledgeable watch collectors?"
The Olio Model 1 is the company's first smartwatch product, and it is scheduled to ship to customers in the Summer of 2015. Olio isn't another crowd-funded product that may or may not ship, but a serious effort from a talented team looking to define a select niche in the smartwatch world. Sitting with founder Steven Jacobs, I asked him the simple question, "who did you have in mind as the type of person that will benefit from wearing an Olio?" His response was, "I wanted to consider the busiest person I could think of, because our goal is for the Olio to be a time-saving device. The busiest person I could think of was President Barack Obama."
It was not all that long ago when we brought you word of Ball's new creation that mixes up how we are used to interacting with a chronograph. That earlier article was based only on the PR materials (and photographs) that were made available. Today, we are able to bring you hands-on impressions (and photographs) of the Ball Engineer Master II Slide Chronograph.