No, none of that happened. The Urwerk UR-1001 Titan began as a special request, as I understand it. The only true part of the above story was that it was most certainly the desire of someone clearly of an insane disposition. One's mans crazy idea is surely an enthusiast community's conversation gold.
This year at SIHH, I had the chance to finally have my first personal encounter with what to me is a very unique and technically impressive timepiece; one which has actually been around for a few years now: the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe. There are two major reasons why I have anticipated this rendezvous so much. First and foremost, the pantograph hands and seeing how they worked, and second – because I knew I would love the engineering, but really wasn't sure about the overall design – seeing and trying the watch on to determine how it worked as a complete package. So please allow me now to tell you how this very personal meeting – with just the rest of our SIHH team and another 4-5 people from the brand – went down.
Singapore is also one of the 10 cities, which is apt because the F1 Singapore Grand Prix is in town from September 15 to 17. In 1971, TAG Heuer became the first watch brand to be involved with a Grand Prix team. And today, it is the official timekeeper for Red Bull Racing. The highlight of the Singapore exhibit is the 18k gold Heuer Carrera from 1970, which Jack Heuer presented to each Ferrari driver, with their name engraved on the watches’ casebacks.
Nevertheless, as Max told me in one of our conversations, all MB&F Machines were designed to be worn – and the HM3 is no exception; and when you have it on your wrist, you immediately forget about the case-back. While the case is as large as expected, because the mounting points for the lugs are under it and located more or less inside from the edges, the lugs do not protrude far away from the edges of the wrist. This, in turn, allows the strap to wrap around the hand nicely and comfortably, making for a secure wearing experience.
The result of that relationship was the never-available-for-retail-sale Hublot King Power WBC watch. One of those timepieces has been produced again and decorated with diamonds and emeralds for Mr. Mayweather. Earlier today, and before the bout with Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather took receipt of his one-of-a-kind Hublot King Power WBC Full Pave with Emeralds watch, quoting confirmation that he is a lover of high-end watches including Hublot, and that he looks forward to adding it to his already impressive collection.
There are more facts out there about the history of the Museum Dial watch, and putting it all together is difficult, given some of the conflicting information that exists. Certain perspectives made Movado look worse than others, given the story of producing "unofficial watches," and understanding the motivations of all the parties at all times depends on the sources you look at. I don't want to portray any party as the winner or loser, but the reality is that by 1975, Movado had at least some official right to produce the watches. Then, in the early 1990s, production and sales of the Museum Dial watch really took off, and Nathan George Horwitt himself made relatively little money on what was his most famous design.
Alright, that's enough about the strap. One very great thing about a larger case like on the Longines Avigation is the fact that the dial can be larger as well. Combine that with the crisp white-on-black as we have here, and you have a very legible dial. This is helped along by the appropriately-sized handset (at least in terms of length, as the hands could, perhaps, be a touch wider) that stands out in stark contrast to the dial.
What is the point of all this effort? The result is a case that has a unique, somewhat metallic look to it but is nonetheless scratch resistant like any other kind of ceramic: it will look as good as new even years or decades of wear later. It is this advantage that makes the side inserts that little bit more redundant to me: while it arguably is the bezel and lugs of a watch that are subjected to most impacts (and their resulting scratches) and hence ceramic comes in handy there, I still would love to see an all-ceramic case in this collection – if that were technically possible.
Inside the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Orbital II Chronograph watch is their caliber RR1404 automatic movement. It is a Base Swiss ETA or Sellita mechanical chronograph movement with a GMT module added to it which adds a second time zone - though the GMT hand can be used to indicate whether you are in AM or PM time as well. It isn't the most unique movement in the world, but you aren't paying the price you might for the most unique movement in the world. It gets the job done nicely and Ball adds some nice touches to it.
The H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue is nonetheless a refined weapon to wield in this fight and it, presently, outweighs smartwatches not just in terms of quality of design and execution, but also in price, coming in at ,000. h-moser.com
Arnold & Son has always given credit to a British-made clock from circa 1830 as the inspiration for the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid watch collection. In fact, many of Arnold & Son's contemporary pieces are inspired by vintage clocks and pocket watches. This is not a new thing in the watch industry, but what is unique is just how skillfully Arnold & Son's head of design and development Sebastien Chaulmontet consistently arranges these inspirations into classic yet modern looking timepieces for today.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has also eschewed the traditional slide mechanism for activating the minute repeater function and opted for a more elegant push button system. This allows the watch’s case to be compact, and for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Minute Repeater, the push button has been positioned at a diagonal to the crystal gong, thus ensuring some measure of symmetry in its looks. The watch also features a safety mechanism which protects the watch against unintentional activation of the striking function.
Baselworld 2015 sees the release of the De Bethune DBS Tourbillon, a futuristic homage to the brand's recent past. The De Bethune DBS Tourbillon's raison d’etre is to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the De Bethune DBS, and to simultaneously showcase how far this ambitious company has come in the last decade. Founded in 2002, the manufacture has created a recognizable brand aesthetic that counts distinctive size, astute visual consistency, and surprisingly unusual color schemes amongst its most eye-catching traits. By adding a tourbillon to the De Bethune DBS model, De Bethune is updating one of its more iconic pieces for their avid fans.
It would have been nice for Urwerk to at least maintain the seconds dial on the side of the case. The power reserve indicator would have been appreciated, but it is easy to live without given that this is an automatic watch. The price for the two watch models is remarkably similar, so it is clear that Urwerk simply wanted to expand on the collection while adding more options, versus going up or down the pricing scale. What is additionally interesting is, for what is the first time I can think of, Urwerk is offering some bold colors with the Urwerk UR-105 TA Black Lemon and UR-105 TA Black Orange. With that said, there are four versions of the Urwerk UR-105 TA in total which includes more traditionally sober colors that the brand is known for.
All-in-all, Pebble's second generation smartwatch promises to be a rather competitive package. To sum it all up, it features a slimmer case, extended functionality, much refined screen, seven days of battery life, an interface that seems to be considerably more user friendly than before and a competitive starting price of 9 on Kickstarter – suggested retail will be 9 and the first shipments will be delivered in May. Sounds good, and not just for us: although the Pebble Time fund-raiser campaign on Kickstarter has just been launched today, it went on to set the new record by raising million in less then 30 minutes; still into its first day, the campaign already has nearly 30,000 backers and over ,2 million pledged. See the campaign and all details at kickstarter.com
With that said, I still look carefully at each new F.P. Journe watch I put on my wrist and continue to discover a variety of ways the brand can surprise me. Anyhow, that's really a larger discussion about a brand I am fond of, and I should get back to the timepiece at at hand, the F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain.
Ariel Adams:Global price differences and international sales both to consumers and dealers have made it increasingly difficult to have different prices in different counties. What strategy, if any, is being employed by TAG Heuer to ensure that in addition to price reductions, there is more price parity across markets in order to ensure pricing consistency so that harmful discounting becomes less of an issue?
Unlike the previous TiVan 15 (a titanium alloy that, according to Jaeger-LeCoultre, is more scratch resistant than standard titanium) ref. Q203T540 (203T540) Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 with black and red color accents this new for 2015 ref. 203T541 has black and blue elements, offering an additional flavor. Other than the new colors, all that appears to be different is that the 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 Blue is not a limited edition. Again, I think that is interesting and speaks to the enduring popularity of this model (and hopefully that Jaeger-LeCoultre will revisit the high-end luxury sports watch in a more serious way soon. I've always felt that JLC was so good at being a sport watch maker, but as a company, they feel that their corporate identity should focus more on talking about their dress watches and Reverso models almost exclusively in their marketing materials and advertising.