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Scottsdale-based Oliver Smith Jeweler is partnering with Parmigiani Fleurier to create twenty bespoke watches to help celebrate the jeweler’s fortieth anniversary.

The 42mm watches, fifteen steel-cased Tonda GT models and five of its more complicated sibling, the Tondagraph GT, each feature a customized brown guilloché dial with cream-colored subdials and chapter ring.

The Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT specially made with Oliver Smith.

“I really wanted to partner with Michel Parmigiani because of his creative genius. His skill as a restorer of antique timepieces was clear at a young age, and he’s come about his success as a watchmaker extremely organically,” says Oliver Smith, Founder and Creative Director at Oliver Smith Jeweler.

“I appreciate how Michel takes inspiration from patterns in nature, like the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci sequence, in developing the proportions of his pieces. He takes that natural world into the balance of his watches,” Smith adds.

The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT specially made with Oliver Smith.

Each dial is guided by Michel Parmigiani’s Golden Ratio principles. The dials each sport open-worked Delta-shaped hands framed by fluted bezels and unmistakable teardrop-shaped lugs. Fifteen Tonda GT pieces have been produced. Only five Tondagraph GT models have been made, each numbered individually 1-5.

Inside Parmigiani Fleurier fits its own excellent calibers. The Tonda GT is powered by the PF044 automatic movement, which is finely finished, has a power reserve of 42 hours and is water resistant to 100 meters. The Tondagraph GT features the PF043 movement and combines an annual calendar and a chronograph.

Both models are fastened by a matching steel bracelet with folding clasp buckle, a new design from Parmigiani Fleurier first seen in last year’s Tonda GT novelties. For extra versatility, Oliver Smith and Parmigiani Fleurier include an additional interchangeable black rubber strap with deployant buckle.

Prices: $17,700 (Tonda GT pieces) and $23,200 (Tondagraph GT models, each numbered individually 1-5).

 

By Steve Huyton

It seems incredible that when I visited Baselworld in 2015 the world was a completely different place. At the time there were no restrictions and it was easy to travel freely. On my trip to Switzerland, I took the opportunity to visit a couple of factories at La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel.

At this stage, I had just produced my first watch called ‘Polaris’ and was looking at unusual materials for future creations. One of the companies I visited specialized in carbon fiber and was experimenting with different colors and finishes. Probably one of the most unusual options was a luminous carbon that glowed in the dark.

Due to cost and availability, I decided to opt for different alternatives. However, I was interested to discover Romago Swiss has used this amazing composite in their distinctive LuminFusion Carbon Sand.

The Romago LuminFusion Carbon Sand.

Carbon in watches

A few years ago, only high-end watch brands like Audemars Piguet, Hublot and Richard Mille were experimenting with carbon composites. Even though these timepieces are exceptionally well designed, they are beyond the realms of most buyers due to price points. Fortunately, carbon composites are a lot more accessible and affordable today. There is also a lot more variety.

Previously, I reviewed the red Romago Super Carbon X, which is a really cool watch for the money. However, I feel the watchmaker’s LuminFusion Carbon Sand is a lot more sophisticated and illustrates how Romago Swiss has matured.

The LuminFusion Carbon Sand is very well proportioned and has a 46.5mm x 46.5mm x 15.9mm square case. It would be fair to say this watch has a similar appearance to some of the carbon fiber models Bell & Ross creates. For example, the watches are a similar size and are very striking in appearance.

The Romago LuminFusion Carbon Sand glows in the dark with green luminescence. Romago blends luminous material with the carbon fiber case.

However, the LuminFusion Carbon Sand has a more industrial façade. I also love the fact Romago has equipped this model with a revolving-rotor-style dial with an enchanting caricatured face. This feature allows the recipient a discreet view of the skeletonized movement.

Essentially the theme was to create a mysterious watch that changes appearance at the fall of night. Certainly, the luminous carbon case, bezel and dial are pretty mesmerizing.

At the heart of the watch is a customized Swiss self-winding Calibre SW200 mechanical movement from Sellita, which oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Functionally the LuminFusion Carbon Sand features hours, minutes and seconds.

The watch also is water-resistant to a depth of fifty meters and has a power reserve of thirty-six hours. As a perfect final touch, the timepiece has a high-quality black rubber injection-molded strap inscribed with the name ‘ROMAGO’.

Price: $4,780.

The Romago LuminFusion Carbon also come in white with blue luminescence.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

Watches of Switzerland has acquired the stores of three of the country’s leading watch retailers, including Ben Bridge (at the Mall of America), Timeless Luxury Watches in Plano, Texas, and the Betteridge boutiques in Greenwich, Vail and Aspen. The Palm Beach Betteridge boutique remains under the family’s control.

The acquisitions are part of British-based Watches of Switzerland’s ongoing expansion since entering the United States in 201 and builds on the group’s already large global network, including Watches of Switzerland, Analog Shift, Mayors, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths.

Betteridge in Greenwich.

“Since the acquisition of Mayors in 2017, followed quickly by the opening of Watches of Switzerland SoHo, The Group has shown its acute command of the U.S. market and deep understanding of its discerning and diverse consumers,” says David Hurley, executive vice president of The Watches of Switzerland Group USA.

“As leaders in the industry, we understand the responsibility that comes with that role and look forward to expanding our team in North America while investing in the growth of each of these new markets and communities.”

The new Watches of Switzerland in Plano, Texas.

Watches of Switzerland says it will convert the Ben Bridge and Timeless locations into Watches of Switzerland boutiques, while the Betteridge locations in Greenwich, Vail and Aspen will continue to operate under their current name.

The Betteridge location in Greenwich will become the largest (by square footage) boutique operating under the Watches of Switzerland corporate umbrella. Terry Betteridge will take on an advisory role in conjunction with the three acquired locations.

Watches of Switzerland at the Mall of America.

“In many ways this seems like a return to our roots for Betteridge, with my family coming to the U.S. from England in 1892, bringing with them generations worth of metal working skills,” says Terry Betteridge.

With these five acquisitions and the opening of Watches of Switzerland in Kenwood, Ohio, The Watches of Switzerland Group will add seventy-five personnel through retention and new hires.

 

The ninth edition of the Only Watch charity timepiece auction raised $32.1 million to fund research to combat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Auctioneer Christie’s reports that the event, held at the Geneva Palexpo for the first time, resulted in all fifty-three one-off horological creations designed for the auction sold to collectors from across the globe, with many reaching final hammer results after spirited bidding volleys.

Five of the auction items drew final bids exceeding $1 million. These included pieces by Patek Philippe, F.P. Journe, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, and De Bethune/Kari Voutilainen.

The auction, which lasted more than three hours, took place to a crowd of 850 collectors, philanthropists, watchmaking manufacturer representatives, scientists and press.

To see a full listing of the Only Watch 2021 final results click here.

“As the world emerges in the post-pandemic era, it is both humbling and gratifying to see how Only Watch’s message of hope, determination and confidence in the future has again resonated so strongly both with the community of watchmakers who contributed such masterpieces and the community of watch aficionados and generous donators who participated from around the world,” says says Luc Pettavino, President of the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy and Founder/Organizer of the auction.

Here are a few of the highlights:

De Bethune and Voutilainen Kind of Magic. Estimate $219,444 to $274,306. Final was $1,426,389.
F.P. Journe and Francis Ford Coppola FFCBue, Estimate was $329,167 to $438,889. Final was $4,937,500.

 

Patek Philippe, Complicated Desk Clock. Estimate $438,889 to $548,611, Final was $10,423,612.

 

 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Only Watch. Estimate $175,556 to $351,111. Final was $3,401,389.

As Abingdon celebrates fourteen years since it started offering adventure watches specifically targeted to women, the Las Vegas watch company this week adds three models to its Jane tactical watch collection and adds a new model to Nadia, its dive watch collection.

The new Jane Outlaw.

Both collections are the brand’s first watches fit with a bi-directional compass just inside the bezel and a ruler built into the back of the watch. The new models are 35mm steel-cased watches with 200 meters of water resistance, an impressive specification rarely seen watches this size.

Jane

The new Jane watch, built with an Ameriquartz quartz caliber by Arizona-based movement maker FTS, is the result of three years of testing, according to Abingdon, which explains that it wanted to create the “best tactical watch offered for women.”

Two models within the Jane tactical watch collection. Jane is powered by an Arizona-made FTS quartz caliber.

Jane combines a brushed 316L stainless steel case and screw-down crowns with a hardened sapphire crystal, with military time conversion, standard and metric rulers, a bi-directional compass, glow-in-the-dark dial markings, day and date display, a diver’s bezel, and its Ameriquartz Caliber 7122 quartz movement.

Abingdon builds a ruler into the back of the Jane and Nadia watches.

Look for new Jane models called Covert (black dial), Mission (red dial) and Outlaw (black dial with bronze-colored case).

Covert, one of the new Jane tactical watches.

Nadia

Abingdon originally launched its Nadia dive watch in 2019 and this year adds the Nadia Black Abyss, a black and pink version, which joins the original white and blue Whitewater model. Abingdon tests all its dive watches on the wrists of inductees of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.

The new Nadia Black Abyss.

The 35mm steel watch is powered by a Seiko TMI NH06 automatic movement, which delivers more than forty hours of power reserve. Two screw-down crowns, which control the time function and a bi-directional compass, ensure that the Black Abyss maintains its water resistance. Abingdon has added an elongated 16mm silicone strap built to fit over wet suits and certain thicker dry suits.

The original Nadia dive watch from Abingdon, attached with a white silicone strap. Inside is a Seiko automatic movement.

Prices: $629 (Jane) and $829 (Nadia).

All Abingdon Jane and Nadia watches are water resistant to 200 meters. All dive watches are tested by inductees of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.