A previously unknown Patek Philippe world timer (Reference 2523) with cloisonné enamel dial tops the lots at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XIII, scheduled for May 8 and 9 in Geneva. But alongside that ultra-desirable watch, estimated at CHF 3.5 million, collectors can also bid on rare watches from Cartier, Audemars Piguet, F.P Journe and Rolex, among many others.
That top lot, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523, was first launched in 1953 and features a 36mm case, which at the time was considered large. The watch’s city ring is an integral part of the dial rather than being engraved on the bezel. Two versions were available, with reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs that do not sit above the bezel. This example is known as the “Silk Road” 2523 and is the earliest ever made.
To help you activate your collector gene, we’ve gathered five additional particularly enticing lots from the upcoming auction.
Lot 23: This Cartier Grande Tank Cintrée, circa 1965 (above), was Cartier’s largest Tank model and has been produced in extremely limited quantities since 1921. This example is all original, dating to 1965 with all hallmarks and serial number engravings intact. The movement is a manual-wind Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.
Lot 31: The Richard Mille RM022 Tourbillon Aerodyne from 2018 is a tonneau-shaped dual-time wristwatch with tourbillon, function selector, power reserve, torque indication, original warranty and presentation box.
It’s a complicated Richard Mille limited edition watch made for the American market and features a red quartz TPT case. Numbered eight of ten examples, the watch has not been auctioned previously. Estimate: $267,000-$533,000.
Lot 73: This Tissot World Time from 1950 is a very early 14-karat gold World Time wristwatch produced at the start of the Jet Age. Considering that very few watch brands were making any type of world timer or even dual timer in the 1950s, this is a surprising watch to surface from Tissot. At 36mm it will fit any wrist size. Estimated at $4,300-$6,400.
Lot 140: This platinum-cased F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain features a serial number of 001, meaning it’s the very first example of the desirable model, produced in 2005. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.
Lot 147: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978, is an original Royal Oak Jumbo – produced six years after the launch of the model. The total production of B-series was just 1,000 examples. The dial is preserved in excellent condition with the AP logo at 6 o’clock, which can be found on any A and B Series as well as some C Series. This example is in superb, all-original condition with hardly any signs of wear. It also comes complete its original box and guarantee certificate. Estimate: $43,000-$86,100.
Click here to download the entire auction catalog, or check out the Phillips website to view the 236 auction lots online.
In the world of watches, becoming a senior executive and department head at a prestigious auction house is one of the most rewarding positions to get. It is often regarded as a dream job that many want but few can attain. As expected, it’s a position that requires plenty of work, expertise and human skills.
I have had the privilege to meet and interview someone who is in this position: Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s.
Richard’s approachable demeanor and friendly smile are a clear indication that he loves his job and appreciates all the vintage and contemporary watches that surround him day-to-day.
When I asked Richard how he found himself in the watch business, he told me that he thought he would be an architect. But as is often the case, life had a different path for him. When Richard was an architecture student more than twenty years ago, he was looking for a job for a little extra pocket money.
One day, he passed by the famed Betteridge watch and jewelry boutique in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he saw a trainer teaching the staff how to use special software for engraving. He quickly realized that the software was very similar to the CAD programs that he used for architecture. After showing the Betteridge team that he could engrave a piece in a couple of minutes, he became the in-house engraver—and eventually added polishing to his duties.
Once Richard began learning how to solder and started training as a jeweler, he decided to take a break from school. After a handful of years as a bench jeweler at Betteridge, he switched roles to become the company’s watch repairs coordinator. Not only did he discover a wide variety of timepieces, ranging from quartz to grand complications, during this period but he also had the opportunity to learn from Swiss-trained watchmakers as part of his job. Lopez ultimately fell in love with watches and watchmaking.
After climbing the ranks at Betteridge, Lopez joined Christie’s as a watch specialist and online retail manager. Not long after he joined, the online Christie’s Watch Shop made its debut, which marked a major step in the company’s e-commerce strategy. Lopez’s foray into the auction house market gave him even greater access to extraordinary vintage and modern timepieces, and permitted him to hone his skills in the realm of luxury e-commerce.
Today, Lopez is head of online sales and a senior watch specialist at Sotheby’s and he is based in New York. It is a role that he took on earlier in 2020, a pivotal time for online sales due to the global pandemic.
Like most other industries, auction houses are shifting focus from live events to online channels. Since Sotheby’s will only host in-person auctions twice a year (June and December) for the foreseeable future, Lopez is responsible for launching weekly and monthly online auctions to make up for the current restrictions.
Additionally, he also has to organize lots for the two in-person auctions by curating, qualifying, and authenticating timepieces. Along with his team in the New York office, which also covers the East Coast of the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, there is the Los Angeles team. Most of the timepieces are sourced from private clients and a few dealers.
Lopez’s experience as a jeweler and in watch repair prepared him for his current role. It takes a certain type of hands-on experience to understand the nuances of vintage timepieces, particularly if information about a specific watch is not readily available from the manufacturers.
For instance, with vintage Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” watches, it’s important to remember that Rolex has never disclosed how many were made, how many versions there are, and the exact years they each version was produced. Unlike some other watchmakers, Rolex does not offer any type of archival or authentication services, so it is up to collectors, scholars, and professional experts like Lopez to investigate, study, and compile the information.
Only with a great understanding of the watch at hand and the current market condition can an appropriate price estimate be given to the client looking to auction his or her timepiece.
Given the current times we are living in, Sotheby’s has decided to lean towards an online platform since the reach is vastly wider than the classic auction catalog. In addition to generating more traffic, an online platform provides plenty of data, such as how many clicks per page and which models have been viewed the most.
This type of information can then be analyzed to predict customer needs and potential trends. For a long time, auction houses never thought that they could convince a large number of buyers to buy expensive fine watches online. It was always understood that potential buyers had to see the watches “in the metal” before even considering placing a bid.
But that is no longer the case—seasoned collectors are happy to purchase online as long as the accompanying pictures and information are clear enough to tell the full story. Clients are also more comfortable if there is an easy return policy and if the watch is being sold by a renowned name like Sotheby’s. To further protect its clients, Sotheby’s always provides detailed condition reports and authenticity guarantees with each watch available for auction.
Having a team that truly understands how to navigate the online luxury business is one of Sotheby’s greatest assets. Plus, the team’s ability to make quick adjustments during all the uncertainties that COVID brought about, such as working remotely while still in full control of consignments and sales, allowed Sotheby’s to execute more than twenty online events in the summer compared to some competitors that could only complete a fraction of those numbers.
Sotheby’s weekly online watch auctions list around fifteen to twenty lots for bidding while monthly online sales can reach 200 timepieces in the mid to high-end watch segment.
The two annual in-person events are where Sotheby’s showcases incredible grail watches that command attention from collectors across the globe. These auctions will maintain the customary format of a preview of the watches available at Sotheby’s, followed by an auctioneer-hosted auction in the main room.
The supply of and demand for top-tier timepieces remains strong and it is projected to grow. Rolex and Patek Philippe lead the charge with a slew of coveted sports watch models that have hefty prices to match their insatiable demand. Consumers who are unable to buy popular luxury sports watches in the retail market are turning to the secondary market and discovering a bevy of other watch models from the likes of Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, Panerai, and others.
Although it must be said that while brands like Rolex and F.P. Journe have contemporary watches that are highly valued in the secondary market, it is the vintage segment that is the star of that market. More and more, consumers are treating watches as investments, which can sometimes outshine gold, diamonds, and jewelry as investment pieces. The current-production steel and ceramic Rolex Daytona that retails for about $13,000 is frequently being traded around $25,000 in the secondary market—a return on investment that is hard to beat.
As a professional in the watch industry and an avid watch collector, Lopez has learned that although a fine watch is most certainly a luxury and not a necessity, if you really want a timepiece and it fits your budget, go ahead and buy it. Not only will you enjoy the watch immensely, if you also take good care of it, it may sell for a premium in the future. His biggest advice is to keep your box and papers because a complete set will always be more valuable.
Talent, enthusiasm, experience, and hard work can open up an array of possibilities and, as with Richard Lopez, it may even lead to a dream job where the profession is dependent on a personal passion.
One year after debuting the Big Bang Integral, Hublot this week announced three colorful ceramic additions to the multi-material collection.
The debut is just one of a broad set of Hublot debuts announced this week as part of LVMH Watch Week 2021. Other Hublot debuts include a first-ever orange-hued Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Sapphire, new Classic Fusion offerings in the Orlinski collection, a new size within the Big Bang One Click collection and two additions in the tonneau-shaped Spirit of Big Bang collection.
We’ll show you many of these Hublot debuts in upcoming posts, but first let’s take a look at Hublot’s additions to its Big Bang Integral collection.
As the first Hublot Big Bang model with an integrated bracelet, Integral in 2020 earned accolades for broadening Big Bang’s appeal to include collectors who prefer bracelet watches.
Hublot anticipated the demand and wisely launched with a wide-ranging 42mm debut to include titanium and King Gold cases, plus a single, limited-edition example with a black ceramic case. The Integral collection is also notable for reviving the rectangular pushers originally found on the Big Bang in 2005. More recent Big Bang models utilize round pushers.
With the 2021 debuts, Hublot adds white, dark blue and grey case options to the ceramic Big Bang Integral family tree. The newest ceramic models retain the 42mm case size of the initial black ceramic debut from 2020, but more clearly state their source material thanks to the new color options.
These watches are made entirely from ceramic except for the bezel lugs, which are in black, dark blue or grey composite, and the rubber elements on the crown and the pushers, which Hublot says its includes for “added user comfort.”
Because the Integral is defined by the inclusion (the integration) of a bracelet, these new ceramic models are particularly distinctively on the wrist. And their unique qualities are more than visual. High-tech ceramic is thirty percent lighter by weight than a comparable amount of steel, a factor instantly felt when the watch is worn. Similarly, ceramic feels somewhat smoother on the skin, which also differentiates the ceramic Big Bang Integral from its gold or steel brethren.
Inside, Hublot fits its Unico HUB1280 automatic flyback chronograph movement with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve. Hublot reminds us that this caliber is a modified version of the earlier Unico HUB1242, with upgrades that include a thinner automatic winding system and four new and patented innovations: oscillating seconds clutch, chronograph friction system with ball-bearing adjustment, ratchet retaining system with unidirectional gears and index-assembly fine adjustment system.
Among its wide-ranging 2021 debuts, Bulgari adds three new models to its Octo Finissimo collection of record-breaking ultra-thin watches. New to the collection: an Octo Finissimo S in a new monochrome style, an Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, and the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium with a new dial and rubber strap.
Also new for Bulgari in 2021 are additions to its feminine Lvcea, Serpenti and Divas’ Dream collections, plus an impressive and highly complex Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon. We’ll show you these new models in upcoming posts.
But first, below we introduce the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo watches.
Octo Finissimo S
One of last year’s highlight debuts, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo S, introduced collectors to the brand’s first all-steel entry within the Octo Finissimo’s ultra-thin automatic range.
Until that launch, Bulgari had limited the Octo Finissimo collection of record-setting ultra-thin watches to designs with ceramic, precious metal or titanium cases and bracelets.
The premiere Octo Finissimo S with its all-steel case and bracelet, water resistance of 100 meters and case measuring 6.4mm thin, drew positive notices almost immediately, in part due to its entry level (for Octo Finissimo) $12,000 price point and broader appeal.
A year later, Bulgari adds an encore to the steel collection with a new monochrome Octo Finissimo S featuring a 40mm steel satin-polished case and a new silver vertical-brushed monochromatic dial. The watch, now the third in the steel collection (following the blue-dialed debut in mid-2020) retains the collection’s contemporary design, especially with its radially brushed bezel.
The new watch is powered by automatic in-house ultra-thin caliber BVL 138 with micro-rotor. Echoing the entire steel collection, the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters, ensured by a polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic.
Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT
With the success of the time-only steel Octo Finissimo S line, Bulgari in 2021 adds a chronograph GMT model in steel. Creating a steel model means Bulgari can offer its record-breaking ultra-thin chronograph in a more conventional steel case (and bracelet), which both reduces the price while also attracting consumers who might prefer steel watches. The chronograph GMT offerings within the Octo Finissimo collection had, until now, been limited to titanium-cased models.
Called Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, it features the existing Bulgari automatic in-house chronograph and GMT ultra-thin calibre BVL 318 with peripheral rotor.
Now offered with a satin-polished steel case and new blue dial, the watch also features silver (rather than black) counters, which Bulgari considers a “sport chic look.”
On the dial you’ll find chronograph counters plus a GMT (second time zone) indicator. The watch’s 43mm diameter steel case measures 8.75mm thick, which is nicely integrated into the vertically brushed steel bracelet, accented with polished parts. And like the time-only steel model, the Octo Finissimo S Chronograph features a larger screw-down crown than the former sandblasted models. This ensures water resistance to 100 meters.
Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium
As the third new watch in the Octo Finissimo collection this year, this 42mm titanium model essentially echoes the 2019 titanium-cased edition that captured the 2019 GPHG award for best chronograph watch. This year, Bulgari adds a new, sportier black dial and an appropriate sporty rubber strap to what remains the thinnest automatic chronograph watch available.
Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo S
Movement: Mechanical Manufacture with automatic winding via a platinum micro-rotor, hours, minutes and small seconds indications. BVL138 Finissimo caliber (2.23mm thick) adorned with Côtes de Genève stripes, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate, 60-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph.
Case: 40mm extra-thin satin-polished steel case (6.40mm thick) with transparent caseback; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay.
Dial: Silvered vertical-brushed, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Bracelet: Integrated vertical brushed steel with polished parts and folding clasp.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Steel
Movement: Mechanical manufacture chronograph and GMT with automatic winding (peripheral rotor) and small seconds – BVL 318 caliber (3.30mm thick). 55-hour power reserve; local timezone adjusted through the push button at 9 o’clock.
Case: 43mm extra-thin satin-polished steel (8.75mm thick) with transparent caseback; radial brushed bezel; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay.
Dial: Blue sunray with silver GMT, chronograph and seconds counters; water-resistant to 100 meters.
Bracelet: Integrated vertical brushed steel with folding clasp.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium
Movement: Mechanical manufacture chronograph and GMT with automatic winding (peripheral rotor) and small seconds – BVL 318 caliber (3.30mm thick). 55-hour power reserve; local timezone adjusted through the push button at 9 o’clock.
Case: 42 mm extra-thin sandblasted titanium (6.90 mm thick) with transparent case back; sandblasted titanium crown set with ceramic; black opaline dial; water-resistant to 30 meters.
Bracelet: Black rubber with sandblasted titanium pin buckle.
The Glashütte-based maker of acclaimed pilot watches spreads its wings with new models that update its vintage-inspired Grand Flieger and M2 collections.
The town of Glashütte is renowned for its history as the center of German watchmaking. While that history was interrupted for decades between and following two world wars, when the village’s deep horological knowledge base dispersed to points West – or to extinction – Glashütte has again become the focus of the region’s watchmaking activity.
After being founded in Glashütte in 1927, Tutima re-joined the former East German town in 2011, fully sixty-five years after it was forced to move away. During those years away, Tutima intensely developed a focus on pilot’s watches, starting with the now-famed 1941 pilot’s chronographs known for their fluted steel case, large crown, red reference marker and, most critically, their flyback function, an unusual feature at the time.
It was that wartime aviation design that propelled Tutima to fame among aviators and, eventually, pilot watch enthusiasts. Tutima’s Grand Flieger collection today directly references that 1941 design.
Much later, in 1985, Tutima received a contract from the German army to build a new military watch with particularly stringent specifications for accuracy, shock resistance, pressure resistance and legibility. Answering that request, Tutima developed the Military Chronograph 798, known as the NATO Chronograph, which in its modern guise within the current Tutima M2 collection remains standard equipment for German military pilots.
GRAND FLIEGER AIRPORT
Today, Tutima references the milestone pilot watch from 1941 within its Grand Flieger collection. The line now includes three-hand models as well as more traditional chronographs. The Tutima Grand Flieger Classic, for example, sports its vintage look with military inspired styling, including the historical fluted bezel. Tutima has modernized the pilot watches to perform according to current, more stringent, technical standards. These models at 43mm in diameter are larger than the original Flieger deigns from the 1940s, and their updated automatic movements are now fully visible through the transparent caseback.
Within its Grand Flieger collection, the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport is a dressier option that maintains the line’s overall aviation feel, but with a smooth rotating bezel with 60-minute markers rather than a fluted bezel. The crown remains of the screw-in variety, and all timepieces in the Grand Flieger line are water-resistant to 200 meters.
Just a few months ago, Tutima expanded the Grand Flieger Airport collection with a new chronograph and a new three-handed model, both sporting an eye-catching new ceramic bezel. Tutima has now added a contemporary touch to the collection by incorporating an ultra-hard scratch-resistant ceramic bezel that is colored to match the dial.
To launch the newer look, Tutima offers a dégradé ‘military’ green dial and a classic blue hue, both color-coordinated with the dial and strap. While black dials are traditional for pilot watch purists, these newer Grand Flieger Airport debuts offer a contemporary option for pilot watch enthusiasts.
“Tutima, a brand with a strong historic background creating true pilots’ watches, is a purist in regard to the design of these watches. Our goal is to deliver some of the most beautiful yet highly legible dials in this segment of the market,” explains Tutima USA President Gustavo Calzadilla. “The use of green and blue dials in the new Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph and Automatic models challenged us to introduce color options that are fun and contemporary but still respect the legibility needs and aesthetics traditions of a true pilot’s watch.”
The strap’s design extends those options. It’s made from grey Cordura textile and secured by a stainless steel deployant clasp. Both models, cased in 43mm steel, are also available with a steel bracelet.
Inside each three-hand watch Tutima fits its reliable ETA-based automatic Caliber 330, with a gold seal on its rotor. Within the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport chronograph, the ETA-Valjoux-based Caliber 310 powers the counters (12 elapsed hours, 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minutes) plus the day/date display. The chronograph’s hour display is particularly easy to read with red numerals circling the subdial. Prices: Chronograph: $3,900 (on a strap) and $4,300 (on steel bracelet). Three-hand: $2,500 (on strap) and $2,900 (on steel bracelet.)
As the heir to the NATO Chronograph favored by German military pilots since its debut in 1984, the Tutima M2 collection emphasizes strong legibility, reliability, enhanced water resistance, pressure-resistance for use to 15,000 meters above sea level, and shock resistance rated to protect its movement from acceleration up to 7G in all directions.
The M2 Coastline Chronograph, the newest watch within Tutima’s M2 collection, echoes the curved case of the famed 1980s NATO models. Its large push buttons are integrated into the rounded case, which Tutima pressure tests to 200 meters of water resistance. In line with the entire M2 collection, the M2 Coastline Chronograph case is made of satin- brushed, ultra-light titanium with a screwed back, which is decorated with a wind rose. The titanium push buttons are additionally black PVD coated and finished with a non-slip surface.
“The Tutima M2 is the new generation of our original NATO Chronograph, and is considered the most rugged, utilitarian professional chronograph in the market,” adds Calzadilla. “The new M2 Coastline Chronograph introduces a new alternative within this collection, a smaller case diameter with a new movement at a price point not available before in the M2 lineup. All without sacrificing the Tutima’s high-quality standards.”
Inside this newest member of the M2 family Tutima places the ETA-based automatic Tutima Caliber 310 with 48-hour power reserve, date display, hour-, minute- and small seconds hand. The chronograph tallies up to sixty elapsed seconds, thirty elapsed minutes and twelve elapsed hours.
The M2 Coastal Chronograph is available with titanium bracelet or, optionally with a strap of leather, rubber/leather or rubber/Cordura.
Tutima also makes a three-hand, day-date version of the M2 Coastal Chronograph.
Like the chronograph, this watch also measures 43mm in diameter and is cased in brushed titanium. Inside Tutima places automatic caliber T330, an ETA-based automatic movement upgraded by Tutima.
Because the bracelet version is also fitted with the same handsome titanium linked bracelet, the all-titanium option for this watch wears lighter than the chronograph, but offers a similar easy-to-read dial and clear link to its historical predecessors. As Tutima professes: “Nothing detracts from this watch’s operational readiness. Protruding parts have been deliberately avoided – another time-honored trait of the high- performance M2 line.”
Prices for the Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph collection start at $3,300 for the blue-dialed model with a leather strap. The three-hand Tutima M2 Coastline with day-date indicator is priced at $1,950 for the titanium-bracelet model and $1,850 for the leather-strapped editions.
Calzadilla notes that since its origins in 1927, Tutima’s philosophy has been to produce high quality timepieces of great value.
“While in recent years the brand has embarked on manufacturing in-house movements, we have kept our promise and commitment to always providing options with a strong value driven proposition. With timepieces starting at $1,600 today, newcomers to the brand can access a beautiful timepiece with German engineering from a company with tradition, expertise and an outstanding track record for designing and manufacturing trusted professional watches.”
It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.
Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.
Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.
The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.
ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.
Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.
For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425. And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.
Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.
On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.
So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!
Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.
Porsche Design applies the principles behind the Porsche car configurator to its wristwatches.
Few topics rev up collectors as much as watches and automobiles. Porsche Design has known this ever since Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designed the first Porsche Chronograph 1 in 1972. It was the first-ever all-matte-black watch, and it set the stage for five decades of cutting-edge wristwatch creativity from his then-new studio, Porsche Design.
This year, Porsche Design has launched a program meant to inspire budding F. A. Porsches who, like Professor Porsche, want to design and wear a wristwatch inspired by –and infused with – Porsche’s automotive legacy.
Watch collectors and Porsche owners can now create a customized Porsche Design chronograph that perfectly matches the Porsche 992 or Porsche 911 of their dreams – or the one in their garage.
With the new Porsche Design Custom Built Timepieces program, fans can combine an almost endless array of colors, materials, fonts and displays using the new Porsche Design online watch configurator. The configurator, found directly on the Porsche Design website, offers options and operations far exceeding any other online watch customization program, effectively placing the Porsche enthusiast directly behind the leather-covered wheel, with a clear roadmap toward designing a truly individualized watch.
Porsche Design released the streamlined online configurator this September after six years of development. The process itself echoes the customization process that Porsche has offered buyers of its famed 911 for years, but expands the type and breadth of options from which a buyer can choose when creating a dream chronograph.
For more than thirty years, Porsche customers have been able to enhance their personal dream car with many individual details through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, even to the point of designing a one-off vehicle.
This experience has now been expanded with the ability to design a Porsche Design chronograph based on an individual’s personal taste or Porsche 992 vehicle configurations. It’s an experience that ultimately ends with the customer taking ownership of a Porsche they designed themselves.
“As with the online car-design process, the watch is digitally visualized down to the smallest details and customizations are shown to the customer in real time. The customer begins by selecting the case of the watch and then continues choosing from more than 1.5 million configuration possibilities,” explains Gerhard J. Novak, General Manager Timepieces, Porsche Design Group.
“Once the customer has finished designing the chronograph, an individualized configuration code is created, and from there it is sent, or brought in, to any authorized U.S. Porsche dealer where the order is placed. Delivery takes between eight to twelve weeks.”
The rendering of the watch is based on CAD data from the designers at Studio F. A. Porsche in Zell am See, Austria, and the Porsche Design engineers in Solothurn, Switzerland.
“It quickly became clear that these custom components had to be interchangeable without the need to develop a new watch each time,” explains Rolf Bergmann, Managing Director, Porsche Design Timepieces AG. “Offering a wide range of options while manufacturing small quantities of custom-built timepieces is possible thanks to the sequential production process transferred from Porsche sports car production. The principle of zero-defect tolerance was a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of a watch concept like this.”
A New Engine
Key among the components of the customer-designed watch is an entirely new engine.
Porsche Design developed a new movement to serve as the engine for the online-designed timepiece. The new Caliber WERK 01.100 is a COSC- certified chronograph movement that now enters serial production for the program.
But the WERK 01.100 offers Porsche Design customers more than simply its novelty.
“For the first time customers can individualize a part of a Porsche Design COSC-certified movement by choosing the winding rotor that features the various wheel designs of the latest-generation Porsche 911,” Bergmann says. “The color on the rotor edge can also be customized to match the color on the outer edge of the wheels of the 992,” he adds.
Customers select their choice of rotor design after choosing which case to place it into. Porsche Design offers a 42mm case based on the one it used in Chronotimer Series 1. The user can opt for a glass-bead blasted natural titanium or a black titanium case coated in titanium carbide via a PVD-process.
Next, the customer chooses his or her strap.
Bands can be titanium or leather and are offered in three sizes with up to 300 different configurations. All leather straps (with butterfly clasp) are crafted from the same hides Porsche uses for its car interiors and come in the fourteen official interior colors of the current Porsche 911 series. Leather wristband stitching is offered in the nineteen different colors of genuine Porsche yarn.
Porsche Design has created dial options for the program that start with the matte black look of the current Chronotimer Series 1, with its minutes counter at the top of the dial, hour counter at the 6 o’clock position and running seconds at 9 o’clock.
But the user can add color using one of many colorful inlaid ring options, with colors based on those used on the current Porsche 911, to frame the black dial to either complement or contrast the choice of strap.
More dramatically, the watch collector then opts for either a brushed bezel or a black tachymeter bezel set with minute markers in the style of the design-defining classic speedometer developed by F. A. Porsche.
Each custom-built timepiece can be further individualized with a laser engraving on the back of the case as well as on the exclusive watch box, according to Bergmann.
“If desired, the corresponding car visuals, a graphic logo or the fonts and lettering featured on the rear of the customer’s car can also be applied to the watch box,” he adds.
Porsche and Porsche Design
While watch collectors have long heard about buying “a racecar for the wrist,” from makers of auto-influenced watches, Porsche Design is confident that its new online configurator comes closest to the truth of that metaphor.
“Customers who order their own custom-built Porsche Design chronograph will take a piece of the Porsche sports car lifestyle with them when not behind the wheel,” notes Novak.
The direct relationship between the watch and the car is undeniable, he adds.
“The experience of designing a Porsche Design masterpiece based on the current 992 generation is one-of-a-kind – from the rotor and bezel to the genuine Porsche leather straps,” he adds. The program will be expanded to include additional Porsche models in the near future.
The six-year project required a deep restructuring of Porsche Design watchmaking and development, he explains.
“The greatest challenges certainly were in regards to the order and production processes; after all, this had never been done before. The idea of a “sports car on the wrist” was different for every customer, and it required us to rethink our entire process. Everything from engineering, sourcing and production had to be adjusted. To do so we tapped into the brand’s heritage and pulled key learnings from Porsche’s unique automotive production expertise.”
North American Launch
Thus far, with only a few months of processing orders, Porsche Design says reactions to the program have been very positive.
“The very first order we received after the program launched in the United States was actually from a Canadian customer,” Novak reports. “He had heard about the custom-built timepieces program and reached out to see if he could design a watch to match his 992 and place an order in the U.S. He will actually be picking up his “sports car for the wrist” at an East Coast dealership in the coming days.”
“We are looking forward to continuing to introduce the program to new Porsche Design and Porsche customers alike,” says Novak.
Indeed, customization has been a buzzword among high-end watchmaking for the past few years, and several watchmakers have embraced the possibilities of made-to-order watches, mostly with very limited color or material options.
Novak points out that as Porsche itself has enjoyed a positive customer experience with personalized automobiles, Porsche Design’s careful development of the process with timepieces makes perfect sense. “Introducing this unprecedented level of personalization in the luxury watch segment was a natural next step for us,” he says.
“The timepieces business unit is extremely important for Porsche Design globally and in the United States, and we believe we are keeping pace with the general desire for more individualization in watches.”
For Porsche, that customization perfectly unites its automotive realm with the burgeoning watch division of Porsche Design, as supported by its German engineering and Swiss manufacturing facilities.
“Not only does the program highlight the connection between Porsche sports cars and Porsche Design timepieces,” says Novak, “it embodies the premium aesthetic, attention to detail and optimal performance expected of all things associated with the name Porsche.”
Porsche Design Custom-built timepieces are priced starting at $5,150 and, depending on the selections made, can range up to $11,600.
As we noted last week, Parmigiani Fleurier celebrated the 70th birthday of its founder, watchmaker Michel Parmigiani, with a seventy-piece limited edition steel Toric Heritage watch in honor of the first watch he designed.
The new watch’s blue dial is decorated with eye-catching, radiating Grain d’Orge guilloché, a pattern also found on the gold rotor. Inside, the in-house COSC-certified Caliber PF441 features two barrels and seven hand-beveled bridges.
As is standard with Parmigiani Fleurier, the movement within the 42.8mm steel-cased watch is finished to haute horlogerie standards, with Côtes de Genève stripes, spiral-wound and circular-graining on the plates alone. The watch’s solid 22-karat rose gold rotor, visible through the clear sapphire caseback, features the same Grain d’Orge guilloché engraving seen on the dial.
The company chose to echo its founder’s first watch in large part because the Toric design (which was updated in 2017) reflects Michel Parmigiani’s own history and interests.
Michel Parmigiani was born in the Swiss canton of Neuchatel and grew up with a devotion to both watchmaking and architecture. He has described the Toric case as a design inspire by the famed Fibonacci mathematical sequence and by the Golden Ratio that has inspired thousands of years of art and architecture.
According to Parmigiani, every aspect of the Toric’s design starts with the Golden Ratio, including the relationship between the hands, the fluted angles in the crown, the length-to-width ratios, the rate of curvature of the lugs as they taper away from the case, even the caseback design and placement of the sapphire crystal.
While he opted to formally study watchmaking (at the Val-de-Travers watchmaking school in the La Chaux-de-Fonds Technicum) Parmigiani started his career restoring historical clocks, pocket watches and related objects. Among the clients who came to Michel for restoration and maintenance was Switzerland’s Sandoz Family Foundation, which owned a significant collection of historical automata and clocks.
Parmigiani eventually established his own restoration workshop, attracting a list of haute horlogerie clients that also included the Patek Philippe museum.
“I remember feeling a bit like a pariah, starting this adventure against all advice,” Parmigiani says in a press release. “Restoring antique timepieces saved me from nihilism. Working, as I was during this period, on so many wonders from times gone by, made the idea that traditional watchmaking might disappear absolutely unthinkable to me. Restoration gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my watchmaking dreams, despite the naysayers.”
The Sandoz foundation encouraged Parmigiani to create his own watch brand– with their full support. This was the beginning of Parmigiani Fleurier, which launched in 1996.
Today, Parmigiani Fleurier encompasses five specialized Swiss firms. Each of the factories also produces parts for other haute horlogerie clients, including La Montre Hermès, the watchmaking division of the celebrated French leather goods house, which is a co-owner of the Vaucher movement manufacturer.
Parmigiani Fleurier will make seventy examples of the new Toric Heritage watch. Price: $17,700.
For most collectors, there’s always one coveted piece that stands above the rest—the so-called grail, if you will. And in the world of vintage watches, most would agree that the Patek Philippe Reference 2499 holds that honor.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest timepieces designed by the renowned Swiss watchmaker, Reference 2499, a manual-winding Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with Moonphase produced in very low quantities, is the quintessential Patek.
Few have had the privilege to see a Reference 2499 in real life, let alone touch one. Watch experts recognize this very special timepiece as one that perfectly combines incredible exterior design with a masterful internal movement.
Given the rarity and collective fascination with the Patek Philippe ref. 2499, when one comes up to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention. Collectors won’t want to miss the chance to see it, study it, and most importantly, share a room with other fellow enthusiasts whilst witnessing the inevitable bidding battle that will ensue to claim this watch as his or her own.
Sotheby’s New York on December 15th will be hosting a holiday season watch auction with a magnificent example of the revered Patek Philippe Reference 2499 as the star of the event.
Few were made
Succeeding Reference 1518 and preceding Reference 3970, Patek Philippe produced Reference 2499 from 1950 until 1985. Despite only 349 pieces ever made, there are four distinct series of the ref. 2499 to note.
The first series was in production from 1950 until the mid-1950s and features square chronograph pushers, applied Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial. There are less than four-dozen of these ref. 2499 watches in existence. The second series, manufactured from 1955 until 1966, include round chronograph pushers, applied baton or Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial.
Next in line was the third series, made from 1960 until 1978, with round chronograph pushers, applied baton indexes, and no tachymeter scale on the dial.
Finally, the fourth and last series of the Reference 2499 is dated from 1978 to 1985 (with later examples taking on the reference 2499/100) and the watches have round chronograph pushers, applied baton numerals, no tachymeter scale, and sapphire crystals shielding the dials.
Fourth series star
The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 coming up for sale on December 15 in New York at Sotheby’s belongs to the fourth series family. And it is simply a magnificent piece manufactured in 1981. While the creamy dial is in very good condition it is not perfect.
The dial does have some discoloration owing to the humid conditions of the Southern United States, where its owner resides. The customary applied gold batons mark out the hours while the three subsidiary dials for minutes, date/moonphase, and running seconds sit at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, respectively. The double windows displaying the day and month are placed at 12 o’clock while the gold hands at the center are in the “Dauphine” style.
A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional and rare. Sotheby’s consulted with Patek Philippe to see how many Tiffany marked examples were made but there are no records in-house.
The winding crown is furnished with the Patek Philippe logo and of course, the chronograph pushers are round in shape. The interior of the yellow gold case back is engraved with Patek Philippe Co – Genève – Swiss – 2499 – 100 – 2.779.174.” Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425. Potential bidders will be happy to know that the watch keeps very good time.
This Patek 2499 is fitted with a brown lizard Patek Philippe strap with a gold Patek Philippe buckle. The width in between the lugs is 20mm and 14mm at the buckle end. The interior of the buckle is engraved with “To AIL – Love – BKL – 7-5-96” and both the case and buckle include all the required poinçons or hallmarks.
Under the sofa
The watch was first appraised 20 years ago but it was lost for some time inside the estate. After a long period of searching, this superb Patek Philippe 2499 was finally found inside the house, underneath the sofa. No one knows quite how long it had been lying there, hidden from the world.
As a one-owner Patek Philippe Reference 2499, this is the first time this watch comes to auction. The estimated price is between $500,000 and $800,000, even though I think it is a conservative figure.
For any inquiries about the watch, please contact Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s at [ Richard.Lopez@sothebys.com ]
Wishing you a safe, happy, and joyful season.
Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com
High accuracy has long been the ‘holy grail’ of many serious watch collectors. This stripe of enthusiast demands much more from their choice of timepiece than simply that it color-coordinates with their wardrobe. And these collectors are likely tomonitor their chosen watches carefully – and frequently – for any loss of precision, whether resulting from shock damage, magnetism or moisture.
It’s for these collectors that new Swiss-based company, ONE OF, has launched a set of three devices, two of which are pocket-sized, built to assist them as they check their watches. ONE OF offers measurement tools that quickly check a watch’s health and wirelessly transmit that information to a smart phone or tablet.
ONEOF offers the accuracy tool/app in three different function levels, with versions designed specifically for collectors (Accuracy2, pictured above), for boutiques (Accuracy Boutique Edition) and also for watchmakers in a retail or professional setting (AccuracyPro).
The Accuracy technology automatically detects your watch when placed nearby. It then amplifies every single vibration within the mechanical movement, converting those sounds into a digital form and creating a full ‘health’ record visible on your phone or tablet.
Analyzing the watch movement’s myriad internal vibrations, ONE OF’s technology quickly calculates the watch’s rate accuracy, frequency, beat error, amplitude, lift angle and stability (known as integration time).
As a bonus, the new products use an integrated magnetic field sensor to check whether a watch movement is magnetized. Owners can scan their watch from various angles to see if it suffers from magnetization.
While the compact Accuracy2 ($320) tool will check for magnetization, with the card-deck-sized Accuracy Boutique Edition ($1,270), collectors can also demagnetize a mechanical watch, also using a smartphone or a tablet. The collector need only press the DEMAG function on the application. This generates a short but powerful electromagnetic pulse that demagnetizes the watch’s spiral balance.
“The ONE OF Accuracy Boutique Edition’s sensor is provided with a piezoelectric microphone that is very sensitive to the vibrations of the regulatory organ, the ‘ticking’ of the watch,” explains Alexis Sarkissian, founder of Totally Worth It, the tool’s distributor in the United States. “The application’s algorithms process the acoustic signal in real time and measure, among other things, the chronometric accuracy”.
As its name implies, the professional-level Accuracy Pro provides the watch owner with much more data. It can perform measurements manually using its integrated accelerometer to check the watch in multiple positions. It provides the watchmaker with amplitude and oscillation flaws and displays the acoustic characteristic of the escapement in diagrams and cumulative graphs.
See the ONEOF USA site for additional details about all three Accuracy products.