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If you’re in Geneva between June 16 and June 26, we suggest you visit the historic headquarters of Patek Philippe on Rue du Rhône. There, the watchmaker is exhibiting more than seventy-five Rare Handcrafts items from its collection.

In its largest such collection of rare handcrafts masterpieces, Patek Philippe mixes in several of its 2021 Rare Handcrafts with a curated selection of seventy 2020 artisanal items, including one-of-a-kind limited editions. These include pocket watches, wristwatches, dome table clocks and bracket clocks made using a broad range of artisanal skills.

This genuine ‘panda’ dial from Patek Philippe will be on display at the exhibit.

These skills include manual engraving, precious miniature painting on enamel (a Genevan specialty), flinqué enamel on hand guilloching, paillonné enamel, enamel with Limoges painting, fauré enamel (relief enamel), Longwy enamel on faience, and gem-setting.

Patek Philippe has even included several rarely seen examples of wood micro-marquetry as well as mixed-technique pieces that combine marquetry, manual engraving, and flinqué enamel.

While exploring the exhibits, visitors can also observe the artisans at work as they demonstrate their expertise in enameling, miniature painting on enamel, engraving, marquetry and guilloching.

The “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition at the Patek Philippe salons in Geneva on Rue du Rhône 41 is open to the public from June 16 to 26, 2021, every day (except Sundays) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors should register at http://www.patek.com/rhc2021/ in advance.

 

 

A small watchmaking venture started as an experiment continues to design watches that offer simple solutions and unorthodox displays for complex timekeeping functions.   

By James Henderson

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of one of the longest running experiments in the watch business. Back in 2006, Ludwig Oechslin (of Ulysse Nardin fame and until 2014 curator of the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds) and his fellow Ochs und Junior co-founders asked the watch world a contrary question – if you could buy a watch with complications that were distilled down to their most basic level, would you?

Dr. Ludwig Oechslin

Then they took it a few steps further. What if the case was not polished, but somewhat, well, basic?

In other words, what if you could buy a watch conceived by one of the most famous watch creators of recent times, one that possessed marvelous complications that apart from the dial of the watch, remained hidden away beneath a solid caseback?

In a world where watches are meant to be highly polished and eerily similar in look and feel, what if you went a different way?

The famed 39mm Ochs und Junior Annual-Calendar. Check out this video of Ludwig Oechslin explaining the date spiral for his perpetual calendar, which is also relevant for his moon phase watch.

Fast-forward to 2021. While the experiment continues, it appears to be a resounding success with Ludwig Oechslin and Ochs und Junior continuing to swim against the mainstream. Here’s a short, three-part history of the idiosyncratic watchmaker.

The Foundation

 This period involves Ludwig Oechslin, Beat Weinmann and Kurt König (the owner of Embassy, the Lucerne-based jewelry store that Beat Weinmann was working for at the time). Ochs und Junior produced a very small number of esoteric watches. These were known to a small group of collectors.

The Ochs und Junior Two-Timezones Date with rose gold PVD.

The Growth Period

This was when Ulysse Nardin was brought in as a partner and Ochs und Junior set up shop in a studio space, a little bit off the beaten path in Lucerne.

The Ochs Period

In 2019, after a lot of thought and consultation within the family, Kornelia Imesch and Ludwig Oechslin bought all the shares of Ochs und Junior. But it is important to note that this was only done once it was clear that some of the “Junior Ochs” would join the company.  And to that end, it has been agreed that two of the younger Oechslins will be joining the team, which is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Inside the Ochs und Junior Annual Calendar.

Ochs und Junior today is a family company, led by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin. The rest of the band includes Christian Gafner, who is head of brand and design, Violaine Baudouin, the marketing chief, and Louise Krank (a junior), communication designer. The company’s watchmakers are Jost Schlatter and Masaki Kanazawa, who is a Master Watchmaker for Ludwig Oechslin’s special projects.

Ludwig Oechslin’s ideas will continue to set the tone moving forward, which is really what has made Ochs und Junior what it is today. As the company evolves, it continues to grow through experimentation. Below are some of Ochs und Junior’s most recent designs.

All three Ochs und Junior Calendario Cent’anni models.

The Calendario Cent’anni

This 100-year calendar, designed by Ludwig Oechslin, features a dial with indication of hours, minutes and seconds in addition to correct date, month, leap or non-leap year. The 40mm watch is titanium and is powered by a Ulysse Nardin UN-320 automatic movement. The Arabic character or indices with hour/minute hands are coated with SuperLuminova.

The Calendario Cent’anni (CCAII), a 100-year calendar.

Here’s how it shows the time and date:

  • The dates (28, 29, 30 or 31 days of any month) are visible for 100 years, without needing correction for the length of any month (including February in leap years), and are displayed via a traveling, rectangular dot on the date spiral.
  • The month and leap years are on a central rotating disk. The leap year and the three following years are displayed on a decentralized disc, rotating together with the position of the month-display. Finally, the central hour and minutes with the seconds rotating are seen on a small disk at 6 o’clock.

    The Calendario Cent’anni (CCAI), or 100-year calendar.

Prices begin at CHF 15,230 (approximately $16,600).

The Settimana Limited

This watch is designed to help savor a favorite day of the week, allowing the wearer to set six “standard” days and one “extra special” one. It colorfully indicates hours, minutes and seconds, and all seven weekdays by clockwise rotating dot between 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

The trio of Settimana models. They colorfully indicate hours, minutes and seconds, and all seven weekdays by clockwise rotating dot between 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

The titanium-cased Settimama measures 36mm in diameter and is powered by a Sellita SW 200-1 automatic movement. The watch is available in three limited color versions of 11 pieces each. Prices start at CHF 3,046, or approximately $3,300.

The new Moonphase Trilogy. All are 39mm and cased in titanium

Ochs und Junior moonphase

This special edition of the Ochs und Junior Moon Phase is available for pre-order in three 39mm variations, and can be purchased as a trio or individually.

The 39mm moonphase Emerald Green model features a lacquered dial with black galvanized moon disk and golden markers and hands. It also features a jade-stone as the sun at the 12 o’clock position.

Option one features a black galvanized dial and red lacquer-coated moon disk with red markers and hands with a case of black PVD-coated titanium. Another option has a red lacquer-coated dial with black galvanized moon disk, black markers and hands in a titanium case. Option number three has an emerald-green lacquer-coated dial with black galvanized moon disk, and gold colored markers and hands. This emerald green watch will feature a jade sun at the 12 o’clock position. The straps are made from red or black textile with a titanium buckle. Prices: CHF 7,400, or approximately $8,100.

The Ochs und Junio Moonphase with black galvanic dial.

And there are more interesting developments to come, but suffice it to say after fifteen years Ochs und Junior is here to stay.

Junghans celebrates its 160th anniversary this year with an impressive array of new watches that primarily feature the German-based watchmaker and clockmaker’s historically based Max Bill and Meister collections.

The new Junghans Max Bill Regulator is one of three Max Bill watches offered as part of a limited edition set.

In addition, Junghans adds a limited-edition model to its newer, minimalist Form line while also reviving a long-time favorite kitchen clock/timer it originally debuted in the 1950s.

Junghans has revived a kitchen clock/timer originally sold in the 1950s.

Here, we’ll focus on the additions to the Meister line, with special attention to the Meister Signature Hand-winding Edition 160. Look to future postings for details about the clock and the Max Bill collection updates, or check them out here on the Junghans website.

Gold Meister

The new Meister Signature Hand-winding Edition 160 is a manual-wind model cased in 18-karat gold and fit with an interesting Junghans movement that oscillates at a leisurely 18,000 bph. Measuring a wrist-friendly 39mm in diameter, the limited edition (of 160) watch recalls dress watch styling from the 1960s and 1970s, which Junghans underscores with a decidedly retro rendition of its brand name, as seen on Junghans products of yore.

The new Junghans Meister Signature Hand-winding Edition 160.

Junghans produced the original J620 hand-winding movement between 1966 and 1975 and utilized it for a wide range of mechanical three-hand wristwatches. The J620 can also be found in the Junghans Olympic series of 14-karat gold watches made in 1971 and 1972.

The original Junghans J620 manual-wind movement (right) and the new gold-plated caliber.

For the new watch, Junghans has disassembled, decorated and reassembled existing, historical J620 movements, plating each with a coat of 18-karat rose gold for good measure. And Junghans has thoughtfully provided a clear sapphire caseback to view the work.  Price: $9,800.

Meister Power Reserve

Displaying an unusual vertical power reserve indicator just above the 6 o’clock position, the new Meister Gangreserve (power reserve) Edition 160 echoes a similar design Junghans released in the 1950s.

On the steel Junghans Meister Gangreserve (power reserve) Edition 160, the power reserve indicator gradually changes from green to yellow to red as reserve is reduced. 

As the power reserve recedes, the indicator’s color on the steel-bracelet model gradually changes from green to yellow and finally to red, which indicates that it’s time to wind the automatic watch again. Two leather-strap models are more subtle: When fully charged, the indicator shows the dial color (see example below). At fifty percent power, the indicator turn gray, and when power drops to zero, the indicator shows red. The Meister Gangreserve Edition 160 is limited to only 160 watches in each of three versions. Prices start at $1,700.

Meister Fein Automatic

This very modern design features a new convex case to frame its minimalist dial. Though not technically thin, it appears so on the wrist with a 39.5mm diameter, almost absent bezel and long hands and markers.

The Junghans Meister Fein Automatic.

Only a date window interrupts the finely detailed dial. Inside, Junghans places a self-winding (ETA-based) J800.1 movement with a power reserve of up to 38 hours. Prices begin at $1,450.

A side view of the Junghans Meister Fein Automatic shows the new convex case.

Meister S Chronoscope, Platinum Edition 160

Junghans cases its most limited anniversary model in polished platinum. The Chronoscope is one of the brand’s top sellers, and here Junghans creates a twelve-piece numbered edition, with the limited edition number cleverly noted within the twelve-hour counter.

The new Junghans Meister S Chronoscope, Platinum Edition 160.

The 45mm by 15.9mm watch features a screwed solid platinum case back with edition logo engraving and a platinum screwed crown (and tube). Its dial reflects the precious case with a gold-hued markers and a nice lacquer finish that fades from matte silver-plate in the center to grey at the edge, set with luminous markers.

The new Junghans Meister S Chronoscope Platinum Edition 160 dial

The synthetic rubber strap features an alligator leather inlay and a platinum buckle. Price: $19,200.

 

Specifications: Junghans Signature Hand-winding Edition 160 (160- piece limited edition)

Movement: Historical hand-winding Junghans movement J620 with a power reserve of up to 45 hours, 18,000 bph, rose-gold plated, sunburst ratchet wheel, polished barrel bridge, gear bridge and balance cock with fine longitudinal grinding, stones in polished, bowl-shaped countersinks, outside with fine diamond cut, polished steel screws, Junghans star and caliber number engraving.

The Junghans J620 manual-wind movement.

Case: 39mm by 10.3mm rose gold, five-times screwed gold caseback with sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides. Water resistant to 100 meters.

Dial: Matte silver-plated, minute track with applied dots, dauphin hands with diamond cut.

Strap: Leather with 18-kt rose gold buckle.

Price: $9,800.

By Laurent Martinez

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.

Richard Lopez is Senior Watch Specialist at Sotheby’s.

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.

Auction houses

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.

Auction houses are shifting focus from live events to online channels.

Hands-on

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.

The record-breaking ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex.

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.

Strong team

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.

Demand rises

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.

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.

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.

Keep your vintage watch’s box and papers.

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.

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s website.

 

 

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.

One of three new ceramic Hublot Big Bange Integral offerings.

Premiere bracelets   

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.

The initial Hublot Big Bang Integral debut in 2020 included models in King Gold and in titanium.

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.”

Lightweight, colorful

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.

The Hublot Unico HUB1280 automatic flyback chronograph movement with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve.

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.

Price: $23,100.

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.    

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo S, now available in a monochromatic style.

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 Bulgari Octo Finissimo S is 6.4mm thin.

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.

Back view of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo S, showing Caliber BVL 138 with micro-rotor.

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

The Bulgari 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. 

Side view of the new The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT.

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.

The BVL 318 caliber., with peripheral rotor, is a mere 3.30mm thick.

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.”

The new Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT joins the blue-dialed time-only Octo Finissimo S in Bulgari’s expanding ultra-thin steel collection.

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

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium, with new rubber strap and black dial, remains the thinnest automatic chronograph.

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.

Caseback view of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Titanium, showing Caliber BVL318.

 

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.

Price: $12,000.  

 

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.

Price: $16,500.

The Bulgari BVL 318 caliber.

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.

Price: $17,200.

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.

Tutima returned to Glashütte in 2011 after 65 years away. The company was founded here in 1927.

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.

This original Tutima 1941 pilot watch inspires the current Grand Flieger collection.

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.

The Tutima Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph.

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.

The Tutima Grand Flieger Airport with ceramic bezel in Classic Blue with grey Cordura strap.

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 Tutima Grand Flieger Airport, with day-date automatic movement.

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.)

M2 COASTLINE

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 Tutima NATO Military Chronograph, circa 1984, is the inspiration for the current Tutima M2 collection.

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 Coastline Chronograph.

“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 Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph with blue dial and rubber/leather strap with titanium folding clasp.

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.

The Tutima M2 Coastline, with blue dial and steel bracelet.

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.

Tutima designs and produces several of its own calibers in house.

Calzadilla notes that since its origins in 1927, Tutima’s philosophy has been to produce high quality timepieces of great value.

Inside Tutima headquarters in Glashütte.

“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.”

This article also appears in the Winter 2021 issue of About Time.

 

By Marc Frankel

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.

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU features 600 meters of water resistance, enhanced shock resistance and strong anti-magnetic properties.

Pre-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.

The Seiko Prospex SPB189 features a silicone strap or a titanium bracelet with super-hard coating and tri-fold push button release clasp with secure lock and extender. 

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.

ISO Tests

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.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver X Nemo Point limited edition.

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.

The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition.

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.

One of several new models within the Torgoen T43 Diver watch collection.

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.

Marc Frankel, Video Editor, About Time

Founder, Long Island Watch

 

 

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.

Porsche Design offers twenty-one different dial ring colors deriving from Porsche 911 lacquering.

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.

The Process

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.

A total of six rotors are available, including the Porsche Design Icon rotor in black or five sporty alloy wheel designs of the current 911. Choose from up to 21 different colors for the rim.

“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.”

Inside Porsche Design places an all-new Porsche Design WERK 01.100 – a COSC-certified chronograph caliber.

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.

Porsche Design tests its new COSC-certified movement in accordance with the Chronofiable standards.

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.

Porsche Design offers fourteen different color options for the strap. It can also be accentuated with decorative stitching made with genuine Porsche car yarn available in nineteen colors.

The Straps

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.

The rotor design echoes the Porsche 911 wheel. The wearer can add a personal note with laser engraving.

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.”

Porsche Design manufactures its watches in its Swiss factory.

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 Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Heritage, a limited edition of 70.

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 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 Founder

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.

Toric collection sketch by Michel Parmigiani.

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.

Michel Parmigiani was in the 4th year of his watchmaking studies in 1967, when this picture was taken.

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.”

Parmigiani Fleurier headquarters in Fleurier.

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.

The movement within the 42.8mm steel-cased watch is finished to haute horlogerie standards.

Specifications: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Heritage

(Ref. PFC909-0000300-HA3282, a limited edition of 70).

Case: 42.8mm by 10mm polished steel, sapphire crystal and back, individually numbered, 30-meters of water resistance.

Dial: Blue Grain d’Orge guilloché, indexes are rhodium-plated 18-karat gold, javelin-shaped hands with luminescent coating.

Movement: In-house PF441 automatic, two barrels, 28,800 vph, 55-hour power reserve, 22-karat solid gold rotor with guilloche finish.

Strap:  Hermès Abyss Blue alligator strap with steel folding clasp.

Price: $17,700.