Porsche Design echoes its dashboard clock with a set of chronometers.
To complement the Sport Chrono Porsche Design clock designed for Porsche Panarama and the Porsche Taycan car interior, Porsche Design in the past year introduced a matching the Sport Chrono wristwatch collection.
The line, while not brand new, is impressive. It includes three models that closely match the automotive clock, complete with a small seconds subdial (above), plus one additional model boasting a flyback chronograph.
As with the clock, the operative word is chrono – for chronometer. While only one of the two models is a chronograph, both are officially certified COSC chronometers, with all the enhanced precision that certificate confers.
With its small seconds subdial at six o’clock as on the dashboard timer, the three-hand Sport Chrono Subsecond is 42mm titanium watch offered with either a black, blue or brown dial. Each dial comes with a color-matched rubber strap.
Inside these watches Porsche Design fits its estimable in-house developed Porsche Design caliber WERK 03.200.
While the Sub Second chronometer models feature closed case backs, the chronograph model boasts a clear sapphire case back. This wise choice offers a clear view of Porsche Design’s eye-catching caliber WERK 01.100, with its Porsche-centric P-Icon design.
Other classic Porsche Design features include an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, a leather strap made from Porsche interior leather and a titanium folding clasp with safety push buttons.
Prices: $4,750 (Sport Chrono Subsecond) and $6,150 (automatic chronograph).
Gucci is celebrating its centenary with the launch of a high watchmaking collection, ramped up by the introduction of its first movement by parent company Kering. The in-house automatic Caliber GG727.25 makes its debut in the Gucci 25H, an ultra-slim timepiece collection available in stainless steel or precious metal.
The Paris-based Kering, which also claims Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux among its portfolio of luxury brands, designed and developed the movement, which is a product of Kering’s own manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. And at just 3.70mm thick, the new movement is the perfect pairing for the 25H’s own slender profile, measuring a mere 7.2mm.
Two tourbillon versions are also part of the new collection, and their cases measure slightly thicker, at 8mm. The self-winding 24-jewel movement, visible through the caseback, features sixty hours of power reserve, and it runs at 21,600 bph, or 3Hz.
Steel to platinum
The 40mm timepiece, designed by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, seamlessly morphs from sporty status in steel to a more formal designation when dressed in yellow gold or platinum, as in the tourbillon versions. The minimalist dial of the 25H marks the hours with simple indices, while skeletonized hands—dotted with luminescence—traverse the satin-brushed lined décor.
Here, too, the movement is given its proper due, with GG727.25 prominently displayed front and center, along with Gucci’s double-G logo at 12 o’clock.
The tourbillon variations are marked GG727.25.T. Not so incidentally, even the movement identifications have significance: Michele considers the numerical designation talismanic.
The watch’s precision-crafted bezel obscures the crown, making it nearly invisible, and this unique architecture lends a seamless quality to the overall design, while also enhancing the fit. The five-link bracelet is both comfortable and handsome, and augments Gucci’s goal of making the timepiece “like a second skin on the wrist.”
The Gucci 25H includes several variations. The tourbillon in yellow gold with and an 18-karat bracelet is priced at $129,000, while the tourbillon in platinum with a platinum bracelet is $183,000. The 25H automatic in stainless steel with a steel bracelet is priced at $9,500; the stainless steel version with a diamond-set bezel is $12,200.
The impressive new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver, with its triple timezone displays and seriously strong anti-shock architecture, pays homage to retired U.S. Air Force Pilot Major Brian Shul, one of only ninety-two pilots to fly the SR-71 Blackbird. Ball named the watch after a nickname pilots gave to the jet fighter: the Sled.
The new watch’s blue and black bezel is striking, especially as it frames the black dial and the four large hands that point out the time in up to three different zones. But at night, the display really shines, with cockpit-level multi-hue marker and hand illumination.
In the dark, one look at the aviator-inspired dial unveils hour indexes and main hands glowing, thanks to Ball’s trademark H3 gas tubes, here in yellow.Ball has doubled the glass tubes at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock markers while the 12 o’clock index boasts a pair of bright orange gas tubes. Any search for the second time zone lands on the glowing GMT hand, which is differentiated with a green gas tube.
But perhaps, the star of the low-light display is the micro-gas illuminated bezel, with its large green 24-hour Arabic numerals and markers. This scratch-resistant, sapphire-coated bidirectional 24-hour rotating bezel serves as a third timezone. It allows a pilot (or frequent traveler) to use the GMT hand to track home city time, while the central hour and minute hands remain set to the newer local time.
Of course, the dial also recalls Brian Shul directly with an illuminated outline of the SR-71 fighter jet at 6 o’clock, just below the words “SLED DRIVER” and Shul’s signature. More personalization is evident on the back, which Ball engraves with the Mach 3+ insignia emblem, as worn by all qualified SR-71 Blackbird crewmembers.
Inside Ball places its ETA-based Ball RR1201-C automatic movement, which is certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). And Ball protects the movement with an unusually tough shock and magnetic resistance. The AeroGMT Sled Driver absorbs impacts up to 7,500Gs and boasts anti-magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m.
Ball also equips the 42mm steel Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver with an extendable triple-folding buckle or an alternative rubber strap, both customized to fit over a pilot’s jacket or sleeve. The new watch is a limited edition of 1,990 pieces in reference to 1990, when four speed records were established on the final flight of the SR-71 Blackbird in U.S. Air Force service.Price: $3,499.
Movement: Automatic ETA-based caliber BALL RR1201-C, Chronometer certified by COSC.
Dial and Functions: 44 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second, second time zone hands, dial and bezel, luminous three time zone indication.
Case: 42mm by 13.85mm steel, bidirectional rotating curved sapphire bezel with micro gas tubes, Shock resistant to 7,500Gs, anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m, water resistant to 100 meters, titanium case back, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system.
Bracelet: Tapered stainless steel bracelet with patented folding buckle & extension system or rubber strap with pin buckle.
Citizen has updated and expanded its Series 8 collection, a popularly priced set of sporty steel watches previously sold only in Japan, and will offer them in the U.S. market.
With two models soon to be available in North America, Series 8 watches boast 40mm steel cases, strong anti-magnetic properties, three-hands with date and updated automatic movements. Alongside The Citizen, a 40mm steel watch set with Citizen’s impressive new automatic Caliber 0200, the Series 8 marks Citizen’s strongest entry into the U.S. mechanical sport watch market in many years.
While Citizen has a long history as a manufacturer of mechanical movements, the company in recent years has focused much of its marketing and distribution efforts on its light-powered Eco-Drive technology. For U.S. buyers, Citizen’s Miyota mechanical movements are more likely found powering watches made elsewhere than within Citizen’s current U.S. lineup. For instance, Bulova, owned by Citizen, and many independent bands utilize Citizen-manufactured automatic movements.
Look for Citizen to draw new attention to its own extensive history as a manufacturer of mechanical watches as it launches Series 8 and The Citizen within the United States.
Citizen will offer two models within Series 8 this fall. One, the 870 Mechanical, is a sporty round watch with a two-part bezel, which sets it apart from the second model, the 831 Mechanical, which features an octagonal case and one-piece bezel.
The 870’s case is finished using both hairline and mirror finishes, and its dial is set with larger hands and markers than the 831 models. As a result, it’s the cleanest of the new Series 8 designs, with a focus on high visibility and casual sportiness, especially with its steel bracelet integrated directly into the steel case.
The automatic Citizen Caliber 0950 that powers this model offers the stronger specifications of the two Series 8 movements. It is rated to -5 /+10 seconds per day, and will operate for fifty hours on a full wind. Look for the 870 with either a black or a white dial.
The 831 Mechanical offers a somewhat thinner octagonal case with crown protector, and a blue-dialed option.
The latter, in a gold-tone steel case, arrives on a more leisurely blue calf leather strap. The automatic Citizen Caliber 9051 that powers this model is rated to -10 /+20 seconds per day, and will operate for forty-two hours on a full wind. Both watches are rated water resistant to 100 meters.
The 830 Mechanical
A third Series 8 model, the 830 Mechanical, is not scheduled to be offered by Citizen in the United States. This model adds a more complex dial to the same octagonal case used by the 831. It features a new sandwich-style dial with mother-of-pearl, mesh and metal layers.
If the 830 appeals to your sense of style, you’ll have to search your overseas sources to purchase one. Thus far, the Citizen’s U.S. division has announced that it will only bring the Model 831 and 870 to the domestic U.S. market.
Citizen notes that both the movements in the Series 8 offerings have been upgraded recently to provide enhanced magnetic resistance, and both are significantly thinner than earlier versions, even with the anti-magnetic upgrade.
Citizen explains “the watches also have enhanced magnetic resistance essential for our modern digital lives by providing protection against magnetic fields generated by smartphones, tablets, and other devices that can affect the accuracy of the watch.”
Prices: $1,500 (870 Mechanical), $1,000 (831 Mechanical) and $950 (831 Mechanical, with gold-tone case and blue leather strap). Citizen will make the Series 8 models available this fall.
Originally launched as a quartz watch, Maurice Lacroix’s archetypal Aikon series’ latest edition features an option with an automatic Swiss movement inside. The Aikon Venturer truly allows its wearer to venture because it is built rock-solid and is anti-magnetic, shock resistant and rated water resistant to an impressive three hundred meters.
The watch’s sporty look and diver-style overtones instill the robust feeling of a tool watch, but with style enough to wear anytime. At 43mm in diameter, the sapphire-capped stainless-steel case is full-figured but not huge, and actually quite comfortable on the wrist with either the solid-link bracelet or natural rubber strap.
With the brand’s deep technical background as a case maker and private label supplier to other (famous) Swiss brands, you can be sure that the Aikon is built with all the fine details that define a high quality watch.
Close inspection under a loupe reveals the finite perfection of those details that the naked eye appreciates as a whole, but may not individually dissect at a glance. Markers and printing are precise, as is the fit and finish of the bezel, strap, and case back.
Maurice Lacroix smartly adds convenience to the Aikon’s stylish design with a strap fixed to the lugs by means of the brand’s own Easy Change system, which has two bars fitted with protruding prongs. These make it possible to remove the rubber strap in two steps and to replace it with the finely articulated five-link satin-finished steel bracelet we’ve seen in earlier Aikon models.
Priced at $1,890 on the rubber strap and $1,990 on the solid-link stainless steel bracelet, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer is pound for pound (or dollar for dollar) as good or better than certain Greek Alphabet watches costing more than triple the price.
If the design of this watch feels somehow familiar, you won’t be surprised to learn that Detroit Watch co-designers Patrick and Amy Ayoub have once again applied their classical blueprint to their American-based brand.
Two variations of the brand’s new stand-alone Pontchartrain collection are housed in an elegantly stepped 42mm stainless steel case. Both feature automatic ETA Swiss-made movements, one with a sub-second and the other with a choice of silver or gold moon-phase complication.
All the qualities you’d expect in a high-quality, high-value watch are here, including sapphire crystal, exhibition back, superior decoration on the Swiss movement and a calfskin strap, which all come together to make a fine watch. Under the loupe the hands are as superb as the dials, and even the crown looks, feels and functions beautifully.
Those outside the Detroit area might ask why “Pontchartrain” for a Detroit-based brand? The Ayoubs chose this name to recall the historic fort that was built in 1701 and actually ended up applying its name to the city. France’s King Louis XIV commissioned Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit as the first permanent French settlement in the area and as a center for the fur trade and French military power in 1701.
Built along the Detroit River in order to protect the French trade from the British, the fort was named in honor of Louis XIV’s minister of marine and colonies, Louis Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain. Le Detroit, French for ‘the strait’ eventually came to identify Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit and the surrounding area and after 1751, was known simply as Fort Detroit.
Just in time for the holiday season, A. Lange & Söhne adds sparkle to two models within its Saxonia collection.
First, the Glashütte-based watchmaker is debuting its newest Saxonia Thin with a solid-silver dial coated with shimmering black gold flux. The newest model reprises the glittery aspect of the much-discussed blue-gold flux dial first seen on the Saxonia Thin from 2018.
The newest edition is one millimeter larger in diameter (40mm versus 39mm for the blue flux dial version) but maintains the same 6.2mm thickness, slim hour and minute hands and applied baton-style markers. The new model’s unusual black gold flux dial shimmers thanks to tiny copper-colored particles, which make the deep-black surface sparkle.
A.Lange & Söhne explains that the production process for gold flux was discovered during the 17thcentury in Venice. The glass and its copper constituents are heated, forming microscopically small copper crystals. Artisans must then carefully cast the material onto the silver dial in order to maintain an even, homogeneous surface.
Inside, A. Lange & Söhne places the very thin (2.9mm) manual-wind wound caliber L093.1, A. Lange & Söhne’s thinnest movement that, despite its compact size, offers a power reserve of three days.
Like the blue version, the new black gold-flux dial on this Saxonia Thin is a premiere for any A. Lange & Söhne watch. The new model, unlike the earlier piece, is a limited edition, with fifty pieces on offer. Price: $25,800.
Saxonia Outsize Date
The watchmaker’s other dial update finds the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Outsize Date now available with a silver-colored dial, offered on 38.5mm white gold or a pink gold case (above). This addition complements the existing black-dialed options.
You might recall that this collection highlights its otherwise minimalistic dial with a large presentation of the date near the top of the dial. Made specifically to enhance visibility, the large date indicator (a touchstone display for the brand) is unusual in that it utilizes two separate display surfaces for the units and tens and is at least twice as large as in watches of a comparable size.
A. Lange & Söhne balances the date with a subsidiary seconds dial at the 6 o’clock position. The watchmaker has developed its automatic L086.8 movement with a particularly strong mainspring barrel in order to deliver an impressive power reserve of 72 hours. Price: $27,700.
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.
TAG Heuer has updated its sea-focused Aquaracer collection with two colorful automatic models sporting a so-called tortoise-shell-pattern bezel. In addition, look for new Khaki-colored quartz Aquaracer model with an olive-green aluminum bezel and a matching fabric strap.
The new Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition and the new Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition watches enhance Aquaracer, TAG Heuer’s dive watch collection known for its 300-meter water resistance rating, unidirectional rotating bezel, luminous markers and hands and easy-to-read dials, as befits an ocean-centric sports watch.
All three of these debuts also feature a 43mm stainless-steel screw-down caseback engraved with the image of a vintage divers’ helmet.
To set these new models apart from earlier Aquaracers, TAG Heuer has subtly decorated the bezels with blue or brown resin that has been modified to create an interesting pattern that, according to TAG Heuer, mimic the sun’s reflection on the ocean.
Often seen on sunglasses, the tortoise-shell effect is rarely used to decorate watches, and represents TAG Heuer’s first attempt beyond variations in dial patterns to inject a bit of style into the generally sober Aquaracer line.
TAG Heuer even enhances the blue or brown bezels on these two debuts with blue or black sunray-pattern brushed dials with horizontal lines. Like the bezels, the dials can catch and reflect light, effectively doubling the ‘summertime’ focus of the new design.
TAG Heuer adds another novelty here with a rubber strap that features the exterior pattern of another reptile: the alligator.
The unidirectional bezels on both Aquaracer 43 mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition models retain the Aqua-racer’s sixty-minute scale as well as the familiar angled magnifying lens over the date window at 3 o’clock.
The strap is held tight with a folding steel clasp with double safety push buttons. Inside is TAG Heuer’s Caliber 5, the brand’s reliable ETA-based or Sellita-based automatic movement. Price: $2,600 (Available in August).
New quartz Khaki
TAG Heuer’s new quartz-powered Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition combines a sturdy olive-hued fabric strap and sharp-looking anthracite sunray brushed dial. And rather than a sun-dappled steel bezel, the watch’s aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel is tinted with a down-to-earth olive hue.
Like the new models above, this quartz debut features a polished and fine-brushed steel case, rhodium-plated and luminous hour, minute and seconds hands and the same angled date window.
Likewise, the back of the watch echoes the Aquaracer standard with a solid caseback engraved with an image of a vintage divers’ helmet. Price: $1,600.
I would like to share a hopeful story with you about an American Master Watchmaker working to achieve his lifelong dream.
For the past forty-five years, Don Loke has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional master watchmaker and most recently has launched D Loke, his eponymous bespoke watch collection.
Loke’s deep watchmaking training and industry history has prepared him well for this most recent venture.
Don Loke graduated in 1978 from the Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then worked with a master watchmaker in Meriden, Connecticut.
After this experience, he went back to Bowman and took clock making courses to finally finish in 1984. After Lancaster, Loke attended WOSTEP, the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where he graduated first in his class.
Learning from Masters
While he was at school he met Michel Parmigiani and Philippe Dufour—two master watchmakers and renowned personalities in the Swiss luxury watch industry.
This was just the beginning. Post-graduation, he was invited by Breguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre for training in Switzerland and became the official after-sale person for Breguet in the U.S. when it was still owned by Chaumet. He also worked for two years with Master Watchmaker Dennis Harmon, in Waterbury, Connecticut, after which he became Technical Director of movement maker ETA for the American market. Loke soon joined UTAC Americas (which distributed Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Bertolucci, and Girard-Perregaux) as its technical director.
During this time, Loke also learned from Master Watchmaker Daniel Roth in Switzerland, who taught him the ins-and-outs of the highly complex tourbillon mechanism. By the mid-1990s, Loke worked with prominent companies such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Gerald Genta, and Daniel Roth.
When Loke found out that Michel Parmigiani was striking out on his own, Loke reached out to his old friend and eventually became the U.S. representative for Parmigiani Fleurier for more than six years. Don even interacted with legendary horologist George Daniels, discussing his new escapement and the double-wheel escapement Loke eventually developed. After seven years, he turned the escapement into a Solidworks program.
When Don Loke is not working on his own bespoke projects, he services incredible watches, ranging from minute repeaters to chronographs. He also restores intricate timepieces that require special attention, recreating parts from scratch to make identical versions of the original components. At the same time, he currently is in charge of the North American Service Center for Louis Moinet—a brand that makes exceptional watches that range between $80,000 and $350,000.
As you can see, Loke’s specialty is working on high-complication timepieces and his passion for watches and watchmaking has only augmented over the decades.
Own brand: D Loke
After all these years of dedicating his time to other brands and watches, Don Loke recently began to make eponymous bespoke watches. He established two shops. One is the “clean room” to house machinery for fine turnings, cuttings, wheel making, and pinion producing. He has a microscope for measuring, a guilloché machine with forty-two discs for dial decorating, and an oven for enameling.
This room is also where Don Loke stores his sketches, drawing, layouts, and 3D modeling. The other is the “dirty room” for more heavy type work. Prototyping takes place at his shops and production models are executed with CNC technology.
The first D Loke watch model is a chronograph dress watch—an idea Don Loke stored in the back of his mind for decades—where the chronograph pushers are hidden from sight.
Inside the 5 ATM water-resistant titanium case is a dial with asymmetric sub-dials and ornately cut center hands resembling blades. The rich blue details on the dial change color depending on the light, and there’s a crown at 9 o’clock to rotate the inner timing bezel.
The limited edition D Loke dress chronographs run on chronometer-rated Concepto calibers, a hybrid Swiss movement based on the ETA Valjoux 7750.
The watches took six months from design to manufacturing, and while the watch is made in Switzerland, the quality control and finishing are done in the U.S. There are twenty-five examples of the white-dial version, twenty-five examples of the white dial (with a blue bezel) version, and 300 examples of the blue dial version.
Although the watches are currently only available for purchase directly from Don Loke, his goal is to be in stores like Manfredi Jewels or Betteridge.
Loke is already working on his second watch model and is currently completing the prototype of a new lever escapement. At the heart of the watch will be a 100% proprietary movement, based on Don Loke’s design and technical drawings – his very own invention.
Loke says he will source handmade gold dials from J.N. Shapiro in California. As a result, this will be a handmade watch made entirely in the United States. Don expects to manufacture five prototypes in the first year and he will become the first American watchmaker to make his own high-end watch powered by his own movement. The aim is to present this timepiece to the U.S. market by the end of 2020 with a price tag of $65,000 to $75,000.
The third D Loke watch model will be a model with a double pivoted and spring detente escapement—invented by Don Loke based on conversations he had with George Daniels.
Yet again, this is his invention, with designs and technical drawings built from scratch. With already twenty-five orders in the books for this upcoming watch model, the American market should see it by the second quarter of 2021 with a price tag of $175,000.
Ultimately, it is Don’s dream to have his own watch on his wrist. Another goal of his is to bring his three children into the business. All are highly skilled engineers.
With all of these ideas and designs, including a future tourbillon piece, Loke is going to need plenty of talent and skill.
I love this spirit of entrepreneurship, and I wish Don Loke the very best and abundant success with his new company. Stay tuned for the end of the year when he unveils his new watches.
Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com (where this article first appeared) or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com