Alongside a new dive watch (Diver X Skeleton) and a new chiming watch (the Blast Hourstriker), Ulysse Nardin just ahead of Watches & Wonders 2021 debuts UFO, a table clock that literally rocks as it displays time on three dials, all under a glass dome.
We’ll provide details about the watches in upcoming posts. Below we help you identify the new Ulysse Nardin UFO.
Teaming with Swiss clockmaker Maison L’Epée, well known in recent years for its whimsical collaborations with pioneering independent watchmaker MB&F, Ulysse Nardin has constructed UFO, a sixteen-pound, 10.3-inch tall aluminum and glass clock built with a rounded base that allows the clock to swing from side to side like mechanical waves around its axis. The UFO swings up to 60° from its axis – an amplitude of 120 degrees, with no affect on its precision.
The UFO, or unidentified floating object, is the futuristic interpretation of what Ulysse Nardin’s designers, engineers, and watchmakers think a marine chronometer should look like in 175 years, according to Ulysse Nardin CEO Patrick Pruniaux. “We always look ahead,” he says. “We wondered what a marine chronometer designed in 2196 would be like.”
The clock’s imbalance and swinging motion is meant to conjure images of the perpetual movement of the ocean. Ulysse Nardin’s 175-year history, which this clock honors, includes more than a century of making award-winning marine chronometers.
Glass and dials
The clock’s ‘imbalance’ starts with a blue half-spherical aluminum base fitted with a tungsten mass. The base and glass bell are connected to a bayonet mounting system, which echoes marine chronometer construction where the top glass could be unscrewed.
Romain Montero, a 26-year-old artisan glass blower who works for the Swiss-based Verre et Quartz, a technical glass-blowing workshop near Lake Neuchâtel, creates each glass cover by hand. The process is labor-intensive, and for each cover finished, two others were attempted without success, according to Ulysse Nardin.
L’Epée requires 663 components, and plenty of time, to build each UFO, with the three trapezoidal dials being among the clock’s most complex components to construct. According to the manufacturer it takes twenty-eight hours to manufacture eight of the dials. Three are placed into the UFO, which allows the owner to display three different time zones at once, each seen from a different angle.
The three blue-hued dials face outward around the top the clockworks, which are fully visible. And among the many spectacular sights within the clock are the six massive barrels that confer an incredible year of power reserve when fully wound with forty turns of a key. Each dial has its wind-up notch, which is also used to the set the time (four notches in total, one for winding up and one for each time zone wound up using a single key).
At the top of the movement L’Epee and Ulysse Nardin have installed a dramatic slow-beat, large-diameter (49mm) brass balance wheel. The size and the leisurely 3,600 bph frequency (one per second) of the balance is meant to both soothe the viewer while also contributing to movement’s ultra-long power reserve. And to put a finer point on the clock’s meditative rate, you’ll find a dead-beat second indicator just below the balance.
Specifications: Ulysse Nardin UFO
Movement: UN-902 caliber table clock, manually wound movement displaying three time zones, hours, minutes, deadbeat second, 675 components, six barrels, extra-large oscillator (49mm),0.5 Hz /3,600 Alt/H, one-year power reserve.
Case: Aluminum and blown glass measuring 263mm (H) x 159mm. Weight: 15.8 pounds, 75 timepieces
Frederique Constant this week unveiled a groundbreaking one-piece silicon oscillator that effectively replaces the traditional mechanical movement’s twenty-six-piece escapement assortment, and has developed a new movement around the high-tech component. The new movement, automatic Caliber FC-810, will power the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture Collection of 40mm watches, available this September.
Debuted after three years of research and development, Geneva-based Frederique Constant’s new oscillator beats at the ultra-high rate of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz, about ten times faster than traditional mechanical movement oscillators. And since it is created as a single friction-free, anti-magnetic, lightweight component, both the oscillator and the movement demonstrate ultra high efficiency.
As a result, when teamed with a standard winding spring in the new movement, watches in the new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection realize a full eighty-hours of power reserve.
Frederique Constant teamed with Nima Tolou, CEO of the Netherlands-based micro-engineering firm Flexous, to develop the silicon oscillator. Frederique Constant’s watchmaking department asked Flexous to develop a unique, flexible oscillating system in a size comparable to a traditional balance. Furthermore Frederique Constant set specifications, including: the highest possible frequency; an 80-hour power reserve; and a cost-effective formula allowing the manufacture of significant quantities at a reasonable price.
Flexous met the requests, devising a component that measures 9.8mm in diameter and 0.3mm thick, approximately the size of a conventional regulator. As noted above, the new oscillator incorporates all twenty-six components that make up the typical assortment, including the traditional balance, spring, anchor and rubies. And, echoing the traditional escapement, the new oscillator’s frequency can be fine-tuned by adjusting two tiny weights.
The first collection Frederique Constant is fitting with the new movement is the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, a three-hand watch with a pointer date. The 40mm round watch offers a classic Swiss dress dial with a central guilloché hobnail pattern, printed Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands.
The design of the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture echoes the brand’s pioneering use of open dials that expose portions of the movement. When it debuted in 1994, the Frederique Constant Heart Beat was the only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial.
Where that collection displayed the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position, the new collection displays the new pulsating silicon oscillator through an aperture at 6 o’clock.
On the reverse side, a clear sapphire caseback offers an unimpeded view of the automatic FC-810 caliber, which is Frederique Constant’s thirtieth in-house movement. The brand decorates the movement with traditional Geneva stripes with perlage; the oscillating weight is open worked.
Frederique Constant will make the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture in three limited editions, projected to be shipped starting in September. The editions include 810 pieces in stainless steel with a blue dial ($4,795) and 810 pieces in a steel case with a silver color dial ($4,795). Also, an 18-karat gold model with a silver-colored dial will be made as a limited edition of 81 pieces ($15,995).
A year after Doxa launched a small-production series of SUB 300 Aqua Lung watches with a forged carbon case, the famed independent Swiss dive watchmaker revisits that high-tech case for the new SUB 300 Carbon collection, a non-limited, eye-catching array of ten models with six colorful dial and matching strap options.
At the same time, Doxa launches these bright new SUB 300 models at Watches of Switzerland locations in the United States, marking the brand’s first official U.S. brick-and-mortar distribution in years. Previously, Doxa sold its watches only online through its e-commerce web site. With the new Watches of Switzerland partnership, shoppers can try on the full Doxa collection at all Watches of Switzerland retail stores, as well as online.
The new collection expands Doxa’s use of color within its SUB 300 collection, which already includes a range of colorful steel-cased options. Now with the forged carbon case, the newest collection sets six dial colors, including navy blue, turquoise, orange, yellow, silver and black, framed within the patterned matte black forged carbon case and unidirectional bezel and blackened crown.
The swirled, high-tech carbon pattern and dark hue offers a starker contrast to Doxa’s colorful dial and strap options than we’ve seen with the collection’s existing steel models. And all are currently offered only on black or color-matched rubber straps, unlike the steel-bracelet option available for the steel-cased SUB 300.
Doxa touts its current SUB 300 collection as the heir to its groundbreaking original 1967 debut of the same name. Rated as water resistant to a depth of 300 meters feet, the original Doxa SUB 300 was the first consumer watch to feature a unidirectional bezel with a dual indication of dive time and depth, according to Doxa. But the model itself gained fans for another reason as well: its full-on bright orange dial.
Even as the SUB 300 Carbon’s 42.5mm case is lighter than the steel models, Doxa has been careful to maintain the full dive specs of the all-steel SUB 300. To that end, the watchmakers have fit the newest watch with a pressure-resistant titanium chamber and screw-down crown.
The new series also features a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment that retains the same dome shape of the curved Plexiglas found on the original series in 1967. The COSC-certified ETA-based automatic movement provides a power reserve of approximately 38 hours.
Doxa ensures an easy-to-read dial on the new series with a white dive time scale punctuated with a dot at 12 o’clock. The inserts of the bezel (graduated in meters) for depths are colored – either in orange, yellow or turquoise – for visual differentiation, with a light dot at 12. Generously set with SuperLumiNova, the dial’s hour indices are also very clear.
Specifications: Doxa SUB 300 Carbon
Case: 42.50mm x 45.00mm x 13.40mm forged carbon, glass box sapphire crystal, unidirectional rotating forged carbon bezel, titanium chamber and screw-in case back, screw-down crown, water resistance to 300 meters.
Dial: Painted indices and hands with SuperLumiNova luminescent inserts, painted minute track.
Movement: Automatic ETA-based, COSC-certified with power reserve of 38 hours, Doxa decorations.
Bracelet: Black or matching to dial color, folding clasp, PVD-coated, featuring the brand’s fish symbol, diver’s wetsuit extension.
Citizen this week launches The Citizen, a new automatic watch powered by Caliber 0200, the manufacturer’s first new mechanical movement since 2010.
The new movement was developed at Citizen headquarters in Japan with technical and finishing input from Manufacture La Joux-Perret, a Citizen-owned Swiss movement company.
Caliber 0200, which features a free-sprung balance, chronometer-level accuracy and sixty hours of power reserve, will make its debut inside The Citizen, a 40mm steel watch characterized by a new, integrated (lug-free) steel bracelet and a subtly sparkling, electroformed black dial depicting a ‘rippled sand’ effect.
Citizen says the new watch’s design was inspired by a 1924 pocket watch made by Citizen’s predecessor, the Shokosha Watch Research Institute. That 1924 design, which was named ‘Citizen,’ also displays a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock.
Caliber 0200 is designed to exceed the Chronometer standard (ISO 3159) benchmark for accuracy. Citizen says the movement achieves an average daily accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds. By utilizing a free-sprung balance wheel, Citizen has also created a highly shock resistant caliber since watches with free-sprung balance wheels are known for their ability to maintain stability of rate over time. Citizen utilized the LIGA fabrication process (photolithography) to enhance the precision of escape wheel and the pallet fork.
For Citizen, the look of the movement was as important as the technical aspects.
“We made countless layouts of the gears – the barrel, the balance wheel, the escapement – to create a beautiful movement,” according to Taro Nakagawa, who works in Citizen’s mechanical watch element development department. “Eventually we arrived at a layout that shows off the balance wheel, with its beautifully finished overlapping gears, to maximum advantage.”
The results of this aesthetic focus are clearly visible through the clear sapphire caseback. From the back the viewer can see polished gears and decorative finishing of all gear train components, including the rotor, the main plate and the bridges, which are satin-finished and feature diamond-cut edges.
Citizen explains that its manufacturing facility tested the cased movement for a full seventeen days, under various conditions, and in six positions at three different temperature levels, before its watchmakers manually attach each The Citizen bracelet.
As noted, that bracelet is decidedly contemporary and fully integrated into the steel case of The Citizen. Technicians complete the bracelet and case by applying hairline and mirror-finishes, meant to capture the light at varying degrees as the watch sits on the wrist. Similarly, the sand-ripple-pattern electroformed black dial is also designed to reflect light in novel patterns.
At first look, finishing on the dial, movement and bracelet are exciting, and likely superior to Citizen’s previous mechanical models. As sample models become available, we’ll offer an ‘on the wrist’ assessment of The Citizen’s finish and fit.
Finally, Citizen adds a stylized eagle icon, with wings spread, to the top of The Citizen’s dial. The symbol marks The Citizen collection for the brand and is meant to depict “foresight and action based on a clear vision of the future.”
With the enhanced mechanical focus represented by the new Caliber 0200, and this eye-catching debut watch, Citizen seems well prepared for that future.
Price: $6,000, available in September.
Specifications: Citizen “The Citizen” (Model NC0200-90E)
Case: 40mm by 10.9mm steel, sapphire caseback and crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistance to 50 meters.
Movement: Automatic Caliber 0200, accuracy of average -3 to +5 seconds per day, running time of approx. 60 hours when fully wound, 28,800 vph, Certificate of Compliance included.
Dial: Electroformed black to create sand-ripple pattern, hour, minute and small seconds indications.
Nomos Glashütte previews its spring releases by debuting three limited-edition 40mm Club automatic models with three new dial colors: olive green, onyx black and blue.
The steel Club Automatic watches, limited to 175 pieces in each color, feature in-house automatic caliber DUW 5001 built with Nomos’ own ‘Swing System’ escapement and adjusted to chronometer standards.
Water resistant to 200 meters and sporty in nature, the Club automatic model is one of Nomos’ most casual designs, with two models (olive green and blue) offered on fabric straps and one, the black (onyx) model, on the brand’s relatively new steel bracelet.
All three watches also exhibit their sportiness with a generous application of luminous material on markers and hands. The dial is highly legible even if it is a bit idiosyncratic with its mix of both Arabic hour markers and ‘sticks’ around the dial, interrupted only at 6 o’clock by the small seconds subdial.
The new limited edition selection follows two previous collections, within the firm’s higher-priced Lambda and Ludwig lines, that celebrate 175 years of watchmaking in Glashütte, the center of German watchmaking.
The new 44mm chronograph, based on a 2019 Omega Seamaster Diver, has a blue ceramic dial with the collection’s familiar laser-engraved wave-pattern and white enamel diving scale on the bezel. Less familiar is the regatta countdown indicator ring in red anodized aluminum.
The indicator’s red anodized aluminum minute hand, with a shape inspired by a boat hull, provides the countdown indication, supplemented by a rhodium-plated small seconds hand at the 9 o’clock position. Chronograph hours are visible in a window within the countdown subdial.
Omega maintains the watch’s America’s Cup distinction with a central seconds chronograph hand, also in red anodized aluminum, that features an America’s Cup icon in red on the counterweight. More Cup tributes are visible on the back of the watch, including “36th America’s Cup” and “Auckland 2021,” both spelled in blue lacquer.
Also seaworthy, even beyond the already strong Seamaster Diver specs, is a helium escape valve and soft-touch red and blue rubber pushers, designed to work efficiently when wet. That efficiency is backed with a new chronograph lock-system that secures the chronograph functions when needed, presumably during a race at sea.
The new watch continues Omega’s longstanding relationship with the America’s Cup, which the brand also officially timed in 2000 and 2003. This newest watch is the second Omega has launched in support of the 36th America’s Cup, which takes place in New Zealand starting March 6. Last year Omega released the Seamaster Planet Ocean America’s Cup Edition.
New Quick Change
Omega offers the new Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph with a metal bracelet and an additional rubber strap, both equipped with Omega’s brand new Quick Change system. The watchmaker says with the system, the owner can quickly “switch easily between the bracelet and the strap without having to use tools.”
Inside Omega fits its excellent Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9900, an automatic chronograph movement with column wheel and Co-Axial escapement. The movement is approved by METAS, resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss and features a silicon balance-spring and sixty hours of power reserve.
Omega kicks off the New Year with a gift to legions of Speedmaster fans. The watchmaker this week releases a Speedmaster Moonwatch with a new caliber, new bracelet and clasp, a newly detailed minute track and a choice of Hesalite glass or sapphire crystal material (for new steel-cased models).
Still very much the Speedmaster Moonwatch fans have come to revere since its qualification by NASA for manned space missions in 1965 and its trip to the moon in 1969, the new generation Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is now equipped with co-axial, manual-wind caliber 3861. Omega has used the caliber previously only in a few limited edition Speedmasters.
First seen in 2019, the co-axial caliber 3861, with its silicon balance spring, will now protect the Moonwatch from extreme magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. This is a much higher level of protection than that offered by the caliber 1861 Omega utilized for decades to power its Speedmaster Moonwatches.
In addition, Omega now ensures that the entire watch is certified as a Master Chronometer, the brand’s own high-level specification that promises accuracy to five seconds per day.
On this update, Speedmaster fans will recognize the historical Speedmaster’s asymmetrical case, stepped dial and double bevel caseback. Closer inspection reveals the dot over 90 and a dot diagonal to 70 on the anodized aluminum bezel ring, both details expected by Speedmaster purists. Fans will however note a difference within the minute track around the dial, which is now split by three divisions, as opposed to the five divisions used on previous models.
Around the wrist, Omega has added a new five-link brushed steel bracelet and a new Omega clasp (with new oval pusher) set with a polished brand logo on a satin-finished cover. You might have seen this bracelet previously on the recent Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition watch.
In a 42mm steel case, Omega offers the new watch with either a Hesalite crystal ($5,950 for a strap and $6,300 on a bracelet) or with a sapphire crystal and clear caseback ($7,150 on a bracelet and $6,800 on a strap). A 42mm Sedna gold model ($34,800 on a gold bracelet and $24,600 on a strap) and a Canopus white gold model with silver dial ($45,300 on a bracelet and $30,400 on a strap) are also available.
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.
Parmigiani Fleurier earlier this year underscored its technical mettle by adding the Tondagraph GT to its Tonda GT collection. That limited-edition chronograph features a large date display and, unusually, an annual calendar, all placed into a case inspired by the highly acclaimed Tonda Chronor Anniversaire watch, for which the Manufacture received the Chronograph Watch Prize from the GPHG in 2017.
For Fall 2020 Parmigiani Fleurier revisits that same fluted-bezel case, but makes it in rose gold and fits it with an impressive integrated chronograph built on the foundation of that award-winning Chronor Anniversaire.
The brand’s new Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue, houses Parmigiani Fleurier’s new PF071 movement, a COSC-certified, automatic chronograph with large date, that boasts all the specifications you’d expect from a high-end in-house integrated chronograph – the brand’s third – with such pedigree.
Thus, the new high-frequency (36,000 bph) caliber is built with a column wheel instead of a cam, utilizes a vertical clutch instead of the more common horizontal clutch, and secures its balance using a double-attached cross-through bridge rather than a single-point bridge.
Parmigiani Fleurier explains that this type of bridge attachment “minimizes the effect of impacts to the balance with gold inertia blocks and has been designed so that its height can be adjusted and adapted precisely to the rest of the movement.”
With its high frequency chronograph caliber, which is accurate to the nearest 10th of a second, Parmigiani Fleurier has added two additional markers and hands within the subdial at 6 o’clock for the tenths-of-a-second timing display.
Parmigiani Fleurier has also integrated the big date aperture directly into the movement rather than adding it as a module, which the brand says enhances its reliability.
On the dial the watchmaker blues its traditional hobnail-style “clou triangulaire” guilloche, while the back reveals the high-end finish it applies throughout the new caliber PF071. The clear sapphire on the back exposes the movement’s sunray satin pattern finish and the 22-karat gold oscillating weight with eye-catching “angel wing” bridges.
Parmigiani Fleurier is making the Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue as a limited edition of twenty-five pieces each on a blue rubber strap ($41,000) and also on a gold bracelet ($65,500).
Frederique Constant this week brings back its Highlife collection, one of the Geneva watchmaker’s earliest lines, updated with an integrated steel bracelet and a contemporary dial design. The watchmaker debuts the newly returned collection with three new models: The Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Highlife Heart Beat and Highlife Automatic COSC.
All three new Highlife models display the same 41mm case as the original collection from 1999, but the new dials feature a globe design that the Geneva brand says is “intended to unify the collection and symbolize the Earth, harmony, and perfection of the circle.”
While not Frederique Constant’s first integrated bracelet, these Highlife debuts mark a premiere of a newer, interchangeable bracelet that allows the wearer to swap the bracelet without additional tools by pressing on the two pushpins at the end of the bracelet or strap to disconnect it from the case and click a new one into place.
Versatility is a focus here. Each watch will come with an additional leather strap and a rubber strap, and Frederique Constant is also offering a set of three additional crocodile calf suede straps in brown, blue, and black (purchased separately).
When it made its first perpetual calendar four years ago, Frederique Constant stuck to its mission of offering a high value-to-price ratio across all its collections. That premier Slimline Perpetual Calendar model wowed collectors and critics alike with its thin Caliber FC-775 movement, attractive dial layout and a double-take price (less than $9,000 for the steel-cased model).
With this latest example, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Frederique Constant’s continues that mission. The watchmaker’s starts with that in-house FC-775 perpetual calendar caliber and places in the newly integrated steel case/bracelet, fronted by the globe design on the dial.
As with previous examples, the new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture features three counters: day at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock and moon phase at 6 o’clock. The watch’s polished hands and all the index hour markers are topped with a luminescent material.
Frederique Constant is making three different variations of the watch. One (pictured above) offers a very cool two-tone style that combines steel and rose gold plating on the bezel, bracelet, and crown. For added luxury you’ll also get a textured black rubber strap with a rose gold-plated buckle.
The second version features a blue dial with silver hands and index hour markers and comes with a blue rubber strap and a steel pin buckle. The third version comes with a white dial, silver index hour markers, a black leather strap and a black rubber strap. Prices start at $9,095.
The new Highlife Heart Beat collection revisits this brand’s initial ‘iconic’ design.
When it debuted in 1994, the Heart Beat was only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial, displaying the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position. Frederique Constant kicked off a design trend with that original Heartbeat collection, and today regrets the fact that it never protected the initial design, an error the brand says was “rooted in the brand’s youthful inexperience.”
The new versions retain that open window into the movement at the top of the dial, which here appears at the pole position on the globe dial design. Portions of the automatic Sellita-based FC-310 caliber are visible from both front and back through the sapphire crystal.
The new Highlife Heart Beat is now available in three different steel versions. The first offers a white dial and rose gold-plated case with only a brown leather strap and a brown rubber strap. The second features a blue dial with a steel bracelet, complemented by a blue rubber strap and the third features a black dial with a steel case and bracelet and arrives with a black rubber strap. Prices start at $1,995.
New and Certified
As the first COSC-certified watch from Frederique Constant, the new Highlife Automatic COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) echoes the original Highlife collection from 1999.
The simplest design of the new globe-dial Highlife collection, this time-only series combines the hands seen on the Heart Beat and the date from the Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, but powers them both with its automatic Sellita-based Caliber FC-310.
Look for four models: one with a two-tone steel bracelet and a white dial, one with a steel bracelet and a blue dial, and a model with a black leather strap and a white dial. The fourth design offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a black dial, all set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade. Prices start at $1,895.