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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.

The new Ulysse Nardin UFO, a 10.3-inch high ‘swinging’ table clock with three dials.

We’ll provide details about the watches in upcoming posts. Below we help you identify the new Ulysse Nardin UFO.   

Collaboration

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.

Six barrels confer a remarkable one-year power reserve when fully wound.

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.

One of three titanium dials on the UFO.

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).

UFO’s dramatic slow-beat, large-diameter (49mm) brass balance wheel. The size and the leisurely 3,600 bph frequency (one per second) of the balance soothes the viewer while also contributing to movement’s ultra-long power reserve.

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

Price: $41,100 (limited edition of 75)

 

 

Greubel Forsey debuts its first metal bracelet today as it adds contemporary updates to its titanium GMT Sport. The all-new, fully integrated titanium bracelet echoes the new look of the unusual elliptical bezel, complete with the high level of hand finishing you’d expect from Greubel Forsey.

The new Greubel Forsey GMT Sport, with the brand’s first-ever metal bracelet, here made in titanium.

You might recall that when this high-end watchmaker first showed the world the GMT Sport in 2019, the watch’s distinctive ovoid bezel attracted just as much attention as the watch’s new movement featuring such Greubel Forsey specialties as a Tourbillon 24 Seconds and eye-catching three-dimensional GMT globe.  

Likewise, the new bracelet here might garner outsized attention given its premiere status for this brand. Greubel Forsey has devised a three-link bracelet finished with many of the same styles we see on the 45mm-by-15.7mm case and bezel, notably straight graining, frosting and top-tier hand-polished beveling.

Greubel Forsey notes that it opted to frost-finish the lugs to better emphasize how the case and bracelet link directly along an uninterrupted row. The somewhat darker frosting continues along both edges of the bracelet as well, underscoring the visual unity of the two components.

Functionally, the bracelet features a fine adjustment system that allows the wearer to quickly loosen or tighten the bracelet’s fit. The watch will also arrive with a blue rubber strap with text in relief and a titanium folding clasp with engraved logo.

The watch will also arrive with a blue rubber strap with text in relief and a titanium folding clasp with engraved logo.

Clean bezel

While adding a bracelet to the GMT Sport, Greubel Forsey has also removed something: The GMT Sport’s wide, undulating bezel is now free of the raised engraved text espousing the brand’s values. Instead, the elliptical bezel, which curves gently at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, is cleaner, sporting expert hand-finished horizontal straight graining on top and a hand-polished frame.

Thus, instead of reading words like ‘perfection’ and ‘harmonie’, the wearer can focus on the GMT Sport’s intricate, multi-dimensional dial components and displays amid the bright new blue and titanium color scheme.

Indeed, the new color scheme of this GMT Sport highlights a matte blue finish on the mainplate, bridges, globe, second time zone dial and 24-second indicator ring of the Tourbillon 24 Seconds. The color nicely contrasts with the polished components of the steel and titanium movement components.

In addition, to draw attention to new blue color scheme, Greubel Forsey has decided to skeletonize the highly visible central suspended arched bridge and the tourbillon bridge.

The blue color splashes across the multi-level dial plates, replacing the dark grey hue of the previous GMT Sport. Between the blue plates wearers can check the time via a central hours and minutes display while eyeing a second time zone at 10 o’clock, a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock and the GMT rotating terrestrial globe at 8 o’clock.

On the GMT Sport caseback is a sapphire disc displaying city names surrounded by two rings.

The GMT globe, first seen in 2011 and used within the GMT Black in 2015, displays the second time zone (as seen on the auxiliary dial just above at 10 o’clock). When the wearer combines this with the globe’s universal time display, he or she can read the current time anywhere in the world. And of course a wearer can enjoy the whirling Tourbillon 24 Secondes, positioned between 12 o’clock and 2 o’clock, which contributes to the watch’s high level of precision.

Greubel Forsey will make the new GMT Sport with the new titanium bracelet in a limited edition of thirty-three units. The price has not yet been announced, though the previous GMT Sport was priced at $500,000.

 

Specifications: Greubel Forsey GMT Sport

Features: 
In titanium, blue movement, limited edition hand-wound movement with three patents, GMT, 2nd time zone indication, rotating globe with universal time and day-and-night, universal time on 24 time zones, summer and wintertime indication, cities observing summer time, 24-second tourbillon, hours and minutes, small seconds, power-reserve indictor.

Movement: Greubel Forsey manual-wind caliber with 63 domed jewels in gold chatons, Tourbillon inclined at a 25° angle 1 rotation in 24 seconds, 72-hour power reserve, 21,600 bph,

Case: 45mm (with bezel) by 17.8mm (with crystals) titanium with curved synthetic sapphire crystal, three-dimensional, variable geometry-shaped bezel, hand-polished with hand-finished straight graining, 100-meter water resistance. O back is a sapphire disc displaying city names surrounded by 2 rings

Bracelet: New three-row metal bracelet in titanium, folding clasp with integrated fine adjustment, engraved GF logo. Also: rubber with text in relief, titanium folding clasp, engraved GF logo. 

 

Ten years after debuting its first Legacy Machine, ground-breaking independent watchmaker MB&F debuts LMX, a new dual-dial Legacy Machine that echoes the premiere Legacy Machine, but with new dial angles, a dual-display power reserve indicator and updated precision.

The new MB&F LMX, in rose gold.

Like the first MB&F Legacy Machine, the new LMX also features two white lacquer dials displaying hours and minutes in two different time zones. But where those dials were flat on that first model, the two white dials on the new LMX are tilted at an angle, much like dials we’ve seen on the MB&F LM Flying T and LM Thunderdome. This meant MB&F needed to add conical gearing to the movement in order to transfer the energy from the horizontal movement to the tilted dials.

Where the first Legacy Machine featured a somewhat traditional dial plate, the new LMX shows off its battle-axe-shaped escapement bridge and components of the gear train. Specifically,  MB&F exposes three large wheels, namely the two gears that rotate when setting each dial, plus the gear at 6 o’clock, which is the common seconds wheel.

New power indicator

Also new is a much more complex power reserve indicator. While the first Legacy Machine itself broke new ground with a three-dimensional power reserve display, the LMX offers a nod to that debut with a three-dimensional, hemispherical display that is also customizable.

The wearer can select between two modes of counting down the power reserve. Here we see the days of the week. The opposite side is numbered 1-7.

The wearer can select between two modes of counting down the power reserve. MB&F places two markers on opposite sides of the hemisphere. One features a scale numbered from one day to seven days, and the other scale shows the days of the week.

The new display, likely the first of its kind on a wristwatch, allows wearers to choose their preferred mode of power-reserve indication.

Through the sapphire case back the viewer can see three barrels placed evenly around the center.

Finally, MB&F has built a new balance wheel for the LMX. The exposed balance, hanging from arched titanium bridges, is for many the primary characteristic of the first Legacy Machine and is repeated throughout the decade-long Legacy Machine lineage. MB&F has built a new balance wheel measuring 13.4mm in diameter with inertia blocks rather than more traditional screwed balances. MB&F explains that this choice “offers greater accuracy to the watchmaker in regulating the heart of LMX.”

 

MB&F is offering the new LMX in two limited launch editions:

– Eighteen pieces in red gold with black NAC treatment on plates and bridges ($128,000);

– Thirty-three pieces in titanium with green CVD treatment on plates and bridges ($112,000).

Specifications: MB&F LMX

Movement: MB&F three-dimensional manual winding with three mainspring barrels. Power reserve of 7 days (168 hours), new 13.4mm balance wheel with inertia blocks floating above the movement. Balance spring is traditional Breguet curve terminating in mobile stud holder; balance frequency is 18,000bph (2.5Hz), gold chatons with diamond countersinks, superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style; internal bevel angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made engravings; polished arms of the straight bridges exposed on the dial plate, manually finished to a curved “bercé” profile on their upper surfaces.

MB&F has opened the watch’s dial to expose more of the movement’s most active gears and components

Dial: Completely independent dual time zones displayed on two dials. Unique hemispherical power reserve with choice of weekday or 7-day indication; rotates to adjust the preferred power reserve indication. Left crown at 10 o’clock for setting time of left dial; right crown at 2 o’clock for setting time of right dial and winding.

Case: 44 mm wide x 21.4 mm in two launch editions: 18-karat 5N+ red gold case limited to 18 pieces or grade-5 titanium case limited to 33 pieces. High domed sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on both sides.

Strap: Black hand-stitched alligator strap with 5N+ gold folding buckle for red gold version, and grey hand-stitched alligator strap with titanium folding buckle for titanium edition.

 

With this week’s debut, the DB28XP Meteorite, De Bethune has underscored its fascination – and expertise – at using material hewn from meteorites as watch dials.

The new De Bethune DB28XP Meteorite.

The independent watchmaker has placed the extraterrestrial material into several of its watches over the years, including as the dial material for the brand’s Dream Watch 5 Meteorite and on the DB28 Kind of Blue Tourbillon Meteorite. This latest example highlights the eye-catching dial by framing it with the well-known ‘floating lug’ De Bethune DB28 case, now dramatically finished in matte black zirconium.

De Bethune differentiates its meteorite dials from others by heating the space-borne slice, a process that results in a spectacular blue shade while also enhancing the material’s random geometrical crosshatched patterns.

Sky map

As the newest example of this technique, the dial on the new DB28XP Meteorite mimics its own celestial origins, complete with varying shades of blue, black and even purple. De Bethune takes full advantage of the scene by adding small white gold pins that appear as stars and planets amid the celestial void.

With this ‘sky map’ in mind, De Bethune will allow each DB28XP Meteorite owner to choose to have the brand customize their watch’s dial by specifying a constellation at a specific date, time and place.

Each customized dial will be placed within the DB28XP case, which here remains 43mm in diameter with its familiar round, ultra-thin crown at 12 o’clock, its hunter-type back and, of course, those dramatic architectural lugs.

The dial’s hour circle echoes the darkened case and is topped by an almost hidden De Bethune signature at 12 o’clock. The watch’s pink gold hands are identical to those on the De Bethune DB28XP Starry Sky dial.

With distinctively terrestrial origins, De Bethune’s own Caliber DB2115v7 represents its own mechanical universe. The manual-wind caliber, with its balance visible at the 6 o’clock position, is built with De Bethune’s well-known, award-winning technical proficiency.

Among those proprietary techniques: the use of a titanium balance with white gold weights placed around the rim, a silicon balance wheel, an in-house balance spring with a flat terminal curve and self-regulating twin barrels that ensure six days of power reserve.

Price: $138,000. De Bethune will make ten examples of the new DB28XP Meteorite.

 

 

Among Seiko’s wide-ranging 2021 debuts, two new Prospex models stand out for near-perfect fidelity to the original Seiko watches that inspired their re-interpretation. One, the Seiko Prospex Alpinist, revisits a Seiko sport model from 1959, while a second, the new Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition, revisits a historic dive watch Seiko made in 1970.

What makes both these debuts even more vital for Seiko collectors, and sports watch enthusiasts in general, are the updated collections based on these historic designs.

First, let’s take a look at the diver’s watch.

The Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition watch, showing blue silicone strap.

Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition

As worn by Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura in the mid-1970s when he completed a 12,500-kilometer solo dog-sled run from Greenland to Alaska, a 1970 Seiko dive watch offered both reliability and protection. The watch was also notable for its unusual asymmetrical extension that protected the crown at the four o’clock position.

The curved extension of the case fully protects the screw-down crown.

Revisiting that 1970 design, Seiko in 2021 offers two new 44mm steel models. One (Reference SLA049) is a limited edition of 1,200 watches that echo the case’s original shape, high-visibility and three-hand dial, but now offer a special ‘mountain-pattern’ blue dial and blue bezel, said to recall the “blue tones of the earth’s upper atmospheric layers.” 

The original Seiko 1970 divers watch.

Seiko of course has modernized the tribute watch in several ways, primarily with the updated movement. Inside you’ll find Seiko’s dive-centric Caliber 8L35, made at the Seiko Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan.

The dial is also extra luminous, with all hands and all hour markers coated generously with Lumibrite. Seiko has also coated the case with a protective, anti-scratch layer, and has placed an anti-reflective coating on the dual-curved sapphire crystal.

The caseback is engraved with Uemura’s name and the watch’s number.

Finally, Seiko has increased the watch’s water resistance, now rated to 200 meters. For this limited model, Seiko includes a blue silicone strap that has the same train-track pattern as the original model.

Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation.

In addition to the blue-dialed limited edition that commemorates the 80th anniversary of Naomi Uemura’s birth, Seiko adds a gray dialed version to the Prospex collection. The watch shares the same textured pattern dial as the limited edition but is in a charcoal gray color that is similar to the 1970 original. It shares the same case design, features and specifications as the commemorative watch and will also be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in July 2021.

Prices: $3,100 (Ref. SLA049–limited to 1,200 pieces), $2,900 (With gray dial, Ref. SLA051)
 

The Alpinist

Seiko introduced its first watch made for mountain climbers in 1959. Called the Seiko Laurel Alpinist, it marked the start of Seiko’s march into the much broader sports watch market. Seiko followed that debut model with a series of watches specifically tailored for sports, including stopwatches and diver’s watches.

The original Seiko Laurel Alpinist, circa 1959.

For 2021 Seiko revives that debut 1959 design with two odes to the original. One, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation, is a 36.6mm limited edition that retains the original’s dial markings and its sporty leather cuff. A second model, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation, is slightly larger, at 38mm, is fitted with a different movement and is offered on steel bracelet (and two dial options) and on a leather strap.

The new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation (Reference SJE085), a limited edition of 1,200.

Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation

The re-creation brings back the black dial and large markers found on the original, but now adds a date window and stronger water resistant (to 100 meters). In addition, its box-shaped sapphire crystal is now treated with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. Finally, the movement is updated with Seiko’s thin automatic Caliber 6L35, which has a power reserve of 45 hours. Despite the addition of a date and the new automatic caliber, the case is just 1.0mm thicker (11.1mm) than the original model. And of course, Seiko has faithfully reproduced the leather strap and cuff, using the same jagged stitch design as its predecessor.

Seiko’s slimline Caliber 6L35 has a power reserve of 45 hours.

The re-creation will be available as a limited edition of 1,959 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August. Price: $2,900.

Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation (below)

One of two steel-bracelet models in the new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation collection (Reference SPB243).

The three other new watches that pay homage to the 1959 Alpinist sport a more contemporary dial treatment and offer a choice among two steel bracelet models and one attached to a leather strap. This collection of three models is one of Seiko’s best values among all its 2021 debuts.

The green-dialed Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation collection comes on a leather strap.

Their slightly larger (38mm) polished cases are notably more modern than the Re-creation, and the Caliber 6R35 offers a stronger power reserve, at 70 hours. In addition, the water resistance is to 200 meters, twice the rating of the Re-creation. Two watches (cream-colored dial and black dial) are offered on stainless steel bracelets while the green dial version comes with a leather strap.

The new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation, Reference SPB241.

All three of these Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation watches will be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August. Prices: $750 and $725 (leather strap).

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 new Nomos Club automatic in olive green is limited to 175 models in honor of 175 years of fine watchmaking in Glashütte. The watch is also available with onyx and navy dials.

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.

The Nomos special edition Club automatic features automatic caliber DUW 5001, equipped with the proprietary Nomos Swing System 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.

Prices start at $2,620.

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.

 

 

With Bulgari’s contemporary style clearly evident throughout its record-setting Octo Finissimo collection, the Italian-Swiss watchmaker’s modernist approach to timepiece design is hardly in doubt. This week, Bulgari underscored that approach beyond its ultra-thin family with the new Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon, a surprising cutting-edge addition to its Haute Horlogerie collection.

The new Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon.

The new watch represents an extension of Bulgari’s well-known mastery of the chiming watch, seeded to a large degree twenty years ago years ago when it purchased Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth, two horological ateliers well versed in complicated watchmaking. That deep knowledge, nurtured and enhanced within Bulgari’s workshops over the years, is the underpinning of the brand’s rise to prominence within the world of haute horology.

Three hammers

The new Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon features a three-hammer chime combined with a tourbillon regulator, with both complex technical creations housed in a 44mm black DLC-coated titanium case.

In contrast to the brand’s Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie from a few years back, this newest chiming model betrays few classical design elements on its dial. Rather than a solid dial with markers and numerals, the wearer sees a black titanium grid open to show the watch’s tourbillon and its chimes in action.

And while the three hammers and gongs appear traditional in shape and function, their placement on the dial side is still fairly unusual among chiming watches.

Bulgari says it has hollowed out the titanium case in order to reduce the amount of metal between the inside and the outside, thus enhancing the transmission of sound. The new case design includes three openings, each of which corresponds to a chime.

As Bulgari explains, “Chimes are fixed directly on to the case body for most effective transmission of sound and the case is crafted in titanium to ensure the clearest possible diffusion of sound. The back is also hollowed and revamped with a meticulously crafted titanium grid that protect this resonance zone and allow sound to be transmitted to the outside.”

Bulgari’s new, manually wound Caliber BVL428, which includes 432 components, features hand crafted gongs that Bulgari artisans harden at high temperatures, which gives the metal a bright sound. The melody of the Carillon plays the note C for the hours, the mid-re-C notes in sequence for the quarters, and the mid note for the minutes.

The new Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon, flanked by the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon (left) and the Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar (right).

The sound

Listening the Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon digitally, and not in person, is pleasing, even uplifting. Given Bulgari’s history of making exceptional chiming watches, I strongly suspect a live performance of the chime will live up to the brand’s grand descriptions.

Bulgari has equipped the movement with one classical barrel ensuring a power reserve of at least seventy-five hours for the movement at full charge. The functioning of the sound mechanism is ensured by a spring that the watchmaker has placed into a barrel-shaped container drilled directly in the bridge.

The watch comes on a black alligator leather strap with a three-blade folding clasp treated with DLC Titanium. Bulgari will offer the Octo Roma Carillon available as a limited edition of fifteen, with each piece engraved individually on the crown. Price: $259,000.

Specifications: Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

Movement: Mechanical manufacture caliber BVL428 with manual winding, minute repeater, 3-hammer carillon with Westminster chime, tourbillon and a power reserve indicator; 75-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph, skeletonized movement with bridges in black DLC coated titanium (8.35mm thick);

Case: 44mm black DLC-coated titanium with matte finish; open-worked titanium middle-case, specially conceived to enhance sound performances; white gold crown, set with a black ceramic insert; white gold push button to activate the chime.

Dial: Black DLC-coated titanium grid, exposing tourbillon and chiming components. 

Strap: Black rubberized alligator leather with black DLC coated titanium 3-blade folding buckle.

Price: $259,000. Limited edition of fifteen pieces.

Arnold & Son offers a spectacular eight-piece limited edition of its Perpetual Moon watch in celebration of the traditional Chinese calendar New Year. As the Year of the Ox (or Buffalo) begins on February 12, the 42mm red gold Perpetual Moon Year of the Ox watch displays its extra-large mother-of-pearl moon at the top of its dial shining on an ox with large horns standing at 6 o’clock.

The Arnold & Son 42mm red gold Perpetual Moon Year of the Ox.

The ox appears as a miniature 18-karat gold sculpture placed in front of several multi-story pagodas, hand-painted with gold powder. Arnold & Son has generously painted the moon and the pagoda windows with SuperLuminova. Thus, in a dark setting the wearer views a pleasing, miniature evening scene.

In its unusually large aperture, the watch’s moon disc turns as the moon progresses from new to full and back each month. During the day, the moon appears nearly white amid hand-painted constellations, nicely contrasting with the dial’s textured and speckled black background.

Arnold & Son creates that darkness with specular hematite, a mineral the company laminates and layers to heighten its natural glossy appearance. The hematite’s iron composition creates iron, which appear as silvery flakes in a black mass.

Arnold & Son has also incorporated those glittering specks into the double-sided alligator-skin strap. On the strap’s outer face you’ll see them sparkle, embellished with platinum-thread stitching.

The La Chaux-de-Fonds-based manufacture fits the watch with its own Caliber A&S1512, a single-barrel manual-wind movement with an oscillation frequency of 3 Hz, offering an outstanding ninety-hour power reserve. Arnold & Son says that the caliber’s moon-phase display and rotation will remain accurate for 122 years before deviating by one day from the actual appearance of the moon in the night-sky.

 

Price: CHF 49,900, limited edition of eight

 

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.