Tag

mechanical watches

Browsing

TAG Heuer today introduces a second Carrera collector’s edition to mark the Swiss watchmaker’s 160th birthday.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition.

The TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition, the new limited edition of 1,000 watches, echoes the brand’s White Heuer Montreal from 1972, complete with that model’s colorful dial marked with then-novel yellow luminescence.

The eye-catching 39mm watch arrives about six months after TAG Heuer started this anniversary year by launching the equally fetching TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Dial Limited Edition, which we discussed here.

TAG Heuer says that a now highly collectible White Heuer Montreal, reference 110503W from 1972, inspired the new watch’s retro design. As a result, TAG Heuer has echoed that watch’s red, yellow and blue coloring scheme.

The White Heuer Montreal from 1972.

The new model somewhat replicates the original dial, though in a current Carrera case with right-side crown rather than a cushion case with a left crown, and without the marked pulsimeter and tachymeter references seen on the original. TAG Heuer has replaced those references with a blue and red ruled scale, and replaces the ‘Montreal’ monicker with ‘Carrera.’

However, the new model echoes the original’s use colorful luminescence, which was just being developed at the time. The TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition, as a result, features a chronograph minute counter (at 3 o’clock) with three curved lines, each colored with yellow SuperLuminova. The same color is also found on the central minute and hour hands. The central chronograph seconds hand is colored with straight red lacquer.  

The dial itself features three blue subdials (with updated hands) protected by a domed ‘glassbox’ sapphire crystal, inspired by the original.

TAG Heuer’s own Caliber Heuer 02 manufacture chronograph movement powers the tribute watch.  The movement, visible from the sapphire caseback, includes a column wheel and a vertical clutch and boasts an impressive eighty-hour power reserve.

Packaged in a special box, TAG Heuer will package the Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition in a special gift box and make it available in July at TAG Heuer boutiques and online at www.tagheuer.com. Price: $6,750

 

Specifications: TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

Movement: TAG Heuer Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic manufacture movement with column-wheel chronograph, vertical clutch, power reserve of 80 hours.

Dial: 
Blue, white opaline dial, white flange with 60-second/minute scale and three counters (at 3 o’clock: blue minute chronograph counter with yellow SuperLuminova, at 6 o’clock: blue permanent second indicator, at 9 o’clock: blue hour chronograph counter. 
Rhodium-plated minute and hour hands with yellow SuperLuminova. Red lacquered central hand. 
Black printed logo.

Case: 39mm polished steel, polished steel fixed bezel, domed sapphire crystal, polished steel standard crown and pushers, steel screw-down sapphire caseback with special numbered limited-edition engraving. 
Water-resistant to 100 meters.

Strap: Blue alligator leather with polished steel folding clasp and double safety push buttons.

Price: $6,750

A clear sapphire caseback is not the only new feature that makes the latest Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox distinctive from its predecessors. Jaeger-LeCoultre has also completely redesigned the striking mechanism, in part by attaching the alarm gong directly to the case side rather than the solid caseback.

The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer

This overriding change anchors the Master Control Memovox Timer and the Master Control Memovox, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s two newest updated and upgraded Memovox offerings.

The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Differentiating the two debuts, announced earlier this month, is a new alarm-setting mechanism within the Master Control Memovox Timer, and a subtly updated dial design with a date display that characterizes the Master Control Memovox.

Premiere alarm

Five years after Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced its first Memovox, which debuted in 1951, the Swiss watchmaker made history by developing an automatic version, the first automatically wound alarm wristwatch. Its chime is the audible result of the movement’s hammers hitting circular gongs, which have historically relied on the caseback for amplification of the chime.

The new generation Memovox Automatic Caliber 956 and its peripheral bells, shown here from the back of the Master Control Memovox Timer. The open caseback reveals the play of the hammer on the bell.

The newest Memovox models feature gongs attached to the case itself rather than the (now-sapphire) caseback. While I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to these chimes directly, I suspect Jaeger-LeCoultre has taken great pains to retain the Memovox’s distinctive ‘school-bell’ tone with this update to Caliber 956.

The new-generation Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956, which powers the Master Control Memovox Timer.

The newly transparent sapphire back, which allows the wearer to watch the chime hammer in action, also exposes a new, open-worked pink gold rotor, decorated with Côtes de Genève to match the fine finishing on the movement plates.

The timer

On the new Memovox Timer, Jaeger-LeCoultre developed a timer that enables the owner to set the alarm, using the top crown, based on the number of hours that should elapse before the alarm rings.

Alternatively, the owner can set the alarm to sound at a particular time. The small hand with the Jaeger-LeCoultre logo indicates the elapsed hours-until-alarm. On the outer edge of the distinctive Memovox inner ring (here quite modern, engraved in bas-relief), a triangular marker points to the time at which the alarm will ring.

Jaeger-LeCoultre will produce the Master Control Memovox Timer as a limited edition of 250 pieces. Price: $15,700.

Retro-style

For the Master Control Memovox, Jaeger-LeCoultre offers a subtly modernized version of its manual-winding 1950 Memovox.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has paired the Master Control Memovox with a new Novonappa calfskin strap that recalls the color of the first Memovox straps.

Note its classical alarm and date display with a silvery sunray-brushed dial, applied triangular indexes, Dauphine hands with an updated blue seconds hand. As a nod to the past, Jaeger-LeCoultre has paired the Master Control Memovox with a new Novonappa calfskin strap that recalls the color of the first Memovox straps. Price: $11,600.

Jaeger-LeCoultre presents both these new Memovox models in the new 40mm Master Control case with an angled bezel, curved lugs and a contemporary combination of polished and satin-brushed surfaces.

Specifications: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Case: 40mm x 12.39mm
 stainless steel with satin and polished finishes, clear sapphire caseback, 50 meters water resistance.  

Caliber: Automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956, displaying hours/minutes/seconds, date, alarm (Memovox function). 45-hour power reserve.

Dial: Silver sunray with date.

Strap:  Novonappa calfskin.  

 

Specifications: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer (Reference: Q410848J, limited to 250 pieces)

Case: 40mm x 12.39mm stainless steel with satin and polished finishes, clear sapphire caseback, 50 meters water resistance.

Movement: Automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956 with hours/minutes/seconds, date, alarm (Memovox function), timer indication (hand with the JL logo), open-worked pink gold rotor, decorated with Côtes de Genève; power reserve: 45 hours.

Dial: Two-tone blue sunray dial, engraved numerals on the Memovox disc.

Strap: Blue leather

 

Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara has teamed with TAG Heuer once again to design a limited edition watch based on TAG Heuer’s sporty Formula 1 model fit with the Caliber Heuer 02 chronograph movement.

The new TAG Heuer X Fragment Design Chronograph Limited Edition.

The new TAG Heuer X Fragment Design Chronograph Limited Edition combines Fujiwara’s streetwear designs with TAG Heuer’s technical expertise and current Formula 1 case, a design based on a cushion-shaped case TAG Heuer used in the late 1960s and 1970s.

The resulting chronograph watch features a less cluttered dial design than those found on the  TAG Heuer Formula 1 models. Fujiwara utilizes a retro-inspired two-subdial layout and then subtly customizes it with red accents and small white lettering and logos.

Fujiwara teamed with TAG Heuer in 2018 to put his designer touch on a Carrera, where TAG Heuer more typically utilizes its advanced in-house Heuer 02 Chronograph movement, most often in a three-subdial layout.  

Fragment influences

Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, founder of Fragment Design.

The 44m steel TAG Heuer Formula 1 case retains the collection’s black ceramic tachymeter bezel, but replaces standard markers with small red squares, with two squares at the top of the dial in place of the Formula 1’s familiar ‘12’ marker. Just below the two red squares Fujiwara places his Fragment Design logo, with ‘Fragment’ printed on the dial between the 4 and 5 o’clock positions.  

A circular red sapphire crystal window on the caseback displays the automatic column-wheel chronograph movement with a red overlay that also features the dual-lightning logo of Fragment Design, the influential design house Fujiwara founded in 2003.

The new watch arrives with a five-row steel bracelet with a folding clasp. TAG Heuer is engraving each watch with a unique limited-edition number from 1 to 500.

The new TAG Heuer X Fragment Design Chronograph Limited Edition will be available to pre-order from www.tagheuer.com and in select TAG Heuer boutiques before going on sale on July 27. As a limited edition of 500 pieces, and with the Fragment Design collaboration, expect strong demand. Price: $6,150.

 

Specifications: TAG Heuer X Fragment Design Chronograph Limited Edition

Movement: Automatic Caliber Heuer 02 with column-wheel chronograph and vertical clutch, 80-hour power reserve

Case: 44mm polished steel, ceramic black polished tachymeter, fixed bezel, flat sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment, steel screw-down crown, red sapphire screw-down caseback with special engraving, water-resistant to 100 meters

Dial: Black opaline with two counters:

– 3 o’clock: black embossed minute chronograph counter

– 9 o’clock: black embossed hour chronograph counter

Red printed indexes, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLumiNova, red lacquered central hand, white TAG Heuer printed logo, date window at 6 o’clock, “HEUER 02 AUTOMATIC/FRAGMENT” printing

Bracelet: Polished, fine-brushed, five-row steel bracelet, steel butterfly folding clasp with safety push buttons

 

To celebrate the completion of its new production building in Plan-les-Ouates (Geneva), Patek Philippe this week launches a limited edition 40mm steel-cased Calatrava.

The new Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava.

The new watch, to be issued as a limited edition of 1,000, features a blue-grey central dial embossed with a light-reflecting ‘carbon’ pattern surrounded by a white railway track scale hour circle. The wide bezel, rare among Calatrava models, frames pierced baton hands (that might remind you of the 2017 Ref. 6006 Calatrava), applied and luminous Arabic numerals and a date at 3 o’clock.

In addition to the steel, a case material rarely used by Patek Philippe, the Geneva watchmaker also utilizes several other special features on the new watch, including a calfskin strap with white decorative seams and an embossed structure meant to recall fabric, all matching the color and structure of the central dial.

The commemorative Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava also comes with a sapphire-crystal caseback, exposing automatic Caliber 324 SC, and marked with a Calatrava cross and the “New Manufacture 2019” inscription. The year noted is when the first work groups moved to the new production building.

Under one roof

Patek Philippe’s newest manufacturing facility, now complete after five years of construction, unites all of the manufacture’s Genevan facilities under one roof. With ten floors, it expands the 1996 building complex and anticipates the manufacture’s growth in the next twenty to thirty years.

Patek Philippe’s new Manufacturing facility.

Patek Philippe describes the new building as appearing like an ocean liner from the exterior and filled with references to Patek Philippe watches inside. The building’s curved hallways are “reminiscent of the gently rounded octagon of the Nautilus case,” while the fire escape ladders offer a silhouette that resembles leaf-shaped hands.

The new Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava will be issued as a limited edition of 1,000 watches. Price: $28,351.

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava

Movement: Caliber 324 S C. Self-winding. Date in an aperture. Sweep seconds, central rotor in 21-karat gold. Frequency: 28,800 semi-oscillation per hour (4 Hz). Power reserve: 45 hours.

Dial: Gray-blue, dial center embossed with “carbon” pattern, gold applied numerals with luminescent coating. White gold white lacquered baton-style hands with luminescent coating.

Case: 40mm by 9.07mm steel, water-resistant to 30 meters, sapphire crystal case back decorated with the Calatrava cross and the inscription “New Manufacture 2019”.

Strap: Calfskin, embossed with fabric pattern, gray-blue. Prong buckle.

In time to be considered as a Father’s Day gift (or self-purchase), Bell & Ross introduces two handsome additions to its BR 05 collection of rounded-square watches with integrated bracelet, which the watchmaker introduced last year. One new model features a newly blue sapphire crystal while a second new BR 05 recalls the two-tone gold and steel case watch designs of decades past.

The new Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue.
The new Bell & Ross Black, Steel and Gold, here on a rubber strap.

You might recall that the BR 05 collection debuted as Bell & Ross’s ode to the groundbreaking integrated steel watches of the 1970s.

Essentially an evolution of its cockpit-inspired BR 03, the BR 05 has Bell & Ross placing its very identifiable 12-6-9 dial numerals (though not on the skeleton models) and four bezel screws exactly where you’d expect them on a Bell & Ross aviation watch. Bell & Ross then frames all these well-known elements with a new curved, polished round bezel and a soft-cornered 40mm square case. Bell & Ross then nicely integrates the new, rounded square case directly into a new steel bracelet.

Blue window

One new BR 05 model blues the sapphire crystal of the existing BR05 Automatic Skeleton, offering a full view of the openwork caliber. With satin-finishes and polished beveling, the skeletonized caliber both reflects and catches light, which on this new model is filtered blue.

While reading the time can be a challenge with some skeleton watches, Bell & Ross avoids this by removing the large numerals and adding hard-to-miss metal appliqué indices and SuperLuminova-filled hands onto the new watch’s blue dial.

As with the first BR 05 automatic skeleton, Bell & Ross also utilizes an open-worked, Sellita-based Caliber BR-321 to create the Caliber BR-322 inside the new watch, which is then finished with satin and polished surfaces.

From the back of the watch, you’ll find a clear view of the caliber and its unusual 360° blue-coated, open-worked oscillating weight. Bell & Ross is offering the watch as a limited edition of 500 on either a flexible steel bracelet or a ribbed blue rubber strap.

Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet

Two-tone case

The second new model, the BR 05 Black Steel and Gold, introduces a slightly ritzier look to the collection with its 1980s-style two-tone dress. Bell & Ross combines satin finishing, polished steel and 18-karat rose gold to create the somewhat retro style, further enhanced with a black dial.

Bell & Ross accents the watch’s black dial with a lovely satin-finished rose gold bezel and rose gold applique numerals, rose-gold-outlined indices and SuperLuminova-set skeletonized hour and minute hands. All the satin-finished rose gold here nicely offsets the polished case and bracelet accents.

The look of this new collection, particularly with its gold-framed numerals and indices, is somewhat more luxurious than its ‘two-tone’ description would indicate.

The new model reaches perhaps the halfway mark to the luxuriousness of the $32,500 all-gold BR 05 that Bell & Ross included within the collection’s launch last year. And while I haven’t had the opportunity to feel the new watches, I’d guess the rose gold here would also add a bit of heft when compared to the all-steel BR 05 models.   

Echoing all the BR 05 models, this Black Steel and Gold model features a clear caseback exposing a 360° rotor, which on this new model is coated with ruthenium.

Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet

 

iW Interview:

When Bell & Ross debuted the BR 05 collection last summer, we spoke to Carlos Rosillo, CEO and co-founder of Bell & Ross about the collection. In light of the newest additions to the BR 05 collection during the past month, we’ve reprised his responses to our questions below. 

Bell & Ross co-founders Carlos Rosillo (left) and Bruno Belamich.

Why create the entirely new collection BR 05? What was your goal?

The goal was to develop an intermediate model between the square – our utilitarian icon – and the round – which is universal and generic. With this new line in mind, we did not want to create a city watch, but a Bell & Ross watch made for the city. The BR05 is the subtly square watch for the city.

 

In what ways does the BR 05 design fit in with the Bell & Ross approach to watchmaking?

The inspiration comes from our iconic model, the BR03, which takes essence from the aeronautical cockpits. As a complementary collection and thus still very Bell & Ross, we are keeping our core codes that are the iconic case with a circle in a square, the iconic graphics on the dial with its 12-6-9 figures and the four screws. It is what I consider an evolution of this icon. In the BR05 DNA, there is a piece of dashboard.

 

Who are you appealing to with the new design?

It is a modern watch. So we can easily imagine a young urban man who works in a suit and rides a bike appreciating items with a singular design. It is the ideal timepiece for the man-about-town eager to face the challenges of modern life and in control of time and his destiny.

 

What were the primary challenges you discovered when creating the collection?

The main challenge is to maintain the brand’s fundamentals while innovating constantly. We are evolving in a market where novelty is necessary. The difficulty lay in respecting the proportions and volumes: to design a 40mm case with a mechanical movement and open the dial to emphasize readability.

Why such a distinctive bracelet?

The new BR05 is a perfect blend between our iconic square model and a type of watch in which the case merges with the bracelet to create a compact and harmonious whole. The arc of the curve allow the components to be perfectly aligned and ensures the bracelet can adapt seamlessly to any wrist. All of this makes the BR 05 a jewel.

 

Will BR 05 replace any existing collection?

No, it is indeed the missing link between our two existing collections and case shapes. The round shape is inspired by the history of aviation and the past, and the square for its radical form and for professional use.

We wanted to create a watch with the iconic Bell & Ross case and to merge it with a steel bracelet. The idea was to move from the professional world of the extreme to the urban landscape, a transition from the off-road to the on-road.

 

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue  

Movement: Automatic Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL. 322.

Case: 40mm satin-polished steel, sapphire crystal and caseback, 100-meters water resistance.

Dial: Skeletonized with blue crystal, applique indices filled with SuperLuminova, metal skeletonized SuperLuminova-filled hour and minute hands.

Strap: Blue rubber or satin-polished steel with folding satin-polished steel buckle.

Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 05 Black Steel & Gold

Movement: Automatic Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL. 321.

Case: 40mm rose gold and satin-polished steel with sapphire crystal and caseback. Water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Black sunray with rose-gold-gilded applique numerals and indices filled with SuperLuminova; rose-gold-gilded skeletonized hour and minute hands filled with SuperLuminova.

Strap: Black rubber or bi-material rose gold and satin-finished and polished steel. Satin-finished and polished folding steel buckle. 

Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet 

 

A look inside a Claude Meylan skeleton watch.

By Eric Gregoire

Skeleton watches can be a polarizing topic, one that elicits strong opinions from all sides. There are those who dislike skeletons for what they consider a lack of legibility. Others prefer the simplicity that a plain dial can offer and look askance at the busyness of a dial-free watch.

The Claude Meylan 6045-W Skeleton — with companion.

Then there are other critics who dismiss a skeleton watch as a frivolous gimmick.

But there are many skeleton enthusiasts who appreciate the watches for their fun and whimsical nature, two elements that can remind us why we initially became enchanted with timepieces in the first place.

The people in this camp understand that in a world flooded with quartz movements and smartwatches, which can perform hundreds of functions better, faster and more reliably, a skeleton display is one thing that a mechanical movement can always do better.

Look inside

For true fans, these special timepieces offer a rare glimpse into the innermost workings of the magic and the science involved in what makes a watch tick. By exposing all the parts, by cutting away any extraneous piece and distilling everything down to the basics, the curtain of mystery is pulled back, revealing a timeless ballet where every component works together in harmonious balance.

When the movement is exposed, every decision regarding what to remove and what to leave behind becomes critical.

Not only do skeleton movements reveal this mesmerizing piece of performance art every time we breathe life into them by winding the mainspring, they also serve a practical role as tiny timekeeping machines.

It is the blending of these two worlds, one of art, the other of science, that effortlessly combine in a skeleton to form a beautiful and beguiling whole.

Doing it right

That’s not to say that all skeleton watches are worthy of such praise. There is no shortage of examples of the skeletonization process done poorly. When the movement is exposed, every decision regarding what to remove and what to leave behind becomes critical. Too little decoration can leave a movement looking cold, while too much can make it look gaudy.

There are also important decisions to make regarding proper handsets that create enough contrast to enhance legibility.

Clearly, it is no easy task to create a skeleton watch that is beautiful, functional and practical.

The Claude Meylan 6045, with black rehaut (inner bezel ring).

Claude Meylan

Given this era of uncertainty, it is understandable for watch manufacturers to play it safe and perhaps release another dive watch or maybe a vintage-inspired heritage model. In a landscape awash with an ever-increasing number of safe bets, Claude Meylan has opted to instead steer clear of the trends and forge its own path.

The decision to avoid each new trend as it emerges can make for a perilous journey, yet taking the unpredictable, less-traveled road ensures that Claude Meylan’s timepieces stand apart.

The Claude Meylan name itself was aptly chosen as it pays homage to the very same pioneering spirit of the original Meylan family. As a distinguished clan, members of the family have figured prominently throughout Swiss horological history, and it is not uncommon to find individuals bearing the name still occupying key positions within the watch industry today.

Historical records reveal that the Meylans were one of the first four families to bring watchmaking to the Vallée de Joux in the Jura region of Switzerland.

In the Jura

It is in the small village of L’Abbaye, nestled in that same valley within the Jura mountains, that the modern Claude Meylan – surrounded by history – has decided to chart its future.

While others are content to play it safe and tiptoe past the bone yard, Claude Meylan has not. Despite featuring a range of traditionally dialed timepieces, les squelettes have figured prominently in the lineup from the early days of the company’s inception in 1988.

The Claude Meylan 6045, with white internal bezel ring.

With a retail price of $1,450, the 6045 Skeleton represents the entry-level within the Claude Meylan stable of timepieces.

A model from Claude Meylan’s Legends collection.

Other models in the lineup include chronographs in the Legends Line, the popular tonneau-shaped Tortue Series, the truly unique Poya, which sets a small watch movement within a larger case that serve to display tableaus of fantasy dreamscapes. The innovative Fenêtre sur Temps features watches with rotating disks with a window cut out to serve as the hour hand.

Unitas inside

The 6045 Skeleton utilizes a Unitas caliber 6497, initially introduced in 1950 as a pocket watch movement. Measuring 16.5 lignes or 36.6mm, the manual-wind movement had been quietly waiting in the wings for decades until being pressed into service to power wristwatches as in recent years as fashion trends pushed case sizes ever larger.

An ETA Unitas 6497 prior to being skeletonized.

The ETA Unitas 6497 is available in a few different skeletonized options, including a modern, angular design and even with PVD coated offerings.

The type Claude Meylan selected for the 6045 Skeleton is of a more traditional design and features the familiar scroll work that has come to be associated with skeleton movements.

Case and crystal

The watch’s 42mm stainless steel case is polished on all surfaces. Although of ample size, the watch wears comfortably owing to its relatively shorter lug length.

Despite its generous proportions and short lugs, the Claude Meylan 6045 wears comfortably.

The unsigned crown is well proportioned to the case and also is of substantial size, suitable for its role on a manual-wind movement.

The steel case is topped off with a flat sapphire crystal, giving the whole package a sleek modern feel while creating an interesting counterbalance with the traditional mechanical movement.

The spade-style hands are blued and contrast nicely against the steel plates of the movement, giving the watch a high level of legibility for a skeleton.

The blued handset creates a sharp contrast to the movement.

Because this Unitas was initially created as a pocket watch movement, the sub-seconds hand is found at the nine o’clock position when fitted into a wristwatch.

Dial and back

The silvered (or white or black) rehaut carries Roman numerals and is thin enough to be unobtrusive but substantial enough to adequately perform its function. It features two different finishes, a frosted main section and a polished inner rim that carries the minute marks.

These small touches and attention to detail impart upon the watch a quality that resonates well above its asking price.

Turning the watch over and observing the backside, the eyes are treated to an even more delightful view of the movement. Ruby-red jewels are juxtaposed against blued screw heads, both of which are sprinkled generously throughout, as if the engineers were bakers putting the final glittering touches atop a cake.

The reverse view is as interesting as the front.

Good Math 

The designers at Claude Meylan continue to remind us that it is actually possible to achieve addition through subtraction. There is much for us to learn about how a watch functions simply by observing how all the components interact with one another.

But the most important thing we can learn from a skeleton has nothing to do with the science of timekeeping.

By stripping away everything down to the absolute necessities, we are left with nothing but the essential, and in doing so a skeleton reveals its greatest lesson: that the bare essentials are all we ever need.

Eric Gregoire is a watch collector and writer, who has covered a broad range of topics within the world of horology for more than twenty years. His latest book, “Eternal Springs: An Introduction to the World of Mechanical Watches,” is available for electronic download on Amazon here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082HFCQMJ

Bulgari this week adds a handsome blue dial to its ultra-thin Octo Finissimo Automatic Steel line, essentially doubling the options – from one model to two – available at the collection’s entry level.

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic model offers a new blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish to the ultra-thin, satin-finished steel watch collection.

Recall that during its debut event this past January in Dubai, Bulgari debuted the first Octo Finissimo Automatic watch with a steel case, and with a black dial, to glowing notices (including ours).

The first Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel arrived in January with a black dial.

The Octo Finissimo collection is Bulgari’s multi-award-winning set of record-setting ultra-thin watches that includes complicated watches as well as this time-only edition. The design has previously only been offered with ceramic,  precious metal or titanium cases and bracelets.  

The new model adds a blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish to the satin-finished steel watch. Like its ceramic, titanium or gold brethren, the steel model is matched with a complex bracelet that echoes the case perfectly. Here that translates to full-length satin-finished steel links interspersed with central-set polished steel links.

Matte and polished finishes abound on both case and bracelet, adding a pleasing multi-dimensional caste to the watch.

Multi-dimensional

Matte and polished finishes abound on both case and bracelet, adding a pleasing multi-dimensional caste to the watch, especially when its wraps around a wrist.

Despite its 6.4mm thickness, just slightly thicker than the precious metal and titanium models, these steel Octo Finissimo Steel Automatic watches boast 100-meter water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown. The collection’s titanium, ceramic and precious metal models are rated to 30 meters.

Despite its 6.4mm thickness, just slightly thicker than previous models, the steel Octo Finissimo Steel Automatic watches boast 100-meter water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown.

The greater water resistance is appropriate for a steel watch, according to Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, who suggests that with this sportier version of the Octo Finissimo Automatic “you can dive, swim, take a shower…you can wear it from the tennis court to the board room.”     

Platinum rotor

Inside you’ll find the same ultra-thin Bulgari BVL138 Finissimo caliber found in the other Octo Finissimo Automatic models. A record-breaking 2.23mm thin, the caliber is wound by a platinum micro-rotor nicely visible though the clear sapphire caseback, exposing its expertly applied Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate.

The ultra-thin Bulgari BVL138 Finissimo caliber is a record-breaking 2.23mm thin and is wound by a platinum micro-rotor visible though the clear sapphire caseback.

With carefully calculate heft and machining, the rotor powers the watch’s hours, minutes and small seconds indications for up to sixty hours.  Price: $11,800.

 

Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel

Movement: Automatic BVL138 Finissimo caliber (2.23mm thick), winding via a platinum micro-rotor, hours, minutes and small seconds indications. Adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate, 60-hour power reserve, 21,600 VpH.

Case: 40mm extra-thin satin-polished steel case (6.40mm thick), transparent caseback; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay

Dial: Blue lacquered dial with sunburst finishing, faceted diamond rhodium-plated hands; water-resistant up to 100m.

Bracelet: Integrated satin-polished steel bracelet with folding clasp.

Price: $11,800

 

Torgoen has partnered with Miracle Flights to raise funds for the charity, which transports critically ill children to specialized medical care far from home.

With every purchase made through Torgoen’s ecommerce site, a portion of proceeds will go to support Miracle Flights and help more children reach the life-changing medical treatment they need.

“Now more than ever, we’ve felt compelled to give back through our online platform,” says Torgoen brand manager Ziv Emmet.

 

“As a brand devoted to pilots and aviation enthusiasts, we immediately connected to the Miracle Flights mission. Together with our customers, we know we can make a positive impact on this organization and the thousands of families it serves.”

Founded in June 1985, Miracle Flights is the nation’s leading medical flight charity, providing thousands of free commercial flights each year to families across the country.

“We’re grateful to Torgoen – not only for their generous financial support but also for giving us such an elegant and memorable way to commemorate our 35 years,” says Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown.

To learn more about Miracle Flights and its partnership with Torgoen, visit miracleflights.org.

The Torgoen T-16

Ball Watch this week combines its well-known dial illumination and solid crown protector with a racing tachymeter to create the Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph, the brand’s first automotive racing watch in years.

The new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph

While Ball has long focused on designing watches with functions requested by explorers, divers, travelers and adventurers, the historical U.S. brand (now based in Switzerland) now seeks to reach automobile racing enthusiasts with this new chronograph collection. Ball Watch has offered other watches with tachymeters in years past, including the Engineer Master II Slide Chronograph and two Fireman Storm Chaser models, but this debut is the first in recent years specifically designed with such a bezel.  

For Ball, adding a speed-monitoring tachymeter scale (here, in black ceramic) to the bezel of a chronograph is just a start. The remaining features Ball adds to the three-watch collection echo the brand’s attention to the needs of collectors who plan to wear their watch amid adverse conditions.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph, showing illumination.

Shock resistance

These features include a COSC-certified, chronometer-rated automatic movement (Ball’s Caliber RR1401, an upgraded and customized ETA Valjoux 7750), resistance to shocks of up to 7,500 g and anti-magnetic protection rated to 4,800 A/m.

That Ball crown protector (left), standard on the watches throughout the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon collection, screws into the case once the owner sets the time on the watch. After the wearer clasps the patented steel protector over the crown, it won’t budge or allow dust or dirt to contamination the case interior.  

And as noted, Ball’s proprietary H3 gas tube illumination (colored green on the dial and hands and yellow at 12 o’clock) means that the time – and the timing – remains visible day or night. 

Three dials

Ball makes the new Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph with a 42mm diameter stainless steel case with a black ceramic bezel and a choice of a black, blue or white dial.

Ball then finishes the watch with a stainless-steel brushed and polished bracelet with a folding clasp. Price: $3,599.

 

SPECIFICATIONS: Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph

Movement: Automatic caliber BALL RR1401-C (ETA-7750-based), chronometer-certified COSC,

7,500Gs shock resistance, 100-meters of water resistance, anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m

Functions: Chronograph with accumulated measurement up to 45 minutes, tachymeter, hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds and date

Dial: Blue, silver or black with 15 micro gas tubes on hour and minute hands and dial for night reading capability

Case: 42mm by 15.2mm stainless steel with black ceramic bezel, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system

Bracelet: Tapered stainless steel with patented folding buckle and extension system

Price: $3,599

 

Alpina Watches has partnered with the Netherlands-based Gyre Watch to create the new Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection featuring watchcases crafted from recycled materials. Sales of the watch, with its case forged from a mixture of fiberglass (30%) and plastic debris (70%) caught in fishing nets in the Indian Ocean, will support the National Park Foundation.

The new Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection is composed of five models and is being officially launched to support World Oceans Day (June 8th). Alpina will donate $100 for every watch purchased through us.AlpinaWatches.com in order to help maintain the U.S. parks, both inland and coastal.

The collection

The full Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic range includes three men’s models (44 mm, $1,395) and two models designed for women (36mm, $1,295).

All five watches share blue-shaded dials, including turquoise and dyed mother-of-pearl, and luminescent hands. Inside each watch Alpina places its Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement.

In addition, as a dive model, the watch features the requisite unidirectional bezel and water-resistance to 300 meters.

The Alpina Seastrong Gyre Diver Automatic, 36mm size. Each case is made using recycled materials.

Alpina will ship all the new watches with one of three two-tone NATO-style straps made from recycled plastic bottles. In addition, Alpina will include a black vegetable leather strap made of recycled apple waste with every 44mm watch.

Gyre origins

Alpina explains that the word Gyre is a reference to giant circular ocean currents. The Geneva-based watchmaker adds that the new collection represents the start of a long-term collaboration with Gyre Watch.

Gyre Watch, founded in The Netherlands in 2017, makes watches from recycled ocean plastic. Local fishermen along the Indian Ocean earn a fee collecting fishing nets from the sea for recycling, which means Gyre also contributes to local economies.

Alpina will make the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic as a limited series of 1,883 pieces of each model, in reference to the year of Alpina’s founding. Each watch will be sold in an eco-friendly gift set made of recycled plastic and recycled plastic bottles.

To further enhance the collection’s ecological profile, Alpina is printing each watch’s guarantee and certificate of authenticity on one page of recycled paper and will utilize a paperless user manual, accessible via a QR code. The code will direct buyers to a dedicated site for the Gyre collection as well as the instruction and maintenance manual.