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The watchmakers at Grand Seiko’s Micro Artists Studio once again display their technical and artistic expertise with a new platinum-cased Spring Drive masterpiece.

The new Masterpiece Collection
 Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition is a beautiful example of the brand’s nature-based aesthetic with a dial and engraved case meant to recall the night skies above Achi, a Japanese mountain village famous for its both its remoteness and its clean air.

Grand Seiko’s new Masterpiece Collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition.

Grand Seiko artisans use a variety of manufacturing and finishing techniques to create the dial, including stamping, plating and hand painting.  

Artisans use a variety of manufacturing and finishing techniques to create the dial, including stamping, plating and hand painting.

Named to celebrate Seiko’s 140th anniversary, the watch’s stunning and highly engraved 38.5mm platinum case also expresses the natural clarity of Achi’s night skies. Pleasing groups of leaf-like patterns cover the entire case, repeated in varying directions to capture “the exquisite order and ever-changing aspect of Achi’s starry skies,” according to Grand Seiko.

Inside Grand Seiko fits it superb Spring Drive manual-winding caliber 9R02, a movement first seen in 2019 when it marked the 20th anniversary of Spring Drive.  

The movement itself continues Grand Seiko’s ode to natural beauty. For example, the barrel is shaped to echo the bellflower that is the symbol of the Shiojiri region, home to the Micro Artists Studio. Next to the barrel is the power reserve indicator.

The power reserve here is an impressive eighty-four hours, largely thanks to the Caliber 9R02’s Dual Spring Barrel. Not surprisingly, Grand Seiko expertly hand polishes the rims of all the bridges, the holes for the rubies and the screws.

Note the 18-karat yellow gold plaque on the lower bridge. While it is marked with the engraved words “Micro Artist,” Grand Seiko allows the owner of the watch the option to replace these words with a phrase of his or her choice.  Available starting in August, the watch is a limited edition of fifty. Price: $79,000.

Specifications: Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection 
Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (Limited edition of 50)

Movement: Caliber 9R02 manual-winding Spring Drive with power reserve of 84 hours. Accuracy: ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month). Dual-Spring Barrel and torque return system, 
power reserve indicator.

Case: 38.5mm by 9.8mm
platinum with clasp, hand-engraved, dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back. 
Water resistance: 30 meters. Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m.

Dial: Blue with sparkles made with stamping, plating and hand painting.

Strap: Crocodile strap with three-fold clasp with push button release.

Price: $79,000.

 

By Nancy Olson

Gucci is celebrating its centenary with the launch of a high watchmaking collection, ramped up by the introduction of its first movement by parent company Kering. The in-house automatic Caliber GG727.25 makes its debut in the Gucci 25H, an ultra-slim timepiece collection available in stainless steel or precious metal.

The new Gucci 25H Automatic Steel, powered by Gucci’s first in-house automatic caliber.

The Paris-based Kering, which also claims Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux among its portfolio of luxury brands, designed and developed the movement, which is a product of Kering’s own manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. And at just 3.70mm thick, the new movement is the perfect pairing for the 25H’s own slender profile, measuring a mere 7.2mm.

The new Gucci 25H Automatic Diamonds, cased in steel.

Two tourbillon versions are also part of the new collection, and their cases measure slightly thicker, at 8mm. The self-winding 24-jewel movement, visible through the caseback, features sixty hours of power reserve, and it runs at 21,600 bph, or 3Hz.

Two tourbillon watches are also part of the new Gucci 25H collection. This model is cased in platinum.

Steel to platinum

The 40mm timepiece, designed by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, seamlessly morphs from sporty status in steel to a more formal designation when dressed in yellow gold or platinum, as in the tourbillon versions. The minimalist dial of the 25H marks the hours with simple indices, while skeletonized hands—dotted with luminescence—traverse the satin-brushed lined décor.

Here, too, the movement is given its proper due, with GG727.25 prominently displayed front and center, along with Gucci’s double-G logo at 12 o’clock.

The in-house automatic Caliber GG727.25 makes its debut in the Gucci 25H.

The tourbillon variations are marked GG727.25.T. Not so incidentally, even the movement identifications have significance: Michele considers the numerical designation talismanic.

The Caliber Gucci GG727.25 is visible through the sapphire-crystal caseback of the Gucci 25H Automatic Steel.

Second skin

The watch’s precision-crafted bezel obscures the crown, making it nearly invisible, and this unique architecture lends a seamless quality to the overall design, while also enhancing the fit. The five-link bracelet is both comfortable and handsome, and augments Gucci’s goal of making the timepiece “like a second skin on the wrist.”

The Gucci 25H includes several variations. The tourbillon in yellow gold with and an 18-karat bracelet is priced at $129,000, while the tourbillon in platinum with a platinum bracelet is $183,000. The 25H automatic in stainless steel with a steel bracelet is priced at $9,500; the stainless steel version with a diamond-set bezel is $12,200.

The new Gucci 25H Tourbillon Yellow Gold.

 

Among its range of 2021 debuts, Grand Seiko adds a new 40mm platinum-cased model within its vintage-inspired Heritage collection. The new watch, called the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
 Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (SLGH007), features the Caliber 9SA5, the brand’s superb new high-beat movement, and a dial meant to echo the beauty of tree grain, or rings.   

The new Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition.

The watch debuts amid a 2021 Grand Seiko launch that also includes a new Spring Drive chronograph, a set of Elegance dress watches with dials inspired by the seasons, and a Spring Drive high jewelry model. We’ll show you details about these pieces in upcoming posts. 

Platinum model

With its intricate depiction of tree grain, the new limited edition is meant to embody Seiko-founder Kintaro Hattori’s spirit and vision. “As if stretching back to reveal the very roots of Kintaro’s story, a series of delicate and organic lines echo the intricate rings that denote each year’s growth,” according to the brand.

Grand Seiko artisans have devised a dial with a three-dimensional appearance enhanced by how light plays off textural undulations. The wood grain effect appears realistic thanks to a subtle use of dark and light tones across the dial.

Grand Seiko says it plans to echo the design of this new model in the future, dubbing it Series 9, which will feature the larger hands designed to align exactly with grooved hour markers. In addition, this model offers its platinum case finished with a hairline pattern matched with a mirror finish.

As an anniversary piece, the watch’s precious metal is celebrated. On the dial, Grand Seiko places a star at six o’clock to indicate that the indexes are solid gold, as are the GS letters, the calendar frame and the buckle.

Inside, the Grand Seiko Caliber 9SA5 is billed by the brand as its finest – and for many reasons. Primarily, the movement is thinner and is more efficient than earlier automatic calibers, attributes driven in part by a wholly new Dual Impulse Escapement. This Grand Seiko invention combines direct impulse, where power is transferred directly from the escape wheel to the balance, with conventional indirect impulse. Twin barrels also enhance the caliber’s top-rate 80-hour power reserve.

Caliber 9SA5 is the thinnest Grand Seiko high-beat movement.

The Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
 Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition will be available as a limited edition of 140 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in July 2021. Price: $59,000.

The beauty of the Caliber 9SA5 high-beat movement finish is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.

Specifications: Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
 Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (140 watches)

Movement: Automatic ‘Hi-Beat’ 36000 80 Hours Caliber 9SA5
, 36,000 vph (10 beats per second), accuracy (mean daily rate): +5 to –3 seconds per day, power reserve of 80 hours.

Case: 40mm by 11.7mm platinum 950 case and clasp, box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw caseback, water resistance to 100 meters, magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m.

Strap: Crocodile with three-fold clasp with push-button release.

Price: $59,000

 

Hermès this week adds sixteen pieces to its artistic moonphase watch collection with the launch of the new Arceau L’heure de la Lune New York Meteorite Dial limited edition.

In the style of existing models in the Arceau L’heure de la Lune collection, Hermès highlights the watch with a light brown quilted-pattern dial created using a thin slice of meteorite discovered by fisherman and sold in New York in 1965. The new models will be cased in platinum.

Known as siderite, the meteor-sourced dial’s material appears metallic brown, which signifies that it comes from the center of an asteroid. Owners of the Arceau L’heure de la Lune New York Meteorite Dial limited edition, which will be exclusively sold in the United States, will also be able to claim possession of a section of the only meteorite legally bearing the name New York.

You may recall that in 2019 Hermes wowed observers at that year’s SIHH when it debuted the first models in the 43mm gold-cased Arceau de la Lune collection with stone dials and at least one model crafted with a dial made of lunar meteorite. Earlier this year Hermès added several new models to the collection with dials of celestial origin, including one fashioned from a piece of Martian meteorite.

Quirky displays

The 43mm platinum-cased model, a high-end alternative to the classic moonphase watch, offers a simultaneous display of moon phases in both northern and southern hemispheres. Two discs, one indicating the date and one showing the hour and minute, rotate around the dial. As they do, their position above two mother-of-pearl moon discs syncs exactly with the moon’s phase at the time and date indicated. Blued hands contrast nicely to display both time and date on white lacquered discs.

In a quirky Hermès touch, the southern hemisphere’s moon is displayed at the top of the dial while the moon as seen in the northern hemisphere rests at the 6 o’clock position.

Jean-Francois Mojon (who has worked with MB&F and Harry Winston, among others) created the dial’s 59-day lunar dance for Hermès by developing a patent-pending module linked to the Hermès H1837 automatic caliber.

Each Hermès Arceau L’heure de la Lune New York Meteorite Dial is priced at $69,950.

At this year’s virtual Watches & Wonders, A. Lange & Söhne debuted two watches with white gold cases. For each watch, the debuts represent their premier in the precious metal.

One, the Odysseus, was available strictly in its debut metal and is the first steel-cased sports watch for this Glashutte-based luxury watchmaker. The other is the ultra-complex Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, the world’s only watch that combines a mechanical jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater, which was previously only sold with a platinum case.

The A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus is now available with a white gold case and a rubber strap (pictured) or a leather strap.

Odysseus

The Odysseus is now available in white gold 40.5mm case (the same diameter as the steel debut) and offered with an all-new integrated rubber strap or leather strap. The sporty-elegant timepiece with the large date and day display features a grey, newly textured dial (instead of the blue dial used for the steel model) within a highly sculptured case. And while the case metal and dial finishing are new, the Odysseus continues to be powered by the L155.1 Datomatic, an automatic movement that boasts fifty hours of power reserve.

The A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus is now available with a white gold case and a rubber strap or a leather strap (pictured).

Along with the precious metal case, the new strap options present A. Lange & Söhne fans two more options novel for this watchmaker. The rubber bracelet or brown leather strap on this first-ever sporty A. Lange & Söhne watch are both new, and both appear highly integrated with the case. They offer the wearer a lightweight conveyance for the somewhat heavier precious case. 

A. Lange & Söhne has a placed luminous white-gold hands
 and notched baton appliques on the dial, as we saw on the steel model. Alongside the large date and luminous hour markers, these carefully considered design elements ensure that the time and date are both exceedingly legible as viewed against the darker 
Odysseus dial. A red 60 on the silvered flange ring is a nice accent. Specially sealed, tapered buttons for correcting the date and the day of week are arranged at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock. As you’d expect from this top-tier luxury watchmaker, case and lug finish is superb, with newly brushed and polished surfaces enhancing the dial’s textured appearance.

Those familiar with this high-end maker know that the caliber’s name, Datomatic, stands for the combination of a date mechanism and automatic winding.

The Caliber L155.1 Datomatic

From the back of the watch you’ll see the Datomatic’s skeletonized and partially blackened rotor, set with a platinum mass to better assure dependable winding.

Also visible: the German silver plate decorated with Glashütte ribbing, the wave pattern engraved on the balance bridge and the screwed gold chaton above the escape wheel. Price: $40,600.

The Zeitwerk Minute Repeater

When debuted by A. Lange & Söhne in 2015, the platinum-cased Zeitwerk Minute Repeater was the world’s only watch to combine a mechanical jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater. In 2020, that still holds true, but now the watch is offered with a white gold case. Five years after the watch’s debut, it now comes in a limited edition of thirty pieces cased in 44.2mm x 14.1mm white gold with a deep-blue dial.

Among its many impressive attributes, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater features a pusher mechanism rather than a slide for triggering the repeater.

A. Lange & Söhne designed the caliber to deliver its striking power directly from the mainspring barrel, which means there is no need for a slide to wind a separate spring. And since a pusher, unlike a slide, can be sealed, the watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters.

To read much more about the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, click here. Price: 449,000 Euros. In the U.S., final price upon request.