The problem with the Apple Watch is just how much functional potential it has when you think about all the apps that can utilize its functionality. Apple itself doesn't really know what features consumers will latch on to, because most of the people at Apple represent a sort of tech elite, and their habits and desires might be very different from the mainstream consumer they need to romance with a novel product. In a sense, Apple is jumping the gun by making such a nicely made smartwatch, because most consumers still aren't convinced they need to buy a smartwatch to begin with. The fact is that many consumers are in shock that some people might pay several hundred dollars (let alone thousands of dollars) for any type of watch. With prices for most smartwatches hovering around the 0 mark, I think a lot of consumers feel Apple is out of line asking for so much for the Apple Watch, even though they don't really understand what they are getting. Apple seems to have forgotten that so many people out there are completely unfamiliar with nice watches, and the very category of people who are familiar with nice watches are threatened by the Apple Watch. If the Apple Watch becomes as useful as Apple claims it will be, then traditional watch lovers will be forced to make the difficult decision of wearing an connected modern electronic versus traditional mechanical timepiece.
The new sports watch from Rolex for 2015 was an interesting version of the Rolex Yacht-Master presented in an 18k Everose gold case with a Cerachrom black ceramic bezel matched to a new strap Rolex calls the Oysterflex. The 2015 Yacht-Master is actually two watches and each has slight, but important differences. First is the 40mm-wide Yacht-master 116655, but you should also be aware of the interesting 37mm-wide Yacht-Master 268655 version. aBlogtoWatch debuted the Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 for 2015 in Everose gold and ceramic here.
Harry Winston has recently announced another chapter in their Histoire de Tourbillon line, the Harry Winston Histoire De Tourbillon 6. It is traditionally one of the most complicated watches, but released with the least amount of usable illustrations - you guessed it: one front view. To sum it all up real quick: a triple-axis tourbillon, a separate karussel, 683 parts, two time indications, resetting hands on the second indication, carriage stop on the karussel, over 80 hours of power reserve, and a monstrous 55-millimeter case. Take all that into account, and you will see why it baffles me why such halo pieces – because, after all, such releases are the epitome of halo releases – are debuted with just a single front view of the watch. Illustration-rant over, we can move on to similarly mind-boggling, albeit much more interesting issues now – of the mechanical kind!
The Voutilainen GMR watch dial is produced from solid silver which has been hand-machine guilloche engraved. The applied hour markers are flat brushed on their surface for a very high-contrast, legible look. When it comes to the type of meticulous hand-made watches as we get from someone like Voutilainen and his workshop, there are rarely issues with parts (especially on the dial) that have improper finish applied. I happen to really like the new darker look of the deep gray dial against the Voutilainen GMR's 18k white gold case (as seen here). Actually, because the majority of these watches are on order only, Voutilainen allows you to choose either 18k white gold, 18k red gold, or 950 platinum as the case material for the Voutilainen GMR.
From a quality perspective, the steel case of the Overseas is top-notch with wonderful polishing and excellent detailing. The dial elements, while traditional, are crisp and make for excellent legibility. Vacheron Constantin makes for a very easy to wear and enjoy timepiece that has the feel of high-end luxury but the comfort of a familiar daily sports watch. You'll get that "watch snob nod" wearing an Overseas with a crowd of watch people, but at the same time, you have a watch that goes casually with jeans that you can wear out without fear it will be noticed as an item of conspicuous spending.
The 41mm rose gold case is noticeably sharp. Its plain, straight sides, and angular bezel give the whole watch the appearance of size, despite remaining comfortable to wear – the case comes in at a remarkable 8.24mm tall. Due to the starkness of the flanks, the watch is able to satisfy the modern requirement for presence, while remaining slight enough to fit comfortably under a cuff. The Piaget Altiplano Chronograph retains a consistent identity through the use of stout, polished pushers that blend in with the otherwise uncluttered silhouette. The pushers need to be there because it's a chronograph, but their presence is muted and all the better for it.
Although the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time may seem like a strange watch for Patek Philippe to produce, I am far from a Patek purist, and I found it to be entirely charming in person. While it's far from an original design, the implementation is strong, the proportions are excellent and, if you want a sport watch in white gold, I'd certainly recommend seeing the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 in person before passing final judgement.
The workshop will take place on Saturday, April 25th, 2015, between 10am and 2pm, at Vacheron Constantin Boutique, 729 Madison Avenue at 64th Street, New York, New York. You can turn up whenever you like between those hours, but please let them know that you and your mini-micro-mechanic will be attending. Get in touch with VC, either by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Daniel Adams at 212-891-2307.
Thematically, the Romain Jerome Spacecraft and Spacecraft Black watches are based on driver's watches (sometimes called wedge watches), where time is read from the side. Having said that, the Spacecraft is not exactly that, as reading the time requires looking at both the top of the case as well as the side. Everything about the Romain Jerome Spacecraft Black is odd, from how one reads it to what it looks like, but taken together, the package is both artistic and satisfying.
Staying with technicalities, the tourbillon runs at the rate you would expect to see from Breguet: 2.5 Hertz, or 18,000 vibrations per hour, which is the traditional "speed" you would see on an original Breguet from some two centuries ago. Notably, higher frequency tourbillons are more scarce even today, as the considerable weight of the tourbillon assembly already is a strain on the mainspring – at the end of the day, it matters a lot whether this mass is to be stopped and re-started five, six, eight, or more times each second. In turn, the power reserve is over 50 hours which, again, would be considerably less when matched with a faster-beating balance wheel.
>Model: Marineman Seahorse ref. S706M-09
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Japanese watch lover looking for something mechanical with a bit more of a European style but still a great value.
>Best characteristic of watch: Handsome looks with a nice assortment of parts of impressive details for the money.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Some forgivable, albeit noticeable, refinement issues. Might be too large for some tastes.
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I normally wouldn't spend time talking about a red rubber watch strap, but again, even the strap is unique on the Richard Mille RM 025 Tourbillon Chronograph Diver's watch. The strap is actually made from a material known as Kalrez, just one of many specialized industrial materials Richard Mille has borrowed from other industries (that actually need them) for use on their watches. Kalrez is apparently almost totally chemical resistant and maintains stability at a temperature of 327 degrees Celsius. Primarily relied upon in the pharmaceutical and aerospace industries, thanks to Richard Mille, you can enjoy the theoretical benefits of Kalrez on your wrist in conditions that would otherwise totally destroy a human body.
If you want to buy one of these very limited watches, you will be able to pick one up at Selfridges on Oxford Street, The Watch Gallery's Westfield London location, Selfridges at Manchester Exchange Square, and online at the Watch Gallery. You will then be contacted by a member of the Watch Gallery's concierge team to discuss your purchase and to be informed of the unique issue number that will be engraved into the case back of your watch (the numbers are issued in sequence on a first-come, first-served basis). Retailing at a price of £12,500, the Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Aerofusion is an attractive and novel addition to the Watch Gallery's ever-growing list of collaborative timepieces. hublot.com
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Ulysse Nardin Anchor Tourbillon
People continue to get confused by how the crown works on watches like this, where the crown does not pull out. Owners of some of the more complicated Richard Mille watches will be familiar with how the crown works on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2. Why not a pull-out crown? Well, in the most strict of senses, each time you pull out the crown you do in fact allow water or dust to be introduced into the case, even if there are protective gaskets. Crowns like this have a pusher built into them, and when pressed, cycle through the functions that the crown is able to do, such as setting the time, setting the second time zone (GMT hand), setting the date, winding the watch, as well as what appears to be a "neutral" position. The function selector window is placed next to the date window. As I said before, the Calibre 780 also has a GMT hand over 6 o'clock which has a disc colored to represent the day/night cycle and offers a handy second time zone to the already feature-packed Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 watch.
The IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month does away with the tourbillon and the moon phase indication, using the generous dial real estate to feature a "digital" date, month, and leap year indication for its perpetual calendar, pairing that impressive (and extremely rarely seen) combination of complications with a chronograph. Because of this selection of complications, the case, although still 46 millimeter wide, now is 17 mm thick, as the 89802 movement requires considerably more space.