Archive for October, 2008

The Watch Avenue

October 22, 2008

This week I stumbled upon an amazing website: http://www.thewatchavenue.com!

Is this the future of shopping? Shopping streets replicated online?

The Watch Avenue features amazing functions, presentations and brands:

- You can go to the cinema to watch movies about watches.

- You can to the library to read books about watches.

- You can go to the kiosque to read recent magazines about watches.

- You can go to watchmaking school (class 101).

- You can go to a museum (TAG Heuer).

- You can do window shopping for the following brands: Vacheron Constantin, Audermars Piguet, RaPiaget, Hublot and Raymond Weil. Soon some more boutiques will follow.

- Visit the information center of AIHH.

Have a look and please share your experience here with us.

Review – Chapter One

October 17, 2008

You have to leave it to the Purveyor of Time to arrive at where others cannot tread! Steven Holtzman has once again managed to create another watch industry “FIRST” in bringing together 3 of the finest masters in haute Horlogerie in an unprecedented collaboration with the creation of his latest company – Maitres du Temps.

Armed with more than 30 years of experience behind him, Steven is also the main catalyst behind Maitres du Temps – a horological masterpiece involving Christophe Claret, Roger Dubuis and Peter Speake-Marin. And what an incredible piece of art it is!

In the recently-launched Maitres du Temps – Chapter One which many has already been touted as one of the most revolutionary watches in recent history, its complicated combination of tourbillon, mono-pusher chronograph, retrograde date & GMT, and 2 rolling bars indicating the day & moon-phase at the 6 & 12 o’clock position brings forth an incredible marriage between the undisputed wizardry of Christophe Claret, the rich horological experience of Roger Dubuis and the unique bridging ability of Peter Speake-Marin.

With an approximate 500 plus complications, Maitres du Temps – Chapter One is not designed to be the most complicated of watches, but rather, its mission is to be THE MOST INTRICATE, THE MOST INNOVATIVE, and to a certain extent, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL. And what can we say? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

This history-making Maitres du Temps – Chapter One, which took more than 2 years and thousands of drawings, was first conceived by Steven Holtzman and Roger Dubuis and followed by the addition of Peter Speake-Marin and Christophe Claret in the conception, design & project management and production stages respectively.

Aesthetically speaking, this Maitres du Temps – Chapter One has a combination of some of the crowd favourites include the allowance of looking into the heart of the watch, especially with the gyration of the Tourbillon Cage, the north & south rollers featuring the Retrograde GMT + Date, and Laser-etched Moon + Stars-phase.

However, in considering that it comes with a tag of CHF400, 000, and the limited availability of just 50 pieces in total (in red-gold, white-gold & titanium), clearly the Chapter One is a watch that is not meant for just anybody. According to an interview with European Luxury Blog, Steven Holtzman revealed that the aim of Maitres du Temps is “to work with independent watchmakers, to instill craftsmanship, bring masters into the product and offer outstanding service and distribution.”

While I can imagine that with it being in the categorised as “Uber-Luxury and Hogh Horology” (in the words of Steven Holtzman), it is not meant to be purely a profit-making venture, but rather also an avenue whereby the limits of traditionally watchmaking is continually pushed to the limits. Already, I believe that at least 1 piece of Chapter One is destined for a museum in the future, and speaking of future, I believe that all of us are just waiting to see the Maitres du Temps – Chapter Two in 2009?


Maitres du Temps – Chapter One Technical Specifications

Manual-wind mechanical movement, one-minute tourbillon, mono-pusher chronograph, retrograde date indicator, retrograde GMT indicator, day of the week indication on roller, patented precise moon phase indication on roller.

Displays

  • Central hands indicating hours and minutes
  • Central chronograph counterpoised second hand
  • 60-minute counter at 12 o’clock
  • Retrograde date at 3 o’clock
  • Retrograde GMT at 9 o’clock
  • One-minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock
  • Day of the week indication on roller at 6 o’clock
  • Patented precise moon phase indication on roller at 12 o’clock

Functions

  • Two-position winding crown: pushed in to wind the watch; pulled out to set the time
  • Chronograph: start/stop/return-to-zero function activated by single pusher in the crown

Correctors

  • Date corrector at 2 o’clock
  • Day of the week corrector at 4 o’clock
  • Moon phase corrector at 8 o’clock
  • GMT corrector at 10 o’clock

Calibre SHC02

  • Dimensions: 51.3 mm x 31.6 mm
  • Number of components: 558
  • Number of jewels: 58
  • Power reserve: 60 hours
  • Tourbillon rotation: 60 seconds
  • Balance frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)

Case

  • 18K red gold
  • Number of components: 104
  • Dimensions: 62.60 mm x 45.90 mm
  • Sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating
  • Display back: sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating
  • High polish and satin finishes on compound-curve surfaces
  • Correctors with integrated locking system

Dial

  • 18K gold
  • Number of components: 7
  • Multi-faceted and beveled
  • Printed Roman numerals
  • Engine-turned sun-ray guilloche
  • Red counterpoised chronograph hand
  • Blue sword-shaped hands for chronograph counter, hour, minute, date, and GMT

Rollers

  • Day barrel: anodized anticorodal finished aluminum
  • Moon phase barrel: anodized anticorodal finished aluminum inside a matte anodized cover with laser-pierced moon and stars
  • Window between day roller and tourbillon

Strap

  • Alligator strap with 18K red gold deployant buckle

* Special thanks to Ms. Sylvia Gelton, Public Relations for Maitres du Temps for the kind information, and also to European Luxury Blog for the exclusive interview.

* This review is strictly representing the views of the author, and by no means is a representation of http://www.TheTimeTV.com

Have you heard of Rodolphe Cattin?

October 3, 2008

Some months ago during the WPHH held by the Franck Muller Group, there was an world introduction to one of the most eye-catching watches in recent years (at least to my eyes) – Rodolphe Instinct Big Tourbillion. In fact, when asked by Alon previously, I named it as my “Dream Watch”. :-)

What really caught my eye to this watch was the spectacular size of the tourbillion, measuring 23mm in diameter alone. By far, this has been one of the more incredibly designed watches, including the Concord C-1 Tourbillon Gravity (which by the way, has a radically-designed protruding tourbillon cage).

According to an exclusive interview with TheTimeTV, the designer himself, Rodolphe spoke about this outstanding design that he developed with the Watchland (Franck Muller Group) watchmakers.

With more than 190 components, this aesthetic masterpiece is the culmination of efforts between the various passionate professionals from Geneva, Neuchatel and Jura, making it a truly Swiss-Made watch.

As for some of the specifications:

Function: Tourbillion, Hours, Minutes, Retrograde Date & Power Reserve (60 Hours)

Case & Dimensions: White Gold / 54mm X 56mm

Crystal: Sapphire

Water Resistance: 30 Metres

Bracelet: White, Black or Brown Alligator

Going back to some introduction about the man himself, the brand – Rodolphe Montres & Bijoux is named after the designer – Rodolphe Cattin, who, prior to working for Longines in the mid-eighties, was already forming his career through stints with Omega and Tissot among others.

Due to the slowing Italian market in the mid-eighties, Rodolphe was also presented with one of the biggest challenges early in his career – to come up with a design collection that can differentiate Longines as a leader compared to the rest of the competitors.

What happened then was also a revolutionary campaign at that time! Instead of following traditions, Rodolphe presented a collection series with a never-been-tried design – writing down the name of the designer (Rodolphe) on the dials. In the end, it was not only something totally different, but resulted in an extraordinary success with more than 50, 000 timepieces sold per collection (6 in total).

Riding on this success, Rodolphe started his own design office – Rodolphe & Co., which till today is designing watches for many renowned fashion and prestige brands and accounting form more than 7 million timepieces sold globally.

Up till 1996, there was still no existence of watches that carried his own name, but that soon changed with the incorporation of Rodolphe Montres & Bijoux SA, and it began an annual production of 1, 000 to 2, 000 pieces.

In between then and now, Rodolphe watches attracted the likes of artistes Nicole Richie, Trevor Wright, Brazilian footballers Ronaldinho, Cafu, and Roberto Carlos who became some of biggest fans of this brand.

At the same time, somewhere towards 2005, the “Rodolphe” brand began to attract the interest of many parties, notably the Franck Muller group, with whom Rodolphe formed a partnership with ultimately. In this partnership, Rodolphe has an access to some of the brightest minds in the industry, and also additional industrial and commercial synergies while remaining in charge of the design and management of the company.

What resulted became the “Watch Of The Year 2006” presented by a leading Swiss watch magazine – Montres Passion – the Instinct Chrono 180°. With these achievements to date, it is clear that Rodolphe Cattin is going to continue creating some revolutionary designs in the watchmaking world.

Special thanks to Ms. Maya Zysset from Rodolphe Montres et Bijoux for providing some of the history of Rodolphe Cattin.


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