Archive for October, 2009

Etiquette: Watches & Tuxedos

October 16, 2009

Often I have discussions  if you can or cannot wear a wrist watch while wearing a tuxedo/smoking. My answer is always: depends on the smoking you are wearing… Is it for a black tie or white tie event?

Image: Esquire.com

Image: Esquire.com

Therefore I did some research.

Let start with the word ‘etiquette’… What does that mean? On Wikipedia we learn: “Etiquette is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group. The French word, signifying ticket (of admission, etc.) first appeared in English in 1750.”

And, what does it mean if one receives an invitation which states ‘Black Tie’ as dress code? Although it can differ slightly per country, generally we can state: ‘black tie is a dress code for semi-formal evening events, and is worn to many types of social functions. For a man, the major component is a jacket, known as a tuxedo, which is usually black. A woman’s corresponding evening dress is a long evening gown (gala attire).’

If we focus on the men, here are some tips on what makes a smoking:

Unlike white tie, which is very strictly regulated, black-tie ensembles can display more variation. In brief, the traditional components are:

- A jacket with silk facings (usually grosgrain or satin), called the dinner jacket.
- Trousers with silk braids matching the lapels.
- A black cummerbund or low-cut waistcoat.
- A white dress shirt with either a marcella (piqué cotton), stiff, or pleated front.
- A black silk bow tie.
- Black dress socks, usually silk.
- Black shoes in patent or highly polished leather, or patent leather court shoes.

So, what about the watches??? Good question!!!

What would we do without Google :) First thing I did is Google this question and I was surprised how little results I found. I found a comment by the GQ Style Guy about wearing a Tux during a wedding:

“What style of timepiece to wear at your wedding I am getting married soon, and I am not sure what style timepiece I should put on my wrist. I’ll be wearing a very traditional one-button black tuxedo, a white shirt, a vest and a white Windsor tie. My cuff links are sterling silver. The wedding is on a Saturday morning. Would it be more appropriate for me to wear a Cartier rectangular face with Roman numerals and a black leather band or a Rolex with a stainless-steel band? I’m concerned that the Rolex might be too flashy. I am leaning toward the Cartier, with the leather band.

You’re lucky. You must have very few other problems to be so concerned with this. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about what’s appropriate; since you are planning to wear evening clothes in the morning, appropriateness is no longer a consideration. But given your choices, I do think you’re better off with a dress watch—the Cartier—than with the Rolex, which I’m presuming is something of a sports watch. Unless, of course, the wedding will take place underwater, in which case the Rolex will function down to 300 meters. If the Cartier watch is gold, you might consider wearing gold cuff links (and studs?) or even asking your best man to be the timekeeper.”

But, what if the wedding is at night, cause the style guy is rather right, it is not often that you wear a tuxedo before sunset…

Back to Wikipedia… After looking three times, I finally found something of relevance: “Timepiece: If worn, a wristwatch should be slender, plain, and elegant; alternatively, a pocket watch may be worn on the waistcoat. Traditionally, however, visible timepieces are not worn with formal evening dress, because timekeeping is not considered a priority.”

Mmmmm… A bit contradictory. If worn, classic is the key, but then it states traditionally timepieces are not worn. What to do if you don’t own a pocket watch… So, is a wrist watch acceptable or not?

Hubpages says it is: “Your watch needs to be as slim and sleek as your tuxedo. Black tie is classic formal wear, keep your timepiece in the same league with a leather strap and basic black face. Keep those chunky chronographs with the compasses at home or on the fishing boat, you need to be dressy, not flashy here.”

I found this quote on several other sites… Google doesn’t help that much on this subject, so my dear fellow WatchFreaks, please share your opinion.

Legendary watch desingers: Rodolphe

October 14, 2009

About a year ago Boon wrote an article about one of the mostly legendary watch designers alive: “Have you heard of Rodolphe Cattin?

 Portait R Cattin

Yesteday evening Rodolphe Montres et Bijoux SA sent a urgent media alert: “Rodolphe Cattin leaves the Franck Muller group”. This made me think, did he sell his soul and regained it? Or, is there seriously something wrong in Watchland? First Franck himself wanted to leave after a fight with Sirmakes. Then came back. Now Rodolphe himself sent the following message in to the world:

Founder of the Rodolphe Montres & Bijoux watch company and of the Rodolphe & Co design studio – two entities owned by the Franck Muller group – Rodolphe Cattin has decided to quit all his operational activities within the group as of the end of October. He will remain a minority shareholder in both companies.

Rodolphe Cattin made the following comments regarding his decision:

 “It is with a mixture of sadness and relief that I am leaving the group with which we became associated four years ago, because I no longer sense that the group has any wish to develop the brand bearing my name. The same is indeed true of all the other ‘small’ brands within the Franck Muller group.

 The early days of our cooperation with the Franck Muller certainly did not suggest such an outcome. For the past four years, I have poured all my energy into this magnificent adventure and our tight-knit and motivated team was able to accomplish some excellent development work during the first two years of the partnership, resulting in particular in the Watch of the Year award won in 2006 for the Instinct Chrono model, followed by a second prize in 2008. However, these tokens of recognition did nothing to consolidate the Rodolphe brand’s position within the group. On a more global level, conditions have steadily deteriorated and it is now quite obvious that the group CEO, Mr. Vartan Sirmakes, has chosen to devote his energy and his efforts elsewhere. Despite many discussions on this issue, there are no longer any signs of a will to improve matters. Worse still, the group is currently trying to support its allegations that the “small brands” are responsible for the difficulties encountered by Franck Muller Watchland. It will be up to everyone to draw their own conclusions.

 This kind of negative comment is merely the latest episode in a series of disappointments endured over almost two years now. Due to a range of strategy, quality and delivery-related issues, the Rodolophe brand no longer benefits from an environment conducive to its healthy development. Not to mention interpersonal conflicts and broken promises that are detrimental to daily interaction and make it impossible to maintain a trust-based relationship.

 In light of these circumstances, I prefer to withdraw and in doing so leave my associates free to make their own choices, non-choices, decisions and non-decisions. I am above all a creative designer with little inclination for corporate politics, plotting and U-turns. And I strongly deplore the attitude and behaviour of some of my closest associates who may well see in my departure a chance to grab the spotlight.

Nonetheless, even at the end of this troubled period, I am extremely satisfied with the concept developed and with the aesthetic work undertaken by the teams that have supported me. The work is done and it is up to our successors to decide whether or not to develop and enhance the achievements to date.

While remaining a minority shareholder in the two Rodolphe Montres & Bijoux and Rodolphe & Co companies, my professional path is parting ways with the Franck Muller group at the end of the month. I maintain my creative soul, my entrepreneurial spirit and am truly relieved to be regaining my freedom”. 

The media alert even included Rodolphe’s direct e-mail address.

Robert-Jan and I already planned over 2 years ago two write about legendary watch designers and we wanted to start with Gerald Genta. I believe that the second profile should be about Rodolphe… What do you guys think? Since we have his direct e-mail address, maybe we can get some straight answers ;)


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