Breaking News: IWC SIHH 2010 Novelties

January 2, 2010 by

Happy New Year to all you WatchFreaks. Thank you for your support in the last year. It seems 2010 is going to be an innovative watch year :)

There have been speculations about a new IWC Yacht Club and a new IWC Grande Complication…

I just received the newest Europa Star Magazine in the mail and what a great way to start the new year!

Ofcourse I have to share the article with you, so hereby a scan of the article with TWO pictures:

New IWC Watches SIHH 2010

New IWC Watches SIHH 2010 (Source: Europa Star Nr. 298 6)

You are seeing it correctly… The new IWC Yacht Club became a Chronograph… In a Portuguese version… This is the long awaited waterproof Portuguese Chronograph… WOW! Can’t wait to see it in person on January 18th… 16 more nights to go ;)

And, how beautiful: A Retrograde Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere by IWC. I fell in love with the Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere when it came out three years ago… I love the cobalt grey dials of the white gold IWC watches… And The retrograde date is splendid. Beautiful composition in my opinion.

I hope to receive the official pictures in less that two weeks and then we will post them here, for now I hope you enjoy the article (click on it for full size).

Legendary watch designers: Maximilian Büsser

November 26, 2009 by

Personally I am great fan of Maximilian Büsser and the watches he designs with friends for his brand: MB&F.

Maximilian Busser

WatchFreaks Blog’s friend Tom of The Watch Lounge interviewed Mr. Busser and posted the interview online today. Please click here to read the full interview.

Mr. Busser, graduate in Lausanne with a Masters degree in Micro-Technology Engineering, Büsser’s love for high-end horology was strongly imprinted by his first employer, Jaeger-LeCoultre. He spent seven years in their senior management team during an exciting period of change and growth.

Büsser was appointed managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in 1998 – he was just 31. During his seven years there he transformed the company into a well respected haute horlogerie brand. Working with talented independent watchmakers on the innovative and revolutionary Opus series of timepieces gave him greatest satisfaction and planted the seed for developing that concept further still.

In 2005 the desire to allow his creativity and energy full reign saw Büsser resign from Harry Winston to form his creative ideal: MB&F. With his new company, Maximilian Büsser has full creative liberty to indulge in his passion for working with the most talented independent horological professionals. Together they are not simply pushing the limits of horology but creating a totally different dimension.

The most recent creation of MB&F was developed with a friend, another legendary watch designer, Alain Silberstein (we hope to write about him soon).

MB&F HM2.2 Black Box - with Alain Silberstein

 You can follow Mr. Busser & Friends on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MBandF

Etiquette: Watches & Tuxedos

October 16, 2009 by

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 by

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 ;)

The Lexus Dutch Watch Heritage

June 27, 2009 by

One of the hidden treasures of the Netherlands has come to light today!

DWH

Watches were packed away in boxes, in drawers or safes, or even visible on the wrists of proud owners, but today they can be viewed by all enthusiasts. The Netherlands knows thousands of watch-lovers – People who sometimes have a fortune to spend on just that one special watch –that ultimate wrist–ornament: to possess that wonder of refined mastery! From this inheritance ,the Lexus Dutch Watch Heritage, together with fascinated and passionate watch-lovers, brings this exceptional event. Meant for the collectors who would like to display their treasures and for all others who feel drawn towards the unique world of the quality timepiece.

The Lexus Dutch Watch Heritage gathers together 100 rare or unique watches. These will be exhibited to the public at the Netherlands Gold-, Silver-, and Clock Museum in Schoonhoven on Saturday 27th June and then from Tuesday 30th June up to and including Sunday 5th July. On these days you can visit the exhibition and admire models from top brands such as IWC, Rolex, Breitling, Jaeger Le Coultre and many others. Ace Jewelers will display a number of the latest timepieces next to this wonderful collection. Then you have the opportunity to look at and try the present-day models of IWC, Breitling, Edox, Tag Heuer and Omega. Ace Jewelers shows watches with a long history -for example the IWC Big Pilot, the legendary Breitling Navitimer and also watches with very complex movements like the Edox Minute Repeater. R

eadings on the Sunday give the subject more depth, and a taxation of one’s own watch allows active participation to the event for the watch enthusiast. The Netherlands’ only two honoured taxateurs, Anton Gaemers and Ronny Wooter have given their co-operation to, and will be present during the event. Anton Gaemers, timepiece- technician from the Hague, whose family have been active in chronometry since 1877, is the curator of the exhibition: ‘The Netherlands has probably more than a thousand serious timepiece collectors and it is fantastic to be able to exhibit the most beautiful and unique of this legacy’. Ronny Wooter, watch specialist from Sotheby’s, will share his expertise on taxation, amoung other subjects. Together these two gentlemen will provide lectures about the history and value of watches. Ace Jewelers will also provide a reading about watches and contemporary models. In short, an exhibition full of narratives, romance and craftsmanship.

Every watch has a story: the history of its origin, the specialities of the subject, the history of the brand and not forgetting the story behind the owner of the watch. Not only inspired timepiece technicians, but also pilots, racing-drivers, filmstarsand aspiring rivalling magnates figure in the story of watches. The exhibition is open to the public on Saturday 27th June, 2009 and from Tuesday 30 June up to and including 5th July 2009. The entrance fee is EUR 6,- p.p.

Nederlands Goud, Zilver en Klokkenmuseum
Kazerneplein 4
2871 CZ Schoonhoven
The Netherlands

www.DutchWatchHeritage.nl

BaselWorld 2009 Update: Personalisation (Last Day)

April 1, 2009 by

Today was my last day at the Basel Trade Fair and was originally planned for jewelry visits in Hall 2. The hardcore watch fans know that they should not be stucked in Hall 1, 3 and 5. Hall 2, officially the high-end jewelry hall, also has some ‘pearl’ watch brands present there.

Since it was our last day I did not have much time to take pictures, but I do want to share this picture quickly:

One of these pearls in hall 2 is Scalfaro. Therefore, I did make some time to visit my friend Dominik Kunhle, who founded Scalfaro with his brother 7 years ago. They are born and raised in Germany and part of a jewelry maker family. The Kunhle Brothers are great WatchFreaks and in 2002 they started to turn their dreams into reality. Every since, the do not only create interesting designs, but actually manufacture 70% of all the components themselves in their factory in Switzerland.

Unfortunately we did not have a lot of time to sit down relaxed and take that many pictures. But there is something that struck me as off during this fair: the lack of options provided by the watch manufacturers for watch owners to personalize their watches. I personally believe that this is the future (or actually back to the roots) of high-end watchmaking! I salute Vacheron Constatin with the introduction of the Quai de L’Ile collection about year and a half ago. My personal dream is also to design and manufacture a mechanical watch one day. With my family we made the first steps and have a prototype of a case ready, but even I underestimated how much work it takes to get things done. So, I know why high-end watch brands are NOT eager to make custom made watches.

My questions to you, my fellow WatchFreaks:

1. Did you have the need to have your watch personalized?

2. If so, what would you like to personalize? Dial, Case, name on movement, complete model, etc?

3. How much more would you be willing to spend (percentage) to get this done?

I hope that I do not ask to many questions, any input is appreciated.

BaselWorld 2009 Update: Snapshots Omega, Graham, Oris, Hamilton, TAG Heuer, etc

March 31, 2009 by

It was another amazing day, filled with watches. We visited Halls 1, 3 and 4 today. The day started at Ebel revising the watches dedicated to soccer:


Ebel Limited Edition AFC AJAX (150 pcs)


Ebel Real Madrid Tekton (Bezel is made of sapphire glass, instead or rubber).

Going from soccer into another sport, Graham dedicated its passion for racing:


Graham GMT Flyback Chrono Racing

What do you think of the infamous ChronoFighter models by Graham?


Graham ChronoFighter


Graham ChronoFighter


Graham ChronoFighter

Not only Graham loves racing, the brand that has the most racing DNA of all, is Heuer! I already wrote that I feel it is a year of ‘going back to the basics’. They also went back to their roots and honoured the 40th anniversary of the Heuer Monoca:


A replica of the first Monaco, they kept it as close as possible to the original ‘Heuer Monaco 1969′. What I really liked is that they used the old Heuer logo and not the most recent TAG Heuer logo on the dial, case back and folding clasp.


Back-side of Heuer Monaco 1969 re-edition (original calibre 11).


Modern interpetation of the TAG Heuer Monaco, available from summer 2009!


TAG Heuer Grande Carrera Calibre 36

Yesterday we did not have time to finish our meeting at Hamilton and went back today. This color really cought my eye:


New Hamilton ETO in unique colour: GunGrey!


New Hamilton strap: Leather or rubber? Yes… It is a rubber strap with a alligator print! Cool, no?!


Modern (?!) interpetation of classic Pilots watches…

Talking about re-editions and vintage models, one of the most legendary diving watches in the Omega collection is the Seamaster PloProf:


Omega Ploprof 2009


Sideview of the Omega PloProf


Omega Seamaster PloProf on my wrist (sorry for the blurry image).


With a matching folding clasp!

Going from legendary diving watch, to a very interesting diving watch made by Oris. The talking piece of Oris in 51mm (who says big is over?!):


New Oris Diver Chrono 1000m with VERY special bezel…


Oris Diver 2009: You have to lift the outer bezel vertically and only then can you spin the CERAMIC diving bezel. The chrono is 100 bar waterproof.

Tomorrow is my last day in Basel… Already bugged out that I will not have time to see everything that I planned on seeing… One week of Watch Magic is simply NOT enough :s

BaselWorld 2009 Update: Snapshots Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Hamilton, Longines, etc

March 30, 2009 by

Most of the visitor of BaselWorld start in the impressive Hall 1.0 and you can not pass this hall without stoping at Rolex and Patek Philippe! Hereby some snapshot (my apologies for the poor quality).

I was not impressed with all the novelties this year. It seems a year of ‘going back to your roots’. Although everyone expected that it would be a quite fair, it was rather busy (visitors) and many brands still sounded positive…

Last year Rolex ‘rocked’ the fair with the introduction of The Dipsy, but this year I was not impressed AT ALL! It seems a year of flowers… Yes! Flowers. Check the dial:


Midsize Rolex Oyster with floral pattern on dial…

I did not take the effort to make a picture of the new bi-color submariners… We all know how the look like ;)

At Patek it also seemed like a ladies year… Focus was on the PP Seal and relaunch of midsize Nautilus models in precious metals with diamonds.


Patek Philippe Nautilus mid size


The platinum version is one of my favourite PPs, but I have to admit this gold version looks amazing!


PP walked away from the legendary Geneva Seal and introduced the Patek Philippe Seal.

We met an unique watchmaker that designed many amazing movements for the grand brands, still does, but also started his own brand:


Marc Alfieri Tourbillon GMT Watch

Ulysse Nardin knows what ‘freaky’ watches are, but they also started making cellular phones. Robert-Jan presented the back of the phone with a mechanical movement here couple of weeks ago, here is the front of the ‘Chairman’:


It is still unknown what the exact retail price will be…

Breitling proudly presented the new Chronomat models with the manufacture B01 movement:


Breitling Chronomat 2009

And, for their 125th anniversary this year, the created a limited edition Navitimer:


Breitling Navitimer 125th Anniversaire – Limited to 2009 pieces.

Seiko is 120+ old manufacture that also went back to their roots. The new Seiko “Ananta” collection does not only present new hybrid Spring Drive movements, but also manufacture automatic movements inspired by the original Samuari swords:


All new Seiko Ananta Automatic Chronograph

All new Seiko Ananta Automatic Power Reserve Hamilton slightly went back to their roots too, by launching the Automatic version of the Ventura (see our post about this watch)… But they are looking WAY ahead in the future, check these amazing new designs:


Hamilton ODC X–02 (front view)


Hamilton ODC X–02 (side view)

But this is not all, this is also a revolutionairy watch:


Hamilton Khaki BASE jump watches


Yes, you simply activate and reset the chrono by turning the bezel!

Also Longines went back to their roots and brought back some legandary watches, we are rather keen of this one:


Longines RAF WWW replica (see original here)


RAF Military www watch. 38,50mm with reference L2.731.4.53.1!


Last year Longines re-introduced the Legend Divers, this year they added a version with a date.


Longines Silver Shadow replica

We were very curious to see the newest family of Rado’s by Jasper Morrison:


Rado by Jasper Morrison

Tomorrow more news from BaselWorld! Stay tuned.

BaselWorld 2009 Update: Itay Noy Watches

March 29, 2009 by

Today I arrived in Basel and started the infamous trade fair visit with a dinner with a true artisan: Itay Noy. The watch maker of exclusive and hand made watches bearing his own name “Itay Noy”.

WFB first wrote about Itay Noy about a year ago: “Switzerland: The Holy Land?” and then I wrote that I tried that we would interview Itay Noy. Tonight was an informal dinner, but Itay promised to do a Q&A exclusively for WatchFreaks Blog. To be continued.

Same background info:

Internationally-acclaimed Israeli artist Itay Noy transforms telling time into a true art form. Each of his hand crafted, limited edition timepieces is made exclusively in Israel and appeals to those seeking unusual, high-quality watches. The recipient of eight prizes, including the prestigious Andrea M. Bronfman Prize in 2007, Noy lectures on timepiece design at Bezalel in Jerusalem. His work has been exhibited in museums all over the world and acquired by the Charles Bronfman Collection in New York, The Droog Design in Amsterdam, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and The Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Each timepiece tells a story in time — from broken dimensions in the Fractal collection to simultaneous dichotomy in Duality and elusive cityscapes in City Squares. Noy’s timepieces satisfy the desire for a sublime mixture of unique design and functional perfection. Ace Jewelers is proud to be the sole and exclusive retailer of Itay Noy Timepieces in Europe!

Hereby some snap shots of the items we examined and adored over dinner (sorry for the poor lighting):


Itay Noy Fractal & City Squares


Itay Noy Duality Limited Edition Watch


Itay Noy: The name says all – Duality (the timepiece has two watches)


Itay Noy hommage to the greatest squares in major cities… Guess which one this is :) HINT


Itay Noy: Discrete Bling Bling – Black Diamonds (unisex model)

For an overview of the complete collection of Itay Noy, please visit the official website of the watchmaker: www.Itay-Noy.com or the reseller of his timepieces in Europe: www.AceJewelers.com (yes, as the CEO of Ace Jewelers, I am proud to announce that because of WFB, we became an AD of these unique watches :) ).

Ulysse Nardin’s Chairman hybrid smart phone

March 9, 2009 by

Since a few days, Ulysse Nardin is spreading a few sneak preview pictures on their latest invention.. the cell phone for the guy (or Chairman) who has everything already! Their ‘Chairman’ cell phone  is a green machine, getting its energy from a mechanical (kinetic) source.

There is nothing more I can say about it actually, except that I am very anxious to see the final version of this ultimate luxury phone. Ulysee Nardin will introduce their Chairman on the BaselWorld fair at the Hall of dreams, hall 1.0 stand A05. The official UN-Cells website doesn’t reveal a thing about their smart phone with (mechanical) watch DNA.

As you can see on the picture below, there will be only 1846 pieces of this cell phone, referring to the year in which Ulysse Nardin was founded.

Will it be as good as RIM’s BlackBerry? Or Apple’s iPhone? Or as well crafted as Vertu’s phones? Let’s see and wait, [about] two weeks to go…


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