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They are the masters of light-powered quartz watches and this year they’re taking the power of light deep down the ocean floor, with their first solar-powered, ISO compliant 1,000-meter-rated dive watch. No matter how ‘technical’ you find their timepieces to be, there’s no denying that the team at Citizen, stay true to making their watches well thought out instruments. We’re talking about the new Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000m.

Simply put, here, skills do the talking and with the overwhelming response, Citizen has successfully managed to conquer the loyalties of divers worldwide. How? Let’s take a look…

THE CASE

Inspired by a turban shell like structure, the new Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1,000M is offered in a 52.5mm case in titanium with an AR-coated sapphire crystal over the bezel. The titanium used here is ‘Super Titanium’ which means it is given the Duratect MRK surface-hardening treatment, along with a DLC-coating for scratch-resistance. The helium escape valve at 10 o clock releases helium gas that enters the watch when diving to prevent any damage to the movement. Attached to the case is a soft, black polyurethane dive-style strap.

THE BEZEL

The bezel itself is unidirectional which eliminates the danger of a diver accidentally turning the bezel the wrong way during a dive. Citizen has incorporated a new twist-to-lock mechanism for the rotating diver’s bezel. When the bezel is unlocked or the crown unscrewed, the user can see orange-colored sections which are an unsafe indication.

LUMINOSITY

The Promaster’s photo-luminescent markings absorb light fast and stay bright for a long time. The materials used have more than twice the afterglow brightness than a conventional material even after 5 hours. In case you’re wondering, NO the material does not contain any radioactive elements. Already in awe? That’s Citizen for you.

WATER RESISTANCE

The Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver is ISO compliant and water resistant to a whopping 1000m. CITIZEN has conducted various validation and vilification tests working closely with JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), the ocean research authority in Japan. These include examining the effects of high water pressure to check waterproof performance in a high pressure environment as well as dial visibility, and luminous features in deep waters.

THE MOVEMENT

Inside the Citizen BN7020-09E is the brands’ in-house caliber J210 Eco-Drive quartz movement. Powered by light, the movement can run for 2.5 years when it is fully charged. The dial offers the time, date, and a power reserve indicator (indicates the charge time left). The movement’s non-removable battery is recharged as light enters through the dial to a photovoltaic cell located underneath it.

Time and again Citizen has pioneered groundbreaking technologies to make watches an indispensable part of modern life. It’s one of the few companies which proves that technology in watches are not just a Swiss accomplishment.

PRICE

Just over $3K (Australian Dollars)

June 23, 2017 0 comment
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Last year at Baselworld, Seiko released an entirely new concept for the Grand Seiko. Ever since the Spring Drive 8 day Power Reserve has been a talking piece amongst enthusiasts. It is the first Grand Seiko to ever be made at their micro-artist studio in Shiojiri, Japan, where many of Seiko’s high end timepieces are made including the famed Credor Minute Repeater and Eichi.

Earlier today, Seiko announced the release of its all new 43mm Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve in 18 carat Rose Gold with a black dial. Seiko’s calling it ‘the beauty of Japan, inspired by the night sky in the mountains that surround the Micro Artist studio’. And you’ll see exactly why in just a second.

 

 

If you look closely, the dial seems like it has been sprinkled with stardust. This is all done in-house thanks to a special process that combines both plating and painting, giving it that twinkling effect. This simply adds extra depth and richness to the dial, and black of course, being the perfect backdrop.

 

 

The razor edge polishing of the hands and markers and exquisite sharp mirror finish achieved by their Zaratsu technique (or blade polishing* – a centuries old method of hand polishing Japanese swords) gives this creation the unique Grand Seiko signature.

The sapphire case back reveals the movement (Caliber 9R01), the exquisite finishing of the one-piece bridge, the rubies and the power reserve indicator. According to Seiko, the one-piece bridge ensures the precise positioning of each wheel in the gear train and maximises the efficiency of the transmission power from the barrels. Its rigidity also prevents distortion in the event of an impact or shock. The outline of Mt. Fuji emerges from the shape of the bridge and the highly polished rubies and tempered blue screws evoke the lights of the city of Suwa below the studio’s home.

 

Available September on wards with a price tag of just around 80K (Australian Dollars)

June 21, 2017 0 comment
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The dial is one of the most distinctive parts of a watch. Agreed? Many watch brands today use Mother-of-pearl (a popular and evergreen choice of material) for dials on both men’s and women’s watches.

What is mother-of-pearl exactly? Simply put, it is a defensive barrier by molluscs and oysters to protect their shells. It is the iridescent lining on the inside of a shell that is composed of many minerals, of which, calcium carbonate seems to be predominant.

FROM THE SHELL TO THE WATCH

The journey of this material from its role as a protective lining of a shell onto the glorious dial of a watch takes place in many stages. Firstly, the right shell has to be selected. It really comes down to the spectrum of watchmaking.  Once the shell is selected, there is the incredibly complex and delicate process of actually extracting this lining (cutting them into discs) from the interior of the shell. It might sound straight forward, but the extraction process itself is an art on its own as even after surpassing this delicate task, there is the issue of the material being very brittle.

The discs are then polished and cut further depending on the thickness or thinness required followed by the machining of the dials into thin layers. There are other techniques as well. For example, crushing shells and then spreading the substance into thin plates.

 

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Mother-Of-Pearl

 

AN UNMATCHED EFFECT

The natural shimmering effect of mother-of-pearl makes it a preferred choice for watch dials. Since the colours and patterns of these linings are not exactly the same, it accounts for the differences in the dial, making it all the more unique.

Mother-of-pearl dials can be engraved or finished in various ways. Decorative finishes and watch artistry is done in the front or back of the dial. All this is delicate handwork. There are specialised artisans who undertake the task. Other treatments include painting, varnishing or lacquering the back of the mother of pearl. Of course, embellishments like stones, diamonds, for example, add the final touch to the piece. The numerals and markers are also inked on the dial. In a few cases, cut-outs are made on the dial for the setting of gemstones or applied indices.

The mother-of-pearl may be a difficult and delicate material to work with, but it is the perfect canvas for a creative expression.

June 19, 2017 0 comment
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You heard that right! On the 10th of June 2017, Kate winslet, Longines’ Ambassador of elegance presented the Flagship Heritage by Kate Winslet watch to be auctioned online for the benefit of The Golden Hat Foundation. Founded in 2010, by Kate Winslet and Margret Ericsdottir, The Golden Hat Foundation is dedicated to changing the way people on the autism spectrum are perceived.

 

 

A total of 5 gold watches have been produced; one for the Longines museum in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, one for Kate and three others that have already gone up for auction with bids starting at $25,000 USD and going up in increments of $500. Click here to know more about how you can bid online. Just remember the auction ends on the 30th of June, 2017 at 5:59PM CEST.

 

 

The watches being auctioned off are chosen and designed by Kate herself including the dial, the case and the strap. She adds, “I was given the permission to choose a watch, which was designed specifically for the Golden Hat Foundation. The style of the model really appealed to me and I instantly fell in love with  it. All the profits of the selling of the model are going directly to the Foundation. This project with Longines is helping raise awareness about a particular cause dear to my heart. Thanks to Longines’ involvement and the generosity of the donators, the Foundation will keep on working towards achieving its goals.”

What we have here is a 35mm 18 carat yellow gold case which houses Longines’ calibre L609 movement. The watch has a power reserve of 42 hours. The dial is in brushed silver and forms an elegant backdrop for the yellow dauphine hands coated with super-luminova. The seconds are displayed via a sub-dial at 6 o clock and the camel calf leather strap with buckle adds the final touch. Each watch has Kate’s signature on the caseback and also features an engraving of the brand’s emblematic Flagship.

 

 

 

Good luck people. Happy Bidding. Don’t forget, you’re a step closer to meeting the very talented Kate Winslet in person.

June 18, 2017 0 comment
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Based in Paris, MATWATCHES is a French brand specialising in military and tool watches. For over 20 years, MATWATCHES has been tried, tested and trusted by the French special forces including the French Special Operations Command and Control Centre, the Paris Fire Brigade, and the Bomb Squad (the landmine clearance unit). Their superb performance, robustness and easy-to-read dials are as authentic as they get.

The name M.A.T comes from “Mer-Air-Terre.” (sea, air and land). The name really starts making sense once you get into their collection. Today, these watches are accessible to consumers globally. What’s better is that they’re now available in Australia.

“Collectors appreciate the authenticity of our brand name and enjoy being able to have access to the ‘tailor-made’ special editions we are manufacturing for the special units of the army. They appreciate the value for money and the exclusivity aspect. We also see an expanding group of extreme sports enthusiasts and outdoor survivalists wear MATWATCHES, appreciating their robustness and quality” says Karel Krticka, the authorized distributor of MATWATCHES in Australia.

CALIFORNIA – REF. AG7 CALIFORNIA

California is perfect for a man of his time who loves beautiful objects. Offered in a 39mm stainless steel case, this watch is barrel shaped and watertight to 100 metres. The hands and indexes on the dial have been treated with Super Luminova to ensure optimum visibility in an aquatic environment or at night. Powered by an ETA 2824-2, Swiss Made movement, the watch has a 42 hour power reserve and is delivered with 3 interchangeable straps: a tawny barenia leather strap, a black
tactical strap and a black rubber strap.

MATWATCHES are now available online at matwatches.com.au

June 16, 2017 0 comment
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A historian by training, specialized in the life and work of Abraham-Louis Breguet, he is the 7th generation direct descendent of the man universally considered to be the greatest watchmaker of all time and the author of the book “Breguet, Watchmaker Since 1775”. On his recent visit to Australia, we were lucky enough to score an interview with Emmanuel Breguet himself. (Breguet fans… You’re gonna love this)

Excerpts from the interview…

We would love to know a little more about you…

I am Emmanuel Breguet, the direct descendant of Abraham-Louis Breguet, the founder of the company. Atrained historian, I started working for Breguet in 1993. My main role is to promote the historical patrimony of Breguet. I have also written books on Breguet in the past, namely a biography on the founder and I discovered many interesting things and continue to discover new things about the Breguet House, almost every day.

 

 

One of the things I discovered was that Breguet created the first wristwatch for one of Napoleon’s sistersand it was completely forgotten because as you know, like with many inventions, if occurring early in time, facts can be forgotten or left undiscovered for years.

Abraham-Louis Breguet had made the first wristwatch for the Queen of Naples and then the son of Breguet went on to make 5-6 wristwatches 10 years later… But it was forgotten. The actual use of the wristwatch was only established one century later. It was very important to discover that Breguet made the first wristwatch. The other invention I discovered was that the son of Breguet, Antoine-Louis Breguet, invented the winding crown in 1830. We have some documents in the archive to prove this. Breguet’s son did not patent the invention and 10-12 years later it was patented by someone else.

How have you seen Breguet evolve over the years?

When I started with Breguet in 1993, it was managed, not by the Swatch Group but a financial company from the Middle East. It was different and quite a small company. At that time, many of the watch brands were managed by bigger companies. I have seen so many changes. We did not have a presence in the Russian market, nor the Chinese market and the main markets were in Europe, US and Japan and today we have the opportunity and appreciation for our brand in China, Australia, Russia and many other countries.

Breguet enthusiasts in Australia.

I receive so many emails and letters to authenticate some watches with a Breguet signature, but the question is, is it a genuine antique Breguet or not? In the past a lot of things were made very early, even during the French revolution and the very beginning of the 19th century and because of this it can get very challenging sometimes. 

There are some very knowledgeable collectors here in Australia.  I occasionally receive letters from Australia and I do know of a historian of watchmaking who wrote about self-winding watches – who was Australian… The history of watchmaking is greatly appreciated here and publications like Hours and Minutes can be a great source of education.

We have a message for all our collectors and enthusiasts in Australia.  Breguet is a very innovative brand. Aesthetically the shape of our watches are quite conservative such as the Breguet hands, Breguet guilloche, but inside it is very innovative and during the last 15 years, especially since Breguet became a part of The Swatch Group, we patented between 10-15 patents each year and it is very important for our collectors in Australia to know this. We do a lot of investigation in new materials and technicalities, but the look of the watch is timeless. It is always discreet. We are traditional but we are also very innovative.

On the new Marine Équation Marchante 5887 released at Baselworld 2017

The Marine Équation Marchante 5887 is important because we can innovate and create something modern with a touch of traditional. It is sporty watch and yet very elegant. It is not as traditional as our classical line, but a watch that signifies the beginning of many changes in the Marine family. We started with an haute horlogerie piece and will continue in Baselworld 2018 or Baselworld 2019 with a chronograph, worldtimer etc. It is the beginning of something modern.

 

Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887

June 15, 2017 0 comment
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Established in 1978 by Anthony Shum, Shum’s Watches and Jewellery is a family run business located in the heart of Chinatown in Sydney’s Sussex Street. They don’t just sell watches here, they sell experiences, housing some of the most renowned brands in the industry. Earlier this year, we caught up with Vanessa Shum, the Director of Shum’s Watches and Jewellery to get a better understanding of what makes this family run business so different.

 

Vanessa Shum, Director, Shum’s Watches and Jewellery

 

Going back in time…

Shum’s Watches & Jewellery is a family business which was started by my father in 1978. By background, my father Anthony Shum is a watchmaker and my grandfather is a clockmaker. Hence, watchmaking has always been part of our DNA.

When my father first came to Australia, he came with 200 dollars in his pocket, and with that, opened up a shop on Hay St, Sydney. Today, we are a boutique representing 18 brands in store, which would only have been possible with the long term support of our customers. To this day, we still have clients who come back to us to purchase watches and get their timepieces serviced with the same level of trust and comfort they had 30+ years ago.

Currently we carry brands with a variety of price points including the entry level brands such as Tissot and Oris, luxury level brands such as Omega and IWC, all the way up to a Breguet or a Vacheron Constantin.

It’s been around 39 years that we’ve been in the business and in every step of the journey, we’ve always been evolving whilst staying true to our values. Having such a broad range is definitely part of our strategy because we don’t only cater to the tourist market but also to the local market.

Personally, I came into the business around 4-5 years ago and it’s always lovely to come in and be greeted by someone who says ‘I’ve known you since you were a child!’. It’s definitely heartwarming.

Our boutiques…

At the moment we have one boutique. We initially had 4 points of sale in the past targeting different markets and showcasing different product ranges. However, we found a location that would house all the brands we have under one roof, and moved to 419 Sussex Street, Sydney. This has been ideal as it is pretty much in the heart of Chinatown in Sydney, which is a great tourist attraction and of course a great food destination.

 

Shum’s Watches and Jewellery

 

The Shum’s touch…

We are a family business and stay true to our values of customer satisfaction, looking after our staff and giving back to the community. We strive to find the right product for all our customers, hence we continue to carry a broad offering of Swiss watch brands with various price points.

A lot of our staff members have been with us for over 20-30 years and they treat the store almost as if it is their own store. They are family, and this experience is what we would like our customers to feel as well. We hope that when you walk into our store, you don’t feel intimidated to ask questions and can comfortably go and find a watch that is best suited for you. Whether your budget is big or small, we’re here to  cater to your requirements.

 

 

We have been blessed with good fortune and the support of our clients over the years, hence we firmly believe in giving back to the community in the form of charity work. Earlier this year, through our affiliations with the Way In Network, we teamed up with Longines to help establish a research grant for the Australian Gynecological Cancer Foundation (AGCF). This raised much needed funding and awareness for research of women’s cancer, which we hope will benefit the lives of many future Australian families.

Our customers

Our approach is more about getting to know you first. We find this is easier, as customers can relate to us better and moreover develop that level of trust in us. Ultimately we would like our customers to feel comfortable purchasing from us, and recommending Shum’s Watches & Jewellery to their family and friends.

If you’ve just started your journey into the world of watchmaking, welcome! There is just so much to learn and so much to see. But I would personally say, take your time and get a better understanding of what watchmaking is all about. The more a customer understands a watch, the more they can appreciate it. The amount of time and effort that goes into making a watch and the R & D behind it, is truly fascinating. Once you understand that, irrespective of the brand, you will start looking at the product for what it is. And I think that is what is important.

Australia has a lot of potential when it comes to fine watchmaking. We are so isolated and therefore I feel we haven’t had as much exposure in the watch industry, in comparison to say, Europe. At this moment, the market is challenging, not only from an Australian perspective but globally. Everyone is a lot more careful. Overall I see a very positive outlook for Australia because we are a very young country and there are still a lot of people who haven’t really been exposed to fine watchmaking.

As far as local Australians go, the local market is very influenced by marketing. Certain brands that execute their marketing campaigns well are Omega, IWC and Longines. Longines is a brand that has been close to people’s heart for a while now. It is well recognized and trusted globally.

Watch Education…

There is so much to learn in the watch industry, and the more people know they can then appreciate their timepieces. This applies to caring and looking after their watches, the same way people look after their cars. It really helps with companies like Hours and Minutes and bloggers which are platforms for people to learn more about watchmaking, especially within Australia. People’s eyes are definitely starting to open.

Social media has enhanced the speed of which people get educated. A good example of a watch brand that has done extremely well in terms of educating from a materials point of view is RADO. I personally like to follow them and to find out more on the treatment of ceramic and how it’s actually done. Youtube channels too are amazing avenues.

On behalf of the team at Hours and Minutes, we would like to thank Vanessa Shum, Director, Shum’s Watches & Jewellery and her entire team for making this interview possible.

June 14, 2017 0 comment
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KERBEDANZ has premiered Maximus flying Tourbillon, the largest tourbillon in the world. The Maximus flying Tourbillon has a 27-millimeter tourbillon cage. This is almost twice the size of the largest one known to date. Yes, this makes it the largest wristwatch with tourbillon in the world. Considering this, the name Maximus really suits the watch. The name is also an allusion to Circus Maximus, a venue in Rome, used in the past for horse-drawn chariot races.

A little history lesson here. The tourbillon was invented by Abraham Louis Breguet (1747- 1823). The complication places the regulating organ of the watch inside a cage that turns on itself,  compensating for errors due to gravitational forces. Today, the precision that a tourbillon provides is much appreciated. But, the endless fascination of watching the tourbillon workings on the watch is next level beauty.

When size matters

The Maximus flying tourbillon allows you to better observe and understand the subtleties of this fascinating mechanism, thanks to its sheer size. But, it is the size factor that poses challenges in the creation. In watchmaking, enlarging the size of certain components does not mean just multiplying their size. Everything needs to be reinvented and recomputed.

This is where the expertise of the company’s watchmakers comes in. This watch required conception and manufacturing of a special balance spring, a rack with a screw for fine adjustment, and a balance wheel. The cage makes a full rotation once every six minutes, and not in sixty seconds, which is usually the case.

The watch is made up of 415 carefully assembled components, of which 73 are dedicated to the tourbillon cage. The latter is made entirely of titanium and only weighs 1.35 grams. Four barrel springs in parallel driving a central wheel mounted on ball-bearings produce the torque to supply a tourbillon of such size.

The master watchmakers have ensured that the aesthetics of the watch are refined and highly elegant, in sync with the spectacular movement, Calibre KRB-08. The 49 mm case is BIGG!! and the gold dial has been exclusively designed, manufactured and hand-decorated by KERBEDANZ.

The Maximus flying Tourbillon lives up to its name…being grand, spectacular and splendid.

June 13, 2017 0 comment
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The Anura Rafael Write Time brings the art of fine writing and watchmaking together. This is not just any object. The modern striking design testifies to the most refined craftsmanship. It’s not something that can just be bought off the shelf but a bespoke style offered on an individual commission basis only.

 

 

A time-traveller of sorts, the Anura Rafael Write Time will transport you back to a time when horology was not limited to just traditional wristwatches; a magical era where exceptional mechanical prowess and beauty ruled design.

This unprecedented design features a patented system which makes it possible to convert a time capsule housing a tourbillon into a writing instrument or a wristwatch. The intricately designed pen is made of 18k gold encased in alligator leather. The gold nib is available in different sizes to suit the specifications of the client and enhance writing comfort. It comes with either a piston filler or a cartridge. A proprietary clip and orientation system ensure all parts are perfectly aligned enhancing its elegant ergonomic curves.

 

 

Worn on the wrist, it transforms into a watch unlike any other. The cutting edge design is powered by a transversal movement, encapsulated within a sapphire cone modelled with pure, natural lines. Fit into an openwork receptacle to be worn snuggly around the wrist, it allows quick, easy lateral reading of the time on three discs. On the side, the base of the cone provides an unimpeded view of the captivating ballet of the Tourbillon.

 

 

The Anura Rafael Write Time is built around an innovative linear movement that is shaped like a tube. Housed within a sapphire capsule, the inner workings are on full display.  Its gears are unusually mounted vertically and are powered by a one-minute tourbillon. The time display consists of three rollers with hand-engraved and hand-painted numerals.

At its extremity, a large fluted crown enables the winding of the movement and the setting of the time. Rotatable rings, based on a patented internal tooth lock washer system are used to quickly and easily lock and unlock the time capsule in place on the wristlet or the pen. A personal signature, the lock washer teeth is unique and personalized for every single piece manufactured.

 

 

Comprising of 472 parts, it took two years to develop the Write Time. The whole set comes with a tastefully designed leather travel case safely housing all the elements together with an inkpot. Several additional compartments and trays allow for the storage of other prized possessions.

The best things in life are truly personalized. This is why, Anura Rafael Write Time offers a wide choice of possibilities including the materials, the colours, the finish, the movement, the nib and the travel box. A unique team from the Jura mountains in Switzerland, experts in their own fields, came together by passion and the desire to create something unique. No wonder, possessing this object is a matter of pride and taste…that comes to a ‘Select’ few.

 

June 12, 2017 0 comment
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Coming all the way from Glashütte, today we’re looking at the new A.Lange and Söhne’s 1815 Chronograph in white gold and black dial. We often wonder how a small dial change makes such a big difference to the entire personality of a watch.

As an extension of the 1815 watch family, A. Lange & Söhne is presenting a further version of the 1815 Chronograph with the stopwatch function. It persuasively combines a white-gold case and a black dial with a pulsometer scale.

The ability to measure time has always been one of the most useful and exciting functions of a mechanical watch. This applies in particular when the many levers and springs of the chronograph can be observed in action. A. Lange & Söhne has been crafting models with stopwatch functions since 1999 – fitted with sapphire-crystal casebacks like all other Lange watches.

The 1815 Chronograph was added to the 1815 family in 2004. It is a paragon of classic design combined with advanced technology. The traditional style elements reminiscent of the pocket-watch era include the railway-track minute scale and the symmetrically arranged subsidiary dials – the subsidiary seconds on the left and the 30-minute counter on the right. They emphasise the balanced proportions of the watch.

In 2010, the 1815 Chronograph was endowed with a new movement. It has a power reserve of 60 hours and features a manufactory-made free-sprung balance spring. Its carefully calibrated interaction with the large, cam-poised balance guarantees excellent rate accuracy. Because it beats at a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz), the watch can measure times with an accuracy of one fifth of a second. The calibre L951.5 movement also powers the new 1815 Chronograph in the 39.5-millimetre white-gold case. The rhodiumed hands ensure superb legibility against the backdrop of a jet-black solid-silver dial. Heart rates can be determined with the pulsimeter scale on the outer ring of the dial. It is graduated from 40 to 200 beats. When the time for 30 beats is measured, the peripheral scale indicates the heart rate per minute. The personality of this new member of the 1815 family, characterised by contrasts between light and dark, is underscored with a black alligator leather strap and a solid white-gold Lange prong buckle.

 

 

A sapphire-crystal caseback reveals the sublime architecture and lavish finissage of the chronograph movement. It provides an enlightening glimpse of the complex switching sequences. Among others, it shows the column wheel that controls the chronograph functions, the levers of the flyback mechanism, and the snail of the precisely jumping minute counter. The escapement is readily visible as well. Hallmarks of the Lange style include the whiplash spring of the precision beat-adjustment system on the hand-engraved balance cock.

June 10, 2017 0 comment
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