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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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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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The story of the worlds most beautiful car race (Mille Miglia) dates back to 1927 when two aristocrats wanted to compensate for the loss of the Italian Grand Prix by their hometown of Brescia.  Today, Mille Miglia is one of the world’s most celebrated races and this 2017, celebrates its 90th Anniversary.  It’s a race with a difference and is different because it brought racing back to the roads instead of the tracks.

 

1927 Race

 

In 1957 Mille Miglia was discontinued for safety reasons and 20 years later was revived under the name Mille Miglia Storica positioning itself as the world’s most prestigious classic car endurance race. Since 1977, there was a rebirth of sorts, when it became a regularity race for classic and vintage cars and has never looked back ever since.

 

1957 Race

 

The initial connection was born from a personal passion for classic cars nurtured by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard. Under his leadership, Chopard became the main sponsor of the Mille Miglia in 1988 and one of the first brands to associate its name with the automobile world. For Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the links are entirely natural: “Lovers of fine cars often have a great weakness for precious timepieces and vice versa. Extreme precision and sporting elegance are important in both of these fields.”

Today, the race is reserved for models of which at least one had taken part in the original race between 1927 and 1957. Needless to say, this makes the race highly exclusive; nothing short of a dream event and without a doubt the biggest date on the Italian sports calendar. This year, the event took place between 18 to 21 May, 2017,  with 440 teams competing over a distance of around 1,600 kms on a historical route running from Brescia to Rome and back via Padova, San Marino, Sienna, Parma and Verona.

 

Mille Miglia 2016

Commemorative watches

One of the best things about these collaborations is the fact that new watches, inspired from the aesthetics of automobiles make their way on the wrists of aficionados. Chopard is the official timekeeper and world sponsor of the Mille Miglia offering new interpretations of its unique and instantly recognisable design watch collection annually. The brand has created a collection of luxury sports watches that have become an unmistakable sporting emblem. It’s unique design has made this collection one of the greatest classics of contemporary watchmaking.

Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition

The Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition features an engine-turned dial and counters inspired by historical car dashboards. It is powered by a high-precision horological ‘engine’, chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Throbbing at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour, this mechanical self-winding chronograph movement endowed with a 48-hour power reserve drives the hours, minutes, chronograph, tachymeter and date functions. The high-performance mechanism is housed inside a 44 mm case with a case-back secured by eight screws, engraved with the famous chequered flag that is waved as the cars pass the finish line, along with the arrow-shaped Mille Miglia logo and the “Mille Miglia 1927-2017” anniversary inscription. The edition comprises 1,000 watches in stainless steel and 100 in stainless steel and 18-carat rose gold.

Price in Australian Dollars:

Stainless steel version: RRP AUD $9,690

Stainless steel and 18 carat rose gold version: RRP AUD $14,320

 

Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Chrono 2017 Race Edition

Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph

The Mille Miglia Classic models pick up the aesthetic codes of the oldest cars having taken part in the Mille Miglia race between 1927 and 1940. Here, the tachymetric scale printed on the dial of the men’s timepiece allows to calculate wearer to time vehicle speed. The watch features a sports chronometer-certified mechanical self-winding chronograph movement with a 42-hour power reserve.

Price in Australian Dollars:

39mm, silver dial, white strap, stainless steel case: RRP AUD $6,800

39mm, white mother of pearl dial, white strap, diamonds on bezel, stainless steel case: RRP AUD $17,210

42mm, silver or dial, black strap, stainless steel case: RRP AUD $7,090

 

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph

Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Limited Edition

The 90-piece Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Limited Edition is offered in a 46mm rose gold case. Size is definitely not an issue here. Chopard has balanced the design codes and appeal of the watch extremely well, still classifying it as a ‘Classic’ that appeals to a very different kind of audience. Understandably, it pays tribute to the spirit of this vintage race that has endured for 90 years. The design lends the watch an unmistakable presence on the wrist. It sports a high-end COSC certified L.U.C chronograph movement, which is designed, developed, and produced entirely in-house.

The fully integrated column-wheel chronograph L.U.C Calibre 03.07-L features a flyback function and Chopard patented devices such as the Variner balance-wheel, an anti-skid for the coupling clutch, an optimal zero-reset and a small seconds reset mechanism. It is endowed with a 60-hour power reserve. The exceptional care devoted to its finishing earns it the right to carry the Poincon de Geneve quality hallmark.

Price in Australian Dollars: RRP AUD $56,410

 

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary

 

Quite befitting to the watchmaker and the race itself, Chopard is celebrating 90 Years of Mille Miglia in true Chopard style!

May 30, 2017 0 comment
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Ever thought about the relationship between sound and time? When you look at a watch you’re not only looking at the dial, but also in some way internalising the beat of the tick-tock. The sound of time can be enthralling and as you enter this beautiful universe where chiming time takes precedence, you simply cannot ignore the ingenious complication of the minute repeater.

A repeater chimes the time on demand. It involves the activation of a pushpiece for the purpose. While a simple repeater can strike the hours and quarters, a minute repeater will use separate tones for hours, quarter-hours and minutes to sound the time down to the minute. Three different sounds are generally used for the hours, quarter-hours and minutes.

 

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon

 

Why are they so sought-after? For one, they are the oldest and most traditional of watch complications. The history of the minute repeater has a very practical side to it. Believe it or not, they were useful in telling time in the dark before we had electricity! They were also a boon for the visually impaired.

Edward Barlow, an English cleric, invented a mechanism that could strike the time on demand in 1678.  At the end of the 18th century, Breguet produced the mechanism heralded as the basis for modern minute repeaters. There have been numerous enhancements and several improvisations since.

The big brands of the horological world have all entered the world of minute repeaters. Today Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Christophe Claret, Bvlgari, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Voutilainen to name a few continue to innovate and come out with exceptional pieces.

But making a minute repeater is no child’s play. Each minute repeating mechanism has about a 100 components, each of which has to be manufactured in a particular manner. That’s only the starting point! To integrate these components into a small case of a wristwatch is another story of skill altogether. It is something that only a master watchmakers with years, or rather decades of experience can accomplish, and that too, after a painstaking assembling process that can last between 200 and 300 hours. Much of the precision has also to do with the fact that the striking of small hammers on differently tuned gongs sound the time. The perfection of the sound of the gongs is yet another story.

(Making of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie)

 

 

Being extremely complex repeater mechanisms, collectors, connoisseurs and watch lovers covet minute repeaters. Who wouldn’t? After all, they are true masterpieces of precision engineering.

May 23, 2017 0 comment
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Of all the different kinds of watch complications, in terms of utility, Calendar displays are probably the most useful. The Date is the simplest complication on a watch with a Date Window aperture being the most common way to view this. Sometimes, the date can also be on a sub-dial. Sub-dials are attractive additions on the dial, adding an element of visual interest as well. Some watches have a date wheel where a centre hand with an arrow, points to the date along the chapter of the dial. This is called a ‘Bankers’ date.

From a simple second hand to the aesthetically pleasing moonphase function, complications run the gamut from useful tools to luxurious testaments to a watchmaker’s mastery. A Big Date allows a relatively larger view of the date and has the advantage of legibility compared to the traditional date window. The variation sometimes has two windows, the left one displaying 0-3, and the right window displaying 0-9. A day date tells the day of the week in addition to the date of the month.

Due to the varying length of the months, that is, 30 and 31 days, and then the leap year, watches with a calendar complication need constant adjustment to display the time correctly. These will reset after completing thirty-one 24-hour cycles, representing a full month, but, what about the time when there are 30 days? This is where the Annual Calendar comes in.

 

Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpetuèl Platine featuring a perpetual calendar

 

An annual calendar complication is a complete calendar displaying the day, date and month with minimal adjustment. This complication automatically adjusts the date displayed on the timepiece based on 30 and 31 day months to ensure that the correct date is always displayed. It requires setting the date once per year, at the end of February, considering it does not take leap years into account.

 

 

Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono – This calendar is recognisable by its large twin-aperture date display, complemented by indications of the day, the month and the cycle of standard and leap years.

 

 

Let’s face it, the watch industry is all about accuracy. To resolve this issue of the leap year, a Perpetual Calendar is a useful calendar complication that is easily the most complex type of calendar feature that exists on a watch displaying the date, day, month, and year. The striking feature here though, is that it also takes into account the leap year and will need correction only in the year 2100 when the leap year will be ignored.

This is the complexity that watchmakers have entered in the quest for accuracy. Perpetual calendars, understandably complex in themselves, are also a beauty to behold. Watchmakers ensure that aesthetics get prominence as well. Perpetual calendars, or rather any of the calendar complications have their own design features that add to the element of visual interest on the dial. Grand complications often incorporate calendar complications thanks to their usefulness and ability to work in tandem with and complement other complications.

 

 

The new Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar by Patek Philippe automatically indicates months with 28, 30, and 31 days and every four years also recognizes the 29th of February as a leap day.

 

 

With modern technology and smart watches, knowing the date is possible without any adjustment. Yet, the lure of calendar complications is time-tested and transcends all these technological introductions. After all, the marvel of mechanics is something that will never cease to fascinate! Let the calendar unfurl…

May 20, 2017 0 comment
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A motif is a dominant or recurring idea in artistic work. It could be a decorative image or a design. Every field, and every industry, especially if it has to do with art and creativity, makes use of motifs. These motifs are timeless and may be reinterpreted and re-expressed complete differently. It is up to the creativity and imagination of the artist or the craftsman. But, the motif remains, essentially the same.

The serpent motif or the snake is one that has been a part of the watch industry for quite some time now. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals. These motifs are one of the earliest historical and culturally diverse mythological symbols. Rights from legends and myths that start from the fall of Adam and Eve, the snake represents a host of meanings in different countries and civilisations.

Let’s for a moment take a dive into the past. For the Pharaohs of Egypt, snakes represented royalty and deity. The Romans had different interpretations altogether. The motif meant a gamut of things ranging from everlasting love to a symbol of wisdom. The Greeks looked towards the serpent as a symbol of wisdom, and to Aesculapius, the god of medicine, who had a snake wrapped around his staff – a motif that continues to remain the symbol of the medical profession.

Hindus worship the snake. Many cultures have meanings, ranging from rebirth, transformations, power, sexuality and desire associated with this motif.

Perhaps one of the best and continuing examples of the use of the serpent motif is the Italian jeweller Bulgari. The iconic Serpenti watch is a classic that has constantly reinvented itself.  This feat has rightly made many people call the brand a snake-charmer!

 

 

Montblanc, another well-known lifestyle brand, has infused the mystic of the snake into the design of its writing instruments. For over a century, Montblanc has developed a unique expertise in refining traditional craftsmanship with all the modern advantages of precision technology. Here, the Rouge et Noir collection says it all. The snake is seen exhibiting beautiful examples of the goldsmith’s craft in both the bejewelled nib and the fine workmanship of the writing instrument making a powerful presence.

Jewellers have also been fascinated with the motif. Cartier, one of the best known names in the realm of jewellery, may have a panther as a more recognizable motif, but they too have explored the charms of the snake.

 

 

Every year, the serpent finds new ways of expression in the creations of various brands. It could be the way it coils, or fits around the neck or wrist, or raises its head to reveal the time….the expressions have no end! What’s next? We cannot wait to find out!

May 15, 2017 0 comment
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It’s all about sustainable luxury in this day and age. Luxury brands have become more alert and conscious about responsible sourcing. The world of luxury watches always offers a plethora of possibilities for the use of precious stones and metals. But, if you take a deeper look into the sourcing of these beautiful objects, you’ll be surprised to find out that there are quite a few dark spots that you probably never imagined there would be.

In 2013 Chopard launched “The Journey to Sustainable Luxury” project, a commitment to sustainable and ethical practices in partnership. For the initiative, the company teamed up with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM). Chopard’s support has included committing to purchasing a substantial portion of the cooperative’s gold which is certified as “Fairmined”—and utilizing it in their collections. The gold has been extracted in a responsible manner and the miners receive a fair price for their work along with contribution to training, social well-being and environmental protection. “It is a bold commitment,” says Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, “but one that we must pursue if we are to make a difference to the lives of people who make our business possible.”

The Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon was the first piece from the brand to use this gold. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s long-term aim is for the entire L.U.C collection to be made in ethical gold. The dream has taken wings with the L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined in 2014, but there is a long path ahead. Other watchmakers too are not behind. Zeitwinkel, an independent brand producing modern wristwatches with in-house movements has produced one of its most complicated watches, the 273o in Fairmined rose gold.

The Better Gold Initiative, a Swiss-sponsored responsible mining initiative offering artisanal gold miners direct access to markets, better environmental respect and more transparency, needs to be mentioned here as well. It is a Private-Public-Partnership between the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), a group of major refiners and jewelers, alongside Max Havelaar Switzerland, a fair trade organization, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO. Switzerland’s involvement in the initiative stems from its key role in the international gold trade, and obviously keeping the demands for use of gold in watches in mind.

In 2015, Chopard continued to lead the watch and jewellery industry with the announcement of its new partnership with PX Précinox SA, a Swiss gold refinery company, to establish the first commercial export route for Fairmined Gold from Bolivia.

In just a few months, two more gold mines reached Fairmined certification: one in Bolivia and the other in Colombia with Chopard pledging to buy 100% of the Fairmined gold extracted by those mines.

So really what does this partnership mean?

Chopard and PX Précinox see the gold exported and refined using the PX Précinox fully segregated ‘track and trace’ processing system, a process where Fairmined Gold is separated from standard material throughout the refining process. The Fairmined gold’s final destination is Chopard’s workshops in Geneva, making it fully traceable from mine to product. Both Chopard and PX Précinox are certified members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) fully adhering to the RJC Code of Practices. More and more watchmakers are firmly on the journey to sustainable luxury, using their own standards and ways of adhering to external certifications, but ensuring that their sourcing becomes more responsible and ethical.

May 9, 2017 1 comment
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Watchmakers have always experimented with new materials and alloys in designing watches. The intrinsic properties of some materials makes them apt to use in watch designing.

Take the use of jewels and semi-precious stones for example. These had a functional purpose that had to do with the effective working of the timepiece. The inherent properties of jewels (their hardness, that they are slow to wear out and that they can be worked upon to get a smooth finish) helped to reduce friction, which in turn led to a greater accuracy and efficiency of the movement of the watch.

Over the years, varied alloys, newer metals, stones and meteorites have found expression in watches. Watch manufacturers have come a long way since. Today, they find out the most unpredictable, robust, unique and extravagant materials investing a lot into production, which is often a result of intense experimentation with products and processes.

The recent years have seen an array of timepieces that had much more to them than their look or functionality. TAG Heuer’s Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matte Ceramic explores the use of ceramic in its bracelet, case, bezel and lugs; basically everything that’s exposed to friction. This material offers unparalleled scratch-resistance and presents a micro-blasted finish for a flawless deep black design. Technically, to guarantee perfect water resistance to 100 metres, steel is always a material of choice on all the functional parts of the watch (inner box section, screw-down case back, push-pieces etc.) to enable the gaskets (crystal gasket, case-back gaskets, push-piece gaskets and crown tube) to fulfil their function. The good thing about ceramic is that it keeps its original colour and does not oxidise. It is hypoallergenic and lighter than steel.

At the SIHH 2017, Officine Panerai unveiled the new Panerai Submersible watches where innovations are apparent in the variety of materials used in producing the cases. One of them is especially noteworthy – the BMG-TECH (Bulk Metallic Glass), used to make the case of the new Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic. Made from a special glass-like alloy which prevents crystallisation, so that the atoms do not arrange themselves in regular geometric structures, this watch really got us thinking. How far can the industry go? And more importantly what’s next?

The alloy (consisting of zirconium, copper, aluminium, titanium and nickel) is subjected to a high-pressure injection process at a high temperature and then to a cooling process lasting for only a few seconds, so that the atoms do not have enough time to become arranged in an ordered, regular structure, which is conventionally what happens in crystals. The “chaotic” structure of the material is the secret of its properties, in particular, its extreme corrosion resistance, its robustness and resistance to external shocks and magnetic fields, bringing further advantages to the owner of a watch providing excellent performance while preserving its appearance virtually unchanged over time. Its appearance is similar to that of titanium but darker grey in colour. Its atomic structure provides a range of very useful qualities for an underwater watch: extreme resistance to wear, high strength and lightness.

Roger Dubuis also made a statement at the SIHH this year with a new material in the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt watch. The disruptive  cobalt chrome finds expression on the 48 mm-diameter case, bezel, case-back and crown and is produced using the extremely exclusive MicroMelt technology that represents just 0.1% of worldwide metallurgy. The result? A case that is biocompatible, extremely corrosion-resistant and durable.

Ultimately, the use of new materials is not just for the sake of the material itself. It is linked to the very nature of the watch industry that has always striven to reinvent itself. For the purpose of precision and quality, watch manufacturers are always on the lookout for something new. After all, it’s all tied to excellence, which is the ultimate goal of expression.

May 1, 2017 0 comment
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Throwing some light

Have you grappled for the switches in the dead of the night, but were grateful to that luminescent clock in your room? Have you ever dived deep down in murky waters, thankful that the dial of your watch provided all indications glowing… pun intended!

Luminous watches are very common today, but they have a long history. This history is somewhat linked to the idea of glowing luminous objects. Luminescent pigments occurring in natural stones (such as jade) were often used in the past. They were ground and put on jewels and wine cups, adding oodles to the look and the preciousness of the piece as well.

HISTORY

It is said that the first luminous paint was invented in Japan over 1,000 years ago. China and Japan are the civilizations who started using this paint on paintings and other objects, but it was a matter of time that they found another useful expression on dials of watches. The technique reached Europe and Swiss watchmakers began treating the dials of timepieces with a natural luminescent paint, created using the same technique as the early Japanese artists.

These early experimentations may not reflect the great quality of luminescent materials that we have today. In fact, the luminosity of these objects in the past was often low and faded quickly in a couple of hours. Even today, this kind of inferior quality is used on cheap toys and watches.

TRITIUM

While most radio-active substances are not used any more for luminosity in watches, tritium based devices called “gaseous tritium light source” are popular since they are self-powered and produce a consistent luminosity that does not fade during the night, but, in the end are radioactive. Tritium filled tubes which come in different colours like orange, blue, green or red and are coated with phosphor to create the glow are called trasers. The Tritium gas is sealed within the glass tube, so though they are radioactive, they do not emit any radiation. They also have a life of about 12 years or so which will gradually fade, becoming too dim to be useful after 20 to 30 years.

LUMINOUS PAINTS

Many watch groups have come up with their own versions of luminous substances. Luminox Light Technology is a system used in Luminox watches. It is a self-powered illumination system discovered in the 1980s, and uses micro gas light tubes, called borosilicate glass capsules, in the hands, the hour markers and, in some cases, the bezel of the watch. The light tubes glow constantly for up to 25 years and keep the watch bright for perfect at-a-glance visibility, even in complete darkness. Seiko has developed LumiBrite, a luminous paint which is long-lasting, bright and completely free from radioactive substances. The paint glows brightly when it is first in the dark and then slowly fades. Citizen watches right across the range use Natulite luminous paint.

SUPER-LUMINOVA

There were some significant experiments and innovations that changed the game. The most popular one, and the one that is widely used today, is Super-LumiNova. This makes use of strontium aluminate, which is non-radioactive. It also used nontoxic afterglow pigments, offering much higher brightness than pigments used in the past. The way it works is, the ultra-violet radiation in daylight and in some artificial light sources adds energy to the electrons in  strontium aluminate pigment, which then slowly releases it in the form of photons or light over the course of the next few hours. This is the simple working of this pigment.

Super-LumiNova is based on LumiNova pigments. The parent company credited with this invention is Nemoto & Co., Ltd. of Japan, who came out with this wonderfully safe replacement to radium in 1993. Rolex has its own version of the luminescent paint, called Chromalight. Patented in 2008, it glows blue in the dark.

Super-LumiNova has found widespread application in the watch and clock industry. It has also been used for markings on various scales and instruments, including aviation instruments and emergency signs, aiming posts and so on. The printing industry as well as the fashion industry have also made many creative uses.

The success of the use of Super-LumiNova in watches is also dependent on how it’s used. For example, Panerai uses a layered dial with SuperLuminova at the core and numerals cut out from the top layer. This enables more of the pigment to be used, and is directly proportional to the quality.

WHAT ABOUT SUPER-LUMINOVA IN THE LONG TERM?

It’s only been around since 1998 and the watch industry will have to wait to study the long term effects on the quality of light emitted by the watches that use SuperLuminova or Luminova. What we do know is that moisture causes it to crumble. Hence, watchmakers protect the pigment using a thin coating of transparent lacquer. This could possibly age over time, but then, only time can tell! Till then, Lumos….Let there be light!

April 5, 2017 0 comment
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In today’s super connected world, travel is second nature to most of us. We live and work, physically or mentally in different time zones all the time! In such instances, dual timers are very handy and much preferred. This is where the GMT watch comes in.

In simple terms, a GMT watch is a timepiece with a 24-hour format hand that indicates a second time zone in addition to the other hands and must be noted that this is not just any multiple time zone watch with more than one 12-hour format dial. For a GMT watch, the 24-hour scale is a must.

There is a subtle distinction between a regular dual timer and a pure GMT watch. Although GMT and dual time zone watches often use the same movement, a GMT watch is intended to be set to GMT and left there, while the dual time zone watch is intended to have both zones adjusted more frequently. Then, there is also the world timer, which, by contrast, shows many time zones at once.

The going train in a conventional watch is geared to spin the hour hand around the dial every 12 hours. In a GMT, the second hour hand is geared to run half as fast on an additional 24-hour time scale. Thus, the 24- hour hand circles the dial once a day instead of twice, its tip pointing to the corresponding hour, leaving no confusion as to whether it’s a.m. or p.m. The idea of a GMT watch is to offer two things: a hand that is always synched to GMT time, so that the time all around the world can be identified, and normal hands for local time. Hence, a proper GMT movement allows the hour hand of the watch to be adjusted independentlyso that the GMT hand remains set to the Greenwich Mean Time.

The concept of GMT dates back to 1884 when an international convention declared Greenwich, England as the “Mean Time” against which the rest of the Earth’s time zones would be compared. Those were the days of slow boat travel, and time zones were crossed over days and weeks, not hours.

With the invention of airplanes things changed. It was possible to enter and exit time zones in a matter of hours. This called for special watches which would track time across time zones. Rolex invented the GMT complication and is today the top reference standard for this type of watch. The Rolex GMT Master was one of the classics of this genre and the very first to feature a dual time complication showing home time on a 24 hour display and local time on an independent 12-hour display. The watch was developed in 1954 by Rolex on a specific customer request and was originally designed in collaboration with Pan American Airways and issued by the airline to their crews on long-haul flights.

Over the years, several watch manufacturers have tested the limits and come out with their own GMT watches, each with unique designs and features. The GMT complication has also been incorporated in watches which have other complications, enhancing its reach and appeal. While GMT watches were originally designed for pilots, they are broadly used today by anyone who may be interested in tracking the time in two different places. It is one more unique pointer to the ingenuity of the watch world!

October 16, 2016 0 comment
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