What Does It Mean for a Mechanical Watch to Be Swiss Made? – Gear Patrol breaks it down.
What Does It Mean for a Mechanical Watch to Be Swiss Made? – Gear Patrol breaks it down.
Swiss on the inside, Italian on the outside, the new 40mm titanium cased Bulgari Finissimo Automatic is more than just good looks.
Unveiled at Baselworld 2017 earlier this year, it’s a third world record for Bulgari after the introduction of the thinnest tourbillon in 2014 and minute repeater in 2016.
Encased in titanium, the Octo Finissimo weighs in at approximately 80gms and is all about ‘THIN’ for a reason. Driven by caliber BVL 138, a movement which is only 2.23mm, this is Bulgari’s thinnest engine till date. (Even thinner than Piaget’s 2.3mm 12P micro-rotor movement)
Bulgari has conceived and designed not only the movement, but also the case and dial. To ensure smooth energy regulation, it beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and has a 60-hour power reserve. Automatic winding is accomplished via the platinum micro-rotor, a guarantee of efficiency. The hands and hour markers are coated with black PVD treatment for enhanced legibility against the sandblasted dial.
The movement itself is hand decorated with Côtes de Genève and circular-grained finishing to make it look as impressive on the inside as the outside.
Put the watch on your wrist and it’s like wearing nothing at all, all thanks to the titanium build. Extremely light and extremely comfortable, the Octo Finissimo is offered in an alligator leather strap with a matching titanium pin buckle as well as a beautiful titanium bracelet composed of supple and perfectly articulated links.
With Rolex, you never anticipate. You wait. You watch. You pretend that long journey from Australia to Switzerland never happened and you go back all awestruck. This year Rolex set Baselworld 2017 on fire with 7 new introductions.
Perfectly balanced with just the right amount of ahh, let’s get right into our top 4 winners:
It’s Rolex’s 50th anniversary and the watch that has conquered the seas is back, only this time with a slight twist. This years Sea Dweller features a 43 mm case (the largest sea dweller ever produced by Rolex) with a cyclop lens (date window), the new calibre 3235 with a 70 hour power reserve and water resistance of 1220 meters.
The Sea Dweller name in ‘Red’ – who would’ve expected it. Rolex has balanced out personality and innovation extremely well. Australia we can tell you one thing for sure, this one has created quite a stir, so head in to your nearest Rolex retailer; get in line and place your orders before its gone.
RRP – AUD $14,400
Goodbye conservative. Hello Daring. The highlight of the new Cellini is without a doubt its moon phase display. Nope we did not see that coming. Situated at 6 o clock, the lunar module that drives the moon phase display has been patented by Rolex. All thanks to Rolex’s new and improved caliber 3195, the moon phase module will need no adjustment for the next 122 years.
So really what’s all the buzz about? The moon phase disk has been carefully enameled featuring an actual piece of meteorite rock symbolising the moon. The tiny gold arrow on top of the moon phase indicates the lunar cycle.
As each night goes by, the moon phase disc follows the lunar cycle: when the meteorite applique is aligned with the moon phase indicator, the moon will be full in the night to come. Rotating clockwise, the disc shows the waning phases until the silver ring reaches the top, indicating the new moon. Thereupon the lunar cycle continues through the waxing phases until the moon is full again.
In terms of layout, the new Cellini is a real classic; not too busy, not too bland, just right. It features a blue date hand and an hours, minutes and second hand which is done in gold.
How deep does your love for complications go?
RRP – AUD $33,900
Offered in 18ct yellow, white or everose gold, our next contender is the new Cosmograph Daytona with Oysterflex bracelet. For the first time, Rolex has integrated an Oysterflex bracelet (elastomer reinforced with a metal blade) to the Cosmograph Daytona collection which to be honest gives the watch a refreshingly new look. A Cerachrom bezel which was introduced in the Daytona only last year makes its way once again in the collection. Corrosion resistant, virtually scratch proof and unaffected by UV rays, this extremely durable bezel also offers an exceptionally legible tachymetric scale, thanks to the deposition of a thin layer of 18 ct gold or platinum in the numerals and graduations via a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process. The monobloc Cerachrom bezel is made in a single piece and holds the crystal firmly in place on the middle case, ensuring waterproofness.
The winding crown is fitted with a Triplock triple waterproofness system as well as chronograph pushers which screw down securely against the case.
Beating inside the watch, is Rolex’s caliber 4130, a high performance chronograph movement boasting a power reserve of approximately 72 hours.
Take your pick people.
Yellow Gold – AUD $34,900
White Gold – AUD $36,450
Everose Gold – AUD $36,450
It’s the industry’s most iconic travellers timepiece and Rolex’s only dual time watch. For the first time, the new Sky-Dweller is available in a combination of 904L steel and 18ct gold.
So what is the new Sky Dweller bringing to the table this year? For starters, the dial now features rectangular index hour markers and longer hands in comparison to the Roman or Arabic numerals used in its previous models, which is a little more conservative yet classy. It includes a dual time zone, with local time read via centre hands and a reference time display in a 24-hour format read via a rotating off-centre disc on the dial; a particularly innovative annual calendar named Saros – after the astronomical phenomenon of the same name – that requires only one date adjustment a year, when the month changes from February to March; and a month display by means of 12 apertures around the circumference of the dial.
Other features include Rolex’s patented Easylink rapid extension system that allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm for additional comfort and a ring command bezel which is unidirectional and designed to avoid any damage to the mechanism of the watch. The bezel is adjusted with the winding crown to set various functions that include a 24-hour second time zone and an annual calendar.
Beating inside is Rolex’s ‘Anti-magnetic’ Calibre 9001 movement which offers a power reserve of approximately 72 hours.
Steel and Yellow Gold (Black Dial, White Dial and Champagne Dial) – AUD $21,700
Steel and White Gold (Black Dial, Blue Dial and White Dial) – AUD $18,250
Coming up with a concept for a new watch is an art but reissuing an established classic is an even bigger art, especially if it’s an IWC Portugieser. Easily identifiable with a class of its own, today, we’re looking at the all new the Portugieser Chronograph Classic (Ref. 3903).
For those of you new to the Portugieser family, Ref 3903, the third Chronograph in the Portugieser family was first presented in 2013 and till date retains its character of the originals from the 1930s. How have the guys at IWC pulled this off? Let’s take a look.
As far as looks go, the Chronograph Classic doesn’t veer off completely from its original design. The dial with the typical Portugieser railway-track- style chapter ring looks even neater than its predecessor without the subdivision of the seconds, while the watch as a whole has a more modern impact thanks to the convex sapphire glass.
Presented in an 18-carat red gold case, the silver-plated dial acts as a perfect backdrop for the appliquéd arabic numerals and golden hands. To complete the look, the watch is accompanied by a hand-finished brown alligator leather strap.
Other features of the Portugieser Chronograph Classic are mostly carried over from past versions including the tried-and-tested IWC-manufactured 89361 calibre with flyback function, self-winding system and a power reserve of 68 hours.
The recorded time is particularly easy to read on the combined hour and minute counter at “12 o’clock”. Turn the watch around and you’ll notice a see through sapphire glass back which provides a spectacular view of the movement and the rotor which is adorned with Geneva stripes.
The new Portugieser Chronograph Classic is available in two other colour combinations. One with a silver-plated dial and blue hands and appliqués (Ref. IW390302) and the other in a midnight blue dial with rhodium-plated hands and appliqués (Ref. IW390303).
Australian Pricing – RRP:
18-carat red gold case and a silver-plated dial, (Ref. IW390301): AUD $29,200
Silver-plated dial and blue hands and appliqués (Ref. IW390302): AUD $15,100
Midnight blue dial with rhodium-plated hands and appliqués (Ref. IW390303): AUD $15,100
Australian multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, educator and may we add ORIS LOVER, James Morrison plays multiple roles, but all of them bound by notes of music. James has a veritable fan following and we were fortunate enough to sit down with the ‘King of Jazz’ at a recent valedictorian event in Mount Gambier. James’ latest release “In Good Company” with his mentor, the legendary Don Burrows has remained at the top of the charts ever since its debut. Morrison is also on the path to making a mark on music education through The James Morrison Academy of Music, a dedicated jazz school in partnership with the University of South Australia. Read on to know more about the maestro…
Early musical influences…
My roots are in a small town, in the country. The community was very musical. My mother played the organ in church. We moved to Sydney when I was seven years old. I joined the school band. But, the local church we went to was bigger, and ironically, I first heard jazz there. One thing led to another. I took to jazz and started playing in bands. The rest as they say, is history.
How has jazz transformed your life?
I don’t think that being a jazz musician is something you choose. You discover that you are one. If you are lucky you can discover it and make it a career. I think it is something you are, rather than something you do. What that means is that it is a form of expression, and to take this expression and your passion into a vocation is really difficult. These are often three different things, and to have them connected as one; it’s a different kind of life. The line between work, passion and expression is completely gone.
Your latest release “In Good Company” with Don Burrows has remained in the Top 10 of the Aria Jazz Charts since its debut at No 2. What are some of the best things about creating your own music?
A jazz musician is freer in interpreting. So I think that what we should do, at least once a year or so, is to question where am I heading now, and interpret that by capturing snapshots, collaborations…With Don Burrows I have collaborated for long and he has been an important part of my life. To capture that musically is really what it’s about.
You are known for inspiring the next generation of musicians. We would love to know a little about the James Morrison academy of music and how have you seen jazz evolve over the last few years?
I’ve always been involved in education, but mainly as a touring musician and doing workshops, master classes and so on. You talk to a group of musicians and then you may or may not even see them again. When you do this over many years, you tend to think in terms of, “If I had a school then…”. The opportunity to take a group of musicians and follow them through, and nurture them; that is what the James Morrison Academy of Music is about. We have courses, but the purpose is to find out what kind of musician you are and to manifest it. There are many different ways of playing jazz as there are people playing it. It is a journey together.
We don’t talk about rhythm and pulse; we talk about time! When we ask, how is his time, we refer to the ability to evoke rhythm. Jazz is all about time! It’s kind of cool that the highest award we give to a jazz musician is a timepiece because that person will have exceptional time! A watch is something that lasts a lifetime. There is nothing more long-lasting than that. When your phone becomes three models old, it will not be useful, and one day it eventually breaks. So does a lovely pair of glasses or any other item. Very few things in life, are for life. Beautiful pens can be one of them. Most of them but, are timepieces. It is something that we want to be timeless. To have something like that as a gift always works. It is a beautiful marriage of ideas and physical object. A jazz watch…that’s the coolest thing! It is riddled with great connections.
As an artist, what drew you to Oris?
I have always loved fine things, and that includes Swiss watches. It is an example of craftsmanship, but it also symbolizes something. You can tell the time with any digital watch. It keeps perfect time. Anything can keep time. It’s more about what went into making the timepiece. I find that the personal interests of the person who makes the products, like the jazz line, is interesting. It is all about what you are putting into it, and that says something. It’s more than a timepiece. It’s a statement. I am currently wearing the Oris Oscar Peterson. Here is a company that relates to something. The fact that they have jazz watches…well that’s something!
The actual people in the company don’t see their work as just a job. It is a company that does not just make beautiful products, but also thinks about ‘why’. The little things and symbols in the design matter. They don’t scream for attention. You appreciate the thought behind it.
How would you describe your style and how does Oris come into it?
I am a jazz musician and I like change! Thankfully, I am able to have more than one watch! My style is changeable. Some of my watches are classy, some are avant-garde. I don’t go sporty as often, so I don’t have many sport watches. I love complicated watches with lots of functions. I can sit on a plane and try different things with the watch. I fly around a lot, and so a pilot’s watch is a must. A classy dress watch is also a must.
That’s a great note to end on!
(Many thanks to James Morrison and his team and Oris Australia for making this interview possible. Interview taken in November 2016)
He’s the very definition of ‘Intellectual Nourishment’. All you need is 10 minutes and you’ll know exactly what we mean. His passion for Longines in unmatched. Having taken the reins as President of Longines in 1988, Walter von Känel is showing no signs of slowing down. With an estimated turnover of 1.5 billion Swiss Francs, Longines is still clearly among the top watchmakers in the Swiss watch industry. Earlier this year at Baselworld, we were fortunate enough to spend time talking to one of the most charismatic and experienced individuals of the industry. Excerpts….
THE YEAR FOR LONGINES…
Longines kept its 1.5 billion turnover, as Mr. Hayek said in the Swatch Group press conference. It has been positive in most places, except Hong Kong. Australia has been very positive. We grew 15% over last year in this market. So, we are happy!
LET’S TALK LIMITED EDITIONS…
For special pieces, we are open. We have dedicated watches to varied championships. As of now, we don’t have anything in the pipeline. We have collections that are doing well, but I feel getting something on it, like the map etc…would be risky. I don’t think we should have any political aspect to it. But yes, never say never!
THE LONGINES PORTFOLIO…
If we look at the breakdown of materials, we do about 58% of steel. We have also got a tremendous breakthrough of steel and gold cap. In the latter, the thickness of the gold has to be between 200-499 microns. Above 500 is solid gold and below 200 is plated. We have many pieces in this segment. Then there is PVD, or plated collection. We do stick to our policy of consistency and continuation. Ceramic is not my territory.
I don’t trust the quality of black PVD, and so I don’t go into it. When I go to the PVD factories, I am very surprised to see some really high Swiss brands using China’s PVD. We stick to our main business. With respect to the straps, that’s a different world. It is an interesting situation. We have always had crocodile and alligator leather. With NATO straps, there is the advantage of price!
THE FUTURE OF THE SWISS WATCH INDUSTRY…
I have been in the industry for 53 years. From 1963 to 1969 I was in a dial factory and then from 1969 I have been at Longines. With respect to the Swiss Industry exports, the export of last year was almost a miracle. The beginning of the year was not so bad. You are aware that as an industry, we have had non-stop growth for 10-15 years. The general tendency has been that. In 2008 the brands focusing on USA did face a crisis. There were changes. Today, we see Chinese tourists going back to Europe. Hong Kong, we have seen an impact recently. Korea has come back. We have not really blocked any production. We should look at the last 10-15 years. There may be a rest in between….but I feel that the global negative effect will be partially absorbed. I don’t think we will have this momentum in the next 20 years. We will see the strong getting stronger and the weak getting weaker. The name of the game is how we can control the distribution and the points of sale.
What drives you? A simple question that in essence embodies Drive de Cartier. Beautifully executed and superbly finished, Drive de Cartier is a perfect piece of haute horlogerie for the modern day man. It’s a watch that has it all. A classic in the true sense of the term. The more you look at it, the more you realise how diverse and interesting the world of Cartier is and will continue to be. From a wearability aspect, Drive de Cartier is a no brainer, breaking down the wall between day and evening dress watches for men. We’re absolutely certain it will perform as effectively in a boardroom as it would at a stylish soiree.
The mark of this stylish timepiece’s character is cultivated in its 40mm cushion styled case. Cartier is no stranger to the most amazing shapes for cases, and this one truly steals the show. Understated and yet so distinct!
Another distinctive detail is the striking guilloché dial marked by Roman numerals punctuated with sword-shaped hands. With the patterning of the guilloché dial resembling the design of a radiator grill, the domed crystal, counter at 6 o’clock and the winding crown shaped like a bolt, the motor car is an indisputable presence. All the elements on the dial are not only meticulously finished but also beautifully proportioned, which adds oodles to the appeal of the watch.
If the front is beautiful, the back is equally fascinating. If you love the mechanisms of fine watches, all it takes is a glance at the transparent case back and you’ll be hooked! Cartier’s self-winding 1904-PS MC movement featuring 48 hours of power reserve (incidentally, one of the very first in- house calibres conceived, manufactured and assembled by the Cartier Manufacture) has been used for this watch.
The taut curves and refined lines construct an identity that is stylish, elegant and modern. The 40mm wide and 11.5mm thick cushion styled timepiece is ideal for most wrists. Tying the dial together is an alligator skin strap, secured with a double adjustable folding clasp in steel.
Drive de Cartier is one of the most elegantly simple watches that Cartier has produced to date.
Ever thought about the relationship between sound and time..When you look at a watch you are not only looking at the dial, but also in some way internalising the beat of the tick-tock of the hands. The sounds of time can be enthralling and as you enter this beautiful universe where chiming time takes precedence, you just 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.
Why are they so sought-after? For one, they are the oldest and most traditional of watch complications. The history of the minute repeaters has a very practical side to it. After all, 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. Various developments ensued.
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 Patek Philippe, Christophe Claret, Bvlgari, Jaeger-LeCoultre, 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. But that is 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 watchmaker 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!
Since they are really complex repeater mechanisms, collectors, connoisseurs and watch lovers covet minute repeaters. Who wouldn’t? After all, they are ‘The’ masterpieces of precision engineering. Everything has to be perfect to deliver the perfect sound that carries the wearer away in a distant world.