Subtlety may be out of fashion but there are haute horlogerie watches out there that speak more to their owners than to observers. In the following story, we present five such watches and a guide to identifying watches that are truly for the few. Read Watch Feature: Stealth Wealth article.
Swiss luxury watchmaking hothouse Gerald Genta can be expected to issue unusual pieces that defy conventional haute horlogerie expectations and the new Arena QP GMT piece is a reflection of this ethos. Dominated by red and black, the watch is at first glance unusually restrained, largely because it is a round watch.
The Bulgari-owned brand is more or less expected to offer odd touches in the case shape and, closer inspection reveals a fluted case middle and a protected crown, set apart from the case middle.
The GMT and perpetual calendar information are at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, respectively, although the first glance at this 45mm watch may be deceptive. Both counters use a dagger-shaped hand to provide indication while the day and month counters are rotating discs.
The perforated dial allows a glimpse of the Potter-finished self-winding movement. The watch is available in titanium and platinum and is water resistant to 100 meters, showcasing the robustness of the case construction.
We already brought you news of the Phases de Lune and the Professional Aria ranges within the Diagono Collection. Let us turn out attention to the Diagono Calibro 303, so named for its BVL 303 movement.
A chronograph with integrated column wheel mechanism, the movement’s name follows Bulgari’s naming convention, revealing the number of parts used.
You will clearly see the efforts they have gone to with the multi-level dial: the Satinee Soleil decorated base metal plate, an anthracite level with vertical lines and the chronograph subdials and small seconds counter (traditional tri-compax layout) with circular trim.
Internally, the BVL 303 stands up the closest of scrutiny. Aside from being an integrated chronograph movement (it is purpose-built to be a chronograph), it also sports a vertically coupled clutch system that resolves the thorny issue of the so-called chronograph backlash during operation of the start, stop and return to zero functions.
The development of this self-winding mechanism took more than 3,520 hours and it is a fusion of 10 different materials. Bulgari notes that the base plate alone features more than 250 manual finishing and polishing operations.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Squadra Lady and Polo Tournament
Luxury Swiss watchmaking manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre strengthens its ties to polo and charity with a gala on 2 December 2008 in Buenos Aires at the Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt to raise funds for the Nuestra Senora del Pilar Chrildren’s Home.
The Grand Polo Gala raised more than US$75,000 last year to benefit the same Home, which cares for abandoned or abused homeless children.
At the same time, the Le Sentier-based manufacture is also sponsoring the third edition of the polo season in Patagonia, Argentina, organized by the Arelauquen Polo Club in 2009. Participating in the women's tournament is none other than Reverso Squadra Lady ambassador Lia Salvo. For more information on the Reverso Squadra Lady, please see our complete 2008 SIHH coverage.
With an eye towards tackling the troubling issue of illiteracy in Cambodia, Swiss luxury watchmaker IWC is holding a very special auction from 8-14 December 2008 on their own website.
IWC is offering two unique items for sale in this one-time opportunity: the only platinum version of the Pilot’s Watch UTC Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery and an English-translation copy of Saint Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars, signed by the long-missing author himself.
Considering that Saint Exupery has been missing since World War II, this is a bona fide antique. The watch is IWC's own special contribution to the arena of GMT and world time watches. Please see our coverage of GMT watches and highlights from SIHH for more information.
The proceeds of this one-off auction will benefit the Sipar association, which is a group dedicated to eradicating illiteracy in Cambodia by publishing children's books and establishing school libraries. Since 1993, the organization has set up nearly a hundred libraries in Cambodia.
Interestingly, among the books they have produced for children is a Khmer language translation of the Little Prince by Saint Exupery. Bids for the unique UTC and book begin at US$39,000 and IWC will accept increases of between US$100 to US$400 per bid.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-Lecoultre joins forces once again with Aston Martin to create a watch with unique properties. Built specifically for owners of the new Aston Martin DBS, the Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX 2 DBS Transponder is a fusion of handcrafted tradition and 21st century engineering.
Basically, the watch allows its wearer to lock and unlock his Aston Martin DBS with a mere push of the sapphire crystal (between 8 and 9 o’clock to open and 3 and 4 o’clock to close).
As with the previous AMVOX 2, this one is a chronograph with no pushpieces. Instead, the watch uses the sapphire crystal to activate the chronograph. In a remarkable marriage between the electrical and mechanical, this very same ingenious mechanism is used to activate the transponder.
The manufacture announced that the first working prototypes have been produced. Check back for news on the actual production watches.
It is worth noting that the timekeeping functions of the watch are totally mechanical while the transponder function is electronic (battery-powered). The transponder and the battery are housed as far as possible from the automatic mechanical movement.
In the case of the transponder, it is actually a 128mm antenna along the curve of the inner bezel. Compared with the version in the DBS key, this one weighs merely a few grams and is less than half its size, making the AMVOX 2 a triumph of miniaturization.
Max Busser of MB&F was in Singapore to unveil the new MB&F Horological Machine No3 (HM3) to the press and a select group of collectors.
As with the previous two Horological Machines, the HM3 defies expectations yet simultaneously affirms all that horology enthusiasts have come to expect from MB&F.
Busser reveals that his inspiration was twofold: he wanted to build a spaceship for the wrist and a wristwatch that was simply cool. When one looks at this eminently wearable timepiece, one might think of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars.
The story here is told by both the shape of the watch and the configuration of the movement, with balance assembly and rotor appearing dial-side.
Hours and minutes are delivered by the two cones (via the ceramic ball bearings visible through the caseback) while the date is supplied via a ring around the movement. Thus the movement appears to be framed by the display of time.