Sunday, April 29, 2007

Jewellery for men

It's not merely to keep time that we wear watches today. What was once - and still is - touted as a necessity has become a luxury and as the Swiss like to say "A piece of jewellery," today. Brands like Rolex, Omega and Longines, once associated with Hollywood celebrities are slowly finding their way into Indian households. Puneites too are not feeling bad to pay more than a couple of thousands to acquire a premium watch today.

A walk down Central mall on Bund Garden Road or Piramyds on Moledina Road will tell you just how popular premium watches are these days. Rajiv Shukla, a mass communication student from Delhi says, "It was James Bond who inspired in me the longing to acquire a Swiss watch and in school it was my dream to wear an Omega. A lot of convincing got dad to buy me one," he says.

It's not that HMT, the brand we grew up with, has nothing to offer. It’s just that today the awareness and consciousness through television, newspapers and movies is so high that we have the option of choices, colours and styles.

Automobile dealer Sukhbir Singh, a resident of Pune says, "I picked up a Rado in Christmas this year and most of my contacts in Mumbai know me as Rado Singh. It’s not that I have flashed my watch around, it’s just that the brand is premium class today and everyone knows that my Rado Ceramic is no less precious than a piece of jewellery.

Swiss watches of course are in high demand since they are considered snazzy and premium class. It’s what Hollywood movies have always promoted and the Indian middle-class has grown up on. The luxury watch market in the country is a Rs 220 crore industry and while the watch market is estimated to be growing at eight per cent per year, the luxury watch segment is moving up the charts with a growth rate of 20% per annum.

Brands like Corum, Jaeger LeCoultre and Baume & Mercier are doing so well here that Breguet is thinking of bringing its watches carrying a price tag of Rs 2.5 lakh and above.

Most of the malls in the city from Shopper’s Stop to Magnum keep a wide range of these Swiss beauties with a price band that starts at a couple of thousand and goes up to one lakh and above. The customer-base is wide - ranging from the upper middle class to the high class who don’t mind splurging on expensive brands from time to time.
And thanks to the IT and BPO boom, young corporate too are becoming regular customers. "Five years ago these watches were sought after only for marriages and for giving gifts to top of the line corporate. Today the scenario is so different. With Indian fashion making a mark on the international scene, high-end accessories have arrived," says Rafique Siddique who works at Piramyds.

It's not only the brand that is tempting. What buyers are also looking at today is durability coupled with style. And these watches have it all. In fact, most of the cross-section of customers we spoke to were of the opinion that the watch they buy is for keeps sake and have no plans of changing it for five years at least.

And features like sapphire crystal glass, diamonds and lifetime batteries make these watches even more tempting. Ashoke Mansukhani, who had bought a Cartier for her son’s wedding says, "It has been over six years that I bought the watch and there have been no complaints from my son whatsover. In fact he still thanks me for gifting him such a beautifully crafted watch. The price I paid was steep, but it was worth it after all."

Inside The Rolex Watch Datejust

Longines presents Master Collection

Longines Watches present its prestigious and classical models in Master Collection, which, it says, is ideal for top executives and professionals.

Master Collection is available in two types: stainless steel strap and genuine alligator strap. It has three choices of buckle: silver, gold and copper, with engraved logo wings.

This prestigious watch also has moon-phase dials and chronograph function. It is water-resistant to 50 meters. The watch also carries a two-year international warranty.

Longines has had support since 1832 from ETA Movement Swiss Made, a member of the Swatch Group manufacturer.

Buy Longines now online

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

There's never been a better time for luxury watches.

Executives at last week's Swiss watch fairs — Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show in Basel and the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva — cited robust demand for their most expensive timepieces, strong momentum in emerging markets and increased attention from women as elements that are pumping more power into their already formidable engines.

Most executives described market conditions as no less than amazing, saying that the global wealth-creation machine is propelling their most expensive products to unprecedented levels of success.

machine is propelling their most expensive products to unprecedented levels of success.

"If you haven't made money in the last couple of years, it's time to quit," said Corum owner Severin Wunderman. "It's literally insanity. In my 40 years in the business, it's never been like this."

Such declarations resounded from most leading brands, from Rolex and Omega to Patek Philippe and Cartier, all of which introduced models that retailers said are sure to drive more gains in the market.

Officials from those firms, as well as Tag Heuer, Hublot, Audemars Piguet, Zenith, Ebel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier, Chopard, de Grisogono, Bulgari, Chanel, Harry Winston, David Yurman and Montblanc, all said they anticipate strong double-digit growth in 2007.

Exports of watches increased 22.7 percent in February, the most recent month reported, boosted primarily by gains in the most expensive timepieces, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Watches costing more than $100,000 were plentiful at the fairs and timepieces in excess of $1 million emerged as the new benchmark for the extraordinary, largely because of demand from Asia, Russia, the Middle East and the U.S.

The bullish mood reflected the findings of a Goldman Sachs report released this month before the start of the Swiss fairs that concluded consumer demand for luxury watches is likely to accelerate in the next six months, especially for pricey and sporty styles. Results of the annual survey, which is based on responses from 89 international retail groups, representing more than 600 stores, were the most positive since the investment house began the polling in 2003.

Two New Brown Watches From Omega

There is something about Omega's brown watch models that I love, the combination of the brown dial and strap and the red gold case is delightful. Omega has debuted the new De Ville Central Tourbillon Co-Axial Chronometer watch. The watch has a tourbillon cage at the center of the watch that is made of titanium and the bridges and plates are finished in brown. The 38.7 mm case is 18 carat red gold case with red gold hands, screws and wheels. The hour and minute hands are etched on to two separate sapphire discs with an anti-reflective treatment on both sides and the two discs rotate around the centre axis to display the time. Solid gold indexes are applied at 12, 3 and 6 o'clock. The watch has a brown alligator leather strap and comes in a presentation box in the form of a watch winder. The rotating box ensures that the watch stays fully wound even when it is not being worn.

They call the Constellation 35mm Automatic Co-Axial Chronograph a sports watch but I can't imagine wearing it to actually participate in a sport except perhaps for golf. The watch has an 18-carat 35mm red gold case with a chocolate brown dial and a rubber strap. It has a COSC certified chronometer powered by OMEGA's self-winding Calibre 3313 with a Co-Axial escapement. The Constellation "claws" or "griffes" are set with 64 diamonds and the crown is set with a briolette diamond and 32 diamonds, that total 1.43 carats, adorn the bezel. The 12-hour and thirty minute sub dials form a figure of eight. The watch is also available in Titanium, to match the existing gentlemen's model or in stainless steel.

Internal Watch Parts

A watch’s main timekeeping mechanism is called its movement. Today’s watch movements fall into two categories: Automatic mechanical or quartz. Automatic mechanical movements mark the passage of time by a series of gear mechanisms. Most automatic movements are wound by the normal, everyday movement of your wrist, which charges the watch’s winding reserve. Quartz movements are powered by a battery and do not stop working once removed from your wrist.

Balance Wheel
The regulating organ of a watch with a mechanical movement that vibrates on a spiral hairspring is called the balance wheel. Lengthening or shortening the balance spring makes the balance wheel go faster or slower to advance or retard the watch. The travel of the balance wheel from one extreme to the other and back again is called oscillation.

Gear Train
This series of small gears in both quartz and mechanical movement watches is responsible for transmitting the power from the battery (in a quartz watch) or spring (in a mechanical watch) to the escapement, which distributes the impulses that mark the time.
EscapementThis part of the watch restricts the electrical or mechanical impulses of the gear train, metering out the passage of time into equal, regular parts.

Motion Work
The motion work is a series of parts inside a watch that receive power from the escapement and gear train, which distribute and generate the watch’s power. The motion work is responsible for actually turning the watch’s hands.

The mainspring is the energy source responsible for powering the watch movement (as opposed to a battery in a watch with a quartz crystal movement). The spring is wound, either manually (using the winding stem) or automatically, by the motion of the wearer’s wrist. Potential energy is stored in the coiled spring, then released to the gear train which transmits the power to the escapement and motion work, which turns the hands on the watch dial.

Ever Wonder.. How Watches Work

How Watches Work
In addition to their exterior beauty, watches are also an incredible feat of engineering and craftsmanship. Many complicated parts must all work in tandem in order to not only tell time, but perform the myriad other functions that many of today’s watches perform. This section contains an overview of the major parts of a watch, as well as an explanation of how watches operate.

Watch Parts
Watches contain many parts that work together to tell time, as well as perform other useful functions. These could include a chronograph, altimeter, alarm, day/date calendar, phases of the moon, slide-rule, etc. Here are descriptions of the major internal and external parts and their functions. For more detailed explanations, you can also visit our Watch Glossary.

External Watch Parts
CrystalThe cover over the watch face is called the crystal. There are three types of crystals commonly found in watches: Acrylic crystal is an inexpensive plastic that allows shallow scratches to be buffed out. Mineral crystal is composed of several elements that are heat-treated to create an unusual hardness that aids in resisting scratches. Sapphire crystal is the most expensive and durable, approximately three times harder than mineral crystals and 20 times harder than acrylic crystals. A non-reflective coating on some sport styles prevents glare. HandsA watch's hands are the pointing device anchored at the center and circling around the dial indicating hours, minutes, seconds and any other special features of the watch. There are many different types of hands:

Alpha: A hand that is slightly tapered
Baton: A narrow hand sometimes referred to as a ‘stick hand’
Dauphine: A wide, tapered hand with a facet at the center running the length of the hand
Skeleton: Cutout hands showing only the frame
Luminous: Hand made of skeleton form with the opening filled with a luminous material

The surface ring on a watch that surrounds and holds the crystal in place is called the bezel. A rotating ratchet bezel moves in some sport watches as part of the timing device. If rotating bezels are bi-directional (able to move clockwise or counter clockwise), they can assist in calculations for elapsed times.

The nodule extending from the watchcase that is used to set the time, date, etc. is called the crown. Most pull out to set the time. Many water-resistant watches have crowns that screw down for a better water-tight seal.

The watch face that contains the numerals, indices or surface design is called the dial. While these parts are usually applied, some may be printed on. Sub-dials are smaller dials set into the main face of the watch. These can be used for added functions, such as elapsed times and dates.

Case (or Watchcase)
The watchcase is the metal housing that contains the internal parts of a watch. Stainless steel is the most typical metal used, but titanium, gold, silver and platinum are also used. Less expensive watches are usually made of brass that has been plated with gold or silver.

A bracelet is the flexible metal band consisting of assembled links, usually in the same style as the watch case. Detachable links are used to change the length of the bracelet. Bracelets can be made of stainless steel, sterling silver, gold, or a combination.

A strap is simply a watchband made of leather, plastic or fabric.