Tuesday, September 20, 2011

de Grisogono Black Forever Collection

Occhio Ripetizione Minuti
 de Grisogono adds a dash of color and a burst of brightness to its latest Black Forever Collection Edition with the introduction of its Instrumento Tondo timepiece . This year de Grisogono will be displaying its "Black Forever" collection at a special showing in San Fransico on September the 26th & September the 27th.  This year will mark the 15th year, de Grisogono has been designing luxury watches and fine jewelry in black diamonds. 

Black diamonds are quite rare. According to geologists, black diamonds came to our earth from outer space. (Source: Astrophysical Journal Letters December 20, 2006) Otherwise known as carbonado diamonds, these diamonds contain trace elements of hydrogen which indicates an origin in a hydrogen-rich interstellar space. Infrared synchrotron radiation at Brookhaven National Laboratory was used to discover the diamonds' source.
Instrumento Tondo RM N56/A
In addition, black diamonds are found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic. In all the worlds mining fields whether it be South Africa, China, India; where 600 tons have been mined, not a single black diamond has been found. Another clue to the extraterrestrial nature of the black diamond is in its make up. The black diamonds Carbonado diamonds are typically pea sized or larger porous aggregates of many tiny black crystals.
Instrumento N° Uno
Early data from scientists Jozsef Garai and Stephen Haggerty of Florida International University, as well as new research support the theory that showing that carbonado diamonds formed in stellar supernovae explosions.
Whatever the source of the black diamonds, their ultimate destination is what really counts in the here and now.  In 1996, Fawaz Gruozi, of de Grisigono, laid his eyes on the 190 carat "Black Orlov" diamond and  was smitten.  He decided to use these rare gems in his jewelry and timepieces.  However black diamonds are fragile and prone to breakage if not handled by a person highly skilled in gems cutting.
To commemorate 15 years of  de Grisogono's use of black diamonds in its jewelry and timepieces, the company has launched a special edition of timepieces named " Black Forever", which includes watches from the brands first watch collection "Instrumento No Uno" to the highly publicized "Meccanico dG"

The Instrumento N° Uno is superbly crafted in stainless steel protected by a highly resilient black PVD coating.  An automatic movement winds the mainspring.  A dual time and date commands center attention upon a black guilloche dial sporting Arabic Numerals and grey dauphine-style hands.  A black rubber strap closes via a de Grisigono butterfly buckle also comprised of stainless steel and coated with black PVD. 36 black diamonds totaling 1.1 carats adds a sophisticated dazzle to complete the look.  

Instrumento N° Uno DF S42
If you have an irresistible yearning for the complete black diamond experience, de Grisogono can assist.  The Instrumento N° Uno DF is an 18k gold timepiece unabashedly smothered in 478 black diamonds equaling no less than 8.7 carats.  Even the black guilloche dial  is set with 365 diamonds.  The black Galuchat (sting ray) strap completes the pebbled look.  This exquisite high jewelry watch is limited to but 10 pieces.  Given de Grisogono's star studded following ,including Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Naomi Campbell, Salma Hayek, Demi Moore, Eva Mendes and Rihanna, it seems de Grisigono will have no trouble finding customers for its newest Black Forever Collection.

Black Forever Meccanico dG N09
The Black Forever Meccanico (left) is my all time favorite de Grisigono timepiece and I am quite pleased, de Grisogono has chosen to incorporate this model into its Black Forever Collection.  The Meccanico is unique as it displays a digital read out below  the digital time display only utilizing mechanical white mobile microsegments.  Thus it is the mechanical movement of the watch which operates the second digital time zone display.  For an in depth understanding of the movement of this watch - read my blog The Mechanical Digital Luxury Watch. 
 This particular model , limited to 10 pieces, is crafted from highly corrosive resistant and light weight titanium.  As with all de Grisogono timepieces, scratch resistant sapphire crystal protects the dial and ,in most models, the case back. In addition de Grisogono timepieces are water resistant to 30 meters.

The Occhio Rietizione Minuti (top image)  is simply dazzling.  167 black diamonds on bezel and lugs frame a black matt twelve-blade titanium diaphragm dial.  A minute repeater, which is an alarm complication sounds on the hour, quarter and minute on three separate gongs and utilizing a cathedral striking.   The Occhio Ripetizione was an innovative idea, developed on the same principle as a reflex camera. The Occhio Ripetizione Minuti has a twelve-shutter aperture revealing the movement while the watch is striking.  A matt alligator strap affixed via a three ply deployment buckle in 18 k gold coated with black PVD.  This highly unique timepiece is limited to 5 pieces. 

Black is in and de Grisogono, a company on the forefront of fashion and style, has provided.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Cricket in Vulcain's Anniversary Heart Watch for Only Watch 2011

The Only Watch Auction 2011 is an incredible opportunity for  fine watch companies to display a unique watch which incorporates individual achievements pertinent to that company.  For example, Vulcain's Anniversary Heart Watch harbors the Cricket movement - a movement unique to Vulcain's heritage - as well as a skeletonized dial - another Vulcain signature.  

If you are unfamiliar with the Cricket movement, it is an alarm function or reminder function specifically designed by Vulcain  for the smaller dimensions of a wrist watch. In this day an age with fancy electronic devices, alarms are taken for granted or even despised. Alarms appear everywhere from $1 digital watches to innovative allusive alarm clocks which actually roll around.  However prior to the quartz revolution, all watches were mechanical and relied entirely on the harmonious sequential functioning of multitudes of working parts.  At first watches displayed the time in increasing precision, then compasses, tourbillons, perpetual calenders, moon-phases, dual time zones and automatic movements increased the functionality and efficiency of the time pieces.  Prior to the early twentieth century, these complications were incorporated in pocket watches, but after Santos-Dumont popularized the wrist watch, pocket watches were laid down in favor of the more handy wrist watch.  Alarm functions were available  in larger pocket watches and with a larger watch case, the capability of producing a louder sound is evident. 
However an effective alarm function in a wrist watch was a quite a challenge to develop.  Being that the watch case is small,  it was hard to produce a loud audible gong which would arouse a heavy sleeper from slumber.. 
An alarm function had three problems within a wristwatch case:
1) Audibility
2) Effecting Dust protection
3) Effecting Water resistance
... then in 1947 the problem was solved and heavy sleepers could rest easy, Vulcain presented the Vulcain Cricket. The Cricket was so loud it could penetrate the dreams and arouse the sleeper. This new alarm function woke up the World of Horology.
So how did Robert Ditisheim of Vulcain resolve the alarm audibility dilemma?  Well as the name suggests, he turned to mother nature. Let me ask you this.  Have you ever tried to fall asleep while a cricket is chirping its nightly song outside your window? Did you hug a pillow to your ear inorder to drown out the noise, but still heard its persistent resonance. AHH! Now you have your answer.
If a tiny cricket could cause such a noise, than surely a wristwatch could do the same. Robert Ditsheim Incorporated a resonance-chamber like that of a cricket by fitting a two-part back to the watch case. The inner back encloses the watch case and serves to generate the sound. A hammer strikes the watch-case ,which oscillates and produces the sound-waves. The outer case has a twofold function: First it permits the sound-generating inner-back to oscillate freely as it has no direct contact with the wearer's wrist. Second it forms a small space between the inner case back which serves as a resonance chamber. Although many Watch Companies have crafted mechanical minute repeaters, none is quite as loud as the Vulcain Cricket.
The Vulcains's Anniversary Heart Watch is a slender mechanical hand wound 12.7mm thick 42mm rose gold case. Being that the watch is hand wound, an oscillating weight (required in most automatic watches) is absent, thereby leaving the exceptionally crafted movement including the skillfully handcrafted main plate, barrel bridge and movement barrel entirely visible beyond the sapphire crystal case back, as well as maintaining the thinness of the watch case.
The Vulcain Cricket sports a 20 second alarm function and a 42 hour power reserve. Ensuring the watch is securely fitted around the wrist, a rose gold buckle is affixed to a black alligator strap.   

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Swatch Group Breaks Ties with Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co's unremarkable watch designs failed to impress Swatch Group who eventually gave the company the boot.  In 2007, Swatch Group founded Tiffany & Co. Ltd, which was was responsible for the development, production and distribution of Tiffany & Co. branded Watches; however the resulting collections were bland and unassuming lacking a certain charm and color.  Where was the Tiffany & Co. which created exquisite jewelry designs dripping with gems and swirling with color?  Where was the Tiffany & Co. who created tender dragon fly broaches with elegant wings and tender craftsmanship? Where was the company who supplied magnificent jewelry to renowned New York Vanderbilts and Astors and whose creations are displayed in museums?   It seems Tiffany & Co. Ltd watches were left out of the creative company loop, and all that remained was a kind of apologetic collection of watches.  Tiffany & Co. can go two ways at this stage, either admitting the company is not ready for the extremely competitive and highly critical watch market and close the watch shop or revamp its collections and create unique  timepieces which actually represent Tiffany & Co. quality.

As per the original statement by Swatch Group, see below, both Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co, were highly optimistic about there vision of a long term alliance.  This partnership failed to such an extent that "Swatch Group and Tiffany Watch Co. LTD will press claims for damages against Tiffany & Co., New York, in compensation for the loss of planned long-term future business."  It seems to me, Swatch Group expected "more" from Tiffany & Co. - A "more" Tiffany & Co did not provide.  Tiffany & Co's watches are not bad watches.  They may suit the taste of some, and the watches would be quite fitting on the sales floors of less prestigious companies, but being Tiffany & Co. (established in 1837), the watches do not live up to the brand.  If their watch brand means to excel, I think they should look to Louis Vuitton,  Harry Winston, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels - companies which have made waves in the world of watches.

Original Statement at Partnership Commencement:

In December 2007 Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. announced a strategic alliance to further the development, production and worldwide distribution of Tiffany & Co. brand watches. Under the agreement, the new watch company, known as Tiffany Watch Co. Ltd and wholly owned by Swatch Group, will design and manufacture in Switzerland a complete range of high-end luxury watches.
The enormous prestige of the Tiffany & Co. brand and the Swatch Group’s watchmaking expertise and experience in the luxury segment form a powerful platform on which to build one of the world’s top luxury watchmakers.
Tiffany Watch Co. Ltd is a Swiss company. Its products are designed and manufactured in Switzerland and distributed selectively through Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. retail distribution networks, including monobrand Tiffany & Co. watch boutiques in certain markets outside the United States. (Source:  Swatch Group. com)

Monday, September 12, 2011

De Bethune Only Watch 2011 Sensual Celestial Charm

De Bethune Only Watch seems as though it is a porthole to the heavens.  Unparalleled watch making expertise accompanied by exquisite renditions of a star filled sky make the DB25 a truly unique display of time.  The exact placement of the stars depicted on the dial are in the very same position as the night in Monaco of January 8th, 1297.  The very night Francois Grimaldi, Genoese leader of the  Guelphs, dressed as a Franciscan monk,  captured the rock.  De Bethune's Orion and Gemini Constellations are 14 invisibly set white diamonds, while 91 surrounding stars are touches of applied white gold upon a memorizing flame-blued titanium dial providing a sense of the incredible infinite expansiveness of the universe.
 Looking at the 6'o'clock position, one notices an aperture displaying a solid silver sandblasted hour and minute discs with Roman Hours and Arabic minute discs or wandering hours.  The use of silver as well as the use of both Arabic and Roman Numerals adds a subtle sense of mystery to the timepiece.
The elegant 44mm 18k white gold three body round drum case protects a  precise Cal. DB2105S comprising of a twin self -regulating barrel and a De Bethune silicon-platinum annular balance; main plate and bridges in beveled and hand-polished steel; balance spring with flat terminal curve. In addition, the watch is equipped with no less than 29 jewels, which ensure smooth seamless transfer of operations. The incredible movement is visible via a scratch resistant Sapphire crystal case back. Large hollowed lugs secure an alligator strap which fastens with an 18k white gold signature De Bethune buckle.
If you out bid the competition in the Only Watch Auction, which will be held by Antiquorium in Monaco at the end of this month to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, you will receive this watch in a fitted box accompanied by a Certificate.  Wish price EUR 100,000 - 150, 000 (source  Antiquorium)
De Bethune was established in 2002 by David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet,  with the vision of upholding the watchmaking tradition.  Crafting mechanical timepieces with the aid of cutting edge technological advancements and longstanding watch making craftsmanship, De Bethune has succeeded in making a name among watch aficionados and acquiring 9 patent registrations, 11 in-house calibres validated by intense research. De Bethune has not only succeeded in crafting a timepiece with perfect precision and exceptional craftsmanship, but has created a piece of remarkable beauty and grace.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jaeger Le-Coultre Raises Funds for Heart Center in Sudan

At the 68th Venice International Film Festival running from August 31st to September 10th, 2011, JaegerLeCoultre ,who has been sponsoring the festival for the last seven years and supplying Jaeger- LeCoulture finest glamor to the stars, has decided to use this opportunity to support a worthy cause.  On September 1st, on the 2nd night of the festival Jaeger-LeCoultre held an exclusive event: "Reverso for Emergency, Jaeger-LeCoultre Helps the Salam Center".
Just as there are ten glittering nights of the 68th Venice International Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre ,with support of celebrities, will finance ten operations at the Salam Center.  The Salam Center was established in 2007 by Emergency Association in Khartoum, Sudan and specializes in children and adults suffering from heart disease.  The center provides these procedures free of charge to patients who otherwise would have no means of paying for their medical treatment. 
In honor of this worthy cause, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled a Reverso featuring a red heart as if drawn by the hand of a happy child. The Reverso design is turning 80 this year.  First developed in 1931 at the fervent request of British Officers in India who enjoyed a hearty game of polo but feared damage to the crystal of their timepiece.

As the story is told:

Cesar de Trey, an influential businessman, who was a close associate of Jacques-David LeCoultre visited friends in India.
A polo player approached him, "Sir, I challenge you to create a timepiece that can survive a game of polo with its crystal intact."

This challenge founded the legend of the Reverso. A Patent for Reverso was filed on March 4, 1931: A watch capable of sliding in its base and of turning completely on its axis to turn the crystal inward.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Corum Admiral Cup Seafender 47 Tourbillon GMT

Corum combines supreme elegance & intriguing complications in its latest edition to the iconic Admiral Cup Collection.   This model is quite a far cry from previous Admiral Cup models featuring loud and brightly colored nautical flags emblazoned beneath the bezel.  Keeping with the Admiral Cup tradition, nautical flags are featured beneath the bezel; however quite a bit more discrete.  This down playing of the nautical flags seems to be the newer Admiral Cup trend, perhaps because the actual Admiral Cup international sailing regatta has been a no show for almost a decade.  All due respect to Corum, this is one of the finest Admiral Cup Timepieces I have ever seen.  The iconic twelve sided of the bezel has been softened slightly and crafted from glowing rose gold.  The 47mm dial is spacious sporting an exquisite tourbillon complication and a dual time zone.  The key of Corum is incorporated in the tourbillon movement and seems to unlock time with the rotation of the tourbillon within the signature key cage. The diagonal lines across the dial provide the perception of space on a dial which otherwise may seem cluttered.
Since this is a nautical timepiece, a second time zone is a critical especially if one is traveling across longitudes.  A handy pusher at the 4 'o' clock sets the second time zone, which is visible on a sub dial at the 6 'o'clock position, and just in case one is holed in the bowels of a ship, a day night indicator provides clues to the outside. At the 3 'o' clock position, the day of the month is perfectly placed.
Some say the see through case back is as alluring as the dial, since an exceptional large Corum caliber  CO397 automatic movement is entirely visible via a scratch resistant sapphire crystal treated with an anti-reflective coating. 
A power reserve of 50 hours ensures the watch remains ticking off the wrist for at least 50 hours.  The timepiece is water resistant to 50 meters thanks to gaskets and a screw in case back, however 50 meters does limits its uses around too much water; however for $70,000 I would be quite careful where and when I wear the watch.
This watch is also available in aluminum for $47,000 in a  truly handsome  matt black.