Sunday, December 27, 2009

A LANGE &SOHNE : The Pinnacle of Saxon Watch Manufacturing Legacy

When Ferdinand Adolph Lange, a Dresden watchmaker, established his watch manufactory in 1845, he laid the cornerstone of Saxony’s precision watchmaking. His precious pocket watches remain highly coveted among collectors all over the world. The company was expropriated after World War II, and the name A. Lange & Söhne nearly fell into oblivion. In 1990, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s great-grandson Walter Lange had the courage to relaunch the brand.

Today, Lange crafts only a few thousand wristwatches in gold or platinum per year. They are endowed exclusively with proprietary movements that are lavishly decorated and assembled by hand. In a period of little more than 20 years, A. Lange & Söhne developed 51 manufacture calibres and secured a top-tier position among the world’s finest watch brands. Its greatest successes include innovative time-keeping instruments such as the LANGE 1 with the first outsize date in a series produced wristwatch as well as the ZEITWERK with its supremely legible, precisely jumping numerals. In the meantime, both models have become icons of a brand rich in tradition.

Ferdinand Adolph Lange
Ferdinand Adolph Lange was a Dresden-born watchmaker who in 1845 inaugurated the first manufactory in Glashütte, Germany. The gifted watchmaker, whose pocket timepieces are still highly coveted today, dedicated his life to the establishment of a watchmaking business in a structurally weak region and thus laid the foundation for Saxon fine watchmaking.

In May 1844, Ferdinand Adolph Lange wrote a letter to the Saxon Ministry of the Interior saying that his ambition was to perfect timekeeping instruments. The Dresden-born watchmaker planned the establishment of a modern manufactory along the lines of what he had seen during his travels to the watchmaking centres in France, England and Switzerland. His main motivation was to create a branch of industry that would“subsequently provide thousands with sustenance and prosperity”. Ferdinand Adolph Lange was not only a well-educated individual but also a deeply religious man with a social conscience.

The destitution in the structurally weak region of the Ore Mountains, which the Saxon government failed to mitigate, prompted him to act in 1844. With letters, petitions and negotiations, he lobbied for his project of developing a watchmaking company in Glashütte with such fervour that the Royal Saxon Ministry of the Interior in Dresden finally agreed to draft a contract. It obliged Lange to train 15 youngsters from Glashütte as watchmakers within three years. In return, the government granted him a loan of 6700 thalers, including 1120 thalers for the procurement of tools. The apprentices were expected to continue working for Lange for five years and repay the cost of their training in weekly instalments. The first personnel journal listed “one assistant painter, twelve straw weavers, four domestic servants, one farmhand, one quarry worker, and one vineyard worker” as those picked to become watchmakers.

Due to a lack of aptitude, some of the young men had to be dismissed after a short trial period, but the others persevered and constituted the core of Lange’s original crew; soon thereafter, the team consisted of 30 novices. Initially, he hardly had qualified personnel, except for Adolf Schneider, who later became his brother-in-law.

Born in Dresden on 18 February 1815, the son of gunsmith Samuel Lange, Ferdinand Adolph Lange did not have his career laid out for him. His mother and father, described as a “coarsely hewn man”, separated early on. Another family gave the intelligent youngster a new home, encouraged him, and arranged to have him trained by acclaimed court clockmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. This would soon prove to have been a wise decision. It did not take Gutkaes long to recognise not only the above-average manual skills, but also his protégé’s eagerness to excel, with a far stronger urge than was commonplace for a clockmaker in Dresden in those days.

During his apprenticeship, Lange attended the up-and-coming technical college and learned English and French in the evening hours. He quickly came to the conclusion that he would hone his skills only in the highly evolved hubs of horology: in France, Switzerland and England. Creative watchmaking, practised mainly in the Germans peaking centres in Nuremberg, Augsburg, Schaffhausen and Strasbourg during the Renaissance era, had meanwhile migrated to London and Paris. Embedded in the illustrious lifestyles of royal courts, but also spurred on by the demand for ever more precise timekeeping instruments aboard naval and merchant ships, horology was actively supported by the sovereigns there.

The journeyman period
In 1837, three years after having completed his apprenticeship in Dresden, Ferdinand Adolph Lange packed his belongings, including his journey- and workbook with a recommendation by his mentor Gutkaes, and signed up in Paris with famous chronometer maker Joseph Thaddäus Winnerl, once among Abraham Louis Breguet’s finest students. The planned study trip ended up being a three-year tenure during which Lange was promoted to foreman. Ultimately, he even had to turn down Winnerl’s request to stay on, because his itinerary still included England and Switzerland.

During this period, his famous journey- and workbook was filled with movement sketches and detailed drawings as well as mathematically sound ratio calculations for wheels and pinions. Ferdinand Adolph Lange was not an adherent of the trial-and-error principle which at the time still governed much of a watchmaker’s work, making it impossible to assure consistently reproducible quality levels. Determined to change this, he returned to Gutkaes’ workshop for fancy clocks, married the owner’s daughter Charlotte Amalie Antonia in 1842, and became co-proprietor and horological architect in his father-in-law’s business. Precision regulators for observatories were crafted there during this era. For some 60 years, one of them – No. 32 – delivered the precise time for Switzerland, the quintessential watchmaking country, from a Swiss observatory. Today, it is on display at the Musée d’histoire des sciences in Geneva.

Apart from his decision in favour of the metric system, Lange brought a further decisive insight home from his travels. It is mentioned in a letter he wrote to Saxon Privy Councillor von Weißenbach in January 1844, when he first requested support for his project in Glashütte. “With the handsome form of the Swiss cylinder escapement, I can combine the ample reserve and the long-recognised accuracy of the very expensive but rather inconvenient English lever watch.” The legendary Glashütte lever escapement was to become his trademark. It also illustrated his unfolding approach to watchmaking. He was always fixated on improvement and perfectionism. His journey- and workbook makes this clear.

In 1851, Ferdinand Adolph Lange wrote a letter to the government describing his accomplishments so far: “My first and decisive step was to design a gauge for executing with the greatest accuracy any calculated ratio in the smallest of scales. This was followed by my work on the ratios of pinions and pieces as well as the respective machines, and I finally established the principles to be observed when building watches and designing escapements in accordance with scientific fundamentals, and introduced methodologies and reliable processes where previously arbitrariness, prejudice and disaccord had reigned. These are the fruits of twenty years of painstaking deliberation and labour, parts of which have found practical application in our factory and make our watches good, but many others, whose time has come, remain unexecuted.”

Upswing in Glashütte
Glashütte, the impoverished town in the Ore Mountains that in 1845 had merely faint memories left of its erstwhile prosperity as a silver-mining village, was connected to the world only via a dilapidated roadway on which a postal coach travelled once a week.

When the illiterate coachman arrived, he would empty the bag and let the people find out for themselves to whom the letters were addressed. The townscape was accentuated with muddy goose ponds and manure heaps. This is where Lange set up a workshop, taught his apprentices and initiated the production of watches while at the same time designing better machines for manufacturing precision parts. He also handled the correspondence and took care of the bookkeeping. His daughter Emma pointed out that Lange, who worked day and night, would occasionally collapse, and that he sacrificed his entire savings, those of his wife, and even prize money from horological awards, to keep the jeopardised enterprise alive.

But his ambitious concept began to take shape: besides his own company, Glashütte whose infrastructure he had decisively improved during his 18-year tenure as its mayor now counted many small specialised workshops that produced jewels, screws, wheels, spring barrels, balance wheels and hands. Case makers, gilders, guillocheurs and three additional manufactories, with which Lange sometimes collaborated, were able to establish themselves thanks to his encouragement. They were often founded by people who had previously apprenticed with and worked for him. So gradually, hundreds of safe and well-paid jobs changed the hardship into modest affluence. Lange’s company, which rarely had more than 100 employees, remained the nucleus of German precision watchmaking that grew in and around Glashütte. With the German school of watchmaking (DUS) initiated by his friend Karl Moritz Großmann in 1878, Glashütte completely detached itself from Switzerland and France as regards the practical and theoretical training of specialists, and consolidated its reputation as the German hub of fine watchmaking.

Vita of Ferdinand Adolph Lange
  • 18.02.1815: Ferdinand Adolph Lange is born in Dresden as the son of a gunsmith
  • 1829–1831: Attends the technical college in Dresden
  • 1830-1835: Watchmaking apprenticeship with Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, graduates with honours
  • 1835–1837: Assistant to Gutkaes
  • 1837–1841: Journeyman years; travels to the watchmaking centres in France, England and Switzerland;  this is when he compiles his journey- and workbook with drawings of interesting movements and different calculations; becomes foreman at the manufactory of Joseph Thaddäus Winnerl in Paris; attends lectures of the famous physicist and astronomer Arago
  • 1841–1842: Returns to Dresden; joins Gutkaes’ company as a co-proprietor and helps build the five-minute clock for the  Semper opera house; designs and crafts astronomical  pendulum clocks, chronometers, complicated watches
  • 1842: Certifies as master craftsman; weds Antonia Gutkaes, his mentor’s daughter
  • 1843: Receives a precious stick pin from the Russian Tsar Alexander II, as a gesture of gratitude for a perfect chronometer that Lange had crafted for him; in return Lange sends a photograph of himself wearing the stick pin
  • 1844-1845: Different letters to Privy Councillor von Weißenbach containing thoughts on reforms in watchmaking and the establishment of a manufactory in Saxony
  • 31.05.1845: Contract between Lange and the Royal Saxon Ministry of  the Interior: Obligates to train 15 apprentices as watchmakers, Ministry pledges a subsidy of 6,700 thalers, including  1,120 thalers for the procurement of tools
  • 07.12.1845: Incorporation of “A. Lange & Comp.” company in  Glashütte, dials are labelled “A. Lange & Cie.”
  • 1845–1864: Introduction of metric system to replace the Parisian ligne system; Lange develops proprietary dependable and robust movements
  • 1848–1866: Serves as mayor in Glashütte (builds roads, embankments, bridges, etc.)
  • 1851: Watch presentation at an exhibition in London, where he is awarded for his watches; an illness forces him to stay there for a few weeks
  • 1867: Granted honorary citizenship by Glashütte
  • 1868: Lange’s son Richard joins the company as co-proprietor; Company name changes to “A. Lange & Söhne”
  • 1869–1875: Representative of the Saxon Landtag (lobbies for the construction of a main road and a railway line through the Müglitz valley)
  • 1870: On the occasion of the 25thanniversary of the establishment of the watchmaking industry in Glashütte. The population establishes the Lange Foundation to fund retirement benefits for local watchmakers
  • 1871: Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s son Emil joins the company as co-proprietor
When Ferdinand Adolph Lange suddenly passed away at the age of only 60 on 3December 1875, he left behind not only a flourishing business and an impressive repertoire of international awards to his sons and grandchildren but also – to the Glashütte region – secure economic perspectives. For these accomplishments, the city honoured him with a monument in 1895. Ferdinand Adolph Lange repatriated precision watchmaking to Germany, enhanced with sweeping reforms. His designs, with wheel train parts exactly calculated for the first time, a new frame configuration with three quarter plates, the special Glashütte lever escapement and compensation balance, precision adjustment devices and hairsprings with special terminal curves represented the highest standards in watchmaking.

At auctions today, precision timepieces signed “A.Lange & Söhne”, among them highly complicated watches, fetch exceptionally high prices. For connoisseurs of mechanical timekeeping, they preserve the philosophy of a man who wrote many chapters of horological history and significant parts of Saxony’s history. The new watches from Glashütte signed “A. Lange & Söhne” carry this proud legacy forward into the future.

A Saxon inventor
Ferdinand Adolph Lange is regarded as a pioneer in watchmaking. The Dresden born watchmaker introduced the metric system in horology. He invented measuring instruments, devised new tools and different constructions for which he applied a patent. With all that he was following just one aim: To build the best watches in the world. His innovative concepts created the foundation on which the A. Lange & Söhne brand gained international fame.

In summer 1851 Ferdinand Adolph Lange introduced his watches made in Glashütte in London at the World Exhibition, hoping to delight an international audience. It was the first time that he exhibited his watches at such an event and became a huge success: His watches were cheaper and more precise than the ones of his competitors. He even received a first prize and a medal for them. But then he has to pay a heavy price for his long lasting efforts: he becomes seriously ill and has to stay in London for a few weeks. It is probably for the first time in six years that he has the opportunity to consider his situation calmly and without distraction. He realises that he has dedicated himself in the past years and not just risked his company but also the existence of his family.

In a letter to the Saxon Ministry of the Interior he reflects about his accomplishments so far: “My first and decisive step was to design a gauge for executing with the greatest accuracy any calculated ratio in the smallest of scales. This was followed by my work on the ratios of pinions and pieces as well as the respective machines, and I finally established the principles to be observed when building watches and designing escapements in accordance with scientific fundamentals, and introduced methodologies and reliable processes where previously arbitrariness, prejudice and disaccord had reigned. These are the fruits of twenty years of painstaking deliberation and labour, parts of which have found practical application in our factory and make our watches good, but many others, whose time has come, remain unexecuted.”

Ferdinand Adolph Lange's Most Important Innovations
The introduction of the metric system
In Lange's journey- and workbook, he used to record detailed calculations for each individual gear-wheel size, using French lignes as units. On returning from his travels, he started to use the metric system instead of the French ligne units that had previously been the norm.

Precise measuring instruments
Tools like this dixième gauge invented by Lange made it possible to determine depth, length and external diameter with even more precision – to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre. The measuring results are shown on an arc-shaped scale by a metal arm.

Dial micrometer
This dial gauge was used to measure filigreed components that required particular precision, such as arbors and pivots. The component to be measured is clamped between the two jaws of the dial micrometer, which then measures with an accuracy of one hundredth of a millimetre.

Lathe
Lange introduced the watchmaker's lathe to replace the traditional rotating arc. A pedal could be used to turn circular parts such as pins, pinions, wheels and discs at a constant speed – ensuring high-precision manufacturing.

The design of wheels and pinions
To reduce friction and thereby minimise abrasion, Lange calculated and designed the form of the teeth on gear-wheels and pinions to optimise their interaction.

Three-quarter plate

Lange developed the three-quarter plate over a period of many years. It improved the stability of the movement. This distinctive component became one of the characteristic features of his pocket watches. Today it still forms a major component of the watches made by A. Lange & Söhne.

Decorating the watch
By implementing high quality standards for any watch he made, Lange was following the motto of his teacher, Gutkaes: a watch must be perfect – from each individual component to the case. Fine engraving, guilloché work, finishing and polishing of his pocket watches still bear witness to this today.

Glashütter lever escapement
Lange aim to make his watches more precise also led to the construction of an escapement system, the so called „free lever escapement“. Each pallet was made from one piece and the contoured pallet-stones were set blanketed.

Crown winding
This innovative technology replaced winding by means of a key, making it much easier to wind up the watch. An example is this early pocket watch (No. 1340), which Lange and his brother-in-law, Bernhard Gutkaes, produced in around 1850.

The jumping second
The “seconde morte” mechanism makes the seconds hand easier to read. Lange developed a mechanism, that makes an independent big seconds hand jump every second from the middle. His sons further developed this idea and a patent application was filed in 1877.

9-metre pendulum
In the new build manufactory of 1873 Lange realised a house clock with a 9-metre pendulum that oscillated uniformly. He personally designed the lever escapement of the movement and relied on his son Richard for calculating the pendulum.


Chronology - A. Lange & Söhne
  • 1815: Ferdinand Adolph Lange is born in Dresden on 18 February.
  • 1830: Lange begins his apprenticeship with Gutkaes who is later appointed Royal Court Clockmaker.
  • 1837: Lange embarks on his journeyman’s years, which take him to Paris, England and Switzerland. During this period he begins his journey and workbook.
  • 1841: Gutkaes builds the world-famous “digital” Five-Minute clock in Dresden’s newly built Semper Opera.
  • 1842: Lange acquires master’s rights, becomes a partner in Gutkaes’ watchmaking business, and marries his former apprentice master’s daughter, Antonia.
  • 1843: Lange proposes to the government of Saxony that industrial watchmaking be established in the impoverished region of the Ore Mountains.
  • 1845: Lange founds the Glashütte manufactory “Lange & Cie.” on 7 December, laying the foundation for precision watchmaking in Saxony. Only a few days later, his first son Richard is born.
  • 1846: Lange introduces the metric system into watchmaking, thereby enabling the exact calculation and manufacture of movement components.
  • 1848: Lange offers his services to the town of Glashütte as mayor and holds this appointment for the next 18 years.
  • 1864: To improve the stability of movements, Lange introduces the three quarter plate.
  • 1867: Lange is granted the freedom of Glashütte.
  • 1868: Richard Lange becomes co proprietor of his father’s company, which from now on operates under the name “A. Lange & Söhne”. A few years later, his younger brother Emil also joins the company.
  • 1873: The Lange headquarters is built, comprising both the family’s residence and the company’s workshops. It features a precision clock with a nine-meter long compensatedpendulum.
  • 1875: Ferdinand Adolph Lange dies on 3 December. His sons continue the family business.
  • 1895: In honour of the company’s 50th anniversary, the town of Glashütte erects a monument to Lange.
  • 1898: On a state visit to Constantinople, Kaiser William II presents his host with a lavish pocket watch created by A. Lange & Söhne.
  • 1902: Emil Lange receives the Knight’s Cross from the French Legion of Honour in recognition of his contribution to watchmaking.
  • 1906: With Emil’s son Otto Lange, the family company enters its third generation. Otto’s brothers Rudolf and Gerhard later also join the company management.
  • 1924: On 29 July, Walter Lange is born. After completing his training, he works as a master watchmaker in the Lange family business.
  • 1930: Richard Lange discovers that admixing beryllium to the alloys commonly used for balance springs improves the spring’s quality, and he applies for a patent.
  • 1945: On 8 May, Lange’s main production building is almost completely destroyed in an aerial bombing raid.
  • 1948: The company is seized and expropriated by the communist regime. Walter Lange is forced to flee to the West.
  • 1990: On 7 December, Walter Lange founds Lange Uhren GmbH and registers the “A. Lange & Söhne” trademark worldwide.
  • 1994: Lange debuts the LANGE 1, SAXONIA, ARKADE and TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite”, the watches featured in its first collection of the new era.
  • 1997: The patented ZERO-RESET mechanism of the LANGEMATIK reaffirms the company’s innovative spirit.
  • 1999: The DATOGRAPH sets new standards in the construction of high-end chronographs.
  • 2001: Following several years of restoration, the Lange headquarters reopens. Today it is the seat of Lange’s own watchmaking school.
  • 2003: The balance spring developed in house by Lange is manufactured in the new Technology and Development Centre.
  • 2007: A. Lange & Söhne presents the LANGE 31, the first wristwatch featuring a 31-day power reserve and uniform power output. A. Lange & Söhne opens their first monobrand-shop on Dresden.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hublot Bode Bang Limited Edition

On Monday, December 7th 4-time World Champion skier Bode Miller launched the new Hublot limited edition Bode Bang watch through a celebrity tennis match at Sutton East Tennis Club in New York City. Hublot's partnership with the American skier Bode Miller is being sealed with the launch of the "Bode Bang" in New York, in the presence of the legendary champion of the skiing world.

The partnership between the watchmaking brand and Bode Miller came about when the skier visited the manufacture's workshops for a photo shoot for the Kjus catalogue. Fascinated by the know-how and meticulousness of the watchmakers, he set out to craft his own watch. His meeting with Jean-Claude Biver, the CEO of Hublot, led to an immediate mutual understanding. Both passionate, direct men with an expressive and unconventional manner of speech, they quickly found a host of shared values. The talented, feisty and determined skier, and the inventive, exceptionally energetic boss both demonstrate great generosity through their involvement in supporting humanitarian causes. The creation of the Bode Bang presented today is the fruit of this bond: together, they decided to divert some of the watch's royalties to the Turtle Ridge Foundation, founded by Bode Miller and his family in 2005 to share his success with those less fortunate in life, an ambition equally dear to Jean-Claude Biver and Bode Miller.

Technical details
Case
“Big Bang” diameter 44.5 mm in sandblasted black ceramic
Bezel: Sandblasted black ceramic with 6 H-shaped steel black PVD screws, sunken, polished and blocked
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflection treatment and Bode Miller’s signature at 9 o’clock
Bezel lug: Black composite resin
Lateral inserts: Black composite resin
Back: Sandblasted black ceramic with sapphire crystal
Crown: Steel black PVD, with natural black rubber insert
Push-pieces: Steel black PVD, rectangular, with natural black rubber insert
Water-resistance:100 m or 10 ATM

Dial
White with black nickel applique indices and numerals
Hands: Faceted matt black

Movement
HUB4100 Mechanical chronograph with automatic winding
Calendar: Trapezoid aperture at 4.30, white background, shiny black numeral
Power Reserve: 42 hours

Strap
Adjustable black rubber with clasp in steel black PVD
Clasp: Steel black PVD

Limited Edition
250 numbered pieces 01/250 – 250/250

Certina New DS ActionRobert Kubica Limited Edition Ref C013.417.27.207.00

CERTINA and Robert Kubica, high demand and talent in perfect measure. Since 2006, the Swiss brand has been faithful partner to the exceptional BMW Sauber F1 Team driver. To highlight their collaboration, CERTINA has chosen to honour their F1 racetrack ambassador by creating the new DS Action – Robert Kubica Limited Edition, an exclusive chronograph aimed at F1 fans and speed buffs. With its audacious nature, latest design and outstanding resistance, the new DS Action is a tribute to fast and extreme lifestyles. Produced in an exclusive series of only 4,000 individually-numbered units, and engraved with Robert Kubica's own signature, it is destined for the wrist of connoisseurs, and fans of competition, technology and innovation.

CERTINA detected quite early on Robert Kubica's enormous potential, and became one of his first corporate sponsors. Evidence of their excellent foresight gathered through the various Grand-Prix standings achieved by Robert as a member of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, and his 2008 season was simply remarkable. The natural synergy between the watchmaking brand and the Polish-born star stands out through their many common points: combative instinct, great talent, and an unwavering quest for the best time.

The new CERTINA DS Action – Robert Kubica Limited Edition proudly stands with the best, in extreme-sport style. Its exudes a dynamism in perfect aesthetic accord with F1 racing, echoed by the bold colour harmonies of the dial and bezel─bright reminders of the tints on Kubica's helmet. The DS Action is a unique expression in pure line work, around a satin-finished steel case of generous diameter. The racy, toothed unidirectional rotating bezel wears a bright orange-coloured surface with a highly-visible scale, for various measurements. Tachymeter functions are neatly displayed along an inner sloping rim next to the bezel, behind the glass.

The timepiece's outstanding resistance is confirmed by a screw-in protected crown and two pushbuttons set inside sporty black PVD collars at their base, and time is shown against a dial with a black carbon background, and a date window at 6 o'clock. The indices, as well as HM hands are faceted and treated with Superluminova, also used on the oversized 12 headlining the dial. Chronograph timing is displayed through a fine interplay of contrasts on three snailed counters equipped with orange hands and a 30-min. counter detailed in blue. Protected by an anti-reflecting sapphire crystal, the watch is equipped with the full Certina DS+ System, and carries a guaranteed water resistance to 200 meters.

Its Limited Edition status is shown on the dial, while the case back is engraved with Robert Kubica's signature and the mention “Official Robert Kubica Watch”, the individual serial number, and the Certina logo. The model shown (photo) sports a moulded rubber strap, as well as a safety clasp and diving extension, perfect for underwater work.

The new Certina DS Action – Robert Kubica Limited Edition is sold in an attractive special display case, and comes with a second bracelet, in stainless steel, and an official certificate of authenticity.

Technical details
Model: DS Action – Robert Kubica Limited Edition
References:C013.417.27.207.00, rubber strap

Movement/functions
Swiss Made, Quartz Chronograph, ETA G10.211
Hours, minutes, small second, date
Chronograph with 30-minute, 60-second, 1/10-second counters

Case
42.5 mm diameter / 316L satin-finished steel / Tachymeter
Case back engraved with Robert Kubica signature, serial number, Certina logo
Water resistance:200 meter
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflecting coating
Crown: Protected and screw-in
Engraved and numbered case back

Strap
Rubber (three-row, moulded links) with folding safety buckle and diving extension
Additional bracelet: Satin-finished, three-row stainless-steel bracelet with folding safety buckle and diving extension
Specifics: DS + (Double Security+ System) with screw-in crown/case back

Edition
Limited edition of 4,000 units
Sold in special display case, with a second (steel) bracelet and certificate of authenticity

Suggested retail price
CHF 760.-

Friday, December 25, 2009

Louis Moinet VERTALIS Tourbillon

The unique VERTALIS model features an innovative aesthetic concept distinguished by a modern and original blend of technology and design. As its name implies, the difference here is all about verticality: VERTALIS intensifies the magic of the tourbillon by connecting its carriage to the barrel by means of a hand-drawn and bevelled vertical bar. To add to the fascinating vision of the tourbillon carriage in motion, VERTALIS offers an open worked version of the barrel. The latter’s cover performs an average rotation in 6 hours and enables one to keep visual check on the power reserve according to the state of wind of the barrel spring.
Louis Moinet displays its determination to combine aesthetic and technical aspects, particularly through the vertical bar that showcases the technology of the watch, while extending over onto the case. This original and modern way of uniting displays, technology and casing is directly inspired by the historical world of Louis Moinet, and especially by some of the drawings published in his famous Traité d’Horlogerie in 1848.
Crafted in a limited edition of 12, the exclusive VERTALIS tourbillon movement is hand-wound and beats at a cadence of 21,600 vibrations per hour. One particularly striking technical characteristic is the spectacular visibility of the winding mechanism through the case-back. The “octopus” spring plays three roles by acting as pull-out piece spring, lever spring and click spring.
VERTALIS is presented in an exceptional new case composed of 50 different parts. It highlights the union of two gold colours: the warm shade of 5N rose gold, and the white gold that accentuates and pursues the geometrical effect of the vertical bar.

The dial features “Côtes du Jura”® against a black background enhanced with rose gold hour-markers. The case is also equipped with the Louis Moinet crown guard, incorporating the stem in such a way as to enable easy replacement if required (patent pending).

Technical details
Movement
Exclusive tourbillon movement
Decoration: “Côtes du Jura” ® engraving, blued steel screws
Functions: Hour,Minute
Winding: Hand-winding
Oscillations :21,600 vph
Frequency: 3 Hz
Lines: 14 ½
Power reserve: 72 hours
Tourbillon carriage: 1 turn/minute
Jewels: 19
Escapement: Side lever
Winding Mechanism visible through the case-back with “octopus” spring

Case
Original design by Louis Moinet®, made up of 50 parts
Two 18K gold colours (5N rose gold & white gold)
Case diameter: 47 mm
Water-resistance: 30 meters
Caseback: Secured with 4 screws, engraved with individual number and Louis Moinet markings
Crystals: Two anti-glare sapphire crystals

Dial
Black, decorated with “Côtes du Jura” ®
Hands: Rose gold-plated

Bracelet
Louisiana alligator leather, hand-sewn, width between lugs : 24 mm
Buckle: 18K rose gold folding clasp with Louis Moinet symbol

Watch box
Extra large Louis Moinet Book, hand-written warranty

Edition
Limited Edition of 12 watches
LM-14.70.50/50: Two 18K gold colours (5N rose gold & white gold) Black dial
Price: CHF 215,000.00

Unique Items
8 unique watches with different dials, Price: CHF 220,000.00

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blancpain Saint-Valentin 2010 Ref. 0081-5560-52

For the first time in its history, Swiss luxury watch maker Blancpain has created a special-shaped watch*. The Manufacture in Le Brassus is presenting an authentic jeweller creation set with over 500 diamonds and pink sapphires, and housing the world’s smallest self-winding movement, Calibre 615. This extraordinary timepiece is to be issued in a symbolically limited edition of 14 to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2010.

This exceptional creation is an anthem to Love and to Femininity, starting with the white and pink mother-of-pearl dial forming a heart and framed by a bezel set with over 500 diamonds and pink sapphires. A heart-cut diamond also appears at 12 o’clock, while the pin buckle is set with a pearshaped pink sapphire.

The exquisite beauty of this exceptional two-hand watch also lies in the slenderness of its movement. Blancpain is proudly reintroducing the famous “Lady Bird” Calibre 615, still regarded as the world’s smallest self-winding movement and which can be admired through the sapphire crystal case-back. This shaped watch is delivered with two genuine satin straps – one black and the other white. It comes in an extremely elegant presentation box featuring a design reflecting the pure lines of this dainty Valentine’s Day model crafted in a strictly limited edition of 14.

* The visual is a watercolour rendering of the model.

Thomas Prescher Qatarwatch

That is normally the beginning of a time sculpture manufactured by Thomas Prescher. With excellent design, finest materials and perfect processing these dreams become reality step by step. Recently Thomas Prescher was asked if he could do a watch with a flag or national symbol. After asking for what country, the answer was: “Qatar”.

After a lot of research about this exceptional country, a picture of its Coat of arms inspired Thomas Prescher. The coat of arms of Qatar (Arabic: شعار قطر‎) shows two crossed swords in a yellow circle. Between the swords there is a traditional sailing ship called dhow, sailing over the waves beside an island with two palm trees. The yellow circle is surrounded by a white and brown band, which is divided horizontally with a zigzag line.

The realisation of the watch: One sword tip shows the minutes, while the other indicates the hours. With this retrograde system, after the swords reach the end of the index sector they jump back to the beginning to rise again.After pushing the button in the crown the swords move to a resting position to show the original coat of arms in gold and noble colours.

After a second push the swords move back to continue to show the actual time.Thomas Prescher has developed this exquisite concept to give the connoisseur the choice: Having the figure continuously showing the time or allowing it to simply remain in its non-temporal state. This could be only achieved through the use of a complicated and ingenious new system, which Thomas Prescher created specially for his watches, after studying and repairing old originals.Excellent design, the finest materials, perfect processing, invaluable beauty for generations.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vacheron Constantin Jubilé 1755 watch (2005)

With its name referring to the chronological source of the world’s oldest watch Manufacture in uninterrupted activity since its founding, this model commemorates 250 years of existence: everything about the Jubilé 1755 watch created by Vacheron Constantin recalls the temporal roots of the brand, as well as the celebration of the passage of time through its essential daily calendar functions.

The Jubilé 1755 watch serves as an emblematic assertion of the watchmaking know-how of Vacheron Constantin, which has equipped it with a totally new calibre carrying the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, a testimony to experience forged over one quarter of a millennium.

Launched in 2005,this highly classical model, which was never produced after , echoes the brand’s date of birth. More specifically, the year 1755 is registered in the historical records of the creation of the watchmaking workshop of Jean-Marc Vacheron. The document from the Geneva archives specifies that the master had hired an apprentice that year.

That means he had already been exercising his profession independently for a certain period of time, doubtless for several years. In this respect, the Jubilé 1755 embodies a link between the experience already acquired by the watchmaker at that time, and that which has been accumulated over the past quarter of a millennium within the Brand to which he gave life.

Highly symbolic both by its name and by the pure horological standards it expresses, this model was produced in a limited numbered edition of 1755, in the three gold colours – yellow, pink and white – as well as in platinum. It embodies the brand’s core values through its meticulous finishing details, the high level of quality displayed right down to the smallest details, and the perfection of its overall proportions. These lofty standards are further underscored by the totally new movement driving it, mechanical self-winding Calibre 2475.

Designed and developed by the Vacheron Constantin engineers and watchmakers, it harmoniously combines timekeeping and calendar functions with a display of the power reserve, the day, the date, as well as a sweep seconds-hand. Beating to the rhythm of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the finest compromise between the quest for precision and the determination to ensure long-term reliability, this calibre has a power reserve of over 40 hours. It is distinguished by the Poinçon de Genève, the most rigorous finishing quality hallmark within the field of Haute Horlogerie.

The 22-carat gold oscillating weight is entirely decorated and perpetuates the level of perfection to which Vacheron Constantin is accustomed. It becomes apparent at first glance that the designers’ work has been governed by this deep-felt concern for aesthetic perfection: the shape of the bridges, the highlighting of the essential gear-trains, along with the finishing and decoration of all visible parts, transfigures the mechanism into a moving masterpiece.

Polished/bevelled steel parts and decorated surfaces, as indeed on all the mechanical movements carrying the Vacheron Constantin signature, convey the values of inner beauty upheld by the brand, a standard of craftsmanship provided by a top-flight team of watchmakers and craftsmen working in harmony with the extremely stringent criteria of the Poinçon de Genève. As well as being visible on the movement, the prestigious quality hallmark reserved for the watchmaking elite also appears on the finely guilloché dial which is stamped with a secret signature.

In addition to the gold hands, the dial is enlivened by four blued steel hands for the sweep seconds, the power-reserve moving over a segment at 6 o’clock, as well as those indicating the day of the week and the date in two horizontally placed subdials.

The watch is clothed in a case measuring 40 mm in diameter and featuring hand-soldered lugs, and teamed with a hand-sewn strap in alligator mississipiensis fitted with a buckle matching the precious metal of the case. The limited edition of 1755 comprises 500 watches fashioned in each of the three gold colours, as well as 250 clad in platinum, along with a series of five watches reserved for the brand’s heritage collection.

Technical details

Case
Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N), 750 yellow gold (3N), rhodium-plated 750 white gold, 950 platinum
Diameter and thickness: 40mm, 12,10mm
Inter-horn width: 20mm at the wristband attachment
Shape and construction: round, 3 parts, screw-on bezel
Case-back: secured by screws
Crystals: sapphire, glareproofed on the inside,mounted on a joint
Finishing: polished case, fine knurling on the bezel and case-back “250th anniversary” type soldered lugs
Water resistance: 30 metres

Dials
Dial material for versions with gold cases: nickel silver
Dial material for version with platinum case: 950 platinum
Description for gold models: light silvered finishing, guilloché “250th anniversary” motif, 18-carat gold Roman numerals and appliques
Description for platinum model: brilliant-brushed finishing, guilloché “250th anniversary” motif, 18-carat Roman numerals and appliqués

Hands
Hour and minute: in 18-carat gold, fan-shaped, inspired by a 1926 vintage model
Seconds: in blued steel, baton-shaped
Counters: in blued steel, dagger-shaped.

Movement
Mechanical self-winding Calibre 2475– Entirely developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin

Indications & functions 
Hours and minutes
Sweep seconds
Day & date
Power-reserve

Other technical characteristics:
Energy: mechanical, self-winding, Cal. 2475
Regulating organ: flat balance-spring, Geneva balance-spring stud
Frequency: 4Hz (28,000 vph)
Power reserve: >43 hours
Jewelling : 27 jewels

Other characteristics:
Winding stem: 2 positions : winding, time-setting
Day adjustment: using a corrector housed in the case
Date adjustment: using a corrector housed in the case
Main dimensions:
Caging diameter: 25.60mm
Total diameter: 26.20mm
Total thickness: 5.50mm

Strap
Strap: hand-sewn alligator leather with a silky satin finish,
Buckle: pin buckle, 18-carat gold or 950 platinum.

Edition
Launched in 2005,“Jubilé 1755” was produced a limited edition of 1755, crafted in pink gold, yellow gold, white gold and platinum, of which five are reserved for the Vacheron Constantin heritage collection.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vacheron Constantin Kalla Duchesse Haute Joaillerie Watch Collection (2006)

In 1979, Vacheron Constantin caused a sensation by introducing a model destined to become a legend, Kallista. This quintessence of absolutes, embodying the perfect union between watchmaking and jewellery, remains unmatched to this day.

The history of jewellery-watches features certain milestones that in the recent past have turned the spotlight on horological and jewellery creativity. The birth of the Kallista remains the most spectacular such landmark event, since this one-of-a-kind record-holding work of art is recognised as the most expensive watch in the world (5 million dollars at the time, 11 million dollars today). Equipped with a mechanical hand-wound movement and set with 118 emerald-cut diamonds on a case sculpted from a solid gold block weighing over one kilo, the Kallista required more than 6,000 hours of work performed over a full 20 months by the world’s finest jewellers. Kallista, meaning “the most wonderful” in Greek, truly deserves its name.

The models composing the Kalla Duchesse Haute Joaillerie line(2006)are entirely in keeping with this tradition binding Vacheron Constantin to the world of top-flight jewellery-making, and in an even broader sense to the “Métiers d’Art” cultivated by the Maison over many generations. Rather than restricting itself to a mere exercise in sophisticated gem-setting, the Manufacture wished to combine the purely horological spirit driving Vacheron Constantin since its founding, with the mastery it has developed in the most refined gem-cutting and setting techniques.

Each of the diamonds adorning the case – 162 (9 carats) or 182 (11.63 carats), according to its size – is dealt with exclusively using the techniques of skilled hand- craftsmanship. Once selected, each gem is individually cut to its assigned shape: baguette, square or trapeze. The distinctive accomplished on the Kalla Duchesse relates to the contours of its 18-carat white gold case forming a spherical tonneau shape, clothed in trapeze-cut diamonds. The horizontal radius, which is fullest at the case centre, dwindles progressively into the bracelet or strap.

The sophistication of this design implies adjusting the trapeze shape of each of the baguette-cut diamonds, before fitting them individually into their recess. This type of gem-setting, calling for extremely distinctive expertise, is known as the “inverted pyramid” technique. The patient work performed on the case magnificently reflects the splendid paving on the dial. Composed of an 18-carat white gold plaque, it is studded with 62 or 98 trapeze-cut diamonds, depending on the model, respectively totalling 5 or 6.7 carats.

The bracelet of the Kalla Duchesse enables the gem-setter to exercise his art according to another very special technique known as “Parisian mesh”. The latter ensures the bracelet moulds the wrist to perfection, while avoiding any potential gaps that might appear between the links along the profile, due to the rigidity of the supporting structure crafted from 18-carat white gold, and the diamonds. This refined technique enables the bracelet to flow seamlessly around the wrist.

To give life to this Haute Joaillerie masterpiece, Vacheron Constantin has fitted it with a Manufacture-made proprietary watchmaking heart entirely finished and decorated by hand, mechanical hand-wound VC Calibre 1400. It proudly bears the token of the strictest and most demanding standard applying to a mechanical movement, the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. Beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, the Calibre 1400 driving the Kalla Duchesse Haute Joaillerie is housed within a diamond cage available in two sizes, on a bracelet set with either 380 or 560 diamonds. A leather strap in alligator mississipiensis is also available, complete with a white gold pin buckle paved with 13 or 27 diamonds.

The Kalla Duchesse large-size model is entirely paved with 841 diamonds totalling over 58 carats, while the small model is set with 605 diamonds totalling over 44 carats. A genuine masterpiece, the Kalla Duchesse Haute Joaillerie admirably sublimates the arts of jewellery and Haute Horlogerie, transcending them to enshrine a vibrantly luminous creation.

Reference: 81650/000G-9169 and 81650/T01G-9169
  • Calibre :1400, mechanical hand-wound,Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark
  • Indications: hours and minutes
  • Movement thickness: 2.60 mm
  • Movement diameter: 20.35mm, corresponding to 9 lignes
  • Number of jewels: 20
  • Frequency: 28 800 vibrations/hour
  • Case: 18-carat white gold entirely paved with 162 trapeze-cut diamonds (approximately 9 cts)
  • Dial: 18-carat white gold entirely paved with 62 trapeze-cut diamonds (approximately 5 cts)
  • Water resistance to 30 m
  • Strap/bracelet: In hand-sewn padded alligator mississipiensis leather,or in 18-carat white gold entirely set with 380 baguette-cut diamonds (approximately 30 cts)
  • Buckle: on leather strap, 18-carat white gold pin buckle set with 13 brilliants.
Reference: 81750/000G-9198 and 81750/S01G-9198
  • Calibre :1400, mechanical hand-wound,Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark
  • Indications: hours and minutes
  • Movement thickness: 2.60 mm
  • Movement diameter: 20.35mm, corresponding to 9 lignes
  • Number of jewels: 20
  • Frequency: 28 800 vibrations/hour
  • Case: 18-carat white gold entirely paved with 182 trapeze-cut diamonds (approximately 11.63 cts)
  • Dial: 18-carat white gold entirely paved with 98 trapeze-cut diamonds (approximately 6.67 cts)
  • Water resistance to 30 m
  • Strap/bracelet: In hand-sewn padded alligator mississipiensis leather,or in 18-carat white gold entirely set with 560 baguette-cut diamonds (approximately 40 cts)
  • Buckle: On leather strap, 18-carat white gold pin buckle set with 27 brilliants

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Omega Valentine’s Day Collection - De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph & Fine Jewellery Constellation Griffes Collection

Swiss luxury watch brand OMEGA has some proposals for gifts which will last well beyond this Valentine’s Day. And the next. And the one after that. And the one after that. She will cherish her De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph forever. It is at once elegant and sporty, blending OMEGA’s state-ofthe- industry Co-Axial technology with extraordinary design.

Its bezel is paved with 42 diamonds and it has a full chronograph function, a perfect complement for a busy contemporary lifestyle. And if she already has an OMEGA watch, remember their Fine Jewellery Constellation Griffes Collection which features rings and pendants whose timeless design was inspired by Omega's famous watches.
And he will love his De Ville 4-Counters Co-Axial Chronograph with its four sub-dials dramatically spread across the face of the watch. In a staggered row, from left to right, they feature the small seconds, a seven-day counter, the 12-hour counter and the 30-minute counter. Just above the centre of the watch is a window which shows the day of the week. Like the Ladies’ De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph, this COSC-certified chronometer is at once sporty and elegant. Make this Valentine’s Day one to remember with an OMEGA De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph. It will still be expressing your feelings next Valentine’s Day. Technical details
Movement
Exclusive Omega calibre 3890
Self-winding chronograph
Officially certified chronometer
Jewels: 33
Frequency: 28’800 A/h (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 52 hours
Exclusive features with: Co-Axial Escapement & Omega free sprung-balance
Luxury finish

Case
Stainless Steel
Diameter: 41.00 mm
Height: 15.90 mm
Water resistant up to: 100 m (330 ft)
Brushed case
Brushed crown with polished embossed Ω; brushed pushers
Domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Brushed screw-in caseback stamped with God Chronos medallion

Dial
Grey dial with black subdials
Applied brushed 18Ct gold , date window, subdial top numerals (60 – 7 – 12 – 3) and index (no Super-LumiNova)
Chrono 12-hour & 7-day recording to view upside down
Transferred red “REC” in the 3 chrono subdials
Transferred “Co-Axial Chronometer” in 9H subdial

Hands
Brushed facetted 18Ct gold hour-minute hands; white Super-LumiNova
Brushed 18Ct gold chronograph subdial and skeletonised small-seconds hands
Brushed rhodium-plated central chronograph hand; red tip

Bracelet
Brushed-polished 9-row stainless steel bracelet(Omega patented screw-and-pin system) with safety butterfly clasp incrusted with polished 18Ct red gold Ω;

Ring Griffes Constellation (small model)
RG R37BGA01006XX
Material: 18 k rose gold
Est. weight: 5.70 g
Techn. Info. : 1 smoky quartz rose-cut
Weight: 0.58 ct
16 diamonds 1.05-1.10 mm
Total weight: 0.08 ct
Colour: G / Clarity: from IF to VVS

Griffes Constellation Pendant Necklace
RG N71BGA0100605
Material: 18 k rose gold
Est. weight: 5.72 g
Techn. Info. : 1 smoky quartz rose-cut
Weight: 0.58 ct
16 diamonds 1.05-1.10 mm
Total weight: 0.08 ct
Colour: G / Clarity: from IF to VVS

Monday, December 7, 2009

RGM Reference 400 Automatic Chronograph

The latest in the family of RGM chronographs is Reference 400, a new automatic with design cues that hearken back to some of the glory days of classic auto racing. This self-winding marvel blends a functional layout with eye-catching color to produce a bold statement resulting from distinct harmonious elements.

Ref. 400 chronographs represent a slight departure from the previous Professional models, but the attention to detail and the quality remain indisputably RGM. Brushed and polished case elements, a new style of bezel, and the layered construction of the dial are all indications that significant thought and energy has been expended into producing a sporty chronograph with few peers.
The stainless steel case of 42.2 mm x 15.2 mm houses an accurate and reliable high-grade movement, visible though a broad display back. A theme of layering or stacking is continued from the exterior (bezel, pushers) to the face of the watch, whose layered dial and geometric hands allow maximum readability.

Features of the dial include legible and luminous indications, displayed with a style that is colorful and dynamic but avoids becoming obtrusive. The Ref, 400 watches bring a nostalgic style into 21st Century context.

The effect of this watch is clearly influenced by designs of decades past—the age of racing Cobras, the GT40, and CanAm series come to mind--while the product is distinctly modern. This is ensured by the use of sapphire crystals front & back, anti-reflective coatings and the most up-to-date Valgranges Cal. A07.211 movement.
Watches in the Ref. 400 series are available from RGM immediately. Options include dial color choices (Blue, Black, Silver, Orange), various colors and materials for straps, and the willingness of RGM to create custom versions of their watches for discerning customers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A. Lange & Söhne Celebrates the 15th Anniversary of LANGE 1 Family

Since it premiered in October 1994, the LANGE 1 has been “the face” of A. Lange & Söhne. With its striking dial design and its patented outsize date – the first truly legible date display ever to grace a wristwatch – it gained global fame virtually overnight and garnered a host of product awards. Today, the LANGE 1 symbolises Lange watchmaking artistry. It embodies the skills and know-how of an entire watchmaking dynasty that was founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange almost 165 years ago. At the same time it represents the performance of the master watchmakers at A. Lange & Söhne as well as their tireless quest for the perfect timepiece.
With its novel language of form, the LANGE 1 pays tribute to the courage and the innovative energy of the Saxon manufactory, but its balanced design is the hallmark of a timeless classic. This is also the reason why the LANGE 1 remained unchanged for 15 years, and thus established its very own tradition. Now, with the GRAND LANGE 1, the LANGE 1 MOONPHASE, the LANGE 1 TIME ZONE, and the LITTLE LANGE 1 “Soirée” it is not only embedded in its own family, but it also constitutes the underlying design philosophy for future watch models. The following pages present the key milestones in the 15-year history of the acclaimed collection.

A legend springs back to life
With its compelling and inimitable personality, the LANGE 1 not only wrote a decisive chapter in the history of watches. It is also the benchmark for every new watch created by A. Lange & Söhne. After all, since it had its debut in 1994, it has preserved its status as the archetypal timepiece. Its design epitomises the ideals handed down across generations, including the ambition “to craft the world’s finest watches”, a mission statement formulated by the manufactory’s founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845. Beyond that, the LANGE 1 symbolises the entrepreneurial courage of his great-grandson Walter Lange who shared a vision with his business partner Günter Blümlein: to put Germany back on the map of the luxury timepiece segment with a bold opus.

LANGE 1
Featuring a polarising yet utterly balanced dial design, the LANGE 1 is the physical manifestation of a brave and remarkably successful foray into uncharted territory. With its innovative technical hallmarks such as the patented outsize date display and the twin mainspring barrels for a power reserve of three days, it proved to be a worthy successor of earlier masterpieces crafted by A. Lange & Söhne. Additionally, it embodied quality assets that by then had practically disappeared from the domain of mechanical watchmaking. The LANGE 1 single-handedly established a second home base for precision horology outside the Swiss Confederation.

A millennial event
It is a revered tradition at Lange to honour the last year of a century with a special timepiece. This was the case in 1900 when Lange presented the famous Centennial Tourbillon at the Paris Universal Exposition. The year 2000 was another opportunity for the eminent Saxon manufactory to demonstrate that even an exceptional instrument like the LANGE 1 can rise to the occasion with fresh panache. With a rotating cage that neutralises the influence of gravity on the balance wheel, the LANGE 1 TOURBILLON experienced a millennial launch that stirred the hearts of watch enthusiasts around the world.

Moonlight sonata
A special moon rose above the Ore Mountains in 2002 when the LANGE 1 MOONPHASE was presented. It owes its horological charm to the exceptionally realistic display – continuously driven by the hour wheel – of the waxing and waning moon. And as befits a Lange watch, it takes its function very seriously: the moon phase display deviates from the actual progression of the earth’s satellite by only one day every 122 years.

LANGE 1 MOONPHASE
Saxon splendour
“Themes and Variations” aptly describes the ever new compositions in gold, mother of pearl, and diamonds created by Lange’s master watchmakers for their arguably most famous movement. Since 2005, the LITTLE LANGE 1 “Soirée” has been seducing a growing community of discerning women who know that intrinsic values matter – even in watches.

LITTLE LANGE 1 “Soirée”
That is why the heart of the LANGE 1’s little sister, despite its case diameter of only 36 millimetres, is the same exclusive manufacture calibre that beats in the LANGE 1. The latest edition of this endearing feminine companion features a moon-phase display, no doubt one of the most poetic complications that can grace a lady’s wrist.

True stature
In 2003, the manufactory presented the GRAND LANGE 1 in response to LANGE 1 aficionados who had expressed the wish for a more stately presence of their favourite wristwatch. With a case diameter of nearly 42 millimetres and a noble monochrome dial design, the larger edition of the LANGE 1 features all of the typical hallmarks of Lange watchmaking artistry.

GRAND LANGE 1
For cosmopolites and frequent flyers
In a globalised world, watches for frequent flyers are obviously more useful than aviators’ timepieces. For this reason,the master watchmakers in Saxony presented an enhanced version of the LANGE 1 in 2005. Its key asset is a second time zone that can be adjusted very easily with a push piece. Additionally, it incorporates an ingenious mechanism that allows the owner to conveniently swap the home time display on the main dial with the zone time indicated on the auxiliary dial.

LANGE 1 TIME ZONE
The LANGE 1 TIME ZONE was presented under the motto “Born in Saxony, at home in the world” during a globally co-ordinated event that embraced all time zones. The stunning model quickly conquered the hearts and wrists of numerous cosmopolitan watch lovers.

Unfaltering enthusiasm
In the fifteenth year since it was launched, the success story of the LANGE 1 and its siblings continues unabated. Today, the watch that established the ascent of the A. Lange & Söhne brand is a style icon among classic timepieces. And it keeps inspiring new ideas in the hearts and minds of Lange’s product developers, designers, and calibre engineers. Accordingly, watch enthusiasts can continue to look forward to interesting news about the most successful A. Lange & Söhne watch family.

Kees Engelbarts Hand Made Watches : Mokume Gane Dragon Collection

In the 1990’s, a Dutchman named Kees Engelbarts arrived in Geneva during the years of wanderlust that passed after receiving his engraver’s diploma from the renowned crafts school in Schoonhoven, The Netherlands. During his studies in Idar- Oberstein, Germany, his engraver’s education was taken a step further with the study of additional specialist techniques, and during work in Switzerland he mastered the art of engraving under the microscope. This opened up a whole new method of working that instantly fired his imagination and creativity. This was followed by steady work for various names in the Swiss watch making industry as an engraver in haute horology, Engelbarts often receiving requests for the production of unique pieces for discerning clientele. Later, he finally made the decision to stay in Switzerland and start off on his own.

Watches & Mokume Gane
The bridge from engraving to the creation of wristwatches was initially supported by a watchmaker friend. He told him to give it a try, and supplied him with various movements to disassemble, engrave, decorate and then reassemble. Slowly his expertise as an engraver entered the interior of the watch, the very heart of the movement itself. And his passion has remained there ever since. The Dutch have historically always been curious and extrovert when it comes to other cultures so perhaps it was already in Kees’ blood to look for inspiration outside of European traditions. Through contact with friends from Japan he was reintroduced to a centuries old technique called ‘Mokume Gane’, which was briefly mentioned in classes during his training. Invented by the master sword maker Denbai Shoami (1651-1728) and originally applied to the decoration of sword hilts and handles, it appears to us today as being very contemporary and intensely modern. Kees immersed himself in all the technical details, and became firmly convinced that if it were artfully applied, it could be a visual showstopper for wristwatch creations.

The final step to the actual realization of the first dragon watch came about through the intervention of a Japanese dealer who invited Kees to come to Osaka to demonstrate the engraving of Mokume. He was the first to order a watch from Kees, which on its arrival created quite a stir, and the concept of the present series was born.
Mokume Gane Dragon Collection Ref 371

The history of Mokume Gane
The technique of Mokume Gane (‘wood eye’ or ‘wood eye metal’) traces its conceptual birth in the methods used for traditional Japanese sword making, in which the hot steel used to create the blade is constantly folded over itself dozens of times and then beaten out into the proper shape by hand. On close examination, these layers of metal that result from the process of repetitive folding can almost be mistaken for wood grain or some similar organic form. (Hence the descriptive name referring to wood) However, Mokume Gane is composed only of non-ferrous materials, and in addition to folding, the layering is consciously built up in regards to color and thickness, much like a sandwich. (A Mokume ‘sandwich’ can contain more than 25 of these metal layers!) These metal plates are then pinned together, very tightly clamped and then placed in an oven. The heating must be closely controlled so as not to melt the layers, only fusing them together. This creates a new crystalline structure between each layer and the result is a new, coherent total mass, which can be worked as if it were one piece.

This block of layered metal is then worked over with U-shaped chisels in a pattern of choice over its surface. The artisan can also choose just how deep to go, much in the fashion of chiseling grooves in wood. The block is then put through a high-pressure roller several times, making it longer and thinner, and the above-described process is then repeated (much like making fresh tagliatelle in a spaghetti machine, starting from a big piece of dough). The final thickness is achieved through several of these steps, with the possibility to fold the metal or remove material with chisels at each stage of the process, consequently generating new resulting patterns. All kinds of beautiful patterns emerge, perhaps resembling the swirl of chocolate in ice cream, but more controlled. In combination with a large number of metals- gold, white gold, red gold, green gold, platinum, palladium, copper, nickel and many others- the effects are breathtaking.

But that is not all. After a particular Mokume Gane object is finished, it is also possible to naturally color the metals through the application of salts, ammonia, acids and other solutions, which can color just one metal in the multilayered matrix or several. Then, to make it all even more complex, one must also consider the three dimensions that the piece fills, and the layers through which the final shape will traverse. Working with Mokume Gane requires not only deep technical and metallurgical knowledge, but also three-dimensional insight into the hidden forms invisible from the outer surface. Kees’ choice was not only to use these complicated techniques, but to apply them for the first time to the world confined within the boundaries of a wristwatch.

Kees Engelbarts was the first to apply Mokume to wristwatches and create a personal engraving style uniquely suited to the material itself. “I often let myself be led by the material at hand, by the hidden colors of the layers of metal. If I see a vein of red coming out of the depth, I can intuitively follow it to accentuate the color of a tongue, the eyes, or other parts of the dragon’s physique. Of course, I do have a basic plan in my mind of how I want each dragon’s character to come out, but in the end, the Mokume itself also takes on a life of its own, and tells me what should happen!”Said Kees.

In the first unique Mokume dragon watch made, even the hands were created from small slips of Mokume which were twisted and then rolled again, then engraved, a highly delicate operation that makes them appear to swirl fantastically, as if in actual flame. All this work means each watch is not only unique, in having a distinct character and expression, but also a miniature work of art that you can’t stop looking at and admiring. With each glimpse, some other detail catches your attention. For this reason, the individually hand made cases, with their elegant, classical form, were chosen to act as complementary counterfoils to the dial’s intricacy. This miniature world of fantasy is contained within a dial of only 29mm diameter !
Mokume Gane Dragon Collection Ref 267
The Movement
Of course, once you’ve treated the dial side with this kind of microscopic attention, then the movement itself will invariably look like a poorer relative. So as could be expected, the movement of the watch complained that it also needed a new set of clothes, and Kees obliged. “I was looking at the movement, thinking about how beautiful it is mechanically- I use new old stock Universal caliber 66 with a micro rotor - but how much better it would look if also in Mokume.” Mokume does not lend itself directly for movement manufacture, so Kees decided to literally ‘clothe’ the movement with Mokume. The results are fantastic to see.
“Each piece of Mokume, however small, is fastened with small posts to each bridge, block and plate of the visible side of the movement, including the rotor itself. It’s real microscopic puzzle work. The Mokume patterns for the movement are coordinated with the dial side coloring and features”. When you watch Kees, who is tall, bent over and peering through the microscope lens, he invokes the image of a friendly giant building a small stadium for an ant farm. The work on the dial alone takes several weeks; add another several weeks for the above mentioned additional work on the movement and for final assembly. Whether Mokume or not, each bridge and part must also receive anglage and attention to finish just as any other Swiss manufactured watch would.

Kees has a thorough knowledge of watch making, but his younger brother Bart, a professional watchmaker who also lives in Geneva, takes responsibility for the assembly, adjustment, control and timing of all the Engelbarts watches. Both brothers are intensely proud of this family tradition and each other’s ability in this perfectly dovetailed enterprise. It also means that all clients of Engelbarts’ watches are getting the best of both worlds: original design based on centuries old techniques, combined with new movements that have become collector’s items in themselves- with two professionals from both disciplines behind them. This first limited Mokume Dragon is available in skeletonized and unskeletonized version. Special orders and unique designs are available on request.

Dragons in Mokume Gane
The dragon, like so many other mythological creatures, has become an integral part of the cultural mythology belonging to the entire globe, from the Sea of China to the Atlantic Ocean. Typically each culture imbues him with different powers and attributes, such as the power of sharp vision, the ability to breathe out fire, or extreme longevity. Notable is the fact that many cultures agree in claiming the dragon to be the first inhabitant of the universe, a primordial and universal creation as well as a protector guardian of treasures and the secret of immortality. Able to produce lightning and rain, he is a harbinger of fertility. But the true powers of heaven could only be released after the shedding of its blood or its death- as most dragons are not of the immortal kind.

Not only does the dragon have innumerable attributes, he also is manifested in dozens of different physical varieties such as dragons of the air, water or land; in two legged or four legged varieties with or without wings, or possessing scales of precious metal. As a material, Mokume Gane lends itself perfectly for the engraving of dragons and other mythological creatures. Each piece of Mokume is a unique phantasmagoria of swirling metals joined together in the heat of the oven, a fiery birth not unlike that of a dragon itself. Kees Engelbarts “I allow the Mokume itself to dictate the final embodiment of the dragon’s appearance. Whether it will breathe fire, or open its mouth wide, whether it will curl its body back and forth several times or just twice; the Mokume holds these secrets within its layers of color and movement.”

Technical information of some unique watch models from Mokume Gane Dragon Collection is Given below.

Mokume Gane Dragon Ref. 0267
Case: Solid Platinum, Curved Sapphire Crystal, Transparent Case Back with Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Skeletonized and Engraved by Hand, Automatic Winding,18.000 Bph, 35 Jewels, 48 Hours Power Reserve, Rotor Mokume Gane Decorated
Dial: Dragon Motif, Mokume Gane (White Gold, Silver), Engraved and Finished by Hand
Strap: Crocodile Leather,Platinum Buckle
Price: On Request

Mokume Gane Dragon Ref. 0367
Case: Solid 18 Kt White Gold, Curved Sapphire Crystal, Transparent Case Back with Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Automatic Winding, Mini Rotor, 19.800 Bph, Mokume Gane Decorated, 25 Jewels, 46 Hours Power Reserve
Dial: Dragon Motif, Mokume Gane (White Gold · Silver), Engraved and Finished by Hand
Strap: Crocodile Leather, 18 Kt White Gold Buckle
Price: On Request

Mokume Gane Dragon Ref. 0368
Case: Solid 18 Kt Yellow Gold,Curved Sapphire Crystal,Transparent Case Back with Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Automatic Winding, Mini Rotor, Skeletonized by Hand,19.800 Bph, Mokume Gane Decorated, 25 Jewels, 46 Hours Power Reserve
Dial: Dragon Motif, Mokume Gane (Yellow Gold, Silver), Skeletonized, Engraved and Finished by Hand
Strap: Crocodile Leather,18 Kt Yellow Gold Buckle
Price: On Request

Mokume Gane Dragon Ref. 0369
Case: Solid 18 Kt Rose Gold,Curved Sapphire Crystal,Transparent Case Back with Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Automatic Winding, Mini Rotor, 19.800 Bph, Mokume Gane Decorated, 25 Jewels, 46 Hours Power Reserve
Dial: Dragon Motif, Mokume Gane (Rose Gold, Shakudo), Engraved and Finished by Hand
Strap: Crocodile Leather ,18 Kt Rose Gold Buckle
Price: On Request

Mokume Gane Dragon Ref. 0370
Case: Solid 18 Kt White Gold, Curved Sapphire Crystal, Transparent Case Back with Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Automatic Winding, Mini Rotor,19.800 Bph, Mokume Gane Decorated, 25 Jewels, 46 Hours Power Reserve
Dial: Dragon Motif, Mokume Gane (Yellow Gold, Silver), Engraved and Finished by Hand
Strap: Crocodile Leather, 18 Kt White Gold Buckle
Price: On Request

Mokume Gane Dragon Ref. 0371
Case: Solid 18 Kt Rose Gold, Curved Sapphire Crystal, Transparent Case Back with Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Automatic Winding, Mini Rotor, 19.800 Bph, Mokume Gane Decorated, 25 Jewels, 46 Hours Power Reserve
Dial: Dragon Motif, Mokume Gane (Rose Gold, Shakudo),Engraved and Finished by Hand
Strap: Crocodile Leather,18 Kt Rose Gold Buckle
Price: On Request

Grönefeld Exclusive Timepieces: Brand Profile, History and Products

Although seemingly a newcomer to the watch marketplace, the name Grönefeld and the art of watchmaking have a family history spanning nearly one hundred years, originating in the small and ancient town of Oldenzaal located in The Netherlands. It is there, in a shop directly under the view of the ancient basilica church and its tower dating from 1240, that the great grandfather of the present watchmakers, Johan Grönefeld, began his career as a watchmaker in 1912. This marked the beginning of the small and highly talented dynasty of Grönefeld watchmakers, which reaches to the present day with the brothers Bart and Tim Grönefeld. Their workshop is located in the same building as that used by Johan Grönefeld, representing a continuous, unbroken watchmaking family history that is exceptionally rare to find anywhere in the world today.

Bart and Tim Grönefeld


Both Tim and Bart Grönefeld underwent extensive training in Switzerland, and within a relatively short span of time proved themselves adept world specialists in the production of the most coveted and exquisite horological creation of all: the tourbillon minute repeater wristwatch. Working anonymously behind the scenes, they have created such pieces for all of the greatest watchmaking houses of Switzerland from A to Z. Tim and Bart Grönefeld are the owners of QWS, Quality Watch Services BV, a long standing (more than 10 years) and official repair center for a large number of major name watch brands. With 14 full time watchmakers in employ, the Grönefeld brand is therefore able to guarantee and offer fast, highly expert repair and support to every Grönefeld wristwatch they produce, now and in years to come.



On the 15th of November 2008 Bart and Tim Grönefeld presented the Gold version of the Grönefeld GTM-06 wristwatch. In a private event the GTM-06 it was revealed by its creators to the public, attended by a select group of watch collectors and a few selected Dutch and German press representatives. At Basel World 2009 Bart and Tim Grönefeld presented for the first time their Platinum version of the Grönefeld GTM-06. Watch collectors and press of the entire world were impressed by the quality and distinct design of their precious timepieces.



This chiming wristwatch, the most complicated wristwatch ever created in The Netherland’s history, is a so-called tourbillon with a minute repeater mechanism, able to sound the exact time on tiny gongs held within its case. In the world of horology this type of wristwatch represents the watchmaker’s Mount Everest in terms of the difficulties it contains, requiring more than 6 months of careful construction, assembly and regulation before completion.

Official website:http://www.gronefeld.nl/

Hublot Aero Bang Drive ACF(Automobile Club de France) Limited Edition

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot joins with the AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE FRANCE and supports the Fondation ICM.The oldest Automobile club in the world is opening it s doors to the Swiss watchmaking company Hublot for the first partnership in it s history . Hugues de Rouret and Jean-Claude Biver are explaining the reasons which encouraged them to join forces in . The main fruit of this alliance will be the creat ion of a watch in the AFC colours, a percentage of the royalties from which will be donated to the Fondation ICM (Institute for Cerebral and Medullary Disorders).

Since its very beginnings in 1895, this members' club has brought together pioneers, inventors and entrepreneurs driven by the development potential the automobile can offer, both in terms of technological advances and the notions of freedom and fantasy that it represents. These gentlemen drivers have never formed a partnership with a major brand name, until now. Under the aegis of their management company (S.G.A.C.F.), they have accepted this challenge.

Hublot's CEO, Jean-Claude Biver, a trailblazing, impassioned entrepreneur, was captivated by the potential synergies between his watchmaking brand and the Club Automobile. These synergies do not just relate to the values that they share: a respect for tradition, expertise, technological advances, but also, and above all, they provide an opportunity to support the Fondation ICM (Institute for Cerebral and Medullary Disorders), one of the founding members of which is none other than Jean Todt, a distinguished name in the automotive world, member of the ACF, and President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile … which is headquartered at the Automobile Club de France!

Jean-Claude Biver, along with Hublot, has always been involved in projects to support and champion disadvantaged children. Today, through this first association with the ACF, he is lending his support to the ICM project. This international research centre was set up to prevent, treat and compensate for the consequences of spinal cord injuries caused by sports and road accidents, and to find treatments for brain pathologies.

Hublot has created a limited edition men's and women's watch, a "drive" chronograph in the ACF colours. A black ceramic case and bezel surround the skeleton dial which reveals a section of the movement. A contribution from each watch sold will be donated to the fundamental and clinical research carried out by the ICM.

Technical details
Case
“Big Bang”, diameter 44.5 mm in microblasted black ceramic
Bezel: Microblasted black ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire with internal anti-reflective treatment, ACF logo transfer at 3 o'clock
Bezel Lug: Black composite resin
Lateral Inserts: Black composite resin
Case-back: Microblasted black ceramic, ICM logo transfer on the crystal
Crown: Satin-finished steel with black rubber insert
Push-pieces: Satin-finished steel, rectangular with black rubber insert
Screws: Titanium
Water resistance: 100 m or 10 ATM

Dial
Microblasted black skeleton openworked with luminous blue rhodium-plated satin-finished applique indexes
Hands: Satin-finished, luminous blue rhodium-plated, chronograph hand with H counterweight

Movement
Mechanical chronograph with automatic winding,Hublot HUB4200 calibre
No. of Components: 252
Jewels: 27
Bridges: Sandblasted
Screws: Black PVD
Oscillating Weight: Tungsten carbide with black PVD treated dimpled surface
Main plate: Sandblasted & rhodium-plated
Barrel: With reinforced spring
Escapement: Glucydur hairspring
Power Reserve: 42 hours

Strap
Adjustable in black rubber with gummy alligator finish
Clasp: Black PVD steel

Edition
Limited to 250 pieces numbered from 01/250 to 250/250

Hublot King Power Chrono Tourbillon All Black Limited Edition


Technical details
Case
“King Power” diameter 48 mm in microblasted black ceramic
Bezel: Black microblasted ceramic with black rubber moulding, with 6 black PVD-coated titanium raised H-shaped screws
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with interior/exterior anti-reflection treatment
Bezel lug: Black composite resin
Lateral inserts: Black composite resin
Back: Black microblasted ceramic
Crown: Black PVD titanium with black rubber insert
Push-pieces: Black PVD titanium with black rubber insert
Water-resistance: 100 m or 10 ATM

Dial
Multi pieces in sapphire
Index markers with black nickel treatment
Black SuperLuminova™ transfers
Hands: Brilliant black nickel chronograph hand
Brilliant black nickel with black SuperLuminova™ hours and minutes hands
Brilliant black nickel with black SuperLuminova™ counters hand

Movement
HUB1400CT, Tourbillon chronograph with manual winding and direct coupling on cage
No. of components: 269
Rubies: 33
Bridges: Black circular satin-finish, echoing the two-wheel gear in shape
Bottom plate: Black circular-grained
Power Reserve: 120 hours with chronograph stopped
Type of Tourbillon: Flying Tourbillon with chronograph in a cage without ball bearings raised 2.80 mm above the base of the bottom plate
Diameter of cage: 13.00 mm
Balance spring: Gyromax regulating inertia-block
Lines: 13 ¼
Vibrations: 21600 A/h (3Hz)
Depth: 7.40 mm

Strap
Adjustable jointed black rubber
Clasp: Black microblasted ceramic and black PVD steel deployant clasp

Edition
Limited Edition - 28 numbered pieces 01/28 – 28/28

Popular Posts