Saturday, July 21, 2018

Glashutte & The Meissen Porcelain Dial

Glashutte Original and the Meissen Porcelain company collaborated and made this White Dial Beauty.

Head on to the Deployant page for a full read. For now, enjoy the photos of the Meissen Porcelain dial which has more than 300 years of history under their belt. Combining expertise both companies possess, the result is the Senator Meissen dial.

This Meissen sample comes as a time only timepiece. Simple, elegant and very handsome. The classic Senator is aesthetically pleasing, proportionate and neat.

The blue hands compliments the dial and rose gold case. Why is the porcelain dial desired? For one, they are rather rare and secondly and more importantly, the dials are said to maintain its colouration for a decades.

Although this is not a limited edition, each dial is individually numbered. All the markers including the Meissen cross swords trademark and the Glashutte brand name are hand painted on the porcelain dials.

A porcelain dial is not easy to manufacture. Lots of skill goes into making one of these dials. For starters the liquid porcelain is applied to a disc and then fired at between 1,200 °C to 1,400 °C. Only milky white flawless discs that meet their stringent requirements are selected and hand painted.

To make one of these dials, the craftsmen takes between 8-10 hours hand painting each marker or logo using very fine brush. This requires dextrous hands with full on concentration too.

As with all hand painted markers, it is not "perfect". This macro shot clearly shows the outcome.

8 and 9 hand painted marker - again, a clear sign it is hand painted and not machine stamped.

As much as one expects the highest of quality from the Meissen manufacture, even the Glashutte logo is not perfectly drawn. But what is true about such hand crafted dials is that no two are alike which makes each dial unique.

The finishing on the inside of the case finishing - brushed interior.

The blued hands...

The complete package...

One last look at the symbol of the Meissen dial

It is sad to note that the collaboration has stopped and that Meissen Porcelain no longer makes these kinds of dials for Glashutte Original. Their short lived collaboration launches some very iconic pieces - the Singapore Edition commemorating 40 years of nationhood, the Senator Meissen Tourbillon, just to name few.

Perhaps the folks at Glashutte Original will find another partner or perhaps someone else will start noticing a missing segment in the luxury watch space and look at doing a series for themselves. These porcelain dials are awesome.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Coggiola Watch - Vintage Restored

Sebastián of Coggiola watches restores old English pocket watch movements and encases them into contemporary timepieces. Every timepiece is handcrafted and made in-house. For a full article of the ownership experience, please visit the Deployant website.

In the meantime, enjoy some of the pictures of the Robert Roskell timepiece restored by Sebastián. Starting with the front.

Then the case back view.

Another case back view.

The large balance wheel.

Some close up shots.

Close up of the hands - well finished hand made hands.

I like the raw feeling of the timepiece

Close up of the face of the dial side

Visit the Coggiola webpage for more information on the work of Sebastian.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pepsi Anyone? The Tudor Black Bay GMT

Tudor has been making waves since they relaunched the Black Bay range of timepieces and this year in Baselworld 2018, they released another winner - The Black Bay GMT aka Pepsi GMT.

Of course the debate is around their more well known big brother the Rolex GMT II (Pepsi) but with so many brands "adopting" the blue/red scheme, why not Tudor? And I think this is a winning strategy. GMT, Chronometer certified, 70 hours of power reserve, in-house movement, 200m water resistance... what more can one ask for?

At first glance, the Black Bay GMT is well constructed, attractive and for the price that is slightly higher than S$5,000 a solid timepiece for any collection. Maybe not for everyone but for the everyday man on the street, its a winner.

The dial is clean with the signature snowflake hands - one on the hour hand and the other on the GMT hand. Clearly visible is the raised dome sapphire crystal which gives a timepiece a more vintage feel to it.

Unlike the Rolex which has a more red coloured hue, the Black Bay GMT has a darker burgundy colour. The bezel is a bidirectional rotatable 48 notches bezel in steel with 24-hour graduated anodised aluminium disc in matt burgundy and blue.

The crown is signed with the House of Tudor rose logo.

Housed under the hood is the in-house Manufacture automatic Calibre MT5652 which is also COSC certified. The movement which provides about 70 hours of power reserve comes with a bidirectional winding mechanism. So much for so little.

Closer examination shows that the Black Bay GMT punches above its price point - for a timepiece at this price point, the finishing is excellent. Take a look at the markers. Highly polished lumed indices.

A close up of the index - notice the matt blue bezel and the painted tracks?

A closed up shot of the raised sapphire glass and the minutes and GMT hands.

The signature snowflake hours hand and the grainy dial.

The date window lacks a window, not that I care for it but from the pictures of it, I say the stepped window is well done.

The GMT hand also comes with a snowflake design and with lume.

What the timepiece does not display is the fact that the GMT is waterproof to 200 metres - impressive or what?

The printing on the grainy dial is what one would expect from the hour of Tudor.

Nicely printed Tudor logo on the dial.

Inside the case is a brushed ring but unlike Rolex, the serial number is not engraved on the inside.

But what you will see if the words Swiss made proudly adorning the dial right and the bottom.

Concluding thoughts - the Tudor Black Bay GMT reference M79830RB-0001 is a no-brainer for any collector. Handsome timepiece close to the heritage of the bigger brother but yet with a history of its own. The 41mm steel case comes polished on the sides and brushed on top. The timepiece comes with three strap types - a bracelet, leather or fabric strap. I chose the brush steel bracelet which was listed at S$5,380.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The IWC Pilot Mark XXIII - Reissue of the Mark XI

The original IWC Mark XI and Mark XII were the icons of the brand having been the standard issue for pilots during WWII. The early Pilot Mark XI was having a manual winding movement - the Calibre 89. The Mark XI was a time only piece - no date window but the Mark XII came with a date and with an automatic movement. This year, IWC release the Mark XVIII as the tribute to the Mark XI.

By the time I got my hand on a Pilot watch, which was my very first mechanical timepiece, the Mark XII was already sold out (let alone the Mark XI) and the Mark XV was then the only IWC Pilot watch then.

Compare both the Mark XV and Mark XVIII - the Mark XV is 38mm while the Mark XVIII is 40mm. The hands are similar, but the date window is where the difference is apparent. Not only is the date wheel black in colour (as opposed to the white background in the Mark XV), but the positioning of the date window is slightly inside. I find the Mark XV more balanced in terms of aesthetics.

With the size of the timepiece at 40mm, something has got to give... so the position of the date window is inside because the Sellita SW300 movement is not big enough for a 40mm case.

But that aside, the Mark XVIII gives out that vintage feel - much thanks to the yellow markers at 3,6 and 9 and the triangle at 12 which are all quoted with a luminescent material.

Looking at the Mark XVIII tribute piece, I would have thought that this is a tribute to the Mark XII no? After all, the Mark XII had an automatic calibre while the Mark XI is manual winding.

The Mark XII has a date window and so does the Mark XVIII... so what am I missing here?

For me, the hands on this version is right for me... I much prefer these hands which were last seen on the Mark XV.

The difference between this and the Mark XV is the white seconds hand on the Mark XV and the steel hands on the Mark XVIII.

The Mark XVIII luminous markers are well made.

Both at the 12 and at the 6, the markers are painted with the same yellowish luminous material. But notice the numerals too - they are thicker on the Mark XVIII than the Mark XV.

And the crown on the Mark XVIII has the "Probus Scafusia" insignia as opposed to the fish logo on the Mark XV.

And this version comes with a green textile strap which is Made in Italy.

Another look at the Mark XVIII


Now for the Mark XV

I actually like this better.

I get it, the Mark XI is definitely more iconic than the Mark XII being the "first" of its kind. For the Mark XVIII, I would have loved a manual winding calibre as opposed to the automatic Calibre 35111. And one more thing, the date window should go. But that is just me.