Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Dark Knight Rises - Urwerk 105M

Just a couple of months ago, I was in Switzerland and met with one Mr. Baumgartner and here I am back in Singapore meeting with another Mr. Baumgartner - Felix Baumgartner of Urwerk together with Mr. Martin Frei for the launch of the Urwerk UR-105M.

Thanks to the Hourglass who hosted the luncheon at Au Petit Salut. We had a wonderful lunch starting with the Ballotine of Norwegian mackerel with Bergamot puree. A well paired combination.
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Next up was the smoked chestnut and mushroom veloute. This soup was added with a touch of truffle vinaigrette.
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For the main course, I chose the fish which in this instance was a Fillet of Snapper with cauliflower & white chocolate emulsion. I have to say that this was also a superb dish - done just right.
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And the dessert was also wonderfully rich. Date and fig cake with chocolate.
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The food was good but that was not why we were there. The main attraction were the timepieces - works of mechanical wonder. Present to unveil the watch were the dynamic duo, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei.
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Named the Urwerk UR-105M, there are two versions - the Iron Knight (left) and the Dark Knight (right). The Iron Knight is encased in titanium and steel while the Dark Knight comes with a titanium case and a special aluminum treated steel bezel. First, the Iron Knight.
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The 105M as with all Urwerk features the Satellite hours disc gliding along the minute scale at the bottom of the case. The crown is positioned at the 12 O'Clock. In the picture below, the time shown is 12:38. Notice at the right side of the display that you can probably see the seconds display just above the 5 minute mark.
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What is special about this variation is the fact that the power reserve and the seconds are displayed at the side of the watch. Quite literally at the side.
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And at the back of the watch, you find a skeleton head with a smiley face staring back at you. Called the "Control Board", the indicators will show you the power reserve as well as when an oil change is required and also how the watch can be fine tuned.
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Felix and Martin are proud of the fact that their watches are "self" regulated and what is meant by "self regulated" is the fact that the 105M has a fine tuning adjustor at the "Control Board". With a simple screw driver like tool, one can adjust the watch to run faster or slower to suit the owner's profile. The indicator will show the adjusted position.
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The Dark Knight on the other hand looks more handsome to me. Fully black, I feel this version adds a little more stealth to the whole watch.
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According to Felix, their yearly production numbers will remain within 150 pieces and there are no plans to expand that number. They would like to keep the production to a manageable number.

Here another view of the satellite disc mechanism. Not only is the mechanism a technical feat, the material used for the discs have to be durable and lightweight. Urwerk uses a special PolyEtherEthercetone material for this disc.
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The number of parts used for the 105M is not as much as the 110 but Felix says the production cost for the 105M comes very close to that of the 110.
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Overall a well made technical feat that boasts many patents and the watch is very Urwerk. One more look at the 105M
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I like the brand and what it stands for and hope to be able to get my hands on the 103 at some point in time.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Glashutte Original Senator Perpetual - US Limited Edition

Several years ago, I was "forced" to let go of this timepiece to fund a dream watch I had wanted.

The Glashutte Original Senator Perpetual is one of the most affordable perpetual calendars around and the fact that they have windows instead of sub-dials made it a lot more attractive - at least to me.
Glashutte Senator Perpetual LE photo GlashutteSenatorPerpetualLE01.jpg

An automatic piece in steel, this is a Limited Edition piece for the US market. It houses the Calibre 39 an in-house movement. If I recall correctly, it was limited to 200 pieces in steel. The platinum has a blue dial and limited to 100 pieces.
Glashutte Senator Perpetual LE Back photo GlashutteSenatorPerpetualLE02.jpg

The salmon colored dial is a real beauty. I do not believe this is found in any other GO pieces. The dial layout is uncluttered unlike other perpetual calendars which thend to use sub-dials.
Glashutte Senator Perpetual photo GlashutteSenatorPerpetualLE03.jpg

If another one would come by again, I'd GO for it. And this time, I won't let GO.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Russian Watches Anyone?

Soviet branded watches are great value for money. And so was the case for this Soyuz Chronograph which is now my son's property.

We were out one Boxing Day and walked right into Red Army watches in Wisma Atria and I saw this skeletonized chronograph. I had actually bought it for myself but my son was so taken to it that I gave it to him for daily wear.
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And like it he does and what a find for under S$900.
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One cannot ask for more at this price level. A functional watch no doubt but certainly not a well finished skeletonized watch. 30 minute chrono counter at 3 o'clock and the seconds sub-dial is at the 9.
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The watch comes with their own manual winding chrono movement. Not too familiar with their caliber though.
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Water resistant to 50 metres, this watch is well worn by my son. The watch is almost 5 years old and has changed strap just once. Not services since I bought it. Not that I recommend this but I just want to know how rugged these timepieces are.
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Another look at the watch - the Soyuz Skeleton Chronograph.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Watch Friend GTG @ Diamond Kitchen

How time flies as more than two months have lapsed since we last had our Get Together. It is the month of May and we met at Diamond Kitchen for our GTG.

And the theme this time was around non-round case watches and round case watches. Every time we meet, we want to be double-wristed and hence the double theme. We made a booking for two tables at Diamond Kitchen at Laguna Park (Marine Parade Road) and a total of 17 turned up.

Diamond Kitchen as I was told is opened by people from the diamond trade and the bosses are super fussy eaters - good news for us patrons. We started with the salted egg yolk sotong. Not too salty and cripsy on the outside, the squid is juicy on the inside and done just nice. Not too tough and just the right amount of salted egg yolk.
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Next up was the clam broth bee hoon (vermicelli) which IMHO is always the highlight of the meal at Diamond Kitchen. The broth is thickened but very tasty - real taste of clams. The clams were fresh and rather juicy. And the way they cooked it, the bee hoon does not get soggy even after 10-15 minutes in the broth.
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Another must try is the steamed sea bass. I was told that the sea bass comes from the sea and not from seafood farms. The meat was succulent and the fish was definitely fresh. Well done! What we had ordered but not featured here in picture is the champagne pork ribs. Another great dish - more so for the children. Tender pork ribs marinated in champagne, floured and lightly fried to seal in the juicy bits. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating I forgot to take a picture of the dish.
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Superior chicken soup - boiled for a few hours and not always available (I suggest you order ahead), the soup has lots of dried mushrooms and probably one whole chicken in the pot. Tastes like chicken tonic soup - good for health and the soul too.
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Of course one can't do without vegetables and my personal fav is the three eggs spinach in broth. Cooked with three kinds of eggs - century egg, salted egg and the "normal" egg in a delicious broth.
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Next up was the cereal chicken. A rather unusual iterate of the dish. Most restaurants will do cereal prawns but this is the first time I had cereal chicken. Done pretty well - not fantastic but the chicken was tender.
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Two more dishes - the gan xiang fried rice and the or nee (yam paste). The fried rice was rather normal other than the fact that this is a spicy version fried rice. Nothing special to me.
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Another winner for me that night was the or nee (yam paste). Smooth and fragrant, the or nee came with ginkgo nuts and steamed pumpkin. Thumbs up for this one. And then the highlight of the night.
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Table shot of the watches present. See anything familiar? As you can seem the left side is all the round case watches including two pocket watches and the right side are the non-round case ones.
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A closer look at what was there… The round ones.
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The not so round ones… and some interesting pieces I might say. Two JLC Reverso Grande Dates - one in steel and one in gold. First off, some interesting round ones.
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An unusual piece - the Urban Jurgensen. Someone said this resembles Kari Voutilainen and it was promptly pointed out that Kari had some connection to the man and the brand.
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Next an old Minerva pocket watch. The movement was cleaned by Sean and now working well. In fact, he had done some work on the case - had it polished.
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And as usual, we tend to find an IWC pocket watch courtesy of one of our friend.
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The Omega Speedmaster Pro made its appearance and in a Nato strap. A wonderful iconic timepiece.
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Another unusual piece from Blu. Revolving hour and a rather nice complication.
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Not only is this not round, it is eight sided. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak City of Sails.
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Next the Panerai Radiomir PAM 231. Not my favorite brand but unusual anyhow as they don't make many gold pieces. They are more well known for their steel pieces.
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And two very interesting pieces - one from Roger Dubuis and the other from Lange & Sohne. The Roger Dubuis is the Sympathie three handed watch with central seconds.
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This is one of the unique piece of the evening - unique for a few reasons. This is the white gold great dial version. Only 25 pieces were made for the Lange Owner's Group (LOG) and this is piece number One! Elegant and definitely worth it if you can get your hands on it.
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And this must surely be one of the highlights of the night - other than the Lange Cabaret LOG. The Limited Edition HM2. On picture, the watch looks big but on the wrist, the watch is rather wearable. And the moon phase and date display on the left with the time on the right. Readable.
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The back of the movement featuring the battle-axe automatic winding rotor. And a very unusual rectangular IWC vintage piece below.
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We talked a lot more this time around which meant I had less time to take pictures and post them. I would have loved to photograph the two JLC, the Rolex Explorer 2 and the other Habring, Movas, Reed and Seikos.
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Next time my friends, I promise more photos. but first things first - when are we going to have the next GTG?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My First Dream Watch - Lange 1

I have always admired Lange as a brand and very much thanks to the Sincere Watch Academy, I learnt a lot more about the brand and the iconic pieces. Lange One was for me the icon of the brand.

The Lange One has always been on my desired list and when one was available at the "right" price, I pulled the trigger. For a three handed watch with a large date display, the Lange One is simple but does not come cheap… at least not for me.
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In my opinion, this is the most balanced off-centre display of any watch I know. The large date at one o'clock is the signature of Lange. The power reserve indicator between 2 and 4 o'clock is non-linear.
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The white dial with rose gold case definitely works for me - classy! The finishing on the Lange is as one would expect - excellent! The gold markers and indicators are well finished.
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And now on to the movement side. Made of "german silver", the patina on this example is great. Finished with Glashutte ribbing, the three quarter plate is another signature of Lange and watches made in Glashutte.
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The blued screws and pink jewels add to the beauty of the movement. And the engraved balance cock is also another beauty.
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For the longest time, the Lange One was for me a "must-have" watch. Even my wife likes the Lange One - no brainer right? After all, it is a beauty in every respect. The Lange One has many iterations and I was lucky enough to handle the guilloché Mother-of-Pearl dial version. Another feature coming up soon.
Mr. Range & Lange 1 photo LangeLunch14Nov201303_zps4113db4a.jpg

Another look at the Lange One during the get-together organized by Lange. Here is the report for that GTG.