Saturday, July 26, 2014

Launching SISTEM51 in Singapore

So the Swatch SISTEM51 is finally launched on our island republic! Officially launch party was held at Orchard Gateway Swatch store on 24th July 2014. Event was held between 6.51pm and 8.51pm. Care to guess why?

The store was decorated with all things SISTEM51. including the central display showing the features of SISTEM51 - anchored by a blue screw.
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Swatch SISTEM51 launches yet another milestone in Swiss watchmaking. Many firsts and patents goes into the making of SISTEM51. The tag-line for SISTEM51 is - the front tells the time, the back tells the story. As you can already guess, SISTEM51 has 51 moving parts anchored by one central screw.
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With the launching of the SISTEM51, Swatch has taken Swiss Watchmaking to new heights. The watch is 100% made in Switzerland and has 17 patents pending. I think no other brand today can lay claim to their timepieces being 100% made in Switzerland and retailing at such an incredible price. The watch comes in four colors - blue, black, white and red.
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For the launch, the store was transformed into all things SISTEM51. All the watches displayed were SISTEM51.
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And for the launch party, Swatch also commissioned cocktail bar 28HKS to present 3 cocktails inspired by SISTEM51: 90 Hour Power Reserve, 51 Components and 1 Central Screw.
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A bunch of us got together at the launch and brought our SISTEM51. Blue being the most common. Notice the gang buster - the Diaphane One? Well, we shall leave that for another day. A very unusual carousel watch. And my friend JK has two!
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On top what's in the store, Swatch also created the POP-UP store for this event. And outside, a special station set up to allow guests to print their own bag with the tag line. Guess who that is doing the screen printing of her bag?
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During the event Peter was invited to give a speech by Swatch to talk about the importance of the SISTEM51 and the significance it brings to the world of horology. Peter is a well known watch collector and you can read more on his website about all things horology at Deployant.
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On top of what is outside, Swatch also created a special set of 4 for purchase. 51 sets are available and if you purchase them in the set, you get a specially created watch winder for free.
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The watch winder is by the brand Wolf and is blue in color. One for Jokoh!
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The 51 sets are whilst stocks last and definitely worth it. Each watch is retailing at S$209 inclusive of GST.

For more on the watch, look out for my other post on SISTEM51.

Kudos to Swatch for launching a mechanical watch that is 100% made in Switzerland at this price level. Let's see what comes after SISTEM51. Thanks to Swatch and Michelle for the invite.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Perpetually Simple - Moser Perpetual One

Simple watches are one of the most difficult to design and make but making complex timepieces simple is even more difficult. But what a stroke of genius from the group at H Moser & Cie in collaboration with Andreas Strehler.

A stroke of genius really - using the 12 markers on the dial do indicate the 12 months of the year. Brilliant really! No one has yet done that. In 2003 Andreas Strehler worked with Moser to develop the Moser Perpetual Oneand it wowed many a watch collectors - me included. A beautifully crafted timepiece - classic. If one does not pay attention, the Perpetual One looks like the Mayu with the small sub-seconds at 6 O'Clock.
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Take a close look at the watch - notice the small arrow hand pointing to 6 O'Clock? That is the hand indicating the month. The large date is actually a single window with two discs one on top of the other. The timepiece comes with an impressive 7 days power reserve and the indicator is located at the 9.
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The black dial is rather well made - almost resembling a lacquer dial. And the finishing on the hands are excellent. The date and month indicator changes are all instantaneous and one can change dates forward and backwards - impressive to say the least. The clean, uncluttered and well proportioned dial makes the Perpetual One a pleasure to the eyes.
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At the back is the in-house developed HMC341 calibre done in collaboration with Andreas Strehler. The manual winding movement comes with an impressive 7 days power reserve and beats at a slow 18,000 vph.
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The back comes well curved to sit snugly on the wrist. From the back, one can see how well finished the movement is. Not only is it beautifully constructed, the finishing is of a rather high quality.
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Another feature in the Perpetual One is the interchangeable Moser escapement. This is also a feature in all their watches. The module allows a watchmaker to easily remove the entire escapement for servicing or replacement with a new one. Another clever invention.
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The way the module is constructed is such that the entire escapement module may be removed for servicing or repairs. In theory, watch repair centers around the world can simply take out the faulty module and replace it with a new one and it should be going back to the owner in no time. A close up of the module featuring the Straumann Hairspring.
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In recent years, I have come to appreciate manual winding watches as opposed to automatic ones. One of the main reason is the visibility of the movement - I love a well made and well finished movement. The rotor on the automatic covers the beauty of the movement.
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Overall, the watch is well made and definitely a gem. One glance and you will see the beauty of the timepiece. A classic in every sense and the simplest complication money can buy. And honestly, I love the rose gold back dial version the best.

For more information, please visit the Moser Website.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Swatch Sistem 51 - Coming to Singapore Soon!

Swatch makes fun watches, colorful watches, quartz watches… but Swatch the company also owns several high end watch brands and movement maker ETA. They have a small range of mechanical timepieces which were rather well made and priced. Then came Sistem 51.

The Sistem 51 is a new range of mechanical timepieces from Swatch. What so different? Well the Sistem 51 is made of 51 parts, hence the name. And as I understand it, fully assembled using automation. And the watch needs no regulation. So I was obviously intrigued and in my recent trip to Switzerland, promptly picked up the watch - all four of them!
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Priced at CHF150 each inclusive of tax, I must say they are affordable. The first release consists of four colors - black, white, blue and red.
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My favorite? Has to be the Sistem White - very Swatch, very colorful and playful IMHO.
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On first touch, the watch feels light and plasticky… every inch a Swatch. Comes with a small date at the 3 O'Clock position. Too small to make a difference. I would rather not have the date window. Comes with a white rubber strap.
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The colorful play on the hands - I love that! But as you can see even the crown looks plastic. The hands come with luminous tip.
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The Sistem Black is a little boring - but supporters of all things black will probably like it. Like my sons, I am sure one of them will want the black. This one comes with a black leather strap.
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The blue and red has rather interesting dials - probably depicting the stars and constellations.
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The Sistem Blue comes with a black rubber strap with matching blue stitches.
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The Sistem Red is similar in motif to the blue.
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As with the blue, the red comes with a rubber strap with red stitches.
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And what about the movement? Well this is where some surprises are in store. First, the automatic rotor. Notice the ETA mark on the top left corner of the case? Watch is water resistant to 5ATM. Made from 5 separate modules, the watch is hermetically sealed and has power reserve in excess of 3 days - impressive!
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The balance wheel comes without the usual balance spring screws and it is supposedly regulation free.
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The motif on the movement makes it feel psychedelic.
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So we shall have one each - family watch! Watch out for the wrist shot coming up soon.
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Overall a nifty package and well priced at CHF150 (approx SGD220). A fun mechanical watch at an affordable price. Shall be testing it for accuracy. More more information visit Swatch website.

And for Singapore fans, the Sistem 51 will be launching here on 25th July 2014. And if you decided to buy all 4 colours, you will get a watch winder - only 51 sets available.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Family Heirloom - My Rotary Super 41

I had found a vintage Rotary worn by my father and it was not in rather good condition. Family heirloom I thought... but it was not a working piece.

You know you are lucky when you have a friend who can take apart your old vintage and put it back together. Such was the case with Sean Wai. Sean is the owner of the local brand Movas and he is one determined dude. I have had this Rotary watch for many years - left behind by my late father. It no longer worked and the bracelet was coming apart, the case stuck and the plexi-glass badly scratched. I had approached Sean hoping that he could open the watch and have it reworked back to its former glory.

After several tries using traditional tools, Sean told me that he could not open the case as time has ravaged the case and rendered the back inoperable and unable to be opened. So the next thing he did was to make a special tool to open the case back. And after weeks of trying came up with a specialized tool to open the case back.
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I was so happy when Sean called me one day to tell me he managed to open the case back with this tool. So I went down and he showed me final result. A case back opened for the first time ever!
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The inside of the case back with the case back still on the tool.
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And also for the first time, I am seeing the Rotary movement. In this case, Sean had cleaned the movement and serviced it. He told me he did not change any parts, just cleaned and oiled the parts.
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This is the case taken apart and the movement and the case back.
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This is the dial side. I had asked Sean not to touch up the dial and leave it as is. Even the hands are to be original and not changed. He cleaned the dial but left everything else untouched.
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A close up of the 41 jewels movement that has been cleaned and serviced by Sean. And now, the final product…
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Sean has done a wonderful job of restoring the watch back to a serviceable state. The last I wound it up, it kept good time ask the next thing for me is to look for a matching bracelet. I reckon this watch dates back to the 70s so I have to find one of them 70s bracelet.

Thanks Sean for a wonderful job. Owe you one!