Saturday, August 30, 2014

Girard Perregaux & The Constant Escapement

It has been a long time since a significant development has hit the world of horology and with the Constant Escapement, I believe Girard Perregaux has hit the mark!

The Hour Glass hosted a lunch with Girard Perregaux and present was Stefano Macaluso who heads up the Product Development at GP. The luncheon was to showcase the Constant Escapement and a few new watches from the brand.

Stefano started by explaining how the Constant Escapement works and why this is a significant achievement in the world of horology. The idea came to the inventor while he was in a train and playing with a business card. For more on the tech specs, please visit the GP Website.
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The first Constant Escapement timepiece is a large 47mm timepiece largely due to the size of the escapement as well as the use of a double barrel to provide 6 days of power reserve. Well made as one would expect from GP for a watch like that. It is expected that the escapement will revolutionize watchmaking in quite a significant way.
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Unlike normal escapement, the constant escapement "releases" energy to the "heart" of the watch at a constant rate thereby ensuring a higher rate of accuracy whether the watch is fully wound or when it is coming to the end of its 6 days of power reserve.
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The escapement is made from Silicium and the lip-shaped or some call it butterfly-shaped escapement can be made smaller. At the back, you can also see the double twin barrel providing 8 days of power reserve. The back of the watch is amazing - the balance wheel held in place by the iconic bridges.
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Presented at the lunch were several iconic pieces from the Three Bridges Tourbillon collections. The Three Bridges Tourbillon is the icon of the brand and comes in several iterations. The most striking one I saw must be the Neo Tourbillon.
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The bridges are made from titanium coated with DLC and with the deeper case, the bridge extends over like an arch giving the watch a three dimensional look and feel. The black bridges also put a more sporty feel to this classic.
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The back of the watch revealing the prototype.
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A close up of the tourbillon. Pardon the pictures - all taken in restaurant lighting.
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Up next the Three Bridges Tourbillon in a Vintage 1945 case. The bridges in this one is straight unlike their earlier models which used the iconic bridge structure.
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A very handsome piece I must say. Well proportioned and a nice twist to the three bridges.
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The case is nicely curved so the watch sits well on the wrist - even for my small wrist, the watch wears very comfortably.
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Last but not least is the "regular" Three Bridges Tourbillon - iconic to the brand. In the very familiar round case.
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And the case back. You may not be able to see it, but the finishing on these timepieces are top notch.
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Presented at the luncheon was also the Triple Axis Tourbillon from GP but I shall leave it to another post for that.

I love the the Three Bridges Tourbillon in any fashion and it is definitely on my list of dream watches - actually on the list that says "beyond reach". Hopefully I get a chance one day to acquire one at an affordable price. Till then, I will continue dreaming about it. Thanks to the Hour Glass for hosting the luncheon.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Penang Food and Watches - Potent Combo

Us bunch of watch enthusiasts meet every now and then and once a year, we invite the ladies from the brands. This year is no difference as we meet for our annual event. Last year it was at Immigrants Gastrobar at Joo Chiat. This time around, we had it at Penang Place at Fusionopolis.

Penang Place serves authentic Penang food - favorites like char kway teow, Penang assam laksa, prawn noodle soup, lor bak and more. The buffet we had that night had a wonderful spread - so much so that I really don't know where to start - so I shall forgo the food and blog about it another day. The restaurant can accommodate more than 300 in one sitting and for week days, they serve a buffet as well as from the ala carte menu.
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We had taken a corner at the back of the restaurant - all of five tables. We were expecting 45 for the night.
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As usual, we have some early birds and by the time I got there, they were already on their first jug!
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Then the crowd started to come in.
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And the dinner began.
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Larry was especially popular… See all the ladies crowding around him?
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Then it was time for the "real" event of the night! Watch Time!!! The most anticipated time of the evening is when we all display our watches.
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We normally have two themes for every gathering and this time around we wanted watches with special dials (other than black and white) and dress watches. So we argued what the definition of a "dress" watch is - well its about any watch you will wear out for a night event. So theoretically speaking, even a Casio G Shock will qualify. That is if you will wear a tux with a G Shock. Top half of the table are watches with special dials while the bottom half are dress watches.
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Right side of the table are where the dress watches are located. See any familiar pieces? Swatch, Eone, pair of VC, Urwerk 103, an IWC pocket watch, a pair of Patek Calatrava, De Bethune, a pair of iWC Portuguese Jubilees in rose gold, a pair of Grand Seiko SBGM003, Chopard Lunar One, Laurent Ferrier micro rotor with a specially customized dial, an FP Journe and many more.
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Mid table and the collection becomes more clear. A pair of HYTs which marks the area for special dials to the left. PAM with a brown dial, Movas bronze with a green dial, a vintage Omega, Lange One Soiree with MOP dial, three very nice JLCs, a Hamilton, a Parmigiani Hebdomadaire with blue dial, a Seiko Monster with orange dial and the list goes on...
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Three JLCs - Rendezvous, the Reverso Ultra Thin rose gold with brown dial and the ladies Reverso Duoface. Pardon the poor quality of the picture - everyone crowding around the watches.
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At the left side of the table, the watches with special dials. To the extreme left of the pic are a pair of Grand Seiko GMT with blue dial - a special edition to mark 100th anniversary of Seiko watchmaking.
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Two watches in this group that really appeal to me - the Lange One Soiree with a mother-of-pearl dial and the Vulcain Cricket Aviator GMT "The Dragon".
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The Vulcain "Dragon" is a special limited edition - why special? Well, the original Dragon is a limited edition of 30 pieces while this is an LE of 18 pieces. Done with the cloissone enamel technique and the black dial is truly eye catching.
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And to make the occasion even more special, we had a pair of birthday boys.
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Forever 21!
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The birthday boys posing with all the ladies. Brands present were Cartier, Chopard, Glashutte Original, IWC, JLC, Omega, Roger Dubuis, Swatch and Vacheron Constantin. A few ladies from the industry were also there representing the magazines, collectors and events management companies.
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Then it was the men's turn.
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And now for the group photo.
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All hands up for watch collectors!
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All in all, we had 43 people who turned up. Some last minute withdrawals but the crowd was still bigger then the usual 30 odd. Some had to leave earlier hence the fewer number of watches.

I do apologize to some who could not find the place - somehow, even taxi drivers can't get the place correct. Penang Place is at Fusionopolis and with the amount of new buildings coming up, can be quite confusing. Better road directions the next time.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Girard Perregaux - Three Bridges Tourbillon

The Three Bridges Tourbillon by Girard Perregaux is an iconic timepiece and one on my list of Dream Watches.

Here's a first hand view of the iconic piece...
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Stay tuned - more of the stunning work of art coming up in my next report. Just had to share this with you first.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dragon Watch for the Dragon Lady

You never know when you stumble upon a nice watch at an affordable price level and such was the Jean Richard TV Screen Dragon Lady.

We were out shopping in Orchard Road and came across a closing down sale at Centrepoint Shopping Centre. While my wife was busy shopping in Robinsons I walked into the shop not expecting to see anything of significance. And then there it was… The Dragon watch sitting in the display.
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The original watch came with a satin strap but I had it changed to a stingray strap which they gladly did for no extra. Jean Richard has a series for ladies - the TV Screen. So called because the case resembles that of a TV Screen.
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I thought to myself - how odd, a watch made for the Chinese market - the number 8, the Dragon motif and five red rubies. Some things you know is just right - and this was just right. Just right for my wife.
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The Jean Richard comes with an automatic movement but closed case back. One suspects it to be a simple base movement undecorated. But who cares? What is important is the look of the watch from the front. And what is even more important is that my wife loves it. Sorry for the scratches on the case - shows how much she wears them.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bovet Amadeo 45 Chronograph - Three In One

Every now and then, you come across a rather unusual timepiece and then you understand why you enjoy timepieces and the diversity in the world of horology.

I came across the brand Bovet some time back and I have always thought they made pretty interesting timepieces - from interchangeable pocket and wristwatches to repeaters and high end pieces. I had the luck to be able to handle one such piece - the Bovet Amadeo 45 Chronograph Cambiano done in collaboration with Italian design company Pininfarina.
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The chronograph comes with a Caliber 13BA01 which I believe could be a 7750 but I like the overall package. The watch looks unusual - with the winding crown at the 12 instead of the normal 3 o'clock. Chrono pushers are also at the unconventional position - on either side of the crown.
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The lugs of the watch is also rather special - comes with a catch for quick release. One can change the watch from a wristwatch to becoming and pocket watch or even desk clock.
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Once you remove the strap, the watch can be turned into a desk clock.
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A nifty change - from a wrist watch to a desk clock. And if you buy the chain, one can turn the watch into a pocket watch too. The strap is rubber on one side and suede on the inside.
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The watch case is steel and with a nice weight. I like the fact that it comes with a large date - for people who have failing eyesight, this is a really nice feature. Hands are well finished and illuminated too. The seconds sub-dial is at the 6 o'clock.
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When you examine the markers, you can see a well finished product. The brush steel openwork dial is also nicely finished. The blue hands makes the watch a little more attractive.
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On to the movement side - I am again impressed by what Bovet has done. I believe they took a Valjoux 7750 chrono movement and modified it, embellishing it and finishing it to a rather high standard.
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The movement is of a rather high standard - blued screws make them so much more attractive. Did I say I love the blue screws? Personally, I am not a fan of automatic chronographs - I prefer manual winding chronographs. But the winding is smooth and without the 7750 wobble.
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The main reason why I prefer manual winding is that the whole movement will be visible. With an automatic winding movement, the winding rotor obscures the movement. And even with a micro rotor, the back plate diminishes in size and one gets to see less of the movement. So still I prefer a manual winding movement.
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As I have said before, the whole package is well done. 45mm steel case with an unusual crown and pusher position. My only gripe about this watch is the difficulty in winding the watch given the unusual position and smooth crown.
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Another look at the watch/clock. One timepiece, three uses. Interesting enough?