Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fun is in the hunt - Lange 1815 Chronograph

The Lange 1815 Chronograph - perhaps the most beautiful chronograph front and back.

A good friend of mine had wanted the 1815 chrono for the longest time but finding one at the right price with the right piece was always elusive. The 1815 chrono in the pre-owned market is always difficult to find - especially if you want one at the right price. Patience they say is a virtue and so he waited and waited - then one day, it was there. From an overseas AD in Japan! Amongst our group of watch collector friends, many were eyeing this piece and I had to be quick. Not only do I need to be quick, I had to enlist the help of my Japanese colleague to call the AD to reserve this piece. And it all worked out beautifully!
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So happy with the arrival of the purchase, the first thing we did was take the watch to my place and examine it front and back. And with all 1815 chrono or Datograph owners, the first thing we did was turn it around and examine the movement.
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The movement is about the most beautiful chronograph movement in the market.
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This column wheel chrono is well designed - and just looking at the movement, one can understand why we are so mesmerised by it.
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The layout and finishing on this chronograph is top notch. And as with all Lange timepieces, the balance cock is hand engraved.
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And a close up look at the movement.
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Enough of the movement side - the front is equally well designed. The clean dial is proportionate. Simple and beautiful.
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And a comparison - old and new. Read my other post on the first generation 1815 chrono.
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However you look at it, both version of the 1815 chronograph are exquisite. I love them both and I am so happy for my friend. Next, the hunt for the rose gold black dial version.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

De Bethune wins the GPHG Award for DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon

If I had not said this before, I say it again. De Bethune is about one of my favourite brands and deservedly, they won at the GPHG 2014 for their DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon.

This past week, the folks from De Bethune brought an impressive selection of their timepieces and showcased it at The Hour Glass L'Atelier at Ion. Amongst them was the award winning DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon. Pierre and Alessandro were at hand to meet the collectors on this occasion. In the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix (GPHG) 2014, the international and highly qualified jury of this 14th edition chose the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon to receive the prestigious award of the best chronograph of the year.
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Not only is this timepiece a monopusher chronograph, it also comes with a tourbillon and encased with a hunter case. This is one of my Dream Watches... if only I can afford it. On display were also come very technically sophisticated pieces like the DB28ST. The manual winding dead-beat seconds tourbillon timepiece is a sight to behold. Finished to the highest quality, my picture does no justice to the timepiece.
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Equally sophisticated is the DB28 Maxichrono. Beautifully crafted and finished as one would expect from the folks in De Bethune.
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The movement on the reverse tells you how much work goes into the design and manufacture of the pieces at DB.
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De Bethune is also famous for their perpetual calendar pieces - the three dimensional moon being the attraction to me. And the highly guilloche dials are also a beauty. Here is the DB16QP.
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And the manual winding movement of the DB16QP.
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And speaking of the three dimensional moon phase, the DB25L white grey dial is also on my list of dream watch - but perhaps a little more reachable.
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And the open case at the back displaying the beautifully crafted movement.
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The folks at De Bethune have this salmon colored dial that I absolutely love. This is Alessandro's piece he was wearing and he told me it is his favourite piece (at least for now) and he has been wearing it for months. You can see why right?
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Also showcased at the event was two very elegantly designed enamel inspired dial DB25s. The first piece has blued mirror-polished titanium at the centre and an outer white enamel like ring.
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The second version has blued mirror-polished titanium outer ring with a white core. Classic right down to the hands and I believe De Bethune has outdone the folks at Breguet in this respect. The timepiece comes with an automatic movement.
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For a classic De Bethune, this is a winner for me.
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There were a lot more timepieces there but I was so busy chatting away I did not have enough time to capture them all. We had a good chat and one of the questions stumped Alessandro, seen here trying to look for answers.
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Thanks to The Hour Glass, Pierre Jacques and Alessandro Zanetta for hosting us. One day... one day, I shall have my very own DB. Congrats again to De Bethune on the win. Thoroughly deserved!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Watch Two Faces - The One and Only!

A nice JLC Grande Reverso Duo.

A friend had acquired this watch and I am excited to share this one with you.
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Stay tuned for a full report.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The New LUC Qualite Fleurier

I had transited through Zurich on my recent trip to Hamburg, I had the chance to pass by the Chopard Boutique in Zurich and I saw the new LUC Qualite Fleurier.

I find this particular variant rather attractive - rose gold with a sunray satin-brushed ruthenium dial.
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I do have the first version of the LUC QF.

The timepiece comes with the Fleurier Quality Foundation certificate and the Chronometer certificate issued by the COSC.
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The movement is the L.U.C 96.09-L self winding movement. As with all LUC movements, the finishing is top notch and even the parts hidden from view are also finished to the highest quality.
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The timepiece also comes with a sunray satin-brushed silver dial with luminescent hands and indexes. This version is limited to 300 pieces. But I prefer this version. Case is a classic 39mm. I believe this is also available in Singapore already.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sinn U1-D - The Hour Glass Limited Edition

German watch brand Sinn and The Hour Glass collaborates yet again to unveil a new U1 - the Sinn U1-D.

The Hour Glass is the exclusive retailer for Sinn and this year decided to commemorate their 35th Anniversary by unveiling the new U1 - the fourth in the series for The Hour Glass. Limited to 350 pieces, the Sinn U1-D is nicknamed Ultimate 1 - Dune.
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I prefer this version of the U1 to previous versions as well as the regular version of the U1. Made with Sinn proprietary technologies, the U1-D case and bezel are fortified with a special coating to improve the scratch resistance.
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The special relationship between The Hour Glass and Sinn started 7 years ago when the first installment of the U1 limited edition was conceived for the Tempus watch exhibition. The last was the all-black version and with the U1-D, Sinn and The Hour Glass takes its inspiration from the military giving it a combat look and feel to it.
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The hands are "regular" Sinn U1 hands but comes with a sandy color at the base of the hands. The dial is matte grey and the combination is what makes this iteration particularly attractive. Examine the dial and you can see a sandy "coating" giving the watch a little more rugged feel. The watch has a 44mm case.
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The watch comes with two straps - a calf leather strap and a Camo Zulu strap. The watch shown here comes with a third party strap.
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Sinn watches are made from German submarine steel and water resistant to 1,000 meters. Fitted with an automatic movement, the Sinn U1-D is certified for several standards including shock resistance, anti-magnetic properties and resistance to low pressure at high altitudes amongst others.

The watch is now available at The Hour Glass and will be retailing at S$4,800. Congratulations again to The Hour Glass on the commemoration of their 35th Anniversary!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Max Busser Unveiling HM6 - Space Pirate

We were hosted by The Hour Glass on the day of the unveiling of the new Horological Machine Number 6 from Max Busser & Friends.

The venue was a private room at the Grand Hyatt Mezza9 restaurant and hosted within the wine cellar! Cool stuff for a cool timepiece launch.
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Max explained how the timepiece was inspired by his childhood character of Captain Future and the space station in that series. See how the HM6 "time capsules" resembles the space station capsule?
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But not only that, he also spoke about how he was influenced by BioDesign and the works of Luigi Colani. The form and the flowing designs of Colani is evident in the HM6 and Max paid tribute to that influence.
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As with many engineering feat, the engineers have more say but with the HM6 Max and the design team was adamant on what needed to fit into the timepiece. Otherwise, it will be all to easy to make the watch a lot larger than the final product.

The final product is breathtaking. Looking like a vehicle straight out of a sci-fi movie, the HM6 is ultra light being that it is made of titanium. The first piece was delivered to Singapore already.
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The timepiece sits nicely on the wrist. And I think it is an instant hit - not only with the men but also with the women who probably see this as a high jewellery art piece. I like it! No, I love it!!! What do you think?

Thanks to The Hour Glass for hosting the event. More detailed report on the HM6 to come.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Wempe Chronometerwerke - Answer to Swiss Watchmaking

I had visited Hamburg for a business trip and again ended up at watch retailer Wempe. The last time I bought some Nomos watches but this time, I was determined not to lose sight of the in-house timepiece - the Wempe Chronometerwerke!

Called the Wempe Chronometerwerke, the tonneau shaped timepiece is designed by Wempe but manufactured by Nomos. What's so special about the Chronometerwerke? Well the folks at Wempe made it to exacting standards as one would expect of a chronometer. A chronometer is a precise timepiece, finely adjusted in various positions and temperatures and in the case of Wempe has proven the accuracy of its rate during a fifteen-day series of tests administered by an official timepiece-testing authority. Not only is the timepiece accurate, it is beautifully crafted too.
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The timepiece is very well made for a watch in this price category. Just under EUR4,750 (list), the watch is great value.
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As usual, I like the the blued hands and the Arabic numerals on the white dial. Proportions are nice and the timepiece comes with a stop second (hacking seconds).
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What's so special about this tonneau shaped watch on top of its accuracy? Well, Wempe designed the Calibre CW1 to fit the case. In many brands, they put round movements into tonneau or rectangular cases and if that is not bad enough, seal the case back from view.
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The CW1 is typical German Glashutte watchmaking - three quarter plate. But what is of surprise is the hand engraved balance cock for a timepiece of this price range. Timepiece also comes with 23 rubies and a swan-neck fine adjustment.
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The timepiece comes with twin barrels providing 80 hours of power reserve. I love the hand-engraved balance cock. My friend Prof Harry Tan said it well - what other watch in the market today provides such value at this price point?
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Honestly, I think this is a great value for money timepiece. Wempe has several other variations to this watch - in gold, with Roman numerals etc. But I like this one best. And I am a sucker for well done blue hands.
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As I was flying back from Hamburg to Singapore via Zurich, Switzerland I had to take a picture of this watch with the Swiss Air magazine…
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A German made watch on the way to Switzerland - home of many high end watch brands. But then again, how many watch brands in Switzerland can make a timepiece at this price point and still do so with an in-house developed movement? Not many I suppose. Well done Wempe!