Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lange 1815 Chronograph - Just Enjoy the Beauty

What can I say - the 1815 Chronograph is perhaps the most beautiful in-house developed column wheel chronograph.

I was testing out my new contraption using the iPad as a light source and shooting this with my Leica D-Lux 6. First the sexy back...
 photo Lange 1815 Chrono 04_zpszghtxmjw.jpg

Now the front.
 photo Lange 1815 Chrono 03_zpsgi6dpitp.jpg

And another view using a different angle and tool.
 photo Lange 1815 Chrono 02_zpsrxoizsjr.jpg

And finally coming back to the heart of the timepiece.
 photo Lange 1815 Chrono 01_zpstp2wud7d.jpg

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Lange - Celebrating Founder's 200th Anniversary

The brand Lange & Sohne is celebrating their 200th Anniversary of founder Ferdinand Adolf Lange.

In line with this anniversary are some new launches especially the iconic Lange One. Here is the Lange One in platinum the new and the original - can you spot the difference?
 photo Lange One Platinum 01_zpsguhycslw.jpg

Then there is the new Zeitwerk Minute Repeater
 photo Lange Zeitwerk Minute Decimal Repeater 01_zpslwmmi1ek.jpg

Go down to the Lange Boutique at Ion Orchard to view the Lange One and also the 200th Anniversary Lange 1815. Only one piece of the 1815 left at the Boutique and limited to 200 pieces worldwide.

Photos taken with iPhone 6 and iPad light source.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

De Bethune - Excellence From Inception

Before De Bethune, there was De Bethune. And during the early days, De Bethune used third party movements before developing and releasing the DB15.

Right off the bat, the folks at De Bethune understood the philosophy of quality. What makes a timepiece desirable? Well as far as I know, they feel a timepiece has to be accurate and the finishing top notch. At first glance, one will know the work done and the class of a well finished timepiece. Such is the earlier series of DB timepieces. I was lucky to see the original DB8 mono pusher chronograph belonging to a friend and I fell in love with the earlier DB series. And it is a lot more within budget too!
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono09_zps2f0f7106.jpg

The beautifully executed guilloché dials of the earlier DBs are just absolutely mesmerising. The DB8 comes with a third party movement and a closed case back. I understand the movement was from the days when Denis Flageollet was at Techniques Horlogerès Appliquées (THA).
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono08_zps84352a87.jpg

I had asked Alessandro Zanetta (Marketing Director of DB) why the earlier pieces were closed case back and he had said that this was probably because they were third party movements and the only time De Bethune will come with a see-through case back is when they had developed their own in-house movement. Kudos to the folks at De Bethune. Slight digression… Another beautiful look at the guilloché dial of the DB8. Stunning!
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono07_zps4478a7c9.jpg

So why 45 minute counter and not a full 60 minutes? Well some speculate that Denis is a big soccer fan so the 45 minute counter is for one half of a soccer match. True?
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono06_zpse2013bf7.jpg

Even in the early years, the signature tear-drop lugs were already a design feature. And the blued hands are so well made they are to-die-for. The blue hue complements the arabic numerals.
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono05_zps1e593f99.jpg

So impressed I was with the DB8, I started searching for an early model DB. And as luck would have it, I managed to snag a DB9 which is the Power Reserve. Seen here beside the DB8.
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono03_zps602249f2.jpg

As I understand it, the DB9 comes with another third party movement - the Jaquet J4000 movement with a 7 days power reserve (168 hours) and a power reserve display. De Bethune DB9 comes with a white gold polished moon on a blue disk which moves from the maximum (right side) to the minimum power reserve. I originally thought the moon was a moon phase but quickly learnt that is it De Bethune’s way of displaying the power reserve - novel!
 photo DeBethuneDB901_zps5ed827ea.jpg

This watch is encased in a 42mm white gold case and the guilloché dial is again very well made. A simple two handed manual winding timepiece.
 photo DeBethuneDB913_zps86912ea9.jpg
 photo DeBethuneDB907_zps46df7b87.jpg

Again, the blued hands are outstanding and the dial work is flawless. The large dial is a gold silver plated dial with blue arabic numerals.
 photo DeBethuneDB903_zps092fd059.jpg

According to their marketing materials, the modified movement is decorated with the Cotes de Geneve pattern and is hand polished. I trust they do good work there looking at their in-house pieces. They have inserted an up and down mechanism to the base calibre for the power reserve indication. The crown is octagonal in shape. Their attention to detail is the hallmark of a De Bethune timepiece.
 photo DeBethuneDB912_zpsddcd5ad0.jpg

There is something about the way the folks at DB does the blue - I simply love the blue hue they are able to develop. The DB9 is my first De Bethune but I hope it will not be my last. So the search continues for more De Bethune timepieces that are within reach.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Convertible - the Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer Limited Edition

The American watch company Hamilton had their 120th anniversary in 2012 and they launched a special piece - the Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer to mark the special occasion.

I heard of convertible cars but convertible watch? Well, Hamilton has done it...
 photo Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer LE 02_zpsgec7vuc6.jpg
 photo Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer LE 06_zps0yvfn2bq.jpg

For a more detailed report please visit this post.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lange 1815 Chrono - The Hunt is Fun!

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!
 photo 1815ChronoRG02_zps01ee51ee.jpg

So happy with the purchase, the first thing we did was take the watch to my place and examine it inside out. And with all 1815 chrono or Datograph owners, the first thing we did was turn it around and examine the movement.
 photo 1815ChronoRG03_zps808ef2e8.jpg

The movement is about the most beautiful chronograph movement in the market.
 photo 1815ChronoRG05_zpse1947714.jpg

This column wheel chrono is well designed - and just looking at the movement, one can understand why we are so mesmerised by it.
 photo 1815ChronoRG04_zpsb4dc55dd.jpg

The layout and finishing on this chronograph is top notch.
 photo 1815ChronoRG01_zpsd746c529.jpg

And as with all Lange timepieces, the balance cock is hand engraved.
 photo 1815ChronoRG11_zps66708a59.jpg

And a close up look at the movement.
 photo 1815ChronoRG10_zps08b10569.jpg

Enough of the movement side - the front is equally well designed. The clean dial is proportionate. Simple and beautiful.
 photo 1815ChronoRG01_zpsd746c529.jpg

And a comparison - old and new.
 photo 1815ChronoRG09_zps966effce.jpg

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.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Goldpfeil & Vincent Calabrese - The Jumping Hour

Several years ago, the German luxury brand Goldpfeil commissioned a collection of 7 timepieces in collaboration with some members of the AHCI. The collection is called the Seven Masters made by independent brand owners. One such watch that came out of that collaboration was the Vincent Calabrese Jumping Hours.

The Goldpfeil series had watchmakers like Vianney Halter, Felix Baumgartner (Urwerk) and Vincent Calabrese amongst others. Mr. Calabrese as many would know is the name behind the Corum Golden Bridge and he later started his own company NHC which specialises in the jumping hour complication. The Goldpfeil Jumping Hour is housed in a white gold case.
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese01_zps9af087ca.jpg

The watch features a jumping hour complication and the hour window is located at the twelve. The date window is at the six and the minute hand is the logo of Goldpfeil.
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese11_zpsb0f901a1.jpg

Encased in white gold, the scratches show through unlike steel case which are probably more scratch resistant. The hour and date discs are slightly salmon pink is colour and the "jump" is instantaneous.
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese12_zpse94c435d.jpg

Each Goldpfeil watch features a signature - the Goldpfeil arrow. In this timepiece, the blue Goldpfeil arrow is the minute hand. What is also unique is the case - lacking a "dial". Mr. Calabrese reduces the timepiece to the essentials of telling time.
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese02_zps70cfb550.jpg
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese04_zps11acae64.jpg

The lugs are also slightly curved so it sits on the wrist a little better.
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese06_zps4ac68c5c.jpg

The Goldpfeil Vincent Calabrese GPVC11101 features an automatic movement modified by Mr. Calabrese. The case is a rather small 35mm and actually nice for ladies.
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese10_zpscc215762.jpg
 photo GoldpfeilVincentCalabrese08_zps309e7493.jpg

Unfortunately, the Goldpfeil collection launched in 2001 is long closed and all watches probably account for. Read more about the Goldpfeil collection in my earlier post on the Vianney Halter. And the immediate task is to have this restored to its former shine. Runs well but I have to take better care of the case.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wempe - Hidden German Treasure...

In my last trip to Hamburg back in late 2014, I had bought the Wempe Chronometerwerke. And while I was there, I also saw another in-house timepiece - the Chronometerwerke Power Reserve.

At first glance, the watch resembles the Glashuette Original Senator Chronometer. But this is different from the GO version.
 photo WempeChronometerPowerReserve05_zpse49666b4.jpg

I took the pictures when I was in the Wempe outlet in Hamburg so pardon the lighting in the showroom reflecting off the watch.

The watch looks very similar to the GO Senator Chronometer except that the GO version comes with a silver dial, a big date as well as a day and night indicator. The Wempe version comes without the date and the day/night indicator.
 photo WempeChronometerPowerReserve02_zps97493c6f.jpg

But the watch is still attractive with its 43mm round case.
 photo WempeChronometerPowerReserve03_zpsa3a47305.jpg

At the back is the Calibre CW3 which is again in-house designed and manufactured in collaboration with Nomos, Glashuette.
 photo WempeChronometerPowerReserve01_zps356be34e.jpg

What is interesting about the movement is the central bridge with a double balance cock which is hand engraved.
 photo WempeChronometerPowerReserve04_zps682202e5.jpg

Attractive in the front as well as the back.
 photo WempeChronometerPowerReserve01_zps356be34e.jpg

And if I were not rushed for time or had a bigger budget, I would have spent more time admiring the watch and probably ended up buying it myself like I did the Chronometerewerke Tonneau which I had earlier posted about.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Vianney Halter & Goldpfeil

Long before Max Busser and other brands got together with friends and partners to collaborate on developing unique and technically challenging timepieces, Goldpfeil of Germany was already doing so. The German luxury products maker collaborated with a group of independent watchmakers and developed 7 timepieces for the brand under its name. What Goldpfeil told the AHCI members is that they are to create unique timepieces that reflect a high level of aesthetics and technical sophistication worthy to be part of a a historic collection.

The German luxury marque approached the Academie Horlogere des Createurs Independants (Horological Academy of Independent Creators - AHCI) to commission a few watchmakers to develop a one-of-a-kind timepiece featuring style unique to each watchmaker. The watchmakers were invited to the Offenbach headquarters outside Frankfurt to view the works of Goldpfeil and probably to draw inspiration to their own masterpiece. The invited AHCI members were Sven Andersen, Urwerk Founders (Thomas & Felix Baumgartner & Martin Frei), Vincent Calabrese, Vianney Halter, Frank Jutzi, Bernhard Lederer and Antoine Preziuso.

The year was 2001 when the “dream team” unveiled the 7 timepieces - all uniquely reflecting the character of each watchmaker. One of the more sought after piece from that collection came from Vianney Halter. And in my recent trip to Japan, I managed to pick up one piece for a friend - and what a catch it was!
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 20_zpseixopn4w.jpg

Each Goldpfeil timepiece has the signature Goldpfeil arrow - either as a minute or hour hand or as engraved on the crown. In the case of the GPVH 11149, the blue Goldpfeil arrow is the minute hand.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 12_zpsuqkp0sns.jpg

The timepiece displays a “jumping” hour, a rather unique “moon phase” indicator and the larger minute window taking up the centre space.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 11_zpsfjqan35t.jpg

The rectangular white gold case with a curved back sits nicely on the wrist.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 08_zps7kse93xj.jpg

Even the crown is unique.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 14_zpsfduougnm.jpg

Another unique feature of the timepiece is the “dimpled” case. One look and it is instantaneously recognisable.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 09_zpsht897yoy.jpg

And what about the moon phase indicator? Well, instead of showing a revolving moon as most other timepieces will show, Vianney decided to change the display. And what a novel way to tell the moon phase using a rectangular pointer to indicate the phases of the moon.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 10_zps0modmlum.jpg

Right in the centre is the minute and seconds hand - the blued Goldpfeil arrow indicating the minute and the sweeping red hand the seconds.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 04_zpszsw7ljvm.jpg

The hour is represented by a “jumping hour” display on the top left corner of the rectangle case.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 13_zpsgr2aqtlb.jpg

At the back, one can see the calibre modified by Vianney for this timepiece.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 23_zpst5k9dods.jpg

One can see the signature of Vianney on the end of the rotor.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 16_zpsbywy4qm1.jpg
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 17_zpsiwrctipe.jpg
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 15_zpsbjnihlis.jpg

And featured here with my Goldpfeil Vincent Calabrese - another “jumping hour”. Case is also white gold.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 21_zpsnkzwfb4w.jpg

And the movement side…
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 22_zpsf9qhzkvw.jpg

In the entire Goldpfeil collection, I love the Vianney Halter the most. Why? Well, the unique nature of the timepiece and the complication truly reflective of Vianney and the Goldpfeil brand.
 photo Goldpfeil Vianney Halter 06_zpsgxf31tm4.jpg

Made in limited quantities, the Goldpfeil collection is actually 14 timepieces - 7 piece-unique timepieces for auction and another 7 “regular” pieces bearing the watchmaker’s signature and the Goldpfeil name. For the Goldpfeil Vincent Calabrese please find my post on that piece.