Monday, June 20, 2016

Useful Features In a Timepiece

I am not sure about you but I have never really sat down to think what the useful features are in a timepiece.

Honestly, how often do you activate the chronograph function? What about that perpetual calendar especially those with the pushers? Even the date is something of a chore for some unless it is the big date.

Truth me told, I hardly use the chronograph feature on my chronographs. I know some say you could use it to time how long you park at a particular location etc., but really?

Enjoy the picture of the A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Chronograph.

The honest truth, at least for me, is the beauty of the 1815 Chronograph movement rather than the function itself. Now, how can you argue with a movement like that? I have to say, both the dial side and the movement side of the Lange 1815 Chronograph are gorgeous. But how often do I use the chronograph function?

Then again the perpetual calendar...

A nice feature to have and I believe that when they developed the Quantième Perpétuel, most owners had one watch to their name. So if that timepiece were with you all the time, it makes sense to keep it running and in order not to have to make those minor date changes (30 and 31), the perpetual calendar was invented. But today? Well, it really becomes a status symbol than any "useful" feature.

Don't get me wrong, I love the perpetual calendar watch. A great invention. But how often do you use the function especially when you need to hit those pushers to have the day, date, month and moonphase aligned? Well, doesn't really matter when the movement is as nice as the Moser Perpetual One.

What I really like - the Zero Reset...

What I would really like as a "regular" feature in a timepiece is the Zero Reset. When it comes to time setting, I am a stickler for accurate time setting i.e. having to wait till the seconds hand hits zero before pulling the crown to set the time. Some timepieces with this feature are the Lange Saxonia and the Glashutte Senator Chronometer.

Featured here is the Lange Saxonia belonging to a friend of mine. The Zero Reset is a patent belonging to manufacture A. Lange & Sohne.

And the case back showing off the automatic movement.

The Glashutte Original (GO) Senator Chronometer is also another timepiece featuring a reset seconds hand when the crown is pulled. But they go one step further in the attempt to improve accuracy during time setting. Not only does the second hand return to the zero position when the crown is pulled, the minute hand changes in full minute increments i.e. the minute hand progresses to the next minute index. And when one depresses the crown, both the seconds and minute hand move in tandem.

And the case back revealing a three quarter plate typical of German watchmaking...

With the Zero Reset feature, the seconds hand returns to the 60 second position when the crown is pulled. As far as I know, the two brands that has this feature are A. Lange & Soehne and Glashutte - both German brands. Is that a coincidence? And then the question of "How difficult is it to make?" Then again, is there an easier and more innovative way to develop this feature?

GMT or Two Time Zone

A more regular (and useful) feature is the GMT or two-time zone which of course is essential for the frequent traveller. The Reverso from Jaeger LeCoultre comes to mind...

With the two time zone, the timepieces allows the traveller to track local time (where he is) and his home time. With the Reverso, this is done with two dials on the same movement. But the more common variation is the GMT where the timepiece features another 24 hour bezel like in the Rolex GMT II featured here.

There is yet another variation - the World Timer. Featured here is the Patek 5131R...

And the Andersen Genève World Timer, 5th Edition.

One more thing before I sign off this post - hacking seconds... I like to be able to pull the crown and the seconds hand stops at 60. That allows me to set time more accurately. So what's your thoughts about useful (or not) features in a timepiece?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Beauty is in the Enamel - The Montblanc Villeret Vintage Pulsographe

When two enamel dials come head to head, what is your preference?

Many thanks to the folks at the Montblanc Boutique at Marina Bay Sands and in particular Julien Miribel and Katharina Ueltschi. I managed to capture the beauty of the white gold, white dial Villeret Vintage Pulsographe.

Compare the black dial version in a rose gold case against the white dial version in a white gold case - which would you prefer? The dials are fired using the Grand Feu technique at temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Celsius. A Grand Feu enamel dial is said to be very durable and I can attest to that. Take a look at my Lange pocket watch which dates back to 1908 - the enamel dial is still pristine!

I had earlier written a post for my friends at Deployant featuring my experience in acquiring the beautiful rose gold, black dial piece.

A look at the handsome pair.

Subsequently, I put out my own blog on the Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe. Needless to say I am extremely happy with the acquisition and definitely a keeper. Look out for more photos of the white gold version. Coming soon to a screen near you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Saxonia Moonphase - Simple and Classy

The DNA of the House Of Lange & Sohne is unmistakable - the big date and the dial profile.

Personally, I am more of an 1815 person than a Saxonia kind of person. I prefer timepieces with Arabic numerals but the Saxonia Moonphase is somewhat an exception.

Released during the 2016 SIHH show, the timepiece exudes elegance and great proportions. The 40mm timepiece comes with an automatic movement. This is the white gold piece but there is also the rose gold version too.

The moon disc is highly polished and the plate has a bright blue hue with the sprinkling of stars.

The automatic movement is Calibre L086.5 with a power reserve of about 72 hours. The rotor is a combination of gold and platinum.

What's so special about this moonphase movement is that the lunar disc is connected to the hour wheel to provide a more accurate moonphase reading.

I like the Saxonia Moonphase and it would have been much better for me if it had the Arabic numerals. But still a nice timepiece nonetheless.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The 2016 Vacheron Constantin Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar.

Amongst the Overseas range of timepiece unveiled in 2016, the one that stands out for me from Manufacture Vacheron Constantin has to be the Overseas Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar.

This time around, Vacheron Constantin developed the entire Overseas range with in-house movements. The version I feature here is the white gold grey dial version.

This is a typical perpetual calendar featuring sub-dials display. At 3 o'clock is the date display while the moon phase is located at 6 o'clock. Next comes the day display at 9 o'clock and finally the month and leap year at 12.

The case plays on the Maltese Cross motif - some parts polished and some parts brushed. Notice how thin the timepiece is? The push buttons are also located on the side of the case.

The case is 42.5mm just like the Overseas Chronograph.

As with the Overseas Chronograph, the UTPC comes with a quick change mechanism. Unclip and remove. It is just that simple. Removing the bracelet to change it to a strap requires no tools. Similar to the Overseas Chronograph, one can have three different looks - leather strap, rubber strap or the bracelet.

The new generation VC bracelet comes with an Easy-Fit System that allows the wearer to extend the bracelet - again without a tool, by up to 4mm for a more snug fit. No need to remove a link.

The movement is an in-house developed Calibre 1120QP. The timepiece is also anti-magnetic and water resistant to 5 bars (equivalent to 50 metres).

The new Overseas range features all automatic calibres and has a 22 carat rotor. Beating at 19,800 vibrations per hour (2.75 Hertz), calibre 1120QP possesses a power reserve of about 40 hours.

A well designed package from Manufacture Vacheron Constantin.

The Overseas range of timepieces are on display in the Ion Boutique. Do make an effort to visit them and take a look for yourself. You might fall in love with one or two models they have.

I also featured the New Overseas Chronograph which is another must-have in an enthusiast's collection. Check it out!