In an age of proprietary escapement designs, multiple-axis tourbillons, and space-age case materials, luminant remains an element in modern watchmaking that can – and should! – be improved upon. If you have seen good, bright, colorful lume, you too felt how your feet elevated from the ground when glancing upon this remarkable spectacle and how your life in its entirety had taken a completely new direction... and if not that, chances are, you still very much enjoyed the vibrant glow, and would want it to glow even brighter, longer, and more colorfully. This is where the Stepan Sarpaneva Korona K0 Northern Lights watch comes in.
Like its predecessor, the dial exposes much of the watch’s underlying movement and mechanisms. There are three subdials made out of gold and filled with enamel and decorated with guilloche. Hands are blued steel. The subdial at 12 o’clock tells the time, while the subdials at nine and three o’clock offer the running seconds and power reserve, respectively. Legibility is not an issue, though wearers would likely get distracted by other aspects of watch that are exposed on the dial side - that we would get into later.
It is often said that F.P. Journe is one of the greatest watchmakers of this era. To understand why, one only needs to look at his new Quantième Perpétuel watch. Already, its digital display of the day, date, and month marks its as a very special perpetual calendar watch. On top of this, F.P. Journe has spent the past two or so years perfecting the movement so that all of the indications would change not just instantaneously, but also at the exact same time. This is a watch that deserves a closer look.
Delve deep enough into the world of horology, and eventually you'll discover why magnetism is a problem, why anti-magnetic watches are cool, what makes a high-end quartz movement different from cheap ones, why Grand Seiko movements overall are really cool, why the Rolex Milgauss is a cool niche watch, and a lot more things necessary to know as a precursor to truly understanding, and ultimately appreciating the Grand Seiko SBGX and SBGR watches. On the wrist, they offer a conservative look that many people welcome, but with just enough novelty to be different.
That is not to knock the watch, or the design – far from it. The 44mm steel case is in high polish, and has several stepped surfaces that both give some visual appeal, and manage to give the case a sort of art deco feel. The aforementioned crown does not escape tasteful embellishment, and features a polished Fleur-de-Lis. That may seem a disconnect to those not familiar with Detroit's background. If you go back far enough, you do find that French connection, in the form of the man who established Detroit in 1701 – Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac.
The left hand side of the highly asymmetrical Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 6 dial is, of course, dominated by the triple-axis tourbillon, hidden under what appears to be a bulbous sapphire crystal and an arched bridge securing the entire mechanism. It's a speedy beast too: the innermost carriage that contains the balance wheel and escapement pinion has a 45-second rotation cycle, the intermediate carriage has a 75-second rotation cycle, while the outer carriage takes 300 seconds to make a full rotation. The least common multiple of those figures is 900, which means that it takes as much as 15 minutes for the balance wheel to return to its original position. In other words, the balance wheel takes up the same position only four times every hour.
People continue to get confused by how the crown works on watches like this, where the crown does not pull out. Owners of some of the more complicated Richard Mille watches will be familiar with how the crown works on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2. Why not a pull-out crown? Well, in the most strict of senses, each time you pull out the crown you do in fact allow water or dust to be introduced into the case, even if there are protective gaskets. Crowns like this have a pusher built into them, and when pressed, cycle through the functions that the crown is able to do, such as setting the time, setting the second time zone (GMT hand), setting the date, winding the watch, as well as what appears to be a "neutral" position. The function selector window is placed next to the date window. As I said before, the Calibre 780 also has a GMT hand over 6 o'clock which has a disc colored to represent the day/night cycle and offers a handy second time zone to the already feature-packed Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 watch.
As noted, the guilloché is truly beautiful and, as it should be, diversely and logically varied between the different major sections of the dial. Had they been less interestingly selected, the decision between the two versions would be much easier – having a watch that displayed so stellar an example of such a refined craft as guilloché engraving does make the Breguet Classique Complications 3797 a considerable addition to any ultra high-end collection.
As a hand-wound movement, the crown is thankfully large and comfortable - though you do need to wind the movement up a bit. The movement design is very much trying to be industrial and comment on the character of Oris as making "real watches for real people." I like that philosophy and appreciate that Oris isn't suddenly trying to make a watch that would look better with someone else's name on it. Oris also isn't going too upmarket with the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition. While the price is a bit more than you'll find for most of their other dress watches, these are by no means the most expensive watches they offer (at least in steel). Having said that, if you are just looking for a decent looking daily wear with a good movement and sensible traditional looks, you could save a few grand and find something a bit more simple.
For the relaunch of the Corum Bubble, there are three models, two of which are limited edition. Corum is clearly taking it slow with the Corum Bubble, but these are nice models. All of the 2015 Corum Bubble watches use the same movements that Corum used in its previous three-hand Corum Bubble watches, which is their Caliber CO 0082 (a base Swiss ETA 2892 automatic). The CO 0082 has been skeletonized for the non-limited edition model which is the return of the Corum Bubble Skeleton. Extremely similar to the older Corum Bubble Skeleton watches, the new Skeleton has slightly different skeletonized bridge designs.
The end result is that if you're interested in sports chronographs, the Alpina Alpiner 4 Flyback Chronograph is an impressive step for Alpina, both in terms of their capabilities as a manufacture and their place in the market (and maybe on your wrist). alpina-watches.com
Bulova Sea King Automatic 96B226 Limited Edition Watch Hands-On
On a more serious note, we pay special attention to a very important and special new movement, the Eterna Caliber 39. This movement seeks to be a valid replacement for the Valjoux 7750 as the chronograph movement of choice, since ETA continues to limit its supply of movements to outside vendors. This month, we have an in-depth look at the Caliber 39.
Thank you to MassDrop.com who supplied this Seiko watch for review. You can purchase this Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive Moonphase watch via MassDrop here at a discounted price for a limited time.
Frédérique Constant Worldtimer Watch Hands-On: Feeling Blue
The amount of metal making up the case is actually pretty minimal, between the exhibition caseback and the tall, domed sapphire crystal that covers the dial. So, while the gold certainly catches light, it's not overly flashy, which I appreciated. I also rather liked that domed crystal, as it is reminiscent of the domed plexiglass that older watches often had, and it works well with the smaller case.
As I am writing about the Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500 I am asking myself, "how could Casio make this a cool smartwatch?" I think that it is possible for Casio to add useful smartwatch functionality, while at the same time, allowing a Pro Trek to maintain its reliable "go anywhere" spirit that it gets from not needing to have its time set or needing a charge.
Just one more day to enter for a chance to win a Seah Astronomer Watch this month on aBlogtoWatch. For your chance to win, please visit the Seah Astronomer watch giveaway page here.
BEST FROM: aBlogtoWatch & Friends February 27, 2015
The company who makes the world's fastest production car, the Veyron, has a long, interesting, yet broken, history in manufacturing the most coveted cars on the planet. Bugatti was started in 1909 by Etto Bugatti, an Italian immigrant with a strong sense of style and mechanical ingenuity to match. The company he founded in the Alsace region (now part of France) created in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s some of the most beautiful and fastest cars of the time. At the Concours d'Elegance, we were able to see one such example of Bugatti's creation, the rare Type 57S electron torpedo from 1935, owned and driven by Jim Hull.
Starting off with the big (well, bigger) gun, the IWC Ingenieur Constant Force Tourbillon is what it says on the cover – and, in fact, quite a bit more. The tourbillon, as you may have seen in the video of the 0,000 Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia, has a "dead-beat" ticking motion to it, advancing once every second – like a normal seconds hand on most quartz watches. What's responsible for that is the patented constant-force mechanism that ensures that the amplitude of the balance, and hence, timekeeping accuracy remain consistent.