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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scenes from the Singapore River

The Singapore River...once the nerve center of the city, bringing in trade from ships calling at our ports. Now the financial center.

By the side of the new Parliament House, a riverwalk...quaint, and very permitting.

Across, the Financial District...where the banking giants reign supreme:

The Boat Quay area...similar shot as above, but landscape mode, to show the dining area

Continued on Friday.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Walter Lange's Journeyman pocket watch

Exclusive pictures of the Journeyman pocket watch

Walter Lange is the grand old man of the house of A. Lange & Sohne. Some 88 years of age, this gentleman is still strong, and enthusiastic about watchmaking and the affairs of the old firm. Though I speak little German, and he no English, we get along quite well...I had a quiet dinner with him once in a little restaurant in Zum Baren in the mountains of Saxony, and he was animated with his stories of the cold, the township in his teen years. His eyes glowing, his excitement showing. An account of the food we consumed is found here.

As part of his final examinations to pass out from his apprenticeship, he had to make a journeyman his case, a silver cased pocket watch, made from scratch.

With the original timing sheets, handwritten by Walter himself.

Walter Lange

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SIHH 2010: ALS Homage Moonphase and Lange 1 Tourbillon

We continue with the Homage series in honey gold.

The 1815 Moonphase is a rehash of the original Emil Lange 1815 Moonphase which has been doing very well in the auction scene.

The character of the 1815 dial design is apparent in the new watch.

But the design shows a totally new watch...featuring the vapour deposit blueing of the moon disk.

The movement remains the same, again, safe for the the new decoration, and features a moonphase display accurate to 1 day in 1058 years.

Next the Lange 1 Tourbillon.

A true beauty in its own right, the Lange 1 Tourbillon features the characteristic cutout for a tourbillon at about 4 o'clock on the dial, supported by a highly polished one arm, skeletonised bridge.

The dial layout necessitates a separate small seconds hand on the main time dial. This is required because the tourbillon spins counter-clockwise, and hence not possible to mount a seconds hand on the cage.

Detail of the tourbillon bridge, showing the diamond endstone, and the tourbillon cage. Note also the date disks are numerals printed on sapphire crystal to allow the owner full view of the tourbillon.

In detail, you can see the sapphire disks, with printed numerals. Note shadow on the digits.

The movement, showing two fully decorateed cocks, one holding the tourbillon bridge, and the other holding the transmission wheel to drive the small subsidiary seconds hand. Both these cocks are in honey gold.

The tourbillon features a stop clock mechanism, first premiering in the Cabaret Tourbillon. This allows the entire tourbillon cage to be stopped on demand, as the owner pulls the crown to allow precise time setting.

continued in Part 3

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Singapore Buildings: Hill Street

Walking along Hill Street, two heritage buildings stand out...the Fire Station, just directly opposite Funan DigilLife Mall and the former National Archives the offices of the Ministry of the Arts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Patek Philippe 5101

The Patek Philippe 5101 10 Day Tourbillon.

Stunning movement...magnificent finish, characteristic of vintage Pateks, seldom seen these days. Note the tourbillon bridge...the rounded, polished bridge in stainless steel is particularly difficult to execute.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SIHH 2010: flashback: ALS Homage Turbograph

I will begin a series, on Wednesdays to republish the reports and photographs I took during the SIHH 2010 in Geneva. These have been previously published on the forum I moderate at These encore articles will be published every Wed.

First off The Lange Homage Series

I just came back from SIHH...and a short R&R in Paris (gastronomy and some shopping during "Solde" period). Landed yesterday afternoon...still jet lagged...and reluctant to do any work...

You may have already seen the coverage at the ALS blog, and seen the following, which I summarise for easy reference:

The ALS Blog

See the interview "Peter Chong and Arnd Einhorn" parts 1 and 2 on Day 2

And the LOGers conference, where the novelties were presented to the friends of Lange on Day 4.

Here is my take on the novelties:

First the Homage Series in honey gold. The gold was a really lovely colour (color...I habitually spell in UK English...)...a tad warmer than yellow gold, and more discrete than rose is certainly a beautiful I understand it, this is a totally new metal alloy of gold, 18k, and Lange has exclusive use of it for some time.

The new Tourbograph in honey gold. When it was launched some years ago, the Tourbograph was launched as a limited edition set of 101 pieces (100 for sale, and 1 kept in memory of Gunter Blumlein). The first 51 pieces were delivered to keen collectors (as I understand, actually 50, the factory kept 1) in platinum...and we waited with bated breath for the next 50...we knew it was going to be in gold, but what colour?

So it is with great interest that the following 50 pieces of this magnificent grand complication of sorts is revealed in the new metal.

Detail of the tourbillon, beautiful as ever...Note the exquisite finish on the tourbillon bridge, and the anglage on the polished steel tourbillon cage.

The movement is largely unchanged, except for some featuring a sunburst finish instead of the traditional Glashutte ribbing.

Detail showing the double chronograph on top, and the split hands below. This picture also shows clearly the diamond endstone characteristic of the Tourbillons, and a clear view of the overcoil on the hairspring.

Detail of the tourbillon on the rear side. Also showing the new decoration...the sunburst on the chrono wheel bridge, and the engraving on the outer of the movement. Note also the magnificently executed sharp points on the bridges and even on the steel chronograph parts.

continued next post with the rest of the Homage Series

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

KTM Station at Tanjong Pagar

The KTM trains creates a nostalgic feeling to me...reminding me the days of old, when during the term breaks in my early years in the National University of Singapore, when sometimes I would return to my hometown of Penang by train, or see Kin off when she returns to KL for the holidays.

They call the trains express...but still it took some 13 hours to travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, a journey of approximately it was really not an express service...these days...and even those days, the TGV would speed across France at 300kph - at which it would take no more than 2 hours to do the same journey the KTM diesels would need almost a day for. The Shinkanshen in Japan would run at about 240kph, and more recently I had been on the Shanghai MagLev train, where I saw it clock 450kph.

Outside, the gargoyles are not as menacing as those in some European buildings...but rather nice looking statues.

And within the station, the lobby where one buys the tickets...these were traditional train tickets made of thick cardboard...about 1mm thick, and about the size of a bus ticket of old.

The former arrivals immigration and checkpoint is now a coffee shop:

And a food court, featuring the Ali Nacha biryani...reputed to be one of the best in Singapore:

The stationm showing the tracks, and the bumper to prevent the train from crashing into the lobby:

Quiet now...waiting for return to Singapore...I wonder what the government will do with this space...I hope they keep the facade, and perhaps have a quaint hotel or tastefully done shops.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vacheron Constantin Historique

This year's novelties at SIHH 2010 finally made it to our shores. I attended an evening hosted by Vacheron Constantin...great food, wonderful company, and of course, fine watches.

The Historique Ultra-Fine 1968 in a square case, and the Historique Ultra-fine 1955 in the round case.

The watches are truly thin, the 1956's hand wound movement is only 1.64mm thick, and the automatic 1968 movement is a slim 2.45mm height. The case thickness is 4.1mm and 5.5mm can be seen from the side pictures below

A closer view of the Ultra Slim Historique 1968 is equipped with an ultra thin automatic movement, but as the case back is solid, remains unseen. I love the proportions of the case and the super elegant, simple, clean dial design:

And the Ultra Slim Historique 1955 is in an elegant round case...

And features a hand wound movement:

The evening was also graced with a beautiful pianist playing classic jazz:

And the watches were modelled by dancers, who came out dancing ballet, of line with the elegance of the watches, the chosen artform is of a similar genre:

Watch out for the restaurant review in my food blog soon. The event was held in one of the premier modern French restaurants in town...the Au Petit Salut.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Harry Winston: Opus X

The Opus project is one of the most interesting ventures in the field of watchmaking. The old jewellery firm of Harry Winston, bankrolling innovative, avant garde, often unique, and always interesting watches by independent watchmakers to showcase their skills and to provide a platform to market and commercialize the watches.

Now in its 10th iteration, the project started in 2001, the Opus X

The back

Detail of the hour dial and hand:

Minute dial and hand

The linear power reserve indicator

Bridge detail

Monday, August 9, 2010

A. Lange & Sohne: Datograph in Platinum

Its Singapore's National Day! To celebrate, I am showing my personal Datograph, owned for almost 10 years, and gone back to the factory for a full service about a year ago.

The dial side...

The movement side is mesmerising...I think this is bar none the best chronograph movement ever made:

Detail showing the movement.