Take me to the Parmigiani blog!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lange Owner's Club Lunch. October 14, Tokyo.

As I reported last week, Lange and I had a joint Press Conference in Tokyo to simultaneously launch their Pour le Merite collection - in particular the latest Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite together with my book.

The very next day, Lange hosted a very special lunch for the Lange Owners Club of Japan. A group of about 25 enthusiasts came for lunch.

The standing area, with the round tables have been transformed into three long tables to sit the guests for the excellent sit down dinner. But first the welcome by Peter Kesselman

Short speech by Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmidt

And Lange presented a copy of my book to the members of the club. I am not able to show the photograph of the handing over by Wilhelm and the President of the Club because of Mr. President requested anonimity. So I will show wrist shots instead of portraits of the participants.

Wilhelm also presented every member who attended the lunch with a unique Lange pin, in sterling silver:

The discussions were active and candid...many wore beautiful Lange is a selection of a few. Begining with the first platinum Richard Lange Pour le Merite Tourbillon delivered in Japan...fresh from the dealer's...

On Wilhelm Schmidt's wrist...a Datograph Perpetual.

On the wrist of a beautiful young lady, and equally beautiful Lange 1 Tourbillon

Apparently quite popular...this one the Homage to FA Lange Lange 1 Tourbillon in honey gold:

I spied an Olympus pen, with the rare Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 lens...

at work...yes, its the Lange 1 Tourbillon lady's camera...good taste in all areas...:-)

And the youngest member of LOC

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Temple Pano from Nikko

Sometimes, one senses the serenity within the temple in Nikko's grand temple, the hussle and bustle of an archery competition which is about to start is totally absent, even though I am not more than 200m from the track.

This is a 3 panel panorama, with the HCD4/28. Due to the wide angle format of the lens, I am able to capture nearly 180degrees, and hope I am able to portray the serinity and calm of the surrounding.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shinkyo - Sacred Bridge, Nikko, Japan

Nikko's Shinkyo (sacred bridge) is part of the reason for its status as a World Heritage Site. The red lacquer bridge crosses the Daiya River, and literally bridges the town of Nikko and the sacred temples.

It is the oldest drawbridge in Japan, and considered by the Japanese as the most beautiful. And sacred. The origins of the bridge are shrouded in mystery, but in its present form, it is said to have been built in 1636.

Spanning some 28m long, it sits 10.6m above the water. Legend has it that the priest Shoto was to climb Mount Nantai to pray for national prosperity. In 766, they arrived at the riverside of Daiya, but could not cross the river because of the ferocious water flow. He prayed, and a god appeared and relased his two snakes, one red and the other blue...which transformed themselves into a rainbow bridge. The Priest and his party were able to cross the river. And when they had crossed the bridge, the he looked back, and the bridge was gone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Launch in Japan: Tokyo Oct 13

On the occassion for the launch of my book in Tokyo, Lange hosted a Press Conference in the beautiful restaurant right in the middle of town, just a stone's throw from Nihombashi. The restaurant, San Pau is the branch of the famed 3 Star Michelin restaurant in Spain, and in Japan it too garnered two stars.

The entire restaurant dining area was removed to accomodate standing room for some 110 journalists who turned up.

The theme of the evening was to showcase the Pour le Merite watches, and of course my book on Pour le Merite. At one corner, a large bicycle chain is linked to the chain of the Pour le Merite...showing extreme difference in size:

and watchmaker in residence Master Watchmaker Wolf:

He deftly demonstrated dismantling of the Richard Lange Pour le Merite Tourbillon...shown above, removing the fusee. He is a young chap...I know his father Frank, who was Head of Assembly in early years of Lange.

Arnd Einhorn, Head of PR...

And the conference starts with the introduction by Peter Kesselman, Head of ALS in Japan:

And Lange CEO, Wilhelm Schmidt introducing my book...

and at the bar later...after a few drinks...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ryuzu no Taki and Kegon no Taki, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Nikko is a World Heritage site. I was there recently to take a short break after the launch of my book in Tokyo.

From the Japanese capital, a direct train on the Kegon Limited Express runs from Asakusa directly to Tobu-Nikko station, and another Limited Express called the Kino gets you to Shimo-Imaichi Station, where a local train runs to Tobu-Nikko Station. There is also a Rapid train from Asakusa, but despite its name, it takes almost an hour longer than the Limited Express, and there are no seat reservations. This Rapid train runs like a regular metropolitan subway, stopping at almost every station along the way.

From Tobu-Nikko, one has access to the World Heritage sites - mainly the temples and shrines in Nikko, and to the resort areas of Chuzenji and Yamato.

Today, I will show some photographs of the Chuzenji area. The bus from Tobu-Nikko takes a very scenic, but hairpin turn filled road to the town of Chuzenji. I was told that this route was where they filmed the movie Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift...where the protagonists were racing down the mountain sliding along...

It is about an hour ride. And from the bus station, the beautiful Kegon Falls is about 300m away.

When I arrived at about noon that day, Kegon, which is reputed to be the most beautiful falls in Japan, was shrouded in mist. I would not have known the falls existed as I gazed out from the observation platform if not for the roar of water falling. There is an elevator costing only Y565 that takes one down to the foot of the falls, where the power of the falling water can be observed, and I think perhaps a more dramatic photograph can be taken. But given the thick, heavy mist, I did not take the elevator.

But jumped on another bus to Yamato Onsen, further up the mountains. At Ryuzu no Taki, I decided to stop and go have a look...the view was outstanding. Fall colours had just begun, especially at the higher altitude of Ryuzu. It was Oct 15. And the water falls, known as Ryuzu, meaning dragon head.

And a landscape orientation

I am offering both these as prints in a special limited edition size of 20 in A2 on Hahnemulle Ultra Smooth PhotoRag 308g paper at a sale price. Please email ( to purchase.

I returned to Chuzenji about 4pm, and before catching the bus back to Nikko, decided to go take a quick look at Kegon...and there she was...all 97m of falling water, with many beautiful tributries...beautiful. It was getting a bit dark, so the exposure was 4s, so I lost the texture of the falling water, and it became a misty stream.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Self portraits...not as easy it it sounds...

My attempt at doing some self portraits...with a tripod and my room at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo.

I had some time to spare, and in interviews by magazines and press writing about my book...they always ask for a mug shot...and being a photographer, this is not I decided to experiment with some self portraits.

Focus is out...I focussed on the wall behind...

I think I need more practice...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

DeWitt Twenty-8

Jerome DeWitt is an intriguing gentleman. Hailing as a direct descendent of Napoleon Bonaparte, he is a brilliant mind...always inquisitive, always exploring, always brimming with new ideas. It is no surprise that his watches are also similar in ilk.

Today, I feature his Twenty-8, a spectacular watch, certainly, inspired by the art deco buildings of New York...the dial is incredible in its complexity. A boon, as DeWitt also owns and operates the dial factory. Ms. Nathalie Veysset, CEO was in town to showcase the watches recently, and I met up with her at a private dinner for selected collectors.

Nathalie was an amazing storehouse of knowledge and information...surprising as she has only been with DeWitt for 3 years, and was a private banker before. She patiently explained to us the complicated each layer upon layer was made...and even brought the parts to show us how the dials are assembled. In these day and age, where one or two dial manufacturers who supply the entire industry, it is interesting to see a small manufacture who own their own dial production...indeed the reason was that DeWitt's dials are so complex, detailed and specific to Jerome's requirements, the only way to have them is to make the dials himself...which is what he did. Bravo!

The Twenty-8 features a tourbillon, and the characteristic strong cogwheel like case sides, which immediately identify the watch as a DeWitt.

A look at the movement...interesting movement layout. The entire watch has an architectural its a building...monumental. The rotor is a peripherical oscillating rotor, allowing full view of the movement. The movement features a dead beat central seconds hand.

A closer look at the tourbillon.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Max Busser does it again: Legacy Machine no 1

Max Busser has always been a controversial figure...from the time he initiated and helmed the Opus project for Harry Winston and to the 4 Horological Machines he has created under his own brand name, I see Max as the leader in the field of pushing watches into the realm of horological art.

I can always trust Max's creations to be out of this world, edgy, alive.
So when he described his journey to create the Legacy Machine to us, I was feeling a bit jittery had I not seen the early press photographs. He was coming back to earth. He was imagining if he had been a watch creator a hundred years before, and did not have the inspiration from Star Wars, space travel...what would he have designed. If he drew from Science Fiction of the day, it would probably be Jules Verne's vision of space travel, of undersea adventures, or earth core exploration.

He completed the design some 3 years ago, and went to Kari Voutilainen, a master watchmaker and movement creator, to realise the design. He tells me that on the first meeting, Kari thought the watch was impossible to make. But after a little discussion, Kari began to offer his thoughts on how to improve the movement. Max with Mojon (who had done the conceptual design) looked into each other's faces, and back at Kari...and both uttered, "does that mean you would do it?". Kari, ever the quiet man, smiled like only Kari could...sly, soft, humble...and said...that he would...but due to his schedule, could only work on the design, and perform the quality control.

The result? The MBF Legacy Machine no 1.

The watch concept is interesting...two timezones, each with its own dials, and adjustable to the minute.

Quite a marvel to admire.

And a balance wheel which is suspended by a curved bridge above the dials. Like the verge escapements of the early English watchmakers, but now on the dial side. The bridge to hold the escapement is stylized, curved sensuously. And to mirror the escapement bridge, a similarly curved bridge, holding a power reserve indicator. The entire watch is then encased in a curved dome sapphire glass cover.

The movement side...pure Kari, with beautiful curved bridges, flying barrels.

On the wrist, it is very comfortable...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Playing strobist with portraits

I don't normally consider myself a strobist...but as an experiment...I thought to do some simple portraits after a Watchscape session. I had just finished shooting some watches, when I thought to try our some handheld portraits. Don of The Hour Glass L'Atelier at ION Orchard stood in as a model. Shot with on camera flash. Light on the Canon Ex580 flash is modified with a white file to reflect the flash, so no direct flash hits the subject. Flash is camera left.

Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC4/120 macro lens, set at manual. f/11, 1/125s exposure.

Raising the power of the flash...same exposure

More shadows on the left, less ambient light showing through. A bit more moody shot...note the directional light hiliting the pores on his face.

Playing with the lighting affects the photograph. Which watch was I shooting?

Well, this one...

Thanks to Don for allowing himself to be a guinea pig...:-)