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Friday, August 31, 2012

Glashutte Original Cosmopolite Tourbillon

Glashutte Original is one of the few truly self sustaining watchmakers in the industry. The value addition and self reliance was born out of neccessity, when they operated as GUB during the GDR times. And continued to the modern GO re-founded by Pfeiffer in the early 1990s.

For BaselWorld 2012, GO announced a very complicated timepiece, many years in the making, and now available in a limited edition of only 25 pieces. Please do note the watch being photographed is the touring prototype.

Sporting the trademark GO flying tourbillon, a 24 hour time display, 2nd timezone with hours and minutes, 37 city timezone indicators including 1/2 hr and 3/4 hr increments, summer/standard time, perpetual calendar with day, month, leap year, panorama date, day/night indicator, power reserve indicator on the movement side. Quite a list of complications. (Click on images for larger 1920 pixel wallpapers)

The flying tourbillon, long a trademark of GO is magnificent and beautifully done, takes center stage at 12 o'clock.

The movement, Caliber 89-1 is quite beautifully finished, with glittering anglage, gold chatons secured by blued screws, Breguet hairspring and flying winding wheels with double sunburst.

The watch is equipped with a hunter back, engraved with the 37 timezones and their three letter IATA airport code.

Though quite large, measuring 48mm in diameter, and 16mm thick, the platinum case sits nicely on a smaller wrist...shown here on my friend Eddie's rather smallish wrist

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A. Lange & Sohne pocket watch

A. Lange & Sohne has been producing beautiful watches since 1845, with a 40+ year gap, when Glashutte was under GDR rule, where no luxury timepieces were manufactured. As many know, the company was revived in 1990, and started production in 1994. But sometimes, the old pieces are still as beautiful, and here is a typical watch produced by ALS prior to WW2.

In 18k gold, hunter case, enamel dial, frosted movement. The gilt finish meant the watch was intended for domestic sale. Watches which were exported were often plated in rhodium. Note the characteristec 3/4 plate arrangement.

The movement looks like one which is below the ALS reference quality 1A. Quality 1A movements feature gold chatons holding the jewels. Here we observe pressed jewels.
Quality 1A movements also feature precision whiplash swan-neck adjustment, which we see here. But 1A also feature a diamond endstone for the balance wheel, which is not present in this watch.

The enamel dial is almost perfect condition, as are the filigree hands.

A typical example of the beautiful work done by ALS circa 100 years ago. Still in good running condition and keeping good time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Classic masterpiece: FP Journe Tourbillon Remontoir d'Egalite

Francois Paul Journe. A talented watchmaker. I had the pleasure of meeting with FP way back when he was yet a nobody...and had just made his first tourbillon remontoir d'egalite. The original looked like it was made in his garaga, and indeed it was. But recently, I had the pleasure of spending a week with one of the latest incarnations of this monumental piece, and I was very pleasantly surprised that the finish has come a long way.

This piece, owned by my good friend Larry, features a magnificent mother of pearl dial, which is luminiscent in more ways than one...depending on the light falling on the dial, it shows a different character to the owner...allowing one to peek into its personality. Very beautiful.

The huge tourbillon, adorns the dial, occupying a space as large as the time telling subdial itself, attributing the importance of the tourbillon to this masterpiece.

And now featuring a seconde morte...a leaping seconds hand, which moves once every second, much like a quartz timepiece, but in this case achieved with the incredible complexity (to adjust, the complexity is not in the design or fabrication which is fairly simple, but in the adjustment of the remontoir spring)

Click on the above image for a 1920 pixel wide wallpaper image. The finish is now beyond reproach. The gold rings which hold the subdials are magnificently finished. The hands, a FP Journe original design is short, stubby, but beautifully proportioned. The layout of the dial, with a power reserve indicator at 12, tourbillon at 9, jumping seconds at 6 and hour/min at 3 is perfect. Note the gline of colour of the mother of pearl dial.

Not forgetting the movement...which is magnificent

Now made in 18k pink gold, the movement is a full plate, with a cutout to show the remontoir spring and the swinging cog as it operates the seconde morte

A true masterpiece to behold. Hold your breath, and take it in...I leave you with another view of the dial, from a slightly different angle. Note the colours caught in this photograph is different from the one above...the beautiful glint and spectrum just beside the power reserve indicator is so mesmerising to look at.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ladies mechanical watches? One magnificent example: The Parmigiani Kalpa Donna

Watchmaking companies do not often make interesting mechanical watches for ladies. Precious few do. Amongst them some do justice for the ladies...I count Lange, JLC, and Parmigiani amongst the few.

I show today, a beautiful piece in the current Parmigiani collection...the Kalpa Donna

The bezel is still studded with diamonds, for some bling...we gotta have that for the ladies. The curvy lines, smooth, beautiful, senseous. But flip over, than the magnificent movement reveals itself

The movement is automatic Caliber PF600, beautifully designed and executed.

The Donna is available in steel or gold case with or without bracelet and with 7 variations of dials. And special versions are available as jeweller (full diamond) and even a complication equipped tourbillon version which is particularly magnificent. I will feature the Donna Tourbillon another post.

The ladies now have a few more options for great, beautiful watches.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Watchmaker portraits: Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel

A series of portraits I took, with the intention to create a set for an exhibition.

Master watchmakers are the soul of the industry, I wanted to capture some of that powerful character which makes them enigmatic to the watch collecting public. These are great genii who know how to work with their hands.

Today, I feature the master watchmakers from Gruebel and Forsey...a brand bearing the names of these two parners. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A, Lange & Sohne Tourbograph

I was encouraged with the response to my post on the Parmigiani watches on tools, so today I decided to dig into my archives and offer some photographs of Langes on tools.

These photographs appear in my book: "A, Lange & Sohne: The Pour le Merite Collection" available here.

Today, I show the magnificent Lange Tourbograph in Platinum, limited to 51 pieces (an additional 50 pieces are offered in Honey Coloured gold for a total of 101 pieces total production for the Tourbograph). This is the most complicated watch Lange makes to date. Split seconds chronograph, tourbillon with fusee chain. Magnificent.

Click on the pic above to show a wallpaper sized (1920 wide) image. Limited edition fine art prints of the same photograph, approx 600mmx800mm, suitable for framing are available. Please enquire at

Friday, August 10, 2012

Parmigiani Tonda Annual Calendar

I recently mentioned that I am very proud to be writing and doing the photography for the Parmigiani blog, today I highlight the first article appeared on the blog On 8 August and featuring the Parmigiani Tonda Annual Calendar.

So today's post will redirect you to the article in the Parmigiani blog. Please click here or on the Parmigiani banner just below my masthead for the article.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

At the Parmigiani Restoration Atelier

I had a very interesting commission to work with the wonderful folks at Parmigiani Fleurier late last year to produce the photographs for their blog. The blog is now launched. Please do visit at Parmigiani Blog

I will be contributing some articles to the blog too, so be sure to follow my writing and photographs there as well.

For today's post, I feature some beautiful Parmigiani watches in the Restoration Atelier at Fleurier. The atelier is a treasure house of tools, old watches and clocks and automata. Many are owned by illustrious figures in horology, and there for service, restoration or repair.

Old pocket watch, manufactured by PF

The magnificent Pershing tourbillon, one of my favourites from the current collection, resting on an antique clock which is in the atelier for restoration

Another pocket watch, resting on a vintage/antique watchmaker tool

One of the original watches made with the Parmigiani name, this one in a galuchat strap and galuchat dial, sitting on a vintage/antique watchmaker tool

And the beautiful Ionica Hepdomadaire

Friday, August 3, 2012

Omega Chronograph 1938 Museum Replica

Omega recently added some watches to their collection which are homages to the watches that made the brand in the early years. Today's watch is the Museum collection no 10, issued in 2010 as a replica of the 1938 chronograph.

I am not so sure about the name Omega has chosen for this watch...replica sounds like a fake watch...but make no mistake, this watch is the real deal...and very beautiful.

A rather handsome watch...with a beautiful enamel dial. And not totally a replica of the original, as the movement in this watch, limited to 1938 pieces, is updated with the Omega Coaxial escapement.

the museum collection at the rate of one a year between 2000 and 2010, so the this one, also known as the Doctor's watch i have is the last one in the series. The back, engraved with the replica credentials

This watch is the personal timepiece of a good friend. And not spcially prepared for photography. I took these photographs on the table of a local restaurant, with no special lighting, handheld.