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Friday, November 29, 2013

Girard Perregaux Constant Escapement: extreme macros

Girard Perregaux: a grand dame of watchmaking. Making beautiful and magnificent watches. GP is famous for their Tourbillon on Three Golden Bridges. But recently, GP shook the horological world at its roots. After centuries of the Swiss Anchor escapement, they came up a new escapement. Constant force escapement. Beautiful, magnificent.

The watch is rather large, measuring some 48mm in diameter, but sits nicely on the wrist.

A very distinctive look, with the pride of place on the dial taken by the Constant Force Escapement, with its unique look.

A closer look at the escapement

Mesmerising to look at. The principle is well explained in GP's own website. Note the small details like the arrow shaped bridges which hold the escapement, giving a nod to the similarly shaped golden bridges in their famous Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges.

The movement is as beautiful behind as it is from the front.

The movement is finished exquisitely. Very beautiful, and fine finishing.

Superb, superlative timepiece. Magnificent concept, equally magnificently executed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Antoine Martin Slowrunner: Awesome!

Antoine Martin is a brand established by the very innovative Martin Braun after he left his namesake at Franck Muller. I have know Martin for a long time, since his early days working with his father under the family firm of CCM Braun.

He went on from CCM Braun to establish his own brand, Martin Braun, which became famous for the EOT and Sunrise/Sunset watches. Subsequently, he sold the company to Franck Muller. The partnership was not to be, and he left in 2009, and established his new company, Antoine Martin in Luzern in 2010.

He focussed his energies in developing a new movement, a totally new, high performance escapement which capitilize on the properties of silisium. And recently, in BaselWorld 2013, he unleashed the Slowrunner. He showed me the Slowrunner in GTE this year, but I was asked to keep an embargo till BaselWorld. I recently caught up with Martin, and had the opportunity to photograph the Slowrunner.

This is the antithesis of a chronometer. This is not a watch to win chronometry competitions or precision timing. This is much like an anti-watch, much like some fashion brands started the anti-fashion clothing line some years ago.

The purpose of a watch like the Slowrunner, which beats at a very slow 7200 bph, is to show the virtuosity that such can be done, and also to allow the owner a moment of repose as he flips over his watch in the midst of a high speed high tension day, and gaze at the slow beating of the giant, escapement.

The watch keeps reasonable time, on the bench...and the escapement can be regulated to within a few seconds a day. But on the wrist, the slow beat of the escapement is very prone to shocks which cause huge swings on the chronometry. Plus 20 seconds

The 7200 bph does not happen by chance, but selected to be so because this is the resting heart rate of a healthy individual. Indeed, my own resting heart rate is 58 beats per minute. 7200 bph runs at one full oscillation every second, or 60 oscillations per minute. This has the effect to calm the observer, providing respite for the hustle and bustle of the day.

The challenge of combining a huge escape wheel, and a slow beat movement is interesting, not to mention a daunting task. But the ingenuinity ofMartin won the day.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Peter Speake-Marin...and friends. Good friends.

An afternoon spent with good friends is always a good afternoon. One fine Saturday afternoon, a group of friends dropped in at a local hotel and met up with a group of Peter Speake-Marin Spirits.

I have featured the Spirit II, property of a good friend, a while ago in these pages. Here, a more detailed study of the Spirit II with its friends...

The Spirit II by Peter Speake-Marin, aestetically very well balanced in its form and shape. Though not everyman's taste, as the case sides are can-like and rather thick, but there is a quiet confidence to the design. Unassuming, but yet elegant but rugged at the same time. Rather versatile. So very English, so very like Peter himself, though the watches are designed and constructed in collaboration with Technotime in Switzerland.

In typical English fashion, tea is served...the Spirit II adorned with a NATO strap...very nice, and rather apt.

Hanging out with friends...the new Spirit II DLC

A parting shot...on the wrist

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tissot Exhibition at Suntec City

Tissot, a Swatch Group company, has a long and illustrious history, which many watch afficianados forget or do not know.

On occassion of the opening of the new Tissot Boutique in Suntec City, Tissot brought in a mini exhibition with many iconic and interesting pieces from their museum.

A very interesting art deco piece, museum piece on the right in the 1920s, so now we know where Franck Mueller drew inspiration for his Long Island with exploding numerals come from. And on the left, the reissue watch now available.

Antimagnetic watches were introduced by many watch companies. Patek Philippe with their Amagnetic in the 1960s, earlier the Rolex had Millgauss in the late 1950s, IWC with their Ingenieur in the 1940s. But Tissot introduced their Antimagnetic watch in 1930.

The first plastic watch, preceeding Swatch by 12 years with the Idea 2001 in 1971.

And ingenius use of new material, a fiber glass dial in a silver case called the Tissot Sideral.

And we round up the collection with an interesting table clock...with a stylised Tissot T logo...also now available for purchase. Contact the Tissot Boutique at Suntec City.

Friday, November 15, 2013

IWC: vintage Ingenieur, such a beautiful watch.

Quickshots Friday returns with another amazing vintage watch from my friend Dr. Stefan Ma.

Magnificent, beautiful vintage IWC, when they did things the right way. Just the beautiful script "International Watch Co." is just beautiful.

Soft iron core protects the movement from magnetism. The pure, original idea of a watch for an engineer who may have to work around magnets. Brilliant. Simple, elegant. Pure vintage.

Photograph shot in a poorly lit coffee shop, on the table top, with the waitress harrassing me to finish with the photograph already, as she wanted to serve the coffee.

Gerald Genta revolutionalized the Ingenieur with his design of the octagonal bezel, were the current models still draw design cues from.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jaeger LeCoultre AMVOX

Watch and car collaborations are not usually very successful. But one interesting collaboration is the JLC Amvox series.

The collaboration between Jaeger LeCoultre and Aston Marton is one testament to a great watch, the Amvox 1 which I recently photographed over lunch. Thanks to Dr. Stefan Ma for your watch to photograph.

Two versions are available. One in stainless steel, and this one in titanium. A dark, matt finished case...kind of fitting to a watch with a link to a car with a racing history.

Limited edition, 1000 pieces. But for me, the ruthenium dial hue just makes it for me, beautiful and goes perfect with the grey titanium case.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Kari Voultilainen Vingt-8 with unique dial

The Kari Voultilainen Vingt-8 is begining to be a classic watch from an independent watchmaker. Today I show a piece unique with an astronomical dial.

Earlier coverage of this incredible watch, with closeups of the movement pictures is here.

The dial is interesting.

A closer look at the quite incredible looking dial. Though, for me, it is a bit busier than the clean dial I prefer on the original, non limited Vingt-8.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Harry Winston Opus 5

The Opus project by Harry Winston features many watches with important horological features. I feature one of my favourite Opus projets, the Opus V, by Felix Baumgartner of Urwerk.

Quite a superb piece.

Photographed here during the Antiquorum preview in Singapore.

The caseback