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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lange 1815 Kalenderwoche

Special 1815 Langes do not come by frequently. And one wihch is made with a special complication for to celebrate a retailer's Anniversary is even more special. The Kalenderwoche, or calender week is one example.

The use of week of the year, is a rather German business tool...many German business people would look up their calendar in search for a free spot would propose..."how about week 26?"...most of us, who do not use this style of numbering sometimes go, "ah?". Simple and of course logical enough, it refers to the week number from 1 to 52 for each week of the year. And to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the legendary Munich retailer Huber, Lange introduced the 1815 Kalenderwoche.

Introduced in 2006, and limited to 50 pieces in platinum, yellow gold and pink gold, the 3/4 plate is engraved with gold lettering "Andreas Huber Munchen 1856-2006"

The dial is beautiful, simple 1815 layout, with the additional hand, centrally mounted, to indicate the current calendar week.

Measuring 38.4mm, the new hand wound movement is the caliber L045.1, has two additional pushers which are used to adjust the calendar displays.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Vintage LeCoultre Memovox

I came across this interesting case and dial design in a Jaeger LeCoultre recently in the collection of a friend's magnificent Memovox collection.

The unusual elongated cushion shaped case is rather unique, especially with the oval dial and crystal. Very interesting.

And the unusual blue hue of the dial is mesmerising. The condition of the dial and hands is certainly in line with the age...made by JLC in the 1970s, though it is

I was told this is a high beat movement, marked HPG, running at some 28,800 bph, signed LeCoultre because it was originally intended for the US market.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lange 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar

I took the opportunity to photograph the extremely photogenic Lange 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar again when I was in Glashutte recently for the pre-SIHH 2014 launch event of the Grand Lange 1 Moonphase.

I have covered this watch before, in my SIHH 2013 report and the specifications of this beautiful piece can be found in the official website.

Beautiful dial layout, clear, and quite legible, considering that perpetual calendars are typically rather not easy to read due to crowding on the dial to show all the indicators.

And of course, as with all Lange watches, the movement is to die for...

Magnificently laid out, in layers, and in intricate and beautiful shapes of the bridges and levers, springs. Simply breathtaking.

Finishing is top drawer, and absolutly stunning.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Zenith El Primero Striking 10

Zenith is one of the super interesting of watchmaking houses. Why do I say that? Well, for one, they were the first to develop an inhouse column wheel chronograph with an integrated automatic winding movement. This is the El Primero movement. Not only does it lay claim to that first, it is also the first to feature a 36,000 bph movement, allowing it to measure accurately down to 1/10th of a second.

But the capabilities of the El Primero are well known and documented. Zenith, under new leadership, also features a much improved the traditional watchmaking image. From a traditional watchmaker, they swung to the other extreme during what is now known as the Nataf years, where the watches took on a personality which is at the same time flamboyant and totally out of this world. Now under Dufour, the watches are moving back to the realm of the traditional, and definitely more desirable to the eyes of the collector.

For the GPHG, Zenith squeezed in a special complication...the chronograph whizzes across the dial at the rate of making one complete revolution every 10 seconds. Mesmerising to watch, but also allows the watch, which already is able to read precisely to 1/10th of a second due to the fast beat El Primero, now easier to read as well.

As usual, technical information is found at the official website here.

The watch design is bold, and very striking...pardon the pun, and very attractive.

Viva the new Zenith.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tudor Heritage Black Bay

Continuing on the GPHG's feature is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay.

As usual, technical information can be found at the official website here.

Looking almost like a NIB vintage, the Tudor is a true diver's watch, created for diving, and totally fitting the role. The watch first appeared in 1954, and the new issue recreates teh domed dial, with the unusual burgundy bezel and snowflake hands.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Remembering Günter Blümlein

One usually rembembers good friends who have had a powerful impact on one's life on occassion of his birthday or passing day. But for a totally random day, I remember the late, great Günter Blümlein

Passing well before his time in 1 October 2000, born 21 March 1943 in Nuremberg, Blümlein had an immense and very powerful impact on the watchmaking industry, and to the his customers (like me) and staff. Many of those who worked for and with him, still carry on his philosophy and remember him with great fondness.
Photographed, in Glashutte December 6, 2013. On a page of my book "A. Lange & Sohne: The Pour le Meite Collection" dedicated to Blümlein, published 2010. Lange 1 Lumen, announced SIHH 2013 on a photograph of Blumlein and the late Jutta Lange.

The Lange 1 was and is truly an iconic timepiece created by Blümlein, assymetric when it was unusual to have watch dials which were so, and featuring an outsized date.
Photographed, circa 1999 at the Lange booth in BaselWorld 1999.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pre-SIHH novelties: The Grand Lange 1 Moonphase

Lange novelties are always interesting...and last week, I attended the launch event of the latest Lange novelty to hit the press, pre-SIHH.

To be sure, there will be more interesting, perhaps more complicated timepieces which will be in store in SIHH. But on December 5 in Glashutte, in the yet uncompleted new factory building at Altenberger Strasse, very nicely done up, wrapped, and heated to accomodate an august group of global journalists, Lange unveiled the Grand Lange 1 Moonphase.

The forum I moderate with my good friend Edwin Heusinkveld carries the press release in detail. Please go here to see the details. So here, I will focus on live photographs that I took on December 6, at the Lange 2 building, just across the street from the Launch event.

In platinum, always very fetching.

I must take my hat off to the Lange designers. They get everything right. The balance of the design, the smallest details are nicely done, and cohesive, making a very beautiful watch.

Now with a larger moonphase display than the original Lange 1 Moonphase, which had the moonphase as a cutout in the seconds hand subdial, the larger moonphase is now revealed in a cutout on the main hour-minute dial.

And as usual, the movement is beautifully and magnificently designed. From the back, the movement looks exactly like the recently released Grand Lange 1.

Now with 72 hours power reserve, inhouse balance, and enlarged movement to accomodate the larger dial with a larger outsized date.

German retail in platinum is €50,900, and in gold is €38,900. Available in platinum, shown above, and in rose gold (shown below) and yellow gold.

A closer look at the moonphase dial, showing the stars.

A comparison of the original Lange 1 Moonphase and the new Grand Lange 1 Moonphase.

With the benefit of being able to compare both now, I prefer the cleaner look of the new Grand Lange 1 Moonphase. The moonphase display is clearer, more attractive.

And wrist platinum

And rose gold

Friday, December 6, 2013

Habring2 Jumping Seconds

I have known Richard Habring for a long time. Since the early days of A. Lange & Sohne where he had been asked to set up the aftersales service department, just after his rather fruitful stint in IWC Schaffhausen. He left Glashutte not long after the untimely demise of the late great Gunter Blumlein, and returned to his homeland in Austra to set up his own watch brand with his wife Maria.

Recently, Richard won a GPHG prize for his Jumping Seconds watch...a interesting small complication..a seconds morte. The seconds hand of the watch jumps once every second, like a quartz watch. But instead of doing so to conserve energy as in the case of the quartz movement, in a mechanical movement like the Habring2 Jumping Seconds, it features a small complication added to the indirectly driven sweep seconds hand.

Handsome looking watch, nicely done Richard. Not a very high level of finishing is performed to the watch or the movement, because Richard wanted a watch which is affordable to the public.

The jumping seconds mechanism is made by Richard, and mounted on a movement based on the Valjoux 7750.

Rather nice looking watch. Full specifications here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ressence Type 3: Atypical watch with an atypical display and approach to telling the time

Ressence is one of the new brands who seem to have sprouted out of nowhere with innovation burtsting from their ears. Their concept of a watch with wandering dials suspended in a fluid that refracts light like the air, so the orbiting indications appear to be on the crystal.

As usual, technical information, and the video of how this amazing time piece works can be found at the official website here.

The watch is indeed rather handsome, with the individual sub-dials, each rotating around the main dial, while the hands on each of these sub-dials also move in concert to indicate the day, hours, minutes, seconds and date.

The time telling system is rather ingenious, though non-intuituve at first glance, is learnt easily enough, and becomes second nature within a few minutes.

Interesting that Ressence chose not to encumber the dial with all manners of type, as many other manufactures are likely to do...advertising the USPs of the watch, but chose to retain a clean, Bauhaus like design. Even devoid of the brand name, electing only to show a little icon of a stylised palm symbolizing the brand. The earlier Series 1 watch looks more conventional with a regular crown, but the Type 3 shown here is sans crown, with the time setting and winding functions relegated to the caseback.

On the wrist, the watch is very light, and very comfortable, in part due to the very flexible, soft leather strap, but with one near fatal flaw. The buckle is designed such that the part which is used to pierce the openings in the strap has a strange kink in it, making it very difficult to open the buckle. I guess this does make it less likely for one to accidentally open the buckle and drop the watch, but it also makes taking off the watch a rather tedious process.

One of the winners of GPHG 2013, this watch is rather interesting and attractive.