Today, we will be discussing a very important matter concerning watch movements: who made them, and where they come from. Specifically, we want to define how watch makers and companies should describe and/or name the watch movements they use. Unlike most of the articles on aBlogtoWatch, intended for mainly consumers and watch collectors, this article is something we want watch lovers to comment on, but is actually intended as a message to the watch industry itself. Furthermore, we will be focused on discussing mechanical watch movements, rather than quartz ones.
Truth In Watch Movement Advertising
That is a valid question, but it's not quite the right one. If you only use the watch in time-keeping mode, you probably will not need to charge it all that frequently. Especially if you turn the display off. That's right, you can turn it off to conserve battery via a simple press of the pusher on the right. When you do that, it puts the display into a mode showing you the remaining battery life. Kind of a two-for-one, with that. Actually, three-for-one, as pushing that button also lets you see the belts in motion, which is a treat (and how I showed the watch off to those who asked about it).
At Nomos Day at Topper Jewelers a few weeks ago, we had a chance to photograph almost all of the larger Nomos Tetra models, which you can see below. Here are photos of the various Tetra models.
Ah, yes - the price. Some have complained about the cost of the Oris John Coltrane Limited Edition considering what you get – but I have a feeling those people will quiet down if/when they actually experience the Bader strap, as well as see how perfectly the dial sits on almost any-sized wrist (at least a healthy multitude of them). Yes, there are other offerings out there with a similar aesthetic. I think the Hamilton Intra-Matic (reviewed here) is one of the greatest retro-styled watches out there, for example, as well as an excellent value: it has a similar movement, and can be had for around half the price (with a sapphire exhibition casebook to boot). The Intra-Matic, however, doesn’t have the amazing Bader strap and other fine finishing aspects and details that set off the Oris John Coltrane; with no seconds hand, the Intra-Matic is also more aggressively vintage-styled, making it more of a novelty and less of an exact comparison.
Despite the large size of the case, the entire mechanism is extremely interesting and also cool to look at. Over the years, Bulgari has released a lot of highly complex watches with these case styles, and frankly, some of them are easy to confuse with one another. Though each is impressive, I think Bulgari could do a better job at making them a bit more visually distinctive, or give them a naming scheme that make them feel like they are all part of the same family. It takes a pretty dedicated enthusiast to make sense of the fuller family of Bulgari's most high-end watches. One reason for that is also due to the fact that the brand isn't on the radar of many high-end enthusiasts who see the brand as mainly a producer of women's jewelry.
The movement in the Geo.Graham Tourbillon isn't produced by Graham, but is produced exclusively for them. They call it the caliber G1796 and in addition to the time and tourbillon it has an automatic micro-rotor. The movement operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph) and has a power reserve of 72 hours (three days). While we don't yet have images of the rear of the Geo.Graham Tourbillon case, Graham tells us that there is a special "slot for the oscillating weight" on the rear of the watch where micro-rotor is located. The micro-rotor is produced from gold, and is said to be engraved with arabesque decoration (inspired by the decor on original George Graham watches).
The dial of the HYT Skull is interesting and remarkably legible given the theme. How is that, given that it does not indicate the minutes? Think of the HYT Skull watch as HYT's answer to the single-hand watch. While you can't really know the minutes with any precision, you can use the position of the liquid as it travels between hours to know the time within the closest 10 minutes or so. This is not as precise as many other single-hand watches, but I don't think people are going to be wearing the Skull watch because they need to know the precise time – they will use their phone for that.
The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date is a large and easy to read watch. I really appreciate that the majority of the watch's face is dedicated to large easy to read hands and indicators. The silver background is quite stunning. The brushed silver has an almost pearlescent quality. The inner index has painted hour numbers with 30 and 15 minute dashes. These are in a relatively small type face, but are easy enough to read. The primary index uses raised numbers indicating the seconds/minutes. The numbers are raised about a millimeter off of the silver background and finished with a serrated/aggressive brushed finish giving these indicators plenty of contrast compared to the silver background. These raised minute/second indicators really make this watch special. The day and date indicators are black text on a white background and are cut into the primary and secondary indexes at the 12 and 6 positions. At the 12 position is the prerequisite pilot's triangle indicator without looking compressed. The outer index has tick marks for the minutes and seconds, which I believe are painted onto the silver background.
Rather than just diving into their archives and reproducing something, they created with the R. Mühle & Sohn a new line that features some interesting movements. For the initial lineup, there are three watches - the Mühle-Glashütte Robert Mühle Auf/Ab (20 pieces in gold, 145 in steel) and Mühle-Glashütte Kleine Sekunde (also 145 pieces).
For many people, the quintessential modern Panerai is the Luminor 1950. This 44mm-wide case is what most people picture when they think of Panerai with is distinctive locking crown-guard system and chunky style. While Panerai does offer a (small) degree of variety among the various dials it pairs with the Luminor 1950, each has that iconic, minimalist, legible look that the brand is so admired for continuing after all these years. So what makes this particular Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic PAM328 watch different is that it comes not on a strap, but on a matching steel bracelet.
Kari Voutilainen: When I was a child, we had a family friend who had a watch shop, and was also a watchmaker.
The third submersible, PAM616, is a true novelty for Panerai, though not so much in the watch industry. Following Audemars Piguet, Linde Werdelin, Hublot, Richard Mille, and a few others, Panerai released its first watch housed in carbon material. Panerai calls it "Carbotech," and lacking exact details on the manufacturing process, it seems to be like recent models of aforementioned brands whereby multiple layers of carbon fibers are stacked then processed and cut to match the iconic case of the Panerai 1950 Luminor Submersible.
The multi-touch LCD is protected by tempered glass, measures 1.54-inches across, and has a display resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. Underneath, it is powered by a 1GHz single-core low-power CPU by Imagination Technologies. It features 4GB of internal storage, 512MB of RAM, and offers Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. It also runs Android 4.4 KitKat. Unfortunately, because of its full-color display and the fact that it runs Android OS, battery life does suffer somewhat and the SpeedUp SmartWatch has a claimed battery life of just under a day at 20 hours. Depending on your usage, the watch might or might not make it through a day.
Michael Bastian informed me that he was heavily inspired by the look and feel of car dashboard instruments. He liked the way many modern cars mix technology with something familiar, as they combine both analog hands and digital screens. For that reason, the Michael Bastian MB Chronowing dial has a dedicated display for the time that uses analog hands on the LCD screen. Actually, this screen sometimes shows other information as well. The rear of the watch has Michael Bastian's "wing" logo deeply engraved into the caseback. For the most part, the quality is better than on most 0 watches. In fact, what I will say is that a lot of the tech companies producing "fashionable" smartwatches are really giving the traditional fashion watch industry a serious run for their money when it comes to quality.
All of this is made possible by the self-winding calibre MB29.20. Earlier, I mentioned that the Montblanc Heritage Spirit Obris Terrarium has an in-house developed worldtime complication, and I say this because the base of the movement comes from Sellita, with the worldtime function being added using a module. The module, however, is developed completely by Montblanc, and from what we have heard, is not just a simple sandwich job. Rather, the complication is integrated into the movement, which could also explain why the Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum is just 12mm and not thicker, as some of the other watches with modular complications are. The MB29.20 beats at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 42 hours.
Listen to the HourTime Show Watch Podcast Episode 172 here.
New for 2014 is the Blancpain Villeret Chronographe Pulsomètre (Blancpain Villeret Pulosmeter Flyback Chronograph), which combines a flyback chronograph with a graduated pulsometer scale. The pulsometer lets the wearer quickly determine the pulse of someone else. As a result, such watches are also sometimes known as doctors' chronographs.